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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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meta rec - Oh My God, I Can See Your Id! by brown_betty
children of dune - leto 1
Read this right now. If you are having a bad day, you will feel better. If you are having a great day, it will make it awesome.

Let's Talk About Books!: Today's topic: Oh My God, I Can See Your Id! by brown_betty - the comments. Are. Hilarious.

Just--you know, run along and giggle hysterically. Though now I do want an argument related to profic id as opposed to the fanfic id--ie, is it more acceptable to drown in your id in fanfic than in profic?

I dunno. Now I want to see how many of us are aware of what we are writing. I will admit my awareness is sporadic and carefully contained between four and six in the morning when I go look at my tags for indulgence and notice a pattern.

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*thinky thoughts that turned out to be not so speedy*

I haven't read the entirety of the link yet (am very excited, though!)--but I do think, on some level, that it is more acceptable to drown your id in fanfic than in profic--at least, it's more acceptable to do it so it's visible. That on some level, many of us regard fandom as an 'escape,' and as such we can indulge in things we don't get to do in other circles of our lives. That many of us are aware of the sometimes-indulgent nature of fic, and we (writers and readers) come into it, to paraphrase what brown_betty said, hoping that our ids will meet convivially. bironic had some excellent thoughts about fandom on LJ as a gift culture--that we each post stories as gifts to the community-at-large, and we recieve gifts in return (in the form of comments and respect, etc)--and I think this gift culture makes id-drowning, indulgence, whatever, more acceptable. Like a fan may say, "Here's my id! Check it out!" and other fans can go, "Shiny! My id likes it, too!" but those who are all, "OH MY ID SAYS NO" can just back away. (Not to say there aren't problems with fan culture, of course. But that's beside my point.)

In profic, I would argue that since it's a much more commercial venture, letting one's id hang out all over one's work is more problematic. Especially if the author doesn't know it--as brown_betty mentioned, it might be an embarrassment squick on my part, too--but I find it troubling to think that someone could sell themselves that way. Like prostituting one's very messy human self for the delectation of the masses.

As for me, as a part of fandom, I find I'm very aware that I'm indulging my id while I'm writing and reading. I am drawn to stories that hit all kinds of deep dark things--I love reading them, I find myself writing them--hell, I've been part of a collaborative of writers that indulged our love of fucked-up hurt-comfort for 100,000 words (and now are writing about vampires in space, so there you go).

Edited at 2009-03-25 06:31 pm (UTC)

Like a fan may say, "Here's my id! Check it out!" and other fans can go, "Shiny! My id likes it, too!" but those who are all, "OH MY ID SAYS NO" can just back away.

That's like, the best description of fan culture ever. Right there.


Well, isn't all fiction id-vortexy to some extent, by its very nature? Having said that, though, I think that the extent to which it becomes obnoxiously id-vortexy to other people is some combination of how deeply the reader's id is in sync with your own, and how much the plot itself is subsumed to the id elements.

One of the differences between fanfic and profic is that fanfic is a lot more up-front about being almost entirely id-based. In fic, let's face it -- finding a good plot is nice (and I tend to prefer plot-driven fic in general), but it's not your foremost expectation when you go looking for fic, is it? And it's a rare fan writer that can pull off a novel-length genfic that's focused solely on minor character #456 who appeared briefly in episode #29 and never even had a name, and have people read it.

Whereas we come to profic with the expectation of a decent plot and that the writer will attempt to at least keep their id down to a low simmer. And here, I guess, is where you get into the whole area of "does your id match my id?" because whereas fanfic tends to be explicitly id-segregated (rape fantasies over here, mpreg over here) published fiction isn't really, with the exception of some sub-genres where you can pretty much anticipate what you're getting into id-wise after you've read a couple examples of it (like what hrazda calls the "Men Build Stuff and Get Pussy" style of books -- e.g. Eric Flint's 1632 books). The Gor books are pretty evidently a giant id vortex. But from a general knowledge of sci-fi or the cover blurbs, there's no way you could anticipate what you're getting yourself into if you pick up, say, any random Piers Anthony book you could name. I have books on my shelves that I know aren't very good, but they hit my id perfectly (like Weiss and Hickman's novels). Whereas Sarah Monette's Melusine novels made me want to claw my eyes out in places with the SOMEONE ELSE'S ID! squickiness -- but I expect that lots of people are snapping them up precisely because of that.

