IDB Book Club

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:15 pm

I guess on the other side of these things, there's the question of if both Dan & Phil need to be in a phanfic, and if they have to have any particular kind of relationship. I think overall it's a less interesting question, but does come into play with phanfic blogs that don't include fics that include D&P but that focus on a pairing other than phan. I don't know that there's anywhere that excludes platonic D&P fic, though, if they're not paired with anyone else.



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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:46 am

Templeofshame wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:15 pm
I guess on the other side of these things, there's the question of if both Dan & Phil need to be in a phanfic, and if they have to have any particular kind of relationship. I think overall it's a less interesting question, but does come into play with phanfic blogs that don't include fics that include D&P but that focus on a pairing other than phan. I don't know that there's anywhere that excludes platonic D&P fic, though, if they're not paired with anyone else.
I think the term phanfic implies that both dan and phil need to be in the fic in some capacity, right? My opinion would be that it could definitely included a platonic relationship, and even romantic/sexual relationships with other people, as long as there was some sort of relationship between dan and phil in the fic (whether that be a canon version of them, or a super au version of them). If only one of them is in the fic, I think that would be a fanfic in the 'dan and phil fandom', but not necessarily a "phanfic". That's just my interpretation of it though. Not that the labeling really matters in the end - I don't use the term 'phanfic' at all, and just call it a fanfic, or dan and phil fanfic, or whatever, so it's all up to personal interpretation I guess.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:56 am

whatdoiknow wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:46 am

I think the term phanfic implies that both dan and phil need to be in the fic in some capacity, right? My opinion would be that it could definitely included a platonic relationship, and even romantic/sexual relationships with other people, as long as there was some sort of relationship between dan and phil in the fic (whether that be a canon version of them, or a super au version of them). If only one of them is in the fic, I think that would be a fanfic in the 'dan and phil fandom', but not necessarily a "phanfic". That's just my interpretation of it though. Not that the labeling really matters in the end - I don't use the term 'phanfic' at all, and just call it a fanfic, or dan and phil fanfic, or whatever, so it's all up to personal interpretation I guess.
Yeah, I think that's why it seems like a less interesting question than the one that's more about what the fanfic part is, because it really seems like semantics, defining "phan." Whereas questions about characterization, authorial intent/framing, and use of canon might go somewhere a little deeper. I dunno.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:12 am

Templeofshame wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:56 am
whatdoiknow wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:46 am

I think the term phanfic implies that both dan and phil need to be in the fic in some capacity, right? My opinion would be that it could definitely included a platonic relationship, and even romantic/sexual relationships with other people, as long as there was some sort of relationship between dan and phil in the fic (whether that be a canon version of them, or a super au version of them). If only one of them is in the fic, I think that would be a fanfic in the 'dan and phil fandom', but not necessarily a "phanfic". That's just my interpretation of it though. Not that the labeling really matters in the end - I don't use the term 'phanfic' at all, and just call it a fanfic, or dan and phil fanfic, or whatever, so it's all up to personal interpretation I guess.
Yeah, I think that's why it seems like a less interesting question than the one that's more about what the fanfic part is, because it really seems like semantics, defining "phan." Whereas questions about characterization, authorial intent/framing, and use of canon might go somewhere a little deeper. I dunno.
I think you still posed an interesting question, because people will still have differing opinions of what that definition is. This whole topic is really interesting.

Going back to what was mentioned on the last page, I've never thought about the possibility of headcanons and 'imagine ifs' being classified as fanfic. I personally don't think those can be classified as fanfic, because I think fanfiction implies there is some sort of intent for a story. Like with fiction books - an actual story is being written. I see headcanons and 'imagines' as more of an outline for a story - kind of what would be in the brainstorming session before a book is actually written, if we keep with the fanfic to book comparison.

Also, going back to the topic of characterization, I think for any fanfic to be classified as a specific fandom fanfic (in this case, 'phanfic'), I think there has to be at least some sort of vague connection between the characterizations of the characters in your fic, and the people or characters you're writing about. Basically, just using the names 'Dan' and 'Phil' isn't going to make it a 'phanfic'. But I guess from there, it's up to the writer's interpretation of how they view Dan and Phil as people, and what they make of that characterization. Basically, I guess as long as there's intent by the writer to keep at least some sort of characterization consistent between the dan and phil in their fic and the real dan and phil, then it can be classified as a 'phanfic'.

As for the question of the use of canon - I don't think canon needs to be applied at all to classify it as a 'phanfic'. I think it's all in the characterization, as per my last point.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:32 am

whatdoiknow wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:12 am
Going back to what was mentioned on the last page, I've never thought about the possibility of headcanons and 'imagine ifs' being classified as fanfic. I personally don't think those can be classified as fanfic, because I think fanfiction implies there is some sort of intent for a story. Like with fiction books - an actual story is being written. I see headcanons and 'imagines' as more of an outline for a story - kind of what would be in the brainstorming session before a book is actually written, if we keep with the fanfic to book comparison.
I often see people on phanfictioncatalogue or places like that trying to find a fic with x plot, and the answer is 'oh that's this hc here.' Some of those might be false identifications or the seeker might be misremembering what it was, but some register in the seeker's memory as being a fic because they're only distinct from phanfic in that the author called them hcs. I wouldn't personally argue that all hcs are fic, but I do think there's gray area. I have included at least one such hc in a fic rec list, so, [shrug]. That's me.
whatdoiknow wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:12 am
Also, going back to the topic of characterization, I think for any fanfic to be classified as a specific fandom fanfic (in this case, 'phanfic'), I think there has to be at least some sort of vague connection between the characterizations of the characters in your fic, and the people or characters you're writing about. Basically, just using the names 'Dan' and 'Phil' isn't going to make it a 'phanfic'. But I guess from there, it's up to the writer's interpretation of how they view Dan and Phil as people, and what they make of that characterization. Basically, I guess as long as there's intent by the writer to keep at least some sort of characterization consistent between the dan and phil in their fic and the real dan and phil, then it can be classified as a 'phanfic'.

