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camelotremix ([personal profile] camelotremix) wrote2010-08-06 10:21 am

What's a remix?

As promised in the FAQ post (LJ|DW), here's a post with more details about what remixing usually means as well as some guidelines for what we expect in this challenge.


The big remix challenge most people are familiar with is Remix Redux, an annual multifandom challenge run by [personal profile] musesfool and co-mods. Here are a couple excerpts from their explanation of what a remix is:
Ever read a story and think, wow, what a fascinating story, but if I had written it, I would have... Well, now here's your chance to do just that. Rewrite someone else's story, tell somebody else's tale. Take the work of another person and wrap it up in your vision and style, just like a remixer does to songs.

...You can do whatever you like to the story - change POV, dialogue, mood, characterization, make it longer or shorter, whatever - except for two things: pairing(s) and the basic plotline.

Another common explanation of remixing is that you're writing a fanfic of a fanfic. Some people don't like the idea of "fixing" or improving on someone else's fic, but try thinking of it as writing a complement to the original, a story that will stand up on its own but will also be interesting to someone who's already read the original. Often, a good remix will give the reader a new way of appreciating the original by filling out the background, giving another character's view of what's happening, or explaining the characters' motivations in a different way.

Some things you can do:

-Change the point of view
Not every remix changes the POV character, but this is one of the most common first steps. Often this means the same events will be told in a completely different way. Consider how different an Arthur/Merlin magical reveal story is depending on whether you're with Arthur trying to figure out Merlin's secret or Merlin trying not to give it away. Then consider what the same story would look like to Morgana, or Uther.

Sometimes changing the POV character takes the story in a completely direction. [ profile] iambickilometer's Let's Hope They're Not Allergic is an Aliens Made Them Do It Arthur/Merlin fic from Merlin's POV. [ profile] suaine's Free Range Subjects (The Scientific Method Remix) makes it less about Arthur and Merlin's relationship than about the alien's academic career.

Changing the POV doesn't just mean changing who tells the story. It can also be switching between first and third person or between past and present tense, having the same character think over the same events after some years have passed, or maybe incorporating new canon that came out after the original story was written.

-Change the structure
You'll tell the story in your own style, and maybe part of that is telling it in a different order than the original author chose. Furniture and Fairytales by [ profile] woldy is an OT4 story in which Gwen speculates about the future. [ profile] aralias's Fairytale Romance (The Happy Endings Remix) starts in the future and works backwards chronologically to the point where Woldy's story begins. (Note that Aralias did not change the POV character, but the remix is still very different from the original.)

Think about other fanfic structures like a Five Things story, a series of drabbles, letters or text messages exchanged between characters, or a story told like a fairy tale. There are lots of different ways this can go.

-Change the focus, make it longer or shorter
Sometimes a remix picks a minor event from a story and makes it into the center of a new story. You might remix just one scene from a longer story, make a story out of what was just a flashback, or remix a drabble into a full-length fic.

-Remix a drabble or a crossover fic
Drabbles and crossovers don't count toward our eligibility requirements, but they are still fair game for remixing.

Some things you shouldn't do:

-Don't change the pairing (or lack of pairing)
It's okay to bring a background pairing from the original into the foreground of the remix or focus on other parts of the story so the remix is more gen, but if a fic is about Angel and Katie getting together don't just go and replace Angel with Emilia. Don't turn a het fic into a slash fic or vice versa.

-Don't change the basic plotline
It's fine to change some details, but keep the essential action the same. If the original is about Bradley and Colin going on a road trip together, you can give them some different adventures along the way but don't turn it into a story about them sharing a house.

-Don't write a sequel or prequel
If you want you can expand the story to cover more than the original did, but at least part of your remix should be retelling, not just telling what happened next (or before).

-Don't remix a story that's off-limits
As mentioned in the FAQ, you may not remix an unfinished fic, one that's co-written or is a remix itself, or your remixee's designated "safe story".

Expectations and etiquette

-Please be respectful of other challenge participants. Don't attack people or call them names, and don't make fun of their stories, kinks, shipping preferences, etc. For goodness' sake, don't go around saying your job is difficult because your remixee's stories suck. Remember that the challenge is to write the story your way, so getting assigned to someone who doesn't write anything like you do gives you more room to be creative, not less.

-This is an anonymous challenge, so please keep your assignment and the details of what you're writing secret until after we reveal all the authors names (a week after the fics go up).

-Thank your remixer!! A remix is different from a gift exchange in that the point is not to write something your recipient/remixee will like, but rather to write the story your way. That said, the remixee is usually the person who knows the original best and has the best perspective to appreciate the remix. Most writers are eager to hear what their remixee thinks of the story, and courtesy demands that you read and acknowledge that someone has engaged with your work. If you can't think of anything positive to say, consider something like "Thank you for remixing my story."

Further reading

Want to read more explanations, opinions, reviews, or writers talking about the remixing process? Try reading the rest of the Remix2010 challenge profile, Fanlore's Remix page, Metafandom's Remixing tag, musesfool's Remix memories, or the On Remixing tag at [ profile] remixers_lounge, the Remix Redux members community. Lots of Remix Redux participants have also shared their experiences at [ profile] cupidsbow's discussion posts in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Your mod [personal profile] sophinisba (who wrote this post), squeed about why she likes remixing in 2009. ETA: [personal profile] briar_pipe just posted about how awesome remixing is and encourages you to sign up. /ETA

For a lot of people though, the easiest way of understanding remixing is to read a few examples, so check out the Merlin remixes at [ profile] remixredux2009 and at RemixRedux2010. Looking for some shorter examples? Try the sixteen Merlin remixlets at [ profile] remixthedrabble, but keep in mind that the remixes for this challenge need to be at least 1000 words each. (We're sorry we don't have any examples of Merlin RPF remixes yet, but we hope a bunch of them come out of this challenge.)

What about you? What are your questions, your worries and doubts? Link us to your favorite remixes or favorite remix meta posts. If you've done this before, what was especially awesome or especially challenging? What advice would you give someone remixing for the first time, or someone still deciding whether to sign up?