Story Time!

More of Dave’s Fan Fiction picks

Well once again, its been a while.  There are a few really exciting fan fictions stories I want to talk about, so let’s do it!

I’m not going to complain this time about how slow things have been on the fan fiction front, not a word.  You won’t hear it from me.  No talk at all about slow up dates.  Promise.

Actually I sort of mean it, because there has been some exciting activity lately.  After the jump, the usual mix of oldies and new picks by yours truly…

More and more, when I do these posts, finding an older favorite that I haven’t talked about yet seems like quite the challenge.  But then every time I try, I find something wonderful that I can’t believe I haven’t brought up yet.  So without further ado I want to tell you all about an awesome two-part story by Timewalker05.  This is two different entries on my favorites list but it really is one single story;  “Chuck Versus A Normal Life” and “Chuck Versus The Decision“.  Normal Life begins with Chuck waking up one day to discover he is living the normal life he always dreamed of.  The bad of that is he’s working in a dead end job at Buy More; the good news is he’s dating underachieving yogurt server Sarah Walker.  I’m not giving anything away to tell you Chuck is in a coma struggling to find his way back to reality (that detail is made plain at the tail end of chapter one).  Comatose Chuck does remember the spy life, which causes him much confusion as no one around him knows anything about it.  In addition, he’s torn between having a happy simple life he’s dreamed of and knowing he should be doing something important.  Chuck’s “normal” life is a source of some humor in the story, while the real struggle underneath is quite exciting.  The “B” story is Sarah’s vigil at Chuck’s bedside as she wrestles with duty and emotion.  Sarah’s tale gets quite intense by the end, and she reaches a decision of sorts…

But then Chuck wakes up.  “Decision” is the more intense and serious of the two stories.  Apparently waking from a coma brings quite a few issues of its own!  And Sarah discovers its one thing to realize some truths, and another entirely to make actual changes in your life.  Timewalker introduces one of the more vile villains in the Chuckiverse to add real peril to the main characters’ internal issues and Chuck’s lengthy rehab.  Unlike the first story, Sarah is the main player in Decision; although both characters are important and well written in both stories.  The story’s climax is delivered in two waves as fits the dual challenges of the story; both parts are among the best chapters I’ve ever read in fan faction (chapters 10b and 12a are epic!).

Many of you may already be familiar with Timewalker’s work, he also wrote Buy More Bomber and participated in the huge Author’s Intersect project that are also on my favorites list.  Normal Life and Decision together are fairly long (Decision is the far longer of the two) and would take a few days to read.  I would rate both stories PG-13 just for some very difficult issues and decisions facing both main characters.

There has been a lot of very exciting new work these last few weeks too.  “Chuck vs The Sound of Music” is among the best of the best and should have the concluding chapter up later this week.

NinjaVanish is nearing the end on both of his ongoing stories “Chuck vs The Frontier” and “Chuck vs The Sunken Treasure“; these are both action heavy AUs, which as a bit of a curiosity, feature one of the most dangerous and one of the least dangerous versions of Sarah Walker (uh, not that you’d really want to mess with either version; just one of them isn’t a trained killer!) in the Chuckiverse.

Regular commenter at this site, Nervert, recently posted three very exciting chapters in his excellent “The Revenge of the Bartowski“.  We seem to be approaching the end, so next time he speaks up here be sure to tell him to get back to writing!

CostasTT just finished “Chuck vs the Other Super Spy” which is a good time and a fast read.

Uplink2’s “Chuck vs Life, Love and Lies” has been updating regularly and has been a lot of fun.  He just completed “Act I” which featured teamB finally being reunited.  Let’s hope he finds the time to keep this tale ongoing!

That will do for now.  Look’s like we may not have any more lengthy breaks until the end Chuck.  I’m not sure what impact that may have on my fan fiction updates, hopefully there will be time for a couple more.

~ 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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80 Responses to Story Time!

  1. thinkling says:

    Thanks, Dave. I’ve been cheating off your favorites page for a while now.

    Thought I’d mention a little app (we talked about it BTS) I use on my phone and tablet. It’s called Read It Later. It keeps up with articles that you want to read and downloads them to your devices for offline reading, keeping all the content synced on all devices. If you download the article view, it automatically downloads the entire multi-page article. In the case of ff, that means it grabs all the chapters with one click and makes the whole story available on all of your devices. So convenient. My devices are Android, but it works on all platforms.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m always glad to hear that my favorites list is getting used!

      The app is great; especially since fanfiction.net may be one of the buggiest sites I’ve ever seen. No more worrying about if the site is up or not…

  2. Amron says:

    Good choices, Dave! I’m a little sad about the end of “The Sound of Music”, and I love both “The Revenge of the Bartowskis” and “Chuck vs Life, Love and Lies”, awesome stories.

    I will dare to add one of the most funniest fanfics I have read: The Buy More of the Bloodcurdling, by Atlee. It was wrote for Halloween, so it’s essentially a recompilation of three “scary” stories. Te first one, “Twenty-Eight Calories Later”, is about a new zombie plague who only eat “healthy” brains. I dare you to not laugh once with this one. The second, “Hey Hey, It’s the Monkeys Paw” it’s about Jeffster, and possibly the less funny but the third, titled as “What’d You Expect, Her Name is Samantha” deals with Sarah Family, and believe me, her mother an little sister are just perfect. And for those who were rooting for Duck… well, they will find this very interesting.

    Now, if you are looking for something totally different (and I mean it), there is always “Born Under A Bad Sign” by ShinyAerox1991, an alliance between Aerox and ShinyJayne19. Its authors describe it as “Chuckter”, a mix between Dexter and Chuck. Since my humbling point of view, it is scarily well-written and it’s probably the most AU of all AU, because here Chuck is the one with a Dark Passenger and is avid for revenge Mary’s death from Fulcrum. Full of dark humor, it will intrigue you, because there is no story like this. It reminds you to Edgar Allan Poe, so it will not be for everyone, although their authors said there will be Charah.

    Finally, I will add “May the Best Man Win” by LittleCandyMan. As it sinopsis nailed perfectly the story, I will limit to transcribe it: “Chuck and Bryce are best friends just recruited into the CIA. They work flawlessly together as a team. When they are partnered with a gorgeous blonde agent, their friendship goes out the window. This is all while trying to take down an enemy organization.” The fun fact is that the story starts with the process of becoming a spy and it finally its turning into a love battle, although you can feel the Charah since the beginning.

