Transcript: Track 3: Omegaverse

Episode 3 posted October 16, 2020
Transcript by Kaede
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

[Intro music]

EllenofOz: Hi everyone. Welcome to the third episode of Mixtape Bookclub podcast! I’m Ellen.

MalMuses: And I’m Mal.

EllenofOz: In each episode, we take a look at a different trope or genre in the huge collection of Destiel fanfiction. And this week, our topic is Omegaverse otherwise known as A/B/O.

MalMuses: So it’s a genre that’s been in mainstream media spotlight recently, and to help us work out why this genre is so popular in fandom spaces, we are very excited to welcome two guests this week, CBFirestarter and TrenchcoatBaby.

TrenchcoatBaby: Hello!

CBFirestarter: Hey there!

EllenofOz: Yay! We’re so excited that you’ve come to join us because, honestly, we have been talking about fanfic for so many years now, and to actually finally get to do this and talk to you in person like this is so exciting. So thank you very much for coming on with us.

CBFirestarter: We are very excited to be here.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yes, we are. 

EllenofOz: Awesome. Okay. So this week we’re going to talk about three fics in the Omegaverse genre. And we might also, if we have time, discuss some, like, our writing topic for the week will be to talk about co-writing and why we all enjoy a bit of co-writing.

CBFirestarter: Oh yeah.

EllenofOz: So the three, the three fics we’re going to talk about is White Collar Contract, which is by CBFirestarter and TrenchcoatBaby, No Words by ltleflrt, and Unwritten, which is by PorcupineGirl. Because we’re going to be talking about some adult topics in this episode, you might like to switch off if you have like small ears listening. There is going to be some explicit,

MalMuses: Or if you personally have small ears. Yep.

EllenofOz: If you have small ears, turn off. No, I’m not going to gatekeep –

TrenchcoatBaby: My ears are very big, personally. I have huge ears, so I’m ready for anything.

[ All laugh ]

MalMuses: Yeah, not going to gatekeep it. People should be able to curate their own environment.

EllenofOz: Just police yourself.

MalMuses: But, yes.

EllenofOz: We’re fine. I guess first, we, we should really like, the people who are new to Omegaverse, we should really like, this is a really interesting and often controversial kind of topic because a lot of people have this impression that it’s just basically wolf porn. Like, you know, it’s just. Well,

MalMuses: Which, it can be. Let’s be honest, it can be.

EllenofOz: It absolutely can be. It’s many things.

MalMuses: But mostly it’s not. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: I guess we could start by saying that it, it, it has been in the mainstream media recently because there was a high profile court case. There were two authors, one of them had written an Omegaverse book and sold quite a lot of copies of it. And then another author had also written another one. The first author sued the second author for, you know, infringement of copyright. And then a huge battle erupted over who actually owned the Omegaverse. And its… you know, the things that go into that.

So. I don’t, we’re not going to talk about that today. If you want to know more about that court case the YouTuber, Lindsay Ellis has a very, quite a lot, it goes for like a whole hour, I think, just talking about the court case and how it all panned out. And it’s quite interesting if you’re interested in copyright law and like fandom, kind of the legality of it all. So I’ll put a link to that video in the blogpost so you can have a look at that. It also explains a little bit about what A/B/O actually is, but a much more comprehensive, like description of what it is, is on the Fanlore page on So we’ve got a little bit of a summary of, of what it’s about for you today so that we can talk about it a bit more after that.

MalMuses: So Omegaverse, as far as we can tell, began with J2 RPF. So real person fiction back in 2010. And it was an extension of some already popular tropes that were popular within that ship. And it very rapidly spread to many other fandoms and pairings. Currently, so, as of March 2020, which is the, the last point that we had data for according to Fanlore, Supernatural has the highest number of fics tagged as Omegaverse or A/B/O which was 5,971 of them. Which is not quite that high.

EllenofOz: I honestly thought that would be higher as well.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, I find that surprising.

Trenchcoatbaby: It seems kind of low. Well, because alone, like, we’ve written, like, four or five, I guess? Total between us, so that seems like it’s like, anyway, sorry, continue.

MalMuses: Yeah, so, yeah, definitely did think that would be higher and it, it seems to be, at least in my impression, it’s, it’s growing more popular. So we see, like, more and more A/B/O fics now than we used to.

CBFirestarter: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: Okay, so 90 percent those fics are tagged as M/M ships. Probably due to the fandoms where the trope is most popular, because Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Sherlock, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe all have a lot of gay ships within them.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, they do.

MalMuses: So that’s probably explaining that. The Fanlore article also suggests that while individual elements of the genre may have been present beforehand, so for example, if you isolate mpreg, or the use of the words Alpha or Omega, the biological kind of social elements they, they’ve been in place a lot longer, but the, that J2 RPF was really where it first came together as Omegaverse officially.

EllenofOz: Yeah, I mean, that’s what makes A/B/O what it is, is the fact that there are those separate biological secondary genders and the societal divides between them. So commonly, I mean, you can, it’s really up to the author at this point to include any of these different things that they think that they would like to include. But commonly, apart from the obvious Alpha, Beta, and Omega, secondary groupings / genders, it can include any of the following: so we’ve got heat and rut cycles, knotting, which is like a canine kind of mechanism where the penis swells up and gets stuck inside the female, I don’t know, I don’t want to go into too much biology here, but you know, it’s, it’s quite distinctive to the canine kind of sex.

MalMuses: Canine species?

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah.

EllenofOz: Yeah, got the, the production of slick by Omega, so self kind of lubrication. We’ve got mpreg for the, at least the ability for male Omegas to produce offspring. We’ve got scent bonding. We’ve got pheromone production, which makes, different people smell different, sometimes you can tell what emotion they’re feeling because of their scent. We’ve got the concept of true mates and you know, mating for life, mating bites. We’ve got such a great big list of sort of tropes and elements that go into this. And really, the physiology of the whole thing is quite fuzzy. Like, the science is not really … very scientific, but, but it is, it creates like some, a really popular, I don’t know, it’s a phenomenon really, isn’t it? Like it can create some really interesting and beautiful stories. So, let’s do a bit of myth busting, shall we? Mal, do you want to do this?

MalMuses: Yep, let’s do some myth busting. Okay. So A/B/O is said to be based on real wolves. That is in itself actually false. So in a real wolf pack the alpha male mates the alpha female.

So there’s no alpha mating with Omega in a wolf pack. It ain’t going to happen. Though I was reading some research, recently, which, you know, popped up in my Google feed because when you start to read this kind of fanfic, you get all kinds of weird stuff popping up. There was some new research, which actually indicated that wolves don’t even have the, the hierarchy that we think they do.

They only actually appear to be alpha as a threat to other packs. So it doesn’t really apply within their own pack. While we can’t say that it’s biologically based in nature anywhere, it’s now an entity of its own, I think, I don’t think it needs to necessarily be based on anything.

Ellenofoz: Yep.

MalMuses: And obviously also male wolves are not able to get pregnant. But so how does that work in, in male omegas, which that’s quite a big feature of Omegaverse fics, it turns up in quite a lot of them. I don’t know what the stats would be for how many that actually appears in, but I do feel like it’s something that happens in quite a lot of Omegaverse fics.

Trenchcoatbaby: I’d say like, like two out of three even. Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. Like it’s a large trope for that.

CBFirestarter: And I mean, Omegaverse is really just taking individual animalistic traits and picking and choosing the ones they want and applying them how you want to, you know, make a certain kind of story work.

MalMuses: Yeah, like, I think it’s very much its own thing now. Like, it doesn’t necessarily have to be linked back to anything. It’s, it’s created its own environment that we can play with and tinker with however we want, really.

CBFirestarter: It’s just kind of beautiful that so many people are using the same set of rules to, like, write their own stories. And while there’s certainly variations and you don’t have to have all of those rules, like, you don’t have to have scent bonding or you don’t have to have knotting to make it, you know, an Omegaverse fic, but like, for the most part, they do all kind of follow these rules that like, we as a fandom have like, agreed on in the Omegaverse, like, this is how Omegaverse works. And I feel like most of us like, expect certain rules to be followed when we read these things.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah.

MalMuses: That might be the only thing that the entire fandom agrees on.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, in addition to that, like, I feel like a lot of people who read Destiel, you know, you know, it makes sense that we would have such a heavy presence in this, because I think that, so what’s a more profound bond, you know, other than like a bond typically shown between an alpha and an omega, you know, so I think that we really connect with that part of it. And so the, like, the basic canon story of Cas and Dean can translate, like, super well into this form. I think.

MalMuses: That’s very true. Yeah. And I think Supernatural has kind of a, an in on that as well, in that we’re already completely used to seeing Cas at least, as something that is kind of other, that we don’t necessarily know how he works, he doesn’t work quite the same way that Dean does. So putting them, and that’s, that’s canon, that’s the way it is, so putting them in this other universe where things work slightly differently isn’t as much of a leap for us as it would be for some other fandoms, possibly.

EllenofOz: That’s right. The other myth that I see around the place that I think we need to reiterate with people who don’t read much Omegaverse is that, they’re thought to be, that they reinforce gender stereotypes, so the weaker, more feminine one is always the Omega and, you know, the Alpha obviously is self-explanatory, but that’s not always the case, especially when you’ve got two guys who are quite big and, you know, you don’t have to be, you don’t have to be feminine in order to be a nurturing or, it’s not even down to like a submissive thing necessarily, which you might see when you’re talking about actual wolves.

And the other thing is with that, often I think Omegaverse fics are seen to have problematic stories, that a lot of them actually do involve non con elements or where the Omegas are in a slave type relationship, so, while there are stories out there that are like that, there’s also a huge proportion that are fluffy and warm and loving. So if you’re looking at Omegaverse fics, we really encourage you to read the tags, make sure you know what you’re getting into. If there’s something on the list that you don’t like the look of, please don’t read it. Look after your own reading experience.

