narrative strategies

We’re all stories in the end...

What will follow is a very long explanation of why I think BBC Sherlock has become fan fiction in every sense of the word, applying a technique called estrangement effect to achieve as well as envision this. It has been happening since S3 - but came into full force in S4 and especially TFP.

Let me state at first: Sherlock Holmes is dead. He died after jumping off Bart’s. That’s the one thing Mofftisson did that no other adaption has dared to do. Not even ACD did describe Holmes dying. But Mofftisson showed us: Sherlock jumped and hit the pavement. We saw it, and it was never explained how he survived. Because he didn’t. What we watch in TEH is altered footage, like in the beginning of TST. Alienated ficitional reality.

But still Sherlock came back. How is this possible? Because Sherlock Holmes never lived, and so could never die; because Sherlock Holmes as a fictional character has long ago crossed the line between ficiton and reality. He exists in both worlds, the ficitonal and ours. Schödinger’s Sherlock, so to speak.

Mofftiss (and Steve Thompson) have adapted Holmes for the 21st century - with all its consequences. They are the first who allow Holmes to die - as it should have been, in Watson’s arms. This is truly new - like it or not.

But why could he survive? Because of the fans. Fans brought Holmes back in 1903 - and they brought him back in S3 (or even MHR). Whereas S1 and S2 might still be somehow canon compliant if modernised, with S3/MHR the show left the realm of ACD and became something else. It became our story. We are the narrators. Therefore, we appear, for example, as Anderson or the Empty Hearse Club, before we, in TAB, leave this concrete narrator position behind to ascend onto yet another narrative level.

Many commented (and lamented) the change from S2 to S3. The show became a romcom! The cases didn’t matter anymore! All those new characters! All true - because the BBC adaption had detached itself from ACD and started to become its own work of art, it’s very own pastiche. That might be self-referential; and perhaps wasn’t even always well made (TFP!) - but I think we should stop applying real life structures and standards to this work of art - because it simply doesn’t work. (And, as every writer, Mofftiss have the right to fuck their own story up).

The audience and fandom struggle with a lot of twists after S2 because making the distinction between canon compliant fictional verisimilitude and the realm of associative fan fic is especially hard to mark with a figure like Holmes - who seems real and yet never was. On the other hand, he is the perfect character to undergo such a narrative transformation.

If this interests you, please continue under the cut.

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More meta: But, if it was a fantasy inside Sherlock’s Mind Palace™ and he is so obviously in love with John, why hasn’t he imagined himself kissing him?

@sherrydcherry​ and me were having this fascinating conversation (which was basically babbling about how amazing the special was and when the f#ck are they going to make this sh#t canon because it’s about motherf#cking time), and then she asked me: 

“I was thinking, why hasn’t Sherlock brought himself to imagine (or see) in his mind palace a kiss yet? I mean he obviously loves him!“ 

So I started to write down my answer going as far back as the beginning of Series 3, and somewhere along the way it turned into a very fruitful piece of meta, so I’m sharing it.

Do y’all know how in TEH, when the Sherlock Fan Club (The Empty Hearse, but to avoid confusion with the episode’s name I’ll keep calling them that) started speculating about how he could have survived The Fall, they fantasized about Sherlolly and Sheriarty?

Well, there has always been one thing nagging at me about that.

There were enough fans in the club for both Sheriarty and Sherlolly shippers to exist among them.

Originally posted by it-s-bread

Originally posted by gifystuff

And yet, do you mean to tell me, considering all the comments the media made about John’s ‘bachelor’ status…

…as well as the fact that John and Sherlock had been living together for years…

 …the fact that they stayed in a hotel together during the case in Baskerville…

…despite John always being used as a way for criminals to get to Sherlock…

…the fact that they ESCAPED from the police together…

…Despite ALL OF THAT, do they really mean to tell us there was not a SINGLE Johnlocker in the Fan Club, no one that could have come up with a fantasy about Sherlock’s survival that involved Sherlock and John fleeing the country together?

Because I mean, the fans being the Sheriarties and Anderson being the Sherlolly (lol, I’m still not over how hilarious his heteronormative mind is) implies that the fans ARE aware of the fact that Sherlock IS, indeed, very much gay. 

