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Writing by cool bit

As those of you who ordered Project Blue Rose will soon see, I have a brief essay in it which is mostly about shame and shamelessness, but also explains how the story is basically a patchwork of elements and images which I thought were cool or sexy or touching. I don't have it in front of me right now, but I think the list included men in glasses, psychic kids, trenchcoats, black helicopters, barbecue, flower imagery, extreme competence as a compensation for loneliness and social awkwardness, and sexual tension between snarky bickering partners.

What I think is fun to write and fun to read generally makes an appearance in anything I write anyway, but some stories start with other things and then accrete cool bits, and some stories grow out of the cool bits. Butterfly Kick, my pet manga project which will find a home some day, grew out of one very specific cool bit, which is martial arts, but is otherwise not in that vein, as it's intended to be fairly realistic. Project Blue Rose, on the other hand, is more in the realm of fantasy, both in the sense of being science fiction and in the sense of the fantasies that run through our minds: daydreams, wish-fulfillment, and images that please the eyes. The story grew out of the cool bits.

telophase and I hope to continue Project Blue Rose, and are also beginning work on a new (temporarily) Secret Project. And will no doubt have more Secret Projects some day.

What are your cool bits? What are the themes and stories and images and moments that you love to see?

Now, don't give me any really specific plot you want to use yourself, because if I like yours too, I will be inspired to swipe them and use them in my next manga.

Do you love boys with wings, amnesia, girls disguised as boys, kisses on the nape of the neck, Meiji Japan, prominent collarbones, south Indian martial arts weapons, cold female assassins, one person lighting another's cigarette, sentient weapons, pyrokinesis, autumn leaves, izakayas, road trips, selkie legends, Old West gunfights, 1940s American fashion, or...?

Tell me what you love.

Comments

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janni
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
What are your cool bits? What are the themes and stories and images and moments that you love to see?

Challenging the boundaries of the stories rocks my world. (This is why I'm babbling about Tutu these days. Characters have been talking to the writer. And challenging him.)

Quiet, angsty boys. Better yet, quiet, angsty, shapeshifting boys.

Changelings and stolen children.
boniblithe
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
Oh god, this comment window isn't going to be big enough.

Horses, silk scarves, the ocean, the mountains, thigh holsters, black leather gloves, pool sharking, roaring fireplaces, intense stares, sticky wet clothes, body switching (I LOVE BODY SWITCHING), swordplay, fighting up stairwells, sense memory (smell mostly), veils, knives in garter belts, tossing a coin and catching it repeatedly, madames with a heart of gold, grand romantic gestures that are a little foolish (throwing a glass into the fire after a toast, charging headlong into a fight when outnumbered), screaming matches turning into ravishing kisses, raindrops dripping into a pool, long coats that are a little too long in the sleeve, breath on the back of a neck, priests, rubbing a thumb against the lip of wine glass, thunder and lightning, standing close enough to kiss without ever touching, the moon, wrought iron gates with dangerous fleurs de lis, sleeper cars in trains, bare feet, women in men's dress shirts (and nothing else), kissing the throat, rolled up sleeves, a bloody slash on a cheekbone, the stray strands of hair that float out when a women's hair is worn up, empty building lobbies with high twisting stairwells so that you can see all the way down from the top floor, daring motorcycle rides, unexpected physical attacks from those you trust, double identities, evil twins, small humiliations that blossom into revenge, hipbones peeking out from low slung pants, museums that are dusty and empty and quiet, seeing someone as a reflection in another's eye, sex in a library (!), tattoos - the kind that are hidden and surprising, vintage dress (form various eras), double entendres, two people locked in conversation and basically having sex only through the double meaning of their words, good manners (it's a thing), any kind of non-fatal injury where there's blood without incapacitation, wings, cigarette lighting, collarbones, I think I may have to stop before I run out of space. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY MORE.
rachelmanija
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Keep going, this is great. Open another window.
OK! Another window. - boniblithe - Jun. 15th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: OK! Another window. - rachelmanija - Jun. 15th, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: OK! Another window. - boniblithe - Jun. 15th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rachelmanija - Jul. 27th, 2006 05:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - boniblithe - Jul. 27th, 2006 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
lnhammer
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
Competent girls. Especially kick-ass girls. Secret identities -- and coming out -- and secrets within the secrets -- and shifting identities. Subcultures, both hidden and open. Gaming the system. Alternative sexualities. Being transformed to human then learning how to be human. Love that transcends limits. Belief/desire/will that transforms reality by its own strength. Mortals meeting gods. And of course, gratuitous nudity.

