Hi there. I know you’re a big Sam fan, so I was wondering if you might have any advice along the lines of what fic writers tend to miss when writing him or stuff that makes his voice seem off in fic. I don’t read a lot of fic that has his perspective extensively so I haven’t picked up on anything yet myself, but I’m sure there are things. Thanks!
First of all, thanks for asking this. The only way to prevent the spread of the plague of Sam Abuse is to talk about it like it actually is a fucking communicable disease because that’s really how badly it can take over.
Second, I’m going to direct you to a tag on my blog, #Sam Winchester is BEST Winchester.
Now, this isn’t just so you can reblog literally everything there because I know you want to (he’s so perfect????). Rather, in answer to your question, I think it might be easier to use the posts in that tag as a reference than to say “WELP maybe watch each of the episodes 26 times like I have and you’ll get a better idea.”
(I haven’t watched every episode 26 times.)
And I’m sure I write Sam badly sometimes, so, just, bottom line? I’m not an authority but if you’re gonna give me the opportunity to gently guide you to good Sam writing, I’mma do my best to gently guide the fuck out of you.
IMPORTANT SAM THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Sam Winchester Died For Us.
First and foremost every. single. fucking. time. I will scream about it until I’m dead and gone. Sam chose to throw himself in a hole with the one creature we’re all supposed to fear and as if it weren’t enough to save us from the Devil himself, he also grabbed the second angriest archangel and dragged him with so these two pricks could pick on each other for the rest of time, knowing full well he’d likely be their greatest fucking chew toy in that cage.
And Sam did these things to keep his brother safe, yes. But he also did these things to save all the lives on. the. planet.
One of the main reasons that Sam does things is
Sam Winchester Loves His Brother and Wants Him to Be Happy.
And a lot of what you need to know about Sam comes from the way he was raised – thus a lot of what you need to know about Sam is what kind of man raised him. And we ain’t talkin about John.
The man who raised Sam didn’t know how to raise a kid because he was a kid himself. So he just clung on and did his best and that means he loved too much and too close and so Sam’s formative idea of love is intense. Too much. Too close.
A sad fact is that
Sam Winchester Thinks He is a Dirty Infection.
Even before he knew he was fed demon blood, he suspected something was wrong. And we learn toward the end of Season Gr8 that he actually boxed away and hid a lot of serious sadness and self-loathing and held deep a very toxic belief that he was unclean and impure.
Now as far as writing Sam goes, these are the three blocks of foundation that I find most contribute to standing him on his own and telling a story about him.
If fics don’t remember these things, I usually put the fic down.
Sam feels dirty, Sam loves his brother, and he wants humanity to be free of infections like himself and he wants his brother not to have to deal with his bullshit.
So he saved all. of. us.
Sam is also heavily susceptible to being the absolute King of Best Intentions.
In order to shove monsters and mean freaks off the planet, in order to save people and preserve human life and keep his brother safe, he has done bad things with the best of intentions. That doesn’t mean that his intentions have never gone sour.
Because he’s a fucking human being.
So what I really need from writers is to allow Sam Winchester to be complex and flawed. The way he really is.
He is drawn to power and he has noticed this about himself and tried to check his behavior. He is quick to anger and he has noticed this about himself and tried to check his behavior. He is naturally big and intimidating and so he slouches in his clothes and hangs off his pockets and smiles like a big, cute dope when he looms accepts hugs from short people. Being tall isn’t something he can help, but he knows how to use it by now. He has learned how to make it mean safety and make it mean murder.
So now go back through some eps or through that tag with me.
Watch gifs or watch Sam on mute sometimes. Notice the way he moves.
He can’t help but be sure of where his feet go, and he doesn’t always restrain his physical movements, but he is dorky and hesitant sometimes, the way people are when they’re overjoyed to meet a new dog or something. Like, “I’m bigger than you, so let’s not make this scary, let’s find out how kind we can be to each other.”
Sam bites back words. He stops himself from going in certain directions sometimes and others he just kind of rattles stuff off because he just didn’t engage his filter.
Sam isn’t a people person!!
Sam doesn’t actually play well with others. He was raised to fit in with the normies – he was raised to act. But he’s not wild about hanging out with them. He sits hunched into himself or makes goofy, stilted, comedic movements.
Sam doesn’t understand family dynamics!! It’s something he’s read about in novels and watched on TV and something he thinks he gets and he’s just kind of annoyed by it? Sam is the kind of person who would choose who to love. If he had graduated with his people at Stanford, they probably all would have backpacked Europe together, after, and moved into the same apartment complex and tried to make every week of their lives a Friends rerun. He would want to choose his family.
That’s not to say that the family he has – Dean – is someone he would not choose.
At this point, however, his family relationship with his brother is a pretty unhealthy attachment that he can no longer function without.
This is something that the show doesn’t seem to want to fix, so, frankly, the more fanfic tackles the issue, the better. Because LAWD knows that Sam likes to keep his body healthy. If he could only care that he wasn’t keeping his mind healthy, he’d be in superb shape.
Sam encourages children!!
TO DO CRIME REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!
Sam Winchester grew up raised by another kid. They had tantrum hissy fits when dad wanted them to practice their shotguns and hand-to-hand combat. Guaran-fucking-teed. So Sam doesn’t get the whole innocent children thing. From afar? Maybe yeah. Protecting innocents? Yes, okay.
