Zaniida's Fic History(Minimal Summaries)
This page still VERY under construction!!
This page is mostly an overview of my posting history across time; it might be more for my sake than anyone else's, or perhaps you'll find it useful if you want to quickly browse through my work by era, or get an idea of when I started working on certain projects, or find things not covered by the other category pages.
I write Intense Drama and Deep (Nonsexual) Intimacy. Intimacy of the nonsexual kind, I mean; only about 10% of my fics involve sexuality or Ships of any kind. Please be advised that this page clearly marks certain Mature Topics (e.g. rape recovery). Fics marked 🔒 are locked on AO3 (meaning you need an AO3 account to view them); this is typically for reasons of Mature Topics, but sometimes for subtler or more personal reasons, or just an aversion to possible drama from readers who lack the overall context for my work.
(Note: I also update sporadically and flit around among many projects, so it might take months or even years for a given fic to update. If you're particularly bothered by that, best find a different author.)
I really am amazed at the level of complexity and the emotional wallop your writing packs. Let me know when you publish professionally, as I would be willing to pay for something this good in book form!
A note on fan comments
I've tried to condense/reword the comments I've gotten in a way that preserves the original meaning/feel. That might mean fixing a typo, altering the punctuation a bit, or rearranging elements of a larger comment (or set of comments by the same reader on the same fic).
Almost all comments are from my main site, AO3; a couple are from FFN, and one's from Twitter.
Also: I've got a bit of a reputation in the AO3 comments section. As encapsulated by the following fan comics: Doctor Zaniida and Types of Readers: (1) Angst Addicts, (2) Slash Addicts, and (3) Zaniida.
I have a liberal Blanket Policy—I'm never stingy with my ideas, and I love seeing others build off them! If anything here strikes your fancy, feel free to create something based on it. (Exceptions would include group projects, since I can't give blanket permission for work I'm not fully in charge of.)
Hover over (or press on) spoilers to see the contents.
Amateur Hour (The Time Before AO3)
I don't suppose many would be interested in what I was up to before AO3, but I've been writing fics since I was little -- before I even knew the terminology.
I suppose I'd separate this into three basic sections: pre-teen, teen/college, and the Great Creative Drought.
I recall writing up variations of a couple books I enjoyed, most notably The Ordinary Princess, which I think would count as rudimentary fanfiction. There wasn't much in the way of creative transformation, but it was an important first step.
I used to have a GeoCities account and an Angelfire account, and posted my fledgling fics there -- mostly unfinished but with Big Plans. When I find decent drafts among my old notes, I sometimes post them under my Amateur Hour series, 'cuz why not. A couple of entries have also made it there in Notfic form, because I did like the idea I came up with even if I'll never be in the right headspace to actually write them. At present, the Amateur Hour series includes the following fandoms:
- Exile (aka Avernum) (abandoned)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (one-shot)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney) (two fics, both abandoned)
- Stargate SG-1 with Diagnosis Murder (notfic)
- Sailor Moon with Ronin Warriors (crossover, WIP)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (notfic)
I think the Turtles one was meant to be the start of a longer piece, but I no longer recall the details, and it's decent on its own. The SM/RW fic is the big epic piece from this era; I have several more chapters in my notes, and expect to post them eventually, possibly with some new material, depending on how I feel once I get that far. It really meant a lot to me at the time and still does.
In addition to regular fics, I spent most of my college years drafting and redrafting play and screenplay versions of my favorite books. None of them ever got close to a fully realized script (I really sucked at condensing). Interestingly enough, a couple of the works I'd been trying to adapt did eventually become real movies -- most notably Howl's Moving Castle and Battle Angel Alita. How different they are from the way College-Age Me tried to craft them at the time!
Oh, and I made Original-Character add-ons to a couple series (ElfQuest and The X-Men), and played around with my "teams" a lot, daydreaming how they'd interact with the canonical characters. The elves eventually morphed into my own series (heavily based on, yet not connected to, its inspiration), which might eventually see the light of day, who knows.
The Great Creative Drought
After some family issues tanked my mental health, I spent about fifteen years with my batteries low enough that I didn't create anything of significance. Basically the only writing I did was a handful of NaNoWriMos (maybe half of which I passed, I don't recall). That section of my life is a bit of a fog; I can recall a few things that happened, but most of it is vague and hard to pin down. (And I wasn't even on drugs -- prescription or otherwise! Mental health issues can really muck with your memory.)
My creative hiatus ended when I decided to start posting something -- anything -- on YouTube. My first attempts were poor and sporadic, but they got me going, and some months later I started taking the channel seriously and posting six videos a week. Most of them were tiny game clips, but I mostly succeeded in sticking to a schedule for about two years. Near the end of that, I joined AO3, my focus shifted away from vidding and onto writing, and then, rather shockingly, I attracted a following that quickly became a fanbase.
The First Era: Person of Interest
I started my AO3 career on April 21st, when I posted the first chapter of On the Other Side of the Mirror, a rape recovery fic.
Stats: According to AO3, I've posted just over 700,000 words so far (April 2017–March 2023), and 109,559 of them were posted that first year (April–December 2017). Looks like that amounts to 22 fics (of various sizes, from a Drabble (100 words exactly) to a NaNoWriMo win (53,000 words)) either posted or started during 2017. Of those, looks like 9 are one-shots, and I might count two standalone chapters of Bargains and the first Typo-Spotter Reward Drabble for a dozen one-shots. The chapterfics that got completed are two dark little Drabble-Chapter Fics (Man, on the Inside and Harold Would Have Thanked Him) and Strip Search. I wouldn't count Best-Case Scenario because it's a Hiatus Fic, meant to have more updates eventually.
