graculus: (olivia)
[personal profile] graculus
What is it about a piece of media that grabs me and makes me want to interact with it in any way? I've been thinking about this quite a lot because there's not really been anything new that's made me want to write, at least since the Man from UNCLE movie and you could possibly argue that was just an extension of an older interest, though the movie versions of the characters and the TV show versions were also different enough to argue the exact opposite!

Anyway, for me there are various levels where source material is concerned:

Level 0 - I have no interest in interacting with it, despite (or sometimes because of, I'm looking at you Firefly fandom) other people's views on it

Level 1 - I read/watch the source material and have no interest in further accounts of the characters

Level 2 - I read/watch the source material and read fanfic

Level 2a - the source material carries on but I stop reading/watching at a certain point and carry on reading (at least some of) the fanfic

Level 3 - I read/watch the source material and both read fanfic and write it myself

I'm a bit of a completist so I tend not to want to write about something till I'm sure I have a real grasp on everything about it, so that's not really a good marker for live source material, which is probably why I've more recently been writing stuff from closed canon. I'm not sure I could cope with the level of assholery often shown by showrunners any more - it was bad enough first time around and few of them seem to have learned anything from their own and other's mistakes.

The problem is, that even if I were inclined to start writing for a new live fandom, there really doesn't seem to be anything out there that I actually find engaging enough to kick me up to Level 3. There's plenty of stuff which has made me get to Level 2 but no further - for example, I love the Peter Grant books and really like reading the fic but have zero interest in trying to write my own.

There are no stories out there for me in that material. Where Level 3 is concerned, some of it is 'I've got this great idea and other people would mess it up if they wrote it, so I need to write it' - thoughts of 'I could do better' were certainly how I got started writing in the first place, even though I subsequently discovered it wasn't as easy as it looked! I wonder if also I am less inclined to have those stories if I see other people producing them and doing it well? Though that wouldn't explain wanting to write UNCLE, which always had a plethora of quality fic I enjoyed reading.

So, what makes a set of source material move from one level to the next? Well, for starters there needs to be a set of characters who I am interested in and want to get to know - usually if I find them aesthetically pleasing that also helps immensely, though that's not sufficient in itself. For example, I've been watching Legends of Tomorrow because of a couple of characters and despite a couple of others: I immediately wanted more of Sara Lance and also liked the whole Snart & Rory dynamic (I've always had a bit of a thing for bad people trying to do good things despite their nature). Sadly, there are also a couple of characters on the show who are interchangeable bland generic white bread hetero males, one recently introduced because of [something spoilery] because there weren't enough on the show already I guess?

There also needs to be some chemistry between the characters I like and of course, as with anything subjective, YMMV whether particular characters have that special something going on or not. That's probably part 2 of the previous point, really, since it goes hand-in-hand with the 'characters I'm interested in' aspect. I can be interested in the character but if there's no spark, then nada in terms of moving on to even Level 2. It doesn't have to be romantic or sexual, just something that tells me character A gives a damn about character B and then hello 50k word angst fest as character A is kidnapped and loses their memory and character B has to rescue them. Or something else, possibly involving naked sexy times but I can live without that.

The one I still don't quite get is that step between Level 2 and Level 3, whatever constitutes the tipping point between reading and writing. For example, I've been reading lots of stuff set in the MCU (including a shedload of Sam/Steve, Steve/Bucky and Sam/Steve/Bucky but other stuff too) and still have zero stories for it myself. Nothing, nada, zilch. Even though I've read stuff that was so relentlessly mediocre it made my eyes water, so it's not the 'I could do better' aspect, that's for certain!

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!
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