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a question for fic writers - Idiot Control Now — LiveJournal
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a question for fic writers
Here's a question.

If you write fic for what you consider a primary canon source (in this example, a video game), and there are also other sources/adaptations such as an anime series, manga, novels, plus any extraneous creator interviews and such.....

Do you feel that anything not included in the primary source to still be canon and necessary to take into consideration when writing? Do you get all panicked when you realize there could be countless things out there that you're not aware of because they weren't translated into your language or otherwise readily available to you, and you wonder if all these little background details are something you really need to know? Is your character going to be OOC if you don't know this one thing, or is your plot going to totally fall apart because you weren't aware of a previous pre-canon incident?

Or do you just say, screw it, it's fic, what I know is good enough, and all that other information, while fascinating, is just getting in my way.

I'm basically in the second place, myself, but if readers are going to constantly be "No no no, are you not aware of this one side-story in this one magazine that says blahblahblah", then it has the potential to be kind of an issue.

I mean, all fic is non-canon, so ignoring it isn't the worst thing in the world, but then I feel like... I didn't do my research, or my story could have been better/deeper if I'd explored this other thing. Am I making sense?

Because, seriously, how much googling and message board joining should a person be realistically expected to do, when you don't even know how much information is potentially even available? You'd be stuck forever, wouldn't you, thinking, "But what if something somewhere out there contradicts this".

So... keep it in mind, but otherwise don't sweat it, is where I'm going to sit, I think.

But I'm just curious how other people feel about this.

Current Mood: confused confused
Current Music: according to you--orianthi

16 pathetic excuses or justify your existence
From: dropsofviolet Date: August 6th, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems like any time I'm in a fandom with multiple adaptations, they contradict each other in some places - sometimes really only a little, like the Cardcaptor Sakura anime versus the manga, but sometimes really a lot, like Magic Knight Rayearth's anime versus the manga. So really, I have to choose or fuse things together (and I'll admit to writing manga-verse and sticking Meiling in because I want to). But yeah, I'd recommend not sweating it so much. Some people are serious canon-sticklers and serious fans and they find out everything they can, but if they're going to rub it in your face, then they're really being kinda rude.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I do try to take details from each if I think they flesh out the character more, but I like to stick to one timeline of events, too.

When I wrote something about Tomoyo's crush on Touya in the CCS manga, someone said, "Hey, read this interview, CLAMP said that was a mistake". Which... I'd read that interview, but can't you just take the canon at face value? Do you have to know/guess what the creators intended at every single moment, because then couldn't *anything* be a mistake? At some point you just have to take what's presented in the text and go with that.
From: dropsofviolet Date: August 6th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I agree. That's a big thing in Harry Potter fandom, which I lurk on the fringes of... JK put a lot of stuff in what's considered "interview canon," and people have huge debates on how canonical it actually is.

There's nothing wrong with interpreting the text as it lies on the page, in my opinion. There's a whole field of literary criticism based on an idea called Death of the Author (WARNING: TVTropes link), which requests that we interpret a work based only on its actual canon and not the viewpoints or later ideas of its creator.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
(WARNING: TVTropes link)

NOOOOOOOOOO! I have things to do today!!

Yeah, I try to just focus on the text as is. I like interviews where creators flesh out minor characters a little more, or explain what happened before the story actually starts, but, yeah, it gets to be information overload and you have to just stop and leave it alone.
smb814 From: smb814 Date: August 6th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The second one, definitely.

I've written fic for two different fandoms: Stargate SG-1 and Tales of Symphonia. Both have branched out into other areas (books, audio CDs, manga, anime, etc), but I only consider the primary material (for SG-1, the TV series, and for TOS, the first game) to be irrefutable canon.

For me, it gets too confusing to worry about all the 'other' stuff, especially with TOS. Too much contradicts itself. Neither the manga nor the anime match the game in many, *many* ways -- I mean, seriously, *where* did the Rheairds land when they arrived in Tethe'alla? On Mt. Fuji, in a fountain in Meltokio, or on top of Zelos's house? I also keep hearing that TOS:DOTNW is only a 'spin-off' rather than an official sequel, and in my perspective, 'spin-off' doesn't equal 'canon.' That doesn't mean I won't occasionally incorporate bits and pieces of all that extraneous stuff into my writing if it fits or helps the story, but usually I just ignore it.

