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Discussion Has Worm fanfiction saturation reached the point in which one can write fanfiction without having

Discussion in 'Fanfiction Discussion' started by Tahu1809, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Olivebirdy

    Olivebirdy mook.

    I dunno, there were a lot of one-panel gags with comedic violence.
     
  2. Inkling

    Inkling Out Of Memory Error

    Location:
    It is true that you cannot stay true to the characters without having read them, but I think this is less about good writing than it is about faithful writing. Sometimes a fanfic writer has to find a balance between consistency to the original work, and the quality of their own. If some canon elements are detrimental to the fanwork in some way they should be reworked or discarded.

    Character foundations, canon or fanon, are just a rough outline of what a character could be. Their potential. It is a concept, a blank slate. The problem lies in the fleshing out, the drawing on the slate.

    Characterisation is an unfolding, unending thing, and if at any point you can point at a story (fanfic or not), and honestly say "that is shit characterisation" there probably one of two things happening: Either the behaviour and development of the characters is breaking your suspension of disbelief, or there is no characterisation happening and the character in question is little more than a plot vehicle. The latter is the most often used for Alt-Power and Woobie versions of Worm characters, and that is still not bad because there's nothing preventing them from being developed into something interesting except the author.

    Gambit comes to mind as one of the better examples of Taylor-In-Name-Only by making it a plot point and then leveraging it to give her more character development rather than less.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
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  3. Olivebirdy

    Olivebirdy mook.

    The third option as to when you can honestly point at the fic and say that it's shit characterization is when it portrays the characters wrong. When core traits are disregarded. When the voice is off. When the fanfic character is wearing the name of a complex canon character like an ill-fitting fleshsuit.

    Unfaithful characterization is, in fact, bad. Why should I read Gambit when it's a original character wearing Taylor's face and name, like a Spy in TF2? The complex character I was fascinated by, reduced to a facimile thereof?
     
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  4. Inkling

    Inkling Out Of Memory Error

    Location:
    It all comes down to what you're looking for in a story. I try to go into a story without too many expectations. In the case of Gambit I didn't find canon Taylor (and neither did the characters, hurr, hurr), but I did find a character I enjoy reading about, with an interesting tone, a complicated past, and with refreshing observations on the state of the cape scene and an outsider's perspective on Brockton Bay as a place she has never been to before.

    I really can't tell you why you should enjoy one story over another as that is entirely to your preferences, especially if you have made up your mind about a certain story-type. I'm not understanding your position, so a few questions that I think are worth addressing: "Why is unfaithful characterisation bad, even if it is well written?", "Can unfaithful characterisation surpass the source material?" and "Is it still bad if it manages to?"
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
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  5. Olivebirdy

    Olivebirdy mook.

    Damn, these are some tough questions. Thank you for giving me such clean questions to hang my articulations upon.
    One of the reasons to read fanfiction is to see characters you like in new situations. Nostalgia, continuation of a story ended before you wished it to. Fleshsuit characters go against this goal, because they are not the same characters.

    Further, SoD straining. If Brian is not acting like Brian, it's strange. Fanfiction is by its nature not a standalone story, the canon will always be an unofficial prequel. It is jarring to have a clash, a difference, between stories of a series, be it factual, plot, character, art or actor. You said that you 'tried to go into the story without any expectations' and that is the only way to go about this without the clashing. Have to clear your mind of the prequel, ignore your perceptions and memories of canon.

    My love for Shirou Emiya aside, I'd say that generally speaking, no. Definitely not in the current state of the Worm fandom. See, the more complex the character portrayed is, the less you can do to improve it.

    Let me put it this way. If you were writing up a fic starring Tinky Winky, you could absolutely create a more compelling character, because who cares about Tinky Winky? But fanfic is not the same as original fiction. In a fanfic there is the premise that these are the same characters as you know. You have to keep within the pencil lines of the characterization.

    Again, with Tinky Winky, you can expand upon her character, create complexity within her, make her seem more real, more interesting, but it still has to be in a way that does not conflict with what she actually did in canon, how she actually acted. There is a premise that she is the same as she was.

    Back to Worm. Taylor is a hugely complex character, I've recently had a very nice post about her from @LacksCreativity. The more complex the character, the less room you have to insert alternate character interpretation. You're not fooling anyone if you have Taylor be a meathead.

    So, depending on how shallow the character is, there's a variability of what you can do to the characterization and make it believable.

    Look at Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It is entirely possible to make a wildly popular story while butchering the characterization. But then, why not just make an OC, why did he call him Harry? It's an implicit promise, saying 'This is the same person you know'. Is it bad? In this case, it's a broken promise. Harry here and Harry there are in no way the same person. Is it bad? The popularity speaks for itself.

    If you're not going to try to make them the same character, you should use an OC instead. It's more honest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
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  6. I like highly divergent AUs where characters are greatly changed. But I feel that doing them properly requires great knowledge of canon to properly deal with everything else that has to be changed. If you haven't read the story this is impossible and you at best end up in a Cyclone situation where stuff just feels off. Most of the time you just look like an idiot who wrote garbage.

