Fan Fiction For a Finale

The bad news is, Chuck is now officially over. The incomplete finale managed to divide the fan base once again and lead to a lot of hard feelings. And I can’t even describe how much I’ll miss seeing this crew together and having new adventures.

But the good news is a lot left hanging on screen means a field day for the always creative fan fiction community.  So join me for another fan fiction review where we look at the already sizable volume of stories that set out to tell the story of what comes next.

The first attempts at filling the gap showed up the very night that the finale ran.  Now, just over a week later, we already have many post-finale tales.

Now for the record, you all know I believe Sarah’s memories came back quite quickly.  I think there is evidence both internal to the story (Sarah’s brief recollections during 5.13) and historically (how quickly Morgan came back) to back up my theory.  I would love to see a one-shot appear that deals with it this way;  Sarah maybe being almost overwhelmed by the flood of memories returning in just a few short days; while trying to make peace with her sister-in-law after threatening to kill her; and reclaiming her recent dreams.

But not surprisingly, most fan fiction we’ve seen has focused on a slightly longer term recovery process.  I don’t find this surprising at all, there is obviously more story, and more potential drama in drawing it out longer.  A few writers have even been so bold as to put Sarah back in field as an agent, basically running from her old life and dreams. While it’s obviously any writer’s right to tell the tale they want, this is categorically not what I’m looking for in a Chuck tale, and you won’t find that in any of the stories I recommend.

What you will find in my picks are an assortment of tales that finish the scene at the beach, or pick up years later and tell new stories for the Bartowski family.

And actually, my first choice doesn’t quite fit either of those categories; it is also the shortest one-shot I have ever recommended in one of these reviews.  It is “For Better or For Worse” by Kate McK.  Personally, I found Sarah’s goodbye scene at the end of 5.12 to be a little lacking.  Not that there were problems with the drama or performances, but I have a bit of problem with the idea of Chuck letting Sarah leave without saying something.  I thought as Sarah’s husband he had lost at least as much as Sarah had, and he needed to make the offer to help Sarah in her mission.  Okay, maybe Chuck knew Sarah “needed space” or some such.  But it rang false to me, and Kate perfectly fills the gap.  Those who are familiar with her work will know she often writes very close to canon and makes only the most subtle changes that snowball as the story unfolds.  This short piece follows that model, Chuck objects with dialogue and reasoning that has actually appeared other places in the show (particularly Baby).  This isn’t a magic fix to what is broken at this point in the story, but it does make for an end scene that seems more in character for Chuck (to me) than what we saw on screen.  It can be read in 5 minutes and would rated G.

Next is another one-shot that follows a different path from what most of us have envisioned for “what’s next.”  It is “Chuck vs the New Key” by CostasTT.  This is different in providing a mostly spy-tech solution to Sarah’s memory problems.  But seriously, don’t let that put you off!  There is no doubt Costas’ version of Sarah has completely fallen in love with Chuck all over again, and the solution ends up being quite a bit more appealing than a simple re-write of memories.  Like many Costas’ stories he makes a good use of the family and friends theme, and he even brings Emma and Molly into the tale; which not coincidentally is one of my favorite parts of the show itself.  This is a slightly longer one-shot and would take about 20 minutes to read.  It would be rated PG mainly for when the happy couple gets a little affectionate.

The next one is another one-shot that takes advantage an obvious mnemonic device strait from canon.  Its “Sarah and Chuck’s PANTS” by Newbie93.  Sarah gets a little nosy and pries into Chuck’s personal stuff;  but of course this leads to some fun memories for the recovering amnesiac.  This is a fun and sweet story that can be read 15 minutes and would be rated PG.

Another one-shot is “Never Forget” by Mikki13.  This one is a little steamier than I normally recommend, and let’s just say Chuck and Sarah are lucky their stretch of beach isn’t well patrolled by the police.  I had to include this brief story because it comes closest to what some of us wanted from an epilogue (well, maybe if that epilogue was on Showtime…)  But more to the point; memories come back very quickly, and there is a house with a red door and and a baby involved.  This is kind of the completely expected denouement.  It is however, quite brief and can be read in less that 10 minutes.  It would be rated R for reasons you should already understand…

The last one I’ll discuss today is “A Very Bartowski Christmas” by Lipton Lee (also known around these parts as Leigh).  This is a family gathering set about 25 years after the finale. So far, this is a very fun gathering of the usual cast (plus a couple of OCs) and a fun “look back” at things that have happened since the show.  Including some references to Sarah’s recovered memories and a previous attempt to kill her sister-in law.  But this really is mostly for fun.  It is so much fun to imagine these characters we came to love so much continuing on; and living (almost) normal lives.  This is a multi-chapter story.  It is currently three chapters in and could be read in 30 minutes or so. It would be rated PG for some mild language.  By the author’s own admission, its unclear how long this story might go; so if you like it, offer an encouraging review, we might get more!

