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I love AU fan fictions - But…

In one recent AU story of a favorite (slash) pairing, even though the era and location changed, the author put the essence of the well-known characters solidly into the AU characters.  They acted and sounded like they should - even with modifications for time and place, and for patterns of speech and vocabulary.  I believed in the story - those characters were well and truly there!

In contrast, I read another AU story with the same pairing and ancillary characters - and I never believed in (or cared about) for one moment the people or the situation.  Either the changes in vocabulary were too radical, which lost the essence of the main pairing, or the author just didn’t write the dialog with the “voice” of these well-established characters in mind.  Either way, the story ended up being about two unknown people that just happened to have the same names as the expected pairing.

My conclusion from reading these two AU stories:  I suspect, no matter the writer’s skills, some AU’s just will not work with some characters. No matter how well researched or how well plotted, some characters just don’t migrate.  Some time periods or situations just are not appropriate for some established characters.  This might not be all that profound a discovery - but obviously some writers haven't caught on yet!

So, my hat is off to the writers that DO give us creative and inspired alternative realities. Thanks for making them work and for giving new lives and adventures to our well-loved characters! 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tbrook
Aug. 31st, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Interesting post. I see what you're saying and "voice" is quite important. It's hard to imagine S&H in the Victorian era, for example. I love to write AUs and they seem to work but I often wonder how flexible the characters can be. I have one story, The Eighth Day in which Jim is deaf and Blind so his "voice" is very different so... it often makes me wonder:) It's an intriguing topic.
theantipam
Aug. 31st, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
IMHO, the essence of a character has to travel along into the AU - for instance, Rodney McKay's ego or Blair Sandburg's obfuscations. Those traits certainly could be portrayed in nearly any time or place. But if they aren't part of the story, the character probably won't ring true.

Some authors do have the ability to reorient a character's nature - Jim Ellison as a controlling disciplinarian is one that comes to mind. But the change is usually to qualities that already exist but are exaggerated to an extreme.

For me, in your story Eighth Day, the introspection and the joy of discovery are part of Jim that DID come from the canon characterization. Removing that part of Jim would have maimed the character much more than removing his physical abilities or senses!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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