2017: The Year of Weekly Updates
Given the dates, I was apparently attempting to establish a schedule of posting once a week -- and surprisingly, I seem to have managed it through at least the end of the year! Maybe the experience holding down a schedule on YouTube actually helped me here. I generally posted on Monday, sometimes Sunday or Tuesday; a few things got posted later in the week. I notice one missed week here, as well as a couple longer gaps (generally because I'd posted late one week).
Man, I miss being able to update consistently. But let us enjoy this history for what it is:
- Prior to April: I started on Waif
- April 1st (Sat): I reach out to a beta reader
- ~April 8th (Sat): Started writing Incompatible
- ~April 15th (Sat): Started writing Mirror
- April 21st (Fri) - On the Other Side of the Mirror🔒 chp 1
- April 24th (Mon) - Mirror chp 2
- WIP So Far: 1
- May 1st (Mon) - Incompatible🔒
- May 8th (Mon) - Mirror chp 3
- May 14th (Sun) - The Nerve to Speak (a pantoum)
- May 22nd (Mon) - Strip Search chps 1 and 2
- May 29th (Mon) - Mirror chp 4
- WIP So Far: 2
- June 8th (Thurs) - Harold's Nightmare
- (missed a week?)
- June 20th (Tue) - Mirror chp 5
- June 26th (Mon) - A Better Way🔒
- WIP So Far: Still 2
- July 3rd (Mon) - Man, on the Inside chp 1
- July 10th (Mon) - Man, on the Inside chp 2
- July 16th (Sun) - Harold Would Have Thanked Him chp 1
- July 17th (Mon) - Strip Search chp 3
- July 24th (Mon) - Mirror chp 6
- July 30th (Sun) - Strip Search chp 4
- WIP So Far: 2 (+1)
- Completed: Man, on the Inside
- Aug 5th (Sat) - Best-Case Scenario chp 1
- (long gap)
- Aug 17th (Thurs) - Three Minutes & Typo-Spotter Reward Drabble #1
- Aug 21st (Mon) - The Great Mistake🔒
- Aug 27th (Sun) - Strip Search chp 5
- Aug 31st (Thurs) - A Room with Five Fans🔒 chp 1
- WIP So Far: 3 (M, BCS, 5F) (+1)
- Completed: Strip Search
- Sept 7th (Thurs) - Strange Bedfellas chp 1
- Sept 11th (Mon) - BCS chp 2
- Sept 19th (Tue) - Bargains chp 0
- Sept 24th (Sun) - Thanked Him chp 2
- Sept 25th (Mon) - Bargains chp 1
- Sept 30th (Sat) - Mirror chp 7
- WIP So Far: 5 (+1)
- Oct 1st (Sun) - Bespoke
- (missed a week?)
- Oct 14th-17th (Sat-Tue) - To Be There in Time (TBTiT) chps 1-4
- Oct 21st (Sat) - Nippitaty chp 1
- Oct 24th (Tue) - Bargains chp 4a & preview of chp 2
- Oct 28th (Sat) - I don't want this body to hurt anyone
- Oct 31st (Tue) - Nippitaty chp 2
- WIP So Far: 7 (+1)
- NANOWRIMO 2017
- Nov 2nd-30th: Manipulations
- WIP So Far: 7 (+2)
- Dec 1st (Fri) - BCS chp 3
- Dec 4th (Mon) - Buying Time chp 1
- (long gap)
- Dec 16th (Sat) - Nippitaty chp 3
- (long gap)
- Dec 25th (Mon) - Bedfellas chp 2 & Retrospective: Water
- Dec 31st (Sun) - Thanked Him chp 3
- WIP So Far: 8 (+1)
- Completed: Harold Would Have Thanked Him
Note: The initial +1 is because I never at any point thought of Harold Would Have Thanked Him as incomplete; the Muse simply added new chapters whenever the mood struck her, and it always felt like that was the last one. The second is because Manipulations is the only fic I knew from the beginning that I'd never complete, so it doesn't count as a WIP.
Summary of 2017
So here are the fics I posted in 2017:
- The Nerve to Speak
- Harold's Nightmare
- A Better Way
- Three Minutes (birthday prompt)
- The Greak Mistake
- I don't want this body to hurt anyone
- Retrospective: Water
This includes Drabble-Chapter Fics.
- Strip Search (five chapters)
- Man, on the Inside (two chapters)
- Harold Would Have Thanked Him (three chapters)
Also, Best-Case Scenario (three chapters), while technically a WIP, sits in limbo as a Hiatus Fic (possibly complete as-is).
- On the Other Side of the Mirror (7 chps)
- A Room with Five Fans (1 chp)
- Strange Bedfellas (2 chps)
- Bargains (3 chps)
- To Be There in Time (4 chps)
- Nippitaty (3 chps)
- Buying Time (1 chp)
And Manipulations (32 chps), which will remain unfinished though I might add more eventually.
Lastly, the first Typo-Spotter Reward Drabble.
