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Sep. 12th, 2010 | 03:37 pm

CHAT ANONYMOUSLY ABOUT STUFF: General Anon Meme


It is what all the cool memes are doing nowadays!

The only rule is, don't be a total passive-aggressive douche. This isn't the place to spew all your vitriolic unrequited blackrom feelings for other members of of our dear fandom--or if you can't resist, at least don't mention them by name, that shit is just a little too petty. If it gets out of hand I'll ban you so fast Karkat would be impressed.

Other than that, hop to it, anons. And TITLE YOUR THREADS it could get pretty confusing all up in here if you didn't!



PS, as one kind anon pointed out, if you want to see the comments in chronological order instead of thread format, put ?view=flat after html in the URL. Or click here, whatever.
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Comments {5514}

Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 8th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
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AUs are better the when they keep as much of the canon as possible. Even if people are going to do a full change of setting, it shouldn't water down the characters to bland stereotypes. I haven't seen making the trolls into humans done well at all, and even just sticking the trolls and humans together on the same planet seems to always involve too much blandness.

Sticking the kids in school and saying Feferi is the principal's daughter/cheerleader/popular kid/whatever is a waste of time. High School with Feferi, heir to the empire, dodging Empress assassination attempts and threatening radical change if she ascends to the throne? That would at least be more interesting than rich cheerleader Feferi. A lot of what makes the characters is how over the top they all are. Flattening them down so they fit into regular human settings ruins them.

(Also I don't know if I'm amused or disappointed that no one's got recs. Where's bloodswap defender anon?)

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 8th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
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It just sounds like you don't really like AUs at all, haha.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 8th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
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I feel the same about AUs that change most of canon! If someone likes AU, why read about ordinary dudes who shout sometimes named Karkat and Sollux? What's the point of sticking them in college or a pirate ship or wherever if not to see what Karkat would be like there?

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 8th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Isn't that why people do AUs? Some people just do it badly. Karkat and Sollux as humans might not interest you but it doesn't mean it is necessarily badly done or automatically OOC; the powers and the horns don't make the characters and I am sure someone in the fandom must be doing it right somewhere. I mean sometimes you get shit like 4chords which almost definitely exists because the author wants human prettyboy MCR Gamzee to fuck some other OOC characters. But I've heard good things about Cities in Dust which is a detective AU about Terezi and Dave and Derpbent which is a bloodswap? (I haven't read either of them yet.)

The main college AU, I can't remember what it's called, is pretty generic/boring but that is less because it is an AU and more because the author has set it up as a soap opera--the shipping is ultimately the focus instead of an actual plot or non-romantic character drama. That's an unfortunate pitfall of most college stories, fanfiction or otherwise, because romance is the easiest way to rile up inter-character drama and an easy way to hook readers. But you can do it well! Bobwhite (an original story) was a very good comic about the lives of college students because the characters had lives and problems outside of romance and THAT was the focus, how they grew as people and dealt with issues and had stupid fun. And I think that if we had an AU like that instead of shippingfests, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

And that applies to all AUs, not just The Trolls Are Human And 18+ AUs.

On the side a special mention goes to that Promstuck adventure on tumblr and the Marchingstuck AU, where all the trolls are still trolls, Kanaya is still undead, etc., they are just all in high school together for some reason. I don't know, is that the setup you'd rather have? Not to say Promstuck is a bastion of Good AUs, because it is more guilty pleasure than masterpiece (it makes no move to present itself as anything but a shippingfest) but it is at least remarkable in that the authors are pretty aware of what they are doing and don't take it seriously.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 8th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
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Like so many things in fanfic I hate, it's not that I just don't like the idea, it's that I've seen it in action and if it doesn't mean it is necessarily badly done or automatically OOC; the powers and the horns don't make the characters and I am sure someone in the fandom must be doing it right somewhere. is true, then by all means link the hell out of that because what I have seen has left me unimpressed.

Not keeping the powers and horns means it must be good, just that anything without isn't.

Bobwhite (an original story) was a very good comic about the lives of college students because the characters had lives and problems outside of romance and THAT was the focus, how they grew as people and dealt with issues and had stupid fun. And I think that if we had an AU like that instead of shippingfests, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

There have been a number of college AUs I've found decent on the story level, they were just not AUs so much as what you just described - an original story with OCs who are tailored to that setting. I don't think it's impossible to write a good story set in whatever AU setting people like, but I don't think it's a decent Homestuck AU if it flattens out the characters in the process of switching settings.

