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Closet Thoughts

Now seems the appropriate time for some general writerly musings. :)

In case you haven't caught on, Closet is a series that is very much dependent on my rewatch of BtVS (and now AtS). It's being written between episodes to insert a non-canon Willow/Cordy relationship into the show. And that makes for some interesting fic-writing because it forces me to deal with the effects of what happens in canon to the Wordy relationship.

Spoilers for future Closet fics under the cut.



For the third story, Soap, I'd originally thought that it would be set during Enemies with Cordy coming across Willow crying in the bathroom. However, when I watched the episodes, I realized that it wouldn't make any sense because we see Cordy lecturing vamp!Willow about boyfriend-stealing a couple episodes down in Doppelgangland.

However, after Doppelgangland, Willow and Cordy are much friendlier to each other in canon. So it gave me an opportunity to insert a scene there.

Likewise with the latest installment, Different. I knew it would be sometime after the whole Oz thing but before Tara enters the scene. And I had planned on it being after Something Blue (but, obviously, before Hush). While rewatching Something Blue, though, I realized that I could easily make Willow's Oz-poutiness encompass her recent rejection by Cordelia, too. Otherwise she'd be too damn cheerful in Hush to have just come back from LA after being pretty thoroughly demoralized by her long-standing crush.

I do have an idea for when the next story will be set, but, of course, I may adjust that when actually watching the episodes.

When I first wrote the first story, calling it "Closet" was just a fun double entendre. They were in a closet. Cordelia had a bit of a freak out after it. It prompted Willow into gay thinking. Yeah, it's an appropriate and fun title.

It's especially happy-making now because of its extra-appropriateness. Obviously, in canon, Cordelia is shown as straight. Willow eventually comes out as a lesbian. This is the makings of a pretty textbook lesbian lover conflict.

And, if you've caught onto the gist of the series, this shouldn't be too spoilery but it's under the cut just in case, this series won't have a happy ending. It's gonna eventually deal with the dark shit of the later seasons (in both shows).

It provides an interesting perspective for looking at canon events. The huge Cordy/Xander/Willow/Oz fallout of S3 which literally ended the Cordy/Willow friendship in the show (Seriously. These girls in the opening episode of S3 were catching up on each other's vacations like old friends). It was nice to be able to address that directly in Soap.

It's also nice to be able to provide a backstory for Willow's coming out. Because we don't really get much of Willow's perspective on that. Hence the complaints that Willow "turned lesbian".

I find people often think that when a woman realizes she's a lesbian, it means any feelings she had for a man at any previous point were fake/invalid/whatever. They think that to call Willow a "lesbian" means to say that she never loved Oz.

But it's not contradictory. Willow could completely love Oz...and still come out as a lesbian a few months later. Sexuality is kinda funny like that. And while it may seem crazy sudden to some viewers, it's a safe bet that Willow had been having inklings of wonderings in the back of her mind for a great deal of her life.

I mean, even her crush on Xander is telling to me. She gets a crush on the safest guy possible. Her best friend. The guy she grew up with. Little socially awkward Willow...of course she's gonna feel an intense attachment to him. And she feels it as a crush. And it externalizes as a crush.

But then there's the feelings she doesn't externalize. The girls she notices or crushes on. And she knows that talking about that stuff would bring up all sorts of issues, so she keeps it to herself. And she finds it's safe to crush on Xander or to respond to Oz's advances or to make advances on Oz, herself, and then she genuinely develops feelings for Oz and loves him and is attached to him and is devastated when he leaves...

And her later coming out as a lesbian doesn't in any way minimize any of that.

And having touched a dick at one point doesn't make her any less of a lesbian.

Hmmm...that was a digression.

Wordy. Yes, Wordy. Inserting a Willow/Cordy relationship into the narrative is my way of exploring Willow's sexuality in a way we never got to see on the show.

Also, it's hot.

For Cordy's part, she has a thing for geeks. :) The first story is very much playing on the Xander/Cordy closet make-outs of S2, and making it so Cordy had a closet make-out with Willow first. So the later Xander/Cordyness could be seen as Cordy longing for what she had with Willow, but expressing it in a slightly more socially acceptable fashion (though, obviously, just dating Xander results in quite a hit to her social status).

By the time of S4, Willow's obviously at a point where she feels more comfortable being open about her sexuality.

Cordelia, however, isn't. She still places great importance on how she is seen by others. And she's a bit homophobic, as a result. And she's ultimately not willing to be open about what she's doing with Willow.

Of course, Willow will soon meet Tara and will find somebody who will be in a visible relationship with her.

That's not the end of Wordy, though. :) I have plans.

