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.
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.
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.
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.