Honestly, I was going back and forth on who to request for this one for a while. Because while I would love to see Kara and her boys, or Kara and Alex, or Kara and Cat, the one common thread among everything I would like to see is Kara. Supergirl is one of my favorite superheroes, because of what seperates her from Superman; that she remembers Krypton, and is one of the few people to actually do so. I have been so happy with the show, because I feel like the writers actually get what the Superman/Kryptonian mythos is all about, unlike most other recent adaptations (also, Melissa Benoist's face doesn't hurt with the way she scrunches her nose up all the time). So, just give me Kara being awesome and a brilliant gem and I will be happy.
Rory Gilmore, Paris Geller
UGH, these two. I am simultaneously super excited for the revival, and also completely terrified because I just *know* it's going to destroy any chance of Rory and Paris getting married and being the biggest power couple of all time. I realize that not everyone ships these two though, so if you don't feel comfortable writing romance between the two of them, well, just write them as best friends like in the show, and I can assure you, I will find plenty of subtext to read, just like in the show. I would love anything about their relationship, whether from the early days at Chilton to post series, whether it fits with canon or is totally AU.
Veronica Mars (TV)
Veronica Mars, Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie
These two are adorable together - I love the way that they became best friends basically at first meeting, because they are both prickly pears and not prone to trusting or letting other people in, but have no problem working together. I love the sort of "us against the world" vibe that they give off, and the way that they trust each other. I'm a huge sucker for all the fluffy tropes in general, but if you're looking for one fandom where I think they work especially well, this is it. Some specific ideas of things that I would love to see would be case fic, babysitting (either real or one of those egg babies from health classes), beauty contests, vegas weddings (either their own or where they're both bridesmaids), the Jessica Fletcher vacation, or costume parties/halloween.
Happy Yuletide! First, thank you for volunteering for Yuletide, and I hope that you have a great time! The best part about Yuletide is the spirit of positivism around it and the sense of community builds. I hope that the information below is useful in helping you to figure out what sort of fic to write, but if there is anything that you don't feel comfortable with writing, keep in mind that this is Yuletide! The optional details are optional and anything you write for me, I can already guarantee I will love, so if you find yourself completely deviating from what I outline below, don't worry about it; these are just general ideas to help you find a starting point if you need one.
( General Preferences )
( Bad Night )
( Barely Lethal )
( Nearlyweds )
( Stick It )
Past Yuletide Letters: 2014, 2013, 2012
First, thank you so much for signing up for this exchange! I hope that you have a great time in this exchange, as I think that these exchanges are a great way for the fandom community to bond and that the only way that they work is for the participants to have fun, so I hope that you have a good time and that my preferences aren't problematic for you. I assure you, just receiving something written for me is the best part, so don't sweat the optional details. But, if you're looking for specifics to help you get started, here are some preferences!
General Likes: Anything holiday or seasonal themed (Trick-or-treating, handing out candy, apple picking, costume shopping, carving jack-o-lanterns, decorating the house and yard, etc.). Competence, seeing talented characters in action getting to show off their skills and abilities. I love tropes involving found family and casual intimacy (not necessarily physical, but the definition that involves trust), such as unexpected co-parenting/co-habiting, bodyswap/bodysharing or telepathy,
General Dislikes: People showing poor judgement at decision making (For instance, not telling your loved ones important secrets, so that when they find out in the worst way possible, it causes them to feel betrayed and become angry at you [see: the average process used by characters on every CW show]). I'm also very turned off by emotional blackmail/guilt trips and social awkwardness/humiliation/public embarassment.
Harry Potter - Harry Potter, Hermione Granger
Harry and Hermione are the OTP that I will apparently never be over. I realize that not everyone ships them though, and if you don't want to write them in a relationship, I would love gen fic as well, but I would really prefer not seeing them in relationships with other people.
I think that they make amazing partners, both in a romantic sense, as well as a pragmatic adventuring one. They have very complementary skill sets and personalities (Harry is excellent at thinking on his feet and performing in crisis situations while Hermione excels at planning ahead and researching). One of my favorite things about these two is the way that they straddle between both the Muggle and Wizarding worlds, and if you want to write something about them using their muggle knowledge to take over the world (or just confuse all their classmates at Hogwarts), that would be amazing. I love these two crazy kids because they are so synergistic and codependent and are both amazing independently, but put them together and they're unstoppable.
