Recent Fan Fiction

We’re now well over a month since the end of the series, and I’d have to say a few things have been pleasant surprises.  The continuing traffic and discussions at this site being a big one, we’ve only just recently dropped below a thousand hits a day.  It seems a lot of folks don’t want to go cold turkey with Chuck!  But the biggest happy surprise to me is that the fan fiction community seems to be alive and well.  Certainly not at all time high levels, but more active than we’d seen during the last season or so at least!  So after the jump, I’ll look at a few recent or on going stories.

First thing I would have to say, maybe a bit of a confession, but I think I’m slowing down in my reading enough that I honestly can’t keep up with everything new going on.  I’ve become quite choosy, especially about the large number of post-series stories coming out.  I think, for myself, I just can’t stomach much angst or will they/won’t they for our favorite spies in the aftermath of the finale; so most stories that have Sarah going back on missions or moving out for any reason I won’t even touch.  Now surprisingly that doesn’t leave me with any shortage of things to read.  Not only have many writers chosen to have some fun with Sarah’s recuperation but we’ve seen a significant number of completely new AUs coming out now too.

I still find myself enjoying stories with a significant amount of what I always saw as legitimate angst from the time frame of the first two or three seasons.  Clearly a huge part of the initial appeal of the Chuck universe was all the difficulties Chuck found himself faced with in his new life.  Everything from the life and death stuff that he was completely unequipped to deal with, to lying and deception becoming a regular part of his life (and knowing when lying was a good idea and when it wasn’t!), to the obvious biggie of figuring out what he and Sarah could have together.   But it seems to me a huge issue in any Chuck story is how these various challenges are dealt with.  A lot of my favorite fan fiction addresses what I always saw as the biggest malfunction in the canon story, that being the wt/wt carried out for 12 episodes too long.  Unfortunately, the open ended nature of the Chuck finale seems to have given many fan fiction writers license to re-open the wt/wt can of worms, and that has easily been my least favorite element of this recent spurt of activity.

But the good news is, there is also more really good stories coming out right now.  So as always, I’ll offer up some of my favorites here.  And we’ll see if maybe some of you can talk me into reading some of the stories I’ve skipped…

The first story I’ll recommend starts very dark but gets fun quickly.  It’s “Unexpected Attachments” by retropanda37.  The story is set mid-S2,  and starts when a government asset and his wife are murdered while in a safe house. Sarah discovers the couple’s three year old son, Danny,  in hiding where he witnessed the crime.  The main story follows what happens when the child immediately bonds with Agent Walker, but won’t speak.  Obviously this is way outside of her comfort zone or expertise.  Chuck offers his help, but this is so far a very Sarah-centric story.  My guess would be this will be a different avenue for Chuck and Sarah getting over the wt/wt phase of their relationship (and the writer did categorize it as a drama/romance!); IF it runs long enough.  Which leads directly to my biggest complaint, so far this is updating very slowly.  I’ve put off mentioning it here before because of that fact.  But with two chapters up fairly recently I’m hoping that the writer has her enthusiasm back.  Perhaps if other readers offer her encouraging reviews it will help move things along!  It really is a lot of fun so far and I would love to see it continue to a good ending.  It could currently be read in about an hour (but I don’t know how long it will eventually go) and would be rated PG-13, almost entirely because of the pretty upsetting nature of the first chapter.

My next recommendation is the latest installment of the “That Which is Greater” stories by Frea O’Scanlin.  This is “New Year’s Eve“.  Like most stories in this series it has some impossibly cute moments with Violet Bartowski. But the main focus here is a bit more dramatic than many of the other stories in this setting have been; and I think this one could be called pivotal.  It parallels some of “Chuck vs The Nemisis” (episode 1.10), mainly in that Bryce makes his return and upends the early status quo for team Bartowski.  This version of Chuck carries more responsibility (and a little more anger!) than what we got in canon; so some of the Chuck/Bryce confrontations are a little more explosive.  But I would also add there are some nice developments towards the end that fill some holes of what has happened between previous installments “The Christmas Story” and “The Happiest Place on Earth“.  As you may have guessed, familiarity with this setting would be very helpful in enjoying this story!  It would take about 90 minutes to read and be rated PG-13 for some language.

I really can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this next story yet;  but “Chuck and Sarah vs the Recruits” is the last in NinjaVanish’s epic S3 rewrite.  This story starts with Chuck and Sarah heading off to Washington to start their new “less dangerous” jobs and covers as analysts and trainers after the “deaths” of Agents Walker and Carmichael.  Got it?  Those familiar with NinjaVanish’s style will not be disappointed by his usual blend of humor and high action.  This has so far been updating pretty regularly, and would currently take about two or three hours to read.  Like most of this writer’s work, it would be rated R for graphic violence and an enthusiastic married couple.

I’m going to recommend something very different for a one-shot this time; its “Beckett vs the Linchpin” by a regular visitor here MyNameIsJeffNImLost.  If the title didn’t clue you in, this is a crossover with Castle.  The time frame would be during the recent two-part S4 episode of Castle (Linchpin) and post series for Chuck.  It is technically the third of an ongoing series of crossovers Jeff has been writing, but I don’t believe familiarity with the others is really needed except to say that Castle and Beckett have previously met teamB.  It starts with Beckett deciding she needs an inside source after she and Castle have been cut off by the Agent-in-charge of the case they’ve been working.  Of course that means Chuck and Sarah, unfortunately Sarah really doesn’t remember ever meeting Beckett before…   Jeff has really found a way to have fun with the post-finale situation.  This Sarah has regained most important memories, and knows she loves her husband, but is a little confused by details.  The real joy in reading this story is that Beckett spends most of it as an outsider watching teamB’s eccentric dynamics and “non-standard” working practices.  This is good for many big laughs.  Even better, Jeff has suggested he is working on a new Chuck series to be set post-finale featuring this sort of partly/mostly recovered version of Sarah.  So perhaps this is a preview of things to come?!  I know I’m excited.  Beckett vs the Linchpin could be read about 20 minutes and would be rated PG for language and innuendo.

There’s been a lot of stories updating since I discussed this last.  Significantly “The Good Samaritan” by Aerox and “Return of the Ninja Librarian” by Quistie64 have both been completed.  There have also been big updates for “Chuck vs Life, Love, & Lies” by Uplink2; “A Common Spy Problem” by Kate McK; “Chuck vs Family Matters” by Lucky47;  and I could really keep going for quite a while…

I do have to mention one particularly interesting project.  Billatwork has started re-writes of a couple of his early works.  Currently “Chuck vs Therapy ReMastered” has a single chapter up, and apparently “Fake Relationship” will get the same treatment next.  Many here may remember these stories, both have long been on my favorites list.  These are early stories of Bill’s from when creative writing was a new hobby for him.  Both feature a simple yet appealing central premise that is resolved in a fast paced story.  But both are also obviously simple in ways that are less appealing too; so it will be very interesting to me to see how they read as Bill tries to fill in plot holes and generally bring these stories to a higher standard.  I really liked the work he did on the first chapter of “Therapy” so we’re off to a good start!

It would seem, I could keep busy for quite some time with new fan fiction.  So while I can’t promise anything, I do expect I’ll do another of these pieces at some point!

~ Dave


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 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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137 Responses to Recent Fan Fiction

  1. jam says:

    ” I think, for myself, I just can’t stomach much angst or will they/won’t they for our favorite spies in the aftermath of the finale; so most stories that have Sarah going back on missions or moving out for any reason I won’t even touch.”

    Fully agreed there. I don’t bother reading stories like that… at all. And if Sarah doesn’t have most of her memories back by chapter 2 it’s bye bye for that fic. :-p

    “Unfortunately, the open ended nature of the Chuck finale seems to have given many fan fiction writers license to re-open the wt/wt can of worms, and that has easily been my least favorite element of this recent spurt of activity.”

    I don’t want to sound harsh, but I find that less talented writers tend to go for easy angst when writing fanfiction. I’ve seen this happen in other fandoms too, and it would have happened even with a less ambiguous ending (though not at much).

    Thankfully there’s always NinjaVanish, I’m already greedily hoping he has something planned up after “the Recruits” is finished. Along with Moonlight Pilot ( … only one Chuck fic but it is *really* good) he is easily my favorite Chuck fanfic writer.

    • BigKev67 says:

      Well, as revealed on Twitter this week, Moonlight Pilot is none other than the wonderful Frea O’Scanlin – who has many Chuck fics posted, and is definitely not a “he” 🙂

      • jam says:

        The “he” was referring to NinjaVanish. 🙂

        I didn’t know about her being Frea though. It actually surprises me a bit since I never really got into “What Fates Impose” and absolutely I love “Walker’s Eleven”.

        Maybe someone can convince me otherwise but I recall “fates” being a bit too angsty and Chuck and Sarah too damaged in it for my tastes. Thanks for telling me though.

      • Aerox says:

        I wouldn’t classify Fates as angst. I mean, some people probably will, but it’s more dramatic than proper “angst”. But yeah, Chuck is messed up. And he whines a hell of a lot more. Still a fantastic read. That Which is Greater is the diet version of Fates, if dramatic tension was the sugar in this carbonated beverage. And yes, I’m taking this analogy a bit too far. But the reason that that is the case is because of the fact that we get a lot of glimpses into the future. The main story is in the dramatic tension part. Although if time-lines were to be believed, that gets resolved in 3 months flat (story time, not real world time)

      • BigKev67 says:

        Angst – “a feeling of anxiety or apprehension – often accompanied by depression”. Yeah. That pretty much sums up Chuck in Fates….!

      • Aerox says:

        I still don’t classify that as angst, no matter what anyone says. Angst (in fiction) to me is dramatic tension that’s achieved through means that don’t have a logical basis. For example, APR did a lot of angst. It came about through weird decisions that weren’t rational OR emotional in nature, but rather felt forced. Fates’ decisions aren’t forced but flow naturally, thus not classifying it as angst in my book. But then again, I classified some of my work as drama or diet angst and people thought it was angsty, so maybe I’m just different from the pack. Wouldn’t be the first time 😛

      • Angst is a broadly used term. There’s separation angst, triangle angst, secret angst, misunderstanding angst, argument angst, obstacle angst, not-yet angst, and sick/injury angst. Some of that is “lighter” than others. Not-yet angst can be flirty and funny. Sick/injury angst can lead to romantic Florence Nightingale moments. If obstacle angst is constructed correctly, people accept it and love it (e.g. the fountain scenes in S1 and S2 of Chuck).

        Also, some people consider any drama to be angst, while others consider angst to be part of romance.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Exactly. The dictionary definition just refers to a feeling that can be caused by different events or scenarios. I much prefer the correct use to the more perjorative one often employed when discussing TV shows or books. Too often angst is used as a catch-all term that’s code for “stuff I don’t like”.

      • atcDave says:

        There is absolutely a fitting and appropriate use for angst, and the initial set-up of Chuck was loaded with it. But for me it worked mostly in the resolution of it. Chuck became useful on missions, quit lying to his sister and best friend, and found happiness with an apparently unattainable woman. When those elements are drawn out too long without satisfying resolution the angst becomes more artificial and forced.

    • atcDave says:

      Jam I sure do agree about NinjaVanish, he’s long been on my favorite authors list. It’s possible if Frea had written mre stories under the Moonlight Pilot brand that she would be too. I would agree Fates is a little too angsty and dark for my taste, but her “That Which is Greater” stories are very well written and a lot of fun.

      • jam says:

        After learning that Moonlight Pilot and Frea are the same author I did go back and read all of “Fates” over the last two weeks. With the companion fics like “To Resist Both Wind and Tide” etc the whole story was much more engaging than what I remembered.

        The story is a bit too dark for it to ever become one of my absolute favorite fics. Chuck himself is too damaged, too passive (lacking the balls, to put it bluntly) and too far removed from his “everyman” status (which I feel is vital for the character).

        Despite these gripes, I still enjoyed the story (chapters 50-59 not so much)… and it is undeniably extremely well planned and written.

      • atcDave says:

        Yup, I’d agree with that pretty much exactly. Engaging and well written but not so much fun for the reasons you mention.

