(This is an important distinction that I’ve been trying to figure out how to separate out for a while now. I have an intuitive feeling that it exists, but seeing exactly where the lines are is often rather hard. But I want to be able to refer to these in posts, and I like my latest version, so I’m putting it up).
Sorting Narrative Power Dynamics
Type 1: Negative dynamics
These dynamics are about bad things. They are defined mainly by the fact that what the principal is doing is wrong. In general, they involve principals who know that what they’re doing is a negative thing for the constrict, and either don’t care about this, or like this. Dynamics of abuse, mistreatment of captives and prisoners, and non-consentual slavery are often good examples.
A lot of my writing has been about these.
Type 2: Positive Dynamics
These dynamics are are the consent-culture friendly ones, where what’s going on is a good and happy thing for everyone involved. Consensual D/s and power exchange relationships go here.
At first, I thought I would write that I’m new to these, but that’s not actually true. I’ve enjoyed and in fact created stories with them for years. I am, however, new to my explicit recognition of them, and they’re often very separate in my mind from other power dynamics (my liking of them is emotionally different, too) to the point that I often forget to consider them. For example, my ‘principal’ and ‘constrict’ terms don’t actually feel very correct to them.
I hope to write more about these in the future.
Type 3: Gray Dynamics
These, of course, are the ones left over, the ones in between. In means they’re not as simply-defined of a group – there’s at least three distinct groups inside here, and probably more that I’m not thinking of.
First are the dynamics of jagged edges. There are bad things here, wrong things, dysfunctional things, pain where there shouldn’t be. But it’s also what the people involved want/need, and there’s also good things, and within the worlds they live in, it’s probably the closest to the positive kind they can get. I call these ‘twisted dynamics’, usually, and they are very much a thing of mine.
Second are the dynamics where they’re also clearly bad, but it’s not because anyone within them is doing something wrong. These are the ones with participants who are understanding the same thing in different ways and not realizing it, etc. They also tend to be set in screwed up worlds, and they’re also twisted, but I don’t tend to like them very much. (This one is a bit odd to try to explain. Here is a story with it. In fact, this is the story that made me realize I needed to include this as a category).
Third are the dynamics where good people do bad things because they think they’re good. Where the principal genuinely believes that this is what is needed by/beneficial to the constrict, but they’re wrong. I don’t tend like these as a class, but I’ve definitely liked some examples – usually when this dynamic is not the main focus, but is among other things I like.