edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
It's that time of year again. :)

Here are the results from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, for comparison purposes.

I currently have 479 stories posted on AO3, which is 44 more than last year. The 'new' fics are a combination of backdated crossposts and things that were genuinely written within the past year.

Anyway, here are my top ten stories on AO3, by hit count:

1. What Isn't Broken (Can Still Be Fixed) - 20,463 [Naruto, remix]
2. Trollstuck: Make Her Pay - 5,540 [Homestuck, chaptered, WIP]
3. I Must Increase My Bust - 5,104 [Homestuck]
4. With a Vengeance - 4,766 [Naruto]
5. More Sins than Condemnation - 4,522 [Naruto]
6. Four by Four - 4,482 [Homestuck, chaptered, WIP]
7. Of Stone and of Sky - 4,257 [Homestuck, Ladystuck]
8. Dreamers of the Day - 4,140 [Inception]
9. Problems and Solutions (All Things in Time) - 4,116 [Chronicles of Narnia/Stargate: SG-1, remix]
10. The Way of the Apartment Manager - 3,485 [Naruto, chaptered]

This is largely the same as last year, barring a few internal rearrangements and "The Way of the Apartment Manager" kicking "Weregild" off the list. I am pleased that my most popular story on other sites is finally picking up steam over here, too, despite its age and backdating. :)

"What Isn't Broken" continues to absolutely crush everything else I've ever written, at least on this particular site. I am still unsure why, but hey, if people like it I'm not going to complain. *wry* It also drags its two companion ficlets ("With a Vengeance" and "More Sins than Condemnation") up the rankings... at least in terms of hit count. Their kudos count is more variable.

Anyway, moving on!

Here are my top ten stories by number of kudos )

The bookmark list continues to share a lot of commonalities with the hit and kudos lists (particularly if you go by the top twenty rather than just the top ten), and the comment list continues to be noticeably different from those three, largely thanks to Yuletide and the Narnia Fic Exchange. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
2015 version
2014 version
2013 version
2012 version
2011 version
2010 version
2009 version
2005 version

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A Year in Writing: 2016
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January - 5,825 words )

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February - 925 words )

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March - 9,200 words )

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April - 1,025 words )

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May - 10,750 words )

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June - 5,075 words )

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July - 3,975 words )

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August - 8,275 words )

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September - 3,825 words )

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October - 600 words )

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November - 1,675 words )

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December - 20,200 words )

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2016 Fanfiction: 69,975
2016 Original: 1,375
2016 Total: 71,350


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Analysis )

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And that is that for the year. Here's hoping 2017 will be better on many fronts.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is Daredevil Secret Santa reveal day! Here is the story I wrote:

Second Chances: When Foggy meets an old acquaintance who's fallen on hard times, he naturally does his best to help. When this leads to romance, he couldn't be happier. Unfortunately, life is never that simple. Foggy/OMC, Foggy/Matt. (14,825 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] iraya)

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So uh, this story is a little bit of a mess still, which is my own fault for not starting it until very close to the deadline. I was avoiding it because the prompt asked for a type of tropey romance plot that I am very bad at writing. Unfortunately for me, iraya's other prompts asked for romance involving a ship that makes no emotional sense to me -- here is where I say, Your Ship Is Not My Ship, And That's Okay! -- each with some attached tropes that are emphatically Not My Trope (And That's Okay!), which meant this one was my only real option.

further thoughts, to be read after you read the fic )

I still want to make a bunch more edits to this story, and may post a revised version sometime in January. Until then, though, this is far and away the longest story I wrote all year and I'm proud that it hangs together considering how far outside my strengths it is, and the ridiculous time crunch I got myself into.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
Today is Yuletide reveal day! Here is the story I wrote this year:

The Morn Is Hallowday: Halfway through the walk from Forbes to Ericson, Molly realized that if Tina hadn't returned already from her folk dancing, she certainly would very soon, and in either case Janet's absence would require some explanation. (2,450 words, written for [archiveofourown.org profile] nnozomi)

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This is not the fandom nnozomi and I matched on. That was Diana Wynne Jones's Dalemark Quartet... but the thing is, the prompt was centered around Navis Hadson, in whom I have approximately zero fannish interest. I like him, but I am perfectly satisfied with his role in canon and feel no need to explore him further. (His kids, maybe, but not him.) And it happened that nnozomi had also requested two fandoms I know but hadn't signed up for (because I figured the chances of getting stuck with something I flatly couldn't write were too high, and also there comes a point of diminishing returns in bucket offers), and the prompts for those fandoms fell squarely into my personal wheelhouse.

