Del Floria's Interview with Merle P

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Del Floria's Interview with Merle P
Interviewer: Del Floria (Live Journal)
Interviewee: Merle P
Date(s): November 8, 2015
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Man from U.N.C.L.E.
External Links: full interview is here; archive link, with comments
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Del Floria's Interview with Merle P is an interview with a Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan.

It is part of a series at Del Floria's. See Del Floria's Interview Series.


Why MFU? What is it that fueled your creativity?

Oh wow, okay, so I’ve only seen the movie so far (and some clips from the TV show on YouTube and Tumblr), but I can definitely say that I’m very much drawn to the transnational element of the canon – I like the way this fandom brings together American, British, Russian, German and Italian characters and how it generates so much potential for all kinds of stories about international relationships, global politics and cultural differences during the Cold War Era. (On a side note, I think that’s part of what draws me to a show like The Americans as well, for example.)

Another thing that drew me into the story was definitely the chemistry between the main characters in the movie. I feel like you can sense that the actors loved working together, and this translates into the lovely team dynamic you get to see on screen.

At the same time – and of course that’s a bit ironic, but I guess it’s the way fandom works – I think the movie is far from perfect, there are things that I found a bit annoying or felt weren’t fleshed out enough, questions that remained open: and as a writer, this is often what inspires me to take the material and fill in those gaps or answer those questions by writing fic!

What do you look for in other writers' work?

I really have a weakness for writers who manage to write about serious issues or convey deep emotions without becoming dramatic or sappy – if they manage to actually be humorous, too, that’s perfection!

I also very much like stories where the voice of the characters and the narrator manage to capture the tone of the show/movie/novels – even if it’s an AU, it’s important to me that the characters still kind of sound like themselves.

Also, and this may sound weird, but: Writers who have compassion for their characters. Like, sure, we all have our favorites, and often we need someone to take on the role of the “villain” in the story, but when I feel like a character is treated really unfairly, that often rubs me the wrong way, even if I don’t like the character that much myself. Any writer who manages to make even the “bad guy” seem three-dimensional, or even somewhat sympathetic, has my deepest respect!

How would you respond to a critic who says, “Oh, you write fan fiction. You’re not a real writer.”

The weird thing is that I think personally, I wouldn’t even really care, because I actually don’t think of myself as a “real writer” either, if I’m going to be really honest. But in regard to fanfiction in general, I find that’s clearly an ignorant attitude to take, for a number of reasons. There are such amazing writers in fandom, many of whom write just as good as or even better than a lot of professional writers. And I’ve told people that before, politely but firmly, so it’s not even that hypothetical.