MalMuses: Okay, so, In regard to Dean and Cas, some people see Dean as the Alpha and Cas as the Omega while others see Dean as the Omega and Cas as the Alpha. You can also have slightly rarer pairings, which turn up a fair bit in Destiel stories, which would be sort of Alpha/Alpha pairings, or one of them being something else entirely, being a Beta, you can get all kinds of different, different mix-ups here. Who you choose to see Dean and Cas as, whether it’s Alpha or an Omega, writers tend to pull from different parts of their personality to reinforce that.

So, they might pick into Dean’s tactile side and his caring personality if they want him to be an Omega. If they want Cas to be an Alpha, they might key into that protectiveness that he showed, particularly in, you know, if we think about early seasons, Cas rolling in to try and, take over and protect Dean and save him from the apocalypse. They might key into that if they want, for the Alpha side, but they also have other traits, which make them work the other way as well. So, it’s very much a matter of preference, and there’s something out there for everybody.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, and I think the best kinds of Omega verse fics, though, are the ones where, you know, Dean is still Dean and Cas is still Cas. Like, their, their secondary gender is a part of who they are, it’s not necessarily the thing that fully defines them. So, you know, I certainly have a preference for which one I like to see as an Omega and which one I like to see as an Alpha, but like, if the fic’s well written, like, I feel like, and those characters are still kind of true to themselves, that either one could be either role, very easily to me.

MalMuses: Yeah, because they don’t have to necessarily, like, something I’m sure we’ll go into in more detail when it comes up, is just because the gender says one thing doesn’t mean the writer is going to write them that way. And part of the fun of it can be having them kind of push back against those secondary gender roles.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, and to me, it’s super interesting how I’m not sure how y’all write, but it’s kind of like I almost pick like which season a character I want to try to portray and so, you know, like Cas, when he is Steve and he, you know, works at the gas station and he has a little hoodie and he’s homeless and he’s like, kind of like sad and distraught like that works well, like, to, like, the, like, stereotypes of an Omega, right? But, like, I think, you know, I love to write, like, Season 4 Cas, like, total you know, I’m badass, like, you know, just kind of like a soldier, I’m very confident, you know, and so, whoever is also writing can really have, like, a huge kind of impact on how those characters are portrayed, I guess. You know?

CBFirestarter: Very true. I always tend to pick a season when I write those characters as well.

MalMuses: I think that applies to almost any fic probably. I definitely do that, whether it’s Omegaverse or not.

TrenchcoatBaby: That’s, that’s exciting to me because I thought that I was like, I’m the only one who like, chose, you know, like, who kind of chose a season vibe, you know, to go with. So that’s exciting.

MalMuses: That’s something that we do in almost all fics, so. Or at least I know I do, so it just kind of proves that the Omegaverse really isn’t that different. We’re not changing who the people are. We’re just in some instances highlighting different aspects. 

Ellenofoz: Just changing their situation.

MalMuses: Yeah. Changing the environment they’re in more than who they are.

CBFirestarter: But I think the point that Ellen was trying to make earlier with too, is that some of the things that people, you know, tend to not want to read this kind of fic is because they think the characters are going to be out of character. You know, you’re going to have an Omega Dean who is, you know, maybe overly feminized or weak or far too submissive and, and if he is all of those things, then he’s not going to be himself. And you kind of aren’t writing Dean anymore. You’re writing a new character. And I think that’s like the biggest criticism I’ve heard about Omegaverse. And I think there are certainly probably fics out there that fall into that, you know, problem or not problem if you’re enjoying it, you know, out of character, basically. But I find I have found at least that that’s not true in the majority of the Omegaverse that I’ve read, I feel like they, they stay true to character. If, if the fic’s good and the fic’s something that I would want to read anyways, most of the Omegaverse I’ve come across doesn’t have that problem. So, I think it’s just a matter of finding the right fic.

EllenofOz: So, CB, I was just going to ask you, you obviously write, you’ve written a fair few of these now, and you do a lot of reading of A/B/O as well, you’re, you’re the one who usually recommends them all to the rest of us.

CBFirestarter: I usually recommend the A/B/O, yes.

EllenofOz: Yes. What is it about the genre that you think really appeals to people? Like, what’s your favorite thing about it, I guess?

CBFirestarter: Oh, you know, I’ve thought a lot about what I love about Omegaverse, and I think there are some really just basic things, which, you don’t have to worry about quite as much prep and the sex smut writing is a little easier. Let’s face it, like male / male anal sex smut can be difficult to write, and there’s a lot of logistics and with the A/B/O verse, with an Omega, it’s a lot easier. Everything’s smooth. Everything’s pre-lubricated. Everything smells like roses. [laughing] Like, so you can kind of take out some of that unpleasantness to real life in the Omegaverse to a certain extent, which was honestly the first thing that kind of drew me in. I’m like, oh, can I write smut? And I’m not going to have to like, worry about like all this prep and all these things.

But then I got into it and I was far more drawn to the cultural aspect behind it and the idea of having a male character having to deal with gender bias, that, you know, me as a woman has had to go through, and seeing how they cope with it and seeing how they deal with, you know, having masculinity, but also being kind of maybe put in that box of femininity with being an Omega. So, like, the idea of holding two genders and trying to stick to two different kinds of gender roles, or, you know, being a male and being an Alpha and having to be hyper masculine and maybe not feeling that way. And I just feel like, as a writer and a reader, like, it gives you so much scope for plot device, where you can put them in any kind of universe with any kind of, you know, gender biases and political problems and social problems that, you know, based on their gender, they’re going to have to navigate through that world on things that are acceptable in that society or not, and figure out who they are as characters around that.

And so just storytelling wise, I love that aspect to it. I love watching the characters figure out who they are. And coming to accept who they are is always, to me, like, a big part of the A/B/Os that I write and read. It’s like, they need to be like, yes, this is who I am, and I accept it, and I’m okay with it, and it doesn’t make me lesser than or not good enough. And I don’t know, I feel like, in my heart, that just makes me feel like such joy reading that kind of story or, or writing that kind of story just feels good?

EllenofOz: Yeah, they often go through it, don’t they? Like during, like a lot of, a few of the fics I’ve read, they will go through the process of either presenting or whatever the terminology is, finding out they’re an Omega and, you know, John’s upset with him or whatever, you know, like it’s the whole acceptance thing that’s going on.

CBFirestarter: Exactly, I mean think we see it a lot with, in non-Omegaverse fics with characters discovering their sexuality. You know, coming to grips with, you know, figuring out, which is something I think a lot of people, you know, discover around puberty about themselves if they don’t already know, which I think a lot of people know that about themselves younger. But I think I like the way that Omegaverse tends to have its characters find out their secondary gender at that, like, puberty, that hard stage of life, right?

And I think it’s just, it’s interesting to have that ability to kind of take a white male character and kind of put him in that difficult position of having this secondary gender put on them and, you know, having to deal with a world that might not treat them the same because of it. And so I think it helps at least, you know, coming from it as the view of a woman, it can kind of help me relate to that character a little bit.

Like, They might understand a little bit more as a character like what it would feel like to, you know, maybe not be as respected because of a gender or, so instead of having to like, you know, put that social pressure on them because of sexuality, you can kind of put that social pressure on them because of gender and then kind of see them succeed and grow and move past it, which is like the goal.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: So I think that, I think my favorite Omegaverses always have that aspect to them.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well and, and so one interesting thing that you just said, CB, that I think I haven’t really quite realized until you said this was, you know, it’s kind of like, to toss in another pop culture reference, Schitt’s Creek, right? Like, where in the Omegaverse, it’s an universe, you know, it’s like, we don’t really have homophobia as much, you know, like, you know, of course, like, you know, they have, like, tons of other things to, like, try to overcome, obviously, and other challenges and hardships, you know, but I think that, so one thing that I really do like is how it’s not even, like, considered weird to, like, have  two men, like, to be together in this universe, and I think that’s really cool and, and so refreshing in a way, you know, not to have, you know, the, like, same types of challenges, I guess, you know, like, you know, to lot of fics, like, a more, a modern setting have, so.

EllenofOz: I mean, yes, that’s what we’ve got in Unwritten, I guess, is two Alphas,

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah!

EllenofOz: And they are treated like a similar way as I think gay couple might.

CBFirestarter: Exactly.

EllenofOz: Anyway, we’ll come to that. We’ll come to that. So, anything else we want to talk about, about A/B/O in general before we get into the fic stuff? TCB, did you want to add anything about your favorite parts of, of the genre before we went on?

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean to like tack on to CB’s comprehensive and beautiful answer. I mean, I, I think the only thing that she didn’t mention, you know, that I do love is, at the end of the day, so much as I love, you know, you know, the smut, and you know, the more explicit, you know, qualities to fic writing and you know, into the fics, that I personally write and read is that, I really just, you know, at the end of the day I’m a romantic, like I think that I’m sort of in the core of who I am. I  just love this, like concept of them being fated, right? And so, I think that’s why I connected so much to canon, you know, Cas and Dean being you know, and sharing this profound bond and everything.

So I think that one of the things, you know, that really taps into me and my personal taste is just the quality of the romance, I think, you know? And I think, you know, that it’s really kind of interesting, too, how a lot of fics tend to show how, they try to make it work, you know outside of even, you know, that biological and physiological kind of response, you know and kind of how their personalities were fated to be together, you know, you know even outside of that. So, you know, I think if I had a favorite aspect, you know, apart from all the beautiful reasons that my co-author has talked about and mentioned already. I would probably say that.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: It might be a good time to just quickly mention as well, whereas CB mentioned about the kind of mirrors between presenting in Omegaverse and people discovering their sexuality in, in our world, I guess, air quotes there, it’s also a very unique experience for a lot of non-binary people to read A/B/O fic. I’ve spoken to a couple of people previously who’ve kind of explained that it’s interesting for them to see characters they love put into this kind of, this world where they have this rigid expectation of, of gender and secondary gender, and then see how maybe that doesn’t fit them and they fight back against it. And they have these different thoughts and feelings that some of them can, can relate to in a way. That they are not necessarily what certain parts of their body might look like. There’s more going on there, both on a hormonal and chemical level, and also on a personal level, and that’s something we don’t get to explore much outside of Omegaverse. There are a few fics that do, which is great, and we should look at those one episode, but I do think within Omegaverse, we see a lot more exploration of that than anywhere else.

