i should say, first, that this is quite a ramble and incredibly melodramatic, as well as self-indulgent, as I just started going on about manate (as i do) while discussing my favorite fic I wrote this year. this is honestly a really navel-gazing mess but i wrote this up a few weeks ago and kept adding to it when i was bored over the weeks, until it was this. so i should really just post it now.
Total number of stories worked on: As published to AO3, 18. That not including the count of fics in the SASO fills collection, or the fics I wrote but never crossposted, or unfinished/unposted things ...
With 16 fics in the Fill Collection (6 fics, 10 drabbles probably), and around 10 or more other uncrossposted drabbles ... about 7 things I finished for SWAG in the month of December ... 3 finished unposted fics I felt too weird about tossing up ... and too many WIPs to count ...the number is more like 33~, I suppose. This isn't very exact but oh well.
Fandoms written in: Yowamushi Pedal (big time), Undertale (2 posted, 1 wip), Princess Tutu (1 fic), Utena (1 fic finished, one wip), SDR2 (1 wip)
Total word count: According to AO3, 104k.
Adding in uncrossposted SASO+Swag is ~22k. Finished unposted is ~10k. Wips is something like 25k.
I'd round it all up to about 160k, thereabouts.
- revolution's shadow / word count: 3,556 / Nanami genfic
- Dance Lessons / word count: 2,821 / Ahiru/Rue
- past the last exit / words: 1,243 / Burgerpants/Mettaton (a garbage joke fic)
- can't keep running out / words: 3,600 / Chara & Sans genfic
- Even If You Don't Mind / words: 13,676 / Manami genfic character study disaster
- Love Runs Out / words: 4,292 / manate, A Bad Fic that i refuse to delete
- Whenever, Wherever / words: 3,155 / sansaka boring shipfic
- the world we live in / words: 2,522 / Manami & Kuroda genfic
- everything is in line / words: 13,542 / Miyahara & Manami character study
- better left spoken / words: 3,674 / Miki/Aya shipfic meta mess
- moments in a word / words: 8,750 / manate
- rock your pop fantasy / words: 4,068 / manate
- getting undercut / words: 2,857 / manate (the manate goes on and fucking on)
- tell you what you know / words: 7,888 / manate
- silence spiral / words: 9,215 / sansaka urban fantasy allegory
- time enough / words: 2,362 / imaizumi/onoda, A Mess.
- no good counter / words: 2,528 / manate
- Fill Collection
- Kinjou & Naruko (811 words)
- manate (1041 words)
- Aoyagi/Izumida (729 words)
- Shinkai & Usakichi (528 words)
- Koga & Teshima (747 words)
- Miki/Miyahara (1391 words)
- sansaka (529 words)
- Fuku & Manami (500 words)
- Kinjou/Imaizumi (733 words)
- manate (488 words) ("I understand how unsafe it is." It speaks to them, so often, as though they were an unwanted suitor. "I wouldn't want you to endanger yourself." But it never actually tells them to leave.) (I'M REALLY REALLY EMOTIONAL ABOUT THIS STILL, I STILL LOVE /UNWANTED SUITOR/ for . many reasons.)
- Aoyagi/Issa (1608 words)
- Imaizumi/Shinkai (1575 words)
- Kuroda & Manami (654 words)
- Ashi & Dou & Ao (800 words)
- Fuku & Shin (815 words)
- manate (1800 words)
Not Crossposted: (ie, from SASO and SWAG) (words: 22k~)
- "Lemme tell you about Homestuck" / words: 1,167 / manate, Garbage, Obviously
- Blame on the Measure / words: 2500 words / manate, also garbage, needs more editing
- vocaloid hell / words: 2261 / manate, terrible. terrible.
- best sales / words: 487 / dou & manami
- ----- / words: 781 / miki punches machimiya
- The Gang Plays Mario Party / words: 917 / manamido
- rain stop / words: 567 / koga & komari
- bad hats / words: 666 / aoizute
- imaizumi imagines / words: 567 / narutou Kind Of
- back alley fantasies / words: 1020 / makitadokin (still editing ... sigh)
- sleepwalk away / words: 900 / sansaka
- [boringnothing happens] / words: 761 / makikin
- sheet iron chef / words: 864 / izute
- glasses / words: 706 / kinjou & onoda
- [danron ima au] / words: 3.2k~ / imaizumi focus
- Case Echo / words: 2.6k~ / sansaka
- cycletale / words: 1.2k~ / aoyagi & issa
- what rule did you need / words: 742 / onoda gender fic
I don't think I'm going to go and find all the straight-up unposted fics or count up the precise wordcount on all the wips. Let's just estimate. However, the longest wip is the bakemono au fic, aka Demon For The Weekend, which is currently at ~9k words. God, please let me edit it into something sensible. I keep thinking THERE'S NO POINT IN POSTING THIS but my vengeful spirit demands I not give up. So it'll happen. One day.
