chilepie

The AU thing

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I'm surprised sometimes at the force of people's opinions on AU stories. I can understand the opposition wanting to preserve the purity of the original manga/anime but I get frustrated when they won't hear out the ones that like to write AU.

I find nothing wrong with it myself (and not just because I write almost exclusively in AU). For me, it's like a challenge. I keep thinking about what I can do with certain characters to fit them into the world in which I've made up. Or even how can I make them seem real enough to live in our own world. I have an aversion to messing with cannon. Especially if a manga isn't finished. I really just want to see what the original artist is going to do....where they're going to take things....then imposing what I want to happen on it. (agian, personal preferance)

Now, I love it when writers can spin a good cannon story in the original verse. I've tried in my own personal fandom of Naruto and, in my opinon, sucked at it. :)

So I'd like to hear from you. Do you like AU? Hate it? Only like it in some circumstances?

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I actually enjoy a well written AU. It takes (in my opinion) a fair bit of creativity to take someone else's characters and world, and twist it like that. Or, take those characters and put 'em in your own world. I would think it then becomes even MORE challenging to keep them in character, for one thing, and make them fit into your AU/AR for another while doing so.

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I actually enjoy a well written AU. It takes (in my opinion) a fair bit of creativity to take someone else's characters and world, and twist it like that. Or, take those characters and put 'em in your own world. I would think it then becomes even MORE challenging to keep them in character, for one thing, and make them fit into your AU/AR for another while doing so.

In some ways it gives you more freedom to write in your own world but at the same time you have a major restriction to keep your chosen victims...err....characters personalities cannon. The worse thing you can find is where someone has warped a beloved character beyond all recognition just to fit the storyline they want.

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The AU I write tends to be set in the canon world, but with a few alterations to make my story work, rather than taking the characters into a whole new world. I certainly see nothing wrong about making completely AU stories however. I don't often find well written AU in the area I like to read in, but when I do, two thumbs up.

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my understanding of au is that you take characters and play with them in a way and fashion completely different from what they were originally intended. you take ninja's and put them in a school for wizards. you take demons and make them humans. you take wizards and make them students. it's an alternate universe, and you're playing with them in a unique way. the only problem i have is that sometimes authors take the characters and pull them too far from what their original characteristics are. every character has a fundamental value system that they follow. if you are going to put ninjas in a school for wizards, let the ninja's interact with the wizard setting, but the fundamental value system needs to translate.

i enjoy a good au. i really do. i find myself writing au as much as i do writing within the canon-verse. but a good au has to have good characterizations. if you can't write a story where you keep the characters recognizable and not some disgusting caricature of themselves, then i don't want to read it. an amazing example of an au is ClairBear's An Indecent Affair.

however, even more than a really good au, i prefer a great ar. the difference, as i understand, is whether you're playing in the canon-verse or not. if you can take a story and subvert it while maintaining it in the canon, then i'm amazed and i love it all the more. a really good example of a great ar, is Cathydeff's Morning After Pill. a really good ar is somebody who can keep the characters themselves in their original world while making them follow their own plot bunny's trail.

an ar is much more preferable to me. but a good au is just as enjoyable, in my opinion.

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my understanding of au is that you take characters and play with them in a way and fashion completely different from what they were originally intended. you take ninja's and put them in a school for wizards. you take demons and make them humans. you take wizards and make them students. it's an alternate universe, and you're playing with them in a unique way. the only problem i have is that sometimes authors take the characters and pull them too far from what their original characteristics are. every character has a fundamental value system that they follow. if you are going to put ninjas in a school for wizards, let the ninja's interact with the wizard setting, but the fundamental value system needs to translate.

i enjoy a good au. i really do. i find myself writing au as much as i do writing within the canon-verse. but a good au has to have good characterizations. if you can't write a story where you keep the characters recognizable and not some disgusting caricature of themselves, then i don't want to read it. an amazing example of an au is ClairBear's An Indecent Affair.

however, even more than a really good au, i prefer a great ar. the difference, as i understand, is whether you're playing in the canon-verse or not. if you can take a story and subvert it while maintaining it in the canon, then i'm amazed and i love it all the more. a really good example of a great ar, is Cathydeff's Morning After Pill. a really good ar is somebody who can keep the characters themselves in their original world while making them follow their own plot bunny's trail.

an ar is much more preferable to me. but a good au is just as enjoyable, in my opinion.

Exactly.