I’m honestly not sure at this point how long we might keep this up.  The fan fiction community has been fairly active since the finale.  Not just with endings, some new AUs, and on going works have been updating too.  For myself, I expect to keep reading for a long time to come.  These periodic reviews will continue as long as there seems to be interest.  Perhaps this little site will remain for a while yet too!

~ Dave

Be sure to check out the post “Finale Alternatives and Epilogues” that expands on this idea.  It was written a couple years later and includes several much more ambitious Epilogues for our favorite show.

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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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82 Responses to Fan Fiction For a Finale

  1. Nervert says:

    Thanks again Dave. When there’s a big explosion in the number of stories like this it’s nice to have these suggestions as a filter. I can’t get to most stories with the normal volume, let alone when it’s going crazy like this.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m actually still behind myself. But I figured I needed to at least get the first wave of good ones mentioned! No doubt this finale inspired a lot of writers.

    • atcDave says:

      Okay, I apologize for the jab offered below! You updated today, So cool!!!!!

      • Nervert says:

        Heh! Doesn’t it figure.

        Anyway, sorry for throwing another cliffhanger in there. The next one definitely won’t have one of those.

      • atcDave says:

        You are evil. I’m not talking to you until you update again. I mean after this… I’m not talking to again after this… (until you update again)

      • Nervert says:

        I’m not really evil … I just write that way.

        Actually, I have to say, organizing chapter breaks based around the cliffhangers is a really easy way work out story structure. 😀

      • atcDave says:

        Ahhhh, evil AND self deluded.

        Not talking to you…

        (evil)

      • It seems like most FF writers use cliffhangers liberally. It really heightens the tension and excitement in a story, and it’s that different than commercial breaks in the show itself. The serial nature of FF chapters lends itself to that type of story telling.

        However, sometimes it gets tiring and obnoxious. A story can be great without them. In the Castle fandom, there’s a story with over 4700 reviews, 1800 more than the next closest. It had exactly 1 cliffhanger in 41 chapters, and that cliff lasted less than 2 days. The story was so good it didn’t need them. It foreshadowed and created anticipation, without cliffs.

        So stop being evil, Nervert! 😉

      • Aerox says:

        Jeff, I read that (I’m assuming this is Of Finding Innocence you’re talking about) but why do you never reveal the names of those fics? That one is a beauty, and it should be read by more 😛

      • I figured most people here don’t read much Castle fanfiction. I think since Castle is a show about a writer, it has attracted a lot of great writers.

        Of Finding Innocence by FanficwriterGHC (aka Emma) is my absolute favorite FF story in any fandom. chezchuckles (aka writingwell aka Laura) is probably my favorite author. She’s written or co-written 55 complete stories since mid-April 2011, usually posting 1-3 chapters daily across multiple stories. Every one of her stories is consistently good. For fluff fans, International08 has a story actually titled “Fluff”, with a sequel “Warm and Fuzzy”.

        My FFnet Favorites list has 7 Castle stories, 4 are parts of series. I’d recommend almost any story from any author that has a Castle story on my factories list. Only one story is not complete, but there are 187 chapters and 500K words to catch up on in that series before it becomes an issue (and past history has shown chezchuckles will write the other 21 chapters of that story, plus 1-10 chapters in the other in-progress prequel in 21-25 days or so).

      • atcDave says:

        I could easily see getting into Castle fics when Chuck stuff starts to slow down soon.

        And of course; perfect tv line of the week came from Beckett last night “why would you tell me this story that doesn’t have an ending…”

        Sorry, seemed fitting somehow.

  2. Thanks, Dave. I’ve been dumping “finale” stories in a couple of bookmark folders. So far there are 50 new stories, 35 of them are 1-shots. (I’ve only managed to read about 20 of the shorter 1-shots.)

    The rate of new Chuck fan fiction had been slowing down significantly for a while. I doubt there was 50 new stories in a month an a half leading up to the finale. I’m hoping this trend continues.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah Jeff it would be awesome if this kept up for a while. Maybe even inspire some slackers like that bum Nervert to finish what they started!

      • With so many choices, I had only read one of your five recommendations. I’ve read three more now and have started the fourth. Those are all great recommendations. I nominated one for the Awesome Awards.

        FYI, the last date for Awesome Award nominations is today:
        http://forum.fanfiction.net/topic/49974/56553156/1

        I remember when Nervert posted all twelve chapters of the the original version of Chuck vs The Pacific Northwest on a single day, with no waiting. That earns some slack in my book.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for putting up that link Jeff, I totally forgot.

        I remember too when Pacific Northwest sprouted full grown from Nervert’s head. Quite an amazing feat, and truly one of the excellent stories in this fandom. But you know, not only was I teasing, but he actually updated today!

      • The last day for nominations was just pushed back until Friday, February 10.

    • BigKev67 says:

      Jeff,
      How do you make a new post in a nomination thread? I tried to nominate last night but there was no icon for “new post” or anything similar.