Looking back, did you write more fic than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you’d predicted? : Waaaay more. I had no expectations for my writing output, since life had been very bad on me and I'd published one thing the year before. ...okay, wait, I'm lying, I published other things, but deleted/orphaned those few in a weird brains fit. But ... well - it was YWPD that made me want to push to write more again. Which is likely obvious.
I wrote one sansaka fic in the middle of 2014, mostly out of spite for another sansaka fic that left me feeling inordinately triggered and upset, hahaha? But other than that, I'd started a rambly meta manami fic (Even If You Don't Mind) and worked on it off-and-on for months. I ended up finishing it right around the beginning of Jan 2015, and even though it's basically a mess only I would like, it was a pretty big deal for me in terms of keeping up on writing again. I honestly thought I'd write, at best, 30k words this year.
Also the fact that I wanted to rep manate so hard helped. My curse. My power. You know the drill by now. Most of my unposted fics and wips are manate related. Disgusting. Random fact: I do have a finished ghost manate fic that I started in frigging Oct. 2014. I still haven't posted it. Magyyk.
What pairing/genre/fandom did you write that you would never have predicted in January? :
If you think the answer is manate it is not, that was always in my plans, my desperate heart. Though, really, there's nothing too surprising. I'm surprised I managed to end up writing an RGU fic at all, and glad I did Yuletide for the sake of that! Especially since it's set me up on three other RGU fics I want to write quite well (ie, Wakaba & Anthy fic, Utena & Mikage fic, and Juri & [many complications] fic).
What’s your own favorite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?:
This is a game of "which manate did chess like the best." The journey manate fic (aka moments in a word, 8750 words) was by far my favorite for a thousand reasons. It's one of those kinds of things that is so particularly me and my aesthetic, while also being a showcase of a dozen constants I like about manate without being too specific, and being very safe, very kind. That feeling of being unable to let yourself exist near anyone and the broken down walls of fairness that come with broken edges along fingertips, at your skin, that you know all too well for it to cause any harm.
(we have done worse to ourselves than we ever could one another)
"Everything lasts. Good or bad. And the hardest thing is to let it happen."
It is something that's very set around my own feelings for Manami ... as well as my feelings about fights, for instance. I've never been in a fight where I could remember much that happened at all, past the fact that it had happened - in degrees, you envy the self that was alive in that instant, who disappeared to the next and left you here to live with the damages. That moment wherein Manami is thinking "Oh, I'm about to be punched" and the next wherein they're laughing, for some reason, and their mouth is dripping, for some reason, and there is red cut across Teshima's knuckles, for some reason.
It's just a single instant and it's obvious what happened.
But what about everything else? Everything else that Manami leaves to someone else.
And the fact that it's more obvious than they realize (You really think I wouldn't notice?)
I like how it starts, between the dialogue and Manami's own observations, so disconnected from the person who is actually talking to Teshima, but they're still there. You know? You know. The moments wherein they turn up the heat and languish in it to burn to death, and the moments where they think too much and find themself leaving because (I don't want this). But you're always getting pulled back in, because you can't resist, because of all you do want.
And I love the scene wherein they're walking through some icy wasteland together. What led into it, in my head, even if Manami doesn't actually remember why they're here now, everything. I like what Teshima says of it, even if that's only in parts - the fact that Manami originally had hung up on him multiple times, "Don't go cycling in the snow, Teshima-san." The fact that - it isn't so much giving in as it is getting too involved, every time - I always like the scene of - (Teshima always fiddling with his bike when he has nothing to do, turning the phone on speaker and getting Manami to talk to him, even though they say "No" and "I'm not interested" because most of their free time in winter is spent sleeping or sitting curled up under the kotatsu, inevitably burning their legs. Why don't they just hang up? Well they do, sometimes, but they also look at the phone vibrating sometimes and see who it is, and sigh, and open it up anyway, because there's kind of a thing wherein every time they see Teshima they have to acknowledge him - oh, look who it is. Teshima literally just chattering about everything because he hates not talking to anyone at all, but then a bunch of it is stuff most people at Souhoku would already know about, and then there are a few things he'd rather not anyone know, but then he doesn't shut up like he should, but because it's Manami, they can't really be phased - not much more than annoyed, anyway. Talking about graduation coming up and - I guess at this point, Manami would interrupt to say so absolutely, "I'm going to Yonan when I graduate." Teshima coughing his lungs out just about from laughing so hard. Manami sits there through it in calm silence while he drops his bike and falls off his seat and yells in pain in the middle of still struggling to stop laughing. The usual.)
