you know what I did last summer
Writing, for me, is kinda like a bodily function. It just happens whether I want it to or not. It’s automatic, it’s systematic. It’s hydromatic. And if I don’t do it regularly it builds up and comes out all on its own till I find myself standing at a sink with my arms elbow deep in dishwater and my mind raging full of people who live in there all the time for some reason, uninvited.
This summer I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I didn’t want to do it, but I almost had to. Because if I didn’t get it out of me, these tiny imaginary terrorists would have taken over my brain by force and demanded that I fly them all to Cuba. So I gave into temptation and did this thing that I swore that I would never, ever do.
I wrote a fan fiction.
Fan fictions are something that I, as a Serious Writer, have long disdained. I have adapted works before, twice to be exact, into television series that were never read by anyone other than myself, but those were not fan fictions, oh no, they were adaptations. They were Serious Writing. Fan fictions are for weirdo freakazoids who think fictional characters are real and that they want to have sex with unemployed acne-ridden loserballs who live in their parents’ attic. And I do NOT live in my parents’ attic. I would have never stooped so low as to write a fan fiction, no, not I, not ever. And especially not a SUPERNATURAL fan fiction, which is the fan fiction that I just so happened to write. That’s the worst fan fiction there is because everyone and their duck writes them. They’re by far and away the most common fan fiction and while I have never actually perused a fan fiction personally I have an inkling that like 99.8% of all Supernatural fan fictions are unreadably bad.
But here’s the thing. I wanted to know how it ended. I really, truly did. I watched that damn show for 10 years before I gave it up as having irredeemably jumped the shark (it wasn’t that they turned Dean into a demon that did it, I thought that was a great plot twist, it was that they turned him back again inside of 3 episodes and it ended up with him and Sam sitting back in the Impala again bemoaning their angst and I thought “My God, I just can’t DO this any more”) and I really wanted to know what happened. I heard that the show was ending this year, the 13th season, and I thought perhaps I should try to play catch up, watch the last two seasons real quick and see how it came out but when I sat down to try I realized that unless the writers managed to somehow pulled a miracle out of their butts, I was gonna be super disappointed.
This travesty has already happened to me twice. Lost and Veronica Mars. I HATED the end of both of those – thinking about the end of Lost causes me actual physical pain and the Veronica Mars movie is on a short list of the worst pieces of crap I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Seriously, in the middle of the Veronica Mars movie, Dax Shepherd, Veronica Mars’ real life husband, comes up to her in a bar and does a dance that lasts like 7 entire minutes and I was screaming “you’re breaking my 4th wall for this???” the whole entire time. It was terrible and what made it worse was that I could see so very easily how they could have fixed it with only a ruthless Daxectomy and the barest minimum of changes (alls they had to do was make Veronica’s dad the one falsely accused of murder and Logan a crooked Neptune City police detective and it all would have fallen into place) and it broke my heart as a true fan of the show. Also, if you know anyone affiliated with that show could you please inform them I’d like my $6 Amazon rental fee back?
I just didn’t want to be let down again. Not when it comes to Supernatural. Supernatural has been a part of my life for so long that it’s practically a member of the family, like an old dog that drools constantly and smells terrible and pees on the floor sometimes but you just can’t imagine your life without it. We actually set a special place for Supernatural at the dinner table on Thanksgiving and give it an extra large serving of pie. 10 whole years – that’s like a fifth of my life practically watching this ridiculous show and I have some of the best memories watching it with my then-teenage-now-adult sons and having very serious discussions afterwards, mostly about how much we hated Charlie. I just couldn’t give it up without a fight to watch some bullshit ending that would only let me down. So I decided what the hell, I’ll write my own, at least I’ll be happy with it. And I did. And I was. So there.
All this got me to thinking about the nature of fan fictions. Maybe I’ve misjudged them. I mean, as a creator you send your work out there into the ether and the fans, if you’re lucky enough to have any I wouldn’t know, receive it and maybe they like it. Maybe they even like it better than YOU. Maybe you’re just some hack writer who is so fricking happy to have a job that you jumped at the chance to write for a big name show like Supernatural but your real passion is that Dawson’s Creek reunion movie you’ve been working on. Or maybe you’re super excited about your Octocobra TV show instead. Whatever, maybe you’re just not that into Supernatural any more, or maybe you never even were, I mean it pays the bills and buys your kombucha and everything but you don’t LOVE it love it, not the way some of those freaky fans do, amirite?
It seems plausible, if not likely, that I, as a person who has watched the show since the beginning, who has watched it start to finish (well, up to the start of Season 10 anyway) at least twice with several dozen extraneous reruns to boot – may actually have just as good a feel for, and significantly more love than, the people who are paid money to pull plots out of their butts. I very well may know the universe better and have a much better understanding of the canon and the continuity. And maybe the same is true for at least some other people out there writing fan fiction. Maybe they just had an awesome idea for a Supernatural tale and just had to get it down on paper, and maybe because they’re devoted fans, Supernatural belongs to them just as much as it does to anyone, maybe even more than it belongs to the writers of the show at this point.
Creators seem to treat fans almost like an afterthought sometimes. I mean, I know they have a lot of things to balance when producing a show – budget, petulant actors, scheduling, run times, ad breaks, product placement, meddling from Hollywood muckety-mucks, but fans are almost an annoyance. True fans are a joke. They’re there to be exploited, to be placated and pandered to in the quickest and easiest way possible, usually the most lame way imaginable – fan service. Tossing a bone to the most extreme, most vocal group of fans, often without even bothering to wrap it into a greater plot or the already existing characterizations of the show. You want Charlie? This is how you get Charlie. Trying to pretend like you’re doing what the fans want when you’re really just trying to buy some of them off without shelling out even the least little bit of creative effort.
