Some would argue that Fix-It Fics are the very raison d’etre of the Fan Fiction world. That it was one particular scene in a book/movie/tv show that shocked or angered or saddened a person so much that the nascent writer was driven – nay, compelled – to grab a pen and immediately write the story the way it should have happened. That she couldn’t close her eyes to sleep without imagining a better ending to that tale, a more realistic reaction from her favorite hero, or the paltry few twists involved to prove that character’s death – which was so unnecessary in the first place – could have been avoided.
Don’t be out there pretending you don’t know exactly what I mean, either. (Yes, Joss Whedon, I mean you.)
A Fix-It Fic does exactly what it says on the label. It fixes things. Relationships. Deaths. Turns break-ups into make-ups and get-togethers into never-gonna-happens. It could fix a chapter, a character, a single episode, a story arc, or a finale. It might insert the conversation that should have happened, add in the necessary confrontation, or smother the hurt with just the right amount of comfort. It could show us a ‘behind the scenes’ moment that cements characters’ relationships. It might wave a magic wand over what happened on-screen and tell the story the way the fan-fic writer knows it should have been told in the first place.
In a Fix-It, Coulson and Wash and Ianto all live. Ron doesn’t have a tantrum and leave Hermione and Harry in the woods. Tony tells Gibbs off. Reid does not take drugs. Bran doesn’t fall off the tower. Bobby Singer does not get shot in the head by a Dick. A character’s stupid, out of character, or mean-spirited actions were because it was a secret undercover assignment, or because of mind control, or a doppelganger.
Daniel Jackson doesn’t die. Ascend. Whatever.
The 1970s show Dallas did its own version of a Fix-It scenario when, after a particularly screwed up season, they started off the new year with dead Bobby Ewing singing the shower and the explanation that it had all been a dream. Done and dusted. Nothing to see here, move it along.
Fix-Its are popular in fan-fic because they are so emotionally satisfying. The fan-fic writer can put in a scene that, due to time or budget constraints, a television show or film has to leave out – as actors, writers, and directors will tell you, those are usually the deep, moving, character-building scenes. The team-as-family scenes. The heartfelt talk scenes. The Clarissa-Explains-It-All scenes.
Here are some popular choices:
Fury faked Coulson’s death so that the Avengers would Assemble. Repercussions vary.
At the end of COE, The Doctor arrives with a very much alive Ianto Jones in tow. (Miracle Day doesn’t happen – and there was much rejoicing.)
After ‘Boxed In,’ Gibbs reveals that Ziva has been undercover as a Mossad spy and the gig is finally up!
Morgan stays with Reid after ‘Revelations’ so that the medical personnel don’t miss the glaringly obvious track marks on his arms after his hostage ordeal.
Fix-It fics could be long or short, could deal with seasons-long malfunctioning relationships, sudden death, lingering illness, cringe-worthy pairings, or utter stupidity. What they do for the writer, and for the reader, is give us that emotionally resonant ending, that satisfaction, that sense of peace. And, maybe most importantly, it lessens all those urges we have to do physical damage to certain television/movie/novel writers. Note that I said lessens, not eliminates entirely.
Go. Search out your favorite story that ended badly. That made you cringe. That made you vow never to watch another Joss Whedon movie if your life depended on it. (Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.) Go to a fan fic site and pic a fandom and search for ‘Fix-Its’. It’s a thing, I promise.
Some of mine to get you started:
There are plenty of others. Go. Be fixed. Greet your favorite stupidly-killed character with tears of joy. (Tell them I sent you.)