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So earlier I was thinking about how I've been a hurt/comfort fangirl ever since I was a kid and didn't even know what it was. All I knew was that I loved making up stories in my head where one character was sick or hurt or emo and needed hugs and cuddles from their best friends or siblings. Chip&Dale, Mario, The Littl' Bits, Archie comics, The Brady Bunch, even the freakin' MAGIC SCHOOL BUS.

I've read essays on H/C. Most fans of the genre are into the "hurt" aspect. "Whump", they call it. Seeing the characters put through the wringer, the sympathy aroused by their suffering.

Me? I've always been more into the "comfort" aspect. While I can definitely dig well-done angst and suffering, to me that was just a building block for getting to the hugs and reassurance and affection that would soon follow. I just liked thinking about my favorite characters being affectionate with each other. And I still do.

I'm just a sucker for affection, I think. I'm not the most affectionate person in the world in real life, but when it comes to fictional characters I just can't get enough. One of my favorite ways to fall asleep is to imagine my favorite sibling or friend pairs sharing a warm hug, or an OTP snuggling. I just spent almost $30 on two ball-jointed wooden mannequins so I can use them to learn how to draw embraces better. Whether it's for comfort or romance or celebration, I simply can't get enough. I'm just a sap.

I've never quite gotten the appeal of H/C that's more hurt than comfort. If it's supposed to be a tragic fic that's one thing, but when an author claims it's H/C with a happy ending, only for it to turn out to be 95% hurt and 5% comfort at the very end, with paragraphs upon paragraphs of the character being put through the wringer and then in the end they make it home/get that kiss from their one true love/find their family/etc, "see, it's a happy ending, it's all wrapped up in a neat little package!"?

Some writers can definitely pull this off (can't think of any specifics at the moment, but there's exceptions to everything), but most of the time it comes off feeling like torture porn to me. An excuse to break the character. And while I do love angst, it's a genre that's all too easy to mess up. Angst can quickly turn into wangst if an author isn't careful.

Am I the only one who favors the comfort over the hurt in H/C? Probably not, but then again I rarely have deep discussions about hurt/comfort with other people. *shrug*

What are your thoughts on H/C?

Date: 2011-06-05 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] umegaki.livejournal.com
I'm also much more fond of the comfort, though I'll admit to a certain amount of Kicking The Dog before I can get there. For me, it tends to be more of a trust thing between two characters - the stronger the bond of trust, the more that can be slowly, carefully, lovingly fixed. Which might explain why I put so many of my OTPs through the wringer...

And while I do love angst, it's a genre that's all too easy to mess up.

Exactly. This is why even though I DO favor the comfort portion of it, I don't really like to do H/C. It's far too easy to plunge into the pit of BAWWWWWW and by then it's usually too late to rescue it. It can be done, but by then I'm just usually staring at it and going "I need to take a few steps back and forget this happened. Maybe try again later with more happy and less waaaahmbulance."

Now to figure out an easy way to keep the angst at tolerable levels, and I'll be all set. :|

Date: 2011-06-05 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarajayechan.livejournal.com
Yeah, I can be pretty mean to characters sometimes. XD;

For me, it tends to be more of a trust thing between two characters - the stronger the bond of trust, the more that can be slowly, carefully, lovingly fixed. Which might explain why I put so many of my OTPs through the wringer...

Aww, that's sweet. :D

Yeah, angst is probably one of the hardest genres to get down to an art. The best thing is usually to be aware of when something's sliding into the pit of BAWWWWWW and rescue it before it gets there, but that can be tough. You want the angst to have impact but you also want it to be believable.

Date: 2011-06-05 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] umegaki.livejournal.com
It is sweet - that's why I'm so attached to it. XD *stares at Edge/Faize and Arumat/Crowe in particular, arg*

The best thing is usually to be aware of when something's sliding into the pit of BAWWWWWW and rescue it before it gets there, but that can be tough.

Exactly. Sometimes you just can't grab on fast enough and fwoomp, down it goes. (Why is fwoomp my sound effect for falling angst? The world may never know!)

Date: 2011-06-05 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mark-asphodel.livejournal.com
but most of the time it comes off feeling like torture porn to me. An excuse to break the character.

Pretty much. This turned me off the genre entirely waaaaay back in the day ('01 or thereabouts).

If you want to break characters, just break 'em. I'll read that. But don't hurt them, rape them, shave their heads and shove toothpicks under their fingernails, throw in a sobby cuddle in the final paragraph and expect me to walk away feeling warm fuzzies. I'm more likely to be nauseated at that point.

And then at the other end of the spectrum, there are the H/C stories in which the "hurt" is all nerfed (like, grown men throwing tantrums over a cut finger or a nightmare) and the comfort feels completely cheap.

Yeah. Basically my experience with H/C is so uniformly awful that I am likely to avoid anything with that label. If the hurting and/or the comfort appear in the course of a story, fine. But H/C often like a non-erotic PWP, and not very satisfying.

Date: 2011-06-06 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarajayechan.livejournal.com
Heh, '01 was around the time I was writing the worst H/C ever. XD; Took me a while to get the hang of it!

If you want to break characters, just break 'em. I'll read that. But don't hurt them, rape them, shave their heads and shove toothpicks under their fingernails, throw in a sobby cuddle in the final paragraph and expect me to walk away feeling warm fuzzies. I'm more likely to be nauseated at that point.

Ditto. 90% hurt and 10% comfort can be done well, but not if the comfort is tacked on at the end for the sake of going "see?! Happy ending!!"

And then at the other end of the spectrum, there are the H/C stories in which the "hurt" is all nerfed (like, grown men throwing tantrums over a cut finger or a nightmare) and the comfort feels completely cheap.

CORI FALLS except in her case it's a teenage girl throwing a tantrum over a nightmare and a bad haircut (okay, she WOULD throw a tantrum over a bad haircut, but not in the "oh noes I'm a traumatized suicidal little girl" way).
Edited Date: 2011-06-06 03:14 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-06-06 10:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mark-asphodel.livejournal.com
I'm so glad I no longer remember who/what Cori Falls even is...

Date: 2011-06-06 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] insanepurin.livejournal.com
Am I the only one who favors the comfort over the hurt in H/C?

So do I! If anything, the comfort is what makes me wibble most. Anyone can angst, lose a loved one, experience trauma, fall down the stairs, etc. And having it all happen at once feels like overkill. But having a loved one be there for you and see to it you're feeling better? Now that's dedication. Shows how much you really care. ;;

That said, h/c is very easy to exaggerate on either side, and that's a shame. They gotta balance each other! 'Cause when it's done well, it can be beautiful. ;;
Edited Date: 2011-06-06 02:42 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-06-06 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarajayechan.livejournal.com
But having a loved one be there for you and see to it you're feeling better? Now that's dedication. Shows how much you really care. ;;

Word. ♥

Yeah, the comfort part can be done just as badly as the hurt if all it's there for is to insist that the hurt is nothing but the stuff of nightmares (hellooo Cori Falls!) or is a thinly veiled excuse for makeouts and sex in the case of OTPs.

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