(The fact that Manami likely ended up being the person to stop it all and say, "Why don't we race" despite themself, despite the fact that they've refused multiple times, despite the fact that they know it's a totally unnecessary danger)
(And then from there, it's obvious, mostly - Teshima jokes about what a change of tune, laughs at them, both of them sit around on a train and sort of stare at each other when they realize both of them actually arrived, when they both expected that they'd be the only one to bother to go)
It's a bunch of little manate things all in one fic. Impossible nonsense where they're jousting, of all things. Absurd where they're thrown into a cave to die. Silly where they're just dancing, but that's something that Manami chooses to leave, rather than falling out of it like the miserable violent messes. Going from a dance to an icy field but even there they can't get away from not wanting to be alone - even when they leave, they end up finding themself doing these things all over again. It seems like none of it leads anywhere, because Manami won't let it, and really they're just choosing to stay at that festival instead of walking off alone, in the end.
(also in the snow - afterwards, obviously they get a ride, sitting close to each side - friendly and polite to the driver, Manami sitting in a steely silence staring out the window. 'It shouldn't be so easy.' Things they shouldn't be saying. That's only natural. It's funny, because both of them are sitting there, internally licking their respective wounds and pride, again, again, again. Why'd you come out here. Why didn't you leave. Why do you do all the things you do. 'It shouldn't be easy.')
(The two of them have to sit around once they're both back in the city, waiting for their trains. In my dreams, Teshima sits around with coffee while Manami sits on their hands, and he asks why they would go to college.) ("Cycling," that's an answer, but he asks, "What else?") (There isn't anything else.) Teshima could talk for a long time about college, probably - plans and future job and security and a nice place to live and space to do karaoke on weekends and buy new bike parts and - longing to keep cycling even though it's bad for him. He could talk a lot about things he's actually incredibly unsure about. (The future is terrifying and that's why Manami --- .)
Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?
Dunno what could be said by risks. Just letting myself at all, and being indulgent enough to let terrible things reflect in my allegories.
So I guess I didn't take risks. But I did do things that make me miserable and anxious that I did learn from? Just in general, writing - and actually publishing it in the silly manner that we do with fanwork. Gotten more of a sense for the style that I enjoy writing in, as well as what I want to include in my writing, pulling away from the defined rules that I felt like I had to write to that constantly made me feel trapped. Wrote a lot of shit for Myself that I doubt anyone else liked. I guess that goes against the point of writing to some degrees, but ... just running with it was good. Finding that the way I like to write is to straight-up take an allegory and put characters I enjoy into that.
Do you have any fanfic or profic goals for the New Year?
Not particularly. With regards to original work, I'm only thinking about it on the backburner, due to not being in a stable situation - I'd prefer to be in a stable space both physically and mentally before I work on that too much. It's too stressful for my blood otherwise, much as I enjoy original short stories. I am kicking around on finishing a short thing about Rhea and ... Kale or Io, one of the two, but knowing me, I'd probably go a bit overboard.
With regards to fanfic, it's just the same rote of "write this ship i like a lot and do some other stuff if you're up to it. Enter and finish gift exchanges. Give yourself obligations outside family life to keep yourself afloat."
My goals from last year were:
Just finishing my absurd indulgent Manami fic and writing /my pet ship/ that became the otp. And. I made it happen. Neat.
My most popular story of this year:
can't keep running out, an Undertale fic - 3.6k words, Chara & Sans, a total of 81 kudos and 1.2k views, the most I got on both fronts.
It got the most just due to being an Undertale fic, which has a way more notable fandom than anything else I'm attached to. I always have a pretty disparate kudos to views count, so maybe someone would say it is a "bad fic" but I like it. Pretty much all my fics have disparate kudos to views counts, so I assume most people don't really like 'em! But as it goes. It's very Chess, by any means. I just wanted to write my own Chara and then drop the subject. Also, it serves as a foundation to the Alphys fic I want to write, but haven't finished yet, so !!! Sighs.
