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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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the language of fannish subtext
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
eliade recs The Tale of the Shining Prince by Illuferret, and did it at enough length that really, irresistible. To see her comments, go here. I don't think I got the same thing out of it that she did, but to be honest, I'm not sure *what* I got out of it. But I'll remember it when I forget what I wrote today, and I'll probably remember it when I forget most of what I've read this year. So yeah. It stays.



But then, I *like* very stylistic stories. Which the term itself is kind of meaningless, but risks in narrative and storytelling are half the attraction of fanfic itself. Where writers don't *have* to start from scratch and waste precious time expositioning, but go right for the jugular off the bat. Which is why I like the classic format of a novel and short story, but I'm most intrigued by those that throw that out the window and go about it like *fanfic writers*, not like mainstream novelists. The rules stop applying. Except keep the spelling and punctuation thing. Please.

It really is a completely different--I don't want to say genre, because that doesn't fit, but I can't think of a word that's been invented for the demarcation line either. It's always been high praise in fannish circles to be told that you wrote a story so good it should be published, but sometimes, the highest praise is that it can't be. It's very uniqueness, what creates it, makes it impossible to be anything else. Lots of people can write stories that fall into readable (more than you think, actually, but I'm flexible on the idea of readable), and many can write stories I'd pay to read, and even some write stories that could be published and be great. But there's this small, fascinating group that write a story that belongs only to the fandom that created it. It's like having a treasure you never have to share. It wraps itself in the canon and fanon and the author's own mind that created it and takes it as its own so perfectly that you are so damn *glad* you went into that fandom, just *grateful*, just absolutely *thrilled*, because you get to read *this* And no where else would it have worked, if you'd been in a different fandom when you read it, it wouldn't have, you wouldn't have gotten it, but here, it just blows your mind.

Maybe context really *is* everything.

Sometimes, going through other people's rec pages, I get the feeling that I'm missing something when I read the stories. Not always, not even most of the time, but enough. This feeling like something very obvious is hovering just out of view over the horizon that I just don't understand. I *could* if I just tried hard enough, like I could learn to read Latin if I studied, and it's sometimes a faint annoyance and sometimes a mystery I want to solve, and sometimes, it's bittersweet, because there's the feeling of something missing that I'd have if I knew more.

Not just the show, though. The fandom that created it. The conflicting views and thoughts and works of God alone knows how many authors and meta-its and ramblers who influence each other in the weird communal bath of fandom. It gets even odder on LJ, actually, which is why I sometimes wonder how people not involved in the community at all feel when they read some of the stuff we write. Sometimes, our work has a twisty kind of genealogy, a place of birth that's so mixed that while the story belongs to one fandom, the spirit's borrowed from many. The plot and the style, the voices, the flow, each from an entirely different source. The reason the inspiration hit for *this* Smallville story was *this* Buffy story you read last week and you got into the style of this RPS that's being posted in parts and you're just *waiting* to see where it goes. Which also makes me wonder if there are stories that only make sense when read in LJ, in the community that helped create them.

This isn't a weakness, though I think it's sometimes seen to be. And sometimes you can see the fight between classic and fannish in the very words of the story itself, the way the author tries to use a formula that won't apply to what they're trying to create.

Anyway.

HP has that effect on me a *lot*. This faint awareness of being at least half a dimension away from what everyone else is reading and feeling. I know the books backward and forward, but I don't know the fandom at all--I don't know what attitudes and fanon originally influenced the writers, I don't know if they're rebelling against fanon, working it into new shapes, or creating it anew. Or hell, if they're even using fanon. I'll *never* know, because I don't know Latin. And I'm not at the point yet that I really feel desperately in need of learning it.

And oddly, I'm okay with that, even if it's frustrating. There's something magical about a story that has subtext in the subtext. She's not just writing about, say, Harry and Draco, she's also sayig fuck you to this clique of authors. *grins* Or she's bending something so fannishly ingrained that it just bends the mind to think about it. Out of context, you only know a lot more is going on there than you're reading. Sometimes, through fiction, you can see the results of a flame war among the fans, the indelible fingerprints of a single powerful author, reactionary results of new canon, a long night arguing with another fan about *that* episode or *this* Meaningful Look. You can read a fandom's history in some stories, in some *groups* of stories, in the trends they follow, from narration to characterization and style. In a single author's work over a year in the same fandom, you can sometimes see the shift in their thinking, not just in their view of the characters themselves and the show, but their feelings on the fandom they belong to.

