I got to thinking about ficdom and division of labor. No deep, hard thoughts, because I am once again melting at my desk. Idle thoughts.
My tastes as a reader are infinitely more eclectic than my tastes as a writer. There's a certain challenge, a certain intimacy in writing, also perhaps a certain muse, although I have never thought about it in those terms. There's an affinity for the language which is personal, a relationship with darker corners which is comfortable, a fascination for breaking points, fine angles and sharp edges already present in very early writing, when I knew next to nothing of the world. There's a niche; I would not name it a vision. Perhaps a color. Something that I do not mind calling my own.
There are things I give out, and things I take in. We are not talking Archimedes' Principle. What comes out need not equal what came in, either in quantity, quality or content. A reader's intimacy is a different kind of intimacy, and I think nothing of sampling different dishes, different loves.
Take Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Farscape as ficdom and division of labor. To attract and keep a fair number of dedicated viewers, the shows mix various genres: comedy, horror, romance, angst. Fanfiction has no such requirement. That is, an author can very well write only romance, only comedy, only adventure, etc. An author may experiment with many genres, yet be better known for their introspective pieces than their bizarre alternate universes, their moody present tense vignettes than their experimental streams of consciousness. Perhaps, a certain expertise sets in. A certain reputation, no different than say, Stephen King's notoriety in the horror field, or Mary Higgins Clarke's predilection for suspense.
As I was saying, my personal approach is that of a division of labor -- which makes it sound a lot more industrial and rigid than the landscape of ficdom really is, but reductionism will do for my purposes.
As a Buffy and Angel reader, ficdom was a smorgasbord. Kita would provide me with more dark Angel slash than I could bear, a sudden craving for smut would be quenched by Te, lyricism was the domain of Spyke Raven, Puca would make me look at things upside down, Harpy took me down the Buffy-Angel highway, Jessica Walker told me all I needed to know about Spike, Hth broadened my horizons to femslash, zero made me buy Spike and Buffy in a tree, Rheanna knew the AI team like the back of her hand, Perri Smith had me in stitches, Anna was darker than dark. I would snuggle up to Tink and feel good. I never had an appetite for sprawling alternate universes, but should I feel whimsical, Yathzee was on hand. Brilliant writers, who for all their signature style, vision, and quirks, still managed to be truthful to the essence of a common universe.
Farscape ficdom is, I feel at times, too small to feed all of me.
SR brought up the 'ebb and flow' of John and Aeryn's relationship, what was 'natural' for them, and trying to remember what I knew of the characters to the exclusion of drama, which is the domain of the writers, I thought about different paths, different destinations. Which brought me back to The Locket. They spent fifty years on the Favored Planet, with nothing in the way of their relationship but themselves -- and came to the end of their lives never having said 'I love you.' So what is natural?
Time, space, choices, consequences, forks in the road. Infinite possibilities. Aeryn met the old ghost on Valdon, and will we ever know why?