a relationship retcon

13 11 2012

I’ve decided to make a change to 003. I’m hiding it behind a spoiler clicky thing for folks who haven’t read 003 yet.

…sadly the spoiler-cut thing doesn’t work for the embedded version of my blog on the actual City of Angles site. So, if you’re reading this there and you haven’t gotten to 003 yet… scroll up! Scroll up now!

 

(Also: Still soliciting feedback on 005 one blog post down! Let me know what you think.)

This was something I waffled back and forth about when I was writing it: What exactly was Vivi Wei’s position on sex and relationships? What’s her sexual orientation, how does it relate to the current plot?

It came up because Hollister’s motivation through 003 seemed to be that he wanted to score with her. In the end that wasn’t actually his goal, but from Marcy’s perspective it was, and the only reason why she offered her help towards that goal was because Marcy knew it was unattainable. And why…?

I hemmed and hawed about this. Vivi’s gay? No, too obvious. Vivi’s asexual? No, I really felt like she’d be very cuddly and intimate compared to the bitter and distant Marcy. She’s just not into Hollister? Realistic but it doesn’t work as a punchline…

In the end, this was the original reason: Vivi is incredibly chaste and very selective.

“I don’t think Vivi’s gonna go for you,” I said, honestly. “I know she acts super sexy and intimate with everyone, but… she’s had MAYBE two lovers in her lifetime, and only went all the way with one of them. She’s actually incredibly choosy about who she shares herself with and why. Spiritual connection, or something.”

It was the much delayed answer to a distant question, one that felt like it was asked days ago. It took Hollister a moment to make the connection.

“No one-night stands, huh?” he asked.

“No chance in hell, no. I’ve had loads more sex than she’s ever had. …so, I’ll teach you to flirt if you still want me to, but… she’s not the party girl you think she is. Sorry. I took you for a ride tonight and for that I’m sorry.”

He slid down in the hard plastic seat, thinking about it.

“I wasn’t really looking for a party girl,” he explained. “Or just cruising for easy tail, in general. I’ve had plenty of that. …too much, honestly. Sometimes I feel like it’s expected of me to be the party dude. I’ve had all these really thin, short relationships because I’m the guy who knows a guy. I’ve done the walk of shame too many times. Marcy… that’s why I wanted to talk to your sister. Because she didn’t seem like a party girl to me; she seemed like someone I’d have a chance at making a real connection with. A genuine and compassionate person. Even if nothing really comes of it, I wanted to try. That’s all.”

…the problem with this is that it stands in stark contrast to her general archetype and the direct mentions of her cuddliness and lack of inhibition regarding intimacy. Sure, it’s a twist ending given the expectation, but it’s a twist for twist’s sake. It doesn’t FEEL right.

Also, I worry I did it just so I wouldn’t have to bother dealing with the tangle of writing a sexually active character. Which is nuts because I then immediately have Marcy being sexually active one scene later, so hey.

So, for today’s retcon, I have revised the reason. I think it stands up straight and works, and I will be expanding on it for 006, which is going to be told entirely from Vivi’s perspective.

The new reason is: Hollister reminds her a lot of her little brother back in her old life on Earth.

“I don’t think Vivi’s gonna go for you,” I said, honestly. “Not for sexy funtimes, anyway. Truth is… she told me once that you remind her a lot of her kid brother, back on Earth. She’s an import, you know. Doesn’t remember very much about that life she left behind but that was one of the bright spots. A funny little kid brother. And… that’s you, now. She likes you, she thinks you’re sweet, but… you’re her new funny little kid brother. Not one-night stand material.”

It was the much delayed answer to a distant question, one that felt like it was asked days ago. It took Hollister a moment to make the connection.

“No one-night stands, huh?” he asked.

“No chance in hell, no. …so, I’ll teach you to flirt if you still want me to, but… she’s not going to be the hot party girl type for you. Sorry. I took you for a ride tonight and for that I’m sorry.”

He slid down in the hard plastic seat, thinking about it.

“I wasn’t really looking for a party girl,” he explained. “Wasn’t cruising for easy tail, in general. I’ve had plenty of that. …too much, honestly. Sometimes I feel like it’s expected of me to be the party dude. I’ve had all these really thin, short relationships because I’m the guy who knows a guy. I’ve done the walk of shame too many times. Marcy… that’s why I wanted to get to know your sister better. Not to hook up with her, just to get to know her. She seemed like someone I’d have a chance at making a real connection with. A genuine and compassionate person. Even if nothing really comes of it, I wanted to try. That’s all.”

This does introduce a family element which had NO Chekov Gun setup, but it’s one which I plan to expand upon later. It does invoke “Friend Zone” in the “You’re like a brother to me!” trope, but since Hollister’s reaction is completely accepting rather than defeated and accepting I think it subverts the trope enough.

It also opens up Vivi for being in relationships and being sexually active, likely even polyamorous — and still much more sex-positive and honest about her feelings than Marcy, who treats her boyfriends like dirt and uses them for her own ends. So, even with this change I still get some contrast between the two sisters, just on a different axis. (“Inactive vs. Active” becomes “both Active but Healthy vs. Spiteful”).

So, that’s the retcon. I’m looking forward to writing more about Vivi and I hope you’re looking forward to reading about her.

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3 responses

25 11 2012
Selphie Trabia

Not entirely sure that I like the change from not sexually active to “reminds of kid brother”, but I hope to see how it plays out. I just think that the whole “kid brother” thing might just be a bit… eh, like she was breaking up with Hollister prematurely.

I liked the not sexually active one because I felt that it made Vivi different from the archetype in a good way – it’s good to be selective and I think it’s fair that a character who likes intimacy and closeness with others is selective. I mean, you can be plenty intimate with someone without having to sleep with them.

Still, I guess it’s up to you ultimately how things pan out and I look forward to seeing how Vivi’s character and personality is handled.

25 11 2012
Selphie Trabia

Hi Stefan,

Read the new stuff for 006 and totally agree with Vivi’s new personality (or slightly tweaked personality).

Then again, I kind of liked the other one as well – kinda showcases how little Marcy might know about Vivi…

But then again, either way, it’s a good read.

Particularly like the dissonance between the two sisters. Especially how Vivi enjoys dancing without needing to listen to music. Looks like an expression of physical movement and gracefulness to me.

I’m probably wrong though. XD

26 11 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Glad the changes and the new story are workin’ for ya.

The old version of Vivi would’ve worked too, but it didn’t feel right to me because I was straying from my original design. In ALL my preproduction notes, Vivi was polyamorous and sexually open. I think my worry was that I wouldn’t be able to write it well or it’d come across as eyerolling fanservice — and I had a “punchline” I needed to fill anyway — so I went back on the plan.

In the end, her sexuality actually doesn’t play a huge role in either 003 or 006, so I’m able to portray it well by having it just be part of her life without being overplayed. Y’know, like how people actually are.

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