  2. jason says:

    Dave – I am happy to report I read my first fanfic this past week, the Castle crossover that Jeff wrote, I found it so delightful, I read a second, the Christmas one set 30 yrs in the future, which I think was incomplete, at least I am hoping for more than the first 4 chapters. My limit on fanfic is I plan on only reading things post season 5, I have no interest in reading any re-writing of the first 5 seasons (much as they could use it).

    Jeff – great job on the Linchpin piece, I never thought I would enjoy fanfic, but I found it delightful. Thanks.

    • joe says:

      Hum! With that recommendation I may have to make FF reading a habit too.

      Jeff, your idea (as described by Dave above) sounds fantastic. I rather enjoy Castle, but I have to admit, I miss the intense romance angle, complete with the relatively massive doses of angst, that I found in Chuck from the first. Combining the two sounds like a great tonic for me.

  3. Thanks, Dave and Jason.

    Jam, Different writers have different strengths and weaknesses as well as different tastes. My least well received story led with an angsty chapter. I wasn’t comfortable writing it, and it reflected in the quality of the writing. Some people like angst and are better at writing it. I can immediately think of three Chuck and Castle writers that are among the best in the quality of their writing, despite always including a heavy amount of angst. I don’t care for their stories, but that’s because of my preferences, not because of their skills as writers.

    You’re right that if the ending was more resolved, those writers would have simply found another setting for their angst. For example if Sarah never lost her memories, they would write stories in which she never came back after the bullet train. If she wasn’t captured in bullet train, they’d write stories in which Chuck was not found. If Chuck was not captured by Quinn, there would been miscarriage stories.

    • atcDave says:

      Too funny Jeff. I’m sure there would be plenty of angst regardless, for many writers it’s their signature style. But I do suspect the ending we got was almost an invitation to the dark side for some; the pure number of stories that have Sarah not recovering in a timely matter is overwhelming to me. But I do hate to paint with too broad a brush. There have been some outstanding stories written that involve a large amount of angst, or even other dark themes that I wouldn’t normally want to see. It’s very difficult to make categoric judgements about these things, angst is often a strong dramatic force and it’s satisfying resolution is key in many wonderful stories.
      So far, the approach you’ve taken in Linchpin is about my favorite, and it sort of follows the Morgan pattern from early in the season. That is, Sarah has recovered to her S5 maturity level more quickly than many of the specific memories have returned. That seems so perfectly Chuck-like to me, if we’d seen another half season of episodes I can so easily imagine Sarah becoming a major part of the show’s comedy that way; and THAT would have been wonderful to see!

      • Part of the ending invites angst, but I think a bigger part is the fact that having her not regain her memories provides more story telling opportunities. Chuck FF stories tapered off after Chuck and Sarah got together. The finale presented the opportunity to tell Charah falling-in-love stories again. Personally, I don’t need to see that in the Chuck universe, but I understand the appeal. Unfortunately, putting Chuck and Sarah in position to fall in love again almost requires a lot of angst because it assumes Sarah didn’t feel it before or even right after the kiss. Too often writers seem to have forgotten that Chuck is also a comedy.

        In the best angst stories, I didn’t even realize there was angst. Unfortunately, the best examples I can think of right now are outside of Chuck. The Castle fanfic awards has an Angst category. Two of the four finalists I didn’t even think of as angst stories. chezchuckles categorized them as Romance/Friendship, and I guess dancing on that line is angst to some readers. Over half the 70+ Stargate stories written by Annerb are categorized as angst, but I think that just means they are not fluff, because I don’t see it in a lot of them.

  4. retropanda37’s “Unexpected Attachments” is a great read indeed. 🙂

    • Indeed. I’m pleased the author came back to the story. Hope entitlement doesn’t scare her away, you know? What an awesome community that would be to be part of, where all writing is accepted as the gift it is without strings attached! Let’s nurture writers rather than project our expectations on them.

      Also, for the uninitiated, Crumby has a great “tie-in” to her wonderful story Chuck Vs. the Rogue Spy going. It supplements things in an awesome, crackfic way, and if you’ve got a sense of humor, I really recommend it. You can find it here. Rogue Spy, the TRUE story.

      Thank you for the kind things you said about Greater NYE, Dave. And yes, it’s true. I’m MP (whose cover is male, by the way; my ex-pat Jordy was fun to play). I don’t view MP as a brand, though. If I write another story under the MP name, it’ll be A) Downton Abbey, and B) completely unlike Walker’s Eleven.

      Michael66, there’s a Fates guide on my blog that’s pretty up to date. It’s a shorter read than the 400k posted on Fates isn’t necessarily one story; it’s honestly five novels. I see where you get confused about story length (though most commercial novels are closer to 100k than 150k).

      • atcDave says:

        I’m not sure what kind of reviews you get that cause you to worry about “entitlement” Frea; but I know as a reader, fan fiction is a hobby and labor of love for me just as it is for the writers. And just like I wouldn’t expect you to write something you don’t believe in, I’m not going to spend my time on a story that doesn’t interest me either. It can be frustrating when something you enjoyed at one point takes a turn you don’t want to follow; but apparently unlike Chris Fedak, I will put a story down even if it’s chapter seven or later!
        But I sure don’t get trashing on the writer either. That just seems guaranteed to make it a miserable experience for everyone!

      • For me, entitlement isn’t something I worry about, though I do get a fair amount of it in my reviews. I’m Irish-Norwegian, which means I have a double-dose of stubbornness. The ultimate exercise in futility is trying to convince me to write something I don’t want to write. I care about your opinion, but in the end, it’s not going to matter in what I choose to do. It’s when it’s newer writers, writers that can be bullied into writing things they may not like, writers that may be encouraged to stop writing because they may write things like Chuck/Carina, or may receive a great deal more pressure because they had to walk away from their story for awhile, that it truly bugs me. So I worry a little that people may be pressuring RetroPanda37 unfairly because she took some time off in the middle of her story, which has nothing to do whatsoever with her writing quality. I understand that it’s all right to have angst about when an author will update, but if you’re worried about that, then wait until stories are completed, honestly, as MyNameIsJeffImLost points out. Don’t pressure the author.

        Also, please don’t think I was telling you that you had to like Fates. It’s not my place to tell you what you like and you don’t and I would never presume to do so. I understand why people don’t like what I did with Fates and I don’t blame them for their opinions.

        It is my place, though, I think, to encourage a happy, open, and supportive writing community.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually I worry about the same thing Frea, especially with newer writers. Trying to find that balance between encouragement and helpful criticism can be quite tricky. I always try to emphasize that I won’t even post a review if I don’t like the story, but even keeping that context is not always easy. Especially as a non-writer my style specific commentary will be of dubious value. I usually just default to saying nothing critical at all. Occasionally taking a comment off board (via PM) seems more appropriate, but that isn’t always well received either. So 95% of the time saying “good job, keep it up” or one of 4000 permutations of those words is really the only thing I have to contribute. I figure the most I can do is point people towards the stories I’ve enjoyed most through this site; but again, this isn’t really a venue for serious criticism.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave Frea…interesting topic of reviews. i rarely give out reviews anymore because i have a hard time writing one in a way it doesn’t offend the author. i guess i’m not good at tact. i tend to want some reality in a story. an example is injury’s sustained during a mission. someone gets shot in the leg and keeps running at full speed or crashes out a 4th floor window hits the ground, pops right up and barely gets hurt. there is no easy way to say, make it more real. when i do review i try to be constructive, not about the plot or the direction but things that could help the person out.

        i know i’m not the best at writing and don’t claim to be either. i got so many crazy PM’s and reviews about charah it was nuts. like Frea said i want to write what i want, which is heavy plots and missions with a charah under tone. i didn’t stop writing because of reviews but got bigger things to worry about right now. I’m heading back down range in a few months so writing has been on the back burner for a while. real life does get in the way ya know, shame some readers cant see that.

      • joe says:

        Frea, I just realized how much I want to thank you for your contributions to the community. Now that the series is essentially over (baring future movies), writers like you are now the “keepers of the flame”. I’m just not ready to have it die out just yet.

        And even as I write, I realize that all of you readers who’ve put pixels to screens, Jeff, Aerox, Quistie, Uplink, all the others who should be highlighted, are a big part of that.

        Thank you all so much.

      • BigKev67 says:

        “I care about your opinion, but in the end, it’s not going to matter in what I choose to do…..”

        This is where I think your concept of active feedback falls down – because I’m pretty sure if you asked 99% of writers, showrunners, or people in any creative fields, they’d echo Frea’s sentiment. Our opinion matters, but in the end they’re going to do what they want to do. And even though I’m currently saying this through gritted teeth after Fedak’s finale, it has to be that way – because what I’m investing in is their talent and vision to present me with characters and scenarios that I love. As much as I’d love to think that Fedak might be a little more careful next time before polarizing his fanbase unecessarily, the truth is that fan reaction is probably the last thing on his mind. It’s certainly way less important than telling the story he wants to tell. And if changes get made, they’re going to be as a result of writers kicking things around among themselves – not because some fans don’t like what they’re doing.
        To me that’s the deal – someone gets to tell me their story, and I get to decide whether I watch it or read it. I don’t get to be part of a public poll to tell them what I think should happen – not unless I’m watching Idol. And if I’m doing that, I’ve got bigger issues to think about….

        Where I think feedback probably does carry some weight is in the Networks, or with people who make the commercial decisions about what goes to air. I’m sure they have all sorts of methods to test audience reaction to pilots, and I’m sure they take the opportunity to canvass feedback when deciding on the direction to be taken for the following season. That’s the point where feedback is probably listened to, and at that point the suits might get involved and “suggest” some changes if it comes to that – but a process where showrunners listen directly to feedback and voluntarily adapt things accordingly? I’d be really surprised if that ever happens.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Kev if its the network or studio or producers or whoever, the feedback does get back in a commercial system. I still remember Ridley Scott’s comments about “Kingdom of Heaven.” He specifically said he had a darker ending for the story, but the producers over-ruled him and required something a little more upbeat (in the script, Bailen never saw the queen again after leaving Jerusalem); and he even conceded the movie was likely better for the change. So I always have hope for the effects of feedback, even if from viewer to writer (or director) is a much longer route than if I were a producer!

      • From the sound of it, Fedak got feedback from the other writers to avoid Sarah name issue in Baby. (Or you could say the writers ignored Fedak’s feedback to address it.) Personally, I would have loved Sarah’s dog being named Sam (like Indiana Jones), even though Fake Name doesn’t even bother me that much (because it was supposed to be tragic and painful). I just think a stuffed dog named Sam would have been funny. However, I’m sure there are a lot that would have hated it, simply because they’d rather ignore the whole issue and not reopen old wounds. My point is feedback is just as likely to make things worse as it is to make things better.

        Many directors cuts are better than the original. Others are worse. Ignoring the “directors cuts” are just marketing cuts, they are are the result of less feedback, taking producers out of the feedback loop.

        Nearly all TV shows are collaborations, so there is a natural feedback mechanism inside a small group. The creators are isolated, typically by writing scripts 4-12 episodes in advance, making audience feedback is impractical. It still happens a little, though. Casting calls for American Hero went out three days after Pink Slip aired. In other words, the script for AmHero was mostly written before anyone had reacted to Pink Slip. Calls for Honeymooners went out before First Class aired. So maybe Honeymooners was a reaction to audience feedback. The Honeymooners call sheet was leaked between the airing of Mask and Fake Name. It was too late to change S3.0, but the leak was almost certainly the result of feedback.

        FanFiction is different because of the immediate feedback mechanisms and because many writers publish as they write. This can sometimes be a good thing. A speculative review of the first chapter of my last multi-chapter story gave me a small, humorous idea for the second chapter. I had a 1-shot inspired by a review on a different story. I’ve asked a question in a review that helped an author identify an accidental plot point omission, which was fixed a couple chapters later. Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of the Internet leads to too much negative or selfish reviews that do more harm than good. For the most part, though, I’d rather authors tell their own story. When I see an author ask for input about what should happen next, I stop reading until the story is more developed.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Jeff I’m also put off by authors who actively solicit opinions, that’s not ever been my point. I expect the writer to tell the story and me to read/watch. The feedback I’m most interested in providing is more general in nature; good/bad, like/dislike, funny/stupid…
        My own background involves a lot of acting in high school and college. When I was on stage I could alter my performance directly based on audience reaction; I could play a moment broader or more subtle based on their reactions. I also have a lot of experience writing and running game adventures (table top RPGs); where I could tailor a story/adventure in several dimensions while telling my own story. That might mean changing the level of challenge, altering the mix of combat versus traps/puzzles, provided more or less hints/clues/assistance. I could change a minor character from an ally to a villain based on how they were received or what a groups need’s were. Or I could even add or remove plot points based on time or resources available.
        Traditional story-telling involves some characteristics of both of those; details and performance may change based on the audience or time available. Television and movies have many layers separating the audience from direct feedback. Most often we get a collaborative process involving writers, directors, producers, studio execs, etc that may provide some characteristics of the live audience. But serialized television does provide some opportunity to bring audience reaction, with some delay, back into the mix.

