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Old 09-13-2022, 03:55 AM   #2
Overshadowed Eagle
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The north-west of the Old World, east of the Sea
Posts: 3,663
Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Huinesoron is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
I've tried for three days now to get my thoughts coherent on this one, and I think I've finally pinned it down to two Principles of Fanfic:
  1. You can make anything work, but
  2. you have to be clear what you're changing - and know the rest well enough to know what you're not.

Fanfic is about change. At its most gentle, it just backfills a scene that Tolkien never recorded: Bilbo choosing the gifts to leave after his departure, for example. Sometimes the change is to add a character, either away from the plot or in it. Sometimes it's to change the style, perhaps to give an irreverant retelling (see the Leithian Script) ). And sometimes it's full AU - Sauron gets the Ring, Elrond goes to Numenor, Ulmo turns evil instead of Melkor.

And all of those can work! I strongly believe that any story concept can be well-written, however outlandish it seems. But to do it properly, you have to know the canon well enough to see exactly what changes you need to make - and to make only those changes, and know what the consequences of them will be.

Coming back to Rings of Power: from their legal position, their One Change is the compressed timeline. Being unable to even admit the Silmarillion exists, they can't treat (say) the absence of Celeborn as a change: they are legally required to consider it gap-filling. But we can still think about them as changes, and judge them that way.

You asked "Is there a formula by which fan fiction is to be judged?" I think there is, at least from a changes perspective:
  1. Do the changes affect the plot as they should?
  2. Do they contribute to the story being told, or improve the viewer/reader's experience?

Have you burned the ships that could bear you back again? ~Finrod: The Rock Opera
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