Crisis Points and Fan Fiction

I thought it was time to visit my favorite topic again; and start with an aspect of it I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, even before our recent arguments about S3 arguments (?).

It seems to me, very little recent fan fiction is based off of current events on the show. That is, many FF writers seem to be lacking inspiration to re-write or re-interpret recent events on the show. I have often mentioned in discussions on fan fiction how exploring options, alternatives, or even thought processes at different key points in the show seems to inspire a significant amount of fan fiction. But we seem to be seeing a corollary of that now, when fans are mostly satisfied with the show, they are apparently less driven to tamper with it.

So what have been the major launching points for past stories? The first was clearly the end of S1. Sarah’s helicopter pad rescue of Chuck in Marlin inspired many writers from January 2008 until S2 started in September of that year.

S2 was rich in potential. I think a number of works have been written using just about every single episode as a launching point; but the kill order (from 2.01), Jill (2.06-2.08), the Mauser shooting (2.11), running away together (2.23) and re-Intersecting (2.24) seem to be the major inspirations. This led to a couple of motifs that were very popular in early works; like a secret relationship and running away together.

Any number of other elements and characters from those first two seasons are often recurring in fan fiction, but those key crises points are easily the most popular starting points for any number of stories.

Just like in all our discussions of the show, S3 holds a unique place. I’d say fewer themes and characters have been adapted by fan fiction writers; but a small number of crisis points have led to a lot of fan fiction. Prague and the Red Test being by far the most prominent. Writers clearly want to re-imagine these events. Some are surprisingly even darker than what the show gave us, but most focus on “fixing” what various writers feel went wrong. Speaking as one who was very bitter about S3, I took much comfort from many of these more upbeat versions of the Chuckiverse. No surprise, Shaw holds a special place of contempt among many writers; few can accept that Sarah ever saw anything in him, and it is common for him to be portrayed as a buffoon or villain. There are a few Shaw surprises out there, he is occasionally simply an ally; and in one case I can think of, he makes a heroic sacrifice to destroy The Ring. On the other hand, several stories have featured prominent scenes of Sarah (or less often Chuck) beating the daylights out of him. It’s safe to say there is no more reviled character in Chuck Mythology.

The death of Orion and Chuck inheriting the Orion Cave was probably the biggest crisis point of S3.5. But the off-season leading up to S4 mainly fed off the main arc of the season.

S3 started (well maybe not “started”, how about ignited!) another phenomena that I’ve enjoyed greatly, the complete AU. That is stories that start at a different beginning. We’ve seen Chuck graduate Stanford, marry Jill, join the Navy, join the CIA, meet Sarah as a patient of Ellie’s, become a professor, invent the Intersect, have his own software business (several times), or live in the old west (a couple of times!). Most of these stories are far longer than those that simply break from a canon crisis point, but a number of them are very good.

Which brings us to S4. I’ve stated many times I’ve never been happier with show, and I think I’m not alone. But one consequence of that would seem to be far fewer stories that take off from S4 moments. Most of the really good stories that have come about this season have been either complete AUs, or they’ve broken off from much earlier crisis points. Sadly, I think this means we’ll see less really good fan fiction in the future. I don’t mean this as a slam on any writer, and much good work will continue to be produced. But I don’t believe so many viewers look at the show now and think “I can fix that”.  And I think satisfied viewers are less likely to feel they have to tinker with stories they’ve seen on-screen.

Some earlier crisis points were just about going directions the show didn’t or couldn’t. Like the always popular life on the run for Chuck and Sarah. There is really no way to do that on the show without a total change of format/genre/cast. The secret relationship was also popular but was never done by the show. But this season we’ve actually seen TPTB deliver the product most of us seem to want. that’s good news when we’re viewing, but it doesn’t light so many fires in aspiring writers. (and yes I know, you won’t all agree with my interpretation of events…)

So what shall I recommend this time around? My first choice is easy. “The Long Brick Road” by BillandBrick. This is a collaboration by two well-known fan fiction writers, billatwork and brickroad16. The writers have very different styles, and they have so far done a very good job of playing to each other’s strengths. Bill likes the epic narrative with a fair amount of action; while brickroad is better at introspection and dealing with feelings. They have worked with each other (betaed each others work) for quite a while and are well aware of their respective strengths; which is very fortunate for the readers.

