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The Writing You're Most Proud Of

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by BTT, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    Filled with self-hatred and self-doubt as we writers usually turn out to be, there's got to be some passage you can look at think, "Yeah, I nailed that." What's yours?
     
  2. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Headmaster DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    They often say your first work is your best work. This isn’t the best part of the prose, but my god does it capture the spirit and splendour of that glorious time in fanfiction history.


    More seriously, this was my favourite part of my most recent effort.
    I remember one of my rare made-it-to-posting stories having a description of Diagon Alley and Gringotts Bank that I really enjoyed. But basically, everything else I wrote more than five days ago I despise like it’s some cum-crusted sock I just found behind the radiator.

    Edit: apparently the bank description which I remember being very Pratchett I edited out.
    Gosh there’s nothing like this for feeling you’ve actively regressed as a writer. Heh.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  3. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    Wrote this maybe four years ago. I'm particularly proud of it given I'm a repressed Asian man-boy, which means expressing emotion, particularly grief, has always been a challenge for me in writing.

    Grandfather would have loved today's weather, Milly thought as rays of sunlight kissed the skin of her arms and a gentle breeze played with her hair. She felt her eyes dampen as something tugged at her heartstrings.

    "I thought I'd find you here."

    Milly rubbed the moisture out of her eyes, but didn't turn towards the voice. What was the point? She already knew who it was. "What are you doing here?"

    Lelouch was sitting next to her now on the cemented floor. "I thought you could use the company," he said, voice softer than usual. "How are you feeling?"

    She shrugged and hugged her knees closer to her chest. From the corner of her eye, she saw Lelouch's lips turn into a frown. "I'm here if you want to talk about his death or anything really." She felt him squeeze her arm for a moment, quiet falling in between them. It was…nice, just sitting together like this.

    The sun was beginning to peak in the sky, bathing them in a harsher glow when Milly heard a pop. She glanced up to see an umbrella covering the two of them and she gave Lelouch a small smile. Again, he squeezed her arm, before smiling back.

    "It's…it's my fault he died," she finally said, then gave him an expectant look. "What? No 'It's not your fault, Millicent' from you today?" It came out more biting than she intended. He deserved better than that, better from her.

    He opened his mouth then hesitated, as if debating something with himself. "You can't help how you feel," Lelouch said. "It's okay, really," he added with a meaningful glance.

    "If I hadn't been there that day, maybe…maybe he would've lived. There would have been enough space in the Knightmare for him to fit. He shouldn't have had to die, not for me."

    Lelouch didn't answer, but nodded along to her words with a sympathetic look on his face. "Tissue?" he asked, offering a box to her.

    When had she started crying? "Thanks." She sniffed, reaching for a fistful. "You don't have to be here. I know you've got princely business to attend to."

    "It can wait."

    "I'll be fine, really," she said. "I'm a big girl now."

    He looked her in the eye. "I want to be here. The world will get along fine without me. Now, how do you feel about pasta for lunch?" Lelouch stood, closed the umbrella and offered her a hand.

    Milly let herself be pulled to her feet. "Will you bring me somewhere first?"

    "Anywhere."

    "Okay," Milly said.

    "Okay." Lelouch led them to his black Range Rover quietly.

    "No limousine today," she pointed out.

    "I don't actually have one, you know. Clovis just lends me his spare whenever he wants me to look 'dignified'."

    "His spare?" Her brow rose. "How many does he have?"

    Lelouch shrugged.

    "And I suppose the driver came with it?"

    "Naturally," he said, getting behind the wheel.

    "My, what a gentleman," she said, opening the door for herself.

    "Weren't you telling me how you were a 'strong, independent woman' last month?" he said.

    She didn't laugh, but her smile was bright, a bit more genuine, a bit more her. "Take a left here."

    Lelouch obeyed. "So, you still haven't told me where I'm taking you." He slowed down as the car shook slightly because of the small holes in the road, damage from the battle just days ago.

    "You're smart. I'm sure you'll figure it out," she said. "Left at the next corner and a right just after."

