Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Wonders of Crossover Fanfiction - #WriterlyWednesdays 42

It's Wednesday again. Where do the weeks go? Of course that means it's Writerly Wednesday where I talk about an aspect of writing. This week I have chosen something very close to my heart: Crossover fanfiction. I hope you enjoy my post.

The Wonders of Crossover Fanfiction

I suppose a good place to start is a definition. Not all of us come from a fanfiction background, so what is common place to some is a mystery to others.
Crossover: the blending or mixing of two fictional universes or the insertion of a set of characters from one fiction universe into another one.
You know how it's so much fun when two of our favourite shows meet and have an episode where all the characters get to play in the same adventure? In TV land these are often called shared fictional universes, like the Arrowverse or the JAG, First Monday, NCIS, Hawaii Five-0 and Scorpion universe. Well crossover fanfic is this taken to the extreme.

In shared fictional universes the different shows or movies tend to all be of the same genre, so, for example, JAG and NCIS are both to do with the military and solving crimes, Arrow and the Flash are both superhero franchises. In crossover fanfiction the universes don't have to have anything to do with each other at all. Writers can cross anything with anything else.

There is a rule in fancition, a version of Rule 43 : if you can think of a romantic pairing of characters (or sometimes not even characters, but objects) then someone will have written it.

The same holds true for crossovers: if you can think it, someone has probably written it.

There are lots of different kinds of crossover fanfic, some of which are:

  • the universe merge - the crossover is written as if the two universes have always been one and it's perfectly normal for Buffy to be running into Spock.
  • the 'OMG how did we get here' - characters from universe A are transported by magical portal, science experiment gone wrong, worm hole etc to universe B and have to deal with all the new things they come across. For example Harry Potter ending up in Lord of the Rings.
  • the 'WOW I never knew that was real' option - characters in an every day universe such at Law and Order discover the hidden vampire community of Forever Knight.
  • the 'who are you and what are we all doing here' proposition - characters from two or more universes are thrust into a situation none of them understand to work it all out between themselves. We could have Dracula, Lestat and Blade all battling it out in a maze to see who is the top vampire, or the X-men and the Justice League teaming up on an alien planet none of them have seen before.
  • the 'you're both pretty, have sex now' PWP - often with no explanation of how, two characters meet and have mind blowing sex. PWP stands for Plot What Plot or Porn Without Plot :) We could bring together Servalan from Blakes 7 and Amanda from Highlander: TR, just to see who could out sex the other, or Magneto from X-men and Wonder Woman, or Hathaway from Lewis and Walter from Scorpion.
Each one has its merits and can be a lot of fun to read and writer.

It's not just two universes either, a crossover can take many universes and mix them all together.

I love a good crossover. My favourite part is seeing characters have to deal with situations that they would never usually encounter or, especially when writing, the challenge of merging two universes that might not be quite compatible.

The first crossover I ever remember reading was X-files/Highlander/Forever Knight/Starman (Series)/Quantum Leap called The Witness. I don't even remember how it went now, or how well written it was or wasn't, but I remember it got me hooked on crossovers. At the time three of the biggest fandoms were X-files, Highlander and Forever Knight and we were still on mailing lists :).

I've written lots of crossover fanfic over the years. The one I am most proud of is Harry Potter/Anita Blake and it is a universe blend. I had to mess with the timelines a little and come up with some ways to explain the differences in the magical communities, but it was a lot of fun to write. It's called Black Magic by Moonlight and is over here at AO3. If you're interested, all my crossovers can be found on AO3 here: Tasha's crossover fanfic (penname Beren). I think my weirdest choice of crossover it probably Harry Potter/ Figure Skating RPF (real person fanfic) :) - although I have started, but not completed some far stranger ones - Lord of the Rings/Spider-man anyone? :)

The joy of crossovers comes from seeing our favourite characters from different universes all meeting up, or watching characters from a non-magical universe flail around when they get dumped into one with dragons and wizards etc. Like much fanfic it is seeing what we know we will never see on the screen of in the books that brings the pleasure.

If you haven't tried crossover fanfic, have a go, because it is awesome. Just go and search for crossover (52317 found) or xover (391 found) at AO3 to see.

Do you read fanfic? Have any crossover recommendations?


  1. I have to be honest, I haven't really read or written any fanfic, but some of these crossovers sound like they'd be hilarious! Good to know there's a place to go to check them out.

    1. Fanfic is awesome - so much creativity, all for free :) You should try AO3 (, because it is so much fun. People crossover so many universes - they are sometimes amazing and sometimes very, very bad :) You can usually tell by the summary ;)


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