      • Hit “Reply” to any post on the thread. It in not threaded like this blog, so your post will appear at the end. The thread will disappear, leaving you with only the post you hit Reply to, so you’ll need to keep track of which category you are in. Replying to the original post from Notorious JMG is the easiest way to do that.

        You can edit you post later using the gear icon, then selecting “Edit”.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Excellent. Thanks Jeff!

  3. Non Omnis Moriar says:

    Thanks, Dave. As long as you’re willing to take the trouble to post these periodic reviews, I will make sure to read them all! CostasTT is one my favorite writers. I can’t remember all my favorite authors because it’s been so long ago that I read any fanfiction. But because you mentioned Costas, it all starts slowly coming back to me. I also liked Armadillo, UnderArmour and ehh….I can’t remember who wrote them, but it was about Chuck as the intersect in the wild west. Personally I thought it was awesome, but I can’t remember who wrote it anymore.
    Anyway, thankgs again Dave. Your post is ,again, much appreciated.

    NOM

    • BigKev67 says:

      NOM,
      That was Chuck vs the Frontier by NinjaVanish. He’s one of the very best in the fandom. Every one of his stories is top drawer.

    • Aerox says:

      What the… You say you have a penchant for Charah stories and your author list includes Armadillo and UnderArmour?

      Are we in an alternate reality? O.o

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        I can understand your confusion in regards to Armadillo. I liked his first stories very much and we weer good friends. His later stories I didn’t like as I consider these way too harsh. But what’s wrong with UA? He’s a good friend of mine and his Guardian stories have plenty of great chara moments. To each his own of course. I sometimes read stories that are categorized by the author as Romance/Adventure. Only to find out that what we consider ‘Romance’ lies miles apart from each other.

      • atcDave says:

        I have to admit NOM your choices there surprised me a lot! But doubt, Costas is always fun, he has a distinctive high adventure sort of feel to his stories.

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        I stil don’t get what’s so ‘uncharrah’ like to the authors I mentioned before? Especially Under Armour. I know that both writers didn’t like Sarah’s character during the third season, so they also wrote some stories tot vent some of their frustation. Some of these I actually liked too. Perhaps you can explain to me why my choice surprised you? I don’t want to make too much out of this, but I’m honestly surprised by both reactions I got. What do you (and Aerox) consider a true charrah story? Perhaps by giving me an example I can understand both your reactions.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s not that their stories are “not Charah”, it’s mainly that both writers employ LOTS of angst. I think I have two APR stories favorited; no doubt he is often an exciting story teller. But buckets of angst. Of course a certain amount of angst is built right in to the DNA of the show; but amplifying it with countless obstacles and stupid stick moments is not so much to my liking. I know both writers have significant followings, and I think it’s awesome that there is so much variety within this fandom. But NOM I just never would have guessed they would be among your favorites, you seem uneasy with much of the angst on the show itself. That is all. It is not a criticism of any writer or your right to like them!

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        Under Armour now writes under the name Armour13. I even began writing a story with him (Martijn den Boef is my name), but as my friend has very rencently become a dad, he’s far too busy now to write. He was away for a time cause someone didn’t like a story his wife wrote and decided that it was therefore allowed to threaten both the life of his wife and their unborn child! He was so angry about that, that he decided to take all of his stories off the site. His wife and I finally convinced him to put them up again as there are still people that like to read them.
        I like fluffy stories very much too. I mentioned AU and Armadillo cause they are the only writers I can still remember of the top of my head and I can remember liking some of both their stories. I know these two writers from the fanfiction site because I corresponded a lot with them. All the other stories I like are all very romantic. I just don’t know who wrote them anymore. Armadillo and I regularely fought our verbal battles about what was considered romantic and what not. Because I liked him I kept on reading his stories. Until he wrote a story about Sarah remembering how she was raped before she met Chuck. I didn’t know what he’d written at the time and when I read it, it was too late. That story kept me awake for nights. He explained to me why he wrote it and it was a very good reason. But I still decided to stop reading his stories. I can understand people not finding his stories fluffy. Armour 13 only writes adventure\romance stories. Perhaps there’s a tiny dose of angst in them, but even someone like me who despises angst, isn’t bothered much by it.
        I don’t like stories with constant relationship issues and/or former boyfriends/girlfriends coming out of the woodwork left and right. Or stories where Shaw is featured…unless he dies rather unpleasantly..hehehe. And I absolutely can’t stand any story where Sarah has to sleep with a mark OR the constant threat of it. I like Sarah like she was in Phase three. A kick-ass ninja girl!

      • I prefer fluffy Charah stories to angsty ones, but if the story is well written and not cliched, I’ll put up with angst.

        I’ve read a lot of the Armadillo stories. They are well written. Some put Charah through the ringer, but have a happy ending. Some are like chapters 18 & 21 of Collide, but with Chuck sleeping around instead of Sarah (which I don’t care for). Not all have happy endings, though, and it isn’t obvious that will be the case until a lot of time is invested in the story.