And Marchingstuck...is pretty much why people think AUs are fun but they don't always work in writing. It's a fun idea to kick around that X character would be so Z, but it's like...well, like how so much fanart is cracky. It's a lot easier to say "Picture Slick. Now picture him in charge of a high school band" than it is to make a full AU using that, because the punchline of the joke is the juxtaposition, not that it really makes sense.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)
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I don't actually read many AUs. The ones I mentioned are ones that have been recommended to me and I think I will check them out sometime later. All I know is 4chords, the most popular college AU and Red Dead Virgo are not good.

Can you like... give an example from any fandom of what looks like a "proper" AU to you, because I'm just not getting it. At all. You can change the setting but you can't change the characters to an extent that they blend nicely?

Unless you are saying that the only good AUs are like Baserapt is, which is a story about the trolls' future if Sgrub never existed. And it IS good but I do not think it is fair to fault other stories bending settings instead of timelines, because both can work.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
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Actually, yeah, I think blend nicely is the crux of the issue. An AU (setting swap, which is what I mean here at least) is supposed to be about putting characters into a different setting and seeing what's left. Making them pirates works. Making them pirates who all act like normal pirates in normal pirate stories already would doesn't. You're supposed to take out what flat out doesn't fit the setting, not blend them into it completely. In a setting switch AU, you're supposed to figure out a way to get them to be basically the same character even if a lot of the background is changed.

To use Feferi as the example again, it doesn't matter if there's a hemospectrum or if the trolls have an intergalactic empire or she's got a horrorterror lusus. But part of her is that she's heir to the empire and at once in a ton of danger and the most protected person on the planet with revolutionary ideas - just making her a popular girl doesn't cut it.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
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NA

Mmm, I kiiind of agree here. I'm leery of agreeing that you're supposed to do it a certain way, since nobody is really supposed to do anything except have fun, but I do agree that just going "this character would be this stereotype" and leaving it at that gives you less to work with, and is less interesting, than "this character would be this stereotype but with ..."

On the other hand, if Feferi is only a background character in your high school AU, I think it's pretty reasonable if you don't want to put a lot of time into detailing, say, her being tailed by FBI agents wherever she goes and having to escape mortal peril a lot? I also think it's justified – preferable even – to want to lower the stakes if your AU premise isn't about mortal peril. If your AU is about how the characters would deal with high school, you can't keep all the danger and murdering because it's impossible to keep the focus on high school when all this murdering and danger is happening. For example, Vriska has murdered a lot of people. There aren't a lot of settings other than Alternia where she could have done that without getting in a lot of trouble, and that trouble is probably not what people want the focus of their AU to be!

So you have to either make it really silly (like for example in Promstuck where the fact that Kanaya had to fight her way through hordes of the undead to get to prom is a throwaway joke), or you have to tone it down and find an equivalent that's more appropriate to the level of drama that suits your story. And sometimes that's going to mean Feferi not being in a ton of danger, or Vriska not having murdered anybody, and that's fine and doesn't necessarily mean that the characters have been mangled beyond recognition.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
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Necessary caveats about how I'm sure anything can be pulled off in the hands of a good enough author, of course. But in my experience the good enough authors succeed because they do know such things are a problem and can take steps to work around it.

Whether or not a character is a background one should determine how complex/detailed you get, but not the basic shape. Why couldn't her description be that she's tailed by FBI agents just in case of assassination? Going into her actual adventures would be beyond the scope of a story where she's a background character, but as a background note it's not one that requires too much explanation to set up.

For example, Vriska has murdered a lot of people. There aren't a lot of settings other than Alternia where she could have done that without getting in a lot of trouble, and that trouble is probably not what people want the focus of their AU to be!

I think we're using differing ideas of AU here? It's a way too broad term, I guess. But that's not really how AU has to go.

That's putting all the strictness on the AU's side - changing the characters however much needed to fit a setting, but not tweaking the setting at all in return, which isn't how it's supposed to go most of the time. About the only AU that requires taking fantastic characters and putting them in a standardized mundane-level setting with no allowances for the original setup are the mental hospital AUs. Otherwise there's no reason a collegestuck AU couldn't have everyone using troll morality.

And considering the problem with most AUs is how incredibly bland and samey they are, why assume toning the characters down is a good idea? If you don't want to deal with the repercussions of how Vriska murdering and people trying to murder Feferi would go in the human world, you don't have to, you can treat it like it's Alternia and not a big deal, then go on with whatever drama you do want.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 10th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
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If you don't want to deal with the repercussions of how Vriska murdering and people trying to murder Feferi would go in the human world, you don't have to, you can treat it like it's Alternia and not a big deal, then go on with whatever drama you do want.

