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31 December 2010 @ 09:52 pm
Yuletide Revealingness!  
This Yuletide was interesting for me, largely because I had less time than ever before to come to grips with the most opinionated story I have ever written.

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.

Story: Hi!
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 faviconthefourthvine
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; [dreamwidth.org profile] 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 [archiveorourown.org profile] 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. [archiveorourown.org profile] 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
All in one place, while keeping it entirely gen. (Yes, okay, fine. I did sort of also mentally sketch out a story in which Jack Harkness and Lady Gaga meet. I just think they'd have a lot to say to each other, okay? But I did not write that story. The story I wrote? Gen!) I am adding this to my list of Dubious Yuletide Accomplishments, right under "Wrote gen hookerfic, which no one even thought possible, largely because why would you bother?" At least this time, I was writing the gen for a recipient who actually wanted gen.

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 faviconthefourthvine
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 comment count unavailable comments.
Tags: yuletide
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 1st, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
blah blah blah: Doctor Jonesunusualdemoness on January 1st, 2011 07:02 am (UTC)
OMG JACK HARKNESS AND LADY GAGA even if it's only the costumes. *runs off to read*

I have the opposite problem as you writing wise. My stories keep wanting to stop after a few hundred words, even if I have more to say. :/
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 1st, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Jack Harkness and Lady Gaga: you have to admit they seem like a natural for each other.

I totally cannot write short. As witness this entry, which was my Yuletide reveal and still managed to run to loads of words. I mean, I know lots of people who have to work to hit the Yuletide word minimum, but I generally laugh hollowly at their pain, because when I am 1000 words in, I am generally still writing exposition. So, you know, I have sympathy - although it seems like drabbles must be your metier! - but also some envy.
"I don't care how delicious he is, he's EVIL!": deliriumshrift on January 1st, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
Your post made me laugh and laugh, because for my first story I was trying to write gen when I really wanted to make it threesome porn, and for my second assignment I was supposed to be writing slash and it kept wanting to be gen. And I was just flailing my hands, and asking the stories "WHY MUST YOU DEFY MEEEEEE?"

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."

*dies and is dead*

I would read that post so hard, you have no idea.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 2nd, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
And I was just flailing my hands, and asking the stories "WHY MUST YOU DEFY MEEEEEE?"

WHY ARE THEY SO UNCOOPERATIVE, SHRIFT? We SLAVE and SLAVE and this is the thanks we get: attitude. I swear, it's like all the stories have become teenagers lately.

I would read that post so hard, you have no idea.

If I remember, I will write it when we ramp up to Yuletide time next year. (And maybe other people will relate theirs! I can't be the only one with Dubious Yuletide Accomplishments, right?)
(no subject) - ficwench on January 2nd, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 03:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Mari: lost in the woodsmarici on January 1st, 2011 09:03 am (UTC)
Possibly just my limited vocabulary, but I think wolves have ruffs, not muffs, at least before being skinned and made into one.
"After a moment, Netty reached out cautiously and put a hand on the female wolf's muff."

Also, I'm halfway through now and love it -- I know you have no real desire to write a novel for this, but I do truly desire to read it if it ambushes you in a dark alley someday.

Edited at 2011-01-01 09:04 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 2nd, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Whoops. You're, uh, probably right about that. *makes note to edit*

Thank you!
Ruricruric on January 1st, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
This cracked me up and I will be clicking on the links as soon as my brain is awake enough to read but first I have an important question!

"Discovering that in my head, Val Kilmer only plays big gay tops."

Where is this fic?! *G*

tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 2nd, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Attitude Adjustment (3404 words) by faviconthefourthvine
Fandom: Top Gun
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Iceman/Maverick

(In other words, the one where the Kilmer character tops Tom Cruise.)

Noir Enough (6603 words) by faviconthefourthvine
Fandom: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harry Lockhart/Perry

(And this is the one where the Kilmer character tops Robert Downey, Jr.)