Breakdown by Month
So that's the overview; time for the breakdown:
Prior to April 21st
On March 12th, 2017, I joined Archive of Our Own. I'd been reading fics for ages and it's long been my preferred site, so it seems I was getting ready to start posting fics there, but hadn't yet gotten anything ready to post.
As for the surrounding events prior to either (a) private messages or (b) actually posting fics, I don't have timestamps to go by; I can't even locate the message by which my friend pulled me into Person of Interest in the first place. But the general order of events went like this:
- I decide it's time to start writing fics again
- I plan out my epic Slayers fic
- My friend sends me a link to Dangerous If Unbound
- I get thoroughly hooked on POI fics
- The Muse decides to seize the opportunity
- I start writing Waif
- I decide it's time to seek out a beta reader
Slayers fic, you say?
I've got an epic tale in the works where Lina gets hit with a spell and Xellos has to go to incredible lengths to save her. I've planned out a ton of detail but haven't really had the time/focus to sit down and write up a draft, let alone polish it enough to post it.
Hooked on POI?
My friend thought I'd already seen the show. I don't typically read fics outside the fandoms I enjoy; reading DIU was unusual for me, but I took her recommendation and gave it a shot. It was my introduction to the Dom/sub AU as well as to POI itself. Harold gets called by his surname enough in the early chapters that I honestly thought his name was Wren, which changed the way I pictured him.
That first fic led me to other fics in the fandom, and I quickly got a good view of Harold Finch as a character. John Reese, not so much -- there's a lot to the portrayal that doesn't come through in fanfiction (it's hard to describe in words) -- but Harold, I thought I could pull off. And hey, how often do I get to write a fic for a show I haven't yet seen?
Y'know, it feels like God led me directly to the right person. The day I decided to look, AO3's site was down, so I went over to Fanfiction.net instead. I skimmed through an unfamiliar section of a site I rarely use, went through a couple pages of possible beta readers who didn't seem right for what I needed, and then spotted one that looked like the right details. She was the first I messaged, and she responded right away so I didn't need to message anyone else.
She'd recently rewatched the show, so it was fresh in her mind. She wasn't turned off by the mature content I intended to cover, she instantly enjoyed my writing, and we quickly meshed as friends, including our sense of humor and interest in random bizarre chat-based roleplay.
Though her current work schedule has prevented us from scheduling get-togethers (whether for writing or for gaming or even for just chat), she remains a dear friend and I am forever grateful for her morale boost during those crucial early years.
After that, I wound up shelving the fic I'd started writing in favor of two other fics inspired by the works I'd been reading, in particular a pair of rapefics that together sparked my Muse. I never would have predicted that kind of fic as the way I'd start my AO3 career, but it resonated with a surprising number of readers.
And really, that's all I want for my writing: to make a powerful positive impact in the world. So the feedback I got was both gratifying and humbling, and exactly what I needed to improve my mental health over time, so the benefit goes both ways.
Friday, April 21st, 2017
On the 21st of April, I posted the first chapter of my rape recovery fic, On the Other Side of the Mirror🔒, which remains my highest-voted and most-subscribed POI fic (though it seems to have been outpaced in most other regards by Obedience Is Bliss). After 12 chapters and nearly 40,000 words, I have only a handful of chapters left before this first piece of the story concludes and I get started on the sequel, which will deal with the aftermath of that first harrowing night.
I managed to post seven chapters the first year, then three more in 2018 and two more in 2019:
- April 21st (2017)
- April 24th
- May 8th
- May 29th
- June 20th
- July 24th
- Sept 30th
- Feb 16th (2018)
- April 17th
- April 20th
- August 25th (2019)
- Sept 30th
And then none at all for 2020-2022 (why, it's almost like my Muse went on vacation while the rest of the world went shopping for handbaskets).
I do have a partial chapter written, and a good idea of how to conclude this part of the tale, plus ideas about where the sequel is headed, but a lot of it is being played by ear and I unfortunately don't have access to a steady beta reader at the moment.
Now that I had my foot in the door, I started working on smaller pieces, starting with Incompatible🔒 on the first of May.
A week later, I guess I hadn't managed to write anything in POI or even any fandom I was regularly interested in, because I posted an old poem I'd written about Sganarelle, the servant of Dom Juan. I had been hooked on that character since seeing the play during college, and I'm proud of the pantoum I managed (it's a difficult poetic form), but it feels like the odd man out here.
Y'know what might've been really nice at some point? A buffer of fic updates that were ready to go but not posted. Alas, I never managed to delay gratification enough to establish such a buffer. The fact that I was trying to stick to a weekly schedule (as evidenced by this poem's entry in the timeline) and yet didn't wait between the first and second chapters of Strip Search (posted on the same day) is just a taste of the scheduling issues to come -- and the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evidence of my Executive Function disorder (ADHD or not).
Given all that, it's kinda shocking that I did manage to hold down an update a week through to the new year.
Anyway, May 22nd started Strip Search (with two chapters posted in the same day), which I updated twice in July (17th and 30th) and then completed on August 27th. That's just over three months to complete a five-chapter, 15k fic, with a fully formed cathartic ending. This one feels like a complete success, a fully realized fic, and I'm intensely proud of how it turned out.
Fan Reaction and Related Piece
Despite knowing how it would end, you're able to keep up an impressive amount of tension throughout the fic - what information Harold has to reveal, whether he can figure out where John's sticking points are and bring him round. ... You have an enviable talent for mapping out the emotional and psychological landscape of the characters and plotting a compelling path through it.
