Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'Ey, You! Let's Talk about AU!

Although they've long been a major part of Daria fanfic, alternate universe stories seem to be showing up more than ever recently. These range from gender benders where a canon character switches sexes (like HolyGrail2007's Finn Morgendorffer or InvisibleDan's James Lane) to "what ifs" with relatively small changes that lead to big ones (like Roentgen's Hallowed Halls of Fielding) to major shifts in the entire canon universe (like Charles RB's God Save the Esteem or LadieT's Jane Morgendorffer).

Part of the reason for the increase in AUs is that canon only provides so much material to work with. After a while, it seems like most of the ground has been covered and it becomes sensible to look for new spins on old situations. A small (or huge) change here or there, and suddenly you have a fresh foundation to work with!

Another reason is that it's just plain fun to explore "what might have been." Just about every event during the course of the show has the potential to branch off and become a new story--or even a new series. Why not explore the path not taken and see where it might end up? Especially if it's one that leads to personal and spiritual satisfaction. That's why they don't want you to take it.

One further reason, of course, is that it's a great opportunity to play God with the characters and utterly rearrange their lives. A few taps of the keyboard and suddenly the Morgendorffers have a third daughter or Trent is a middle schooler with a crush on high school Daria. That kind of power can be irresistible. I'd make them crawl, I tell you. Crawl!

Of course there are plenty more factors at work here than the few I've mentioned, but now I'd like to open it up for you to chime in. What appeals to you about reading or writing alternate universe stories? What AU hasn't been written yet that you'd like to see? Does this blog make me look fat?


aunucia said...

Most of my fanfics have been AU's for most of the reasons you stated and you could never look anything but beautiful.

Wassersauefer said...

Like you said, AU storys are a way to develop new ways to tell a known story and gives more freedom to the author while at the same time the safety to use known characters.

And yes, it does make you look fat.

The Excellent S said...

Also it gives people a chance to highlight lesser-known characters. I mean, look at Scarlett. In canon, she never said a word or took part in anything remotely significant. Thanks to AUs, she gets a character, backstory and becomes as fleshed out as any main character in canon.

The Kristen Bealer Guy said...

And yes, it does make you look fat.

My blog is cute! My blog is tiny! You're fired!

Anonymous said...

With the show off the air for nine years, AU's allow us to use the show setting (as opposed to post-canon) in ways that can still surprise and shock a reader. It's also fun to twist or change one thing, and see what else goes tits-up as a result. Quinn becomes Finn, and the changed dynamic alters every character in a cascade effect; send Daria and Quinn to Fielding, and they've got completely different paths to go down; make people punks in 2011, and the humour can go completely fucking mental on grounds that it's punks. There's freedom.

Does this post make ME look fat? :(

- Charles RB

InvisibleDan said...

All I know is, I like to torture my characters in new ways, and writing an AU helps me do that. I came up with a male version of Jane Lane so that I can explore how differences in gender can make the overall story and specifics of one's character and personality different. And no, this blog does not make you look fat. Society's expectations for what a woman should look like are to blame...