FanFic Misdemeanors According To Us :)
|Title:||FanFic Misdemeanors According To Us :) (almost immediately, the discussion retitled: "Deadly Fanfic Sins (Re: FanFic Misdemeanors)")|
|Date(s):||July 24, 1998|
|Medium:||post at alt.tv.x-files.creative|
|External Links:||FanFic Misdemeanors According To Us :); archive link page 1; archive link page 2; archive link page 3; archive link page 4; archive link page 5;|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
FanFic Misdemeanors According To Us :) is a 1998 post by Fiducia Nessuno at alt.tv.x-files.creative. It has 104 posts by 41 authors.
The essay topic is tropes, clichés, and things NOT to do when writing X-Files fanfic. The original poster starts the essay off with "This is meant in fun, folks. :)"
For additional context, see Timeline of Concrit & Feedback Meta.
Some Topics Discussed in the Essay and Following Comments
- labeling fics as slash as a warning, regardless of their explicitness
- various tropes and clichés such as eyebrows, frilly underclothes, the use of the word lanky, Sarah MacLachlan lyrics
- discouragement of flickfic (fic based on the 1998 X-Files movie)
- humor online and its challenges
- scaring off new writers
- having opinions
- a lengthy response meta
Excerpts from the Post
Some nights, we (being the oft-mentioned Dana and flickfic ho FN) stay up way past our bedtimes and read fanfic together over IRC. If we find something good, we quote it at each other and say encouraging things like "ooga" and "woo!". If it's bad, we roll on the floor and howl in pain.
Lately, perhaps through some unfortunate sixth sense, we have been reading more and more badfic. Maybe it's some kind of morbid amusement. At any rate, we've gotten to the point where we can spot a badfic in the first sentence. We spot it, but for some reason, we keep reading it. Like people who stare at car wrecks. Like Spice Girl fans.
So, here now is a short list of the things to do in fanfic that are guaranteed to get you a spot in hell. Next to Hitler, Bill Gates, and the guy who invented high heels:
1. Eyebrows. It seems like we can't swing a dead alien without hitting fan fiction that mentions Scully's eyebrows arching in some way. We're sorry, her 'perfectly manicured' eyebrows. And addendum to this is any reference made to Mulder's eyebrows. Mulder's "waggling" eyebrows. Usually, his eybrows "waggle" suggestively. [snipped]
2. Lanky. What is it with this word's constant pairing with Mulder's name? Yes, we know that Darin Morgan has used it himself - but that doesn't make it right. There are other, more colorful ways to describe this man's physique. Believe us. There are. Ahooga.
3. Elevated prose. We will concede that Mulder and Scully are both capable of occasional eloquence but they are not armchair poets. We don't have a problem with Moose and Squirrel vowing amore everlasting (good heavens, no), but when the sentences read like Michael Bolton lyrics, there's something
- really* wrong. This takes us into...
4. Characterizations. We've read more fanfic starring Amanda and Billy, Brandon and Kelly, Dharma and Greg, etc., than we have with Mulder and Scully. Sometimes it's as if these writers have never seen an episode of X-Files in their lives. [snipped]
5. Fox and Dana. It's just *wrong*. The fact they keep referring to each other by their last names after so many years - when most people would have reverted to given names - is more a sign of familiarity and endearment than their first names ever could be. At least that's our humble opinion. :)
6. If we read one more fanfic using the phrase, 'the enigmatic Dr. Scully',
7. "With one arch of her perfectly manicured eyebrow, Scully caused Mulder to break down sobbing and wet himself." WHAT is this trend in fanfic where Mulder always turns out to be a wimp? If he regularly wimped out on the show, yes, then it would be justified. But he doesn't even wimp out during intense pinky torture! Yes, we've seen him cry, many times. Alleluia to the man who can cry! Mulder is Mr Sensitive Man. But he is not a wimp. There is a difference!
- someone* is certainly going to need a doctor, enigmatic or not.