    • atcDave says:

      I do completely agree about “The Buy More Bloodcurdling.” I especially liked the first story, “Twenty-Eight Calories Later”. I always suspected Devon was faking it…

      • Amron says:

        I KNOW! I couldn’t stop laughing the entire thing! I was waiting for a chapter 2, to know what was exactly the origin of the infected meat… Oh well, I suppose I can’t have everything… and what do you think about Sarah’s family? I, sincerely, wasn’t expecting **** to be Sarah’s little brother and Activist Sarah make me laugh so hard I waked up my roomate…

      • Amron says:

        *little sister… sorry!

  3. joe says:

    Man, these sound good. Tell me if I’m wrong, but Timewalker’s Decision story seems like something that should have been put on screen. It sounds very much in keeping with, canon but at the same time, allows the characters to show us something different.

    It’s a shame that, IRL, TPTB have to avoid using works such as these, for fear of infringement, copyrights, union rules and what have you. Many are truly worthy.

    • atcDave says:

      I think Decision does an excellent job of capturing the struggles and issues Sarah was faced with through season two. Its one of the better attempts at envisioning what it would take to completely shake Agent Walker from her professional hang ups.

      In a way, Normal Life does the same thing for Chuck, he wrestles with what he thinks he wants versus a higher calling. But for both characters figuring out what they want, and making it happen prove full of challenges. They really are a thoughtful and well written tandem.

      And yeah Joe, you know my opinion about how TPTB actually dealt with these issues during season three. I find stories like these vastly more satisfying. Its not at all hard for me to imagine something like Normal Life and Decision being an excellent season long arc.

      BTW, for anyone who found Volkoff lacking as a baddie; Dr. Parker is a different type of terrifying villain. Unique and well written.

  4. Nervert says:

    Thanks for the mention, Dave. I’m glad you’re still sticking with me after the um … little surprise. I promise it wasn’t completely random. There was some subtle setup in previous chapters.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing up “Normal Life” and “Decision”. I’d intended to read these before but forgot and never got back to them.

    • Fogh says:

      You know Nervert, I haven’t had time to read your latest chapters yet, but sometimes a writer needs to take some risks, and throw in some unexpected twists. The world of fanfiction would become a boring place of all of us just followed the same old template all the time. Can’t imagine anyone that likes the way you write having a problem with some surprises.

      • atcDave says:

        An appropriate surprise or plot twist is generally appreciated. I’ve read SO MUCH Chuck fiction there is a tendency for a lot of it to sound alike. And I admit I complicate matters by rejecting extremely dark and non-Charah stories; so that does make well written and imaginative stories that much better.

    • Aerox says:

      I have to say Nervert, despite the twist that I didn’t see coming and was frankly, pretty absurd, it still completely worked thanks to the setups you’ve been providing. So major kudos for you for pulling it off. Amazing job.

      • Nervert says:

        I’ve been thinking about the Intersect technology ever since Pacific Northwest as a powerful but eventually corrupting and apocalyptic force. If Intersect 2.0 was able to download both declarative information and muscle memories I didn’t think the downloading of emotions, motivations and obsessions to drive behavior was far behind. This kind of technology in the hands of anyone with the resources to use it on a massive scale would lead to the end of humanity in a thousand different ways. It would be worse than nuclear technology as the assured destruction part wouldn’t happen until someone was well underway, stripping everyone of their ability to make decisions. The potential horror that would be to come is hard to depict though, so instead I went for something a little more visceral to show the potential for evil.

        Basically, ever since TPNW I’ve been headed towards a climax like this to demonstrate the humanity stripping nature of the technology, even if the details were worked out more recently in the weeks leading to Halloween.

      • atcDave says:

        They’ve even hinted at that a little on the show, with most Intersect downloads being in some way corrosive to the host. So the question becomes, how does one put that genie back in the bottle? Even if a way is found to “undo” any particular Intersect program the technology remains; and with it, the possibility of “rewriting” thoughts and personalities in ways that won’t always be easily detected and fixed.

      • Nervert says:

        Yeah, the show has hinted at the way the technology corrupts the brain as an unintended consequence. My idea with Shaw was that the stripping of peoples’ free will was an intended consequence. In any case, you’re right about the genie being out of the bottle. I brought up nuclear technology in my previous post because it’s the closest analogy though, at least in that case there are incredibly rare elements that are necessary. So far we haven’t seen that there is any limiting reagent for the intersect technology other than the the know how, so that makes it much more dangerous. Any time there is a technology which gives someone power and which can be easily transferred you have to assume that someone with the lowest of intentions will eventually get hold of it. The thing for me to figure out now is how team B and Orion could possibly save the world from itself.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Nervert if i could ask where did you get the idea from?

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Nervert this is even far worse than nukes in that at some point its possible not even much specialized knowledge would be required. Once the code and technology exist we can imagine creating “user friendly” programs that would let each individual puppet master pick their own zombie profile. Anything from “every thirsty person will drink Coke Classic” to “left handed people must be removed from the gene pool.”

      • Nervert says:

        Army, are you referring to the use of the Intersect technology for, essentially, mind control purposes? That was mostly just from random thoughts before falling asleep and while zoning out while riding the bus to the lab. I was trying to imagine how the Intersect could work in real life, not considering the storage problem which is just complete science fiction (you know, whereas the other stuff is TOTALLY possible).

        I was imagining that Orion had figured out to use activation of the amygdala to increase the long-term retention of all the information downloaded (and as an aside, I figured this super-activation of the amygdala was what many people couldn’t handle with the original Intersect). Now if he was able to manipulate the amygdala I figured it wasn’t to hard a stretch for someone to download emotional memories. You could make all sorts of associations of hatred or fear with people, ideologies, political parties, etc.

