marysutherland: (Mary Sutherland)
Since there have been lots of suggestions about what might happen in the last episode of Sherlock tomorrow, here are mine, based on nothing more than a brief re-reading of "Charles Augustus Milverton", rather too much time on Tumblr in the last few days seeing other people's theories, and then mixing them up together in my head to produce shiny new patterns.

In ACD's Sign of Four, when Dr Watson is rhapsodizing about Mary Morstan, Holmes scolds him for his biased judgement, and says:

"I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor. "

Meanwhile, at the end of "Charles Augustus Milverton", Milverton being shot by a woman whom he has ruined after a failed blackmail attempt (a killing which takes place while Holmes and Watson have broken into his house to try and help another of Milverton's victims). The unnamed woman is a widow, whose husband has died of grief after hearing about his wife's past.

Several people have pointed out that one of the things Sherlock sees when looking at Mary is the word "liar". We also know that she's an orphan. My wild guess therefore is that Mary is a repentant and reformed criminal, who was in some way culpable for the death of her parents. Sherlock, who can consider a garrotter to be the best man he knows, wouldn't have a problem with that if he found out, and I suspect John would be prepared to forgive her past in practice.

But Mary isn't necessarily going to realise quite what unusual moral standards the two men have, and if it leaked to the papers that John Watson was married to a criminal it'd make a devastating scandal. Mary also strikes me as a woman with enough nerve to kill someone if she was desperate enough, and she's also potentially got access to John's gun. So I think a possible plot is that Mary kills Milverton while Sherlock and John are trying to retrieve blackmail material on someone else and that they then have to help her escape, possibly taking the blame themselves.  (This being Sherlock, there will probably be another three twists in the last five minutes, but it might be one of the plot points).

What I don't believe, meanwhile, is that Mycroft is going to get killed, as some of my friends are worrying. One, because Stephen Moffat is notoriously averse to killing off any of the heroes, as Doctor Who fans have been known to complain. And secondly, because Mark Gatiss is obviously enjoying playing Mycroft and presumably gets a say in the matter.
marysutherland: (Mary Sutherland)

There's a meme been going round recently getting you to list the top 10 of your fics by popularity. (I saw it initially on morganstuart's LJ, though it now seems to have vanished from there, and AJ Hall has also done it).

Since AO3 has most of my fics on it and hit counters, I've used that. The one fic that isn't on there that might perhaps come in the top 10 otherwise is Last letter, which I wrote early on in fandom and now seems embarrassingly sentimental, but still sometimes get found or even recced).

I've also, just for comparison, put in my bottom 5 fics.

My most popular fics on Archive of Our Own (hits as at 10/5/12, excluding fics posted in that week and non-Sherlock fics)

1) Jealous Guy (9000 words, mature) Kudos 131, Hits 3901
Mystrade: Lestrade suspects Mycroft of cheating on him.

2) Impure Genius (22,000 words, mature) Kudos 151, Hits 3539
Sherlock/John:  Insecure, self-harming Sherlock being sorted out by John via a boot camp and sex.

3) SNAFU (18,000 words, mature) Kudos 113, Hits 2947
Sherlock/John: John attempting to be normal and failing badly, despite Clara's help.

4) Tastes (3,000 words, teenage) Kudos 49, Hits 2723
Mycroft/John: Sherlock gets jealous about John's personal life (First part of Blame Jeremy Bentham series).

5) MI Sex (9,000 words, explicit) Kudos 183, Hits 2721
Mystrade: Lestrade discovers Mycroft's murky past in the Secret Service.

6) Half a loaf (20,000 words, explicit) Kudos 126, Hits 2460
Mycroft/John: Straight John gradually falls for gay Mycroft and they finally get together.

7) Goodbye, Irene (2,000 words, teenage) Kudos 117, Hits 2333
Gen: My alternative ending for Scandal in Belgravia, in which Irene outplays Sherlock.

8) Baker Street Imp (16,000 words, general audiences) Kudos 93, Hits 2297
Sherlock/John: Sherlock and John have to look after Clara's seven-year-old niece.