Halloween is a very important date in this series, and seems to always herald some tragedy or crazy adventure. Also, they're wizards and witches. If you are looking for inspiration, clearly, there are no shortage of story ideas. The two of them having an adventure dealing with some monsters, or going trick or treating, or convincing everyone at Hogwarts that sincere pumpkin patches are a legitimate muggle tradition, or crazy hijinks in some Scooby-Doo esque fashion would be amazing.
I don't know what to say about these two that doesn't start with the fact that they are my forever OTP. You may notice some similarities between them and the other characters I have asked for, as I think I clearly have a type: two strong characters, that support each other well when working together, because they have different approaches to problem solving and can cover for each others' weaknesses, and that same synergy also applies to their personal lives as well as their professional. Harry and Hermione are also really interesting because of the way they exist in two different worlds, both Magical and Muggle, and that sort of dichotomy with respect to traditions and lifestyles is really fascinating.
Young Wizards - Dairine Callahan
When I first started to read Young Wizards, I fell in love with the whole setting, and Nita in particular. But then I got to High Wizardry, and Dairine just stole my heart. She went on an intergalactic road trip with her computer and had sex with a sentient planet and became a teenage runaway mother who then became the best mother in all of fiction when she made every single mobile a wizard. She is a very multidimensional character, who can be a bratty kid sister, a wizard in the prime of her power, a queen, the Guarantor of a world not her own, or a teenager desperately mourning her mother and seeking her lost love. Apparently I have a thing for hyper-competence and emotional codependence, because it seems to be a common thread among all my requests.
This is the one fandom where I would probably not prefer tricks, mostly because the setting is already so dark and serious that the only things I can think of that are scary for this universe are just terrifying. For either tricks or treats I would love to see Dairine being amazing in dealing with the problems of the entire universe with her sister/Roshaun/a planet full of sentient robot babies/her computer that only she can talk to which is also the soul of wizardry/all of the above. Wacky alien cultural hijinks, crazy adventures on Earth with aliens during Halloween when they can walk around freely, situational ethics classes, the basis for Halloween myths turning out to be real or anything involving costumes.
I saw Dairine as the annoying little sibling when she first showed up in Young Wizards, but when I got to her crazy intergalactic road trip/Ordeal/teenage runaway incident, I became her biggest fan. Because Dairine is complex, and complicated, and has real depth to her character. And everyone else just seems to see one dimension of her; Nita keeps acting like Dairine is still the bratty little sister, but Dairine has more than proven that the things she deals with on a regular basis are serious. The running joke is that she is the one teaching situational ethics to other species, but she is a queen in her own right, and knows what it means to make difficult decisions. I think she and Roshaun make an amazing pair, since they can both recognize the strenuous lifestyle that the other has, but I don't think they have to wind up together. Dairine being the unknown and unsung heroine of the entire universe, with or without anyone else is awesome.
Kingsman: The Secret Service - Roxy Morton | Lancelot, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin
Roxy was my favorite character in this movie because not only she is capable of keeping up with everyone else throughout all of the training, she also had the ruthless willingness to complete her mission that Eggsy didn't. I was also really struck by the friendship the two of them had, the way they were both something of outsiders to the other candidates, and bonded through that, and worked really well together in the climactic sequence.
For story ideas, there's always another super genius out to take over or destroy the world. The challenges of domestic life when half the time you're saving the world, having a competition to see who can be more passive aggressively snarky but mannered towards bad guys, or some sort of comedy of errors regarding what information is getting revealed to the bad guys. This is also another fandom that works really well with either Halloween (if they have to run an operation in a haunted house or something) or costume based fiction.
I loved this movie, and the way that it completely averted, inverted and subverted all kinds of spy movie tropes, but I was a little disappointed by the way that Roxy got written out of the main action sequence at the end. I would love to see her getting a chance to kick ass and take names. As with Harry and Hermione, and Dairine and Roshaun, I think she and Eggsy make an excellent pair because they work well together and respect and understand each other.
