thedeadparrot (thedeadparrot) wrote,

yearly fic review 2013

I usually only write this after Jan 1, because I usually have Yuletide fic to wait to reveal. I don't have Yuletide fic this year. I do have, on the hand, a lot of thoughts and feelings on the fic that I wrote. So I am going to write them all down now, and you can't stop me! Neener!

In roughly chronological order:

White Collar/Glee

Past in Present (7326 words) - I am extremely suggestible, and [personal profile] merisunshine36 was going through a White Collar/Matt Bomer phase. Needless to say, this was the result. I've always loved Neal/Peter/Elizabeth, but I hadn't really had a story to write for them. This was a great way to get to know them a little better, and it was a chance to do a bit of fun crossover worldbuilding at the same time.


Just Pretend (2555 words) - This is mostly a silly PWP. The idea that Kurt and Blaine have failboaty roleplay shenanigans is probably one of my favorite things to come out of "I Do." That quote about dicks touching is actually something I heard a guy say once, and I couldn't resist the chance to memorialize it in fic form.

Some Boys (7199 words) - This one is a weird one, because I started it after I finished the first draft of If I Needed Someone, and I actually completed it before that one. In a lot of ways, this is a story that plays to my strengths, the things I've spent a lot of time writing before: weather, communication failure, reconciliations. It came together really smoothly, and I suspect that's the reason why. I was surprised by the number of people who told me it made them cry. I guess I thought it was a warmer, happier fic than it actually is.

This fic also contains a major typo, but I decided I liked it better as it is and left it in. Heh. I wonder if anyone can guess what it is.

What Have You Done Today (To Make You Feel Proud)? (3439 words) - This story was me wanting to explore what Pride could mean to Kurt and Blaine (and to Santana, to some degree). I think it's something I wished I saw more of in fic in this fandom. I also wanted to write something sweet and straightforward after grinding out all of A Far Better Thing, and this hit the spot.

A Far Better Thing (26,000 words-ish) - I could write millions of words about this one, but I will spare you most of it. I guess this was always destined to be one of those stories where you don't get tons of reaction and/or feedback, but what you do get is from people who really enjoyed it and are in sync with what you're trying to do. It's definitely niche, for lack of a better word. It's a lot to ask a reader to get through 20k words of second person POV where they have to click links every few paragraphs.

I love video games. I love the interactivity, the mastery of systems, the way it creates a dialogue between the game and the player. I've been digging in deeper into the indie scene, especially now that Linux support has become more commonplace, and I was inspired to try my own hand at it. This particular fic was probably too heavily influenced by the big blockbuster AAA titles that aren't doing as much with the gameplay-as-storytelling that indie games are experimenting with. The thing about blockbuster AAA titles is that even though I enjoy their goofy energy, their try-hard attempts at relevance and meaning, and their systems-over-sense narrative inconsistencies, it doesn't really make for a particularly accessible fic, especially for people who aren't steeped in their tropes.

I'm still proud of it. I have a hard time writing anything that's over 15k words, much less anything over 20k, and so I'm proud of getting something this long completed, flaws and all. If I were to do it over again, I'd probably try my hand at something shorter and more contained. I'd probably focus more on the mechanics than the story. I'd probably try to make the worldbuilding a little less janky and messy. I'd probably do a better job of handling the pacing.

But in the end, it is what it is, and I still love it.

What You Want (1500 words) - I finished A Far Better Thing feeling like I'd played things too safe. I wrote this sequel over three days in an attempt to push the envelope a little bit and step away from the more straightforward narratives. I like the way this particular fic is almost more about the way words move and interact with one another than it is about what's going on.

If I Needed Someone (19061 words) - I could also dump a million words into talking about this one. It was my third attempt at writing a BDSM AU and, it's the only one I've liked enough to post. The first draft of it was extremely crap. It took me forever to get it to the point where I actually liked it, but I did get there! It was a good reminder that you can take something raw and messy and sculpt it and polish it and create something out of it that you will actually be proud of.

I guess at the center of this is that I really loved Take Clothes Off As Directed when it came out, and I wanted to write something that felt as messy and difficult as it did. I tried to muddy things up a bit when it came to Kurt and Blaine figuring out how their own relationship works and not just how society says their relationship should work. The original prompt was a lot more about Blaine teaching Kurt to be a sub, and for me, I was much more interested in Blaine being a place where it was safe for Kurt to explore what he wants and is interested in sex. I didn't want Blaine to have all the answers. I wanted Kurt to find his own answers.

The biggest amount of worldbuilding I ended up doing here is probably having to build out the meanings of gender and sexuality here, because most BDSM AUs generally go for the 'everyone is bi, woohoo!' sort of thing, which I do enjoy. But here, the prompt wanted Kurt to be gay, and it gave me something to do in the margins of the story, which was really fun. The bit I'm probably most proud of is the design of the cuffs and the subtle differences between men's, women's, and I guess, variations on 'queer' cuffs. I could have done more with it, I think, but I like to think that I hinted at enough things that it felt vivid and real.