9) Holmes comforts (12,000 words, mature) Kudos 56, Hits 2086
Mycroft/John: Mycroft trying to get together with John without letting Sherlock know (Second part of Blame Jeremy Bentham series).

10) Sex doesn't alarm me (221 words, mature) Kudos 51, Hits 1884
Mystrade: Crack fic where Sherlock discovers worrying pictures on Lestrade's phone

Bottom 5 on AO3

1) Poor Jenny, bright as a penny (1,800 words, teenage) Kudos 8, Hits 74
Femslash: The Pink Lady's backstory.

2) Calm and Storm (442 words, mature) Kudos 6, Hits 75
Ella/Sally: 221Bs in bed

3) Straight, Smooth, Scholar (663 words, general audiences) Kudos 2, Hits 80
Ella/Sally: getting to know one another

4) Patterns (3,300 words, mature) Kudos 7, Hits 103
Sally/Harry meet and connect

5) Six hours, forty-six minutes (2,200, mature) Kudos 8, Hits 106
Ella/Anthea: Anthea has a bad day: Ella helps her unwind.

The bottom five are hardly surprising: femslash doesn't tend to get that many readers, though the people who do read it often like it a lot. The top ten are more surprising: my readers mostly want slash, but not necessarily Sherlock/John.  I'm particularly surprised that several of my Mycroft/John stories rate so highly, but that may be because not many people write that pairing. And I also know several of them have been included on rec lists by M/J shippers.

More generally, what my readers seem to want is long, angsty fics. "Impure genius", "Half a loaf" and "SNAFU" are among the five longest individual fics I've written, and "Baker Street Imp" and the "Blame Jeremy Bentham" sequence are also very long. I've written around fifty 221Bs, but only one of them makes it in the top 10, and it may well get overtaken long term by "You cannot libel the dead" in 11th place. "Sex doesn't alarm me" is also the only purely comic piece in the top 10, though "Baker Street Imp" is also pretty fluffy, and "Goodbye, Irene" is largely angst-free. Otherwise, it's reticent male suffering FTW, though all the top 10 do eventually have happy endings.

There are several other longish Mystrade fics in positions 11-20, but there are also a few other fics of mine which are similar to these popular ones and yet are much further down the list. For example, The Penultimate Problem, which I think is one of my most ingenious long Mystrade fics, and with bucketloads of angst,  hasn't done very well. And I'm also disappointed at the showing for Doctor meets Doctor; I suspect that doesn't get many readers because nobody but me ships John Watson/Mike Stamford, but I still think it works well as a combination of unlikely romance and excessive angst. (As well as having the only (two-person) sex scene I've ever written that is het and slash simultaneously).

It's interesting seeing these details of my readership, but it's not particularly going to change what I actually write. There will be more femslash up soon (including more long, angsty femslash, which in the ratio to time spent writing versus readership is really not effective). There isn't likely to be any more Mycroft/John for a long time, because Series 2 John and Mycroft don't seem to me to be a viable partnership. And too many of my stories at the moment I can't think of a happy ending for. But then if you prefer people who do exactly the things you like, you wouldn't be a Sherlock fan anyway, would you?

marysutherland: (Mary Sutherland)
A new Round Robin Sherlock story is developing at Gayalondiel's LJ. So far there are missing otters, vampires and the dreaded Belgian Butterfly in a Box. But we need more people along to contribute, so get over there! (And add Lestrade in, or whoever else you fancy).
marysutherland: (Mary Sutherland)
Most of my f-list have now seen X-Men First Class and some have even written fics about it, so I seized the opportunity of being alone in London to go and see it as well. And it was an experience. Assorted unconnected comments follow: those who fear spoilers or who really enjoyed the film should look away now.

Read more... )
marysutherland: (Default)
After writing a lyrical description of Sherlock, Shouldboverthis recently asked people to describe why they thought either John Watson or Mycroft Holmes were physically attractive. I'm not much good at descriptions, so this is the best I could manage for JHW.