        In the next iteration of the Intersect, it seemed more people could download it without immediate bad effects. I speculated that maybe it didn’t hammer away at the amygdala quite so much and might have used other pathways like the anterior cingulate cortex (also involved in emotional response, learning, modifying behaviors, etc) and the nucleus accumbens and septum pellucidium (involved in the motivation to seek a pleasurable outcome; involved in addiction). The fact that the second Intersect also came with muscle memories meant that this ability to affect motivations in multiple parts of the brain would be really dangerous. I figured it wouldn’t be long till someone had the ability to coopt a person’s behavior, at least for short stretches. Even if the ability was limited, on a large scale you would be saying goodbye to civilization.

        Did I just hear Ogre shout “NERDS” somewhere in the distance? I know, this is equivalent to those people who try to retroactively justify Star Trek physics, though I probably know less about the brain than those people do about physics. This is just what happens when I get incredibly bored (the project I was working on at the time wasn’t going anywhere so my brain had to do something).

      • Nervert says:

        Yeah, Dave. You see exactly where I saw it all going. And then I wonder, what does team B do to stop it? And then right after that I remind myself that I have a project to work on and fan fiction can wait another day. Alright, back to work with me.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Nervert i for one believe that something like the intersect is possible. this is taken from several medical sites….. “Our best possible guess of the average human brain’s capacity would by calculating using the number of synapses connecting the neurons in the human brain. Because each of the synapses has different molecular states, we estimate each of them to be capable holding one megabyte worth of memory. Since the brain has 100-trillion-synapses, we can safely say that the average brain can hold about 100 million megabytes of memory.” that’s a lot of storage space!

        there are also documented medical cases that show some people remember every second of their lives, again a lot of storage. doctors theorize that most people need a visual reminder to call on the memories they have stored. like going back somewhere you haven’t been in years. you don’t remember much about it until you get there, then you do. that’s how the intersect worked in the beginning.

      • Nervert says:

        Re: the amount of storage space being science fiction, Army, that was actually more of a joke (singling out one improbable aspect among many). I need to remember to use smilies more. Anyway, the amount of capacity you quote is a fairly controversial one because A) memory isn’t simply additive for all the synapses in the brain (the brain is a cluster of modules, many of which have to work together in order to form a single memory) and B) the way of calculating how much “memory” is in a synapse or even a single neuron cell body and all it’s dendrites is so far, pure speculation. As for how much capacity the brain has, in practice, we can look at people who have a defective filter for their memory (i.e. people with true photographic memories, or those that remember the weather of every day they’ve lived, etc.). These people tend to have defects in long term memory suggesting that there is a limited capacity.

        When talking about fiction, though, it’s usually standard procedure to exploit the edges of what we know to justify the particulars of the plot (look at Michael Crichton for someone who is EXTREMELY loose with the facts when it comes to science) so, in that context, it wouldn’t be outlandish to say the Intersect is possible.

        And I’m taking this waaaay off topic and waaaay to seriously, aren’t I. Sorry y’all.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey I’ve enjoyed the bio-techno-babble. I’m thinking theory is one thing, but actually trying to apply something like this will likely present problems and issues we can’t even imagine yet. Which makes it extremely hard to forecast what may or may not ever happen. I know looking at sci-fi from when I was a kid technology has advanced in a lot of unpredictable ways. I think we always assumed the HARDWARE would be more advanced than it is (flying bubble cars, travel to other planets as routine). But computers and information technology (except maybe in the area of AI) are way beyond what most of us expected to see (portable computers, wireless Internet). So while I believe breakthroughs will come in the area of fixing/extracting/implanting memories, knowledge, and information I can’t begin to guess what form any of this might take. Or perhaps I should say; I’m perfectly willing to entertain the idea of the human Intersect, but I’m very cautious about any serious prognostication on the subject.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave if you haven’t seen it yet watch the killing room. it will set your teeth on edge. it kinda deals with what we are talking about.

  5. Nervert says:

    Yeah, Dave, this speculation is definitely in the realm of fiction at this point. Still won’t stop my compulsive brain from thinking about it though. If only I could put this amount of thought into something that would, I don’t know, actually pay for my wife and I to go to Hawaii this summer or something else useful.

    • atcDave says:

      Hah! Yeah as pure speculation it’s lots of fun. And I think it helps with a story like yours that you’ve given a lot of thought to the implications of it all.

      But I kind of feel the same way about all my efforts on the blog and on my hobbies in general. I wish my efforts could generate some income. But somehow it always seems like once a hobby becomes a job it’s, well, a job.

  6. quistie64 says:

    Dave,

    I want to thank you for your continued mentions of and support for “Chuck vs. the Sound of Music.” Having a good word put out there by someone who reads a lot of fanfic means so much. The recommendations for my stories really do mean the world to me.

    Although this story is coming to a close, I really hope, if readers are interested, to continue with some other adventures with this family. What do you think?

    (I promise to finish “Return of the Ninja Librarian,” too.)

    • thinkling says:

      By all means, please continue the adventure. 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Quistie I would love more adventures in this AU. Given how much I enjoy your writing its likely I will talk up anything you chose to work on.

      I do hope you’re able to finish whatever you start. I expect to continue reading Chuck stories for as long as they come out, but reading them is always the easy part. I do still look forward to an end for Ninja Librarian; but Sound of Music holds a special spot, Its one of the very few Chuck fan fictions my wife was willing to read more than a single chapter of. For whatever reason it is a hugely appealing story. Of course it helps when both sources are well loved. And your writing strikes the perfect balance of sweet and twisted (and to think I never considered those would go well together before!) It might even be a nice launching point for a series of related one-shots. Although you must have nearly exhausted the original score by now; perhaps the Bartowski/Walker/Woodcomb family needs to tackle other classic musicals? Maybe undercover OSS agent/school teacher Sarah Walker is sent to investigate the nerd-king of Siam…. (kidding, I hope I didn’t really need to say that!)

      • Nervert says:

        Haaaaaaa!! Nerd-King of Siam! That gave me as much an evil laugh as the Mecky fic idea. I draw the line at The Phantom of the Buy More, though (or has this already been written?).

      • quistie64 says:

        Wow, I’m honored that your wife has read any of it, especially if she doesn’t read much fan fiction. I’m glad to hear that there is an interest in the continuing adventures of the Chuck/Sound of Music family. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head.

    • uplink2 says:

      Quistie please do. The world of Chuck FF needs more of Megan and Spy Barbie! She and all the kids are so well written with such distinctive personalities but little Megan I absolutely adore. We need more of her.