Everyone was pissed, and rightfully so, when George Lucas went back and retroactively changed Star Wars so Greedo shot first. I mean seriously WTH was that? Han shooting first was how it WAS. Han shooting first was in character, it was totally what “Han Solo” the character would done in that situation. The story belonged to us at that point. No backsies, dude. Lucas thinks he can tinker with this thing that is ours now? Eff u, man, eff u. That’s the way I feel about the whole last little bit of Supernatural before I quit watching. The writers were messing with the natural order of this thing that I love and it was infuriating. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW CROWLEY’S BACKSTORY. He’s CROWLEY, let him be Crowley!!! And the most egregious example of course, was having Sam and Dean, Dean especially, acting starry-eyed and gaga over Charlie. Dean NEVER ACTS like that. Dean didn’t act like that over his ex-girlfriend Lisa, for cripes’ sake. He didn’t act that way over dearly departed Jo, who he had years of history with and who really was like a kid sister to him. Charlie was a stranger, why would he have ever acted so soft and fuzzy towards her? It was totally out of character. Charlie Bradbury was my “Han shot first” moment.
I seriously thought at some point Charlie was going to be revealed as having cast a Mary Sue spell over our heroes and eventually she’d be vanquished like the soul sucking demon she so obviously is. But apparently, some fans liked Charlie. (wut.) So the writers kept going with her because they obviously don’t love, or even understand Supernatural. They were like “I think this show is about two dudes who sit in a car and have angst, or something” and then as a follow up “some people think this show needs more females, and gay stuff, so how about a lesbian. Two-fer!” and then they high fived each other and knocked off early that day. SPN peeps, if you think they gave you Charlie because they love u and value u so much, think again. Charlie was the result of some half-assed polling that they did that told them your loyalty would be very cheaply purchased. The logic that led to throwing the fans Charlie as some sort of rabid fan chew toy while completely giving up even the barest pretense of any effort at maintaining consistent character development for Dean in particular ruined the show.
Some people may have liked Charlie (and those people are lunatics) but Charlie was not what they really wanted and certainly not what they needed. They needed a great show with a great plot and characters that were believable and grew over time. And they had that! They had that if they wouldn’t have pissed it away on second-rate writing done by people who were obviously phoning it in with all the passion of a 17 year old wiping tables at Burger King and whose bosses were listening too hard to the incessant cries of the Internet. Cacaw! Cacaw! Lookit, I would have been totally fine with Recurring Charlie the Lesbian Computer Programmer if it made sense to the plot and she hadn’t been a total Mary Sue and Dean and Sam had acted, you know, like Dean and Sam act normally, in the episodes she was in. But they didn’t and she WAS a Mary Sue and that was unforgivable.
Shows are best when they stay true to themselves but still surprise us, when they do things that we didn’t even expect but when they happen you realize wow, they completely make sense in the universe. Not when they pander to the worst kind of fan’s momentary whim and betray their own fundamental nature to do that pandering. When you love a show, really love it, getting exactly what you think that you want is bad, mmkay? It’s boring and predictable and when it happens in a way that is contrary to natural order of things in our beloved universe, breaking all the rules of the show’s inherent magic, actively undermining the characters that you purport to like, just so you can get a little rush because you think you got a box to tick off in your game of Marginalized Character Bingo…honestly, I just cannot see any appeal in that whatsoever.
So all things considered I have come to the conclusion that if anything, Supernatural belongs MORE to me than the idiots writing it at present. Why shouldn’t I try my hand at it? Surely I couldn’t do any worse than a lesbian flirtation involving Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (why must you hurt me by making me discuss this?). If I can fix the stuff I hate, just for myself, and be happy with the end result, why should I hesitate to do so in the privacy of my own home simply because I’m afraid that people will think I’m weird?
Muppet News Flash – writing IS weird. It is an entirely bizarre pursuit done by very strange people like me and my brethren and sistren and in the final analysis, whether one is writing characters off the TV or that one made up inside one’s own mind, it’s really pretty much equally weird either way. So who am I, Serious-Yet-Unpublished-Writer, who makes up people in my abby-normal brain all day long anyways, to sit in judgement of someone who prefers to indulge that proclivity using already existing characters?
No one, that’s who. I have no pride here. I set my pride aside, checked my dignity at the door 37 years ago when I first put pen to paper to write some stupid fantasy story that I don’t even remember any more but it was a Lisa Frank wet dream involving rainbows and unrepentantly bad witches and herds of horses led by unicorns and lots of amazing gowns and dogs that could talk and everything was lavender; even the main character’s name was Lavender. (I actually remember it all with crystal clarity to be honest).
And beyond all that, beyond concerns of muh dignity, it’s true that the show has its problems. Every show does. Supernatural is an imperfect show hamstrung by being on the CW among many other factors. There are elements of Supernatural that people dislike rightfully, and elements that people dislike wrongfully, and if you write a fan fiction you can have the power to fix those things – for yourself – without inflicting your solutions upon other innocent people. Like, just to choose a totally random example here, if you happen to look at Supernatural and think “you know, what this show desperately needs is a lesbian Mary Sue that Sam and Dean fawn over incessantly and inexplicably” you can totally do that and you can enjoy that all on your own without people like me having to suffer through those episodes.
So I guess I’m coming out as a fan fictioner. I fan fictioned. Fan fictioning is a thing that I have done and honestly – I kind of enjoyed it. I’m not saying I’ll do it again, but you know, get a couple drinks into me and next thing you know we’ll be finding out what happens when Moya and Talyn starburst into the Twelve Colonies right when the Cylons are attacking and there’s gonna be two Crichtons and maybe a talking dog and it’s gonna be lit.
Fan Fiction is a lot like Poetry. It’s OK if you do it, and it’s OK if you enjoy doing it, but for the love of Bragi don’t subject other people to it without their consent.Report
“Read what is in this Trapper Keeper, or the puppy gets it.”Report
OMG! You had that happen too! Or was it your Trapper Keeper?
As an aside, one thing that bugs me about Fan Fic, or, well, any kind of pulp-ish fiction, is the choosing of names for main characters. One of the fastest way to make sure I don’t read a story is to have the main character have some ridiculous name that would only ever come about because the main character had parents who should have been stuffed into a coal sack and beaten, or because they went to court, got their name changed to something that sounded “Cool!” when they were 13, and then made up a lame story about their parents.
You know what I am talking about? The story of the modern female demon slayer named Lilith Shadowslayer.