As for the question of the use of canon - I don't think canon needs to be applied at all to classify it as a 'phanfic'. I think it's all in the characterization, as per my last point.
Yeah, I guess what I meant by "use of canon" was more or less what you said about needing more than the names Dan and Phil; even if it's not as tangible as Buffy binges or Youtube or factual events, it seems to me that there's some kind of interpretation of canon that happens any time someone decides what traits to keep in a fic that's not trying to keep them all.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:53 am

Templeofshame wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:32 am
I often see people on phanfictioncatalogue or places like that trying to find a fic with x plot, and the answer is 'oh that's this hc here.' Some of those might be false identifications or the seeker might be misremembering what it was, but some register in the seeker's memory as being a fic because they're only distinct from phanfic in that the author called them hcs. I wouldn't personally argue that all hcs are fic, but I do think there's gray area. I have included at least one such hc in a fic rec list, so, [shrug]. That's me.
Ohh okay, that's interesting! Maybe it's because I don't usually see headcanons on tumblr, or rather, the ones I do see are very short, like a few sentences of the person mentioning their headcanons. But now that I'm thinking about it, I remember seeing these types of headcanons in a past fandom that could probably be classified as a short fic by some people. So yeah, you're right, there is a grey area there. I guess it would depend on the context, like the way the headcanon is written. I'm not sure how to word this right, but a fic would be more in the structure where it reads like a story, whereas a headcanon would read more as "I think Dan and Phil do this... blah blah blah". (that was a poor example, but hopefully you get my point).
Yeah, I guess what I meant by "use of canon" was more or less what you said about needing more than the names Dan and Phil; even if it's not as tangible as Buffy binges or Youtube or factual events, it seems to me that there's some kind of interpretation of canon that happens any time someone decides what traits to keep in a fic that's not trying to keep them all.
Hmm yeah. I interpret 'canon' to mean including real aspects of their lives. So, either actually being very canon compliant, like having them be youtubers and following the same path of their lives. Or, alternatively, the fic could be an AU, but also contain 'canon' elements, like including references to things they have mentioned doing/liking/whatever in real life.

I guess a fic that I wouldn't consider 'canon' but I would still consider a 'phanfic' because it is in character, would be something that didn't remotely mention any 'real life' references, but kept them in character (i.e. the same physical descriptions, and some of the same emotional/mental characteristics - for example, them being introverts, Dan struggling with depression, Phil being clumsy, etc etc).

I think we're basically talking about the same thing, but that's where I would make the distinction.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:20 am

I agree that if it starts with a "I think they do this" or some framing thing like an "imagine" I wouldn't consider that fic. I do think there are stylistic differences; I looked back at the one I was thinking of, and I think it's notable that it doesn't have a title and there's less attention to capitalization and punctuation than you'd generally see in a fic. But to me, the differences are in presentation, not in the actual nature of the story and how it's told.

Yeah, I'm just considering something as small as "Phil is clumsy" to be use of canon (on a spectrum that goes to well-researched, canon compliant fic). I think the reference to physical description is interesting; in some low-characterization phanfic, I feel like there's reliance on physical description to attach to the idea that it's D&P. But now I'm getting off topic thinking of the types of appearance modification we see in phanfic; you might get species changes (cat, mermaid, alien), cis swap, aesthetic things (i.e. punk and pastel) or height/size changes, but I think it's pretty rare to change their appearances in other ways, and within each of those they're generally still going to have some semblance of hair/eye colors. I don't have a point, I just find it kind of interesting that some aspects of appearance seem more essential to the characterization than other attributes.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:41 am

Templeofshame wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:20 am
I agree that if it starts with a "I think they do this" or some framing thing like an "imagine" I wouldn't consider that fic. I do think there are stylistic differences; I looked back at the one I was thinking of, and I think it's notable that it doesn't have a title and there's less attention to capitalization and punctuation than you'd generally see in a fic. But to me, the differences are in presentation, not in the actual nature of the story and how it's told.
Yes, stylistic differences, that's what I was trying to convey. Thanks for explaining that so much better than I could! I do see fics posted on ao3 that don't adhere to all the rules of capitalization, punctuation, etc. and I still consider them fics. But essentially, yeah, I think we're mostly on the same wavelength here if I'm understanding correctly.
Yeah, I'm just considering something as small as "Phil is clumsy" to be use of canon (on a spectrum that goes to well-researched, canon compliant fic). I think the reference to physical description is interesting; in some low-characterization phanfic, I feel like there's reliance on physical description to attach to the idea that it's D&P. But now I'm getting off topic thinking of the types of appearance modification we see in phanfic; you might get species changes (cat, mermaid, alien), cis swap, aesthetic things (i.e. punk and pastel) or height/size changes, but I think it's pretty rare to change their appearances in other ways, and within each of those they're generally still going to have some semblance of hair/eye colors. I don't have a point, I just find it kind of interesting that some aspects of appearance seem more essential to the characterization than other attributes.
Yeah, I can see how that could be deemed as 'canon'. It's a very vague term when you get down to it, especially in terms of rpf as opposed to characters from a tv show or something.