I wish there were more second point of view stories. And broken timeline ones. And ones that rewrap canon into strangely shaped packages that only fit when you shove and push at them very hard. Ones that aren't afraid to live inside their own skin as what they are, fanfic. Also, I want them to be good. Very, very good, so I can wallow in them. Even if I can't always understand their subtext, I always love the fact they exist, and one day, if I learn their language, I'll understand them better.


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Great post, fab exposition of something I've thought, but never been able to put into words. Or even tried, actually.

*smiles sunnily* Austria got me thinking about my own reactinarism in fic, then about *other* people's reactionarism, and then it just--went. Places.

Thanks!

But there's this small, fascinating group that write a story that belongs only to the fandom that created it.

Yeah. I mean, this is not a new idea. Poets have been building off of established mythology since Homer, reweaving it and twisting it to their own ends. But it is really fantastic to see it done well.

Oooh yeah. King Arthur, The Illiad, and Romeo and Juliet. Like, the seminal fanfic-creators. You cannot walk into a bookstore but to trip over the variations.

I wonder if the only difference between us and those that publish fic on the above is that we just come out and say "oh, by the way? We are *totally* taking other people's stuff and remaking it in our own image." Well, that and the money thing.

Yes, yes, yes.

And now I want you to do a list of these stories, these genre-breaking/genre-creating stories that *could* have only come to being in the great, strange stew of fandom.

Probably the first one I read -- and the most viscerally memorable -- is Anna's Little Lost Fox.

Not only do you need a working knowledge of XF canon and fanon, but you also need a working knowledge of TREK fanon, and the arguments about it, and the lingering desire for a numinous *more* that lurks in the hearts of fangirls-who-were-probably-never-actually-a-part of Star Trek fandom.

It was, of course, *hugely* inspirational.

Heh.

I almost did, actually, but I'd be limited to two fandoms that I have enough intimacy with to do that. If I treated QaFUS the LJ people as a completely separate fandom from the more veteran writers, three.

Not only do you need a working knowledge of XF canon and fanon, but you also need a working knowledge of TREK fanon, and the arguments about it, and the lingering desire for a numinous *more* that lurks in the hearts of fangirls-who-were-probably-never-actually-a-part of Star Trek fandom.

It was, of course, *hugely* inspirational.


Exactly. There's an amazing range and power in stories that *do* that, that speak to the fannish parts of us as deeply as anything else, that require everything we know about our fandom AND our fellow fans to understand. When it works, when a writer just *goes* at it, it's an unparalled effect on those who read it and knows the genealogy. More layers to unravel, more universes to explore, more everything.

But you know? *cocks head* You should *totally* do this list, chica. *smiles sunnily* You *know* you want to.

(Deleted comment)
I'm always intrigued by reading stories I know were written after discussions I had no participation in, but heard about later. Or examples thereof--there's always those fascinating undercurrents you can feel, even if you can't pinpoint why. With a fine enough hand, it's only something you sense on the periphery, adding a layer to the story that *really* makes you think about what you're reading and why.

I get a kick out of that, trying to work out what made the story, what influenced it beyond canon, and the best authors make it an intersting and fascinating challenge.

::loves your brain::

This was exactly half my reaction to TotSP. The other half was, and still is, do I think the story really works as fanfic? I tend to rant about the importance of canon and getting the characterization right and the feel of the canon universe right, but all fanfic is written through a filter, and some filters leave more fingerprints than others, and sometimes those fingerprints are so beautiful you don't mind that they obscure the original picture slightly.

And I doubt I'm making sense, so I'll just go back to loving your brain and poking at stalkerfic. *G*

some filters leave more fingerprints than others, and sometimes those fingerprints are so beautiful you don't mind that they obscure the original picture slightly.

That's my reaction to a lot of fic. There are so many things that go into making a great story, but the will of the author seems to be the defining factor, combined with their skill in inflicting that will on others to follow where they lead. I love fingerprinted stories, ones I can read the genesis of between their lines. They bring me into the story like nothing else can.

