Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up the Staircase Quickly

Well, I figured I would post another caption, since there seems to be one person out there that is disappointed that I haven't posted any captions in awhile (I have gotten like 1 vote for "post less like this" for all the discussion postings I've done) so I figured I would capitulate and post one.

Seriously though, if you love TG captions, why aren't you a member of Rachel's Haven yet? I think I've posted almost 1000 captions there, and there are so many talented captioners among the Havenettes that you'll never run out of stuff to look at.

I made this caption "realistic" even though it involves magic. How is it realistic, you ask? Well, first off, if someone on the street turned you into a woman, would you really be cocky and demanding, all "you change me back right now or I'll ..." Dude, she just turned you into a chick, what makes you think you have ANY power whatsoever?!? You would probably do what Jake did in this caption, run home to his wife, try to convince her of what happened, and see if she could fix things. Well, at least that is what I think. Your results may vary!

I like captions that are grounded in reality, yet have that magical nature to it. Perhaps it is comforting to think that situations exist slightly to the left of real perception? Not sure what it is, but maybe my fine readers can enlighten me!

DISCUSSION QUESTION:  How grounded in reality should "magic" TG captions be? Should it be totally realistic, except for the method of change? Should it be a total flight of fancy?  Somewhere in between?

Also, feel free to post comments in any of the other postings. This blog is not about "just the most recent posting" but an open-ended discussion.


  1. Hmmm...when I think about it, in most of my magic caps the magic could be replaced with any other method of transformation. The only exception is the Rosco Wars series in which magic was actually a plot point beyond the usual, but even there it was tongue in cheek a lot of the time and combined with sci fi.

    My biggest complaint with magic is the rules feel too easy to bend. But in a lot of caps the how of the transformation is entirely incidental to me. But my style fits a different niche than ones that lend to more introductory plot.

    By the way, Dee, I really like the discussions here and think people can go to a ton of places to find caps. The discussions here are unique and always worth reading. Also I get to hear myself talk (or is that see myself type) which I always love. One of the reasons I removed voting from my blog is the votes didn't match what people were actually looking at. Keep up the discussions and I'm sure you'll see more people jump in.

  2. Interesting question... How grounded in reality should magic captions be? Well, how grounded in reality should ANY caption be?

    I perform a lot of improv. When studying scene work, the troupe director or teacher is always looking for performers to have a real reaction to an offer. Now, sometimes a universe created in an improvised scene is completely imaginative and could never exist at all. But when you are in that scene, you must accept that universe as reality and have a real reaction.

    So when it comes to captioning, I focus on the same. Idea being that despite the fictional world created, you draw in a sense of reality through having a real, true and honest reaction to what is happening. That is a main reason why (and no offense to anyone) I don't like making caps where the transformee is all about having sex right after they've been changed. It's not a real reaction, or at least not a reaction I would have immediately after. It's the same reason why I get more laughs crying on stage than getting angry, because it is a real reaction and not something that is forced.

  3. I try to do something that feel's real in my caps. even if it's in a setting that could never happen, I try (repeat: try) Too make what the characters are saying is something that sounds real. Or the reaction to some of the situations, they should feel real. EVen though you just got hit by a TG curse that makes makes you unbelievably horny.

    As with kaitlyn, I don't like it when suddenly the newly minted girls are jumping in bed left to right. Instead, I try to give a reason, or make the girls reason it out themselves in someway.

    And I agree with with Smitty. I think you should keep it up. I'm just getting in on the conversations, but I'm having fun. plus, you introduced me to some wonderful captioner's by just provided a place to meet and discuss the craft.

  4. I agree with Kaitlyn, even though I know I've done my fair share of "oh no know I am woman and I will get bonked for the next ten panels" caps. But after awhile they feel stale no matter how unique other aspects are. I've even toned down doing so many immediate sex scenes after transformations and going more in media res for them. I agree that it is unrealistic otherwise, but sometimes I find that very unreality alluring.

  5. Dee, I'm going to start off by saying something that's been lurking in my mind for awhile now: I am so jealous of your capping ability, and I am so jealous of the way your mind works. Almost all of your discussion topics here has centered around something I had been mulling over, but never had the opportunity to put into structured thought.

    Thank you so much for having these discussions!

    On to the discussion at hand:

    I guess I should preface this by saying I personally don't like 'Magic' caps. I know that we are already dealing with a fantasy (gender bending transformations), but I think bringing magic into is a step too far. Magic doesn't seem to have a boundary to it, and I think it takes a VERY talented hand to ground magic in reality. It is just way to easy to say that magic not only changed the subject's body, but also changed their preferences, their sexuality, and their personality. I know that tech or sci-fi style caps can have that same problem (the scientists evil ray is just a variation on the magic theme). I think that's why my preferences lately have been more directed by cross dressing, as opposed to full gender changes. I can think of dozens of ways someone could realistically get me to dress up as a woman, but even using drugs/alcohol/hypnosis, they couldn't change my internal self. And that conflict (my internal male self vs my external female appearance) really drives home a story for me.