This story chooses an unusual crisis point, and breaks off from the fountain scene at the end of Lethal Weapon. It would seem Chuck’s cover as the Intersect has been blown, and the unusual grouping of Chuck, Sarah, Cole, and Ellie are forced into a few weeks together hiding off grid. No shock, this is a Chuck/Sarah romance at heart, with enough action and peril to keep it exciting. This is a very satisfying story so far; as I understand it is mostly complete (or at least outlined) already, and the updates are coming regularly (every Thursday!), so I’d say there’s a very good likelihood it will be completed. So far I would rate the story PG just because of what’s been discussed a few times, but nothing graphic (so far?!)

In talking about brickroad16 above, it occurred to me I’ve never recommended one of her stories before. There is so much fun stuff out there, I can only call it an oversight, truly no reflection on her talents. So let me fix this by recommending “Super Powers and Super Spies”. This is set shortly after the S1 return of Bryce. He seems to have taken some offense at Sarah’s obvious affection for her asset; so he reports that she is compromised to Graham. So the burning question is, how hard will Chuck and Sarah fight to stay together? This story was written over quite a long period of time, which leads to a fluid relationship with canon, but the characters are well written and the story is up-beat and fun. One of brickroad’s greatest strengths has always been capturing the friendship aspect of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, this story is a great demonstration of that strength.  It can be read in a couple of hours and would be rated PG.

My final recommendation this time will be for “Scenes From a Wedding” by atlee. This is a funny piece. The wedding in question is Chuck and Sarah’s. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, and it’s safe to say they aren’t all happy to be there. From Jill, to General Beckman, to Jeff, this is an odd assortment of characters and laugh out loud funny at times. It also can be read in a couple of hours and would be rated PG.

Updates on a couple of stories I’ve recommended before. “Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves” by NinjaVanish is up to Chapter 35 now! The author says the story will end at 40, or more to the point, tie into it’s already published sequel “Chuck and Sarah vs. the Bunker” at that point. This started as an S3 AU, right from Prague being a “fake breakup”. Now the end is obviously near, but I believe a rogue mission for our favorite spy couple still lies ahead before the end. This is fully novel length, and would be rated R for violence, some language, and the actions of a married couple.
Another excellent work “Walker’s Eleven” by Moonlight Pilot was finished this week. This is a complete AU that starts with Sarah having never left the con artist life. Sarah is betrayed by her crew and left for the police. She has nowhere to turn except a particular nerd she’s recently met; and together they put together a new crew (of nerds) to get back what Sarah lost. This is a very fun story involving a clever con and an unlikely team. The character humor is extraordinary in this story, and the Epilogue has one of the funniest final twists I’ve seen (think “who’s the last person Lester should ever call ‘Ass Man’.”) This is also a longer piece that could take 10+ hours to read and would be rated PG-13 for some language and a sex scene.

As always, my favorites can be found by following the “atcDave” link under the Fan Fiction header at right. I always love to hear about everyone else’s favorites too and look forward to discussion!

– 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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45 Responses to Crisis Points and Fan Fiction

  1. armysfc says:

    dave i agree with your assessment of FF. i started reading FF in 04. heard about it on a blog or message board, cant remember. at that time the ad on FF was if you don’t like how a show is going write up your own ending. back then there were many shorter stories revolving around a single episode as opposed to now where we have many longer stories in the works. many of the chuck stories i have read are the early ones, writers like Leecan ruled in the day, and for me still do.

    your assessment of S3 is spot on. many stories even today start from some point before or just into it. the other thing that surprises me is the number of angst stories out now. they tend to use the same contrived angst that was present in season 3. it’s like the authors have the couple going good then toss in something out there to create the angst so they get back together again. hence the s3 influence again.

    i know the one i am currently working on is well into the 100k range and takes place during season one and moves forward from there. it is my attempt to express what i wanted to see chuck become and how he goes about it. like you said change the show.
    i have pretty much given up on chuck FF at this point in time.

    i have stopped reading most FF on chuck because i tend to compare the new writers to the old. not a good thing, same as trying to compare s4 to s2.

    my guess on the lack of s4 fics is just like you said. the relationship is solid, most of the FF works center on getting the couple together and the mission comes in second. they can’t write about that now because the main couple is engaged. if they have them break up readers will roll their eyes and say why? thats not what the show meant. all that leaves them is to write about the missions that could have been better or fixing the volkoff arc.

    this trend is present not only in the chuck fandom but in others as well. good write up and thanks!

