Creating a Crossover: How to Make Your Story Logical Through World-Building and Character Interactions
Hi, I'm Keerthana Madhioli! I'm a writer whose been writing fanfic for over a year (and still haven't managed to create a following....the sad life of a novice writer, haha.) But I would love to share some advice on what I learned while writing fanfic in general.
Anyway, I'm the author of a Harry Potter crossover called Mysterious Fates. When I first started out, I had no idea what fanfic actually was. It was a friend who I relayed the idea of certain characters that I love crossing together to she encouraged me to expand on that even more and create an entire story behind that. So this is that idea coming to fruition, bit by bit.
Now, the fanfic is a passionate project for me at this point in my life because of the various changes that have occurred over the years with the overall plot, character development, new characters being created, the ever changing canon of the various series I've combined (anyone still agree that we should take Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with a grain of salt?) and new elements that have been introduced due to the fandoms I've combined.
One of the things that struck me while writing this was in just how vast the various worlds I've combined were. To give you an idea, there are seven worlds being combined in this fanfic, all of whom have different rules and restrictions. Some of them necessarily don't even have magic and fantastical creatures. However, I found that despite that, they do have a couple of things in common: world-building components and their characters.
The worlds that are combined have so much rich history that are often overlooked in favor of just combining characters. Characters are important too, but combined worlds without any given thought is going to severely impact your story. You can twist certain aspects of one world to fit the lore of another without contradicting either one because whatever you choose to combine have something in common. For example, the dragons in Fairy Tail and How To Train Your Dragon have an overarching history of their dragons having disappeared, the only difference in HTTYD being that the story being told is before they had disappeared. And since they are more or less extinct in Fairy Tail and (eventually) in HTTYD, you can make it so that the specific breed dragons from HTTYD are really rare in Harry Potter. The concept of dragon riding is a rare and almost forgotten concept in Mysterious Fates' version of FT and HP history, leading me to my next point: creating a connection.
Now, what do I mean by a connection? Well, there are many ways to create a connection yourself but here's one way of doing it: creating your own characters. Now, this is different than creating a main character for your story. Your main OC remains a focal connection for the characters and the story, but these particular characters are what connect the two worlds in your fanfic even further. For example, in Mysterious Fates, I created two characters named Jodha and Meena. These two are what connect Fairy Tail, HTTYD, Cardcaptor Sakura and Harry Potter in terms of the characters' emotional mindset, relationships, history between the worlds and as well as in terms of the family trees present in the fanfic. Bare in mind, you have to be really careful when creating your connection with OCs because you have to commit to the idea. If one thing doesn't make sense in one world but makes sense in another, it's easily going to fall apart. You DO NOT want to dump the connection and decide that you don't want the character at the last minute because if you do that, you now have a plot whose lore and history have nothing to connect them together. So don't use the characters as a crutch but rather as a point in a sea of many in having the history go from point A to point B.
Finally, we get to the topic that we all want: the characters. Now, you've seen the various artists drawing their favorite characters interacting with each other. Percy Jackson and Harry Potter is a very prominent example if you just search up the fanart. In a sense, writing characters in crossovers is similar to that (hell, it's exactly that.) Now that you've established the world that they probably live in, you can move on to the character interactions. For me, Fairy Tail and Harry Potter share similar characters and their interactions can make for some funny but also heartwarming moments depending on the plot that you are writing. For example, Gray Fullbuster and Harry Potter do share a similar snarky sense of humor as well as the pain of losing their parents at an early age, in addition to also losing their mentors along the way (Ur and Dumbledore respectively). Make of what you will of their interactions regarding their pasts and the way they interact with their surroundings because those depend on the plot.
But characters don't always have to be similar. Their dynamic however, has to be believable and subjectively clever. Erza Scarlet and Zack Martin (from Suite Life) share nowhere the same personality and if anything, its their recklessness at times. In Mysterious Fates, Erza, with her calm but scary personality, is like an older sister to Zack but also kind of a mother figure as well. The same could be said for the dynamic between Zack and Hiccup Haddock from HTTYD. You could argue that Cody Martin would be the better match with their similar intellects and while that is true, Hiccup's interaction with the twins both separately and together are a mix of mentor/student and a father/son relationship due to Hiccup's wisdom in the story. Another personal favorite of mine from Mysterious Fates is the relationship between Daphne Blake (from Scooby-Doo...long story) and Remus Lupin. They both couldn't be any more different, but there is a very sweet father/daughter relationship blooming there because of the amount of time they spend in the Order working together.
Plot is also incredibly important. Now that you've established the characters and the combined worlds, you now have to think out how you are going to make the plot work. The plot is entirely up to you, but bear in mind, if it doesn't fit with the rules of the combined worlds, you are going to be either a) contradicting yourself or b) potentially disrupting the flow of the stories you've combined.
Do take what you can out of it, as this is just my advice from my experiences. Fanfiction is a very creative medium and you just have to look a little deeper for the right crossover.
What is the best crossover you can think of?
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