Right… I mean Lilith I might be able to buy, if the last name was Miller, but Shadowslayer? Really? That is the family name? No one thought to change it over the years so something a bit more understated, maybe to avoid attention to the whole “I slay demons” part?
One of the reasons I like Harry Dresden is because the character has a normal name. Ok, sure, his full name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, but those two middle names are rarely mentioned, and cleverly explained (dad was a stage magician, guess who his idols were). All the characters have normal names, and if a character had some kind of ridiculous name, Harry would loudly mock it.
Fully agree and I always delighted in that aspect with Dresden. Kind of a trope twister. But Karrin Murphy, Susan Rodriguez, Michael Carpenter – everyone who should have fairly normal names, does.
I worked around that by having Dean actually have to give the additional character a name, which he did in such a fashion true to his character, and so the stupidity of it could be blamed fully on him. 🙂Report
How do you feel about “Buffy Summers” as a hero name?Report
That’s meant to be ridiculous, but I’m down with it.
Now Buffy having friends named “Willow, Xander, Angel, Cordelia, Harmony” has always kind of bugged me to be honest but I can’t control the universe (unless I were to write it as a fan fic, in which case I could)Report
This. Buffy was meant to be a contradiction.
Now if her name was Buffy Fangslayer, then I’m outReport
@kristin-devine I have to admit that Xander is the only one of those that never bugged me. I mean, Alexanders are a dime a dozen and if all the people I knew were named stuff like “Willow” and “Oz” and “Cordelia” and “Harmony”, I probably would have started going by Xander rather than Alex in about… 3rd grade? 😀Report
Didn’t they all have pretty normal last names?
(OK, Cordelia Chase sounds like the name of minor character from a DC comic book….)Report
They did. And it turns out Oz’s name is actually Daniel Osbourne (I had to look that up) so maybe he was also self-defense.
Hm, and Spike was William, but he was with Drucilla.
Angel was Liam, but he was with Darla (before).
Giles adopted Ripper after being raised by a magically-youthful set of aunts Lavinia (weird) and Sophie (not weird) Fairweather (def weird), and then the woman he was hanging out with at the time was Diedre (who spells it that way?), later possed by Eyghon.
This is quite the entertaining completely-fake pattern I’ve established here!Report
I mean everybody calls me “Pillsy”, which has a similar relationship to my last name as “Oz” does to Osbourne.
(I use a tissue-thin pseudonym for reasons that probably don’t hold up to scrutiny.)Report
More people call me atomic than call me Kristin. I actually hide behind Kristin so the people who know me me as atomic lastname cannot find me LOL.Report
I mean everybody calls me “Pillsy”, which has a similar relationship to my last name as “Oz” does to Osbourne.
I will, from now on, assume your real last name is Pillsbourne.Report
My mom just lent me the first of the “JK Rowling writing for adults under a pseudonym” book series and the name of the detective in it is….
For some reason I always make an exception for detectives with preposterous names. Maybe because the eponymous hero of one of my favorite series is named Heironymous “Harry” Bosch.
And the only reason “Sherlock Holmes” passes the giggle test is tradition.Report
I don’t know, man, people had some pretty weird names in olden times.
I have ancestors named “Love” and “Wrestling”.
They did not solve mysteries of which I am aware.Report
ISTR that “Armor of God” was a first name that had some currency among Puritans.
I also think it’s about as implausibly badass as a name can be.
There should be a hard-bitten detective named Armor of God Jones.Report
Get writing, Pillsy. You can do this.Report
When people decide not to change the “default name” for the video game…
Well, that’s how you get “Hiro Protagonist” as a Main Character Name.Report
I actually know a woman named Willow but it’s just in light of the larger “she is destined to turn into a witch” angle that it sticks out to me.
Xander, to me, is the name of a kid who is at present 14. No one my age is named Xander, they would be most decidedly Alex, Andy, or Lex, if they were supercool and into affectation I know there are exceptions like Zander Berkeley but it’s just as a general rule I read that as a younger guy’s name.Report
FWIW, “Xander” doesn’t have that feel to me. I take it as the less common nickname for Alexander.
Also, how do you get “Andy” out of Alexander? That seems to me really weird.Report
I know a couple Andys and several Sandys (the Sandys are older men, since that became a popular woman’s name the nn has fallen off for men). Given name AlexANDer.
Maybe it’s regional??Report
@kristin-devine It might be. I knew a few Sandy’s my age or younger and some Xanders back where I grew up, snarking aside.
As a place with mostly Scots and mostly family names (inherited from a relative, I mean), we basically had so many Alexanders you couldn’t throw a stick without hitting one, so people had to get creative.Report
Also, the show took place in California and while only explicit with Buffy (which is short for Elizabeth, I think), the basic gag was “It’s crazy what people name their kids out in California”.
Which is to say — slightly uncommon, a tad hipster or hippy, with an avoidance of the usual nicknames.Report
Ah yes, I had forgot that was part of the joke originally, wasn’t it?? A play on Valley Girls – Buffy, Muffy, and Tiffany.Report
It’s a continuum, isn’t it? I can write a Star Trek story and it’s “fanfic.” Or maybe my story is good enough and I shop it correctly and now it’s not fanfic anymore, it’s a non-canon Star Trek novel. Or maybe my story is really really good and I get a writing credit on the next screenplay and it’s a canon story and now suddenly I am an Official Star Trek Writer.
In none of these cases have I invented the principal characters (well, maybe the antagonist), nor created the substantial part of the universe, and if I’ve done the job right I have mirrored the general emotional tone and narrative arc of other stories within the milleu. I am aping, copying, satirizing, parodying, following, [other similar gerund] someone else’s story. Ultimately, I’m following Gene Roddenberry’s story.
I’m in no way equivalent to Roddenberry. I’m in some ways equivalent to the dozens-to-thousands of other writers who have followed him as well, depending on the degree of commercial success my writing achieves.Report
I always wonder how to classify movie novelizations. Same characters, same universe, same story. Yet some of them are good and some of them are terrible.Report
And yet I wonder…
I’ve read/seen some terrible things with a stellar premise but they just died on the vine. I often wish a better author could have taken the same idea and run with it.