        Are Under Armour’s stories available anywhere? I’m not sure if I’ve read any. The FFnet profile page is empty.

      • atcDave says:

        I think they’ve been reported under a new name, but I’m not sure.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m also mostly a “fluffy Charah” fan. I do accept a certain amount of tension and uncertainty in the basic set-up of the situation, and every now and then a writer hits the tone exactly right by using it before delivering an awesome pay-off. But wt/wt tires me out quickly, and I loose interest if it’s dragged out too long or not adequately paid off. I especially dislike if either character behaves in a particularly stupid, cruel or trashy way.

      • Bring the topics of Armadillo stories and lost memories together, there’s Dreamscape: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6163375/1/Dreamscape

        It was written before S4 and features romance and a lot of angst as Chuck doesn’t remember who Sarah is. Lou is brought back as a OLI. Chuck regains lost memories of S1->S3 through dreams. “Chuck vs the Missing Memories” is happier and less angsty.

      • atcDave says:

        Oops, sorry NOM, I didn’t notice you answered the UnderArmour question. Very sad about folks getting way too invested in a story!

        Yeah I remember Dreamscape Jeff. But like many APR stories he took one too many angsty turns at some point and I dropped it. Missing Memories and Missing Years are both excellent amnesia stories. Missing Memories in particular is a very fluffy take on it (Ersk is one of those writers that I can always count on!)

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        That’s okay Dave. I don’t mind at all. I take it that the Ersk you mentioned is Ersk4? I immediately looked him/her up and made a favorite of it in my browser. There are so many great stories I’ve yet to read, that I hardly know where to begin. I must say though that Chuck vs. The Frontier by NinjaVanish is so incredibly good that it’s also very intimidating if you’re thinking about trying your own hand at writing fanfiction yourself. I don’t think I can ever reach that level of writing.

      • atcDave says:

        Well if its any consolation NinjaVanish recently completed a post graduate degree in creative writing and aspires to be a professional novelist. He is absolutely one of the very best, I love everything he’s written. Fan Fiction is mostly an amateur pursuit, and I don’t think there’s any shame in being an enthusiastic amateur.
        By the way, Ersk4 is nearly in the same category, he is published journalist and writes ff as a hobby. He did a guest post for us here some months back that was a good read and generated a lot of interesting discussion (and would be a great read if you’re thinking about starting a story). But I would say his first story is the only thing he ever wrote that I didn’t like so much (and he agrees!). I thought about mentioning his highlights, and decided it was easier to mention the only one I didn’t like!

        Most writers are amateurs and produce work of a more uneven quality. Even when technical writing skills are very good; plotting out a story, writing convincing dialogue, and watching your continuity are all products of practice and discipline. And the only way to get good is to actually write! (this spoken by someone who wouldn’t even try…)
        A few current fan fiction writers got their start right here (bdaddydy and uplink2 come to mind). Neither had any experience or education on creative writing when they started, yet both have turned out some very fun and entertaining tales.

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry to jump in here but Armour13’s New Beginnings story is one of the most ridiculously contrived stories I have read in the fandom. Based on the idea that when Chuck goes to Sarah’s room at the end of Seduction he finds Sarah in bed with Bryce and he finds out that Sarah has been getting booty calls from Bryce all along. And of course when he leaves he runs right to the arms of Carina. I really dislike stories that start at a certain point in canon but basically you have to ignore all of it to make their premise work. Sarah was so desperately in love with Chuck at that point in canon and had rejected Bryce already that for her to screw Bryce after the kiss in front of Roan and Chuck saving her life by diving off the roof of the BuyMore is completely and totally absurd. Then in order to make the Charina story work you have to change her character completely and in effect make her Sarah, sweet, loving, wanting a real relationship that the only thing that is the same is her name. I think that is the story folks above were talking about. The Charah version of it was great but the original is god awful and totally unbelievable.

        That is what APR suffered from as well. The only connection to the real characters was their names, especially in his later stories and the ones that OM is finishing. Absurd and ridiculous situations just to crank up the angst. Like Sarah bringing a mark to the apartment she lived in with Chuck just so that he could walk in on her naked with the mark on the couch. A totally unbelievable premise for any spy let alone Sarah Walker. He also like a lot of the Sarah haters in the FF world made Chuck the a son of god who was completely the victim of the flaky slut Sarah Walker the terrible things she did to him. He is portrayed as his own Mary Sue, completely without fault or blame for the drama in his life. It was all Sarah’s fauly.

        One of the most important things for a writer in FF for me is to keep at least some of the original characters personality traits. If you don’t then it isn’t Fanfiction. It’s fiction with just the same names. Plus if you start from a certain point in canon you have to respect the canon that came before unless you specifically say it didn’t and this is how its different. I like Sentinal and some of Armour13’s stories but New Beginnings is a complete fail for me. Contrived and a totally unbelievable premise.

