I’m not really into Supernatural any more, and I don’t think I will be again, despite the fact that the series seems like it will go on forever. But when I stumbled upon today’s fanfic rec, I thought the idea seemed just ridiculous enough to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, because The Chuck Writes Story ended up being the type of meta fanfic that is both funny and thought-provoking. (Truly showing that Supernatural’s glory days are behind it, as this fic was written when Season 7 had just come out.)
Remember Chuck Shurley way back in Season 4, when all we knew about him was that he was a so-called author who was writing and publishing the (entirely true) story of the Winchester brothers? In this series, after his book series is canceled, Chuck keeps writing because he’s compelled to as a prophet. However, he doesn’t just let the new stories languish—in a desperate bid for attention, he decides to publish them on the internet as “fanfiction” of his own series. As more people start reading and/or complaining about his new “additions” to canon, Chuck attempts to make friends in fandom, but his lack of understanding of fandom culture only succeeds in alienating the few people who do talk to him.
Trawling through spnkink_meme forced Chuck to acknowledge that by entering fandom, he was taking the characters and—maybe not writing gay incest porn—but certainly he was taking the characters and subverting someone’s intent. Certainly he was subverting the intent of these people on, what was it, samdean_otp, some of whom seemed to believe Sam and Dean were meant for each other. In the sexual sense.
He certainly hadn’t meant them for each other sexually, and he had created them. Was his intent, then, more important than theirs? What about their Supernatural—and there was that question again: was their Supernatural different than his Supernatural?
What was SPN?
Chuck is ultimately revealed as Carver Edlund, the penname he’d used to write the Supernatural novels, and this sets off an entirely new level of fandom discourse on the idea that the events of Supernatural are really real, as well as discourse on the meaning of canon now that an author posted his own fanfic online—is it still “real”? And who decides what is “real” or not in a story: the author, or the fans?
As we know, Chuck disappeared (for the most part) after the events of Season 5. But Supernatural is still going on (and on, and on)—who is writing those stories? In this fic, it’s Chuck’s fellow fandom ficcers who are the authors of the new seasons. The Chuck Writes Story reimagines the world of Supernatural as a world where the contributions of largely queer, female, and queer female fans can actually have an effect. (Like Robbie Thompson did in his fan episode, way after this fic was written, so again the fans beat the producers to the punch here.)
The other great thing about this fic is that it truly captures the spirit of fandom meta, friendships, and wank—it’s written partially from Chuck’s point of view and partially from author lettered’s point of view as an “observer” in this series of events. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the prose is all fun and games—Chuck is a ball of anxiety and bad decisions, as he is in the TV series, and his narration includes the misogyny and ableist language so endemic in Supernatural. The flip side of the series, lettered’s point of view, perfectly encapsulates all the hallmarks of fandom, including links to old LJ communities, the constant she-said-he-said receipts, and both chat arguments and well-articulated meta on every possible point of contention. It’s the ultimate meta fanfic, and it’s particularly great if you’re either really into fandom discourse or if you really hate fandom discourse, as it captures the fandom collaboration and the fandom wank stereotypes equally well.
You can read The Chuck Writes Story here on AO3!