Category Archives: Sherlock

Outflow: Aftermath

john and sherlockSo last night, the last episode of series 3 of ‘Sherlock’ was shown on British television, and we have all survived to write fanfics another day.

Frankly, I am glad it is over.  I am fed up of it.  I am fed up of all the over-analysis and navel-gazing and second-guessing.  Its worse than teenage girls talking about their boyfriends!  I didn’t wait two years for uncontrolled squeeing and unalloyed adoration.  The whole series had massive problems as well as sublime moments, and I have reservations.

Reservations about the series and the way its going, and reservations about fanfiction.

Don’t get me wrong, fanfiction has been good to me.  It has taught me to write in ways I could never have explored otherwise.  It has given me the inspiration to write thousands of words and dozens of new works.  I have written every day, and I have loved every minute of it, even the bits when I was sweating blood over plot bunnies and getting aggressive reviews.  It has allowed me to deal with deep emotional trauma and reclaim my sexuality, something I never expected.  So, hooray for fanfiction!

But right now it feels a bit like a straightjacket.

I’ve got so used to writing with other people’s characters that I have lost the confidence to write my own.  And that is more than ‘a bit not good’.

Somewhere along the line, I have lost myself.  My own voice.  The only voices I can hear in my head these days are those of Cumberbatch and Freeman.  My own original characters have fallen silence, and I need to give them back their voices.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will never write fanfiction again.  I’m convinced that pretty much everything I have ever written has been a fanfic underneath.  And I had a surge of inspiration yesterday that finally undid the plot block I’ve been struggling over in my ‘Cuddleverse’ story, so hooray for that because it means I will be able to finish the damn thing!  And I so need to finish it!

But now my brain is finally coming back online after our Christmas Emergency, I am realising that I need to branch out in new ways.  That feels scary.  New stuff can be scary.  But if we don’t test our boundaries, how can we ever grow as artists?

Happy boundary testing,

EF

Friday Quickfic: Flashmob

Sometimes, the Muse is lazy, lolling about on her couch and refusing to do any work unless I prod her with a sharp stick. Occasionally, she jumps out on me in her Ninja gear and beats me over the head with an idea.  Today’s Quickfic is one of these.  It happened yesterday, after I had watched the teaser trailer for Sherlock Series 3.  Three hours from inception to completion, and very sore fingers from typing nearly 2000 words in such a short space of time.  But I enjoyed it.  It made me happy.  I hope it makes you happy too.

*****

Twitter Feed: #sherlocklives

#sapiosexual:  flashmob at following address Saturday 3pm prompt. Wait for taxi with white roses in window to find out the truth.

Text messages

From G Lestrade: So what about the match Saturday?

From JH Watson: Yeah, come over, Mary is making chilli.

From G Lestrade: Be there about 2.30 ok?

From JH Watson: Bring beer.  Loadsa beer.  You are going down, mate!


2.44pm

It started with a single girl.  Probably in her late teens, although it was hard to tell, because she was wearing a great deal of makeup, and her long curtain of hair was a very unlikely shade of claret.

‘John?’

‘Yeah, love?’

‘If you can drag yourself away from the telly for a sec, can you tell me why there is a Goth standing on the other side of the road, staring at our house?’

To read the rest on AO3, click here.

*****

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday QuickFic: Oh, What Would a Man Not Do for Love?

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in 'The Fifth Estate'

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in ‘The Fifth Estate’

Today’s quickfic is a shortie I wrote ages back, when the first pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Fifth Estate’ appeared.  That white-blonde wig and those bleached eyebrows were deeply disturbing to me, but they coalesced along with a line spoken by James Frain as the Spanish Ambassador, Don Alvaro de Quadra in the dazzling film, Elizabeth:

‘Oh, what would a man not do for love?’

*****

Once upon a time, Sherlock Holmes fell deeply in love with a man called John Watson.  So deeply in love that he had to kill himself.

Oh, what would a man not do for love?

Sherlock did it.  Sherlock did it all.

He saved his lover, but at the cost of himself.

Eight months is a long time when you are mourning.  Two men grieving on opposite sides of a door, a wall, a world.

*****

Sherlock turned up again, eight months later, frightened, exhausted, emaciated and with a sniper hot on his tail.

He waited to knock until he saw Mrs Hudson go out to her regular Bingo.  He knew John would be up in the flat, settling down to watch the afternoon match with a beer or two.  The Irregulars had warned him that sometimes Lestrade had taken to joining John, keeping him company.  The Inspector had been seen coming and going regularly.  Keeping an eye on him, they said.  But he was not there that day.

