graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
graycardinal ([personal profile] graycardinal) wrote in [community profile] crossovering 2017-06-16 05:27 am (UTC)

I am very much in agreement with this, and I'd like to take a moment to explain why.

Most of the multi-fandom exchanges in which I've taken part are deliberately constructed around the idea of story-as-gift -- the writer is strongly encouraged to create a story that will not merely meet a general standard, but one that will specifically address the recipient's wishes and desires. (Before anyone does a scream-and-leap, let me emphasize that this is NOT, repeat NOT, a criticism. Gift-oriented exchanges are absolutely a Good Thing, and I wouldn't be a long-term Yuletide veteran if I was at all uncomfortable with that structure.)

Crossovering, it seems to me, is a different animal. It is, far more than any other multi-fandom exchange I've been involved with, a challenge. [Indeed, I think its closest cousin in the immediate fic-producing universe is "A Ficathon Goes Into A Bar", which is explicitly a challenge rather than an exchange.] It's an exercise in flexing my writing muscles, doing something I typically haven't done before, thinking about particular fandoms in ways I haven't previously considered, and doing justice to two different source canons in the process.

I think that's both inevitable and appropriate. It's generally understood that writing crossovers at all -- let alone writing them well -- is more difficult than writing most other kinds of fic, which is why most multi-fandom gift exchanges count them as Extremely Optional at best. By extension, writing the particular crossover that a given recipient/requester most wants to read, in the particular pair/cluster of fic-universes under consideration, is likely to be even more difficult (and finding someone both willing and able to write That Particular Story -- and write it well -- is likely to be trickier still).

Which is why I like the bucket-list matching system as it currently functions. I like the element of surprise in receiving an assignment and looking through the possible fandom-pairs in my recipient's lists (there are usually several I'm potentially capable of writing). I like the flexibility of having multiple possible fandom-pairs in the matched bucket lists. And I like the specific challenge of finding interesting connections between the fandoms I ultimately pick from a recipient's bucket lists.

On the opposite side of the coin: as a requester of crossovers, I am almost never motivated to request fandoms with specific character relationships in mind. Thus if I request Stargate SG-1 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it isn't because I want to see Vala/Loki fic (although I would read the heck out of a Vala/Loki fic if someone wrote one); it's because I want to see how someone not-me might put those two canons together...which might or might not involve throwing Vala and Loki into contact with one another. Maybe my writer will put General Hammond and the Black Widow together instead -- and that would be totally cool with me.

Thus: if matching went to pre-set Fandom/Fandom pairs, I might still play, but the thrill of the thing would likely be much diminished for me. If it went to Characters (Fandom)/Characters (Fandom), or to specific Person (Canon A) - Person (Canon B) matching, I would almost certainly not play, because that framework runs strongly counter to my writing process. (If Not Prime Time sticks with relationship matching next year, I may permanently -- if regretfully -- drop that one from my rotation.) I emphasize here that I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with relationship-based matching; it's just that I don't think I'm compatible with it.

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