Dear Yuletide Writer

Yuletide matches will be going out soon, so if you’re the person who’s been matched with me, look below the cut for further details on my requests.

Dear Yuletide Writer,

The funny thing is that I got roped into this challenge because there was a specific story I was really, really hoping somebody would write for me — a crossover. Then I looked at the rules and discovered I had to request 3-4 fandoms. Well, the crossover took care of two of them, but what would be my third? I started browsing the list, and came up with possibilities, aaaaand . . . ended up getting really excited about my “second string” choice, too. So whichever of my requests you’ve been sent here for, rest assured that I will be delighted to see the result.

(Sorry for the rambly nature of this. I’m apparently feeling chatty today.)

Let’s start with the thing I originally wanted, which involves two of my three requests:

A Hogfather/Nightmare Before Christmas crossover.

(Edited to add: If you came here for one of those sources and don’t know the other, or don’t want to do a crossover, that’s fine; I know the matching doesn’t go beyond fandom and character, and I don’t want to make this troublesome for you. I do love both sources independent of one another, so a story in either setting would still be fun. See the bottom of this post for stuff about my tastes more generally.)

A couple of years ago I watched the TV adaptation of Hogfather (based on the Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett), and joked that it was tailor-made for a crossover with Tim Burton’s film Nightmare Before Christmas. In both stories, the gift-giving holiday figure is taken out of commission, and his duties have to be picked up by a skeletal dude for whom holiday cheer isn’t exactly in the normal job description. I mean, really. And, after mentioning one time too many that I felt this crossover fic needed to exist, I was told that I ought to sign up for Yuletide and see if somebody would write it for me.

The good news is, beyond the basic desire to see those two stories mashed together, I’m not choosy. You can pretty much do whatever floats your boat, plot-wise. I figure the story will probably be on the humorous side, given that neither source is terribly serious to begin with, but on the other hand, if you come up with some brilliantly twisted and dark idea? Go for it. (I’d prefer not deathfic-dark, though. Er, aside from the fact that one of the characters is actually, y’know, Death. More “thought-provoking edgy” than “graphic torture,” please.) Playing off the matching of roles across the stories could be fun: Death and Jack Skellington, Hogfather and Father Christmas, Mr. Teatime and Oogie-Boogie, Susan and Sally, whatever. (Susan in general is awesome. I <3 Susan.) I imagine it as a holiday story, since both premises are, but other than that, knock yourself out with whatever idea catches your fancy.

(I should probably mention, though, that my knowledge of Discworld beyond Hogfather is very hit-and-miss. So bits of story that would depend on me knowing a lot about Sam Vimes, or that thing Death did in Mort that one time, may very well go over my head. Feel free to include other characters you like; I just figured I should warn you.)

What I really love about the sources: the humour, which is clever with just a slightly twisted bent.

If that isn’t what you were sent here for, then let’s move on to my second-string-oh-wait-that-really-does-sound-cool choice:

A Gabriel Knight “sequel” fic.

Okay, I admit it, I never got over the fact that Sierra didn’t make a fourth game. It’s Jane Jensen’s fault — the me not getting over it part, not the Sierra part — for writing such narratively strong games, they had actual character arcs across the series. And then auuuuugghhhh I don’t get closure because the series ends. fdslfkjsdkf.

Ahem. I would like a story about Gabriel and Grace, please, that will bring some kind of resolution (ideally of a happy sort) to what got left hanging at the end of GK3 — namely, Grace’s half-explained departure. By “resolution,” I’m looking for something emotional; sex is okay, but not the part I care about. If you have the time, energy, and will, I would be over the moon to see this have an actual plot, with Gabriel tackling a new case. (Or Grace tackling one on her own, and then Gabe following her there.) But I recognize that would make for a pretty long story, so if you’d rather keep it simple, I totally understand.

What I love about the source: Two things. First is the darkness in the stories: Gabe’s horrific dreams in Sins of the Fathers, the whole business with von Glower in The Beast Within, etc. But I especially love that the darkness is tempered with humour; Gabe always has a snarky comment, even when he’s busy trying not to be sliced in half by a giant bladed pendulum. Awful situations are so much more moving when people aren’t being relentlessly doomful and serious about them.

Second — and this is specific to the “if you write a case for them” option — the way the plots are built off of setting and folklore and history. The role New Orleans played in the first story, and voodoo, and the mistakes of Gabriel’s ancestor. Germany, and werewolves, and all the stuff with Ludwig and Wagner. Rennes-le-Chateau, and the vampires and Holy Grail legends, Solomon’s Temple . . . you get the idea. Another Gabriel Knight mystery, set in a cool location, grounded in real details — I would love a story like that to little tiny pieces. (The rumour was that the next game would have involved ghosts; I’m fine with that, or with any other supernatural thing that might float your personal boat.)

My tastes more generally: I like plot. Especially dramatic plot. Especially dramatic plot that leads to important character moments, because character is the major way I get into a story. Yay angst and emotional suffering, and then coming out the other side. Interpersonal rifts that get overcome the hard way, rather than just being a Big Misunderstanding. Violence doesn’t bother me, so long as I feel it serves a narrative purpose, but I’m really not a fan of splatterpunk-style gore, especially when it’s directed against women. (Not that I expect you’re likely to write such a thing — but it can’t hurt to be clear.) I like verbally clever humour, but not humour that depends on gross-outs, embarrassment, or people being profoundly stupid. I adore characters who are very competent at what they do. Also characters who reveal an unexpected layer beneath the surface: the joker character who’s suddenly serious, the hardass character with a squishy soft spot, the always-cool character that finally has a breakdown. Heroes teaming up with villains, because for the time being they have a common cause. Past decisions coming back to bite you. Dramatic last stands. . . . I’ll stop there before I just end up listing all my personal narrative kinks. 🙂 (I don’t have any fanfic of my own I can point you at, but there’s always this, if you want data on what I write.)