But when kids are all set to do evil, anyway, he’s like, could you at least grow up doing evil correctly??? Please.
I know I’m skipping around a bit.
But there’s just so much to cover.
You need to remember that this nerd is FUKKEN’ RIPPED. Sam exercises on top of running around and ganking things for a living. He pushes his body to the limit but it’s also likely that he gets up and jogs real early like some absolute fucking fruitbat. STOP SAM WE WANT YOU TO GET MORE SLEEP.
On that note: SAM DOES NOT GET ENOUGH SLEEP. I can basically guarantee that. And it feels too normal to him so someone really ought to shake him out of the habit of only sleeping two hours in a 72-hour period.
Sam eats well. He probably doesn’t keep snacks around to mindlessly eat or pick up candy whenever it’s offered. He probably has two reasonable meals and one Really Good Super Healthy Meal every day. He doesn’t consider hamburgers toxic, but he’s not gonna have a soda if he also eats his fries. That kind of thing. Then, one meal per day? QUINOA WITH GOAT CHEESE ON SPINACH AND KALE WITH A LEMON VINAIGRETTE. Bam. Somewhere Dean is shifting uncomfortably just knowing that sentence exists in the world.
Please make sure that when you apply your Sam Winchester to your scenery, you hit italics on that motherfucker and let him sprawl. He is too long for conventional chairs and I imagine his knees are continually bruised. His back is probably achy.
Sam sprawls on furniture and leans back in chairs and he looks weird and squished when he’s on couches. Please remember this just for my enjoyment, thanks. Please remember, also, that his toesies hang off his bed and that’s really sad and he needs proper accommodations. (I love him so much, I’m heartbroken.)
PLEASE REMEMBER SAM’S HAIR this one is for my SANITY.
You guys. I have had Sam-length hair for most my life. Mine is agonizingly curly, though, not a silken wave of bliss.
But I need you to remember that, when he settles down, he tosses his head a little to get it off his neck or away from his face. He pushes it behind his ears and there is ABSOLUTELY a secret length at which it drives him nuts and he has to get it cut. He’s got great boring white boy hair, though, so probably anyone can do it (probably he doesn’t have to rely on one person WHO KNOWS HOW TO DO IT RIGHT AND PAY HER A LOT OF MONEY I JUST DID THIS IT’S VERY IMPORTANT).
Please remember the heaving-bosom thing he does for maximum Samness.
Please remember that Sam is full of cringe-worthy moments of hilarity. He goofs up all the time just like that one time you fell down the entire second half of the Hall 100 stairwell on your ass and literally everyone who has ever hated your guts was watching and got the opportunity to laugh heartily.
He tries to laugh it off but he could proBABLY USE A DAMN HUG AFTERWARD I’M JUST SAYING.
Sam is very, very, intimately familiar with pain, ache, anguish, agony, failure, and desperation. He is suicidal. He is depressed. He does a very good job being functional and trying his best to be happy and there for the people who need him. He does an incredibly good job staying alive under those circumstances. But, again, we circle back around to the fact that Sam blames himself for the evil that was fed into him as a child. Blames himself for the predestined, cattle-prodded, bullshit fate he fulfilled in letting Lucifer out of the cage. And he blames himself every subsequent time there’s been an opportunity to save the world that didn’t quite pan out.
Sam didn’t finish school. If you think this doesn’t bug him, this is understandable because the show kicks this fact around maybe once a year like a deflated soccer ball. If you think this wouldn’t bug someone, then that might mean you haven’t had to pause school for any reason and you don’t know what an absolute joke that can make you feel like. When you’ve proven you’re smart but life doesn’t let you have the stupid fucking paper. So people look at you a certain way and tell you for the rest of time that “employers will think this way about you” and then list the 92 ways in which you are, I GUESSED IT, I WIN, a total failure.
Sam is smart. But he didn’t get the stupid paper. Didn’t get to go be a lawyer. Probably worries that he’s actually just a meathead hunter. He has a passion for being the first to LEARN why some phenomenon is going on. But we don’t reward a passion for learning in this country unless that’s a fakeass line you shove on your scholarship application.
Now, here are some things from fics that need to stop:
- STOP calling Sam selfish
- STOP sending Sam to the library
- STOP making Sam and Cas out to be in opposition (they are LITERALLY friends and PROBABLY brothers-in-law so STOP)
- STOP calling Sam moose non-fucking-stop
- STOP writing him as if he looks down on Dean and thinks of him as lesser
- STOP assuming he wants to make babies unless you write a good fucking reason for a change of attitude because the show as a whole ACTUALLY does not support the six seconds in S08 when he thought he wanted to maybe, possibly, some day reproduce
- STOP making him super-serious 100% of the time, hello, he is a fucking goofball, it’s adorable
And finally, fanfic is largely about FIXING the inane crap that the show has been pounding down our throats, so feel free to explore the ways that Sam can find what he does not have in canon and what has not been offered to him. I will repeat myself from here:
- a best friend
- a life
- meaningful relationships outside his brother
- relationships without mourning at their center
- relationships based on health and happiness
- romantic attraction and some dates at least ffs
- a texting buddy
- CLOTHES HE LOOKS COMFORTABLE IN???
- a hobby or something i mean goddamn
- i don’t even care about dogs and i recognize that Sam needs a dog
- a fucking vacation
One final point:
Sam is powerful, he is so so pretty when he smiles, and, bottom line, he puts other people before himself.
Sam loves us and wants us to be happy.