I've finished up three WIPs on this trip (still have to edit and post the second two), and then my sticksandsnark story remains to be posted in early April. And I have a sga_genficathon story to finish, as well as astridv's "Finders" AU (which I absolutely love in concept, but cannot put together into a coherent shape, so it may take awhile). Beyond that, though ...
I like the idea of trying to hit a cumulative total of a million words of SGA fic this year. My count so far for the year is about 30K, so in order to reach the goal, I have, what, 90K to go ...? i.e. one long story, or a handful of short-to-midlength stories.
I've probably got about that much in unfinished WIPs already. What I realized, though, looking through my last few years' worth of WIPs in the process of finishing up the ones I've already posted, is that the WIP folder is one of the reasons why I haven't written much over the last couple of years. I don't really want to start anything new 'til I finish at least some of the three dozen or so stories I've already started. They just keep piling up, taunting me ...!
But most of them are abandoned for a reason. Some are utterly plotless, just an idea and a collection of random vignettes that never comes together. Some represent an idea that used to appeal to me but has since lost my interest, as my changing fannish tastes and canonical developments have made them obsolete. The ones that really bother me are couple of fairly long stories -- one's stuck at about 15K words, the other at about 25K -- that I've lost interest in; I think that with a lot of work I could revise them into something that suits my current writing tastes, but I prefer the idea of starting something new to trying to retrofit something I've been staring at for almost four years.
I'm thinking about making a fresh start: sweeping my WIPs into a folder to save in case I want to mine them for spare parts or take a second look at them someday, and starting clean, in a neatly uncluttered WIPs folder that contains nothing but just the couple of stories that I'm committed to finishing (the genficathon story, and astridv's story).
Here are a small handful of story ideas which I'm currently noodling with:
- I really, really want to do a long post-canon story. My previous "main" fandoms (Trigun and DBZ) were closed-canon fandoms, and what interested me the most in both fandoms, even though not all my stories dealt with it, was exploring the characters' lives post-canon. It's actually kind of exciting to me that we can write long, unlikely-to-be-jossed, post-canon stories for SGA now. I have a number of vague story ideas and scenes exploring various aspects of canon that I'd like to revisit (the Hoffan plague; Kiryk, the Runner with the teleportation device; the Coalition; the evil Asgard) -- I'm not sure if I'd rather do one long epic-length story, or a number of smaller ones. In particular, I have a Kiryk + Hoffan plague story in mind, but it only really involves Rodney and Keller from the canon cast, and I'm thinking it might work better if it was woven in and out of another plot involving the Coalition or the Asgard or the Wraith or some other galaxy-spanning story arc that's more focused on the other characters.
- Another idea I've been tossing around is a pretty dark "Lost Tribe" AU, in which the evil Asgard become a major force in the latter half of season five. I love the idea of the Asgard as baddies (think of all the old alien abduction cliches!) but where I'm running into trouble is figuring out how to handle a "left turn from canon" AU without simply rehashing a lot of episodes. The "left turn" is that the Asgard take Rodney with them when they leave the planet at the end of "Lost Tribe" (this would be a character-death story, just FYI; I'm not planning on having him come back, at least not in any sort of condition that he'd ever be Rodney again -- she said ominously), and subsequently begin abducting and experimenting on Pegasus humans in their quest to prevent what happened to "our" Asgard from happening to them. So this would be a season five without Rodney and with the addition of the Asgard as a major plot device. It's interesting trying to work through a season five sans Rodney; removing him doesn't seem to change the second half of the season in any major plot-arc way, which is actually harder to deal with than if it did -- that's where I'm stuck figuring out whether to rehash episodes or just take off in a totally non-canon direction.
- There's a "Shrine" tag I want to write; ever since rewatching the episode with Derry when she was here, I've wanted to write something dealing with the euthanasia subtext. As many "Shrine" tags as I've seen, I don't ever remember one that explicitly dealt with the fact that they didn't take Rodney to the shrine planet to cure him, they took him there to die, and I really want to do something dealing with the moral and emotional ramifications for the other characters. I'm not suggesting that euthanasia was the wrong choice in this case, but it couldn't have been an easy decision to give up on finding a cure and pull the plug on him, especially for Jeannie. The episode even made it quite explicit that they were talking about hastening his death ("death with honor", as Ronon put it), not trying to find a long-term cure. We saw Keller struggling with the ethical aspects of it, but not any of the other characters, so that's the story I want to write -- what they had to go through in deciding to hasten the end of his life, how cultural differences played into it (we've definitely seen in earlier episodes that Athosians are a lot more fatalistic about death than the Lanteans), and so forth.
- For that matter, I really want to do more tags to episodes from season four and five in general. I feel like that era in the show's history hasn't been very deeply mined by the fandom, compared to earlier seasons, and there's so much territory to explore.
I noticed on my vacation that writing smaller stories (like the "Defiant One" tag I posted) is a nice way to unwind, or to kick-start my creativity for working on bigger projects, if I let it be -- that is, let go of the need to make my writing count by finishing up long-abandoned WIPs, or by using the opportunity to "improve" my writing in some way (not that stretching myself is bad, just that trying to make every new story an experiment seems to be a creativity-killer). I'm not sure whether to set writing goals, or just kind of let my creativity go and see what I can accomplish if I let myself play a little bit more.