Edited at 2009-03-25 06:41 pm (UTC)

Gor comes to mind whenever I think of id-fic, even moreso than John Ringo, shockingly enough. I think it's the fact the first one or three or whatever you can actually see him teetering on the precipice trying to deny it's all about the "WHEE FANTASY" and then falling so. Damn. Hard.

I love those books, and I love them ironically. There is nothing like being thirteen and reading about the slavegirl getting two brands for liar and thief while writhing in sensual pain and still knowing that no one, in these books, ever gets down to it in a decent lengthy manner (I want to say I clocked the longest actual sex at like, two paragraphs. And it managed to be explicit without being sexy. Kind of boggling). It's like Anne Bishop, God love her--for books about sex and sexual submission, there's so little actuality.

(I'm still not over Gor doing that. It's like the biggest tease ever.)

(Codicil: I haven't read all the Gor books, just a healthy sampling. It's possible I missed where he finally took the erotica dive and took it hard.)

The more I think about it, the more I think that labeling and expectation have a lot to do with whether the reader's reaction is "Yay! Id!" or "Oh god! Put that away!" Romance as a genre is marketed as a fantasy; I don't think people go to romance looking for complicated plots or meaning-of-the-universe type stuff (as a genre, anyway; individual authors, sure). The expectation with most profic is that you're forking over your $7.99 for the story that you read about on the back cover blurb, and if it's fairly up-front about the authorial fantasy elements, well, yay. You know what you're buying. But if instead, you get 300 pages of the author's masturbatory fantasy along with the spaceships or the mystery, it's not a happy surprise (unless you're into whatever they're peddling, of course, in which case you'll be off for more of their books, of course).

It does seem like with fanfic, most writers know they're writing id!fic, whereas in pro, the expectation is that one is not.

Of course there are exceptions with fanfic -- MarySues are the classic example. But mainly, I suspect fanfic writers would be more apt to say, "Yeah, I had spanking in my fic because it turns me on to think about it," rather than, "I had spanking in my fic because the requirements of plot required it." For slash writers, I think we're all basically saying, "yeah, I admit it, I like thinking about guys being friends/lovers," whereas in profic it's rarely up front.

However, I'm guessing that even for fanfic writers, there are pieces of our id showing that we're not aware of -- hee, at least except the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. *g* It would be fun (sort of) to have people tell us what they think our most secret id selves are saying.

Thanks for that link -- awesome post and hilarious and thought-provoking comments!

is it more acceptable to drown in your id in fanfic than in profic?


If the short answer won't do, here's the long answer: expecting people to pay for your id is problematic. Worse is putting your id on parade and characterizing it as anything else. John Ringo is our hero because he knows and acknowledges what he's doing -- he doesn't dress it up as Literary Art (see: Updike, John).

Another way of putting it: both Ringo and Updike drown in their ids, but only one of them was drowning in his ego.

Another way of putting it: both Ringo and Updike drown in their ids, but only one of them was drowning in his ego.

OH GOD YES THIS. *hands you the hat of shiniest-clever person on the internet* It's Updike's claim to be speaking from some universal truth-speaking point of view while actually speaking from the skeevy-fantasy place that infuriates: I don't feel excluded as a human being from a self-confessed male fantasy, because it acknowledges its own limited function/place in the world, but writers like Updike make me feel like they actually think people like me are not present in the universe.

YES! The id and the ego! That's a great distinction.

Are we talking about ID as defined by psychoanalysis? Because in that case I will have to withdraw from the discussion before I hit something. XD (my issues with the psychoanalytic school of thought in psychology runs deep and probably has its own mommy issues)

Yes, that is a bastardized concept of Freud's, which is just going to make me hang out in another corner and giggle uncontrollably. Or maybe cry. I think I might cry.