EllenofOz: I’m not sure if we’ve got, I know there are some fics out there that have one or other of the guys as like a, a trans secondary gender type thing where they started off as an Omega and they worked out that they actually would rather be an Alpha, though I’ve seen a couple like that. But I don’t know if we’ve got any on the list at the moment. We might have to go and find some and add them just to be …thorough

TrenchcoatBaby: I feel like I read one pretty recently.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, I read a fic in a different ship, actually, just this week, where one of the characters was born Beta and very much in love with the Alpha, but they couldn’t bond and the Beta ends up under a spell and they become an Omega, but then they can decide to break the spell or not. And so there’s a lot of, them deciding which gender they want to be because it becomes a choice and they’re like, well, I like the gender I was, but I couldn’t have the thing I wanted when I was that gender. And, and them trying to decide what feels true to them and their partner kind of being like, I, I accept you as either. I just want you to be who you feel you are. And it was a really beautiful story and I really actually loved reading that and, and, I will say though, the author left it open-ended at the end and I don’t know which gender they picked and it’s like driving me a little insane because they ended up basically like, I love you and no matter what you decide, I’m going to support you. And then the character does something and you don’t know which gender they ended up as. And they just kind of look at their partner, like, I love you and I love you too. And it’s like, is this what you want? And they’re like, yes, but I’m like, but which did they pick??

[ All laugh ]

CBFirestarter: So, It was a great fic and it was a different ship than Destiel. But, but yeah, that, that exact idea that you were talking about, Mal, about gender identity, and I think that is, can really be beautifully explored in, in Omegaverse, so. 

EllenofOz: Have you guys ever read any Omegaverse outside of Supernatural fandom?

TrenchcoatBaby: Ooh, no. I haven’t.

EllenofOz: I’m just curious to see if it’s any different, like, or if the same kind of things. Maybe we can ask the audience. If anyone has, has, has any to recommend, then please do let us know. But yeah, we should really talk about some Supernatural fics, shall we?

MalMuses: Yeah, let’s do it.

EllenofOz: Okay. The first one we’ve got on the list is your very own fic: White Collar Contract by CBFirestarter and TrenchcoatBaby was published earlier this year. It’s finished now, though. It’s clocking in at 165,000 words, and it is Explicit, quite explicit. [ Laughs ] I think CB, you were going to read out the summary for us? 

CBFirestarter: Caught between the lesser of two evils, Omega Dean Winchester is thrown into the orbit of Castiel Novak, a gorgeous, older, and incredibly wealthy businessman, and perhaps the only Alpha who wants him for his brains and not his body. Castiel has no interest in bending Dean over the nearest surface and fucking his brains out, which is a first. Not that Dean cares about the Alpha’s lack of interest. Nope. Uh-uh. He couldn’t care less. So

TrenchcoatBaby: So cheeky.

EllenofOz: It’s cheeky.

CBFirestarter: Well, such big stuff happens right in that first chapter. You don’t want to spoil it too, too much. But, but yes, but my, my dear co-author TrenchcoatBaby wrote that summary and I love that she put some like Dean denial right in the middle of the summary. [ Laughs ] Just like in complete denial, even in the summary of the fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: That is a good point.

CBFirestarter: It’s adorable.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, and what’s, well, what’s so funny is that so you wrote him, like, I’m pretty sure that he was like, I’m so attracted to Cas, you know, by like chapter three. And so that summary is probably like, you know, like a moot point almost immediately, but I still love it.

EllenofOz: The very start of the whole fic.

CBFirestarter: He falls really hard really fast in this.

TrenchcoatBaby: But who can blame him? And so Alpha Cas is just, hmm.

EllenofOz: Yeah, so I guess we should start by explaining a little bit that this is the kind of story where the Omegas have a contract involved in their like the, the Alphas kind of have ownership, I guess, of a, of a contract. Sometimes the Omegas have their own contract’s ownership, and so Dean is, I don’t like, I know this is the very first chapter and you didn’t, you said you didn’t want to spoil, but I think we need to in order to move forward.

CBFirestarter: Spoil it so we can talk about it.

EllenofOz: He is rather than entering into a deal with Dick Roman, a nasty piece of work who is a businessman who is probably going to abuse Dean quite nastily, he goes instead, or he’s I guess enters into an agreement with Cas under a White Collar contract, which means he doesn’t have to be a sex slave or anything like that. Obviously the, you know, shenanigans ensue. But one of the things I love that, the way that you’ve written the Alphas in this verse is that all of them, except for Cas, are just really horrible, except for Benny, I guess. They’re just such nasty people, like all of the, the bad guys in, in the show, obviously, who you’ve pulled in as the business associates of Dick, are just so nasty.

CBFirestarter: We definitely overloaded the fic with bad Alphas. We definitely, we like a bad guy, and I feel like we just put them all in there. And I know we reached a point partway through the fic where like, we can’t have all the Alphas be bad.

TrenchcoatBaby: We really did have this talk,

CBFirestarter: We had this conversation where we were just like, Oh my God, we have good Alphas in here, right? Are there good Alphas? Well, we’ve got Cas, but it can’t just be Cas because we don’t want a gender, gender stereotype either, right? And I mean, Jo is in the story and she’s an Alpha. And Benny is an Alpha in the story.

MalMuses: You, you have Nick too, right?

CBFirestarter: And Nick, Nick is also in the story and he’s an Alpha. Yep. So we’ve got, and I think, is Jody an Alpha? I think we, I don’t know if we really gave her a designation. I think she is. But yeah, there are, there are a couple of good Alphas, but like you’re talking about like four good Alphas against like probably 20 bad guy Alphas.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah …

CBFirestarter: It’s not balanced.

TrenchcoatBaby: I think my mentality, you know, with that is that, you know, so these, these like type of people tend to like travel in packs, kind of, like, to use like an A/B/O pun, haha, but so I think it kind of made sense, you know, to me to have this like big group of just seeing these Alphas, who all kind of hype each other up and, you know, like, like, talk each other into this kind of behavior, I guess. But, you know, so I don’t regret how many bad guys we wrote into it, you know, but I do think we probably could have, like, tried to balance it a little bit better.

EllenofOz: Yeah, no, I didn’t mean that you, you didn’t have the right balance. I just meant that they were so deliciously horrible. Like, well done.

CBFirestarter: They were, they were so much fun to write. And I think they are, though, like, a commentary on the society that we put the characters in. That it is an unbalanced society where the Alphas hold the majority of the power. And usually when people have power, it gets abused, right? And so usually the people in power are not the nice guys, 9 times out of 10 in any story of any kind. So I feel like it was, you know, it was still a conscious choice on our parts that, you know, the alphas were going to probably be the bad guys in this story, just based on the society and the way that it functioned that the boys were in, which, which makes it even more, I don’t know, impressive or makes Castiel stand out that much more, that he has this immense power and he doesn’t use it to hurt people or to take advantage of them.

TrenchcoatBaby: So I think, and so one of my favorite things that we wrote, I’m so into that story, is that, you know, kind of how Cas, you know, at the beginning of the story is not really a great guy. You know, he’s not like a good guy yet, you know, like I would say that he’s so actively not a bad guy, obviously, you know.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

TrenchcoatBaby: He doesn’t, like trying to like abuse Dean, or like, you know, like try to degrade him, so like the other Alphas do. But I do think that he’s, you know, a little bit too distant. Like he, you know, is like super aloof, you know, and he’s like, you know, the type of quote unquote good guy who just doesn’t want to get his hands dirty, right? And I think by the end of the fic, not to spoil, but you know, you know, I think it’s so natural to assume that, you know, our characters, like, should have, like, growth. And I think how we show that is we show how he gets closer to Dean, right? And how, like, Dean can kind of, like, transform him a little bit. So.

CBFirestarter: I think Cas has some growth in this story, too, of learning that just because you don’t do bad things, if you’re complicit when bad things are going on, you can be just as guilty.

TrenchcoatBaby: Exactly.

CBFirestarter: I think that’s a hard lesson that he kind of learns that, like, by doing business with people who do bad things, you are supporting people that do bad things. And I think he kind of opens his eyes to things that he has been blind to and not paying attention to, and it, Dean kind of puts a human face on a lot of things that he’s kind of been ignoring. And I thought, I thought that was beautifully done by you, TrenchcoatBaby, like showing his growth that way.

TrenchcoatBaby: Thank you so much, Tear.

EllenofOz: Did you guys have a favorite scene in this fic that you wrote?

CBFirestarter: I know I did.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh! I, we should try to guess each other’s, actually. How cute would that be?

CBFirestarter: Are they going to be the same scene?

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, damn. I’m really thinking hard.

CBFirestarter: I know, me too. There’s a couple of scenes. They’re wet in almost all of them. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: In more than one way, or?

CBFirestarter: Yes, in all the ways. But like, I think we were joking about that at some point, too. I’m like, we really love having the boys, like, damp. Like, they’re jumping in the pool, or they’re swimming, or they’re caught in the rain, or I’m just like, God, I think we’ve, like, beaten this trope over the head, like, 20 times now. [ Laughs ] But, like, come on, if you think about the boys soaking wet in their shirts, sticking to their skin, and kissing, like, hair damp, and it’s just, like, that’s sexy.

TrenchcoatBaby: Okay, okay.

CBFirestarter: So, like, I regret nothing.