That's a really good point about physical descriptions too! Like you said, there's usually at least some physical attribute that the author references that still relates to the real person even if they're an entirely different species (like you said, hair or eye colour, or something of that sort). I'm not sure if they're actually 'more essential' or if they're just the easiest thing to keep the same? Like, if you're going to change species completely, you can't exactly keep the same height, body shape, etc, so you have to go with the physical attributes that are common to most species, such as eyes. The same with cis swap - you'll have different body shapes (and parts) going on, but you can still easily keep the same hair and eye colour.

(Ah I was meant to be going to sleep, but I couldn't resist replying again because I'm finding this really interesting)

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by huphilpuffs » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:38 am

Hello! I'm a new poster here so I first want to apologize if it seems like I'm butting into anything, but I found this discussion really interesting and wanted to chime in. I think a lot of what was said above is fairly consistent with my view of things, but here are some rambles:

I think what makes something a phanfic rather than merely a fanfic can be fairly simple to define. As you guys said, the presence of both Dan and Phil with some relationship between them, no matter the nature of that relationship. But I think another thing that differentiates it, to me, is the focus of the story. I think their relationship should be one of the central characteristics. While plot and other dynamics can certainly be the most important, I wouldn't necessairly consider a fic about, say, Phil and PJ together with platonic dnp as a side relationship to really be a phanfic, even though they're both included and have a relationship with each other.

I also think it's difficult to define what makes dnp, well, dnp in a fic. I've certainly read stories where it seemed as though one, or both of them, had a completely different personality than they actually do, although their general appearance was the same. Stories, for example, where Phil is punk and has piercings, smokes and is rude to everyone around him while simultaneously being a total player. It's difficult, no matter the presence of blue eyes and some clumsiness, to say that such a presentation of him is intentionally trying to maintain his characterization. Yet at the same time, linking that presentation to Dan and Phil is quite easy given the traits, often physical, that they do share. I think for this it might depend more on intent than anything else, to me. A writer who knows nothing about dnp could easily create a character who they happen to name Phil who has black hair and blue eyes, and is perhaps rather kind to everyone, and yet that wouldn't be phanfic either. Whereas a writer could just as easily give Phil purple hair and red contact lenses and make him an extreme extrovert, with the intention of it being Phil in mind, and that story, for categorization sake. would still be phanfic to me. Bad phanfic, probably, but still phanfic.

The conversation about what separates an hc from a fic was super interesting to read! I often found myself agreeing with everyone's opinions at once (oops). I'm not actually sure what differentiates it for me? Perhaps an hc should just be considered a subset of fanfic the way drabbles or aus could be considered as such. When reading them, I find the main differences between an hc and a fic are generally the formatting and the writing style. hcs, in my experience, tend to have a lot more action, some dialogue, and very little narration. setting, for example, often seems irrelevant if it doesn't directly affect the characters. But looking at this, its difficult for me to see it as a fundamental divergence from story, when equally so there are definitely fics on ao3 with limited narration or development of setting. It makes me think, again, that perhaps the main separation comes from intent? I'm not sure, however, what those two intents would be. I would suggest that the intent of fic is the develop of story, while the intention of hcs are to tell a snapshot, but there are definitely fics that tell simple snapshots and probably things formatted like hcs that tell a more in depth story. I'm really not sure. I'd love to keep hearing your thoughts as I mull it over a little more. :)
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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:50 pm

huphilpuffs wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:38 am
But I think another thing that differentiates it, to me, is the focus of the story. I think their relationship should be one of the central characteristics. While plot and other dynamics can certainly be the most important, I wouldn't necessairly consider a fic about, say, Phil and PJ together with platonic dnp as a side relationship to really be a phanfic, even though they're both included and have a relationship with each other.
I would tend to agree with this, that whatever the relationship is between D&P, it should be central to the fic (e.g., light through an open door contains kickthesticks, but it isn't a kickthesticks fic, because the phan relationship is central). This is kind of making me realize that maybe the fic I just posted isn't actually a phanfic, because to me the relationship between Dan & Phil is a given and the backdrop, but the fic isn't really about it. I think that's okay but it maybe feels weirder when there isn't another ship to be the central ship?

On your point about characterization and intention, it makes sense (my concept of a spectrum based on how central the characterization is and how much they feel like D&P is very subjective), but I think a lot of assumptions have to be made about intention? Like, if someone presents a fic as phanfic, we assume that their intent was for D&P to be D&P, and that's a pretty solid assumption, but I also feel like there are reasons that characters might not feel like D&P besides a failed attempt at the characterization. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I can think of circumstances where a writer might choose to present something as phanfic even if the original creative impulse wasn't to write a piece of phanfic. And I wouldn't argue that that's fake phanfic or anything, and it wouldn't be feasible necessarily to identify, I guess maybe all I'm saying is that it might be more about the author's choice of how to present the story than about creative intent. I guess maybe the obvious choice would be to look at 50 Shades of Gray: is it, according to its original creative intent, Twilight fanfic? Is it an original novel as it has been presented? Can it be both? I guess it's an original novel adapted from a fanfic (to be clear, I haven't read either form, so I don't know anything really). So maybe that's what something would be if it's presented as phanfic while the original creative intent was specific to Dan & Phil. Not that we'd know unless the writer tells us.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by lefthandedism » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:04 am

I'm excited to see all the discussion!

Head canons: I hadn't thought about head canons (and their interesting characteristic that they escape the label of phanfic and thus often get more widely distributed than more traditional fics). I certainly think hcs fit our definitions so far.