Rating: 12

In many ways, it's easier to say what John Watson's looks aren't than what they are. He doesn't have sticking-out ears, or a bald patch, or a broken nose or any of the other commonplace aesthetic disadvantages of men. There's nothing obviously off or comic about the proportions of his face.

On the other hand, he hasn't got cheekbones or hair or eyes or lips. Well, obviously he has - almost everyone does - but not in the memorable way that some people do. He doesn't have Sherlock's perfect bone structure, that makes him seem carved out of marble. There's a softness to John's face, a roundness even; he's been accused of being chiselled out of plasticine. But if you want a face to touch, there's no comparison. Run your hand down the side of Sherlock's face and at best you'd be chilled to the bone; at worst you'd cut your fingers to ribbons. But John's face would be warm and comforting to your touch.

John's hair is similarly soothing. It's a nondescript light brown, normally cut short in a way that reveals the masculinity simplicity of his neck and skull when you see him from behind; a touch of the soldier still. But now John's somewhere with a regular water supply and a place to buy hair product, his hair is better cared for. Dense and strokeable, like a short-haired cat. Occasionally, when the sunlight catches it just so, a few of the strands have the golden fluffiness of a kitten. A highly trained combat kitten, of course.

John's eyes are not strange, mysterious, shape-shifting pools, but just eyes. Grey eyes that have seen a lot of things, judging by the crease lines round them. Experienced eyes, maybe even wise. As for his mouth, it doesn't have the perfect, almost feminine pout of Sherlock's lips. But then John isn't really the pouting sort. His mouth is usually either set in the firm, determined lines of someone who's seen a lot of trouble and knows there's more just round the corner, or grinning infectiously.

Sherlock's beauty needs a protective force-field. No, it is a protective force-field in itself. The stark message of hands off, of look, but don't touch. John's ordinary attractiveness seems designed for other people to touch, to hold. Sherlock belongs in an art gallery; John you can take home and keep for everyday use.

It's the same with their bodies. Sherlock looks down on people; John's lack of inches means most of the time he literally can't. Sherlock's body is perpetually on display: coats, shirts, trousers all primed to say: Notice how superior I am to you. The man can wear a scarf arrogantly. John wears clothes he likes, that say: I'm safe. Stay with me and I'll protect you.

Yet there's also a mysteriousness about John's body, something of the same reticence there is in his speech. You can't be sure what is beneath the obscuring coats and jumpers. Whether there's still the sturdy musculature of a soldier, or a body that's now softer, but whose gentle curves would be comforting to pillow one's head against. Whether he's below average in size in other ways, or if lurking in John's trousers there's something worthy of a porn star.

Well, some people can't be sure. Sherlock, of course, has already made a detailed investigation of his own armour-plated teddy bear, the very ordinary, gorgeous, John Watson.     

Note: the 'chiselled from plasticine' line is nicked directly from MF's own commentary on TGG (the scene when Mycroft comes to 221B).
marysutherland: (Default)
Regular readers (all three of you) will know that many of my fics are extremely long (10,000 words plus) and thus require betas of unusual strength and stamina. In addition, my valiant betas have often succumbed to strange and unusual fates: laptops dying, mystery illnesses, overloads of RL work, or even being forced to live under repressive right-wing regimes.

All this is a preamble to a request for betas for several fics recently completed or under production by me:

1) Half a loaf (20,000 words) – Mycroft/John, John's POV. Domestic angsty comedy, featuring a dangerous Belgium diplomat, a bread making machine, 187 North Gower Street and the Diogenes Club.

2) Histories (First part) (11,000 words) – Molly/Harry, Sherlock/John (varying POVs). A follow-up and lots of back story to 'Birthday Surprise' and 'Launch Pad'. So far includes an unfeasibly large number of angsty flashbacks, Sherlock not!seducing Molly and John braving Mrs Holmes.

3) A man, a plan, a canal (1300 words) Mycroft/Lestrade fluff

4) Under the weather (13,000 words) Mycroft/Lestrade - follow-up to David. Mycroft finds out about Lestarde's one-night stand with Sherlock. Angst and 80s music ensues.

