pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
Back in January, I was invited to give a talk for the local Creative Mornings branch here in Malmö on the theme of language. Since I've been doing work on fandom and fanfiction, I decided to talk on the transformative world of fandom and fanfiction and the many different kinds of learning (language and otherwise) I've seen in it.

pennswoods: (221B Baker Street)
I posted the following question to my Tumblr a little while back in responses to some of the arguing over shipping and assumptions being made about why people ship. I'm often frustrated by the simplistic and reductive assumptions that emerge in this kind of wank and wonder where other people are coming from. I expect we all ship for a number of reasons. The prompt elicited a number of really interesting responses which can be read in the notes to the post, but I'd love to hear more. Behind the cut are my own.

Have you ever thought about why you ship what you ship? And I don’t mean just what you like about a particular pairing but also what purpose it serves in your life.

Is it due to something you are dealing with personally? Is it a way to blow off steam and have fun (and if so - why this ship and not others)? Does it feel safe for you for some reason? Is it more about community than about you? Does it reflect past experiences, regret, hopes and wishes or even examined/unexamined prejudices? Does it get at something you cannot get at in any other way?

On shipping... )
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
And that's all I'm going to say about that. :P

Anybody got some good Sherlock series 3 recs? Preferably of the Johnlock variety (though I would be happy to give other things a shot)? Or how about some AUs? Or any older series 1 or series 2 inspired WIPs that have suddenly started updating. I am fascinated by those.
pennswoods: (John by redscharlach)
[Originally posted to my Tumblr]

I find myself reading copious amounts of fanfiction when I am troubled by something. It’s like I’m looking for answers - a mirror, a model, a map for addressing something in me that needs work.

And other times I read fanfiction looking for validation for things I struggle with but don’t want to change about myself. I seek solace in the angst and successes of these fictional characters to reassure myself that it will be okay and that the hard times are all a part of life.

There are still other times when I read fanfiction to escape from the troubles and the struggles of reality or the noise in my head. I seek universes and plots that are so wholly engrossing and different from what I experience or see around me that I can forget for a little while.

Original fiction can certainly serve these same functions but not always as immediately or as often. There is also something so reassuring about going down these paths with familiar characters, who I can rely on as a constant while I deal (or don’t deal) with whatever it is occupying other parts of my mind.
pennswoods: (Sherlocked)
Following up on a previous post in which I investigated the number of fanworks for Elementary and Sherlock on Ao3 in similar time frames (9 months after the first episode aired), I decided to do the same thing on This was due in part to the fact that FFN has different policies towards explicit fanfiction which may drive some shippers off, especially those who write John/Sherlock Explicit fic, of which there appears to be a fair amount on Ao3. But I also wanted to take a look there since this also may capture a shift in fanwork archiving due to more invites being issued to Ao3 over time. Here's what I found.

Table 1. Fanworks on for Sherlock and Elementary 9 Months After the Airdate of the First Episode

In absolute numbers, there is an even greater difference in the number of fics posted to this archive in the first 9 months compared to what I found for the same relative time frame on Ao3 (shown below in Table 2). Almost 10 times as many Sherlock fanworks were posted to FFN in this timeframe compared to fanworks for Elementary; whereas the difference on Ao3 was close to 4 times as many. In raw numbers, we also see a reversing with more Sherlock fanworks posted to FFN than Ao3 in the first nine months while more Elementary fanworks in these first nine months have been posted to Ao3 than FFN.

Table 1. Fanworks on Archive of Our Own for Sherlock and Elementary 9 Months After the Airdate of the First Episode

After posting my initial findings both here on LJ and on Tumblr, I received some interesting responses which may illuminate reasons for this difference. The Tumblr responses included a number of Elementary fans who indicated that they engaged in fanworks to fix something about a show or to critique it and that a show like Elementary that does a good job in these areas isn't going to elicit the same amount of fanfiction from people like them. Others on LJ spoke about the greater challenge facing fans who like to use fanworks to explore issues of sexuality and romantic relationships with Elementary (a show that places an explicit emphasis on a platonic relationship between its lead characters) and that it may just take more time for fans to get there. There were other interesting comments too that got at the nature of the shows (quirky cult show vs. more mainstream procedural) and the quality and emphasis in production among other things.
pennswoods: (Bored by redscharlach)
A recent article highlighting differences between BBC Sherlock and Elementary was just featured on ONTD, which generated a lot of discussion by ONTD's fans of Elementary, highlighting what they liked about that show and found lacking in Sherlock. You can read (*Note: Spoilers for Elementary*) the full comments here, which reveal a very different interpretation of the characters and storylines  (and the fandom) in Sherlock than I share. But they do point out things I have heard in favor of Elementary, which addresses things many have found lacking in the BBC series.

I am curious to watch Elementary when it finally becomes available for me to view online here in Sweden. It sounds interesting, and I wonder if it will hook me the same way Sherlock has done. All the positive things I keep hearing about it also made me wonder if it's catching on as a huge fandom phenomenon and if the Elementary fandom will soon be outstripping the Sherlock fandom in its generation of fanfiction, cosplay and fanart.  Thus, in the interest of science, I decided to do a little research on this. I decided to investigate whether there was a difference in the number of fan works posted to Ao3 for each show after the first 9 months. I picked 9 months because Elementary's first episode aired in the US about 9 months ago (September 27, 2012).

It was a bit tricky searching for Sherlock BBC fanworks because people don't always use the same tag for the show, so I decided for the sake of consistency to take a conservative approach and only searched the tag "Sherlock TV" for BBC Sherlock related fanworks and "Elementary TV" for Elementary related fanworks. This is at best a first stab, and any suggestions on how to refine my methodology for the next go round would be appreciated. Here's what I found:


First Airdate
July 25, 2010 in UK

September 27, 2012 in US
First Fanwork on Ao3
The Perils of Urban Warfare
by phantomjam

July 27, 2010

a thousand roads
by Medie

March 4, 2012 (prior to first airdate)
Fanworks on Ao3 after 9 mos

(as of April 30, 2011)


(as of June, 30, 2013)
Total Fanworks on Ao3 as of July 7, 2013

Created with the HTML Table Generator

I find this an interesting snapshot. After the first 9 months, there were more than three times as many fanworks under the Sherlock TV tag than the Elementary TV tag. There are no doubt a lot of factors at play here including the fact that Sherlock's far fewer episodes and longer wait time mean fans have more time on their hands to create whereas Elementary fans have more episodes to look forward to each week. It could also suggest that Sherlock fans felt they needed to fix something about the show that Elementary fans do not (as suggested by the writers of the article above). Or it could mean that there is something about Sherlock that generated a lot of enthusiasm in its viewership that resulted in the creation of creativeworks. It could be that Elementary fans may be more likely to engage in different fannish practices that aren't archived on Ao3.

I am going to continue to dig around a little more because this is relevant to my interest in uncovering stories on fandom (and fangirls in particular) for my documentary. This was a spur of the moment thing brought on by reading that article. Your own thoughts and advice and checks on my methodology are welcome.



pennswoods: (Default)

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