“A plot begins with an unexpected challenge that confronts a character with an urgent need to pay attention, to make a choice, a choice for which s/he is unprepared. The choice yields an outcome–and the outcome teaches a moral. Because we can empathetically identify with the character, we can “feel” the moral. We not only hear “about” someone’s courage; we can also be inspired by it. ”
This, from the Episcopal Church. (I love my church!) I got it from my dean (thanks Earle!), and I’m using it in a short series I’m teaching about evangelism (Ack! The dreaded ‘E’ word!), but you know, it just resonates with me on so many levels. I mean, y’all know I’m a storyteller, first and foremost. I’m in my element when I remember that, and I’m a fish out of water when I try to do something another way. But seriously, something Jedi Buttercup said to me in a review over on Fanfiction.net in response to Chapter Seven (Integrity, Courage, Perpetuity) of The Day The Earth Stood Still really sparked something for me. She quoted the part of the chapter where Edward is trying to dig himself out the hole he just created with Bella by referencing that at least her mother gave her a really healthy, comprehensive sex talk, and that there were worse ways to find out about sex in general, and your own sexuality in particular.
“At least you had the security of your mother giving you an honest talk in the privacy of your home. You didn’t have to find out from misinformed friends, or heaven help us all, Emmett in Spanish class.”
To which Jedi Buttercup added in her review:
Heh. Or from fanfic. Those horrifying little pamphlets they pass out in health class have nothing on other people’s imaginations.
And this, as it happens, is one of the things I’m most passionate about. Really, it’s neck and neck with Jesus, and as I see it, it is the little way in which I can help the coming of the Kingdom of God: Healthy attitudes toward sex. Here’s what I’ve written up to put in the author’s note of Chapter Eight of that same story.
In the reviews, Jedi Buttercup discovered my secret motive for writing fic with sex in it. Is it just because erotica is fun? Actually, no. (Though of course, it is.) It’s because so many of us have gotten and are still getting our understanding of sex – what it is to be in a sexual relationship, what sex is actually like, how and when and why to have sex, and what is ‘normal’ when it comes to sex – from the written word, from romance novels, from fic, from storytelling in any medium.
And so much of what is out there is utter crap.
It’s not physically possible, or likely, it’s unhealthy, and it portrays emotionally damaging situations in a positive light. Honestly, it pisses me off. So I have made it my mission in life as a thirty year old female priest who thinks that God made the clitoris for a reason (yes, I am a priest – I’m one of the cool ones) to provide an alternative narrative: stories where sex is present and described in really healthy ways between people who deeply love one another and are striving to have a healthy relationship. Obviously, these stories are for everyone – people who already know exactly what it is like to have healthy sex within a healthy relationship, plus all the people who are deeply in need of healing, because they know what it’s like not to have healthy sex. And especially, I write for those who are just discovering sex, and themselves as sexual beings, so they can discover what healthy looks like, from the start.
So, God bless you all, and wish me luck.
I remember you talking about this waaaay back many years ago, with Mulder and Scully, and how X-Files ‘shipper fic was completely and utterly unrealistic.
Clearly, my vision has only clarified, and not, in fact, changed utterly. I suppose I should be comforted by that fact. So long as that is, in fact, the case, and it’s not that I’m a broken record.
But then again, if you only have so many sermons you preach, you either get seriously deep, or seriously repetitive… (Metaphorically speaking… and literally speaking, too.)
…But you know, a lot of them were utterly unrealistic. And it gets worse, the younger the mean age of the fandom. HP has a surprisingly mature fanbase so far as the ficwriting goes, but Twilight? Eeek. ::shakes head:: Not so much.
Then again, we all start somewhere. My first stories weren’t terribly realistic either, especially when I was writing about things I’d not yet experienced.