ljc (taraljc) wrote,

The Ghosts of Yuletides Past

So, there is a meme! People are sharing all their Yuletide Stories of Yuletides Past! I like this idea. So I shall do it. I shall do it primarily by mining my yuletide tag, because I AM LAZY.

In 2003, I was assigned mtgat and wrote a Gargoyles story, Just Desserts, about Fox and David Xanatos. Since that was the VERY FIRST yuletide, it wasn't particularly surprising that I'd get Missy as my recipient--particularly as my ex-roommate was one of the founders. I remember this one primarily because it was my first time revisiting the fanfom in about 7 years, and it was so much fun imaging where they'd be almost 10 years after the first epsiode aired. Well, also, there was porn. Mmmmmmmmmmm, porn.

In 2004, I wrote the Max Headroom stories Glass Houses and Strays, for samantha2074. It was still back in the days of VIDEO TAPES, and I remember having to borrow a set of the soruce taped from Bravo, becaus eall I had where the TechTV edits, and the TT cuts took out SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. It was primarily because of this assignment that I ended up volunteering to help SHout! Factory with the DVD box set that came out in 2010. Because I'm insane like that.

In 2005, I wrote the vr.5 story The Art of Lying for shayheyred and had a BLAST rewatching vr.5 and I noticed a lot this time around that I think I either missed first go around, or forgot completely. Like the fact that Sam isn't actually in VR with Duncan in "Parallel Lives", but that's all Dr Bloom. Or that Alex Miller isn't actually shot at Union Station. She just dies, because she died in VR. Or that Jackie at the nursing home didn't call Abernathy when Syd came and stole her mother--but the Keeper. And Oliver killed her by accident.

In 2006, I wrote Without Waking, a Robin of Sherwood story about Huntingdon (spoilers for "The Greatest Enemy" and "Herne's Son") for falzalot and it was cool yet weird yet sort of fun to revisit my very first fanfic-writing (well, first that counts) fandom. This is part of the reason I really love the yuletide challenge actually. Revisiting old and rare fandoms (tho to be fair, RoS had almost more 'zines than people in its heyday, so it's only really rare now that the world has moved onto the Internets... and thank God for that cos that means you have all been spared the terrible Mary Sues of my teen years).

In 2008 my assignment was aris_writing, whom I had matched on both Dark City and Ultraviolet. I started a two stories, unsure of which I would finally go with, and was telling yahtzee63 about my plans for the Dark City one when she suggested that perhaps Emma killing herself and John going mad was not necessarily a suitable gift for someone for whom that canon is their best beloved. So I kept that aside, planning to turn it into a treat (this was before I spent 16 hours in airports on Christmas Eve), and wrote the Ultraviolet story Respice, Adspice, Prospice instead.

As pinch hits, I wrote Carpe Diem, a Robert/Mary Gosford Park story for poisontaster (who, as it turns out, was a beta on the GP story I received as a pressie) and Best Laid Plans for skogkatt, which was the Misfits story focusing on Roxy and Stormer's friendship I always meant to write and am glad I finally did.

In 2009 I wrote:

"Four Times Hardison Told His Nana He Was Sorry, And One Time He Said He Was (But Totally Wasn't)" for boosette
"Making Book" for alizarin_nyc
"The Dangers of Champagne and Shrimp Puffs" for halcyon_shift
"Mórrígan" for lisztful

My original assignment was halcyon_shift, and we matched on Jake 2.0 (naturally). I got my assignment and glee'd because I hadn't written j20 in ages and ages and I missed it like whoa, I was sure I could take a barely started WIP that had been languishing on my hard drive and turn it into her present because it had just about EVERYTHING she'd asked for (including dirtybadwrong Warner/DuMont) until I realised two things:

1. I'd openly discussed that plot several time over the years and since we're on each other's flist and I'm probably one of the only Jake 2.0 fans she knows, she'd know it was me immediately

2. I re-read the outline and, erm... yeah, that's a 40,000 word story, and I'm occasionally prolific, but I'm not that prolific.

So.... I scrapped that idea, and started trying to figure out what I could do, and the first paragraph about the Chivas Regal popped into my head and I started giggling maniacally, and then I decided I had to know why Jake was barefoot, and how he and Lou ended up locked up in a panic room, and from there the story was born.

(I also am a freak who actually set it in 2007 because December 13 there really was both a Knick's Game and an Ice Storm that night.)

I picked up lisztful as a Pinch Hit, because I saw the request come through the pinch hit list and I thought "I can do that. I already have all the books I'd need in my living room."

What I of course neglected to take into account was that I needed time to re-read all my books. In the end, I drew mostly on Lady Gregory, Michael Scott, Ulick O'Connor, Wikipedia, and the Oxford Dictionary of Irish Mythology by Peter Berensford Ellis. It was beta-read by the lovely cadhla, who was the only person I could think of off the top of my head who would be a) awake at that hour and b) conversant with Irish Mythology enough to tell me if it was utter shite. And the last bit with the spear is me stealing Lugaid's story and using it for my own nefarious purposes. Also, erm... using Aífe, Eimhear, and Deichtire as Mother/Maiden/Crone to take the Morrighan's place in the story.

alizarin_nyc's White Collar story happened because I went through all the Madness prompts and thought "I want to write June." I drove my sister nuts, sneaking off to the dining room so I could re-watch all of June's scenes, and you have no idea how much I learnt about both Sy Devore and Golden Harvest in that afternoon. I already knew about Pai Gow, tho, thanks to Shell Game.

And speaking of Shell Game...