Faking It - Amy Raudenfeld, Karma Ashcroft
Karma and Amy are unbelievably cute together, and I have been shipping them from the pilot. The only part of this show I don't absolutely love is the incessant drama inherent in their relationship. What I love about these two is the dynamic that they have, how deeply they care for each other and how much they are obviously in love with each other to everyone else, even if they don't realize it themselves. This show consistently scares me to watch, since they constantly flirt with making terrible decisions, but they have always come back around.
I'm sure Karma and Amy have some unique Halloween traditions, which would be amazing to see. Haunted houses, trick or treating, or ultra competitive school wide costume contests. Just any sort of domestic fluff woudl be wonderful for a treat, and for tricks there's all kinds of scares they could experience, from just dealing with Lauren to dealing with being in prison to (pregnancy) scares.
Honestly, the least attractive thing about this show is the drama involved in figuring out relationships. I think stories that take place after couples get together are much more fascinating, partly because they are so poorly represented in fiction (stories always end with marriages, they rarely begin with them), but also because the process of living day to day and making things work is so much more complicated and interesting. If you don't want to write about these two in a relationship, I would still much rather see them in established relationships (or established bachelorette-hood) rather than playing the dance of will-they-won't-they.
Hopefully all that information helps you with writing your fic or drawing your art, but I have only provided these details to help you, and if there's anything that you don't feel comfortable with or feel too constrained by, please ignore the details and go with what feels right to you. I hope you have fun with this exchange and I can't wait to see what you produce!
Edit To Add: Apparently, I set this entry to Private instead of Public access by accident. It should be visible now!
You're a scientist and I'm an engineer. You design the crazy doomsday rocketship, and I'll build it.
You work for Capulet, Inc. and I work for Montague Consolidated and we keep running into each other at these trade shows, and based on where you work I should hate you, but I really, really don't.
That douchebag from the humanities should not have been allowed in this building because he literally blew up an entire lab and because our department is now short on space, you and I have to share this room, so you just stick to your side and I'll stick to mine, and we won't have to kill each other.
I don't care that it's an emergency and you lost all your research data and you need lab time to regather your results right now, I booked this room for this morning three months ago. oh, you brought coffee for me? well then, carry on.
We've never met before but I keep seeing your initials on all these amazingly insightful papers and I have had a total brain crush on you, but oh my god, you're as hot in person as your mind is and this is no longer just a brain crush.
We have opposite shifts on this telescope and I only see you for thirty seconds as we walk past each other every night, but I keep leaving notes in the logbook that I hope you'll find and you haven't commented on them yet, but did you just smile when we walked past each today?
This TA has no idea what he's talking about and it causes me physical pain to see someone be so wrong so I keep looking around the classroom to see if anyone else has the look of "can you believe this guy" on their face and you're the only one who does.
My cell phone battery just decided to pull an ouroboros and devour itself, meaning my phone no longer functions for more than like 5 seconds unless it is connected to the charger.
Unfortunately, Verizon no longer sells batteries for the model phone I have, so I need to upgrade. However, I really want a phone with a physical keyboard for accessibility reasons (my fingers just do not work with touchscreens for typing purposes), and according to the person I spoke to at the Verizon store they no longer sell smartphones that have keyboards. I've been looking online, and the only one I can find is the NEC Terrain, from AT&T.
Does anyone know of any other smartphones that have keyboards that are for sale, or have any experience with either that model phone or AT&T service (both phone and as a company)?
Which then led me to the idea of a cosplay masquerade sketch involving the first Midgar karaoke contest.
Sephiroth appears to be winning, until Cloud sweeps perfect scores from everyone, even the Russian judge, with his stirring performance of 4'33".
Something I hate: Risk - The board game, that is. I love board games in general, but a lot of the old Parker Brothers style games are simplistic, and this one is especially jarring to me with how poorly designed and balanced it is between players, especially when compared to more recent games that are being made.
Something I love: Rockets - Aside from being fascinating to study how they work, in terms of physics, and being the field that I want to work in eventually, there's a sort of mystique associated with rockets. They symbolize scientific progress and science fiction; heck, the Hugo award is shaped like a rocket.
Somewhere I've been: Round Valley Reservoir - Pretty much everything in Central New Jersey is named Raritan, so there were any number of options available to me. I wanted to go with someplace a bit less generic though, and Round Valley is one of my favorite parks to visit; I usually manage to get out there at least a couple of times every year.
