So, the name of the game is five favorite fics, and it's about looking at your own stuff, and figuring out what worked and what didn't, what you learned, and what you never anticipated. (The last time I did this meme, I had some very different answers.)
Listed in chronological order, here are mine:
Think It Through: Gen, PG-13, ep-based fic ("Faith"). 4,166 words. Dean POV. Dean's death will solve everything.
Why I Like It: This was my first attempt to write Mary, and also my first attempt to write plot in this fandom. I still really like this Mary, and I'm very pleased that this story is plausible even after 4x03, "In the Beginning." I still think what I came up with makes sense. And I like the way the sentences flow.
What I Learned: That readers can interpret what I'm writing in ways I never expected. I was asked if Mary was a hallucination, which I had honestly not considered; to me, she was real, and really speaking to Dean. I think it's awesome that people with so many different ideas bring them to the table.
Cleats: Het (John/Mary), PG-13, pre-series. 1,183 words. John POV. John gets taken down. Hard.
Why I Like It: This might be the first wholly happy fic I wrote in this fandom (or, actually, ever), and given the angst that this show churns out, that felt like an accomplishment all on its own. I also wrote this because I was interested in John and Mary as people, not just as the vast influences who shaped Dean and Sam, and I feel like they seem real in this fic. I very much enjoyed getting to explore the good parts of their relationship, as opposed to the work I did in Necessary Rites, which plays up the dangerous aspect of John's devotion.
What I Learned: That this is a story I want to read or write more of. Also, that I was preposterously lucky in having a beta whose comments often echoed my gut. The pieces were all there, but not in the best shape, and she helped me pick out the parts to highlight.
Bones of Shelbyville: Het (Dean/OFC), R, pre-series, crossover with The Simpsons. 4,551 words. Dean POV. Of course Dean works at Classy Joe's.
Why I Like It: Because it is personalized crack! I adore all of the Simpsons references on the show, and am delighted to think that SPN's sense of humor takes at least some of its cues from the earlier show. This was really a sheer delight to write.
What I Learned: I don't dislike crossovers, just PWP crossovers (and PWPs in general). It turns out that I like crossovers that happen because of plot points, rather than just "hey, X is hot, and so is Y! What if X ended up in Y's universe?!?" Crazy as it sounds, this is also the fic that made me consider depth of characterization, that simply borrowing a catchphrase from a character isn't the same as fleshing her/him out. This was a neat challenge to myself.
Only Opens from the Inside: Het and slash (Sam/Sarah, Sam/OMC), NC-17, future-fic. 36,187 words. Sam POV. Breaking Dean's deal has consequences.
Why I Like It: Because I think it's one of the most well-plotted pieces I've ever pulled off, and I think there's a payoff at the end, when everything is revealed and all that has come before makes sense.
What I Learned: Wow, NaNo is really not a good way to get me to write. I was unhappy writing this NaNo style, and even though the draft I created was pretty good, and I don't think I would have written *this* story without the NaNo push, I still wish I'd been able to write it on my own time.
Ben and Dean scenes
Why I Like It: Because it's my happy place, and I'm so thrilled that it's become other people's happy place and/or OTP too. Because Ben and Dean just dazzle me. Because I do like AUs, as long as the writer's vision is stable, and canon isn't messed with just for kicks.
What I Learned: What Dean really is, in my head. Because Dean and Ben are so similar, I had to figure out how to differentiate them for these scenes (when I wrote Sunshine State, I had no intention of ever having Ben and Dean meet, so I was able to consider only the similarities rather than the differences - and also, it was Sam's POV). So the Dean in these scenes is kind of the Deaniest of Deans for me. And I'm so glad he's loved.