Seems to me that there are many elements to good creative writing and premise is only one. Everyone has a whizbang idea for a great movie or book or whatever but doesn’t know how to take that and turn it into anything (at least worth reading). It could be that the next guy is even better than the because s/he took something and improved upon all the other elements that were lacking in the original.Report
There was an SF trend in the 80s for shared universes. These were not a writer you have otherwise never heard of piggy backing on another writer’s work, like the Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz books written after Baum had died. These were stories and novels by established writers, working in a universe expressly designed for this. None clicked with me. Some of the individual entries were OK, but none jumped out at me as better than OK. I’m not sure why this is, but a writer working in someone else’s universe never works for me.
This certainly applies to the Star Trek novels. I read a couple that were decent, but my reaction is that they would have been better had the author tied them to Star Trek. (Marketing them is another story, of course.) Again, this is for me. If they work for you, that’s great! You have a source of books you will enjoy that I lack.
When it comes to straight up fanfic the same dynamic certainly applies. Add to this the “unedited self-published fiction” dynamic. My reaction to the modern self-published ebook novels, three bucks on Amazon phenomenon is that I want gatekeepers, and I am willing to pay for them.Report
This reminds me of the sequel to Gone With The Wind, which I have tried to block from my mind entirely.Report
It would never have occurred to me to read it. See also: the modern sequels to Pride and Prejudice. I have toyed with reading The Wind Done Gone, but I have never heard it being talked about because it is good, rather than merely provocative.Report
@kristin-devine In repayment for having caused me to remember this (I didn’t read it, I just worked in a bookstore for a long time) –
There’s a prequel too.Report
Haha…thanks, I thinkReport
Much of DS9 is called “Make Gene Roddenberry roll over in his grave.”Report
I really enjoyed this post, Kristin. Smart and funny. I’ve never let a fanfic outside the confines of my own head, but I *did* start reading them at some point in the early 2000s.
The switch for me was finding a few excellent writers I knew for other completely unrelated reasons who wrote fanfic as well as their other writing, and then gradually finding *filters*, so that I only read the *good* fanfics that are equal in quality (or better in some cases, or slightly less good but still rather outstanding writing) than what I come across in the original books, films, tv shows, etc. that they are based on… without having to wade through the unreadable dreck to find it.
The Rec Center (though way too identity-focused in its tone and asides for many commenters here, I suspect) has sent my fanfic consumption through the roof (uh, where “through the roof” means a few stories a month rather than a few stories a year :D). Cause I can tell from their descriptions if a story is likely to irritate me more than delight me…Report
I’m so glad, thanks!
And I appreciate the link. I did sneak a peek at a couple other notorious fan fic sites but they all seemed exceedingly porny which is not at all my cup o tea.Report
@kristin-devine Yeah, I can see how it wouldn’t be.
I don’t remember it very well (read it at a time that I’ve kind of blocked out for other reasons), but one of the fanfics I devoured upon first meeting it was Steven Brust’s unauthorized Firefly novel, My Own Kind of Freedom (scroll down to the bottom of that page for links to Creative-Commons-licensed files in epub, mobi, and pdf -ignore photo of author with scantily-clad women as QUITE atypical and something of an inside joke). Not sure if you had enough attachment to the show to be interested, I know you were frustrated with Joss big-time by then, but if so you might enjoy it. I *do* remember that I preferred it to the show in several ways. Brust is a pretty amazing professional writer, published many sf and fantasy novels that have won many awards, etc. And regardless, you might like this recommendation of it, which is actually an essay theorizing about why we are driven to fanfic in the first place.Report
This is a great post. I’ve never written fan fiction, but to be honest I kind of want to except that I can’t actually write anything.Report
I feel about writing the way that men under the age of twenty five feel about being the biggest badass on the planet according to Snow Crash:
But you may be, though.
Writing is a funny thing in that some people are just inherently good at it – generally those who read a lot.
You never know till you try. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done (and I have children yikes not supposed to admit that publicly but there it is)Report
…I kind of want to except that I can’t actually write anything.
Ray Bradbury’s advice was to write 1,000 words per day, every day. After three years, that’s more than a million words. No one can write a million words and not get better.Report
Comment every day. Comment *EVERY* day. Comment every day!Report
I have found it difficult to work extended dialog into comments/posts here. With one exception…Report
Michael, that’s a great piece. Really enjoyed that a lot!Report
Commenting isn’t writing though.
I can’t back that up at all, but writing is impossibly hard to do, and commenting is impossibly hard not to do.Report
This, so much this, some time ago a very kind person offered to have me write for their blog? Total failure. I can write a decent comment but I just fizz wordlessly when it comes to composing an actual post.Report
I have a commute of a bit under an hour each way. I spend it planning my writing: sorting out ideas, working out what order to put them in, how to transition from one idea to the next, and so forth. I find this time invaluable in writing my book. I might spent a week of commute time ruminating before actually writing a chapter of five or six pages. I suspect that writing fiction is an entirely different mental process, but what do I know? I find the process of writing fiction a dark mystery.Report
A very important part of writing is having time in which you are doing absolutely nothing of any value with your brain. It’s an underrated aspect of the process. I had a job where I vacuumed for hours a night, and then a job where I took care of a dog kennel for hours a day, and now I have insomnia. That’s when I do most of my thinking about writing and then when I have the computer in front of me it just flies out. If I didn’t have those silent times I think it would be much more difficult.Report
Ohhhh I have a commute of about 5 minutes. Perhaps that’s a factor.
The only article I wrote was a tongue in cheek post about an Alberta election and Skeletor. Now that I’m thinking about it I wish I could find that site again. I liked that post.Report
Try walking: good exercise, while lengthening the commute to the point where you can get some serious thinking in.Report
What got me writing was “Harry Potter Methods of Rationality”
… of course, while writing Harry Potter fanfic, part of the game is exactly how far off-novel you can run things…Report
I dug this post. I dug it a lot. (It touches on some of the truths scratched upon in Patrick’s Fork in the Road post, now that I think about it.)
