Wot I Wrote.
This is a motley collection of LJ and DW links; everything can also be found on AO3.
Turn and Face the Strain. [fifteen chapters]
So, this was the main thing I wrote this year, coming in at a few over 80,000 words to make my first ever novel-length fic. I have very mixed feelings about it, because it drove me to despair when I was writing it, bashing most of it out in the last (couple?/few?) weeks before the seasonal_spuffy deadline. bogwitch will remember better than me how close to the wire it all was, because I was verrrry late getting to the beta. And then I basically rewrote/overwrote most of it in the week that I was posting. It was compulsive and horrific. Even now, I'm not entirely sure the two parts cohere; Chapter 6 goes too quickly and then it all lurches towards the finale. Bah! One day I'm sure I'll learn to be happy with it, but I fear As Good as a Rest is still my favourite in this series. At the same time, though, it is the way it is because I couldn't think of any scenes that needed to go in the middle, so I'm not sure what to do about that. It'll live, anyway, and I do like the writing in places. And it was a nice challenge in plotting - got to get some more practice.
What it is to Burn. [four chapters]
This long short story, on the other hand, I'm much more happy with. I still can't work out what I need to do to the first paragraph to make it work, but I think it stands reasonably as a very internal-looking Spuffy piece - and covers a part of the Spuffy narrative that I haven't looked at before, so it was fun to play with that. It was the dialogue I had most fun with, IIRC, because that was how I wanted the story to be carried - like in the phone-call parts of this universe. I'm a bit sad there wasn't more space for Spuffy's wild night on the tiles, because that was poached from part of another story that probably will never be written. Still, I suppose that leaves more space for it next time.
More in the 'Long Distance' / What it is to Burn universe
A Quirk of Perkins.
Sue Perkins and GBBO? I'm not sure there's much else to say about this, really, though it was entertaining. Writing Sue, unfortunately was a reminder of how difficult I find it to write British characters who aren't Buffyverse characters, because I've been setting things in California so long my default OCs have American accents in my head/fingers - I can't say they're terribly accurate or anything, but they don't sound like Sue Perkins. I have to turn off all my little tricks I've developed over the years to disguise my writing! Siiigh. Spuffy's wonder!house entertained me, though; mainly in working out how the hallway would look...
Super Saturday and the Sloughing of Sun-Dried Sloth.
This, obvs, was just a massive sop to the Olympics. But also to being ill. It amused me.
Finally, I managed to write a poem in Buffy's voice! I think I list that as an achievement this year. Also that it's concrete+free verse, which I tend to be sceptical of in the extreme (it's the problem of coming across too many people who think they're e.e. cummings when they're actually just shit). I dunno whether I've succeeded, but I'm happy with it and like the slightly plummeting feeling I get when I read it. Although I did edit it after posting, I remember, because there was a moment where I decided there was too much repetition - which is a bugbear of mine. I love repetition, but I'm realising more and more how easily it comes off trite to people who don't generally go for it.
so now begins the waiting.
Ah yes, my first foray into eschewing capitals in my titles... In this one it felt like it made sense because the whole poem was about the odd moments when Spike forgets to remember he's in love with Buffy during S6, so it's all tucked in the corner, out of the way. (I dunno; the poem just read a lot better to me the moment I clicked the right align button.) Although, this does pick up on a running theme with what I was looking at in Turn and Face the Strain as well - the transience of emotions and how that relates to people making judgements about their own general state of mind towards someone else. I think it has a lot more traction with Buffy deciding whether or not she's in love with Spike, because anyone can quote canon that says she's behaved in a more loving way to Spike not in love with him than Spike does to her when he says he is - but, eh, I was doing Spike for this poem.
Spuffy for Fag Ends
Where the Pilgrim Falls.
This fic is from right back in January, and one of those moments where I realise I had managed to completely miss people... For some reason I assumed that the general relationship between Dante, Virgil and Beatrice in the Divine Comedy was enough well-known that I could riff of it at leisure and people would spot immediately what the heck I was going on about. (To be fair, the prompt was Virgil leading Dante out of the dark wood!) But never mind! It amused me, which is all you can ask of fic, really.
Twenty-Two to Tango.
This was a massive pile of fluff. It all just seems a bit daft now, but I'm not sure fluff is really meant for re-reading anyway.
