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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.

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.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
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
Nervous, Messed-Up Marionette: brothers on motel bedssuperbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
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.

From casual observation of ff.net, longer stories can be popular. But only if each chapter ends in a cliffhanger and there's not much development outside the whump du jour.

Following those guidelines, IMO, doesn't make for a very good long story. Plot development takes time and care.

Me, after chapter three: Uh, no one could survive that. How can this story go on for another twenty chapters?!

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!
Working for the Mandroid: Bobby is Sanemoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
I would even argue there isn't much interest in gen fic, unless it is of a certain kind. I'm not deep into SPN fandom due to crazy people and time, but from what I have seen certain types of fic are more appealing than others to the fandom. So I think Gen, and even more so het, is really on the bottom rung. I think Wincest, slash, and gen that focuses on hex/cursed/animals and schmoop between the brothers has more of a sell.

I tend to write longer plotty gen fics which aren't all that popular.

It shouldn't be about the feedback anyway. But there is nothing wrong with admitting it's nice when people recognize your stuff ;) I'm just noting trends that I see.
lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
Definitely, GEN fic falls victim to that, too. And I admit I am somewhat to blame! Unless the author is a friend I trust to write well enough that my eyes won't be bleeding, I don't seek out just any kind of fic to read. Usually, I am looking for a particular couple that I like. Otherwise, I skip it, and it's mostly because you don't even have to be able to spell to publish fic online, and I have seen some atrocious things thanks to that. Fandom can be a scary place, LOL!

I have noticed the same trends, though. That people like certain formulas and do not want to veer from that. I understand it, because you can't always trust a newcomer to know how to write legibly let alone with everyone in character. But it does tip the scales in favor of the Wincest crowd, lol.
Working for the Mandroid: crossroadsmoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Or I should say I noticed limp!Sam with protective!Dean is a common popular trope people really love. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not my thing. Not to the extent I see it anyway.
lastwordslinger on November 25th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
People forget Sam can kick booty. Why is that? Maybe his demonic-vomit-inducing powers will change that. ;)
Nervous, Messed-Up Marionette: boy with demon bloodsuperbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
LOL, and I notice all the fic where Everything Revolves Around Dean And His Angst. Tee hee.

I have no issue with people having Dean as their favorite, but I've started stories that really seem more like a Sam thing ... only it's all Dean.

Ah, pardon. My bias is showing. :)
Working for the Mandroid: Bring Itmoonshayde on November 25th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
I just really hate limp!Sam LOL

I just don't see limp!Sam on the show. That character doesn't exist to me, so the extent I see it in the fandom just isn't my thing.

I know usually when I write fic if it's Sam's pov, it's about Dean. If it's Dean pov, it's about Sam. And if they both have pov parts, I try to give them their own "mission" of sorts. I used to do that alot in SG1, too.

But that's why I don't read much fanfic anymore. I'm just too picky ;)
Nervous, Messed-Up Marionette: angel and devilsuperbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, the limp!Sam is out there. And I don't mind a whumped Sam, but he's like Daniel from SG-1 - he's not a wuss. Him getting hurt will not result in him needing Dean to crawl into bed with him and hug him.

Dude just sewed up a nasty gash in his own arm without crying and blubbering. He's a man, damnit, not a boy. ;)

Oh, and I try to do the same thing when I write. Even though my bias inevitably shows somewhere. Stupid bias, always outta control.
(no subject) - lastwordslinger on November 26th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moonshayde on November 26th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nervous, Messed-Up Marionette: car dean samsuperbadgirl on November 25th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
That's because het is yuckypoo. ;)

Gen suffers in SPN fandom, too, as moonshayde pointed out. There's SUCH a huge amount of Wincest and RPS it's hard not to get disheartened as a writer not into those things at all. (I actually do like non-brotherly slash, but even that? Not interested in seeing for this show. Not something I believe for this show.)

Sometimes it does seem the only gen stories being written and read are drabbles (which I really am starting to loathe despite having just written one, heh) or oneshots with fewer than 5,000 words.

I'm guessing the same or similar is true for het?
Working for the Mandroid: Father Figuresmoonshayde on November 26th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
I like some of the one shots, but I am super picky about characterization. It's got to really pop.

Drabbles I really have no use for. I just write them as an exercise or as a request answer.

I'm just a snob. I can't get around it no matter how hard I try. LOL
lastwordslinger on November 26th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
I agree. The slash is dominating the fandom, and while I can occasionally be talked into seeing the potential for slash, this is definitely not the type of situation where I can.

I'm guessing the same or similar is true for het?

Yeah. You see mostly short things (*cough*written entirely out of character*cough*) or PWP. I heart PWP, I really do. I write it myself when the mood strikes. But sometimes I really am looking for something with story AND romance, not just the latter.

Maybe I should recant my coughed statement? It's hard to get any characterization into a drabble/short one-shot where the entire point is to just show two characters being in love who haven't been established as that necessarily. There was someone trying to write about Dean/Anna being desperately in love, and while I like the couple, it made Dean sound like a lovestruck goober. To the point that Dean was contemplating what their children would someday be like. It's like it made you accept that they were a couple just as a given without trying to convince you. Poor, poor HET and how it suffers sometimes. :p

By the way, I find it impossible to write drabbles. How does one write a story in less than half a page? I can't do it. Maybe that makes me too verbose, but a drabble is like... a summary for a story that should be a lot longer, LOL! Every time I read one, that's what pops into my head: "This should have been longer."
Working for the Mandroid: Castielmoonshayde on November 26th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
And this is why I have hesitation with het in fandoms. it's very hard to pull off and be believable. Especially on a show like this one.

I write drabbles for exercise or for requests. But I don't really get the point of them LOL