I do try very, very hard to stick to what I consider to be 'primary' canon, though. Unless, of course, when I decide not to. :) Or when I decide something to be canon only to a point (e.g. when Daniel Jackson was killed off halfway through SG-1, I stopped considering the rest to be canon...at least until they resurrected him a season later, at which point I considered everything to be canon again *g*). But as you said, *all* fan fiction is technically AU/non-canon, so I'm not opposed to changing something here or there if it makes for a more interesting story.

Personally, when I post a story that could be considered 'controversial' because it contradicts some extraneous material, I always put an author's note on it saying what I considered to be canon. It usually curtails complaints from readers. And if they do still complain, I point them to the note, shrug, and say, "Tough. I'm the writer and I can do whatever I want to with this story." :)
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
For me, it gets too confusing to worry about all the 'other' stuff

Yeah, that's how I feel, too. It starts to overwhelm. Then there's the Buffy Season 8 comics which are supposed to be canon? But in what I read of them, they retconned so much stuff, and I didn't even like them anyway, so if I ignore them, then am I ignoring "canon"? Then if you try to go by what the writers say they intended, the writers sometimes change their minds or are ambiguous or aren't on the same page as each other, and it's just too much a mess. You have to just go with what's on the page/screen and call it there. I just hate this feeling of my interpretation being "wrong", but you can't let it paralyze you.

"Tough. I'm the writer and I can do whatever I want to with this story." :)

I like this answer. That's going to be my attitude.
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: August 6th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Keep it in mind but don't sweat; often I don't even keep the other stuff in mind.

Code Geass: Has countless published interviews, Drama CDs, notes from the production staff, spinoff mangas... I ignore them, and stick with the original anime. Sure readers mention the other stuff sometimes, but when the response is overwhelmingly, "I like this better than canon," you get the confidence to plow ahead.

Conclusion: Don't get straitjacketed by canon. It's meant to be our source of inspiration, not our Rules of Engagement.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
True, all true. I just wanted to see if other people felt the same way, that supplementary material is nice, but ultimately not essential, for writing. I like having more information on minor characters or events, but if I have to go tracking down every possible bit of extra information, I'd never get to actually writing.

Boo, Frank keeps eating my comments today. I have no idea if they're going to post twice or not.
cal_reflector From: cal_reflector Date: August 6th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think "boo" is becoming a catch phrase for Anise in your Guy-Anise fics; its even found its way into your regular speech. Very endearing.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Boo" is Anise's thing in canon, but yeah, I think I'm picking it up now from writing it so much. It's fun to say.
amazonqueenkate From: amazonqueenkate Date: August 6th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Too often, different canons contradict, don't mesh, leave out characters, change the order of events, have different relationships and friendships, and the list goes on and on. It was a problem I constantly had in the Sailor Moon fandom when I used to write SM fic, because the manga and anime canons were very different in places. And by "very different" I mean "sometimes, completely different character motivations, different dynamics between characters, and lacking one set of bad guys while adding another."

For most things I wrote, I prefered using the manga canon, so I just used it. If there were really good details from the anime that I couldn't live without, I might add them in, but the common trope for SM authors was always to do manga-verse or anime-verse and never the two shall meet, so that is what I mostly did. It got even more like that when the live-action show came out, because that was completely different.

I actually tried not to conjoin and mingle the canons too much when I wrote because I thought that was sloppy and smacked of those people who just take the parts of a conversation or an argument that they like and ignore the parts they don't. Canon is canon, I have to live with it, and saying, "I'll take this arc from the manga but then use this one from the anime" seems a little -- I don't know, disingenuous?

In conclusion, I wouldn't worry about all the bits you're missing. They may not even be good bits. They may be bits that disappoint or conflict with your view of canon. And since fanfiction is essentially that -- someone else clarifying, editing, or explaining canon -- it's ultimately your call, anyway.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good points. I look at characterization as maybe something I can fudge and co-mingle, whereas timeline and events have to strictly follow one canon (if the events are essential to the plot and not cutesy filler type things). If a character is shown as reserved in one and a little goofy in another, I can make that two different aspects of their personality that come out in different situations, because what person only has one personality trait and acts the same way at all times?