      • Fogh says:

        I have to agree with that. The kids in Chuck vs The SOM are some of the best OC’s in the fandom without a doubt.

      • atcDave says:

        Great point you guys about the OCs. That can be such a touchy subject. Obviously many writers do original villains, some are quite memorable and fun. But making the reader like and care about an original character is another matter entirely. Fogh you’ve managed with Kayla, and obviously a few other writers have too. But the kids in SoM are wonderful and a huge part of why the story works.

        I think if I were to do a list of “reader’s tips for writers”, OCs would be a very lengthy entry. There are so many pitfalls in creating them and having them interact with canon characters. But it really is satisfying when they work exactly right.

      • Fogh says:

        Thanks Dave, even so there are still people that have blatantly said, I don’t care about the Kayla storyline, and that’s okay, that’s the risk of an OC.

        I think there are certain things I would recommend when it comes to OC’s.

        – Make them relatable. People don’t know them, but they should be able to connect with them at some level. In the end a writer needs to create a situation where the readers are invested in the well being of a character, and want to see what happens. An OC needs to be well fleshed out in a way a reader can say, man I really feel that character. An OC needs to show what makes him/her tick.
        – Make them original. In the continuation of the previous point, don’t make them a character who is basically the same as a character already on the show. We don’t want to see another Sarah joining the team, but this one having brown or red hair.
        – Ease them in. There are exceptions clearly, but the way I see it, don’t push an OC to the forefront right away. They can have a significant part in the story, just don’t make it such a situation that it takes away from Chuck and Sarah.
        – Make sure there is a reason to their existence. Never write an OC just for the sake of writing an OC. Think things through. Do we really need to read about spy number 200 if Sarah/Chuck would do fine? If I look at Rome, I think for the direction I took, an OC was just what the story needed.

      • uplink2 says:

        Great tips Fogh. OCs have been one of the tougher things for me to write. I have 3 main ones in my story and each has developed differently. It has been one of the biggest learning experiences for me in all this. One character started out as a single idea and has become a bit of a cliche. The second has grown into something a lot more than originally planned and making a decision where to take them next has been the hardest part of planning the next act. The third comes from a real person and yet where they are now is 180 degrees out from what was originally planned.

        The evolution of the story and the OC’s has been something that really surprised me as it and they have taken on a life of their own. I think that has been my favorite part of doing this. There are times when its like I’m simply transcribing the story as I read it in my head and others when its a struggle just to put down anything on the keyboard. But for me in my minimal experience with this is it usually ends up better if I let the idea take itself where it wants to go and the same with the OC’s. Let them tell their story and it will make the overall story better.

      • atcDave says:

        fogh I would add some don’ts to your do list. The biggest malfunction I see sometimes is when an OC steals the thunder of the canon characters. I know Thinkling has more to say on this, but the big issue with fan fiction is we’re reading it for the canon characters we already know and love. Obviously in most cases that means Chuck and Sarah. But if an OC reduces them to the role of spectator it can be a problem.
        A related issue is just if the OC takes over too much of the narrative without CS involvement. Sometimes you can tell the writer is very proud of their creation and wants to make them the main character. Some very good writers may even turn out a good story this way; but again, I’m drawn to Chuck fan fiction because I want to see Chuck and Sarah do great things together. So putting an OC in the CS spot is a big problem.

        I think you’ve handled Kayla just right; she’s important to your story, but not as important as Chuck or Sarah, and she serves a function I wouldn’t even want Chuck or Sarah to go through. BTW, is the name choice significant? You know there is a Kayla character in the original Chuck concept, there’s even publicity photos with Natalie Martinez (as Kayla Hart) alongside Yvonne and Zac. Just wondering.

        Uplink one thing that makes it a little different in your story is that most of the major OCs have been villains. I think that makes a big difference, you’ve put the OCs in parts we don’t even want the canon characters to have. Obviously a lot of the issues remain about how they relate to the leads, and a good baddie brings their own challenges. But I always see that as a different thing entirely.

      • atcDave says:

        fogh you’re holding out on us! I just noticed a Rome Assignment chapter is up today! Very exciting.

      • Fogh says:

        I did know about a different character that was supposed to be there, but the name Kayla Hart was unknown to me till your post. I was looking for a nice name for a female agent, and just happened to come across the name Kayla, liked it and thus the character was born.
        Something I really like about writing Kayla is the constant changes in her role in my mind. I had such different ideas at first, but she really evolved, and became a far more integral part of the story than I had originally envisioned. And I’m glad for it, I wouldn’t have wanted to see Sarah, or even Carina in this situation.
        I understand what Uplink says about enjoying that evolution of that character, adding a few layers at a time, and it’s great that in general she has been well received. Also know about OC’s that you base a little on people you know IRL. The name Borelli is the name of an italian bloke I used to know.
        As for the don’ts you mentioned Dave, absolutely agree with that.
        As for Rome, I updated lol. Not really my thing to start a post in a thread like this like hey guys I updated, but thanks for mentioning it, and hope you enjoy it.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ll jump in a bit, since Dave warned you. As a casual reader of fan fiction, so take my remarks with a ton of salt, what makes a story work is the characterization of the two main characters. I read because I want more stories about two characters that the creators and writers of Chuck have already made me fall in love with. Fan fiction writers borrow them, and the key element for my enjoyment of any fan fiction story is the CS characterization. After that a good story is desirable, though an ocasional introspection piece is enjoyable. But my favorites combine spot on CS characterization with a good story … and good writing. Good OC’s are bonus but always subordinate to the main characters (i.e. Chuck and Sarah).

        That doesn’t mean I don’t care about OC’s. Sometimes I do, and the introduction of a good OC is a delight.

        Fogh’s list is a good one, applicable to any character in any work of fiction. And all of those things are important. However, fan fiction is a different animal, because the main characters are already written. So, in addition to Fogh’s list, there’s a unique consideration in fan fiction. The readers come to fan fiction with a bias. They’re not looking for great new characters to like. They’re looking for great CS stories. The appeal of an OC for me is directly proportional to their relevance to and chemistry with CS. (Other OC’s can work based on relevance to plot, villains being an example, but they are not characters I invest in emotionally.) If an OC’s appeal is linked to CS relevance and chemistry, then so is my investment in them. Very few OC’s could actually stand on their own. I’m unlikely to be interested in very many scenes with just the OC’s, let alone an independent story line.