        Again, I never want to write the story for them. But I do mean to be very clear about what I like or don’t like.
        And for all that, of course Samantha should have been the dog! Sarah’s real name is Fifika….

      • BDaddyDL says:

        Hello, Yes I still exist, sorry I havent posted.
        I know in my very slowly paced writing reviews have changed a story somewhat. Never my main arc, but secondary arcs sure. Its not that pressure changed it, its just that you like to write what people are interested in.

      • Writing is rarely done in a vacuum, and writing fanfiction and writing a TV show are such different beasts. In writing TV, you typically have a writer’s room (unless you’re Fellowes or Sorkin) with quite a few cooks in the kitchen. And chances are, you need all of those cooks. One person may be on hand to add humor, another to add action, so on and so forth. Then you have to bow down to many masters: the EPs, the network, and finally, fan reactions. All of that being said, I do think every writer needs to do one thing: he or she needs to understand his or her audience.

        You don’t necessarily have to bow to your audience’s wishes, but it IS your job to understand what they like. And if you’re writing something you know won’t be popular, you pretty much have to suck it up. But if you’re writing something you think is genuinely good, then it’s your job to write well enough to convince your audience to come along on the magic carpet ride with you. Basically: put your money where your mouth is. For me, I only have to tap-dance for my fanfic readers and my beta reader. Fedak and company had to satisfy themselves, the network, and then the fans. Jeff’s right about having a layer between them and the fan reaction, but honestly? Honestly, I’m kind of wondering why S3 still happened, even if it was self-contained by the time the audience even saw it. To me, that’s the biggest example of “Not understanding your audience” I’ve seen in a long time.

        Unfortunately, the ratings proved it. To me, it just feels like a writers’ vision got away from audience preference and didn’t have the substance to bring the audience along with it. This was the main reason I was perfectly okay with the writers’ exodus at the end of season three. I felt that the addition of some of the new writers brought the show back within more of the audience’s expectations, while occasionally surpassing those expectations, even.

        So basically, it’s all a risk, but at the end of the day, you put your money where your mouth is, or you go home. 🙂

        All of that said, fanfiction is also something of a playground with training wheels, so to speak, so it doesn’t bother me entirely when an author may not know where a story is going, or asks for input. 9 times out of 10, I won’t be the one to provide that feedback, though. I can be kind of blunt, so sometimes it’s better if I don’t say anything in case the writers’ ego isn’t strong enough.

        Also, Joe, thank you for the incredibly kind words. I like this whole “keepers of the flame” thing! Mostly I just carry around pitchforks and torches, but I’m pleased to see that so many writers are still going, like ninjaVanish and Aerox and quistie64 and Crumby. Even some great new blood in the fandom. Exciting times, for sure!

      • atcDave says:

        Frea I can certainly buy most of that. The only thing I would want to add has to do with the managing expectations part of it. I don’t mean this to be another S3 rant, except it is sort of an example to me of changing the feel and mood of a story in a way almost guaranteed to annoy much of the existing audience. As of January 2010 I don’t believe anything could possibly have been done to make many of us, particularly ‘shippers, like that story. Yet I have no doubt, if Chuck had been a new show at that point an audience could have been found that would have loved that particular story.
        Which actually turns out to be a lousy way of getting to my point; but I think its very much in a writer’s best interest to be clear about what sort of story they are telling. It’s obviously frustrating for everyone involved when a reader gets into a story only to realize it isn’t to their liking at all. The brief synopsis allowed at ff net, just like a TV preview, is a painfully short clue as to what may lay ahead. Some things are easy, like if I look at the description and see its going to be a Chuck/Carina story I can skip it and go on to something more likely to satisfy me with little more thought. But a lot of other information like how much humor, action, and romance will be involved are more subjective and difficult to express in a brief intro. Even the first chapter may not be a great indicator of what is to come. A very sweet romance may start with a collosal misunderstanding that makes the first chapter feel very down. Or an explosive celebration of action and adventure may begin with a quiet date night.
        As a reader, I make some effort to educate myself before I dive into something to reduce the chances of being very disappointed later. But this can be very difficult when a new story is starting and we only have a single chapter and a few author’s notes to go off of. A writer’s past performance is some help here; but some writers like yourself and Aerox (I can say that because he’s proud of it!) have written stuff I love and errrr, stuff I don’t love so much(!); and obviously new writers have no track record at all.
        So all I’m getting at is that it is always in a writer’s best interest to set expectations accordingly to find the right audience for their story. I realize there is no way to do this with perfect precision, especially with an ongoing work that you don’t want to spoil the end to! But I think its important for everyone involved to make a best effort.

      • Aerox says:

        Dave, I was mostly proud of that, because that was what I was going for. I haven’t done any sort of creative writing at all before trying my hand at fanfiction. So I was (and still am) at a stage where I’m not sure where my strengths lie, so I tried my hand at angst, romance, adventure and other such things. So when someone who lies in one camp says that he couldn’t read it (in this case, angst, which I wasn’t sure of whether I could actually pull off) and other people who enjoyed it, I enjoyed that. Mostly because it showed that I had managed to do what my intentions were. I’m not out to turn off any readers (except with the Sham story, which actually got a somewhat decent response. More than I expected from that kind of story anyway) but I do set some expectations for myself and when they get met, that just spurs me on. So yeah, nothing personal, just business (sorta)

        BTW, thanks for the shoutout Frea.

      • atcDave says:

        Aerox you’ve actually done a good job of what I was getting at; that is setting expectations so the right readers will find the right story for them.

      • Dave, there’s clarity and there’s honesty. They are two very different kettles of fish. And about your point regarding meeting expectations: I disagree 100%.

        First, though, your argument about S3 being liked if it had been a new pilot, to me, has one fundamental flaw: that show wouldn’t have survived past six episodes. Possibly even three. People would have turned off the show very early and seen no reason to come back to it. But that’s kind of beside the point, yes. I just can’t let S3 discussion pass without griping about it a little.

        Managing reader expectations is something where entitlement can really bite you in the ass, pardon my crass language. I’ll use Fates as an example, as I know you’re not a fan of the way the story went. I never lied about what Fates was. I never called it a romance (though to me, it IS a romance), I never said there was a happy ending or that I wouldn’t do horrible things to people. People were lulled into a sense of complacency because happy things happened to the main characters, and because the nature of the point of view (Fates is written in very close third person, where Chuck’s thoughts tend to become the audience’s thoughts). Chuck never questioned the things that happened to him, but I never lied about that I, a) I stuck him in a bunker, b) there were mysteries around the bunker even if Chuck himself never questioned them, c) you don’t stick good citizens by themselves in bunkers for five years without there being a darn good reason. I never lied, and that’s the honesty part of things. The clarity comes from the audience. It means taking a step back and looking at a story empirically. This is something you have to do with an unreliable narrator. I can be honest without being clear. But people got it into their head that they knew how Fates SHOULD go, and those were the most disappointed. Is it my fault they’re disappointed? Should I have done more to warn them off—and spoil my story for others who mightn’t have had a problem? I don’t think so.

        Further, it is not my job to manage reader expectations. I can do that, if I wish. Some authors do. Certainly there are people like you that won’t make the jump into a story without reassurances, and a lot of writers make promises (I will usually stick with “I know what I’m doing, just hang in there!”) to keep readers around that doubt they’ll be true to their stories. For me, I find readers like that…kind of sad, no offense to you. There are so many great stories out there to be explored and how many of those do we miss out on because beginnings don’t start off fortuitously? But that’s ultimately a reader’s problem, not a writer’s problem. The best thing a writer can do is simply to write and to write the best way he or she can. Don’t worry about your audience’s expectations of a story if they’re going to get in the way of a story you’re going to tell. Yes, it’s nice to know what those expectations might be (if you want to write a popular Chuckfic, you’re probably going to have to write Charah, for example), but honestly? Screw ’em if they get in the way of the story you want to tell. Write the best story you can, using every writing tool you have to your advantage: character, plot, setting. Don’t pander. Stand by your writing. And keep writing. The best advertising you can do is write more. People will stumble on something you wrote, most likely, and if they liked it, they’ll find more. Your stories WILL be held up in comparison to each other, which is just the nature of the beast. Try not to let it discourage you. I’ve got fans that like Greater and don’t like Fates, and vice versa. People that adore W11 sometimes abhor Fates. Whatever. I’m not going to please everybody, so there’s no reason I should try.

        Hi, Aerox!

      • BDaddyDL says:

        Id like to add one thing to that comment. Remember when writing a serious fic, you never want to change the world for the character. Instead have the world changed them.

        For example, if you think it would be great to see Chuck and Carina together, don’t change their personalities to fit the story. Instead have the workday change them to cause it.

        If you want chuck to have serious mental health issues, stick chuck in a bunker.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Frea i agree with you 100%, which is something i don’t do often to anyone. leaving s3 alone and just dealing with the writing aspect you are spot on. it is always to each his/her own as a reader. TBH i never made it past chap 1 of either fates or W11 so i can’t comment on those as actual works, but i have seen the reviews. i equate what happened to fates in the same manner as s3 and s5 of chuck. readers/viewers get in their mind where they think the product is going or want it to go and then when it veers off its not taken well. to be clear however a writer does have a certain say in how they lead an audience on.

        if a writer drops big hints, ones that stick out as important to the story, then changes gears that’s different than a writer who writes in an unclear way where the story is going. it is possible to lead the horse to water and pull away the bucket.

        my stuff for example has never been popular and probably never will be. i do the best i can and try to improve as i go along. i go against the grain to much to appeal to many chuck fans. but like you have said i write what i want to and say screw it, let the chips fall where they may.

      • atcDave says:

        Frea we’re just going to be 180 degrees apart on that one. It isn’t about Fates or any other piece of fiction. I’m primarily a non-fiction reader anyway; until Chuck I probably only averaged two or three novels a year. I prefer television and movies for my fiction, reading for me mostly means history. I will always be a choosy customer. I don’t expect to be pandered to, a story that’s obviously just there to “please me” is rarely satisfying either. I’m completely fine with a writer telling the story they want to tell. But I will always look at notes and reviews first; you may not care if some of your readers are disgruntled, but I don’t like being disgruntled, and I will take some care to avoid it.
        Just as I only leave good reviews for writers, I will only make positive recommendations here. Because I want to celebrate the things I like, not dwell on the things I don’t. That doesn’t mean things have to be all happy, often the best pay-offs come after a tough story. But I definitely prefer the sorts of difficulties that build up or edify the protagonists as opposed to those that make them look weak, selfish or stupid. The more positive challenges are always the ones that draw me in. I’ve even enjoyed a number of stories with more depressing outcomes (but NOT with Chuck stories!) if I felt the main protagonist was well served or a profound point was made (Stephen Lawhead’s Albion trilogy comes to mind).
        My main point remains, I’m vetting a story as thoroughly as I can before I start it. A small number of writers have earned an extra measure of trust from me over the years by consistently delivering stories I like (the previously mentioned Stephen Lawhead being one example); otherwise I look before I leap.

        As far as S3 in particular goes, I was trying to be generous. We do see S3 apologists here with some regularity, enough that I think there could have been enough who would have enjoyed it on its own merits. But it was never going to be me. A season premier without a single good laugh is not a promising start; and then completely destroying the two main characters, and their relationship, which probably represents the three main draws of the show for me, is a sure way to loose my support.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Bdad you are so right about that. that idea has been tossed about here a few times. it often becomes blurred, like the chicken or the egg argument. most shows use that as a starting point for their characters. chuck was abandoned by his folks and screwed over by bryce. his world changed each time changing him. beckettes mom was killed, changing her. almost every dramatic show uses it to set the stage for whats to come.

        i’ll use the show chuck as an example. in the pilot chucks world was changed again. he had 2 basic choices, embrace the intersect, beg to be trained up in some way or fight against it and stay where he was. he chose the latter because of what happened in the past and his fear of being away from family. he tried to change his new world to fit him.

