WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Want to do an Earth-3 story, but feel really strongly about the characterization of Superman with an ant's head? Look no further. Patchwork Fic is when the writer uses particular characters from different adaptations of the same single story.

Most of the time, this is to combat particular instances of Character Derailment, or because the author really just has a particular dislike for a character, but feels that using a different version is more magnanimous than not at all. Sometimes it's due to not having seen a certain adaptation of the character (a comic book hero versus a television version of the hero). Other times, one odd version of the character ended up being more interesting than every other, especially a Ascended Extra. And perhaps the writer just doesn't realize that the character is different in this version.

Occasionally, a particularly creative writer will adapt an otherwise unseen character into the universe he's using with what he thinks is the appropriate "mood", making it a quasi-Original Character. For example, a large amount of DC Comics fanart toys with the idea of how characters not adapted into the DCAU might look and behave if they were; the better examples of Sailor Earth fall in line with this as well.

But sometimes it's because someone becomes so saturated in the fandom that the adaptations blend together. It was even commonplace to mention in the Author's Notes if you were using an unexpected version of characters, just so purists wouldn't complain that you were mangling characterizations.

If a writer is lucky, Adaptation Decay will provide some quirks to convey one version of the character to the audience quickly. Ideally, though, this results in un-official Adaptation Distillation.

A subtrope of Acceptable Breaks From Canon. See Ret Canon and Canon Immigrant for when this happens in canonical works. Sometimes overlaps with Composite Character.