TrenchcoatBaby: Speaking of, okay, also, no, me neither, as, no regrets from what we did. Okay. I’ll try to say this as, like vaguely as possible. Is your favorite the scene in the pool whenever it’s night time and it’s after a party? Is that your favorite?

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: Yeah.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah?

CBFirestarter: I think that is I mean, we were working up to that scene for so long that, like,

TrenchcoatBaby: We talked about that scene for so long. That is a good point.

CBFirestarter: And I kept asking you, are we there yet? Can we write it yet? Can we write it yet? And you’re like, no, not yet.

TrenchcoatBaby: [ Laughs ]

CBFirestarter: There was a lot of like back and forth between me wanting to make the smut happen a lot sooner and TrenchcoatBaby being like, they’re not ready yet. It’s not time. So you can blame her for the slow burn. But,

TrenchcoatBaby: But can’t we all agree that a slow burn smut is so much more satisfying on the whole?

EllenofOz: That was the opposite when we were writing Magic Boyfriends. You were like, can we, can they get together now? I’m like, no, no, no, we’ve got all this stuff to get through.

CBFirestarter: I, again, am yelling at both of you to have them have sex already.

TrenchcoatBaby: We’re on a scale, right?

CBFirestarter: I am always an advocate for the early smut.

TrenchcoatBaby: We have pro smut CB, we have me in the middle, and then we have Ellen, who’s saying like, no, but the plot is so important. I’m like, but they have to make out. They have to make out.

CBFirestarter: It’s so true. Yeah, we put a lot of obstacles in front of our characters that they had to get through before they could get to the smut and have it be reasonable. So like, I understood why we had to write it the way we did and I, I’m glad where we ended up. But yeah, I was definitely like a caged tiger pacing a little bit to write that scene. So … But I mean, I…

TrenchcoatBaby: That’s a perfect description.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, but honestly, like, you know me, like … Probably the hardest scene to read in that whole fic is probably my favorite that I wrote.

TrenchcoatBaby: Hmm.

CBFirestarter: Which is just me by nature. Like, I like I like writing action, and I like writing pain, and I like writing the hard stuff. And then writing, getting them out of it, and hurt / comfort, and there is a lot of hurt in this fic, FYI, heads up.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh my god, so much hurt. Yeah.

CBFirestarter: We did a lot of chapter tags to try and not spoil people, but yes, there,

TrenchcoatBaby: Check the chapter tags, for sure.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, there’s some hard topics, and there’s some very graphic scenes that are, are hard on our characters, and I’m very sorry, Dean and Cas. 

TrenchcoatBaby: There are, there are parts of this where I remember, God, I just had, like, such an emotional response to writing it. Because I remember, like, I kind of wrote, like, the a big chunk of, I guess, the … Man, this is so hard to explain, you know, in, like, non spoiler-y language. But, whenever, you know, they’ll have, like, a quote unquote … breakup type thing and I took that so hard, like I really like I was like crying and I was like what is wrong with me that I’m like so emotional about this breakup, you know, which I know that I can fix.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, I know You called me I think after you wrote it, you were like sobbing, I’m like, oh no! And honestly, even me writing this fic was, it got really emotional, but like, for me, if I’m really emotional about it, I feel like I’ve probably hit on something good. So it’s like worth the, you know, trial I put myself through as a writer.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, for sure.

CBFirestarter: And it was like a double whammy though, because I had just written that really two, I think two emotional scenes back-to-back on those two chapters, if you remember. And like, just, you know, my character was… that I was writing from was in a lot of fear and a lot of pain and a lot of, you know, just suffering really and struggling so hard.

And so like, I’m struggling writing those things. And I think then I read the one scene that made you cry that you wrote. And I was like, oh my God, I’m done. Like I need to like cry it out, I need to walk around the apartment building, like I need to like, recenter myself and like watch some Schitt’s Creek or something to feel better, and like eat some ice cream. Like, like it was, it was very hard to write the, some of the, you know, the climax of that story and it was very cathartic to, to, you know, make the fix-it part.

EllenofOz: Yeah, you do, you do make it better.

CBFirestarter: We do fix it.

TrenchcoatBaby: We always do.

CBFirestarter: We always fix it. We are happily ever after girls.

EllenofOz: Or I’d say you better pick TrenchcoatBaby’s favorite bit.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh yeah! She didn’t guess.

CBFirestarter: Oh man … So it’s not the same as mine, then I would say that … in the library?

TrenchcoatBaby: Which time?

CBFirestarter: I know, right? [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: There’s a lot of things in the library.

CBFirestarter: I think that first,

EllenofOz: It’s like an extra character.

CBFirestarter: It really is in this fic, I love that, which, maybe not everybody knows about the fic, but it is sort of an ode to Beauty and the Beast a little bit. There are a lot of Beauty and the Beast nods in this story. Maybe you can pick up on them. Things like the West Wing and the Library and,

TrenchcoatBaby: And and, you know, you know, when Cas like saves Dean from the wolves, quote, unquote,

CBFirestarter: Yes, exactly, yep. And, and Dean also sacrificing himself for his father. Very Belle.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: So yeah, we had like some parallels that we kind of tried to, it’s cause our, actually our first outline, the title of our first outline was like Beauty and the Beast 2.0 or something.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh my God.

CBFirestarter: That’s where the discussion started when we first outlined this fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: Way to spread our tea around town.

CBFirestarter: I really am. You guys are getting all the tea. But yes, the first library scene, I think. That first, you know, that’s what I think would be your favorite scene. 

TrenchcoatBaby: Okay, I definitely do love that one. I think I, my favorite scene is probably like a library scene, you know, but it’s a bit of a sadder one because that’s who I am, I’m a little sad bitch. I love it. And it’s a bit more angsty but that’s all I will say to those people who have not yet read it and don’t want to be spoiled, but I’m a lot,

CBFirestarter: Oh I know which one you’re talking about and that was a good scene.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, thanks. It was fun.

EllenofOz: Awesome. How about you, Mal, as an outsider, do you have a favorite?

MalMuses: Ooh, like while they’ve been discussing, I’ve been sitting here trying to think what my absolute favorite would be. I’m a sucker for dancing, honestly.

TrenchcoatBaby: Aww.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: So that, that like really got me somehow. 

CBFirestarter: See again, Beauty and the Beast, dancing.

EllenofOz: Cool. I think, I think my favorite’s gotta be the first, like when they’re out caught in the rain and you know, that bit when they come inside and the first time they actually, you know, get it on a bit. That’s my favorite because it’s all about the first kiss.

MalMuses: First times are always good though, right?

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, that was awesome.

EllenofOz: Awesome. Well I guess we have to say that if you haven’t read this fic, where have you been? Like, get on it right away. And we’ll have a link to, to the actual fic in the blog post as well. Shall we go on?

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah.

EllenofOz: So next, next on the list is No Words by ltleflrt. This fic was published a few years ago now, I believe she published it serially, and it is, it’s 112,000 words long, so it’s a bit of a long fic, actually I think all three of them are fairly long in this, that we’re going to talk about today. I’ll just quickly read the summary for this one I guess.

“On the run from his very powerful family, Castiel does his best to get lost. Because if he doesn’t know where he is, his brothers won’t be able to find him either. He ends up in Silverton, a small mountain town nestled deep within the Rocky Mountains, where he meets Dean Winchester, a very beautiful and very grumpy Omega.” It’s a short and sweet summary for that one.

MalMuses: Yeah, it doesn’t give a lot away in that one, really.

EllenofOz: No. So we have Alpha Cas and Omega Dean in this one.

MalMuses: Yeah. So without spoiling, the basis of the world that this fic is based in is there is a large organization who was essentially stealing Omega children. I don’t think that’s a serious spoiler. You find that out right in the first chapter.

CBFirestarter: And Alpha children, both, right?

MalMuses: Yeah. Just, yeah, I think that’s, might be true, actually. Children who they believe wanted to kind of go back to their, their wolf roots essentially. 

EllenofOz: But there are humans in this world too, right?

MalMuses: Yes.

EllenofOz: So there are Weres,

MalMuses: So it’s not a complete Omegaverse in terms of every single person has a secondary gender. And we start the fic with, with Cas running away. You don’t necessarily, I think we find out little bits as the story goes on of exactly kind of the depth of what he’s running away from. But right from the beginning, you know that Cas is, is running, he has, he has money, he has clothes and a car and that’s about it. And his car is not in great shape when the fic starts, which is obviously where Dean comes in.

And the most noticeable thing about Dean immediately when they first meet is that he does not talk. We find out later that he, he can talk. He’s not, he’s not mute. He’s selectively mute. It’s a kind of a psychosomatic thing for him, but he does not talk to Cas at all at the beginning, but that doesn’t stop them from forming a very profound bond.

EllenofOz: Of course.

CBFirestarter: And yeah, I mean, this fic has a lot of, while there’s no shifting in this fic, like, I feel like a Omegaverse fic falls in like, three categories, right? Like, you have full on animalistic, in that they can shift into wolves, and it’s very animal based, and yeah, and you have all of those werewolfy… tropes, like, all of them included and then you have kind of, like, the middle ground where, like, if you are an Alpha, Beta or Omega, then you’re a Were and you have animalistic tendencies, but there’s no real shifting, which is where No Words kind of falls.

And then I think, you know, the third category is where they are these secondary genders, but really at the heart of it, they’re still kind of very human and a very more, like, grounded in a more real world setting. And I kind of like the line that No Words dances. Like, it’s kind of like, they definitely have animalistic things. They purr, they growl. You know, there’s mating bites and the moon has a big effect on them, but they don’t actually shift into animals. So it’s kind of this nice balance, I think.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh my gosh. Okay. I’m really sorry. This isn’t even on, well, it’s kind of on topic. No Words? I just got the title, you guys. Like, where have I been? It just snapped into place for me. I was like, okay, anyways, continue.