And as a sidenote, it's been very entertaining to write a fic from Willow's POV. She's the easiest character for me to write for because my natural voice is typically a cross between Willow and Anya (There's a reason Willow's on all my icons). Very amusing as most of the other fic I've written is Spuffy, and Spike is one of the most difficult POVs for me to write. That's why most of my Spuffy ends up being from Buffy's viewpoint (which is a bit easier for me to get).


Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been pondering that one. I plan to brilliantly work it in and make it all make sense. Yep. That's my plan.
me_llamo_nic
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
I was watching 'Disharmony' earlier today and when Cordy did her line, "I thought she was just a great big lezbo" I immediately thought of the 'Closet' fics. Just thought I'd share that.
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
This pleases me. :)
stormwreath
Aug. 26th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
this series won't have a happy ending.

:-(


The huge Cordy/Xander/Willow/Oz fallout of S3 which literally ended the Cordy/Willow friendship in the show

Though I notice that of all the characters from 'Buffy' who went over to 'Angel', it's actually Willow and Cordy who stay in touch. Willow became the standard cross-over character when they needed someone from the other show on 'Angel'. (Which might have something to do with Alyson and Alexis being a couple, come to think of it; maybe Aly was often around on the 'Angel' set anyway?)


I mean, even her crush on Xander is telling to me. She gets a crush on the safest guy possible. Her best friend.

For that matter, look at Oz himself. The least pushy guy on earth, with an almost-unnatural lack of interest in kissing Willow or going to bed with her. It always struck me that she was less interested in him as a sexual partner and more as (a) a really close friend - someone who understood her perfectly and was intelligent enough to converse with her as an equal (b) someone she could boast to other people about him being her boyfriend, and convince herself she wasn't a socially inadequate loser after all.

Though whether the writers planned it that way, or that it was just a lucky coincidence once they decided to turn Willow gay in S4, is an open question. :-)


The girls she notices or crushes on. And she knows that talking about that stuff would bring up all sorts of issues, so she keeps it to herself.

I have been interested reading in your take on this; I've wondered myself about how Willow perceived her sexuality before S4. I agree with you that it's unlikely she suddenly became a lesbian. But did she know all along that she was attracted to women - as you have her here - but be unwilling to go public about it because it would be too scary? Was she in denial about it, trying desperately to convince herself that she preferred boys really, and her crushes on girls were just a teenage phase? Or was she actually unaware of her feelings, and until she met Tara she just thought "That's all there is to love, it's no big deal" then got blown away by the reality of it?


Spike is one of the most difficult POVs for me to write

I dunno, you've got the sarcasm down perfectly. You just have to work on being less PC and more British. ;-)
mikeda
Aug. 27th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
actually Willow and Cordy who stay in touch

Yes. Perhaps something of their friendship surviving after all?

(Although if anyone in the two camps is going to stay in touch it kind of makes sense that it's those two, they were the only two that ever had a FRIENDSHIP friendship.)

The least pushy guy on earth

It occurs to me that, although they're very different otherwise, Oz and Tara take a similar approach to courting Willow. Neither of them seems to take a particularly active role. They're both just sort of there.

(As you mention below in another post, there probably wasn't any plan for Willow to be gay later. If we believe Joss's commentary, even as late as "Hush" they hadn't decided how far they were actually going in that direction--whether they would keep to "metaphor" or have an actual romantic relationship.)

actually unaware of her feelings

I tend to think that the way that we see the Willow-Tara relationship develop onscreen fits better with Willow being mostly unaware of her feelings until she actually started to fall in love with Tara. It just feels like a gradual development, to the point where even Willow might have trouble precisely sorting out exactly when she started thinking of Tara as a potential romantic partner.

(Although I think Tara had a bit of a crush on Willow from the beginning.)

However, I'm certainly open to reading a different perspective in a story, as long as it's interestingly written (such as in this series).
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 27th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
For that matter, look at Oz himself. The least pushy guy on earth, with an almost-unnatural lack of interest in kissing Willow or going to bed with her.

Yep yep. Oz practically has "Non-threatening" tattooed on his forehead.

But did she know all along that she was attracted to women - as you have her here - but be unwilling to go public about it because it would be too scary? Was she in denial about it, trying desperately to convince herself that she preferred boys really, and her crushes on girls were just a teenage phase? Or was she actually unaware of her feelings, and until she met Tara she just thought "That's all there is to love, it's no big deal" then got blown away by the reality of it?

I think cases could be made for any/all of those and more. Since the series isn't from Willow's POV, we get very little insight into what she's going through unless she tells Buffy. So the opportunity for gratuitous fanwank is enormous. :)

I dunno, you've got the sarcasm down perfectly. You just have to work on being less PC and more British. ;-)

Hmmm...well, I drink tea...
stormwreath
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
Oz practically has "Non-threatening" tattooed on his forehead.

And yet, ironically, I think having that tattooed on his forehead would make him look more threatening, not less. :-)
eowyn_315
Aug. 26th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I mean, even her crush on Xander is telling to me. She gets a crush on the safest guy possible.