    • atcDave says:

      Appreciate your comment Army. Leecan is certainly among the very good early fan fiction writers, although he wields angst like a battle axe. It is funny how many writers follow that approach, I suppose it’s something everyone has some experience with (worries, fears, miscommunication). It takes a really special skill set to write action well, craft humor in way that’s actually clever and funny, or put together a believable spy adventure. But anyone who can structure a story will likely be able to write angst. Unfortunately, using angst in S3 is redundant; and in S4 it feels like “aren’t we over this by now?” So I think the bar has really been raised on writing contemporary fiction; as you observed, if you can’t write a good spy story there’s not much point.

      But I do think you’re limiting yourself unnecessarily by not reading some of the newer stuff. For starters, some of the current writers are nearly professional in quality (Frea O’Scanlin, NinjaVanish, and Moonlight Pilot are as good as MANY published authors I’ve read). I think the best of the recent works are the complete AUs. That way they can play with origins and the early stages of Chuck and Sarah sorting things out (although I would say, they have a shorter leash on certain things now; I certainly don’t want to read a story to chapter 3.13 to get any satisfaction!) and taking a completely different look at the show from the beginning is just lots of fun.
      And don’t forget, “The Long Brick Road” is written by two long time Chuck fan writers; and they’ve done an excellent job getting the best out of both of their strengths.
      I’d really suggest not limiting yourself just to the older works, there is still some wonderful stuff going on.

      • armysfc says:

        why is the box blue? i may not have said things correctly earlier. i have indeed read frea and don’t really care for her work much. if i start a story and find a lot of things that make no sense in the first chapter i stop reading. i can only suspend disbelief for so long. you know how critical i can be about the show and that transcends to my reading as well. i need to be captured right from the start to get involved. i can get a feel for a story in a short amount of time. main reason is most writers tend to follow the same theme with each story. as for long brick road same thing, but this mostly stems from a disagreement i had with billatwork not brickroad.

        i really stopped reading over the last couple months. until then i read every chuck story that came out. i may not have finished them but i did read them. so i am pretty well read on the authors.

        i know 5 of the FF writers i follow that have gotten book deals over the last couple of years, so i know the talent is there. unfortunately one of them passed on from cancer several months ago and her wife pulled the book till a later date. i read several fandoms not just chuck, which allows me to be more selective in what i read. it also exposes me to more talent or less as the case maybe.

        most of my favorite writers don’t write chuck at all. the one thing i do like is talking FF. it really is just personal opinion and people don’t their feathers ruffled as much when you have a negative comment.

      • atcDave says:

        Don’t know about the blue, I must be special today.

      • Frea O says:

        Man, if things don’t make sense in the first chapter, that inspires me to only read more, personally, as I’ve usually got a feeling the author has something in store for me that’s going to wrinkle my brain.

        Just saying.

      • armysfc says:

        Frea, i agree to a point about the not making sense may wrinkle you brain. i could have been more specific. it needs to make sense in the universe its set in. as an example say an author has the hero armed with a Beretta 9mm. then has the load a 20 round magazine in it. they only hold a 15 round one. a person in LA gets told at 9 am they have a meeting in DC at 1500 and their plane leaves in an hour. they make the meeting. it cant happen period. they leave LA at 1 pm DC time ad the flight time of 5 hours and it’s 1800.

        if i see a lot of these kind of mistakes early on in a story it gets me looking for more and more mistakes instead of enjoying the actual story.

        it comes down again to what you look for in a story or work. same as the actual show or movie the genre is based on.

  2. Frea O says:

    There are definitely waves to the fanfiction on the site that I’ve noticed. I didn’t come in and start writing my AUs (Fates/Greater) until the trend had already begun (heck, I got some of the idea to start writing Fates while reading Notorious JMG; not the ideas in Fates, just the idea to write a complete AU). And part of that is my own preferences: in all of my years of writing fanfic, I usually either write “missing moment” fics that won’t be proven wrong later 90% of the time, set the story after the series, or just set it in an alternate universe. It’s frustrating to me personally when I spend a lot of time writing something and then the show/canon/book disproves it with a throwaway line, so I set up insurance in my own way. And that really makes it sound like I try to control the show; that wasn’t what I meant. I like canon. I wouldn’t write alt-canon if I didn’t like canon. But I like having a factually accurate story, too.

