herongale: (haruna- knows it all)
herongale ([personal profile] herongale) wrote2011-01-01 07:57 pm
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Writing Retrospective, 2010

So, I did this meme last year, and I really liked it because it helped me to wrap up the year in my head, and show me that I can be pretty prolific actually.

First, the census of what's what. This was the year of Oofuri.

1. What the Sibyl Said, chapter 2 revision. Unlike last year when I did this meme, I am going to count the words on this chapter this time, since the revision was a rather extensive re-write and I left very little of this chapter in its original form. 15,729 words. Complete (the chapter is, anyway).
2. Mischief Managed. Ken/Daisuke... omg, I don't even know what to call this story. It's not porn, but it's... kinky. 3,055 words. Complete.
3. Die Verwandlung. Sibyl sidestory. Ken/Daisuke porn. 8,577 words. Complete.
4. In Want of a Prime Directive, chapter 7. Starscream/Skyfire. 3,746 words. Ongoing, on hiatus.
5. You Will Not Fall. Mihashi/Abe. On hiatus while I work out my Haruna Issues. 35,291 words.
6. I Will Be Watching You, Always. YWNF sidestory, complete. This marks the beginning of my Haruna Issues and is therefore remarkable for that. 8,302 words. Complete.
7. Come Out And Play. The first truly Haruna-centric story, and the first time Akimaru really comes to the fore in my consciousness as someone I really wanted to write. Laughably, I thought this would get me over Haruna. 14,658 words. Complete.
8. Above You, Below Me. Haruna/Akimaru smut. God, this was probably the single most enjoyable story I wrote all year. It's full of stars porn. 11,565 words. Complete.
9. Make Me a Morning (co-written with [livejournal.com profile] sparklespiff). This marks my complete surrender to all things Haruna. I don't even care any more. Current word count (only going with mine): 30,066 words. Ongoing.


1. You Will Not Fall, chapter 7. 15,243 words (not counting redundancies).
2. The Living. Fucked up Osama/Ken fic. 3,034 words.
3. Trafficking. Rock/Revy vignette. 2,003 words.
4. Touch Her, Touch Her. Rock/Revy porn. 2,579 words.
5. Anonymous Yuletide fic. 1,265 words.

Total Word Count: 155,113 words.
... which roughly averages to about 3000 words per week.

And here is the survey!

Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you'd predicted?:

More, seemingly. I never had any concrete predictions (that way leads to self-jinxing) but it's more than I wrote last year, by about 50,000 words. And last year I was already feeling super prolific. I guess I'm settling in and getting more confident?

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

Oofuri! Omg. And within the Oofuri explosion, Haruna/Akimaru! How the hell did that happen??!!

Not that I'm complaining. ♥

What's your favourite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?:

"Above You, Below Me." I actually lingered a lot over that fic. I took my time and for a few months that's all I worked on, and I kept it all to myself during that time period. It was the second really big porn fic I'd written this past year ("Die Verwandlung," the Daiken fic, was the other), and I'm pretty sure it's the best porn I've ever written.

Why it makes me the happiest though... hmm. I think it was the feeling I had while I was writing it. I was being extremely self-indulgent, even for me... meaning, I would maybe go a day and only write a few paragraphs, but I'd spend hours and hours on those few paragraphs. And it wasn't like I was struggling to write, either. The words were coming very easily, the story was very vivid in my mind and easy to lay out. But there were days when I just wanted to think about one little moment, like the way Akimaru was feeling when he ran his fingers over Haruna's body over and over again. And so I'd write that moment, and when I was done I'd be done for the day. No worries, no stress.

I wasn't trying to be productive. I wasn't worried about any kind of deadline. I didn't care that it took me around three months to write a story that was only a little over 10,000 words. I just didn't care. I wanted to enjoy the process of writing that story. I wanted to linger over it and cherish it. Frankly, I didn't ever want it to end... and I only let it end after I felt completely satisfied with everything.

Did you take any writing risks this year? (See above for unexpected pairings, etc.) What did you learn from them?:

When I think of a "writing risk," I think it should be something I found daunting and difficult, something I wasn't sure I'd end up pulling off when I first started working on it.

Last year my big risk was with my Digimon revisions... tearing apart old stories and making anew was a very eye-opening experience for me. It showed me that my attachment to pretty words was getting in the way of telling amazing stories, and that if I wanted to learn how to tell amazing stories I'd have to become un-attached from the specific words and incidents I use to bring the story into being. I learned how to be ruthless with my own work.

But this year. Well. This year.

