Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#41

TheHex Wrote: I'm gonna say here the same thing that I said in another topic talking about harems. 'Polyromantic' relationships have absolutely nothing to do with harems. If, for whatever reason, you think they do, then you should do further research into what a harem is.


RR has a harem tag. This is what it says: "Harem stories depict characters, who may or may not be the main character, in polyamorous and/or polygymous relationships."

Whatever your personal definition of harem, this is the only one that matters for stories posted to RR.

In regards to 'doing research,' historically speaking, harems were polyromantic, or as romantic as any relationship could be in a culture where marriage was a form of ownership.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#43


Ramingo Wrote:
SJ Wrote: In regards to 'doing research,' historically speaking, harems were polyromantic, or as romantic as any relationship could be in a culture where marriage was a form of ownership.
So not at all?  DrakanLaugh

I'd argue that what we consider 'romance' is a historic and cultural anomaly. While all sorts of love, affection, and desire can arise in many circumstances, romance requires consent, which can’t meaningfully exist when one party is a slave or chattel of the other. Or when one party has to weigh the risk of being murdered, disowned, or socially ostracized.

But that moves the conversation from one on fantasy fiction to real life, and I actually prefer to talk about stories.

As authors, we create our settings and our social relationships, and if we want to create polyamorous paradises set in magical worlds, that’s a good thing.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#44

SJ Wrote: In regards to 'doing research,' historically speaking, harems were polyromantic, or as romantic as any relationship could be in a culture where marriage was a form of ownership.

Let me guess, your source is "dude, trust me." right? Harems were so 'polyromantic' that the only other men allowed inside were eunuchs. But nevermind, I'm gonna see myself out of this 'conversation', because people here seem like they just want to trashtalk and throw around buzzwords. I guess that historians are probably wrong, and instead of trying to poison each-other and the childreen with higher positions to inherit the throne, the imperial concubines were all too busy being 'poly' and having fun in their orgy-paradise with their multiple love interests. Heh.

But I have to wonder how those women that were dragged from their homes and forced against their will to join a nobleman's harem would feel if you called their relationship 'polyromantic'. Hmm, hmm...

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#45

TheHex Wrote:
SJ Wrote: In regards to 'doing research,' historically speaking, harems were polyromantic, or as romantic as any relationship could be in a culture where marriage was a form of ownership.

Let me guess, your source is "dude, trust me." right? Harems were so 'polyromantic' that the only other men allowed inside were eunuchs. But nevermind, I'm gonna see myself out of this 'conversation', because people here seem like they just want to trashtalk and throw around buzzwords.


Off the top of my head, my source would be 'Harem: The World Behind the Veil' by Alev Lytle Croutier. A Turkish woman who's taught classes on Orientalism and Middle Eastern woman's studies at Dartmoth. Her own grandmother was in a harem and along with historical studies, she recounts her grandmother's experiences.

TheHex Wrote: ... having fun in their orgy-paradise with their multiple love interests. Heh.

Um, between bringing up orgies and ladies being dragged off, both of which wouldn't feature in the majority of historic harems, I'm guessing there's some level of projection going on here.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#46

SJ Wrote: Off the top of my head, my source would be 'Harem: The World Behind the Veil' by Alev Lytle Croutier. A Turkish woman who's taught classes on Orientalism and Middle Eastern woman's studies at Dartmoth. Her own grandmother was in a harem and along with historical studies, she recounts her grandmother's experiences.
Dude, at this point you gotta be trolling, right? Kizlar Agha, ever heard of that? Those were the only men allowed inside any Ottoman/Turkish harems. Know what they are? Eunuchs. Know what? Nevermind... If that is your referrence, I know it's not worth my time.


Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#48

Sereminar Wrote: The reason harems suck is the racist orientalism :'(

Like, there are a bunch of great poly stories, but harem tropes aren't that. Harem tropes are based off really really awful western views of other cultures and they just made up wild stories about how it functions without bothering to uh...ask. And those wildly inaccurate ideas took off and hit japan and now here we are. If you want to learn more check out Edward Said 'Orientalism.'


I kinda doubt that japans obsession with harem stuff came from western orientalism, that seems like a take that's way off the mark and ignores japans own historical culture.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#49

FantasyBliss30 Wrote: Most harem stories suck because MOST STORIES SUCK.
Let us all be honest here. RR stories suck less because they are more refined, but even here, most will suck, I bet. You cannot deny the data and pattern. That is also because of how web novels work. It is a trial and error zone.
Is this kind of post necessary though? No need to attack almost all the writers of this site.

There are some damn good stories on here.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#51
Allow me to enlighten you. 

(All of this is based on the supposition that you get the writing deal, so bear with me.)

In the US, if you want to be published, you get an agent and submit a written manuscript. the agent shops your manuscript around, you get a contract, you get an editor (or one is provided to you) and you fix what needs fixing, and your shit gets published. If it's popular, you get a book deal - usually a book or two per year.

