Fan Attitudes and Fan Fiction

One topic that we’ve discussed several times here at Chuck This is all the different attitudes and interests different fans have.  Sometimes its like we can’t all be watching the same show.  The things we see are very different,  and the things we want to see are very different.   I’m pretty interested in having fun with any show I watch,  so I like Chuck best when its loaded with action, humor, and the warm and fuzzy brand of romance, family , and friendships.   Some viewers like darker themes,  deep mythology,  and profound character depth.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of the older Chuck entries at FanFiction.net,  and I find it interesting how views have shifted in the three seasons the show has been on the air.

I know fan fiction writers are not exactly typical fans,  just as none of us who write or regularly read a blog could be called typical fans.   But fan fiction writers leave a enduring record of their ideas as viewers at a particular time in the show’s history (yes,  I find it easier to re-read old stories than it is to re-read old blogs or forum entries).

There was certainly some darkness in the show from the very start.  But most of the early fan fiction is clearly just for fun.   We certainly see less of the relationship angst that came to dominate in S3;  certainly few triangles,  although I guess its fair to concede Sarah was always portrayed as conflicted and complex.   Many fics based on S1 revolved around the theme of Sarah taking Chuck off the grid to escape a kill or bunker order.    I’ve previously recommended Sarah vs. the Long Flight,  so I’ll add to that “Sarah vs. Green Bay” by Moe32.  In many ways its a similar story,  except Chuck and Sarah actually spend more time together.  Like all S1 fics,  it contains many details contrary to later canon.  But its a fun story in its own way,  its rating equivalent is a PG-13,  and only takes maybe 3 hours to read.   The overall writing quality is pretty good,  although the piece is purely a romance.

For something completely different I’d also recommend a three story arc by Mrs. Phineas Bogg,  starting with “Chuck vs. the Ex-Wife.”   That would be Casey’s ex not Chuck’s!   Her writing is different on several levels.   For starters,  Casey is generally the main character;  although Chuck and Sarah certainly still matter.   I think the writer does an excellent job of capturing the fun,  simpler mood of early S1.  Which is fitting,  since this is the earliest multi-part Chuck story on fanfiction.net.   The later installments are “Chuck vs. the Florists” and “Chuck vs. the Deja Vu”;  but only the last story is from S2,  the earlier ones are from before Christmas in S1!   I would rate all her stories as PG,  and can each be read in about 2 hours.

Now jumping way forward,  I need to mention another complete AU (Alternate Universe) just getting under way.   It is called “All the Roads That Lead to You are Winding” by TakeItTo22.  The first chapter was published less than a month ago,  and it shows all the signs of the very high quality complete AUs we’ve been seeing recently.   How is it different? oh boy!    It seems Chuck and Sarah were childhood best friends.  Sarah became a CIA agent with similar back story to the show otherwise;  but Chuck finished school,  has become massively wealthy as a software developer,  and is waging a vigilante war against an international criminal organization with the help of the Intersect and several high tech toys from his dad,  ex-CIA buddy Bryce Larkin,  and ex-girlfriend ex-Fulcrum agent Jill Roberts.   This is a complex and rich mythology,  written with a good narrative style and plenty of action.   So far I’d rate this as a PG-13;  allow about an hour to read the first chapters,  the pacing suggests this story may get quite long!

As for other in-progress works I’ve mentioned:   Billatwork  is updating quickly with his latest “Chuck vs. the Prodigal Daughter.”   This is a 20 years later follow on to his previous “Dark Intersect.”   So far it mainly follows Chuck and Sarah’s daughter Kate,  but Bill assures me there will be lots of Chuck and Sarah later.

Frea O’Scanlin (“What Fates Impose”) and NinjaVanish (“Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves”) are both updating every week or so,  and these stories continue to be excellent.   NinjaVanish has also started an extreme AU called “Chuck vs. The Frontier”,  which is Chuck set in the 1890s   (should it be Chuck vs. the Wild Wild West?   or maybe Chuck vs. Briscoe County?   well, none of those characters have shown up yet but you get the idea!)

bdaddydl has started publishing “Chuck vs. His Heritage” which is fun,  and so far more action filled than his first work.

I hope I’m not forgetting anyone!   There is so much good stuff to read.   One regular commentator on this site recently brought up the concern about smutty or nasty stuff on fanfiction.net (as in he didn’t want to see it).   Rest assured,  fanfiction.net is well layed out so you will not “accidently” stumble across something most of us would find offensive.   There is smut there,  but you have to actively select it.   And the site has a rating system similar to that used in video games to help with guidance (I usually translate it into MPAA speak for my articles,  its what I know better).   All that’s on top of the introductions most writers use.   You should have all the content information you need before starting any story.

