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Welcome to the Darker Side! In case you missed the initial discussion, these posts are going to explore some of the more 'warning-worthy' topics and tropes that we see and use in fic. They are meant as both prompts and discussion topics, so if you are inspired to write a fic, post a bunny, link to an example of things 'done well', discuss in general terms how you think it's been done less well or just contemplate your own personal kink/squick line, there are (almost) no bad responses.

In fact, the only 'wrong answers' for this or any other Darker Side, are to either a) attack or demean the use of or appreciation for a topic in fiction, or b) assert or imply that using or appreciating a topic makes a person more mature/intelligent/aware that "it's just a story" than someone who avoids it. I don't anticipate either of these with this community, but the internet is a very 'once burned twice shy' place, ya knows?

Onward!

[Warning, discussion of incest, both underaged and non.]
I chose incest for our first topic, because it is a very broad one and can allow some meta-talk or branching off to more detailed discussions, and because it covers a wide range of 'darkness'. I'm going to throw out a few rough distinctions in describing a situation as 'incestuous,' and criticizing them is as welcome as using them to shorthand your posts.

Underage : Obviously, when one or more party is a child. A dark topic on its own, it is very often a factor in the darkest of incest related fics.

Imbalanced : Imbalanced is my short hand for a situation where one party holds a clearly superior familial relationship, such as a parent or guardian, grandparent, Aunt/Uncle or much older sibling or cousin. Age (both comparative and age of consent) can play a role, but one party does not have to be underage for an imbalanced situation, and both parties being underage can make it more balanced.

Non-Genetic : While incest is usually thought of in terms of a biological relationship, adoption, step parents/siblings and other factors can lead to a plot with no genetic relationship, but still being categorized by most as incest.

Non-Familial : On the other end of the spectrum, both fiction and real life give us many examples of close genetic relatives who are unaware of their connection feeling a strong attraction to each other. This is called Genetic Sexual Attraction (though the Hubby has asked me to harness the power of the internet to get it widely known as 'the Skywalker effect' so feel free to tag that way! *grin*) and while it still carries strong taboos, it is possibly the most common 'not really dark' use of incest in fic.

So, chat, write, (respectfully) argue!

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
agdhani
Feb. 9th, 2016 03:01 pm (UTC)
one of my earliest rp experiences was with a character who was suffering from split personality...he had 3 distinct selves, one of whom was a child version of himself developed after an incestuous/rape relationship with an older brother. It was a challenge to write, to say the least, but it pushed my comfort limits and helped me grow as a writer.

Later (with the same writing partner) we wrote a 'couple'...a man and a boy who became involved (they're part of a clan of supernatural beings who don't view such things as wrong...see them as normal between partners 'destined' to be Mates)...who discovered later they were father and son. That would, I guess, be part of that genetic sexual attraction spectrum.

We also wrote/write a relationship between brothers...where it isn't an attraction thing but rather a 'we're horny and there's no one else around, so why not each other' sort of relationship.

Maybe its telling that the only incestual relationships I've written are between male characters...
asphaltcowgrrl
Feb. 9th, 2016 05:14 pm (UTC)
That's actually a really fascinating array of fics/RPs you've written.

I agree with what Dreamy said below in regards to alien/gods/etc to make it a step removed from our own cultural taboos and making it more paltable. And I agree that it would fall under the genetic attraction spectrum.
agdhani
Feb. 9th, 2016 06:09 pm (UTC)
The list is made of of 'houses'...where head of house (the writer) has a family of clones...characters from books, tv, movies and any npcs they want to write. This particular writer and I have combined our 'houses' and have a huge group of characters to choose from, so we've created a lot of interesting scenarios. We've been at it for about 13 years now, so we must be doing something right to keep at it ;)
asphaltcowgrrl
Feb. 9th, 2016 06:45 pm (UTC)
I think the two of you are doing something MORE than right! Congrats and keep it up. :)
agdhani
Feb. 9th, 2016 07:21 pm (UTC)
Writing with her was my first foray into slash...into smut...into pushing out of my comfort zone to try new ideas and directions. I really can't credit her enough for facilitating my growth as a writer.
RL has given us less time to write together now, (she's on the east coast and I'm on the west...logistics are tricky) but we still do it as often as we can.
asphaltcowgrrl
Feb. 9th, 2016 07:25 pm (UTC)
It's awesome that you found someone that not only encouraged you but helped you to become more than you were. And I hear ya. I'm on the west coast as well and everyone else is at the closest in the Midwest. :/
kahuna_burger
Feb. 9th, 2016 05:41 pm (UTC)
"Maybe its telling that the only incestual relationships I've written are between male characters..."