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        @uplink2
        That’s okay of course. What a boring place the world would be if we’d all love the same things. I like the story and I agree he exagerrated Sarah’s flaws while at the same time her good traits were thrown to the side. But for me the story worked. It’s a story about Chuck/Carina, so I was much more interested in those two than in Sarah anyway. I like Chuck and Sarah together, but there were plenty of moments in canon where I thought that it would be nice for Chuck to stand up to Sarah for once. Especially during the third season. In all honesty though, if I notice that a story takes place during the first half of season three, I’ll usually skip it. There are so many stories out there, that there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

      • Esardi says:

        Dave you are right about Nervert, NinjaVanish, and I also like ne71, ersk4, uplink2 who by the way has an excellent charah story. I have to agree with Aerox, APR was an angst monster. I used to get into arguments with him when he would not let up. However, since oldest man took over to finish his friend’s stories he actually dislikes the Sarah character totally and I am avoiding his stories.

        There are a lot of good writers with excellent ideas that have started their stories. I am hoping they can continue for some time to come.

      • uplink2 says:

        @Non Omnis Moriar
        But you seem to be missing my point, he wasn’t just exaggerating her or ignoring her traits he was ignoring what happened in fact. He ignored everything that happened prior to that moment. He ignored the scene in her hotel room when she chose Chuck over Bryce. He ignored the scene at the helipad, he ingored the scene where she longs for the normal life, he ignored the scene on their first date or her reaction to him being thrown off the roof. He ignores all of Seduction just to force an unbelievable and contrived scene where Chuck walks in on her screwing Bryce so he will run to a conveniently placed Carina. I agree there were times Chuck needed to stand up to Sarah more but not then certainly.

        If you want to write a Charina story then don’t change her into something she is not. And pick a situation where it might be believable that they connect. But most Charina stories don’t work because the pairing doesn’t. Carina would screw Chuck and simply move on to the next mark/spy or general hot guy. She would never become a girlfriend to Chuck. Also if you chose a moment in canon to begin your story then respect canon up to that point. In that story he didn’t. It was a forced and contrived situation that simply could never have happened based on what we know of them at the time. That is what I dislike most about it The base premise on which the story is built is incredibly flawed and totally unbelievable. A writer can write the story that want but I as the reader has to believe that the situation the characters were put in can actually happen. In that story it couldn’t. Does anybody really believe that Sarah would screw Bryce at the end of Seduction? Of course not so therefore if the basis of the story is unbelievable then the rest of the story is as well.

        My biggest point in all this is if you write from canon then respect canon Don’t ignore it because it makes your story fail. That is what happened too often to the show and an FF writer loses me when they do it. You can exaggerate character traits but you can’t ignore facts.

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        @uplink2
        I understand why you don’t like it. Really, I do. It’s just that I don’t mind it so much when facts learned in canon are ignored. It totally depends what the author does with it wether I like it or not. I know for instance that some stories have Sarah seduce a mark, or almost, and these stories are very popular. However I can’t read those. I don’t want to read about that Sarah while some authors maintain that this Sarah IS the Sarah from canon. I don’t agree at all with that. I like stories with superchuck from time to time, just like I like those Adorable Psycho stories. Well, some of them at least. But my perfect Chuck story has the lovable Sarah Walker who finally sees how good Chuck is to, and for her. And our favorite nerd as his adorable, somewhat clumsy and stubborn self. Add romance, a healthy dose of humor and a teaspoon of action and you have my perfect Chuck story. But there are plenty of other stories that I like too.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink it is certainly one of the lessons I learned quickly in fan fiction; certain writers have a viewpoint that I completely don’t care for. That’s fine, its their story! But as readers we do need to show some sense and discernment. Once you’ve learned a certain writer has bias you don’t care for; either avoid their writing entirely or vet everything they do very carefully (that means reading reviews, author’s notes, maybe even the end of the story, before you start). I started over two years ago with the idea I would read everything in this fandom, but it didn’t take long for me to realize some writers/stories were completely not for me. And that’s fine. Sometimes it a little awkward if a story I don’t care for is being praised on this site; but I mostly let it go. Folks are free to have different taste than I do. And besides, I’ve found many stories that way that I had previously skipped over for one reason or another. Perfect case in Point would be Lucky47’s “Family Matters“. When I first read the synopsis I thought it didn’t look interesting; but after a few people here recommended it to me I gave it a try. And honestly, I would now say it is one of the very best things out there. No one else has ever put SO MUCH TLC into all the different character relationships including Charah. Absolutely a must read!