If anyone feels up to betaing any of these, please let me know. Many thanks.
marysutherland: (Default)
As a follow-up to 'By the Book', I can't resist quoting this bit from a biography of Coleridge I dipped into:

For Coleridge, the act of nursing or being nursed, and the intimacy of the sickroom, eventually became an emblem of true love and understanding. Sickroom incidents are frequent in his life, and gradually begin to pass into his poetry as a major theme, Psychologically this suggests something about his "dependent'' personality (of which dependency on opium was only one manifestation). For all his intellectual brilliance and daring, Coleridge was often drawn to this twilight state, in which the distinction between adult and child could be magically suspended, responsibilities waived and physical tenderness be freely exchanged without sexual guilt...Some of his best poetry concerns the visions of the sick, hallucinating, or fitfully dreaming hero or heroine. And in his affairs of the heart, the sickroom becomes a zone of almost erotic intensity. Though the letters of many Romantic writers - Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats - are surprisingly full of lurid details of medical complaints (anarchic bowels, treacherous lungs, seething bladders, and mutinous teeth, together with a catalogue of fevers, rheumatic, headaches, and of course consumptive fears), Coleridge outdid his friends in this as in most things.

Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Early Visions (Hodder and Stoughton, 1989, p 15)
marysutherland: (Default)

BBC Sherlock

Rating: 12 (implicit slash, explicit weirdness)

Summary: Lots of people have been posting about what happened at the recent London Sherlock meetup. This is what didn't happen. Another metafic in sequel to warriorbot's Going Down With the Ship and my Captain of the Ship. This is crackier. It may even be meta-metafic, I've lost track.

Another shitty day in paradise, Lestrade was thinking that afternoon.  )

marysutherland: (Default)
Prompted by this comment from warriorbot.

One of the many enjoyable bits about writing Sherlock fanfic is the chance to refer to strange scientific studies I have come across. A number of them have already lurked (mostly unacknowledged) in my fics, so here is a brief list, where I can remember them.

(Alluded to in Ricochet and another forthcoming story)
Charles A. Morgan III, Gary Hazlett, Anthony Doran, Stephan Garrett, Gary Hoyt, Paul Thomas, Madelon Baranoski, Steven M. Southwick, Accuracy of eyewitness memory for persons encountered during exposure to highly intense stress, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 27, Issue 3, May-June 2004, Pages 265-279, ISSN 0160-2527, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2004.03.004.
(Online here)

(Alluded to in Impure genius)
J. Philippe Rushton, Cranial capacity related to sex, rank, and race in a stratified random sample of 6,325 U.S. military personnel, Intelligence, Volume 16, Issues 3-4, July-December 1992, Pages 401-413, ISSN 0160-2896, DOI: 10.1016/0160-2896(92)90017-L.
(Online here)

(Alluded to in Resumé)
Clément, R., Redpath, M. and Sauvageau, A. (2010), Mechanism of Death in Hanging: A Historical Review of the Evolution of Pathophysiological Hypotheses. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55: 1268–1271. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01435.x

(Starring role in R v Holmes)
Tan M, Jones G, Zhu G, Ye J, Hong T, et al. 2009 Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7595. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007595

(Alluded to in The Animal Inside)
Assorted studies on rat addiction, as discussed by Wikipedia.

However, there are many staggering scientific papers that have not yet received full appreciation from the fanfic community. Here are a couple more I have come across, but if anyone knows something else that Sherlock really ought to read, or that is begging to become a plot bunny, please give the details below (and ideally a link).

Int J Clin Pract. 2002 Sep;56(7):558-9.
Rectal salami.
Shah J, Majed A, Rosin D.
Academic Surgical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.
We present the case of a 63-year-old man who had inserted a salami into his anal canal for sexual stimulation--the commonest reason for inserting foreign bodies--and who subsequently required a laparotomy for its removal. This common surgical problem requires a thorough medical history, an examination and the use of radiographs for management. Current techniques for removal of such objects are discussed.

