Is this my voice?

God help me, I’m writing House Fanfic.
 
I should probably clear something up right off the bat. I’m writing Fanfic.  Not Slashfic.  Slashfic would involve Dr House and Dr Cox from Scrubs giving each other physicals that would get them banned from the AMA.  No, I’m writing Fanfic although I’m doing it in script format.  Is this some subconscious thing in my head that secretly hopes that I could send it into FOX and launch my career?  Again, no. I’ve cleverly sabotaged my efforts somewhat by making House, and the supporting cast, computer technicians.  There is one instance of medical drama and it’s only to advance the plot.
 
Why am I doing this?
 
Part of the reason cause its fun.  Fun, I swear.  Part of it is practice for writing in script format.  Part of the reason is that it’s cathartic as I’ve had severe problems with computers in the workplace of late and I started imagining what House would do in this situation.  And now part of the reason is that I have a friend of mine who’ll kill me if I don’t finish it.
 
This isn’t completely a new experience.  I’ve written fanfiction before with Batman of the Future.  I hadn’t seen or heard of an episode with Nightwing appearing and since I had an idea, I wrote it myself.  Its a piece of writing I’ve been most happy with and also one of the quickest I’ve come up with.  Three hours, maybe four with formatting, proofreading and editing included.  Like with the Batman of the Future fanfic, I have the cast sitting in my head, talking to me while I try to get it down on computer.  (Right now they’re all gathered around the food services cart so I can quickly write this out).  And this is not a strange thing (ignore the food services cart) to happen.  Most of the series I watch have been bought via DVD boxsets cause of crappy reception and advertisements.  I watch a series usually without interruption until its done and depending on how good it is, I’ll rewatch episode afterward.  As each instance of viewing takes place, the characters, setting, locations etc become imprinted upon the brain, forming new creases and folds in the grey matter until I can start channelling these characters into a project.  What is remarkable is that this only works with existing characters from narratives not of my own devising.  When writing things like Godslayer or, eventually, A Nation Under Shadow, the characters don’t talk to me much or at all. And certainly not with their own voice.
 
Plus: I’m not crazy.
 
Minus: It’s hard writing for laconic characters.
 
This imprinting thing isn’t uniquely mine.  Communication and Culture courses at CQU touch on the influence of media onto our personalities.  I have a friend who can’t watch Ill Will Press without channelling Foamy for the next fifteen or so minutes*.  A lot of my writing is me, playing around with other characters, which has commercial and artistic appeal, but part of a writer’s job is contribute to the medium, not just play with the best toys in the box.
 
A thought occurred to me on while I rode through steam room-like weather, so blame the heat if this sounds nuts.  Since characters are often stereotypes, or can be reduced to similar components (once one has subtracted experiences), why not find a character from another series that works for an original story idea, imprint the characteristics and write with that voice?
 
The obvious problems are originality, and as a by-product, copyright.  But I’m not completely off the mark with this.  Blatant rip off is not what I’m condoning here but if a voice or character would work well in your series, is there harm in transplanting the characteristics and letting that character’s voice moves your story?  Personally I find that the purity of original work is tainted if I consciously do it.  But then certain characteristics are fairly commonplace.  House’s character borrows a lot from Sherlock Holmes. Not just the surname initials, but characteristics like:
 
 
01: Eye for detail.
 
02: Ability to recall data and apply it to current circumstances, no matter how trivial it would appear.
 
03: Isolated behaviour patterns due to anti-social tendencies
 
04: Arrogance
 
05: Apartments that serve as a repository for information, a place to sleep and one item of entertainment. In Holmes’s case, a violin. In House’s case, a piano
 
06: Addiction to opiates or painkillers
 
07: Similar physical build, that is to say, tall, thin, almost crane-like build
 
08: Patriarchal behaviour, neither sleuth has much respect for the autonomy of women and each sleuth has had to rethink that opinion after being bested by the fairer sex.
 
09: Insatiable curiosity
 
10: The perpetual search for a case that is considered unsolvable, or a problem thought to be without answer.
 
11: Simplistic solutions to complication problems.
 
12: Each sleuth tries to let their counterparts or contemporaries reach the conclusion they had deduced ages ago. Whether this is an attention-seeking behavioural pattern or a genuine attempt to improve and encourage the people around them is something best left for another day of thinking.
 
I could go on, but it gets a bit pedantic.  I also think Foreman makes a pretty good Inspector Lestrade.  I suppose all that leaves is a suitable Moriaty figure for House.
 
But I digress…
 
Given the similarities in character, it could be hypothesised that the creators of House simply lifted the characteristics of Holmes, but there are qualities to House that differentiate him from his Victorian counterpart.  Just as easily, it could be that Doyle’s influence on the writers of House is largely a subconscious act.  Does it cheapen House’s character to be considered simply another Holmes, or has he transcended the stereotype and could be considered his own character?  Could the same be said for Monk, or Grissom, or Goren?
 
Things to think about.  Besides, the House cast has returned because of a lack of canapés and so I return to writing the script.

Quick aside about the music, you can find it here http://www.myspace.com/skeletonbreath  It’s a violin, a base and drums and it works for me.

*You’ll never know who you are or if you are doing it right now.  Mwahahahahahahahahaha!

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3 Comments

  1. The burden of talent

    >>And now part of the reason is that I have a friend of mine who’ll kill me if I don’t finish it.

    Damn skippy boyo !!!
    You can’t produce a stellar piece like that and not expect to face the consequences 🙂

  2. And having been read the aforementioned script I must say, “Finish it!” and wonder just how much of this you got from the number of psychotic, heavily armed, sarcastic computer techies you know, yes there are more than one of us…

    Oh my wife says “Hi!”

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