        I’ll use Quistie’s SOM and Ninja Librarian as examples of OC’s I really like. The kids in SOM are fantastic. I totally agree with Uplink’s comments about them. The fan fiction distinction still applies, in that, not only are they well written, but their CS relevance in built in, and the chemistry is off the charts. As Chuck And Sarah’s children of course they are inexorably connected to CS, hence their built-in relevance. (I would love more stories of this ‘family Von Chuck.’) Obviously family stories work, and these kids have tremendous appeal, but at this point I would never imagine a story about the kids without Chuck and Sarah as their parents. They are a package deal and nine shades of wonderful.

        The Ninja Librarian is a different sort of character, with no intrinsic relevance to either character. If I met her in another universe or an original work, I would still like her. That’s a feat. However, I met her in fan fiction, so the relevance/chemistry criteria still apply (not because she’s not good enough without CS, but because CS are what I’m looking for in Chuck fan fiction), and both of those elements have been well crafted. Her greatest appeal is her chemistry with Chuck and Sarah, especially Sarah. Giving Sarah a friend is wonderful and gives this OC a unique relevance.

        I don’t know if this makes it easier or harder for OC’s to work, but to me this is a key principle. Even a well crafted OC (one that I could like independently, in another universe) doesn’t work in the Chuck fan fiction realm without the CS relevance/chemistry. Wanting an independent investment from a reader in an OC, apart from their relevance to CS, is almost self-defeating. Yet, good CS relevance and chemistry go a long way toward compensating for less well-crafted OC’s.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      “Although this story is coming to a close, I really hope, if readers are interested, to continue with some other adventures with this family. What do you think?”

      GOOD GOD, YES PLEASE !!!!!!!

      Thursdays without a SOM update were going to be tragic (a wasteland, if you will). Knowing that the adventures may continue is outstanding.

      Besides, another scene with Casey playing “spy Barbie” (and getting caught ……. by Carina) HAS TO happen. It was too precious the first time. 😀

  7. uplink2 says:

    As always Dave thank you so much for including me in this group of great stories. It has been such an amazing ride for me and I’m certain your suggestion of my story has been a great reason for that.

    I do plan to continue it and am writing the start of the next act now and hope to have it up early next week. I just needed to take a breath after finishing the first act.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t doubt you needed a break; you put out some long chapters in Act I. I’ll look forward to something new next week!

      • jason says:

        Dave once the show is over, maybe you can get 3 writers to write 24 episodes, one per week, picking up where we left off to replace the show for many of us. Have 3 episode arcs – the intro, the problem escalates, and the final ep to solve the problem, each writer takes an ep, plus have one big story brewing in the 24 episode background, plus serving as the 8th mini arc. If this project represented your POV about the show, I think it would be an internet sensation, you have the built in vehicle to get it out there right here. You could have weekly reviews on this blog, teasers, etc. Heck Dave, I guess that would make you Chris Fedak?

      • thinkling says:

        Jason, you read my mind. That would be a cool project.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course Jason that is sort of the role fan fiction already serves. Except its likely to slow way down as the show ends, but there’s already MANY seasons worth of material at fanfiction.net.

      • Aerox says:

        Time to call the Authors Intersect to reunite. Good God, that story was so epic.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      I still say Mitchell is Sh**’s boyfriend. It’s so obvious. 😉

  8. uplink2 says:

    Dave, not to put a damper on things but I finally started reading Normal Life and Decision because you reminded us here and great stories they are but what is sad is that Timewalker05 seems to be one of a number of great FF writers that gave up writing Chuck FF because of season 3. His last Chuck update came just after Mask and he moved on to other shows. Some writers have even come out saying exactly that.

    With the end of the series in sight I’d love to see some of them come back as the seasons they fell in love with start airing in syndication. Maybe we can see a resurgence of activity as I’ve been looking back 50-60 pages deep in the FF.net Chuck listings and there was a lot more activity back then.

    Sometimes I really wish I had started this online Chuck journey sooner but then again it would have meant being active during the misery of that awful arc instead of just sitting at home yelling at my TV how much I was hating what they were doing to the characters I loved so much. So maybe I’m better off.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah S3 killed the enthusiasm for a lot of fans and writers. You remember Ersk4 guest posted here a few weeks back? He was very specific about how he lost all desire to write for Chuck when S3 started. In fact, his “Jill Ride” he just published was started as an outline when S3 started and he lost interest in even finishing it. But at least for ersk, S4 brought back the love and he was finally able to get back to what he started.

      You know there a few cases of the exact opposite happening; that is, writers were so fired up by what they were seeing on screen that they were driven to “fix” it. Look at KateMcK’s excellent “The Fight” series of one-shots that basically set out to restore Charah from every downbeat ending of the misery arc. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather the show was more fun all along; but at least in fan fiction, some good came from all that misery.

      Timewalker did write quite a bit for this fandom. Its also possible he was simply burned out on this topic regardless of what was happening on-screen. I know most of my hobbies have a certain ebb and flow to them as my enthusiasm fluctuates over time. I’m just glad Timewalker finished all of his stories before he moved on.

    • I like timewalker05’s Castle stories, so I’m not complaining.

  9. Timewalker05 says:

    Wow. Thanks for the incredibly kind words.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the stories. I had a good time writing them.

    And yes, uplink2 is correct that season 3 is part of the reason I stopped writing Chuck fics (albeit not the only reason). I used to be a huge Chuck fanatic – watching the show, buying the comic, reading the fanfics. Then they kind of killed the fun for me with some of the story lines so I moved on to other shows and, while I still watch Chuck, I record it on the DVR and watch it when I get around to it instead of sitting with my son on the couch and watching it live. Castle I watch live and all my recent fanfics have been Castle stories (although nothing as long as any of my Chuck stories).

    I did a little browing of the blog and have to agree with a lot of what ersk said about writing fanfic. He did a great job of why many of us stop writing for awhile. I will be back. Maybe even with another big Chuck fic that I have been rolling around. But not quite yet.