---L.
thecityofdis
Jun. 16th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
Competent girls. Especially kick-ass girls. Secret identities -- and coming out -- and secrets within the secrets -- and shifting identities. Subcultures, both hidden and open. Gaming the system. Alternative sexualities. Being transformed to human then learning how to be human. Love that transcends limits. Belief/desire/will that transforms reality by its own strength. Mortals meeting gods. And of course, gratuitous nudity.

I want to read everything you ever write. Also, I suspect we may be writing a lot of the same things.
(no subject) - lnhammer - Jun. 16th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
boniblithe
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
I forgot a really important one! Loyalty. Sidekicks who will hang over a pit of hot oil and not give up their partner for anything; lovers who will withstand torture for each other; it shows you that the hero is smart enough not to surround him/herself with idiots and I love the big, swooping rescue when it comes. If it comes. If it doesn't I weep and weep and write angry fanfic about the author meeting a horrible end.
minnow1212
Jun. 15th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
People who have each other's backs. People who flat out like each other's company (Doctor and Rose!), people suffering stoicly, not expecting others to notice, people passionate about their work, hands, someone's fingers sliding under clothing, the edge of a t-shirt, hands carding through hair, power walks, women with guns.
cofax7
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
Power walks!

I have a thing for resentful attraction.

I love UST that builds slowly as people learn one another. Not instant, but over time. Sneakily, and they don't recognize that's what it is. Yum.

Also women in men's clothes, either just as an ordinary thing or trying to pass. Zoe or The Masqueraders, either will do.

Knives. Learning something unexpected about someone, that totally shifts your perception. Family pulling through (the dell north of Hexham!). The weight of personal history.

Competence (Jack O'Neill). OMG competence, esp. quiet competence, gets me every time.

And grey hair, yeah (Jack Bristow, too)--it's a signifier to me of toughness, and survival instincts.

Changes over time--physical bodies, clothing, attitudes. Goes back to that personal history thing.

Cynical idealists, who really want just one good reason to get back into love/the fight/hope (Rick Blaine).

Brittle, polycompetent, glossy heroes who possess a tinge of self-loathing (Wimsey, Lymond, Miles).

Someone who gets into something by accident, not for the adventure, and is utterly out of their depth and yet figures it out, makes it work. John Crichton, not Luke Skywalker.

Someone who does the wrong thing, the evil thing, in order to achieve a greater good--who takes on the sin willingly, knowingly. They don't want to do it, but they'll do it if they have to and they won't let anyone else do it for them. They own their sins. (Again, Lymond, O'Neill.)

A smoking hot leather jacket over jeans. (Those SGA and SG-1 promo shots that just came out, despite the airbrushing. Yow.)

Women dressed sensibly for battle, like Zoe/Teyla/Sam Carter. No skirts or slinky tops, and armed like the men.
(no subject) - solo - Jun. 16th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
marith
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
Interesting question.

Perching. The unexpected twist and flip, the cool move in battle. Mirrors - their intrinsic magic, their silver fluidity, truth and lies reflected. Long hair. Sensuousness, by which I mean characters enjoying the sensory world around them. Orange paper cranes against a blue sky, a cherry tomato eaten off the vine and squirting in the mouth, running your hands along silk or leather or stone just to feel the texture. Running through the enemy base to get to your target before the bombs go off in exactly 3:14, and your timing is perfect because you're playing a favorite piece of music in your head and you know just how long it is. Running just for the joy of it, of having a body that works and moves well, along the rooftops. Leaping the gaps in between without even a pause. Jumping off a cliff with your wings still folded, then casting them wide to soar. Flawless loyalty. The moment when a strong person snaps. High kicks. Low tides and the hidden things they reveal. Polyphonic choral bits, and words entwining with each other. Dancing and fighting and fucking and believing that they're all the same, in some ways. Gracefully curved blades. Magic that costs. The figures that hide in a piece of woodgrain, or the plaster on a wall. The same things being found and relearned by successive generations. Notes in the margins of books. Moving water. Things made of glass. The power of one person's emotions to affect the world. Stuff like that.



takumashii
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
Androgynous boys, androgynous girls.

