dance of the lemons

mssmithlove1
2016.05.20 22:22

anonymous asked: You are nothing by an attention seeker. Your fanfic writing is mediocre at best, I don’t know why people read what you write. Unfollowing now.

Thanks. Think I’m done for the night,

Well then. Yeah, sure, it’s a shitty thing to say, especially when this is (I suspect) born from her original message that she was feeling “on the verge of tears for no reason at all,” but. You know. They’re not wrong. Everyone’s always going on about how she’s the queen of teen!lock, or at least one of them, but actually her writing is pretty mediocre. The stories aren’t especially inspired; her magnum opus, as it were, I’d Probably Still Adore You With Your Hands Around My Neck, has this summary:

When Sherlock and John become roommates in their first year at University, they both end up finding things they never realized they were looking for- in each other.

I mean…that’s right up there with the coffee shop AU, I think every fandom has one. Or thirty. So basically what we have here is a generic story written by someone who isn’t a bad writer but also isn’t a particularly good writer, and who doesn’t bring anything I would call novel to the theme. Also her dialogue is kind of crap.

This is from chapter 1 (the story was begun 3 July 2015):

“Yes you were. I don’t know what you’re so worried about. He might be cute, you know.”

It takes a fifth of a second for that to sink in.

And then the blood fills Sherlock’s cheeks rapidly, heating his face immediately at the implications of those words. “Mrs. Hudson!” he cries indignantly, mortified that she would even think… that she might know

“Would you calm down?” She laughs, tucking his shirts into the drawers beside his bed, neatly folded the way she’s done his entire life. “It’s alright if you like-”

“Mrs. Hudson-”

“I’m just saying dear, boys can like other boys, you know Mrs. Turner’s got married ones and I think-”

“MRS. HUDSON!” Sherlock hollers, drowning out her final words, face flaming hotter than the sun, brow scowling with fury mixed with complete humiliation.

So my biggest issue with this clip, aside from the quality of the dialogue itself (particularly Mrs Hudson’s run-on sentence about Mrs Turner’s married ones), is the timing thing; is a fifth of a second supposed to indicate an unusually long time? Because it’s profoundly not, but the use of the term “And then” to begin the next paragraph implies to me that there’s been at least an awkward pause between the instigation and the response, but a fifth of a second doesn’t leave time for that. Also “the blood fills Sherlock’s cheeks rapidly, heating his face immediately” is on par with “Silently, he slips quietly into a room filled with priceless artifacts.” Also what’s that crap about his brow scowling? How…what? How? And if the humiliation is “complete,” how can it be mixed with fury?

this bit is from chapter 11, the most recent (4 may 2016):

“Uh-” Sherlock clears his throat and moves away again, reaching forward and settling his body further down the sofa as he rocks back with his bag in hand, shoving his hand down the flap to appear to be rummaging for something, attempting to distract himself from severely snapping. “Seriously, nothing is wrong. Shall we-”

“Sherlock,” Victor murmurs and Sherlock turns to find him even closer now, hand settling fully on Sherlock’s shoulder, squeezing it gently before stroking over his collarbone with a reassuring thumb, clearly having no idea he’s currently attempting to settle an extremely agitated genius. “You know you can always talk to me, right? About anything.”

Biting his tongue so sharply he swears he tastes blood, Sherlock keeps his mouth firmly shut as the very real fear of a guffaw is threatening to make its way out of it.

Just to be clear: Sherlock reaches forward as he moves away [from Victor] as he settles into the sofa as he rocks back as he holds his bag in (one?) hand as he shoves his hand…down the flap? I think that’s supposed to mean into the bag, all in order to distract himself from snapping (unclear as to whether it’s verbal, i.e., “No,” he snapped, or mental, i.e., “something in his mind snapped and he went on a killing spree”). Wow, he is talented. And how is a thumb reassuring? Maybe “squeezing gently before stroking his thumb over Sherlock’s collarbone reassuringly”? Maybe? I still don’t like it, I have trouble imagining the action coming off as reassuring in really any context. And then, “the very real fear of a guffaw is threatening to make its way out of [his mouth].” That indicates that the fear is the thing threatening to come out of his mouth, which is frankly stupid. Sloppy writing, actually, very sloppy, even ignoring the vaguely anthropomorphic reference to a guffaw, or a fear of one, “making its way” anywhere.