If you read them, though, my apologies for the line breaks - I uploaded them very early in the Archive's history, and had no idea until just this minute that one of the subsequent code pushes added an extra line between the paragraphs.
(no subject) - ruric on January 21st, 2011 01:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 21st, 2011 02:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
RiaZendirariazendira on January 1st, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
"Free Bitch" was by you! No wonder I read that and thought oh how brilliant! In retrospect, I'm also rather impressed that you did manage to include Lady Gaga and Jack Harkness and no actual sex. I just read "Free Bitch" today, and I adored it! I was tremendously impressed by not only by the world you created around the music video's storyline, but also by how you wove it into the Dr. Who universe so flawlessly. So impressed!
RiaZendirariazendira on January 1st, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
Wow... that's like 3 "impressed" in one comment... can you tell I liked your story? (And perhaps didn't proof read my comment before posting :-D)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 03:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: Squee from iheathdarthdzurlady on January 1st, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
OMG, you were my author! I'm quite surprised, because I always assume that since yuletide is so large and the number of people I know who participate so small, the chance of me knowing my author is tiny. Thank you for persevering in the face of adversity and perplexing requests! (And a yuletide letter where, in retrospect, a little more editing perhaps would not have been a bad thing.) I would feel worse about your terrible struggles with your epic fic idea, except it was so lovely to get that I selfishly feel only somewhat bad. :)

It's interesting that you found the story was novel like, because as I was reading it I was thinking that I would happily settle in for a novel length version - it had a promising feel to it, it was something that seemed like it would lend itself to novels. I was going to mention it in my comment, but I was worried that 'oh, this seems novel-like, I can easily imagine more of it!' could come across as an ungrateful 'where is the rest of my story?' when it is already excitingly long and does have a distinct finish. (I would totally read more, though! It was good world building, and I love good world building. So many new things to speculate about!)

(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.)
It was a frustrating video to get a link for - I viewed the official youtube version fine a couple of times and then suddenly it was blocked, and there don't seem to be many other uploads floating around. Overzealous copyright pursuers I assume. :( I never even thought that the one I could see would be region locked for other people.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
I was your author! And I was SO HAPPY to get you - I've only written for someone I know once before, and that was as a pinch hit, so it wasn't so much the Fickle Matching Code smiling on me as the much less fickle mods. *g* Especially since I think I talked you into doing Yuletide for the first time, several years ago. Am I remembering that right?

And a yuletide letter where, in retrospect, a little more editing perhaps would not have been a bad thing.

That was an AWESOME letter, are you kidding? It's only recently I've had recipients that have written letters at all, and my philosophy with respect to them is: don't worry about getting them perfect, just get them WRITTEN. (This may be obvious, considering my own Dear Author letters.) They are so helpful! And yours was - it told me exactly what I needed to know about your request.

It's interesting that you found the story was novel like, because as I was reading it I was thinking that I would happily settle in for a novel length version - it had a promising feel to it, it was something that seemed like it would lend itself to novels.

Yeah, you can still see the novel lurking hopefully around the edges of the short story, always trying to poke its way in. (My other story idea, by the way, was urban fantasy rather than straight fantasy. And also, obviously, a novel.) So I wouldn't have been at all upset to hear you saying that, although I can see why you avoided it. *g*

It was a frustrating video to get a link for - I viewed the official youtube version fine a couple of times and then suddenly it was blocked, and there don't seem to be many other uploads floating around. Overzealous copyright pursuers I assume.

I assume it has something to do with Vevo, which is the company that provides most of the major-label music video online content these days. Grrrrrr.
(no subject) - dzurlady on January 3rd, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
arglefrasterarglefraster on January 1st, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
OMG I loved Free Bitch SO MUCH!! And I am so not even shocked that you turned out to have written it! Heeeeeeeee. I'm so glad you snagged that pinch hit!
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! And, yeah, I am very glad I grabbed that pinch hit, too, because this was just Fun to write. I've never written DW before!
Still Waiting For My Jetpack: typewriterazewewish on January 1st, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
My Yuletide fic wound up being almost 19,000 words and I wrote most of it in 4 days. And I swear both of my betas were going to kill me because I kept REwriting and adding more scenes. So, I totally feel you. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
Salute! We should form a club of People Who Write Ridiculously Long When They Really Shouldn't. Or maybe a Our Betas Probably Hate Us club. That one also applies, I fear. (The number of dashes and semicolons Q has removed from my work over the years could fill the Grand Canyon.)

