Writing Good Fanfiction Part 2

Writing Good Fan fictionSettings and Situations

A serious look at places and people, and how lack of research can lead to some ‘painful’ situations!

So, you have your ingredients, all properly weighed and measured, now you need to prepare them.

Get out the chopping boards and the sharp knives! (and you might just want to check that your first-aid kit is handy!)

What has that to do with Fanfic you might ask?

Well, this section is about putting people in the right settings. Treating then with due caution and care and making sure that you don’t do something unpleasant to them by accident. I have sharp knives in my kitchen. Very sharp knives. Extremely sharp. And because they are razor sharp I treat them with respect. As the saying goes. ’Blunt knives cause most injuries.’

I try to treat my characters with respect as well, oh yes….. I KNOW I am mean to Ed Straker, but I don’t put him in impossible or ridiculous situations! If I want to get the best out of him, then I have to be sure that he is not being treated with careless disregard, like a blunt knife. A knife that will end up hurting someone accidentally.

The classic mistakes:

Our hero (or heroine!) is alone with the woman (or man) of his (or her) dreams.. (this is getting too complicated to write.. I shall stick with Ed Straker as my example!)

There he is.. …woman in his arms……. in bed. Fine. No problems. Until you read that the bed is actually a hospital bed. And there must be at least a dozen different stories with this scenario.

I work in a hospital. In England. I know what hospital beds are like. And believe me; it’s not practical to consider having sex in one. They are narrow. They rattle. They have plastic covers on the mattresses. They are on wheels. They have bars along the sides to stop patients falling out.

The doors don’t lock. EVER.

And nurses are nosey. Very very nosey.

Need I say any more?

So, with the combination of narrow, rattling, squeaking, jolting and frankly very easy-to-fall-out-of beds (unless you have the side bars raised!) and the Ward Sister popping her head around the door every few minutes; sex? No chance.

And if you have an IV in the back of your hand.. ouch..

Oh course it might be very different in hospitals in the US, but…. back to the point of this article. We are talking about England here. And I think I am the only UFO writer living in England at the current time.

Sex in hospitals happens. All the time. But it’s generally between staff, and usually somewhere discreet and LOCKABLE! Linen cupboards (which are small rooms, not cupboards! ) medical rooms, again, discreet and private.

So, please. No sex in hospital beds. It’s silly, it’s impractical, and above all it makes a knowledgeable reader laugh. (and a good sex scene should NOT have that effect!)

What other settings need to be treated with caution? Ah yes.

The office.

Well, would YOU?


Oh my!

With Miss Ealand outside, with Keith Ford buzzing you at what might be a MOST inconvenient time? On the desk? (that white sculpture might get knocked off). On the floor? While the room is descending? (It would have to be a real ‘quickie’ then!)

Forget it.

And finally, the last place on Earth – I am not even going to THINK about Zero-gravity sex. All I will say is ‘Chicken leg syndrome’

The beach. All that wonderful imagery, rolling water, setting sun, rippling wavelets; no wonder sex on a beach is a favourite setting for Fanfic writers.

Okay. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the next word…… ready?

Sand. Sand everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE.

Just think about it. ( and are you wincing – because you should be!)

Exfoliating certain areas that most certainly do NOT want to be exfoliated!

Bacteria (err.. fecal bacteria at that!) abound in sea water and sand and, once that has been forced into places where it most definitely should NOT go, can lead to delightfully romantic outcomes such as dysentery and UTIs.

Don’t forget the sand fleas either.

So. Give them a groundsheet, or a sleeping mat. But NOT SAND.

Or your poor hero or heroine will be hobbling around for the next week or so with red raw skin where it hurts most as well as a nasty case of cystitis and dysentery.

SOOOO sexy!!

You might want to rethink that beach scene. Honestly.



This article has 8 Comments

  1. Glad you liked it. It’s a light-hearted look at a favourite situation for a lot of romance writers in all fandoms, and was prompted by an article I read on ‘Romantic places to have sex, and why you shouldn’t’ on ‘Cracked.’ Room 101 is the ‘fun’ version of a hospital romance which was written after discussions with nursing staff where I work! The ‘situations’ are all from the nurses… not me!