Interesting. I always saw it as more of a statement about Willow's self-esteem, rather than her sexuality. I don't know if other people do this, but I know when I was in middle/high school, I used to admire the popular guys from afar, but I knew they were out of my league, so I'd often end up crushing on the guys who were less cute, less popular - the attainable ones. Xander's probably the one guy she thought she actually had a chance with.

But then there's the feelings she doesn't externalize. The girls she notices or crushes on. And she knows that talking about that stuff would bring up all sorts of issues, so she keeps it to herself.

I can kind of see her having a crush on Buffy, but she convinced herself that she just thought of Buffy as a really close friend, combined with admiration because Buffy's the Slayer and thus really cool. Totally no lesbian feelings there, no sir. :)

The thing is, I don't think there's much evidence of any internal issues - if they were planning to make Willow gay all along, I think they could've done more to drop hints without it being evident to any other character that there was more to Willow than meets the eye.
stormwreath
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
I can kind of see her having a crush on Buffy, but she convinced herself that she just thought of Buffy as a really close friend, combined with admiration because Buffy's the Slayer and thus really cool. Totally no lesbian feelings there, no sir. :)

Word.

(But which word?)


The thing is, I don't think there's much evidence of any internal issues - if they were planning to make Willow gay all along, I think they could've done more to drop hints

Yeah, but I don't think they were planning to 'make her gay all along'. It was a retcon; it's just a retcon that works really well, because pre-S4 Willow happened to have been written as someone who could be reinterpreted to be in the closet/in denial/unaware of her true feelings.

As far as I recall, we only ever really got one mention in dialogue of Willow having big issues about her gayness as such (as opposed to the "Do I love Tara or Oz?" question), in 'Primeval'; but one mention is better than none. :-)

WILLOW: Well, I haven't been Miss Available either. I--I kept secrets. I hid things from everyone.
BUFFY: That's not your fault, Will. You were going through something huge.
WILLOW: I wanted to tell you, but I was so scared.

eowyn_315
Aug. 26th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but I don't think they were planning to 'make her gay all along'.

No, I don't think they were, either. At best, I'd say they were keeping it open as a possibility, since they've said they wanted to make somebody gay, and went with Willow after Seth Green left. But I think they probably laid more groundwork for Xander than for Willow, and so while it's easy to say, "Oh, Willow must've had feelings for girls, but she didn't say anything," when you look back at the early seasons, there's no actual evidence of those feelings.
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 27th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
I always saw it as more of a statement about Willow's self-esteem, rather than her sexuality.

Well, that too. I don't see them as mutually exclusive. :)

I can kind of see her having a crush on Buffy, but she convinced herself that she just thought of Buffy as a really close friend, combined with admiration because Buffy's the Slayer and thus really cool.

No, no. Cordy. She had a crush on Cordy.

The thing is, I don't think there's much evidence of any internal issues - if they were planning to make Willow gay all along, I think they could've done more to drop hints without it being evident to any other character that there was more to Willow than meets the eye.

Heh, well it is a retcon, so any explanation of Willow's sexuality is gonna be pure fanwank. I just don't see Willow being gay as being a contradictory retcon like some people do, and I can easily see how it could fit into canon events even though it obviously wasn't intended.
eowyn_315
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
No, no. Cordy. She had a crush on Cordy.

Heh, sorry to burst your bubble, but I just don't see it. Besides, we both know you're just sublimating, you with the Willow icons, and me with the Cordy icons... Crushing on the straight girl, hmmm?

I just don't see Willow being gay as being a contradictory retcon like some people do

No, I can see where people might find it sudden, but it's not really contradictory - especially since any contradictory evidence can just be called "denial." I just think there's a lot they could've done with it subtly if they had planned ahead.
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 27th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Besides, we both know you're just sublimating, you with the Willow icons, and me with the Cordy icons... Crushing on the straight girl, hmmm?

How did you know about my crush?? I thought I kept it super-hidden!!! Now things are gonna be awkward and weird between us!!!

No, I can see where people might find it sudden, but it's not really contradictory - especially since any contradictory evidence can just be called "denial." I just think there's a lot they could've done with it subtly if they had planned ahead.

Agreed. :)
eowyn_315
Aug. 27th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Now things are gonna be awkward and weird between us!!!

You wrote dominatrix!Gabs RPF for me and Emmie, and this is going to make things weird? lol
lavastar
Aug. 27th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oooh, this is gonna be so *fun*! Very glad you're deciding to make it pretty long - and watching you fit it into canon will be fun.
gabrielleabelle
Aug. 28th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
Heh. I'm still not sure how long it'll be, yet. I'd be able to plan it out better if I were more familiar with AtS, but I kinda have to wait until I get further along on my rewatch. :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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