All in all, I’m really excited about this. Being not usually part of the fanfic scene, I’ve never given or received stories as gifts, so the notion of receiving something written for me is quite touching. I hope you enjoy whatever you end up writing, and after the reveal, we can geek out about our mutual love for the source!

0 Responses to “Dear Yuletide Writer”

  1. dsudis

    Hi there! I only friended you recently, but as a person interested in Yuletide, I was curious to read your letter. I see this is your first year, so I wanted to mention something that you possibly haven’t realized.

    When the mods match up requests and offers, the only thing that has to match is at least one fandom and the characters requested/offered in that fandom. That means that you could be matched with someone who only offered Discworld, or only offered Nightmare Before Christmas–and the Yuletide rules state that all other details are optional, so your writer wouldn’t be obligated to write a crossover, even if they did offer or happen to know both fandoms. One of the things that makes Yuletide work is a willingness to be flexible and accept gift stories in the spirit in which they’re given, so I just wanted to let you know what to expect. I’d hate your first Yuletide to be a disappointment for you, but super-specific requests don’t always work out!

    • Marie Brennan

      Yup, I know it isn’t required to write the crossover. But I was told by people who have done Yuletide before that it’s okay to request the fandoms involved and then ask for them to be mashed together.

      But I’ll go back and add a note to the effect of “if you don’t want to do a crossover that’s okay too.” (Finished the letter in a hurry this morning, or I would have remembered to include it then.) I won’t be able to say much about what kinds of story I would want in that scenario — I really don’t know, even though I know that’s unhelpful — but at least I can add the note.

      • rachelmanija

        Yeah, I have to warn you that you are way more likely not to get a crossover. I have gotten a couple crossover requests in past Yuletides, and have either been completely unfamiliar with one fandom, or knew it but didn’t offer it because I had no idea how to write it, and so have never actually written one.

        • Marie Brennan

          Hey, you’re the one who told me to sign up and ask for it in the first place! 😛 No retracting that now.

          More seriously, I figure the only reason it stands any chance of happening is that both sources are pretty small, in terms of length; an eager writer not familiar with both could easily check out the one they don’t know. It’s above and beyond the call of duty, of course — but a lot more feasible than if both sources were, say, TV series that ran for six years.

          In reality, I fully expect I’m more likely to get matched on Gabriel Knight anyway, given what people have said about the algorithm’s tendency to match rare fandoms first. Which is why I’m glad I found something else to get excited about, too. 🙂

          • rachelmanija

            Guilty! I just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t be disappointed if it didn’t happen. But I did think it was possible, for the reasons you say. The crossover requests I got would have required me to write British dialogue (I can’t) or catch up on 30 years of comic continuity.

          • Marie Brennan

            I am well aware that, as they say, optional details are optional. And I do feel a bit bad that I can’t say more that’s useful about what other kinds of stories I would enjoy reading. But this is how my brain works with fanfic, whether it’s my own ideas or someone else’s: for me, it hinges on the story having something specific at its core, rather than fanfic as a more general way of being fannish about something. (If that makes any sense.) Other people’s DYW letters have things like “I ship Jack/Sally, but also Jack/Dr. Finkelstein or threesomes,” whereas for me I guess it’s more about the ideas than the relationships.

            (Which, now that I think about it, is odd — given that as I said above, character is my usual doorway into story. Hrm. Maybe what I mean is that character gets me invested in the source, but when it comes time to do a fanfic, I need something else added into the equation, on top of that element? Now I’m wondering if this ties into my feelings on romance novels, which is that I certainly do need to like and care about the protagonists, but I also want there to be a conflict that isn’t directly about their relationship. At this point I’m just rambling out loud at you — but thank you; you’ve prodded me into some interesting thoughts.)

          • rachelmanija

            PS. I am reading Warrior right now. So good!

          • Marie Brennan

            Glad you’re enjoying it!

  2. thecolourclear

    I’m a DYW-spreadsheet troller, hahaha, and it has you listed as 12 century RPF … is that not one of your offered fandoms?

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, I forgot to update the spreadsheet when I removed that one — yeah, it was one of my requests (not offers), but I realized that I genuinely did want the stories mentioned above more than I wanted that last request, so I decided to shorten my list.

      (The requested character was Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the optional detail came from this post; I wanted a Robin Hood story with Eleanor being awesome, whether as antagonist or ally.)

      Love your icon, btw! That’s a fabulous movie.

  3. Anonymous

    Sunshine? Well, it’s animated, so it’s hard to tell.
    Green grass? Well, it’s a pencil drawing, and it’s in the woods, so not so much.
    Grace and athleticism on display? Not so much; just awesome physical power.
    Kitty? Nope; but there is a baby wild animal. A really cute and adorable, iconic baby animal.

  4. Anonymous

    If i put all my setting to just friends, do i not appear in my friends list to strangers?

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