Twist and Shout

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Fanfiction
Title: Twist and Shout
Author(s): gabriel & standbyme
Date(s): October 15, 2012
Length: ~97,556 words
Genre: Dean/Castiel or (Destiel), Slash, AU
Fandom: Supernatural
External Links: Twist and Shout at Archive of Our Own, Archived version
Twist and Shout (LJ) (now locked)

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Twist and Shout is a Supernatural Dean/Castiel AU novel written by the authors gabriel and standbyme, also known as discover and trunkcoats on Livejournal. It was originally posted on LiveJournal for the 2012 Dean/Castiel Big Bang.[1]

The fic is widely known in Supernatural fandom, and it is often recced as a "must read" for fans of the Destiel pairing, although some fans avoid it on the basis of its reputation as a tragic tear-jerker. There has also been a certain level of backlash within the fandom due to the fic's unrelenting popularity, with those who dislike the fic wishing that fans would recommend or focus on other stories.

Twist and Shout's popularity has spawned a dedicated fandom of its own, inspiring fanworks of every variety. As of April 2021, the story has over 126,000 hits, 35,000 kudos, 5200 comments and 8100 bookmarks on Archive of Our Own.

Contents

Summary:

What begins as a transforming love between Dean Winchester and Castiel Novak in the summer of 1965 quickly derails into something far more tumultuous when Dean is drafted in the Vietnam War. Though the two both voice their relationship is one where saying goodbye is never a real truth, their story becomes fraught with the tragedy of circumstance. In an era where homosexuality was especially vulnerable, Twist and Shout is the story of the love transcending time, returning over and over in its many forms, as faithful as the sea.

Author's Notes:

Oh man, so what started out as just a just a few ideas, turned into this monster of a fic. The whole idea of this thing actually came from a scene from a horror movie called "The Ward" that Hannah and I had watched together, and we had thrown some ideas around and had planned to write it at some point, but when neither of us were getting any where with our original fics, we decided to join our forces and write Twist and Shout. Also, our beta, komodobits, is the best for going through and fixing all of our mistakes, probably while crying. We love you, Martha! And our artist howlandbird, whose art is beautiful and really brings the story to life! I also want to say thank you to everyone who supported us while writing this!

The following situations and characters are a work of fiction. Any similarities between real or actual events or people is purely coincidental and are in no way intended to offend or appropriate the subjects they have adapted to these particular circumstances.

Readers may encounter some ideologically sensitive material such as homophobia, depression, drug use, alcoholism, PTSD, warfare, violence, and terminal illness!

Publication

In November 2016 the authors announced plans to publish the story. It is unclear whether this publication would be original fic or as fanfic in published format (presumably the former):

we will be making the fic available as a full novel for purchase within the next few weeks/months. what we’re asking right now is for your support. that same support you’ve given the fic so far. we know many of you have been asking for this for a long time, so we are hoping that your excitement remains!

for now, please pass this post around to as many sources as you can. it is important, also, for people to know with publication comes the chore of scrubbing and erasing the fic from the internet as much as we can to avoid any legal troubles. if you have a pdf of the fic we ask that you do not post it to the internet anymore. please tell your friends this. we are hoping that the novelization will lead to response as much as the fic.

raven and i are going to work very hard to keep the integrity of the fic intact while still making enough changes that it is viable! it will still be the story you love, with a bit of a makeover[2]

The fanfic was previously published twice on via Lulu Press, a print-on-demand website. For the second publication (March 2017) the book had a plain black cover with a perfect bound trade size paperback and contained 658 pages. It was credited to "Gabriel and StandByMe". The first publication (2015) was reviewed by the mother of a teenage Supernatural fan:

".... when it comes to fanfiction, writers of such stories don't care about that. If they want Dean and Cas together, then they'll find a way to get them together! One particular writer, writing under a pseudonym, did just that: He put Dean and Cas in an alternate universe, where Cas is human....When my daughter pleaded to me to buy her the Supernatural fanfic novel, Twist and Shout by Gabriel StandByMe (like I said, pseudonym), she encouraged me to read it.....My daughter told me she died a thousand deaths while reading this book (and of course that's going to happen with a Supernatural story!), so I was prepared for some serious heart-wrenching moments.....I loved this story. It's a good book. Despite the many editing mistakes, this book was definitely hard to put down, but mostly because I love Supernatural so much. More Dean and Sam! Yay! .... I couldn't get over how cute Cas and Dean are together. They really love each other and that love is very strong....I really enjoyed reading this novel, even though the tragic ending had me in tears at the end. I didn't die a thousand deaths while reading it, though. Actually, I went on an emotional roller coaster."[3]

The book was removed from Lulu Press in June 2017.[4]

Fandom Impact

The story has even reached beyond fandom. This is a tweet from Orlando Jones of Sleepy Hollow after reading the story based on fan recommendations.

