thewhitelily: (Lily)
I don't even know what to say, but I'll try.  Spoilers Ahoy for Sherlock S04E03.

Spoilers )
thewhitelily: (Lily)
It seems like a new season of Sherlock has nearly sneaked up on me!

I've been thinking for a while, how cool it would be, now that I'm active in at least the fanfic side of fandom and clearly capable of churning out flashworks, how cool it would be to actually take advantage of the new-season rush and write a fic-a-day challenge or similar during January.  I'd love to create a whole lot of new content, and it'd be fun to contribute to the early speculations of what everything means.  And I got a whole lot of new followers while I was doing JWP solely for spending so long near the top of the 'recent additions' pile--I would imagine the result might be simlar while there's new content being actively paid out that people want to start exploring.

I'm thinking about it, anyway. I don't know if it would work, or if I could spin stuff out while I'm still reeling from being hit with it.

And I don't know how the new season will strike me.  I'm a bit concerned, to be honest, because one of the things I like best about Sherlock is how much of the angst and character development lives under the surface.  How the craziness and the fun and the physical and intellectual action of the cases almost drowns out those fleeting glimpses of deep soul underneath the masks and in between the cracks in the relationships, leaving the fans freeze-framing and spinning crazy theories to prove it was real, and gasping for more.  The S4 trailers... do not look like that.  Which is somewhat of the nature of a TV show as it goes along.  The network of interelationships between every character becomes more complicated, the deep dark secrets become deeper and darker, and the whumps need to be whumpier to register.  Still.  I'm hoping--very much hoping--that they've cherry-picked the trailers for a particular effect, and that the Sherlock I love is still in there.

I should trust the Moffat.  And, I should remember to approach it in the best way I've discovered to approach any new instalment of canon in my current favourite fandom: as another layer of fanfiction--which does not have to provide me with the perfect canon anymore, because I already have that (hint: they had me at Reichenbach).  They can't take that away from me just by outdating it--that's the best thing about fanfiction.  If I want, it can always be 2011.  Season 4 will not automatically be better than every fanfic idea I've ever read, nor will it even be better--to me--than many of the ideas I've written.  But what Season 4 will provide is a whole new set of fresh, alternate ideas to explore about the characters, stories and ideas from the best freaking author in fandom, stories that I'm allows to play with too, if I want!  Yes.  In that light, I am very much looking forward to Season 4.

And we can just see how the writing idea goes.  I'd like to produce some new content as it goes, let's just leave it at that.

In the meantime, it is the last week of December, and Hubby's got the week between Christmas and New Year off.  It's the only time of year it ever happens.  We don't go away: the end of the year is the time to take a load off, relax, blob around at home, eat pizza and fish fingers, let the kids watch as much TV as they like, and let the house get messy.  Last year I had a whiplash injury and spent the whole time laid up in bed while Hubby raced around like a frantic chicken trying to keep the kids out of my hair and ended up less rested than he'd started, which was... not ideal.  This year, it's absolutely perfectly blobby for both of us.

And I've been getting wonderfully into some writing.  Mustn't forget to post Hubby's song for the flashwork amnesty before the end of December--but mostly I've realised I should be getting onto crossposting some of the fics I've been hoarding before S4 puts them Officially Out Of Canon.

Throughout this year I've been doing flashworks, and a lot of them.  It's been awesome, for keeping my hand in and keeping my head out of my rear end.  Publish or perish, as they call it in academia.  And a lot of them have been pretty short--I've been increasingly managing to make them pretty short, which is good for my sanity--but a few have taken my inspiration and run with it and ended up a little longer.  (The Wrong Kind of Snow, I'm looking at you.)  I've fallen into a pattern, which I've liked, of tidying the fics up before crossposting one when I get a spare Saturday morning.  Which is lovely, and I've been enjoying, for the little fics, but a couple of the longer fics (The Wrong Kind of Snow, I'm looking at you!) have sent me into panic attacks at the idea of going back to edit them, so I've left them to simmer in their own juices until I'm ready.

