[personal profile] nansense
For a little while now I've been pestering [livejournal.com profile] fossarian about the idea of adapting When Play Turns Bitter into an actual novel, and thought I'd consult with my lovely flisties about the relative insanity of this latest brainwave.

Ever since WPTB hit the 90 000 word mark - over 300 pages - I've been struggling with some mixed feelings about constricting that much time, love and effort to fandom alone. Don't get me wrong - this is my home and I love, love, love writing fic for you guys, but I also have a degree in Creative Writing that has rather conditioned me to think of the bottom line in terms of how I can build my portfolio. Not being able to include this project, which I've come to feel so passionately about, is kind of a hard pill to swallow, especially considering the support and love I've gotten from the people who have followed it from the beginning, and the encouragement to reach the end (almost there!).

As such, I've been brainstorming a few ideas about how this could, conceivably, work as a "pro" novel, either to be self-published or in conjunction with a distributor such as Deamspinner Press. The only issue has been in translation from the story to a RL-type scenario - what kind of calling or career could conjure up the same conflicts as that of a hunter on SPN? 'Soldier' was the first thing to come in mind, but I'm already writing an original novel about the US Marine Corps, and don't really fancy the idea of stacking that one genre where my own writing is concerned.

I've been soliciting ideas and conversation with various people in fandom and in RL, and my pal
[livejournal.com profile] fossarian [facetiously] suggested that I make the whole book about a vampire coven that "Dean" is trying to escape from by building a new life for himself, only to be tempted back by his ex-lover (ie. Cas). I sort of laughed off the idea because of my strong hatred of Twilight, but I've been thinking about the comment since last night and can't shake it. Wanna know why?

IT'S CRAZY FUCKING PERFECT.

Dean and Sam would be vampires trying to reform their ways, Cas Dean's vampire ex-lover, and Kurt Dean's human love interest who finds himself pulled into some messy shit. Obviously the story would be restructured to distinguish itself from SPN and account for vampire mythology (ie. perhaps Dean would be a bartender instead, as it's a bit more nocturnal), since I don't really want to poach those ideas or characters, but the vampire-triangle idea is the warm little centre of this potential project. It's also worth nothing that I wouldn't attempt to go anywhere with this until WPTB is complete and no one is in the position to be tortured by my increasingly sporadic updates. Fandom comes first!


Anyone who has been following the story might be in the best position to answer this, but... what do you think? Am I alone in thinking that this would translate scary well to the vampire slash genre?


More importantly, is that something you'd want to read in RL?

I'm tempted to do a poll, but really your comments would just be appreciated. (Knowing me I will add a poll in the next 10 minutes, because I'm addicted to them or something.)

</ramble>



Date: 2011-03-03 07:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
Honestly, my first reaction to the vampire idea is DNW. I think it's reaction to vampire overload, the only vampire these days I can stand is Mitchell on Being Human. It's not that it's a bad idea, I'm just not sure it works -- also... if Sam and Dean's character's are reforming and Cas is a vamp too -- just what is it that Dean's character is denying from himself -- killing people? What is it that he needs to go back too that is greater than the 9-5 workday of a mechanic. Where is the greater good thing?

What about if Dean was a Doctor Without Border's doctor, Sam too, and they both went through so much in that world, interaction with the people harming the people they were trying to save. That they have PTSD from that. And Cas was there too, maybe someone who Dean really admired... Castiel could have been a soldier down there on the right side, or maybe the wrong side and turned to the right side.

At least that way we know what Dean has given up isn't just Castiel, it's saving people, saving them from 'monsters'.

Just an idea, unless you really want to keep the supernatural element... and then why not still make Castiel an Angel, one that came down intrigued by what was going on where Sam and Dean were working once and ended up semi-falling because of his interactions with Dean and his own choices. And is now out there learning more and helping people too.