      • uplink2 says:

        BDaddyDL, I happen to agree with you completely here. One of the reasons I dislike Charina stories is that they do exactly that. They force the characters to become different people than I know them as to fit the story they they are trying to tell. If you want to take Chuck and Carina to a place where they can work then show that journey. Don’t simply have Carina in effect become Sarah to make your story work. That is why I have had trouble with so much of APR’s work. The characters we know and love simply weren’t there, only their names were the same.

        On the subject of feedback I have no trouble writing a less than complimentary and more critical review. But I always try to tell the writer why something didn’t work for me. I don’t simply say I think this story sucks. If I don’t think it works I will say what didn’t work and why I feel that way. I know that for me at least I would like to see commentary like that in reviews. It helps me see the readers perspective and what I may have missed. A case in point are two stories about what happens when Chuck shows up at Sarah’s hotel room at the end of Seduction. Both of them have Chuck realize that Sarah is screwing Bryce. One was an attempt at humor (hey buddy!)! and the other a serious plot device to get to Charina. IMO when writing a story the setup has to be plausible and for me at least picking that point in canon makes it impossible to believe that Sarah would have done that both for her and for Chuck. It is simply an impossible situation and therefore the stories fall flat because of it. So in my review I stated what didn’t work and why. I then chose to move on and not read the rest because the premise was so flawed to me. To me as a writer and a reader that is a better route many times to follow than just to ignore it Not always but in many cases I believe it is.

        I also try to write reviews to newer writers that hopefully they will find helpful and encourage them to continue to write. I will tell them why it worked and why it didn’t for me. But always keeping in mind that it is their story to tell and my choice whether to read it or not. That’s one of the reasons why I love FF so much and there have been times where the writer will respond and tell me why they did something and it will make a lot more sense for me because of those comments. I also think the PM route is a very good way to let someone know how you feel about something in a more positive and supportive manner. You can tell the writer how you feel privately and not open up some of the crap that can inevitable happen if you take things public.

        @Frea what I like about your work is that even though I had some real issues with the ending of 55 of fates and the direction the story took, I trusted that you would show me why you took that direction and make a strong case for why it was better. You rewarded that trust in 58 with an incredibly powerful chapter that showed me clearly what your intent was. So I’m happy to come along for a ride that I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be on. That to me is one of the failings that Fedak has done especially in S3 and with the finale. He didn’t clearly show my why he did what I didn’t like. Season 3 was a flawed concept and even worse execution. Fates 55 wasn’t a flawed concept it was simply one I wasn’t sure I liked but the execution was fantastic. That is what good writing is. Telling the reader your story and hopefully having them see your reasons for telling it.

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink good points. you brought up the chicken and the egg, lol. here’s why. when an event happens in ones life it changes them. in canon chuck goes to sarah’s hotel room and finds bryce. it happened. that could be a life changing minute. now chuck decides to move on with his life and stop chasing sarah. is it anti canon yes, but it is chuck being changed by an event in canon, which is what Bdad is saying. the world at that time changed him. so he hooks up with carina instead. the writer didn’t change chuck in the story, the events that happened in canon did, just the author went in a different direction moving on vs canon staying the course. that event could have hardened chuck from further relationships (see jill and the affects she had) so there is a basis in canon for it. now suppose after they hook up carina settles down her ways because of chuck. again anti canon. now back to canon almost everyone says chuck’s influence on sarah changed her, so there is the canon precedent for chuck being able to change people. so carina changes because of chuck.

        in the end just like in canon neither c/c or c/s are the same. people just don’t like the c/c pairing.

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink…sorry forget the chicken vs egg it. what it comes down to is did the author change the characters to fit his story or did the event in the story change the characters? chicken vs egg.

      • uplink2 says:

        Army I see what your point is but my issue with it was that the change to canon was not that Bryce was there and how he reacted to it but that Bryce and Sarah were having sex at the time Chuck showed up. That is the implausible scenario that changes Chuck. Not that he was there but that after all that had happened and how desperately in love with Chuck Sarah was at the time, she would betray him and screw Bryce whom she had rejected in favor of Chuck a few months earlier. Now if the author had simply as many authors have said that Chuck just decides to stop pursuing her and move on like after Breakup than I’d be fine with it but the trigger was Sarah screwing Bryce a situation that is completely impossible in my view after Nemesis, Marlin, First Date, the “kiss” and Chuck diving off the roof of the BuyMore to save Sarah’s life. In no universe that I can imagine does Sarah go back to her hotel and have wild monkey sex with Bryce Larkin after all that. With Chuck? Absolutely! But Bryce? Never, ever going to happen. That is the implausible premise that makes the story completely fail for me. The Sarah that could do that is not in any way shape or form the Sarah I knew up to that moment when canon and events changed.

        This is similar to a reaction I had to Sharpasamarble’s great Chuck VS the Watch story where a pivotal scene happens where Sarah accepts the order to terminate Chuck. It was brilliantly written and a fantastic emotional scene and IMO completely implausible based on the story he had been telling for 4 prior stories. It was an incredible scene but his explanation for why it happened two chapters later did nothing for me in terms of making it more plausible. Events over 4 stories had changed these characters so much that the huge 180 degree turn failed for me no matter how well written it was.

        I as a reader have to have some semblance of character plausibility for a story to work for me. That is why so much of season 3 fails and why some FF I read I end up passing on.
        Events and circumstances change characters and that is a good thing but you can’t simply ignore those changes because you want to change the events.

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously I completely agree with Uplink about what constitutes a believable break from canon. Now to some extent, I have no problem with a writer who wants to explore darker themes as long as that is made clear to be the exercise. But these are exactly the sort of alternates I have zero interest in exploring.
        In spite of the pure amount of time I spend on Chuck related reading, I’m not interested in reading Chuck fiction purely to be reading Chuck fiction. I have other interests in life. So if a story doesn’t look to be a good time, or the sort of interpretation of events that strikes me as fun; well I’ve got a book in my briefcase on the Battle of Stalingrad too…

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink i can your point but will disagree. sure the signs were there that sarah was in love with chuck but she had been with bryce before. now comes the hard part of why i can see it happening.

        you said this, “In no universe that I can imagine does Sarah go back to her hotel and have wild monkey sex with Bryce Larkin after all that. With Chuck? Absolutely! But Bryce? Never, ever going to happen. That is the implausible premise that makes the story completely fail for me. The Sarah that could do that is not in any way shape or form the Sarah I knew up to that moment when canon and events”

        so i’ll ask you a question, how many married or people in a serious relationship have said that about their significant other AFTER they found out that they were being cheated on? it happens all the time, 24/7/7/365. that’s why i feel it could happen with sarah.

      • jam says:

        Totally agree with uplink and Dave on this particular example.

        Nothing drives me away from a fanfic as fast as out-of-character behaviour.

      • atcDave says:

        Sadly army I can’t deny that such idiocy does happen, I have friends who have been involved from both sides of it. But I can say categorically that it is never a story I want to hear. As I’ve said before, I read to have a good time and be entertained (also for learning and growth; but not from fiction). I specifically read Chuck stories out of my love for the two main characters. So dishonoring those two characters will never fly with me. Making either or both look bad is the surest way to turn me off. Now I happily agree that “pleasing atcDave” is unlikely to be the highest achievement most writers aspire to. But apparently it is what matters most to me; so take it for what its worth…

      • uplink2 says:

        Army, oh I understand for some it happens but it is my contention that in those instances the signs were there but their partner just chose to ignore them or was so self-focused they didn’t see them.

        I have been married for 27 years and I can certainly say there were some dark and unhappy moments in my marriage. Most marriages go through difficult periods. It’s how you deal with them that is a testament to who you both are as individuals and as a couple. But one thing I can say for certain is that cheating was completely out of the question for both of us. We may or may not have been tempted but it was never a plausible option. Our marriage is stronger now than it probably ever has been because of how we weathered those challenges.

        I see the Chuck Sarah relationship and the Sarah character at the time of those stories having a similar commitment to honor Chuck and their relationship. I could far more easily see Sarah having sex with a mark at that point than with Bryce Larkin. Sex with a mark was meaningless and part of the job but sex with Bryce at that point was far from meaningless and would have been the most hurtful and cruel betrayal imaginable. Even sex with Shaw after Final Exam though abhorrent as that is to me was far more plausible than sex with Bryce at the end of Seduction.

        We will just have to agree to disagree but my ultimate point was that I think it was fine for me to write a review telling the author why I was rejecting their story because I gave real tangible reasons how I felt. Now the author decided to continue it and that is what they should do if that is the story they wanted to tell but it is my right to reject it for myself.

  5. ArmySFC says:

    Dave…thanks again for the story ideas. we may not agree on some but hey that’s life. i feel the same way with some fics as well. since we are talking about pet peeves and angst i’ll pop in on the subject. i don’t read stories that start or contain sarah/chuck leaves for over a year, ones that are angst heavy. done in small doses angst can be good if done right. people that have a story moving on at a good pace and then pull a show runner move (sarah gets taken and abused) for angst kills it for me. my biggest is morgansect. no matter how good a story is if it comes up morgan gets it or has it i’m done (i hate him in any story BTW but will tolerate it if he’s not a douche).

    one trend i noticed is more new writers are going with the wash rinse repeat method used in early fics, pre season 3. boy meets girl. toss in crap and hook up quick and end. another is, and i hope this one continues is people writing about what happens after they get together. very few of those are around, which i find strange because they were together for so long on the show.

    one question i would like to ask is do people get tired as a long fic continues and seems to be going nowhere? i get to a point sometimes where i just give up because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and i can’t figure out where the author is going.

    • atcDave says:

      There are a number of seemingly unending epics going. Generally I prefer a tighter story with an obvious plot and resolution, but it’s one of those things I can’t be absolute about. But if a writer wants to continue a story for a long time I would prefer multiple installments each with its own plot and ending to something that just keeps going. Especially since most of the epics eventually run out of steam and just get abandoned.
      You mentioned the seperation issue, that really is one of the biggest downers to me. Either Chuck or Sarah abandoning the other is one of the biggest turn offs I see and it’s very unlikely I will continue or even start reading a story that goes there. Although ironically, if the seperation is forced my reaction is often very different. I love stories that focus on them fighting to be reunited; whether it’s because Sarah has been reassigned or Chuck has been bunkered, those stories are among my very favorites.

    • Army, whatever you do, do not read my story “Chuck vs All the Intersects.” In all fairness, Morgan downloaded that Intersect months before he did on the show.

      The long continuation fic problem is what I was referring to early about authors not always knowing the ending, while in good stories, the authors do. The problem for me is I lose track of the storyline and I have to re-read several chapters to separate it from other stories in my head. I’ve gotten the point of only starting multi-chapter fics of authors that I know have a history of finishing them and/or publishing updates on a very regular schedule. I’ve started using author alerts more than story alerts for that reason. I pick up completed stories by using an RSS subscription on the completed story search filter. “Chuck vs Family Matters” is an exception because it has so much good stuff even though the end seems unclear.

      Dave, ninjaVanish’s “Chuck & Sarah Versus the Bunker” is a great example of them fighting to get back together.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah Jeff, “Chuck and Sarah vs the Bunker” is one of my very favorites. I would also add “Chuck vs the Reassignment” by kroblues which has Sarah getting reassigned in Broken Heart, but they both fight it, and in the end it becomes a running away together story. Kind of the best of both themes. And I can’t forget “Save You Later” by mia2009; chuck is bunkered per the end of Marlin, even though Sarah isn’t actually sure her feelings for him are romantic until after she rescues him.
        Also in the spirit of finding an exception to my own rules, I would add the oldie “Sarah vs the Long Flight” by Go-Chuck-Go. It’s set after S1, Chuck runs away after thinking Sarah and Casey are both trying to kill him (he listened in on the briefing where they got the kill order, and missed the part right after when Sarah pulled her gun on Casey….), but Sarah searches for and finds Chuck, at which point she runs away with him. This story is also a great example of well written angst.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jeff tried that one when you posted it, gave it up just as quick, lol. but thanks for the warning!