Stephen King, in one of his interviews or essays, said something to the effect of (and this is going to be a paraphrase): “there are two ways that writing works for me… the first is best analogized to building a house. You have to keep building and building and you realize that you forgot something early on and you have to go back and put it in there and it’s excruciating work. The other is like you’re excavating something. You dig and you find a room. What’s in the room? And you look around and you find a door, and you open the door… and you keep finding more and more hallways and rooms the more you excavate. I really prefer the writing that is excavating to the writing that is building.”
Really, really good fanfic is fanfic that is excavating. You’ve got these characters. You’ve got this setting. You’ve got this antagonist… and you realize that you’ve got this speech. And you suddenly find yourself seeing situations and excavating an entire story. And that’s awesome.Report
and thank you!Report
A couple of points:
1) The scene with Dax Shepard in the Veronica Mars movies is approximately 20 seconds long.
2) Suggesting that the Veronica Mars movie plot be entirely different is a weird ‘barest minimum of changes’. Also, Logan as a corrupt cop is a very strange character direction to take him in. The idea that Logan would ever work for the Neptune legal system (The people he has no respect for and who let his father go free.) is so far outside his character I can’t understand why you think that makes sense.
3) Supernatural is not ending this year. No one even knows where that rumor is coming from. Supernatural has such consistent ratings that it will basically only end when the stars get tired of it. And they have said the next milestone is the 300th episode, which would be the middle of season 14.
4) You have written an article about Supernatural fan fiction, talking about how the creators view fan fiction, and yet you have presumably have not seen the Supernatural episode ‘Fan Fiction’. Heh.
And now the main point: Wow, you really hate Charlie, a character that was in a grand total of seven episodes over three seasons. Fair enough. You can hate whatever character you want.
However, and I’m not sure here, but by ‘buying the fans off’, you seem to be working from the theory that Charlie was supposed to represent the fans. I’ve heard that theory before, and I completely disagree. (If that is not your theory, disregard this.)
I think perhaps some of the _fans_ thought that…I don’t think the showrunners ever did. Because I doubt they would have, uh, killed the fans. Or…had them that on that rarely.
Now, I do think there is a reasonable argument that, in the episodes Slumber Party and Pac-Man Fever, Charlie was a Mary Sue, but she’s in pretty good company in Supernatural, which has Mary Sues all over the place, and our main characters have often drifted into that themselves, especially Cas. If that breaks the character for you, whatever, but that’s entirely different than arguing that she is some sort of fan pandering.
In fact, making her a Mary Sue pretty clearly indicates to me that she isn’t supposed to represent the fans, because the writers…well, don’t really care much for the fans. Or at least didn’t seem to care much at that point, when Charlie was introduced, which was, I remind you, the same season as ‘Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!’, where they had the actual stand-in for fans, Becky, who is sad, pathetic, and a slight lunatic.
This treatment of the fans changed later, but you haven’t seen Fan Fiction, which is an episode you really need to watch. It’s in season ten, and like all meta episodes, pretty unconnected from the main plot, so you can watch it by itself. And, hey, look, at some point the writers started respecting the show’s fanbase.
Just…not when they introduced Charlie. And they did respect Charlie, even to the point of Mary-Suing her, ergo, Charlie cannot be the show’s fans. If she’s any sort of pandering, it’s just basic stunt casting, trying to grab some Felicia Day fans.Report
The fact that you can’t see my joke about how long the Dax Shepherd moment lasted is I think highly illustrative. Yes, I was aware it did not actually last for 7 minutes.
So Logan as an officer in the Navy makes more sense. LOL. Sometimes you have to bend the rules while writing fiction to put characters into situations where they can interact and have sparks fly between them and that would have done it much more sensibly than Logan being a Naval pilot after having staged bumfights and all, but somehow being accused of murder and so Veronica torching her whole entire life to come back and bail the guy out. Now THAT didn’t make any damn sense for the character.
I heard it was ending. That’s why I decided to write my own ending. Whatever happened after that was out of my range of experience.
I didn’t watch that episode. I stopped watching just before that episode. When Dean turned into a demon and back again so fast and I was just done.
I stand by my read of Charlie.Report
@kristin-devine For the most part I agree with you about everything here that isn’t about Supernatural (haven’t even seen season 1 yet).
But making Logan a Navy officer actually did make *some* sense, in the not-actually-realistic-sense-making way that has been the Veronica Mars sweet spot ever since first season…. He wanted to get out of dodge, *so badly*, and he wanted to turn his life around and he has a hell of a lot of brains and drive. And, y’know, buying your bad boy sons a Navy commission has historic resonance going back to the 18th century, even though today’s Navy, I have it on reliable intel, has better standards.
Of course it wouldn’t really have happened but neither would most of the show’s plot? And I say that as a total marshmallow.
Not that it matters, I think it’s fabulous that we differ because your differing is usually quite hilarious. er, in the intentional way, obviously. nothing like some grade A show snark.Report
I may write about Logan’s transformation, actually. I have had that in my brain since I watched the VM movie in the first place, but wasn’t writing then and did not realize there is as much interest as there is. This is like the 3rd time the topic has come up in the past 2 days for some reason.
As an interesting aside, Jason Dohring actually guested on Supernatural and died horribly so I resurrected his character in my fan fiction because I could. 🙂Report
The fact that you can’t see my joke about how long the Dax Shepherd moment lasted is I think highly illustrative. Yes, I was aware it did not actually last for 7 minutes.
The fact you pointed _that_ out as a huge problem of a movie is somewhat illustrative too.
Most of us utterly forgot about that scene thirty seconds after it happened. When I read this article, I suddenly remembered ‘Hey, wait, that’s right…Dax Shepard was going to have a cameo in the Veronica Mars movie…did that even happen? I don’t remember him.’ and having to go google it to see where the hell he was in that movie ‘Oh, right, he tried to get Veronica to dance for twenty seconds.’.
There are plenty of problems with the Veronica Mars movie, and I found it rather disappointing in a lot of ways. None of those problems were a twenty second cameo.
Complaints I have about the movie off the top of my head:
Hey, isn’t Wallace supposed to be an engineer, not a high school teacher? (Talk about people in the wrong career.) Hell, if they really needed him involved with the school for the plot, which they did not, they could have had him as some sort of guest lecturer or something.
