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Looking Back at the Year in Writing - LOLMac
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Looking Back at the Year in Writing
Ganked from curuchamion , with thanks.

Fic in review for the year of 2009:

What I’ve done:

Drabbles and shorts:

Boy Scout (drabble and a half, plus a companion scene)
Useless
Six Points of the Compass (drabble suite – six drabbles (one a double) written to prompts)
Teetotaler
Mr. Fix-It
Two Troubleshooters Walk Into a Bar (double drabble)
Walking On Air (drabble suite – three drabbles, one a double)

I also entered, and won, the comic writing contest on Scalzi’s AMC column, with a 750 word entry that incorporated all 20 prompts given for the contest.  That was certainly a high point of the year!

Longer pieces:

I completed Aftershocks, which is a novel, 101 Uses for a Dead Uzi (short story), and Revision (novella).  In August I started a new novel, Reverb.  Actually, I wrote most of the first chapter of Reverb in May, and then set it aside because I had to write (and complete) Revision first.

I was about halfway through Aftershocks at the beginning of the year; I’m between a third of the way and halfway through Reverb right now.

Total word count for the year:  98,000+.  Eeep!!


Looking back, did you write more fics than you thought you would this year, less than you thought, or about what you predicted?

I look at word count more than item count, since most of my work is novella or novel-length.  At the beginning of the year, I set myself a rather arbitrary goal of 75,000 words.  I’ve, um, blown past that rather thoroughly.  (This is using the word counters in Word; ff.net inflates word counts by 10% or more.)

Actually, I’m pretty gobsmacked at just how much I did write this year.  To put it another way:  at the beginning of the year I was in the middle of my second novel; I’m now in the middle of my third.


Where did you publish/archive your stories?


Everything is on fanfiction.net, except for the individual scenes that are too adult to meet their standards.  For a while, I was also posting on Fan Nation, but I grew disenchanted with that site and stopped.  I haven’t posted my fic on LJ, because LOLMac is a daily image site (although I occasionally write about writing on weekends, as I am doing now).

I’ve begun to toy with the notion of posting my fics to an archive year on LJ, so I can at least get all the ‘Deleted Scenes’ in one location that won’t require a login.  At present, the best way for folks to get the full versions of my fics is for them to contact me directly – which I like anyway – but I also likie the idea of reaching more people . . .


What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January 2009?

I honestly never, ever thought I’d write a Murdoc story.  I also never really thought I’d write a story in which Nikki figured prominently.  I don’t especially like Nikki as a character; but in Reverb, she (and everyone else) is 25 years older, so I have an excuse to mellow her out.  I want to enjoy her strength and intelligence, without her being forced into a gratuitous antagonism with Mac.

In the case of Murdoc – I’ve become fascinated by the challenge of making him into an actual, reasonably plausible person – a three-dimensional character with a coherent backstory.  And I want to do this without making him no longer be the character he was in the show.  In other words, still a murderous psycho, but no longer a ridiculous cardboard cliché.  Tall order, huh?


What’s your favorite story this year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you the happiest.

Well, all of them.  That may sound smug, but I’m still full of glee that the writing is happening in the first place!  At this point, the children of my imagination are still few enough in number that I have no real favourites.


Okay, NOW your most popular story.

Geez.  How is ‘popularity’ measured?  Aftershocks got the most reviews and the most cumulative hits, but it’s 22 chapters long (actually, 15½ chapters, 6 gesture studies, and an epilogue).  Of the longer pieces, Revision has had more people read the entire story.  By hit count, more people have read the drabble ‘One Hand For the Ship’ than any of my other pieces.  But how do you reasonably compare drabbles against novels?  Or the hits received in a high-traffic fandom such as Stargate as opposed to a relative backwater such as MacGyver?


Story most underappreciated by the universe?

Possibly ‘One Hand For the Ship’.  It got lots of hits, being a sexy Stargate drabble.  But I had been hoping more people would comment on it – it’s written so that you can’t tell who the other person in the ‘ship’ is.  And yes, that’s a multi-layer pun on ‘ship’.


Story that could have been better?

Oddly enough, nothing comes to mind.  In every case, I think I’ve written the best story I could at the time – certainly I’ve been taking advantage of opportunities to stretch, even when – or especially when – it scared the bejeezus out of me.  I can look back at Up a Long Ladder, which I wrote all of two years ago, and think that I could (hopefully) do at least somewhat better; but I’m still pleased with it even now.  Anything more recent than that is just too recent.


Sexiest story?

Well, the companion scene to “Boy Scout” is certainly the steamiest.  It’s entirely gratuitous as well as mildly kinky.


Most fun story?

Probably 101 Uses for a Dead Uzi.  Or possibly that same companion scene . . .


Story with single sweetest moment?


Revision, I think.  The whole point of the story was to explore the early stages of the relationship between Mac and Sam – which I chose to regard as one that would be healthy and long-term.  My favourite ‘sweet’ moment in that is actually in chapter two, when Sam gets stuck rock climbing and Mac experiences one of those moments of utter parental terror and exasperation – the ‘if you survive this, I’m going to kill you’ reaction.

On the other hand, there are some moments in the first chapter of Reverb . . . oh, I can’t decide.


The story that made you cry?

I can’t say any of my stories made me cry.  I did get one ‘review’ to a story that upset me badly; but I figure I’m doing well for there to be only one such as yet.