Examples of Patchwork Fic include:
  • Sailor Moon fanfic commonly mixed concepts from the original television show, manga and whatever localized adaptations the writer saw. One popular character in otherwise Original Flavour fic was the English dub version of Zoisite (who, in this version, was named Zoycite). Luckily, any use was easy to convey, given this version was female, had a differently spelled name and was more bombastic and emotional.
    • Indeed, this was officially done in the Sailor Moon Gaiden Game, which pieced together anime and manga continuity. The game deliberately addresses this, as the plot is about "rewriting fate" and Schrodingers Cat characters would often comment that they "guess it was their destiny to die after all."
  • The Justice League Unlimited version of the Question (a relatively obscure character made popular by the show) often crops up in unexpected places. He was actually influenced by (and was nearly a Captain Ersatz for) Rorschach of Watchmen who in turn was the same for early version of the Question. The main difference being he does not have an insanely strict moral code.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: The Iron Age, a current work-in-progress from Eyrie Productions Unlimited, mix-and-matches versions of the Knight Sabers (and other characters) from both the original Bubblegum Crisis and its late-1990s reboot, Bubblegum Crisis: Megatokyo 2040.
    • Likewise, their Undocumented Features has done this on several occasions, most recently with animated and classic versions of the X-Men (and some of their foes) (justifying them as originating in two different universes), and three versions of Battlestar Galactica (the two series are treated as different generations; the third source is the original 1970s novelization which had details eliminated from the final shooting script).
  • Type Moon productions (which resemble fanfic) such as Tsukihime and Fate/stay night have various selectable arcs that act as Alternate Continuity versions of each other. Different characters survive and thrive in the end.
  • The El Hazard manga made after the anime is mostly the "Magnificent World" OAV plot, and features the version of Ifurita from that version; but it also has some of the TV series' ("The Wanderers") characterization -- particularly the younger version of Princess Rune Venus.
  • Dirty Pair fanfic tends to blur the lines between the various Alternate Continuities of the series, like the '80s anime version or Adam Warren's Amerimanga.
  • X-Men fanfics occasionally give comicverse Gambit his first animated counterpart's habit of talking in third person.
    • Most X-Men fic seems to fall into this territory, whether it's filling one adaptation's blanks in with comicverse facts, or the spreading around of Character Tics, or the presence of characters who technically shouldn't exist in this version.
      • That is because by most adaptations' natures, they can't include the Loads and Loads of Characters the comics have, and someone always gets mad that their favorite was left out.
  • Ranma ½ fanfic is often always a mishmash of the manga and anime continuities, the most noticeable result of which is the inclusion of Sasuke, a ninja servant of Kuno, who was invented for the anime.
  • Then there's Tenchi Muyo! fics that mix and match its various continuities. They've only got what, four or five continuities to start with. More often than not, the "default" setting for a Tenchi fanfic could be best described as "OAV +", taking the original continuity and adding in whichever characters from the other continuities they like. A constant favorite is Kiyone, Mihoshi's partner from the Mihoshi Special/Tenchi Universe.
    • The Daughter of Darkness movie is an example of an official work doing exactly this: it uses the OAV version of Tenchi's house, but also has Kiyone living there, and has no connection to any other version of the canon.
      • Actually, "Daughter of Darkness" takes place in the continuity of Naoko Hasegawa's Tenchi novels. Hasegawa's novels are set in a timeline that picks up where episode 6 of the OAV left off, and ignores everything from episode 7 onwards (mostly because those episodes hadn't come out yet when she started writing the novels). Incidently, these novels are where the character Kiyone was introduced for the very first time.
    • A cross-over Fic with Superman specifically warned readers that it was a Patchwork Fic, since both characters have multiple versions around for different reasons and the author had been cherry-picking. He also justified this with this sort of cross-over fic already being so not canon anyway, so being nervous about continuity was a waste of time.
  • There's been a recent fad of fics that attempt to incorporate Harley Quinn into the Nolanverse.
  • Wicked Can you say Booksical? I knew you could. Granted, the mixes aren't that common besides the occasional vocabulary from the book, along with a few of the concepts in the book (such as Nessarose being religious) not taken in the musical version are included. And two and a half characters. (Crope, Tibbett, and reverting Avaric from servant boy to the collected bastard he was.)
    • Not very common? Are you kidding me? The number of times musicalverse Elphaba is allergic to water, not to mention the "Gale Force" or Frex and Melena are never named as such in the musical, in fact any good musicalverse fic in the Wicked section, even if they are not labeled as such, steals stuff from the book to back up the hardly detailed musical storyline.
      • Not to split hairs (okay that's precisely what I'm doing) but Frex and Melena are named in the script, which isn't THAT hard to get a hold of, if you're a dedicated fan. Not that I'd know anything about that. Or, even easier, in the program.
    • Also from the Oz-verse, Tin Man fanfic writers will borrow as much as they can from the Baum-Thompson Famous Forty, Wicked, and related sources for backstory, as the miniseries was a little short on that...aside from revealing the "Outer Zone" really was modern-day Oz all along by having Dorothy Gale herself show up in Part 3. It helps that the writers wove in a lot of ShoutOuts to Baum and Maguire.
    • Wicked itself is an example of this trope. For copyright reasons, it's officially supposed to be based on the original Oz books, but both the book and musical draw heavily from the MGM The Wizard of Oz film.
  • This trope is so common with Transformers fanfic (in part due to the multiversal nature of the franchise), that it's acquired its own in-fandom term: personal canon.
