Last year, I got a request so much in my comfort zone I could easily have written my recipient five stories in the time. It was Sports Night, Danny/Casey. Those guys got me writing fan fiction in the first place, and they're still sitting in my head, ready to get their snark (and, of course, true true love) on at a moment's notice. So it really shouldn't have been a surprise that this year my experience was, well, like this:
TFV: My Yuletide assignment is here! Yay! *opens and reads*
TFV's Writing Comfort Zone: Farewell, my friend. Perhaps we will meet again in the pinch hits.
I mean, it was a great request. It just wasn't what I normally write. At all. And then things got more complicated.
TFV: Thank heavens you're here. We've got a deadline.
Story: I'm a novel!
TFV: No, you aren't.
Story: I really, really am.
TFV: Then I will write my other story idea, so there.
Other Story Idea: Hello. I am an extremely long novel.
TFV: ...Or not. What is the deal here? The entire canon is only five minutes long!
Story: Leaves a lot of unanswered questions. That need to be answered in roughly 80,000 words.
TFV: Look, you can't be a novel. You're for Yuletide, and that means you have to be short. Did you miss the part about the deadline?
Story: Don't you dare try to tell me what I am.
TFV: Oh for fuck's sake. You've got delusions of grandeur. Why can't I just write two thousand words of pegging? You can't tell me those two aren't into pegging. It's not possible.
Story: But you've got me. Your novelly friend! And, let's face it, you'd probably rather write a novel than two thousand words of porn.
TFV, wimping out: Um. Maybe I'll start writing and just see what happens.
[Extensive typing follows.]
TFV, studying the first draft: Well, fuck. This is the first part of a novel.
Story: I told you, but you wouldn't listen, Miss We'll Do It My Way While I Whine a Lot.
TFV, making an appeal to highly relevant authority: OH MY GOD, BETA O' MINE, TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD DO, FOR I AM FUCKED IN THE WAY THAT RUINS YULETIDE.
Q, the Magical Mystery Beta: This is the first part of a novel -
TFV: *weeping, rending of garments*
Q: - but it does have a complete plot arc, and that means we can make it be a short story. Here's how we're going to do that.
TFV: Q, don't take this the wrong way, but right now I am having elaborate fantasies involving keeping you chained up in our spare room so that you are available to beta every word I write.
Q: *like all great editors, ignores the ravings of the lunatic writer, not realizing I have already begun to google manacles*
Eventually, Q and I managed to force the story to be short, but it was a fight all the way down. Every time I opened the document, it sucked up more words. Usually, when I upload my story, I feel a sense of relief and satisfaction. This time, I felt like I'd just staked a vampire - pleased, but also looking around for the matches, because what if the damn thing just isn't dead? What if it comes back and wants MORE BLOOD? I mean words? AIEEEE.
So, the first story I wrote:
The Cape as Red as Blood (13014 words) by thefourthvine
Fandom: Call Me When You're Sober (Music Video) (Plus a secret fairy tales crossover!)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
(If you're curious about the fandom, here's the video on YouTube. Probably that link will only work for people in the US, though; dzurlady is Australian, and I couldn't follow the link from her Dear Author letter.)
My other story was a pinch hit I picked up because I thought it would be new territory for me. And it was. I just - I just didn't expect the new territory to be "writing a huge fandom (that I'd never written before) for Yuletide." But Yuletide is a stern taskmaster.
The basic evolution of this story went like this:
TFV's Writing Id: A Lady Gaga video! Lady Gaga's videos always say kinky porny femslash to me, except when they say poly BDSM porn!
TFV's Writing Superego: But 100indecisions wants gen.
Id: Well, then a Lady Gaga dystopia! Lady Gaga dystopias featuring lots of women in tight, hot - no, wait, that's just another angle into the kinky porny femslash. It turns out all Gaga roads lead to ladies having sex with ladies. And bondage. Damn.
Superego: Good news. 100indecisions would like a crossover, and the mods say it's okay to write a crossover with a big fandom.
Id: YAY I CAN WRITE ABOUT SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T IMMEDIATELY TAKE THIS TO A KINKY PORNY PLACE!
Superego: Excellent idea. Just, um. Why did you think Jack Harkness was the character to choose, here?
Id: ...I'm not talking to you anymore.
Superego: That's because I'm right.
But I managed to write a story that featured:
- A sex slave auction
- Jack Harkness
- Costumes by Lady Gaga
Actually, someday I will probably end up writing a whole post of my Dubious Yuletide Accomplishments, which would almost certainly include "Discovering that in my head, Val Kilmer only plays big gay tops." (I've seen three movies with Val Kilmer in them. I've written Yuletide stories about two of them. In both, the Kilmer character is the toppiest top ever to top. It's a Yuletide mystery, and I just hope I someday get assigned the third Val Kilmer movie I've seen, so I can find out if those first two were flukes.)
Anyway. My point is, I had a blast writing this story, even if it was a struggle to keep everyone's clothes, such as they were, on. And it turns out you can find the humor in a dystopia, so that's good news.
And that story was:
Free Bitch (5203 words) by thefourthvine
Fandom: Bad Romance (Music Video), Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
(If you're curious about this fandom, assuming there is anyone willing to watch a Lady Gaga video who hasn't already, here it is at YouTube. Non-USians will probably have to google.)
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.