And this week, I've been ready.  I was brave enough to open up The Wrong Kind of Snow, among others, and do a readthrough and realise it's really not as bad as I remembered.  Too big a concept for the time limit, is the only problem.  When I edit it, it'll probably double or treble in length.  That's fine.  It's got some great content, and the bits that I thought dragged weren't nearly as draggy as I thought.  (Which is good because when I edit it, those bits in particular will probably expand tenfold.)  There's things it's missing, narrative absences and character motivations that haven't been set up.  But it's a solid framework.  Thumbs up me, I'll be back there, and I'm looking forward to it.

Mostly what I've been working on this week is Good for the Soul (as I titled it on fan_flashworks) or (as I accidentally copied it according to my working title on AO3) Five ways to confess to your flatmate.  I'm still not sure if I should go to the trouble of changing the title, for a few reasons.  First, because as it turns out it's got seven, maybe eight chapters?  The next one due to post has absolutely zero confession content in it.  Which, I could smush into the next chapter and post them together, but the story is screaming CHAPTER BREAK at me and sometimes you just plain have to listen to a story when it says that.  Perhaps I could subtitle it as an interlude.  Okay that at least works, and further excuses the slight shift in tone for that section.

I also kind of like the idea that it's a spiritual successor to Five ways to look after your flatmate (although I haven't set up a series), and look, a few weeks ago, it kind of was.  But then everyone got so excited when I posted the first chapter, and I kind of freaked out at the thought that what I had mightn't be satisfying, or... no, less than that.  Just that I knew it could be more satisfying, and I could just tidy up a few obvious things and make it a bit better.

Famous last words for The White Lily.

So I thought, why don't I fill this case out a bit better, flesh out the OCs, pay out my clues a bit more carefully rather than dumping them all in the second to last paragraph, stop treating this as a silly cracky thing and give it some substance.  And I did.  Oh, I did.

Except all the oomph I found is angsty oomph.  (Colour me surprised.)  And now my fic has schizophrenia.  Instead of light silly loveably-oblivious-narrator stuff going on--or alongside it--the case has gritty true-life issues and Macbeth references, and I have absolutely NO idea to bundle up the ending in a neat little go-away-now-case-because-it's-time-for-John-and-Sherlock-to-snog bundle.

See, here's what I'd kind of forgotten in my zeal to make the case worthwhile: investing John in some of the characters was a great way to bring some life to them and set out the dramatis personae of the case... but the previous resolution kind of hinged on John (and the reader) being substantially emotionally UNinvested in the case.  It was a side-note, and it worked that way.  But now it's more than that, and unless I change the way this thing works somehow, this case is going to rip John's (and the reader's) heart out--and a happy-silly ending simply doesn't work anymore.  Something's gotta give.  This story ain't big enough for the both of them.

The next chapter due to be posted--the one with no confession content in it--is the point of no return.  It's entirely new content, and it's good.  Or at least I like it.  But then I've got a bit of a sour-tooth.  *grins*  I want to make this story work somehow, without having to lose any of this new substance I've given the characters and new material I've given the story.  And also without losing the lightness.  And--thanks to some of the disconnected rambling here that's still here, and some that's since been deleted--I think I've worked out how to do it, in a way I'm pleased with.  A way that will even have a happy ending.  *fist pump*

Thanks for listening to my incoherence, folks, as always it's been a pleasure.
thewhitelily: (Lily)
So, looks like I'm currently writing a murder mystery.  Sort of.  And it's an interesting beast.  I tend to have small casts of multi-dimensional, living and breathing characters, but for this I need to be able to sketch a large cast of flatter characters.  I know why the murderer is doing it, and I know why the victim draws their attention.  The victim is also a suspect, and I have at least three more characters.  Maybe one more red herring character.  Which means at least five or six disposable, one dimensional OCs in addition to my main characters, who are the basic BBC Sherlock crew.  This is not a long story (are you listening, Brain?!), I'm currently estimating about 10K words, and to be honest I don't care that much about the mystery itself, it's more of a subplot than a primary plot.  Five plus new characters for a subplot of a 10K word story means that these characters need to be caricatures.  They need to be so incredibly one dimensional that people will 'know' them within a single line of description and then anything on top of that is gravy.  That's a difficult prospect for me.  But probably very good for my characterisation soul.