Characterization: I do agree with @Templeofshame that characterization is key. We want Dan to feel like Dan and Phil to feel like Phil, and hair and eye color aren't enough. Of course, "feeling" they are in character is certainly subjective, and everyone has a slightly different idea of what their characters are. One of the most interesting kinds of phanfic to me is where the author draws Dan or Phil in a novel way, which makes you think about whether you really know this person (this character!) at all. A great example of this is by queerofcups (if you haven't read everything they have written you should do so immediately!). In one to love you sweetly (warning: E rated), there is the line "Phil, who keeps his circles small and obligations few, can’t really bring himself to care enough to figure out....". This is not a typical characterization of Phil--someone who is pleasant and well-liked, but doesn't actually care much one way or another about people outside his small circle. But it made me think, and it's not really inconsistent with what we know. So, characterization isn't simply a tool for proving we're talking about Dan and Phil here, but for exploring who Dan and Phil are.

Role of the relationship: While I think there are three key elements of phanfiction--a Dan, a Phil, and a relationship between them--I don't think that relationship has to be the central relationship to the narrative. For example, most parent!phan focuses on parent-child relationship(s) with the Deppy relationship much more of a given. As long as those three key elements exist, we are in a phanfic universe and from there anything goes (or does it?).
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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:05 pm

lefthandedism wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:04 am
Characterization: I do agree with @Templeofshame that characterization is key. We want Dan to feel like Dan and Phil to feel like Phil, and hair and eye color aren't enough. Of course, "feeling" they are in character is certainly subjective, and everyone has a slightly different idea of what their characters are. One of the most interesting kinds of phanfic to me is where the author draws Dan or Phil in a novel way, which makes you think about whether you really know this person (this character!) at all. A great example of this is by queerofcups (if you haven't read everything they have written you should do so immediately!). In one to love you sweetly (warning: E rated), there is the line "Phil, who keeps his circles small and obligations few, can’t really bring himself to care enough to figure out....". This is not a typical characterization of Phil--someone who is pleasant and well-liked, but doesn't actually care much one way or another about people outside his small circle. But it made me think, and it's not really inconsistent with what we know. So, characterization isn't simply a tool for proving we're talking about Dan and Phil here, but for exploring who Dan and Phil are.
I definitely think the role of interpretation is important in how characterization works, and sometimes it's kind of the thesis of a fic. Sometimes fics take accepted characterizations and put focus on nuances or the situation they're put in, but sometimes it's 'what if we extrapolate other stuff from this thing we know about them?' or 'what if we interpret this external thing as telling us internal character things we haven't considered?' I love that. I love getting new perspectives on who these guys are, or could be, from what we know, what we don't, and what we imagine.
lefthandedism wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:04 am
Role of the relationship: While I think there are three key elements of phanfiction--a Dan, a Phil, and a relationship between them--I don't think that relationship has to be the central relationship to the narrative. For example, most parent!phan focuses on parent-child relationship(s) with the Deppy relationship much more of a given. As long as those three key elements exist, we are in a phanfic universe and from there anything goes (or does it?).
I think, for better or worse, the way we categorize fic does revolve around pairings, so if there's no other, more prominent pairing, it's probably phanfic (e.g. parent!phan), but if you've got Dan and Phil and a different central pairing, it's likely to be categorized according to that pairing (e.g. phimmy with Dan as a side character) rather than as phanfic.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:26 pm

Templeofshame wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:05 pm
I think, for better or worse, the way we categorize fic does revolve around pairings, so if there's no other, more prominent pairing, it's probably phanfic (e.g. parent!phan), but if you've got Dan and Phil and a different central pairing, it's likely to be categorized according to that pairing (e.g. phimmy with Dan as a side character) rather than as phanfic.
Hmm I see your point. But does phanfic refer to fic about the pairing 'phan', or does it refer to fic within the scope of the phandom? Because if you interpret phanfic to mean fanfiction that is about the 'phandom', then as long as Dan and Phil are in the fic and there's some sort of relationship between them, would it still qualify as a 'phanfic'? Like, with your example, couldn't it be both a 'phimmy' fic and a 'phanfic', if we're using the broader 'fandom' definition of 'phan'?

I think it's a bit of a trickier thing to define, because phanfic can mean both 'phan' the pairing, and the 'phandom'. A lot of other fandoms are easier to define this for. Like, if we took a one direction fic for example - if it was a fic about, say, harry dating zayn, with louis as a side character, it would be a 1D fic, but not a 'larry' fic. But since 'phan' and 'phandom' are two separate things, 'phanfic' isn't as easy to define, I don't think.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:47 pm

whatdoiknow wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:26 pm

Hmm I see your point. But does phanfic refer to fic about the pairing 'phan', or does it refer to fic within the scope of the phandom? Because if you interpret phanfic to mean fanfiction that is about the 'phandom', then as long as Dan and Phil are in the fic and there's some sort of relationship between them, would it still qualify as a 'phanfic'? Like, with your example, couldn't it be both a 'phimmy' fic and a 'phanfic', if we're using the broader 'fandom' definition of 'phan'?

