Note: Back when I read ‘Exile’ by beeftony, I had picked a few additional fanfics on the shorter side that were relatively new on his fanficiton.net page. I hadn’t really looked at the reviews or solicited any recommendations to pick them, just selected randomly based on the synopsis and length.
Common Thread is a short Kim Possible fanfic that plays the Kim and Shego could be friends in a different situation game. It’s set shortly after ‘The Twin Factor’ episode where Kim and Shego are both subjected to mind control devices created by Drakken. The fic explores a relatively mundane situation where Kim and Shego meet outside of an evil scheme and are forced to spend a few minutes in idle chat together.
It’s common (and I’m no stranger to it) in the fan fiction world to produce short fics that fit between episodes and just assume everyone has the context necessary to understand. The closest commercial approximation I can think of at the moment are ‘Webisodes’, those little 4 or 5 minute ‘shorts’ that many popular TV series have been doing lately and posting to the internet. Often these shorts are just intended to articulate some brief story concept that is too small to fit into a whole story or too urgent (according to the author) to add as a B-story to a larger work.
In my personal opinion, these shorts work best when there’s a singularly memorable moment contained therein. Otherwise works like this become the domain of fast food, consumed casually and forgotten just as quick. Earlier last month I reviewed ‘A Harmless Pastime’ and came away happy. The story was short, yes, but also hilarious and operated on the character’s fundamental personalities to provide comic relief. Not all shorts have to be humorous, of course, but it certainly makes it an easier sell.
So what does this all have to do with Common Thread?
The short of it is that it’s more or less forgettable. Which puts me in hard position, because here is how a fanfic can fall into the forgettable zone:
- It’s competently written; no glaring problems with grammar, spelling, or basic descriptors.
- It’s generally in character; with no strangely bizarre moments of incongruent behavior nor any hand waving for otherwise major events.
- Its plot is consistent with what the show has done before; meaning it fits with the world.
- Its dialog is not uncomfortable, and generally smoothly written.
All good things, right? Well, yes, good from a literature instructor’s point of view, but something can be good and still be entirely forgettable because it didn’t push any boundaries. This is basically the setting for a great fanfic, but nothing breaks out of the setting to stand out and become great.
And maybe that’s just me. I admit to having become a little fatigued with Kim Possible over the years, and maybe the extraordinary circumstance of Kim and Shego running into each other in a grocery store has lost all novelty with me and not others. That could very well be the case. If it is indeed what has happened, then I would direct everyone to read the bullet points above and note that this fic is still well written. It wasn’t written about something interesting to me.