pennypaperbrain: (Sherlock brain by redscharlach)
I’m going to do the AO3 Top 10 fics meme, in part because it’s a good vehicle for waffling about the conclusions I’ve come to regarding reading patterns. Understanding what makes different kinds of writing popular in different contexts is one aspect of my day job, so hey, I can’t help myself. Also, I’ve been finding it interesting to read other writers’ thoughts on their own stats.

1) Points of Light: Words 15,698, Kudos 271 Hits 12,425
Well, I really didn’t think it was going to get this many hits. And right until I posted chapter four it was down around 2k I think. Then add five thousand words of explicit S/J porn and what do you know, whoomph. On the other hand, the kudos rate in relation to the hit count is, well, not great compared to other fics with that many hits. Not rubbish, but not great.
One mundane explanation for this is that people are clicking through, thinking ‘that’s not for me’ and buggering off again; an even less inspiring one is that people are reading it and not liking it, but that doesn’t quite account for where the hell all these people are coming from in the first place, given that I don’t seem to get recced or linked to. There’s been a spike each time I’ve posted the additional material on the end of the fic, like Kiri’s wonderful fanart, but that doesn’t quite account for it.
The most positive interpretation I can make of the high hit count vs low kudos is based on the fact that enthusiastic comments on PoL often boil down to something like ‘OMG so intense will come back to this again to wallow in the psychological nuances and/or wank myself silly’, so it does seem likely that I’m getting quite a high proportion of rereaders, who are finding something in PoL that you seldom find anywhere else. And you can’t leave kudos twice.
I also wonder whether there is any remaining reticence about being seen to like BDSM in public, or even admitting it to oneself to the extent of leaving an anonymous kudos. One of the many things that’s amazed me about this fandom is the apparent total acceptance of kinks, even before ASIB. But how deep does that go? I really don’t know the answer to that – it could be an issue for every other reader of this fic, or for none of them.

2) Mercy Twice: Words 555, Kudos 30 Hits 1,918
This is, basically, short. It’s kind of a statement of intent, the intent in question being to write a proper Irene/Sherlock someday. Which I am going to do. I don’t even care if Chloe disowns me. Well, I do, but I know I can get her back with more Johnlock.

3) It’s All Fine: Words 1,874, Kudos: 71, Hits: 1,364
Bipolar!Sherlock’s debut. I wrote this essentially as an exercise in advance of Four Corners of the Western World, though I didn’t really know that as such at the time. The fact that a fair few people have responded going ‘Yeah, bipolar!Sherlock, I can buy that’ gave me enough confidence to commit to the idea properly.
Insecurity, I haz it. To the extent of needing external validation before I can even gaze at my own navel, sometimes.

4) A Meta on the London BDSM Scene Words: 4,163, Kudos: 37, Hits: 839
Not actually a fic. Not even angsty! Fun and easy to write, even. Also blatantly self-interested in that I want there to be more realistic BDSM fic in the world.

5) Walk Forwards Words: 934, Kudos: 35, Hits: 805
My largest pile of angst , up against some stiff competition. Generally I am suspicious of writing as direct therapy, but on this occasion it was a pretty straight vent: I felt suicidal so I killed John instead. Outcome: I stopped feeling suicidal and John lived on in a hundred thousand other fics. So that was probably a good result, particularly as I like the fic. It generated the compliment ‘as wonderful as it is awful’, which I rather like.

6) Extremely British Words: 1,039, Kudos: 42, Hits: 792
Wow, this is practically fluff. Sherlock has a little cry. John frets. A bit. Britishly.

7) A Little Break Words: 554, Kudos: 14, Hits: 565
This is the only time I’ve ever written Moriarty. The style is pretty odd, even for me. Look, I was staying in suburbia for Christmas. I needed an antidote.

8) Particular Times Words: 448, Kudos: 30, Hits: 562
This is also fluff. Sherlock acts like a twat. John frets. Britishly again. Britishness is absolutely at the core of both those characters.

9) Sally and the Genius Words: 1,313, Kudos: 26, Hits: 404
Because, dammit, it annoys me that the show has so few of anything except whiteboys, and TRF used the most prominent of those non-whiteboys as a plot-function villain. What I’d like most is a world where a character like Sherlock was as likely to be played by Vinette Robinson as Benedict Cumberbatch, but failing that, this is the best I could think of to do for Sally within the confines of her canon characterisation.

10) Molly’s Sleepover Words: 356, Kudos: 12, Hits: 269
This is a tiddler even by fill standards, but I feel that in this fandom everyone should write necrophilia at least once. And a tiny part of me feels Molly should get to have Sherlock and live happily ever after. But only if it’s like this.

***

… Aaand this has taken me ages to write and distracted me from upsetting myself with writing Four Corners, which was kind of the point. The radical conclusion that the stats lead to is that if you want hits you should write long, porny Johnlock. My goodness, who’d’ve thunk that?

But it’s also reminded me that a) like quite a lot of the fandom I write fics that kind of traumatise me in the composition and b) there’s a point to that exercise. So job done, and thank you for reading this far if anyone has in fact bothered, and please go and either read my fic or write something kinky/traumatic/both so I can enjoy reading it myself.

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July 2014

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