Yeah, Illuferret's story had an *interesting* effect on me. I'll be thinking about it and a few others for a while.

This is awesome.

I've been thinking along these lines a bit myself lately, about how important context is to a piece. About how fanfiction can do things that cannot be done in any other genre of writing.

I study the ancient world, and it's always terribly important to find out what the genre of a piece is, how it was used, who read it and why, in order to understand it. And we usually know hardly anything about this, which is frustrating.

I find it very interesting how fandom basically creates its own genres, or writes stories within the context of fandom that need that full context to be fully understood. For instance, the "five things that never happened" genre of fics in Buffydom. If someone outside this world read one of those, to really fully understand it, they would have to have read several others, to find the conventions of the genre (or form, maybe is a better word here) that the piece is working within.

Fanfiction is a very interesting phenomenon, really, with so many layers. I wonder if someday people will really study it seriously.

I've been thinking along these lines a bit myself lately, about how important context is to a piece. About how fanfiction can do things that cannot be done in any other genre of writing.

Drabbles. *G* The fannish literary creation. Sometimes it just tickles me forever we made the one hundred word story a *popular* way of writing.

I find it very interesting how fandom basically creates its own genres, or writes stories within the context of fandom that need that full context to be fully understood. For instance, the "five things that never happened" genre of fics in Buffydom. If someone outside this world read one of those, to really fully understand it, they would have to have read several others, to find the conventions of the genre (or form, maybe is a better word here) that the piece is working within.

Ooh yes, that I *have* noticed with the multiple AUs. And it doesn't hurt at all to be aware that the five things is a multifandom challenge, so you know the history behind it as well. In every reading, you're aware not just of the show, but of the authors who came before you, the others that are doing it--history all wrapped up in less than two thousand words. It really does make you think about our fannish culture.

Fanfiction is a very interesting phenomenon, really, with so many layers. I wonder if someday people will really study it seriously.

I'd totally read the articles if they did. Ravenously.

The conflicting views and thoughts and works of God alone knows how many authors and meta-its and ramblers who influence each other in the weird communal bath of fandom.
Yes. Yes. And yes.

*grins* I like communal bath. It sounds a little dirty and something we all do at night, sneaking out of our houses and being debauched. We need official towels.

Hmmm... I'm thinking about this. I'm not sure if I agree. Certainly there's that little moment of recognition, like a personal shout-out, when you spot the inside jokes and references to fandom and fanon, but still...

There's something about it that bugs me, just a bit. But I'm not sure if my reaction is exactly... warranted by the ideas themselves.

Fandom's a small place, and everyone is influenced by the things around them. Hence, it only makes sense that one author writes something that gets you thinking, and that you can write something under a direct influence of someone else's ideas (whether you agree with them or not).

Hmmmm... it also feels a little cliquey, a little exclusionary to those outside fandom. If you don't follow so-and-so, if you don't read this author, then you'll never understand that one. *shrugs*

I'm taking it from the wrong POV, I'm sure. I mean, YMMV, and all that, but... *thinks*

But the important thing is for the fic to be able to stand up on it's own merit. That's the thing that will really get to me. The fics that play around with styles and atmospheres, the unusual, the ones that twist those aspects of the show that you totally take for granted into a new and different shape, those are the great fics that stand out in your memory. The ones that affected you, that made you sit down and *think* about them, about the characters, about if you believe it, if you agree with it, if you accept it.

Are those fics affected by fandom and fanon? Of course. Every author's affected by their surroundings. However, for the fic to be great it needs to be able to stand up and have the same effect regardless of whether or not you know the backstory. It needs to be able to mesh with canon, even though you don't know the fanon attached. Sure, there's a special feeling to the recognition of so-and-so dealt with a similar theme, or such-and-such a group believes this strongly, but I hate that feeling of reading and knowing there's more that I don't get. I hate the feeling of reading a fic that just feels incomplete without the fandom knowledge.

Mind you, I'm also a lazy reader when it comes to books. Certainly, it's a case of the experience of reading any book could be deepened by knowing what was influencing the author at the time, but I need the book to be complete in and of itself. For the extra knowledge to deepen the experience, but not complete it.

