So, I signed up for Yuletide.
In a few years, I have gone from “what’s this ‘Yuletide’ thing so-and-so posted about?” to “wtf, half my friends list is talking about this ‘Yuletide’ thing” to “now I’m the one posting about Yuletide.” If you’re like a me a few years ago, and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick rundown: it’s a fanfic gift exchange, where participants list types of stories they’d really like to get (source, characters, and some non-binding suggestions as to the nature of the story) and types of stories they’d be willing to write. Everybody gets matched up, and on Christmas Day the stories go live, anonymously; on New Years’ Day the authors are revealed.
What makes this interesting to me is that Yuletide is specifically intended to be for “rare” fandoms — sources for which there isn’t a lot of fanfic already out there. In other words, not your Harry Potters and so on. Some participants take this notion of rarity and run with it, clear off the edge of the map: the list of nominated fandoms includes things like, oh, Plato’s Dialogues. Or the song “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Or Polynesian mythology. There is a section for twelfth-century historical figures; also ones for 13th-14th, 14th-15th, the 15th century itself, 16th-17th, and the Reformation. Reading the list sends me cycling through bafflement and squee: “I’ve never heard of that” alternating with “I’m not the only person who’s seen K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces!”
I signed up because on the shuttle back from Sirens, I mentioned the Nightmare Before Christmas/Hogfather crossover fic I’m convinced the world really needs, and rachelmanija told me I should sign up for Yuletide and ask somebody to write it for me. I’d never really considered participating before then, because calling my involvement with the fanfic scene “minimal” would probably be overstating the case — but in a world where Francis James Child’s English and Scottish Popular Ballads can be listed as a fandom, why the hell not?
Aside from being curious to see what I receive, it’s going to be an interesting exercise from a writing standpoint. I haven’t often written to a prompt of any kind, and in this instance, I have very little notion what I’ll be asked to write. It isn’t completely an open field; I control what I’ve offered, in terms of fandoms and characters, and this year they added a functionality for additional tags, though that last one isn’t binding. The only requirement is that I produce a minimum of one thousand words about X people in Y setting. The recipient may ask for a particular kind of story, but I’m not obligated to produce it. I’ll probably try, though; the point is to make the reader happy, and that means giving them what they’re looking for, if I can. So this may be an enlightening challenge for me, depending on what my assignment turns out to be.
I have more to say on that front, actually, but we’re supposed to keep mum about what we’ve offered to write, so it will have to wait until Yuletide is over.
Anyway, lately my brain has been craving playtime with stories that cannot possibly be construed as any form of work. This fits the bill pretty well. I’m very curious to see what I’ll be assigned to write . . . .