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Everything's a Story...

Atlin Merrick

Everything’s a story. Or it can be.


When the writing’s resisting me I do my best to remember that.

You may hate prompts from others, many do, but I’d be curious how you feel about prompting yourself. Walking around and looking and wondering what story that and that can tell.

To paraphrase Sherlock, once you plant an idea, it’s awfully hard to remove. Maybe we need to let more ideas plant themselves, especially the ones we think we can't use.

Sure, there are some things I’ll probably never write. A Moriarty-centric romance. Something without redemption. Not going there.

But sometimes it’s been delightful to go where I thought I wouldn’t. My favorite example is being prompted by Dragonsally for "Well Met," my series of other ways Sherlock and John could have met. She said something about John and Sherlock getting their privates vajazzled.

The hell is vajazzling? asked my brain.

Google research, replied my fingers.

OH HELL THE FUCK NO. Also my brain, after.

And yet…

Something about the idea was ridiculous and so outside what I’d normally write that, once Dragonsally planted the idea, it wouldn’t go away. I pushed it away. It stayed. I shoved. It scowled and sat down hard. I ended up writing Vajazzle and I still love that story because it's as absurd as the boys.

The point I’m making is yesterday I was walking about New York City near the Garment District and there was a giant damned button and needle and my first thought was, “There’s a story in that," and I wanted to share that here. Because instead of “oh hell the fuck no”-ing things any more, I like the idea that that giant damned button and needle are now—*Sherlock’s finger to Lestrade’s forehead*—planted. In me. And maybe something will grow. It will if I want it to.

Maybe it's now planted in your head too?

If you write something based on the photo or what you learn about it or anything that sprang from either of those things, please let us know. We’ll link to it from here! And in the meantime, share your idea in a comment below…see what you can plant, and with whom.

P.S. A Murmuring of Bees is now out as ebook; paperback 5 December!



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  • Anonymous_me on

    “John, Mrs. Hudson has just texted me a photo of a gigantic button with a needle through it.” Sherlock scowled at the screen on his phone.

    “A what?” John looked at Sherlock over the top of his newspaper.

    “A button. With a needle. Do keep up.” He turned the phone so that John could see the image.

    It was in fact a huge sculpture of a button, stuck through with an equally huge sewing needle perched atop what seemed to be an information kiosk.

    “Right. Giant needle and button.” John raised his eyebrows and one corner of his mouth, “She and her sister are in New York, right?”

    “Yes, and it seems she has consumed all of her herbal soothers to avoid them being confiscated at LaGuardia airport.”

    Sherlock’s phone made a buzzing hum as another text came through. John would be forever grateful that it was no longer that moaning gasp that The Woman had changed it to. Now it was the sound of buzzing bees.

    “Is that from Mrs. Hudson as well?” John had gone back to his paper and sipping his tea.

    “Yes. It reads, ‘Thinking of you’. Why would a giant button and needle make her think of me?”

    He was confused. Was she making some sort of strange sexual innuendo? If so, was he meant to be the needle or the button? Going by the sheer dimensions of the thing, John would clearly be the needle. But she didn’t know that John was hung like the proverbial horse. Did she? Did she? Or worse, was she trying to make some joke about needles and haystacks and clues too big to miss?

    “Why would this make her think of me?” Sherlock scrolled back to the photo.

    “Not sure love, why don’t you just ask her?”

    Sherlock’s fingers flew across the keypad as he composed a text to his landlady.

    A few minutes passed and his phone made the low buzzing hum again.

    “So, what did she say?” John laced his fingers together and rested his chin on the interlocked digits, grinning at his lanky love. He had an idea of what Mrs. H might be on about.

    “She says, ’I’m your landlady, not your seamstress.’”

    “Mhmm, so… any deductions?” John was now sure about his hunch.

    Sherlock stood up, placed his hands on his hips and took in a deep breath. This caused the finely made, a-bit-too-snug, bespoke shirt to stretch across his chest. Before he could say another word, over taxed threads gave way under the strain and a button popped off said shirt and plopped, neat as you please, into John’s teacup.

    “Aaaaand, there it is,” John burst into laughter.

    “Oh,” was all Sherlock could manage.

  • Dragonsally on

    So pleased I had a teeny tiny part in a wonderful story!

  • colleen on

    I’m not a writer, but I’m a great reader of Sherlock and John stories and often chase plot bunnies around in my own head. Maybe one of these days I will play one of them out in my own words. In the meantime I marvel at the talent and courage and perseverence of those who do see those plot bunnies come to life. For me, I see that button and needle and imagine an alternative meeting, where John has begun a second career as a tailor, in fact returning to his childhool experience of first picking up needle and thread that led him to the life of a surgeon but his war injury has brought him back to the learnings shared by his grandfather. He’s new to the shop where Sherlock has come for a new suit, having ruined one of his favorites in chasing down a criminal. Sherlock’s tailor has John join him during measurements and Sherlock deduces John, and away they go…..


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