Heh. Rambling. The last refuge of those avoiding work. *g*

Definitely YMMV. And a part of me does agree, but in a limited sense. I don't think quality can be defined by how close we are to being independent of the media that created the story, or the people that influenced it. Like Homer in the original Greek, I don't and will never know how much was lost in translation and I know that going in.

It's not that I don't treasure good fic in any form, but the fannish fiction is special because it is something I can't get anywhere else. I have read outstanding fanfic that work for anyone with even a less than passing glance at the show or the fandom in question, and I can read them in any fandom and enjoy it. I can also read original mainstream fiction and get about the same effect. But there is a special kind of--I don't know the word, magic seems cliched--in reading and understanding both the text and subtext of a work. Like watching a show and finding its subtext, the story that calls on more than merely familiarity, asks for intimacy in the chosen fandom/sphere--that's an entirely different animal, and I judge it by completely different rules.

However, for the fic to be great it needs to be able to stand up and have the same effect regardless of whether or not you know the backstory. It needs to be able to mesh with canon, even though you don't know the fanon attached.

I often think non-slashers feel the same way when they see the things we do with canon, since our vision comprises the subtext as well. *grins*

Again, though, what I'm talking about is a completely different type of story, asking for more of the reader than simply knowing the show/medium exists. It can't be judged by the criteria set by published mainstream/original fiction because it's simply not the same thing at all.

Sure, there's a special feeling to the recognition of so-and-so dealt with a similar theme, or such-and-such a group believes this strongly, but I hate that feeling of reading and knowing there's more that I don't get. I hate the feeling of reading a fic that just feels incomplete without the fandom knowledge.

I mind not-knowing, but I also get a charge out of the times I *do* know, a kind I can't get anywhere else. It's almost like an intensive study of a culture, graduating to the more esoteric points of it's origin and creation. Almost. I've read--I can't even count how many stories, and the ones I remember best are the ones that speak to me fannishly like they do as a simple reader.

Heh. Rambling. The last refuge of those avoiding work. *g*

Heh. That's me tomorrow, staring at clients, thinking, I could be meta'ing on something *right now*. *grins*

everything *is* about context!!!

What a wonderful post, both yours and eliade's. It's a much more sophisticated version of what I tried to say here when I first came on LJ... (and, as you see, ironically, eliade was one of the people I praised for beginning to offer such a context for me in TS :-)

I wish we could do fandom history and recs that take context into account (both the time of writing and the stories that the fic's responding to in one way or another). I think the problem is not only that some fics are difficult to understand without the proper context, are inpossible to judge without knowing where the fandom was at that time, but there is also the issue of stories that to an outsider/newcomer seem totally overpraised and hyped, yet must be understood as having a crucial place in the history of that particular fandom.

And in a way, doesn't Shining Prince epitomize what fanfic is all about? It explores the interstices, elaborates the minor character, and questions and subverts the very very context, value system, and moral outlook the text itself seems to propound. Moreover, as you point out, it is highly contextualized within the fandom itself yet does it seemingly effortlessly. It's like the great literary texts that work both in a New Critical reading yet can gain when we realize all the historical context in which the text is not only situated but to which it may actively respond.

Re: everything *is* about context!!!

I wish we could do fandom history and recs that take context into account (both the time of writing and the stories that the fic's responding to in one way or another). I think the problem is not only that some fics are difficult to understand without the proper context, are inpossible to judge without knowing where the fandom was at that time, but there is also the issue of stories that to an outsider/newcomer seem totally overpraised and hyped, yet must be understood as having a crucial place in the history of that particular fandom.

Yes and yes. To me, the history of a fandom, both in its literature, its wars, and its personal interactions, influence everything that comes after, even if we don't know it. It's seeped into everything we do.

You are spot-on about the entire story-at-a-time-in-history thing. There are so many stories that I've argued about being Great with people who don't quite see the same thing I do, and trying to explain it is impossible, because it would require a classroom dissertation on Clark, Lex, and the Attitudes at the Time of Writing. That what is cliched now was once brand new and completely original in this author's hands.

It's like the great literary texts that work both in a New Critical reading yet can gain when we realize all the historical context in which the text is not only situated but to which it may actively respond.

I love how you just said that. It's exactly what i couldn't figure out *how* to say, so rambled. Well done.