That's really kind of preposterously limiting, anon. I mean, yes, it'd be great to see something like that set on Alternia and I am disappointed that I never have seen it, but part of the appeal of stuff like college or high school AUs is seeing characters like the trolls dealing with stuff the reader is personally familiar with. That's why people like real-world AUs for characters who don't canonically live in the real world. And it's not impossible to make those things work without keeping everyone's abilities to hear screams of the imminently deceased/status as heir to a vast galactic empire/coming from a society where murder is par for the course. You just have to find different ways around it. That's kind of why AUs are fun – working that stuff out, finding the equivalents.

I mean, with Vriska, what's wrong with taking out the murdering and replacing it with something that might have given her the same sorts of insecurities if she was growing up in a society where murdering being okay wasn't a thing? I don't think taking out high-stakes murdery shit necessarily involves toning the characters down – just the scope of the stuff that they have to deal with. And that's fine.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 10th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
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But that's kind of what the trolls already are. They're palette swap humans. Much of the troll arc is the characters dealing with typical things despite the bizarre setting, so swapping them back to humans again leaves things really compressed and muddy. The characters don't have the same range as they did before. It's like cutting out all the high and low sounds, or the extremes of the spectrum.

It's not impossible, but it doesn't work very well. The troll arc is all about adolescent drama with a backdrop of Alternia. Cut out Alternia and you've got standard adolescent drama. The trolls deal with both at the same time, so it's natural that removing one and just leaving the other will have trouble.

It could probably be overcome with a strong plot, which would do a lot to take the place of the half of the drama that's removed, but unfortunately a lot of AUs are character-driven, which is just not a healthy combination with removing a chunk of the more driving parts of the characters, you know?

It could also work if people were swapping one drama for another. A high-drama setting could have whatever the extremes are transferred into those terms. But college really doesn't work for that.

AUs that rely on same personality, completely different circumstances and relationships can get away with it easily, but that's a very specific subtype of AU that most people aren't writing.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 10th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
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But that's kind of what the trolls already are.
What is? I'm not sure what part of my comment you're replying to here, haha.

BUT UH I disagree with basically everything you've said here because I don't think that a character driven AU in a real-world college setting where everybody is human and nobody is getting maimed is inherently a bad one! You think that it dampens the characters and makes it less interesting, and I don't, and that's about all I can say, I guess.

I mean, I'm not personally interested in many human!troll college AUs, but that's not because of the issues you've outlined, it's because I don't like the ships they're about, or because they make everybody white and that pisses me off, or because they're just not written very well. I don't think the idea is inherently "doing it wrong". Maybe keeping the troll stuff would make these ones a bit less boring? But I'm pretty sure they'd just be bad in different ways. These kinds of AUs can work, and mortal peril isn't the only way to get them to.

(Plus, you know, another reason people do AUs is that they want to do stuff with the characters without all the mortal peril, like, that is a lot of the point for some people. I know that one of my key motivations in writing a setting-swap AU was that it would be nice to have something with all the kids and trolls where they weren't all at constant risk of death.)

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 11th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
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Considering the shock when the first death came around (each first death, in fact), I disagree that the stuff has to be removed or else it's a story where they're at constant risk of death. And people write plenty of non-AU stories with the trolls that are the same.

Keeping something equivalent to Feferi's situation, for example, doesn't mean making it about mortal peril. It just means a more unusual and less boring backstory. It's not about the actual deaths or maimings.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
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Something like Marchingstuck/Promstuck doesn't really have to work on the level you're describing, I don't think. In that AU's case, the focus is exclusively on humor in the form of over-the-top inter-character drama and zany antics that there wouldn't be room for in canon, and okay it's not "a good AU" in the sense that there isn't any worldbuilding and it's taken for granted that there's stuff about the characters' backgrounds that doesn't, strictly speaking, make sense, but I definitely wouldn't say it doesn't work, because it does. It's just acknowledged that the world where it's set making sense isn't the point, and it's easy to suspend your disbelief to enjoy it because in the context it doesn't actually matter.

Sure, that kind of thing isn't to everyone's taste, but it does exactly what it sets out to do and it does it very well, imo.

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Re: Good AUs?

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 9th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
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I loved the Marchingstuck notes. But zany antics and nonsense and suspension of disbelief worked because it was just the high points and payoff. CAPSLOCKS SO MUCH doesn't work as a story so easily.

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