    • Exhibit B for the "adapting obscure characters into a series-appropriate characterization": Transformers Animated, as seen with the many Deviant ART pictures of characters drawn in Animated's style -- or, alternatively, Bulkhead drawn as a G1 character.
  • Winx Club fanfictions often note whether the characterization is based on the 4kids or RAI version of the cartoon
  • Pokémon fanfiction, particularly those centered around an original trainer, will often use elements from both the games, such as the character facing the Elite Four (not a tournament), and the animé, such as professors routinely handing out the starter Pokémon to new trainers, or the concept of Pokémon only being able to say their names.
    • The same can also happen with fics that place undeveloped characters from the games into the animé's continuity. In these cases, it's fairly common for the writer to give the character in question traits from their Pokémon Special counterparts, along with what little characterization the game gives them.
      • Things can get a little confusing in this manner when it comes to talking about Gary Oak's sister. One manga gives her name as May, the games give her name as Daisy -- both of which are taken by other characters in the anime.
  • Happens often enough with Fullmetal Alchemist fan fiction, wherein the author will work with the plot and characterization of the first anime adaptation, but incorporate manga-only characters, geography, and supernatural elements. Often done in crossovers, or in fics that deal with the characters post-series.
  • Harry Potter fanfics often mix the book and movie canons, albeit probably unknowingly part of the time. This is particularly common with character quirks which only appeared in the films, such as Hermione referring to Ron as "Ronald" when she's displeased with him. Also, fanfiction generally assumes Hogwarts students wear the uniforms used in the movies.Justified in that, based on the descriptions, the book uniforms would be rather impractical.
    • Not to mention the fact that the Hogwarts uniform mysteriously stops including the pointy hats, possibly around the time JKR saw the first movie and realised how silly they looked.
    • It was common in the early days of the fandom for writers to fill in gaps in Potterverse lore with elements from other contemporary fantasy universes, with varying levels of success.
    • And fanfic often includes the House ties from the movies, despite the books making no mention of them. Because otherwise it's somewhat baffling how the narrator, which only knows what Harry does, knows that someone is a 'Ravenclaw' but doesn't know their name. This is somewhat justified because House ties obviously couldn't be including on the 'What to bring to Hogwarts' first-year list, which is where the uniform is described. Presumably first-years would be given a tie after being Sorted.
      • Alternatively, a common fanfic element is for ties, robe trim, etc., to change from generic or non-existent to the appropriate House colours literally by magic once the firstie has been Sorted. The magic may be performed by the teachers, house-elves or even the school itself, according to authorial taste.
  • On that note, many Lord of the Rings fanfics do the same, using characterizations of characters from the books in a movie setting, or characters from the movies in a book setting.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfiction often follows the anime events but incorporates backstory elements from the manga, particularly in the case of Kaji and Asuka. Mana Kirishama from the video game Girlfriend of Steel also has a tendency to pop up.
    • Similarly, after Rebuild of Evangelion, Mari Illustrious Makinami has occasionally appeared in non-Rebuild fanfics.
  • Unfamiliar, a Zero no Tsukaima/Prototype crossover fic, has the ZnT aspects based mainly on the light novels, but includes anime-exclusive elements such as Count Mott.
  • Fanfiction for The Phantom of the Opera often involves this, which is not surprising considering the many media interpretations. By far, the most common versions involve drawing various pieces from the original novel by Gaston Leroux, the backstory rich Susan Kay novel, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. This leads to wildly different takes on the story and characters, depending on the percentages used, and it is considered polite to state in the author's notes which versions are being blended.
  • Due to the many varied portrayals of the Ninja Turtles, any given Fanfic will have characters from multiple incarnations, e.g. Agent Bishop from 2k3 and the Neutrinos from the original show appearing together.
  • The same can be said for Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. And given the insane amount of shipping that goes on in this fandom, characters and settings from the games, comics, and TV shows are freely mixed
    • Notably Inescapable Past takes elements from most of the games up to Shadow the Hedgehog, both comic series, and three of the TV shows and fuses them into a single continuity.
  • Renegade is largely based on crossing the first Mass Effect with the Command and Conquer Tiberium titles, but includes elements from ME2 such as Nod substituting for Cerberus.
  • It's not unheard of to import aspects of Tron 2.0 into Tron: Legacy fanfiction, usually in the form of making a reference to Jet or Ma3a. The most prominent example of this is Sakura123's Subroutine which does a hell of a canon weld, starting with Ma3a as "progenitor" of the Isos and depicting Sam Flynn and Jet Bradley as estranged Heterosexual Life Partners.
  • The Legend of Spyro a New Dawn takes place in The Legend of Spyro universe, but Ember, an Classic Spyro the Dragon Series character, is a main character and Red, the Big Bad of A Hero's Tail, is one of the main villains of the sequel. Though this is hardly common in fanfiction for this series, but Ember is often portrayed as either a Ron the Death Eater, or force Cynder to become a Derailing Love Interest and Ron the Death Eater. The author's specific intention was to keep her ture to her original character while making her more likeable and complex.
  • Teen Titans fanfics mostly based on the show, will borrow from the comics and Justice League cartoon. Probably the most explicit form of this is the Fandom Specific Plot of Batman comming to Jump/Robin going back to Gotham, Starfire sharing a backstory more closely tied with her comic self, or the main characters being referred to by their real names.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.