Twist and Shout has become one of the most famous works of fanfiction in the Destiel fandom, with tons of fanart, fanvideos, and comments expressing emotional distress caused by this fanfiction spanning sites from Tumblr to Youtube, and even to Goodreads.[5] It has created its own underground following, and most people in the Destiel fandom recognize its name even if they themselves have not read it. One popular tag on Tumblr used by fans to encapsulate the heartbreak of reading the fic is #twist and rip my heart out.

Fancomic by chip93 showing a fan's reaction to reading this fic

For a period of time it was the most-kudosed M/M fic on AO3. It was surpassed in March 2017[6] by Dirty Laundry, a Voltron fic, but regained the spot when Dirty Laundry was deleted. It was surpassed by another Voltron fic, Call me, beep me, in December 2018.[7] It remains the most popular Destiel fic on AO3 when measured by number of hits, kudos and bookmarks.[8]

The fic was referenced in a Tumblr post by lokiinabottle about what it means to be a part of the "SPN Fandom":

For me, it's reading Twist and Shout and being absolutely floored by how earth-shattering it was.[9]

The fic received a callout from actor Orlando Jones of Sleepy Hollow on 24 Feb 2014: "To the people who suggested I read Twist & Shout fic....I hate you! What did I do to deserve this?? So. Many. Feels." [10]

Fans have also advocated for a mention of the fic on the Wikipedia page for the song Twist and Shout.[11]

Infamous Quotes

Twist and Shout is widely quoted, and there are certain quotes and phrases that fans tend to associate particularly strongly with the fic, and which many say they can never think of the same way again after having read the fic.

“See you then.”
“I can dig Elvis.”
“Always come back to me.”
“Did you miss me?” “Is the day long?”
“Don’t ever apologize for us.”
“I’m not going to make you wait on me again.”
Dear Cas,

Me:

[a black and white gif of Dean Winchester crying, shaking his head and saying, "I wish I couldn't feel a damn thing."][12]

Me: *minding my own business, quietly going about my day, doing absolutely nothing to provoke it*

My brain, suddenly and loudly: "Cas held his drink high as he navigated the crowd."

Me: [a gif of Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine saying, "I'm gonna go cry in the bathroom, peace out homies."][13]
I didn’t choose the fandom life, the fandom life gave me a ride on their motorcycle and said “I can dig Elvis”[14]
Wow, this had me in tears by the end. I cannot explain how this book makes you feel. I just felt like an overflowing river of emotion and I know I can definatly not listen to Can't Help Falling In Love With You or have someone say 'See you then' to me without gross sobbing.[15]

Fans have voted on their favorite quotes at Goodreads which can be read here., Archived version Another selection of quotes highlighted from the story can be found on this page.

Recovery Fic Rec Lists

Fans have pulled together lists of other fanfic to read to help recover from the effects of reading Twist and Shout. one such list is here., Archived version

Reviews

Positive Reviews

Have you ever wanted to read a book guaranteed to make you want to punch a wall multiple times? Do you want to read a book with a great plot and an incredible amount of work put in to it? Or do you just want to understand all the inside jokes? Then this is the book for you.

Let's face it, there are a lot of books that are way better. I personally would not have respected or loved this book so much if I hadn't known that thousands of fans were going through the same pain I was. You can most definitely find a book that's better than this one and more engaging, but you will never find a book that will leave you with such a strong feeling of camaraderie to your fellow Destiel lovers.

This book may feel drawn out and way too long at some points, but at the end of the day, one incredible plot and thousands of inside jokes later, you will leave Twist and Shout feeling like you should never go to the beach or touch a glass of milk again.[16]
You know…I think it is fucked up that the same two people can be capable of writing amazing and not over the top fluff that has you grinning from ear to ear (and awesome sex scenes) and also be sadistic bastards and write some of the most gut-wrenching stuff as well. Fuck this story. It’s beautiful and had me almost crying for ~30% of the time and full out crying an additional 20%. But, it’s a good burn. Bittersweet. But a life ruiner. I don’t remember the last time I cried this much. Fuck you, story. Fuck you. Oh, and fyi…the summary doesn’t do it any justice. Yes, it is sad. But it’s a good sad, you know? But have some fluff queued up for once you finish this story. Holy damn, it was a good story though. (Not just from a Dean/Cas perspective…just a good fucking story.)[17]
Seriously: Don’t read it if you are not prepared for a fic which builds a beautiful world for the sake of tearing it apart until there is nothing left.[18]
Anyway, just all that coupled with the way it’s written… It’s the most tragic piece of writing I have read in my entire life.

