merricatk: (lounge leopard)
[personal profile] merricatk
I have some things to say about hurt/comfort.

I don't like it. And not on "somebody might get it wrong grounds." I, personally, just do not enjoy reading it.

I find it either boring or frustrating.

The boring part is, I don't want to watch one of my couple in some kind of pain while the other strokes his forehead and says, "Poor dear. Poor, poor dear," until the one in pain is better. I don't care if it's realistic or un, it's fucking boring. Done well, done fabulously, done so brilliantly it blots out the freaking sun, it is still unutterably boring! You know why it's boring? Because I've done that shtick, and I was bored while I was doing it. Helpless, useless, couldn't make things better, and bored. I wanted my partner back, I wanted to be able to play, and when she couldn't, I looked after her and tried not to let her know I was bored out of my mind. Why the fuck would I want to read about it? (And I felt this way even before caregiving became a large part of my life. There's a reason I mentally recoiled whenever my grandmother suggested I become a nurse.)

(There's hurt/comfort of a kind in the Roadhouse Blues stories, but Sonny's idea of comfort is to punch Vinnie--whose pain is psychic. Not even Sonny would punch him for having a broken arm. And Sonny's boredom and frustration radiate off him. Being a caregiver is not exciting work.)

The frustrating part is how many hurt/comfort stories are about torture. First somebody's kidnapped and tortured, then they're rescued and comforted. I guess this is supposed to be cathartic, but what I would read is hurt/revenge. The hurt/comfort I've read has very little revenge in it. If you're going to torture one of my couple, the other one better not only look after him, he better avenge him. If he's not going to do that, just leave me out of it. Comfort is not cathartic. Finding the guy who hurt your partner and shooting him until you're out of bullets is cathartic.

Also, I don't know what this has to do with bingo, but I can live with that.

Date: 2010-06-14 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodyclark.livejournal.com
I hate torture fic. I HATE it. I hate pain fic. I'm in it most of the time, so I don't want to read it. Ergo, I don't like to read hurt/comfort.

I don't like revenge fic because that usually means something awful has happened to one of the pairing. It also means the other one is out of her/his mind with emotional pain.

I'd much rather write sex stories.

I also don't much care for bingo.

Date: 2010-06-22 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
Yeah, I don't find reading about characters in physical pain to be any catharsis for my own pain, not the way giving Vinnie my depression helped me with my own. And I never believe that the character who has been tortured will ever be the same, which I find tragic. There's simply nothing there for me.

Date: 2010-06-15 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natashasolten.livejournal.com
Oh, I gotta respond.

Torture is very hard. Some dark universes are rife with it, like Blake's 7. It's part of the story. It's part of who the characters are, where they come from...the evil Federation or whatever it was called. Same with Firefly's universe. Everyone has horrific scars. It's intriguing to find out where they will go from there...how they deal with it all, how/if they ever heal psychologically. Torture is part of 24 in almost every ep, a series I have only just watched the whole of within the past six months, and really really enjoyed. For me it can work in the context of a certain milieu set up that way. Those are some examples. But, I have only written/read fanfic in one those universes...Blake's 7.

Maybe hurt/comfort isn't part of what I just used as examples. Maybe we're talking apples and oranges. But there is some draw to these darknesses, what these characters go through, or we wouldn't keep watching. Maybe the h/c aspect you're talking about is how the healing/comfort part is drawn out into a 200 page fan novel of frustrations and bedpans. Those were always my least favorite stories...and usually the least well written. My mom was a caregiver to my father for years and years...rarely complained...always did the right thing. While I find it heroic, it is also horrible...and it had to be horrible for her even if it was loving. It became my mom's identity. I admire her, but she became almost martyr-like about it. I don't think she got off on the caregiving, but she did get off on the martyrdom, which is/was irritating (and I don't mean to be harsh, it just is the way it is.) I don't want to write about that part of life. Maybe some people actually get off on the extremes of it. Maybe that's why it's written.

It's not that I require fluffy bunny stories, and I like some pepper thrown in with the smarm, but I always want a love story in the end, and I don't really think 200 pages of h/c cuts it. It's a cheat. And you're right; it's boring! The h/c can be there, but as a background or part of the plot, the way my examples above are...then you are right...the revenge factor must come in, or the comfort must be something more than just changing the sick person's sheets...it needs to be more about real healing, like how do I fix this...maybe take him on a vision quest or throw him to the wolves to live or die or punch Vinnie in the face.

Speaking of Roadhouse, I think I mentioned to you in the past that I really really appreciated the fact that Sonny does NOT coddle Vinnie. He's not mean, and he's not unaware, and he's not without empathy, but the "poor boo-boo" parts are brief if they are there (I'm thinking of him cleaning a scrape on Vinnie's arm, then bandaging it and kissing V on the cheek. That works and it was only about a page out of the whole thing.) I like that if you had to deal with issues of "comfort" you took them out of their element, into a restaurant or something, had them finally talk. Sonny finally tells Vinnie over food that Vinnie was tortured and even if the torture wasn't physical, it was still just as bad, just as real. In an odd way, I find that scene to be one of the best I've seen dealing with a h/c situation where instead of petting the other and saying poor baby he just gently, softly tells him "this is the way of it." And so they deal with it privately, together, and then probably go home and have great sex. It works.

So I can't say I hate all torture, or all h/c. I would be lying. But I have rules. They are:

1. One partner cannot ever rape the other.

2. Partners can fight, but one partner cannot permanently disable or permanently maim the other. On that matter, I don't want to read permanently disabled or maimed partners by a third party stories, either.

3. And, this one is a biggie, they can't kill each other for any reason. I have never read a death story I liked. Never. No matter how well written. I don't "get" them. When I want slash, I want to enjoy. Not suffer.

Date: 2010-06-22 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I have no problem with a show whose canon includes torture--though I might not watch it. But anything done in canon is allowed in stories, AFAIC.

Vinnie was such a perfect candidate to give my depression to--I mean, the guy almost jumped off a bridge, he could hardly be called emotionally stable. *g* And Sonny was the perfect choice for dealing with him: loving, but impatient, calling him on his crap while keeping him safe. And thank you--I think Vinnie had to hear it from Sonny, Mr. Pragmatic himself before he could really believe that what he'd suffered was really torture.

I've never written the first two in your never, ever list, but I have written the third. When I finally get them posted, you'll want to avoid Death Song, World on Fire, and A View to a Kill.

Date: 2010-06-22 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natashasolten.livejournal.com
Too late for Death Song and A View To A Kill. I read Omerta for the first. The second was in a bunch of downloads sent to me by Kathy Resch. I just read through everything. I screened nothing. But that's okay. I'm a big girl. I can handle it. I'm not going to go off screaming in the night, or ever lambast anyone for writing death stories. Write whatever you want. And I'll read whatever I want. It's a win-win situation.

Date: 2010-06-15 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodyclark.livejournal.com
I ought to add that I hate torture-for-torture's-sake fic (or torture-for-comfort's-sake fic). Stories with a torture subplot are another matter entirely.

Date: 2010-06-22 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merricatk.livejournal.com
I can deal with torture, but I need that catharsis of I know what you mean. *g*

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