Hands down, favorite thing about writing fic. I love the act of re-interpretation, and bringing pieces into conversation, and perhaps into new constellations. They're like puzzle pieces--but one of those crazy puzzles where there are multiple ways the pieces can all fit together and still work out.
For my Cars fic, I really wanted to bring in Lightning's self-talk somehow, because it's one of the things I find most charming about him. It's established in the first film that he has this ridiculously wild imagination (there are like three separate psychedelic dream sequences in the first film), and he also like, gives himself pep talks. He invents mantras and catchphrases and spends a lot of time just kind of talking to himself. He lives in his own world--which is lonely, and aggressively insular/self-involved, but also vividly imaginative.
And then someone posted these screencaps from Cars 3, pointing out that Lightning straight-up dissociates for an extended scene when a character tells Lightning that he's not Lightning. And Lightning's just genuinely, adorably confused by this. SO EARNESTLY CONFUSED. OH, BB. <3
So I was like, okay. But how does a car maintain its identity? Because unlike humans, where certain body parts honestly cannot be replaced (or, in the case of SPN, you've got some kind of body/soul dichotomy going on), you can change pretty much anything on a car. Even its battery, or its engine, or its computer. So if you're a car, what makes you, you? And how do you stay you? And I thought, well, maybe there's a little bit of you in all your parts, and when you get something replaced it takes some serious mental work to integrate the new appendage into your sense of self.
Which would make major crashes particularly devastating, because there's a lot of that mental work to be done, and not a lot of original!you left to do. And that's how you can have car death, and devastating car crashes, even though at the end of the day almost any car can be fixed so long as you can track down the parts and money is no object.
Plus, one of the Life Lessons in Cars 3 is that there is something in everyone that's just really, intensely special--but it's something only others can see in you. You can't see it in yourself. You see it by surrounding yourself with those who can, and by letting yourself trust their eyes. The movie itself doesn't necessarily go hard at this idea, though, so its integration in the film is relatively superficial--all the parts are there, but the gestalt never quite transpires.
But thinking through what it would mean to recover from a major crash, and what makes a sentient car a sentient car, could totally do that work--and that's what I found I wanted to work on.
Finding those questions and wedding them to narrative expeditions--that's what I freaking love about fic.
No. 2: Finding your characters
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