Heian Japan (to the extent that I'm shoving myself through a text in rather hard Japanese so that one of these days I can write my Heian novel).

Demons! Also anything gracefully predatory: wolves, foxes, falcons.

Arts and (in particular) crafts, especially with a keen appreciation of hard work and craftsmanship. Honest enthusiasm, stripped of cynicism.

A sense of the ability of ordinary people to make and do and change things.

Religion. Rituals, and faith, and metaphysics; any or all of those.

Storms, and shelter from storms.

Metafiction and tricks of style; stories that twist in on themselves, twist time, twist causality. My appetite for novelty is almost infinite.


jonquil
Jun. 15th, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
Girls disguised as boys, kidnappings, cloaks, carriages.
janni
Jun. 16th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Cloaks, yes. I'm a sucker for people in cloaks.

Especially angsty shapeshifting boys. But anyone, really.
telophase
Jun. 16th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
Girls disguised as boys. Dark Byronic antiheros. Men with long dark hair, especially if they are closed off and of few words. Intelligence. Competence. Command presence. The inner beast barely held in check. Forced to be in close quarters with another, especially an enemy. Deep time. Mountains. Rivers. Deep forest. The previous landscapes, lost in mist. A deep sense of history. Elaborate mysterious architecture. Lost civilizations. Dying civilizations. Travelers. Lost knowledge. Borders. The edge between civilization and the unknown. Breaking taboos. The edge of insanity. Looking out across a city, a forest, a valley, a plain, the sky and seeing the points of light that mean groups of people or beings and realizing that each of them has their own story happening. A city street at night, bustling with people and light and languages. Trading routes. Exotic perfumes.
telophase
Jun. 16th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Sories told on several levels, including the mythic and the prosaic, at the same time. Picaresque novels. The journey is more important than the destination. Travel novels where the culture/area/country/whatever works almost as a character.

I am very tempted to take all these ideas and collate them into a big document, sorted into Character/Setting/Plot/Theme/Writing. But then, I am a librarian and organizing information is what I do.
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wordsofastory
Jun. 16th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
This is such an awesome post, and I love the comments it's getting.

Deserts, the starkness and emptiness of them: enourmous expanses of nothing but sand and the wind reshaping the dunes, the few people around hidden in layers from a harsh sun and the footprints they make wiped away in minutes, and the joy of an oasis in all that wasteland, trees and water like miracles. Beaches, and oceans, the salt taste of the air and the white foam of the waves against the sand. Incredible loyalaty, beyond any reason or explanation. Stupid descions made in full awareness, like a man who knows the woman will never love him back, but choosing to follow her anyway, or the girl who knows there is no way she will win the fight and that trying will only make things worse, but who fights regardless. That knowledge that what you're about to do will change nothing and will make no difference, but doing it anyway simply because that's who you are. Thieves and pickpockets and gypsies, people living on the edges of society who take advantage of the people who are more secure, who get back some small measure of power by outwitting and fooling the powerful. Storytellers and tricksters, people who can make worlds with their words, tell lies so pretty you believe them even when you know better. Hair in cornrows, with beads at the ends. A wordless look between two people that communicates meaning. Sex somewhere that might be overheard, and trying desperately to stay quiet. Court politics, whispers in hallways or ballrooms that make and break alliances, the power of one person's personality being enough to change the course of a kingdom. The ruined parts of cities, the parts that are the oldest and were once loved, but are now falling into a ghetto, broken windows, grafitti, trash in the streets, fires in dumpsters and trash cans. The people who live in them now and know them like the back of a hand; children racing through paths of chain-link fences and boarded up warehouses that no one who hadn't grown up there could follow. The sudden stray grace of a fire escape red with rust against a blue sky, or a shattered glass bottle on the ground reflecting a sunset. The rhythms of different dialects working against each other, a set of characters born from very diverse origins. A swan dive from a height, and the sound of hitting the water, the feel of bubbles rushing past your body. Changelings and orphans and people without a home, and instead of finding it they get a friend or lover to make a new home with. Silks and satins. Bright colors. Food porn. The extremes of weather: freezing temperatures, or ones so hot everything is sweaty and languid, storms. Bare feet. Long, loose hair and eyes looking up from under it. Swordfights. Assassins. A circus- not going to one, but the people in it, the regular lives of clowns and fortune tellers and freak show stars. The backstage of a play. Long, long drives in cars with the windows down and radio streaming out to the warm air, miles of road disappearing under the tires, and watching the land pass by without anything to say. Melting ice cream. Strong, competant characters backed into a corner. Two allies in a fight who know each others moves without needing to look, winning out against a crowd.
oyceter
Jun. 16th, 2006 06:50 am (UTC)
Stupid descions made in full awareness, like a man who knows the woman will never love him back, but choosing to follow her anyway, or the girl who knows there is no way she will win the fight and that trying will only make things worse, but who fights regardless. That knowledge that what you're about to do will change nothing and will make no difference, but doing it anyway simply because that's who you are.

