We here at the Collective love our fanfiction. I first delved into the fanfiction world almost ten years ago, when I was a quiet and introverted freshman at uni. As college progressed, I didn’t have the time to read like I once did, but once I finished grad school, I jumped right back in only to realize the fanfic ‘verse is MUCH bigger than it was 8 years ago. It’s a bit overwhelming if you’re new to it, especially if you don’t know the lingo, so here is my quick and dirty guide to fanfiction for the newbie.

Choosing the ‘verse

As I’ve said before, the beauty of fanfiction is that it showcases how incredibly creative and talented we fans can be. But, fanfiction is like a drug, and you’ve got to pick the right one that does it for you. Now, before we go any further, if you’ve been to the three biggest fanfiction websites–fanfiction.net (FFN) or archiveofourown.org (AO3) or Wattpad–you’ve probably noticed the excessive use of the exclamation point (!) in the tags. The exclamation point denotes an emphasized characteristic of a character or of the universe in which the fanfiction is set, i.e. Possessive!Draco or Omega!verse. So when it comes to choosing the ‘verse you want to read, be aware that tags with the exclamation point are pretty much the road signs–they’ll take you where you want to go or warn you away from things you don’t want to read.

Some common terms about fanfiction ‘verses:

AU–Alternative Universe. This could be as simple as the story taking place in a coffee shop (a popular setting) or it could be one of the author’s own imagining. Either way, AU means it is not set in the canon.

This is what we call an AU.

The Canon–This term encompasses everything that defines the particular work(s) on which a fandom is based. In other words, everything created by the original author/creators. If it’s in the show/book/movie, it’s canon. Fics are usually labelled as canon or non-canon compliant. (If it’s AU, it’s pretty certain to be non-canon. Most of the time.)

This week, I’m once again abandoning my weekly recap formula. Sorry, I’m not sorry, but I have some things to say about this week’s episode, and it’s just not going to fit into the layout that I do every week.

So, to begin with, let’s talk about what I like in S09 E08: “Rock and a Hard Place.”

….not much.

What I Liked About “Rock and a Hard Place”

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  1. Sheriff Mills returned, and she kicked some ass.
  2. Jared Padalecki is killing it this season. His portrayal of Sam is my new reason to watch the show every week.
  3. Sam’s hair is glorious. (No, seriously, I saw it in person at BurCon last weekend…it really is the stuff of legend.)
  4. Dean’s monologue (you know which one I mean)
  5. The end scene with Sam & Dean…man, that kicked me in the feels. It was honest, and raw, and we see the guilt in every line of Dean’s face. It was brutal and angsty and if it’s a glimpse of what’s to come…ouch. But really, boys, well done. Actually, that was pretty much par for the episode: the only scenes worth watching were the ones between the Winchesters. Scratch that, that’s how I feel about this entire season. I feel like the writing team has forgotten what the show is really about. Let me make it simple for you: it’s about the Winchesters kicking ass and taking names. Forget the other characters for a minute and focus on the important shit. Yes, I love Castiel and Crowley and Kevin and Charlie, but why do I watch the show? For Sam and Dean. Every scene with just J2 in it is spectacular; even if the writers have forgotten what the show is about, the two lead actors sure haven’t. They’ve been at this so long that becoming the Winchesters is like tying their shoes in the morning–it’s habitual and it shows. Sorry, writer of last night’s episode whose name I refuse to commit to memory–if you want to f**k up the character development, you’re going to have to murder the actors. (But really, nice try at sending Dean back to the character development from season 1).

Since it appears that I’ve already begun my ranting, let’s move on to what I didn’t like about this week’s episode. 

bad boys 2

Episode 09×07 AKA the Episode with Winchester Feels

This week I’m struggling to write about this episode. Not because I didn’t like it, on the contrary, but because the episode hit a little too close to home. So forgive me for stilted angsty writing this week; I’ll be back to my snarky self next week.

Synopsis

The writers made a brilliant choice this week in keeping the plot simple. Dean receives a phone call from a man named “Sonny,” who is revealed to be the man in charge of a boys’ home. Dean reveals to Sam that he spent two months there when he was sixteen, and that John Winchester had lied to Sam about it. Dean plays it off nonchalantly, like it wasn’t important, when in fact, it may have been the most significant two months of his childhood. But more on that later.

Sonny calls Dean because of a death on the farm–a man has been skewered by a forklift that no one was driving. Definitely a case for the Winchesters.

As the boys investigate the mysterious death, Dean has flashbacks to his time in the group home. Sixteen-year-old Dean (played by Dylan Everett) is still a smart ass and still following in John Winchester’s footsteps. We see that Dean was not miserable in the group home; Sonny gave him the support, encouragement, and paternal guidance that John Winchester couldn’t; Dean fell in love with a girl named Robin. Sam slowly pieces together what Dean’s life was like on the farm, solving the case of Dean Winchester while Dean hunts down the ghost.

After Ruth, a woman who lives/works on the farm , is killed in a bathtub, and a young boy is injured by the lawnmower, the Winchesters realize that they’re dealing with a rather vengeful ghost who is very protective of one little boy, Timmy.

The ghost is Timmy’s mother, and in one heartbreaking moment, Dean and Sam realize that the ghost isn’t tied to an object. The ghost is connected to Timmy, and Timmy has to let go of his mother so that she can move on into the afterlife and he can move on with his own. 

Bad Boys

Continuing our countdown of our favorite episodes, today I’m focusing on “The Real Ghostbusters” from season 5. Now, season 5 had one of the biggest (and darkest) plot arcs of the show, but I’m choosing to follow the Collectiva Diva’s post from yesterday with another metanarrative exploration of Supernatural. 

I’ve written about this before, but one of my favorite things about this show is that it never takes itself too seriously. Even in the midst of a potential apocalypse and a goddamned showdown between Michael and Lucifer, the writers will toss in a gem like “The Real Ghostbusters” to remind us that, hey, sometimes funny shit happens to the Winchesters too.

Dozens of Winchester cosplayers don’t hurt either.

The Real Ghostbusters

Episode:

S05xE09 AKA the Time the Writers Acknowledged the Fandom by Writing this Episode

Dean’s Best Line:

“No, I’m not a fan, okay. Not fans. In fact, I think the Dean and Sam story sucks. It is not fun, it’s not entertaining. It is a river of crap that would send most people howling to the nuthouse! So you listen to me. Their pain is not for your amusement. I mean, you think they enjoy being treated like-like circus freaks?”

Sam’s Best Line:

Sam: Oh, and Chuck, if you want keep writing Supernatural books, its ok with us.

Chuck: Wow. Really?

Sam: No, not really. We have guns and we’ll find you.

Synopsis:

If you don’t watch SPN, this is going to sound a little insane, but bear with me. The writers of the television show we watch, wrote the characters of the show visiting a convention about a series of books–also called Supernatural–at which the attendees of said convention fangirl and cosplay over the same fictional characters that we, the real audience, do. So we’re watching a fictional representation of  people like ourselves encountering the “real” objects of our fanaticism, and it’s being detailed in parody by the real writers for our amusement.

Somewhere in the first five minutes of the episode, Kripke and Singer take the Colt and shoot the fourth wall.

It’s the writers’ way of acknowledging the fandom, and I love them more for it.