EllenofOz: Well, you couldn’t remember what it was about a few minutes ago, so that’s okay.

TrenchcoatBaby: Okay, thanks. That does help me.

MalMuses: You’re doing better.

CBFirestarter: No Words. Dean can’t talk. 

TrenchcoatBaby: Super 

CBFirestarter: So did any of you guys go into this fic and kind of have this moment where you were worried, like knowing that Dean was going to be mute and you’re like, how can this character possibly be like Dean if he’s mute, right?

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: Cause like Dean is just so, such a bright personality and like, his jokes and his laughing and his, you know, his sarcasm and all of that is just so Dean. It’s like when I first,

TrenchcoatBaby: Pop culture,

CBFirestarter: Yeah, I was like, there’s no way he’s going to seem like Dean. 

EllenofOz: Yeah, his personality is a little bit muted to, to use this terrible pun, that he’s not as bright as usual, but it’s still there.

CBFirestarter: But it’s, he was still so Dean though.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah.

CBFirestarter: And I just feel like it was, I was so worried about it. And then as soon as I started reading it, I’m like, wow, it’s still Dean. Like you can tell, you know, it’s maybe a Season nine Dean or a Season seven Dean who’s kind of like struggling and in a darker place. I kind of see it as a Season 7 Dean who’s really kind of just like down and, you know, not having a lot of like, hope for the world in a certain way. Like, at the same time, he’s still kind of like, sassy and pushy and, you know, that quintessential thing that makes Dean Dean is still very, very present. And I just thought that was so beautifully done, and the communication between the characters, even without talking, was probably my favorite aspect of that fic, outside the, you know, the A/B/O aspects.

MalMuses: Yeah, and major kudos to ltleflrt for writing that as well, because… I’ve written a mute Cas before,

CBFirestarter: Mmm …

MalMuses: And it takes a while to get into the rhythm of that because it’s so easy to just have them say what you want them to communicate. And when that option is off the table, it really, you know, makes you kind of stretch your writing muscles in different directions. And I think she did that so well in this fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, that’s a great point, Mal. I was gonna say something about that, too, because, yeah, I really think that the way that I get into writing Dean is, like, through his dialogue, right? You know, I think his voice is so distinct and so fun to write. And so I think that it, you know, it had to be a huge challenge for her in trying to, like, get into his mindset, almost? You know, I think that she … did a great feat, you know, and trying to have that you know, and trying to bring forth his personality through body language and thoughts and that sort of stuff. And I think that was done so well, so.

CBFirestarter: Well, which is where she utilizes the Omegaverse, right? Because in Omegaverse, they have other ways of communicating than words. You know, they’re, they can sense each other through smell and body language, and I think the scenting’s really big in this fic because they can kind of, you know, sense when one of them is distressed or happy or sad or aroused and because of that physicality, you don’t need to have words for, you know, an Alpha to tell how an Omega is feeling and vice versa. So I think that definitely like it, the two married really well together in this fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, married. Good. Good verb choice.

[ All laugh ]

EllenofOz: And the other thing about this fic is, when I was rereading it, like, in the last week, I remembered the first time I read it, I was really, I guess, I had a feeling of unease as I was reading through it, thinking like, oh, it’s all going to go wrong, like, they’re going to break up, and it’s going to be bad, but in fact, they’re, it’s quite a fluffy and loving fic, like, there’s never a point where they’re not, where they’re trying to get away from each other, I don’t think, that, things happen external to them that drive the plot forward rather than any kind of a breakup, which is great.

MalMuses: Yeah, that’s my favorite type of angst for sure. Like when the angst is between the two of them, I’m always just like skipping forward like nope, don’t, nope.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: But like the external like plotty angst, I like. Give me 500k of that stuff.

CBFirestarter: I’m on your side with that, Mal, 110%. I love plot angst that the characters have to fight together while they’re together. Like, that’s cool. 

MalMuses: Yeah, and if it prevents them from getting together for a while, makes it that much hotter and more painful.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, yep, I’m the same wavelength, that’s the good stuff.

EllenofOz: Well maybe we should use that as a segue to, to move on to the third fic because I feel like that in the third one it’s actually the characters who are creating their, their drama rather than the plot.

CBFirestarter: Oh my gosh!

MalMuses: Its character driven.

EllenofOz: So, so let’s go on. 

TrenchcoatBaby: I couldn’t have put it better myself.

EllenofOz: So the third fic we’re going to talk about is called Unwritten, and it’s by PorcupineGirl. It was published even earlier, back in 2015. It’s only 75,000 words, so a little shorter than the other two, but still quite a hefty story. Also Explicit. We seem to be all in the Explicit stuff today. I think it’s quite rare to find an A/B/O fic that’s not explicit. They must be out there, but I don’t, I think they’re quite rare.

MalMuses: “A spontaneous scent bond is the stuff of romance novels. An Alpha and an Omega meet by chance, and they happen to be so compatible that their pheromones are perfectly aligned, drawing them irresistibly together to mate and bond for life. Neither bookstore owner, Dean Winchester, nor science fiction novelist, Castiel Novak, have ever thought it sounded romantic. Your hormones going nuts and tricking you into tying yourself to a complete stranger for the rest of your life? No, thanks. But when Castiel comes to Dean’s store for a signing, they find an inexplicable pull towards each other, and into a powerful bond that neither of them wants. A bond that shouldn’t even be possible for two Alphas. At least they agree on one thing: they will not let biology determine their fate.”

So, as the, in this little group here, the resident … air quotes, non A/B/O fan, this was for me, one of my favorite fics. I have read some A/B/O, I’m definitely more into more plotty kind of fics. Like I would, I’ll read almost anything with a good plot, which is how I feel like a lot of people like me kind of drift into Omegaverse. Even if it’s something that they didn’t intentionally seek out, you’d be like, well, this has a really good plot and then, you know, everyone’s recommending this fic. So, you know, I’m sure it’d be fine. And then, and then you start and it’s like a little hill that you’re rolling down. So this was for me, one of the first A/B/O fics that I can remember really enjoying. And I think part of the reason why at the time was, as the summary kind of hints on there, they really don’t want to follow what’s put in place for them. And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that they, they really create their own problems by trying to do that so hard. 

EllenofOz: Yeah. I liked the idea of it at the beginning, but I spent the whole time, like I don’t, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, like I enjoyed reading this fic, I really did, it’s gorgeous, but I was so frustrated by the two of them, I was like,

CBFirestarter: Yeah.

EllenofOz: I feel like if you’re gonna read A/B/O, you want them to get together, you want them to have that perfect kind of love at first sight almost type thing at first sniff I guess. And they just didn’t, and they chose consistently to keep staying apart because they didn’t want to follow their biology. And it frustrated the hell out of me. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Yep, you just want to grab them and shake them. Idiots to lovers, really.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, and plus I think it’s really interesting because I think all of us here are really into two person love triangles. And, you know, and so this almost had that, like, same sort of setup where it’s like, they, you know, are being kept apart, you know, they can’t, like, see each other, you know, they’re, like, trying, you know, like, so we’re, like, the readers, like, trying to, like, push them together, you know, the characters are kind of, like, coming farther apart, you know, at times. You know, and so I thought it was interesting how I love a two person love triangle, but I get mad at them, you know, when they choose to, like, make that happen to themselves, you know what I mean? Like, I was like, you guys are clearly perfect, like, you should just be together. [ Laughs ] You know?

CBFirestarter: Yeah, they made the problems for themselves in this fic, for sure. And you know, it kind of, it kind of like, I don’t know why I keep envisioning like Mario Kart, but like when you throw the bananas and you spin out of whack, like, I just see like Dean and Cas throwing bananas in front of their own cars and just like constantly stalling themselves out. Like, they get like so close and then they just like, no I’m going to throw a banana and I’m going to spin around and just think about it for a while. And it’s like, what are you doing? Like, stop throwing bananas. The finish line’s right there. Just go. 

EllenofOz: I do think, I do think it was very sweet that they, even though they were obviously quite like biologically compatible they fell in love externally to that, by Skyping each other basically every day, like the actual romance of it was separate to the A/B/O parts of it. So that was, that was very sweet, I liked that.

CBFirestarter: Well, yeah, and I think like what Mal said too, though, like one of the biggest tropes in, within this trope is, is, you know, mating and, and true mates and like, that big biological, physiological star-fated thing. And as we know from our canon characters, they hate fate, right? They’re Team Free Will. They’re team, make your own choice and don’t let destiny make the choice for you. And with true mates, that’s what that is, right? That’s a physical, biological pull, you know, that’s Chuck pulling the strings saying this should happen. And so I think it’s, it made total sense in this story that both Dean and Cas are both like, we don’t want to just do what fate says.

Even though in this case, fate was totally right and they just had to deal with that. 

TrenchcoatBaby: That is true.

CBFirestarter: But they fell in love outside of it and I, I appreciated that.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: And I thought that was very true to their personalities and their characters canonically.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, well, I think I’ll add to, kind of, you know, to add to the, like, strengths of the fic, I think that if you are a person who really likes to dig into, like, you know, the, like, science of A/B/O, like so, or Omegaverse to universes and settings and stuff, I think that this story does a really good job of trying to, you know, give a really thorough kind of explanation of what’s happening. I think that if you like to, like, have that sort of backstory and, you know, to understand how the pheromones are working, and like the hormones and all this stuff, you know, I think that she did a really good job of trying to make some of that science more approachable, because I’m definitely not a science-y person at all. Like, I you know, would much rather be playing with words all day. But I think that the way that she wrote it just made it where, anybody could take it up and kind of comprehend it, I think, you know.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. And I think that science-y part, it’s probably not a spoiler to say because it is in the tags, becomes very relevant towards the end where there is like a very kind of angsty twist to what happens in this fic. And it didn’t feel like you were being kind of buried in the science at the time. It was very much more emotional.

CBFirestarter: Very true.

