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  1. #1
    Staff Sergeant Bad Wolf the Artist's Avatar
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    Default How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    How important is knowing the gender or other details of the writer of a fanfic (or any fiction)? Does one have to be a dude to write from a dude’s perspective or a gal to write from that perspective? Or does it really matter?
    I know the stereotype geek is a skinny dude wearing broken glasses and has a pocket protector. Right now I have a broken pair of glasses but I am not a skinny dude nor do I have a pocket protector.
    Then there i think is a fan fic author stereotype of fanatic gal who writes crappy fic about a MarySue who is too perfect and a tad too similar to the author or something like that.

    Does it matter who the author of a fan fic is for it to be considered valid?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    First, a Mary Sue can be male, female, trans, or genderless. It's a trope, not a person.

    Second, the gender of the author is irrelevant, provided they write fiction I want to read.

    Third, speaking philosophically, I find that in the main, non-professional writers tend to write their own gender best. That said, when writing a different gender, IMO women do a better job of writing men than men do of writing women. That difference is a small one, and quite possibly invisible to a lot of readers.

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  3. #3
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    To me the gender of the writer matters not. More important is that I like their writing style and story idea, because their book is to be worth my time reading and that I do not base on if they are male or female

  4. #4
    Major Annoyed's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Generally speaking, gender doesn't matter to me; indeed, most of the time you don't even know what it is. Who is to say that name of a particular author is his or her real name or of the proper gender?

    The only time it might matter is if the topic is gender-specific; something a person of the opposite gender could not possibly know, such as physical sensations resulting from sex. There's an old saying that there are two things that no author can accurately describe, one of them is a sunset. Some barriers are uncrossable.
    "It may seem pointless but small talk is a vital dating skill. It helps to establish a rapport with your companion."
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  5. #5
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    Generally speaking, gender doesn't matter to me; indeed, most of the time you don't even know what it is. Who is to say that name of a particular author is his or her real name or of the proper gender?

    The only time it might matter is if the topic is gender-specific; something a person of the opposite gender could not possibly know, such as physical sensations resulting from sex. There's an old saying that there are two things that no author can accurately describe, one of them is a sunset. Some barriers are uncrossable.
    While this is of course right, I still daresay a writer who wishes to do a good job might go ask some who know the matter for information about the things they have not experienced themselves to write about them as accurately as possible

  6. #6
    General Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    The only time it might matter is if the topic is gender-specific; something a person of the opposite gender could not possibly know, such as physical sensations resulting from sex. There's an old saying that there are two things that no author can accurately describe, one of them is a sunset. Some barriers are uncrossable.


    Some of the best m/m fic out there is written by women.
    As long as you can imagine it, and get it across to your reader, it really doesn't matter who writes what.

    An author's gender isn't important, their style, feel of the stories they write, their way with words... that's what counts.

    And neither is a reader's gender important.
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  7. #7
    Major Annoyed's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post


    Some of the best m/m fic out there is written by women.
    As long as you can imagine it, and get it across to your reader, it really doesn't matter who writes what.

    An author's gender isn't important, their style, feel of the stories they write, their way with words... that's what counts.

    And neither is a reader's gender important.
    Gotta disagree with you there, dear.
    Men & Women's plumbing is completely different, and I would expect the physical sensations experienced by each would also be different.

    From personal experience, based on external observation of partners, I'm convinced that women experience sex far more intensely than we men do. If you believe in karma, that makes sense; they have to endure childbirth.

    But since we have no way for a single person to swap back and forth, there is no possible way that either side of the fence can *know* what is going on on the other side.

    And if you can't *know it*, you can't describe it accurately.
    "It may seem pointless but small talk is a vital dating skill. It helps to establish a rapport with your companion."
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  8. #8
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post


    Some of the best m/m fic out there is written by women.
    As long as you can imagine it, and get it across to your reader, it really doesn't matter who writes what.

    An author's gender isn't important, their style, feel of the stories they write, their way with words... that's what counts.

    And neither is a reader's gender important.
    I agree with that, everyone imagines things differently so it's more important to get a reader's inspiration going than what gender the author has

    How well that can be done also referring to what Annoyed says, depends on the author's writing skills in my opinion regardless of the writer being male or female or whatever they like to be

  9. #9
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    Gotta disagree with you there, dear.
    Men & Women's plumbing is completely different, and I would expect the physical sensations experienced by each would also be different.

    From personal experience, based on external observation of partners, I'm convinced that women experience sex far more intensely than we men do. If you believe in karma, that makes sense; they have to endure childbirth.

    But since we have no way for a single person to swap back and forth, there is no possible way that either side of the fence can *know* what is going on on the other side.

    And if you can't *know it*, you can't describe it accurately.
    Authors competently describe things they've never experienced all the time. Have you ever read "Grapes of Wrath?" It's lauded as an accurate portrayal of what victims of the dust bowl experienced in their efforts to find work in California. How'd Steinbeck do it? He met with and interviewed actual migrants.

    Have you read a modern slave narrative? If so did you find them all unable to believably capture what it was like to be whipped and beaten and the emotional turmoil that went along with their whole experience? Although nothing like that has happened to many modern authors writing in that genre, they've read accounts from people who lived as a slave or spoke with someone who was and they were able to translate what they learned into their own descriptive texts.