    "That's-" Lelouch stopped, his eyes alight. Getting a little slow, Lulu. "Are you sure you want to go there?"

    Milly nodded. They passed by more bombed out buildings and bullet ridden houses and broken streets. "Do you think things will ever get better?"

    "The city's done it before and it was much worse the last time," Lelouch said. Milly hadn't been there for the Invasion of Japan, but she had heard people talk.

    "That took years though."

    Lelouch made a sound of agreement.

    "My parents asked me to move to Pendragon yesterday over the phone," Milly said.

    "Again? That's what, the third time this year?"

    "Yeah."

    "So, what did you tell them?" he asked.

    "I said I'd think about it," she said.

    His face scrunched, she saw that much when he turned towards here. "Eyes on the road," she chided. "Honestly, I don't know how you ever got your license." He took another turn before she could tell him to. Good boy.

    "Perks of royalty," he said with a smirk and she rolled her eyes. "So, are you going?"

    She shrugged. "They're just going to try and marry me off if I do, but the entire family's there. With Grandfather...gone, there's nothing keeping me here anymore."

    "You have a life here. You have friends here."

    "Things change," Milly said softly. "Shirley's parents are thinking of moving, with Area 11 being at the forefront of the war and everything. Nina's off to MIT on a ladderized program in applied physics. Rivalz is off doing God knows what and Kallen, well." The car stopped near some rubble that used to be the factory. Even you are going to be gone soon, Lelouch. Off to lead our armies to victory against the Federation.

    "It looks different," she said, getting out of the car. "Emptier."

    Lelouch followed after her. "We had to move the equipment we could salvage. There wasn't much left after that."

    Milly took a few steps forward then kneeled, brushing away dust from the ground until she felt something cold and smooth. 'Ashford Centennial', the plaque read. "I'm not sure what I want to do now. Being a newscaster for channel 11 doesn't seem so great anymore."

    "He would have wanted you to be happy." Lelouch knelt beside her.

    "Happy," she murmured. What would have made Grandfather happy?

    Somewhat more recently, I like the imagery I conveyed here:

    The Eve of Eminence began as it had each year before, with a splatter of light on a canvas of moonlit clouds. The red lights swirled into a bird of crooked wings struggling to take flight, while the green merged into an unmoving skull, empty sockets peering at the phoenix, the crowd, and Harry himself.

    "Pu-ri-ty!" cried someone in the dense mass of bodies.

    "Pu-ri-ty!" another voice chanted.

    A sea of fists pumped in rhythm with the mantra. "Pu-ri-ty!"

    The skull opened its mouth in answer and out slithered a serpent. Its jaws unhinged to an ever loudening drumbeat coming from every direction equally. The snake lunged, snapping up the sickly bird as soundless fireworks burst into technicolor blotches around them.

    He cheered alongside everyone else.

    A dramatic portrayal of the Battle beneath Nurmengard—complete with an orchestral accompaniment of violins, drums, and cellos ringing in his head—was the first scene he recognized in the starless skies above. To its left a half-built Hogwarts assembled itself; the orchestral replaced by pipes and bodhrans and a cheerful Celtic tune.

    And then there's this.

    Lelouch could pray to the Father Above for justice. He would be meting plenty of it to Lashare and his band of villains. Or perhaps the Mother Above for mercy was more deserving. By her grace, his uncle might yet live. The Warrior for courage in battle, and he knew prayers to the Smith was considered tradition before setting sail. The Maid to keep his sister safe in this den of vipers? Maybe the Crone for guidance in the war to come.

    Instead, Lelouch turned around and faced the Stranger. Neither male, nor female, it stood apart from the rest of the Seven.

    It was the god of death, and few people lighted candles for it.

    Lelouch lit a candle and set it before the altar. “Forgive me, Stranger, for I will sin.

    Honestly, I find my own prose lacklustre. It's serviceable, but not amazing, if you know what I mean. I think my strength in writing lies more in the plot and the worldbuilding, rather than being able to capture that turn-of-phrase, crystallizing that feeling in space-time forever.
     
