Eildon Rhymer (rhymer23) wrote,
Eildon Rhymer

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Guilty pleasures

Wow. I just got an email with feedback for a story I posted 12 years ago, using the contact details I'd given at the time. I wonder how many people have stayed with the same ISP and same email address for their entire internet life.

Anyway... I've been thinking about guilty pleasures in fic. Yeah, I'm in a confessional mood:

1. I have a serious weakness for stories in which A realises that he's in love with B, but KNOWS FOR A FACT that B doesn't feel the same about him, and resolves not to breathe a word about it, so as not to jeopardise their friendship. Meanwhile, of course, B realises that he's in love with A, but KNOWS FOR A FACT that A doesn't feel the same about him, and (yes, you've guessed it) resolves not to breathe a word about it, so as not to jeopardise their friendship. Cue many, many pages of ANGST! and MISUNDERSTANDING! and scenes in which A is so overwhelmed by the pain of unrequited love that he looks away in heartrending despair, and B is instantly overwhelmed with heartrending despair, because A looked away from him, and there is much standing angstily beneath cloud-laden skies, and the whole thing goes on for 459 pages, before their mutual love is revealed... whereupon I lose interest, and run away quickly, before I have to read about sex.

The reason that this deserves the number one place in the Guilty Pleasure list is not that I read many stories like this or because it's my favouritest thing ever, but is because I'm a gen reader at heart (exclusively so in some fandoms, though less so in others, depending on how much good gen is available), and don't even Do Pairings, so this most definitely ranks as Guilt of the highest order.

2. I can't get enough of stories in which my favourite character saves the day despite serious injury. I do try to be sensible and reasonable about this, and, yes, I do definitely prefer it if the heroic act is something that would be at least halfway plausible as something doable with those injuries, but such is my attachment to heroic staggering, that I can happily enjoy a story in which my hero swings from a chandelier while fighting off 199 enemies, despite suffering from 28 gunshot wounds, and with his arm hanging on by a thread.

3. I also love it when the other characters don't realise that my hero is wounded. Again, a plausible reason for their ignorance is preferred, but, again, I can happily, although guiltily, enjoy the most contrived reasons imaginable, as long as I get a lovely revelation scene. The day is saved, and there is much rejoicing... and then, two hours later, they find our hero slumped to the floor in a pool of blood, and there is MUCH GUILT! and there is much tearing of hair, and "Oh no! How could we have been so blind?" and "to think he was enduring all that, while we were pulling party poppers and eating ice-cream, little knowing... etc. etc."

4. And, as a bonus to the above, I can't get enough of stories when the others actually thought badly of our hero, even as he was off saving the day despite serious injury, although this is something that works a lot better in some fandoms than in others. "Where is he?" they rant. "So unreliable! He's two hours late! That's it. This is his final chance. I'm off. I'm leaving. The end." And then, of course, later, the guilt! the guilt! (see point 3, but increase the angst by a factor of at least 2.5)

5. I adore incognito heroes, too. A lot of my favourite novels use the Scarlet Pimpernel type theme, in which our hero is despised or dismissed by most people, but is secretly heroic and wonderful. I live for the revelation scene (usually coupled with scenarios 2, 3, and 4, above) It's not something that's possible in most fanfic, though, except in some AUs or outsider viewpoint stories.
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