michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

Fanfic Year in Review

I've seen this from a few other writers, and I figure, why not? Meme Meta discussion format borrowed from frith_in_thorns.

Figuring out the cutoff is pretty simple: I started dabbling in writing fanfic in November of 2008, but I didn't post my first story until 2009, so all my fanfic is from this one year. It adds up to a little under 53,000 words posted. I'm pretty much monofandom, with SGA; nothing else has grabbed my attention in anything like the same way. SGA has a lot to offer to fan writers: The source material has so very many tantalizing and unrealized possibilities. Before SGA fanfiction, I had confined my writing energies to (remarkably amateur) original fiction; I think part of the reason SGA finally clicked for me is that Rodney McKay suddenly slotted into the mental space that had been reserved for my primary original character. (Which is funny, because Jonathan is a social chameleon with crippling self-esteem problems, and Rodney is ... not. At all. About the only things they share are a semi-addiction to coffee, which may well be only fanon for Rodney; a birth year; and being-white-males.)

Juggling fandom and writing with a full-time job (in software, which is a completely different headspace) and with cat rescue (eight cats currently in my care) has been insane. I'm lucky I don't have to wrangle children, and even so, I've had time for almost nothing else. That's one of the many reasons my original fiction stalled; I didn't even have time for it, and fandom has been far more demanding. It's rewarding, but it's exhausting. Being able to call myself a writer, though, in any fashion — that really is amazing.

I had dabbled in fandom generally for probably a little over a year before I started writing, but I think it's fair to say that I didn't really participate in nearly the same way before I was writing. There've been blow-ups and uproar, but generally speaking, fandom has been incredibly welcoming and mutually considerate — there is dislike and even hate for certain characters / pairings / plotlines / whatever, but by and large, the pressure not to bash or tear the fandom apart seems to have worked, as far as I can tell. I know that I've had to step back and really consider what I'm writing, and having to take care with how I handle characters I dislike has (I think) made me a better writer. Writercon was this year, as well, and it was simply amazing.

I started out with Livejournal, and it's still my preferred home for fanfiction, but Dreamwidth is actually better as an index, and I'm now archiving at Archive of our Own as well. I probably ought to have a website, but ... meh.
Displacement: (24k) I will never again see anything like the response I got to this story. Crossing a busy fandom (SGA) with an insanely busy fandom (DW) certainly helped with exposure. I suspect the curiosity factor of Rodney McKay paired with Donna Noble also helped. It's my only crossover and my only romance, simply because I really don't know how to write romance (which was one of the many problems with my original fiction). I lucked into a kick-ass beta who did, in fact, kick my ass; the original story was far more embarrassingly woobie.

Remorse: (18k) If I had known that I had more story to tell here, I would never have posted; I can't work in increments simply because stories change as I write them, and I frequently revise the beginnings so that everything fits. (I also generally write out of order.) I'm not at all sorry I posted, though; I've left myself room, and I probably would never have seen where I wanted to take the story without feedback. The same kick-ass beta helped me pull Sam back from seeming evil; even with that and my efforts to make her seem only misguided, some readers still saw her as evil, which saddens me. As I poke at the sequels, I keep being surprised at what I inadvertently built into this story. I think this is the point at which I started to realize that, despite the franchise framing of Rodney as an arrogant, uncaring, and often wrong clown, he always has evidence-based reasons for his science and, socially, is typically inept rather than malicious.

Never Bet Against: (1.5k) I don't tend to do challenge writing (pretty much never deadline-commitment challenges), so I don't know where this came from. I have quite a few uWIPs, some that will likely never be finished, with complex emotional stuff going on (largely amounting to my exploration of who Rodney is and how he got that way); this just popped into my head and leapt the pack. The prompt was perfectly proposed. I honestly thought I'd seen someone else use King's "IT" for the I in AMTDI, but I've found nothing. I'm wary of writing humor because badly written humor is worse than no attempt at all, and outright jokes just feel too trying-too-hard for my style (because I am in fact trying too hard), so I tend towards drollness, sarcasm, and oddity. I'm pleased at how well this turned out (though I might well be indignant if someone took the same sort of "revenge" on Rodney). The story is probably twice as long if you take into account the Ronon-specific worldbuilding in the comments over at the sga_flashfic copy.