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I personally only have written two AU stories, my particular fandom being Harry Potter. However I suppose I do cheat in the fact that I use the Marauders, because there is a LOT of room to play around with those particular characters and it is a lot easier to slip them into an Alternate Universe. I have done a Non-magic AU which I am enjoying writing so much, it's a lot of fun to turn them Muggle. :D It's also fun to turn magical creatures into humans. I have to say though I haven't read an AU fanfiction story, I just enjoy writing them. Also OOC characters annoy me mightily because then it becomes almost an Original story but with someone eles' characters names, in my opinoin if you want to do that then why not just write an original story? Fanfiction, in my mind, is all about keeping the characters as canon as possible...even in an AU setting. It is difficult though, even though I do try my hardest to keep the Marauders as close to canon as possible it's made even harder by the fact that they are such minor characters and their personalities are subject to personal interpretation.

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Personally, I rather like well-written AUs. But I have a thing about no OOC-ness. That completely turns me off whatever I'm reading. So I tend to be picky about what I read and write.

Well. I suppose I should say that I won't write it if I can't see myself keeping it in character. Mind you, I write AUs and cannon stories and have fun with both - and difficulties with both, depending on the situations I put the characters in and the characters' own personalities - and I like to try my hand at rare/odd yaoi pairings if I think I can possibly do them justice. (This has made for a number of...let's be nice and call them insane...drabbles in the Bleach category, but as I and my readers tend to find the things entertaining, that's praise enough.)

There's a wonderful lady on AO3 who goes by blackkat (she's black.k.kat on FFnet) who let me adopt a few of her stories.... One of them is only slightly AU, but the other one (a Bleach story) has the Zanpakuto as dragons. Kat called it a crack story, but either it was really addictive crack or those of us who read that particular one of her 64 Damn Prompts were just completely taken with the notion; I have no few readers who came to my Inconceivable from her Incalculable and enthused that "Someone's continuing Kat's dragon story! Yesss!" She left such a wide area open for expansion that I'm having a blast with it. Zanpakuto personalities as dragons, capable of independent action.... Makes for tons of awesome. Plus the whole world-building thing, since I like to take bits of canon and mix them into the AU plot line.... In one way I guess you could say that doing so is cheating, or makes it easier, but the thing about mixing canon details into an AU story is that first you have to know how much is too much, how much should be discarded. And then you have to figure out how to fit it all together into one story. Complicated and time consuming, but ultimately worth it.

I don't stick only to medieval AUs, either. Took on a challenge from Clara Barton on FFnet; she wanted someone to write a Gundam Wing/Three Musketeers crossover. Normally I can't stand crossovers (because they are so very, very rarely done well), but this idea reeled me in before I knew what was what. So in order to combine the two series and their respective plot lines, I had to make it a futuristic AU - and while I'm only now working on the second half of the prologue, it looks to be insanely entertaining. And after talking it over with Clara and the other wonderful woman who expressed interest in the crossover (and is a friend to both myself and Clara), I decided to draw from the Disney version of The Three Musketeers...on account of I can't do anything without humor and the Disney version is funnier than most. It's an insane and somewhat daunting task (I had to scrap most of the medieval and current societal layouts entirely and create the system I'm using nearly from scratch) but it's so very fun. The first half of the prologue reads like a movie trailer, so Snow and Clara tell me.

Simply put, AUs are wonderful things when done right - but often enough they aren't, so I...dabble.... I read a few chapters if the summary interests me, and if it seems good then I'll run with it. If not, hey, that's fine too. I'll just leave. Why make my eyes and brain suffer through something I'm not enjoying?

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Plus the whole world-building thing, since I like to take bits of canon and mix them into the AU plot line.... In one way I guess you could say that doing so is cheating, or makes it easier, but the thing about mixing canon details into an AU story is that first you have to know how much is too much, how much should be discarded. And then you have to figure out how to fit it all together into one story. Complicated and time consuming, but ultimately worth it.