I think it's a bit of a trickier thing to define, because phanfic can mean both 'phan' the pairing, and the 'phandom'. A lot of other fandoms are easier to define this for. Like, if we took a one direction fic for example - if it was a fic about, say, harry dating zayn, with louis as a side character, it would be a 1D fic, but not a 'larry' fic. But since 'phan' and 'phandom' are two separate things, 'phanfic' isn't as easy to define, I don't think.
I guess it gets more tangled there, because to me fics that involve Dan or Phil but not both would fall within the scope of the phandom, but I know at least some phanfic stuff explicitly excludes them (Dan/reader or Phil/reader being the most common examples that come up, but I'd expect places that exclude those to also exclude phimmy, danrific, amazingskies, etc. if the other half isn't involved). You make a good point about the differentiation, and maybe that's why the ao3 tag specifies the phandom (as well as explicitly including Chris & PJ and thus fic that's fully outside the phanfic scope) to be inclusive beyond "phan." But even something like Phandom Fic Fests, with an inclusive title, specifies it is for fic that "features Dan and Phil as the main pairing," which might include platonic/brotp D&P, but would exclude my phimmy example.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:35 am

Just to complicate my own point with the example of Phandom Fic Fests, I noticed that while the main guidelines include "features Dan and Phil as the main pairing" as I had quoted, in the FAQs we get "we only ask that the main pairing include Dan or Phil." If I were writing an essay, I'd use it as potential evidence that no one has really decided whether phanfic has to be about "Dan & Phil" or just within the phandom.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by huphilpuffs » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:21 am

(Yes it's 2am and no I'm totally not writing this to procrastinate homework idk why you'd think such a thing.)

This isn't totally relevant to the place the convos at now, but I was reading more hcs over the last few days and noticed something else that I think might help differentiate them from fic. A lot of the ones I read used "ing" verbs almost exclusively, as though the writer was presenting a hypothetical rather than a story. It's actually quite similar to how I, in my stories, would describe Dan or Phil imagining somethings (ex: Dan could imagine Phil stepping towards him, reaching up to cradle his jaw, and leaning in to press their lips together). It's obviously not a rule about hcs, since many people characterize their work as hcs but use other verb forms, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

Besides that, the conversation of phan (ship) vs phandom is really interesting. I keep trying to mentally find the boundaries of each definition, and yet can't really define them for myself, much less indicate what I think should actually define either. I think, either way, I'd need at least Dan or Phil to be one of the main characters. However, I still don't think I'd consider a fic with just one of them a phanfic. It would still belong in the phandom tag on tumblr, but I think that the word phanfic implies Phil + Dan + fic. Idk. As someone said previously, I think it's because we tend to define stories by their romantic (or main platonic, if there is no romance) pairing, so a fic that, for example, is about Dan and Nick Jonas, would be a dick fic in my opinion, rather than a phanfic. (Yes, I chose Nick Jonas solely so I could say "dick fic").

Another example to maybe complicate things: I wonder how you guys would characterize fics with story lines that focus on a dnp platonic pairing, with a secondary character love interest. For example, a story about how dnp's friendship handles Dan's new relationship with Nick Jonas. Phanfic or dick fic or phandom fic or ....?

It's almost like we need a word for fic focusing on the pairing and a word for fic focusing on either both or just one of them outside of that pairing. Like phanfic and dnp fic or something. :reading1:

(okay back to homework not that I got that off my mind.)
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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by lefthandedism » Mon May 21, 2018 4:10 am

:reading1: Second Meta-Question for the IDB Book Club :reading2:

It's been a month since the first question (What makes a written work a phanfic?)--time to tackle the next one!

When talking about what makes a phanfic, a lot of us referenced characterization: somehow the characters of Dan and Phil have to be drawn so that they are recognizable as Dan and Phil.

What role does characterization play in making a work a phanfic?

Is characterization about physical attributes? Recognizable behaviors? Known (canon) history? How they relate to each other?

What if they are ghosts? Or kittens? What if they are in an AU with no reference to canon (like another planet a million years from now)? What if their relationship is platonic/they never meet/they are stepbrothers?

Do the characters "Dan" and "Phil" have to be, in some essential way, like the real-life Dan and Phil?

Or, how do we know it's Dan and Phil?
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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Mon May 21, 2018 7:25 pm

This question is kind of too big on my reading and I didn't mean to write this much or this messy:

I feel like different fics have very different approaches, even outside of the canon/AU divide.
Some fic takes a sort of passive characterization approach, if they're not really about character arcs/interpretation/nuance, where the reader is sort of assumed to bring their own presupposed idea of D&P's characterization to the fic. It's sort of a shorthand to be like 'you know Dan & Phil? Great, so they're doing this thing.' Then the fic can focus on other things, like plot or worldbuilding or what the specific relationship dynamic between D&P is that they're exploring. To me, fics where the characterization is mainly in physical or superficial attributes falls into this category, with those facts serving more to remind us of who we're bringing to the BYOD&P party than serving to actually develop a character.

In active characterizations, it's hard to generalize because there are so many different approaches. I don't think it has so much to do with who they "really are," because we can't really know that, but Obviously, you get well-researched canon fic and stuff that's more about the psychological realism of capturing who we understand them to be. And some fic take well-researched canon details and weave them into AUs or make them technically canon-compliant while having D&P act in ways we understand to be uncharacteristic behind the scenes. Which I guess goes back to it not being about who they "really are" so much as what feels true to us, as phandom readers, as them and what we're here for. I feel like it's like The Things They Carried: “A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth." Sorry if that's the most pretentious thing I could have said.

Anyways. I think some characterizations really ring true based on capturing their voices and/or mannerisms (like last night's 'where's mine?' by iihappydaysii), and that's a really intimidating thing to me when I try to write something. Some fic can almost be like a thesis statement of a less widely accepted interpretation of D or P, backing it up with canon references or ways that things might be extrapolated from more commonly accepted takes on the character. And I think the psychological truth one is hardest for me to put a finger on, but really key. There can be psychological truth in characterizations whether or not they feel like D&P, but sometimes it does kind of convince you that you're looking in their heads, or watching them off camera, in a real, deep way.