Ya, the likelyhood of procreation does play a role in how incest is seen as well, in my experience. Especially when the Skywalker effect is in play, if there is no possibility of babies, it moves it into the catagory of "social taboo" imo.
agdhani
Feb. 9th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yea...removing the possibility of pregnancy helps I guess...though I've yet to write sisters or a mother/daughter, aunt/niece sort of thing either. Maybe that will be our next endeavor.
thtwzjustadream
Feb. 9th, 2016 04:13 pm (UTC)
My only individual line in the sand on this one is parent/child, with the exception of stories about gods, aliens, etc. Making it that one step more theoretical and otherworldly takes the squick off of it for me. I've accidentally clicked into a couple of John/Dean fics in SPN and hit 'back, back, nope, back' ...but that's me. I'm sure others love those, and I'd say have at 'em, then.

That aside, I think it can be a very effective topic/trope for exploring a character's growth, specifically growth out of co-dependency and into healthier relationships. The example I'd use is LOST, and the Shannon/Boone story line. As their past is shown, you get a picture of two people who are pretty badly, deeply enmeshed and taking their life frustrations/family issues out on each other rather than feel them/work through them for themselves. When Boone's forced (through a drug/dream sequence) to imagine her dead, he's asked what he felt and he says "relief. I felt relieved..." He finally gets that he's taken on too much of her responsibilities and issues as his own, and she finally gets to have a relationship where she has to advocate and stand up for herself...and then they kill them both off, lol. Ah, well.

One of my many ideas for an original fic involves a male character so intent on getting away from his family that he's vying for a spot on a Mars mission - only to find out his somewhat sadistic male half cousin is already in. Backstory would be the protagonist having been in hugely unhealthy relationships with both the cousin and the cousins's sister - debating whether she's a half or a step sister or full on.

Of course, as with other original fic I've thought about...the trick is really fleshing out the plot, the point, the characters and, um, actually writing it. But I think it has a lot of potential to have a lot of twisty, angsty, and fun 'so wrong' to it. Brideshead Revisited without the religion and hand-wringing and a crapton more sex. ;)
asphaltcowgrrl
Feb. 9th, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC)
Although this isn't ever something I personally care to read, I 100000% agree with you on the parent/child relationship. It screams too much of one party using their power/dominance/whatever over the weaker party for their own needs. On the other hand, twincest seems to be a huge thing in the m/m world, and not just in fanfic. There's a lot of actual published work along these lines.

I never watched Lost, but I like that example you gave. It's amazing sometimes how much we take onto ourselves that isn't actually ours. OMG - they probably figured 'we solved their problems, who needs 'em?'

I hope that you do one day write the fic you're talking about because it sounds like there's so much room for fun, angst, and all the joys that come from working with family. But yeah... original fic can be a chore at times. *snort* Oh yes, and getting it all on paper is the hardest part of all!
thtwzjustadream
Feb. 9th, 2016 08:53 pm (UTC)
omg....My brain is still stuck on you never watched LOST! Never, not one epi ever? Wow....you have a whole world awaiting if you ever get bored/rained in on vacation someday. :)

Would not have guessed twincest is big in the published world - but there is the concept about twins, and any people with twin-like similarity in features being attractive to others because of the'echoed' attractiveness. It was one theory why the Beatles got so famous so fast - they had that cookie-cutter, dark-haired look. I read some article about it awhile back, that said Jagger used to refer to them as 'that four headed monster.' ;)

I do hope I can muster some more thought for that fic- it has potential.
asphaltcowgrrl
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:56 pm (UTC)
Hah! Yeah, I think that was back in the days before we had a DVR. :D

I wouldn't have either, but for some reason it is. I do understand being attracted to (identical) twins, but the thing that is odd to me is that the twins would want to be together with a third party. Does that make sense? Oh - I wouldn't have ever thought about that in regards to The Beatles, but it is a valid point.