– Dave

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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32 Responses to Fan Attitudes and Fan Fiction

  1. BDaddyDL says:

    Thanks for the shout out. I wanted to let everyone know, there will be a “Chuck This” easter egg on the next chapter to be posted early next week.

    I have a suggestion about a story. Chuck vs the Coma is a fairly long story. It may not be in the quality of Frea O’Scanlin, but I think its really good. Of course, I am biased, I am helping edit the story. The story is a fun ride and a huge “West Wing” crossover part in the latest chapter. I happen to know in the next few weeks there will be a lot of fun stuff in it.

    Finally, when you are done reading a chapter or a story, please let the author know what you think. They don’t get paid, but trust me I know all fair criticism is welcome. If you feel its harsh just pm the author. I asked Aardvark for a review, and boy oh boy did I get 1.

    Every time I write, I try to follow his advice. Thanks!

    • atcdave says:

      There really is so much good to choose from bdaddy, thanks for another lead! I mainly try to leave only good comments, I figure as a non-writer my qualifications are really only as a Chuck enthusiast. As I’ve mentioned here before, I try not to even mention those stories I didn’t enjoy; and I usually won’t leave a review for stories I didn’t enjoy either. I actually have a hard time criticizing anyone (um, at least not fellow fans like me! If you’re a pro you’re fair game!).

    • BDaddyDL says:

      I was reminded of a fatalistic story. Only 2 options by LeeCan. Its a season 1 story. A must read.

    • atcdave says:

      I just finished Chuck vs. the Coma (well, as far as its done anyway). It is well written, and I like the early and later chapters. But much of the middle involves a pretty intemse love triangle, that makes me more angry than interested. Sorry, I really don’t like that approach. I do think I like where things are going now; but it sort of goes back to the journey vs. destination discussions we spent so much time with this season. I suppose it will depend on how satisfying the final pay-off is. I might yet be very happy with it, we’ll see.

      So I would put “Chuck vs. the Coma” in the category of well written stories I have mixed feelings about.

    • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

      I’ve been reading “Chuck vs the Ugly Truth”, and although I’m still on the fence about this story, there is a certain “Sarah, you were such an idiot” theme to it that seems to fit.

      I stated in the recap of Ring pt. 2 that there didn’t seem to be a build-up to Sarah getting back with Chuck, and I realize now what, at least for me, was missing from the Sarah journey.

      I never got the feeling that Sarah really, truly realized what she was giving up in Chuck, by going to DC with Shaw. That, and there really should have been a scene, with someone like Carina, telling her to shake her head and see if there was something loose.

      Also, if your looking for a quick read, I came across Moonlight Confessions recently. It could still apply to present day.

      BDaddyDL – Only 2 Options is on my re-read for this summer. It is a good story.

      • joe says:

        Joseph, I see what you mean about Sarah needing to be told that the trip to DC was the act of an idiot.
        But at the same time, Carina is going to be the last one to tell her that. She might tell it to Chuck, but to Sarah, she’s always been about jetting off to have some fun in an exotic local. To Sarah, she would always say “Never, ever fall in love.”
        Bryce would have said the same thing, put he’d put it differently.

        Ellie would want to, but she would also think it wasn’t her place and keep quiet.

        We can’t be sure that Graham might have, especially if he was complicit is Eve Shaw’s death at Sarah’s hands.

        The only person I can think of who might have told her not to be stupid like that was Jack, her father, and even then I’m not sure he would, and I’m even less sure she’d listen to him. Who’s left for her?

      • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

        Joe – That really only leaves Jeff. Eww!

        I don’t disagree with the analysis of why certain characters wouldn’t or couldn’t step up. But there has to be someone who could have told her. Something was missing from American Hero to redeem both Sarah’s character and the Sarah character.

        See, this all started by fanfic that I’m still wishy washy about. (Gotta stay in topic after all)

        Anyway, I probably need to let it go. S4 is coming and will hopefully bring good things.

      • JC says:

        Actually I think the TPTB missed a golden opportunity at the end of American Hero. When Casey told her he killed the mole, he should have mentioned Chuck hesitated even though Perry was reaching for his weapon. That if he hadn’t taken the shot they might be at Chuck’s funeral.