    And I’ve probably put way too much thought into this. Go figure, the woman who writes the 300k fanfic that completely retells the story from the beginning thinks too much.

    We may be happy with the show where it is right now but there’s not a lot for writers to go off of anymore unless you like fluff. Me, personally? I don’t unless it’s earned. So when we see the next wave of whatever’s to come, it’ll be interesting to see where the section goes (mxpw: more SWP!). I think the end of S4 MAY mean a revival of sorts, but I don’t know whether to hope for that or not because to get that revival, something on the show would have to crash and burn and cause angst.

    • atcDave says:

      I get a lot of that Frea. It is funny how you can read something older like “Sarah vs. the Long Flight” and end up thinking for several reasons “we know that’s wrong” or “that could never work now” and yet a full AU could tell the same story and not raise those objections. So sticking too close to canon seems to be a double edged sword. (and I was picking “Long Flight” as an example just because its much older, I love the story and have nothing against it). Perhaps part of the reason for the later popularity of AUs is that canon itself has become restrictive or cumbersome and more writers want to take full ownership (in a non-legally binding sense!) of their story.

      I do understand that when the central relationship has become a bit fluffy it provides less for writers bounce stuff off of too. Although I would say that in canon its been fully earned. I can think of several fun stories though that simply set out with a different agenda that strike me as equally valid; that is, they’re not “about” earning the fluffy, they’re about telling a fun story with a committed couple at the center. Often the theme is action or humor, and angst doesn’t really enter into it. I’m not particularly fond of angst (although I don’t reject it when skillfully and appropriately used either) so I’m perfectly happy to find a tale that makes little or no use of it.
      You certainly may be right about a jump start at season’s end. Some of the “crisis points” I mentioned have been season ending hooks, and its not hard to imagine another good finale could leave us with many questions about where things go next. But I hope they do not do a crash and burn. As I said before, I think the current mood of the show is a well earned pay-off; and I believe any tampering with the central relationship would exhaust whatever goodwill has been re-established this season (basically they painted themselves into a corner with S3).

    • armysfc says:

      Frea i like your idea about a revival at the end of the season. it may not take a crash and burn to get it started. i see 2 ways it can happen, the first is the show gets renewed and many fics come out hoping to predict what is in store for the next year (what the writers would like to see happen). the second is the show gets canceled and the writers try to continue the show in the same venue as how it aired. the later has happened more times than not on shows that have gotten canceled. this only lasts for a while however before the writers lose interest in an old show.

  3. Big Kev says:

    Dave,
    Always enjoy your Fanfic pieces. FF is just another of the many joys I’ve found through this fandom. I didn’t even know there was such a thing until about a year ago, and it’s given me many hours of entertainment in 12 months.
    I think ninjavanish might just be my favorite out there. His 3 stories are so original, and of all the characterisations of Sarah, I think his is my favorite.
    Frea gets all the kudos for Fates (and so she should – it’s fantastic) but I love her latest (That Which is Greater) too – completely different feel, and a really interesting “Chuck with attitude” take from the Pilot.

    As far as S4 fic goes, I think Frea’s right. I’m not entirely convinced it all stems from contentment (because the blogs/forums populated by the fic writers have been seriously critical of a lot of S4, particularly the writing) – but I do think a lack of dramatic tension in the show makes it tough for a Fanfic writer to hang a story.
    S1/S2 had the wt/wt, secret relationships, love on the run. S3 was….well, S3. Plenty of grist for any writer to get into.
    Given that 90% or more of fics are Chuck and Sarah, I’m not sure where you’d go with an S4 story. You might get some wedding fics, but probably not much more than that.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m glad you’ve found and enjoy fan fiction Kev, that is my whole point in writing these pieces.

