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Right, so I'm scrolling through my RSS feed and didn't realize I'd left the Tumblr section and gone over to Serious News (TM) when I read this post from Rod Dreher:


Supposedly left, I suppose I should say, because it's been quite a long time since I laughed so hard. This is Rod Dreher, old white fart extraordinaire, sounding very inch the social justice blogger. I should say, I disagree with him on substance and think it's awesome how aware of the world's injustices said social media bloggers are, even if I'm not always crazy about how they present it. Still, imagining Rod Dreher with a Mean Girls vibe or some such thing is simply beyond hilarious.

In other news, I finished "Stranger at the Gate." I loved it right up until the last three paragraphs or so, at which point the plot took a fairly radical turn that just left me a bit confused. I don't mind the cliffhanger (it was no worse than TRF so much as the sense that I'd been a bit played with. Which is a shame because the story was remarkably well done, and maybe people who can handle direction-changes better than me would love it. It still makes me want to go look for more of that author's work.

I'm entering into a bit of a hyper period for fannish production when still nothing gets done. I have a piece set during the Doyle post-Reichenbach hiatus (sort of) that's been languishing untouched for a week now, and have all sorts of exciting ideas for a Mary Mostan centric fic for a current challenge goign on at Tumblr about lady Sherlock characters and pregnancy that I'm flat-out scared to write it because the Mary-haters will blow a lid and the people expecting no moral ambiguity will blow a completely different lid, and I'm just not sure there's a third way in the fandom at present. I hope to write it because I want to, but I'm not sure I'll ever share it. At the same time I got my assignment for a remix challenge I signed up for on a whim, and have an idea, I think for some kind of drabble or 221b series, you know "five times that _______ and one time ______ didn't." And I got halfway through a meta of why John married Mary even after Sherlock came back when I honestly don't get the feeling from the show that it as ever about love. About halfway through I felt like it was dragging so I saved the file and may come back to it but that, too, is left unfinished.

Mainly I feel tired and more than a bit down. It's weird. I actually do feel depressed in the sense of can barely sit up let alone concentrate and feel a bit worthless (common feeling for me - objectively I know it's wrong), but at the same time it's mixed with wanting to takeon every new project under the sun. It's....confusing, and had me feeling a bit like I need to crawl out of my skin. But maybe it's the fact that winter has finally broken and I don't really have clothes for it so I just feel perpetually uncomfortable. That really could be it.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2015 12:54 am (UTC)
Stranger at the Gate
I think I know the twist you're referring to. Personally, I think I could have handled it if I knew there was more coming that would explain and resolve it, at least to some degree, but there clearly isn't, and that's what frustrated me.

[Spoiler (click to open)]Having a bait and switch like that, where a character you thought you knew turns out to be someone else entirely is very hard to pull off. It was one of my big moments of disillusionment with the Harry Potter series, when the person we've known and liked as Mad Eye Moody for a *whole book* turns out to be a bad guy in disguise. This one wasn't quite that bad, because at least we know *some* of what happened was real... but I agree, it was immensely frustrating not to know the details of what John was thinking and how much was John vs how much was the spell.

I've gotten over it now and I can remember all the things I loved about that fic. But when I first finished it, I was *furious* that the author listed it as finished and gave no hints in the tags or notes that it's really been abandoned in the middle of a LOT of intrigue.

I've read some lovely short pieces by this author, but I don't know that I'd trust her again on anything long. This experience has reminded me, though, why it's a good idea to always read endings before I get invested in a long fic.

Edited at 2015-03-17 12:55 am (UTC)
Mar. 17th, 2015 01:30 am (UTC)
Re: Stranger at the Gate
[spoilers ahead]

I'm fairly sure it's exactly the twist you're thinking of. Pretty much everything after Moriarty shows up just felt... off to me. Not on its own because it was actually quite interesting and I felt the way the story characterized Moriarty to be fascinating, but as a continuation of the larger fic. It just redefined one of the central characters and that meant the whole conflict I'd been building to in my mind suddenly wasn't there, or wasn't there in the same sense. It made the fic turn against itself somehow.