So I wrote one of them instead. :)

I first read Pamela Dean's Tam Lin when I was fifteen or sixteen, and just starting to think about college as a thing that would probably happen in my future. In the event, the book bears almost no resemblance to my own college experiences, but I treasure it as something that told me, "Yes, becoming an adult is messy and hard and tiring, but there are also joys, and if Janet Carter can do it, so can you." It was one of my touchstones that growing up didn't have to mean giving up all the things I loved. There were, of course, other stories featuring adult characters with rich inner lives and interest in books, but this one went into the most detail about the process of getting there from here.

(It was also a book I enjoyed much more on the second, third, and tenth readings, partly because I was no longer expecting it to go full secondary-world fantasy on me; the magic is subtle and mostly not the point.)

cut for length, and also spoilers (assuming a twenty-year-old book can still have spoilers) )

Random trivia: the section where Molly muses about mermaids really being lures for some kind of giant anglerfish was inspired by various Tumblr posts I've seen discussing similar theories, though it does not directly quote any of them. I actually wanted to do more with the deep sea analogy since Molly is studying to be a marine biologist, but when I tried to work in a more extended riff on that theme, it completely derailed the emotional logic of the fic -- and so, with regret, I killed that particular darling. *wry*

I had a bit of an adventure finding a beta on short notice, and I would like to thank both [personal profile] isis for hippo services and [archiveofourown.org profile] snickfic for exemplary editing services. :)

...

If I'd been more on top of things in November and the first half of December, I would have liked to also fill nnozomi's prompt about Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan's Sergyar support staff, but alas, time management has never been my forte. *wry*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I was reading through some of my old journal entries and I came across the following comment of mine, which I am going to quote here in slightly truncated and edited form:

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---------------

Yeah, that weird cultural sex-is-worse-than-violence skew is one of my main reasons for considering ratings pointless. The other is that those ratings are aimed at an audiovisual medium, and are therefore maladapted for a textual medium. Like, if I show you a clip of a person shooting someone else point blank in the head, that's pretty gory and upsetting and should presumably get a relatively high rating. But I can write something like this:

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"So be a good girl, and drop the gun." Joe smirked again, like he had every option closed off and she had no choice except to play along.

Leah shot him, point blank, and threw up her arms to ward off the backspatter of blood and other things. Then she hurled herself into the cover of the overturned minivan and hoped Fatima would have time to run before Joe's goons inevitably killed her.


-----

and move blithely along giving you no further details, and while that's not a nice scene, it's not so graphic that I feel a need to slap a huge warning on the fic as a whole if that's the worst thing that happens. Ditto sex: showing our heroines from the previous snippet getting hot and heavy onscreen is a lot different from saying:

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Leah and Fatima fell onto the sheets, fingers slipping on buttons and zippers in their haste to pull off each other's clothes and press skin to skin in desperate confirmation that they were still alive.

"Oh god," Leah panted into Fatima's shoulder, between sloppy, open-mouthed kisses against the crook of her neck, "I thought I'd lost you, I thought--"

"I know," Fatima said. "I know. But you didn't," and her hand finally slipped under the waistband of Leah's jeans and pressed up against the damp cotton of Leah's panties.

Leah sobbed with relief and did her best to reciprocate the favor.


-----

and then cutting the scene and jumping to next morning. You know? Like, that little snippet is not something parents would necessarily want preteen kids reading, but it's hardly what I'd call graphic, not to mention that it's really easy to skim past text in a way one can't replicate with audiovisual media.

---------------
---------------

I suddenly have an intense need to read the rest of the story that connects those two excerpts. Alas, it does not currently exist and probably won't ever exist unless I write it. Perhaps in 2017...
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
L. E. Modesitt is a... 'guilty pleasure' is really not the right term, because that implies a level of active joy I don't get from his books. Semi-inexplicable fascination, perhaps? Yeah, let's go with that. Like, his protagonists are all slight shading variations on the same cardboard cutout, he is not a deep philosophical mind regardless of what he'd like you to think, he has what might as well be a fetish for including the letter Y in proper names, and he literally writes out sound-effects. But I do genuinely enjoy the parts of his books when he plays the show-my-research game about practical things like woodworking or road-building, and about half the time he does manage to hook me into vicariously enjoying the power-fantasy aspects of his work.