I think the characterization can also be in the relationship more than in the individual characters, or in their behavior together. When I started out reading fic, I didn't understand how anything could feel like D&P if they weren't best friends, Youtubers/similar, or both. Obviously I've broadened by horizons and it can be great when they're strangers in a coffee shop, or cats, or ghosts, etc. But I also think sometimes, I can read an AU that's far removed from canon in all the ways, and it can not feel heavily D&P to me, and that can be fine. It can be strong characterization for its own story with a hint of D&P flavor. And that's a thing I might not say because I don't want to upset any writers if that wasn't their intention, but I can enjoy it as much as something that feels real, if the story is strong.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Thu May 24, 2018 9:06 pm

This is a super-self-indulgent post to make, but I made a post today as a joke that I realized kind of touches on the question about characterization: "who says jimmy can't be a latina woman with a septum piercing."

This was intended to make fun of my personal theory that Dan's ex in strangers would be based on jimmy0010, but it raises the question as in AUs: can Jimmy be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? If Dan and Phil can be cats or ghosts or toddlers, astronauts, etc., what would it take for Jimmy to be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? I joked to Sarah about writing a fic about Liv going to Gregg's, but like... part of me is tempted to see what it would take.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by alittledizzy » Thu May 24, 2018 9:50 pm

Templeofshame wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 9:06 pm
This is a super-self-indulgent post to make, but I made a post today as a joke that I realized kind of touches on the question about characterization: "who says jimmy can't be a latina woman with a septum piercing."

This was intended to make fun of my personal theory that Dan's ex in strangers would be based on jimmy0010, but it raises the question as in AUs: can Jimmy be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? If Dan and Phil can be cats or ghosts or toddlers, astronauts, etc., what would it take for Jimmy to be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? I joked to Sarah about writing a fic about Liv going to Gregg's, but like... part of me is tempted to see what it would take.
To me there is definitely a line of believably in how far you can put someone else in a different situation and still have them read as the same characters.

Making Dan and Phil cats is putting them into completely blank canvases; it's absurd but it works because because you understand from the word go that "Dan and Phil are cats" requires suspension of disbelief, and you make the choice to either commit to it or pass because it's not really your thing.

But to take another fully formed human being with a different past, different upbringing, different career, and say "In this fic, this is Dan." would lose me. To pluck out a common example out of the sky, I'm not into fic that has them as American teenagers set in the year 2018. The writer is removing too much of what makes them who they are and in most cases not giving me any background as to why they'd be the same people if they were raised in a different environment, in a different decade, with different social and political influences, different formative experiences. I'm not saying it's absolutely impossible, just that it's rare that I'm not consistently thrown out of a story where something I'm expected to have the same suspension of disbelief as I would with a cat story except it's also being treated as though nothing about them would be different with all these different factors at play.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by whatdoiknow » Fri May 25, 2018 1:34 am

alittledizzy wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 9:50 pm
Templeofshame wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 9:06 pm
This is a super-self-indulgent post to make, but I made a post today as a joke that I realized kind of touches on the question about characterization: "who says jimmy can't be a latina woman with a septum piercing."

This was intended to make fun of my personal theory that Dan's ex in strangers would be based on jimmy0010, but it raises the question as in AUs: can Jimmy be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? If Dan and Phil can be cats or ghosts or toddlers, astronauts, etc., what would it take for Jimmy to be a Latina woman with a septum piercing? I joked to Sarah about writing a fic about Liv going to Gregg's, but like... part of me is tempted to see what it would take.
To me there is definitely a line of believably in how far you can put someone else in a different situation and still have them read as the same characters.

Making Dan and Phil cats is putting them into completely blank canvases; it's absurd but it works because because you understand from the word go that "Dan and Phil are cats" requires suspension of disbelief, and you make the choice to either commit to it or pass because it's not really your thing.

But to take another fully formed human being with a different past, different upbringing, different career, and say "In this fic, this is Dan." would lose me. To pluck out a common example out of the sky, I'm not into fic that has them as American teenagers set in the year 2018. The writer is removing too much of what makes them who they are and in most cases not giving me any background as to why they'd be the same people if they were raised in a different environment, in a different decade, with different social and political influences, different formative experiences. I'm not saying it's absolutely impossible, just that it's rare that I'm not consistently thrown out of a story where something I'm expected to have the same suspension of disbelief as I would with a cat story except it's also being treated as though nothing about them would be different with all these different factors at play.
I like the point about the suspension of disbelief and where that line is. I think dizzy covered it all so I don't really have anything interesting to add to that point, but I definitely agree that's a huge factor in which fics I choose to read and enjoy.

I think even more important (for me) than the different 'environments' or even 'physical characteristics' is the actual characterization and personalities of the dan and phil in the fic. No matter how good the writing is, I wouldn't be able to read a fic where, for example, Dan was suddenly a super positive person who loved being around people and favourite colour was yellow. They have to feel at least somewhat like the 'real' dan and phil to me - which is why, to use the cat example above, I could still really enjoy a fic where they are cats as long as I find the characterizations really on point. And actually, for fics where they are cats (or ghosts or whatever other non-human example), the writer actually needs to rely on strong characterization to sell the 'dan and phil' aspect of the story, since they can't fall back on physical/environmental similarities or anything of that sort, so those stories can actually be 'stronger' (at least in terms of good characterization) than canon fics.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by Templeofshame » Fri May 25, 2018 8:24 pm