I later (March 4th, 2018) posted a version of my notes for part of the fic, as they're in an amusing format. Also, the fic clocks in at an average of 3000 words per chapter, which would become a common metric for my chapterfics.
June began my Episode Perspectives -- basically the way I'd been analyzing Harold's thought processes during a couple key scenes that I'd gotten fixated on. I like how they turned out, though they didn't seem to get as much notice as the less cerebral scenarios.
The two perspectives came out just a couple weeks apart: Harold's Nightmare (June 8th) and A Better Way🔒 (June 26th). The former is simply Harold's viewpoint during a canonical scene, while the latter takes a different canonical scene and spins it around for a different tactic. (The version I posted to Fanfiction.net omits the darker original ending by stopping short at what still feels like a reasonable conclusion to the scenario.)
In July, I started exploring Drabbles, starting July 3rd with Man, on the Inside, which I concluded a week later on July 10th. It's challenging to create chilling horror in just 200 words but I think I pulled it off. (I'd later revisit a similar AU in I don't want this body to hurt anyone.)
Wait, what's a Drabble?
One hundred words exactly.
Which means a Double Drabble is 200 words, a Half-Drabble is 50 words, a Pentadrabble is 500 words, etc. Hitting that exact word count is the name of the game. I'm not sure if anyone else uses Drabble Chapters or Drabble Sections the way I do, but it's in the same vein.
Some people use "drabble" to mean "a short fic", but honestly, we have words for short fics. I happen to like "ficlet" myself. I admit I can't easily think of an alternate term for "a short meandering/stream-of-consciousness fic without much plot", and so I begrudgingly grant its usage there (as I am clearly the Arbiter of Acceptable English Usage and my word is law), and I might be okay with distinguishing them by capitalization ("drabble" can be a short plotless fic, while "Drabble" means a challenge form based around a word count of precisely 100).
While I'm at it, Pagefic is the term I use for the words you can fit on a single page (in whichever format you're writing in), and Pagefic Chapters follows. I think Pagefics are easier to craft than Drabbles, because condensing is a skill that takes a while to master, and paying attention to word count instead of just writing things down makes it harder for the words to flow. But going "whoops, too many lines, let's get rid of something" or "augh, just two more lines, let's add detail somewhere" is pretty easy beginner stuff, so it's the easiest challenge form.
On July 16th, I posted the first drabble chapter of Harold Would Have Thanked Him. I don't recall if I'd initially planned for it to be two chapters or only one, but the second one got posted on September 24th, and at that point I thought it was complete.
It wasn't complete, was it?
Some time later, my Muse got a bee in her bonnet and spun out, nearly whole cloth, the third and final chapter, which I posted at the end of the year (December 31st exactly), an update that turned around the whole context of the first two chapters. I'm actually a little miffed because I think they did just fine on their own, but the third does make for a good ending as well.
August is my birth month, and I started a couple traditions:
- Birthday Prompt (two weeks before my birthday)
- On my birthday, a gift for my fans / the fandom
(I also tried to start my Typo-Spotter Reward Drabble, which... proved to be more difficult than I could have imagined.)
The initial offer was this: If you spotted a typo in my work, I'd write you a Drabble of a non-main character. It's just a hundred words, should be easy, right? Shouldn't even take an hour to write one.
I managed one. Every time I've tried to pick up the second one (originally claimed on September 20, 2017), it's fought me. How the heck can I fail to write one hundred words for over five years, you ask? Wish I could tell you; my brain is weird and refuses to be forced. So the ficlet sits in limbo, a constant unfinished pressure in my head 😖
But I hope to complete it. Someday 😭
Anyway, on August 5th I posted Best-Case Scenario, which I updated on Sept 11th before bringing it to a soft conclusion on December 1st.
What's a "soft conclusion"?
Well, I never intended to leave John in that state, so I'd planned on at least a few more chapters. However, I have way too many WIP open to finish them in a timely manner -- possibly not ever, especially given the rate at which my brain opens new projects coupled with the rate at which I get distracted by new shiny things (see the state of this website if you need further proof) -- so some projects just have to be pushed aside. And it's best to do that with pieces that feel like they could be finished, right? Pieces that feel like they could be left as-is, maybe not everything they could be, but good enough.
When a piece feels like it could be left as-is indefinitely, I call that a "Hiatus Fic". BCS is a Hiatus Fic, and likely to remain so unless (a) the Muse gets it in her head to randomly add an update or (b) someone takes their votes from filling my July Prompt and votes this piece onto the Voted Focus Fic list.
In the meantime, I don't feel too bad about letting it sit just the way it is.
On August 17th -- precisely two weeks before my birthday -- I posted my first Birthday Prompt, Three Minutes (379 words). The idea with the timing was to give people a chance to write something small, but not enough time for them to get entrapped by a long, convoluted piece. I'd hoped that people would post them on my birthday, so I'd wake up to "presents"; it didn't happen that way, but I still got five fills with a variety of approaches to the prompt and I loved seeing what people came up with.
I'll summarize in a fandom-independent way: Joe calls Bob to say that he knows he's about to get kidnapped/captured, and there's only a few minutes before it happens. Bob is not in a position to do anything about it right now; maybe he'll be able to free Joe later, but right now all they can do is talk. What does Bob say to Joe during those three minutes?