The part where Kurt dies could be a mugging gone wrong that Dean tries to stop and then he tries to save the person hurt and he and Kurt get hurt too in the process because he's out gunned or knifed.

Anyway all just an idea.

Date: 2011-03-03 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
also p.s. Where did you get that degree in Creative Writing -- when I was younger it's what I should have done and didn't. Might wanna do now.

Date: 2011-03-03 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nanoochka.livejournal.com
Well, I live in Canada, but I did both of my undergraduate degrees at York University in Toronto and enjoyed the experience. They have a pretty strong CW program, but I think University of British Colombia does as well, while University of Toronto just has the MA program.

Date: 2011-03-03 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, I forgot you were in Canada. Yeah, I need something closer. Though all I could find with a quick just now search was CW for Entertainment, or children's books, which isn't quite what I want. Sigh.

Date: 2011-03-03 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nanoochka.livejournal.com
Trust me, I hate Twilight and the subsequent fallout with vampire fic, even though I grew up in Buffy fandom and, once upon a time, loved it. It would warrant some extreme tailoring from the WPTB storyline... ie. Dean would perhaps be a bartender instead of a mechanic, with obvious adaptations made to compensate for the fact that he can't go out at night, and probably he would drink cow's blood or something as well. I'd have to play around with it, but if you consider how something like that would play out with the events of Chapter 10 and what Dean asks Castiel to do... it would kind of work out. A part of me didn't want to erase that storyline altogether, you know?

I do like the Doctors Without Borders thing, but it sort of reminds me of that Haiti J2 debacle from way back when. Plus PTSD is something I'm already writing about in my original novel, so I'm not sure how much I'd want to focus on that for a separate project.

Date: 2011-03-03 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
Oh I forgot the Haiti J2 thing..

Well, I can see Dean in general and your characterization fits as having PTSD.

I'm personally just ugh on Vamps. You could have be the type of vamp sun hurts... I mean were Dean and Sam hunting the bad vamps, are they part of the good vamp clan that drinks pigs and cow's blood (or otter like Angel did the 5th season, LOL.)

Date: 2011-03-03 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
delete that can in that Dean/ptsd sentence.

Date: 2011-03-03 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secondplatypus.livejournal.com
Just an idea, unless you really want to keep the supernatural element... and then why not still make Castiel an Angel, one that came down intrigued by what was going on where Sam and Dean were working once and ended up semi-falling because of his interactions with Dean and his own choices. And is now out there learning more and helping people too.

The part where Kurt dies could be a mugging gone wrong that Dean tries to stop and then he tries to save the person hurt and he and Kurt get hurt too in the process because he's out gunned or knifed.


I really like this idea.

Date: 2011-03-03 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secondplatypus.livejournal.com
aaaaand I accidentally hit post before I was done with this comment. Whoopsy.

On paper, the vampire idea is actually quite amazing.
I know it's already been said, but our culture is sort of vampired out right now, and it's something that's so commonly done - with your creativity and talent, I imagine it wouldn't be too hard for you to find an alternative idea that includes the supernatural.

I find the idea of Sam and Dean being soldiers or doctors working for Doctors Without Borders to be very, very appealing, it fits in very well with the themes of altruistim/self-sacrifice and duty that you've addressed in When Play Turns Bitter.

Whatever you choose to write, I'll read it.

Date: 2011-03-04 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writingpathways.livejournal.com
This is exactly why I came up with my idea, but you said it much more succinctly and coherently: I find the idea of Sam and Dean being soldiers or doctors working for Doctors Without Borders to be very, very appealing, it fits in very well with the themes of altruistim/self-sacrifice and duty that you've addressed in When Play Turns Bitter.

I mostly feel like the vampire idea doesn't quite fit the altruistic/self-sacrifice theme that is very important to the story. However, I do will read and cheer you on whatever is decided.