Story of mine most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion:
[slamming my hands on the ground] journey manate fic. Rarepair week fic. appreciate it. Appreciate it. Appreciate this nonsense super-Chess flavoured fic. ...Sighs. I can't make anyone appreciate my indulgent blackrom nonsense, but I love it so much. It's so my alley. So my alley. RIP in pieces chess. ...I guess since it's so Me And For Me, it isn't something anyone can appreciate, though. Ah well.
Also popstar fic should be appreciated more for Manami being petulant and self-ruining in the Fun Way. My lovely horrible child whom i love.
Most fun story to write:
If we ignore that I have Too Much Fun every time I write a manate fic, then - The Nanami Fic (revolution's shadow). It was very fun, since I love RGU and its tone, its aesthetic, its everything. I got to allude to some of my Nanami problems while trying to be true to her. Nanami isn't my kind of character, but even the people who worked on RGU say that she's the most straight-forward character. And it's true. So she's easy to consider and write.
I really love RGU at large, as well - RGU fits very well to how I think and process and express things. One of the troubles I have with most YWPD fic is that it is from a sport anime. While there's way more space to write fic for it, it's also less expressedly allegorical about gender and trauma and growth in comparison to RGU. For obvious reasons. But still. RGU just fits very naturally to how I parse and enjoy allegory in a way that doesn't end up making me feel guilty like YWPD fic always does.
So it was very fun. Trying to express the Shadow Girls in prose was difficult, and since I'm not a funny person, I wasn't that good at it - but it was all a joy to write and made a particular fire burn in my chest about all such matters.
Story with the single sexiest moment:
Manami murdering themself.
...You know, I could say that's a joke but that's about true ... I dislike sex, but I also view it as an inescapable thing, so working it around something like that is the closest allegory I can make to it. I can't actually write sex without inevitably breaking my brain, anyway.
Most “Holy crap, that’s wrong, even for you” story:
One of those unposted corpse fic things, eye trauma-laden, but in an uncomfortable miserable sex allegory way.
(I do think that the "Everything is about sex, anything about sex is about something else" is a bullshit assumption, but it is unfortunately true, for, some of what I write).
(I say this in the same note as the fact that the one thing I wrote that was sex this year was, in fact, not at all about sex. It was about the extremes of the body and being unable to accept anything but the worst towards oneself, and the idea of anything less being an unacceptable and undeserved kindness.)
The other thing might come across as a bit tame, but it's - I'll say first, that this is something I finished but will never post because it is a complicated matter I shouldn't be putting onto someone else's characters to this degree, the kind of matter I feel like I should keep to original work - is a bad self-destruction themed toumana fic. About gender and envy and hurting yourself to hurt the people who think they're helping you. Themes I'm very into, even though it's bad difficult stuff, but it's something I feel absurd wanting to express in the medium of fanfic.
I should say that Toudou was by no means any kind of villain in that story. Manami is their own villain.
Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters:
Doesn't happen, unfortunately. My views of characters are too solid, typically, going into writing them.
This isn't quite a proper example, but in general as I went on writing Teshima more often, I kept wanting more and more to linger on how mean he could be, at the same time as being a person who is trying to be kind - a good leader - personable and fair. Because at the utmost, he's ridiculously chatty, loves meeting people despite his own depression, even when he sets himself to giving up, he likes people too much to do so. How much he likes people even messes him up on being a total jerk to his juniors, much as he'd like to be bitter at them.
But it's funny, because he is still bitter and rude and grumpy, despite the near-natural personable air he gives off to everyone, and I find that so entertaining. I'm so used to the Manami-mindset of "always be polite and give a very kind front, I don't ever feel bitter or jealous, Not Ever." The sense of denial so intense that you begin to believe it, even if it isn't true. So the feeling of Teshima's mix of things is both familiar and totally alien. Particularly so when you have this entire mess of Manami and Teshima both being these people who front in these friendly ways, despite both being massive internal messes of people. I get stuck upon the scene of the two of them walking arm-in-arm to a party, easily slipping into roles and faces to appeal to the people in attendence - but glancing towards each other with an edge to how they smile, or a slight falter. Not sadness, really. Frustration, distaste, I can't believe you're acting like this (mirrored by, do you have to be so rude as to see the truth). There is a sense, in my eyes, that through failing to hide these things from each other and themselves, they are safer from the thought of the world realizing the same thing. The fact that the two of them care too much and can see that in one another, but accept their will cannot mesh with the world's.