      I suppose “lack of dramatic tension” is still sort of what I’m talking about. I realize not all viewers may “like” what they’re watching on screen; but they’re “content” in the sense it isn’t generating a desire or itch to tamper with it either. It also doesn’t surprise me at all that fan fiction writers would be a very critical audience. My own “writing” experience has mainly to do with game design (old school AD&D); and it is clearly true that people who referee their own games are FAR more critical of other stories/adventures than other gamers. If you’ve done your own design, you tend to look at everything from a “how would I do this” perspective; which quickly leads to a very critical attitude when you see something you don’t like.

    • armysfc says:

      kev i agree, to a point. dave and i talked about this a little. most of the FF i have read centers round getting the couple together and not what happens after-wards. with season 4 like it is, like you said you might get some wedding fics but that’s it. i may be off base here only having dabbled a little in writing. relationships seem to be the easiest thing to write about. most people can relate to a how one works based on personal experience. they know the pain of a break up and the joy of getting the first date. it’s something they can relate to. action and fight scenes maybe not as much. who hasn’t at one time or another suffered a break up and thought about how they could have prevented it or how to repair it?

      when writing chuck FF for example there is a small amount to work with this year. the couple is in a good place. that leaves action and spy plots. they appear to be harder to write based on the lack of them out there.

  4. Tamara Burks says:

    Herre’s a couple of season 4 plotbunnies (one of them evil with season 3 beginnings) . Mama B vs Sarah for who plans the wedding . Sarah as a bridezilla actually makes a sort of sense if you follow the uncorked theory. For instance one she was uncorked in regards to sex with Chuck she went all out (in Honeymooners) and I’ll bet she’s the one tha keeps dragging him into the supply closet. So Sarah as bridezilla once any wedding impulses have been uncorked works. Add to that Mama B wanting to have soemthing to do with the wedding of one of her children and it could be a played for laughs battle .

    The evil plotbunny has to do with Chuck being declared such an important resource. The people around Chuck have been researched (especially with the addition of all the new people in Castle) and Sarah has been declared a security risk because of her very odd behavior in regards to Cole Barker and especially Daniel Shaw. She’s called on the table for her actions (with video evidence backing up the accusations of her being a security risk) and asked to explain herself. (I told you it was evil).

  5. JC says:

    If I had the time I had really good idea with S4 but its somewhat dark. Chuck is somehow brought to his mother at an early age by Volkoff. Orion goes off the handle looking for his son and wife. He’s eventually killed by the CIA because he’s become such a threat with his rogue ops. Ellie while at Stanford is detained by the CIA for her involvement with her father’s activities. This information makes it’s way back to Mary and Chuck. Mary becomes enraged that the CIA killed her husband and formulates a coup to take over Volkoff industries. She succeeds and starts absorbing all these other groups like the Ring to make war on the CIA.

    Chuck has been trained all these years by his mother and he has a somewhat dark Team B consisting of himself, Marco and either Sophia or Heather Chandler.

    • Mess says:

      Wow JC now that would be quite an awesome story. Though in fairness that is more of an AU with some elements from S4 Canon, rather then a S4 story, but it does sound awesome.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      There was one started with Chuck being brought to Frost by Volkoff as a child soon after she left (Ellie got away when they tried to snatch her too) but there’s only one chapter so far.

      AU’s involving Mama and Papa B are still a widfe open field , not much has been done with them in fan fiction.

  6. Tamara Burks says:

    How about a plotbunny from Colonel where they do have a condom and Chuck is caught by Casey and spotted by Fulcrum after he and Sarah have had time to have sex once and he’s going out for more condoms. Sarah gets dressed because seconds after Chuck leaves she realizes how hungry she is and get’s dressed to go get some food (after writing a note saying that) so she’s not caught naked.

    Go forth to Ellie’s first wedding . Everything happens as before (except for Sarah saying she’s leaving with Bryce) . After the bad guys are vanquished and Bryce is there , Sarah drags Chuck into a closet to have sex and Bryce sees. Possible scene – Sarah is lying in wait in a closet for Chuck andsees him and Bryce pass by , accidentally grabs Bryce and then realizing she grabbed the wrong one throws him bodily out and then grabs Chuck , leaving behind a mightily confused Bryce.

  7. joe says:

    Great post, Dave.