    You are certainly correct, BTW, atcDave, about the ebb and flow of hobbies. And you, based on your profile, may appreciate this. Instead of writing lately, I have been painting miniatures and building terrain for wargames (Flames of War, Regimental Fire and Fury, and and Field of Glory).

    Thanks again for the plug and the kind words. It explains the uptick in my story count over on FF. Clearly ChuckThis has a loyal following.

    • atcDave says:

      Timewalker, great to have you stop by. I think the loss of enthusiasm you describe for Chuck is pretty common. It is amazing how many of us are also Castle fans; I haven’t made the jump to Castle fanfiction or blogging yet, but who knows, with the end of Chuck coming it still could happen. I think Chuck S3 mainly made me very angry, but through the miracle of self-delusion I now just pretend it never happened…

      I’ve enjoyed a lot of your writing, it would be awesome to see some more Chuck fiction from you at some point. Like the hinted at sequel to Decision? It could be a lot of fun to see Chuck and Sarah try to work things out in the greater AU you created, especially given your version of Beckman.

      I’ve done a lot of miniature painting myself (D&D, Gamma World). My main passion is scale aircraft and armor, but there’s a lot of overlap in skills there and I think the miniatures helped me a lot with detail work. CostasTT is also a modeler, this seems like a very unlikely connection to the Chuck fandom. Must have something to do with being nerds…

      Its very exciting to hear I made a difference in your story hits. Its always such a small portion of readers who comment, its hard to know if I can make a difference, so that made my day.

  10. Timewalker05 says:

    Oh. And a word if I may about OC’s:

    I agree with most of what had been written above about OC’s. If your OC overwhelms the main characters, then you have not only failed to meet your readers expectations (in my opinion) but you’ve probably committed one of the cardinal sins of fanfiction writing and created a “Mary Sue.” Every story longer than a one-shot needs good OC’s. Yes, just like in a TV episode there will be some throwaway characters that you don’t have to flesh out (spy number 2, police officer number 3), but you villian definitely and probably one or two other characters should be fleshed out, at least in your mind. Don’t spend too much time on them. As others have said people are here to read about Chuck and Sarah (and to a lesser extent Casey, Morgan, Devon, Ellie, etc.), not some wholly new character. But interesting OC’s can really enhance a fic. Give them enough detail and independent personality that people care about them (or at least hate them) but there better be a really, really good reason to have an OC have more than a very short scene without Chuck, Sarah or one of the other ‘official’ characters in it. The only caveat to that would be your OC villain. In Chuck versus the Decision, I needed to have some scenes with Dr. Parker, the villian, apart from the main characters in order to show how she was manipulating them. But even then, the scenes were still all about the OC relating to the main characters and therefore were still about the Chuck and Sarah, not really about the OC.

    • atcDave says:

      A big part of why Dr. Parker worked I think is because she was well developed and very DIFFERENT as villains go. She was a very scary sort of intelligent and scheming; which we got precisely because you did take the time to bring her to life.

      But I don’t think there was anything like a parallel in that story for the more troublesome sort of OCs we sometimes see. Maybe Ari in Buy More Bomber (or Moses Finklestein. Would he count as an OC? Maybe a semi-OC). But those characters always remained clearly secondary and never presented a problem.
      I do sympathize with the issue of OC creation. It makes sense if you pour a lot of thought into a new character that you will likely be proud of them and want to show them off a little. And of course in a completely original work and setting a writer would have more freedom to do that. But I think it comes back to that big sticking point that with fan fiction the audience is likely there because they love the canon characters. As Thinkling pointed out, the OCs that are most loved seem to be those that relate organically to those loved canon characters without eclipsing them [funny how two of the best loved OCs are Chuck’s (and Sarah’s) kids; Violet Bartowski and Megan Woodcomb].

    • armysfc says:

      glad you brought up the mary sue. in addition to the one you spoke about is the second kind. which is the kind i heard about first. they don’t over shadow any characters or steal the spot light but the oc that is perfect for the lead persons. same likes, dislikes, similar past i could go on. the show had (or thought they had) the perfect matches for chuck and sarah during season 3 in shaw and hannah. in reality all they had were mary sues.

      • Timewalker05 says:

        Indeed, one of my big problems with season 3 was that much of it seemed like it was written by bad fanfic authors. Same problem with Cole. Cole, Shaw and Hannah were all Mary Sues, straight out of bad fan fic, and the writers changed the main characters in order to promote these Mary Sues. Like many others, I think the two Cole episodes were where the wheels really came off for me. They really did read like a bad fanfic where you bring in the exact type of Mary Sue you describe – Cole had the same likes, dislikes, and similar past to Sarah – and changed Chuck and Sarah’s story arc and, indeed, aspects of their personality to fit the OC, if you will, that they had created rather than being true to their characters. Same for Shaw and, to a lesser extent, Hannah. A big temptation for fanfiction authors and, evidently for show runners as well.

      • atcDave says:

        The funny thing is that Shaw was a Mary Sue by design. Fedak was insisting after “The Mask” brouhaha that Shaw was perfect for Sarah, in another universe. Yet most fans didn’t buy one second of it. Even before Shaw showed up, season three felt like manipulation and betrayal (swell, I fought to save THIS show…). It was just television writing by the numbers (wt/wt must continue…), and for all of us who had expected Chuck to be different and break the TV 101 screen writing cliches it was bitter disappointment.

        But the equally amazing thing to me is that they actually did fix it. They’ve kept the couple together for two full seasons now. I’ve not seen this happen with romantic leads since the 1970s. It does still annoy me to have to ignore a season of character assassination, but it IS over.

        Now it’s funny Timewalker that you’ve made the jump to Castle. We’ve had this discussion here a few times; they’ve continued the wt/wt beyond what seems reasonable. But at least they’ve avoided introducing unwanted characters into the actual show; and kept the stories ABOUT Castle and Beckett, even if their reasons for not being together seem increasingly lame.

      • Aerox says:

        I’m lucky I’m not at all invested in seeing Castle with Beckett, because if I was I would’ve probably stopped watching. They’ve stretched it out too far imo. Also, it became really noticable that Beckett treated Castle like shit for the entirety of season 3. Almost everything he said was met with sarcasm or a disbelieving stare and she used every opportunity to rib him about something or the other. That really annoyed me.

