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Bunnies, Bunnies, it must be Bunnies!
SSar's Beast
So! My second Yuletide! I participated about as fully as possible this year: I signed up, wrote my Dear Author letter, hung out on the chat channel (even hippo-ing occasionally), offered beta services, wrote my assignment, picked up pinch hits, wrote those, and wrote a treat. I even nagged four of my local friends into participating, and nagged a further friend to participate a second time (though I feel bad about the thesis writing he didn't do as a result). I even hosted an informal write-in for the local friends. Then I got a story and a treat!

The story I received, Respiratory Pause, is a Machete (2010) fanfic which showers a lot of love in the Sniper's direction. Spoiler: getting ganked doesn't slow him down much. ^!^ And now I have twisted the story into personal headcanon in which Machete is a video game and April is a NPC who hangs out in the "pool" area ALL THE TIME seducing people. Because that would amuse me. *cough* Also:

“I want to talk,” he explained.
“The confessional’s closed,” Machete snarled. “Padre’s dead.”


I also received a treat, Soaring, a Dragonriders of Pern fanfic, which confused me so much that I initially thought the gifting was a mistake. Finally, I realised that I'd written a treat last year, and the recipient of that treat had written Pernese fanfic of their own which I'd enquired after. So I got more of the lives of those particular young weyrlings, which is pretty cool. ("Author! I want more story!" Author+1year: "Here!")

I offered beta help for several stories, in this order:
Workbook, Read or Die T.V.;
Five Times Sigyn Almost Gave Up on Loki, Norse Mythology;
Overthinking It, Kick-Ass (2010);
A Day in the Woods, Starfire Series;
An awkward interlude on Monkey Island, Monkey Island;
and remember who I am, Circle of Magic/ Emelan universe;
Ain't Nobody Gonna Care About You Except Me, Walking Dead;
It starts..., Dark City (1998);
Growing Together; The Last Unicorn.

This "help" ranged from a small bit of brainstorming over a first outline, to being told "I don't like my story at all. Be critical!" It was all immensely fun.

As for what I wrote:

In my sign-up, I offered Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Dollhouse, Melanie Rawn's Exiles, Seafort Saga, Sucker Punch, and Gay Pirates (Cosmo Jarvis). I was matched on exactly what I was expecting: David Feintuch's Seafort Saga.

You know, because that's just karma. Because seeing Seafort Saga on the list last year had prompted me to re-read them, and prompted Joel to buy me all of them except the last book (which wasn't in that particular second-hand store).

I got rather derailed in this process. I started reading them, and started flailing at them, as usual. I ranted, to whatever IRL person could stand to hear about Yuletide, that I had the privilege of writing fanfiction about fundamentalist angst + alien goldfish (beat that).

I skipped ahead to the last book, because that was out on loan from the library and I hadn't read it yet, and flailed harder about some character decisions I found questionable (Nick! Stop adopting all these super-conflicted orphans!! Have we forgotten the part where you are DOOM to CHILDREN). This did not diminish my love for the series. Nor did it give me a story. I'd even lined up a beta reader - but never got back to her. (I'm sorry, and will apologise to you directly also!)

So I went back to my recipient's prompts, which were all quite good. That was how I ended up writing a main fic for The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff, which was new and in my library.

I didn't fall in love with the book to the exact same extent as my recipient, but it was the kind of situation where the things that niggled me would have made good stories. Why did Mackie's mother stay in Gentry after her childhood? Would the underworld culture really be sustainable after the events of the book? How would Tate and Mackie relate to each other? And so on. Luckily, as I said, it was a good prompt, and I could see what Serenade saw as the heart of the book: Mackie's strength, and the strength that his sister and his best friend gave him. The story was written by the 17th, inforpenny/sinngrace checked it for canon compliance, krastakin covered it in red ink, and all was good. (Title: A Gospel Camp Conspiracy to Avert Juvenile Magical Heroism.)

Then I picked up a pinch hit. athenejen wanted Tale of Time City or the song Rabbit Heart. I'd read other DWJ novels, and Tale of Time City was in the library, and I'd been listening to the Florence and the Machine album 'Lungs' on repeat for a week - I get crazes like that. And yes, I had time to check the library catalogue, which was weird - 24 people offered to write Rabbit Heart fanfic, but elyn told me that that was the last of that particular bunch of pinch hits to be snagged. *shrugs*.

I wrote a long and complicated story for Rabbit Heart, found an excellent beta for it - thank you incapricious! - went to take a shower... and had another idea for this prompt. A possibly better idea. Darn. Thus I wrote another story, here, which was fairly well received. Possibly because it was precisely 3,000 words shorter than the first story written for that prompt. *headdesk*. mikeneko was a very helpful beta there.

But I still had another fic to write! I'd picked up a request for Seven Kingdoms fanfic as a fairly late pinch hit. Again, this pinch hit had been up for at least twenty minutes before I claimed it - so I don't think I was stealing it from anyone.

This, White Rabbit, was an interesting story to write. The recipient pretty much said, "Do whatever you want with the main character!" and I'd wanted to write Fire fanfic since the prompt went out last year. So much so that I had the two books out from the library, up on my bookshelf, just in case just this scenario occurred. But I already had half a story in my head, and this made it harder to write, not easier. I don't think I'd make the same choice next year. The piece ended up being sort of a two-act story rather than the five-act story I'd first imagined, though I had a beta, cher, who not only helped me get it into shape, but also provided *expert knowledge on rabbits*. For the win.

But I was writing this last on the night of what, in my timezone, was Christmas Eve. I was determined that there be an actual full story there by the pinch-hit uploading deadline, which was about 10am my time on Christmas Day. And so there was. I got to bed at 5am. And was totally wrecked all day.

You'd think I'd learn from last year, when I also stayed up nearly until dawn on Christmas Day, editing my story, but no.

So, about the only thing I didn't do for Yuletide was recs. I was at work for a lot of the week before reveal, and fairly tired; I read through the archives in a happy but very scattered fashion, so much so that there are still stories by my friends which I haven't read. I think the part of the process I enjoyed most was interacting with betas, and as a beta. Next year I'll do my best to take the week before Christmas off, so that my Yuletide can be more relaxed and so that I can balance it with more offline things. Maybe next year I'll get to write more treats, too. But I had a GREAT time.

And yes. It was unexpectedly about the bunnies.

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fundamentalist angst + alien goldfish

Best description of the series ever.

Why did Mackie's mother stay in Gentry after her childhood? Would the underworld culture really be sustainable after the events of the book? How would Tate and Mackie relate to each other? And so on.

All really good questions! The author hasn't ruled out a sequel someday, so it would be interesting if, for example, the underworld actually wasn't sustainable afterwards, which would cause all kinds of new problems.

I could see what Serenade saw as the heart of the book: Mackie's strength, and the strength that his sister and his best friend gave him.

Yay! That came through powerfully in the story, so thank you again!

*nods* The question about Mackie's mother really bugged me. What kept her from getting-the-hell-out-of-dodge? Oh yeah. And other questions. Why is Roswell's family special? Emma can scare off the fae by reciting Bible verses, yet Mackie attended Sunday school: why is he immune? (Because he never realised he shouldn't be immune?) So many niggles! May have to get the book out of the library again... ^!^

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