But we survived Yuletide! Again! *weak cheer*
cathalincathalin on January 2nd, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
omg omg *bookmarks fic to read* ahaha I almost read the Gaga one so many times, but just ran out of time due to travel.

p.s. Are you aware of the ~rumors that Val Kilmer, um, ~had Adam Lambert back when Adam and Val were in The Ten Commandments? (this is notable because Adam has publicly referenced his own toppiness a number of times).

In fact, here's what comes up first if you Google "Adam Lambert Val Kilmer"... (I think your head will feel completely vindicated when you view this in full ahaha Val)



Edited at 2011-01-02 03:33 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: !thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 05:54 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD. WHY. WHY DID YOU SHOW THAT TO ME.

(I can now, yes, TOTALLY believe that Val Kilmer had Adam Lambert. Even though I do not want to think about it too closely, because Adam Lambert looks about twelve in that clip.)

Although now I feel totally vindicated: he really is just that toppy! (Seriously, it's something about his body language; whenever I re-watch a movie he's in with a view to writing for it, my brain shrieks TOP every time I look at him.)
(no subject) - cathalin on January 3rd, 2011 06:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cathalin on January 3rd, 2011 07:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 07:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cathalin on January 3rd, 2011 07:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 3rd, 2011 05:57 am (UTC)
IT IS THE ONLY REASONABLE COURSE OF ACTION. Otherwise she might change her name and flee the country to get away from my work, and then I would have to WRITE WITHOUT HER. Better just to lock her in the spare room, I think.
Narikalennarikalen on January 2nd, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
For the record... seems that Cape As Red As Blood is original fic, mostly. So, if you ever should choose to say, turn it into a full length novel and publish it? I would totally buy that book. Possibly several copies of it, so I can share the joy.
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on January 2nd, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
where is the 'like' button for this comment?
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 4th, 2011 07:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea on January 4th, 2011 08:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jrprongs on February 17th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on January 2nd, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
I have just red The Cape as Red as Blood. So. Um. Is there anything we can do to get the entire novel? We could send you offerings?

BEST THING EVER.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yuletide Woot!thefourthvine on January 4th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
You could see if you can bribe Q. She was simultaneously extremely helpful with the shortening and extremely tempting with comments about how this bit, right here, should TOTALLY be expanded, if I should happen to write that novel. And see here? this? An unanswered question, for the novel! And over here, well, obviously background or maybe just some interlinear sections on this character would be great - if, you know. Novel. She's sneaky that way.

Plus, she'd have to be on board. I'd need her beta magic!
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea on January 4th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 4th, 2011 08:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dormouse_in_tea on January 6th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 8th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jrprongs on February 17th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
Everybody wants a thrillkelly_girl on January 3rd, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)
I loved how engrossing and awesome the Lady Gaga/dr.who/jack story was! I'm even more amazed that you managed to make Jack keep his clothes on. Once I tried to write a story containing Jack Harkness and I got up from the computer for like five seconds. When I came back he was naked and there was candles and scented oil and smirking.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yay!thefourthvine on January 4th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
YOU HAVE TO WATCH HIM EVERY SECOND. AND KEEP HIS HANDS OCCUPIED AT ALL TIMES. And even then, you need a whip and a chair to keep him in line. And if that doesn't sound very gen, well, that is just the paradox inherent in writing Jack Harkness gen.
SilentStepsilentstep on January 9th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Ok so I just read Cape as Red as Blood.

Now I would like to read the rest of it, please.

No srsly, where is it?

I mean, there's more. There's gotta be more.

Please?