      • joe says:

        Joseph – Jeff & Lester. Double Eww!

        This seems odd. For all the hours I’ve spent trying to understand this character, it never dawned on me that she really hasn’t had that kind of guidance. It’s really a mother’s and father’s job, and we knew she didn’t have that.

        Of course, I want to think that Chuck can tell her (in an appropriate way) when she’s going down the wrong path (uh, being stupid), and in fact, he’s done that. But that’s exactly where they’ve had their biggest arguments. That’s where Sarah tells him that “the kiss was a mistake – it won’t happen again!” and storms out. That’s where they turn their back on each other when locked in the trunk of a car. It’s terribly realistic!

      • treecrab says:

        Gotta disagree, Joe. At least about Carina. She was the one who gave Sarah the flash drive in Three Words. Somebody who only cared about shallow things, jetting off to have fun, about never falling in love, would probably never have cared enough or thought it was a good idea to give Sarah that flash drive.

        Also, even if you buy into the idea that Carina only cared about jetting off to have fun, that would seem to be even more incentive to tell Sarah that she was making a huge mistake by moving to DC with Shaw. What Sarah was doing was really no different than anything she’d have done with Chuck, she was just doing it with a different person. Why wouldn’t Carina object to that and tell Sarah she was making a mistake? She might not have done it for the right reasons, but she still would have done it.

      • joe says:

        Hi, treecrab. Welcome!

        You make a good argument. Carina does seem to be on the verge of telling Sarah exactly that several times, doesn’t she?

        Still, Carina thinks that love between spies who know how to play the game is alright. I can see it both ways. She could say that Sarah’s doing the smart thing by going off to DC with Shaw, or she could say “I knew you wouldn’t go. Good!” underneath her breath if she didn’t.

      • atcdave says:

        I didn’t have a problem with the portrayal of Carina trying to do a favor for both Chuck and Sarah. At this point in the story Sarah clearly wants to fix her miscommunication with Chuck; and Carina has done Sarah similar favors, in her own impish manner in both actual episodes she appeared in. I thought this particular fanfic did a agood job of making Carina out to still be the trouble maker, she just happens to be a friend too.

  2. Bernardo says:

    Great post. It´s true, you could see the evolution of the series by looking at the fan fiction. For instance, almost every writer out there kills Shaw as soon as they can, and he is always a villain. By the way Dave, I love old Fan fiction, any recomendations?

    • BDaddyDL says:

      Chuck vs Just Desserts and Chuck vs the scavenger hunt are 2 really fun fics. If you remember midnight madness and liked it you have to read Scavenger hunt.

      I am not sure if this is considered an old episode, but Chuck Vs The Campaign can be a little out of character, but as a Sarah Walker fan, it is SO much fan. There is a scene near the end, that takes place in Texas that i get a smile on my face just thinking about it.

      • atcdave says:

        I had totally forgotten Chuck vs. the Campaign; very fun story. Its mid S2 so I wouldn’t quite consider an old one, but it does have that sort of simplicity we often see in the earlier tales. Basically its Sarah trying to be Chuck’s “normal girl.” And you just know, at some point Chuck will figure out he’ll have to settle for extraordinary, hopefully before Sarah kills someone while trying to be normal…

    • atcdave says:

      I’ve noticed Shaw is never a hero or even a particularly good spy in most fan fics. He usually gets killed or arrested quickly, after being humiliated by some combination of Chuck and Sarah. That never gets old!

      As I mentioned above, the 3 Chuck Stories by Mrs. Phineas Bogg are well written older works; anything by GoChuckGo is fun, especially Sarah vs. the Long Flight (unfortunately her epic arc “Sarah vs. the Brain Snatcher” – “Sarah vs. the Unsighted Future” remains unfinished. And she ended at a bad spot with all sorts of ominous foreboding. That is a risk of getting into an on-going concern); and Sarah vs. Green Bay is fun. Brickroad16 has been writing almost since the beginning of the show and is very talented, but she leaned towards short reflective pieces early on; and didn’t do any longer works until after S1.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      Do search for author “sdchuckfan”. Start at Chuck vs the Intersect.

      It won’t be a cerebral experience, but I always found them pretty good.

  3. alladinsgenie4u says:

    I recently joined the fan fiction bandwagon – thanks to Dave for his recommendation (What Fates Impose and Chuck vs Double Agent). And I found both these stories multi layered and very well written. I have also read some other works – but these two are exceptional. Also if someone is into morbid and twisted humor, I would recommend the Adorable Psycho Series (an entirely new look at Sarah Walker).