        But you did just nail a couple of my pet peeves. Apart from gross out of character behavior, grotesque violence, or wildly implausible story lines. I skip any non-Charah pairing; and that includes stories that maybe end “happy” but feature affairs or too much trashy behavior along the way. Stories that are clearly anti-Sarah turn me off. And to a slightly lesser extent “macho” Chuck stories (those where Chuck becomes the ultimate super agent who does no wrong and is constantly upstaging Casey and Sarah). I read to have fun, not ride the angst coaster for 20 chapters. I don’t particularly like mind control, brain washing, or main characters not trusting each other. And I certainly don’t like punitive attitudes towards the central relationship where Chuck and Sarah can only be happy in the last chapter. Just like the show, I like fan fiction that celebrates Charah as partners. friends and lovers.
        I know a lot of that sounds very narrow. So I do have to add that there are often exceptions to some of those “rules”. I will often at least try a story I have reservations about, and I have often been pleasantly surprised (many stories on my favorites list violate some of the rules listed above). Even some writers I don’t often like have turned in the occasional exception that I absolutely love. And there are some VERY popular writers who apparently aren’t writing for me. Imagine that! But I am glad there is material to please a wide variety of taste. But sometimes it does make my own vetting process a bit of a challenge.

      • Charina never made sense to me. Chuck wasn’t interested in Carina in Wookie, so I never made sense he would be later. I really like sharpasamarble’s Chuck vs Auld Lang Syne and Chuck vs the Scavenger Hunt, but don’t like Chuck vs the Strange Bedfellows in between because of Charina. The back story is non-canon now, but that’s excusable considering it was written pre-S2. At least Carina was in-character, and Sarah tried to kick the crap out of her.

        Some people like the Chuck/Carnia paring, though. To each their own.

      • atcDave says:

        Its funny Jeff, a number of writers have seemed fascinated with the Charina pairing. I completely don’t get it. Carina is the anti-thesis of Chuck. Maybe its an opposites thing, maybe its just purely about the writer being a little smitten with her, I don’t know.
        But there’s no doubt I’m more than just a little smitten with Sarah, so I REALLY have no patience with things that make her look bad or irrelevant.

      • Esardi says:

        I have to agree with Uplink. There are several fan-fiction stories out there that make Sarah into this horrible slut monster and then pair him with Carina. Carina, really? Someone is smoking the good stuff if they think Carina will all of a sudden stop seduction missions because she is with Chuck. Like Uplink says they end up making her Sarah in order to make their ridiculous story work.

        I have never understood why some of these writers have such a dislike for the Sarah character. I can only blame Fedak and that disaster called season 3.

      • Aerox says:

        With APR it’s 50/50. Some of his stories go into borderline ridiculous with the angst (and honestly, it doesn’t even make sense most of the time. I can deal with angst, as long as it’s justified. See Second Chance by malamoo for an example on justified angst) and some are fluffy (with nonsensical angst, granted) but that was his style. However, the most common thread I found in his stories (and Oldest Man who does it as well) is that the story structure is fantastic, but the characterization is ridiculously off. The characters don’t act like the characters as portrayed in canon, but rather as caricatures of themselves, often portrayed in an as vindictive way as possible. That’s the main issue I’ve had with him.

        I also agree with writers like ninjaVanish, Frea, nervert, Kate McK, ne71, liam2, sharpasamarble, mysoapbox etc. etc. that make it ridiculously intimidating to write 😛 I know I’ve seriously contemplated giving up a few times after reading some of those stories. They are miles better than what I’m currently able to produce which makes it tough to commit. The best advice in that area is to simply ignore it as best you can and stick it out. Now if only I could follow my own advice 😛

      • atcDave says:

        Esardi there was some Sarah bashing even before S3. I think some viewers were offended by Sarah’s conflict of interest and her inability to escape it in those first two seasons. I remember mostly feeling sorry for how trapped she was, but I clearly remember discussion with other viewers who called her all sorts of vile names from late S1 on. I’m not sure if the just couldn’t understand what was being shown or what. My default assumption was that they were generally very young viewers who didn’t yet get how duty and desire could be at odds and tear a person apart. But some such were clearly NOT younger; perhaps they had a particularly bad experience with someone choosing against them in such a situation.
        At any rate, I always found the particular impasse to be beautiful and painful at the same time; but I always assumed it would be overcome. So I bought in and celebrated it until what seemed like its natural end at 2.22. So naturally I loathed S3. And that season did seem to lead to a lot of darker stories. But some great stuff was written then too, so clearly what was on screen had very different effects on different people.

      • JC says:

        Chuck/ Carina fics go a route the show should have and I get why people write them. By always giving Chuck non spy love interests there was never a hint that it could ever work in the long run. Having a female spy would makes it somewhat more believable that he could move forward as a spy with someone else. Until S4 Carina was the only candidate to fill that role.

      • atcDave says:

        Okay, well thanks JC, I guess we found one person who gets Charina fics.

        I guess I found her a pretty revolting character from the start so I certainly never wanted to see her paired with Chuck. But then I was a huge Sarah fan right from the Pilot. I would have been completely fine with no triangles at all and a more overt Charah from the outset.

