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’Shipping. Would you? Do you? Will you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

’Shipping. It’s no longer just for packages and cargo. In fact, I’m sure it’s been around as long as fiction has been written. To ’ship is to dream about / talk about / write about relationships between fictional characters who either appear in the same show/movie/book but do not (or may not yet) have a romantic relationship or who are from different stories but we’d like to see them together. And, from what I surmise from the research I did when writing Turnabout’s Fair Play, most of the online fanfic world is comprised of ’ship stories.

Sue and Jack from SUE THOMAS F.B.EYE / image from http://hopefulromantic.tripod.com

For example: Penelope and Morgan in Criminal Minds, Emma and August (or Emma and Graham) in Once Upon a Time, Castle and Beckett from Castle, Sue and Jack from Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, Jo and Laurie in Little Women, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, the Doctor and (name one of his sidekicks) from Dr. Who, and so on.

I personally ’ship all the time with characters in my favorite TV shows and movies. The first time Rosalee appeared on GRIMM, I wanted her and Monroe to get together. (They’re so popular now, they have their own ’ship portmanteau: Monrosalee. I also ’shipped Juliet and Sawyer in LOST long before they actually got together, and one of my biggest wishes for the series finale was to see them get back together. In fact, LOST generated many of these, including Charlie and Claire, Hurley and Libby, and Daniel and Charlotte.

I’ve done something similar to ’shipping with a few of my books, as well . . . from my desire to see certain secondary characters in shows/movies I watch step into the limelight and have their own romances. For example, part of the inspiration for George Laurence in Stand-In Groom came from my desire to see the character of Methos in the Highlander TV show have a happily ever after ending to his story arc. The entire Ransome trilogy came about because I fell in love with Lieutenant William Bush (as portrayed by the inimitable Paul McGann) in the last four Hornblower movies. I wasn’t actually ’shipping either of those characters—I wasn’t writing pure fanfic using existing characters; I was taking what I loved about each of those characters (and the actors portraying them) and making them into something of my own creation. But it started out as my figuring out what kind of heroine would be “good enough” for the characters of someone else’s creation I’d fallen “in love” with.

Recently, I posted this on my Facebook Page:


I’m currently reading Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell). And I pulled it up on Netflix last night and watched the first part (as always, Andrew Davies did a masterful job of bringing the author’s original words to the screenplay). And a thought struck me. I like Lady Harriet (played by Rosamund Pike) in W&D. And I love Mortimer Lightwood (played by Dominic Mafham) in Our Mutual Friend. I think I’m starting to ’ship the two of them. Maybe I’ll just have to write something to bring these two characters together!

Will I ever write it? In my own round-about way, I might—as those two characters could serve as the templates on which I build characters (and a storyline) of my very own.

Do you ’ship? What are some of your favorite characters to ’ship? Would you ever (or do you) write ’ship fanfic? Would/do you read ’ship fanfic?

19 Comments
  1. Monday, August 27, 2012 8:13 am

    I’ll admit to having read some ;). And I have friends who write some. In fact, I think I emailed you after reading TFP saying “I KNOW THESE PEOPLE!!!!” but in a different fandom. I’ve daydreamed some ‘shipfic – does that count? As for including some of them in my manuscripts? I’m not sure that I have, but I can’t say that I haven’t either…

  2. Ruth permalink
    Monday, August 27, 2012 8:56 am

    Maybe we all need to start ‘shipping Emma and the Hatter since I read the actors are now dating in real life. ;-)

    It’s funny you bring this up now…I ‘shipped Dani and Nico on the USA show Necessary Roughness from day one, and if last week’s episode is any indication the show is GIVING ME WHAT I WANT this week! Or at least taking a big step toward that end. So I’m pretty excited about that. :-)

    • Misty permalink
      Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:27 am

      I ‘shipped Dani & Nico from the beginning too. He’s very drawn to her, but she doesn’t seem to pick up on that, too interested in Matt I guess. I’m going to start paying attention to how often I do this (‘ship that is) totally new term, but I think I’ve probably been doing it forever. Romantics usually want to see people together and happy.

  3. Monday, August 27, 2012 9:49 am

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Shipping is practically my life. :) Whatever is my recent obsession tends to get a lot of shipping…so yeah. Absolutely love it. And yes, I confess to reading some shipping before, although I usually get frustrated because they’re not doing it the way I think it should be done. :)

    And the fun of RWT of course is the ability to ship without anyone realizing it. :) I love writing.

  4. Monday, August 27, 2012 12:34 pm

    I’ve never been much of a ‘shipper. My first exposure to it was people ‘shipping Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew. Really? REALLY? No. Just no. WAY no.

    • Lady DragonKeeper permalink
      Monday, August 27, 2012 5:57 pm

      Ditto on Nancy and Frank. i remember being in middle school and reading the super mysteries that had the Hardy Boys and Nancy in it and some of the them flirted with the Frank/Nancy thing and I thought, “what about Ned? And Callie?”

      • Tuesday, August 28, 2012 2:52 pm

        Exactly! Nancy and Frank make great friends, but they’d never survive married to each other.

