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Since the new X-Files miniseries was announced, I've been thinking about what it's like being in fandoms with open vs. closed canons.

I've always struggled with writing in open fandoms, particularly TV fandoms, because I felt like there was never enough time, even during the summer hiatus, to finish exploring the existing canon before there'd suddenly be more and more and more. It wasn't only a matter of getting jossed, but also of feeling overwhelmed by how many things were happening to the characters, and spending so much time mentally processing the stories I was being told (and discussing them with other people in fandom) that it was hard to focus on writing my own. This is a large part of the reason that I didn't start posting XF fic until a few months after the show had ended; for the first time, I could write it without feeling rushed or fearing that the rug would be pulled out from under any story I came up with before I finished it.

Harry Potter suited me better because of the long breaks in between new canon. It felt like there was enough time to digest what we'd learned and write our own stuff before we'd have to reconsider what we thought we knew.

But in pretty much every fandom, I have a hard time seeing new canon as something to look forward to. Maybe it's because I've had the experience too many times of watching a series keep staggering along after it's clearly run out of gas (XF is definitely an example), but I tend to approach new canon with a sense of dread instead of excitement, like I'm always bracing myself for the worst. Being deeply invested in fandom, there's not only the worry of things sucking, but also the fear that new developments will set off new conflicts among fans or poke at already-existing sore points. By the end of the HP series I really couldn't enjoy reading the books, or even read them as books and not as fodder for fandom. It was sometimes hard to tell how I felt about canon events because all I could think about was how others would react.

For all these reasons, when a series ends, it tends to be a relief for me. And when canon is closed, fandom activity inevitably tapers off. It might take a very long time to wind down completely, but down is the overall direction from that point. But with the loss of that sense of urgency and eagerness to find out what happens next, fandoms also seem to lose a lot of their wankiness and the intensity of their conflicts, in my experience. A big fandom at its peak can be a wild ride — too wild for me, sometimes.

HP is kind of an odd case because with Pottermore there has been a constant trickle of "new stuff", and it's been interesting to me how many people who are still in the fandom look at PM with not only a lack of interest but almost a sense of exhaustion. Like — stop. Just stop, it's enough, we don't need this anymore. Not everyone, of course, but I know I find PM a bit annoying because at this point I'd rather just have the canon set and the rules laid out, and it doesn't bother me a bit that the fandom as a whole has basically decided that PM canon is optional.

Then of course there's the Fantastic Beasts movie at some point, and who knows what'll happen with that — or with the XF miniseries, I guess, though since that fandom has been so dead for so long it's harder to believe that it'll have a big effect? I dunno, I just always feel like new canon is a double-edged sword.

What do you guys think? Do you tend to be hungry for new canon or do you like a long hiatus to focus on fanworks more? Do you stick with fandoms after the canon is closed or do you tend to move on to something where there's new material to look forward to?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
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