OMG yes, that is totally one of mine as well!
(no subject) - solo - Jun. 16th, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - b_hallward - Jun. 16th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wordsofastory - Jun. 17th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
oyceter
Jun. 16th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
Ok, you actually probably knew all of this but....

- Cold female assassins, WHOO!!!
- Cold female assassins and the loyal and nice men who love them and stick by them
- People in love with life's small things and who live in the moment
- Girls disguised as boys (preferably crossed with cold female assassins)
- forbidden angel/demon love, especially if there's a war waging between heaven and hell
- Lucifer
- Cold and/or deadly courtesans (in fiction only)
- Male prostitutes (in fiction only)
- In general, cold and/or icy and/or deadly women and the men who love them
- polite, nice, good-mannered men brought to their breaking points (either sexually or not), and what happens then
- Meiji Japan and the mix of modern and traditional, bowler hats and canes with hakama and gi
- the Gilded Age, bustles, the beginning of technology in every day life
- guys with glasses
- People so reserved that just the touch of a hand speaks volumes (Saiyuki! Morgaine!)
- What happens after the world is saved, what happens after the fairy tale is over
- Ordinary people and ordinary lives, finding extraordinary joy in the ordinary
- Crafts, spinning, weaving, knitting, playing with fiber, creating
- The joy of knowledge and knowing and learning, loving an activity for the activity itself and not for the outcome
- FOOD PORN!
- Really complicated, Rube Goldberg-esque assassination/caper/con plots
- Really complicated political intrigue, particularly in courts in which the slightest gesture means volumes and no one is safe
- Poisons and the study thereof
- People who have lost hope and how they slowly grow to find it again
- People finding a family (blood-related or not) and forming a bond to each other that isn't romantic but is bone-deep
- People teaching other people to live and to love
- Swordplay and fencing and duelling
- Extremely competent and cool guys who turn out to be complete dorks on the inside
- Codes and ciphers
- Pretty much anything involving angels, demons, Heaven and Hell
- Sex against a wall because it was just too much to wait for
- Words that have layers and mean more than they seem to, wordplay
- Tragic past lives and reincarnation, examining what makes people who they are, bonds that go beyond time and body and sex
- Knowing something is doomed and doing it anyway
- Elaborate clothing that means things, fan language, hair language, kimono language
- Quietly lost people who have abandoned hope and their sadness and how they still try to help others despite feeling forsaken
- The moment when a strong person can't take it any longer and a shoulder magically appears for them to lean on
- Being able to let go and not fear everything falling apart because someone is there to catch you
- The fine line between pain and pleasure
- Blowjobs when the person giving it has all the power and what they choose to do with it
- Guys in love with women who don't know it, guys being in love and not showing it except in the small gestures that she doesn't notice

And I could go on! But I must work!
parallactic
Jun. 16th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
I also like cold female assassins. Have you seen Noir, the anime? It's about two female assassins. And off the top of your head, do you have any recs?
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amberdulen
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
Premature gray, time-travel, and when big lunks turn out to be surprisingly perceptive.
amberdulen
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
Also swashbuckling in all forms, and evil twins.
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movingfinger
Jun. 16th, 2006 01:52 am (UTC)
If you like boys with wings, you must love Djibril Cissé!

jonquil
Jun. 16th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
I nearly died from the hotness of that in the morning's Times.
(no subject) - rachelmanija - Jun. 16th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
sartorias
Jun. 16th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
All of the above.

