slaymesoftly - Here's a bit of self-reflection on my writing experiences in 2009.
Looking back, did you write more fics than you thought you would this year, fewer than you thought, or about what you predicted?
Considering I just started writing in earnest this year, I had little to no expectations. So that bar that was set so low… well, I didn’t even have to step over it. I leapt over it quite easily. I wrote around 130,000 words this year. Compared to last year’s 2,000 words, that’s a huge improvement.
What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January 2009?
I never thought I’d write Dracula/Xander or Buffy/Faith. As far as reading goes, the only slash I gravitate towards is Spike/Xander or Spike/Angel, so it was surprising to discover how much I enjoy Buffy/Faith (a lot!) and how much fun it was to write Dracula/Xander in Dear Manservant (which was a very modest few hundred words).
What's your favourite story this year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you the happiest?
Oh wow. I think it really is Thought You Should Know, though, which is probably the most popular, too. But because it is so large, I have favorite chapters within the story – kinda favorite stories within the greater story.
I have certain moments I’m proud of – Buffy and Faith helping Simone (Ch 29); Spike revealing the porn discs in the middle of a Scooby meeting (Ch 30); all of Buffy’s dream sequences – I love writing those! – but especially the one where it opens with Lara brushing Buffy’s hair because of all the symbolism I got to bring into the moment and the inner workings of Buffy’s psychology as I imagined it (Ch 28); Buffy’s emotional breakdown during the battle at the Scotland manor which was really spread over a few chapters all leading up to that moment where she just collapses – I liked changing it up so that in the Rome battle, Buffy was physically beaten and morally confused but still fighting strong where as in Scotland, it’s all about her inner self being torn apart by the carnage around her and her inability to protect the ones she loves (Ch 32-34), any and all Spike & Connor snark and their dungeon scene (Ch 19).
I’m also happy with my action scenes in the past span of chapters, because a former friend once told me I wasn’t very good at them. But I think I’ve gotten better and I think the last round of action with the commando soldiers was well-received. I try very hard to make the action original (versus punch, kick, punch blah blah blah). So the flavor of each big fight scene is different in LA, Rome and Scotland – new weapons, new techniques, new obstacles. Speaking of new, I’m really looking forward to the Edinburgh action coming up. I listen to quote unquote epic music when I’m imagining fight scenes and my current favorite is Freedom Fighter’s Two Steps From Hell (you’ll recognize it from the Star Trek trailers).
Okay, NOW your most popular story.
Well, if I go by reviews and hits that would have to be Thought You Should Know. Which kinda isn’t fair because there’s so much story there that all my other fics can’t really compare to its mammoth size. So it has staying power. The other most popular story I wrote would be Curse You, FOX, For Tricking Me Thrice! which had the good fortune of timing. I published it on the day Dollhouse was cancelled as a birthday present for a friend and it made the rounds on Twitter and got a large amount of interest. I kinda doubt anyone remembers that one, though. It was very much flash-in-the-pan popular.
Story most under appreciated by the universe?
I’ve been blessed with lots of lovely feedback and readers, so I don’t think I can really say. There have been a few drabbles that didn’t have much interest (1 commenter a piece), but other than that… Is this under appreciated by the awards universe? Hee! I tend to put more stock in the direct feedback I get from friends and fellow writers who I respect. Being recced by someone like Green Maia or Moscow Watcher is a wonderful feeling.
Story that could have been better?
I’m sure they could all be better. Ye gods, I’m so sure! But I know that Thought You Should Know could be much improved. I’ve gone back and reread my earlier chapters and in my mind thought “no, need to change that there, and you’re being repetitive and what is the point of this scene”. I’ve grown a lot in the year that I’ve been writing this story and, well, it shows.
Getting Off or Bribery So Blatant are my two smut!fics I’ve written. The other one that I think is sexy, but is only coyly graphic would be Sharp Edges. I love Getting Off for the humor of it and the funny setting (smut on a submarine FTW!), but I’m a big fan of having a great closing line. And Sharp Edges – well, the entire short ficlet was about building up to that moment and then the release in that final line. I honestly don’t know what’s the sexiest story though. Because now I’m thinking it should be Thought You Should Know when Spike licks the blood off of Buffy’s neck because I think that’s the most erotic thing I’ve ever written. I dunno. I think this is something that’s nearly impossible to judge myself – the sexiness of my writing. Someone else wanna weigh in?
Most fun story?
I think either Getting Off or Curse You, FOX, For Tricking Me Thrice! are the most fun – just very humor-filled and lighthearted.
Story with single sweetest moment?
Hmm… I think To Be Born Again when Buffy looks at her newborn daughter and goes “Hello, you.” I could hear it in my head as I was visualizing the story and it made me tear up (because that’s what’s happening to Buffy in that moment, her eyes are welling with tears). Buffy had spent the earlier part of the story denying her daughter’s existence and struggling with the idea of being a mother. She had no affection for her baby and no concept of the baby as a person. Then, in finally seeing her baby and holding her in her arms, to say, “Hello, you” and the “you” is an acknowledgement of her daughter as the one Buffy’s been waiting for and she didn’t even know it, this recognition of perfection and love and identity coalescing. I’ve wrote a lot of convoluted and rambly lines, some that hit the nose with the wit or the philosophical underpinnings of the moment. But I think I love “Hello, you” for the way it carries so much weight with so few words. Brevity is the soul of wit. Or is it just the soul? The less talking going on, the more connecting perhaps.
Hardest story to write?
Thought You Should Know. The sheer time I’ve devoted to writing it. The time I’ve devoted to thinking about it. To researching it. To editing it. It’s definitely the hardest, but also the most rewarding for all the effort I’ve put in. And it’s been a wonderful way to meet new people, so I’m grateful for that, too. Wait – but there’s another contender for hardest story to write. Sad Song in His Heart. I wrote that entire fic in one day – my posting day for Seasonal Spuffy. I wrote so fast and so hard that my hands hurt. So yeah, that too.
Easiest story to write?
Curse You, FOX, For Tricking Me Thrice! because it was like stream-of-consciousness bs’ing. :D It’s amazing what craziness I’m capable of when I tell myself to just let loose and be ridiculous. Plus the dialogue and action are just so out there and fun! It was very freeing. Truly, writing crackfic is amazing in how it lets you vent.