Somewhere I'd like to go: Rapa Nui - Or, as most people call it, Easter Island. This place has amazing history, with the fact that it's inhabited despite being so remote. On top of that, the weather sounds amazing; I love hot weather, and not only is it a tropical location but also out of the path of all hurricanes and other major storms. And the moai are one of the most distinctive pieces of sculpture and something I really want to see.
Someone I know: Ronnie - One of my friends and roommates from college, and the only person who's wedding I've been in (so far).
A film I like: Real Genius - I love science fiction and fantasy in general, and I love 80's films. And aside from being a great science fiction film that is basically the platonic ideal of the 80's film, I love the fact that this movie is all about engineers stopping the military industrial complex, rather than soldiers fighting unspeakable horrors. How it's about construction and building new things, rather than death and destruction. How it's a coming of age, and about making your own choices.
I doubt anyone out there has ever had this thought, but if for some reason you ever find yourself wondering "Will Metaphasia like [the thing I am looking at right now]?", there's a pretty foolproof test. If you can make a fanmix, or a vid about [the thing] and the song "She's A Rebel" fits perfectly, I can guarantee you sight unseen I will love [the thing]. This isn't true of all my favorite songs either; a lot of them are more generic or are things that I like in music but that aren't necessarily things that I like in other media. This song is just the perfect representation of my fandom interests.
I was wondering if anyone else has a song (or songs) that perfectly describes what they like to see in stories, either canon or fanfic?
(For the record, the five best albums of all time are American Idiot, Sam's Town, Crossing the Rubicon, Indian Summer and The Final Cut.)
When you see this, share lines from 3 random WIPs.
1) This is from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the eternal WIP that I have given up hope of finishing anytime in the foreseeable future, and is the fic that I had in mind from the conversation in #yulechat that inspired occupyfandom.
"Oh my," her mom said, stunned. "We simply have to go shopping! Come on, mija."
Well. This was certainly the fastest a plan has ever backfired on her. Oh well, she might as well tag along. A chance at new clothes plus a second chance to humiliate Justin, all in one day.
( Cut for length )
Close Your Eyes, Count to Three (4952 words) by metaphasia for baroqueriot
Fandom: Round and Round - Selena Gomez (Music Video)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Female Spy, Male Spy
Summary: The thing about spies, the most important thing to remember about spies, is that they lie.
( Here Be Writing Process Notes )
Second, Yuletide was amazing this year! I've got a bit to say about my story after reveals go live, but I feel very very accomplished with what I wrote this year.
I also received an amazing gift!
The Only Sour Cherry On Your Fruit Stand
When I started watching this show I was really wary, because the premise just did not seem like it would work, but the characters are all so delightful and beautiful, and this really captured what I love about them, which is just how much Amy and Karma care about each other, no matter how terrible they are at expressing it, and that they really are the best of friends even if they can't quite make a relationship work (yet, hopefully, I'm still totally rooting for them endgame).
There were also a number of other fics that I really liked, and I'll put up a recs post in the next few days.
Today's post is a rec list of fanfiction for Harry Potter! Most of these are Harry/Hermione centric (it's definitely my OTP for the fandom), but there are a few gen fics in here as well. All the stories have a great plot though, regardless of what they ship and are worthwhile reads even if you don't ship Harry/Hermione. I decided to do things a little differently than most rec lists, and rank them in order of favorites.
First, a couple of honorary mentions. These fics would have made it onto my top ten list, except they are currently incomplete and leave off in terrible cliffhangers. They're excellent stories though, and all are definitely worth the read.
Forging the Sword - Ginny dies in the Chamber of Secrets, and as a result, the Trio gets serious about the fact that they are in a war. Like the other entries on the honorable mention list, it's not on the main list because it's still incomplete, only reaching the middle of fourth year currently, but features the Harry, Hermione and Ron we should have seen in the books, who all still retain their unique personalities but become a lot more competent and committed to their cause.