      • BDaddyDL says:

        While I am not a fan of them, Chuck vs the Stocking is outstanding work.

    • Michael66 says:

      *** one question i would like to ask is do people get tired as a long fic continues and seems to be going nowhere? i get to a point sometimes where i just give up because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and i can’t figure out where the author is going.

      Length and delays between posting make it worse. I’m afraid I might have to start Frea’s opus all over again because I have NO idea where things are or what she is doing.

      Usually, I am done with reading a story when it hits 150K. That’s a novel for heaven’s sakes; 500 words/page for hardcover is 300 pages or 350 words/page for paperback is just over 400 pages. Do something else and come back later with a sequel. If it is true that Moonlight Pilot is Frea, great move on her part. I can see how she suffers from blockage with Fates. That’s ‘Stephen King The Stand’ epic length.

      • atcDave says:

        Michael I do usually prefer shorter faster paced stories (between 50k and 100k words). But there exceptions. The biggest issue is if the updates come fast enough to remember what’s going on. But even so, “Family Matters” by Lucky47 and “Chuck vs Life” by marybr both sort of violate this rule (longer, with slow updates) and I still look forward to every update. At least Chuck vs Life is finished now!

      • jam says:

        “*** one question i would like to ask is do people get tired as a long fic continues and seems to be going nowhere? i get to a point sometimes where i just give up because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and i can’t figure out where the author is going.”

        As long as I’m entertained, I’ll keep on reading.

        I worry more about good fics that stop before completion. I’m hesitant to start reading a new one when the author promises it’ll be a long one, unless the writer is actually someone who has a history of finishing his/her stories. Like NinjaVanish.

        All writers are writing for fun without pay so you can’t get exactly get mad at them either, it’s just frustrating. :p

      • I don’t see the point of getting mad at CF or the other PTB, so I see even less of a point of getting mad at FF writers who don’t have or haven’t had a chance to finish their great stories. Real life, writers block, or simple lack of interest often intervenes. I read stories from three fandoms. Stargate has over 22K stories and around 6K Castle stories were started just in the past year. Picking complete and likely-to-be-completed-soon stories is all about time management.

        I guess I’m “mad” at FF writers for one thing. I’ve read so much good fanfic over the past almost two years that I’m behind on a few regular books I’ve been meaning to read. But like good angst, that’s the good kind of “mad.”

      • jam says:

        It can be frustrating but I don’t get mad. And I’d never pester any fanfic writer for updates, I’ll just write reviews and hope they continue.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Jeff I do understand holding the pros to a different standard than I do a hobbyist. Not only does the pro have an obligation to their customers and producers, but they are are producing the mythos’ canon. For those invested in a particular setting, its a lot more difficult to disregard the core mythology than it is to ignore a fan’s re-invention. And ideally, the professional should WANT feedback, angry or otherwise. Knowing what their customers want is what puts food on their table. While the hobbyist is engaged purely in a labor of love. If I take out frustration on a fan writer all I can expect really is that they’ll loose interest in writing.

      • Dave, your stance on harsh critique is well documented, and of course the standards are different between professionals coming up with original content for a living and amateurs who are having fun by expanding on or changing those ideas. Even different amateurs have vastly different skills and should be held to different standards.

        Too often, though, I’ve seen reviews and even legitimate angry comments become personal attacks that have little to say about the content being critiqued. No one, amateur or professional, deserves that. It’s the difference between booing at a sporting event because you don’t like a play or call and calling players and officials out by name and swearing at them.

      • atcDave says:

        Okay I can’t argue with that Jeff.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        When I first started writing fanfic I was unemployed, and then I got a job where I had several free hours a day where I could write. The updates were pretty constant. Then i started working 50 hours a week, and my wife actually wanted to see me. Imagine that.

        Having said all that, and I know Supesfan118 would agree (who I just finished working on a new chapter for) its also the type of writing we do. I spend a lot of time making sure there is more show than tell. Not that others don’t do this, but it is a much more involved process. That, and I should be writing now, but here I am talking about writing.

    • jason says:

      Is there anyway to know b4 one starts, A- how long the thing is and B- if it is done. I must admit, Jeff’s was an awesome read, shorter than some posts here for goodness sakes. I loved the Christmas thing I read, but then it stopped, I would never have started if I knew it wasn’t finished.

      • (This post has less words than Beckett vs the Linchpin)

        There’s no way to know except maybe past history.

        One story I’m reading is great because it and its sequel were completed before chapter 1 was posted. I know it’ll be done in 31 chapters plus an epilogue. I know two Castle authors who always post daily (one posts 2-3 different stories daily). A couple more post 2-3 times per week. Among those four authors (International08, chezchuckles, FanficwriterGHC, and Sandiane Carter), they’ve finished over 120 stories and have only abandoned 1. I’ve noticed ninjaVanish is good about informing readers and keeping to a schedule. He also has a perfect record for finishing, even if it is usually long.

        I’ve asked authors a few of times about their plans. One wasn’t specific but said the story was going to take place over a year of story time. At the time I was surprised because it seemed like a one shot that had been extended into a 5-8 chapter story. It ended up being a 65 chapter 144K word epic, but at least it was written in 5 months. Another author planned on 30 chapters but ended with 41 (345K words). The fact she planned on 30 after only 5 or 6 was a good sign because she had a specific ending in mind. She let her audience know how the story was extending as she went. A third author (the one who posts 2-3 chapters a day) has said a couple times she doesn’t always know where the story is going, but she always ends before the story is stale, so I trust her.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason one way to check on FF at least is look at the title blocks. it should have the number of chapters, word count and if the author has finished it they will list it as complete. another thing to do is use the drop down box at the top of the stories that says status All (default i think) use it to find complete and then hit the go button. it will show all stories that the authors have listed as complete. the other boxes (characters, size and all those) can be used to refine your search.

      • atcDave says:

        The complete tag is an important tool. For the longest time it was the only stories I would read. In fact, you could keep busy for months just reading completed stories. Of course there’s a certain thrill in seeing a new chapter pop up in an on-going story that you really love, but perhaps its not worth the frustration of the favorite story or author who simply drops out.

  6. Michael66 says:


    If it is any consolation, Star Trek: TOS ( the only show, **smirk** ), is in the top 50 in terms of the number of entries on the FanFiction site. There are also a number of active sites out there dedicated to just this show and its fiction. And this is forty years after the show went off the air. Does anyne else remember getting mimeographic copies in the mail of the earliest fanzines, circa 1975?

    Firefly, a single half season show, has twice the number of stories as Chuck. And Alias really started to pick up again as the Spy genre in general has become more popular.

    I was severly stymied in my writing efforts of the sequel to Three Day Tour by real-life work and the ending of the show. 30K words lie in ruin. But with time, new ideas came along and I have two new multi-chapter Chuck fics in the works. I can only imagine what lurks on peoples’ hard drives waiting to be delivered to my feating eyes in the coming months.

    And thanks for keeping this site up and alive.


    • atcDave says:

      We expect to be here for a while yet Michael! I do hope fan fiction continues for quite some time, it will be interesting to see what sort of enduring legacy Chuck will have. I hope it continues to flourish like Star Trek and Firefly.

  7. thinkling says:

    Dave, as always thank you for your tireless work at finding me good ff to read 😉 I’ve been checking your page, and the fics you mention in this post are great … all of them.

    I enjoy Frea’s That Which Is Greater series. I find that mixing Sarah with kids is always fun. In that vein, I am hoping that Unexpected Attachments continues … lots of fun there, as well as It’s a Wonderful Cover Life.

    Jeff, I really liked your Chuck/Castle xovers, all of them. Lots of laugh-out-loud fun, as Dave said, because you get Beckett and Castle’s reaction to TeamB. That’s something, that because of the secrecy of the spy world, we don’t get to see, but I like pondering people’s reaction to Chuck and Sarah being spies.

    Haven’t started Recruits, but I’ve got it in my Read It Later queue along with a handful of other recommendations from Dave’s page.

  8. Rob says:

    Well written story of future Charah. I don’t need any more angst after the last two episodes.

  9. atcDave says:

    I just finished reading an article that struck me as having some relevance to the topic of how I make my own decisions on how I read and recommend fan fiction. The main point was how stories that feature positive, uplifting, and even patriotic themes usually far out-gross movies that are more cynical, anti-patriotic, or anti-religious. The article mostly focused on depictions of faith, but it covered a variety of broader themes that would all be generally categorized as “positive”. More than anything, this article gave me hope that many of you out there are looking for the same sorts of things in their entertainment that I am. Its easy to doubt that when so much gets written that isn’t to my taste.

    So this struck me as completely fitting on how I choose those stories I try to recommend here. I like positve and uplifting. Especially on Chuck stories, but in a broader sense too. From the start, it was that fun combination of humor, likable and admirable characters, courage and love that drew me so strongly to the show Chuck. So I guess it is hardly surprisiong that it is those same sorts of things that often draw me to fan fiction.
    Now I will never tell a writer what they should write, and I will never tell another Chuck fan what they should or should not like. These are always personal choices everyone has to make for themselves. But I can promise any story I recommend will be a positive depiction of these characters; particularly Chuck and Sarah.
    I know many readers do not have the time to research or vet stories extensively, so I like to think that by pointing out stories I liked it will help others who share similar tastes to mine to cut right to the good stuff. It might even help some of you who think I’m a complete idiot to eliminate stories too! (kind of a joke but seriously; I carefully read movie reviews before I plunk down hard earned money at the theater, and in a few cases I’ve come to recognize critics I never agree with as good sources of counter-recommendations!)
    And just to be clear, I’ve never meant to imply a story that I don’t mention or list is “bad”; some are simply not to my taste, some I’ve even skipped over in error, and I’ve discovered many excellent stories based on fellow fans’ recommendations. I very much see this a “group project.”
    Obviously we all have slightly different taste and I can’t guarantee anyone will like ALL of my choices, and even my own choices occasionally change in time (especially for “in progress” works). But those of you who have heard me opine on all things Chuck for the last 3+ years should have a pretty good idea of what I like in a story, and I hope that helps you read my recommendations in the most appropriate light.

    • I’m not sure if I buy the spin in that article, but it is interesting. I remember a Right vs. Left comparison of the 1994 best movie oscar nominees: Forrest Gump, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show, and Shawshank Remdemption. The winner was the only one of the five that leans right. It also had the best box office. On IMDB, though, SR and PF rank #1 and #4, while FG is #28.

      I’m trying to think of FF stories or current TV shows that have the characters in a church when it is not a wedding, funeral (or fake funeral), baptism, or Christmas. I can only think of one FF story (Castle story Dash It All, by chezchuckles). The new TV show GCB is a satirical version, so it doesn’t count.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        I made the mistake of thinking that there werent a lot of Chuck ff that had religious overtones. MySoapBox quickly corrected me. She wrote In the Quiet of Christmas morning, which is very religiously oriented.
        As a conservative who is somewhat outspoken I see a lot of political comments in Chuck Fic. It is almost ff tradition that Ellie is a hard core democrat. This is a natural offset to Casey. Some fics are very pro Obama, and others have Casey spouting off. I have never stopped reading a fic because of political slant. The good thing is that our show at the heart of it is about redemption.
        In movies however…
        There have been a lot of anti war movies out, all of them lately have not done well. the ones that celebrate the military do very well. for example Act of Valor is doing pretty well.

      • atcDave says:

        I was trying to take some of the more specific political and religious issues out of the article and look at its broader comments on mood and values. And I’ve never been particularly worried about specific political or religious issues in a Chuck story (although unlike bdaddy I have given up on a couple I found overly heavy handed!). This is also not the first time I’ve seen a lot of these issues brought up; stories that celebrate family, friendship, romantic love (as opposed to purely sexual), and even country typically are more popular than those that take a more cynical view of those issues.
        And I do have to add for our international readers, I’m perfectly happy with stories that celebrate their own local patriotism in the sense of valuing law and order, and national institutions. So RAF pilots serving King and country may be just as inspiring to me as SEAL Team 6. The negative of patriotism to me is NOT foreign patriotism, but rather criminal or terrorist attitudes aimed at undermining legitimate authority and peace at home.