    Same for war narratives written by people who have never gone to war, historical fiction about time periods that an author have never lived in, and combat scenes by people who have never been in combat. Not everyone is capable of writing about all of these topics well. There's historic fiction out there that contains a modern bias and some authors know they can't write things like sword fights well and prefer to skip over them instead of detailing the back-and-forth (others don't know this and get criticized for how poorly they described the scene). It all depends on how well researched the author is and how skilled they are at relaying things they've heard and/or observed as opposed to experienced first-hand.

    If you are male and you want to write about the female experience during sex, you can do this well if you listen to your friends/partners, read writing by female authors, or, hell, you can even go on YouTube and watch countless videos of women describing how an organism feels in their own words. If someone can relay an experience in words to begin with, someone who has never had that experience can do likewise simply by having a capacity to listen and rewrite what they hear (in an original way).

    Sure, this is something amateur and beginning writers struggle with, so I wouldn't be surprised if you see a lot of sex scenes in fan fiction that is badly written because someone is trying to describe what they think someone else would be experiencing without putting in the work to actually find out first. Fan fiction for many, though, is about trying to improve one's craft, so it's reasonable to tell someone they've poorly written a sex scene because it's unrealistic or they depicted one of the parties as an object who lacks agency or whatever after it's been written. It's less reasonable to tell them they can't write a good sex scene because they're assumed to be unable to put in the work (if they haven't already) to do X, Y, or Z.

    By the way, for anyone who wants to write a sex scene and doesn't feel they can accurately describe the physical sensation of one of the parties, I have good news: You don't have to write about that to write a compelling sex scene. In fact, unless you're writing erotica, I'd suggest avoiding that in the majority of cases anyway. A common mistake people make with sex scenes is in trying to over describe it. Prose has the unique ability to actually get into a character's head and should do that by focusing on the emotions and thoughts of those involved. Very little physical description is actually needed and a recounting of what an organism feels like is neither special nor very interesting regardless of who writes it.
    Last edited by Xaeden; June 26th, 2019 at 07:45 PM.

  10. #10
    General Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xaeden View Post
    By the way, for anyone who wants to write a sex scene and doesn't feel they can accurately describe the physical sensation of one of the parties, I have good news: You don't have to write about that to write a compelling sex scene.
    Like my favorite Stargate Atlantis character, Doctor Kate Heightmeyer, once said: it's all about the power of suggestion.
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  11. #11
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    The thing about writing to me is, and that is why gender does not matter, is that you have to play with the words so you get the reader where you want to.

    Everyone has a different imagining or sensations when thinking about matters, so what a writer must do is using words in a way that makes people think of the matter as they would experience it with the character.

    Like when you write "it was feeling boiling hot outside" then you get a different description of what feels like boiling hot likely by each reader. And such is the point of good writing in my opinion, that you can make people relate and feel it themselves

  12. #12
    General Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Az'ryel View Post
    Like when you write "it was feeling boiling hot outside" then you get a different description of what feels like boiling hot likely by each reader. And such is the point of good writing in my opinion, that you can make people relate and feel it themselves
    Boiling hot... 38°C which feels like 42°C and humidity of 38% (or something).
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  13. #13
    Lieutenant Colonel Az'ryel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    I would define it like 50°C outside that feel like 60°C, something desert like where you feel like ready to be served with garlic sauce on top.
    But this is what I meant, play with words make people imagine stuff on their own. And that can be done by male or female authors, if they are good

  14. #14
    Captain Xaeden's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Or...

    A sense of childhood summers in Hell's Kitchen came to mind. Cracking open a fire hydrant with the neighborhood kids, planting a sweaty mess of a body in front of a rickety old fan, and sticking head and soul into the welcoming Frigidaire until mom or dad stole me away with a lecture about wasting money... [And now a bit about how the character yearns for just a moment of one of those reliefs]

    It's not necessary to describe the current weather at all. Instead the reader can know it's hot or cold because the character is reflecting on past memories. Using this method, the weather serves to enhance the reader's understanding of the character and possibly reveal details that will have an impact on the story down the road.

    How best to approach this, as you said, depends on the writer. It also depends on the situation. Sometimes something like this will work. Other times not, and for those instances there are a wide range of tools that a writer can employ. Another quick example is that instead of describing the weather itself or using it as a catalyst for past memories to appear, you can describe its effects. What it's doing to a person (how does their skin feel, are their clothes covered in sweat, is it so hot that they're feeling dizzy, etc.) or things around the person. Maybe the character is walking down a street and there's old garbage that bitterly smells because it's been baking in the sun or there's a kid with an ice cream cone that is already mostly melted despite just having bought it. The benefit here is that you're both relaying what the weather is like and you're creating a complete picture in the reader's mind of a person and/or a person's surroundings.

  15. #15
    General Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    When the egg on the sidewalk is cooked, you know it's too hot.

    Yes, I tested that theory.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post
    When the egg on the sidewalk is cooked, you know it's too hot.

    Yes, I tested that theory.
    You should see how quick you can do that here in summer

    On the topic at hand however, I don't care about the author of anything I read in terms of gender, looks, or orientation, I read for stories, not agenda's.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: How important is gender of the author is to reading fanfic (or any fiction)?

    Ultimately you can write as either gender and be perfectly believable. Though there are a few caveats to that. On the whole male writers are more often than not terrible at writing women. But there are a good number of exceptions. The trick is that both men and women are just... well... people. Our character motivations can be much the same between genders.
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