    Hum… I’m always (more than a little) impressed by the FF writers (Hi, Frea!). Great talents, all. But honestly, the only time I’ve been tempted down that road was when I composed an e-mail from Stephen to Frost@VolkoffInd.com.ru. 😉 for a post. That was fun; I certainly didn’t think of it as A.U., though. In conception, the effort was much more like an attempt to fill in a small hole.

    Is that one of the sub-genres? Is there anyone doing that kind of thing intentionally?

    • atcDave says:

      That is absolutely a genre Joe. In fact, if I understand correctly, that is sort of the origin of fan fiction. If you look at the very early works at fan fiction (I believe this true of most shows) you’ll see a much higher percentage of the works are exactly that, filling in or finishing scenes and plots.

  8. joe says:

    PS – It looks like the blue box is for the authors comments. Faith? Is that new in the template???

    I’ve seen the effect only one time before. I like it!

  9. thinkling says:

    Thanks, Dave.

    I really appreciate all your research and posts on FF. I keep tabs on it so I have lots to read in the off season or breaks. I check back with your recommendations to find new things to read.

    I do think the tendency would be less writing and even less reading of FF when there is an overall contentment with the show. Right now, I’m very happy with the show, so I keep up with maybe two or three. I’ll read more between seasons. However, if I were discontent with the season, I would be reading a lot to offset the drag of the actual show. That’s what happens when you have compelling characters, poorly written or put in an uncompelling or unappealing story. Like you said, writers a story worthy of the characters they love.

    • atcDave says:

      I think the combination of a long break after S2 and a disappointing S3 is why I got so completely hooked. It will be interesting if there is another resurgence after S4. We may still see it if there are some great hooks, but yeah, sometimes contentment is the enemy of creativity.

  10. Verkan_Vall says:

    @atcDave:

    I’ve never read any Chuck FF, so thanks for the tips on what is out there. I just finished Walker’s Eleven: good stuff.

    I think you’re right about the crisis points, at least from what I remember with the fan fiction for Farscape and some other shows from a while back.

  11. Mess says:

    In honesty if you think about S4 there are a number of points that could be used to start a story from, but you know how it is angst could become a bit of a theme then, and quite a few people hate reading angst when the relationship is like it is now. I’m willing to give it a shot at one point or the other after I finish what I’m writing now, I just doubt that people would read a story set in season 4 if they even detect a smudgen of angst, though if I think about it there is quite a bit of potential there for a good story, in many ways. I have read a few great alternate endings for Phase Three for example, some really emotional ones.

    Anyway Dave I have to thank you for alerting me to FF a while back, has been a lot of fun reading a lot of those great stories, and now writing my own is quite a way to spent some time. So thanks man.

    • Mess says:

      Adding to my earlier comment,

      I could think of atleast 6points in S4 that could be used to start a story. And atleast two angles to create a completely alternate S4, though ofcourse heavy on the canon references.

    • atcDave says:

      Cool, I got another one hooked! I’m glad you’ve got involved Mess.

      You’re right about Phase 3 especially, I’ve seen a couple of fics taking off from there. Sarah having big problems in her time with Volkoff is also a possibility. Perhaps my theory is flawed! But I would stand by the idea that in a strategic sense, fewer fans (and writers!) feel the need to see anything “fixed” right now; which always seems to be a major driving factor in fan fiction.
      There are still some writers who seem to enjoy heavy angst regardless of what the show is doing, and obviously some readers enjoy that. But overall I think
      you’re right, most fans have a sense that the time for heavy angst is past.
      Ideally that shouldn’t limit the potential output so much as change what themes are explored; but for now, new output is definitely down.

      • Mess says:

        That is absolutely true what you are saying Dave, there is a lot less need to change things around, and I suppose that means people have less inspiration. It’s afterall easier to draw inspiration from something that annoys you, then drawing it from something that pleases you. I still think though that S4 has some moments that could be used to write FF from. Not to mention that S4 has really opened up a bases for stories about Frost, and has added some information for stories about Orion. Sadly not many people have gone down that route, and I’m actually considering to start a second story on the side, to actually do something with Frost.