        But again, my interest in this is not about politics or religion specifically; but rather the uplifting sorts of stories and values we so often got from Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh and bdaddy I would have to add to that, Act of Valor was a total blast! So good to see our national heroes getting the sort of recognition they deserve. It was hard to keep a dry eye at the end, completely inspiring movie!

      • ArmySFC says:

        Bdad and Dave. agree with you both on act of valor. awesome flick.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        When was the last time you saw a movie like Act of Valor? A real pleasure to see our heroes get that kind of recognition for what they do.

      • atcDave says:

        And no surprise it was mostly made outside of the Hollywood system.

  10. Rob says:

    With all of the talk about Fan Fiction and stories that extend past S5, it made me think about stories that would work well on screen (on the continuing hope that we have not seen the last of Chuck).

    I liked the fanfiction where Sarah recovered her memories throughout a pregnancy following S5, but I’m not sure that would translate well to the screen. What types of storylines are left to be told (considering the possibility that you might only have 2 hours to tell them)?

    Obviously, they would have to involve Sarah getting at least some of her memories back, and falling in love with Chuck again. But, what is the best context to tell that story? In addition to a pregnancy arc, we have the potential for a cyber-terrorist arc.

    I’ve finally generated enough courage to rewatch S5, so maybe I’ll come up with some more specific ideas then. Any thoughts from the group?

    • thinkling says:

      Rob, there’s always the possibility that a “movie” would pick up a couple of years in the future and assume that Sarah recovered her memories. They’re in the dream house, running the new spied-up tech firm, and may or may not have one or more children. From there anything is possible, either from their company or from the government calling for their help. Chuck still has the Intersect, so he could just flash on something, and the adventure would take off.

      Of course they could do something darker with regard to Sarah’s memories, but I would hope not. Nor do I want to see a fall in love all over again thing any time soon. The finale used up those tokens. What comes next needs to be in the vein of S5 — awesome power couple, in love and doing great things together.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Three to five years in the future, Chuck and Sarah are visiting Ellie and Awesome. Ellie is pregnant or has just given birth to her second. Morgan and Alex are married and have four kids. Alex is ready to kill Morgan. Casey hates being called grandpa, which Gertrude does mercilessly. Morgan knows better. Chuck and Sarah are considering their first/second. Things are good between them even though there have been rough patches due to Sarah’s memory loss (and perhaps subsequent slight regression). Still she enjoys her new life and is trying to convince Chuck it’s time for their first (or another), but Chuck is reluctant to put more stress on Sarah with a (second?) child. Sarah is back to trying to convince Chuck the old-fashioned way, forgetting she’d tried that a lot in the old days. Hilarity ensues for all on the home front.

      The intersect once again invades their domestic tranquility when Manoosh downloads his latest version into himself and escapes his secret facility bent on revenge. He also frees Lazlo, and Shaw and they form an evil cabal to seek revenge on their nemesis. (Just kidding about Shaw, sorry about the aneurisms there).

      Chuck having lost touch with his inner nerd must regain it to battle the combined power of the Manoosh-Lazlo evil nerd cabal, leading to a pilgrimage to Comicon. Complete with costumes, Sarah and Chuck as Han and Leia, Casey as Darth Vader, and Morgan as an ewok. They also run into Brandon Routh and Kristen Kruek who are launching a new Superman sequel, and are accidentally seated on a panel where Zach Levi and Yvonne Strahovski are scheduled to talk about their new spy thriller comedy action show. AU hilarity ensues.

    • atcDave says:

      I remember when the finale ended just having this absolutely sick feeling that for everything these two characters had been through they were now faced with another brutal and lengthy ordeal for Sarah to rediscover what she’d already learned in five years of the show.
      But between re-examining the episode, writer’s interviews, and my own re-watches I became more comfortable thinking the recovery would actually be fast, and even fun from the ending we saw. That is (and I just watched again this weekend) I now buy completely that they reconnected emotionally by the end of the episode and the rest is just a matter of sorting out details.
      Which is a lengthy way of saying; I would like to see any future content being more light hearted and fun like I always considered the strongest regular episodes to be. Sarah would actually be a major part of the story’s comedy in the short term. Her love for Chuck should be strong and secure; but she could confuse details from past cases, be uncertain about friend or foe status of past personalities, and just generally make living a quieter life difficult.
      I would not want to see memory problems played out too dark. So while Cole returning and getting soundly pounded on by Sarah might be funny, the same thing with Zondra might feel tragic. I could even imagine a funny Jill story; like Jill returns as crazy stalker ex trying to steal Chuck away from Sarah, but when Sarah bumps into her she only remembers her as “an old friend of Chuck’s” and invites her home for supper.
      I like the idea of a lot of external stimuli restoring memories for Sarah rather than one huge memory dump. The kiss may have fixed those things that were most important between husband and wife; but remembering reconnecting with her mom, why Morgan matters to her, or when a tiger was in her home may lead to stories and adventures all their own.
      Anything more than a year in the future should look more like the future that was hinted at so many times during S5. That is, safer professional life, kids, red door with a white picket fence…
      And Sarah remember everything (except maybe the occasional minor detail played for laughs).

      As I said above, I’m mostly turned off by stories that try to draw the memory loss period out too long. I’ve seen a few fan fics that play the situation for too much angst and drama. I can’t deny the potential is there, which is a big thing I still don’t like about this finale, but I will simply opt out of those stories. My best memories of this show are of how sweet and fun it often was, so that’s what I need from any future stoies.

      • jason says:

        I have felt the writer’s struggled with the next career for the Bartowski’s, that the tech firm felt quite a bit like a spy firm, and didn’t really feel like they ‘escaped’ from anything.

        I’d like to see Chuck and Sarah specialize in finding and re-uniting missing persons with their loved ones, helping memory loss and / or brain washed patients (Ellie can help, Cabanski supply some muscle, Morgan the tech guy), etc … many people in real life take tragedy like Sarah’s memory loss and turn it into a passionate avocation.

      • A ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ with Jill would be funny. My Jill idea is different. It’s planned for chapter 7 of that story I haven’t started yet. I have 8 ideas so far.

      • atcDave says:

        Some good ideas Jason, I like the idea of specializing in missing loved ones work.

        Jeff you’re getting me excited for this story!

      • BigKev67 says:

        Hm. Interesting.
        Sadly for me I’ve gone almost exactly the other way. I thought rewatching would mitigate my disappointment as I saw more of the small details and Fedak’s intent. And to some extent I do – but I still don’t feel it. All I feel is how damaged Sarah is and how far they still have to go – and a show that’s been an uncomplicated Get Smartish romcom for 2 years just hadn’t earned the right to bolt that final arc on at the end.
        Bottom line is that I haven’t felt any desire to rewatch any episodes since the week the finale aired. Haven’t read much fanfic either.
        I think the next time I get into a show I’m going to stop watching half way through the last season. It’s safer that way.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny Kev, my wife has said that for years; she never wants to watch a season or series finale. They are always the most depressing episodes and often leave more questions than answers. Yet my wife immediately liked this ending (she actually disliked the bulk of the episode; too dark and not enough of the “falling in love again” stuff, but she immediately got and loved the ending) and now, after multiple viewings, I’m mostly happy with it myself.

        But I will always say it was too subtle by far. It is shameful that so many viewers were disappointed; I still call it an entertainment failure.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Kev i agree with you 100% probably won’t watch another episode for a long time. i hold no ill will for those that liked it at first, or those that watched multiple times until they either figured out the intent or went with the flow of others, or because they can’t come to grips with chuck ending on a down note. more power to them because i haven’t found the way to make it better.

        all that said how much better would this reaction from the stars have been instead of satisfying?

        Earlier in the evening, when asked on a scale of 1-10 how happy “Caskett” fans will be by season’s end, Katic told The Hollywood Reporter, “By the end of this season? A 10,” before pausing and changing her answer to “12.5927.”
        Fillion was a little more giving and upon hearing his co-star’s declaration, he seconded it. “I’d say that’s fair. I’d say a 12.9,” he shared.
        “There has been a lot of ebb and flow in their relationship and I think that’s reality and we’ve been having a lot of ebb lately and I think there will be some more flow in that final episode,” Fillion told THR.

      • Kev, quitting halfway through the last season would help a lot of shows. We’ve talked about how ST:TNG’s series finale is actually one of the few good ones, but the episodes leading up to it were some of the worst of the entire series (Masks, Genesis, Journey’s End, and Emergence). BSG would have been helped by skipping the last season (at least for me). Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know ahead of time. Farscape is one exception, with two of my favorites of the entire series being the 2nd and 3rd to last of the series.

        Army, Stana is such of a shipper that if there is another Caskett kiss, she’d say a 12.9, even if immediately afterwards they get into a huge fight and spend another summer apart. A lot of Castle fans loved the S3 finale, even though it had more plot holes and characterization inconsistencies than any episode of Chuck even thought about. For Chuck fans, the Castle 3 finale was like the Prague train station, plus a suddenly evil Ellie being killed, plus Sarah being shot and left dying as the credits rolled. But I’d guess a lot of Castle fans would rate a S4 finale kiss, a fight, and a breakup as a 12.9, considering the popularity of the S3 finale (tied for highest rated on IMDB). Stana’s enthusiasm is contagious, though, and Castle fans are infinitely more forgiving and patient than Chuck fans.

      • BigKev67 says:

        I’m not a fan of series finales – although I understand they must be hellishly difficult to write. The best ones I’ve seen were 2 UK shows – Cold Feet and the original Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes. Both took their finales in completely unexpected directions. Cold Feet was actually much tougher to watch as a finale than Chuck. The difference was, I felt both of those shows earned the right to do what they did, based on the tone of the show they had created, and the work they’d put in to setting the stories up over time. Chuck, no matter how much I try and rationalise it, feels like a 10 minute Cure instrumental bolted onto a B 52’s gig – and that just overrides any artistic merit it may have, at least for me.
        But yeah, good series finales are few and far between.

        BTW – agree with you completely about “Knockout” – the Montgomery twist was utterly ridiculous.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree about Montgomery … talk about something bolted on. I’m not as invested in Castle, especially the support cast, like with Chuck, so it was just a giant eye role. I thought Monk did a really good job with their series finale. I’ll be interested to see how The Closer finishes out their 7 year run.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah the Montgomery twist in Castle was pretty poorly conceived. I would also say I’m not nearly as invested in Castle as I was with Chuck, and its easier for me to just say “oh well, maybe the next episode will be better…” I’m not sure what all makes that so different from show to show; but if Chuck had done that I would have been VERY upset!

      • ArmySFC says:

        seems the point i was making got lost, lol. both actors really like how the season will go for the couple as opposed to our stars saying satisfying, that was the point. as for the ending yeah it was poor, but way better than the way chuck ended the show, not a season. castle can at least make up for it, chuck can’t. does the montgomery twist suck as bad as the shaw being the big bad, pulling the strings from jail just so he can come back for revenge on sarah? that’s up for debate as well but i see it as another dud idea and arc they tossed out.

      • The Montgomery twist (and it’s lack of basis) was possibly 5th least favorite thing about the episode.
        – Why have the Caskett fight without consequence or a forgiveness scene? It was like First Fight without the Chuck and Sarah’s bank fight/detente scene.
        – Why cover up for the captain, who was guilty of 1st degree murder? Let’s let Shaw go because he used to be a nice boss (even thought he wasn’t). It’s what the government did with Shaw in Subway, and look how that turned out. Maybe it’s a good thing Montgomery is really dead.
        – I thought the sniper staging was more ridiculous than Casey shooting everyone from an open field in Masquerade (which he almost gets away with, because Casey was long established as someone who might pull that off). Shooting Beckett at a funeral was not a low profile way of making an investigation go away. The (bad) shot was into the sun from a low position with no cover.
        – I doubt even Casey could have taken out as many mercs as Montgomery did with a revolver and without wearing a vest.

        Castle fans are definitely invested, possibly even more so that Chuck fans. But I think fan standards for the two shows are definitely different. Chuck’s uniqueness created a bar that was really high. Meanwhile, Castle stands out compared to other procedurals simply because the leads have a fun chemistry.