To be honest, I don't know if I took a lot of risks this year. I think I improved a lot, but it felt more like a year for careful craftsmanship and more consistent output than a year for taking huge risks.

Do you have any fanfic or profic goals for the New Year?:

Um, finish "You Will Not Fall?" I realized a month or so ago that one reason that I lost the mojo for YWNF is that it is definitely a spring-early summer fic in my mind, and I did most of the plotting for that while sitting next to a particular pond at Cranbrook, watching the mini tadpoles wiggling in the water and watching (and listening to) the dragonflies bustling about. There were some frogs and some turtles in that pond too, and I would go lie on a bench under the green-lit boughs of the trees above me, drinking in the warmth of the sunlight and the cool breezes and the sounds of nature all around me. I also went to several baseball games during that time period, both at Cranbrook and at Comerica Park (the Tigers' stadium). Those sorts of mood signifiers became irrevocably tied to the mood of that story, and when construction started at Cranbrook later in the summer, that kind of broke the mood, and broke the spell I'd cast over myself which made writing that fic so effortless.

But still. I feel very confident in the direction I have for that story. I took copious notes and made a pretty comprehensive outline of what I want to have happen, so none of that has been lost to me despite my having distanced myself from that mood. I'm thinking that once spring returns I will be able to throw myself back into it with renewed energy and vigor, because I've decided that the 7th chapter has to involve a baseball game and I need to write the entire game. Or, well, a lot of it. Getting that chapter right is very important to me, since it's the pivotal turning point for everything that happens after, and it's challenging because I've pretty much decided on making it a Mihashi POV (and Mihashi is kind of tough to write since he's formal even inside his own head and so it's Abe-kun this and Abe-kun that and it can drive me nuts, that boy and his carefully hidden maturity).

And then Haruna happened. The rest, as they say, is bullshit history.

My best story of this year:

"Come Out and Play." Hands down, without qualifications.

Why is it the best? Well, a few things. First is the plot; there's shipping stuff in it, of course (I just am not a gen ficcer, and never will be). But the plot isn't really about the shipping so much as it's about finding one's place in the world, and being recognized for it. Despite the fact that it's a Haruna POV, the story is almost entirely about Akimaru... his dysfunction, his hang-ups, his neglected and overlooked skills, his desperate need for Haruna's love and approval. And it's about how baseball, being the thing that first alienated Akimaru from his best friend, was also the one thing that could really bring them back together again.

And I really like how I was able to write all that baseball. Baseball is action; it's a game with rules and strategies and I had to actually learn about it in-depth before I could even think of writing a story that was so heavily steeped in it. A lot of the research I've done for my writing in the past was fairly superficial, but baseball was different. I really got into it. I started watching games and I read a lot of books. I bought tickets to a few Tigers games and physically being present to watch the games live helped me to understand a million intangibles about baseball that mere research can't give you. I even got myself a baseball mitt and started playing catch with my nephews and brother. And all those experiences paid off; I feel like the baseball portions of that story are well integrated and end up revealing a lot about the characters I was writing about.

Story of mine most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion:

"I Will Be Watching You, Always." I'm not entirely sure why: I promoted it just the same as the others, and posted it to both ff.net and AO3. It's long and it's good and involves Haruna and Abe and their bittersweet and doomed past affiliation and how it affects them to this day. I think it has a great title and a great hook and hell it even starts with an Akimaru POV? WHO COULDN'T LOVE ALL THAT?!!!

Nevertheless, I'm not too worried about it's relative lack of popularity. The person who I wrote it for, [livejournal.com profile] shirono, really seemed to love it, and even drew lovely fanart for me as a thank you, and I couldn't asked for more than that. XDD

Most fun story to write:

"Above You, Below Me." For the same reason that it made me the happiest (see above).

Story with the single sexiest moment:

Again, "Above You, Below Me." This part:

"Step out," Haruna said, putting one hand lightly to Akimaru's ass, pressing palm flat to the rounded part of the muscle. Akimaru stepped out of his pants, kicking them off to the side. "And take off your socks," Haruna added, since having sex with socks on was just lame. Akimaru followed Haruna's orders, toeing off the socks one by one, and also kicking them to the side when each was off. "Turn around."

Akimaru turned around. He looked down at Haruna and was breathing so hard. He placed his hands on Haruna's cheeks, gently tilting Haruna's face upwards to look at him. "Please, Motoki," he said. "Please."

Haruna met Akimaru's gaze, and for a moment they just looked at each other, in silent, wordless rapport. He then nodded, and Akimaru let his hands drop slowly back down to his sides.

