Sherlock is often said to be difficult to write. There are a number of obvious reasons for this: his genius, his emotional distance, the apparent difference between his motivations and what makes us ordinary mortals tick.
But I’ve found that there are a few key canon details that make Sherlock click into focus for me, and they’re listed here, with comments.
Disclaimer: The interpretation of a character is bound to be very subjective. You could probably do the opposite to everything I suggest and still produce a characterisation that some people love. But the ideas below work for me.
Reblog and add your own approaches.
Fandom writers work to bring a lot of insight to their readings and writings about their characters. And, because fanfic is about sharing and mentorship as well as the pleasure of reading, these are often offered to the community as a whole.
So, yesterday I learned something new. While I consider myself a transmedia storyteller of sorts (more on that in a bit), I discovered that I may actually be an East Coast transmedia storyteller.
I was at Barnes & Noble - successfully resisting the bargain books and browsing new indie fashion mags - when I passed a table packed with books that I wanted to scoop up and bring home. Titles like: Think Like a Rockstar: How To Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans and Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World.
But the one that really grabbed me was:
Ultimately I didn’t take the book home, but I did take this golden nugget from Chapter 2: What is Transmedia Anyway?
There’s a divide between what some wags would call West Coast versus East Coast transmedia. West Coast-style transmedia, more commonly called Hollywood or franchise transmedia, consists of multiple pieces of media: feature films, video games, that kind of thing.
The author, Andrea Phillips, uses Star Wars as an example of W.C. transmedia: how the films, video games, and books are lightly interwoven, but can be consumed on their own. Others have stated that it could be a way to save the studio system, or just a way to play with Intellectual Property that they don’t own.
As for the East Coast…
On the other end of the spectrum, East Coast transmedia tends to be more interactive, and much more web-centric. It overlaps with the tradition of independent film, theater, and interactive art. These projects make heavy use of social media…and the plot is so tightly woven between media that you might not fully understand what’s going on if you don’t actively seek out multiple pieces of the story.
Andrea uses Lance Weiler’s “indie film experience” Pandemic as an example:
One reason for this technical divide is that some producers are #antitransmedia due to the Producer’s Guild creating a transmedia producer’s credit. This resulted in disagreement whether or not it was too strict (with a minimum of 3 or more story lines) or even irrelevant. Some argue "Franchising isn’t transmedia, it’s FRANCHISING!"
Where this concerns you, is to think about how you can use transmedia, East or West coast style, to enhance your business, campaign, or project. The great thing with East Coast-style transmedia is you start with one story and build it up piece by piece.
Henry Jenkins, author of Spreadable Media, gives a convincing Six Reasons Why Transmedia Producers Should Read Spreadable Media. For example, he encourages to follow Retro-users. In contrast to following “lead users” or those that can set trends, he argues that:
…retro-users do the opposite kind of work: they sift through cultural materials which are about to be swept off to the junk yard and they help to identify content which still has potential value.
It’s a lot of information, but here are a few easy things you can do:
- Do a little transmedia research online. Look at examples, if possible see how people in your situation are using it.
- Discuss transmedia with some of your friends or colleagues. Would the West or East coast model work better for you?
- Brainstorm a way you can start your transmedia campaign. Remember, you can start small and build, build, build.
- Now, do it!
Best of luck!
It took me a little bit to catch up on tumblr today, which is how I missed the debacle at the Sherlock premiere event with regard to some Johnlock fanfic.
Those of you for whom that first sentence made no sense can happily bow out of this post now; no offense taken. This is going to be fanfic heavy.
As I talk about in my essay in Anne Jamison’s FIC: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, fic was a huge form of shame for me. Some of that was undoubtedly internalized, but some was external as well.
I started writing fic while I was going through a divorce. It was an outlet that required no real commitment on my part and came along with a wonderfully supportive community at a time when I needed it most. I’d already spent a great deal of time online prior to writing fic, but was no longer comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings on the blog I’d had for however many years at that point.
So I turned to fic.
And yes, because it’s what makes the fic world go round, some of my fic had racy scenes. And yet most of it wasn’t. Most of it was me pouring out my demons in a safe place where I thought I was anonymous.
As anyone going through a divorce knows, you get a lot of paperwork. Some comes from your lawyer. Some comes from the court. And on the top of one of the thick packets I opened one day was my Fanfiction.net URL.
In the complaint (I believe it was a response to a filing my attorney had made), it alleged that my fic was A Bad Thing. For one, I’m a mother. How dare I write about sex when I had young children? (It’s not like I was reading Edward and Bella getting it on as a bedtime story!) The other was that it was a time waste; that writing (and reading) fic was me doing everything I could to keep from getting a job.
Today, probably three years or so after I got that packet, I can roll my eyes and see it for the BS it was.
At the time, I was ashamed, and embarrassed. I had to explain to my attorney (and a judge) what fan fiction was. What it meant. Who was reading my little sex scenes online.
In the book, Anne notes that a great deal of this shaming comes along with denying women the right to sexual agency. Pornography is accepted as part of our society, whether people are for or against it, but if women DARE to write down a sexual fantasy involving characters from a book or a show, much less share that fantasy, there’s something deviant and wrong.
I absolutely agree with those who say “If you put it online for public consumption, you can’t dictate how it will be consumed.” That’s the way of the world. But I can always hope that the consumption of anything will be from a place of respect and honest critique.
The obvious discomfort of the actors in reading the fic is antithetical to that. You can’t treat the canon work or those involved in it in any sort of respectful way when you are using the work of someone else to make them uncomfortable.
The rise in popularity of actor Orlando Jones on Twitter is an example of the opposite. He engages the fans, reads up on fandom, and appears to understand that it’s not personal. Even RPF (which, admittedly isn’t something I’m personally comfortable with, and haven’t written) isn’t about the actors; it’s about a characterization.
As a society, we’ve been writing fan fiction as long as there’s been a way to write things down. There are those who would argue that parts of the New Testament are essentially fan fiction: that Herrod’s decree that all first-born males be killed is a retelling of the story of Moses, changed and altered to fit the “character” of Jesus. If that were the case, fandom would refer to that as RPF X-over fic.
My thoughts on this are disjointed, and probably a bit rambly, but I feel for the fandom currently having their time under the microscope (because lord knows Twilight has been there a long time, and we know that poking and prodding well). I feel for the fic author who wanted nothing more than to share her stories and instead had her work used in a way that left pretty much everyone feeling awkward. And I feel for all the fan writers who are now horrified that it might be them next whose work is used to mock or ridicule either them or someone else or fandom in general.
In the end, though? None of it matters. Fandom will carry on. Fan fiction will carry on, whether it’s posted on FFn and AO3 or goes back to being shared in fanzines and on looseleaf paper between classes. I took my work down; I changed my username; I deleted my Twitter, all more than once.
And in the end? I’m still a fan fiction author. I own that. And sure, the canon material I wrote for may have taken my geek cred down a few notches, but the more of us who stand up and own that little bit of nerd? The less anyone can cut it down.
Hi. I’m Cyndy. I write angsty fiction, angsty fan fiction, and some smut in both worlds. And I’m also algonquin_rt and d0tpark3r. And no, I won’t deny those names again. Even if Robert Pattinson himself said it was the most idiotic thing that had ever been written. Because my fic had nothing to do with him or the cast, or people who don’t “get” fic (including my ex) or even really, Stephenie Meyer’s world. And it had everything to do with me.
The discussion of fan-shaming and the Sherlock BFI premier continues with yet another case for the value of fanfiction.