But man, he is so weird about such a lot of stuff. Like, he has a veneer of feminism? His books are very clear, on an explicit textual level, that toxic patriarchy and misogyny are bad. He also manages to extend the thought and say that any culture where one sex dominates and restricts the other is bad, because women are people rather than plaster saints. But he has a strong tendency to turn his male protagonists into living avatars of 'Not All Men' -- people are constantly telling them that most men are terrible but they're decent people, and obviously they keep getting in trouble because they're not acting like violent brutes. Which, uh. Undermines the explicit message. A lot.

I'm thinking of this mostly because I randomly reread Fall of Angels last week and was struck by the utter weirdness of telling a story about a majority female spaceship crew stranded in a patriarchal fantasy world and struggling to survive both the physical and social environmental hazards through the POV of the single surviving male crewmember. I didn't notice that the first time around because A) I was young, and B) all of the Recluce Saga novels are from male POVs (some interstitial chapters follow female characters, but always from third-person omniscient rather than third-person limited) so this seemed like an obvious extension of that pattern. But in retrospect, that's screwy, and the way all the female characters keep reassuring Nylan that he's Good and Special and Not Sexist comes off skeevier and skeevier the more it happens.

Anyway, I was at the library a few days ago and figured I'd see what Modesitt had been writing over the past decade or so, and I discovered that he'd finally written one Recluce book with a female protagonist! (That was in 2009. Then he promptly went back to the relentless male-centrism.) But Arms-Commander seemed like it might be worth reading to see how he handled female protagonists in this particular setting -- especially since it picks up the thread of that stranded spaceship crew about fifteen years down the road.

cut for length )
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
That 21 questions Dreamwidth meme that's been going around, ganked from [personal profile] krait and [personal profile] the_rck:

1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth?
Because I didn't trust LJ very much after Strikethrough and Boldthrough (though those incidents didn't affect me personally), and because I like the ethos of a site that supports itself through subscriptions to paid accounts rather than advertising. I also really like the split into a reading circle and an access list instead of automatically jamming both together into a 'friend' list. (I mean, I don't actually give access to anyone because all my posts are either completely public or locked to my eyes only, and I don't want to look like I'm playing favorites, but I appreciate the conceptual de-linking.)

2. Why did you choose your journal name?
When I got an LJ invite code in late 2003, I needed a name quickly and my fannish pen name (Elizabeth Culmer) was too long for the character limit. So I grabbed something thematically related to a little 15-minute ficlet I'd just written (and which had gotten me the notice of [personal profile] isis, the person handing out invite codes). I only realized much later that 'edenfalling' makes me sound like an evangelical Christian, which is a hilarious misrepresentation of my religious views. But I have worn the rough edges off my pseud over the years and by now would feel weird using anything else as a screen name.

3. Do you crosspost? Why or why not?
Yeah, I have an automatic crosspost to LJ set up, because I still have readers (and people I read) over there, though I think fewer than on DW by now. I also made sure that the posts on each site reciprocally auto-link to each other, because there are few things I find more frustrating than not being able to get 'there' from 'here'.

more questions under the cut )
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[tumblr.com profile] thatgirlnevershutsup asked: Fic authors self rec! When you get this, reply with your favorite five fics that you've written, then pass on to at least five other writers (◠‿◠✿). Do multiple fandoms if you want!

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Five favorite fics that I myself wrote? Okay. The first three are easy:

1. The Way of the Apartment Manager (Naruto): Ayakawa Yukiko retired from being a ninja, and she's come to terms with that. Then the Third Hokage summons her for an assignment that will change her life. AU story, set six years pre-manga.

2. Knives (Harry Potter): Beware, you who fight evil, lest you fall into darkness. Beware, you who invite the abyss into your heart. Ginny. Lucius. Harry. Guard your soul.