If you’re not a fan of Supernatural I’m sure the story will still make sense to you, because it’s in no way canon aligned (unless you consider it a distorted sort of endverse/purgatory sort thing but idk)

I only reccomend this fic to you if you really enjoy crying a lot and being sad. Like I said, I hardly ever cry from a story. The only time I even came close to crying as hard as I cried while reading twist and shout was at the end of the hunger games when that bad thing happens to that one person and also during the end credits. But shit, I actually have such a strong emotional reaction to twist and shout. Sometimes just thinking about it gives me an ache in my chest. [19]
This will make you cry. Like a lot. Cas is adorable and Dean has a motorcycle in the 60s. They listen to vinyls. I am soft.

Can you tell i am a sucker for historical settings yet? It’s so well written and if you enjoy angst please just go off and cuddle up with tissues cuz you’ll need them.

Reading this is almost a rite of passage honestly hahahah[20]

This isn't a fanfiction. This is a masterpiece.

I cried and I laughed and I cried again while I was sobbing like a stupid but it wasn't my fault. This thing is just... Amazing. I don't have words to describe it. Just, read it if you already haven't. Even if you don't ship destiel or if you don't know anything about Dean, Cas, Supernatural 'cause the characters are original. But be prepared (???)[21]
After hearing all of the hype from my kin on Tumblr about how this basically changed their life and how they bawled their eyes out and became more emotionally stable then they already are, I decided it was time I checked what the fuss was about. Now you see, I myself am a huge Destiel shipper so I went in with high expectations looking for a good read. And a good read it was. A brilliant read it was. It was funny, cute, adorable and heartwarming. And then I got to the turning point. If there is one fanfic you ever read, let it be this one. This deserves to be published. It ripped my heart out and made cry a river of tears. Twist and Shout is beautifully crafted. Getting you even more attached than you already are to Dean and Cas and then turning their relationship upside down. The ending was absolutely heartbreaking and I will admit that the last few chapters took me a long while to read as my tears kept blurring my vision. This fanfic just... ugh. I can't describe it. Just think of every positive connotation mixed with all words that describe your heart being figuratively broken. It more than lived up to my expectation and I don't know why I didn't read it sooner.[22]

Fanfiction pieces aren't for everyone. People who view the same characters interpret them differently, give them different intonations in works of their own imagination that other fans wouldn't associate with how they view their favourite series. As the saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time. But for Twist and Shout, this actually works in its favour. This is not the Castiel and Dean of the show Supernatural, though they may share their physical features and a few character traits. This story is an exercise in who they could have been were they born into a different time and place, of how their relationship could have evolved if the constraints of the show were no longer in effect. You don't need to be fans of the relationship on the show to read this story; you don't even need to have watched a single episode of the show.

This story is a hard read, even for someone who hasn't experienced the very real horrors that this story entails. There is a reason why there were so many warnings placed upon this story, but in my opinion, none of the things warned about were what struck me about this work of fanfiction. What affected me most was the writing, because it is beautiful, timeless, emotive beyond anything I have read in a long time. Once you read this, there are things that will stay with you forever. There will be certain phrases you won't be able to hear again, famous songs that will pierce your heart all over again, places that will be impossible to hear of without remembering what these characters experienced there. This story is painful, heartbreaking in too many ways to count.

But while the story itself is tragic, the relationship it's built around is ultimately uplifting. This story reminds you that although love cannot in fact conquer everything, true love, in its purest form, is the epitome of forgiveness and endurance. It reminds us that although love has the power to truly break us, it's also the only thing that can truly make us feel alive.

If you only ever read one piece of fanfiction in your life, then this is the one. It is completely life changing, one of those rare works of fiction that once you have read it, you are forever changed. Everyone should get to experience that.[23]
I read this fic at least once a month now; it's become a huge part of my life. Forever and always my favorite Destiel fic.[24]

Okay so before I read Twist and Shout I thought it was like a cute little fanfic. IT IS SO NOT. Do not read if you value your soul. I repeat : do nOT REaD!!!

