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February 15, 2014 1:28 pm  #1


Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I've been wondering about this for a while, so I hope some of the people more well-versed in the Sherlock fanfic world can help me figure this one out.

What I'm talking about is the definition of the genres gen, het, slash, femslash and OT3. I think it's pretty clear what makes a het, slash, femslash or OT3 fic, but the definition of gen seems a bit blurry.

The fandoms I've been involved in before in terms of fanfic always classified gen as strictly non-romantic, and more importantly, not containing any non-canon compliant couples. So in terms of Sherlock, if someone classifies their story as gen, I would expect for there to be no Johnlock whatsoever.

However, experience has taught me that the Sherlock fandom seems to have a different view on this. I don't know how many stories that were tagged gen I've read that were what I would consider Johnlock slash. So now I'm thinking... is my definition of gen not congruent with the rest of the Sherlock fandom's definition of gen?

Say, for the sake of argument, you have a show with two male leads who are canonically not romantically involved, and someone writes a story where they are a couple but the story doesn't focus specifcally on the romantic relationship between the two (and has no explicit content), would you classify it as gen or as slash?

In terms of the Sherlock fandom, Johnlock, in my mind, is always slash because it's not canon (yes, I know, some people would argue with me on this one). And in my mind, gen and slash are mutually exclusive. I have a feeling that's not how it works in the Sherlock fandom, does it? (Seeing how I also saw a fic specifically tagged as Johnlock in the non-slash masterlist on the forum.) What's your take on this?


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February 15, 2014 7:21 pm  #2


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

Can I ask a return question? Know that's annoying, sorry, but it's something I wondered for a while.
If Gen is short for General as it apparently is, why does it cover a sexual/relationship pairing? I mean we already have that covered in Het (male/female), Slash (male/male), Femslash (female/female), OT3 (threesomes), so what is really lacking is the category Other. Why Gen at all in this context?


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February 15, 2014 7:37 pm  #3


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I guess that kind of ties into my question. I mean, where does gen stop and slash start? Is a story where John and Sherlock are together and share a kiss on the side already slash, even if the main point of the story is about, say, a case they're solving?

If I was to answer your question, then by how I understand the definition of gen, I'd say a gen story shouldn't cover anything remotely romantic. I guess what I was trying to say is, I've read quite a few fanfics in the Sherlock fandom that were classified as gen, but that had romantic content that I'd consider slashy. And so I was wondering if the Sherlock fandom had a different definition of gen than I did.


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February 15, 2014 10:54 pm  #4


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I was posting something else but I just had a look at the AO3 fic posting thing and I realised that I was getting confused.

AO3 has a rating system (General Audience, Teen, Mature, Explicit) and a pairing rating system (Gen, F/M, M/M, Multi, etc).

I get General Audience and Gen mixed up. Maybe that's the same for others?

To me, though, "Slash fiction" includes sexual content, which is why it's possible to have a Johnlock fic in the non-slash masterlist. It's a relationship, but there's no sex, so it's not slash.

In my head, anyway. I could be misinterpreting it?


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February 15, 2014 11:23 pm  #5


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

Yeah, I think gen is usually used to describe pairings (or lack thereof in this case) rather than the G rating. But, yes, it's easy to get them confused.

It's probably me who's misinterpreting it, which is most likely why I always frown when I come across a gen fic that's got slashy pairings. It may also be that it's interpreted differently in different fandoms. Though, quite honestly, your interpretation makes it really hard to filter for non-slash stories when there's no specific tag for that (and I don't mean the forum but more the fanfic portals or LJ comms).

Last edited by TeeJay (February 15, 2014 11:23 pm)


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February 16, 2014 5:57 am  #6


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

You can on AO3 as they use a pairing tag as well as a rating system. I'm not sure though if you are trying to find or avoid a pairing though?


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February 16, 2014 8:27 am  #7


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

On AO3 many Sherlock stories are labled "friedship only", maybe you could include that to your search. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


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February 16, 2014 11:22 am  #8


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I'm actually trying to avoid any non-canon pairing, including Johnlock. I don't know why, but somehow I've always been a stick-to-canon kinda girl (in any fandom), and while I do enjoy a good love story and emotional drama or sexual tension, the "ship" always comes second (or third, or fourth) to the story in terms of my motivation to watch a TV show.

I realize this is a bit off-piste (score 1 for the use of Sherlock quote http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png
), but I always get a bit annoyed when fans come across as reducing a TV show to the "ship". Like when I see posts on Tumblr that say, "If you don't ship x/y, we can't be friends," I always want to reply, "Well then, you better stay the hell away from me." I find that incredibly intolerant and judgmental. I mean, I realize that this is usually more of a tongue-in-cheek comment, but still...

But back on topic... Schmiezi, I'm gonna have to look at the friendship-only tag on AO3, that's a good hint. But it doesn't solve my "problem" for any other fanfic portal or comm that only uses the gen/het/slash system to distinguish their genres (like most of the LiveJournal comms do). Well, it's probably a luxury problem to have, and nothing that's terribly grave, but I do get annoyed over it sometimes.

Last edited by TeeJay (February 16, 2014 11:23 am)


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February 16, 2014 10:16 pm  #9


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I think on those portals you should be fairly safe to assume that "gen" is what you're looking for. If other things slip through, no drama, just don't read them.

Having said that, I had the exact same attitude as you towards non-canon romances etc but I found that most of the good plots were Johnlock so I tried it out anyway and I really enjoy reading it. I don't want to see it made canon necessarily and I'm not precious about the ship, but there are some great plotlines and casefics that also include the Johnlock pairing but where Johnlock isn't the main point of the story. 

So you might want to open yourself up to trying a few of those (non-explicit, obviously). The best non-slash, non-romance friendship only fic I've ever read in this fandom was The Green Blade so if you haven't read that, try it out. I believe there's a link in the non-slash masterlist.


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February 17, 2014 7:53 am  #10


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

I'm still a bit new to this whole rating system...

I have another question; on FF.net, you can put 4 character names... My only problem is; my story takes place after S3, but even though he is dead Magnussen becomes a big part of the plot. Can you put a dead character who is only being talked about, and remembered?


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February 17, 2014 9:55 am  #11


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

If you want a gen series which is also detective try The Baker Street Series. I takes place post S1 and Sarah is still around.


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February 17, 2014 10:10 am  #12


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

Ormond Sacker wrote:

If you want a gen series which is also detective try The Baker Street Series. I takes place post S1 and Sarah is still around.

This one is quite good, I read all parts of it. But something really struck me about it - although John is dating Sarah, I never got the feeling that there was much affection between them. He was totally focussed on Sherlock all the time. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


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February 17, 2014 11:50 am  #13


Re: Question about fanfic genres in the Sherlock fandom

Ormond Sacker wrote:

If you want a gen series which is also detective try The Baker Street Series. I takes place post S1 and Sarah is still around.

Thanks, I'll make sure to check that one out.


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