    • atcdave says:

      I’m glad you’ve had a good time with it. The Adorable Psycho stories are unique, funny, and totally OOC (Sarah as an insanely jealous serial killer; pity the brunette who even notices Chuck). I’d recommend them to all with a twisted sense of humor.

    • Crumby says:

      The Adorable Psycho series is pure fun!

  4. BDaddyDL says:

    Something I have noticed is that there are not a lot of fics that embrace season 3. Most have started after the ring, or like mine, take place after the honeymooners.

    There have been some season 4 fics, but not many. I am not quite certain where season 4 is going to go, so season 4 ideas just aren’t hitting me.

  5. joe says:

    Great write-up, Dave. Speaking strictly as a FanOChuck now, I’ve tended to resist the AUs and the stuff that winds up going against canon, but not as much as the stories that are well written and true to the spirit of the show!

    Weird? Perhaps. But if it’s really well done, then my imagination takes over, and I start to want to see it put to screen. The better written, the worst it is for me, and the more frustrating if I don’t get it.

    Case in point for the old-timers here. I was extremely disappointed when I discovered that the song “Lies” was not by the Beatles, but by The Knickerbockers (an obvious sound-alike group). The song is known to this day as “the best Beatles song that never was! 😦

    Having said that, this is the perfect time to indulge. My next fear is that I’ll find another new major time-sink. Heaven help me if I actually try to write one myself. 😉

    • atcdave says:

      I understand Joe, I’m such a history purist I struggled for a long time with alternative history (or historical fiction). But I do see value for a couple reasons. One, you can see what others are identifying as key or interesting issues/topics/themes/characters. Two, just explore the different possibilities on if things had been handled a little differently. I know BillatWork has said specifically, from the end of S1, he wanted show it was possible to write fun and interesting stories with Chuck and Sarah as an established couple. So that is the underlying theme of much of his work. I think the S3 AUs became popular for obvious reasons, many were disturbed by the direction the actual show was going, and they wanted to create a version where Chuck was still fun.
      I do sympathize with the idea of not wanting to get “confused” by ideas that aren’t quite canon. Unironically I do feel that way about the Apocrypha. But Chuck isn’t scripture, and I find the differences more exciting than confusing. And I don’t have that hard a time remembering the difference between the show and fanfics anyway (now which fanfic was which is another story!).

      As for being a time-sink, well, next you’ll be saying chocolate chip cookie dough is bad for me. Utter rubbish!

      • joe says:

        My favorite college bull session games started with assuming Nixon beat Kennedy in 1960. Then what happens during the Cuban Missile Crisis? How does Viet Nam play out with LBJ still in the Senate? Does Watergate happen, and when??? Moon landings? What moon landings?

        That way lies madness! (But it’s a fun madness…)

        Of course, it’s still much saner than thinking that cookie dough could ever be bad for you! That is indeed crazy talk!

      • atcdave says:

        It did occur to me too late; but my Apocrypha quip was in no way meant to be a slam against Father Rick or any of our other Catholic friends! please, excuse my protestant faux pas.

  6. cjt_uk says:

    I’m currently reading two cross overs at present

    Chuck Versus The ATeam by paranoia456

    and

    Counting Bodies Like Sheep by ShinyJayne19 (chuck meets left 4 dead)

    both are very enjoyable

    • BDaddyDL says:

      if fan fiction is the red headed stepchild of the Chuckverse, then I’d say crossovers are the red headed child of the red headed child.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        please dont take it like I am looking down on crossovers, there have been some good ones. I have one in the planning stages as we speak.

  7. Crumby says:

    Thanks for the heads up as always Dave!

    The last fanfic I really enjoyed, and if I’m not mistaken, hasn’t been mentionned here yet is: “Revelations” By MySoapBox.

    It takes place after Dream Job. This is a Chuck and Sarah story, and we discovered what happened to them when they tell the whole story to their now-in-college son.

    • BDaddyDL says:

      Crumby, you are amazing. I finished that story for the second time last night, and was done for 12:30 am last night.
      Not only is it a great story, but the writing is top notch. Definitely worth a read or a second, and maybe a third.

      • Crumby says:

        “Crumby, you are amazing.” You got me there 🙂 !

        I think this story was nominated for a 2010 Awesome Awards and it was fully deserved.

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