No Shinkei Geka. 1990 Feb;18(2):189-92.
[Skullbase-penetrating injuries caused by umbrella tips: case reports]
[Article in Japanese]
Tokitsu M, Nakamura M, Yokoyama H, Watanabe H, Hara M, Takeuchi K.
Department of Neurosurgery, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
Two cases of skullbase-penetrating injuries caused by umbrella tips are reported. Case 1: 24-year-old male. Admitted with disturbance of consciousness, left hemiparesis, nasal bleeding, and laceration of left lower eyelid because of having been stabbed by an umbrella tip. Pupils and fundi revealed no definite findings. Plain skull X-ray showed turbid ethmoid sinus and fracture of planum sphenoidale. Cranial CT showed right putaminal hematoma with intraventricular hemorrhage and pneumocephalus. Increased ICP necessitated surgery two days after the injury. Dural laceration of planum sphnoidale, laceration of left optic nerve, right rectal gyrus contusion and rebleeding from the right lenticulostriate branch were observed. Dural plasty and removal of hematoma with external decompression were carried out. He had a good postoperative course, but left visual loss and left hemiparesis remained. Case 2: 29-year-old male. Admitted with excoriation of his right nostril because of having been stabbed by an umbrella tip, severe headache, and nasal discharge. Oculomotor palsy was observed as well as CSF rhinorrhea and meningeal irritability. Plain skull X-ray showed niveau in sphenoidal sinus, pneumocephalus, and fracture of sella turcica. His complaint disappeared after conservative therapy. We reviewed the literature and found only 4 similar cases. The skullbase, because of its anatomical character, is likely to be penetrated in orbital and periorbital injury caused by umbrella tips. Cases which include disturbance of consciousness have a poor prognosis. We hope the fact that umbrella tips can easily become life-threatening objects will come to the attention of the general public so that similar cases may be avoided.

Guess post

Oct. 30th, 2010 02:09 pm
marysutherland: (Default)
I have two lectures to write for this week and a bust filling to get fixed, so may not have time to post much. (I know, what a wimp - Mycroft doesn't let a little thing like root canal work stop him running the country). But one of my fics is up over at the 221 B slash fest, so you can go and try and find it (or just read lots of other ones instead)
marysutherland: (Default)
I found this on the Jesus College Cambridge website:

The eighteenth century also saw the residence of the two most famous literary figures to have passed through the college: Laurence Sterne (1733) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1791)...Samuel Taylor Coleridge was awarded a Rustat scholarship, which was offered to the sons of deceased clergymen; but he too soon found himself in debt, and took refuge in the opium which was to wreck his life...Then, on an impulse, he left the college in December 1793 to join the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons, under the name of Silas Tomkyn Comberbache

This definitely needs some kind of fic - I have some plans, but does anyone else want to pile into Coleridge/Sherlock crossovers?
marysutherland: (Default)
Most of the time it's clear to me that BBC Sherlock and its fanfic exist in a stylised fantasy world that has absolutely nothing to do with mundane reality. There are times, however, when I feel that although the plots may be unreal, some of the characters are a little too close for comfort, and I'm not so much inventing dialogue as overhearing it. Consider the following things I've heard/read in the last couple of weeks:

1) Colleague to visitor: "Would you like a Lithuanian chocolate?"

2) Another colleague discussing with me the arrangements for a book launch party for someone who is terminally ill with cancer: "Of course, it's going to be the elephant in the room, but at least not a suffocatingly large elephant."

3) Comments on one colleague's blog about X having also started a blog [anonymised]:

[Visitor] AB: Not mentioned on Facebook that I can recall. X needs to be pushier. Believe it or not!

Blog owner: I’ll be sure to tell him, from a safe distance :-)

X: It’s in the ‘about me’ box, A. Doh!

Blog owner: Ah, in that case I’ll be sure not to tell you!

X: There’s a difference between pushy and bolshy. I *do* need to be pushier. More than one person has told me that, believe it or not!


marysutherland: (Default)

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