The original was, of course, Harold Finch calling John Reese, and Harold has a history of getting kidnapped. But consider how it might go in other fandoms:
- Tony Stark calls Pepper (or vice versa)
- Dean calls Sam
- Cecil calls Carlos
- Spencer Reid calls Hotch
- Daniel Jackson calls Carter
It could even be magical or telepathic instead of a phone call: Loki reaching out to Thor right before Odin sends him away. Heck, there's a canonical example in ElfQuest where Scouter and Dewshine briefly communicate before they can't risk further sending because Winnowill is prowling around and could use it to track Dewshine down or attack her.
Feel free to make it a fate other than kidnapping. The new Star Trek films have Spock talking with Kirk as Spock thinks he's about to die, right? (At least, I'm presuming that's the context for the sound bites in one of my workout fanvids.) Leverage has Eliot on the phone with Hardison while Hardison is freaking out about being trapped in a coffin.
The main feeling I was going for was that sense of helplessly watching the time tick away to an inevitable fate, albeit (in the case of kidnapping) a temporary one, and attempting to comfort the one about to go through it.
(On that same day (August 17th), I also posted the first Typo-Spotter Reward Drabble, as mentioned above.)
Then, on August 21st, I posted The Great Mistake🔒, which remains my longest one-shot at 10,201 words. It's a lengthy, angsty discussion about Consent Issues -- in particular, the distinction between Consent and Desire -- and it's the only time that I have, in my own writing (not counting group projects or podfics etc.), depicted a positive, ongoing, fully consensual slash relationship (and sexual negotiation, at that, although no sex happens in the fic itself). I don't write much sex-related content, but the point needed to be made (that we can consent to things we don't want or like, and that we can refuse to consent to things we do want or like).
Finally, on my birthday (August 31st), I posted a present for my biggest supporters: A Room with Five Fans🔒, which stars the five readers whose support most encouraged me during those early days. This does, technically, make it an RPF, but unlike most RPF it's with the full consent of those depicted, and in four out of five cases with their enthusiastic participation in helping me figure out what they're like in person so that I can depict them fairly accurately.
I've planned for the fic to have five chapters, but the pressure of "getting it right" got to me, and I've been unable to make progress. It's a piece where I really do need to be in the right headspace, load a bunch of data into my brain, and ideally have a beta reader helping me with the details, so it might be a while. But I do have a general idea of where I want to go (even if I'm mostly playing the circumstances by ear), and a fair idea of the ending I'm working toward.
On September 7th, I posted the first chapter of Strange Bedfellas, which I later updated on Christmas that year. It was originally meant to be two chapters total, but it kinda grew a bit, and now it's planned to take four chapters total, if I can manage to wrangle the next chapter into some semblance of order (I've written a lot, but it's a total mess in terms of how it all connects and flows).
On September 19th, I posted the first installment of Bargains, which is a 5+1 Fic except with the +1 first (and labeled "chapter zero"). In retrospect, given the length of the pieces, it might've been better to make them separate entries, but I bundled them all together since they're all variations on a single prompt from a single scene. The zeroth chapter (Lines in the Sand) is a standalone, at about 9000 words. The "first" chapter (Luxuries, posted Sept 25th) is also a standalone, at about 1700. The next two I haven't gotten to yet, although I gave a little preview version of one (Information, preview posted Oct 24th). The "fourth" (Touch) got split into two pieces (about 9000 words total, posted Oct 24th and updated Feb 7th, 2018) with presumably a third if I ever get around to it. I haven't yet figured out what the final chapter will be.
Most 5+1 fics put the +1 at the end, right? Well, mine has the +1 at the beginning, and it felt right to label that 0 so that the 5 could be 1-5 instead of 2-6. Of course, I'd also intended to make each installment be a single chapter, and that didn't work out, but eh.
My general principle for writing is that anything of substantial length/complexity should come to a Positive Ending. This means:
- Good characters get good endings
- Bad characters get bad endings or, preferably, Redemption Arcs
- Nobody gets away with being unduly nasty to those who don't deserve it
So for most of my fics, you can rest assured that the characters you love are going to be dealt with justly.
That isn't true during October 😈
October content, or "Creepyfest" as I like to call it, is one of my favorite times of year. I love to delve into the darker and more disturbing side of scenarios, and really take the gloves off, ramping up the suspense because you truly don't know if characters are going to come out the other side intact, sane, or even alive.
And I started out strong that first year, on October 1st directly, kicking off my first Creepyfest with Bespoke, nearly 6000 words of creepy horror in an attempt at a Lovecraftian scenario. It appears that creepy fics are one thing I'm particularly skilled with, if the comments are anything to go by 😈
Then, I did skip a week, but I somehow managed to piece together four chapters of my next piece, which got posted on consecutive days from October 14th through the 17th: To Be There in Time, a "you can't fix it" fic where Harold Finch tries to change his life so that a certain someone's final fate is better. Later updates to this fic were on January 13th and August 21st (of 2018).
Then I started Nippitaty, on October 21st; the second chapter got posted on Halloween, a fitting end to Creepyfest that year. The third chapter came on December 16th, but the fourth didn't show up until two years later (October 11th, 2019). It took a while but I finally figured out how I want the fic to end; but that necessitated laying some groundwork that couldn't work in the fic itself, so in 2022 I wrote a side fic, Shadow of the Angel's Share, which I posted on January 10th, updated on October 11th, and concluded on Halloween that year. And now that that part has been laid out... I wound up expanding the story a bit beyond what I'd intended, and will be adding one or two more chapters before the end. (The end should still amount to what I had planned, it's just that some additional material will be developed prior to that point.)