  4. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I hate everything I've ever written and find it hard to go back and read it and find something that I think truly embodies my own work.
     
  5. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Below is a scene from a competition fic, when they were still held only among Flamingos. I'm rather proud of the whole thing, but I think this is the best piece of it. Tbh I did correct a few things when copypasting it here just now.

    Tick-tick-tick, Ganymede slipped entirely behind Jupiter. Three in the morning, thought Albus, deciphering the hour on his Sol-watch, and pocketed the device. He regarded the scene before him. Quirinus Quirrell had been distributed over the considerable square footage of the torch-lit chamber. Albus nudged the decapitated head with the tip of his shoe, rolling it over, so he could look at what was left of Quirinus' face.

    "What a pity," he said with an air of regret. Quirinus had been a promising young man, though his sanguivoriphobia had become a slight nuisance recently. Not to mention his unprofessional dislike of Severus. Speaking of... "Severus, what do you conclude?"

    Severus ran his tongue over his lips, an eccentricity Albus found rather endearing. "It would sheem Fluffy had gothen tcho him."

    "How fortunate Mr. Potter was able to intervene."

    A grimace flashed on Severus's face. "Yesh, indeed."

    "Better this than him making off with the Stone," Albus said, not without a note of sadness. Such a promising young man. "Oh well. No need to stir up trouble. The Board of Governors has enough work as it is. Severus, you should get some rest. You might pop your stitches. Go and lie down. I’ll have our caretaker clean up here.”

    Albus left the room, compiling a list of trustworthy elves Eggy could enlist to help him. That done, his thoughts strayed in another direction. As regrettable as Quirinus' death was, he counted tonight as a victory. Thanks to Harry Potter's extraordinary courage, another of the Gentleman Assassin's plots had been thwarted.

    Nicolas awaited him in the office, conversing with Fawkes.

    "Ah, Albus. Thank you for seeing me on short notice," said Nicolas.

    Albus glided through the office and sat down in his high-backed chair. He couldn't help but notice that Fawkes looked rather cross with him. Albus understood completely. Nicolas was a marvellous conversationalist.

    "Don't mention it," said Albus. He removed the fist-sized crystal from his robe and placed it on the desk.

    Nicolas picked it up, knocked on it several times, bit down on an edge and lifted it to his eye, looking as if through a spyglass. "Seems to be no worse for wear. Thank you for taking it into deposit for me. I can't bring myself to trust goblins."

    Albus chose not to comment. Nicolas was a passionate proponent of exclusively wizarding banking, and Albus longed for his bed. It was awfully late.

    "No trouble at all, my friend."

    "I hate moving," Nicolas grumbled, hiding the Stone beneath his coat. "True, I only have to do it once every one hundred years, but that only makes me hate it more. Well, until next time, Albus."
     
  6. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Chief Warlock

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    I just found this scene on my drive and was surprised how well it still reads after two years or so. It's unpublished (the start of T7A:3) and a bit longish. To be honest I had all but forgotten about it until I found it today. (It does, of course, make more sense if you're familiar with T7A:1 & 2.)

     
  7. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Bit of a long quote - a whole scene, really - but here you are.

     
  8. Inert

    Inert Order Member

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    To echo @Halt above, I generally find my own writing pedestrian. It gets people from point A to point B, however, with minimal actual mistakes.

    My latest one-shot in the Misc WbA is something I'm fairly proud of. It was a new fandom for me, and I really feel like I nailed the character voices and tone of the world while also putting my own spin on it.
     
  9. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion DLP Supporter

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    I don't know, but I do really enjoy (even if very few other people have) my @Ched challenge story and have reread it a lot.
     
  10. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I still need to finish my challenge story. I like the idea. But ya I loved what you wrote me.
     
