theohara recently made a post about criticism she had received for having had the temerity to begin writing a Spike/Dawn story. Well, it’s not my ‘ship of choice, but she writes it brilliantly, Dawn is 18 before there is any question of any physical relationship, and there isn’t even the icky ‘shagging the babysitter’ factor because the two have been parted for 3 years and the babysitting never took place. Perfectly devoid of squick as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, during the discussion megan_peta brought up an interesting point. I quote:
I haven't a problem with what pairings you write...but I do have a problem with the fact that you NEVER write a character pairing up with the rating and summary. It's really quite awful to start reading something you think is going to be Spuffy and get into it, admiring the writing (cause hey, what else can we do) only to find out it is meant to be Spawn or Spara. So, give us a break and chuck in some warning and you just might eliminate some of your flamers...who are absolutely pathetic.
Now, I haven’t had any ship-related flames yet (and I’m not complaining, so please don’t start!) but I do have the same habit of omitting any pairing specification. I have two main reasons for this.
One, I think it spoils some of the tension. In one of my stories (name withheld) comes on strongly to Spike. She has reason to believe he reciprocates her interest, and when he reacts with the ‘just good friends’ speech she reacts badly and sets off a devastating chain of events. It’s meant to be unexpected; if the story was labelled ‘Spuffy’ then the outcome could probably be predicted. In the BuffyBot stories, I am absolutely refusing to reveal whether it is Buffy or Violet Elizabeth BuffyBot who is going to end up with Spike in the end. If you know, then certain plot twists won’t fool anyone and it may weaken the story. And in ‘It’s Got To Be Perfect’ the whole point of the story is the uncertainty over whether or not Buffy can get Spike back.
Two, some of my pairings might put off readers in theory, but in actuality they are proving popular. I know there are people who wouldn’t have read a certain one of my stories if it had been labelled ‘Harmony/Riley’, but who have written reams of praise for my portrayal of the ‘ship afterwards. That’s a less important reason. So far all the central ‘ships in my stories have been fairly standard; apart from Merry Sport, of course (Joyce/Olaf), and the drabble Better than Bandicoots(Drogyn/Illyria); the oddball ones have been peripheral.
I write whatever ‘ship the story seems to call for; I have no real commitment to any particular ‘ship, except perhaps for Angel/Nina. And Puppet Angel/Feigenbaum. And Spike/Ilona Costa Bianchi. But we shall speak of that no more.
I’m writing my first Spike/Tara story at the moment; sorry to those who are eagerly awaiting other updates, but the plot bunny struck with such force that it couldn’t be denied. It started off as a joke but gathered momentum. The first section will be going up in an hour or so; unbeta-ed, just to see what people think. And I will be showing the pairing with the summary on that one.