Well, if you need a cheer squad, you know where to find me. :D
kahuna_burger
Feb. 9th, 2016 05:33 pm (UTC)
The codependency aspect is one I hadn't actively considered, but it does seem to fit a lot of the sibling incest stories you see.

I remember one message board discussion where someone asked how he could explain to a yohng child who had declared that she was going to marry her cousin someday that she couldn't, without just declaring "it's wrong" and "because it is." My response, which is actually a good 75% of my objection to adult, non parent/child incest, was "because marriage makes a person part of your family that wasn't before, and your cousin already is family to you." It's the conflation of two kinds of relationships that gets me, far more than the biological matchup.
thtwzjustadream
Feb. 9th, 2016 09:11 pm (UTC)
I think that's really smart parenting - going beyond simply labeling something 'wrong,' which could then make the kid feel flawed or 'wrong.' It's avoiding dismissing their expressed feelings.

Conflation's an issue in other relationships - like with someone at work. I had my characters address that in one 'verse - without even realizing I was kind of smoothing over that bit of conflict that would arise from dipping the pen in the company inkwell, lol. The dialogue went:

M: “Does this make us fuck buddies?”
H: “You kids and your labels.”
M: “I asked... a... serious question.”
H: "And that was a serious answer. You’re my Mike. That’s enough for me. I don’t need a...”
M: “Humans live under definitions. We’re all...somebody’s. Somebody’s kid, sibling, colleague, friend...fuck buddy.”
H: “Do you have another Harvey?”
M: “No. I definitely...have never had another...”
There had been more to the lecture, as Mike recalled, but he couldn’t stay awake for the end of it.

agdhani
Feb. 9th, 2016 06:12 pm (UTC)
ooo...I take that back...
my current work in progress includes a mother/son relationship (so I do have one involving a female) but its definitely a power thing with the son being the instigator/rapist/driving force. He is not a nice character at all, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out between them.
haldoor
Feb. 10th, 2016 02:49 am (UTC)
I have to admit to having a slight fixation on brother/brother incest. The whole thing - mentioned above - of them not being able to reproduce takes away a huge reason for the taboo to me, so I have few issues with it, as long as both partners are consenting and there's no power issue (i.e. the imbalance of older/younger family members as mentioned above, so that is they should both be around the same age or both adult enough to be making the decision for themselves). I do read fic and watch movies on the brother/brother thing, although surprisingly, I don't follow SPN! HA!

The darker side of incest with the imbalance of power is something I have mentally experimented with (as it written in my head but never committed to paper/Word) although it was a stepfather/stepson situation rather than a direct biological connection. This kind of darkness appeals to me as a way of bringing stories of abuse out into the open, and giving the hurt character an opportunity to escape from the situation and find healthier relationships. I love working through that whole 'he forced me/I enjoyed it' conflict that can be part of these sort of situations, and how people find their own way through and past being in such difficult headspaces.

Edited at 2016-02-10 02:50 am (UTC)
thtwzjustadream
Feb. 10th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
Ha. Yes, how *have* you not caught on to SPN, then?

Except, that...well, they're a decade plus into it, and ain't no one finding any healthy relationships on that show, probably ever.
haldoor
Feb. 17th, 2016 05:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't know either - I have started watching, but hubby and the kids got ahead somehow and I never caught up!

A decade plus means A LOT to get through - way beyond bingeing, so phew, hasn't happened yet. As for healthy relationships; did I say I was looking for one? HA! ;-)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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