One year later.
I just realized (a bit late) that it’s been a year since I posted my first podfic, The Progress of Sherlock Holmes, to Amplificathon.
I’m so ridiculously glad that I made the decision to toss caution and nerves and doubt to the wind and throw my hand in at podficcing. I’m richer in friendships, confidence, skill, knowledge, and sheer joy than I could have ever imagined when I decided to start participating in fandom culture in the only way I knew how a year ago.
So, yes, I suppose I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s stuck with me along the way, to every friend I’ve made, and to every person who’s ever told me that what I do had a positive impact on their experience as a fan, or just as a person. Thanks especially to Ivy for the permission to podfic her phenomenal story, and to all the writers who’ve given me permission to podfic their work since. It’s really meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for every single one of you guys.
On that note, in case anyone wants to give the old girl a re-listen or rec it to a friend, here she is :)
xo Cellar Door
In response to this prompt from ivyblossom: Someone should write Sherlock thinking better when John is playing with his hair. :P
I welcome more prompts, silly, short, cracky, just about anything except perhaps angst! Feel free to message or what-have-you.
Ivy Blossom On Writing
Quotes from ivyblossom’s interview with emmagrant01 on the first episode of Three Patch Podcast. You should listen to the whole thing, but I have some quotes, for reference, but also because I’m a shameless Ivy fangirl and I think everything she says about writing is gold:
“To write is to give over part of your brain…there is a sort of absorption that happens and so you have to first want that to happen.”
“I’m interested in opposite characteristics, I guess, to being in close proximity and obviously struggling to work out their own relationship…[BBC Sherlock] is about that right? It’s a series about relationships in a really sort of non-traditional and interesting way that I felt left us lots of space to play.”
“I’ve never written in television fandom before because I was writing in book fandom which is different because you have a lot more interiority in a book fandom because presumably you know more about what’s going on behind their eyes then you do in a television fandom where there is no interiority…you have to presume it, it’s not text in the same kind of way…You don’t know what they’re thinking, you can guess and that’s a beautiful thing.”
On The Progress Of Sherlock Holmes: “I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t think I could do it, I didn’t think it could be done…For myself, and the way I think first person should go, I don’t think it’s possible because it would basically be a spreadsheet…And then of course once you think to yourself “That’s not possible” then there’s a part of your brain that goes “But how could it be possible? Maybe it could be possible” so there is some part of me that was just trying to work it out…I knew I was taking, for me, a big risk because I wanted to write Sherlock with feelings…I don’t recall it being particularly well received or as being an idea that people would accept.”
“You want to write an authentic voice but at the same time it’s your voice too and you can’t actually decouple those.”
“I find everything I sit down to write is a learning experience; that I’m taking something from that to learn about how stories work. Right now, what drives me to do all this is just to try and figure out narrative and how narrative works for us and why it’s satisfying.”
“I can’t say that there isn’t a tremendous impact from what a reader says along the way, for sure. I think there are some ways that are really clear because I do a lot of experimenting, I just want to know “Can I?” especially with the voice. I’ve been playing with that, with, you know, writing from first-person present tense a lot and I want it to be as close to the experience of just being as I can be.”
“I think it’s like the fast-track honestly and I know there’s always that discussion about “Is writing fanfiction actually helpful to a professional career?” and the answer is of course “Yes” and if you just look around at you know the people on the New York Times bestseller list, you can pretty much see that, yes, it does actually help us…I definitely learn a lot watching people’s response and then I get into these big long conversations about you know the nature of narrative and structure of narrative and the whole experience of writing something, constructing something, putting it out there and people sort of help you see what you can’t see.”
“I have no, or very little, visual imagination. So, I can’t see characters that I write, which I know is very weird…[characters] turn into these hovering balls of feelings and yeah, it’s like clouds of feelings that kind of interact with each other and so therefore I will basically never describe anybody because I just can’t keep track of it, for one, like if I’m writing an original story I’ll describe them one way and then ten thousand words later they’ll look completely different because I just can’t hold visual information like that in my head. But I’ve noticed that people seem to think that I describe things a lot which I think is hilarious because I never do. I don’t describe anything… So anything that’s happening, it’s happening in your head, and that’s actually the revelation I came to. And I say it and people get upset with me when I say it but the writing is not about the words, it’s about something else, it’s about the story that we are constructing together in the reader’s head. It’s about what’s in the reader’s head, not the words I’m putting on this page. The words on this page should aid in constructing something in your head but the thing that’s in your head is the important thing, not which choice of word I’ve used or whether that’s a really pretty phrase…So that’s what got me to understand what story building is about, is what’s in your head, so if I can avoid describing things so that I’m leaving room for somebody else to view it because they’re very visual then – So all of this process has sharpened for me, not only my own many faults and failings as a writer but also the ways that the reader will fill in for me the things that I can’t do.”