So, yeah, it’s not like she’s improved or anything.

Interesting side note, she credits ishaveforsherl (who, funny story, has no posted stories to her own name) as her beta reader, I think; she doesn’t actually use the word “beta” but she thanks them for “brainstorming, listening and reading all the things I ask.” Oh, here we go, chapter 3: “Special thanks as always to my wonderful ishaveforsherl, you are INCREDIBLE, thank you for taking the time to proof read and brainstorm and be my soulmate.” But wait! Chapter 9: “Quick note of epic THANK YOUs to ishaveforsherl for help with all ideas and storylines and being AMAZING and awkwardtiming (whose single T-rated story [there’s one early G and everything else is E] is short but mediocre at best and boring as fuck) for grammar help, future beta-ing and generally being a FANTASTIC FRIEND! Love you both so very much!!”

Speaking of chapter 9…

“Who-… Victor, you moron!” Irene barks rather loudly before ducking her head again, rechecking her surroundings. “You can’t be this blind? Seriously, all he does every time we meet up is eye-fuck the shit out of you and it’s honestly repulsive and I’m over it. He’s so creepy.”

Sherlock doesn’t need a mirror to know his skin is flushing bright red from the base of his neck to the tips of his ears at Irene’s crudeness. “What?” he attempts to demand, although it comes out as more of a squeak.

“Why must you be so oblivious to boys who are mad about you?” Irene asks almost angrily, frowning at Sherlock as though he’s the most irritating human being she’s ever met. “Victor likes you. He wants to fuck you. He got you drunk at a party at his house on purpose. I cannot believe you are making me spell this out for you. It’s not rocket science, which is a stupid comparison in this particular situation since you’d actually be able to sort it out if it were rocket science.”

Alright, pro tip: A dash as the “closing” punctuation point of a sentence indicates a short stop, usually due to an interruption. An ellipsis indicates a slow trailing off, usually because the person thinks the rest of the sentence is implied and would rather not say it or because they don’t know how to finish whatever they were saying in the first place. You cannot put them together. They are contradictory. Also, using “barks” rather than “says” is a good indicator that the speech is loud, so “barks rather loudly” is just pretentious. Or, no, it’s pretentious (“rather”?) and redundant.

And I know we don’t have the world’s greatest canonical read on Irene, and teen!lock is kind of an open book anyway, but what the hell is with that dialogue? “Eye-fuck the shit out of you and it’s honestly repulsive and I’m over it”? What? What is that? That is crap, is what that is. Crap. Complete crap.

“Sherlock doesn’t need a mirror to know his skin is flushing” except that even if he feels warm, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s turned “bright red.” Also talking about how he feels, i.e., warm, I assume, is better to engage the reader than describing an external cue like “his skin is flushed.” And “attempts to demand, although it comes out as more of a squeak,” like, I get it, but…I can’t help thinking there’s a less stupid way of saying it. Maybe I’m just prejudiced because the rest of the paragraph is such a dump, but it sounds ridiculous.

Oh, god, “almost angrily.” Why can’t anyone commit to an actual descriptive? It’s all “almost” this and “nearly” that and it is so. Frustrating. And Sherlock is a chemist, not a physicist, so why would you possibly think he’d be able to understand rocket science? I mean, maybe, if he put his mind to it, but why would he bother?

And then in chapter 10:

Also special shoutout to essentially my beta but also awesome friend and confidant awkwardtiming, you saved my grammar ass and continuity stupidity in this chapter and I cannot thank you enough!!

So I guess ishaveforsherl is her…cheerleader? Co-author? But awkwardtiming is her “official” beta reader?

Chapter 11:

Also special thank you to awkwardtiming for giving me sound advice and grammar lessons!

What “grammar lessons”? Back to school with you, woman.

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