In Japan, you write whatever, and you submit it. The company takes what you've written as a *proposal* and you write. You're given an "editor", but the "editor" is really a company dog that wants to make the company money.
The "editor" accepts or rejects each part that's to be published. This is why new characters are suddenly introduced. Why there are flashback arcs. Why stories never go forward. Why MC never fucks the Best Girl. The company is milking you for your popularity.
If you get the sales numbers you're given more freedom in what you want to write in your story, but japanese printing is all about milking everything to the last possible drop before going ahead with an ending.

Strong beginning -> chewy middle -> piss ending.
When you see this formula, you know the writer isn't writing what he wants, but what the company wants him to write so that they can make money, chapter by chapter.

Incidentally, this is why Issei never has sex with any of his harem members in High School DxD. Why there are more and more girls joining the Issei-bowl. Homeboy (can't remember his name) WANTS Issei to start hooking up and making meaningful relationships, but his editor will not let him.

Masakazu Katsura (the guy that did DNA^2, Video Girl Ai, and I''s) is bitter because of this system. You see, before he submitted anything for publishing, he wrote the *whole story*. Not a proposal.
I'll use I''s as an example: The MC wants to hook up with one girl. It's a fairly straightforward plot, with the usual complications. But suddenly towards the middle there's an explosion of new characters. There are story arcs that go nowhere. Flashbacks that contribute nothing. Every chapter has to "jump the shark" even more than the previous one.
He wanted MC-kun and his girl to get together, but the company wouldn't let him. finally, at the end, he sort of committed literary suicide by (instead of submitting the usual crap the company wanted) literally killing the MC. Just died a meaningless, empty death on the sidewalk. The production company was understandably pissed off at him.
"I wanted to write what I wanted to write. You wanted me to write something else. This is what you get." Something along those lines, anyways. So they were like, "Fine, your contract is cut. Your final deadline is [date]. Make up whatever chapters you want and submit them, we're done." So he retconned the MC's death, hooks up with the main girl as he'd intended all-fucking-along, slapped some meaningless bullshit on the characters he'd had to invent for the company, and ended the series.


THIS is why harems suck. THIS is why Light Novels and Manga tend to go in weird dipsy-doodle directions. It's got less to do with the author (though the author does write harems) and more to do with the publisher, because they want to make more volume-by-volume sales, more chapter-by-chapter sales. 

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. 

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#53

ArDeeBurger Wrote:
Zat Wrote: Now, this isn't always true. I have read stories with harems that are good despite the harem. I do think that all of them would have been improved by removing the harem. I've never felt like a harem added anything meaningful to a story. They almost always feel contrived, and the relationships feel forced or unrealistic. This makes the characters in the harem feel shallower, even if the author does a good job trying to characterize them otherwise.
You do realize, of course, that such talk is insulting to those of us who live a polyromantic life. Although, in support of your argument, many harem stories are indeed an insult as well to the polyromantic life.


I honestly don't feel like harem fiction has anything to do with poly lifestyles. If anything, it is rooted in the toxic ideals of monogamy, where the characters compete and have conflict with each other.

If they didn't, if they all just had healthy relationships with each other (and not psychotically fixate on the male lead), I don't think I would call that harem fiction at all. I would actually be interested in reading a story with poly dynamics but I have zero interest in harem fiction.

Edit: I have now seen that RR defines poly relationships with the harem tag. I think they are very wrong with that and shoehorning stuff that has nothing to do with typical harem fiction into the tag, but I acknowledge that that is what they have done. Oh well. 

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#55
Others have said my thoughts, but I will echo them.

Most harems make for a poor story because they're wish-fulfillment for men who get off on the idea of every woman falling for him with no effort on his part. They love the idea of women fighting each other over him because he's just so desirable by simply existing. That just doesn't happen unless you're a celebrity, and celebs usually have a good share of scary fans. Rarely is a harem lead frightened by being the object of desire even when the knives come out, because haha it's so funny and cute that women fight over and threaten him, right?

A lot of the harem plot hinges on the women fighting each other. It paints women as possessive and vicious and calls that 'love.' It's a common stereotype and it's tiring. Where are the harems where women support and uplift each other? Most women would settle on at least being cordial with one another, even if they were forced into a polygamous marriage against their will. Same boat, after all. There are women who are truly nasty but that story has been told so many times that people think actual women are the same way--that all women will backstab each other and you at any opportunity to climb the ladder. It's a tired trope.

As for one of the women "winning" the guy... that's not a harem. That's a monogamous man who has options.

Re: The reason why harem stories suck

#57
Idk what this thread is on about. When I come across harems on royalroal, there's no "fighting over the MC" or vile backstabbing. Usually they're all on friendly terms (and friendlier terms with MC). Like, think SAO. I think it's lame and cliched, but not "wrong"/"offensive" on some fundemental level. There are many reverse-harem stories too, which aren't any different.