I think there are two issues, actually. First, if you're going to take a long story like that and if you feel compelled to put a "Don't hate me, more is forthcoming" disclaimer you should really somehow indicate that before people get to the end of the fic. Even if it's only going to be a few months and you have every indication of writing the sequel, as it stands the reader would experience it as a WIP and deserves the right to be warned as such. Interestingly, that didn't bother me as much as it could have, I think because the things left unresolved felt like they were mainly inspired by Moriarty's appearance, and that happened too quickly for me to be particularly emotionally invested in. Though I can see someone with a different reading style being bothered by it, which is why I think it was improperly labelled.

Actually, that feels a lot like HLV to me - that it failed to tell a complete story and then just leaves people hanging. Cliffhangers are fine in my book, but that's different than just not telling enough of a story to give people that sense of it being complete.

The bigger problem is the way the final act completely changed John's character. Up until that point it felt like a particularly fascinating variant of the first-meet AU where John and Sherlock are rival bookstore owners, or Olympic athletes, or whatever, and they still connect and meet up along the lines of ASIP. If the story had stuck with that basic characterization and left the plot open-ended - for instance, John decides to leave Bart's and run away with Sherlock and there are some loose ends but we'd decided how Sherlock and John were going to stay together, I'd have liked it much better. The fact that I still don't know how much of John's character was genuine, and so I don't know how much of the love was real and how much was John winding him up means there's no real sense of closure there, and I just feel lied to.

The frustrating thing is, even with all that, it's still one of the best stories I've read in a long time. The world was so interesting, and the conflict so real! I liked it a lot and will probably reread at some point. But it had such raw potential if it would have just stuck to that path. So I'm not complaining. I like it. I just think it could have been much better if it would have followed through on that start, and I guess that's bothering me a bit.
Mar. 17th, 2015 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: Stranger at the Gate
I basically agree.

I felt like the premise of the story was, Sherlock's a vampire and John doesn't know, and the building tension was: what's going to happen when John finds out? How are they going to resolve this?

That was the resolution I was waiting for, the resolution I wanted. I didn't mind the plot about Moriarty and Angelo and Mike Stamford, but that's not what I was there for.

Up to almost the end, it looked like I was getting what I wanted... Sherlock was forced to come clean about who he was, and John reacted by being believably conflicted, but they were on the road to coming to an understanding. And there were still problems to sort out -- e.g., the fact that they both will be killed if anyone finds out, plus the Angelo issue, etc. -- but I could have lived with all that being unresolved as long as the fic ended with John and Sherlock more or less on the same page.

But instead, we learn that John hasn't really been John for like... half the story? So who knows what he really thinks about Sherlock being a vampire. Not to mention the fact that we've been led to believe that water is hugely dangerous to a vampire, and now Sherlock has submerged himself in water and seems no worse off than any ordinary human would be (ie, he's cold and tired). That definitely made me raise an eyebrow.

That moment when John gets up to answer the door and we realize that he's betrayed Sherlock -- I actually loved. It caught me completely by surprise, but it seemed to suggest another fascinating layer to John's character, so I was on board with that. (but I still wanted to see them work it out eventually)

But once Moriarty walked in and we learned about the glamour, I felt like the story took off in a different direction entirely from what had been promised, and while some stuff did get resolved, none of the stuff I was interested in did.
Mar. 17th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
Re: Stranger at the Gate
^^ This.

I agree with pretty much all of that. It's not that the story was bad per se, it just wasn't what I was expecting or what I felt like I'd been implicitly promised. Even if another story was coming up just around the corner, it would still feel like this one didn't really follow through on that.

I really do want to see the resolution of the story that was being set up! I think there was one where the John I'd seen developed ended up on Sherlock's side permanently, but I'm fairly sure this author could imagine a better version of that than I'm able to see.
Mar. 17th, 2015 01:11 am (UTC)
Hugs. You are worth a great deal.
Mar. 17th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
Thanks. I actually do know that... in my head. Feeling like it is something harder.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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