Since the stress kicked in, I've felt this urge to read fanfiction. I've punted aside my various published fiction to-read lists, and aside from one exception, it's been fanfic all the way.
I'm not sure how many fics I've read, but it's been a lot. I'd estimate the word count to be over 700k--so far. I'm actually finishing up a fantastic 100k original m/m romance and angst fest story today. For my own amusement and to share any fics you yourself might want to try, here is the list of what I've read in this binge so far. Reconstructed from memory in three sections: fics already on or to be added to my recs page, fics I decided not to rec after reading, and fics I'm in the middle of and/or have yet to decide to rec or not:
Fics that already are or will be added to my site:
fandom: Ghostbusters (Real)
College Stories series: Spontaneous Combustion, Catalyst, Adaptations, and Impact by Lethe
genre; ship; rating: Drama; Egon/Peter; R
author's summary for the series doesn't exist, so here's mine: Egon, Peter, and Ray meet each other at Columbia University and start laying the foundation for their future business through friendship and a little romance.
length: complete at four stories, 52,159 words
setting: pre-canon for Real Ghostbusters, though if you overlook Egon's hair, it works for the movies, too
s2m's comments: Beautifully written with great characterizations, this backstory pre-canon fic is like a comforting blanket to read. The romance and friendships are heartwarming, the drama and angst expertly handled, and the action exciting. Two things of note: the entire fic is written in the first person for all three guys, but POV switches are not marked by scene dividers. It only takes a couple sentences to recognize the change, however. Technical note: this old-school fic layout needs a narrow browser window to be readable. If you have the beginning of a second row of vines and bricks, shrink your browser window horiztonally. (It displays great on a smartphone!)
Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past by S'TarKan
genre; ship; rating: Adventure, Drama; Ginny/Harry, Hermione/Ron, Luna/Neville; R graphic violence, off-screen rape
author's summary: The war is over. Too bad no one is left to celebrate. Harry makes a desperate plan to go back in time, even though it means returning Voldemort to life. Now an 11 year old Harry with 30 year old memories is starting Hogwarts. Can he get it right?
length: WIP at 40 chapters, ~400k words
setting: after book 6
s2m's comments: This author brings us another total AU, and does it with style. His knowledge of psychology and PSTD shines true in this amazing fic that's part adventure, part trajedy, and part character study of one Harry Potter. Fantastic! I do wish he'd let himself think outside the canon box in regards to pairings, and as both a Snape and Draco fan, this fic is rather harsh on them. Fellow Slytherin fans, beware! It's still worth reading, though! ^^
Common Knowledge by elucreh
genre; ship; rating: Comedy, Romance; Jared/Jensen; R [I forgot how much graphic sex was in this one, so it might actually be NC-17. I have to reread to find out before I post this rec to my site. :B]
author's summary: Jared, your fangirls. Fangirls, I believe you already know Jared. Better than he knows himself.
length: complete at 9 chapters, 14,533 words
setting: around season 6, no real canon spoilers
s2m's comments: My first J2 fic that isn't an AU! This one is cute, very amusing--and very meta. A welcome break from all the angst I associate wtih this pairing. C: Tumblr-only fans might be confused at some of the terminology and references, but you should be able to puzzle things out. ^^V
fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
Blades of Blood by Vathara
genre; ship; rating: Adventure; none; PG
author's summary: In a world where monsters roam city streets, a mild-mannered New Yorker has just picked up a blade called Battousai... Modern AU, based off the NightLife RPG.
length: complete at 6 chapters, 54,403 words
setting: modern New York AU, roughly based on Kenshin's first story arc
s2m's comments: Vathara does it again! The very cool thing about this fic is how Battousai is a separate entity from Kenshin. He is a presence inside the sword who works with or outright possesses the sword's weilder. Very interesting take on Kenshin's dual personality! Also Kaoru is lovely in this fic, in the way shounen manga just can't let women be. Apparently the fic is a crossover, but I don't know the other fandom, and the fic read just fine to me. Good stuff! :9
fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
[sequel to above fic]
Witchy Woman by Vathara
genre; ship; rating: Adventure; pre-Kaoru/Kenshin; PG-13
author's summary: Swordspirit, Crowley, and a Witch on the run. Never go gambling with Sano.
length: complete 13 chapters, 127,576 words
setting: Begins immediately after its prequel
s2m's comments: The adventure continues! Things turn quite interesting as Vathara does her fascinating AU take on Megumi and Aoshi's storylines. There are some delightful pre-romance moments between Kaoru and Kenshin--and Battousai! Let's be honest--it's gonna be a threeway! :3 I hope she gives us a third installment in this universe one day.
[This fic was an emotional punch to the gut. DAMN. Might end up being a top 10%er.]
Behavioural Modification by bendingsignpost
genre; ship; rating: Angst, Drama; John/Sherlock; NC-17 graphic sex
author's summary: Whatever it took, he was going to make this work.
s2m's more helpful summary: Sherlock doesn't care about sex, but he loves being touched and held, and he loves John.
length: complete at 5 chapters, 23,726 words
setting: somewhere in the 2nd season, pre-finale
s2m's comments: Equisitely painful, this fic held me captive throughout. Sherlock's limited point of view--both literal and figurative--completely makes this fic work in all its dark glory. Poor Sherlock just has no idea what a healthy relationship is like, but thankfully John--and Molly--are willing to help.
fandom: Song of Ice and Fire, A/Game of Thrones
I'll be the frosting to your cupcake, wench by janie_tangerine
genre; ship; rating: Romance; Brienne/Jamie; NC-17 graphic sex
author's summary: Where Brienne bakes cupcakes for a living and Jaime ends up being her favorite client. (Also: Renly owns the bakery, a whole lot of plot happens and there's a ridiculous amount of cupcakes. Oh, and Robb and Theon are in a folk duo - yes, it had to be mentioned.)