This, on the other hand, I found slightly meatier. I have a few ideas for vamp!Buffy - mainly the sad urge to flip things around and have her be seduced by Spike back to the light (possibly because I don't really see the story in vamp!Buffy being evil and getting on with her evil unlife), but I don't think that works if Spike has been the one to turn her in the first place. It makes any Spike!angst unbearable, and obviously that's going to be a big part of it. Anyway, I'm not really sure what the metaphysics are in this thing. I wanted to leave it open generally, but I quite liked hinting at the idea that slayer blood (beyond the aphrodisiac properties) has some sort of soul/conscience/anti-evil residue left inside it, sort of a riff on the idea of slayers keeping their souls after they've been turned, so the more slayer blood a vamp drinks, the more empathy starts kicking in. I think the thing I couldn't decide (and didn't really want to) was whether this was just a Slayer thing, ie. Buffy's empathy coming from drinking other slayers' blood, or something that had affected Spike over the years as well. I think I didn't want to completely commit to that, because it all seemed a bit pat, but in my head I liked the idea that Buffy (or Spike) after this might be worried that it was true. Oh, and also, for kicks, Dawn's blood had the same properties - though she's Kendra's sister, I think in this world, who's been being looked after by Faith? Yeah, I think I seriously overthought this ficlet...
Ragnarok and Roll.
Not much to say on this one either - just a madcap FFVIII crossover, set on the Ragnarok in disc 3, because I felt like it. Although I think I decided that Spuffy would have to go through the whole game in order to get back - which makes sense, at least, because the compression of time would have some weird inter-dimensional effects for them and plonk them back happily. If I'd ever been one of those writers who could happily do a re-write fic that basically traces over everything, I could amuse myself writing the end of disc 3 and 4 with Spuffy in the mix. Ultimecia's Castle!!! But, eh, otherwise there's not really a story here.
Gen Stuff for Various Fests
As Simple as BCD.
So, the challenge here was to turn Cordy into a Summers sister. It wasn't that difficult, in the end - this was one of those fics where I was convincing myself and worldbuilding around tangents as I went along - but it was quite hard to work out where to set it in a way that Cordy's random presence would provide some sort of story. Focusing on moments where the story was about Buffy and Dawn made sense, but I couldn't think of any moment in S5 that would work (Blood Ties might have done something, I suppose). That brief moment in Normal Again, however, when Dawn realises she's not in Buffy's fantasy world seemed to do the trick. Working out how the various high school dynamics would have worked (in the same way) against the sibling dynamic was probably the most interesting thing I came up against, but it was also surprising how obvious it was that Cordy would have come back to Sunnydale after getting fired by Angel, because it completely coincided with Joyce's deterioration. That was probably down to sweeps more than anything, but it was convenient.
Controlling the Uncontrollables.
Lilah fic! Lilah is one of those characters that I love, but have very little to say about. She's a bit like Wesley in that respect - but I still had a lot of fun with this fic. It doesn't really have anywhere to go, but, eh.
I like how this fic came out, in the end, though for a long time I was worried nothing was going to happen at all. It would be easy for me to write a long, long screed about everything that's going on in this world, but I fear with this particular fic it would ruin it for me to put it out there. Anything that was important, I think there are enough hints to work it out - especially if it's coupled with my general philosophy on AUs, that what happens in canon is like gravity or something else that the characters inevitably tend towards unless there's a reason why they don't. Or, maybe not, but anything that's not in the story isn't important, so I couldn't be bothered to write about it... But! I did like constructing this post-apocalyptic 'verse as one where nature generally had managed to find a balance with the demons and no one really cared apart from the humans in the immediate vicinity. I read something once (I think it was a précis to a lecture?) from an ecologist talking about what would happen in ten years after all the humans vanished from a populated area (IIRC it was specifically about Cambridge - it was on the Cambridge website), and I've been looking and looking for it, but I haven't been able to find it - still, it was a major inspiration for this fic. How plants and wildlife deal with ruins are interesting, I think, and I don't think some new top-top predators would necessarily destroy the ecosystem, especially if they're semi-intelligent. After all, humans have managed just about... I should probably come clean and say Fallout 3 was a bit of an influence as well, probably in my desire to visit the ruined Sunnydale Mall. But I can't mention that without spitting on the name of Bethesda for their triumphant destruction of decent RPG dialogue in the name of sandboxes with spectacular visuals. Also for the broken finance and karma mechanics... *koff*
Vids and the random Fanmix I'd forgotten about.