Dan Lamb – Really? Couldn’t have come up with a different character for the corrupt sheriff? How about _Vinnie Van Lowe_, the guy who, presumably, won the sheriff election back in the season three finale?
Weevil’s ‘tries to help Celeste, gets shot and arrested’ plot is completely pointless and unresolved. If they wanted to show that Veronica would now be solving cases, they shouldn’t have shown what had happened, and instead made the last scene of the movie Weevil calling from jail and saying ‘Veronica, I need your help’ and cut to black, which would make a nice call-back to the start of the movie.
Piz, why are you in this movie? I have no problem with you, but you really are not serving any purpose at all, and they have to jump through hoops to explain why the relationship between you and Veronica has not progressed any. Or, if we want Piz in the movie, come up with an excuse to have him still in Nepture (Perhaps have _him_ work at the high school.) how about having him as a sort of disgruntled voice of reason who cynically gave up on Veronica a long time ago?
So Logan as an officer in the Navy makes more sense.
Logan had not, in the entire time we knew him, made any comments about the military I am aware of, pro or con. So, yes, him joining the Navy, which we have no idea of his opinions of, makes more sense than him joining the police, especially the Neptune police, an organization he utterly dislikes.
Let’s also recall the movie isn’t the first time he’s been falsely charged with murder by the police.
Logan being a Naval pilot after having staged bumfights and all
Which was not illegal, and the legal system was not involved with at all. And done while he was a minor on top of that.
…wait, is this you just not liking Logan? I mean, that’s a perfectly acceptable position to have, I’m not a huge Logan fan either. He’s playing the femme fatale in the gender-flipped noir universe of VM, so he gets away with a lot of crap he really shouldn’t, and I can’t even vaguely understand why Veronica puts up with it. (Which is an interesting point about gender stereotypes, because I’m normally fine with otherwise intelligent men doing really stupid stuff for femme fatales.) I understand Logan’s purpose in the show, but I don’t actually like him, either as a person in general or as a romantic interest for Veronica.
You want to argue that it’s implausible that he ended up a Naval officer, hey, whatever. I can see that argument.
I was just asserting him ending up a _cop_ is just completely absurd, character-wise. He could be a complete layabout or running some sort of business empire, sure. (Basically, I can see him being Dick #2.) But dirty cop is just…huh?Report
@davidtc I remembered it and I thought it was super-gross and annoying. And I didn’t even have the benefit until now of knowing it was Dax Shepherd so my take on it was “argh, Veronica Mars, why the random gross-ness?” And so I was highly amused by the 7 minutes joke.
And I *liked* the movie.Report
I remembered it and I thought it was super-gross and annoying.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was indeed gross.
It’s just the movie made so many weird missteps out of the source material that some guy acting gross toward Veronica barely registered…heck, some guy acting gross toward Veronica is perfectly in line with the source material.
And I didn’t even have the benefit until now of knowing it was Dax Shepherd so my take on it was “argh, Veronica Mars, why the random gross-ness?”
…because it’s Veronica Mars? A lot of men act very gross on Veronica Mars.
The start of the movie had Veronica in a waiting room to interview for her lawyer job, and the other guy there, presumably someone who was also interviewing to be a high-powered laywer…drew a dick and showed it to her.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I did recognize him while watching, so my assumption was probably more along the lines of ‘Okay, they are introducing Dax Shepard’s character. Okay, he’s playing an asshole of some sort, I wonder who he will turn out to be. Does Veronica know him? Does he have relevance to this case?’ and then…no, they were not, in fact, ‘introducing’ him, that was just it, the entire thing.
For something that is not a character introduction, it’s way too long, especially with the way it’s edited, cutting back and forth, with too much dead space.
I am all on board with the idea that scene was done poorly in the movie. I was just basically amazed at ‘Of all the badness of the movie, you list a 20 second cameo as one of the two major problems?’
Man, that movie has so many other things wrong with it(1), and I say that as someone who hasn’t watched it in years so have probably forgotten half of them. When I was watching the movie, it was like ‘Okay, she’s…still with Piz, except, no, they broke up and got back together, and should I care about any of this, and hey look they forgot what Wallace’s character was studying to be, why are they introducing Don Lamb 2.0 instead of having Vinnie as sheriff, etc, etc.’
But, hey, what makes and breaks a movie is an opinion. I was basically just trying to say ‘You can just push ‘skip’ on the remote, once, to get past that scene.’.
1) The weird thing is, the plot is pretty good, and it’s a perfectly serviceable mystery of the sort Veronica Mars normally provided, if you ignore how the characters are all over the place. I wonder if it wasn’t intended to be the season 4 arc.Report
@davidtc the season 4 arc was meant to involve the fbi more though it might still have been the same arc-ish: did you see this sweet extended (12ish) minute trailer/clip from the season 4 pilot?
From what I understand of the show, the FBI thingy was sorta intended to be a second pilot _after_ the series got canceled. It was a pitch for basically an entirely different show, perhaps even with a different name than ‘Veronica Mars’, just using the same character (And maybe a few others).
What I was wondering if the plot of the movie wasn’t intended to be the plot of the original fourth season before it was canceled. Or at least one of the arcs, assuming they were going to do that season like they did season three.
OTOH, without the time skip, without it happening for almost a decade, some of that story loses its point, so maybe not.
Or, heck, maybe it was intended to take place on the FBI show, which did have a time skip.Report
@davidtc FWIW it wasn’t so much that it was gross, it’s that it was gratuitously gross. Like, yes, men are often gross on VM but unless it’s Dick (whose character’s job it is to be gross all the time) there’s generally a *reason* that the show puts them there being gross
This was just like “WHY DID YOU JUST DO THAT?” for me. Enough so that years later I still shuddered at the mention of it. Knowing that it was her husband at least explains the why.Report
FWIW it wasn’t so much that it was gross, it’s that it was gratuitously gross. Like, yes, men are often gross on VM but unless it’s Dick (whose character’s job it is to be gross all the time) there’s generally a *reason* that the show puts them there being gross.
I agree, but I think, in a way, it’s how long it’s gross. The aforementioned picture of a dick is just…there, and then we move on. It works as a joke.