        I quickly canvassed S4, for points to start a story from when I read this topic, and listed a bunch of them with ideas in a word file. 4.01 alone has a lot of ways to be resolved in a different manner. Other moments I see potential from are things like episode 4.04, 4.06, 4.07, 4.11(like you said, take the whole Sarah undercover thing, make it something she struggles with immensely, and one could go down a very dark route, another thing I’ve considered doing since reading this topic, not to mention it could fill the whole gap of how she got into the sights of Volkoff, but that requires writing a lot of mission stuff, not something a lot of people love to do), 4.12(the whole distance thing was never resolved, but then you’d have to go all angsty, and well angst is not done now, also one could kill of John Casey, and use that to pile up the angst in that sense, oh gosh I’m sounding like an angst monger) 4.13, but if I would write something from that point on, it would go quite dark, probably so dark that people would be kinda pissed. I’m thinking the kind of dark that sees a lot of major character death. Finally I think there is a possibility to do a story from 4.16.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know that anyone has the right to be pissed per se. The nice thing about fan fiction is its just that, ideas and thoughts of fans. You can go as dark and twisted as your muse leads you! Just be fair to readers and be clear what you’re up to in the synopsis; I know you likely don’t want to give away an ending. But I honestly don’t want to read what you’re proposing. I am a happy endings sort of guy, and I don’t want to invest in a story that ultimately won’t satisfy me. But it is YOUR story; as long as readers are given fair notice about where you’re going with it, you are more likely to attract an audience that really will appreciate what you’re doing. And of course, it will be far more satisfying to you to write exactly as you want AND have an audience that gets it.

      • Mess says:

        You know what’s funny Dave, when I write, I consider taking things a bit dark, though I do have the intent to resolve things in a good fashion. That is I do aim for a some what happy ending. But when I read, I am much like you, I want happy endings, I want some fluff here and there, and nothing annoys me more then things like PLI’s, major character deaths, and that kind of stuff. I can stand it if I know it gets resolved, though just barely, I can’t if I know it doesn’t end well for our favourite couple.

        The things I listed, the points I pointed out have mixed type of story ideas. Some would be completely Dark, some would just start out a bit dark, some well would just be completely set from an evil perspective or start and could grow lighter from that point on.

        The way I look at any kind of story one could write is, a story writes itself, and a lot can be determined by how you start, and the flow you get from that. I used to write normal fiction back when I was in high school, and generally I had preconceived ideas and half way through I had discarded quite a few of them. I need to feel the way a character responds to things, I need to know how certain things would effect them. That is what at first made me reluctant to write FF, they aren’t my Characters, there is more to pay attention to. Character actions as I see them, are not just determined by their personality, they are determined by a lot of factors. A simple example would be to put Chuck into the spy world, take away his touch stone(Sarah) and make things go completely wrong, what would happen? That would depend on how a writer would have developed the Chuck character, on how the writer let’s Chuck be influenced by the intersect, and how important the things that go wrong are for him.

      • Mess says:

        Something else I feel I need to add, it all depends on how dark is too dark for you. I was reading an uncomplete fanfiction the other day, and it had Sarah leave with Bryce, and Bryce went insane by the intersect, and start killing at random, framing Sarah, and then trying to kill her. Meanwhile Chuck thought she had gone rogue, till he ran into her at a certain famous Barstow motel, where they were both almost blown up by a bomb built by Bryce. I mean that is somewhat dark, yet having them united in that last chapter that was written, I don’t know it felt somewhat light to me.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I’m completely okay with bad guys doing bad things. The threat is pretty meaningless if they don’t. I’m also okay with Chuck and Sarah having to work for it to be together.
        But I think one of the problems with breaking off at S4 would be that they’ve already faced enough it could be frustrating to pull the rug out from under them. Anything contemporary pretty much requires they be in it together. Earlier is different, having Sarah choose Bryce, especially if it’s because she’s convinced it’s best for Chuck, is a little easier to take. I do tend to prefer stories that have more than a single chapter of Chuck/Sarah together, or at least, I like a thorough wrap up. But I have enjoyed some much more convoluted stuff, there’s so many variables in writing it’s hard to be too absolute with likes and dislikes.

        I also get the issues about using someone else’s characters. I think it’s one of those trade offs with fan fiction. You get to skip a lot of introduction and staging issues because they are known; you’re also working with known, and often loved characters. But the down side is you have to please an audience with certain expectations about those characters; and you have to be careful to respect the conventions and rules of that universe, or be prepared to explain yourself carefully.