Sherlock was leaning on the door frame when John opened up.  The little doctor let out a cry of shock, and Sherlock slumped forward, no longer able to hold himself up.  He was faintly aware of the door closing as John’s arms folded around him, breaking his fall.  Then there was just the gloom of the familiar entrance hall, the hideous wallpaper (he had forgotten how much he hated that wallpaper), and John’s sweet smell.

*****

John sat with his back resting against the wall, and Sherlock’s head in his lap.  Sometimes his fingers slipped gently through Sherlock’s tragic hair – what had not been wrecked by the bleach had been finished off by hormones and straightening irons.  Sometimes he sighed and stared at the wall.  And in time, his palm came to rest on Sherlock’s distended belly.

‘How long?’ he whispered, as if he was afraid of the sound of his own voice, when it was really the answer he dreaded.

‘When we were last together.’  Sherlock tried to get up, but his body felt too heavy.  He had run too far and slept too little.  He had struggled too long alone.  He had no strength left in him now.

John’s hand circled a little.

And something underneath it moved.

‘He knows his daddy,’ Sherlock smiled.

Then John turned his sad eyes on him, wretched haunted eyes.

‘Did you know?  When you fell, did you-‘

‘If I had, I would never have jumped, I swear.  I would have tried to find some other way.’

John’s lip began to tremble.  ‘Just tell me why?’

And he did.

*****

The words were halting, sticking to his tongue.  He fought his way through the labyrinth, through the remorse and the guilt, through John’s tears too, when they finally came, when he realised his lover had no choice at the last.  The leaden weight finally lifted, the burden at last shared.  And then he closed his eyes and turned his face to John’s warm body, his home.

*****

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday QuickFic: Ravioli

Prosciutto and Mushroom Ravioli Recipe, click for source

Prosciutto and Mushroom Ravioli Recipe, click for source

“John is late home from a long stint at the clinic. He has picked up his favourite meal on the way home, at the Tesco metro round the corner.”

November is proving to be more of a struggle healthwise than I had expected. Laid up again with stomach problems, I am behind with all the things I wanted to achieve this month, not least of which are my blog posts.  In an effort to make it up to my darling readers, here is a little morsel that I hope you will enjoy.

Click here to read ‘Ravioli’ at A03.

Happy Creating,

EF

Monday Quick Fic: Wings

john and sherlockI was having a bit of a crisis last week, and the adorable agnesanutter was so kind and sweet and supportive.  I promised to write her something.  A Johnlock, which I had thought, in the midst of my meltdown, that I would never manage to write again.  I made this today.  Its a little along the lines of ‘Shark’, but longer and deeper. A little more angsty perhaps.

Dear Agnes, I hope you like it.

  ” They had been sharing the Baker Street flat for a month when Sherlock finally challenged him.  John was amazed it had taken him that long.

            ‘I never see you naked,’ he said, out of the blue.

            ‘Don’t pussy about, Sherlock.  Just say what you think, never mind about holding back and considering my feelings!’

            ‘Feelings have nothing to do with it.  Why do you keep yourself covered all the time?’”

Read the rest here.

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday Quick Fic: Dead Men Don’t Make Toast

This is an experiment.  I don’t think its a poem, but its not prose either.  Its Post Reichenbach – Sherlock’s dogged determination to break down John’s resistance.  This fic will not be published elsewhere.  Please comment, I want to know what to do with this to polish it more.  Thanks

Dead Men Don’t Make Toast

I.

‘You’re dead!’  John shouted and slammed the front door.

Sherlock picked the lock.

II.

Sherlock made tea.

‘You’re dead,’ John snapped.

The tea sat there, and grew cold.

Sherlock made another one.

That grew cold too.

III.

John curled up under the covers.

Foetal.

Sherlock pulled the duvet up around John’s shoulder.

‘Go away, you’re dead,’ John muttered.

IV.

Sherlock made toast.

John said, ‘Dead men don’t make toast.’

Sherlock had to agree.

V.

They were running out of milk.

What with all the cold tea, and everything.

Sherlock went out and bought more.

And some other bits they needed.

John said, ‘Dead men don’t go food shopping.’

VI.

Sherlock made tea.

‘You’re dead, go away,’ said John.

But he drank the tea.

VII.

Sherlock warmed the pizza in the oven.

It was pepperoni, John’s favourite.

