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25 November 2008 @ 11:35 am
A Canon Writer's Thoughts  
I'm giving myself a BREAK. For like a few minutes LOL

The other day I was thinking: why am I able to write so much Stargate: SG-1 fanfic and not so much Supernatural fanfic? My passion and fannishness of the shows are fairly equal. I'd even say that my fannishness for Smallville is equal. So how come at the height of my SG-1 days I could pump out at least one fic a week, but with SPN or SV I can't? Have a lost my touch? I want to write lots of SPN, darn it! I love that show.

Aside from my current time constraints and my need to focus on my original fic *is jealous of people that can do both at the same time*... I argue it isn't lack of interest or desire, but the nature of the shows themselves and how the intersect with my writing wants and needs.


Stargate: SG-1, Supernatural, and Smallville are three shows that have very different structures/outcomes.

SG-1
I would say that SG-1 has loose canon. There is an overall series arc and each season has its one season arc, but for the most part the episodes are stand alones. It's not a serial like BSG. Sure, they reference back to other episodes and some elements it's good to know what happened before it. But you can sit down and watch an episode for SG-1, for the most part, and when it's done know there won't be too much impact for the next episode. The resets in the series alone are astounding.

Is that a bad thing? No. It works for this series. Sometimes there should have been deeper connections, imo, but the format made it enjoyable. It was light, but not too light, and dealt with many common themes in science fiction. However, the fact the canon was loose and there wasn't a lot of consequences meant that fanfic writers had a lot of room to move creatively. We could create all sorts of fiction to fit in between episodes.

This is key for canon writers. People who thrive on AUs don't necessarily have the same problems that canon writers have when creating fanfic. Canon writers follow the show as closely as possible. We don't like getting Jossed. So a show with loose canon allows us so much freedom to create without contradicting the show itself.

Therefore, at least for me, SG-1 gives me the opportunity to explore within the limits of canon, but those limits don't bind me.

SPN
This is completely different than SG-1. I would classify SPN as having tight canon. It's still not a serialized as say BSG, but most episodes build on the episodes prior and there are major consequences that not only run throughout the season, but thoroughout the series. Even the stand alones tend to have B plots that are linked to the overall theme of the season or prior seasons. It's similiar to Farscape in that regard. I know that when I sit down to watch, there will be references to past episodes and there will be momentum to continue the story forward. There are rarely, if ever, any resets. Just about every action has a consequence for character, plot, and emotional impact.

So if you're a canon write like me this can be a nightmare LOL

If I sit down to write a story that mimics the show, I know my A plot will be some kind of hunt or mytharc episode. The B plot will liekly engage the brothers reactions. But everything I write can be Jossed in a matter of seconds because the next episode will likely refute or cancel out or duplicate whatever I have written. If I write a fanfic where Sam reacts to some event because it wasn't explored in the episode, it's going to be explored on the show in the next episode or a couple of episodes laters. It's going to happen. In other words, the limits and boundaries are very very tight in SPN, so canon writers don't have as much freedom to move. If you are a canon writer, you will be Jossed. Or as I've seen some people adopt, Kripked.*

*(Or not. Though, I disagree with this. I don't see much SPN fanon becoming canon. The show has heavy mystery elements so people often speculate correctly, but I've read some of the fanon. Most of it is horrible, imo. In fact I hate SG-1 fanon, SV fanon, all fanaon I guess. I'm an evil fanon hater LOL Must be why I'm such a canon freak.)

Either way it's inevitible that you will be screwed somehow.

If you're an AU writer, this isn't so much a problem. But it makes the playing field much shorter for canon writers.

SV
Now this is a completely different form than the other two. SV isn't a very complex show. The characters are full of heart and soul, but the writing isn't very deep. That isn't a slam on the show. In fact, it's great to sit down and watch a show where I can have some fun. So why can't I write for it very much?

For me, I know how it ends. This show has future canon.

Most of the time, I don't feel the need to write fanfic for SV. I know that Clark becomes Superman. From a shipper pov, I know that Clark and Lois end up together. I know that the gaps they leave are going to be filled in the future. So aside from a fic here and there exploring maybe an investigative case or a friendship moment, I don't feel the complusion. And because I am a canon writer, I can't write AU.

I know many people argue that SV is AU anyway. I don't necessarily see it that way, but I'm talking here about show canon. Even if they change some things, the important things remain the same to me. I can't throw Lois and Clark together now, because for me as a canon writer, they hook up a long time from now. I can't write Chloe and Clark together because I know it's just going to eventually end anyway. The best I can do is gen or UST (and what is wrong with gen anyway? heh) but most of the time I don't feel the need. I know where everythings ends up anyway. The show is just showing us the how and why.