10. Songfic. We love Songfic, don't get us wrong. But it's a delicate art. The song is supposed to PUNCTUATE a story rather than carry it. It's the sign of a poor or lazy writer who lets someone else make the point for them. Of course, having bad taste in music is also a factor, but we can't really fault someone for preferring Hanson over Bruce Cockburn. Well, we CAN, but we'll do it privately. :)
11. Plot for sex. We can't tell you how many times we have seen a perfectly good plot fall apart when it comes to the inevitable sex scenes. Using a plot to carry them into bed and then abandoning it is just as cheap and cruel as a ten-dollar hooker.
12. The words 'inexplicable tension' should never, ever, ever find their way into ATXC fanfic. Ever.13. Out of place introspection. Internal monologues are what makes fanfic great. It's vital to that Mulder/Scully angst we all covet. However, there is a time and place for everything. Mulder can ponder the significance of Scully's breasts while in the shower, but not while being eaten by a slimy gooey thing. Scully can consider Mulder's suckable lower lip while watching Red Shoe Diaries, but we doubt it would cross her mind while being pistol-whipped.
15. Okay, now we're just curious. Why do people always have Scully wearing frilly underthings? Did we miss something? Was there an episode where her panties came to life and started devouring neighborhood children? I knew we shoulda watched the fourth season, Dana...
19. LABEL YOUR FANFIC *ESPECIALLY* IF IT'S SLASH. We're not passing judgement on anyone, but there is little more disturbing in our world than being roped into a nifty plot or story and coming (ha) face to face with Mulder and Krycek making like rabbits on Skinner's desk while Pendrell puts the batteries in the Handycam. Ick. Ew.
20. Gratuitous angst/sex. If you HAVE to write about Moose and Squirrel gettin' it on (now THAT presents an ugly picture, doesn't it?), do it, but don't stick it into a complicated X-File or story that has no place for it. Check the innuendo in that run-on sentence. <leer>21. And last, but most certainly not least: Be original. It's fine and dandy to quote certain episodes, especially the really good, shipper episodes (*swoon*), but try and stick some original dialogue in there, somewhere. You know? The point of fanfic is to go where the writers fear to tread. to say what they didn't say. Why bother if all you're going to do is rewrite entire episodes to the letter?
An Immediate Response Essay
Deadly Fanfic Sins (Re: FanFic Misdemeanors) This is likewise meant in fun, folks. :) Some nights, we (being the Mouse and the Zoot) stay up way past our bedtimes and MST fanfic together over AOL Internet Messenger.
If we find something good, we recommend it to each other. If we find something bad, we MST it and force the other party to read the MST. This can be a painful, yet educational process.
Unfortunately, we do seem to be finding a lot more badfic. Badflickfic, badshowfic, you name it.
So, just for variety, here is our list of how to get on the MST queue.
1. Eyebrows aren't a problem. Well, at least not yet. For one thing, Scully is now portrayed with lots of lip pursing and eyebrow twitching and arching and frowning. As far as I can tell, that's all Scully does any more. Except for a few geniune smiles (surprise) in the movie, I can't think of any other expression of emotion except for the open-mouthed breathing thing. Angstboy, however, doesn't do all that much with his eyebrows. If we hear about his lower lip one more time, we're going to bite it off.
2. Strawberry shampoo. Obviously, someone once considered this a particularly feminine attribute and threw it into the mix for an additional cue for the clueless Mulder. Do any of you know how cloying strawberry shampoo actually smells? Gag a maggot. Herbal we could understand, but strawberry? It's a wonder he doesn't puke when they're dancing cheek to cheek and he's inhaling the smell of her shampoo.
3. Long expository narrative sections. As Goo once said, Cud Alert! There's this old standby phrase, show, don't tell. Worse yet are the long expository narrative SUMMARY sections in which the writer not only tells us what is happening, but what has happened in the past.
4. Characterizations indeed. And the more the characterizations change on the show, the more jarring the fanfic characterizations become.