Applied Cultural Anthropology, or - Hermione becomes a Slytherin. Most stories that feature Slytherin have Harry going there, and a story that puts Harry into Slytherin is usually a sign that he is evil, or "grey", or just plain emo. In this story however, putting Hermione into Slytherin just makes her more ambitious and while she is certainly scarier, it is not because she is evil but because without Harry and Ron to be her friends, and placed into an environment hostile towards muggleborns, she is forced to bring her ruthlessness to the foreground.
Coming Back Late - During the final battle, Harry doesn't return from the Forbidden Forest, and instead disappears into the muggle world to get rid of the Deathly Hallows once and for all, leaving Hermione to become the Witch-Who-Won. A great romantic subplot, an excellent actual plot, and a realistic look at how Magical Britain may look after the fallout from Voldemort's demise, as well as featuring ultra-competent Hermione. Quite possibly the most badass Hermione of any fic, ever; when every member of the cast keeps getting crowning moments of awesome, she still manages to shine (I dare anyone to read this and not break out cackling maniacally at "and yet somehow, you keep doing it"). It's got a very slow burn, but it is absolutely worth the time invested. If this story wasn't incomplete and had been updated anytime recently, it could very well take the top spot in my opinion.
And now for my ten favorite Harry Potter fanfics!
10) Many Thanks - Like a lot of fanfics on this list, this story is based on a trope that a number of other fanfics use (in this case, time travel back to the era of the Marauders), but both does it much better than a lot of similar stories and features a unique twist on the approach. The twist that this particular story takes is that instead of preserving the timeline, Hermione sets out to make the largest changes possible, and manages to redeem a number of characters in unexpected ways. It manages to turn one of the happiest endings possible into an incredibly bittersweet and tragic gut punch of an ending as well, but in the best way possible.
9) Years of Rebellion - It's centered on a slow burning Harry/Hermione romance, but the plot is solid. Set during the summer after the events of OotP, this was one of any number of fanfics that feature Sirius' funeral, but it's certainly one of the most believable and entertaining takes on it that I've read. And the rest of the story manages to keep that same high level of quality. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Harry/Hermione stories out there feature character bashing, usually Ron, Ginny, Molly, the entire Weasley family, or Dumbledore. The only explanation for that that I can think of is that the H/Hr shippers believe that it not only "could have been that way", but SHOULD have, and someone must be to blame if they don't wind up together; since they didn't in canon, and blaming JKR is too meta, it must be some character's fault. However, this fanfic, like the rest of the list, manages to portray a believable Harry/Hermione romance without resorting to assassinating characters to get them together. While Ron isn't portrayed in the best light initially, his actions are explained, and the story takes the opportunity to give him character development instead.
8) With Malice Aforethought - After making this list, I've discovered that I'm apparently a sucker for slow burning romances, because there's a bunch on here. It's a great all around fic, and manages to showcase a number of unique ideas that I haven't seen in other fics. While this story is complete, there's a sequel that's been left unfinished, which is part of the reason this one scores so low.
7) A Black Comedy - This is the second in what I consider the "Alternate Universe Trilogy" - three works that are completely unrelated in plot, but feature the same theme; Harry and friends getting sent from one universe to another - to make it on this list (The first of the three is in the number one slot, and while the third doesn't make it on the list, the author of that one is bobsaqqara, who wrote the next entry). Like in the others, Harry winds up leaving the residents of his new dimension stunned at his abilities, and showcases just how absurd the Harry Potter canon is. While the work is mostly set up as a comedy, with lots of light hearted moments, there is an actual plot that ties the story together and features a pretty impressive reveal at the end that is a lot more fun to read if you don't try to figure it out beforehand. The humor varies from frat comedy to long lead setups, and everything in between; the only comparison I can think of for the whiplash from high brow to low comedy is the show Archer, and this fic pulls the style off brilliantly.
6) The Riddle of Jim Lillian - The titular riddle has a fairly obvious answer that I expect most or all readers would figure out immediately, but the enjoyment is in watching it play out and the various characters try to figure out who Jim Lillian is. There's some character bashing of Ron, but it's a well written enough story and the bashing is a minor enough detail in the plot that it doesn't come across as angry as most stories featuring character bashing do.
