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29 September 2009 @ 09:58 am
About Comment Fic  
Random topic I know, but I'm on and off rambly today.

I was thinking about commentfic and how it comes so easily for some people and it's more of a struggle for others. Myself? I love a good prompt. Seriously. I adore inviting prompts. An interesting prompt sends me to all kinds of creative places. However, I struggle with commentfic and can't seem to do it often.

One, my commentfic always comes out to be actual fic. It's rarely ever short and my definition of short is long by some people's standards.

Two, trouble finding prompts. Most prompts I find just don't speak to me. I fear this means my view of the show (whichever show that might be) is very very different than anyone else's. I was just looking at a commentfic meme today and the prompts just seemed too OOC for me. It's been going on for a few days now, and still just nothing.

Three, the quick turnaround, which should be freeing and fun, ends up making me wonder if I should just focus on my WIPs instead since my commentfic never comes out very short.

But all this pondering on commentfic led me to think about the nature of fanfic itself. At least one aspect of it anyway.

I'm not addressing all the categories here, nor do I want to - like RPF or full-out AU. I'm basically talking about fic that resembles the characters and the show very very closely, but has a certain "feel" to it.

And this is for all fandoms, though some of my examples may refer to SPN.

There seems to be fanfic that could easily be an episode on the show, or a missing scene, or tie in somehow. There are other types of fanfic that are AU, but canon enough that you could see them fitting if the universe was tweaked slightly, or if different avenues had been taken. Then there is fiction that clearly feels like fanfic. Generally, I avoid a lot of the last one. This is where a lot of fanon cliches come in or things get too schoompy for me, but I can also find really good fic that I enjoy that also "feels" like fanfic. Usually this involves a cliche, but written with amazing canon and characterization. Does that make sense?

I hope that makes sense. So, I guess where I am going with this is...when you read fanfic, what do you look for? Do you want something meaty that could easily be on the show? Do you want something that feels like canon but has a small AU element to it? Or do you like something that feels and tastes like fanfic?

I tend to prefer the first one, will make exceptions for the second, and tend to avoid the third unless I want it or feel comfortable with the writer. Some people can take a cliche and make it really awesome, like a curse or H/C or something, but it's really hit or miss with me. For others, it's perfect.

(Of course, what I read and what I write don't always add up. I write cliches on occasion if I can feel I can do a decent job with them. Sometimes I win and sometimes I fail. I mostly try to write canon-based stuff and when I do something AU-ish, I do stick to canon as much as possible.)

There has to be a more direct way of saying this but I fail at words this morning, LOL. So feel free to share and give your opinion, but please play nice. If possible, I'd love to not talk about Wincest in this post. Thanks :)
Current Mood: groggygroggy
lastwordslinger on September 29th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much with you. When something reads like someone's OOC fantasy, I don't enjoy it. I like AU a lot, but I tend to like it most when there are canon elements to it and everyone feels in character. As you said, when it feels like it could blend seamlessly into the show if only. In fact, I feel like that is supposed to be the pure nature of AU, the very reason for it. Taking the characters and suddenly deciding you want them to be something entirely other than what they are is not AU; it's just a misuse of artistic license as far as I'm concerned.

I don't seek out fic that is purely canon, as in it doesn't have to tie in perfectly to please me. But those kinds of stories are definitely preferable to pure fan fic, as you defined it. And bottom line: I like a story to make sense. A scenario like "Dean and Jo are married!" with no explanation just bugs me. As much as I like that idea (because I ship them), YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN THESE THINGS. You will never hear me whine about too much exposition, because I think most writers have too little.

