AU, when the team is called to investigate a series of disappearances, they find the case may involve a powerful vampire who has an interest in Emily. Morgan/Prentiss. Prentiss/Doyle. For tfm, from the Fandom Helps auction.
This will be my last post for The Scrap Pile. I wanted to leave you all with something meaningful, so here’s a few words on writing advice, rules and taking chances.
When it comes to writing advice, whether from a book, a blog like this, or someone critiquing one of your works, always judge it for yourself.
Read it, synthesize it in your mind, and then decide whether it’s right for you, and the story you want to write. This is especially true when listening to comments on your specific work. It’s your story and ultimately you have to make the decisions about what it is and isn’t going to be.
Yesterday, tfm began discussing crossover fics, today she continues with types of crossover fics. Please welcome her.
The standard crossover can work well for fandoms with a procedural premise. That is, characters do Thing X week after week, with only minor variations on the point. This premise makes it easy to say “Well, what if the characters from both of these fandoms teamed up and did Thing X together.” This can be solving a murder mystery, searching for treasure, or any other kind of whacky (or not so whacky) adventure.
If you’re just starting out with crossovers, then this is probably the kind you want to do. Maybe start out small – one character from each fandom, or one character from one fandom interacting with multiple characters from the second fandom, or all the characters from both fandoms interacting with each other. Every extra element you add is something else that has to be taken into account when you’re trying to characterise.
For example, in a hypothetical Leverage/How I Met Your Mother crossover, Parker is in New York City to steal a painting. Barney unwittingly attempts to hook up with her by pretending that he’s a highly acclaimed art thief, and they go on a whacky adventure. Basic enough, and you only really have to work with two distinct backstories and characterisations, i.e. how do they interact with each other? Is Parker completely oblivious towards Barney’s pick-up lines? How does Barney react when he realizes that Parker actually is a thief?
Please welcome back tfm, who last month taught us about writing AU stories. She is an Australian author, who has been writing fanfic for nine years in various fandoms. Today through Thursday, she’ll be telling us about Crossover stories.
So you want to write something different. You want to write something that’s fun, and suspenseful, and just a little bit reality transcending, but you don’t want to create a whole new universe. Maybe it’s because you don’t have the time, or the effort, or maybe it’s because you don’t think that you can effectively convey such a world. It doesn’t matter. You decide, then, instead of making up a whole new universe, you’ll use one that’s already there. One, or two, or more fandoms interacting in order to provide a whole new universe in which to set your story.
This is the crossover.
As with AUs, there are several ways to do crossover stories. A lot of the same rules apply, but their execution can be very different: instead of creating a new universe, you’re merging two already existing universes. This can be a good thing, and it could be a bad thing. It can be good because it allows you to write for a different genre without making up your own rules, but by the same token, crossovers can be a lot less flexible because you’re working with two distinct canons with their own rigid backstories, genres, themes, etc.
Sometimes, two fandoms will connect easily. Sometimes they won’t. Being able to balance these disparities can be the difference between writing a good crossover, and a stilted one. It can also drive the tone and genre of the story, based on the themes you choose to focus on. For example, if you’re writing for a couple of procedural shows, then the task can be very straightforward – Team X and Team Y get together to solve a murder. “Straightforward” does not mean simple, however. In this circumstance, the genre crosses over easily enough, but the tone might not. Consider NCIS and Criminal Minds. Both shows deal with catching killers, but tonally speaking, NCIS is more humorous, more patriotic, and some might argue, a little more ridiculous than Criminal Minds (this isn’t intended as a criticism of the show, just an observation). So how do you reconcile these issues? Use them to your advantage. A joke at the wrong time can be a source of tension. A political obstacle might threaten the investigation.
Similarly, being of two different genres does not necessarily have to be a death knell. Using another Criminal Minds example (seriously, I don’t really write in any other fandoms, so it’s the best example I can use), one of the more common crossovers is the Supernatural crossover. With angels and demons and vampires and werewolves, it seems like it would be difficult to merge them, right? Not so much.
Tonally speaking, I feel that Supernatural and Criminal Minds share a lot in common. They’re both shows about fighting monsters, albeit very different monsters in very different ways. Both have a fairly dark tone, and something of a “what makes us so different from them” kind of theme. Conflicts can come from the fact that each group works on the different side of the law, or the fact that they’re arguing over whether a demon or a serial killer is responsible, or even something more character-based, like someone’s attitude towards killing in cold blood. Both the differences and the similarities between fandoms can make for interesting character and setting interactions.
I find it easiest to stick with two fandoms; trying to go with three or more can get very complicated, very quickly. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. It just means that you need to be careful about how you’re doing it. You want to write a story where the characters from Leverage and the characters from Warehouse 13 and the characters from Doctor Who are trying to get an artefact that might destroy the world? Awesome. Except you have to deal with three ensemble casts, three universes, three lots of backstories, and so on. Remember that the complications aren’t just a problem for the writer, but the reader, as well; if they can’t keep track of the story, then readership will probably start to drop off. Similarly readers may be put off by the inclusion of fandoms they aren’t familiar with, and each extra fandom makes the story just a little bit more obscure, especially for fandoms from different genres or mediums.
So how do we cross fandoms over?
Well my first bit of advice would be to start off small.
Tune in for more tomorrow!
If you post to fanfiction.net beware they are purging, and apparently purging quite a lot. They are not telling writers until after the fact, and haven’t been very communicative to writer’s requests.
Make sure all your stories have K (G) rated titles and summaries. I’ve read that “kill” was getting flagged as well, so be generous with your edits.
If you have naughty stories, back them up just in case.
These seem to be the two most common problems, though I’ve read slash is been hit more than others.
Buffy and Dr. Who have have been pretty brutally hit. Twilight, Harry Potter, Pokemon, Naruto, Sailor Moon and several others have had a great deal of stories removed as well. Thank you Alixe75 for this information.
Yes, this is very late. Sorry about that, couldn’t be helped.
Everything you write, every word you put on paper, you should be asking yourself one question: Does it help move the story along?
The answer should always be yes, if you’re keeping the scene/dialogue/exposition/etc. This is the cardinal rule of writing. Every scene you write into your story should help advance the plot.
This doesn’t mean that everything you write has to be action or dialogue. It doesn’t mean that if you’re writing a case-fic, you can only write about the case, or if you’re writing a romance for a medical show that you can’t write about their challenges at work. It only means that whatever you write that’s not directly related to the central plot, needs to be either indirectly related to the central plot or directly related to a subplot. The exception to this rule is if you’re simply mentioning something, rather than writing a whole scene about it.
He missed having her by his side in the field, but coming home to her was worth the loss. Morgan/Prentiss. Spoilers for the season finale.