6. Psycho!Mulder or Psycho!Scully. Gag.
8. Switching back and forth between surnames and first names in narration. Make a choice! Stick to it!!!
9. Bondage!Mulder and Master!Skinner, or Bondage!Mulder and Mistress!Scully. No offense, but this strikes us as pretty ludicrous. Mulder has authority problems from day on on the show and people have him being this perfect submissive? Maybe on Thorazine.
11. Flickfic. Please. Stop. Now. The titles are bad enough, for the most part. We appreciate your right to your own creativity, but there is no need to share.
12. Sunflower seeds. Bad ties. (see above on Strawberry shampoo). Every damned show cliche has made it into fanfic and been repeated so many times that one simply cannot tolerate another mention of sunflower seeds. If we see one, we're going to get a large bag and hunt down the author and forcefeed them.
13. Out of place schmoop. In one story we read, Mulder and Scully are in the office, with another agent, and he strokes her shoulder or neck to ease her worries. Can you say Bounced From the FBI? So fast everyone's head would spin. Or Mulder thinking how much he wuvs Scully while waiting on a stakeout. <bounce> Or Scully making overtures in the basement. <bounce> And so we're not picking on the romancers, let's mention that little tidbit in terms of slash, too. Skinner and Mulder banging in a) Skinner's office, or Mulder's office....can you say career suicide? We knew you could.
14. Painstaking descriptions of character's apparel. Who cares. Give us a general hint that they're clothed, unless they shouldn't be, but let's not get into fashion description. Yes, we know you want Scully to look purdy. You want Mulder to look delicious. Don't get carried away.
15. LABEL THAT MSR!!! We're not trying to pick on anyone, but there is nothing quite so upsetting to us as getting sucked into a decent plot or a story and suddenly Mulder and Scully are making passionate avowals (poetic or not) and doing the Screaming Poodle. We like Angst and XFiles and Conspiracy stories and other things, but don't mix the two without labeling. We can then determine if our stomachs can tolerate sweetness and read them.
16. Gratuitous character torture. If you HAVE to write about Moose and Squirrel gettin' tormented, at least have a believable reason or plot, and show how they come through and survive, don't just write out sick fantasies for the sake of sharing, okay? We always have to go shower after stumbling in and out of these stories. Grue.
17. Use your SPELLCHECK. GRAMMAR CHECK helps, too, believe it or not. Don't overuse your THESAURUS. We are afraid of sentences which appear to have gotten trapped in thesaurus and barely escape with their lives. Make sure your sentences actually have a subject. Nouns and verbs are nice. Adjectives and adverbs can be overused.
18. Go back and reread the threads which helpfully point out the difference between Loose and Lose, Laid and Lain, Laying and Lying, Udder and Utter. Prone and Supine. Follow the advice. Please. We know you really don't want us laughing hysterically when you didn't intend to be funny.
19. STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT GETTING ANY RESPONSES PUBLICLY. Hey, if you didn't get responses, shrug and try again. MAYBE the NG is full of illiterate trolls and maybe your story sucked. Or both. Or maybe your story didn't fill the general requirements of fave fanfic. Don't write yourself off, and don't assume that your story sucked--examine it honestly, but don't beat yourself up. And be patient. Even if you don't hear anything at first, the odds are that if you did write a good story, you'll hear from someone eventually. If you examine it honestly and it sucks, and it matters to you, revise it. Try again. BUT STOP POSTING loud complaints about no one responding! It's a tough old world and WE don't care!
20. We really think fanfic should be a lot of fun. We also know that it isn't going to affect the fate of World Civilization. IT'S FANFIC! It ain't the next great World Novel. A) Don't take yourself so seriously and B) do your best with your work. It may not be art, but it can still be good.Mouse and Zoot
Other Excerpts from the Comments
[CiCi Lean]: Thank you. And PLEASE folks, label your fics if they are NC-17 MSR's. Ick. Ew. CiCi (who's stomach is strong, but not THAT strong...)