Here, we get Veronica dismissing the guy, him gesturing for a dance, her rejecting him again, him doing some more emphatic gesturing and something with his hand that reads as obscene although it’s hard to figure out exactly what he’s trying to get across, her being disgusted, him doing some gross tongue thing, her rolling her eyes and looking around more, him wandering off, and finally her leaving.
It’s overly long, and the camera stays on both of them too long each cut on top of that. Like I said, I mistook it for an actual character introduction, ‘Here is a character. He is an asshole.’.
I get the seven minutes joke, believe me, it’s edited so it feels like forever. Frankly, this is a problem with the entire movie.
An editor who was paying attention would have edited that down to ‘She’s looking around, he sees her and makes an obscene gesture urging her to join him, she roll her eyes and leaves.’ Tada, joke.
Switching camera angles repeatedly makes things feel much longer than they actually are.
Alternately, if they wanted the cameo to be longer, when filming they could have had him appear in frame with her(1) while she’s looking around, start attempting to dance with her, she rejects him, or just ignores him, and leaves, and he keeps dancing by himself. Funny for people who know who he is, a completely ignorable background event for people who do not.
1) I would suspect, in any other cameo, that he was not on set with her, that the view of the back of her head is a double. This often happens with cameos of people with limited availability. It’s just…surely those two actors could have been on set at the same time!Report
Thanks for your input @DavidTC. I appreciate it.Report
I didn’t watch that episode. I stopped watching just before that episode. When Dean turned into a demon and back again so fast and I was just done.
That’s the second time you’ve indicated that you thought they solved that problem at the start of season 10.
They didn’t. The Mark of Cain turned him into a demon once, and it would do so again unless they were very careful…and it would still eventually do it anyway. The entire rest of the season they had to deal with the problem of ‘Dean might turn back into a demon’ and ‘Dean cannot be trusted to hunt by himself’ and ‘Dean is sorta slowly turning into a psychopath’ and ‘We really really need to do something about this Mark of Cain’.
It’s like complaining that Sam got out of The Cage quickly at the start of whatever season it was after he got trapped there. Well, yeah. Because that wasn’t the problem of the season…the problem was that Sam didn’t bring his soul with him.
You seem to have expected we’d have a season, or even half a season, of Dean as a demon running around with Crowley. I am not sure why. The execution of that would probably be pretty funny, but it wouldn’t be Supernatural.
They weren’t going to do a season of the show with Dean running around as a demon any more than they were going to do a season of the show with Sam trapped in The Cage, or Dean in hell, or either of the brothers dead in general. The show is both of them, together, that’s the premise of Supernatural. The show is willing to break the two up for…well, three episodes, basically. Maybe four. Then it puts them back together.
So they undid the demonization, as they already had demonstrated they knew how to do several seasons earlier, but they still had the original problem of Dean having something incredibly powerful(1) on him that was trying to turn him into a demon.
1) Once we find out what’s actually going on with the Mark of Cain, ‘incredibly powerful’ is a huge understatement.Report
All I can do is explain why I personally walked away from the show and why it led me to make a fun! lighthearted! decision to write my own ending.
I didn’t like how they did that part. I stopped watching in no small part because I felt like they had already pulled their punches SO many times already and I was tired of it.Report
All I can do is explain why I personally walked away from the show and why it led me to make a fun! lighthearted! decision to write my own ending.
…I don’t know how to convince you to watch Fan Fiction, but you really should. It’s about someone who does just that, who finishes the story, as an all-girl musical theatre production…and the Winchesters have to help.
I didn’t like how they did that part. I stopped watching in no small part because I felt like they had already pulled their punches SO many times already and I was tired of it.
I am not the TV police (I was forced to turn in my badge and my gun after I caused too much property damage with my cliches.), you can watch whatever you want. You can like whatever characters you want, and get annoyed at whatever Mary Sues you want.
I was just kinda confused, and in fact still am a bit confused, as to why you stopped watching Supernatural. (Which sounded like Charlie at first but that didn’t parse because you stopped after she died.)
Which, again, you don’t _have_ to explain, no one has to explain what shows they watch…I just don’t understand what you wrote _as_ an explanation.
On Supernatural, the status quo of Sam and Dean will always be returned to, because that is the show. They’re not going to leave those characters in an unusable state. They sometimes put them in unusable states for an episode or two, or maybe more over the season break…and then undo it.
You seem to have wanted more repercussions for Dean becoming a demon, but the reality was, the show already knew how to cure demons, from years ago. So unless the show wanted to keep letting him run around free, he was going to get cured.
The repercussions were from the Mark of Cain itself.Report
Uhmm… can we get a link, please?
Or is that too embarrassing?
I read a lot of fanfiction in my younger years and don’t regret it at all. Sure, 95% is very bad and the remaining 5% is more of a guilty pleasure than actually great, but sometimes you just want that low-effort relaxation.
Since it got easier to self-publish with Amazon and other places on the internet, it seems to me like a there are fewer actually great fanfiction stories.
When authors get to the level of writing a story that is actually good enough to earn some money, they now tend to self-publish rather than release it for free online.
(Maybe this is just a misperception and 10 years ago I just didn’t have an eye for actual quality yet.)Report
If there would be interest, I would. (It’s not raunchy LOL) I have a few scenes where I wrote “action sequence” that I would have to fill in before I posted it somewhere, and I don’t know where to post things like that. If someone fills me in on where you do something like that I’d be willing.Report
@kristin-devine I’d be interested.
Heck, it’s not our usual fare, but I’d be willing to host it here. (Probs not feature it though if it appeals to me without having ever watched supernatural I’d probably make an exception :D.)
But if you want it to be read by fellow supernatural fans you kind of have to go where the fans are, and that seems to be either dreamwidth or AO3 these days. dreamwidth is very straightforward to join, basically like livejournal if you remember that old workhorse.
AO3 (archive of our own) is a bit more complicated to post on, or so I hear, but has the advantage (???) of being Where All The Fans Are, and having good faqs. It was super easy to get an account , and once you have one the posting FAQ/tutorial is here:
AO3 also has the advantage of having *really good lawyers* to deal with copyright issues, whereas if anyone from the show took exception to us posting Supernatural fanfic, I’d just take it down.