    Also writing fiction of something you haven't read just seems insulting and disrepectful.
     
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  7. Olivebirdy

    Olivebirdy mook.

    'Greatly changed'. Is there a point at which the character is unrecognizable, and do you then still accept the premise 'this is what the character would have been like under differing circumstances'? Because there are core character traits, immutable, that without which the character is simply not the same person, alternate history or not. The [Origin], in Nasuverse terms.
     
  8. devas

    devas

    Location:
    italy
    John Dies At the End, which eventually ended up on the New York Time's bestseller list and had a film made of it (with Coscarelli and Paul Giamatti) went through this exact process.

    Like, every single step you described, in order. Uncanny.

    Were you referring to that?
     
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  9. Well big changes if justified are obviously fine. But an "In name only" character can also be fine as long as it's the "unicorn in the garden", the key or one of the key arbitrary changes every other change in the fic butterflies from, and the fic accounts for the that correctly. Which requires excellent knowledge of canon.

    And of course the new character has to work in the story and setting.

    Edit: As an example you can completely replace Taylor and have a fic still work as Worm fanfic if you get everything and everyone else right. Which requires more knowledge and respect for canon than most who tackle the idea are able to give so they usually suck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  10. Bludflag

    Bludflag shitposter extraordinaire

    Location:
    Croatia

    who’s laughing now fern
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  11. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    I am right now, because it still has no article of its own and because "popular culture" is Wikipedia's catch-all term for non-academics and fiction. :V
     
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  12. Why are we even arguing about this? Especially with Fernandel. I mean, unless he's secretly been writing Worm-fics despite hating it (and making that pretty plain) and never having read it, and he's going to present them as proof that you don't have to read the work to make good fanfiction.

    Which would be a weird twist, but people have gone to greater lengths to prove a point before, I suppose.

    I find it unlikely, though.
     
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  13. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    This was a different argument, dude. People claimed that Worm was somehow popular enough that fanfic no longer required knowing the original canon stories (the comparison to Ranma 1/2 was made), and I argued against it by noting that outside of a very specific niche of the internet represented in a few communities, Worm's cultural impact was nonexistent at worst and negligible at best. The mention of Wikipedia's notability standards was relevant in that regard.

    I do, however, am beginning to be slightly irritated by the repeated claim that I "have not read Worm". I haven't read all of Worm. I've repeatedly tried to get into it. I've read key chapters. I've read the early chapters with Skitter as the street-level villain, even enjoyed them. Some of the later chapters were also well-done. I've read chapters that were considered story-relevant in discussions related to Worm. I do think I have enough of a handle on this story to be able to criticise it. I did, however, end that tangent because it was off-topic -- and also because I thought I was degenerating into dickisness. I quite simply don't like Worm in many ways, and I didn't want to hurt the feelings of its fans.

    My claim that one does not need to canon in all its silly intricacies and details is a different claim, and one I will maintain, as I think canon is not necessarily well-written and consistent, contains its own flaws, and because I consider fanfic to be in many ways an exploration of the differences from canon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  14. Wait what? JDATE is not a fanfic.

    Although I suppose that technically Farscape, while not a fanfic, had a policy of adopting fanon because they were too lazy to come up with their own justifications.
     
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  15. devas

    devas

    Location:
    italy
    No, it isn't, but it is a fic and it was published on the internet with significant reader input
     
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  16. FourthWall

    FourthWall Thoughts arrive like butterflies

    Location:
    Chiraq
    Yep, that and 50 Shades of Grey and Tucker Max's books, which all followed a similar trajectory to success.
     
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  17. 50 shades was a fanfic that filed of the series numbers and went legit. It's actually really common. A crapload of fantsy books started as someone's D&D campaign.
     
  18. FourthWall

    FourthWall Thoughts arrive like butterflies

    Location:
    Chiraq
    Fanfiction.net is a surprisingly effective distribution platform and there are a lot of published writers who paid their dues in fanfic.
     
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  19. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    Wha how?
     
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  20. Renewal

    Renewal Boring Person #5883781345

    One example that comes to mind is the author whose pen name is Cassandra Clare; her Draco Trilogy was huge on FFN at the height of the Harry Potter fandom, and she leveraged that success into her Mortal Instruments franchise, which both got a movie of limited success and now a television series.
     
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  21. FourthWall

    FourthWall Thoughts arrive like butterflies

    Location:
    Chiraq
    Plus there's freelancers who make their money writing tie in novels for established IP, like Matt Forbeck. That shit is literally fanfiction with quality control.
     
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  22. So not even close to fanfiction.:V
     
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  23. Hah, like pro fiction doesn't often lack quality control. The shit I've seen published...
     
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  24. Ellf

    Ellf Hivelord

    Location:
    Ohio
    The fourth Mass Effect book comes to mind.

    Honestly, reading a couple wormfics is what got me reading Worm in the first place. Specifically @UnwelcomeStorm's Constellations. (Which I want more of)
     
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  25. Olivebirdy

    Olivebirdy mook.

    How much culture shock did you get, going into Worm from Constellations? Constellation's Taylor is just so weird...
     
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