In relation to the above I have managed (Somehow) to write a long multichap fic surrounding the pairing of Remus Lupin and Sirius Black in Harry Potter, the storyline is basically canon however, rather than writing it from Harry's Pov -which I couldn't do anyway as it begins in the Marauders fifth year- I have written it from both Remus' and Sirius' pov. It was so, so much fun to twist canon around what is more than likely an AU-type pairing. I managed to write in a LOT of information that is absent (and probably never existed) from the books, I put in every single little hint from Rowling of what the Marauder's got up to and wrote it from their fifth year right up until Remus' canon death. It is horribly tragic and really depressing (and probably has atrocious spelling/grammar but I cannot help that being Dyslexic.) but I certainly had fun playing with it and those who read it gave it some good reviews...it was just annoying posting it from FFnet to Aff as I had to sew it all together with bits and pieces taken straight from JK Rowlings brilliant mind and had to cite it all properly rather than just say 'This chapter contains bits taken and adapted straight from the books' as I normally do, lol. So yes, I do enjoy twisting and skewing canon, in most cases i have to to make the pairings i write fit.

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Kimmimaru has a point, here - when the author of the cannon 'verse doesn't flesh out a character, it can be frustrating. I've heard some people say that it gives them more wiggle room, more leeway to play with the character's personality, but I don't think like that. The cannon characters are supposed to be kept in character, and while everyone can look at a character and see different reasons behind their actions, that's one thing. It's a different story, so to speak, when you lack enough basic information to know whether the one in question has any personal habits, character flaws, idiosyncrasies.... Though I tend to avoid fics about characters that don't have any real defining character traits in cannon.... It just bothers me, since it isn't the original author fleshing out the character enough to give us some idea what they're like. So in that respect, I don't tend to bother with AU or AR stories....

Mainly, it depends on the world and how well in character the author keeps everyone, I think. I mentioned a lady in my previous post, Clara, who is writing a wonderful AU Gundam Wing story that I'm beta and sounding board for. It's a superhero-ish tale - and anything superhero doesn't really mix well with Gundam Wing, cannon or otherwise. So she draws on elements from X-Men, Misfits, and a number of other superhero series.... But the kicker is that she made the main protagonist in GW cannon...a prostitute. (When she first mentioned this to me, I was on the fence and about to hop down on the NO side, because GW-cannon's Heero Yuy is so not prostitute material. And then she threw her proposed plot at me, and my sounding board-ist instincts pounced. The result is an emotional wreck of a character whose powers are tied to his emotions. A powerful plot tool with the intent of making him into the "Perfect Soldier" type he is in cannon. So Clara is writing her prostitute Heero - part of me still winces at that - and readers have been thrilled with the simple fact that, instead of no one being able to figure out what he's feeling, he's got his powers giving away his emotional state.) ... To clarify, the reason I'm okay with this when I'm so against OOC-ness is simple: she's going to turn him into his cannon-personality self, but for the purposes of her story, Clara can't have him be the way he is in cannon just yet. Plus, I trust her to handle the characters and the story the way they need to be handled, and if she needs help she knows she can turn to me and hit me with things she thinks are horrible. Between us, we usually manage to get her stories sorted out in a fashion she likes. That's what a good beta/sounding board is supposed to do, yes? ;)

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The Marauders I think are a special case because you get enough of their personalities to have a certain amount of Canon-ish-ness (yeah, I made up that word, lol.) but you can still have a certain amount of play room. I admit to being ignorant of Gundam Wing, although I do know Bleach...i mean, who doesn't? I can't say I have read any Bleach Fanfics or Naruto, god knows why, I suppose I'm currently obsessing over Harry Potter. I have only a couple of AU's that i've written but I do prefer to write around Canon, or as much as I can considering I write Slash. I am in the process of writing a Harry/Draco fic but I am currently struggling with it as I am trying to keep it Canon-esque while in some ways making it AU (It's set when Harry is Thirty and ignores the Canon Epilogue). It's a challenge and I keep getting stuck because to me there isn't much wiggle room (to steal Cuzosu's words) around Draco/Harry. Whereas my Black Dog AU is a lot easier to work with as once again the Marauders aren't quite as well known as HP. So I suppose it all depends upon how you work with the Characters and how well you know them. I once again state that I despise OOC-ness. It's a real turn off. I have read a few Harry/Severus fics where they turn Sev into a soppy git and it bugs me, it's so wrong it may as well be an OC. :/

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I once set out to write a Sailor Moon AU. Started with small changes in setting, which got bigger and bigger. Charcters changed in appearance, then attitude, then name, even gender. History switched round and the magic flowed away and Bam! I suddenly realised it had become a non-au Happy Days fanfic instead.

D'oh.