EllenofOz: And the other thing this fic does really quite well and plays with is the fact that they’re both Alphas and, so then, as we said earlier, there’s the, I guess the homophobia, but from a, an Alpha point of view, like, so I guess it’s not too, it’s kind of a spoiler, but I think this does have John Winchester’s A+ parenting as a tag. So you know what’s coming, like, John doesn’t agree. He gets a bit shirty about the whole thing, but. Yeah, it was interesting that he, that that’s just, he was only upset about the Alpha / Alpha part of it rather than the fact that they’re two guys.

CBFirestarter: Alpha male, yeah.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: I think that was the only thing that I … like, I personally missed in this story, though, like, while I love that, like, bucking the trend of the, you know, the Alpha / Alpha kind of representing like a gay relationship in our society, I, I miss the Omega part, I think for me, because, and maybe it’s just because I’m an Omega girl, I like writing from that perspective and I like the stuff that comes along with Omegas. So, reading a story kind of free of that, it, it, missed that dynamic for me. So, I almost, you know, kind of read it as its own thing. Like, I don’t even know if I mentally really connected it with all the A/B/Os or Omegaverse fics that I’ve read.

EllenofOz: Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, because it had slightly different kind of elements to it than a normal or, you know, mainstream maybe would have.

CBFirestarter: Well yeah, I think I can understand how people who aren’t necessarily always comfortable with Omegaverse probably like this fic because of that. Because really two Alphas are not all that different than just two regular men.

TrenchcoatBaby: That’s a good idea. Yeah, that’s a good point.

CBFirestarter: And I think people can get very uncomfortable with the feminization of a male character, and really Omegas are a lot more feminine. So if they’re, people are uncomfortable with that, they might be okay with, you know, reading two Alphas, because they’re okay with reading two men. But the idea of having one of those characters have more feminine traits, of an Omega physically, whether or not they have them personality wise makes people more uncomfortable. So I feel like that’s probably why this fic kind of dances that, if you’re not always in love with Omegaverse, chances are, you’re going to like this story.

MalMuses: I also found this story, um, I really appreciated the found family kind of aspect of it. Like, there’s a really kind of strong sense throughout this fic that, Dean has built his own family throughout the, the bookstore that he owns and the people that work there. And you get kind of a really good sense of that. And I think, especially, you know, for Supernatural, that’s kind of a lot of, a lot of what the show is, is about that, you know, family doesn’t end with blood and all that. And in this case, it doesn’t end with pheromones either. So, and, and I really think that that was handled very well in this fic that there were actually, you know, a fair number of kind of supporting characters and the people that work for Dean and several that kind of get introduced through Cas as well. And it was never overwhelming. It was just this kind of sense of community. And it was also kind of comforting that you got the feeling that those people wanted to scream at Cas and Dean as much as I did.

[ All laugh ]

TrenchcoatBaby: Thank God for Charlie,

EllenofOz: Charlie’s beside herself for most of it. I think.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, I love Charlie so much

CBFirestarter: But what’s in those? Yeah, they, there are beautiful secondary characters in this story. It was a really beautiful world building.

EllenofOz: Alright. Let’s, there was other fics that we had on our list that we might want to give a quick shoutout to, Okay. So this, this fic, I, I don’t know if it was the first, like, I probably, the probably first one I read was probably No Words just because CB probably threw it at me and went, read this. Oh,

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, she did that to me. 

CBFirestarter: Yeah. I did, I did. It was the first Omegaverse that I read and then I promptly threw it in everyone I knew’s faces.

EllenofOz: Yeah, that’s right. This is called Get a Whiff of This by bendingsignpost, who you may know from other works such as, Four Letter Word for Intercourse, which is not A/B/O, but nevermind. But this one, his A/B/O fic is only 27,000, but it’s so gorgeous. And he does a brilliant job of bringing Omega Dean, who is doing community service type thing, you know, animal shelter and, is allergic to the animals and can’t smell anything for weeks. And then he’s very confused by Castiel, who’s a vet there. And … yeah. It goes on from there and it’s so good. I reread it every now and then just because I love it so much. So yeah. Mal, did you have another one that you wanted to mention?

MalMuses: Yeah. One is a very well known fic. It’s a large work in this fandom. That is Tor Valen. It’s a fantasy A/B/O. So there is a lot of world building that goes into this fic. It’s done really, really well, in my opinion, like, you don’t feel like you’re just having kind of information dumped at you at any point. You explore it along with the characters, but the sheer amount of world building in this fic is absolutely fantastical. The world is fascinating. It is a very distinct A/B/O in the way that Omegas are treated, and you follow along with Omega Dean in this story and with Castiel, who has like a large ancestral estate. It was, I think, possibly the second or third A/B/O that I read. So I went straight from short,

EllenofOz: You always go for the big ones, don’t you?

MalMuses: I know. I’m not sure why, what this is about me, but like once I decide I’m going to try something, then that’s it. I just go in for the giant one apparently. This fic is, I think it’s, I know it’s over 200k. It’s 228.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: And we will link that one on the website if anybody’s interested in a fantasy take on A/B/O.

CBFirestarter: Oh, I feel like, I feel like you can’t talk about Omegaverse and not talk about also like A Hole in the World which I think TrenchcoatBaby and I both read at the same time fairly recently. AnnelieseMichel, I think is the name of the writer on that one. Sorry if I’m pronouncing that username wrong. And that was a really, again, dealt a lot with, there’s a lot of court cases and dealing a lot with Omega rights and things like that, which is always like, one of my favorite tropes within the verse. So that’s beautifully done and that’s a really painful, beautifully angsty, painful story.

The writing’s really amazing on that. Also Omega Dean and Alpha Cas in that. And again, Into Your Hideaway, I think is also one that was like, really recommended to me early on.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, I love that one too.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, that’s, that’s full on Mpreg. There’s a lot of, like, pregnant Dean for, like, 90 percent of that fic. So, if that is not your bag, that is not your fic. [ Laughs ] And then, you know, I didn’t mention this one to you guys and I don’t know if any of you have probably read this one, but there’s Running With the Wolves by DancingDog. I think I’m pronouncing it –

TrenchcoatBaby: That sounds really familiar. What happens in that one?

CBFirestarter: I know I’ve recced it to you before, but that is the, it’s a Shifter fic, a lot like your No Man’s Land.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh.

CBFirestarter: So the characters are actually in wolf form for the majority of the fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, you have told me about this one.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, so there is wolf on wolf smut. And human / human smut.

TrenchcoatBaby: Not that I’m offended by that, obviously.

CBFirestarter: It’s beautiful. It’s all great. In my opinion, anyways. But yeah, it’s, it’s like a 200,000 word fic. It’s like one of those big, long, epic stories, and there’s a lot of side characters and side stories and packs and fighting.

EllenofOz: Actually, you know what? It’s on our list and it’s 381,000 words.

CBFirestarter: Oh my god, yes. It’s so long. It’s the longest fic I’ve probably ever read.

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ] It’s a big one.

CBFirestarter: But yeah, you do get sucked into that verse. And so if you’re looking for something that kind of has like that wolf aspect to it, like they’re full on howling at the moon for like 90 percent of that fic. And so it’s kind of beautiful though, the pack mentality, there’s a lot of cuddling and physical contact and taking care of each other. And there’s like this huge family bond in that story that is really beautiful, and I really recommend that to anybody that’s kind of like feeling that vibe. So.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, and so one more I wanted to add, I’ll add one to the list really quick. I think one of my favorite modern, like, I think a lot of Omegaverse stories so, ours included, honestly, kind of take it outside of, like, our current universe a lot of ways. You know, I think we created a lot of parallels, you know, but I think a lot of these types of stories kind of make it feel very separate from our world, right? But I think one of my favorite modern stories actually is Walls. Like so, CB wrote Walls Between Us and I just love that story so much. Because I love how you worked in, you know, so many class issues and, and legalities and kind of, so made it feel like you, you kind of took our world and just tossed these characters into it. And I thought that was a really well done job that you did for that one.

CBFirestarter: Aw, you’re gonna make me blush.

EllenofOz: I agree. 

MalMuses: I do have one more that I was going to mention, but I think we probably have enough now. 

CBFirestarter: Is there too much though? [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Well, I was going to mention one just because of how different it is compared to a lot of the other ones, because it’s actually a canon A/B/O fic, which is The Smell Before the Rain by jscribbles and they’re actually the Sam and Dean that we know are, are thrown into another universe by Chuck. So this is a kind of more recent season fic that happens. And they’re thrown into this universe that looks at first glance to be kind of like the one that they know, apart from there are strange militias patrolling the streets, something’s up with heaven. It’s, something is slightly off. And they’re desperately trying to scramble to learn about this world that they’re in. And then Castiel falls sick with a fever that only Dean can soothe.

CBFirestarter: [ Laughs ] I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh. I’m just like, I know what that is.

[ All laugh ]

MalMuses: It’s, it’s really interesting because you, you get to watch the, like, we know, like, reading, like, we know what’s happening here and you get to watch the characters like stumble their way through this.

CBFirestarter: Oh man.

EllenofOz: [ Unclear ] freaking out about the whole thing. 

CBFirestarter: That’s really good. I really want to read that.

EllenofOz: It is. It’s good. And it’s probably different to everything else we’ve talked about because Alpha Dean and Omega Cas. So.

CBFirestarter: And also them being in a universe where they’re not familiar with secondary genders.

EllenofOz: Yeah. Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. They literally end up I believe in a diner or a kind of cafe of some kind with Sam, like reading to them from a book, like, this is what’s happening to you.

CBFirestarter: Course Sam would be like googling it and like like looking at the website, like reading the like wiki on it.

EllenofOz: Oh, I think at one point he actually says to Dean, don’t fuck him or something like that. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Don’t do that. Whatever you do, don’t do that. Don’t do it. So definitely, definitely check the tags on that one. Cause there are some kind of darker twists to that. So definitely check the tags on it. But it’s kind of unusual to find canon A/B/O, so I figured I would mention that.