Oh there's so much I want to comment on.

I tend to divide my fandoms into active and passive ones. Passive meaning I only read stories but have no contact to the fandom per se. The moment I step out of my observing corner be it through fannish interaction, writing,... I call it an active fandom. This colors my perception of the stories I read of course.

I know what you mean when you say you might be missing the point what makes a certain story special because it only works in context. That's the reason I can't for the life of me decide what makes a good and what a brilliant story for Smallville, one that's new.

Which also makes me wonder if there are stories that only make sense when read in LJ, in the community that helped create them.


There's this one series in Lotrips "Wrong To Love You" by thejennabides. The stories in itself are brilliant but what really make them different for me is that I know the author and talked about the story with her/read what other people had to say about it in her LJ. It was a constant bouncing off of ideas between her and her flist, so on one hand there's this wonderful universe she created and on the other hand the inside knowledge of its creation. And that's what makes it so special and I think hard to get for people who don't have that connection.

There's something else about the story, too. It's very interesting from a writer's POV because she's been writing the series for a long time now and you can see the evolution of her style (she's like the grande dame of stream-of-conciousness in Lotrips).

/end pimp

Which brings me to fandom evolution. This is something I've thought about a couple of days ago because I've read a story that was so clearly a nowadays-Lotrips story that I was unable to picture it being posted in the first few month of its existence. I'm not sure how to say it but there's something naive about fresh fandoms that get lost after a while: the more stories the more bouncing off of each other's characterisation, the more fanon, issues... I wouldn't get Smallville fanon if it kicked me in the shin, but Lotrips fanon I can spot ten miles away. I know who writes what and how and why, I know about issues, flamewars and often I even know on what side of the fence people stood in any given discussion that's important to understand why a story came out the way it did.

But this, of course, can lead to me spotting cliche#57567 but missing the wonderful prose. It's a two-edged sword, what's a brilliantly innovative story for oldbies might annoy newbies because they heavily rely on fanon and established characterisation. What newbies like oldbies might think trite and done a million times better by writer#745475 a year ago. In this sense recs of stories that kick fanon in the butt or take a new spin on an old plot device can be hard to understand when you don't have any knowledge of the fandom that created the story.

I rarely read outside of my pet-fandom nowadays because I'd miss the insight, and when I do I tend to read authors I already know. Seems like I don't really read stories for the stories anymore, which is sad. I need to ponder this.

I wish there were more second point of view stories.

Hell yes. And present tense, and pretty much everything that's rarely done.

/end rambling

As someone who did Latin in school for years, give it up, there's a reason the language is considered dead. I'd have killed it myself.

I know what you mean when you say you might be missing the point what makes a certain story special because it only works in context. That's the reason I can't for the life of me decide what makes a good and what a brilliant story for Smallville, one that's new.

*eg* You're not alone in that. The fans sometimes can't decide either.

This is something I've thought about a couple of days ago because I've read a story that was so clearly a nowadays-Lotrips story that I was unable to picture it being posted in the first few month of its existence. I'm not sure how to say it but there's something naive about fresh fandoms that get lost after a while: the more stories the more bouncing off of each other's characterisation, the more fanon, issues...

Oh God yes. It's funny, too--when I name off my Seminal Smallville Stories, the ones I love best, the ones I *remember*, the ones I come back to, they're--honestly, I think impossible for anyone who came in at season two to get the Why the hell of. But it's just that--the freshness, the way the glass is so clear when we first read/wrote them. There was nothing there but a show and everything we did with it was brand-new and young and--naive isn't the word I'd use, but I can't think of a better one, so we'll stick with that.

wouldn't get Smallville fanon if it kicked me in the shin, but Lotrips fanon I can spot ten miles away. I know who writes what and how and why, I know about issues, flamewars and often I even know on what side of the fence people stood in any given discussion that's important to understand why a story came out the way it did.

Exactly. And that can be as absolutely amazing as the story itself--gives it a dimension that transcends the prose and plot. It's absolutely fascinating to see it, to feel it.