Edited by JayDee

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The Marauders I think are a special case because you get enough of their personalities to have a certain amount of Canon-ish-ness (yeah, I made up that word, lol.) but you can still have a certain amount of play room. I admit to being ignorant of Gundam Wing, although I do know Bleach...i mean, who doesn't? I can't say I have read any Bleach Fanfics or Naruto, god knows why, I suppose I'm currently obsessing over Harry Potter. I have only a couple of AU's that i've written but I do prefer to write around Canon, or as much as I can considering I write Slash. I am in the process of writing a Harry/Draco fic but I am currently struggling with it as I am trying to keep it Canon-esque while in some ways making it AU (It's set when Harry is Thirty and ignores the Canon Epilogue). It's a challenge and I keep getting stuck because to me there isn't much wiggle room (to steal Cuzosu's words) around Draco/Harry. Whereas my Black Dog AU is a lot easier to work with as once again the Marauders aren't quite as well known as HP. So I suppose it all depends upon how you work with the Characters and how well you know them. I once again state that I despise OOC-ness. It's a real turn off. I have read a few Harry/Severus fics where they turn Sev into a soppy git and it bugs me, it's so wrong it may as well be an OC. :/

It's a challenge to write threesomes, too - which I have done/am doing. :P Difficulty comes in multiples, after all. But I think the end result is usually worth it.

Though I definitely agree - Severus being a soppy git doesn't make sense and is annoying to no end. Though I've seen one or two where they had Lucuis being a soppy git, too, and ugh! No!

I once set out to write a Sailor Moon AU. Started with small changes in setting, which got bigger and bigger. Charcters changed in appearance, then attitude, then name, even gender. History switched round and the magic flowed away and Bam! I suddenly realised it had become a non-au Happy Days fanfic instead.

D'oh.

Thus one of the problems with AU stories.... Keeping the world/characters at least vaguely recognizable. And turning a Sailor Moon AU into a non-AU Happy Days fanfic...I feel for you. I'm not that fond of Sailor Moon anyway, for the most part - I mean, it's tolerable, but for me it's not something I would choose to watch. I'm much more into the darker side of things, violence and emotion, so.... Still, at least it sounds like you figured out what you needed to do with/about your writing - that fanfic in particular. It's always good for a writer to know how he/she works best. ;) Everyone gets different learning experiences.

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Guest Bartimeaus

I believe that every subfandom and category are important for the growth of a fan fiction base. But meh, I might be wrong. In my opinion I LOVE AU, it's challenging, it's plays hell on an authors nerve, takes a lot of creativity but in the end the fic is worth it, you know what i mean? If you will check out the AU, you'll find so many budding authors and fics. Hell i write in the AU part(but i'm not prejudiced about AU.) Yes there are some that suck but you can't cut off a branch just because a leaf fell from it??And the canons are good to. Support to the story that's how i view them. So cheerio partner..

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I find nothing wrong with it myself (and not just because I write almost exclusively in AU). For me, it's like a challenge. I keep thinking about what I can do with certain characters to fit them into the world in which I've made up. Or even how can I make them seem real enough to live in our own world. I have an aversion to messing with cannon. Especially if a manga isn't finished. I really just want to see what the original artist is going to do....where they're going to take things....then imposing what I want to happen on it. (agian, personal preferance)

So I'd like to hear from you. Do you like AU? Hate it? Only like it in some circumstances?

This topic caught my interest so I figured I would respond. I can understand wishing to let the cannon stand on originality merits. However, there are plenty of ways to remain in the cannon world while writing a story. Most Yaoi writers fall squarely into the problematic gray area of staying within the confinement of a cannon world. It can be very difficult keeping the characters from going ooc while promoting a clandestine love life that weaves into a behind the scenes feeling position within the cannon structure. It is a very tough task to do with finesse so most writers don't bother.

I find that many AU writers are not up to the task of keeping cannon characters true to their established personalities. OOC is my second biggest complaint with AU writing. My biggest pet peeve is having to read way too much Original Character take over in an AU storyline. IF I am reading a story about an anime I like, I want to read about the actual characters from the series, and not get overwhelmed without break by an original character that was created by the writer specifically. When AU has too much Original character, and too little cannon it makes me gag.

I do not mind a splash of OOC happening due to an emotional strain the character endures. All people have those moments, and it makes the cannon character more realistic/human. I can handle the cannon acting out of character for a couple of chapters while they resolve an overwhelming problem. If I find the OOC behavior continues non-stop over a number of chapters, I will stop reading because I get fed up with the non cannon portrayal. It feels way too disrespectful to the original creator.