When I write, I tend toward AU that could fit in canon. Stuff we know wouldn't happen or didn't happen, simply because the writers didn't go there, but you could suspend disbelief for it. Or at least I can, which is why I write it, LOL! I do worry sometimes that I'm going into left field and everyone's just staring at me when I say, "this could totally happen!" But at the same time, these AU jaunts are more for me, because I like tying the things in my brain in with the show. I don't think I'm making sense, but I could elaborate on that if you want, lol!
Working for the Mandroid: Deeper Meaning (Dean/Jo)moonshayde on September 29th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
I shouldn't post when I can't think clearly, LOL

A lot of this applies to other fandoms, but I'm going to talk SPN for the moment.

Personally, I am most interested in fic where everyone sounds like, reacts like, feels like the characters on the show (or movie). And it has to have a good story. I find fics that stick close to canon do this best, and that is why I an a canon snob. That said, I don't need a canonesque fic to be complete standalone case!fic, either. That can get boring.

But there are certain types of fic I'll still stay away from even if the characters are fantastic. I don't like full-on AUs, for example, or pairings that I'm not interested in, no matter how well written they are.

I'm hardest on fics that OOC (to me), too smarmy, or ones that vilify a character. Like, I can't read abusive!John fic, fic where Dean is too shallow/pop referencey, Sam is a weak manboy, etc. And I think this is just specific to me and a couple of other people, but I don't like too much cursing in fic either. It throws me out sometimes because they don't talk like that on the show. I don't get to read much fic, so when I do I am insanely picky about it. It doesn't mean I think people should stop writing what I don't like. It's just hard for me to find what I do like.

So, my categories here aren't hard and fast rules. I just want an engrossing fic where the character ARE the characters. For instance, I enjoyed your Dean/Impala fic and the Dean/Jo that I've read and that's not exactly canon ;) And my friend meg_tdj wrote an AU angel!fic that fit so well into canon it was scary. I loved it.

When I write, I put plot and characterization first and foremost. Or I try to. If that ends up being a case!fic or a het fic or an angsty fic, so be it. I even play with cliches. Sometimes I feel guilty about cliches that I use - like Dean with wings or this Bobby fic I've been mulling over - because I sometimes feel they aren't good enough. But it boils down to whatever makes you happy. And happy for me is compelling story and awesome characters :)

And feel free to elaborate. I never mind people talking away on LJ.

lastwordslinger on September 29th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
What is thinking clearly, really? ;)

I am picky about case!fic, I admit it. I like to see people use new monsters or new scenarios, not just pull old ideas out of a hat as an excuse to write H/C or what have you. And I kind of like to see them do it in a way that meshes with the feel of the show. If I'm reading a case!fic and it doesn't feel like the show, then I cease to see the point and stop reading. That's part of why I don't write purely case-related stories and I try to include other elements and plots, because I don't have the confidence in myself to write just Sam and Dean working a case and it sound like it's meant to.

I could go on and on about stuff I've seen in fics that just bugged me. Abusive!John is one of the worst. I sincerely do NOT believe he ever did anything like that to the boys, so yeah, it feels really off.

And personally, I've cut down on cursing in fic for my own reasons, but at the time when I was using that to a degree, I was influenced by something Kripke said in an interview. That he would like to do a movie so it could be rated R, and that way the boys could curse like they're supposed to, LOL! That and "Ghostfacers", with the two of them cursing up a storm, but everything was cleverly bleeped. Hehehe...

You mentioning the Dean/Impala fics actually leads perfectly into an explanation of what I was talking about, heh! That idea is obviously not canon. BUT! I'm making an effort to try and work it between happenings on the show. It's not going to be this thing where she's suddenly human half the time. Nope. It's one night a month, which I think is believable. So that's sort of what I meant by believable AU. It doesn't interfere with the show on the type of scale where it denounces anything. It just plays between what we've seen and says, "what if this happened, too?" Even my giant stories I co-author with a friend are like that, but only because I'm a stickler for making sure everything fits. And even then, sometimes I have to blow a big sigh and say, "screw canon just this once." But that is truly rare for me.
Working for the Mandroid: Castiel's Chargemoonshayde on September 29th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
I'm picky on casefic too. I prefer stuff we haven't seen before, but if there is a new twist on it or the author does an amazing job with something old, I'd be sold. I know I've done both. I've done new stuff like the bogeyman, leprechauns, and bunyip, but I love demons and angels too. Not too much you can change/be different about with them ;)

not just pull old ideas out of a hat as an excuse to write H/C

Word to that.

