An Algorithm for Mistakes

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Title: An Algorithm for Mistakes
Author(s): fleete
Date(s): 17 November 2012
26 July 2013
Length: 26,861 words
Genre: Het, Future fic, College AU
Fandom: Teen Wolf
External Links: Fic on AO3,
Podfic on AO3 (read byLunchee)
Cover art by frogmage (2013)

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An Algorithm for Mistakes is a popular Teen Wolf fan fiction by fleete. It is a Lydia-focused future fic written after season 2, set when the pack goes off to college. Lydia/Stiles is the primary pairing, with past Jackson/Lydia and unrequited Derek/Stiles. It was written for the 2012 Teen Wolf Fall Harvest exchange. It has been podficced by lunchee.

An Algorithm for Mistakes is one of the Lydia/Stiles fics on Archive of Our Own with the most kudos, bookmarks, and comments.[note 1] It has been widely recced on Lydia-focused and Lydia/Stiles reclists, and has also been recced by many fans who do not usually read Stydia or Teen Wolf stories. Fans have praised the fic's handling of Lydia's POV and her characterization, as well as the accuracy of its setting.

Author's Summary

Lydia has a plan: attend college, study the biological makeup of werewolves, win prizes, and wear amazing shoes. She does not expect to make friends with Stiles. Or flirt with Stiles. Or accidentally start a pack war with Stiles. Whatever. The point is, Lydia has a plan.

Recs and Reviews

An amazing Lydia-centric story. Lydia/Stiles and god, they’re just a really great combination. Excellent writing, excellent plot, and lovely characterisation. Definitely worth a read, even if you’re not a huge fan of the pairing.

- epicdove's rec[1]

This is probably one of the best Teen Wolf fanfics I've ever read, and one of the best in general. Everything is perfect, Lydia's smarts, her insecurities, her relationship with Stiles.... She feels like her own person and god it made me ship her and Stiles so bad. I wish this was canon. I wish this was on the show right now! I don't mean to be creepy, but honestly I'm just really excited about this.

I loved how you used a lot of tropes about women in fanfiction, and especially slash fanfiction where they're usually mistreated, and you subverted them for the story. I don't know, this was the first fanfiction where I could really picture Stiles-as-played-by-Dylan instead of fanfiction-Stiles(I have the division so I feel less weird reading porn) saying these things and it was just great. Aaaargh, please go write for Teen Wolf now and make them develop Lydia and treat her right, thank you. - RaquelMaBelle's comment[2]

Much of the response has focused specifically on fleete's characterization of Lydia and Lydia's POV:

Oh my god, this is amazing. This is everything I've ever wanted in a Lydia-centric pack fic. I love the complex way you've developed Lydia here, how she's multi-faceted and insecure and constantly adjusting to things that change. Really, this is just exquisite.[3]

"An Algorithm for Mistakes" by fleete is great. It's strongly grounded in canon characterization and makes reference to events and mythology from the show, but it's long and meaty enough a character-driven story that I think it can be read and enjoyed by those only familiar with Teen Wolf by fannish osmosis.

Lydia in this fic is not a lady being awesome, she is a BAMF. She's flawed (real person flaws which impact the plot, not Hollywood flaws making her quirky but cute), she has a mysterious traumatic back story and super math skills (not the man pain and super strength and healing of Derek, but still that over the top deliciousness I prefer in my hero fic), and yes, she is a hero: she overcomes the obstacles, she owns up to and fixes mistakes, she grows as a person even when it is painful, she wins the pretty boy, and she does it all while being smart and funny and mean and fashion-self-conscious. - noracharles' rec[4]

Lydia is such a BAMF. fleete does such a wonderful characterization of her as she moves off to college, and her interactions with Stiles just feels so right.

- het-reccers LJ[5]

Fantastic fic with an amazing Lydia and a fun, heartfelt, angsty plot. I really enjoyed this a lot.[6]

“An Algorithm for Mistakes” was the best Lydia-centric fic I’ve ever read[7]

This fic (along with magneticwave's Beauty and the Beast and Argent twins AU) was my gateway fic, the one that convinced me to keep reading TW fic because it was AWESOME. I love Lydia's voice (I love everything about Lydia, really), and I wish this was a million words longer.[8]

A forever thank you to the person who recommended An Algorithm for Mistakes by fleete to me. I don't particularly like Lydia/Stiles, so I wouldn't have read it on my own, but the Lydia (and everyone else) characterization is fantastic and it's one of the better fics I've read.[9]

Some people highlighted the accuracy and vividness of the setting:

I don’t care what you ship, you should read this, if only for the marvelous inner workings of the fabulous Lydia Martin and the spot-on portrayal of the South Bay.

Seriously, I was trotting along through this fic, and then the whole pack up and moves to San Jose and I was like, “well, now I’ll hate it. shit” and was never once yanked out by mention of Sunny California or green rolling hills or some foreign shit like that.

Highly enjoyable. And yes, Los Altos is exactly like it says on the tin.