It's also an AU beginning, which is always interesting in the way that a lot of the dialogue tends to be directly taken from the original.  And I love that about AU beginnings, I love playing 'spot the original line', and seeing the way the more things change, the more they stay the same.  (Not entirely related: I remember reading an amazing Harry-goes-back-in-time-to-fix-everything story where as a minor side frustration to Harry, Lockhart was so self involved that his lines were practically identical, no matter how much Harry tried to redirect the conversation.  It was absolutely hysterical.)  But there's a delicate balance to walk between changing too much and changing too little.  No one wants to reread a lazy copy-paste job, even when the original dialogue is brilliant.  On the other hand, the original lines are the canonical character moments, that are by definition precisely what the characters would say--so in the same situation, it is wrong to have them say anything else.  So sometimes it's hard to make them change direction.

In particular, I'm rewriting Sherlock's initial deducing-everything-about-John monologue in a situation where he hasn't had access to John's mobile, so he's focussing on other things.  I like writing Sherlock's deductions, and I've had people tell me I'm good at them.  I'm super pleased with how far this one has developed over the past 24 hours I've been working on it.

But I'm finding it difficult giving something for him to be wrong about, because the single misconception of Harry's gender is perhaps the heart of John's rock-solid belief that Sherlock has to be for real; how very many logical reasons he had to get to a point that was essentially true in all its intricate detail but technically false because of a mistake he wouldn't have made if he'd found out any other way but the one he'd described.  It was great for a number of reasons, but not least because Sherlock was so repeatedly wrong about it - he refers to John's brother at least three times before he mentions Harry by name, absolutely sets it up as a given to the audience, who also haven't yet been introduced to the idea that Sherlock might be wrong, and John is beautifully blandly noncommital about it.  "Then there's your brother," he says.   "Hmm?" says John.  Gold.  Very much sets up his dry, sly, enjoyment of poking fun at Sherlock's rare missteps.  And then there's the fact that when it comes out that Harry is a woman, it is a humorous misconception. Brother rather than gay sister with masculine name is a totally obvious assumption to have made but Sherlock is so professionally annoyed with himself for making it, or perhaps with the world for being lumpy and occasionally falling ridiculously outside the bounds of standard distribution on something that he hadn't been even a little unsure about.

As Sam Vimes puts it:
He instinctively distrusted [Clues]. They got in the way. And he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, “Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,” and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!

That, I think, is what the 'there's always something' moment with Harry adds to BBC Sherlock, because that's part of the suspension of disbelief with Sherlock Holmes that BBC Sherlock didn't require us to indulge in. Sherlock Holmes isn't magic; he's science. The way many of his deductions work is by playing the probabilities, and the thing about playing the probabilities is that--while most of the time, you are right--sometimes you are wrong. ACD Holmes knows this and while he gives some mysterious hints, he doesn't like to say much until he's certain, so by the time he speaks he has accrued enough evidence and narrowed down the pathways enough that when he explains what just happened he's always right.  But BBC Sherlock draws us inside the deductions straight away, shows off and struts like a peacock and drip feeds us his arrogant brilliance throughout the show rather than saving the explanations for the end.  I like it this way; it brings in the suspense, knowing that sometimes Sherlock can and will be wrong.

The thing in my story that's naturally falling out for Sherlock to be wrong about is... not like that.  It's good, character building stuff, but it's not in any way able to poke fun at, and neither is it something compellingly obvious.  It's possible I can fix the second one with some more references to set it up; I'm good at red herrings.  It's difficult, though, because it's not a funny thing, it's a bittersweet tugs-the-heartstrings thing.  In my writing.  What a surprise.  But that means even with Sherlock's lack of social graces, he's not going to be as obnoxiously I-know-something-you-don't-know-how-I-know about it as he was about John's brother.  So maybe I need to find something else.  But then... I wouldn't get to put in my cute little tugs the heartstrings bit that I've worked out how to make John say, as long as he's correcting Sherlock.  So maybe I just need to find a way to alter this bit that I've already got, that I love, to do the job that's in front of it.

So yeah, that's... today's thing to pointlessly agonise over.

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The White Lily

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