My reaction to my old work is usually embarrassment--an acute awareness of flaws which seem glaring in hindsight, and a sense of disappointment for not seeing those flaws earlier. At the same time, whenever I come across a bit of dialogue which I still like the mouthfeel of, or an emotional scene which I still think moving, I feel a distinct surge of pride.
So I thought: what would one of my old fanfics look like, if I fixed some of the more boneheaded errors and smoothed it out a bit? Would it be something I could be less embarrassed about? With this in my head, I went back to what I'd probably call my best complete pre-pony fanfic: The Entwives' Garden. My goal? To make it something I could be
In truth, most of what I did was fix boneheaded errors and smooth a few things out; the majority of the story I'm still remarkably satisfied with, and this project turned out to be more "editing" than "rebuilding." Probably 90% of the original dialogue and narrative remains. And, having exorcised that particular demon, I thought I would share the end result with all of you:
Merry and Pippen promised Treebeard that they would look for the lost Entwives when they were once again home. Now, after peace has been returned to the Shire, Pippen seeks answers in the Old Forest.
A bit of fair warning: this is a LotR fanfic, and I doubt it will have much traction with anyone who's never read the books. Even among LotR fans, it's a story about Merry, Pippen, and everyone's favorite Old Forest denizens... not exactly the world's most popular characters (people have no taste). That said, within the context of being a LotR fanfic, I feel pretty good about it. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'm very happy with how I set it up and delivered it, and that wasn't something I changed at all in the revisions. Not enough fanfiction uses preparatory quotes from the creator or source material--though perhaps I'd find it more affectatious with ponies than I do with literature.
Enjoy, and if you have any comments or criticisms, I'd love to hear them. Fixing up an old work was a new experience for me, but in this case at least, it's one I feel pretty good about.