The other piece I managed that October was I don't want this body to hurt anyone (900 words), on the 28th -- sort of an expansion on the same theme as Man, on the Inside.
I'd beaten NaNoWriMo a few times in the past -- maybe half of the times I'd tried it -- but I had a habit of procrastinating on the planning stage and taking an extra week after the start of the event before I even started the writing process (meaning I had to manage 50,000 words in 23 days instead of 30).
For this event, I decided I would spur myself on by posting updates daily. Whatever I happened to get written was what would get posted. No time for editing later -- it was going live.
(So of course I started on the second day, but that's still earlier than usual.)
The scenario I was working from was my favorite game at the time (and still ranks high): Saints Row IV. Imagine getting captured by aliens, along with all your allies, and getting stuffed into the Matrix. Then you figure out how to hack the simulation and get digital superpowers, which you use to try to locate and free your friends from their personal nightmares.
From that premise, I just winged it and wrote as fast as I could, wherever the Muse took me -- and as one of my readers pointed out, it's got a very different energy from my norm. Over the course of the month, I managed... three updates on the 6th, three on the 7th, four on the 8th, one on the 9th, two on the 10th, a string for 11-12-13, two on the 14th, one on the 15th, three on the 17th, a string on 18-19-20, a string on 23-24-25-26, one on the 28th, and one on the 30th.
From the beginning, I noted that it was far too large a concept to complete -- heck, at 32 chapters and over 53,000 words, it's not yet to the midpoint. So while I'd like to add some more eventually, it will remain forever unfinished. Still, it's a fun ride, and my longest fic so far: Manipulations.
A year or three later, I would figure out that since Creepyfest is such a big event for me, November needs to be my vacation month (no significant writing), but since I'd spent all my energy on NaNoWriMo this year, I didn't have much left for December fics. Still, I did at least make progress on the first series I'd ever planned: The Many Kidnappings of Harold P. Finch. Strip Search had been the first fic, and on December 4th I posted the first chapter of the next fic in the series, Buying Time.
Sounds like an awesome series!
I know, right?! I had such big plans! Each canonical episode, I'd look for a place Harold might get kidnapped, and write that kidnapping. And any episode in which he does get kidnapped in canon, or anything similar, I'd write an AU version. Kidnap scenarios are some of my favorite tropes, so it'd be great fun!
Sadly, my brain isn't great at bringing projects to completion. I got 1.5 fics into that series before distractions and other projects pulled me away, and despite bringing that fic out time and again, I haven't managed to make progress beyond the second chapter (posted on January 31st, 2018).
So the fic sits in limbo, waiting for that final chapter (I had to cut it down from five chapters to three because I couldn't pull off a longer fic), and the series waits to find out if I can manage any further entries. Which is sad, because Buying Time got the second-highest votes on my Voted Focus Fics, so it's one of my highest priorities and it bugs me that I can't make it work.
Though hey, I did manage to get a start on the AU episodes earlier than they'd appear if I followed the normal sequence -- Bespoke is the first fic in the AU series, and I knocked it out of the park ^_^
On Christmas that year (2017), I posted my first retrospective, Retrospective: Water. This began a set of retrospectives, initially planned to be every year but (surprise, surprise) a bit more sporadic than that. Each piece has a double meaning, one in-universe and one describing the anxieties or frustrations of the previous year (or longer period) for me as a writer. They've been challenging, fun, and cathartic to write.
The Year of Prompts
On the first of January, I started posting one prompt at the start of every month, hoping to encourage other fans to write fills. I'm pretty sure I'd tried to use the site mechanics prior to that point, but nothing came of it, so I decided to just post little fics and see who might respond.
The other notable aspect of this year was me signing up for two Fic Exchanges back-to-back. The work that came out of that is some of my best, but it nearly killed me trying to meet deadlines like that, and I'm not likely to try again any time soon.
To recap from 2017: I had, despite my best intentions, started up eight Chapterfics -- one of which (Best-Case Scenario) I'd decided to make a Hiatus Fic, which still left seven WIP:
- On the Other Side of the Mirror (7 chps)
- A Room with Five Fans (1 chp)
- Strange Bedfellas (2 chps)
- Bargains (3 chps)
- To Be There in Time (4 chps)
- Nippitaty (3 chps)
- Buying Time (1 chp)
It may come as no surprise that, five years later, not a single one of these has been completed. Let's see which fics I add to the pile!
Note: About half the Monthly Prompts got fills, and I had pledged to write a follow-up for each that did, but I'm not counting that under the normal WIP counter here.