      • Army, Sorry, I got your point, but I guess I didn’t make my counterpoint. My point is Stana is such a shipper, that I’m not sure I trust her enthusiasm. She was that way at the beginning of the season and nothing has happened yet. More had happened at this point of last season, even though Beckett was dating someone else. However, her enthusiasm is a definite asset towards promoting the show.

        I’m confident Castle will have a very satisfying ending, as long as it does not have the dreaded, unexpected, oops too late cancellation. Unlike Chuck, Castle has been in safer renewal territory, so the writers haven’t felt the need to rush the relationship. They are dragging it instead. “Moonlighting Curse” has been mentioned so many times by Castle’s writers and actors that I’m not confident it is going to have a run of episodes with Caskett together like Chuck had.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jeff, the one quibble about your whole speech is the bad shot. i have fired and hit targets both alive and dead at ranges up to 300 meters using iron sights, from the prone position into the sun. unless the sun is even with my eyes or close to it, it didn’t have much of an affect on me. maybe it bothers your eyes and affects your shot more than mine, only you would know that. so i can give that scene a pass. also that type scene is common in TV and movies so to me it’s just another eye roll. other than that all we can agree on is neither castle or chuck is perfect.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jeff yeah she is and so is YS. remember YS said it wasn’t the ending she expected, that won’t change. you are also leaving out NF who also said it where as ZL didn’t say happy thoughts either. how it ends really doesn’t matter now, what matters is the two main actors both like the direction the ed is heading towards, which gives the fans hope for a good ending where as on chuck the actors painted a less than happy picture.

        as for the the renewal bit i agree to a point i have always said that chuck as a show was not good enough to survive with out the relationship being in the front, the big draw. castle i feel can stand on its own with out the relationship. to me that’s the big reason why it has taken so long.

        on a side note during a taped video stana hinted heavily that C/B would end up in bed by seasons end.

      • I’ll defer to your expertise about the sniper shot. I was thinking more of giving away his position with the reflection off the scope.

        From the almost nowhere they are now to bed by the end of the season? Unless something develops over the next few episodes, that sounds like either a really unhealthy angst setup for next season (like what Sophia predicted — common for Castle cliffhangers) or typical rushed Caskett fanfiction.

      • atcDave says:

        As always, I think “Moonlighting Curse” fears are inappropriate, yet its clear many involved with serialized television buy into it wholeheartedly. Ernie has written several items here about the many problems Moonlighting ran into, and in the end, it seems highly unlikely that putting the leads together had anything to do with that show’s demise. Now tearing them back apart again may have been a biggie.
        But there is no doubt that show has negatively influenced 30 years of television and show runners today are terrified of putting their lead couple together. One thing I will always be thankful for with Chuck is two full seasons of a happy couple at the end.

        Much as I love Castle there are significant reasons why its pacing and timing are very different. The most obvious thing to me is that Rick started as a cad who had some serious growing to do before he would even be a good candidate for a lasting relationship (by comparison, Chuck STARTED with two decent likable characters who had far fewer obvious growth issues to deal with). The other thing is the show structure itself; we see Castle and Beckett together every episode whether they are “together” or not. But the biggest thing to me is just that show is a procedural of sorts; it devotes far more screen time to the “mystery of the week” than it does to relationships. While Chuck was more character driven and was always about its characters first.
        There also can be no doubt that constant cancelation fears forced concluding story lines at the end off every season for Chuck. Much as I hate cliffhangers I’m very glad about this. And Castle’s comparative stability leads to it playing like a more “typical” weekly television show.

        It is funny that Katic is such a big ‘shipper on Castle. But she has been from the earliest interviews I saw. I still remember after last season (or was it after S2???) seeing an interview with her where she was saying the wt/wt was already getting old and she hoped they would soon transition into more of a Thin Man sort of comedy; while the same off season NF was saying he thought the wt/wt couldn’t be resolved until the end of the series.
        YS didn’t start talking like a ‘shipper on Chuck until late S2. Earlier she had annoyed fans with comments like saying she hoped Sarah would have a hot romance with someone other than Chuck (this seems to have been shortly before the Cole arc). I’m not sure if she later became a believer in the Chuck/Sarah story, or if she just realized her own screen time was tied directly to being with Chuck. But either way, there’s no doubt from S3 on she was an outspoken fan of the Charah relationship; and in the end, she seems to have been quite bothered by the direction of the finale arc.

      • Completely agree about the Moonlighting Curse. It’s about one lead getting pregnant and the other lead wanting to get into movies, and the showrunner leaving. However, most industry people use the curse to say they think the show will when the leads get together. So when they talk like that, I get concerned.

        I actually think Sarah needed more growth than Beckett with her walls or Castle being a playboy (but still a food family man). Chuck probably needed less growth, even with his post-Stanford funk. Sarah was an instant fix for Chuck, and once he was fixed, he was a much better guide for Sarah’s growth from reluctant assassin to a real girl.

      • jason says:

        I like Castle more than most the rest of you. I have near 100% faith in Marlowe. The wt/wt has not bothered me much. I don’t think I could pick either LI, the biker / doctor boy or Castle’s ex wife out of a line-up with 4 other guest stars each sex from the show. Those characters and their roles were totally irrelevant, and the Castle Beckett dynamic (or screen time together) never changed while the LI’s were floating around.

        I predict Castle and Beckett will end the season together and most fans will be happy.

        But, the Montgomery ep was silly, as are most season ending drama contrivances in most shows that aren’t strongly about drama. Once the story falls out of bed with the fan base, all the plot gets scrutinized, very few plots (or stories or arcs in shows that have some seasons already in the books) can stand up to scrutiny, as we all know first hand from being fans of Chuck.

        But I am afraid that the legacy of Chuck for me, cemented by the finale, was all about missed opportunity. I dream of some universe, where YS and ZL were in a show that really worked, that capitalized on its opportunities, and that paid off by letting loose the remarkable Chuck / Sarah chemistry in every episode. Unfortunately, in this universe’s Chuck, those moments were not near enough. At the most important times in most arcs the winning team was sent to the sidelines, much like not playing your star wide receiver with your star QB when driving for the game winning TD. Chuck had to go it alone, while Sarah was sent to the bench (or even to the other team) time and time again in Chuck.

        I see the ‘Caskett’ chemistry written as a team right into the fabric of the show each and every week, no holding back. I don’t have to travel to another universe like our boy Chris Fedak or read and write fan fiction to see satisfying chemistry. I only need tune in each Monday night to a tv set in my universe to see what I want, to see my team playing all game long. That is why I like Castle.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Jason I think most of us here like Castle quite a lot. With the end of Chuck it may be my favorite show on television. Other than that I agree with most of your comments. I think a fundamental difference (and one that favors Castle over Chuck) is that the writers of Castle have always seen the show as being equally about Castle and Beckett (gee, even though the show is called Castle…) while the show runners on Chuck saw the show as primarily Chuck’s story. Now we all know the balance did shift some in S4 and S5 as Sarah became more important to the story, yet I think she remained a secondary character, at least in CF’s eyes until the very end. I don’t want to make too big a thing of that; we did have a number of very well done Sarah centered episodes, and certainly in S5 she was very nearly as central as Chuck himself. But I think a significant number of us (most? I don’t know…) would have always liked more Sarah time, especiallly in those early seasons when she often had very little to do (In Sandworm or Undercover Lover I think her screen minutes can be measured in single digits).

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I do agree both Chuck and Sarah had some growth issues; but I think most of Sarah’s issues didn’t come in to play until S2 and S3. So at the start, it really wasn’t hard for many of us to imagine Chuck manning up a little, and Sarah just saying “ahh, to heck with it…” on the professional issues and all of a sudden we could have had a pretty exciting power couple.
        I’m not suggesting that this was ever any writer’s intent or that we were particularly MEANT to feel that way; but even early S1 I always felt like Chuck and Sarah were going to be great together. While on Castle, not so much. I think my early impression was mainly that Castle was a lovable rogue, but he had some serious growing to do to become a good match for Beckett.

      • Dave, you’re right that Sarah’s issues changed. In S1 it was professional responsibility. In S2, with the introduction of Sarah’s back story, the personal issues became relevant. With Castle, it seems like he stopped growing in S2. Now he is just waiting. The advantage that Sarah and Chuck always had was the cover relationship. I think it was one of the most brilliant parts of the entire show. It made imagination almost unnecessary and provided the opportunity to show off the chemistry in unique ways without resolving the WT/WT.

        Castle is also my favorite active show on TV. This year’s Cops & Robbers episode ranks up with the best episodes of Chuck for me. For me, the S4 episodes have been more inconsistent, as many show little relationship development and could have easily been dropped into S2 or S3.

        I’d probably like Castle more if I could restrain myself from comparing it with Chuck. Whenever I think of Chuck and Sarah in similar circumstances as Castle and Beckett, I cringe. Chuck going to the Hamptons with Jill for several months, as a season cliffhanger? A subplot having Jill bond with Morgan over concert tickets? Sarah talking to Chuck about how to make her relationship with Shaw work as they were possibly going to die from radiation poisoning? Sarah going to her boss and saying she wants Chuck out of the CIA so she never has to see him again? Sarah leaving Chuck for three months after getting shot and Chuck telling her he loved her? Ok, Chuck did the same thing with Prague, and many other Chuck moments are just as cringe worthy. But Chuck fans hated them, while Castle fans seem to love them.

        I like Castle better when I think of it as a better version of Bones. As many have said, Castle and Chuck are different types of shows. Castle is very good at its type of show. No other show is like Chuck.

        I think previous fanfic posts talked about when UST and WT/WT is resolved, fanfiction production typically slows because viewers are more content. 5300 Castle fanfic stories written in about 14 months shows a lot of Castle viewers need fanfiction to find their contentment.

        BTW, Castle’s ex Gina was one of Volkoff’s henchmen in Leftovers, just in case she shows up in a lineup.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jeff I recognized Gina!

        You’re completely right there would have been BIG problems on Chuck if they’d used some of the same twists Castle has. Even to say if S2 had gotten so ugly there might have never been a fan campaign to save the show. But I always say, I think the bigger difference was in the show’s themselves, not particularly in the different fandoms. For a variety of reasons, progress in the Charah relationship always felt more pressing and urgent to me than the Caskett relationship does.

        I do think there is a strong connection between the relationship and fan fiction. I don’t have any hard statistics, but my feeling is that S2 and S3 were the “golden age” of Chuck fan fiction. I think from late S3 on fans were often less inspired to tinker or “fix” what was going on with the show. As in many things, contentment is the enemy of inovation. But of course, I wouldn’t trade those happy episodes for anything. And I think the later situation on the show inspired more complete AU type of stories. I know for myself, some of the more upbeat stories written in S2 and S3 (like stuff by ersk4 and Kate McK) were a huge part of keeping me invested in the story. Without fan fiction (or the Internet in general) I likely would have given up on the show in S3.
        And I do know perfectly well many viewers found plenty to complain about in the later seasons too and the potential for tinkering and fixing remained. But I don’t believe for most of us, that those later shortcomings carried anywhere near the emotional power of the wt/wt stuff.
        I can easily believe that the unresolved nature of things for Caskett is a major driving force in Castle’s fan fiction. I would also expect a drop off there if things ever do change in a permanent feeling way.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m following Castle, and while I like it and agree with a lot of the points about why the WT/WT is different on Castle, I’m actually more interested in Rick’s upcoming bromance with a detective named Ethan Slaughter. And seriously, Ethan Slaughter… It’s like an action star version of a porn name.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason, castle has always been over chuck for me in terms of liking it. i am with you on castle’s oli’s. i brought that up before. as well as points made by others about the relationships not being in you face. the other thing was they didn’t need to destroy the main characters to make them fit in either.

        the secondary characters are a big plus for me as well, no buymorons or morgan. could you see the buy more run by people who were actually competent and didn’t make your skin crawl? that’s why i don’t compare the shows, they are just too different.

        i still refuse to accept the idea that cancellation uncertainty was the cause of chuck’s problems. just look at this last season. they knew going in how many episodes they had and where they left off. they still had the dud chuck has to go arc dropped on us by decker, that went where? oh yeah shaw, like that’s the best they could come up with? or the ending they put out? so i’m not convinced it had anything to do with renewal, more like issues from the PTB.