Like Thermodynamics: (2.5k) I feel bad for sg_prompts; it should get much more attention than it does. I had been sitting on the realization that Rodney should have been right in "48 Hours", because everything he said was based on research while Sam just kept wanting Rodney's conclusions to be wrong. I don't seem able to write new stories from single prompts, in general, but combining prompts with previous thoughts seems to work for me, because when I tried to frame my realization in terms of the prompt "Luck", I came out with this. I thought this story was my most unpopular, and I wondered if the problem was the grim plot or the character death warning; my first three stories had various major signal-boosts, though, and this one has gotten a proportionate response with the later ones that, like this one, didn't, so my impression was inaccurate. I've definitely been spoiled (heh).

Elizabeth, Interrupted: (100) One of these days I'll pull the drabbles I wrote for sga_rewind over here, somehow; I've kept forgetting. My drabble style is very different from my longer-form style, almost stultifying at times and definitely artsier than my normal. I'm a purist about the "100 words" thing, though I vary as to whether to count hyphenated terms separately. I find it's a good format for those little thoughts that don't add up to a plot.

Allergy: (6.7k) I'm not sure whether this is the quickest or second-quickest story I've ever written (competing with "Never Bet Against"); it's close, especially if you factor the different lengths. I adore angsty Rodney, to a point; I've seen it overdone or handled in ways I can't buy, but so long as it fits into my understanding of him, it's my crack. Yeah, I just can't pass up post-Trinity (pT) stuff. I have real trouble writing angsty!Rodney, though, precisely because I'm worried about falling into the emo! quicksand that makes me snicker. Rodney strikes me as the sort to deny weakness and to cover with anger or lashing out. [I've been struck recently by just how very bitter I often write him (a little in "Remorse", very much so in the pT — don't judge me! — I'm still struggling with). I think that says something about where my head has been lately.] This was me turning all that on its head, based on a passing quote about emo!Rodney: Just how much can one woobify Rodney? There have been stories giving him angst or sadness or illness backstories about various physical aspects and certainly about social ones (pT ahoy!) … so I went for absurdum: what if Rodney himself, not his body but his actual personality, was one such aspect? The responses have taken the story in the spirit intended, which is gratifying, even if the A/N probably helped with that.
Favorite(s) of the batch: "Remorse". I'm fond of "Displacement", and others were a lot of fun, but this is the one I'm proudest of. I haven't yet hit the point of wincing in shame at any of them, though, beyond one clunky scene in "Displacement".

Best of the batch/most appreciated: By numbers, "Displacement" had the strongest response, but it's a crossover. "Remorse" probably fits best, for the volume and nature of the response.

Most underappreciated by the universe: I didn't finish "Relationship" before the year ended, so probably "Like Thermodynamics", but that's not really fair. The response it did get is very thoughtful, but it's grim and dark, so I don't blame anyone for not counting it a favorite.

Most fun to write: "Never Bet Against". Quick, easy, and just plain fun.

Sexiest fic: Um. "Displacement", presumably, by default, for being my only story with a romantic focus of any kind, and for including what one Delicious bookmarker called "hand!porn". (By that measure, though, all of Doctor Who is pretty much smut!)

"Holy crap, that's wrong even for you" fic: "Relationship". Yeah, I know it's not listed above and not even published yet. It would have been if it hadn't grown an explanatory prequel second chapter, and holy crap is it wrong, even for me — so wrong it's bending spacetime to land here.

Hardest to write: "Remorse". Getting Sam right was hard, and I'm not convinced I did anyway; and it just kept growing longer and longer (it literally started as a drabble); and it was my sophomore outing. Worth every minute, though.

Year-end squee: The fandom isn't dead! In fact, it isn't just not dead, it's still chugging merrily along, occasionally producing such jaw-dropping awsomeness as "The Sacrificial Mage". I've made connections with a nice fandom circle (including strong gen representation), which rocks.

What's next:
o Wrapping up "Relationship", probably followed by "Antigonish" (the pT), so I can get back to the sequels to "Remorse". I have several other uWIPs, but I'm not sure how feasible they are; of the two most promising, one amounts to an object lesson of why Rodney should be liked, and the other is a kidfic (don't judge me!) with most of the core of the story as yet unwritten. I wouldn't be surprised if other quickie stories jump ahead of any of the WIPs.
o More beta work. I'm on-call for several promising works and look forward to more great stories from great writers.
o sga_rewind. The comm is going through a rocky start, and my lack of time to jump into the actual discussions is certainly not helping, with my being a mod and all, but I've proposed some possible discussion-stimulating measures. Which I'll then need to figure out how to implement. Sigh.
Tags: fandom, fanfic_meta, writing

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