‘Dead men don’t make pizza,’ John said, as he chewed resentfully.

VIII.

That night was cold.

John shivered under the duvet.

Sherlock kicked off his shoes and climbed in.

Wrapped John in his long arms and his tweed overcoat.

John said, ‘I hate you.  Go away, you’re dead.’

IX.

In the morning, Sherlock made toast.

John said, ’You make a lot of toast for a dead man.’

X.

John made tea.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Enjoy your weekend – I’m off on my writers retreat!  See you Monday xxx

EF

Friday Quick Fic

51989793_SHark_224346cBecause I’m still feeling unable to do much, I came up with a new feature, the Friday Quick Fic.  The idea is to share a short fanfic with you which has not been through my usual polishing process.  Just something off the top of my head which I think you might like.

Today’s Quick Fic is a ‘BBC Sherlock’ fanfic, something I knocked off this morning, between naps, and is inspired by my husband, who has a ‘shark bite’ of his own.

Shark

John first noticed it when Spring came, and Sherlock started swanning around the house in his sheet.  A ragged scallop of raised keloid tissue that scooped around Sherlock’s right elbow.

‘Shark bite,’ Sherlock said, with surprising nonchalance.

John examined it.  The scarring was deep, and he could even see the indentations of those cruel razor teeth.

‘Holiday in South Africa when I was in my teens.  I was swimming, and the next thing I knew this shark had my arm in its mouth.  I punched it on the nose, and it let go.’  He shrugged, as if it were an everyday occurrence, and then regaled John with details of the beast’s species, hunting habits and vulnerabilities – namely the aforesaid sensitive nose.

John found out the truth a few months later, during one of Mycroft’s little episodes of abduction.  The subject of Sherlock’s sojourn in South Africa came up, and Mycroft laughed.

‘Oh, God, he’s been telling that stupid shark story again!  Sherlock’s never been to South Africa!’

John scowled, but put his head on one side, curious about the truth.

‘It was one summer when he was about twelve.  He was told not to go playing in one of the woods on the estate because of the forestry going on there.  Felling trees and so on – it was dangerous.  But being Sherlock, he went anyway.  Typically, he didn’t get crushed by a falling tree.  He fell off his bike, and got his arm tangled up in some barbed wire in a hedge instead.  Cut it to ribbons, terrible mess.

‘Father was absolutely furious, wouldn’t even look at him because he had disobeyed, insisted it was just a graze and Sherlock was making a ridiculous fuss over nothing.  Wouldn’t take him to have it stitched either, and Mummy couldn’t drive, so she just had to bandage it up as best she could.  Of course, it healed badly, and left that dreadful scar.

‘When he went back to school after the vac, the other boys saw it and wanted to know how he got it.  So he made up that silly story about the shark.  It got him quite a lot of attention to begin with, but of course, being Sherlock, he overplayed his hand, and got too full of himself, and that was the end of his brief acclaim.’

Afterwards, John thought for a long time.  He thought about the barbed wire.  He thought about the spotted marks around the fat ribbon of raised, whitened flesh that looked like the marks from sharks teeth.  He was a doctor, and he knew about scarring and healing, and what kind of depth of wound would leave a mess like that.  He thought about the boys at the school.  And then he thought about the kind of father who, out of pique, would neglect the proper attention that a wound like that would require.

John never mentioned Sherlock’s fantasy visit to South Africa again to anyone.  But he always referred to Sherlock’s scar as a shark bite.  Because in his opinion, that was exactly what it was.

Happy weekend to you all,

EF

Gratuitous Birthday Post

Hi! Its my birthday today, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do any work.  Of course, I meant to prepare a lovely, informative and entertaining post that I could just upload in a trice, but it didn’t happen.  I am really struggling with the concept of preparing posts ahead of time.  It just doesn’t seem to work with my spontaneous side.  But never mind.  For today, I am not going to worry about it.  I’m just going to show you a little glimpse of my present haul – I’m a VERY lucky girl!

birthday prss 1Can you spot the theme?  I think you’d probably have to be a serious fangrrl like me to get the hedgehog socks connection!  (Oh, and the Benedict Cumberbatch card made by a friend says ‘Happy Birthday, Gorgeous Lady!’  in case you can’t see it in the photo.)

benny card

Anyway, I the spirit of celebrating what I have achieved in the last year, which is a lot, believe me, here is a link to my fanfiction.  If you haven’t read it before, happy reading.