There are a few well written AU stories that I have read. However, most often those are way too far and few between for my comfort. I only like AU that remains faithful to cannon characterization. So long as it is the genuine character from the anime I like, I will read and love the tale. Even if it goes very AU, I will be content so long as the author does not make me gag on an original character, and keeps the cannons within expected boundaries. My hatred of OOC makes it impossible for me to stomach tags that simply do not fit the cannon character personalities. A gentle cannon character will not get into sado/masochist bondage and pain in example. I can't see it, and have trouble suspending my expectations for that characterization. Character evolution is a different beast all together, which I do not mind. The differences between OOC and evolution of character determines whether I will stick with an AU story.

Edited by Kurahieiritr

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This topic caught my interest so I figured I would respond. I can understand wishing to let the cannon stand on originality merits. However, there are plenty of ways to remain in the cannon world while writing a story. Most Yaoi writers fall squarely into the problematic gray area of staying within the confinement of a cannon world. It can be very difficult keeping the characters from going ooc while promoting a clandestine love life that weaves into a behind the scenes feeling position within the cannon structure. It is a very tough task to do with finesse so most writers don't bother.

I find that many AU writers are not up to the task of keeping cannon characters true to their established personalities. OOC is my second biggest complaint with AU writing. My biggest pet peeve is having to read way too much Original Character take over in an AU storyline. IF I am reading a story about an anime I like, I want to read about the actual characters from the series, and not get overwhelmed without break by an original character that was created by the writer specifically. When AU has too much Original character, and too little cannon it makes me gag.

I do not mind a splash of OOC happening due to an emotional strain the character endures. All people have those moments, and it makes the cannon character more realistic/human. I can handle the cannon acting out of character for a couple of chapters while they resolve an overwhelming problem. If I find the OOC behavior continues non-stop over a number of chapters, I will stop reading because I get fed up with the non cannon portrayal. It feels way too disrespectful to the original creator.

There are a few well written AU stories that I have read. However, most often those are way too far and few between for my comfort. I only like AU that remains faithful to cannon characterization. So long as it is the genuine character from the anime I like, I will read and love the tale. Even if it goes very AU, I will be content so long as the author does not make me gag on an original character, and keeps the cannons within expected boundaries. My hatred of OOC makes it impossible for me to stomach tags that simply do not fit the cannon character personalities. A gentle cannon character will not get into sado/masochist bondage and pain in example. I can't see it, and have trouble suspending my expectations for that characterization. Character evolution is a different beast all together, which I do not mind. The differences between OOC and evolution of character determines whether I will stick with an AU story.

Emotional OOC-ness due to situation/circumstance is probably the only OOC I tolerate well. Though I have enough of an off-kilter sense of humor that OOC-ness done as a mockery can be acceptable, too.

And you make a good point about the OCs.... Too many fan fictions are entirely about OCs when there should be much more canon characters instead.

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Emotional OOC-ness due to situation/circumstance is probably the only OOC I tolerate well. Though I have enough of an off-kilter sense of humor that OOC-ness done as a mockery can be acceptable, too.

And you make a good point about the OCs.... Too many fan fictions are entirely about OCs when there should be much more canon characters instead.

Exactly! AU often turns into an OC becoming a God that overshadows the genuine Cannon characters, if the cannons show up in more than 5 paragraphs in most AU stories I have read. I find that there are very few good Au stories in the Animes I like to read such as Initial D, and a plethora of the OC Mary Sue/Gray Stu God Figure OC characters that are overwhelmingly nauseating to read. I am so sick of the OC love interests of Cannon Initial D racers who beat the Project D team easily crap. The bulk are Americans in big block classic muscle cars. Snorts in disgust.

I just got into Bleach reading, so I have to see whether the AU's there will be half as disgusting and puke worthy as they are in Initial D, YuYu Hakusho, Gundam Wing, or DBZ. The best AU I ever read was a Yu Yu Hakusho fic that kept the cannon characters as the story focus. Sadly, as I said, they are few and far between.

I have also read a few good AU stories with the OOC acting Cannon variety mockery angle. those are truly very funny, and I enjoy them well enough. My favorite came from DBZ. Vegeta developed a very strong phobia in it and nobody could break him of it. He was terrified of heights in that crack fic. Bulma made a big swimming pool of jello which then added to Vegeta's fear because he could not swim to the surface after Goku tossed him off the building into the goo. hahahah.

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