Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Double Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: "Sucker Punch" and "Avatar"

Warning: Here be spoilers.

A few weeks ago I was browsing around on the EMCSA and decided to reread a couple of my older stories, Sucker Punch and Avatar. I do tend to reread my own stuff every now and then; but it's usually the pieces I consider my best, like Willing Subject or Solitaire. It had been a very long time since I reread "Sucker Punch" or "Avatar," because I've been less happy with how those two turned out. On rereading, however, I decided that the only real problem with "Sucker Punch" was the title; and that the biggest problem with "Avatar" was the typos. I'll fix both, somewhere down the line when I have time; but meanwhile I'll go ahead and give you a double Peek on the two of them.

Let's start with Avatar," since I have less to say about that one. Both these stories date to my thought-I-was-straight days, but I never developed the original "Avatar" fantasy very thoroughly. It was basically just a squicky-plant piece, probably based on vague memories of The Day of the Triffids. In the original version of the fantasy, a male lover of the Livy character watched helplessly through a locked spaceship door as she was taken over by an alien plant she'd acquired. On the rare occasions when I took the story beyond that scene (rare because the "male watching helplessly" bit was what excited me most, even when I thought I was straight), I imagined the transformed woman coming out and seducing him afterwards, then the two of them taking over the rest of the ship.

I'm not entirely happy with the changes I made in adapting the fantasy for the EMCSA. I've said before that sometimes certain endings seem "required," even when they don't really push my buttons; and this is the best example of that phenomenon. The more I think about it, the more I really hate the thought of Cassie being parted from Livy again - for centuries no less (You didn't really think it was the downfall of humanity that made me sorry, did you? ;-P). Whenever I go back and rework that story, I might very well change the ending. My Muse might not like it, but this is one case where I think I can change Her mind. ;-)

And now on to "Sucker Punch." I don't attempt comedy in my writing much (aside from a handful of parodies in another online life), and I didn't really think the attempt was successful here until I reread it after a long period away from the piece. Looking at it with fresh eyes, I've decided that I did pull off what I was attempting, which was to show a stereotypical supervillain breaking out of her stereotypical mold; then turning back to mock the conventions of her genre, beating the stereotypical hero because she's broken away from convention, and finally allowing the stereotypical sidekick to break away as one sense, anyway. Heh.

But I was actually drawn to write this story more for the twist than for the challenge of doing comedy. The twist, of course, is what gave me the name for the piece: Ursula sucker punched Steele, and I sucker punched my readers (I hope). However, I quickly realized that the story would have been better served with a long, ridiculous title like, "The Last Adventure of Doctor Steele and His Intrepid Sidekick Franny against Ursula Major, the Evil Mistress of Domina." Again, one of these days I'm going to go back and change that.

But back to the twist. I've complained before about the fact that some supposed EMC writers don't get the difference between mind control and body control, and this is the one story where I used that difference to my advantage. But where did I get the idea? This next bit is both personal and sordid, but it's not as sordid as you're going to think when you first hear that the story originally involved a father and his daughter.

No, my father never abused me, physically, verbally, or sexually. He was just a coldhearted jackass - a coldhearted fundamentalist jackass. So when I originally imagined myself as a girl being brainwashed by a father whose will was secretly intact, and who was tortured by what he was doing to her, it gave me a double jolt of satisfaction. The characters in this fantasy were never really me and my father...but then again, they were. I was flaunting my fetish in my dad's face, forcing him to participate in it against his will, and enjoying my own guilt-free subversion - all while imposing the guilt on him that I really wanted him to feel, but he didn't.

See, pretty sordid, eh? But I hope that won't diminish your enjoyment of the story, if you choose to go back and read it now. I certainly enjoyed my reread. ;-P

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