whatdoiknow wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 1:34 am

I think even more important (for me) than the different 'environments' or even 'physical characteristics' is the actual characterization and personalities of the dan and phil in the fic. No matter how good the writing is, I wouldn't be able to read a fic where, for example, Dan was suddenly a super positive person who loved being around people and favourite colour was yellow. They have to feel at least somewhat like the 'real' dan and phil to me - which is why, to use the cat example above, I could still really enjoy a fic where they are cats as long as I find the characterizations really on point. And actually, for fics where they are cats (or ghosts or whatever other non-human example), the writer actually needs to rely on strong characterization to sell the 'dan and phil' aspect of the story, since they can't fall back on physical/environmental similarities or anything of that sort, so those stories can actually be 'stronger' (at least in terms of good characterization) than canon fics.
I agree on personality being more important; I find the argument about suspension of disbelief interesting, but I think the personality thing is maybe why that's not my experience? Like, I think it's harder to do well the further you get from being able to draw on specifics, but for me, it's no easier to buy cats as D&P than to buy American teenagers as D&P. Either someone can sell me on sharing the "spirit" of who they are as people, or not. For me I think pastel/punk might be the exception, because that tends to be extrapolated into personality in a way that overpowers the sense of Dan or Phil about a character and doesn't quite compute for me.

I think the other thing is, is the writer trying to tell a story about what D&P would do/be if they were in a different situation, or are they trying to use the personalities and relationship dynamics in another world? To me, sometimes phanfic AUs are a sort of counterfactual history, but they don't have to be. So maybe if D&P were younger, Phil would be less likely to be obsessed with Buffy, or if D&P were American, Dan's uni experience would be vastly different, but it doesn't ultimately bother me if someone wants to put the D&P personalities as we know them into those situations without saying 'well... but maybe he wouldn't have dropped out of uni if he didn't have to declare a major until sophomore year' or whatever (that was a bad example because I don't actually understand how uni works). I guess I just see those as different goals, and I like the counterfactual history kind, but the idea of 'but he would be a fundamentally different person if he grew up in Iowa' can be true and also not get in the way of my enjoyment.

I feel like in trans, ace, or medical/disability based fics, you maybe get the most sense of imagining who they would be if their internal and/or societal circumstances were different, as opposed to external circumstances or choices. And I think those can still go into both categories, in terms of how much impact that one change has on their character, but I think it's really interesting to see imaginings that take that stuff into account. I guess you could get this with cisswap, but I don't think I've seen it particularly addressed that way (maybe I haven't read any cisswap long enough to get into how they'd be different with the social consequences of being women). It would be admittedly a lot to do anything intelligent by race bending and gender bending at the same time (not to get into any other aspects of that particular character), and I do feel like there would be more expectation of justification (like, what were you trying to say or explore by making Jimmy a Latina woman? whereas people probably ask that less with cats). Sort of like when I see a production that decides to set A Midsummer Night's Dream in a school or something, I'm gonna want to come away from that knowing what made them want to do that and what came to the surface that wouldn't otherwise.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by obsessivelymoody » Fri May 25, 2018 9:17 pm

I think that unless otherwise stated, Dan and Phil's physical attributes are going to stay pretty much the same, and while they may be effective in fics where they aren't human or Dan and Phil as we know them, their appearances do nothing to characterise them.

When reading phanfic, I tend to look for the traits that reflect Dan and Phil as we know them. Similar to what whatdoiknow said, I find it difficult to read fic where Dan and Phil lack any semblance of themselves. It's why, of example, I often can't get on board things like with pastel-punk aus because I have yet to find one where Dan and Phil are Dan and Phil (though I'm not sure they would be my thing regardless), and not essentially just ocs with their names and appearances.
Templeofshame wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:24 pm
I feel like in trans, ace, or medical/disability based fics, you maybe get the most sense of imagining who they would be if their internal and/or societal circumstances were different, as opposed to external circumstances or choices. And I think those can still go into both categories, in terms of how much impact that one change has on their character, but I think it's really interesting to see imaginings that take that stuff into account. I guess you could get this with cisswap, but I don't think I've seen it particularly addressed that way (maybe I haven't read any cisswap long enough to get into how they'd be different with the social consequences of being women). It would be admittedly a lot to do anything intelligent by race bending and gender bending at the same time (not to get into any other aspects of that particular character), and I do feel like there would be more expectation of justification (like, what were you trying to say or explore by making Jimmy a Latina woman? whereas people probably ask that less with cats). Sort of like when I see a production that decides to set A Midsummer Night's Dream in a school or something, I'm gonna want to come away from that knowing what made them want to do that and what came to the surface that wouldn't otherwise.
I totally agree with what you're saying here, and to be honest, those are the kinds of fic that I like to read. I find it fascinating to see the authors interpretation of their character when put into a very different situation from their irl lives. However, I'm often turned off by those fics because I've found that Dan and Phil have been written basically as ocs, which to me defeats the purpose of putting them in those situations. Maybe that's me trying to glean meaning from everything, but I don't see the point of, for example, giving Dan a disability but taking away many aspects of his personality. To me, that makes no sense because I think taking away either of their personalities as we know them doesn't leave a lot of room for the reflection and development of their characters in those kinds of aus. I'm sure that's me being nit picky, but if there's no intent to look at how Dan and Phil's characters change when put in those situations, is there any point in using them to tell that story besides the ease of names and appearance? But I think that all that pretty much all I've said here comes down to my own personal definition of what makes a phanfic a phanfic.

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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by huphilpuffs » Wed May 30, 2018 6:59 am

I know I'm pretty late to this discussion, but I've been away from IBD because I've been sick and figured I'd catch up now. It was all really interesting to read, so I figured I'd add some slightly belated thoughts. (Apologies in advance for not quoting what I'm responding to.)

The whole suspension of disbelief thing is really interesting, but I also don't really have anything to add.