    • ArmySFC says:

      there are a few ways they could go. starting with what thinkling said. there are many possibilities with the boxes in the basement. castle just did a CIA/NYPD cross over and did it in 2 hours (1 hr 20 min +) screen time, body of proof is doing an episode on biological terrorism. there is a new series starting about an ex CIA agent getting her kidnapped son back. any of these ideas would work. when you really think about it there are not many things that haven’t been already done.

      on a side note for those following YS. her “spread” in SI was exactly 3 ads. in fact Natalie Gubis had 4 pictures of her in a body paint bikini.

    • Rob says:

      @thinkling — I think you are spot on. The story would probably have to resume after memory restoration and either before or after kids. I could see doing some short flashbacks to show how the temporary memory loss resolved itself, but anything more would be far too much for my liking.

      I could see Chuck and Sarah coming out of “spy retirement” to go on a mission to rescue Casey (who I see continuing with the spy life). If post-kids, I could see some funny scenes with Mama B. taking care of the kids, while Chuck and Sarah are saving the world.

      • thinkling says:

        We’re on the same page, Rob. I like it. I like the idea of Chuck and Sarah investigating evil doings in a school settings. Chuck and Sarah the soccer mom and fully involved dad by day, the President’s go to team by night.

  11. ww1posterfan says:

    My story is set 3 months after the beach and will address the “conspiracy” that never really manifested itself in S5, as well as explain why Chuck is “special” i.e. attempt to tie up alot of the loose mythology ends (Project Omaha, etc.). It goes all the way back to the early 80’s with Orion, Roark, and Agent X in periodic flashbacks. The big baddie was involved from the Intersects inception. Sarah’s memories are mostly restoredC/S relationship solid Ellie is heavily involved. The ending will set up future capers as Carmichael Industries being consultants re: the Intersect and providing cybersecurity to both governement (CIA/NSA) and commercial (Verbanski) clients. I’m about 10,000 words in. My biggest issue is that I’m not that funny and my pop culture IQ has diminished with age and abuse.

  12. authorguy says:

    I’m a relative (ok, complete) newbie to writing fan fiction, since I was only inspired to write Chuck stories when I felt really bad about the way a plot line ended. Strangely enough I was not bothered by most of S3 except the Hannah arc, which I thought ended badly, so I gave her an HEA. Similarly the finale. I wrote Chuck vs. The Epilog to read like an episode would look, tried to keep the characters in character, and develop a hook that would allow a season 6 to be created while resolving the open plotline from the finale. (I was motivated partly by the claim that Schwartz and Fedak would be interested in movie/S6 ideas, as well as ZL openly entertaining the idea.)

    I started reading the stories on only after I wrote Chuck vs. The Epilog, and I was quite surprised to see how many of them used the ‘memories slowly coming back’ device rather than the ‘Intersect fixes what the Intersect broke’ idea. As has been said many times above, most people are interested in the Charah relationship and I guess they prefer to see that relationship heal itself. I am a little surprised at how many stories break canon, though. Some of these are the best stories, but I would have thought the show itself would get more respect, in the sense of authors filling in it’s holes rather than going off on their own AU tangents.

    • ArmySFC says:

      interesting thoughts about FF. funny you should bring up the break from canon. when i first got into FF from another show FF was described as a way to fix what people didn’t like or what they wanted to see happen so they wrote it their way.

      if you look at it the simplest way the only true version of canon is the show itself, once you deviate even a little you break canon. i can’t speak for other writers but i only write AU and mostly far from canon. i try to keep the basic character traits but soften or enhance them. i can’t write chuck as the loser he was at the start, i never liked the fact he never manned up early and asked to be trained to protect himself. so i have him start training and he never gets the 2.0, he does it on his own. you know like the saying when life hands you lemons make lemonade. there are a few authors that fell the same way.

      i guess in the end people just write whatever floats their boat.

      • authorguy says:

        I like the non-canon stories, many of them are my favorites, such as the Three Day Tour and Morgan vs. The IOU. But there’s plenty of space in the show to fill in the gaps with little stories, like Pillow Talk did. I enjoy coming up with ways to do that while staying within canon.

    • atcDave says:

      I think most of the tangents are the product of stories started before certain revelations occured on the show. Stories started very early (S1) can almost be jarring with how little the writers had to work with. But I think broadly speaking, the two major categories of ff are the complete AU, or those that spin off in their own direction from a certain point in canon. Both types can be a lot of fun. I don’t think most writers mean to be “disrespectful” of canon so much as they are exploring alternate paths. There are certain key issues in the show that generate these sort of ideas; one of the biggies being if Chuck and Sarah ever had to run. For obvious reasons the show never really went there beyond a couple of single episodes (Colonel and Honeymooners) and given that those two are very much fan favorites it hardly seems surprising that this would be a popular theme. Obviously with a pretty intense wt/wt period, and some rather painful complications like the cover relationship and “professional ethics” bringing the wt/wt to an end was a popular theme almost from the beginning of the show.
      Other than just exploring options I think writers are more likely to break from canon earlier when they do see something as mismanaged or poorly conceived though. And given the rather large number of us who did dislike several of the S3 story lines I think its not at all surprising that would be fertile ground for creative tampering. And S3 is probably the most significant part of the show when many of us are disrespectful of the canon, it certainly wasn’t like the show I’d been watching for two years, and I was very happy to see writers with better ideas (often MUCH better ideas) take their own stab at making it right.

      It is funny about the “Intersect fix” for Sarah’s memories. The only writer I can think of who really went there was CostasTT in a one-shot (here), and even so his idea was quite different from what the show suggested with the Intersect glasses. The idea of just rewriting Sarah’s memory again isn’t very appealing at all (Costas’ story was clearly about restoring, NOT rewriting!). But even for writers who sort of like the Intersect fix idea, it doesn’t leave much to write about if everything just comes back instantly. Even a fairly quick process like a couple days or weeks allows for some rediscovery and self examination and that’s usually more fun for everyone!

      By the way, welcome to the site! Its always great to have someone new stop by, and at this late date, awesome!

      • authorguy says:

        Thanks Dave, I’m glad to be here. I hope I’ll get some good ideas from listening to all of you riff. My latest is causing me trouble.
        I like the challenge of staying within canon as much as possible. When I was writing Chuck vs. The Epilog I wanted to use the Intersect to fix the issue, even though I do like all the stories that have come out about the memories gradually returning. I like the memories people use or invent for those, especially Sarah vs. The Third Time.
        My story and the New Key are the only two I know that use the Intersect to fix the issue. I went non-canon about the glasses, I suppose, but I tried to stay within what they said about the glasses while filling in what they did not say. And I challenge anyone to say that the climax of Chuck vs. Sarah vs. Sarah (part three of The Epilog) isn’t “some rediscovery and self examination”! The story is up on as a oneshot, but the three sections have separate names. I didn’t know how to upload it as three separate files and by the time I figured it out it had already had a few hundred views so I didn’t see the point of changing it. I wrote the whole story in three days anyway, so it was complete when i put it up.

      • Personally, I like writing canon-compatible, but many types of stories can be fun to read. With my fondness for lists, here are some generalizations:
        – What happens next? stories – continue a story from the end of the episode. When the next episode airs, they become AU, but they weren’t AU when they were written. A lot of post season/series finale stories fall into this category. These are very common in Castle fanfic after almost every episode. Three of my multi-chapter Chuck stories are in this category and my SG-1 stories sort of are.
        – Episode tags or side-stories – normally short stories that sometimes become AU later, but not in significant ways. They aren’t canon, but they are mostly canon-compatible. Fourteen of my stories fit into this category. A lot of the Chuck Me Monday Challenge stories fall into this category. The most impressive FF story I’ve seen is the SG-1 ‘Aftershocks’ series which, so far, is 152 chapters and 1.3mil words of extremely well written, in character, episode tags and connectors. Overall, though, a small percentage of FF authors try this.
        – Fork in the road AU stories – change one key thing and watch what happens. For Chuck, this includes a lot of ‘Sarah leaves Chuck and regrets it’ stories and ‘Chuck isn’t kicked out of Stanford’ stories. Some of these are in fun. Some are in anger. Others are fun but written because of anger.
        – Alternate casting stories – a completely different story using Chuck’s actors for roles in the story. The westerns and musicals are good examples.
        – crack!fic – all bets are off, let’s have some fun. My Bridezilla story is one of these.

    • aerox says:

      I barely read any stories that deal with extended scenes because to me, the appeal lies in the characters and not so much the story that was told to me. It was all fine and dandy, but at its core, Chuck had one of the best casts that a TV show has had for quite some time. Every character worked (for me that is. I know some people loathe(d) Morgan) and that’s what drew me. I didn’t watch it for the spy plots (as entertaining as they were) and I don’t read FF to spell things out for me that I’ve probably seen myself already. I read FF to be amazed by the creativity of others while using a template of the characters I’ve grown to know and love. It’s hard to say what exactly constitutes an In Character moment, but there are plenty of writers (some gone, some still around) that perfectly understand that. And luckily for me, it seems that the AU/AC has become the most prevalent throughout this fandom. Some of my favorite stories deal with thrusting the characters in completely different scenarios (vs the Frontier/Sunken Treasure spring to mind,) That’s not to say I don’t enjoy stories that deviate slightly from canon (Pacific Northwest and RotB still rank as probably my favorite stories ever, A Common Spy Problem hits the nail right on the head) but those too deviate from canon at a certain point and tell their own story (ACSP probably the only one that adheres to canon). But when it comes to stories that are “extended” scenes if you will, that sucks me right out of it, because as much as those people try (and there are very talented people who do these kinds of things) it’s simply not canon, no matter how brilliant or clever.

      On the flipside of that, I know quite a few people that don’t like AUs at all, which if I’m blunt, well, it sucks to be them in this fandom 😛

      • authorguy says:

        As I’ve told you privately and I hope in my reviews, I think the Good Samaritan is a wonderful story, and very AU, as is the Three Day Tour.
        I’m not talking about extended scenes so much as in-between scenes. I love all the characters too, and stories that developed those characters were and are my favorites, but the ones that do that while staying within the lines of the show, like Pillow Talk, get a bit more credit.

      • aerox says:

        Yeah, the message came through loud and clear. Thank you for the praises. They do mean a lot to me.

        I think originality has a large factor to play. Pillow Talk was a unique (as far as I can tell) concept, but I think over the course of the five seasons, there has been a lot that’s been done already. For example, there’s been a new author called Anti-Kryptonite *hopes that HTML works* who wrote beautiful passages about thoughts and moments that defined the characters and it was great, except for the fact that it’s been done a few times before and that dampened the chapters and their impact.

      • aerox says:

        okay so the HTML didn’t work, but the link is here:

      • jam says:

        I enjoy well written AU stories myself. There’s just something fun about Chuck and Sarah meeting in a world where neither of them became spies. Heck, “Walker’s Eleven” and “the Sunken Treasure” are probably the two best Chuck fics I’ve ever read, and great examples of this. (NinjaVanish has a poll up on his FF author page where you can vote for his next project, a Sunken Treasure sequel is one of the options HINT HINT)

        I do prefer Chuck fics (at least the longer ones) having a fair amount of adventure/action in them, and it’s always interesting to see how the authors manage this in an AU world without the spy-setting or the intersect as plot devices. Again, the two fics mentioned above are shining examples of how to do this right.

      • aerox says:

        Pfft, it’s ALL about the Sherlock Holmes/Chuck crossover. God, I’m so ridiculously excited for that one haha. I’m doing one myself although I’ll be using the BBC version rather than the ACD version.

      • atcDave says:

        I can safely say I’ve loved a very broad variety of story types, its almost hard to categorize; and none of you hit on anything that would turn me off cold. I was drawn to the show first for the blend of action and comedy, always a big draw for me. But I quickly fell in love with the characters. Really, pretty much all of them. Although Jeff and Lester matter the least to me, I even enjoy them on occasion for the color and flavor they bring to this world.
        My favorites list even includes stories told primarily from Morgan and Casey’s points of view. But there’s no doubt, the one absolute rule for me is that Chuck and Sarah come across as good characters and end in a good spot (and how “good spot” gets defined varies a lot based on when the story is set in canon). And making either of those two look bad, or having them end badly are the only absolute turn offs I have in ff. Really I have stories with lots of action and explosions, stories that all sentiment and sweet, stories that are crack fiction, and stories that take themselves quite seriously.

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