don we now our gay apparel

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 . . . .

0 Responses to “don we now our gay apparel”

  1. sartorias

    Yuletide has turned out to be one of the highpoints of year’s end for me.

    There’s nothing so fun as waking up to a story written just for you!

  2. beccastareyes

    It’s incredibly fun. At least, I’ve had fun the years I wrote for it. That and the number of talented writers it seems to attract means it’s usually a treat.

    • Marie Brennan

      I hope I don’t end up tearing my hair out over my assignment — though I’ve seen enough Yuletide posts in previous years to know that’s part of the fun, too. <g>

  3. swords_and_pens

    Link? (Not that I have time this year, but it sounds interesting.)

  4. rachelmanija

    My work here is done.

  5. aulus_poliutos

    Erm, how private is that? Because I see ASOIAF listed as fandom, and GRR Martin has clearly stated on several occasions that he doesn’t approve of fanfiction.

    Now, personally I don’t have any problems with fanfic, but one should respect authors who don’t want it.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m not sure what their stance is on those matters. I think that AO3, the archive that hosts the challenge nowadays, generally removes a fandom if the author requests it directly, but there are more than four thousand fandoms on the list of Yuletide nominations; the mods (a very small group of volunteers) aren’t able to check for individual policies. (They’ve had a nightmare of a time just handling the “rarity” requirement.)

      I know that I wouldn’t ask for or offer anything by an author with a closed policy, and neither would a lot of other people. But there are some who either don’t know or don’t agree.

      • aulus_poliutos

        Yeah, the list of fandoms is almost scary, lol. When I scrolled down, ASOIAF was the first I recognised. I feel a bit out of place now, almost never watching movies and TV shows and still struggling to understand the difference between manga and anime. Should time travel back to ancient Rome. 🙂

        • Marie Brennan

          Well, it’s supposed to be a list of obscure things — obscure from the fanfic standpoint, anyway, but to some extent that also translates to general obscurity. Old TV shows, foreign movies, that sort of thing.

          (Anime, btw, is simply the Japanese word for “animation” — manga, on the other hand, are comic books.)

        • starlady38

          As a point of clarification, the OTW’s position is that all fanworks are transformative works not requiring an original creator’s permission. As a project of the OTW, the AO3 welcomes any and all fandoms, however defined (some of my favorites nominated for this year’s Yuletide were the Hungover Owls Tumblr, and the Gmail teahouse and ninja themes…last year’s standout was the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic robot show).

  6. anima_mecanique

    Wow, I totally didn’t know you were doing Yuletide.

    I might not be doing it this year, because I’m a little annoyed at how some things were handled and signups are pretty late this year, but…I guess we’ll see.

    • Marie Brennan

      I didn’t know I was doing it, either, until just recently. 🙂

      There does seem to have been a fair bit of complication and drama; it’s pretty obvious that there are growing pains that haven’t yet been sorted out, on both a technical and organizational level. I don’t have a big emotional investment in the situation, though, so it’s relatively easy for me to shrug that stuff off and wait for the fun to begin.

      • anima_mecanique

        Yeah…I’ve been doing Yuletide for a few years, and I’m a member or a former member of a lot of the fandoms that they had/have issues about, AND I used to be a tag wrangler for AO3 and am still on their mailing list.

        So it’s been quite a ride.

    • starlady38

      Bah, chrome posted that before I was finished. But yay Yuletide! Despite the…hiccups and challenges of this year in particular, many of which are probably not readily apparent to newcomers, it is an awesome experience overall.

      • Marie Brennan

        I saw some of the troubles via posts you and other people made, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. I was a little afraid the server would cough up its liver while I was signing up . . . but with that hurdle out of the way, I’m good for now!

        • starlady38

          There may yet be chunks of liver scattered around before the end! We are getting new servers next year, thankfully; the AO3 is two years ahead of its initial usage projections. In the meantime, I’m going to sign up at like 2500 on Tuesday to hopefully avoid the peak load…which, conveniently, gives me time to finish going through the 4000+ fandoms to decide what I’m requesting and offering.

          • Marie Brennan

            I know the servers are likely to throw a rod when it comes time to upload stories, or to read them. But for now, I’ll pretend that isn’t going to happen. 🙂

            4000+ fandoms — yeah, my eyes about popped out of my head. It took me a while to decide what to offer. (Requesting was pretty easy, although one of the things I was going to ask for got removed before the final list.)

          • starlady38

            I know the servers are likely to throw a rod when it comes time to upload stories, or to read them. But for now, I’ll pretend that isn’t going to happen. 🙂

            Ha ha ha. Ha ha. Ha.

            So, actually, it’s sort of hilariously ironic because YT is moving to the AO3 because its servers absolutely couldn’t handle the load (last year the stories were hosted on the AO3, but the nominations, signups and assignments were done through the old servers), and now…it’ll be the same damn thing as on the old website, which is that it will crash repeatedly on the 25th.

            P.S. You know about, right?

          • Marie Brennan

            But how much worse would it crash without the move — that’s the real question. I get the impression the crowd is larger this year than last.

            And yes, I’ve seen that website. 🙂

          • starlady38

            Oh yeah, the servers on the YT site couldn’t have done last year, period. So we’re definitely better off, it’s just hard to remember it (kind of like how highways get expanded to reduce congestion, but then by the time they’re finished they’re just as congested as pre-expansion).

  7. pentane

    I find the thought of Oldboy fanfic profoundly disturbing.

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