#twist and shout#twist and rip my heart out#fanfic#fan art#fandom#destiel#it was so good#then it wasn't#dean winchester#castiel[25]

Negative Reviews

Twist and Shout, a hugely popular yet notoriously terrible Destiel AU which is essentially trauma porn where Cas dies of AIDS[26]
I read this and hated it by the end. It wasn't because of the story, but because I was reading an AU with not one recognisable character. All the names in the story could be changed and it wouldn't make a scrap of difference.[27]
I read the Destiel au fic 'Twist and Shout' and by the time I finished it, I didn't like it at all. While most of the story was alright, the characterisations were so off, two guys from any fandom could have been dropped into the lead roles, tweaks for hair colour & height, and no one would have been any the wiser. I wouldn't admit this unanon because this is the go-to fic for long angsty Destiel.[28]
Supernatural's Twist and Shout: both famous for its gut wrenching story about gay Dean and Cas during Vietnam and infamous for not really being fanfiction, but a fully developed novel where the characters don't really act as their canon characters.[29]
[Anonymous]
I was about to be like, "it'd be nice if one of the outcomes of the SPNaissance was a different fic overtaking that as the most kudosed fic in the fandom." But then I actually checked the numbers, and the next most kudosed fic needs, uh, 15,000 kudos to catch up. Jesus Christ.
[Anonymous]

The user who runs the Destiel Fan Survey Favs AO3 collection did say in their January 2021 update post that Twist and Shout was not in the top 20 of the most-voted-for fics for the first time (much to their delight), so... at least people do seem to be starting to focus more on other fics?[30]

Fanworks Inspired By The Story

Fanart

June 2017 screencap of the Google image search for "Twist Shout Destiel"

In 2014, the fan artist petite madame created a series of ballpoint pen drawings that she assembled into a unique fold out book. Samples can be found below - the full set of images can be found in this Tumblr post, Archived version.

She notes:
"In the series, “I have strange fandom project ideas”, here is the fic Twist and Shout by Discover and Trunkcoats summed up on a 135 cm (53.1") paper scroll and folded into a cute sketchbook. I used only two black ballpoint pens, a mechanical pencil (for construction lines) and a sepia Prismacolor pencil (PC943 Ocre Brûlée) - And just a couple of drops of red ink for the blood. You can see on the photo set above the various parts of the sketchbook before it was assembled (Photo 7) and the drawing before it was folded (Photo 8). I’m very happy because I managed to scan it."

Additional Fanart

A search for the story on deviantart also resulted in numerous fanworks which can be seen here.

Graphics and Gif Sets

Numerous gifsets and graphics have been posted by fans on tumblr. in addition, a tumblr named "twist and shout feels" was created and can be viewed here., Archived version Selected samples from tumblr are below.

Fanfiction

As of May 2021, 85 fanworks have been inspired by the story and are posted at AO3. They can be found here., Archived version Examples posted before April 2015:

  • One Last Step by INeedHelp
  • Twist and Shout/Terrible Things by sirenssuicide (author's note: if any of you are a fan of Mayday Parade, then you know the beautifully tragic song, Terrible Things. i already thought the song was Destiel enough if you play it to Twist and Shout. But i decided to re write it completely Twist and Shout in Dean's POV. It does include actual quotes from the story, too
  • Well My Boyfriend's in a Band by Supertenthdoctor
  • Dear cas, by Major_assbutt ("Dean's letter to Cas that he was writing at the end of Twist and Shout")
  • Take Me to Church by Deansbaby11283
  • C'mon And Twist A Little Closer by Seraphiel_Seraphim
  • You Will Set the World On Fire by lostjade
  • Slow Dancing The Night Away by Coldplaying_In_The_TARDIS
  • Can't Help Falling in Love by mooselookingforamate
  • Dear Cas, by archangelgaybriel
  • A new Elvis record by Assbuts_in_221B
  • Dean's Eulogy to Castiel Ficlet by finedininganddestiel ("A ficlet set in Twist and Shout and a scene stolen from The Fault In Our Stars.) *all is fair in love and war by Sunshinelollipopsandmisha
  • Twist and Shout - How It Could Have Ended by PollyMajor_AKA_ughvengersassemble ("An alternate ending to the notorious 'Twist & Shout'.")
  • Always Looking Back (T&S Fanfic) by SolarPlexus
  • Dear Cas by Miscar ("A letter from Dean to Cas")
  • Dear Cas, by SamanthaxSecret
  • A Broken Promise by ValPaniagua
  • I Can Dig Elvis by cherishcas ("In which Jensen and Misha decide to read Twist & Shout together. Needless to say, they can definitely dig Elvis.")
  • I'm Coming Back to You by feelskilledthefangirl
  • Just Dancing by Sweet_Tangerine ("Dean realizes that Cas doesn't know how to dance and he decides to teach him some moves.)
  • Time Can Do So Much by MadForNoReason
  • Some things are meant to be by Galadwen
  • Shake It Out by IrynaViktoriya
  • Fools Rush In by WithCadence ("An added ending to the popular work "Twist & Shout")
  • The Sun Shines Brighter When I Close My Eyes by EvelynLawliet
  • Shipping Isn't What It Used To Be by Elsey
  • Part 1 of Charlie Bradbury is a nosy shit ("I was given an assignment to write a letter from vietnam from the perspective of a soldier explaining the war to a loved one including the vietcong tactics. Naturally, my broken fangirl heart went straight to twist and shout and it turned into a destiel love letter. I know it isn't 100 percent accurate to the story because I wrote it from my memories of it. This was the result.)
  • When All is Said and Done by HopeForCastiel
  • Twist a Little Closer by Doctor_Kya ("Dean intends to leave, but Bobby has something to say about it. A Twist and Shout recovery fic.)
  • Never Let Me Go by prodigaldaughter13 ("Dean Winchester opens his eyes to a familiar place, and hears a familiar voice.")
  • Going Home by cupcakeinthetardis
  • Act of God by feardubh ("Alternate ending, written for a friend because I was being a tit and quoting Twist and Shout.")
  • Dean Reads Twist and Shout By Kawaii uke27 ("Sam is finally tired of Dean not owning up to his feelings for Castiel. In order to prove his point that his brother is in love with the angel, Sam forces Dean read the most beautifully tragic story known to all of the Supernatural fandom: Twist and Shout. How will Dean react? What will become of Dean and Cas' relationship? A warning for those who have read T&S: be prepared for it.)[32]