[Dasha K]: You mean someone writes *dirty* X-files fiction? Eeeek! (runs and hides)
[Laurie]: It would be especially helpful if folks would stick the categories of the fic in the subject line so that readers looking for a particular type of fiction or wanting to avoid a certain type, whether it be slash or MSR or what, don't have to download the whole story. Some folks have really slow modems. I've got 56K, so it's not so bad for me (and if you have ISDN or cable Internet, I'm jealous!), so have a heart. Laurie P.S. And the list was quite funny, but also thought-provoking.
[Kipler]: << 19. LABEL YOUR FANFIC *ESPECIALLY* IF IT'S SLASH.. >>
I promised back in the middle of June that I would not speak another word about summaries and labels until at least July, and I've been a very good girl. Here it is July 24, and I haven't so much as typed a single *letter* regarding this issue. But now I will restate the formerly stated opinion. (Heck maybe I'll make *this* the summary heading on all my future stuff! :D)
"Any label and/or category I put on a story 'turns off' many readers who might otherwise like the story. I choose to be only very general in my labels and summaries, because I feel that otherwise I pigeonhole myself and lose more readers than I gain. My choice not to pigeonhole myself has nothing to do with trying to 'trick' readers into one of my stories. It does not reflect manipulation on my part, nor any lack of concern about my readers' sensibilities. My decision is solely based on my realization that I cannot guarantee the satisfaction of any reader or group of readers, and that trying to do so by labeling my work one way or another is futile." ("Besides that, the more summary stuff I put in, the more complaints I get about not doing it *right!*")--Kipler, who silences herself again, until at least tomorrow morning...
>>If I read one more Flickfic I'm gonna puke. Also that what-happens-after-the-burning-office-scene is getting tired, folks. I think every scenario has been explored and we don't need any more of those, huh?Well - could I just point out that you're being a little hard on those fanfic authors (such as myself, Pellinor, Xanthe and doubtless may others) who live in foreign climes? FTF isn't even having its premiere in England until the end of August. Now I'd hate to think that I'd be forbidden from using the film as a focus for my fiction, just because so many of you have had the opportunity to get there first. This very weekend I was going to write my post 'The End' story. The episode only aired here on cable a couple of weeks ago. People with ordinary television will have to wait six months or more to see it. But now I feel like - why write it, if "every scenario has already been explored" and if you've all decided that you "don't need any more of those". Have a heart, guys and give us a break. Please. Red Valerian
Okay guys- I have a few points to make here, now that I've read THIRTY FOUR replies to the original post. ::::casting a nervous look around-Don't kill me!!::::
1-In the spirit of fun, I must admit to a peeve I have developed not through reading fanfic, but communicating in the "fanfic circles". I can NOT stand the phrase "Moose and Squirrel". I know where it came from, I know who has used it, nevertheless, it sounds odd and WRONG to me. It's probably just me.