      • Actually, Castle introduced unwanted characters for longer than Chuck. Castle dated Gina, his ex-wife, for half a season, and Beckett dated Josh for an entire season. Viewers didn’t even get to see Josh be shot or hit over the hit by Beckett. Objectively, season 3 of Castle was worse from a shipping perspective than the first two-thirds of season 3 of Chuck. Shaw and Hannah were a little more in the forefront than Josh and Gina, but Josh and Gina were around much longer and were really poorly developed characters.

        Castle fandom is much more patient. I’ve did a comparison a few weeks ago: http://mynameisjeffnimlost.tumblr.com/post/10925037966/charah-vs-caskett
        Castle fandom is also a more positive and supportive environment than Chuck, with fewer personal attacks. The members practically worship TPTB for that show, the exact opposite of Chuck fandom. (It’s almost creepy.) My theory is Castle fans are more patient because procedurals always develop character arcs slowly and because the show has received early renewals. Chuck fandom feels more entitled because they feel responsible for keeping the show around.

        I agree Cole was a Mary Sue, but he was one as a specific plot device to show Sarah preferred Chuck over “the perfect guy.” (Chuckwin disclaimer)

        Shaw and Hannah were not good OCs. Both Shaw and Hannah might seem like Mary Sues on a very superficial “that person is attractive” surface, but there characters were not even close to the definition or Mary Sues. (The same goes for Jill.)

        Shaw was a bad spy who constantly messed up his missions. He had issues with his wife, cared more about revenge than his country or others, and manipulated people who were supposed to be allies. I’m not saying he was a good character or a necessary character. However, with all of this problems, he does not fit the definition of a Mary Sue.

        Hannah was a stalker who was coming off getting fired to take a job for which she was overqualified (like Chuck out of Stanford). She threw herself at Chuck while being rude to his best friend, and she was very distrusting of Chuck. In no way was she the right person for Chuck. I don’t think she would have been the right person for Chuck even before he downloaded the Intersect. Again, she was not a good OC (I disliked her more than Shaw), but she was not a Mary Sue.

      • atcDave says:

        Aerox I’ve continued to enjoy the Castle/Beckett interplay a lot. I think that’s the strength and main source of comedy for the show. Its only when they turn to more dramatic moments I feel like “now they’re just being stupid…”

      • Aerox, Beckett gets away with treating Castle like that because 1) He is an immature, irreverent playboy who often needs to be but in his place. In the first show, Castle even said she could spank him. Castle doesn’t mind being put in his place by people he loves (his mother and daughter being the other two) 2) Castle was dating his “blood sucking ex-wife” for half the season, so he obviously a glutton for punishment. If Shaw/Sarah overlapped more with Chuck/Hannah, as opposed to starting as the latter was ending, it might have been a tiny bit more acceptable to a small number of people. 3) Unlike S1 and S2 Chuck, Castle is there by choice.

        Dave, I agree Castle does humor much better than drama. The drama is hit-and-miss (the S3 finale had more holes than any episode of Chuck has ever had), which is why I’m a little wary of Monday’s sniper episode.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jeff, this should help ease you concerns about the sniper ep. the people that have seen the screeners for the sniper ep say it’s one of the best they have seen. it is an emmy worthy performance by Stana Katic, in fact her best ever on the show.

        one big difference is castles characters have real issues due to their jobs and tackle them, unlike on chuck where they get shot, drugged, blown up, stabbed list keeps going. and they are fine. they have no noticeable problems from them.

        beckett is seeing a shrink, and in sniper her PTSD comes out in force and almost cripples her. have you remotely seen anything like that on chuck?

      • Aerox says:

        I get that, Jeff, I do. But the thing is, while he may be immature as hell (does provide Filion with plenty of awesome material to work with, he’s hilarious) his insights have proved invaluable every time. And still most of his ideas are met with: “Get real, Castle” by Beckett. Ryan and Esposito actually listen to him but Beckett dismisses him immediately. But then again, I got annoyed with the house talk in Chuck as well, so maybe it’s just me 😀

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I totally disagree about your comparison of the two shows’ season threes. My point was that we never KNEW those other characters on Castle, I bet most casual viewers wouldn’t even remember the OLI’s names. Castle has handled the wt/wt FAR better because the most appealing part of the show is the banter and exchanges between Castle and Beckett, and that has never diminished, even when barely present OLIs were involved. In fact, because of the rivalry aspect of the Caskett relationship it isn’t even diminished TOO badly when they do bad things to each other. Now as I’ve said elsewhere, I think the wt/wt has pretty much played out on Castle too, at least in the sense that is no longer believable to me that they can’t get their act together. But it is not something that impacts every episode, since the show is mainly a procedural, and as long as the banter remains good the specifics of the central relationship aren’t THAT big of a deal.
        Chuck and Sarah, by comparison, had a warm, friendly and encouraging relationship with each other. Like Castle, that relationship was THE major hook to a sizable part of the audience. But unlike Castle, Chuck’s showrunners fumbled badly by seperating them physically for a major chunk of the season. Even worse, Sarah’s role noticably shrunk as Shaw and Hannah gobbled screen time. Given that Sarah is actually MORE popular with many fans than Chuck himself, the effect was disasterous to morale for many of us. And both main characters were really made to look like idiots in their involvement with others.

        But in the end, Chuck’s showrunner’s listened to the audience, broke with television tradfition, and put their lead couple together; which certainly is a credit to them. They continued the wt/wt a beat too long (and it was a very slow beat!), but they did finally get it right. The jury’s still out on Castle.

        Army we certainly have seen pain and consequences story lines on Chuck, even getting a shrink involved. That was most of season three. That’s part of why I often mention the darker tone as being a secondary malfunction of the story telling. If they had gone with just some of those difficult thematic elements without playing musical sleeping partners the story might have worked out fine. But that double wammy was too much. It was a huge change on several levels. But even in the rest of the series they don’t shy away from emotional issues and their consequences. But the action/adventure aspect of the show is very different from Castle. Chuck is more adventure fantasy, Castle is somewhat more realistic. Those are deliberate story-telling differences.

      • joe says:

        It’s like a book could be written about the differences between Castle and Chuck and why we like them both. 😉

        I’m a little new to Castle, but I did take the time to watch the entire marathon shown before this season started, and I’ve seen every episode since. I think I have the flavor down.