5) Will He Be Happy? - This is the Harry Potter fanfiction equivalent of the scene in Veronica Mars where she gets Sheriff Lamb to say "Veronica Mars is smarter than me", but in this story Severus Snape is Veronica Mars, and the entire wizarding world is Sheriff Lamb. Snape executes an incredibly Byzantine revenge scheme to ensure that after the final battle with Voldemort, Harry will live happily ever after. This plot goes about as well as most supervillain plots go, and while a lot of characters are angry about Snape's derisive scorn towards them, and it doesn't have the happiest ending, it does feel like a much more positive and healthy ending because of the fact that all the buried feelings of the characters get brought to light and the air gets cleared.
4) Stupid - This is probably the most annoying fanfic of any fandom to search for, since "stupid harry potter fanfiction" tends to produce rather different results than what you are looking for. It's a brilliant look at post series, and one of the few fully canon compliant, even the epilogue, Harry/Hermione fanfics out there. It's a remarkably slow burn romance though, full of unrequited feelings and unresolved tension, but when it finally manages to takes off, the resolution is just amazing and a delight to read. While others may beat out Stupid for "slowest burning romance" in terms of word count, in terms of chronological time this is hands down the winner, with a relationship that spans decades.
3) Hermione Granger and the Goblet of Fire - A very simple point of departure AU, positing what would have happened if it had been Hermione's name to come out of the Goblet instead of Harry's, and manages to not only come up with a believable explanation as to why, but also features a believable fallout from the change. Lots of great references, intelligent behavior by the characters, a stronger but not superpowered Hermione, and seeing the events of fourth year from Hermione's viewpoint make up for the sheer emotional torture that is the awkward dancing around actual romance that Harry and Hermione perform. A brilliant and triumphant ending caps off the intensity of the rest of the fic.
2) Restoring Hope - The other work of Alchymie, the author of Coming Back Late. This one is actually finished, and again features delightful competence all around, and my favorite (not actually technically a) sex scene of any fanfic ever. A lot of writers use Chekhov's gun badly, but Alchymie is the grandmaster of this trope. He lays out Chekhov's entire armory of weaponry on the mantle in fair view at the start of this story, and walks through the room picking them up one by one and shooting them, and every time it's a revelation.
1) Stages of Hope - This is, without a doubt, my favorite fanfiction of any fandom ever. Harry and the last of his resistance wind up in a magical accident that sends them from the bad future of all bad futures to an alternate universe where James and Lily never got together, and everything happened differently. The title rather brilliantly refers to Harry's emotional reaction to knowing that everything will end badly and suddenly being shown a possible happily ever after. It is heartbreaking, and one of the few works of anything that I have read that is able to get me to reliably cry every time through. The characterization is spot on, with quite possibly the best Hermione I have ever read. The writing is brilliant and elegant in a way that few fanfics achieve, packing every scene with an incredible amount of emotion. Reading it all at once will leave you with a bit of emotional whiplash from the sudden shifts from competence to humor to tragedy and back, but the read is absolutely worth it.
First, we put up the Christmas tree and did all the decorations today. This was pretty big for me, since I haven't had a roommate for the last couple of years, and didn't really do much to celebrate Christmas, so it was both a very nice change of pace, a good chance to spend some time with actual people since I'm usually somewhat of a hermit if left to my own devices, and to make some good holiday related memories!
I also signed up for HabitRPG recently, which I'm still not sure what exactly makes it an "RPG" since I haven't gone poking around in it too much, but I've been doing some experimenting with the UI and have put a whole bunch of things in the "dailies" category, which has actually helped me get some things done that I've been letting slide otherwise.
I've also been working on writing, and I think I've got a pretty good handle on my Yuletide assignment now. I've still got a lot of work to do, a lot of word count I want to add, but I know the structure for how it's going to look now, which for me is the hardest part of the whole process.
First, the plot of a "only they don't realize they're dating" story is the beginning of a love story and getting the two characters together. Whereas a typical plot for a secret relationship already has the two characters together, and is about how other people find out about their relationship and how they deal with it. I think established relationships are more interesting because I think a lot of the drama from establishing a relationship goes away since the question of "will they or won't they" is predetermined, since they absolutely will get together.
Also, I think that a secret relationship is more interesting because so established relationships are much less commonly found, and because an established relationship is about making a relationship work, and keeping it strong throughout any problems that are thrown against you and has both much more storytelling potential and also emotional potential. Most love stories end when the characters finally get together, but I think the most interesting part of a love story doesn't happen until afterwards.