Date: 2011-03-05 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nanoochka.livejournal.com
Well, I'm not necessarily trying for something supernatural - actually, I was hoping to avoid it until my friend suggested the vampire idea. It never would have occurred to me because I'm so turned off by the genre since Buffy, but it reminded me of why it can be fun to write in the first place.

Basically I'd want to find a scenario that's either kind of out there, like the vampire plot, so that it's obvious that the kitsch is intentional, or do something almost mundane in it's everyday-ness. As I said, soldiers or Doctors Without Borders is already what I'm doing for my original novel, and I don't want to a) typecast myself or b) ignore an opportunity to explore other genres, you know? Plus I think that altruism and self-sacrifice can provide a nice counterpoint to something like vampire lore, which is part of the reason why I loved Angel so much.

I'm still ruminating, though. This isn't something I'll be attempting in the near future, so I still have time to weigh the different options.

idea

Date: 2011-03-04 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iheartibbs11.livejournal.com
It might be cool to go a Spy/Assassin route. Dean and Sam would still have been saving people secretly and are now trying to live as civilians. Cas could be an old flame who still does the job and visits between missions (kind of like now) but never for long. Instead of dying (hard to reverse without Angel powers)Kurt could instead accidentally stumble upon something he shouldn't and Dean has to beg Cas to make sure he doesn't get killed for knowing too much. I think a lot of the consequences and damages could be pretty similar in this scenario.

I hope this genre isn't overdone too. I figure it'd be even harder to publish vampire stuff though, and you're way too talented to get passed over because of an overstuffed genre.

Re: idea

Date: 2011-03-04 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westofthemoon1.livejournal.com
When I read your post, I was actually thinking the spy angle could be kind of interesting too, then I saw this comment... :) I've got this really clear image of a history with Dean as a covert operative and Sam as an intelligence analyst, both working for the CIA in the past, but out now...Castiel I keep coming back to as a Soviet spy who defected {and did it, all of it, for Dean :) ...} and who Dean had to cut out of his life when they cut ties with the CIA. This leaves some heavy stuff for him to have been keeping secret from Kurt, and the vampire attack in the alley can possibly be some rogue KGB elements that Dean needs to ask Cas to help him deal with. Wow, this idea really germinated in my brain, lol, but I can see some pretty close parallels to a lot of the themes you go into in your story, it might be a good fit for an adaptation.

Re: idea

Date: 2011-03-05 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nanoochka.livejournal.com
I'm on the fence about this genre. Certainly I'm a big fan of a lot of spy stories such as James Bond or Alias, but I worry that it's nearly as oversaturated as the vampire genre, but with less irony perhaps? I have a hard time breaking away from my literary ideals (read: delusions), so if I wanted to go genre it'd be a go-big-or-go-home kind of way. As much as I'd have fun writing a spy story, it's super niche, and just unusual enough that it wouldn't really be relatable as an "everyday" type of story, you know? Kind of like how it's hard to write Westerns and be taken seriously unless you're John Le Carre or Cormac McCarthy. :P

It is an appealing idea, though... I just doubt my ability to write a spy story that isn't cheesy or cliched.

Date: 2011-03-04 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ophaniel.livejournal.com
i am so late to this party. And will be doubtless useless, but here's my two cents worth.

Im half balking, half really wanting to read all these ideas (I doubt you have it in you to fail in making a story fly, whatever the genre),
but there's something about this which feels a bit... wrong somehow.
Everyone knows the vampire genre is saturated - but that should not be a reason not to write an amazing vampire story! However, I do suspect much of its deeper meanings and undertones have been so thoroughly dragged over the coals, that the subtlies and depths of what you have here would possibly not survive.

