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I know it's April. But it is time! Time for me to remember...Yuletide, haha. But I did manage to write fic for Yuletide, if nothing else, and I like continuity and talking about myself. So:

I wrote and posted 15,373 words of fanfic last year: 11 stories, all of which were for Yuletide. This is part of why I've been kind of slow on putting this together. Not only do I not have much time to write fic, let alone write about fic, but 2016 was also a very stressful year for a lot of reasons and I reacted partially by not writing. This is my lowest wordcount by a huge margin - last year I thought it was weird that I'd only made it to 50k, and 2010-2013 I was putting up 100k of fic every single year. I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep while I was in college? Or I had fewer responsibilities??

Yearly questions under the cut!

Best/worst title?
Mediocre titles across the board this year, which is explained by my usual Yuletide panic. Especially when I was trying to get treats posted and AO3 was giving me errors 80% of the time. Every Year Again (Johannes Cabal) is probably my favorite. It's just the English translation of Alle Jahre wieder (a German Christmas carol), but I think it sounds suitably lyrical and cryptic for a story that is sort of about two brothers annoying each other and sort of about them standing in the snow and feeling, respectively, nostalgic and alone.

I have no idea what Life On Line (Baseball RPF) means. It's sort of about these baseball guys being on social media all the time? It's also sort of a pun on 'life on the line?' I don't think it works.

Best/worst summary?
Lots of very blunt summaries this year, again because Yuletide. I kind of like the summary of Fact-Finding (Imperial Radch), because I think it accomplishes the job while encouraging clicks:

Zeiat is determined to find out how humans reproduce. Sphene doesn't really help.

On the other hand, I obviously gave up on the summary of The Perfect Crime (fanfic of someone else's long-running Sufjan Stevens/Drake RPF):

Aubrey and Sufjan roleplaying again, because sometimes you need fluff.

Which is also a fic I think I failed on, so maybe the summary succeeded in warning people off, haha.

Best/worst first line?
Forget about the worst part, because 99% of the time my first lines are merely unmemorable. The fun thing is that I actually have two I like this year! First, from The Goat Shed (Discworld/Thor crossover):

Loki woke with his head aching and his back uncomfortably cushioned by shards of splintered wood. If that wasn't enough, there was something trying to eat his hair.

I just really like that image, and I think it gives you a good sense of tone right away. I liked it so much that I used it as the summary, haha. Loki in Discworld was an unending series of gifts for me, and the first one was thinking about Loki's ragged goat-inflicted haircut.

This, from Life On Line, is also good:

It takes about five rings for Lorenzo to realize that the phone is actually ringing and it's not just part of his dream or an especially weird-sounding bird.

Also a good image. And, I hope, relatable. When I was a kid there was a mockingbird which, like a jerk, learned to imitate the fax machine noises. Also that 'phone ringing as a dream' thing happens to me every time someone tries to call me before 8am.

Best/worst last line?
I love the ending of Catch You When You Drop (Rivers of London), because it makes no sense until you've read the fic, and then (hopefully) it becomes very important and meaningful:

Draft message to Peter Grant


There's a bunch of draft texts at the end of that fic, which I was unsure about as a story-telling device/stylistic decision. Fortunately my beta liked it, so I didn't have to come up with a new ending, haha. But it does really work for me, at least.

The ending of Victorian Office Furniture and Velvet Lace (Rivers of London), meanwhile, could have benefited from some more editing:

They drank and watched as judgment was passed over the artifacts from their youth. It was a privilege, Nightingale decided, to live long enough to be outraged when the judgment was wrong.

I think there's a cool idea there, about growing older and watching the youths try and fail to put a value on not only your legacy, but even your everyday trash. But I think there's something wrong with the structure or the grammar. It's not quite right.

Looking back, did you write more fics than you thought you would this year, less than you thought, or about what you predicted?
Last year my goal was to write a fic! So I succeeded! On the other hand, I also said I'd try to finish a wip, which I didn't do. I think I sort of expected that I would struggle to get anything out there, since I'm now in year 5 of my PhD and I had already been mired in fencing drama for a while by the end of last year. Setting my expectations low was wise. I did have fun writing a couple of longer (and unposted) wips, so I got to do some noodling around even though my official wordcount is low.

Where did you publish/archive your stories?
AO3! No changes this year.

What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January?
That Loki in Discworld fic. I'm not really a crossover person, but I stumbled across the idea in someone's Yuletide letter and immediately thought 'oh, that's a terrible idea,' followed by 'that's a terrible idea and I love it.'

What’s your favorite story this year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you the happiest.
In Good Days and Bad (Johannes Cabal) is so dumb and so fun. I wrote it really fast, mostly while giggling, still high from discovering a new OTP. I read my own fic sometimes, because I write stuff that I know I like, and I've reread this one several times and laughed at my own jokes. A+, me.

Okay, NOW your most popular story.
The Goat Shed wins by every metric! Discworld is already a popular Yuletide fandom, and then you add in the MCU element and suddenly you have a fic that's accessible to pretty much every nerd of a certain age and media environment, I think.

Story most under appreciated by the universe?
I really enjoyed writing Let Go of Everything (Hannibal Barca RPF), but it turns out that there's not much of a Punic Wars fandom?? But the recipient liked it, which is the important part. And I really wish that Johannes Cabal had a bigger fandom, because I am really into these books, but that doesn't have much to do with my own fics, which were definitely appreciated by the fandom.

Story that could have been better?
Rereading it, I don't think The Perfect Crime is as bad as I remembered, but I wish I'd had more time/will to flesh it out properly. I think Catch You When You Drop could have also benefited from more editing and maybe another couple scenes in the middle, though I'm not sure where I would have taken it.

Sexiest story?
Fact-Finding is my only non-gen fic of 2016! And also has sex in it. Sex comedy to the rescue once again.

Most fun story?
Both of the Cabal fics were super fun to write. I already mentioned In Good Days and Bad, but I outlined Every Year Again mostly by laugh-shouting ideas at my brother, who read and discussed almost all of the Cabal books with me. That was pretty damn fun.

Did any stories shift your perceptions of the characters?
I think I learned a lot about Beverley from Catch You When You Drop - she's never been my favorite Rivers of London character, but writing her being young and homesick and strong made me like her a lot more. I also learned how to spell her name properly, so that was a bonus.

Hardest story to write?
Yearly wip shoutout: the serious Cabal fic about Horst Cabal feeling suicidal and Johannes Cabal learning magic tricks; the Yuri on Ice fic about Yuri Plisetsky wearing an ugly coat with all of his medals pinned to it and making Katsuki Yuuri jealous; the Yuri on Ice fencing AU that exists only as multiple breathless voice memos on my phone.

Of the fics I posted, I spent a lot of time agonizing over how to write Catch You When You Drop, and a lot of time editing and re-editing while worrying about the deadline. Next year I really need to write ahead of that, rather than to it.

Easiest story to write?
Definitely the Cabal fics. But The Goat Shed and Fact-Finding were also pretty quick and low-maintenance.

Most overdue story?
No good answers for this one this year. I do have a Master and Commander fic from 2015 that's basically done and just needs to be formatted for posting - but I haven't touched it since 2015, haha. I'll get on that, probably.

Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?
I played entirely in my comfort zone this year! I think that's what I need to get any writing done right now. My comfort zone is nice.

Do you have any fanfic goals for the New Year?
Get that Master and Commander fic posted. Try to finish at least one of these wips. Write something fun that I'll enjoy rereading in a couple of years. I've already posted one fic, so I'm way ahead of 2016 and I think I can be a little more ambitious :)
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