An Algorithm for Mistakes

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Fanfiction
Title: An Algorithm for Mistakes
Author(s): fleete, lunchee
Date(s): 17 November 2012, 26 July 2013
Length: 26,861 words, 3 hours 6 minutes
Genre: Het, Future fic, College AU
Fandom: Teen Wolf
External Links: Fic on AO3, Podfic on AO3

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An Algorithm for Mistakes is a very popular Teen Wolf fan fic by fleete. It's 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 has been podficced by lunchee.

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 Responses

As of 27 August 2014, An Algorithm for Mistakes is the most popular Lydia/Stiles fic on the AO3 by kudos and bookmarks.[1] It has also been widely recced on Lydia-focused and Lydia/Stiles reclists.

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.[2]
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.[3]

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. --idyll's comment.[4]
"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.[5]

Some people also highlighted the accuracy 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.[6]

References

  1. An Algorithm for Mistakes has 1,555 kudos and 649 bookmarks. When sorting by kudos and bookmarks there are six fics ("Alpha Spikes," "(Sacred) In The Ordinary," "Stand Fast in Your Enchantments," "A Broken Heart is Blind," "Somebody That I Used to Know," and "As Though the Air Protects You") with more, but all of them have Derek/Stiles as the first listed pairing or have marked Lydia/Stiles as unrequited. See [1] and [2].
  2. "Teen Wolf fic recs: An Algorithm for Mistakes - fleete". 
  3. RaquelMaBelle. "Comment". 
  4. idyll. "Comment". 
  5. "Fic rec: An Algorithm for Mistakes - Teen Wolf - fleete". 
  6. "Fic rec!".