And do you know what other things the fans knew that could have confirmed the “Johnlock escaped the country together” theory for them? They knew that John wasn’t living in Baker Street anymore. They probably had no clue as to what his new address was, but they knew the flat was empty. 

Granted, John didn’t leave the flat until months after The Fall, but they could have come up with some explanation for that, something like “well, John couldn’t just LEAVE the flat in the SAME day that Sherlock ‘died’, that would have been too obvious.. So he waited for a reasonable amount of time before he went to meet Sherlock in… say… Amsterdam for example, so that no one would be suspicious, and then they started a new life together under false identities…”

*clears throat* 


There was enough material for the Fan Club to put together a story about forbidden love and eventual eloping (and I, in fact, think someone must have done it), the same as there is enough material in Sherlock’s Mind Palace/drug-induced fantasies that it would be possible for him to hallucinate about finally banging John.

So the big question remains: Why the HELL wouldn’t they all do it? Sherlock, the Fan Club, the writers, whoever, why wouldn’t they simply show us what is obviously in their minds? Here’s what I think:

Because the Sherlolly and Sheriarty fantasies were a discard method. 

This was the writers going, "Look at how weird and out of the blue this would be, there is no way that we could organically include this in the plot, just scratch it, lol!”. This was their way of “invalidating” both ships. 

You don’t simply show the culminating moment of a ship (aka passionate kiss), laugh at it, dismiss it as a stupid daydream and still manage to keep that ship’s validity status. 

So, this was really a discard method. Something like, “Hey, Sherlollies and Sheriarties, have this consolation prize and go home; there is nothing left for you here”.

So if we continue along that line of thought, it makes sense that, if they indeed are going for Johnlock as the endgame, they don’t use their way of TAKING THE TRASH OUT in order to hint at John and Sherlock becoming canon.

If they did, it would send mixed signals, and honestly, when you’re going for the endgame in a slow-burn story that’s been unfolding for the past six years, you don’t simply give away one of the most important moments (the kiss) just to hint at the chance that it may, indeed, happen one day.

And that’s as far as my theory goes concerning why we aren’t being shown what is clearly on everyone’s mind these days.

edit: tagging @malinwolf because she’s always ready to hop on the crazy train :D


mayhaps im just repeating what someone else has already said and said better but [S]:Collide needed to be way smarter than it was 

like. i genuinely think hussie wrote the scene and its prior framing around the striders, terezi, vriska, and john and/or roxy, and then tossed in the rest w/o regard to what could reasonably be deemed a satisfying ending to their arcs.

here’s what could have been tighter:

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tolhinata  asked:

Hi, How are you so smart? Your analyses are amazing! Did you take any formal training in story telling or something? Im very curious. Sorry if I sound like a creep.

Too smart for my own good, I sometimes think, but thank you. :)

Yes, I do have formal training in storytelling. I have a doctorate in creative arts, with creative writing as my field of interest. My thesis focused on genre, and especially generic hybridity in speculative fiction.

It’s why I’m so interested in the narrative patterns Davis uses in Teen Wolf, as they are a lot more sophisticated than I was expecting of this kind of show.

His use of theme is really superb and is definitely his biggest strength as a writer; I’ve rarely seen better in TV storytelling. His narrative is also very ambitious, which I admire, and I wish he’d stop undermining that aspect by lying about it. His lack of signposting is probably his biggest weakness as a writer, as it makes the story hard to follow, especially for casual viewers, and it also has a tendency to make foreshadowing look like mistakes.

A lot of TV shows bore me pretty quickly, because everything is telegraphed miles ahead and there’s no surprises. In contrast, Teen Wolf is basically a logic puzzle in story form. They are my favourite type of puzzle. One of the reasons I fell in love with science fiction, and especially time travel stories, is because they are often story-form logic puzzles; not many other genres do them. Even crime shows tend to be more linear and wrap up in a single episode, and the twists are by-the-numbers, happening at certain beat-points every time.

