Feb. 10th, 2011

opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So I was reading The Tell-Tale Brain by VS Ramachandran, and incidentally before I get distracted, it's awesome and everyone should read it. It has a fairly large section on art and theories of why it appeals to us based on what's known about the brain and instincts, and it occurred to me to apply it to fanfiction.

One of the reasons it appeals that was mentioned was amplification of the differences from a theoretical average. I think we all have heard about that? It's why caricaturists are popular, why it's fairly common for women to be drawn so stacked with such a narrow waist that a real woman's spine would snap, etc. Basically, you take the things that make what you're drawing special and unique and amplify them.

And I realized that that's what the fanfiction that really appeals to me does - it takes the story tropes that appealed to the fanfiction authors and amplifies them. As an example that's stuck in my head since I've read it, take [livejournal.com profile] harukami's Symbolism, an Utena drabble. Utena is enough of a fantasyland of symbolism and sex and sexual symbolism that it really just works for me in a way that not much fanfiction manages. My favorite sort of fanfiction almost always takes something that really appealed to me about the original series, and amplifies it.

I actually realized this in part because I was poking around for Grand Guignol Orchestra fanfic, and basically realized that I have no idea how anyone could possibly amplify it. I mean. Once canon has crossdressing nuns (one of them arguably double crossdressing) investigating powerful music that will let them slay zombie dolls and possibly destroy the world, where else do you go? I'm sure there's some people who could find a way, but I find it weirdly uninspiring when a series is so over the top that I can't imagine how you could amplify it and still be appealing. ...Come to think of it, I heard that Gurren Lagann have almost no fic for a fandom its size. I wonder if that's why?

I mean, it's not limited to fanfiction in that tons of original works pretty much do the same thing. The entire urban fantasy genre could be said to be started by people reading Anita Blake and going "Why don't I amplify the non-sex parts? I miss them." But it's fairly unusual for original work to be mostly about doing that instead of writing their own story, while a lot of fanfiction I've read and pretty much all I've written is mostly about doing that.

I don't know, what do you think?

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opusculus

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