2-One of the great benefits to writing fanfic is that you can try your talent out on something you love, in a supportive environment. HELLO?!?!?? You all- this whole community of XF fanfic readers/writers are (webwide) famous for your open attitude towards newbies, and helpful suggestions. By the time I got through all these posts, I was biting my nails wondering if it would come to blows! STOP! PLEASE! Asking for a clear warning (and I will get back to this subject later) at the top, telling a rating, category, etc. is one thing. Saying over and over how SICK you are of flickfic, of eyebrows, of songfic, of noses- I'm sorry, but so what? Deal with it! If you want the perfect story, then write it!! Otherwise, deal with other people's versions- what they like. I LIKE flickfic. Oooh. I DON'T LIKE songfic. Oooh. That's my preference, but when we get a subject with 34 posts about this, you are darned intimidated to mention clothes, small of backs, red hair, tall lanky bodies, hand on shoulder in office, song verses, "after the fire" stories, sappy declarations.... Do you get my point? I'm not trying to be pissy, or flame anyone- I just want you to realize what you all sound like, collectively.It does not seem as welcoming, or as open as it used to. And that is too bad. Posting a funny list in the spirit of fun is one thing, having everyone list ALL of their peeves leaves little room for your own creativity. Do you catch my drift? Please say you do. ~DarkJewl~
[Cathleen]: I'm a new writer. I've written 5 stories so far (yeah, I know, BFD <bg>) and I would like to *think* my writing has improved from one story to the next. If it has improved, it's improved because people here have helped me improve it. Now before jumping into the fray, I read all the Fanfic I could and lurked here for months before actually trying to write one. Over time, there have been many generations of the fanfic pet peeve list and this is only the latest iteration. As a wanna-be and then a new writer, I found these lists VERY helpful and something I could learn from. I still learn from them. Yes, dear God, I've done some of the peeves listed in my own writing. And I've also seen peeves listed that irritated the hell out of me in stories I've read. Stories that might have had a chance of holding my interest otherwise. Another major reason these are helpful is that I don't think that very many people will actually send a writer direct feedback on a peeve. When I read something that drives me nuts I just hit the delete key and send no feedback. (If the phone doesn't ring - it's me) I see this kind of public "outing" as a reader's way of sending that bit of critical feedback they *wanted* to send but didn't. No one writer is singled out. True, broad generalizations (ie "all post-ep stories suck", etc.) aren't particularly helpful. But even those can generate posts that *are* helpful ( ie "I don't like post-eps that are just dialogue regurgitations"). I suppose that on occasion, in attempting to be humorous, a peeve post can sound sarcastic or arrogant --kind of like a movie critic who is more concerned with impressing you with how witty they are rather than reviewing the movie. But I've always felt that the ultimate intent by most of the ones I've read was to inform and help. Clearly, writers are free to take another look at their work and choose on their own if they want to call Mulder, "Fox."
[Lilly]: I did agree on the points of grammar and proper word usage. That's about all I agreed on. I didn't agree with telling people what they couldn't and couldn't write. Excuse me, but who died and left you two the supreme editors of all? If people want to write movie fic or post-episode fic that is their right. If people want to mix romance and X-files let them. It's why some divine power invented the ignore button. Go ahead put me on kill file if you'd like but I think that on an X-Files newsgroup, one would be allowed to write the truth as they know it, no? -- Lilly P.S. And no I am not a newbie, I have been reading this newsgroup for close to four years. Please find something else to flame me about if you must flame me.
[Dasha K]: Read Nascent's post below. I think she makes the wonderful point that posts here on ATXC on this subject scare away newbies and make them feel that there is a ruling clique whose scrutiny they must pass to be accepted here. I think that fanfic is loaded with cliches, but guess what? I just chuckle over it and get over it. I think it's incredibly snobbish to post a list of what is acceptable and what isn't in fanfic. If you don't like it, don't read it but don't make a list of what's cool to write. Who made you the judge? There are lots of people new to fanfic who don't know Sarah McLachlan is a cliche. Now, that's not gonna make me write Sarah!Fic, but who am I to judge another who chooses to? I think we need to get over ourselves and quit with the public criticism. Dasha K.
>>There are lots of people new to fanfic who don't know Sarah McLachlan is a cliche. Now, that's not gonna make me write Sarah!Fic, but who am I to judge another who chooses to?