length: one-shot at 23,791 words
setting: bakery AU, book canon--though tv series-only fans will be fine. Spoilers through the gruesome part of Brienne and Jamie's canon interaction
s2m's comments: This isn't your typical bakery AU, at least in my opinion! I enjoyed the modern-world versions of the cast, and the cupcake "porn" is just as enjoyable as the actual romance! A satisfying read. :3
fandom: Song of Ice and Fire, A/Game of Thrones
[sequel to above fic]
you were the song all along by janie_tangerine
genre; ship; rating: Drama, Romance; Robb/Theon, Jeyne/Robb/Theonn; NC-17 graphic sex off-screen torture
author's summary, slightly shortened: Where Robb ends up in a folk group with his best friend and finds out that the love of your life can be two people at the same time, Theon gets what he wants in life and Jeyne takes some decisions that eventually turn out to be very much right.
length: complete at 3 chapters, 87,338 words
setting: modern AU, set a little before the previous fic and a lot after
s2m's comments: Ahh, I do love a good slow-burn friends to lovers fic, and that it's eventually an OT3 is completely scrumptuous. XD This author weaves another great tale of longing, drama, and friendship around the SoIaF/GoT characters and situation. I LOVE that Theon's family are hard rockers, it's so hilariously perfect. This fic has angst and fluff and is a fantastic read all-around. Note there is a sequel fic with some short scenes that didn't make it into this one. I didn't rec it here, but you can easily read by clicking the series link. ^^
The following fics were read or at least started, but for whatever reason did not appeal to me/impress me enough to be added to my site. Yes, I keep track of the memorable ones. As much fic as I read, the "meh" list has saved me from quite a few accidental reading repeats. (Apologies if any of these authors stumble across this blog entry. We all have different tastes, and these are only one person's opinion!)
Free: archive/1350604: extraordinary boy by mangemouth. Pining fic about Haruka's love for Rin when Makoto loves R, too. ends with H and R together, M turned down but happy anyway. Formal writing knocked me back and had to become accustomed to. A lot of telling, not much action, almost sleepy to read. IDK. Not enough excitement, ending was meh. Very popular fic in fandom, but I'm not feeling it.
And finally, the section of fics I'm reading or that I have yet to decide to rec or not:
fandom: Avatar TLA
[I've been following this fic for years as a WIP. It completed last year, and I'm finally finishing it. I'm probably reading the final ~25k within this binge]
Embers by Vathara
genre; ship; rating: Drama, Adventure; mostly gen, romance is not the focus of this fic at all; PG
author's summary: Dragon's fire is not so easily extinguished; when Zuko rediscovers a lost firebending technique, shifting flames can shift the world... Follows "Theft Absolute" [which s2m also read but doesn't want to trouble listing here].
length: complete at 91 chapters, 757,722 words
setting: AU that starts in early season 2
s2m's comments: This gloriously intricate AU deals with something left out of canon: culture shock. The author takes what glimpses we see of the four different peoples and histories and extrapolates it into an amazing world tapestry. Vathara's version of the world forced me to rethink quite a few of my opinions on the series. Also I never thought I'd ship anything but Zutara...but this fic? YEAH. I know who I'm rooting for! Vathara once again proves why she is one of my favorite authors. DAMN! XD
[I'm in chapter 5, haven't decided if I want to continue or give up.]
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2715515 In the Hands of the Enemy. When the Enemy sets a trap for Aragorn, Halbarad and Gandalf join forces to rescue him from a mysterious foe.
[I want to reread this one, but I'm leaning to reccing it.]
[Need to reread and decide.]
[I'm in chapter 12. This author is consistently good, but how many different ways can one serve up Kyoko/Ren, anyway? :P Also this fic requires some REALLY BIG suspensions of disbelief to make the plot work. Will probably end up on the meh list, TBQH.]
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6797861 Hidden in Plain Sight. LME has seen better days; Kyoko was forced to return home by her mother and Tsuruga Ren has gone back to the States to resume his true identity. So who is the new kid making entertainment news… and why is Saena so angry?
[This is a definite shoo-in for the recs site. It's only listed here b/c I'm not finished reading it yet. I stayed awake until 7 AM reading it this morning, woke up at noon, and read some more.]
- end of fic list! -
I think I know WHY I had this urge to binge on fanfic in a way I haven't in a couple of years. It's because fanfic, unlike prose, can give me exactly what I want, and it's relatively easy to track down.
Take all those Brienne/Jamie fics up there. That ship will NEVER happen in the show, and I'd be amazed if it does in the books. Hence, fanfic can give me what I want: a reverse beauty and the beast story, which almost never happens in professional media. (If you know of any, please LMK. M/M or F/F works, too!)
Now take a look at that Sherlock fic. That story emotionally wrung me out like a limp washrag and left me to dry. GUH. Can a pro author write something like that and have it published? Maybe. I've never found one like it. (If you know of any--any style ship--please LMK.)
And then, of course you have the most basic appeal of fanfiction: seeing my favorite characters doing things and being put in situations that could never happen in their actual canons. Yes, Sherlock canon certainly had fun with the gay misconceptions, and yes dark things happened in SoIaF/GoT--and gay and asexual people exist, though they aren't allowed to be too badass--and the great big yes: I couldn't love the characters and want to read fic about them if their canons didn't exist in the first place.
Maybe it's the short word count? Though the HP fic (~400k) disproves that.
In the end, I don't really know. I just wanted to read fic, like comfort food. So I did. C:
Feel free to share your own opinion on why you like to read fanfic, if you do. I'd love to hear your thoughts!