I’m not quite sure that I understand the rationale of some fanfic writers. Unfortunately, I’ve been noticing that most fiction by amateur writers tends to polarise. Which is a real shame, and something for mass consumption. I’ve never been one for mass consumption, so I find that they bore me to tears.
Yes, dear, I have read the endless stereotypical shit about how the male immortal vampire would pine away for his female human love. Shit, I’ve read that hundreds of times. What you are writing is not a tour de force. It’s a old hackneyed cliché some women can’t seem to get enough of. But it’s not revolutionary thinking. Frankly, that’s the reason why I read SVM novels – to avoid hackneyed cliché that made Twilight billions of dollars.
I don’t really get why one would avoid deep subjects, unless you believe that life is easy and you really have nothing original to say. Fanfiction should be a platform to get your deep thoughts out about a subject, and a story always gets me into it if it seems to be based on some reality and deep thinking. But I understand the masses’ need for simplicity, even though it breaks my heart to see things being dumbed down to the point of polarisation.
One thing I’ve been noticing an increase in is of the use of Godric instead of Godfrey. Which makes for an unsatisfying fic to read. It made True Blood unsatisfying too. I admire that Charlaine Harris didn’t go the easy route, and it said something far more profound about Sookie’s character. Like so:
Book Sookie cries for Godfrey, who is an evil creature who doesn’t deserve to live. That is a nice little commentary on the monstrosity that vampirism can result in. It’s not the sainted helper of man who lives for two thousand years, it’s the worst of the worst. The sainted helper of man either has his goodness burned out of him through years of anger at being turned, or years of killing – if he finds the urge to live on for that long, and doesn’t get “careless” at his first opportunity. Instead, we have Godfrey, 2000 year old pedophile and child killer who has successfully made it through the centuries, and so it can be seen that immortality is not always a blessing bestowed on the worthy. It is not a power that should be allowed for any, for fear that it will be misused in such a way. It would have been better that he died in his time, not lived another 2000 years to inflict his bullshit on others. So you have people who are able to live for such a long time, separated from humans, and too buried in their own pain to care about the pains that they cause others. Sookie crying for such a man – that is Christian love. Book Sookie shows empathy for a creature who knows what he has done, and hates himself enough to be tired of the pain he’s inflicted over the years. Book Sookie is unusual because she can see that even someone like him is deserving of compassion – no one else worried about Godfrey and his fate – no one saw him as anything other than a stereotype or an agenda. Sookie saw through to the core part of him that was still left to be horrified by himself – she is the personification of the forgiveness of the loving heart.
TV Sookie cries for Godric, who is only portrayed as a calm and gentle soul who happens to also be a vampire. That’s a crap commentary on nothing. TV Sookie cries for a man who will be missed, who only does good, and leaves this Earth as a martyr. Godric leaves behind people who will care that he is dead. What is profound about what Alan Ball has said? It’s sad when those you love commit suicide? The good leave behind the shitty? There’s nothing profound about that message. It doesn’t say anything about TV Sookie’s character – because fuck who wouldn’t want Godric to survive?
It’s sad to see it happening in fanfiction, which should go for less of the happy-happy-joy-joy vibe, and really think about something that they want to convey to the audience. Some deep thoughts about their subject, not complete cookie cutter crap I could pick up in some second hand bookshop (because I wouldn’t pay top dollar for such shit even in my hypothetical world where I would buy that stuff).
I want to read about realistic characters, with flaws. Not someone who is not thought out and doesn’t have any problems. Not someone who does things right the first time. Not someone who knows they’re in a story and that it’s going to work out fine for them. I want to read about a Sookie who sticks to her guns, even when it’s tough. I want to read about how killing someone affected her deeply – not how she shrugged it off – cause let me tell you, real murderers, when they’re not psychopathic, don’t shrug it off. I want an Eric who isn’t fucking perfect at everything. I want an Eric who isn’t best at everything, and doesn’t know how to do everything.
Give me people with substance, people you’ve thought about and can identify with. I don’t need them to do anything particularly revolutionary or exciting. I do need them to make sense though. I know people well thanks to my work and research. I don’t expect perfect plastic people who always do everything right – that’s why I don’t play Barbies. I want to read and think about your characters, and if you pretty it up and give me a stereotype, then I don’t engage my brain.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Really, I don’t. After all, fanfic is easier because you already have the architecture that Charlaine Harris set up for you. Don’t trash it all for another Harlequin romance and easy characters with no bite.
EDIT: Just in case anyone is reading this, don’t get me wrong – I don’t want “Dark” Eric either, unless you’re planning on not writing a love story. I work on those cases every single day – they do not have love affairs I want to read about. Most of them are shallow. Forcing Sookie to be with “Dark” Eric – you can do that, but don’t try and bullshit on that he really cares, that he would do anything to save her. The guy like that is about as concerned with her welfare as he is with not dropping his beer. If you’re going to make a rapist, for goodness sake, make a realistic one – not some poor misunderstood victim who wants to be loved, if only his victim would lay still. And yes, I notice when you cover your gaping plot holes with crap like destiny – another reason I don’t read Twilight.