“I will only write when it’s fun… Everybody in the world will tell you that’s the worse possible thing to do but I’m generally fortunate in that most of the time it’s fun.”
“There was an extra scene in The Quiet Man that I’d finished and I wasn’t, well I wasn’t feeling as impatient, I kinda felt it that maybe it wasn’t going anywhere, like it just didn’t push things along. Like everything (as much as anybody will believe me) there is in that story (because very little happens in that story) but each piece has a job: every little scene has a job to do and if it doesn’t then it needs to move from one place to another. Where the scene starts and the scene ends, the person needs to be changed in some way, there has to be a change and so…you couldn’t sew together two scenes ago with the next one, there should be a gap that you can feel. That’s sort of the way I construct things, I want to see…what work each scene is doing. And so I wrote one, and I was ok with it, it was ok, but I knew there was sort of something and then my beta said “Er, you don’t need this,”…I was like “Yeah, you’re right.” You could take this scene out and it would make no difference, therefore it’s not needed, so I just didn’t post it.”
“We prioritise formats in a particular way…there is a list in there, a ranking, and for some reason of course the animated gif is like nothing to people…I think it’s absolute genius, I really do, and I think this is what we talk about on an academic level. Think of the amount of information its conveying; it’s the ultimate citation. You embed this piece and because its television it’s only one view, right? It’s only ever one. There’s no interiority in it, all you have is this. And you have this dialogue, which we’re lucky enough with Sherlock is never on the nose it’s always a little bit to one side, so there’s always something going on behind it that you can kind of see, you can talk about…I like the culture of it, it’s bringing something so wonderful to even just discussion of media generally.”
“I find that once I start writing, I have to stop reading because I’m afraid…almost like I don’t want to steal from someone else, or I don’t want to get so caught up in somebody else’s vision that I forget what mine was, or I just don’t like mine anymore. I think that’s the bigger fear really!”
“There is that constant drive to be novel, you know, like “that’s already been done, so I can’t write it” which I really wish everybody would stop. How about we as a fandom all decide to write the exact same story? Because you know what? It would never be the exact same story.”
The Progress of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock is deeply in love with John, not that anyone or even himself would think he is capable of that emotion. Then enter Mary Morston…
Length: 7:45:40 (nearly 8 hours yeaaaaah)
Audio: cellardoor is a fantastic reader, such a velvety Sherlock voice. She reads this very wistfully, which really really fits with the narrative style. This was my first super long epic podfic, and it got me hooked.
Story: One of the great Sherlock fanfictions out there, and for good reason. This is such a believable characterisation of cannon Sherlock, he has all these thoughts and emotions going on inside his head but doesn’t show it leading to everyone misunderstanding what he’s capable of.
After I like that Sherlock doesn’t become..well OTT with the heartbreak Mary brings…he’s still logical and analytical, trying to figure out himself and feelings. The subtlety just makes it all the more heart wrenching for ME. Less is more for Sherlock Holmes.
The narrative style, 1st person present, is used for great effect, what a perfect device of getting into Sherlock’s head. And it allows for a wonderful poetry in the writing. Loved it.
Rating: A+++++++, one of my favourite super long epic stories
download mp3 here
download audiobook here
original text here
Writers on writing: interviews with Sherlock fanfic authors
I love that the Sherlock fandom has a bunch of excellent writers who are willing to spend time talking and writing about their writing process. It’s very interesting and inspirational.
One of my favorite Sherlock authors, Emma Grant (whose A Cure For Boredom pulled me into this fandom), has recently interviewed some of my other faves for podcasts. She interviewed Mad Lori about Alone On The Water in a Slashcast segment about writing character death, and talked to her more generally about Sherlock fanfic in the latest Three Patch Podcast. I could happily listen to these two talk about writing for ages.
It’s also very worth reading what these writers (and some more of my faves) have to say about writing on their blogs (often under the “writing” tag in Tumblr):
- Ivy Blossom, who has especially interesting musings on POV and tense
- Emma Grant
- Copperbadge (on extribulum.com)
[#Research library — resources for Sherlock fanfic writers]