Love, EF

New Fanfic Story: An Anatomy of Intimacy

john and sherlockI am struggling to avoid my brain leaking out of my right eyeball just now because of a migraine, but I felt I needed to post today to say ‘Hi!’, and so I thought I would draw your attention to a new story I have put up!

It’s called ‘An Anatomy of Intimacy’, and is a companion piece to my earlier work, ‘Personal Geography’.

I’ve been playing about with a little toy project, just a bit of fun to keep my brain working.  This involves writing short pieces exploring the reality of John and Sherlock’s life together in an established relationship.  The idea is to create a few little windows into life behind closed doors at 221B.  These aren’t supposed to be regular things, or part of an ongoing story, just an occasional morsel of something intended to illustrate the profound connection between them.

I hope you like them.

Happy reading,

EF

How to Write: Write what you know, or not…

writing books

Most books on how to write will tell you this:  write what you know.

If you have some major area of expertise, they say, you should use that as a background for your novels.  Dick Francis, a famous jockey, wrote crime novels set against the backdrop of the horse-racing world, with spectacular success.  John Grisham was a criminal lawyer and politician before publishing fabulously successful legal thrillers.  Agatha Christie drew on her war work as a hospital dispenser when writing her detective fiction.  All of these authors, and many more, have made huge successes of writing about what they know.

BUT –

(And the word BUT has a bit of fairy dust in it that magically negates everything that comes before it, have you noticed that?)

I once heard novelist Rachel Cusk at a reading on the subject.  She was stridently against the idea of writing about what you know.  She said words to the effect of:

‘You know, we write fiction, and the clue is in the name.  Fiction.  It means we make it up.’

Take a moment to think about this:  the genre of science fiction would never have been invented if we only wrote about what we know.  No one has travelled across the Universe of the star ship USSS Enterprise, after all.  Fancy a world without ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Game of Thrones’?  That would be the logical conclusion.

And what about crime?  Yes, I agree there are a number of very talented writers producing procedural crime novels who have a background in criminal pathology or forensics, but how many truly great crime writers have actually personally killed someone? (None, we hope.)

‘Write what you know’ does not, therefore, take account of the most wonderful asset we have, the thing that makes human beings extraordinary amongst all the myriad of life on this planet:

Imagination

Imagination enables us to fly beyond the stars at warp speed, fight dragons with broadswords, fall in love with Benedict Cumberbatch and have him love us back.  And all in our lunch break.  Think about it –who really wants to write about their day job when they can write about this stuff?

There is, of course, a caveat.  Sometimes you need to do research.  And research is a double-edged sword on which you fall at your own peril:

I wrote a book set in London.  I have not lived in London.  I gave it to a friend to read, and he was a Londoner, born and bred.  He asked me about the car chase – Where are they?  Where are they going?  What road are they on?  He was frustrated because he knew the city well and he could not orient himself within the action.  I had not done my research and I did not know the setting well enough to wing it.  The novel collapsed for the reader as a result.

The opposite is true.  I wrote this story, set partly in Oxford, a city I know well and visit often.  I was able to undertake the depicted walk myself, just to be sure I had the details and the route right.  The result was a story that was adored by readers who knew the city too.  I had a personal email from one who was delighted that memories of her student days had been rekindled by my work.

So, getting the details right is important.  If you don’t, you can look like an idiot who doesn’t know what he is talking about, and the credibility of your story collapses.

BUT

(Fairy dust again.)

There is such a thing as having too much detail.  The first novel I wrote was set in the Iron Age, around 230BC, on the Newbury Downs.  It is not an area I know well, though I have driven through it.  And I have no background in archaeology or prehistory, so I had to research it all myself.  It took me seven years to finish it, and I gave up doing word counts after 250,000.  I knew too much.  I had too much detail – there are things I know about Iron Age saddles that normal human beings really shouldn’t know.  It’s doubtful that any reader would care.

And yes, you always get the odd accuracy fiend who emails you to say (puts on squeaky voice) ‘Er, the spoon your hero was using in scene 23?  Well, those kinds of spoons were not invented till three hundred years after the date you posit…’ etc etc.  But those are not your average readers.  Unless you write sci-fi, in which case you had damn well know your warp cores from your improbability drives.

“The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.”

-Benjamin Disraeli

The point I am trying to make here is this:  Ignore the advice.

Write what you want to write.

Write what you need to write.

(And if you have to, do the research.)

I promise to talk more about research in a future post, but in the meantime, do this:

Write the novel you want to read.

Happy creating,

EF