- January 1st (Mon): January Promptly Arrives (renamed Bound to Fall in 2020)
- Jan 13th (Sat): To Be There in Time chp 5
- Jan 31st (Wed): Buying Time chp 2
- WIP So Far: 7
- Feb 1st (Thurs): February Soon Appears (follow-up is separate)
- Feb 7th (Wed): Bargains: Touch part 2
- Feb 16th (Fri): Mirror chp 8
- WIP So Far: Still 7
- March 1st (Thurs): March Comes Barreling In (updated March 1, 2022)
- March 4th (Sun): Strip Search (Abridged)
- March 17th (Sat): The Fight
- March 26th (Mon): The Toll chp 1
- WIP So Far: 8
- April 1st (Sun): Amorous Fancies and April Flounces By (a 12-word prompt)
- April 17th (Tue): Mirror chp 9
- April 20th (Fri): Mirror chp 10
- April 21st (Sat): Amateur Hour (two entries) and Some Random Neighbor
- April 24th (Tue): Amateur Hour (two HoND pieces)
- WIP So Far: Still 8
- May 2nd (Wed): May Hesitates to Join
- May 3rd (Thurs): The Toll chp 2
- May 4th (Fri): A Fugitive in Stardew Valley (transcript #1)
- May 8th (Tue): Fugitive transcript #2
- May 9th (Wed): The Toll chp 3
- May 25th (Fri): Five Moments of Intimacy (all five chapters) and FMI Short Shorts
- May 26th (Sat): Fluff Drabbles (all five chapters)
- WIP So Far: Still 8
- June 1st (Fri): June Unexpectedly Arises
- June 7th (Thurs): Five Moments of Interest (POI Main Cast) chps 1-2
- June 9th (Sat): Numb Too Long (all 16 chapters)
- June 14th (Thurs): Five Moments Lost (Welcome to Night Vale)
- June 15th (Fri): The Toll chp 4 and Fugitive transcript #3
- WIP So Far: 9
- Fic Exchange Piece: Numb Too Long
- July 1st (Sun): July Goes Nuts (fan art and the first July Prompt)
- July 13th-14th? (Fri-Sat): Obedience Is Bliss (Don't Fight It)
- WIP So Far: Still 9
- Fix Exchange Piece: Obedience Is Bliss
- Aug 1st (Wed): August Zooms In and Muffled Loneliness
- Aug 10th (Fri): The Toll chp 5
- Aug 12th (Sun): Five Moments in the Park chp 1
- Aug 13th (Mon): Five Memories of Intimacy (all five chapters)
- Aug 15th (Wed): Look, John, Just Play Along
- Aug 21st (Tue): To Be There in Time chp 6 and Park chp 2
- Aug 31st (Fri): My First Podfics! Contact (in Japanese!) and Promptly Recorded (a set of four short podfics)
- WIP So Far: 10 (and a series, and an unfinished podfic)
- Sept 2nd (Sun): September Lets Go (The Plot Bunny Purge)
- Sept 6th (Thurs): A Conversation with Miss Kittiwake (both chapters)
- Sept 7th (Fri): Podfic The Void and Fugitive transcript #4
- Sept 30th (Sun): Unbearably Fluffy (An Apology in Advance) (all five chapters)
- WIP So Far: Still 10
- Oct 1st (Mon): Unseen Things chp 1, Leaving the Birdhouse, and October Feels Odd
- Oct 9th (Tue): Unseen Things chp 2
- Oct 10th (Wed): Park chp 3
- Oct 12th (Fri): Unseen Things chp 3
- Oct 19th (Fri): Unseen Things chp 4
- Oct 26th (Fri): Unseen Things chp 5
- Oct 27th (Sat): Madcoil (a filk cover song)
- Oct 30th (Tue): Unseen Things chps 6-7
- WIP So Far: 11
- Nov 1st (Thurs): November Shuffles the Deck
- Nov 13th (Tue): Unseen Things chp 8
- Nov 14th (Wed): The Problem with Convenient Apps
- WIP So Far: Still 11
- Dec 1st (Sat): December Acts Selflessly
- Dec 14th (Fri): Little Christmas Intimacies (fan art)
- Dec 25th (Tue): Squidilarities, Costumes, Joanna and Carlee, and Last Broadcast (a podfic)
- Dec 31st (Mon): Retrospective: Air
- WIP So Far: Still 11
So here are the fics I posted or updated in 2018 (not counting the four Amateur Hour fics, which are just windows into things I was writing a couple decades prior):
- Some Random Neighbor (Octodad)
- Look, John, Just Play Along
- The Problem with Convenient Apps
- Joanna and Carlee
- Retrospective: Air
Plus the Abridged version of Strip Search, and two Drabbles: The Fight and Amorous Fancies (the latter being my April Fools' Day fic for the year).
- Numb Too Long
- Obedience Is Bliss (Don't Fight It)
- A Conversation with Miss Kittiwake
Plus these completed Five Moments of (Nonsexual) Intimacy fics (typically five short chapters posted in a single day):
- Five Moments of Intimacy
- FMI Short Shorts
- Fluff Drabbles
- Five Moments Lost (Welcome to Night Vale, inverted form)
- Muffled Loneliness (inverted form)
- Five Memories of Intimacy
- Unbearably Fluffy (An Apology in Advance)
Including which ones got fills and which I've already written follow-ups for.
- Bound to Fall (originally January Promptly Arrives)
- One fill.
- On October 30th, 2020, I added a chapter, fulfilling my pledge (albeit a bit late).
- February Soon Appears
- Three fills.
- On Feb 13th, 2022, I posted With Me in the Darkness, the follow-up for this prompt.
- March Comes Barreling In
- No fills.
- On March 1st, 2022, I added a chapter with dark implications for our heroes.
- April Flounces By
- Three fills.
- I hope to post a follow-up this year (2023).
- May Hesitates to Join
- No fills.