So there you go. My thoughts as a canon writer on three different shows. And not all canon writers feel the same. Just my thoughts. Also, I'm not saying that people who write AUs don't have their own set of problems. Every type of fanfic has its own problems and issues. But these are my thoughts from the perspective of a canon writer who will occasionally write an AU - I've done a couple and whoa, it's just so weird for me, and heck I consider must SHIP to be AU - and I think it makes a lot of sense. Obviously, other factors come into play like time, real life, etc.

I'd love to write lots and lots of SPN fanfic, for example. But as a canon writer, it's probably just not meant to be. I'll keep posting bits as time allows and just allow everyone else to be prolific for a change ;)

I'm sure everyone's experiences are different, but that's my take :)

ETA: There could be potential S4 SPN spoilers in the comments so be careful.
 
 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
 
 
 
handyhunterhandyhunter on November 25th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
If you are a canon writer, you will be Jossed. Or as I've seen some people adopt, Kripked.

I always thought those terms meant the opposite, ie, to be jossed = your fanfic will become AU, while to be kripked means what you wrote ends up happening.
Working for the Mandroid: crossroadsmoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Maybe it does. I have seen it used the same as jossed though.
Pepper: Thinkypepper_field on November 25th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'd definitely agree that the shows that have different effects on fic. I think it's also to do with the fact that there's more main characters on Stargate - especially if you include SGA. There's that much more possible variations to write about. So with that many more characters, there's less time spent on giving them an exact history - sometimes the characters are even absent from canon (not in a particular episode, say, or only around in the background), so that gives more freedom to write things that fit in.
Working for the Mandroid: AoT Teal'cmoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
That's a good point about characters. The Stargate universe has so many to play with while other fandoms - even X-Files - can be more limited.

I find it interesting :)
lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
If you are a canon writer, you will be Jossed. Or as I've seen some people adopt, Kripked.

I have been Kripked recently. Luckily, it was before I'd started writing the piece, and I simply made it to the same ends using a different device (as it was my plot device that got Kripked). Part of me loves saying, "to hell with canon!" Just so I can write whatever I please. But another, louder part insists I stick with what's been shown, so that it will be believable in the canon universe. For some reason, that is important to me, and even I question my own sanity with how adamant I can be about it. So I definitely relate.

You know what's easier? Backtracking and writing stories for season 2 and 3. The problem is, I get inspired for what's happening NOW. Which leads to Kripke-ing to the Nth degree. Just can't win...

And hey, if you want to write more, write! If you don't, then don't. Although I am looking forward to more wing!fic. Just so you know. ;)
Working for the Mandroid: brothers (winchester)moonshayde on November 25th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
I was Kripked recently too. (Honestly, I didn't even know that was a term until like yesterday and even then it was used wrong LOL). I had a fanfic I was planning about paranoia. Then Yellow Fever came out. While mine was more horror/serious than the more light Yellow Fever, the plots are so similiar that I won't be writing it. Also, I imgained the opening of S4 correctly and I was going to write a short fic with the boys driving with an angel and demon in the back, and well...LOL

But for me, I don't think it's the fans outsmarting the writers, which kripked seems to imply. I just think SPN uses standard horror tropes that people end up writing before the show has a chance to do the same. And of course, SPN puts it's unique spin on it.

I understand. The best way to avoid it is to write in known canon, which would be past seasons. But we tend to be inspired by the here and now. I know I am as much as the next gal. But you either get jossed or kripked and if you are a canon nut like me, it kills LOL

Which is why this whole wing!fic thing? It is so so weird for me. I'm already trying to make the next parts line up with as canon as much as possible. It's AU, but I still have that compulsion LOL

But thanks. I will keep writing SPN fic, but I just won't be as prolific as I was for my SG-1 fandom. I am jealous of the people pumping out fic left and right LOL
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 25th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Nervous, Messed-Up Marionette: boy with demon bloodsuperbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
My biggest issue between SG-1 and SPN isn't a plot, character or arc one. It's that sometime between then and now, the readership for nice, plotty stories seems to have vanished. I want to write good AU SPN pieces (meant to fit into canon, but I'm not terribly concerned if they don't) that are long and detailed enough to be an episode.

SPN fandom seems all about the flash and bang, unless you're one of those people who somehow came with a built-in entourage/fame. (There's one I've read and would have known who she was even if she'd changed her nom de plume - her stories, while decent, are all the same ... and people eat it up with a proverbial spoon).

