This Hot Take brought to you by one-too-many interesting, well-written, very hot fics that seem to just... fall apart in the third act because they don't address That Canon Thing (You Know The One) in a way that makes the whole thing retrospectively feel serials-filed-on-ish.
Like okay you took Generic Romance Novella 2083, slapped some canon names on it, rewrote a few minor scenes... but couldn't structurally alter the denouement enough to really bring things home.
Actually writing it out this way has made me realise that what I probably mean is that the AUs that work for me essentially adapt the canon's A Plot into the fic's B Plot (since the fic's A Plot is usually a romance). But fics that don't successfully manage this, even if their characterisation is otherwise pretty good, just... *sad trombone sound*
@alis this is an interesting way of putting it because I typically read like, College AUs of fantasy canons and there is Not Really A Way of turning a hero's journey into a college plot (B or otherwise) without it looking REALLY kitsch
so like, i had never even considered that a possibility with other genres
@alis but then again what i look for in AUs is not usually similarities in plot (which i would find grating tbh) but deep narrative allusions and callbacks to niche aspects of lore, which Absolutely can be added to a generic pulp romance (without changing plot or structure) to great effect
(but i also main fandoms where all canon is ambiguous and there is no such thing as OOC, so… i have a feeling my expectations differ pretty starkly from people working in spaces where those are set in stone)
@Leaf I would disagree fairly strongly, honestly? Like there are A LOT of "template" Hero's Journey stories set in colleges (REVENGE OF THE NERDS, GOOD WILL HUNTING, etc.) and it's pretty easy to come up with beat notes (Threshold Guardians = jocks, hostile professors/Mentor = sympathetic prof/Temptation = partying, drugs/Abyss = failure, expulsion, etc./Triumph & Return = graduation).
Just swap in some archetypes and scenarios from the canon and... boom, done.
@alis i didn't say it couldn't be done, i said i found it kitsch :P (i expect more realism (and nuance) from my realistic fiction) …but now we're talking about genre preferences :P
which i guess would be a better way of stating my point; there are things i like in some genres that i don't like in others, and that complicates the process of writing a good AU
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