This post is on crack

Dec 26, 2011 14:33

A week or so ago
lettered posted a yummy-looking list of questions about crackfic. I've been reading rather a lot of crack lately (and writing MUCH MORE than I expected to), so! I have opinions! I've nabbed my favorite questions, but the full list is here.

Do you see "crack!fic" as a separate genre than other fic? What about fics with crack premises that feel like they still have something important to say about the characters and canon's themes?

Oh, yay! Definitions!

Some people use ‘crack’ to refer to a fic with a silly/outlandish premise. Others use it to refer to a particular kind of comedic treatment of a premise; this treatment often involves characters written out of character and events that occur without any attempt at explanation (or, sometimes, without anyone even looking for an explanation). Note that a fic with a crack premise can also be given a crack treatment, but they’re different things.

So. I’m not sure there exists a premise so bizarre that a very good writer can’t make a reader believe it, at least for the course of the story. A great example of this is the BtVS bodyswap ep Who Are You?, which skips all the usual comedic beats (as seen in either version of Freaky Friday) and makes serious drama out of the premise. It’s one of the best reclamations of a trope that I’ve ever seen.

OTOH, even a fairly normal premise can be crack if it’s written as crack. Example: in a particular non-supernatural fandom, there are four ghost stories in the main Yuletide collection this year. Threedevelop the premise and evoke various moods of grief and meloncholy, by writing characters reactions in ways that make sense given what we’ve seen of these characters. The fourth, on the other hand... I’m not sure what’s going on with the fourth. It may simply be that the author didn’t know how to write the characters, but the result is a sort of romp as enacted by a cast of characters that, as a general thing, definitely do not romp. Same premise, but one of the results is crack and the other three are not.

I think fundamentally, the difference between the two kinds of crack has to do with suspension of disbelief. A serious treatment of a crack premise is working with all its might to maintain that suspension, whereas a crack treatment almost seems to court disbelief.

Personally, I tend not to enjoy crack-as-treatment, but crack premises are the best, yo. Are you kidding? My beloved Buffy fandom is nothing but crack premises.

What's the crackiest, zaniest fic you've ever read?
Um. Well. I think the one where Jensen is a dolphin prince, Jared works at Sea World, and Misha is a magical wish-granting sea turtle has to be up there. I’ve heard tell of one where Jared is a 15th centurey Spanish sailor (named Jared) who gets cursed to be a moose for the next four hundred years, but I haven’t actually read that one.

Honestly, though, RPF is such crack that that it blows all previous crack scales to pieces.

What's a crack premise you don't get?
Bodyswap and genderswap just don’t ping for me. Like, I have no problem genderswap when its built into the world, like with Ursula Le Guin’s one planet of people that change gender regularly, but as a trope, “Oh God I’m a guy!” doesn’t usually do anything for me.

I think it’s largely because of how *swap is usually treated, though: as comedy, with copious amounts of porn. If an author was willing to do something else with it, I might be won over. As pointed out above, I love the BtVS Faith/Buffy bodyswap, and
nwhepcat has written a couple of suddenly-a-girl!Dean pieces that I like.

In other things, prostitute and porn star AUs do nothing for me. I know you are all shocked.

What's the point of wing!fic? I'm serious. I feel like it must get at some issues--physical pain? Self-esteem related to appearance? Religious overtones?--but I haven't read enough to know what they're really about. I mean, other than people having wings.
I wonder if maybe wingfic has previously been the focus for a number of impulses that fandom now expresses over a broader range of tropes. Specifically, impulses towards cross-species romance; body image / function issues, which turn up when a character suddenly acquires wings and has to figure out to deal with them and in turn lead to h/c opportunities; alienation from society, because, dude, the dude has wings; and porn, of course. So constricting, limiting one’s porn to the physically possible.

What's something silly that you would never write?
HA HA HA. Um. At this point, it’s not clear such a thing exists. Silly porn premises, probably.

What's something silly you wish more people would write?
I’ve recently developed a taste for fluffy cross-species romances (where the species are both humanoid or at least both have humanoid forms; no bestiality for me, thanks). Only the fic can’t be so fluffy that it ignores all the FASCINATING COMPLICATIONS of two entirely different species with different physical abilities and cultural backgrounds making a relationship work.

In other words, more Wes/Illyria, please.

I also wish a bunch more good authors would write non-porny knotting fic. It’s the social implications I want, not the sex. (In order to avoid the direct implication of porn, some folks refer to this trope as a/b/o, for alpha/beta/omega, but that just looks unwieldy to me.)

What's something you think is crack that other people seem to take seriously?
Well. Having said everything I said about premise vs. treatment, I have to go with claiming. I actually see no reason why claiming couldn’t be a perfectly reasonable premise in the hands of a writer willing to work out all the implications. However, it mostly seems to exist for the purposes of porn and schmoopy romantic telepathy.

What's the silliest thing you've ever written?
HA HA HA. Well. Certain folks have seen a draft of an SPN RPF werebear fic (which I’ll get cleaned up and posted here in a few days). I think that one wins? But then there’s ALL THE OTHER CRACK I’VE WRITTEN THIS YEAR. So I don’t know.

What's your favorite cracky thing?
Again, having made all the disclaimers above... y’all know my answer is to this one.

Original entry posted at Dreamwidth. Feel free to reply here or there. (
DW replies)

fic type: crack, topic: fandom, entry: long thoughts, fandom: buffyverse

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