    I will say that I use magic in my caps for other people, but only when their preferences request it. Even then I try to avoid it because it is way too easy to see 'reality' flitting away. It makes it easy to shift the blame to the magic (I didn't chose to do this, the magic/raygun/nanobots made me do it).

    But on the flip side, I know that many people are looking for just that. They don't want to see that conflict, and need that otherworldly influence to get them over the hump from man to woman.

    I think the subject I'm dancing around is something I've read about elsewhere; character death. Sure no one physically dies in the story/cap, but the subject at the beginning no longer exists. The subject started as a straight guy, and ends up as an air headed bimbo. I really don't like this. I like to see the subject's internal struggle continue, or soften as he begins to accept and even desire the changes.

    So to answer 'How grounded in reality should "magic" TG captions be?" It should be as grounded in as much reality as your intended target wants it to be. We all define our reality differently, so therefore caps made for us should follow that reality.

  6. Magic caps always seem to me to be a cheat. Its to used usually to get from point A to point D with out having to deal with point B & C.
    Now that having been said, they can be done well. I find the interesting part of any cap is not how people change but relationships of those involved. That's where honesty in acting and dialog makes or break a cap. My two cents.

  7. @ Everyone

    Thank you for your thoughts on the discussions part of the blog. It was born of the thoughtful comments that appears occasionally in caption replies, along with the "workshops" I had done in the Shop Talk section of the Haven.

    I am going to try to relate most future discussions with at least one caption I've made to illustrate things I want to talk about on a certain topic. That way, I can balance those that want to gab about the craft of making captions, while still letting people just "driving by" see some of my work. Perhaps they might even learn something about themselves. One can dream, right?

    @ Caitlyn

    Character death is always a tricky subject, and one that has driven many comments on individual stories at Fictionmania and elsewhere.

    I never try to completely blot out someone (unless it is what they want.) Even then, in my own mind, I am not making them completely new, but that the old person is in there still, perhaps as a small piece deep inside the new person. Many times, having the old personality still there underneath adds a dimension to the caption. With that, you can add layers of humiliation, shame, or even things like envy or jealousy.

    @ Anonymous Lucy

    As Smitty said up above, Magic can be, and is often, used interchangeably with technology or other methods. I think Asimov had that as one of his many rules (Don't quote me, though. I am not into science fiction.)

    I could go along with your transitive argument for A to D without using B and C if we were exclusively talking about fiction stories. When it comes to captioning, I think we often pull out magic as a way to keep them from turning into novels.

    Throw into the mix that most people that are on the Haven are requesting FULL transformations into a female form. Without magic, you realistically have ONE way to change that specific body part.

    Magic also tends to be the best way to explain the pictures used in captions. "Dave used to be a 6 foot 4 inch tall linebacker weighing 250 pounds, and now he is a 5 foot tall Asian chick in a kimono." That is kind of a hard sell if you are trying to stick to a reasonable methodology for transformation.

  8. I like magic and wishes in caps and use that transformation method quite a bit. I mean this is a fantasy world we are setting up, and as Dee says, dropping a foot or more of height and 100+ pounds from someone can't really be done in a "realistic" manner. There has to be some outside force to do the transformation.

    I think of magic as a device to use in this genre of storytelling, just like "hyperspace" or "warp drives" are in Sci-Fi. They don't exist in real life, but if you didn't have those, all sci-fi stories would be about the thousands of years it takes to get from one planet to another. It's a short-hand or convenience to get you to the "interesting bits*" that are yet to come.

    Now I'm not defending lazy writing. The idea of magic can be abused just like any other literary device, so authors need to be careful to not use it as a crutch. And I know that I'm guilty of doing exactly this sometimes. There are times though when I do it on purpose. I just wrote a cap for someone on the Haven last night where the protagonist's girlfriend turned out to be a witch. This pretty much came out of nowhere and the transformation was literally done with the wrinkle of a nose (a lá Samantha from Bewitched). It was a cop out, but I was fully aware of that when writing it. In the story the method really didn't matter, it was all about the getting from point M to point F.

    I starred "interesting bits" up above because to a lot of people, the interesting part about the transformation is the after. It is the reaction to the new situation, the embarrassment, the confusion, the new sensations, the experimentation, etc. For others though, the interesting bit is the actual transformation, the how and why and "what happened to that part" and the "where did that come from?" In cases where the recipient of the cap has made it clear that the "interesting bits" are the actual changes, then the captioner needs to do her best to comply. She should make the magic (or ray or nanites or whatever) be realistic and descriptive and not just a device for moving the story along.

    All in all, I really think the realism of the magic is highly dependent on the story you are trying to tell. I don't think there is anything wrong with using it in any way you see fit. The consistency and realism needs to be internal to the story, which may or may not have anything to do with the "real world."