I like background explanatory bits. I like things that make me go, "Ohhhhh, so that's why she did xyz" or "Ohhhhh, now I get why there's bad blood between those two", because then it's like I get more story after something's been completed. But if it's all outside the primary text, then I start wondering if it's essential for the story I'm trying to tell, or if what's presented in the primary canon I'm using is good enough with a note that that's what I'm doing.

A note is a good idea and what I should probably start doing.
peacewish From: peacewish Date: August 6th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah, you should try the Transformers fandom. Between the original cartoon, the six or seven spin-off/rehash cartoons, the multiple series of comic books, and the movies, plus the fact that, depending on how well-funded each of those was, the writing was so hack it even contradicted within its own reality... yeah. Hopeless. I say, if the professionals, who are getting paid to do this, are allowed to fudge the lines of reality and mix and match what they want, then I say the hobbyist fic author is free to do what she likes.

I do recommend, though, spreading a little fire retardant in the form of an author's note that explains which canon you're going with and that you do not have access to others at this time. I realized I'd have to do that after the fifth time some reader corrected me on Touya's relationship with his father, citing manga evidence when I'd only ever seen the anime.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 6th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've heard that about comic book fandoms, too. First is the fact that the series have been going on for decades and have tons of material anyway, then you have to factor in all the different writers and crossovers and reboots and... man, I couldn't handle that.

I'll have to go with a note when I finally get enough stuff together to post outside my own little space here. I wonder if anyone will get as het up as CLAMP people, though. Like I mentioned above, when I wrote about Tomoyo's crush on Touya in the manga, someone pointed me to a CLAMP interview and told me "CLAMP said that was a mistake", which was beside the point as far as I was concerned, because it's there in the text. Mistake or not, it's part of the story, and I'm going to use it.

Man, am I tired of my comments getting eaten today....
serena_b From: serena_b Date: August 6th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think for the most part I go by primary source material, usually because it's more raw and the best stuff to work with. The whole point of fanfiction is to fill in details, and if there are already secondary sources doing that, but I want it to go a different direction, then I tend to ignore them.

Although sometimes I like an adaptation better than the original and will work from that (for example Angelic Layer, because the ending of the manga and the ending of the anime are completely different, and i actually like the way they ended the anime better).

The main thing with me for fan fiction is that a key element has to remain from the original. Like the characters have to remain true to character or it takes place in that 'universe' (unless its crack fic, then anything goes). Things can change and that's alright, that's why it's fanfiction, but there has to be something that ties it back to the orginal.

I actually don't mind picking and choosing different aspects from different source materials as long as it's serving a purpose. One example: a Sailor Moon fic I wrote (and of course never finished...) that takes place in the far future that features characters from one of the movies and the corresponding season (even though the character for the movie was just made up for the movie and doesn't appear anywhere else, I liked him so...I stole him and plopped him into a different universe).

I'm not a nit-picker about canon. To me canon is like clay and then you shape it and mold it and change it however you want. It's still clay, but when you're finished it's also different. So really, all the little details from the source don't matter too much.

Hope all that rambling made some kind of sense, lol.
mellowcandle From: mellowcandle Date: August 7th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
To me canon is like clay and then you shape it and mold it and change it however you want. It's still clay, but when you're finished it's also different.

Yeah, this is me. Canon is my starting point. It's the basis for everything I write--or at least I try to use it that way--but I'm going to take it where I want it to go.

What prompted this was some background information someone posted that indirectly relates to something I'm writing about in my new thing. I've seen other side stories and novels and drama CDs posted that either flesh out background details or contradict the primary canon, and I've always thought that stuff was interesting but otherwise unnecessary to what I'm doing. Now I'm like.... "Oh, should I be thinking more about this?" Because it has the possibility to change/affect a character's motivations. But it's not primary canon, so I should just leave it alone in terms of this fic and maybe tackle that angle in another story.
16 pathetic excuses or justify your existence