Competence, wit, style.
wildgreentide
Jun. 16th, 2006 03:11 am (UTC)
Giant country mansions with huge, dark, glossy lawns and trees that crowd the windows. Wolves, lions. Dark and stormy nights. A kiss on the neck from behind, hands sliding over the stomach. Men being domestic and loving with each other. Musical crescendoes. Boys with wings, yes yes, also women with knives or guns. Major age differences in a romantic/sexual relationship, and the overcoming thereof. Also interracial relationships--that sense of confronting and crossing borders. Portuguese, sung or spoken. Boys with long lashes and delicate limbs who could kill you a dozen different ways before you had time to react. Dancing: watching someone move with confidence, ease, and grace through a series of complicated steps (same goes for fighting). Characters who are trying to make a positive and lasting impact on the world. Hope that continues without reason, the last tiny spark that can't be extinguished. Female pirates. Saving the person you love, at the cost of never being able to see them again. Misanthropic, misunderstood loners, and the people who love them. A long, slow build of sexual tension between two people who are intellectually matched and equally stubborn (bonus points if the tension is resolved with a passionate kiss during a particularly heated argument). Marriages of convenience, awkward sex, shaved heads. The weight of history.
rachelmanija
Jun. 16th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
Am I correct in thinking that you only recently started reading manga? Because a bunch of these are manga and anime staples.

If you haven't encountered them already, for series that hit at least a couple of your favorite things (to say which would be spoilery, in many cases) I highly recommend the anime X/1999, Fullmetal Alchemist, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Samurai Champloo (more than their respective manga) and the manga Saiyuki, Clover, Fruits Basket, and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. And Naruto, although that takes a couple volumes to get really good-- but then it just keeps getting better.
(no subject) - wildgreentide - Jun. 16th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC) - Expand
To be slightly more specific... - rachelmanija - Jun. 16th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: To be slightly more specific... - wildgreentide - Jun. 16th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles - rachelmanija - Jun. 16th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
X/1999 - rachelmanija - Jun. 16th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
sarge_5150
Jun. 16th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
Definitely izakayas. Ladies Who Are Not What They Seem, hidden pasts, wise-cracking yet surprisingly competent side-kicks, strong women protecting weak men, pyrrhic victories, heroic charges into insurmountable odds. Oh, and penguins. Yeah, penguins.
tokyoghoststory
Jun. 16th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
i like six degrees of seperation, cyberpunk, cute mexican sht boys, computer hackers that aren't nerds, boys in love but afraid, drug addicts, roller discos, not fitting in, fitting in just right.
rushthatspeaks
Jun. 16th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)
Love triangles which resolve with all three of them walking off into the sunset together.

Strong, competent, kickass women who go through the entire work including ending without having any hint of a romantic relationship.

Black leather trenchcoats.

Characters who have senses of humor and senses of wonder; wordplay, joking, recognition that the situation they are in is odd or improbable.

The non-human as genuinely wild and strange and not entirely comprehensible.

Language for its own sake, and people who love it. Odd tidbits of antiquarian knowledge thrown in for no reason.

Fields of roses.
amberdulen
Jun. 16th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
The non-human as genuinely wild and strange and not entirely comprehensible.

Madeline L'Engle does this really well.
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rayechu
Jun. 16th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
Wow, there are a lot of things listed already! I only have a few things, but they are really important to me.
I like the normal animals horses, big cats, wolves falcons, etc. but I absolutely love fantasy creatures like unicorns and gryphons. Transformations are fun, but more so if the character could find a way to enjoy it. I tend to enjoy girl leads and I like it better if romance stays in romance, as a heroine doesn't need a love interest.
I would love to see a female vampire story not revolving around sex. Or a character that decides to stay in the fantasy world instead of returning home.
cerusee
Jun. 16th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
Flying. Devotion. Absolute, mutual devotion. Old friends knowing each other very, very well, or any kind of deep mutual character knowledge between two people. Dogs. Intelligent familiars that don't for chrissakes talk. Linguistics, and people having power or useful knowledge because they speak/read/understand more than one language. Epic battles conducted in the political sphere, especially in fantasy settings. Libraries, librarians, scholars. Food! I adore descriptions of food; there are books I rememebr for years because they talk about food in memorable, appetite-whetting detail. Anything Japan. Houses. Big old houses with magic in the very halls and doors, houses that contain or represent the world. Inheritance. The changing of the seasons. Telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, prophecy. Swordfights. Gunfights. Connections to mythic cycles, or reasonably developed made-up mythic cycles. Made-up religions. Hidden heirs that don't know they're heirs, people with ordinary/low backgrounds discovering they have some special gift that vaults them to importance. Cyberpunk. Computer genius sidekicks. Characters who live in trees. Characters who live in caves. Attics, especially attic bedrooms.