But this, of course, can lead to me spotting cliche#57567 but missing the wonderful prose. It's a two-edged sword, what's a brilliantly innovative story for oldbies might annoy newbies because they heavily rely on fanon and established characterisation. What newbies like oldbies might think trite and done a million times better by writer#745475 a year ago. In this sense recs of stories that kick fanon in the butt or take a new spin on an old plot device can be hard to understand when you don't have any knowledge of the fandom that created the story.

The Fannish Generational Gap. Having been on *both* sides in a short period of time in two different fandoms--oh yes.

Knowing the history helps, I think, in understanding the whys of where a fandom is now. The reasons behind pretty much everything you see in a fandom, from the most popular authors to the style to the most used plot devices.

Hell yes. And present tense, and pretty much everything that's rarely done.

*grins evilly* And here the SV fandom was once accused of being All Present Tense, All the Time.

I have a thing for the present tense. I always get giggly when I see people writing in it, just for the rebellious aspect. Though sadly, it's not so rebellious anymore dammit.

Thank you so much for your comments. I'm all thinking on my two fandoms now, trying to see the history more clearly.

This is brilliant. Friending you -- feel no obligation. Oh dear god, you found the words to *say* it!!

And this:

This isn't a weakness, though I think it's sometimes seen to be. And sometimes you can see the fight between classic and fannish in the very words of the story itself, the way the author tries to use a formula that won't apply to what they're trying to create.

I love you for that, above all. It's pastiche of so much more than just the television show/universe. It's history, and context, and emotional life all wrapped up into what can be read as a mundane 'romance' story, if one doesn't know to look for it.




Pastiche. I love that word. It just rolls off the tongue, implying so much.

I love you for that, above all. It's pastiche of so much more than just the television show/universe. It's history, and context, and emotional life all wrapped up into what can be read as a mundane 'romance' story, if one doesn't know to look for it.

That is a perfect way of putting it. The subtext behind every story is more than the writer that wrote it, more than the fandom it belongs to, but the experience it was born in.

*reads above and frowns*

I think I'll keep your summary. It just sounds so much better.

*waves* Thanks for posting! And welcome! And so forth!

This feeling like something very obvious is hovering just out of view over the horizon that I just don't understand. I *could* if I just tried hard enough, like I could learn to read Latin if I studied, and it's sometimes a faint annoyance and sometimes a mystery I want to solve, and sometimes, it's bittersweet, because there's the feeling of something missing that I'd have if I knew more.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Fanfiction is context dependent not only on a fandom, but also what point in the series a fandom is at, which means it's temporally dependent to some extent. I'll read your Vix Te Agnovi series and just feel like it couldn't happen anymore at this point, but that it captures a feeling from earlier in the series.
Fanfiction is also dependent somewhat on the conflicts and discussions of fans in a fandom. I wouldn't go so far as to say that stories don't make any sense outside of fannish discussion, but as you say, you end up feeling like you're missing something.
Smallville offers a wonderful playground for writing; The farmer boy meets the billionaire. Certain stories can only be written in this fandom. "The Wasteland" couldn't have been a Sentinel story; the background for generational conflict is not there. "Distant Journey Unknown Land" is very much a Sentinel fic.

Harry Potter is an interesting fandom in that it is so widely read. Eight year old Chinese boys do not get the same things out of the book that 40 year old slash writers do. Heck, different slash writers don't even get the same things out of the book that others do. I don't particularly see Snape as sexual. I like Harry/Draco, not because I think it's good for Draco so much as I think it's good for Harry. The boy needs his horizons broadened. He was kept locked in a cupboard for 11 years and then launched into a war being told "Here!" "this is the right side to be on! This one here!". He hasn't really seen both sides. Yes, yes, my name is Inigo Montoya you killed my father prepare to die Voldemort, but a lot of the time we don't really see what it is the dark wizards are fighting for. Sure, they're racist pricks, but what do they really want? What is the historical background here? Now, we can certainly examine the book in context of European history and come up with the obvious conclusions, but it would be interesting to get a little bit of Death Eater history, to see J.K. Rowling's take on it. We're just starting to see Snape's history, and we've seen a little of Voldemort's. What about everyone else's?