- June Unexpectedly Arises
- Two fills.
- July Goes Nuts -- my first posted fan art!
- Five fills.
- August Zooms In
- No fills.
- September Lets Go (The Plot Bunny Purge)
- No fills.
- On October 17th, 2021, I added another Notfic chapter anyway.
- October Feels Odd
- Two fills.
- November Shuffles the Deck
- No fills.
- December Acts Selflessly
- No fills, as far as I know.
Open Chapterfics (WIP)
Two unfinished FMI fics: Five Moments of Interest (POI Main Cast) (2/7 chapters) and Five Moments in the Park (3/5). In addition, these Chapterfics were either started or updated this year:
- On the Other Side of the Mirror (3 new chps = 10 total)
- Bargains (1 new chp = 4 total)
- To Be There in Time (2 new chps = 6 total)
- Buying Time (1 new chp = 2 total)
- The Toll (5 chps)
- Unseen Things (8 chps)
And, of course, the WIP that didn't even see an update this year:
- A Room with Five Fans (1/5 chps)
- Strange Bedfellas (2/4 chps)
- Nippitaty (3/5 chps)
As of the start of 2023, the first two still haven't seen an update, but Nippitaty got updated once (4/5 chps done), and recently my notes expanded it to 6 or 7 chapters total.
Things that aren't fics:
- A Fugitive in Stardew Valley (transcripts for my Let's Play video series)
- Podfics! Contact, Too Late Now, Rejection, He Would Have Liked You, The Void
- A podfic excerpt from a longer fic: Difficult to Name (aka Titles Are Difficult)
- Last Broadcast: My first fully acted podfic, complete with sound effects!
- Leaving the Birdhouse, written by me and performed by DesireeArmfeldt
- Madcoil, a cover song of the ElfQuest filk song Nightcrawler (about the monster Madcoil)
2018 by Month
January 20182019: Mirror: Aug 25th and Sept 30th Nippitaty chp 4: Oct 11th, 2019
A couple more months of POI as my main fandom before I'll get sucked into the MCU. Let's see how this went...**2019** Jan 1: Twerpsitting (Monthly Birthday Prompts for 2019), which later saw Sims 3 characters (9/1, 9/24, 2020/3/31, 4/27, 7/12, 7/13) Jan 28: Fanvid (Saints 9 to 5) --originally posted Nov 5, 2016 Feb 14: Everybody Wants Finch chp 1 Feb 15: Everybody Wants Finch chp 2 Feb 25: Truths Unwhispered chp 1 Feb 28: Shared Spirits chp 1
- March 29th (Fri): Acceptable Loss chp 1
- April 1st (Mon): Fledgling Avengers
- April 10th (Wed): Acceptable Loss chp 2
- April 17th (Wed): Acceptable Loss chp 3
- April 21st (Sun): The Fate of Elias (fan art)
- April 24th (Wed): Acceptable Loss chp 4
- April 29th (Mon): Acceptable Loss chp 5 and Festering chp 1
- May 16th (Thurs): Unforeseen Friendship chp 1
- May 21st (Tue): Breaking Point
- May 29th (Wed): Unforeseen Friendship chp 2
- June 1st (Sat): Moments Like Stardust chp 1
- June 28th (Fri): Park chp 4
- July 1st (Mon): July Prompt 2019: Push Outside Your Comfort Zone
- July 14th (Sun): Unforeseen Friendship chp 3
- July 26th (Fri): Moments Like Stardust chp 2
- July 29th (Mon): Sims 3 POI Cast (Finch and Reese)
- Aug 1st (Thurs): To the Victor, by Consent of the Spoils chp 1
- Aug 9th (Fri): Victor chp 2
- Aug 15th (Thurs): Victor chp 3
- Aug 19th (Mon): Pain Is Inevitable
- Aug 28th (Wed): Tremble and Serve chp 1
- Aug 30th (Fri): Tremble chp 2
- Aug 31st (Sat): Tremble chp 3 and Victor chp 4
- Sept 2nd (Mon): Park chp 5
- Sept 5th (Thurs): Tremble chp 4
- Sept 11th (Wed): Tremble chps 5-6
- Sept 17th (Tue): Victor chp 5
- Sept 23rd (Mon): Avengers Crossword Puzzle
- Sept 26th (Thurs): Tremble chp 7
- Sept 30th (Mon): Tremble chp 8
- Oct 1st (Tue): Unseen Things chp 9 and Before the Norns chp 1
- Oct 8th (Tue): Tremble chp 9
- Oct 10th (Thurs): Reforming chp 1
- Oct 20th (Sun): Reforming chp 2
- Oct 27th (Sun): Victor chp 6
- Oct 31st (THurs): Before the Norns chp 2
- (I took the month off.)
- Dec 9th (Mon): Icy Diplomacy chp 1
- Dec 13th (Fri): Victor chp 7
- Dec 21st (Sat): Worries (CATS - a chapter and a character rundown)
- Dec 25th (Wed): First Christmas Alone
- Dec 26th (Thurs): Cuckoos
- Dec 27th (Fri): Pepper's Five Moments of Intimacy: A Demonstration of Form
- Dec 28th (Sat): Shared Spirits chp 2
- Dec 29th (Sun): Shared Spirits chp 3
- Dec 31st (Tue): Waif chp 1 and Growing Memories chp 1
- January 1st ():