-slippersox's rec[10]

I have read this before so I can't give any more kudos, and maybe already left a comment, but I just listened to the podfic of this story and I remembered how much I love it. One of the things that stands out for me is how visual your writing is; it never feels like a struggle to figure out exactly where everyone is positioned, what a room looks like, or someone's expression, even if you're not explicitly describing it in detail. [11]

Some people found the focus on Lydia’s research into the biological explanations for werewolves engaging and satisfying:

This is the best thing ever. Like. Ever. Ever ever ever. I am somewhat speechless because my brain has been stopped by the fact that you wrote awesome Lydia/Stiles fic featuring SCIENCE and Lydia wanting to research werewolves because YES and I just akla;dfjafd

also it inspired me to study? so uh, thank you for that unintended outcome as well! :D[12]

This is an awesome fic. Among other great things, it addressed the question I've wondered since starting teen wolf: How does werewolf-making science even work? Being a biochem major myself, I can see that you clearly know what you're talking about in the way of that and meld it well with fiction. Great work, and I wholly enjoyed the Stydia :D [13]

Still other readers enjoyed the case fic premise and worldbuilding of this story. An Algorithm of Mistakes was also a story that transcended reading preferences within Teen Wolf fandom.

jfc, jfc, jfc. this fic is everything. it's basically a casefic with so much going on and pack and slowbuild and stydia and it's written so well that i read it even though i never fucking watch teen wolf at the time of reading. amazing!!! this fic made me obsessed with stiles and/or lydia investigating the origin and/or biology of werewolves in general[14]

this fic has a very grounded feeling to it, nothing and so much is happening at the same time.

i would call this a light read but i'm afraid to scare off anyone who doesn't like light readings and therefore subject them to avoid this fic which i don't want to do. this fic contains: interesting purpose/premise/lydia's goal that she would do anything to achieve, rich world-building and explanations for how this whole werewolf world works outside of beacon hills, great friendship between lydia and allison, some descriptive intimate moments from lydia's life which i found very enriching from character layering perspective

what i didn't like is how brief, or, for the lack of a better word, superficial, was bond between the pack. we were told that they are strong when together and care about each other but i didn't feel this in their interactions. maybe because there were so few of them, maybe because it was too short of a story to build the relationship within the pack but they didn't seem like a family to me which is disappointing just a little[15]

Okay so…don’t run off when you see the Lydia/Stiles tag (there is Derek/Stiles hints, too). This is a fic about LYDIA. Lydia being badass and rediscovering herself again in college. And about her and Stiles becoming friends and a little more than friends and dealing with Derek and Derek becoming a better Alpha and making mistakes and learning from them.

It’s about LYDIA. And her being brilliant and her kicking ass and Stiles becoming a better dude. And Lydia schooling his young dude self. JUST. LOOK IT’S AMAZING OKAY.


For anyone worried, the Lydia/Stiles stuff doesn’t remove Derek/Stiles from possibility. There is no awkward heartbreak or upset or uncomfortable jealousy. SO. YEAH.

Anyways I think this is one of the best Teen Wolf fanfictions I’ve ever read. SO YOU SHOULD GIVE IT A TRY.[16]

Related & Inspired Fanworks


Example Art Gallery


  1. ^ As of May 2022, it has over 65,000 hits, 3300 kudos, almost 325 comments, and over 1250 bookmarks on AO3. When sorting by kudos and bookmarks there are several fics that may have more kudos or bookmarks, or are in the top 20 (such as "As Though the Air Protects You", "A Broken Heart is Blind”, "(Sacred) In The Ordinary”, "Stand Fast in Your Enchantments”, "Somebody That I Used to Know”, and “Written in the Stars”), but they have Derek/Stiles as the first listed pairing or have marked Lydia/Stiles as unrequited.
  2. ^ fleete reacted to this Lego scene here


  1. ^ "Teen Wolf fic recs: An Algorithm for Mistakes - fleete".
  2. ^ RaquelMaBelle. "Comment".
  3. ^ Comment by idyll, 17 November 2012. Accessed 05/01/2022
  4. ^ "Fic rec: An Algorithm for Mistakes - Teen Wolf - fleete". Archived from the original on 2015-09-22.
  5. ^ "post by smilax at het_reccers, March 26, 2014". Archived from the original on 2022-03-31.
  6. ^ "July 19, 2013 Tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2022-03-31.
  7. ^ "Nov 19, 2012 Tumblr post". Archived from the original on 2022-03-31.
  8. ^ "I believe cartoon birds braided your hair this morning, Dec 10 2012 Livejournal post". Archived from the original on 2022-03-31.
  9. ^ Anon comment on fail_fandomanon, October 5, 2013
  10. ^ "Fic rec!". Archived from the original on 2018-12-04.
  11. ^ Comment by chalet2mi, 12 September 2017. Accessed 05/01/2022
  12. ^ Comment by Melesmeles, 4 December 2012. Accessed 05/01/2022
  13. ^ Comment by LaughingSenselessly, 7 June 2015. Accessed 05/01/2022
  14. ^ Bookmark comment by Ao3 user wit, 25 October 2020. Accessed 3/4/2022
  15. ^ Bookmark comment by linbene, 10 December 2018. Accessed 3/4/2022
  16. ^ An Algorithm of Mistakes by Anon fic rec by Tumblr user daunt, 2012
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