  4. Non Omnis Moriar says:

    BigKev67.
    No, it isn’t the one I’m looking for. But thank you for mentioning this story. I’m reading it now and it’s fantastic! In the story I’m looking for. Chuck has the intersect, but he got it from some old indian shaman. And Sarah is the daughter of some wealthy railroadmogul. Oh wait…I remember it now! It’s called Chuck vs the Chuckwagon by Jimmy144.

  5. armysfc says:

    Dave…thanks again. due to the ending i went back to the beginning of chuck FF. it’s amazing what those early works saw coming on the show. quite a few of them have intersect add ons, skill packs that include languages, fighting skills and weapons skills. there are also a few that have sarah trying to get chuck to run with her and he refuses. interesting really since most of that doesn’t happen till s3.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think the running away together theme became very popular after Marlin; some really excellent stories do that, including some very early ones (Sarah vs the Long Flight and Sarah vs Green Bay come to mind.)

      • lappers84 says:

        I forgot about those old stories – Might have to filter my search to Chuck and Sarah and start from the earliest point and look through them again.

  6. joe says:

    Hum… You know, I was actually this close {-} to trying my hand at FF. I’ve been thinking about a continuation and thought I had a good way to extrapolate a few months ahead without wrecking what’s already in canon.

    But man, everyone seems light-years ahead of me in their imaginations already! FF people are an imposing bunch of writers! 😉

    • Come to the dark side, Joe. Once you get a couple reviews and story alerts, you’ll be hooked.

      I like to write canon-compatible (half of which became AU after the fact), but that is not very common in Chuck fan fiction, so don’t let that bother you.

      Also, Joe and NOM, don’t let great writers like ninjaVanish and others intimidate you. The detail in ninjaVanish’s stories is especially hard to measure up to. He’s written over half of my favorite ten action sequences across three fandoms. It’s like saying you’ll never play basketball because a guy you know at the rec center used to play college ball and can dunk. I know a Castle fanfic writer who recently got an agent and three who have published or are about to publish for-sale ebooks. There will always be better writers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun.

      • atcDave says:

        I’d also add that even some of the very best writers have weak spots. NinjaVanish doesn’t exactly write fluffy Charah, its more like aggressive in your face Charah.
        And Ersk doesn’t do so much action.
        The trick is to figure out what you like and try to be as good at it as you can.

        Its like, I’ve been building models since I was 11. I’ve become fairly good, most people look at my models and think they look very good. I look at them and see everything I wish I’d done better or how far short of the actual contest winners I fall… And am tempted to impose a 5 foot rule (no one can get closer than 5 feet away when looking at my projects!)

      • joe says:

        Oh, gee, Jeff. Let me tell you a story about who I met in the “rec center”. Actually it was a racquetball and workout place. But the guy throwing hoops was wearing a Buffalo Bills t-shirt and of course, I had to intro myself.

        Turns out he got the t-shirt from Frank Reich when he stood up for Reich’s wedding.

        Now, I realize that not many of you remember or ever knew of Frank Reich because he generally played behind Jim Kelly when the Bills went to 4 Superbowls in a row back in the ’90s. But besides that, he also holds both the NFL and NCAA records for comebacks (coming back from behind to win the game) – 53 pts for the Bills and 53 points for the U. of Maryland, where he played his college ball. The man I met throwing hoops happened to be his favorite wide receiver at UMd, btw.

        So Jeff, I’ve met some pretty impressive characters at the health spa! 😉

      • joe says:

        Dave, is that your version of the 30 ft. rule??? 😉

      • Ok, 53 sounded a little far fetched, so I checked. It was 29 in the NFL and 31 in college–still VERY impressive. The NCAA record has since been broken (35 by Mich St.)

      • joe says:

        Oops, Sorry, Jeff. What I’m mis-remembering was the final point total, Buff-vs.-Houston.

        Mich. State owns the NCAA record now??? Bah! Maize&Blue guy here.

      • It was against Northwestern, so I’m not sure it should count: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Michigan_State_vs._Northwestern_football_game

        However, now that you have admitted you are a Wolverine, I feel obligated to tell you that in five days, you are my enemy. Maybe I should crack a joke about the greatest day in Big Ten basketball history, May 8, 2003, when a certain team lost 113 games. 😀

      • uplink2 says:

        Jeff I agree and Joe please join us. I read great writers who post things like the chapter that Nervert posted today of Revenge of the Bartowski and I am in awe of talent like that. I simply don’t have it and that is ok. But I do enjoy what I am doing a great deal. I accept my limitations and am happy that many folks are enjoying my work and seem to think I’m getting better at it. I have always tried to live by the Clint Eastwood philosophy of “A man has to know his limitiations”. I don’t think that is looking down on yourself either. It is knowing who you are and being comfortable with it.

        Jeff is also right in that the first review or PM you get that says how you affected a reader will get you hooked. I know it did for me.