Anyway - the more I wrote fics, the more I would sit and think, how to mix Teshima's well-meaning but natural hypocrisy naturally, because I realized more and more over time how much I enjoyed that. Digging your own grave and laying in it, at the same time as doing your best way to climb your way out - doing your best to make a way to climb out more easily, because you've learned you're inevitably going to fall back in, so you may as well learn how to handle it with a bit more grace.
Hardest story to write:
Miyahara fic. It took ages and I'm surprised I finished it, but it reads like an unedited mess that I can't bring myself to touch because it makes me too upset. Sighs. I still like it though. It was kind of a big deal to me ... I mostly only got through it because I wanted to write that one scene on the bus, where Manami asks to date, and Miyahara says no.
Miyahara is both a character I like to write and find difficult to write. She's not so pragmatic as Aoyagi (who is very difficult for me to conceptualize due to that), but she does push herself to be grounded in a way that I'm bad at expressing, sometimes. Despite that, she has a big weakness that shows in her wishful thinking which is easier for me to grasp. The entire scene with her thinking about how her life should go, how the Interhigh should go, how her life with Manami should go - and all of that feeling sickly out of place because there is no perfect ideal in either of their lives, and though she is a hard working young woman, she isn't the perfect ideal she is supposed to be and she can never attain that, either.
Which is obviously ... difficult and frustrating to try to go into when obviously YWPD as a manga isn't going to give her any of that. It's such a messy fic because there were so many bases I wanted to cover, but I seriously just always overwhelm myself with that kind of thing. Sometimes, it isn't a bad thing to forget and leave out parts, but due to the nature of the fic, I also don't want to necessarily ... change that about it. Being so messy and not flowing as well as it should, some things being pushed in, so far, so on. If I write more Miyahara fic in the future that is about similar things, I might end up going back and editing things out. But it's complicated.
Writing at all.
I like writing a lot. I don't have any confidence in it. I suppose I never will. I don't particularly feel I wrote anything that anyone could have possibly enjoyed. Despite that, I continue having fun writing and feeling a very particular joy when considering events and putting them into prose - and then reading that prose. Taking all the awful in my head and all the nonsense that leaves me constantly sick, putting that into a physical form that fits it or not, it's nice. It means a lot.
I get guilty because the act of putting anything into words shows how much I want to speak to people and express these things to people and to be seen, but prose is large enough to hide within despite that want. So sometimes I can fight that guilt, at least.
Creating, in of itself, is a sin - is something I would think and believe. Flagrantly breaking rules, either those set by the world or yourself, for something made to be seen by so many eyes. That's very overwhelming, to me. To make anything outside of yourself, that is a proof of everything you are and everything you have seen, everything you want, everything you are so desperate for. To fill that much space with a single voice.
It's silly though. I know that. I know it's not that much space. I know most people won't mind or care or even notice. I realize life is given to us for the sake of such things. Creating more that would not be there, otherwise. To sully the empty space where you find nothing else with your touch. Natural and necessary and - balanced.
To a degree.
This is all very nonsense, I know. But I'm nonsense. When Manami says, "I want to take that pure white light, untouched by anyone else." You know the feeling, right? You see nothing and it fills you with a drive to fill it, because it is so undefined, because it is so overwhelmingly perfect and the moment you touch it, it will be defined by how imperfect it is through you (the moment you touch it, you will be defined by how empty and pure you are, even if its just for an instant), because then no one else can have that one thing. Very selfish. Very terrible. A motivation.
Here's an overused metaphor - the particular feeling of constantly drowning. Water pressure crushing down till it feels like your skull is collapsing in on itself, sneezing as though its bone dust snaking its way through your body, unsure if your ribs will puncture your lungs first or if they'll burst before then. And covering a piece of paper in hundreds, thousands of words, ink sinking through to other paces, graphite smeared against your hand, dozens of small cuts along your fingers from how you always catch along paper you're struggling to find words with which it will be ruined - which becomes a buoy that drags you up to break the surface and gasp for air. Your eyes open, burning with salt and sun, from how light reflects off gray water in silver and gold thread that could maybe be in reach - and you remember that things actually exist outside of your own head. You have this proof of it, right here. A proof of the world around you, and a proof of yourself, and more than this struggling for breath you are constantly set to.
--- And so, I go on writing, as it were.