Mar. 4th, 2011

azn_jack_fiend: (Nina Hagen)
If you had to delete all but five of your fanworks, which five would you keep and why? (Or ten if you're more prolific.)

I saw this pop up on my list here at [ profile] bossymarmalade. I thought I'd give it a whirl. I haven't done any of the other fic memes because I really haven't written that much stuff, and I get terribly self-conscious and nervous talking about it, so I thought this would be a good, simple opportunity to push myself more in that direction and actually talk about my own writing in a positive way, instead of just complaining about not getting enough of it done, like I usually do.

1. The Last Scene of CoE Day 5 Retold as Shakespeare. I count this as my first published fic, and to this day, it has the most comments I've ever gotten. One reason is that it was published almost a year ago when people seem to be commenting more than they are today, perhaps. The other reason is that it's an awesome idea, and I'm surprised no one thought of it before I did.

Writing those 430 words was a lot of work, but more technical than creative, like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together. I spent a lot of time counting iambic pentameter on my fingers. The process also worked to articulate some ideas and feelings I had about Torchwood.  For example, the idea that Jack was replaying his role as hero from the Game Station in a different narrative that no longer had room for such clear-cut heroes (Children of Earth). "I did not see the play becoming strange / And my part become a villain" is one of the very few original lines I wrote in order to glue together different Shakespeare c/p sections. 

One thing I didn't touch on in the notes is that the poetic language emphasizes an often-underplayed part of the relationship between Jack and Gwen: one in which she is the faithful lieutenant and follower, the kind of not-sexual-but-sort-of relationship between two men that gets so much emphasis in Shakespeare. Crying on "leaving so his service" really brought that to my mind.

2. The Battle of Songhu I've got an extensive post-A/N on this in which I talk about what this meant to me and what I learned writing it, so I'll keep this explanation fairly short. I love this fic because I tried for something really difficult and ambitious, something that was beyond my level of writing ability at the time, and I pulled it off. The 1937 Shanghai setting worked. At 5k, this is not a very long fic, but it does everything I wanted it to do, and I'm really happy about the reception it got on a panfandom level at Racebending Revenge and also within Doctor Who fandom (it got recced at Calufrax). This fic is what gave me the confidence that my far-fetched ideas could actually translate to interesting and compelling stories.

3. Don't Think You Knew You Were in This Song - I wrote a fair amount of this fic in airports, and the themes of identity and traveling and leaving people behind are really close to my heart. This also gave me the confidence that I could write introspective scenes and dialogue-driven stuff. Not much happens in this fic. It's all saying hello, saying goodbye, talking around a dinner table. But I managed to represent Mickey's very, very complicated development in a way that few other people have done and showed how his journey and Jack's journey relate to each other.  This also got recced at Calufrax, and I've gotten a lot of compliments about how I showed Mickey and Martha's relationship developing.

This is also the only fic I've ever showed to anyone outside of fandom. It's tame enough that I showed it to my husband (he knows I've written porn but I wouldn't tell him to read the next fic on this list or he'd probably get traumatized, ha) and he gave me a lot of compliments about the dialogue.  

4. Take You Around the World - I wrote porn before this, including some decent shorter stuff, but I'm proud of this for being pretty original. It's influenced heavily by historical porn from [ profile] invisible_lift and [ profile] neifile7, but really, very few people write historical porn in Torchwood, and almost no one writes casual sex.  I had a lot of people surfing in, probably intrigued by Jack/OMC/OMC/OMC, and I don't think I disappointed them. In fact, I'll brag that this is the best damn rough sex Edwardian sailor orgy in Torchwood fandom (which is easy because I'm pretty sure it's the only one).

5. Strangers When We Meet - Hardly anybody read this fic because it's mostly Jack hanging out with a bunch of old ladies in 1999, plus some gore and plus some stuff about the most depressing thing in the world except for children dying, but I don't care. I still love it. I'm not sure if I achieved everything I set out to do, but I came close enough.  It's a view on Jack and Estelle's relationship that I haven't seen many people take before. I wanted it to be intense, and not quite dysfunctional, but deeply weird. I'm also happy with the level of violence, in that I eventually want to write stories that have a lot of action and plot and violence and so on, like Richard K. Morgan.  And even though Jack goes off the rails at one point, it shows him being as close to normal as he gets, or at least shows the strategies he's developed to in order to live life as close to normal as possible.

I don't mention this in any notes, but the fic also reflects my personal view that Jack has evolved some ways of dealing with trauma that strike "normal" people as completely insane.  And this perhaps connects to my general idiosyncratic distaste for h/c (except in its milder forms). Where many other people see Jack going through horrible things, and bouncing back, and think "WTF, I need to write a fic to fix that", I tend to think, "Cool!" and I wrote a fic that accentuates that.

So those are my top five! I'd love to see more people do this, especially people who've written a ton and want to brag about their absolute best!


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