That said I hear they like their fans now and have no complaints about fanfic, so as I said I’d be happy to have it be a post. We’ve run fiction before.Report
I recalled that I am actually in possession of my own personal blog and could post it there without having to learn a new posting system and creating an account and stuff. It’s pretty long though, just gonna warn you all. I basically wrote an entire final season in story form.
So, here are the first two installments of Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl.
@kylind just making sure you also see this comment since it’s gotten buried by time 🙂Report
@kristin-devine also should mention the absence of soon-ish response to having read it on my part denotes nothing but a superabundance of Unavoidable Stuff to Do in my life this week.Report
Oh no, that’s totally fine, it’s really quite long and I would blame no one for never reading it (and tbh there is a large part of me that hopes no one ever does) 🙂Report
Do post link!Report
I don’t read fan fiction. It’s not my thing. But game mods ARE like fan fiction in some ways, and I’ve loaded up a few dozen of those while playing Skyrim-a lot were house mods and mods to “extend the experience and world” but they generally kept the overall flavor.
Now, if anyone knows a Witcher 3 mod for some skanky ass clothing options for Yen, Triss, and Shanni, drop me a note. Or maybe a “strip qwent” mission with all three.
Note: I am a pervo.Report
I really, really wish that games would differentiate between “cosmetic” mods and “game changing mods”. Specifically when it comes to trophies and achievements. (I like them!).
Specifically, I really wish I could turn on things like the Fallout 4 keyring mod (it does nothing but place the eighty three million keys you have in your inventory, that can’t be removed, into a separate category from all the other quest items, so you can find stuff more easily) or some of the Skyrim weather mods (it just makes the snow and rain look better) and not lock myself out of achievements.
I can get why you’d want to lock people out of them if they have a mod that insta-levels them to max, or a modded weapon that can one shot bosses, etc.
But it drives me crazy that I’m forced to choose between playing with mods or getting achievements.Report
Same here. I have all sorts of mods for Fallout 4. Visual ones, UI tweaks, stuff that can’t possible affect gameplay, along with a lot of mods that could, in theory, like weapon mods and AI and dialogue changes, but I pick pretty balanced mods.
That’s not to say I never do things that should bar me from achievements…I got sick and tired of repeated walking across the map in survival mode and installed a mod that let me build motorcycles to fast travel between settlements, which is a much more reasonable game….but probably should not get me an achievement for survival mode.
It would be nice if the game could somehow see that the mod only modified textures, and thus is not any sort of cheating…well, I guess it could make the enemies bright orange or something, but that’s a dumb sort of cheating. I seem to recall something like that loophole getting used in multiplayer games that could be modded only in specific ways, though.
Allowing other stuff would be harder…how does it know that a mod that changes dialogue (Which I assume has scripts behind the entire thing) is fixing a bug, offering some previously diked out content, or is offering to just solve a problem for you?
But anyway. There is an addition to Fallout 4 called F4SE (Fallout 4 Script Extender) that lets mods do things mods aren’t allowed to do. It’s actually a DLL that loads into the game, and it was a bit of a hassle in the past because it has to exactly match the exe version, so has to get updated when that changes…but they aren’t issuing a lot of changes to that anymore. It also makes you have to run the game in a special way…but you can add that to Steam as a custom command, and hide the actual game. (Or if you’re using mods, the Nexus mod manager will detect it and launch Fallout correctly.)
I have that installed, and the only mod I have that uses it is a mod whose sole purpose is…to give achievements with mods installed. So I get them just fine. Now I’m sorta on the honor system WRT achievements. I could go find some invulnerable armor and BFG and beat the game without raising a sweat, and get all the achievements I want.
The really funny joke to all this is that there actually is, in the base game, a console command that will auto-complete all current quests, and that _gives you any achievments_ if you don’t have mods loaded. Granted, this will completely bork your current game, often teleporting you wildly around the place as dozens of script run on top of each other and it’s even possible to end up in screwy state because it teleported you into an area it made inaccessible seconds later, or never made accessible to start with, and it only does _current_ quests so you must have at least started the quests you want credit for finishing. And it also will happily, repeatedly, auto-save for you, thanks to those scripts, so make sure that you have a real saved game file.
But still. You want achievements, you can get them just by starting a quest, and typing in a code. (Granted, to start the endgame quests, you have to be halfway though the games anyway.)
I tested this a while back, just to see what happened, not knowing it gave achievements, which is why I have an achievement for completing the game while sided with the Institute in my Steam account, despite never having done that. If you want to try it out, and not get any achievements, obviously do it with modules loaded. (And not a module loaded to give you achievements anyway, duh.)
The console command is ‘caqs’, for ‘Complete All Quest Stages’.Report
But game mods ARE like fan fiction in some ways, and I’ve loaded up a few dozen of those while playing Skyrim-a lot were house mods and mods to “extend the experience and world” but they generally kept the overall flavor.
The nice thing about game mods is that, unlike other forms of ‘fan fiction’, game publishers have never really opposed them.
This might be because it’s more obvious that the people who use them are paying customers, whereas creators of other things have often been confused about that.
This was obviously wrong…by the time most people head over to fanfic they almost certainly have exhausted any officially published stuff several times over(1). But it often seemed to take a while for that to sink in, and writers sometimes thought people were reading fanfic of their stuff _instead of_ their stuff.
This is mostly not true anymore, writers have mostly caught on that fanfic is the stuff people do _after_ the original, and even writers who disallow fanfic of their stuff usually do not do that for bogus commercial reasons, but because they do not want people doing things with ‘their stuff’.
But with game mods, there never was that confusion, it was very obvious people using them were customers (Because they needed a copy of the game), and thus modding has been part of the game community from the start. (And the game publishers had a much bigger problem with people playing the original games without paying for it.)
1) Any officially published stuff they have access to, that is. There are a few really weird fandoms that exist, mostly in anime, where writers have not seen the original (They got pulled in via crossovers with other works) because the original is not in the US, and are basically working off other fanfic, and those things tend to get really weird, basically a game of telephone with the original.Report