Teen Wolf does two other things I especially enjoy. It regularly inverts cliches in order to highlight oppressive cultural narratives which are usually taken for granted; and it’s being told in a spiral, which is another favourite of mine, and also fairly rare except in time travel stories. :)

I can see why maybe the show doesn’t appeal so well to more casual viewers, because these kinds of narrative techniques and structures just aren’t that common in TV, and with the sketchy signposting it does take some work to follow. It’s become harder as the spirals have layered on top of each other too, expecting you to make connections with what has gone before and draw conclusions from the similarities and contradictions. I really like it, though. It expects viewers to be smart and work to understand the plot. It’s refreshing.

If Sterek goes canon, I think Teen Wolf might become my number one favourite TV show of all time, despite its flaws (or maybe even because of them). Right now, Princess Tutu and SeaChange are ahead of it, and it’s about neck-and-neck with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Of course there are so many narrative strategies to achieve the kind of surprise ending that delivers shock and tragedy in a single blow, but twenty-year old RAF gunner Kenneth Swinchatt’s daily line-entries, tidily recording in block letters his flying hours until abruptly interrupted by a different hand on December 4th, is especially jarring for its combination of banal bureaucratic repetition and the humanity of handwriting - a year’s worth of everyday record-keeping, and then the sudden end. He was one of a six-man crew flying a Lancaster heavy bomber that took off from East Kirkby at 0031 hrs on 3 December, 1943 for operations in Leipzig. Crashed at Volgfelde, south of the railway line between Gardelegen and Stendal. Real physical history of a real person.

Theatre historians regularly attribute the paucity and brevity of Shakespearean women’s roles to the inadequacy (or the expense) of the apprenticed boy players. They have not as often remarked that female characters rarely appear unaccompanied by males. The all-male acting company contrasts the boy and the mature male to create the illusion of female presence. To leave a boy alone on stage is to relinquish the difference on which his feminization partly depends. At such moments, poetic, rhetorical, and narrative strategies must accomplish what the presence of the adult actor does in other scenes: they must maintain the female persona by dominating the impersonator. Such textual strategies, originally designed to feminize the boy actor, may infantilize or eroticize the woman who now plays the woman’s part.
—  Playing the Woman’s Part, Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre, ed. Sue-Ellen Case
Analyzing Causes and Consequences in an Essay, Blog Post, Article, or Report

You have this piece of writing lying around. You’ve only been able to manage a few paragraphs. For some reason, you’re not sure how to proceed. Let’s explore one way you can write it.

Did you try narrating the events in your piece in the order in which they occurred? If not, try the narrative strategy. Get a rough draft down, take a short break, and then come back to it to shape it the way you want to present your topic.

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To be permanently sentimentally involved with the inhabitants of a
fictional possible world we must then satisfy two requirements: (i) we
must live in the fictional possible world as in an uninterrupted
daydream; and (ii) we must in some way behave as if we were one of
its characters.
        It can thus happen that, when we enter a very absorbing and captivating possible narrative world, a textual strategy can provoke something similar to a mystic raptus or to a hallucination, and we simply forget that we entered an only possible world. It happens especially when we meet a character in its original score or in a new enticing context. But since these characters are fluctuating and, so to speak, they come and go in our mind, like the women in the James Prufrock’s world, talking of Michelangelo, they are always ready to mesmerize us, and to make us believe that they are among us.
—  Umberto Eco, “On the Ontology of Fictional Characters: A Semiotic Approach”

anonymous asked:

I apologize if you've already covered this and I missed the post... But what are your thoughts on Alix's birthday gift? I'm not convinced the watch was just a plot device for her akumatization. Do you think of her as an ally or potential enemy?