  5. Daisy permalink
    Monday, August 27, 2012 1:43 pm

    this is a new concept for me. I guess I am too literal minded to move characters from one book/movie, etc. to another. Opens a whole new world of thought. Bravo! You have such good ideas.

  6. Audry permalink
    Monday, August 27, 2012 2:37 pm

    Interesting. I would never have thought to do anything like that. It seems kind of silly to me. I guess that’s why I’m not the author.

  7. Monday, August 27, 2012 3:19 pm

    I love this idea. It makes perfect sense and opens up a whole new world of possibilities! How exciting. BTW, I totally agree about Penelope and Morgan on Criminal Minds. :)

  8. Monday, August 27, 2012 5:51 pm

    Haha, I’m such a huge shipper. I can’t get invested in any kind of story without ending up shipping somebody. It’s not really such a new thing, though. After all, Lousia May Alcott wrote the second half of Little Women partly to spite the rabid Jo/Laurie shippers (Not that it’s stopped them to this very day), and George Bernard Shaw wrote an entire essay about how Eliza/Higgins shippers were delusional. (Again, didn’t stop My Fair Lady)

    I spent most of my high school and college years writing fanfic alongside–and more often than–original fiction. I maintain that it’s a good “practice ground” for learning characterization, plot, voice, and other writing skills. Now that I’m trying to focus on original fiction, this sort of “secondhand shipping” is a good way to transition into creating original characters and scenarios. One of my first thoughts after I finished Mansfield Park was to wonder what if Henry Crawford hadn’t made that last fatal decision…and what if he had a different Austen girl, instead of the rather sanctimonious and insipid Fanny? Say, perhaps, Kitty Bennett? Would it have worked? Would they have been happy?

    I haven’t gotten around to figuring that out yet, but I’d like to someday.

    • Sylvia M. permalink
      Tuesday, August 28, 2012 1:30 pm

      I hadn’t thought of Henry Crawford and Kitty Bennet, but I have considered Sir Walter Elliot and Caroline Bingley! They can have a son and William Walter Elliot can be kicked to the curb. Caroline would be Lady Elliot and she wouldn’t mind that. The age thing? Well, people did things like that quite alot back then. Can you imagine the fights that Caroline and Elizabeth would have? I cannot imagine Elizabeth moving in with one of her sisters, but she might have to. I don’t know though. Would money and a title be enough for even Caroline to endure Sir Walter?

      • Tuesday, August 28, 2012 1:37 pm

        But all of the money would be whatever Caroline brings with her–remember, Sir Walter and Elizabeth went to Bath and leased the house out to the Crofts because they were in dire financial straits. Would becoming a baronet’s wife be enough for Caroline when it means marrying someone who might just be marrying her for her money?

  9. Lady DragonKeeper permalink
    Monday, August 27, 2012 6:09 pm

    Do you ’ship?
    Oh. Yes. I. Do. Haha, funny you should mention Sue and Jack, since they were probably the first couple I ‘shipped (before I knew of the term). In most TV shows and books, I focus on the characters (e.g. I wouldn’t be a fan of Star Wars without the characters). One thing I would ask is, for those of you who don’t “ship”, what do you think of those who do? Are we crazy? I don’t think I am, but most of the attention that shippers seem to get are Team Jacob vs. Team Edward types of feuds …

    What are some of your favorite characters to ’ship? Would you ever (or do you) write ’ship fanfic? Would/do you read ’ship fanfic?

    • Lady DragonKeeper permalink
      Monday, August 27, 2012 6:19 pm

      Sorry, my mobile device won’t let me scroll down the text box ….

      What are some of your favorite characters to ’ship?
      I like the best friend or the underdog, akwardly cute ones … If I can list “who”, my longest running one is from Star Wars books, Jaina Solo and Zekk. Talk about stringing fans along … I’ve been following it for 8 years in real life, but it’s nearly 20 “in-galaxy” (it was a triangle also). I hear she finally is getting married, but I have a feeling I may be on “Team Jacob” which is disappointing, though her other love interest has grown on me (the two heroes were actually pretty similar IMHO)
      u) write ’ship fanfic? Would/do you read ’ship fanfic?

      • Monday, August 27, 2012 6:21 pm

        Wedge Antilles is my favorite SW character. And they haven’t yet introduced anyone I think is good enough for him. (Of course, the only extended universe books featuring him is the X-Wing series.)

        • Lady DragonKeeper permalink
          Tuesday, August 28, 2012 5:33 pm

          I know! And for the longest time, it seemed like every other book, Wedge had a different girlfriend depending on the author … Did you know they just released a new X-Wing novel? It’s called “Mercy Kill”, but I don’t know how much Wedge is in it …

          Would you ever (or do you) write ’ship fanfic? Would/do you read ’ship fanfic?

          I haven’t written any, but I would if I had time … Probably featuring couples from series that have ended or are postponed … That’s why I started reading fanfic — for more stories featuring characters I had come to love and care about. :)

          Shipping is also fun because you CA root for couples

  10. Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:59 am

    i ship monroe/ rachel ( and by rachel, i mean me)

    • Tuesday, August 28, 2012 9:07 am

      I probably do more of that kind of ‘shipping than any other!

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