Heh. I've been studying psychology in the wrong place to have any affinity for Freud's ideas. The man made shit up all over the place. He was as crazy as the criminals and patients he observed. ID, ego and superego are some of his more sensible ideas, but they're still mostly guesswork.

I'll admit that they make for great pop-psych though.

Here's something I find strange: Laurell K. Hamilton, gods love her (and I do, I really do) has her id showing ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE in both her Merry Gentry and her Anita Blake books. But in Merry it doesn't bother me, whereas in Anita it drives me nuts.
I don't even know if that qualifies as my two cents, but I basically agree with brown_betty's premise that it's more embarrassing when an author seems unaware of showing us their id, and I think it's definitely more acceptable to show your id in fanfic than in profic. Hell, in fanfic, it's practically expected that your id's gonna show; if it's not there, as a reader I can tell that the author just wasn't that into the story in the way they want me to be.

Anita metamorphosed into IDness, but at least at the beginning, we didn't know we were getting that. Merry Gentry--kind of ID from the get-go, I think.

But in Merry it doesn't bother me, whereas in Anita it drives me nuts.

YES! I think because Merry's basic premise is blatant: when she fucks people, everybody gets powers. Anita started off more as a horror fantasy, then became a series of magical sexytimes powerups.

But I've found that I read them both and giggle now.

Yeah, I find that in the Anita series(I haven't read all the books, and have missed a lot of most recent ones) it bothers me more because with Anita, there always seems to be an element of "no, no, I don't really want all this sex, must. not. give in - oh, fine, on with the threesome. and the shower sex with a stranger. if I must." which is even more present in the stories once the whole ardeur thing got brought in. This is a pretty common element in romance stories, but it's just been way overused and gets tiresome when it's the preview for every other sex scene. In the Merry stories, Merry generally rolls with the weird and random sex with fewer issues and "we musn't" before it inevitably happens, which is a nice change.

Yeah, agreed with the above. Anita Blake started out as a sort of Buffy-for-adults and balked at getting turned into The Pussy That Healed the World (phrase learned at a set of MW*C panels touching on the series some years back) and her "I'm not that kind of girl!" just gets maddening, whereas Merry Gentry A) is that kind of girl from the get-go, and comfortable with being so, and B) the series premise is about racing her cousin to a baby, so the harem action isn't exactly a change in focus.

Also there's the whole thing where LKH apparently wrote her then-husband in as a character, and then found herself sort of painted into a corner in terms of trying to write him out after the divorce. I gather that has a lot to do with Anita's relationship weirdness.

Thank you for linking to this. You were right, it DID make my day awesome.

Hee. And yes, it *is* more acceptable to show the id in fanfic, for all the clever reasons people have already pointed out.

Huh. It's interesting. Like everyone else, I think it does come down to *acknowledgement* of the id: if you write profic or fanfic and write about your id, for god's sake acknowledge it as such. It's the whole lack-of-warning thing about profic that makes me wary and is why it hits with such a shock.

But now I'm thinking about fanfic. I mean, if your id's showing in a sexual way, I pretty much expect it. (I read slash. I write slash. The fandom expectation is that you're reading/writing it because you enjoy it, so... yeah.) But are there types of id-showing that we're not comfortable with? Or as a community, are our expectations common enough -- or our ids mesh well enough -- that we don't get squicked by id showing?

Hmmm. Strangely enough, the only id-showing fic that ever bothers me is Mary Sues. Sure, other stories may not work as well for me (the ids may not mesh perfectly, and other times they do), but now I'm wondering what it is about the Mary Sue that squicks the ever-loving hell out of me. You know what it is? It's the lack of acknowledgement.

Mary Sues don't tend to acknowledge that "this is pure wish fulfillment where I insert myself -- my much more attractive/powerful/lovable self -- into my favourite fictional world". Instead, they just do it and pretend that, "oh, no, she's totally an organic, created, fictional character. Just like the others."

Oh, you're where the comments are coming from! Good work, you have made the conversation at least twice as hilarious.

Also, to be fair, I saw other recs for it on my flist when I got home. So it was a group effort.

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