“What makes a story work? Is it the plot, the characters, the text? The subtext? And who gives a story meaning? Is it the writer? Or you? Tonight, I thought I would tell you a little story and let you decide.”
I wasn’t planning on writing anything around “Meta Fiction”. After my hour and a half podcast on the subject with my podcast cohort, Superwiki’s Sister Jules (listen here), I felt like I’d said all that I needed to say, but yesterday I realised that maybe there was just a little more.
There was a story swirling around after the story of “Meta Fiction” that would not leave me alone and it got me thinking…
I’m not one for talking Meta or canon or any of those deeper elements of Supernatural that light up other writer’s worlds. My primary dialogue is usually based on the emotional aspect of the story, or at least how the story affects me emotionally. I watch this show with my heart and my mind, but when it comes to Supernatural, my heart rules the roost. I make no apologies for that. It is, after all, why we’re all so passionate about this show. Because it touches our hearts.
I don’t look at the primary relationship in Supernatural as having ever been perfect, nor do I need it to be perfect. For me it’s the flaws and the constant struggles that make the brothers’ relationship so compelling. The fact that their relationship is deeply flawed and damaged and yet they stay united is the thing that keeps me coming back week in week out. Because I’m rooting for them ever step of the way. It’s their journey, their ups and downs, their sometimes seemingly impossible battle to love each other against everything that is thrown at them and that they throw at each other, that keeps me engrossed and in love. Passionately in love. It’s the flaws in their relationship that to me, make it perfect. They live in an extreme world and it makes sense to me that their problems should match that environment. There is a truth to their relationship that I find profoundly satisfying, even when it’s breaking my heart.
I’m happy simply to have my boys on my television fighting the good fight, whatever that may be and trying to find meaning in their lives as they battle evil and sometimes each other in their eternal quest to save the world and stay side by side whilst doing it! Yay! That’s all I need. That to me is my story of Supernatural and it’s all I need.
But other fans need different things.
And that’s it, that’s the point. Story is an individual experience and what you bring to story and what you need from story is personal. There is no right and there is no wrong because this story belongs to each of us individually and every single one of us is unique.
That is what I took out of “Meta Fiction”. I didn’t see Metatron’s narrative on story as chastising or disrespectful to fandom or excusing the writers for future canon erasures or continuity errors. That didn’t even enter my head! I just don’t watch the story like that. That’s not my Supernatural.
But what Metatron’s narrative on story did do was help me to remember exactly that. My Supernatural is not the same as everyone else’s. We each see this story and these characters through our own values, our mood on the day, our hopes and dreams, how we see ourselves, how we see others, how we see family. We each have a unique vision of our world and it affects every second we watch this show. What we bring to the story affects what we take out and our needs differ.
And though I actually believe that Metatron’s speech will be seen as something that reflects back on his megalomaniacal vision of his world, which he will find he doesn’t control because of exactly the thing he questions…“who gives a story meaning”, it was a good reminder to me to respect everyone’s view on the show. How we interpret it is up to us. How we all see it is different. Because story is personal and my feelings about it or your feelings about it are no less right or wrong than the next fans.
I’m going to try to remember this next time I feel frustrated because my opinion seems to be flying in the face of what everyone else seems to be saying, or the next time I sit scratching my head at another writer’s take on an episode I love and they didn’t, or the next time I feel irrational rage about some tweet or another! Because none of that matters. This story is my story and just like the Winchesters do, I will write it for myself.
What makes a story work? Is it the plot, the characters, the text? The subtext? And who gives a story meaning? Is it the writer? Or you?
For me the answer is simple. It’s you!
Now…about that shower scene…
Come on... like I wasn't going to mention it! ;)