Cas, for instance. His inhuman qualitites, the tension between his presence and lack of humanity: his benevolence vs his total lack of any tangible warmth, on paper its too close tot he bone with a vampire hero, whilst completely missing all the glorious tones. I dont know if he'd become a bit flattened?
In WPTB he escapes that because we all understand there are complex matters afoot - and however deftly and well you retell it, the vampire context instantly casts him in the role of the aloof, the thwarted romantic stranger in the dark, and thats so not why your Cas makes me shiver.
I kind of want him to be the much more subtle threat he is in your story - not because he wants to drink your blood and not cos his species eat people. This slightly darker side of his character in WPTB is singular and totally new - even totally original from the show. So it can definitely transcend fanfiction, but I don't know if it could survive the vampire overcast.

One of the most appallingly touching scenes in your story for me was when Castiel - even realising how close and connected Dean felt to Kurt - simply did not acknowledge him either as a rival, or as anything comparable to what he and Dean have.

Now in THIS context, its tragic and possibly my favourite part so far in that it shows, maybe more than Cas' willingness to do something unthinkable for Dean; just deeply he feels. In everything else, his humanity shines - he regrets, he grieves, he doesnt want to. But in that glorious shining moment, he is pure angel, and its magnificent, yet so subtle, I don't think a lot of people even saw it beyond him behaving like a dick at the worst possible time for poor old dean!

...but in the Vampire context, I cant help think it would just be read as plain old monstrous. The vampire not giving a jot about the menial human, yknow?
It kind of needs God and the fight for humans, and the eternal loving gaze of a watchful angel to make that moment snap to its fullest destructive force. This is a love so great and terrible, it makes a possessive vampire look like a rat with a lollipop.

The context of Cas as soldier and fighter for the world, for mankind - because he had no other purpose feels like it has more truth and more life in it, than him as a predetor - unwilling or otherwise. It also makes Dean and Cas' sexual bond that much more remarkable and unlikely, whereas with a vamp, its just more of the territory.
Dean's dreams of their physical moments were so intimate, and so sad in a way...

God Im rambling at you again!

And of course having said all that, yours would be the one vampire novel that blew me away (I grew up on Christopher Lee and Anne Rice, and I will never forgave the world after that for mainstreaming something without a hint of reference to its genuine horror).

I wouldnt doubt for a second you would make it amazing, but at the same time, you're so fucking good with bringing original characters to life like breathing into corpses, I just kind of want to see something like that. And you cant throw Kurt to the vampire fans!! They wont appreciate him!!

Ive got no business saying any of this of course, but before I go, how about -
angels and demons are maybe too close to Kripke, and people would spot the blurred lines. But what about something new? SOmething else from the world's vast repetoire of fucked up shit - some other thing Cas might be, which is not inherently evil, but powerful enough to walk through life and death, breaking his heart over doing something he knows is wrong for Dean - cos we know that sacrifice is at the crux of the story.


Date: 2011-03-06 10:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lil-miss-maddie.livejournal.com
Oh wow, talk about joining the party late!
But I thought I'd give mt 5 cents.

I like vamps, big fan. Been in the BtVS/Ats fandom for over six years.
But... don't see how it works with this. I agree with a previous post that questioned what it was Dean would have turned his back on?
Dean hasn't left hunting to be a "good" person, he just wanted to retire. I feel the vampire thing would add a new layer of remorse/guilt/redepmtion that this story doesn't have and doesn't need.
I think Dean would loose out as a charachter.

I really like the spy/special ops idea!
Fabulous! He was one of those ones that "didn't exist". Did all the dangerous, "world saving" missions, and finally retired for some reason or another.
He can't tell anyone what he used to do, because, you know, *stage whisper* he didn't!
Maybe he now teaches hand to hand combat at a gym or something. Trying to have a normal life. Trying to forget the horrible memories. But he can't help relive the excitement and thrills, because he was great at his job. Maybe he was the best?

You should watch RED! Bruce Willis' latest. It's funny. Not gonna win an Oscar, but highly entertaining. Lot's of oldies with big guns.
Could be good for the muse :)

Good luck with the project btw!
I just hope you'll share the remake with the good old f-list (or link us to a way of paying for it)

x x x maddie

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