I agree that personality is a really important part of characterization. For me, I'd say its unarguably the most important part. You can plop Dan or Phil into any job, or change their appearance in whatever way, but if they still act like I think dnp would, I don't really care much about those other factors. I find that it's extremely difficult (or impossible) to get perfect, but whenever I fic has dialogue or specific actions that practically mirror how I imagine dnp behaving, it's always amazing. I do think that when people mess with, say, careers or appearance or other extrinsic factors, there's less leeway for their personality, at least for me.

Adding onto @obsessivelymoody's point about personality in ace, trans, disability, etc. fics, I agree a lot, though I also understand why sometimes those fics have really poor characterization. I think a lot of these stories are written for the sake of the circumstance, not the characters. Drawing from my own experience, writing flares was for the purpose of writing a fic about fibro, not a fic about Dan with fibro. Dan was simply the most suitable character to apply the illness to. I try to keep it in character. For me, as a writer, trying to place their personalities in certain social circumstances is part of the fun, but I can understand why people who want to tell xyz story and just so happen to use dnp for it wouldn't necessarily apply that same effort. Say, for example, someone really specifically wanted to write a story about dealing with a disability as an athlete, and Dan was the most comfortable character for them to use. Writing that story could require some changes to Dan's personality (say, he'd need to be athletic, and probably someone motivated, dedicated and organized enough to get to a level of professionalism in sport where his disability would be significant). But the author may still choose to use Dan, either because he's someone they're familiar with, or because, hey, slapping dnp's names on a story is a great way to get at least some people to read it, regardless of characterization. I think that, for me, though, this only draws my attention more to characterization flaws, as a reader. It becomes glaringly obvious to me that the fic is meant to be an 'athlete deals with disability' fic ft. dnp, rather than a phanfic.

Just one last random thought to add: I think that the importance of characterization in a fic varies a lot depending on other qualities in the story. I already mentioned that I think keeping dnp's extrinsic factors intact gives an author more leeway on their personality. More than that, though, I think the general plot line of the fic matters a lot. Take, for example, the punkxpastel american high school aus. Even though they're far from my favourite, if the story is a one-shot about pastel!Dan having a crush on punk!Phil, I can deal with it enough to enjoy a fluffy story. But if the same scenario was used to write an in-depth story dealing with bullying, homophobia, and gender roles, poor characterization would bother me way more. I think that the more complex emotions in a story are, the more important characterization seems. I'd be interested to see if you guys have similar experiences.
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Re: IDB Book Club

Post by alittledizzy » Wed May 30, 2018 5:04 pm

huphilpuffs wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 6:59 am
Adding onto @obsessivelymoody's point about personality in ace, trans, disability, etc. fics, I agree a lot, though I also understand why sometimes those fics have really poor characterization. I think a lot of these stories are written for the sake of the circumstance, not the characters. Drawing from my own experience, writing flares was for the purpose of writing a fic about fibro, not a fic about Dan with fibro. Dan was simply the most suitable character to apply the illness to. I try to keep it in character. For me, as a writer, trying to place their personalities in certain social circumstances is part of the fun, but I can understand why people who want to tell xyz story and just so happen to use dnp for it wouldn't necessarily apply that same effort. Say, for example, someone really specifically wanted to write a story about dealing with a disability as an athlete, and Dan was the most comfortable character for them to use. Writing that story could require some changes to Dan's personality (say, he'd need to be athletic, and probably someone motivated, dedicated and organized enough to get to a level of professionalism in sport where his disability would be significant). But the author may still choose to use Dan, either because he's someone they're familiar with, or because, hey, slapping dnp's names on a story is a great way to get at least some people to read it, regardless of characterization. I think that, for me, though, this only draws my attention more to characterization flaws, as a reader. It becomes glaringly obvious to me that the fic is meant to be an 'athlete deals with disability' fic ft. dnp, rather than a phanfic.

Just one last random thought to add: I think that the importance of characterization in a fic varies a lot depending on other qualities in the story. I already mentioned that I think keeping dnp's extrinsic factors intact gives an author more leeway on their personality. More than that, though, I think the general plot line of the fic matters a lot. Take, for example, the punkxpastel american high school aus. Even though they're far from my favourite, if the story is a one-shot about pastel!Dan having a crush on punk!Phil, I can deal with it enough to enjoy a fluffy story. But if the same scenario was used to write an in-depth story dealing with bullying, homophobia, and gender roles, poor characterization would bother me way more. I think that the more complex emotions in a story are, the more important characterization seems. I'd be interested to see if you guys have similar experiences.
This is interesting because it made me remember how there was actually a highly popular story in phandom a couple years ago that dealt with bullying, homophobia, internalized homophobia. The characterization was non-existent, and it turns out it's because the story was copy/pasted word for word from an original story someone posted on a queer literature forum years and years ago, and the fic "writer" decided to just change the names of the characters and post it as fanfic. I genuinely loved the story because I found the subject matter compelling and I cared on an emotional level for the characters even while recognizing the elements that would normally have yanked me out of it. The emotional impact of what I was reading did, for that single story, transcend my suspension of disbelief issues.

But at the same time I was wholly unsurprised when I realized it was plagiarized and in fact almost relieved that a writer hadn't just gotten Dan and Phil so very, very, very wrong. I still have a copy of the original version saved because I even thought I might want to re-read it at some point, but I've found that changing Dan and Phil's names did make it lose a lot of impact for me.

(And I'm still waiting for the day I read a Dan and Phil teenage au coming of age story that deals with internalized homophobia and sexual awakening in such a stark, honest, and ultimately beautiful way as that original story did.)

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