TrenchcoatBaby: So I was gonna add to that actually, I know so one other canon so Omegaverse, but it is dark. It’s maybe one of the darker things I’ve ever read. And I sent this to CB, and I was like, on my period and I was like, you have to read this with me because I’m so upset and like, I want you to be upset with me. It’s called Grey.

CBFirestarter: We always share the painful fics with each other. We’re like, do you want to hurt? I want to hurt. Let’s read this thing. 

TrenchcoatBaby: We are masochists truly, but yeah, okay. So it’s called Grey by Valinde so I’m not really quite sure how to pronounce that, but, yeah, so read the tags on this one for sure, like I’m talking some really, really dark stuff, but it is so heartbreaking and very beautiful and angsty, so if so you’re so if you’re into the angst you know, and you’re trying to get into this sub genre of fic, I would recommend that one. I think I saw you know, I was on, like, a thread in, like, the Destiel [ Unclear ] on Facebook. And somebody wrote, like, I’m giving you, like, your saddest fics. And I was, like, I got one for you, girl. You know, like, that kind of story, so,

EllenofOz: Does it have a happy ending?

CBFirestarter: It does. It does. It’s 95 percent sad. And then the last bit is just cuddles.

TrenchcoatBaby: That’s clever.

CBFirestarter: And I was like, I don’t even know if this is enough cuddling to make up for all that pain, but okay, I’ll take it. 

MalMuses: Okay, let’s go on to co-writing.

EllenofOz: I think I’ve written with all of you in different combinations and obviously CB and TCB have written a bit together. And Mal has written with lots of other people as well as me, so we’ve all got a bit of experience in this. I guess that I just wanted to ask, to start with, what is the best thing about sharing a fic with someone, like writing something with another person?

MalMuses: Yeah, my experience is probably different because it’s, although I have done just fics with one other person, it’s generally … organizing large groups to write things. So maybe I’ll like tag on to the end after we talk about like normal, air quotes, normal co-writing.

CBFirestarter: Well, I’ve got an easy answer for this one. I mean, I’ve been super lucky that, you know, the people who I’ve chosen to co-write with, I’ve, you know, it’s been an easy co-write in you know, who you write with makes a big difference. Like having similar writing styles and, especially when it comes to, like, organization and characterization and, like, tone of voice. You know, you want to find someone that you kind of, like, blend with. And, like, so I’ve been lucky with that, like, getting to write with Ellen and getting to write with TrenchcoatBaby and getting to write with another friend of ours.

I’ve, you know, just been really, like, I think I’ve just been lucky because I know that it’s not always smooth sailing for everybody with co-writing. But I think I just love being surprised. Writing, I think, like, if I had to pick one thing about co-writing that I love, it’s being surprised because, like, so often when you’re writing on your own, like, you’re writing both sides of a story, right? Like, you’re writing Dean’s perspective. And even if you’re only in one perspective, like, you still know what’s going on with the other character, but, like, when you co-write, you can kind of not know what’s going on with the other characters. Like, I can write Dean, put him in this situation, and not know what Cas is thinking and be wondering, and then when I get to read and find out what Cas is thinking, reading TrenchcoatBaby’s side, it’s like, really exciting, like there’s this kind of exciting surprise element. Like, what are they going to do? What is my co-writer going to throw at me? And then, and it’s kind of like getting to like, learn that other character, the things that you didn’t know about them because your co-author knows about them.

MalMuses: So do you two always do it that way, where one of you takes a POV each, because Ellen and I did it that way as well when we wrote, but I know some people do switch off chapter by chapter.

CBFirestarter: Yeah. Yeah, we, I’ve always done it that way, kind of by default, but like, just picking a character and writing from that perspective and sticking with that. And I, it’s worked for me, at least. 

EllenofOz: I think it works well for keeping the voices of the characters separate as well, because even though you might, your styles may merge together quite well, that you still got a distinct voice that’s good for different points of view, right?

CBFirestarter: Very much so. I think it’s that kind of story lends itself to co-writing for that reason. Like if you’re writing each author’s picking a perspective of a character, then those characters have their voices. Have any of you guys like switched perspectives when you’ve co-written?

MalMuses: I’ve co-written on larger projects that I’ve organized with big groups of writers, where instead of doing a POV per person, it was more a case of, almost like an episode per person. So you would be, there would be several scenes within your chapter. You could, you know, use whichever characters you needed for that. And I do think doing it that way requires a lot more organization to make sure that you’re picking up the threads that you need to and the plot points that you need to. And because it’s, you may not be switching off as regularly with that one.

CBFirestarter: Hmm.

MalMuses: So you won’t just be switching from one person’s point of view to the next person’s point of view, and you can’t just say, okay, well, we didn’t do that in that scene, we’ll, we’ll have to carry it over to the next one, because the next scene could be several chapters later.

CBFirestarter: You would need a really good outline. 

MalMuses: So, yeah. A really good outline and lots of organization to do it that way. But at the same time, it’s also a lot of fun to do it that way, because you do have so many people’s different kind of points of view and perspectives, and they can bring so many different things to that. It’s like a nice kind of little, little melting pot, when you do it that way.

EllenofOz: Yeah, what seemed to work best with that, like that I felt being part of one of those was that you were like, almost a showrunner type thing. Like you had one person, one or two people who sort of designed the overall story, and then you, everyone wrote their own bits, but you guys kind of brought it all in line so that it made sense in the whole picture.

TrenchcoatBaby: I was going to say since you, since Mal and Ellen, like y’all have both written, you know, you know, in that kind of a larger group context. And I think, me and CB tend to write to one-on-one kind of situations. So what do you think is more challenging or more beneficial? Like, what do you think, you know, can like serve, I guess, the process and the plot best?

EllenofOz: Ohh.

MalMuses: I think it really depends on the kind of fic. Because if you’re writing something that’s more character driven, then I really think you probably want that smaller cast of writers, you want to stick, keep your POVs tighter, one per person. But if you’re writing something that’s more, maybe you’re writing something that’s third person omnipotent, or you’re writing like, one of the projects that Ellen and I did together was basically a season of Supernatural. So it was, it was canon and it was divided up into episodes. That’s a whole different kind of way of doing things. So you can bring in those different writers and have different writers do different episodes because you do actually kind of want them to feel different and kind of as a little package by themselves that just contributes to the whole overall arc of the season. So I think it really depends on the story.

EllenofOz: So it’s also a different kind of experience as well, because when you’re writing your little episode you just do your bits and then, you turn it in, or post it, and then the next person does their bit, you know? So, when you’re writing a whole fic with one other person, you get that kind of instant feedback I guess, from each other as you’re writing the whole time like it’s a much more continuous process. I guess.

TrenchcoatBaby: I think that’s one of the good kind of byproducts of you know, my co-writing experiences, I have so always brought me super close like that to the person who I’m co writing with. Like, I remember up to me and you, Ellen, you know, would have to have long, long chats on the phone sometimes, you know, to, like, try to, to nail down more complicated, like, plot details and to, like, talk through, you know, some more complicated topics and issues and stuff. I think, you know, that that closeness that you sort of grow, you know, with your friends as well, because you know, I wouldn’t, I’m a personally, I’ve always written, you know, with friends first, and I think it’s, you know, it’s like kind of important to have that bond, like, pre co-authing, because I think, that to have like a similar taste and, and so reading material I think is good too because I think that we all kind of write the like type of, the like types of things that we like to read, right?

And so, and so I think that it’s like a good way to like blend if you, you know, have like a pre-established sort of foundation, you know? So whenever you’re trying to pick a co-author… I get this question a lot, you know, people ask me, you know, oh, so how can I find a co-author or whatever, you know, and I, you know, just kind of tell them, like, just make friends and just like talk to other writers and just, you know, try to connect. And I think that’s like a huge part of trying to co-write is, is, you know, just trying to find your crew of people who you really have a lot in common with, you know, and that you can have, have fun on the page with, you know.

EllenofOz: Yeah, I think that’s the main thing. Like, a lot of, well, I think pretty much all of the fics that I’ve written with other people have been like a spur of the moment, like you’re just chatting, shooting the shit on Discord or whatever. And then suddenly you go, hey, you know what? We should write this, and off it goes, you know? So, it’s really important for, like, rather than having, like, you can certainly do it in the way that I have an idea, I don’t feel like I can write it myself on my own, I’ll go and ask other people if they want to help me. That’s, that’s definitely one way to do it, but also to have a spontaneous kind of a, Hey, what about this idea? Let’s try it out.

CBFirestarter: I do think though, like, I think people who are hyperstructured with their writing will probably struggle a little with co-writing,

EllenofOz: Yeah.

CBFirestarter: And you should kind of, like, have an idea of if you’re going to co-author with someone, like, what’s their writing style. Because if they’re very, like, regimented and they need to have an outline and they need to know every scene and where it’s going to go and how it’s going to fit together, and they can’t really diverge from that and you’re someone who wings it, you know, you’re not going to work as well with someone who has like a regimented schedule. So like knowing that before you get into it and end up frustrated with each other, I think is really kind of important. 

EllenofOz: I don’t know, I think that’s, that’s the way that does work. If one person’s rigid and the other one isn’t, that’s fine. But if you have two people, who are rigid.

TrenchcoatBaby: Ooo! Hot take! [laughs]

CBFirestarter: Oh, that is very true.

EllenofOz: Who can’t deviate from their, well, I’m just saying that a bit that I know that Mal is quite structured, always has an outline, it’s quite detailed, you like work out exactly what’s going to happen. It may change as you, as you go through, I know, but,

MalMuses: Yeah, I’ve got to keep a certain amount of flexibility in there, but,

EllenofOz: If I think if you were someone who had the idea, story a certain way in your head and you weren’t willing to change, then that could be really frustrating.

