You know how some stories just do it for you? Within the first few minutes of experiencing the book/show/movie you’re like, “OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER! CAPSLOCK IS TOTALLY NECESSARY FOR THIS INTERNAL MONOLOGUE BECAUSE OMGOMGOMGOMG THIS. IS. AWESOME!” And that’s it. Game over. You can shamefacedly skulk into the fandom or march in head held high but either way you’re going in because whether you meant to or not – ohhhh yeaaaaahhh! – you just drank the Kool Aid.
Craftsmanship and talent are only part of the appeal. It doesn’t matter how relatable the premise of a terribly written fanfic is because “supposebly” is not a word. “Ulysses” does not have a fanbase proportional to its well deserved status in the literary canon. While I agree “Equus” is artistically ‘better’ than “Pitch Perfect,” I’ve streamed Fat Amy three times this month and didn’t even shell out for Martin Dysart on DVD. The craftsmanship associated with a potentially beloved story can’t be actively bad but achievement of “greatness” seems to play a relatively minor role.
So what makes “Harry Potter” “Harry Potter!”? Or “Star Wars” “STAR WARS!”? The whole entertainment industry would love to know the components of a ‘foolproof hit,’ I’m sure. But as a story-lover who’s just in it for the love of falling in love? I don’t care about the formula. I just want to know: what are you in love with? Why? And ::: waggles eyebrows ::: how do you feel about sharing?