You may not judge, but are you going to read it.... and if you never read it...or if you do, but really don't like it, will you send feedback? How many times do we see complaints that no one is reading or sending feedback? Yes, sometimes these lists come off a little snarky; but as many pointed out, they can often be very useful for a writer who wants to improve. When we are talking pet peeves and cliches, I don't think any writer should make a desperate attempt to avoid every one mentioned. Pet peeves are often just that ... one person's personal irritant. (I love the nicknames Moose and Squirrel, someone else does not. By the same token, I'm pretty sure the talking phone that says the word "RING" is just my problem.:) ) I also love some things I've very aware have become cliche; I'm sure many others do too. The idea is not to try to avoid *every* misdemeanor or sin listed in these threads, but perhaps not to use every single one either. No one is expecting their list of pet peeves and cliches to be taken as an edict from the Fanfic God. Really, it's just advice .... advice that actually may be *easier* to take than a personal critique of one's own work. (I will never, ever make the mistake of writing someone personally that they had gotten so caught up in a song that they forgot to write a story.) Those who really don't want this type of advice can just choose not to read these threads. Really, there's something to be said for making these things public. If anything, writers can see how other readers agree or disagree with a particular piece of advice. Let's say a new writer gets an e-mail from a reader that informs him he should have put a character death warning in his introduction. If the writer gets no other feedback and such a criticism was never posted publically, the writer might assume *all* potential readers in feel the same way. I would think some writers would welcome reading public discussions of reader likes and dislikes.Teddi
[Circe]: I'm really at a loss to understand why some people are so upset over this. I thought both pieces were very amusing and not an attempt to tell people what they could and couldn't write. I've been on this group for 2 1/2 years and there have always been discussions of cliches in fanfic and what readers like and dislike in a story. Why is it all of a sudden such a big deal?
[Sheare Bliss, one of the authors of the response meta in the comments]: There's this concept called humour. We weren't telling anyone anything. And how interesting you choose this particular thread, while ignoring the thread that our post answered. Fanfic Misdemeanors. That was meant as humour. And so was ours. People, if we can't show a little humor about ourselves.....Jesus, please us. The person who wrote Fanfic Misdemeanors even posted humorously to this one, I was delighted. Instead of nastiness and self-consciousness and righteousness, there was laughter. What a crime. What a sin. Gee, we all have different tastes. It's always so reassuring to new writers to see this kind of reaction to humour. Gee, I can't post anything funny, because everyone takes everything too seriously. The CUD Alert remark, for your information, was first made to ME by Livengoo while editing my first story in fanfic. Gee, I lived and learned. People, the ability to be humorous about ourselves is a key part of being human
[Heidi]: I think we need to get over ourselves and remember it is fanfic, it is free, and we *all* have things we like and don't like. The post was also humor. Apparently very subtle humor. Public criticism? Please. No one was singled out by name and flamed here.
[Kipler]: Hey, I just reread the entire thread (57 posts! [so far]) and did find it rather humorous and interesting. BUT... let's remember, before we imply that those who didn't find it funny are humorless, that humor (like beauty) is entirely in the eye of the beholder. One of the big, bad truths of cyberspace is that we're not all on the same page. Some of us are moving into adolescence while others (::sigh!::) are entering middle age. Some of us are tough as nails, others (::sigh::) wept during the last hour of "Deep Impact." So, we don't all speak the same lanugage - emotionally or intellectually. And humor doesn't always translate well across those language boundaries. There's no way around that. I comfort myself with the (admittedly self-delusional) belief that the rest of the world will recognize my true wit when the rest of the world catches up with me. ;-)
[Sheare Bliss, one of the authors of the response meta in the comments]: No, no, maybe Kimerikal has hit the nail on the head. You know, I was reading the post to Goo--Livengoo, she of half of Camping and Vacation and Leap of Faith and half of Oklahoma, you know who I mean--said plaintively, I do a lot of those things. So, let it be publicly said that yeah, Mouse and Zoot really are horrified by badfic. Badfic isn't cliches. Badfic is bad writing. Cliches are--cliches are something to joke about among ourselves. If we don't joke among ourselves, we'll have to joke with people in the real world, who already think we're nuts for writing fanfic. <patting Kimerikal> We are only mean to bullies. We wanted to make everyone laugh, and yeah, think about WHEN you used the cliches. If you give 'em a clever spin, if you think about 'em, ain't nobody going to be able to think of 'em as cliches. I mean, as Paula or somebody said, Scully DOES use her eyebrows a lot. We live cliches, for heaven's sake.
