The All-Human Phenomenon in Twific

The weirdest thing to me when I entered the Twilight fic fandom, was the enormous number of AH (all human) fanfics. I’d only ever been in one other fandom (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, many many years ago), and AH was there, but it was so minimal, and I never read it. I didn’t see the point. I was in the fandom because I loved Joss’s world, the vampires, the demons, the characters, yes, but they never would have been anything like what they were without all the fantasy and supernatural that went with it.

I made an observation on twitter today, having just posted a canon story yesterday, and looking at the review counts on some of my stories.

My canon fics get less than half the average reviews as my AH E/J stuff on FFn, yet I think the canon stuff is better.

It started quite an interesting discussion on why AH fics are more popular.

LyricalKris suggested it’s because so few authors know how to write the Twilight vampires. That’s true, yeah, it is rare to find canon and AU (alternate universe) fics where the author hasn’t taken strange liberties with the Twilight vampire canon. I’ve seen vampires who bleed, those who don’t sparkle in the sun, those without their canon gifts. In AU it doesn’t bother me, if it’s done intentionally, but out of a lack of interest or knowledge of the source material, it’s just wrong.

Thing is, I don’t really understand why it’s so hard to get these details right. You’ve read the books, right? And if you can’t remember accurately what or how, then pick up that damn book and double check.

Of course, I’m a vampire canon nazi. I remember so often back in my Buffy days, I’d be reading a fic and then Angel would start crying tears of blood. Instaflounce. (In case you’ve never watched Buffy, the Buffyverse vamps do cry, but regular tears. Blood tears is an Anne Rice thing.) You’d better not have your Twivamps crying anything, if you want me to keep reading! I’ve used dry sobs, myself, but I try not to have my boys do it too much. No one likes a girly character in a slash fic ;)

But, the mere inability—or fear, as I’ve often heard expressed—to write accurate vampires can’t be the only reason why there’s so much AH.

One thing I’ve heard from twifans a whole lot, even way back before I ventured toward Twilight fanfiction, was the fact that they’d never been into vampires before. A lot hated vampire fiction/TV/movies. Even resisted Twilight because of the vampires, but when they eventually caved they were hooked by…Edward? The romance? The characters?

Now, this is a valid reason why AH fic could be so popular in our fandom.

I’m assuming that those of us who were into vampires and fantasy and supernatural before we read Twilight (I only read it because of the vampires), are the ones who are reading and writing the canon and AU fics?

After our wonderful discussion today, I figure in a lot of cases it’s how we see the Twilight story that affects what kinds of fics we like to read or write. To some, it’s a love story between a girl and a boy, and the fact that one of them is a vampire doesn’t much come into it. To others (or perhaps I should just speak for myself), it is the conflict in the relationship between a human, and a vampire who thirsts for the human’s blood.

Angst, man, fuck yeah!

Of course, being a slash writer, I don’t write about a vampire that thirsts for the blood of a human girl. I write other types of forbidden or doomed to failure relationships. Mortal enemies and father figure stuff. I’m comfortable with my deviancy :D

So. This is what I’ve learnt today.

  • I prefer AH = I came for the romance, not the vampires.
  • I prefer Canon/AU =  Give me the vampires!

Of course we aren’t all going to fall into one camp or another. There’s a lot of crossover. I’ve written AH (but admittedly the only reason I did it that first time was to have somewhere to post and get feedback on a piece of original fiction smut – yeah, I changed the names), I’ve written a lot of AH. But I’m not really interested in reading or writing it now. I love SM’s vampires. They’re pretty unique, as vampires go. I love Edward with the back-story Steph gave him. And I’ve become rather fond of her wolves, as well (I never had any interest in shapeshifters before).

In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m in the vampires camp, which is why I put together the Canon/AU Slash List. Because AH fic is so prevalent here, it can be hard to find the good vamp and wolf fics among them.

I do feel so much better now that I understand a little more why AH might be so popular around here. Thanks so much to my twitter friends, LyricalKris, ICMezzo, CereuleanBlue, evilgiraFF, hidingfromsome1, and HammerHips for talking to me about it!

So, where do you sit on the scale? Strict canon, all human, or somewhere in between? Why do you think you read/write the genre you prefer?

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5 responses to “The All-Human Phenomenon in Twific

  • naelany

    Though I’ve not quite written it (yet!), I’m definitely in the in between camp. Though for me, the love story isn’t exclusive to AH, but can also be found in AU. In fact, I’d rather it be there in some form or another…but a healthy dose of angst surely doesn’t go amiss!

    For me, I’ve simply written what has spoken to me, and up til now, that’s been in the AH camp. Granted, writing slash in and of itself brings with it a deluge of angst already, don’t you think?

    There may be some AU forthcoming in the future. It’s been on my mind, and even have a couple of ideas. I’ve just not had time to flesh them out yet ;-)

  • brokendawn

    Like you, I first read Twilight because of the vampires, and I too enjoy a good canon/AU fic. But I love a good AH fic even more, because as a reader and a writer, I think the genre is much more challenging. To me, the best AH story is one that takes on the challenge of translating the characters’ vampire traits into human attributes. How do you resolve the dichotomy of Edward’s character when you don’t have the vampiric impulses to fall back on as an excuse? What does his bloodlust become in an all-human story? Why, in a non-fantasy realm, would he consider himself a “monster”? These are the issues confronted in the best AH stories, the questions that keep me coming back for more.

    To me, vampires are easy. Humans are the true beasts.

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