Audio Works

Fanvids

There are numerous fanvids and fan reviews available on Youtubne and Vimeo. below is a random selection.

Pinterest

A fan has even set up a pinterest board devoted to collecting links to fanworks inspired by the story. It can be found here on Pinterest, Archived version and a screen cap can be found here or here.

Other

Further Reading

References

  1. ^ discover. twist and Shout, Archived version, posted in deancasbigbang, 15 October 2012.
  2. ^ Twist & Shout: Very Important, Archived version
  3. ^ Destiel: Twist and Shout has Dean Winchester and Castiel in alternate universe of love and chaos - Dawn Reviews Books, Archived version
  4. ^ screencap
  5. ^ Twist and Shout Goodreads page, Archived version
  6. ^ 1:14 PM - 27 Mar 2017
  7. ^ Found via the M/M works tag search and sorting.
  8. ^ As of 22 May 2021, Twist and Shout remains at the top of the Dean/Castiel tag when sorting by hits, kudos and bookmarks.
  9. ^ SPN Family by lokiinabottle, December 29, 2017 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  10. ^ Orlando Jones on Twitter, Archived version
  11. ^ Talk:Twist and Shout - Wikipedia, Archived version ("Okay this is the title of a massively popular fanfiction (Dean/Castiel from Supernatural) and shouldn't it get a quick mention here?)"
  12. ^ Tumblr post by anchorsoutatsea, April 25, 2017 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  13. ^ [https://asgardianwinchesters.tumblr.com/post/185891521596/me-minding-my-own-business-quietly-going-about Tumblr post by asgardianwinchesters, Jun 27, 2019 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  14. ^ Tumblr post by missylightwood, December 1, 2018 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  15. ^ Review by Trinity Fordham, Goodreads, May 14, 2018 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  16. ^ Destiel Fanfic Reviews
  17. ^ "Twist and Shout at destielfanfic.com". Archived from the original on 2021-04-21. 
  18. ^ "Twist and shout - a summary, Jan 20, 2015 tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2021-04-21. 
  19. ^ "November 20, 2016 Tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2021-04-21. 
  20. ^ "The Best Fanfic in the Fandoms i've Been in". Archived from the original on 2021-05-09. 
  21. ^ Review by Susan, Goodreads, January 5, 2014 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  22. ^ Review by Monica, Goodreads, June 25, 2013 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  23. ^ Review by Lauren, Goodreads, February 8, 2013 (Accessed May 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Review by Grace Karenna, Goodreads, May 9, 2015. (Accessed May 22, 2021.)
  25. ^ Tumblr post by fandomsunite1974, February 22, 2017 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  26. ^ Anon comment on FFN November 6, 2020
  27. ^ Anon comment on FFN June 2, 2013
  28. ^ Anon comment on FFN August 27, 2013
  29. ^ Fan comment on What are most popular/infamous fanfictions in your fandom(s) and why? post to r/fanfiction, July 11, 2018
  30. ^ Re: The most kudosed fic in your fandom, Fail Fandom Anon. Posted January 18, 2021 (Accessed May 22, 2021).
  31. ^ "Twist and Shout art masterpost". Archived from the original on 2021-04-28. 
  32. ^ Dean Reads Twist and Shout Chapter 1, a supernatural fanfic, Archived version
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