Oh, and I liked The Tale of the Shining Prince. Good story. Nice anecdotes. Intriguing Malfoy characterization. He'll be an interesting one to watch hitting puberty. To be honest, I have more faith that Malfoy will turn against the Death Eaters than faith that Ron will stick by Harry through the whole thing. "Everything I own is rubbish!" ladies and gentlemen, we have our fatal flaw. Ron will probably enact some dramatic return to Harry's side, after which he shortly dies, but he's still going to defect.
Apologies to Jenn for blogging so much in her LJ.
-Silverkyst

I think you hit the nail on the head. Fanfiction is context dependent not only on a fandom, but also what point in the series a fandom is at, which means it's temporally dependent to some extent. I'll read your Vix Te Agnovi series and just feel like it couldn't happen anymore at this point, but that it captures a feeling from earlier in the series.
Fanfiction is also dependent somewhat on the conflicts and discussions of fans in a fandom. I wouldn't go so far as to say that stories don't make any sense outside of fannish discussion, but as you say, you end up feeling like you're missing something.


Ooh yes, timing can be THE factor in how well a story works. Just hugely signficant, to the point where people joining now read them and have *no* idea waht is going on.

I like Harry/Draco, not because I think it's good for Draco so much as I think it's good for Harry. The boy needs his horizons broadened. He was kept locked in a cupboard for 11 years and then launched into a war being told "Here!" "this is the right side to be on! This one here!". He hasn't really seen both sides. Yes, yes, my name is Inigo Montoya you killed my father prepare to die Voldemort, but a lot of the time we don't really see what it is the dark wizards are fighting for.

I actually collapsed laughing when I read that. That is *so* appropriate.

And so *true*.

He'll be an interesting one to watch hitting puberty. To be honest, I have more faith that Malfoy will turn against the Death Eaters than faith that Ron will stick by Harry through the whole thing. "Everything I own is rubbish!" ladies and gentlemen, we have our fatal flaw. Ron will probably enact some dramatic return to Harry's side, after which he shortly dies, but he's still going to defect.

I'm worried about how absolutely possible that is. Okay. There starts my worries about Book Six in a big, big way.

*mulling worried thoughts*

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Re: ::submits offering::

I've written HP fics, but have never read any of the HP books.

(In effect, a separation of the *writer* from *canon*, your argument's flipside.)


oooh. Heh. I have to grin. I wrote my first X-Men movieverse stories having never seen the movie. A fannish friend ripped me a copy from somewhere, but that was well after I'd posted, I think, my first five stories or so.

I wonder sometimes how much of my fic is reactionary, because I often submit a fic as a subtle/indirect argument in the characterization debates...because often, the source material is enough for me to create and reside fics happily forever in my head. But sometimes it's *not*, and I'm guessing that I think my muses are strange just because I haven't sussed out their MO yet.

This makes perfect sense to me. I *am* a very reactionary writer, and that's probably my most constant pattern. Reading other people's fic can kick me off in ways that nothing else does--and yes, characterization is a *big* part of why I suddnely feel the need to *write*. Shows can do it too, when they do something that, to me, seems out of character or other things that I either feel the need to ficitonally explain to myself or...er. Correct.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this...but thought that it might be worthwhile as other comments addressed a reader's connection to fanon, but I don't think anyone addressed a reader's (or writer's) connection to *canon*, because come to think of it, I browse a lot of fandoms that I have no awareness of the source material for (such as Brimstone or JL) because I like the authors or the character archetypes so much. I would return to the fic after learning more about the canon, and usually the fic is a bit stronger, even though it could stand on its own. Though this is probably all due to the author's ingenuity..

No, this was a really *good* point, considering there are many who argue that complete knowledge of all canon is essential to a good story. I've never entirely agreed with that, especially since in my first and current fandom, I simply *don't* know all of the canon first hand yet. *g* And that really doens't bother me, nor does it bother me if others lack that knowledge, too. I want a *good* story, and if they can produce that? I'm good to go.

Thanks so much for posting! I really loved your thoughts on this.

Thank you for finding the words to explain something that's been in my head for weeks. This is one of the things I love so much about fanfiction - and what makes it so maddening to friends I try to suck in.

Heh. I actually started trying to figure out which stories work for people *not* in a fandom to ease them in. *g* It's just so *hard*. In SV, I had about five standbys that I used to lure with, but man, even then, I'd sometimes get strange comments on it.

It was interesting to see what *did* work, though.




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