Oh, and roses.
elyndys
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
Holding hands.
Cleverly woven stories that repeat the same themes in different ways that link together neatly (explains my love of good Saiyuki reinc fic, eh?).
Men and women who are just friends with genuinely no sexual tension. (Ha, when was the last time I saw *that* in fiction? -_-)
Epic, sweeping stories with sublime endings.
People who get through things, together.
A beautiful sentence that says things in a way you never would have thought of.
Gay that's not camp, or sleazy, or fake.
The Jazz Age.
Nice guys who don't finish last.

Happy endings.
elyndys
Jun. 16th, 2006 11:29 am (UTC)
PS Ordinary women who make mistakes, but come through it OK. Because that's what I see in my own life, not some infallible sex goddess who always wins and whose head I want to kick in.
arielstarshadow
Jun. 16th, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC)
Hmmm......you're making me think I need to order this now...
rilina
Jun. 16th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
Let's see: people passionate about their work or craft, political firebrands, uncomfortable but real faith, partnerships of equals, mentors and students, books, ciphers, libraries, cities with long histories, people genuinely caught between two cultures, respect for tradition *and* innovation, people unwillingly drawn to another's charisma, stories split between two time periods, history that threatens to repeat itself, broken people supporting each other, people who love each other but don't ignore everything else that's important to them because of that love, odd-couple friendships, fighter pilots, strategists, the moments before an era fades away, and stories about what happens after the revolution.
lihsa
Jun. 16th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
Ooh, linked here from telophase. Well, how could I not?

Collars, knee high boots, boys crying, delicate girls who look down on the whole world, androgyny, anthropomorphic personifications (thanks a lot, Terry Pratchet XD), staying out in the pouring rain, people who can kick straight up, school uniforms, empty public places at night, catboys, true love not making it any better, characters standing on a really high ledge looking down, characters breaking down and screaming at the top of their lungs, school boys smoking, school boys doing generally immoral things (prefferably to each other), women with long nails, female characters who everyone is scared of, sexy librarians, characters selfishly leaving everything behind, other characters hating them for it (but still loving them), ships, large cities, fountains, solitary journeys to unknown destinations, kung-fu fights, people with wings, characters with obsessions, characters who smile for the first time and it's absolutely charming and kind of awkward, waistcoats, cat lovers, estranged family members, fans; obscuring faces, or used as weapons, fighters with impractical clothing who fight easily anyway.

And, uh, so on.
thecityofdis
Jun. 16th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
This post, and all of the comments, are amazing. As for me?

Friendship. Romance bores me - I like friendship, the-family-you-choose, the kind of friendship that is so natural and runs so deep that of coure you would take a bullet for the other person; any other course of action wouldn't even cross your mind. Strong, three-dimensional women. Confident women. Kick-ass women. Anything that fucks with gender roles or confronts the resistance that characters who fuck with gender roles will encounter. Alternative sexualities. Diversity - characters who have a background. Explosions, hand-to-hand fight scenes. Extraordinary people, people on the fringe and above the norm: Mutants, gods, Slayers, psychics, whatever. Moral ambiguities, when both parties might be right or might be wrong, and it's all just in how you look at it. Sympathetic villains. Hero/villain interaction, especially when layered with a love/hate relationship or a kind of complex friendship intertwined with the rivalry. War-zones, heroics, characters going down fighting for something or someone they believe in. Funeral scenes - oh G-d, funeral scenes kill me. Bittersweet endings, reminiscing about what and who was lost but tinged with optimism that the world goes on. Graveyards, handholding, a few tears shed by the character who just doesn't cry. Good guys who become bad guys and vice versa, but only when done well, like in Xena, and not like the new Star Wars trilogy which sucked. Those quiet, calm conversations between two characters where there is nothing else going on, just them concentrating on each other and talking and enjoying the calm before the storm because they know that everything is going to hit the fan and that at least one of them will be dead soon. Pacifism - characters who believe in nonviolence, and go against everything they believe in so they can fight, not because they think it's the right thing to do but because it's the only thing to do. Magic. Good dialogue, people who talk like people - especially in fantasy, I can't go for all the "thee" and "thou" and "thus" crap. I want characters who say "fuck" and mean it. And also? I'm a sucker for the end of the world.
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