3. Out of Season (Chronicles of Narnia): In the fourteenth year of Rishti Tisroc's reign, a demon in the shape of a beaver is captured and brought to Tashbaan. Shezan Tolkheera, high priestess of the goddess Achadith, is given the responsibility of guarding the demon until its sacrifice at the Spring Festival. Complications ensue.

The next two I am essentially picking out of a hat. I mean, the number of stories in the hat is a lot smaller than the total number of stories I've ever written! But once you pass my big three, what you get depends entirely on my mood and what comes to mind first on any given day. Today, those stories are:

4. Untimely Ripped (Homestuck): Most spellbooks are bullshit. Everyone knows this. But they're made of words and you need words to fill the hole in the center of your mind, so you flick through this one at the same mechanical pace you read a cheesy romance yesterday and plan to read a stupidly anachronistic spy thriller tomorrow. The clock on the living room wall ticks rhythmically above your head. Outside, light November rain mists down on the fallen leaves and dormant grass. Damara's cat watches you disdainfully from the mantel. You turn another page.

And then a spell title jumps out at you: 'For the Restoration of Life After Untimely Death'.


5. The Vastness of the Sky (Chronicles of Narnia): Digory Kirke invites Polly Plummer to watch the 1912 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race with him, hoping to catch up with his oldest friend. But lives once touched by magic never return altogether to normal, and when both crews sink in adverse weather, Digory and Polly stumble into a strange new world in search of a missing rower.

Ask me again tomorrow and you will probably get a different answer. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Apropos of nothing in particular:

One narrative trope I particularly like is The Reveal (TM). This works best if it's not deployed lightly -- a character with a big secret is obviously not going going to spill it to someone they've just met, and anyway the trope works best with some time to build up dramatic tension. But I really like the moment when the truth comes out.

This can be either voluntary or involuntary. It can be public or private. It can lead to a positive or negative reaction. I like all variations. The main point is that somebody now knows, the tension is at least partially released, and the story can move on to dealing with fallout, which is also a narrative trope I particularly like.

I mention this because one series I like has a doozy of an interconnected web of secrets at its heart, and absolutely no one has all the pieces: namely, Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire, and the truth about Sauscony, Jaibriol II, and their children.

cut for length )

I don't expect Asaro to go there, but that is what I want. In fact, I want it to the point that I am considering nominating the fandom for Yuletide. Obviously I would not phrase the request in such detailed terms as the preceding paragraphs, but I think the general outline of "Rocalisa Qox Skolia leaves Prism as a young adult, learns what's happened to her relatives since the Radiance War, and has adventures while trying to keep her identity secret in order to protect the various branches of her family. A romance of some sort -- lesbian or poly would be especially welcome, though het is also fine -- would be a lovely addition though not strictly necessary" could be quite workable.

...

Hopefully I will remember that when nominations roll around this fall. :)

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ETA: I was finally able to read a copy of Carnelians while visiting my parents in NJ this September (thanks to their county library system) and... on the one hand, it rehashes a stupid number of points from previous books, which is kind of silly and annoying. Like, haven't we already done this? But on the other, it gave me THAT SCENE at the climax with Jai and his family and I just... ahhhh. *floats blissfully* I'd forgive an awful lot of egregious repetition for that. Plus what's-her-name, Alina? (I am not always great with names.) Anyway, Althor's surprise!kid, and her friend the escaped provider (Red?). They were a little thinly characterized in the book itself, but there's a bunch of potential for future stories there, not that I necessarily expect Asaro to pick up those threads.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Found via [tumblr.com profile] asukaskerian and [tumblr.com profile] ceescedasticity.

Rules: List the first lines of your last 20 stories. See if there are any patterns. Tag your favorite authors!

I suck at tagging, so whatever. Play if you want to!

cut for length )

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I don't think there's any particular pattern. Mostly I am trying to introduce the characters, the physical and temporal setting, the scenario/plot, and the mood, in as efficient and interesting a manner as possible, but which element makes it on-screen first (and how many of them I try to jam into a single sentence) is a tossup.

One could argue that there's a minor pattern (8 of 20 samples) wherein I attach setting and/or plot information to a line of dialogue instead of letting the dialogue stand alone, but that's just one of many methods to squeeze more than one of the four necessary elements into a single sentence -- in those cases, the characters (speaker and addressee) plus whatever else -- so I don't think I'd personally make that argument.

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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