In one swift motion, Haruna stripped off the last of Akimaru's clothes, his underpants, bending down as Akimaru lifted his feet, first right and then left, to help him. When Haruna sat back up, he kept the underpants in hand. "I believe these are yours," Haruna said, holding them out to return them to their owner, falsely modest and even more falsely grave.

"Thanks." Akimaru took them, then dropped them carelessly to the floor.

"Come here," Haruna said, a flash of need staking his heart. He patted his thighs, indicating for Akimaru to settle into his lap. His legs were parted at the knees, making room for his cock and wanting to make sure there was room for Akimaru's, too.

Doing as he was told, Akimaru straddled him, folding his knees into the bed and finding his spot in Haruna's lap. They both gasped when dick touched dick, and Akimaru had his arms around Haruna's shoulders, and before either of them knew it they were kissing again, violently.

I dunno. I just ♥ that part. Especially the last paragraph there where Akimaru alights into Haruna's lap and they are both finally naked and their dicks touch for the first time ever. And although I don't describe it hardly at all, imho that's got to be the hottest kiss I've ever written.

Most "Holy crap, that's wrong, even for you" story:

"Mischief Managed." The original title of that fic was going to be "The Pervert Club" and to this day I'm not really sure how I came up with that whole thing.

I mean, read this garbage:

This was their ninth meeting over a span of approximately eighteen months. First had happened not long after Ken and Daisuke officially became an item, although apparently the club had been in existence since long before Ken had been inducted as a member. His official title was Pervert Number Three. Miyako, of course, was Pervert Number One.

"We are now sealed to the flame," Miyako announced, after lighting her last candle.

Sealed to the flame. Miyako had stolen that directly from a Robert Jordan novel.

"So, what's happening over at the other club?" Takeru asked. He was referring, of course, to Daisuke's (retaliatory) Movie Club, which was far less exclusive then Miyako's Pervert Club, and thus far better attended.

"Tonight's film is Summer Wars."

"Oooh. I heard that's good. Damn it, Daisuke." Takeru shook his fist in the air.

"It is. But Daisuke's just showing a DVD rip. I can get you a copy later this week, if you want."

Takeru again shook his fist in the air, but this time in triumph. "Take that, Daisuke!"

"Pervert Number Two, Pervert Number Three? Neither of you are being especially respectful towards the society's rituals." Miyako sat down on the floor, inside a circle she'd set up of pillows and blankets. "The Movie Club is but a mockery of our true fraternity. What separates us from them are our traditions. Please, sit."


I still think it's hilarious. ♥ But it doesn't quite feel like something I'd normally write, you know?

Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters:

Mmm. When I was writing the sixth chapter of "You Will Not Fall," and got to Haruna.

Because just by writing him, I fell in love with him. Hard. I still have not recovered from this unexpected turn of events!

Hardest story to write:

"You Will Not Fall." Not because I got stuck (even though I did): even when I wasn't stuck, I did a lot of new things in that story that I've never written before, and I'm very proud of what I achieved as a result but it definitely involved a lot of outside plotting and detailed planning to pull off. With "Come Out And Play," I didn't need to DO research to write it; I'd already been reading so much stuff about baseball because of Oofuri in general, and so all that stuff was in my head when I needed it for the story. But with "You Will Not Fall," I did a fair amount of structured story-related research, to get all sorts of details just right. Mostly it was just a lot of little things, but it all added up.

I should say that YWNF has the POTENTIAL to be much better than "Come Out And Play," but only if I finish it. Only if I finish it.

Biggest Disappointment:

Losing the momentum on "You Will Not Fall" (see above).

Biggest Surprise:

Out-of-left-field Haruna obsession.

Most Unintentionally Telling Story:

"I Will Be Watching You, Always." To write this story I drew heavily on certain long-buried feelings from my own past. I didn't set out to do it this way, of course... as a rule, none of my stories are secretly stories about me. But the story I came up with just happened to relate to some past things I'd gone through, and so it made the whole process a lot more moving and personal.

This was a bit unnerving, tbh. But good, too... it used to be that I was too guarded to let myself do something like that, and so it was one of the risks I really wouldn't let myself take. But somehow it just happened so naturally that I didn't realize what I was doing until it happened, and also it never seemed to get in the way of my ability to execute the story with as much emotional honesty as I'm capable of rendering (a goal for all my fics).


Anyway, 2010, you rocked! Here's to hoping 2011 will rock just as hard!

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