I don’t really think of Alix as anything other than a minor/background character at this point. However, her father is very interesting. Aside from the fact that he appeared in two episodes and both his children were akumatized, he also shares the purple color scheme that Nooroo and Hawkmoth share - 

(handy scarf for covering things up too)

He also shares in bone structure very like Gabriel and Hawkmoth’s. From the front, he has fuller lips than Gabriel–similar to Hawkmoth’s–but that is all I’ve really been able to ascertain. I don’t have access to the episodes in high enough quality to make in-depth comparisons between Hawkmoth, Gabriel, and Kubdel. I do know that the silhouette in Origins lacked a mustache, but mustaches can be grown and cut (it also lacked glasses and Kubdel isn’t shown wearing a silver ring as Gabriel does, but, then again, Gabriel and Hawkmoth have different teeth). It also seems to me that both Gabriel and Kubdel have similar odds in coming across the butterfly miraculous–Gabriel has some kind of connection, the peacock, and the book, whereas Kubdel is a historian that clearly has access to knowledge and items beyond the expected (Alix’s watch). Either one could be a red herring for the other, in my opinion, but after the spoiler that showed us The Collector, I have a hard time believing that Gabriel is Hawkmoth, as The Collector looks like it might be Gabriel akumatized. There’s no proof, of course, but the design shares so many similarities with Gabriel himself that it seems extremely plausible - 

Hair, stripes, ascot, suit. Body type. 

And it seems to me that if Gabriel isn’t Hawkmoth, there’s a good chance we’ve seen Hawkmoth already and just not realized it. I mean, this is also equally as unlikely, but it’s a common narrative strategy–hidden in plain sight. 

But anyway, it’s all speculation. Hawkmoth could be someone we don’t even know or have seen yet. As far as Alix, though, I don’t view her any differently than I do the other minor student characters. 

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

My second reason for wanting to direct attention to Afrofuturism is political. From the ongoing war on terror to Hurricane Katrina, it seems that we are trapped in an historical moment when we can think about the future only in terms of disaster – and that disaster is almost always associated with the racial other. Of course, there are many artists, scholars, and activists who want to resist these terrifying new representations of the future. As a literary scholar myself, I believe that one important way to do this is to identify the narrative strategies that artists have used in the past to express dissent from those visions of tomorrow that are generated by a ruthless, economically self-interested futures industry. Hence my interest in Afrofuturism, which assures us that we can indeed just say no to those bad futures that justify social, political, and economic discrimination. In doing so this mode of aesthetic expression also enables us to say yes to the possibility of new and better future and thus to take back the global cultural imaginary today.
—  Lisa Yaszek, “Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future”

The difference in narrative strategies right now is so funny. 

Typically, at invite-only industry events, asking the famous people for pictures is frowned upon. Some might do one or two, but most most don’t put themselves in a position to be around fans and get asked for pictures throughout the night. It’s why we didn’t get fan pics of Harry inside the Clive Davis event. It’s much more exclusive. 

But Louis went to the Pre-Grammy party crawling with young female types not afraid to ask the celebrity for pictures. Amazing!

  • Harry: Exclusive rock star friends; Parties with the Azoffs and Ringo Starr
  • Louis: Totally approachable; Stands in front of fan for pics; takes 10 fan photos inside industry party

Everyone got it yet?

anonymous asked:

but this is not about pr from 1d's side, not their say - this is about a company buying the rights to use a single song from sony in an ad, just like car companies and food companies and all kinds of companies buy random songs to use literally always - if anything it's good marketing from coca cola bc they know it'd bring a good reaction - but still, not a decision that'd go through 1dpr

i understand where you’ve coming from, but it strikes me as incredibly improbable that the same team that has gone to great, well-documented, and altogether harrowing lengths to drive home the message that every member in the band - and especially the two members portrayed in this commercial - are In Fact Straight would not make explicit, high-stakes stipulations such as “don’t make a commercial putting the narrative we’ve spent the better part of half a decade desperately trying to suppress on blast” when handing usage rights over to corporations, especially corporations that 1) dominate the global market and 2) have a documented pr relationship with the band that has, in the past, included advertising the product while also advertising a bearding relationship as reality during the worst of the closeting

the fact that this was greenlit demonstrates, at the very least, the absence of such stipulations which is in itself cause enough for analysis on our parts

and knowing what we know about one direction’s team and their documented pr practices, it’s 1) nearsighted to suggest this isn’t one of the biggest examples of a tangible shift in their strategy and narrative and 2) improbable that this wasn’t enthusiastically approved - or even suggested - by one direction’s team rather than simply allowed