  11. Silirt

    Silirt Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    I continue to be proud of one of my competition entries, the one about Hagrid's short time in Azkaban, because of the way enembee responded to it. It's not the most glowing praise I've received, but it's the most encouraging length of text I've read in my life.
    To an extent, everyone's reviews were of a similar tone, but enembee appeared to be the most upset about being blueballed by the story as well as the most helpful for how I fixed the real problems with it. I went in with the problem that there couldn't be a plot or climax to the story because Hagrid couldn't advance the plot at all from within Azkaban, so I tried to have it as a relatively short character study to make up for the fact that nothing could really be accomplished.
    Summary:

    Well... fuck. I honestly don't know what to think with this one. On the one hand, it's honestly a good concept, and it's written pretty well, and it captures much of what makes Hagrid an interesting character. But on the other, just what the fuck was going on?

    I presume that this is supposed to be canonical, but if so, why the fuck don't Hagrid and Sirius recognise each other? They knew each other pretty well, all told. To the point where Hagrid was one of the last friendly faces that Sirius saw before he went to prison (lending him his motorcycle no less), and half a year later Hagrid ends up in the Three Broomsticks calling Sirius a traitorous shit (or words to that effect).

    I suppose there's a slim chance that 12 years in Azkaban has altered Sirius' voice to the point that it's no longer recognisable, but surely Sirius must realise who Hagrid is from his incredibly distinctive accent. I even re-read it to make sure I hadn't missed some subtle clue that their voices were being modulated, or that Sirius had realised who Hagrid was, but was, for reasons known only to himself, keeping quiet on the issue. Then I re-read it with the idea that it might be someone else in the cell, but no, it seems reasonably clear that it is Sirius.

    I am honestly baffled by this; I was all prepared by the end of the first few paragraphs to declare this the slam dunk winner of the competition, and then rather than slamming the ball through the net, you decided to try and bite the rim.

    Developmental

    You honestly have the setup for a pretty great story. Hagrid's experiences in Azkaban are actually an interesting missing section of canon that we never really get closure on. Sirius states that Azakban is easier if you're innocent, because the dementor's can't take that thought away, and so the juxtaposition of Hagrid's stay should be interesting stuff.

    However, you never really get around to capitalising on it. You wind up for some epiphany, or an emotional pay off, and then the punch doesn't land. It's like 5,000 words of foreplay that leave you absolutely blue-balled at the end.

    I am so fucked up by this story, I'm not even sure I can articulate it. Don't get me wrong, it's still fine but you came so close to writing a great short story, arguably one of the best ever submitted for a DLP competition, and then rather than having some sort of climax, you just let it gasp a quiet death.

    My only real advice for you in terms of development is BEGINNING. MIDDLE. END. Build your story to a pay-off that isn't just 'and he left, ttyl'.

    Actually, I lied, there is another point here to be made. Towards the end of the story, you say 'remembering his most painful experiences, made worse somehow as though seeing it through a madman's mirror.' Don't tell us this, show us this. One of the best, best things about dementors from a narrative point of view is that they legitimise filling your writing full of flashbacks. This would have made this story so, so much stronger if you could grab some unpleasant memories from Hagrid and use them to build a cogent narrative with a satisfactory ending

    Stylistic

    Your writing is 90% fine and 10% absolutely atrocious. Read your shit, to yourself, out loud. Have someone else read it. Get as many eyes on it as possible. Then EDIT. EDIT. EDIT.

    If you don't do this, you end up with sentences like this:

    'The ground floor of the tall spiral was the same width as the rest of them, but this seemed to make no difference.'

    Which presumably made sense in your head, but doesn't mean anything to me.

    It's a genuine problem. There are parts of your prose that are actually incoherent. Reading them aloud, or having someone else read it, would iron out these issues immediately.

    The only other problem I really noticed was the huge paragraphs of exposition, which would have been easily solved by resolving the point above about flashbacks and dementors. Dementors are a great narrative device, they allow you to show; so use them!

    Conclusion:

    As you can probably tell, I'm super frustrated by this story, because it was nearly good, but in the end, was basically meh. It's easily the best in the competition I've read so far, but objectively it's ended up not all that strong. I think I'd probably give this a 3, nearly on the cusp of 4, but still not all that great.