CBFirestarter: Then you need someone who’s flexible to kind of go with the flow with you.

MalMuses: Yeah, yeah I think it needs to be someone you’re comfortable enough with that you can, I won’t say challenge them on things necessarily, but at any point in a story, you’re always going to have options for how you go forward from that point. And I think you need to be able to come to like a mutual agreement on where you’re going to go.

CBFirestarter: Yeah, I mean, I feel like when TrenchcoatBaby and I wrote our first co-fic together and we wrote Waiting on a Signal, that was such a, I don’t know how any other way to say it than winging it? Like there really was no, we didn’t have a big, we didn’t discuss a lot about a big plot. Like, we knew the elements we wanted, like we knew, you know, I knew I wanted, you know, paramedic, sub!Dean, she wanted a dom!Cas, this is, so we knew the things we wanted.

We knew we were going to do like the two person love triangle, but like it was the whole fic kind of just naturally organically kind of built itself. I don’t feel like even, we were two thirds of the way in and we’re like, okay, what’s like our conflict and our end? I’m like, I was like, we have like enough here that we have like an actual plot going, we should figure out where we’re going with this. But like, there was something very relaxing about that style of writing for me, where we were, you know, and it’s certainly, I know it’s like a hardcore BDSM fic, but it’s actually a pretty fluffy and light fic. There’s not a ton of angst or pain. We would put, put each other in situations writing wise and, and stop mid scene and then make the, you know, your co-author basically pick up on the next scene, which, like, I think is harder, but also fun, like, you’re dropping, like, this is where they are, Dean’s in panties, here he is, you go. [ Laughs ]

It’s like, versus like you get, versus writing and getting all the way to the end of a scene and completing it and letting them start a new scene. You’re writing, you know, you’re switching perspectives mid-moment, almost. And that was like, I definitely had a lot of fun, like, throwing chapters over at TCBaby and being like, ah, deal with this.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh my god.

CBFirestarter: How are you going to get them out of this? Like,

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah!

CBFirestarter: And it was kind of like, it felt like a game almost, writing that fic.

TrenchcoatBaby: It did! I, I mean,

CBFirestarter: We were just tossing it back and forth and it was just like a volleyball match almost. Unlike, you know, White Collar that we talked about, which was much more plotted out and we knew where the story was gonna go and things we wanted to see.

EllenofOz: It depends on the fic, right?

CBFirestarter: Yeah. 

EllenofOz: If you’ve got a plot in mind.

CBFirestarter: So we wrote them back to back and we both wrote them together, but like, it was a very different writing style for both of them, I feel like.

TrenchcoatBaby: Yeah, you know, you know, I think it, you know, it’s a really good point that, like, the co-writing process really does reflect, you know to what you’re writing, because I think for Signal, you know, and the best way I could try to describe it as, like, playful, right? Like, as we were so playful with that fic, like, we just kind of, like, and so we liked, like, challenging each other and so giving each other, like, you know some new ideas and stuff and just, like, trying to see what would happen sort of thing. And so that was a, you know, you know, a very fun and light experience.

Whereas I think, me and Ellen wrote  Magic Boyfriends aka The Closest Thing We Have to Magic and we, you know, our approach had to be a lot more methodical, yet we also left a lot of things, to chance, like, we had, like, a lot of things where we so we knew, like, certain plot points would happen, but we weren’t really sure the you know, ingredients to get there.

But I think that, you know, you know that that story is like a good example of like a balance, I think, right, Ellen? Like, I think we both, you know, we would plot out certain things yet kind of like, you know, allow a lot of freedom in other spots too.

EllenofOz: Yeah. And I think actually this, that’s a good example of how co-authoring can really be a great experience is that I like, I, well I certainly learned a lot from that experience because in the past I hadn’t ever posted a lot of WIPs like that. Like we posted it week to week and that was a new thing for me, like trying to let go of you know, having a rigid kind of plan, we just had to come up with each thing week-to-week kind of thing. And, but we did also you know, have an idea of where we wanted to go with it as well. So it was like a, we probably both learned something out of it. I don’t know.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, for sure. No, I think, yeah, I totally think that I’m a bit more you know, I’m not as so rigid, you know, my structure. And so you like taught me a lot about that perspective, and I think, so hopefully, you know, I taught you a little bit about, you know, just trying to see what happens, you know.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah letting go of the control, definitely, I’m a control-freak, I admit.

TrenchcoatBaby: [ Laughs ] 

CBFirestarter: I think co-writing should come with a warning label, though, because ever since I’ve gotten into the groove now, co-writing with all of you, it’s very hard for me to write solo.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Oh, it’s addictive.

CBFirestarter: Oh my God, it became really addictive. I’m like, I miss my co-author. And, you know, I’m, I have a work in progress right now that I have, been a work in progress for a year and yeah, it’s legitimately a year now and I’m just like, oh my God, I just like half the time I sit there and I’m just like, oh can’t can’t my co author write Cas for this,

TrenchcoatBaby: [ Laughs ]

CBFirestarter: I just like I just want to hand the reins over for like half of it and I feel like that would energize me with the story.

EllenofOz: Yeah it’s good motivation, isn’t it?

CBFirestarter: It is!

MalMuses: There’s nothing more motivating than waking up to find that somebody’s already written a bunch for you. [ Laughs ]

CBFirestarter: That feels so good! I’m totally spoiled with it now. And I feel like, it like, I never felt this way with solo writing before. But now I’m like, it’s kind of lonely. Like, I miss not being able to like, go back and forth with a co-author. And so yeah, it’s totally changed me as a writer. Getting to co-write with, with both of you. And like, it’s, I mean in a good way. But also in a, like, now I don’t want to be alone and I’m a clingy author that wants to just write with you.

[ All laugh ]

MalMuses: It can be really inspiring though, because, I, I found that, for example, when I was co-writing with Ellen, that she might drop something into one of her scenes that was just an inconsequential mention for something, but then I would take it and pick up on it in my scene and it would slowly become a whole new plot point or something that we hadn’t really considered, so you just have that, really wonderful aspect of just being able to bounce things off each other throughout the writing process. And I think that’s much harder to do by yourself.

EllenofOz: Everyone brings their strengths.

CBFirestarter: Yeah. It, it gives like an organic feel to a fic when you’ve got two people working together, I think.

TrenchcoatBaby: Well, I think, you know, yeah, there’s something really powerful about having a person who’s as so equally as invested, you know into the story as you are because, you know, you know, I think, beta readers are, like, amazing, and then, and y’all are, like you know, have all been my beta readers before, you know, and beta readers can give great content and feedback and edits and all that is so important.

But I think that, so having a co-author is a bit kind of like having, like, a partner in marriage or something, you know what I mean? You know, you know, it just feels like you’re just, like, trying to create this thing together instead of, you know by yourself and having, like, your your, you know, your so, aunts and uncles come by, you know what I mean? Like, you know, that’s kind of how it feels, like, to be a beta reader. It’s like, oh, I love you, and, like, you know, you know, but you’re not… it’s my story at the end of the day. You know?

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah, definitely.

MalMuses: And the more fic, the better, right?

CBFirestarter: Right!

MalMuses: Okay. Well, I guess we should probably wrap things up for today.

EllenofOz: Okay. So I guess we should firstly say thank you very much to CB and TrenchcoatBaby for coming to talk to us today. Thank you.

MalMuses: It was a joy.

TrenchcoatBaby: Thank you for having us on!

CBFirestarter: Thank you for having us!

CBFirestarter: Yeah! The co-writers stay in unison.

TrenchcoatBaby: I know!

EllenofOz: [ Laughs ]

TrenchcoatBaby: Also, yes Mal, I wanna do some BDSM with you one day, so I’m just gonna add that in there. Let’s, let’s, let’s add each other.

EllenofOz: Oh, that’s quite a proposition, isn’t it? [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: You did just say that this was like a marriage proposal, so I’m not sure how I fit into this. [ Laughs ]

TrenchcoatBaby: I’m down on one knee and I have,  a whip in my hand. So what do you say?

MalMuses: Oh baby, let’s do it.

[ All laugh ]

MalMuses: Please join us for our next episode of the Mixtape Book Club on the 30th of October, when we will be bringing you the best of the spooky and horror fics, just in time for Halloween.

EllenofOz: You will indeed. And so you can contact us in a multitude of ways. We’ve got all our different social media accounts, which are all at mixtapebookclub.

You can find links to everything we’ve talked about today on our blog, which is and you can get in touch by emailing us if you want to as well, Please tell us what you thought of this episode and how you think the podcast is going. If there’s anything we can do to make it better, we’d love to hear from you. So please get in touch with us. And thank you very much for listening. We’ll talk to you again soon.

MalMuses: And remember fans, in fanfic, the story ends when we say it does.

[ Outro music ]

TrenchcoatBaby: Pause. Is there like a squeaky toy in the background? Somebody’s,

MalMuses: Somebody’s squeaking,

TrenchcoatBaby: Somebody’s squeaking and I wanted to tell you guys in case it came up in editing.

EllenofOz: Oh, you know what it is? It’s, there’s birds. Okay, it’s me.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh, there’s birds?

EllenofOz: There’s baby birds outside the window.

MalMuses: I was going to say my bed squeaks, but it’s, I promise it’s not squeaking that rhythmically right now.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh God. Yeah, that would be concerning. Mal’s like, speaking of, so Omegaverse, I’m reading right now.

[ All laugh ]

MalMuses: No, no, no. I’ll save that for after. Okay. Okay.

[ All laugh ]

TrenchcoatBaby: Much appreciated.

EllenofOz: I don’t know if I’m going to be able to remove that from the the actual track. So we’ll see.

TrenchcoatBaby: Oh no. Oh, good. Can’t wait. Keep it in. This is a TCBaby, I’m reporting and I’m the pervert on this podcast.

EllenofOz: Excellent.