As for the cursing, I know what Kripke's said and we have "Ghostfacers" - which I can fandwank an explanation for - but for me fic sounds right the closer it is to their on-screen speech habits. So F-this every 5 words doesn't sound like Sam or Dean to me, you know? As always, I'm fine with people writing that way. I am not out to impose my standards. It's just not what I seek in a fic :)

You mentioning the Dean/Impala fics actually leads perfectly into an explanation of what I was talking about, heh! That idea is obviously not canon. BUT! I'm making an effort to try and work it between happenings on the show.

And that is exactly what I am doing in my wing!fic. I told myself I would just go all out and not pay attention to canon after a certain point, but who am I kidding? So I watch canon closely and I adapt as I go. I already have an excuse how Dean and Jo have been seeing each other throughout S4 and then "meet" in S5. So yeah, it can be fun weaving into canon, but knowing full well what you're doing is AU at the same time!

BTW, I love the once a month thing as a way to keep your AU believable. I haven't read anymore in that universe because of time restraints, but I likely will in the future just for Sam's reaction alone :)
that which cannot be seentresa_cho on September 29th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
You know about comment_fic, right?

Also, to make my post worth something (hah!), I read fanfic for deleted scenes. Something that will fit into the show, but explores the characters in situations they haven't faced in the show. I can't read AUs or crack because it takes the characters completely out of context of their respective universes, and therefore I lose interest.

I like watching a show, and then going and looking at how other people react to the characters by reading their fanfic. It's awesome how many different ways fandom can interpret one action, or one character, or even one line of dialogue.
Working for the Mandroid: archaeologistmoonshayde on September 29th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Oh I didn't know about commentfic. Or I did, but not REALLY. That's cool. So many fandoms! That will be nice maybe to play with sometime if I can ever get my commentfic mojo going :)
that which cannot be seentresa_cho on September 29th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
I'd say just go and cruise the lonely prompts for a bit, but we all know how that ends up (see icon). I would hate to be an enabler of your addiction to writing comment_fic. :3
Seisachtheiaclaudiapriscus on September 29th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I like good casefics when that's what they are, and not just an excuse to indulge in excessive amounts of h/c (a genre subset I am not particularly fond of), but I have a soft spot for AUs and crossovers. That said, I really only have a soft spot for well done AUs and crossovers, the ones that require deep engagement with the characters and what makes them who they are. I'm not a fan of the really out-there ones, the ones that are so removed from canon that it's not really recognizable (e.g. "what if they all were space pirates instead" ) and I'm not as interested in crossovers that work by merely inserting character-equivalents into another verse. But a well-done AU is a way to play with a character, and really delve into what makes them tick, and I find that interesting. On the crossover side of things, it's pretty much the same. Though for supernatural I love crossovers with all the cop/investigator shows mostly because it's a theme I like to see in supernatural fic. And since crossovers tend to try to be fair to both sets of characters, I think it leads to a lot more "natural" conflict and tension.
Working for the Mandroid: Bobby FTWmoonshayde on September 29th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
I admit I am not a big crossover fan, but I imagine there are some excellent ones out there, especially with investigator shows. I'm about the same with you when it comes to AUs. I like when they can reveal more about a character. I'm big on character.

Thanks for your thoughts :)
     Mandya_phoenixdragon on September 29th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Hey, this post is totally understandable!

I usually have a problem with comment fic for that reason as well - my stuff gets WAY long and REAL quick. I prefer to dabble in AU, though - and I KNOW that alot of times, I see things differently than the rest of fandom - but that's okay. That's what makes the fic world go round!

*hugs you*