On top of that, I really like the sort of intimacy that comes from sharing a secret and hiding a relationship from people. It lends an us against the world sort of mentality that I also really like. I'm a sucker for trust and respect between people, and having to keep a secret from people really brings out those sorts of qualities.
Secret relationships also work well for a lot of different genres. They work well with forbidden love like Romeo and Juliet where the two characters are from different factions, where one (or both) character is a spy and has to keep their relationship secret from their work, military AUs where relationships are forbidden because of the chain of command, superhero stories where they keep the relationship secret to protect each other from nemeses or because of their secret identities, are just some of the possible ways it can manifest. It's such a versatile trope!
This is a post about expectations.
Every fandom is, indirectly at least, answerable to its fans. If viewers don't watch a television show, it won't get renewed for more episodes and will be canceled. If readers don't purchase a novel, the author won't be offered a contract for a sequel. Which means that creators have to be aware of what their fans are expecting to see. While no creator is obligated to fulfill every expectation that is held of their works, if they simply disregard those expectations, their works will fail because they are unaware of their audience. There is certainly room in which to subvert or avert fulfilling expectations, but simply disregarding them leads to unsatisfactory stories. However, there is a fine line between failing to meet the audience's expectations, and not leaving enough room for an organic story growth by only meeting their expectations. I feel that two great recent examples of this fine line between are the series finale to How I Met Your Mother and the Veronica Mars movie.
Many viewers were upset with the ending of How I Met Your Mother. However, I think that the show managed an excellent ending, given the constraints of how the show had evolved over the course of its run. Two of the most common complaints about the show were that Ted had no reason to be telling his kids all the stories that he did, and for a show whose premise was ostensibly about how Ted met the unnamed mother, the focus was frequently on Robin and her relationship with Ted. And the series finale managed to address both of those concerns. I had find it helpful to think of things in terms of math. While any ending imaginable was theoretically possible for the show, the probability space for how the series could end became gradually more and more constrained by the weight of the two hundred and seven prior episodes. Any ending that didn't resolve the concerns of Ted and Robin's relationship, or didn't address why Ted was telling his kids every detail of his life, or in which the mother didn't live up to the expectations that had been set for her by the course of the show, could not have been satisfactory. And while the ending to the show was certainly not happy, How I Met Your Mother has never been a very happy show, and is always willing to show how life is not what happens while people are making plans. But it has always been a very satisfying show to watch, because it understood the type of story that it was trying to tell, and the expectations that it's audience had. Just because a work ends in tragedy does not make it unsatisfying to experience; the very idea of catharsis is based on the satisfaction experienced from tragic works. That said, there was certainly room for the ending wasn't satisfying compared to the rest of the show, because the writers chose to kill off the mother to resolve the Ted and Robin relationship. In this case, while the writers managed to meet a great deal of the expectations held of the series, they didn't meet the expectation that the mother was still there in the future, and because of that, the story strayed from what people were expecting and left a distaste for some viewers.
On the other hand, the Veronica Mars movie was very good, but I feel that it failed to live up to the best episodes of the series. And the reason for that is that the film had to be too many things to too many different people. It had to end with Veronica and Logan together, or those fans would have rioted. It had to open with Veronica and Piz together, or THOSE fans would have rioted. There had to be appearances by Wallace, Mac, Weevil and Dick, or the fans of those characters would have rioted. It was so burdened by the weight of everything that was expected of it by the fans, that there was too little room for it to take any real risks. The best episodes of Veronica Mars are the ones which take risks and succeed, and so while the film was very good, it was also somewhat formulaic and didn't have the room to truly flourish.
In one episode of the Middleman, Lacey has this to say:
At the end of Ride Lonesome, Ben Brigade kills the man that kills his wife. Only it doesn't happen the way you think it's gonna happen. But once it does, you realize that no other ending was possible.
And that's what great art has to do. It has to meet the expectations of it's audience, but also provide a new twist to the story. And failing to do either can lead to very unsatisfactory experiences for the audience, but in very different ways.
( General Preferences )
( Battleground )
( Faking It (2014) )
( The First Time )
( Nearlyweds )
Past Yuletide Letters: 2013, 2012