And I'll Try Not To Sing Out Of Key (6618 words) - In some ways, I think of this as the companion piece to Some Boys. It circles back to the familiar themes: weather feelings, breakdowns in communication, and reconciliations, even if some of these are of different scales than the other ones. The writing of this one didn't go as smoothly, though, because the narrative drivers of an established relationship fic are less clear cut than that of a first time or reconciliation fic. Still, I am glad that the central conflict rang true for a lot of people. As a fan of Monty Python, I love me some pointless arguments, and it was fun trying to think of all the petty annoyances that they hate about each other.

Fast and Furious Series

Round and Around We Go (7956 words) - This was a difficult fic in a year full of difficult fics. I enjoy sedoretu fic, and I enjoy the Fast and Furious series, but combining the two of them in this particular way was probably a mistake. I hit a block sometime around the fourth movie, I think, and I didn't really unblock myself so much as rammed right through it and kept running until I got to the end. The ten in ten challenge definitely helped me get this done, but I think I'm ambivalent about it as a whole. I think the beginning is good, but then, as it tries to adhere to the increasing goofiness of the movies, it starts to lose its train of thought. I don't regret it. Maybe one day, I'll go back and clean it up. But for now, it feels patchy and not quite complete and more than a little confused about what sort of story it's actually telling.


Everything Old Is New Again (6342 words) - I had an idea for this years and years ago, back when Merlin fandom was just spinning up, but I could never quite find my way into the story. I liked the idea of reincarnation, of repeating, and I had this image of Arthur with a machine gun strapped to his back, and he and Merlin talking amongst the metal walkways of Camelot, but I never could figure out the story of it. I think this remains more of an idea of a fic than a completed fic unto itself, but I'm glad I managed to put some of those images down into words.

The Hunger Games

In or Out (2411 words) - To be honest, this is not a fic that I would have written for myself. That's one thing I love about working off of prompts, which is that it forces you to push outside of your normal comfort zones and look at familiar things from a different point of view. I'm a fan of Project Runway, so this was a fun excursion into what it must be like behind the scenes.

Leitmotif(s) of the year: Communication, the breakdown of. To be fair, this has been a big part of my writing for years and years now. (Remember that time I decided to make a computer networking metaphor out of it? That was fun.) But I think this year was much more about what happens with established relationships rather than when you're pining all over the place. It's there in Neal figuring out how to open up to Elizabeth and Peter about his past and to Blaine about his present. It's there in Kurt and Blaine trying to figure out how to talk to each other now that they're broken up or now that they're living together. It's there in Kurt's struggles to tell Blaine he's a sub. It's there in the HIGHLY TRAINED COURIERS who dodge guards and police to carry messages back and forth across the wall between Over and Under.

My best story of this year: If I Needed Someone, probably. It's the one that does what it set out to do the most effectively, I feel. I put so much time and effort into cleaning and fixing it up that I think it feels particularly polished compared to the more messy experiments I wrote this year.

My favorite story of this year: A Far Better Thing. It was just so much fun to make, and when I still look back at it, I'm proud of it. It feels like the beginning of something new and exciting. I don't think I'll ever give up on straight prose fic, but it's nice to have new creative outlets to explore.

Most popular story: If I Needed Someone by a long shot. I am entirely unsurprised by its popularity.

Story of mine most underappreciated by the universe, in my opinion: All of them. (Just kidding. Mostly.) I'm going to say A Far Better Thing, because I wanted more people to read it and have opinions on it, even if it was negative. I loved the feedback that I did get, because all of it was awesome, but I think I was always hoping for it to make a bigger splash and maybe get people excited about writing interactive fic themselves.

Most fun story to write: What You Want. Writing this was a more fun and playful experience than A Far Better Thing because I was already used to the tools, and it was a smaller more contained playground with which to mess with them.

Sexiest story: If I Needed Someone. I don't write a lot of porn these days, so this one wins almost by default.

Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters: Past in Present. (Finally, a different answer!) I was a little surprised to see how well I knew Peter and Elizabeth right off the bat and how familiar they felt to me. Neal/Cooper was trickier for obvious reasons, and Blaine felt a little shaky all the way through, but it was nice to meet them and to get to hang out with all of them for a little while.

Hardest story to write: Round and Around We Go. This one was just like pulling teeth. I suspect that it was because the plot didn't like me, and I should have gone back to the drawing board to put together something more coherent.

Biggest Disappointment: Everything Old Is New Again. I feel like I wanted this to be more of a slice-of-life sort of thing, little ficlets that stand on their own, but a plot kept trying to weave its way through, and I just didn't have the energy to see that plot all the way through to the end. So it's kind of left in this awkward, lopsided shape that ends somewhat abruptly. Oh well.

Biggest Surprise: And I'll Try Not To Sing Out Of Key. I was expecting this to be a super disjointed mess, but I think the alternating good-bad scenes actually work, and it actually managed to build to a set-up climax.

Story I haven't yet written, but intend to: That Fic Project I Keep Whining About. It's going to be interactive as well, and I think that the interface might be too confusing, but oh well! I am still forging ahead, and it still gives me feelings. Also, I want to use Twine to make the most kickass Groundhog Day AU ever, but I'm still searching for the right fandom for it.

So, that was this year. Onwards and upwards to the next one!

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Tags: yearly fic wrap up
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