In other fic-related news I find it endlessly fascinating what I consider ATG/OOC in AUs (or even just UAs/canon divergences), versus what I'm prepared to go along with.

Like... I've read some totally wild and wacky AUs that still "clicked" for me as being Yes, That's Definitely Still Them while others, even if they're technically more adept, fall short because they're missing The Things.

What are The Things? We may never truly know! But they are!


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*

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@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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