Hardest story to write?

The hardest writing of all effectively happened twice, although it was the same thing both times.  In Aftershocks, the antagonist forces included the white supremacists in the US; in Reverb, the research into Peru in the 1990’s started with a long and intensive plunge into the horrific history of Shining Path and one of South America’s many tragic dirty wars.  Both times, the research was depressing enough to be difficult to continue.  I don’t have much of a stomach for atrocity.  But I can’t (or won’t) drive Bad Guys who are just cardboard puppets – I needed white supremacist characters, so I had to find out how they thought and what they believed, and why.  I had to accept that these characters thought their own reasons for their beliefs were perfectly valid.  Even though I didn’t want to.  Some days, I could only read a chapter of my research at a time, because it was too nauseating to take in.

But in each case, the story of the misery had its other side, the story of the people who fought, survived, refused to capitulate to evil.

I sometimes feel anxious about ‘appropriating’ the struggles of other countries, peoples, or times, even though it’s a natural type of story for Mac to end up involved in.   I really don’t want to tell stories that are essentially “The white guy arrives and solves everyone’s problems” – it’s a manifestation of casual embedded racism – and the only way I can think of to avoid that is to immerse myself in the culture and history of the “other place” and its people, until I fall in love with them and want to honour their story.  This was a natural thing to do when it was Ireland; it’s still a natural thing to do, although now I have to spend more time in the immersion, because I’m not coming to the story with twenty years of study already under my belt.

I think I’m doing fairly well at that.  I’m certainly giving it my damndest.  With Reverb, I wasn’t even able to really start writing that part of the story until I turned an emotional corner and went from horror and grief at Peru’s history to pride and admiration for its survival.  I regard that as a good sign.


Easiest story to write?

The first chapter of Reverb pretty much wrote itself – although I’d had the initial scene in my head for months before I started writing it.  101 UDU was written relatively quickly and smoothly, except for agonising over the finer details of Uzi components.

 
Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?

Great heavens, I’ve done very little except take risks ever since I started writing, which was a massive risk in itself!

Key risks this year included writing my first short story – jeez, there’s no time to develop details!  Every word has to count, and in a different way than they do in drabbles.  And I don’t even mean that as a pun.

Another big challenge, which started the previous year and has continued, has been to make sure significant parts of my stories belong to non-Caucasian characters.  Here again, that’s a natural element in my fandom, but it could so easily be done badly.  I was fortunate in my experience of RaceFail 09 – by the time I encountered it, I’d missed most of the bloodletting and instead got to read a slew of thoughtful, intelligent, poignant essays on race, writing, and related topics.  At the time, I was most of the way through Aftershocks, which had racism as a key plot element.  RaceFail forced me to look at myself very carefully, and gave me a new set of questions to ask.


Do you have any fanfic goals for the New Year?


You bet.  Two words:  keep writing.


Okay, a few more words than that:
I actually do have a related goal.  I’ve been wanting to do a bit more with LJ – I’ve come to depend on my ‘circle of writer friends’ to a degree that astonishes and thrills me.  The potential for community building and mutual support is incredible, and I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface. 

'Beth
January 2010

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Comments
lothithil From: lothithil Date: 2nd January 2010 20:25 (UTC) (Link)
Well done, Beth! Speaking as your biggest fan, I do most emphatically support your goals for the new year! *greedy* :-D
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 3rd January 2010 15:46 (UTC) (Link)
*giggles absurdly* Melissa might challenge your status as my Biggest Fan, but I don't see any need to dispute . . . I need you both!!
*squishes you*
idlewild_ From: idlewild_ Date: 2nd January 2010 23:05 (UTC) (Link)
I have been moved, inspired, and on the notable occasion of Boy Scout, tantalized by your writing in 2009. I feel a happy anticipation knowing that there's going to be more to look forward to in 2010.

Also, grats on racking up a serious word count for the year there. Not to be sneezed at!
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 3rd January 2010 15:48 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, the total word count made my eyes pop. Granted, I seem to have done little this year except work, sleep, write, and make LOLMacs . . . not that there's anything wrong with any of that, except that the working and sleeping bits do eat up a lot of time.

I might need to add "write more smut" to the goals list. Whaddya think?
idlewild_ From: idlewild_ Date: 3rd January 2010 16:33 (UTC) (Link)
What do I think?

...


No, no... I merely pause because I'm trying to decide exactly how unseemly it would be to squeal, bounce, and make outrageous demands.
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 3rd January 2010 21:33 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. Is this something that requires precise measurement? After all, I'm addressing someone who owns a headspace measurer. Maybe you got an even more exotic rule for the holidays?
idlewild_ From: idlewild_ Date: 3rd January 2010 21:45 (UTC) (Link)
I don't know, I'd imagine that I'd need to consult a chimney sweep for smut related measurements! (The headspace measurer says that my head has lots of room for scurrilousness, however. ;) )
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 4th January 2010 21:28 (UTC) (Link)
The botanical equivalent of a veterinarian might also have the requisite measuring tool.

My own headspace measurer indicates plenty of room for naughtiness on my part. Not that there was much doubt.
From: technoshaman Date: 6th January 2010 01:06 (UTC) (Link)
Ummm, you've watched a fair bit of Dr. Who... and some Brother Cadfael... and done some pretty darn good cooking. :)

as far as writing more smut.... I think your fan base just answered that question ....
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