  2. US hospital beds are less creaky and more accomodative … but still, no locks on the doors. I always thought the problem with zero gravity had more to do with “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, unless the femme of pair is very, very good at Kegeling (specific muscular exercise for incontinence issues that has some fascinating side effects … )

  3. Well, bed size really doesn’t matter and some people actually enjoy the danger of being discovered. And who doesn’t love the beach scene in ‘From Here to Eternity’? As for the office – off limits? REALLY? Hell, I wrote a bisexual orgy in Straker’s office and actually love re-reading it, if I do say so myself. I for one don’t mind laughing at sex scenes – sex is supposed to be fun. BUAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  4. The definition needed is ‘suspension of disbelief.’ The author of this essay seems not to be saying any of these things are impossible. He points out what breaks the willingness of the reader to continue accepting what is described as a possible reality. I agree with him on most counts. Intercourse in a British hospital in a serious story is a rather unlikely occurrence. To Yuchtar–it is interesting that you mention the beach scene of ‘From Here to Eternity’. In the book that scene was written as a disaster. Everyone gets sandy and irritated. James Jones gave his readers a realistic description, one which shows how impractical sex on sandy beaches can be. It is the movie which turns it into something less believable. Besides, we only get to see the embrace, not sex. Tastes differ. I find that beach scene neither very erotic, nor romantic. The cinematographic symbolism is far too vulgar. Malle’s ‘Les Amants’ belongs to the same era and fairly sizzles in comparison. I gather your bisexual orgy was not meant to depict a realistic scene? Is it possible you compare apples with oranges? Once again I am under the impression that the author means a sex-scene taking itself seriously.

  5. Hmmm, I did read ‘From Here to Eternity’, but gosh, that was 30 years ago and I really don’t remember how that scene was written. (But no, I would not personally have sex on the beach – unless, ya know, the guy was REALLY hot and – never mind) My scene was realistic, though – my sex scenes are always realistic. Fun, but not cartoonish. The office DOES have a lock on the door – AND it is sound proofed, so I don’t see a problem with sex in Straker’s office.

  6. Dear Yuchtar, let me address this contention please… the sex you describe in your stories is mostly realistic on the “peg A into slot B”-level, yes. But that is as far as “realism” goes there and I up to now thought that this was the premise under which to read and enjoy your stories. However, with that the realism ends for me. There are no men who “suddenly discover” that they are gay or bisexual and happily bonk away out of the blue, Straker was consistently shown as having a very low sex drive and being quite a bit repressed, he also was shown heeding USAF non-fraternization/non-chain-of-command rules to a tee, all of which makes it more or less a fantasy to have sex with the people and the way you describe. A three-some as described I see pretty much totally out of character and hence not realistic at all… Then on to the office scene… for one thing he has stitches. I have an SO who is regularly hurt up to such a point and further (like at least once or twice a month) and he is definitely no sissy, but even after a long abstinence he would not have stitch-popping sex that soon after the injury. So not. Apart from the non-realism of Straker behaving per se as described, we are here talking about a man who allowed his marriage to fail and his son to die rather than break the rules. Please do check up on rules regarding sex in army offices. Not just that Straker would never break rules over something as silly as what you described there, he would have made himself subject of a Court Martial. In a British-based army institution as security-minded as SHADO was described as being you can be quite sure that there was surveillance and security would have wondered about a turnover time from top to bottom for that long a duration. Need I really go on? I could tender some more fine points, but I am sure these are enough. Slash is a genre unto itself, with its particular needs for suspension of disbelief, as can be seen by Charles automatic reaction. I am willing to follow through with some of these needs, but they do not extend so far as to not consider your stories mostly fantasy… That you would think that this actually is realistic throws me a bit there. Regarding a really realistic consequence of sex in offices, read here: http://www.lep.co.uk/news/local/sex_probe_launched_at_lancashire_police_hq_1_3212705

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