      • armysfc says:

        mess, im with you and dave on most things i read in FF, i even like OLI’s if done right. if its started early on in the show. for example chuck actually listened to sarah when she said she couldn’t date him, chuck finds a girl he likes sarah finds a guy she likes. c/s remain friends and the couple hang out together, the missions are c/s related as partners. during the off time they don’t pine for each other.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m definitely not quite like that Army! I do require Chuck and Sarah as a couple eventually or I seriously won’t read it. To me it’s always been a couples story, and I have little patience with OLIs (not quite zero mind you, but very little).

      • armysfc says:

        dave i usually don’t like them either. but then again i’m one of those that believes if from the first episode c/s never hinted at getting together it would have been a much better show today. i bring up the age old adage, if you never had it you can’t miss it. would it be a different show, yes. would season 3 have occurred as it did? no. when i first tuned in for the first episode (based on the promos i saw) the last thing i expected was a love story. boy was i wrong, lol. that could be why to me an non s/c can be a good story.

        having read many FF in my day there are just to many left unfinished. some were very good some not so good. so i wait for them to get finished. when they get to a certain length i peek at a chapter to see where it is going. like you said i’m not going to read forever for them to get to 3.13 in the story. on the completed ones i read the final chapt and see where they are. if i get the sense they just got there i don’t read. i may miss out on some good ones but my time is valuable. if they take to long to read and get some where i equate it to the law of diminishing returns. the investment is not worth the results.

        i really like FF that have them get together early on and work as a couple on missions most of the story. like 3/4 last episodes have been. its a shame that most concentrate on them getting together or back together. very few get into life after 3.13.

      • atcDave says:

        I always saw Chuck as a romance from the Pilot. It does a lot of different things well, but from day one the Chuck/Sarah dynamic was THE hook to me. Anything else good was just pure bonus.

    • patty says:

      Fan Fiction is a good way for fledgling writers to get some practice in the “craft” as well as get some feedback from people who aren’t your friends and family. Some of it is great. Some of it stinks. Most is in between.

      I have also read several stories by a single author written over a period of months or years. Often I can see real growth and improvement. Mxpw comes to mind as his story telling has gone from good to really really good. He just needs to finish what he starts!!!

      • atcDave says:

        Several of the writers are creative writing students are using it exactly for that purpose, to develop their skills. Some are extremely good. (of course some aren’t)

  12. uplink2 says:

    Dave just wanted to let you know I read a couple of your picks. Parting Gifts and I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You. I guess you can see what I want to read an alternate version of. lol But I chose them both because of subject matter and because of length. Not sure I can read some of the really long ones but maybe over the summer while we wait for season 5. 😀

    I liked Parting Gifts a lot as I’m sure you can imagine. Angsty but with a great resolution and some really great dialog. What I found interesting though in both of those I read was unfortunately Sarah never talked that much on the show. It seems that is probably a theme in a lot of them what could have happened if she simply talked to Chuck and vice versa. So many of their issues were because she/they never said one or two lines of honest communication with each other and I think a lot of the fanfic writers probably focus on fixing that.

    • atcDave says:

      I think one of the most frustrating things about S3 was that they never talked. It virtually became a running joke, except not many of us were laughing. So yeah, a lot of fan fiction writers tried to fix that little issue. A few captured the lack of communication, leading to a boiling point of sorts quite nicely.

      I’m really glad you liked the couple you read Uplink. I think our taste is similar enough you would like the majority of what’s on my list. But yeah, some of the longer ones can be a big time commitment. It has been my main source of fiction reading for the last year now (I’ve always read mostly history, but for now my usual ratios are reversed!)

    • atcDave says:

      Oh Uplink, when you’re ready to try something a little longer let me suggest “Chuck vs. The Pacific Northwest.” it’s kind of medium length and can be read in a couple hours, it starts at roughly the same time period as the other two you liked; but being multi-chapter it’s a bit more involved and sophisticated. I think the writer captures our favorite characters quite nicely, and it takes a lot more build up to get to the needed talk.

  13. Verkan_Vall says:

    Thanks again for the pointers, Dave.

    I just finished NinjaVanish’s work. My, he’s good.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I really enjoy his stuff. He says only 5 chapters left in “Themselves”; and I think 3 or 4 of them already in beta, so it really should be finishing up in the next couple months.

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