I'd forgotten about this Fag Ends fanmix, though I still listen to it sometimes. I think the ramble I attached to it says everything I'd want to, but I do like how it flows. But then I always like my fanmixes because I like all the songs... It's a fairly trouble-free medium of fanning.
City of One. [vid]
This was done mostly to entertain myself. The problem with doing a Vivi vid anyway is that there aren't that many Vivi cutscenes in FFIX - perhaps, really, not enough to make a vid that really means something my style, but I did it anyway. Despite the damn-and-blast it credits that get over most of the main Vivi shots anyway. It didn't really help that I wanted to look at all the issues going on when Vivi uses his destructive magic, so it was really about a single, very short moment, which I felt the need to come back to again and again and again. Black and White was a bit like that with Illyria, but I think I hit the threshold here.
Map of the Problematique. [vid]
Another sop to the Olympics, but specifically the Opening Ceremony and all that sailed in her. Not to mention the fact that I realised the Beeb was going to have their HD version of the cermony on iPlayer for aaaaages, so it was worth investing the time in trying to work out how to get the blasted thing to vid from. Anyway, I succeeded, and then proceeded to make a vid where the proper file is too large to really host in a convenient location... Although, Vimeo has probably converted my .wmv into a .mp4 by now, so I should probably download that and see what the quality's like - because if it's the same then it'll be half the size... Anyway! I like this vid, especially when Johnny Rotten appears, and the weird possibly!feminist sequence I had going with the Queen, the suffragettes, the reading girl in the dark leading to J.K. reading in the light... Dunno.
Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you'd predicted?
I think I wrote enough. I think it was technically a little less than last year, but everything's been so up and down that I didn't really have any expectations. I got everything I wanted to finish finished, so that's OK.
What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January 2012?
I've actually, strangely, written a reasonable amount of Cordelia this year - at least relative to every other years. Otherwise I'm fairly predictable. Though I also didn't think I was going to like the Olympics at all...
What's your favourite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?
Map of the Problematique is a vid that makes me very happy. I think it basically says everything I wanted to say about the Olympics Opening Ceremony, so I can watch it and feel like I've expressed everything with the satisfying side-feeling of not wanting to say anymore. And there are no glaringly-obvious bits I want to edit. (Neither of these things ever happens with fic...)
Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?
In terms of actual risk, writing Turn and Face the Strain the way I did (ie. committing to getting the whole lot out within the Seasonal Spuffy run) really put the story in jeopardy. I think I basically learned that if I'm not happy with something I can go over and over and over and over the language until I'm a bit of wreck, and then won't really feel any catharsis from hitting post, so should really stick to my standard practice, which is writing and re-writing and then, if I'm still not happy with it, dumping it for six months until the mood strikes to try and look at it again. Generally, I'm not sure it paid off.
Do you have any fanfic or profic goals for the New Year?
I'm pretty goal-free. I have this novel in my head about third century AD Alexandria that I would like to try and write (though it's currently annoying me as the characters' emotional arcs aren't really fitting with what I want for the physical plot of the whole thing). Otherwise, if I can't let fandom go, I do have a couple of novelly plans. I've said it before, but I'm very much falling out of love with short things. They don't seem to do much for people/me at the time, and I don't get much out of re-reading them. Although my goal is also to not give up writing completely!
From my past year of writing, what was...
My Best Story: Probably What it is to Burn? Or else abridgement. I think abridgement has fewer rough edges, but then there's not much too it anyway. WIITB works around a few things in ways I'm happy with.
Story Most Underappreciated by the Universe: I dunno; I've always think I've lost people. Any of the longer ones, particularly Turn and Face the Strain - but then I think that has problems to. Just can't work out if they would stop me reading if it was someone else's fic.
Most fun: Ooh, probably A Quirk of Perkins.
Most disappointing: Turn and Face the Strain could probably be the answer to all of these, because I was more emotionally tied to it than anything else I did this year.
Most sexy: What it is to Burn has a sextape? Very little actual sex, though.
Hardest to Write: Any of them and none of them. I find it quite easy to write stuff, but then it's always difficult to work out whether it's the right stuff or not to go with everything else. Boo.
Most Unintentionally Telling: As usual, it's the 'unintentionally' I find hard in this question... Probably Slayers' Blood, because I didn't mean to randomly fanwank/worldbuild as much as I did, but I did it anyway. AUs make me go down tangents!
Generally, I think my problem is that I don't have that much fun writing fun fics! Typical.
[There are comments on Dreamwidth! Add one?]