        I also write for therapy. I posted a story last week that I wrote just for me to help me deal with my conflicting feelings and melancholy about the finale. I didn’t write it to get a review or have anyone compliment it, I wrote it because I needed to write it. It cleared my head even though it had nothing to do with the finale. It’s simply a new way of meeting for our beloved couple. I find that writing also helps me deal with the chaos of daily life and reading a review or a pm from someone I will never meet saying I made their day is an amazing feeling. The story I wrote also unclogged my brain for my other one. I know Aerox does that a lot. When he is stuck with his GS story he will write a one shot or something to get his mind clear.

      • Aerox says:

        Uplink, true, you have to know your limitations. But that shouldn’t stop the drive towards self-improvement.

      • Aerox says:

        Also, very true point Jeff. It might sound lame to someone who doesn’t review stories or who has never written one, but the thrill of getting a review is unmatched. It’s (most of the time anyway) a pat on the back that says: “Hey, we appreciate that you wrote this, and we enjoyed it. Thanks man!” and that feeling is awesome.

      • uplink2 says:

        Aerox, oh I know that striving to get better and improving is very important and I have tried to do that all through this adventure. But knowing my limitations helps me not be intimidated by people whose talent is clearly better than mine. I’m never going to try to be Nervert or Ninja because it simply will never happen but I can try to be the best uplink I can be and I’m fine with that. I’ve been doing it long enough to know where I need help and strive to watch out for my all too common pitfalls.

        But also there is no better feeling than when you are writing something and you feel like you aren’t even writing it. It’s like you are reading it in your head and just transcribing it. It flows all by itself. I’ve had a couple of moments where I upon rereading a piece I found something I don’t even remember writing. It just appeared on the screen by itself. That is a very cool feeling.

      • Uplink, I completely agree about having to get a story out of my head. My first chapter was 9K of dialogue between Chuck and Morgan set after Beard, with Morgan flipping out about how cool the Intersect was. The conversation was stuck in my head for a three hour car ride, so I had to get it out. It was dialogue only and was the first fiction I had written in over half of my lifetime, so I had no expectation that it was “quality” or that people would like it. I was surprised people were asking for more–maybe they were just being polite. I kept writing, though, and the next thing I knew I had finished a 55K word story. Since then, I’ve written shorter stories in a more traditional style–some good, some not as good. But I’ve always set my expectations low, so I’m pleasantly surprised with any positive feedback I get.

        Aerox, that’s a good sentiment about self-improvement. If you look at some of the stories of the great authors listed elsewhere on this post, their stories stories are all good, but even their writing improves between their first story and their last.

      • joe says:

        Thanks, Uplink. I think if I do write something it too will be for therapy.

        But for what it’s worth, that’s what I started this blog for. I had something to say, and I’m starting to realize that I’ve pretty much said it, too. I can’t say I’m anxious to put it to rest, and I’m certainly not done with it. But I have a growing understanding that I’m ready for the next big thing in my life.

        Sorry – another quick personal story. I haven’t been able to run for nearly a month – arthritis in my hip (getting old is a drag). So I’ve been resting it, taking ibuprofen. Today I took a stab at it, and much to my surprise I ran 5 miles without pain for the first time in quite a while. That felt great!

        I realize that I’m not going to be able to do that forever. It’s going to end, probably sooner, rather than later. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve lost something. Maybe I’ll have to do things differently (the song “Walk, Don’t Run” comes to mind). But what I once had, I’ll keep some of it. Better, there’s new things for me to do, things I haven’t even tried before.

        It won’t be the first time. There’s been more than a few great things in my past, too; every 10 year period has brought something spectacular and I can’t wait to see what’s comin’ next. 😉

  7. lucky47 says:

    I think everyone should read Unlucky Memory by Extreme Stratusfaction. So funny!

    edit link added.

  8. Leigh says:

    Thanks, Dave!! 🙂

    Look for more of the Christmas story pretty soon. There’s still lots to tell there.

  9. thinkling says:

    Thanks, Dave. As always you are my one-stop fan fiction guru. 🙂

  10. NyNy says:

    A nice list you have here! By the way, I wrote a post about my own fiction pet peeves on my blog so I hope you will read and comment with your own opinion telling me what you think! http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/fiction-pet-peeves/

    • atcDave says:

      Many of those criticisms are valid, but I am often inclined to give non-professional writers (ie fan fiction!) some slack. I think my own pet peeves are somewhat different. Although technical writing quality DOES matter, I’m more put off by material that is overly dark and looses the “fun” aspect of the source material (obviously, this is very Chuck specific). I also most want to see the characters I love from canon honored by the fan fiction; not changed in unrecognizable ways or made to look like total idiots or made secondary to an OC. Which of course leads to a complaint with the show itself sometimes, making the main characters look stupid as a plot device. That feels manipulative and dishonest (unless the character is supposed to be a moron!) and probably annoys me more than any other single short-coming.

    • Mel says:

      I have plenty of fanfiction pet peeves, but characters being OOC is easily the most annoying thing. Or rather it’s not really an annoyance, it’s a deal breaker.

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