Acceptable Breaks from Canon
"griffon8 pointed out that I've been writing as though Shizune and Misha shared a double room rather than the singles every other student seems to use. Call it artistic license; it doesn't interfere too much with established canon (I think) and isn't even that critical to this story anyways."
While it's very difficult for a story with a big audience to ever reach a consensus, occasionally a single
fact or aspect of the series is modified enough in Fan Fic
vs. the original story that its absence or modification becomes notable within the fandom. This may escalate to the point where fanfics do not bother to note the change in any tags or clarifications and that even sticklers for continuity are generally not bothered by it. This will also happen much more quickly in a tightly-knit fan community. Conversely, it occurs much slower if there's a big Fan Dumb
community, unless they're being actively trolled
Note that "mechanical" changes to make things work in a text medium (reworking a gag because describing a visual isn't funny) or changing an ending because the story covers that period ("soft" AUs
) don't count. The change must be common enough to get fan recognition, deliberate rather than an outright mistake or forgetful Flanderization
, but not actually overshadow the original version of the story (as fanon
can and does).
Common flavors include the following, and may occur separately or together:
- Canon mixing: Borrowing a characterization or concept from another version of the story because they were more popular/interesting/notable even if the rest of the universe appears "normal", or simply more elaborated upon. Frequent in series with many Alternate Continuities (and thus little sense of "true" canon), especially if those other versions aren't as necessarily so well known as others. In extreme cases, writers may create Fridge Brilliance or invoke Broad Strokes outright to explain how even explicitly different versions are both valid interpretations simultaneously.
- Continuity tweak: Avoiding or reworking something that just didn't fly in the audience's mind to make more sense or be less stupid. Again, can become a Fandom Theory with enough support.
- Personality tweak: The toning down/up of a character's personality within "acceptable" bounds, said bounds usually based on... how people write the character in fanfics frequently. Popular with low-emotive characters who are otherwise difficult to write for or who have a popular line (count the usages of Big Damn Heroes in Firefly and then in Firefly Fics, for example).
- Memetic Mashing: The writer incorporates the Memetic Mutation of a character into the work under the challenge of making it mesh believably with the established characterization. Difficult and prone to become very in-jokey if done badly, excellent Fandom Nods when done right.
- Retroactive Discontinuity: A special subset of this where an aspect of a fic that started out canon becomes a break from canon by events of future seasons/books/what have you. Either someone dies, or someone new is introduced, or something new is revealed, what have you, but something happens which changes the canon in ways not reflected in the fanfic.
Compare Fix Fic
, where the story tends to focus entirely
on addressing problems. Also compare Woolseyism