>>You never know, the fanfic writer of today may be the Armistead Maupin of tomorrow. :)At the risk of going majorily off topic and probably getting things thrown at me thru the screen, I submit that Misty Lackey started her writing carrer as a fanfic writer. (Back in the 'old' days when about the only fanfic available was in zines one ordered for between $10-$30 a pop (each!) Printed zines are still thriving, at least MediaWest con hasn't died out yet...
[DarkJewl]: Just wanted to clarify, not piss off: When I said that, I was implying that if you dont like what's being written, go write some *for* yourself and read *that*. As in, you go create the perfect masterpiece in your mind w/out all the cliches that bother you specifically, and read that. I was not trying to imply that anyone was sitting around complaining without ever doing the work, etc., etc. Ok? :) ~DarkJewl~
[Journey To X]: It's my perception that there's a little Consortium here in ATXF and, well, all I can say is I'm fighting the future. This happens so much in newsgroups that it is, in itself, a cliche. I haven't even posted anything of mine on ATXC yet (it's in SIS if you're so inclined) because of this exact thing. I am absolutely NOT ashamed of what I write but I cannot possibly have read, or currently read, all the fanfic that's out there in order to avoid a cliche or common theme or already-tackled subject. I'm truly impressed by some of the work I've read, and try to tell the authors that I appreciate their sharing their talent. But I didn't wait what some might consider an appropriate time, or digest the proper primer, before writing my own fanfic. I plunged in, mistakes and all. I mostly write about Skinner so at least there I avoid the extremely- well-trodden ground of MSR, but I've got that going too. Oh, and what I write is fairly erotic too, so I have to avoid all THOSE cliches too. Sheesh! I write because I *have to* - and I mean that literally. It's a very important thing to me right now and I figure it always will be. I had to screw my courage to the sticking place to even let a few other people read beta for me. But I'm there now. I'm writing. I'm the person I was meant to be. I'm making mistakes but basically, I'm good. I want praise, I want appreciation and admiration just like everyone else does. I'm human. Between this feeling about who is the Cheerleader Clique here on ATXC and the recent accusations of plagiarism, I feel more than a little discouraged about sharing! And I bet I'm not the only person who feels that way. My first fanfic I ever wrote and posted is part 1 of a 3 part series where Mulder is dead and Scully and Skinner Do The Beautiful Thing. I was under no illusion that anyone else hadn't used this theme, but I brought what I wanted to to it, and got some very positive feedback. Part 2 is a real surprise, with some action stuff that would put a Bruce Willis movie to shame, Part 3 is some more emotional stuff. Parts 2 and 3 are coming soon to bandwidth near you. Yeah, I started from a common point. But it's going to be a neat story. Themes get recycled and everyone brings their own uniqueness to the retelling of the same story or sort of story. Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" is a brilliant retelling of the King Lear story. Nothing's new under the sun, folks. We retell these stories because they appeal to us, because they touch something within us, because we were inspired by what CC created - what he put out there, because they speak to our universal condition as people. I'd suggest that people read Joseph Campbell, or, at least, Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey." I think it would be much more implausible if fanfic writers DIDN'T have a common reaction, common imagination, about certain things. We all start from what CC gives us. How many people could have the same idea at the same time? Marconi and Edison ring a bell? I agree that strawberry shampoo is silly. I can easily understand the thing about the eyebrows - they've become as much a part of Scully's expressiveness as her voice. I can easily see how we all get hooked on a common song that we're all listening to while writing - Sarah, Loreena, whatever. Kix wrote a kickass piece about Krycek's childhood that made me want to embrace the sonofabitch and kiss his tears away, based on Natalie Imbruglia's "Smoke". And of course since I listen that song a lot, I found myself wanting to put it in my latest endeavour too. It's called common inspiration. How many Renaissance painters tackled the subject of Madonna and Child? Should there have been a quota? This little rant isn't my best piece of writing and undoubtedly it will piss people off. I'm not even sure of what I'm feeling to make me write this, but I'm posting it anyway.
[Jane St. Clair]: Once upon a time I cried over fanfic. Now I only cry when there is no fanfic. People are spending too much time responding to discussion posts (like this one.)