    With each story in this competition, I'm going to give two pieces of advice that an author can actualise upon, and immediately improve their story. So here are yours:

    1) WRITE. A. FUCKING. ENDING. This story had a boat-load of potential, but it was absolutely squandered. I don't know if you don't know how to write an ending, or you just couldn't think of one, so you let it trail out, either way this story is dying for one. If you don't know how to write endings, there are plenty of resources online to explain how to set up and execute the climax of a character piece. Honestly even just a rudimentary knowledge of story structure would probably have saved this piece.

    2) Nail the fundamental workflow of writing. Idea -> Plan -> Execution -> Revision. Some, or all, of these links in the chain were flawed along the way somewhere. There should have been a stronger idea, a better plan, and the failure should have been caught during the revision process.

    The final thing I want to say here, is that you should take heart from this. All writers suck at story structure unless they have learned to do it. Some of us even suck at it after years of practice. My criticism here is borne of my own frustration with the same process. You evidently have natural talent, but that is not enough. Reading, learning, practice, and hard work will make you into an excellent writer.
     
  12. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman ~ Prestige ~

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    Honestly, writing that first chapter of Gravehand of Morrighan'an was the most fun I had writing in years.

    I never felt like I knew what I was doing writing Game of Champions - some places felt too sparse, others too populated; I never really felt like I had a distinct prose or dialogue style. I had a huge, sloppy plan that felt like it kept growing every time I turned away, whose goals I was never sure I was meeting in an enjoyable way. And to top it all off, of course - I gave up, and left it unfinished. Never a good feeling.

    Meanwhile, with Gravehand, the first chapter is tight and stands on its own as a sort of standalone chapter - so it's finished in a sense, for one. The writing feels consistent throughout, and I actually feel like I'm giving the characters life outside of the game rather than rehashing stations of the narrative.

    Finally, it's in the actual genre that was my favorite (fantasy/swords and sorcery), rather than one I was merely singularly knowledgeable on (Pokemon, which is primarily just sci fi/alternate modern universe). A lot of the fantasy elements in Game of Champions honestly came from a yearning to be closer to that genre than the one I was writing.

    There's some minor repetitive errors with Leliana's voice, but other than that, Gravehand was the first thing I wrote that actually made me feel like an experienced writer gaining expertise in my craft - I plotted out a few scenes with clear objectives, made sure the narrative justified them, wrote the draft, tightened it up and then cut the fat.

    There's a saying that an expert craftsman isn't someone who produces incredible results, but someone who learns how to produce consistent results with increasingly fewer flaws.

    Writing Gravehand made me feel like I knew where I was and what direction to head to. I probably won't finish it either, but that's okay this time, because I actually enjoy it as an exercise.

    My two cents.
     
  13. Hαn Sαlsα

    Hαn Sαlsα Hαn Sαlsæd First

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    When my work was really bad I was inspired as hell when I got better my inspiration died.

    All my old works are wiped from the face of the Internet and my GDocs, my new works can be found in the wba but I'm not at all proud of them.
     
  14. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    The story I'm most proud of is not a good one, really. It's called On The Brink It's a RWBY fic that's sort of horror in disguise. Starts off with all the stupid shipping and mildly flimsy plot that are common in the fandom and slowly but surely delves into Lovecraftian horror? Did I pull it off? Fuck no. But I actually finished the damn story - a first for me with any larger-scale story - and I liked the idea a lot.

    Another one I'm weirdly proud over is Brewing Desires, which was written as a prompt in response to something on IRC. It features Fem!Harry and Fem!Snape getting it on in truly silly fashion. What I really liked about that was the fact that other DLPers pitched in and added even more silly shit to it.

    In terms of individual passages, I rarely find myself marvelling at my beatifully flowing prose. That's not my thing. I have started to appreciate structural things I've noticed I've learned over the years, though. It's nice to see progress.
     
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