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S08xE12 “Death in Heaven”

If you have been reading my reviews of Doctor Who this series, you know that my outlook shifted as the season moved forward. I started out all sunshine and roses, excited for the possibilities a new Doctor and Moffat’s writing could bring. It has been a rocky journey, with moments in each episode that I appreciated and many that fell flat. As the series comes to a close, with only the Christmas special left in Capaldi’s first year as the Doctor, I find myself disillusioned with the franchise and hoping for drastic change in the next few months. I like Capaldi as Twelve, I really do. Unfortunately, the combination of a new Doctor, lack of chemistry with his companion and the horrible writing of series 8 has me in dire need to understand what it is that went wrong. Let’s start with what worked and what didn’t in “Death in Heaven”, and go from there.

Spoilers ahead, Sweetie!

Today we have the second installation of our transformative writers series, featuring friend of the blog, Zatnikatel. Although she mentions below she does dabble in other topics, this writer has 28 pieces up on AO3, all in the Supernatural fandom where she ships Destiel oh-so-good. You might recognize her name from our very popular “9 Smutty Supernatural/Destiel Fanfics” post–she holds the #6 position with one of THE HOTTEST Destiel fics I have ever read (and reread). Another favorite is her story True North, which would have made it on my End!Verse genre fic list, but I had to spread the love around to other authors. The wonderful thing about fanfiction is that, if they chose, writers remain anonymous and therefore can really explore topics in a way we might not be able to if our moms/bosses/IRL friends were looking over our shoulders. Zatnikatel currently works as a professional journalist and editor, contributing to magazines and newspapers in the US and UK. Please read on to find out about her journey into the world of fanfiction and the no nonsense advice she has for aspiring writers. Enjoy!

xoxo

The Collectiva Diva

1) What/who inspired you to begin writing fanfiction?

I started out in genfic, writing a story inspired by one of my favorite early episodes: The Benders. I loved the episode for its delicious Dean whump, for the parallels between the Winchesters and the Benders (who seemed like the flipside of John, Dean and Sam), and for the really lovely performance by Jessica Steen as Sheriff Kathleen Hudak.

I always love those “what if?” moments in TV shows and movies – those forks in the road where everything might have gone in a completely different direction. Where that episode was concerned it was, “what if Missy had gotten out of the closet?” And that first genfic grew into a three-story verse adding up to about 300,000 words altogether. And I had all sorts of high-falutin’ ideas about framing it as a Hell allegory, because I had hoped for more from Dean’s post-Hell PTSD story, and felt shortchanged by what I got onscreen.

I guess not a lot of the people who are familiar with my D/C fic will have read that genfic ’verse! So I’ll mention my first D/C fic, Chrysler Almighty and just say that it was written because some dared me to. I had very pompously declared that the profound bond was enough for me and that I’d never write “proper” D/C. Said friend dared me, and so I wrote that fic as a joke, and threw everything I could think of at it. It was intended as crack, and I thought it would get 10 comments, if that. I still don’t know whether to be proud of it or embarrassed by it. Architecture!porn, what the hell was I thinking?!

 

Reinventing Sherlock Holmes: The Transmedia Co-Construction by and for Fan Communities

Original illustrations by Sidney Paget for Doyle's "Final Problem"
Original illustrations by Sidney Paget for Doyle’s “Final Problem” (1893)

The adventures of Sherlock Holmes continue to fascinate audiences, regardless of the fact that the author of the original text, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has been dead for 84 years. Doyle penned a total of 4 novels and 56 short stories containing the beloved Holmes over a period of 40 years, the 8-year long “Great Hiatus” between The Final Problem (1893) and The Hounds of Baskerville (1901) notwithstanding. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the protagonist Sherlock Holmes is “’the most-portrayed movie character’, with more than 70 actors having played the part in at least 200 films” (Fox 1). In the last ten years, there have been numerous movies, books, and television series’ devoted to reinventing Sherlock Holmes, each one aimed at helping audiences find value in the historical character while simultaneously attempting to entice newer, younger consumers to participate in fan communities based on said character. For purposes of this “Transformative Fandom” series, I will take this concept a step further. According to the Archive of Our Own website for transformative fan works, there are currently a total of (I’ve updated this number 4 times in 1 week) 59,761 texts, pictures, videos and podfics uploaded and tagged with the term “Sherlock Holmes”. The characters of Holmes and Watson, as created by Doyle, are in the public domain, which means anyone can use them without permission, the caveat being that works only include the specific qualities of these characters as defined by the author in his texts published before 1923. For writers, artists and filmmakers, this means commercial adaptations can be made (mostly) without fear of copyright infringement, as long as the features of the characters are explicitly early canon or, conversely, unique. The Consulting Detective has enamored readers for over a hundred years, but with only 60 original stories written by Doyle, fans take it upon themselves to explore, in detail, the universe surrounding Sherlock, while others enjoy filling in the blanks of our beloved character’s existence with imagined cases, love interests and encounters that Doyle never anticipated. While neither community is necessarily exclusive or superior, both have specific goals and characteristics that assist in the co-creation of Sherlock Holmes via multiple media sources.