Oh, dear. I sidetracked there.

The potential with both SPN and SG-1, I think, is that they've both got a great amount of outside mythology they can focus on - SPN's being urban legends and earth-bound mythology, while SG-1 has all those wonderful alien possibilities.

Also, I'm having a time with the 66 seals.

Edited at 2008-11-25 08:38 pm (UTC)
Working for the Mandroid: Castielmoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Oh I agree with you about readership. I think that is whole 'nother animal in and of itself. I thin that the instant gradification thing is growning more and more not just for writers but readers as well. I know that as much as I love a good long plotty fanfic, I don't have much time to sit through one these days. So I am guilty of the same thing I cry against.

And I think that is what has drawn me to both SPN and SG-1 - the mythology. Heck, I know that was what hooked me in X-Files too.

it's just I'm the kind of person that is so focused on canon that I find mysel bound by its rules. So I'm always conscously trying to make it fit. It would be much easier if I could AU all the time LOL
(no subject) - superbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Wow, I couldn't agree more. I like writing quick fics occasionally, because sometimes that's all the muse will allow for that particular topic, but I notice that if I write anything over three pages, it gets mostly ignored. I currently have an epic I'm writing with a friend, and while we don't care about readership because we're just plain enjoying it too much to worry about that, it's not something that gets a lot of feedback. And I think it's the length and involved plot that discourages people.

Still, I don't think length and depth is the only culprit. I think, too, that a lot of fans want certain characters to be featured or an item, and the most popular couples are ones I simply won't write being sexually involved. There is a shortage of interest in HET fic within the SPN fandom, and even the people that do show interest don't always agree on who the boys should be hooking up with, so you're talking about a very small pond in the end, no matter where you stand.

What is it about moonshayde's journal that gets me thinking so deeply about canon and fanon? I love it over here, LOL!
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 25th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 25th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - superbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 25th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - superbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 26th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 26th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - superbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 26th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 26th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 26th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on November 26th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
*hugs*
Working for the Mandroid: crossroadsmoonshayde on November 26th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Hey. You know, I wonder if I miss posts by you? Do you post on your LJ? If so, I never see them!
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon on November 27th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 27th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - a_phoenixdragon on November 28th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
victoriatimeblind on November 26th, 2008 04:54 am (UTC)
Good thoughts, good thoughts. I wrote a lot of Stargate Atlantis fics, but I'm having so much trouble writing SPN fics, so your loose/tight canon theory makes a lot of sense to me. Even just getting their voices down and stuff... guess I'll have another marathon soon... oh what a shame. HAHA. ♥
Working for the Mandroid: Awesomemoonshayde on November 26th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Once you get their voices down, I think it does get easier. I was panicking the first SPN fics I ever wrote. I had been writing SG-1 for so so long.

But I really am very militant with canon. So with a show like SPN, I know whatever I write will be changed in canon soon and also I know whatever didn't satisfy me eventually will be. So it's harder for me to write :)

And a marathon? Oh poor you ;)
Chibi Hoshi: Sci-Fihoshi_reed on November 26th, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
I always saw Fanfic to stem from not just our love for the show but also our need for fulfillment that we aren't getting.

A Loose canon gives us not just the room to write in but loose ends we wish to tie up. It also doesn't go as deep as we would like or develop characters so we write to delve into the depths we aren't getting and take the characters down paths TPTB won't.

I found I could never write Farscape fic because I felt I couldn't improve on what I saw. I was already happy at what I got. I generally only write to "fix"/create situations that I would never get otherwise.
Working for the Mandroid: Like Mindsmoonshayde on November 26th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
That is definitely part of it. If an episode of whatever show just leaves you unsatisfied, I know the urge to write fanfic is greater in those situations.

It does fascinate me how everyone's writer needs are different and even different based on a show. For example, I don't write "fix-it" fic. I may have written a couple in my lifetime, but it's not my thing. And I do think it has a lot to do with my reverence for canon. But canon for everyone differs too. Like with SG-1, I still don't see the "feelings" between Sam and Jack. Others do. So I don't write Sam/Jack in my fic. I never felt the need to really fix SG-1, but the loose canon gave me so much room to move that I could explore so many different avenues with it.

On the other hand, other shows even if they irritate me sometimes (like SV can) I don't really feel the need to write too much for it.

And with SPN I am almost always happy with what I see. I feel no compulsion to fix it or improve it. Yet, I do write fanfic for it.

So the whole idea of why and how we write fanfic is so layered and complex it really fascinates me :)
(no subject) - hoshi_reed on November 27th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 27th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)