        I like it, and I see why so many Chuck fans like the romance aspect. My thing, though is “Castle is a little boy” who needs a mother (Jeff, you pointed this out). I’m sensitized and allergic now to that cliché (and why is it, btw, that *every* cop show now seems to have a woman in charge at nearly every level, hum??? Talk about your PC overkill…)

        They make up for it in Castle, though, because the character is charming enough to pull it off. Chuck, on the other hand, seemed to want to grow out of it from the beginning, and he did, I think, by showing Sarah and Casey that their reflexive, hard-boiled cynicism, as helpful as it’s been, isn’t always the right posture.

        Interesting that Patrick Jane does this charming thing too (in The Mentalist) , but his charm is played off his arrogance. Unlike Beckett, Lisbon is always a little off balance because of his intelligence and a little put off by his arrogance.

        My wish for TV is that children be portrayed as children (and not miniature adults), and that men stop being portrayed as 90% fools (especially in commercials). I also wish partners would stop referring to each other by their last names! Castle? Beckett? Lisbon? Jane? Booth? Bones? Give me Chuck & Sarah any day.

        /rant

      • atcDave says:

        Some good observations there Joe, I agree with all of that!

      • Aerox, I agree that Castle is helping (and Beckett often does, too, especially in season 4). Sometimes his delivery almost demands a comeback (CIA and time traveling theories), so I think he likes it. Also, sometimes he is right too often. In the dirty nuke two-parter, everything Castle said was right, Beckett just followed along, and everything the DHS guy said or did was wrong. There wasn’t a good balance.

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I do completely agree with that. In fact, I think many of Castle’s comments are just begging for the retort. To me that’s where the rivalry and teasing banter are most fun. And Beckett really does respect Castle, they’re just having fun, flirting even, in their own way.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’ve never watched Castle but it seems along with Fringe to be a fav of a lot of Chuck fans. I’ve never watched that either lol. I haven’t watched Castle because my wife hates Nathan Fillon for some reason. Not sure why and so I’d have to DVR it and watch it some other time. Not sure I want to go back and watch the prior seasons either. She isn’t a big fan of Chuck but she will watch it though the nerd humor she doesn’t get. Plus I already have a show I like that she hates in Community. She really doesn’t like that show at all lol. I do but Community is very uneven IMO. Sometimes it is absolutely brilliant and other times it tries so hard to be cool and different that they forget about actually telling us a story. Maybe I’ll be able to watch Castle after Community is finally canceled as it seems to be headed that way.

      • joe says:

        I’m with you on this, Dave. The flirting is definitely where the fun is.

        Castle comes close to getting the proverbial pie in the face every episode, though. So far, from what I’ve seen, they’ve been clever in how they get out of that cheap humor-trap, and I’ve been coming back because of it.

        [And to keep this in context, they’ve been letting Lester and Jeff take the pies in Chuck. From my POV, that’s a good thing. Morgan used to, but I’m in the camp where I’m glad to see him graduate from that.]

      • When Sarah snaps at Chuck about competency, it is usually because she is being super-overprotective (e.g. Fear of Death or First Class) because she loves him. When Beckett snaps at Castle, she is keeping him in line because he needs it and because they are really flirting and both enjoy it.

        I can understand how viewers might think Sarah or Kate is being unfair to or unsupportive of their guy. However, I don’t think that is the intention of the writers of either show.

        uplink2, if you ever watch Castle, the thing to keep in mind it is first and foremost a procedural. It has a good backstory and nice family moments. I think Chuck fans like it because Caskett has great chemistry like Charah. However plot-wise, it is still a murder-of-the-week show like Bones. Parts are funny, but Castle is clearly a drama, unlike Chuck, which is hard to categorize (action-comedy with some drama and a lot of randomness).

  11. Joe, technically Bones is a nickname that she only tolerates from Booth. You would think she would start calling him Seeley, now that they are practically living together and are going to have a kid. Angela also calls her husband “Hodgins” too much. Chuck and Sarah should be calling Casey “John”. Casey still uses Walker and Bartowski too much. Then again, he uses the “Moron” pet name for Morgan. I think part of the last name thing is military (for Booth, Esposito, and Casey) or professional (Bones adds titles, like Dr., for most people except Angela and Booth), but you are right it is done way too much in TV shows.

    Sometimes I think they are trying to setup a “profound moment.” Which Castle and Beckett use Rick and Kate, I notice. In Chuck vs. the Subway, when Casey said “Sarah”, I noticed. The worst case was Stargate SG-1. When O’Neill and Carter used Jack and Sam, somebody thought somebody was about to die. For Castle and Stargate, way too many fanfics revolve around first name/last name usage, so I think we are lucky that Chuck and Sarah use first names.

    • joe says:

      I know, Jeff – but I put it in there for humor. 😉

      I think you’re right about that “profound moment.” When they use Rick and Kate (and the few times Sarah calls him “John”), it does give it an emphasis that I’m sure is intentional.

      I guess using last names is a way of denoting profession distance. Can’t say it’s ever really like that in any “professional” office I’ve ever worked in, though. I wonder how true to life it is in real police squad rooms.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe, i can’t comment on the police but it rings true for military types, mostly enlisted. we are know as rank and last name. when with equal ranks it’s just last names. senior officers will often use the lower officers first name. it stems from officers in the past being considered gentleman and enlisted not so much. it’s a real hard habit to break. i have some friends on some police forces so i’ll ask and see what they say!

      • joe says:

        You will be doing us a service, then, Army. Thanks.

        I sorta figured (from my own family’s experience) that it’s true about the military, which explains Casey, and maybe Booth (although, as Jeff points out, he really isn’t using Temperance’s last name), but not Lisbon, Castle, Beckett, Jane and most all of the secondary characters.

        I may be mis-remembering, but didn’t the characters on That 70s Show do that too? I seem to recall “Kelso” being used a lot. Maybe it’s a generational thing.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe who know’s? on happy days they used last names a lot also, fonz usually called richie cunningham if i remember correctly.

  12. joe says:

    Well, speaking of OT…

    Here’s a real interesting write-up about Monday’s upcoming Castle episode.

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