So, funny story... See, I guessed boosette had written my glorious, beautiful, perfect pressie, Shell Game story You Are Not Your Cover ID. it was not a Holmesian identification of her stylistic traits. It was the fact that she left an Anonymous comment on my YAY I GOTS A PRESSIE post, and then 3 minutes later responded to the next post as herself. I went back and re-read all her Yuletide posts where she talked about writing for a soruce she'd never seen before, and freaking out about getting someone on her flist, and being able to add 2 + 2, was all "Zie has guess who wrote zir story..." And we spent two hours PMing back and forth while she was on holiday in California with her family with limited internet access, where she was all "I think whoever wrote my Hardison story is journalstalking me or on my flist" and I was all "Yep" *whistles innocently*.

Cos as soon as her request had come up on the pinch hit list, I'd saved it, thinking "I could write her a madness treat". And in the 45 minutes before the archive closed, I dashed off "Four Times Hardison Told His Nana...", giving pretty much Hardison a huge chunk of my own fannish backstory. I figured it would be a dead giveaway, and everyone who read it (I was thinking, you know, maybe 10 people) would know it was me, and it would be a huge laugh.

I had no idea it would end up getting more feedback than anything I had ever written for Yuletide ever in the history of ever. Seriously. And the only person who guessed was thuviaptarth to whom I now owe a drabble in the fandom of her choice.

But see, Boosette was SNEAKY, and I had no idea she'd written both my Yuletide pressies, as she'd also written my Bang Bang treat What Shadows See.

So in the end, SHE TOTALLY GOT ME.

The View From Seven Miles Down for zebra_in_dream

You guys, I got to write Man From Atlantis!!!!!!!!! I cannot begin to tell you how much I have wanted to write Man From Atlantis. It has been one of my childhood fandoms, and I'd always requested Yuletide fic, but never offered to write before. HUGE thanks to my betas, especially annlarimer who may never forgive me for the erm... scene in the bathroom.

This was a really difficult story to write. Partly because the entire time I was writing it, I just kept thinking about susanmgarrett who was the only other hardcore MfA fan I knew, and who loved it even more than I did. We used to have epic phonecalls about it, and when I went back over my MfA lj posts, and possibly kept crying just a little, when I read her comments. So even tho the story was for Zebra, really it was also very much for Susan. Which made it mean a lot to me to write, and also sorta raised the stakes. It's not the best story ever--after all, it's really just a series of missing scenes from the first hour of the pilot--But I really loved getting inside Elizabeth's head.

The Latina Progenitor Invasion for areyoumymemmy

I may have pounced on this pinch hit like a tigger. All the good stuff in it was stolen directly from the series, and I had some fantastic cheerleaders who were made of awesome. This is also the story where I accidently rang up one of my betas at, erm, 1am. Ooops? (Luckily she--mostly--forgave me.)

In The Dark for thepouncer

I CHEATED ZOMG SO MUCH. I had written this waaaaay back when "In The Light" first aired, but it had languished on my harddrive ever since. Then when I was going through the Yuletide Madness prompts, I saw that this woudl have worked, and plus I felt guilty for not being able to beta for Pouncer. So voila! Treat got dusted off, tweaked, and posted. And I giggled when yahtzee63 left a comment, since she was the one who took a peek at the oriignal first draft, all those months ago.

Was (Wasn't) for brokengravity

This was one of the stories which pretty much had my name written all over it--granted, possibly only for the folks who read my Owenfic way back in the day (which may just be mtgat, settiai, cadhla, and hawkmoth). I've always maintained that Owen and the Puck are the same person--however, the Puck shows one face to the world, while Owen shows another, based on their audience. And also, the Puck plays the fool because people underestimate him--for much the same reason Owen plays the boring, stoic manservant. In both cases, this gives him opportunities. And in both guises, as Demona once said, he's a tricky one.

Clever Rosebriar for calenlily

This was something I'd wanted to write for ages and ages. I'd actually even started writing it once before, but then the notebook I'd written it in was lost when my bag was stolen. It had lurked at the back of my head for a long time, and I decided to just play with it as a treat. It's not so much a fairy tale (there's no magic, and it doesn't follow fairy tale rules) as it is a folktale.

Seeing as how I almost never write original fiction, I kinda freaked out about this a whole lot.


Keep The Home-Fires Burning (Gosford Park) for kitrazzle

This story is really set after The Servants Ball and I worry that it doesn't make a lot of sense without having read it, but I really loved the idea of Mary and Mrs Wilson as family. I wanted it to be a bit prickly and awkward, but I also wanted to examine what it would have been like for Mary once Robert went off to war. Per usual, I got seriously caught up in the research.

Brown-Eyed Girl (The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett) for kitsuneasika

This was my first pinch hit and I had THE BEST TIME OMG. I not only re-read The Maltese Falcon but I hunted up the other Sam Spade short stories, and read Joe Gores' prequel (written with the blessing of the Hammett family) Spade & Archer.

I was deeply amused that we never actually get a physical description of Effie beyond her brown eyes and "boyish" face. And also that she is only ever referred to by her full name--Effie Perine. So I possibly wanted to tweak that just a bit.

Two lines in the story were stolen. The first was the last line of "A Man Called Spade" where Sam basically asks Effie out on a date. "Want to catch a movie or have you got something else to do?" and in the story, we never get Effie's answer. The second was Hammett's own quote about Spade, "Samuel Spade was a hard and shifty fellow, able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent by-stander or client." because I loved the idea of using it in the story itself. In my head, the secret is that Effie loves Sam, but she'll never act on it cos as she says "You're no good, Sam". Sam is gonna have to work for it.

I love writing banter like whoa, and actually wrote big chunks of the dialogue first, and then tried to get it story-shaped. I hope it feels story-shaped to the readers. It's set in 1934/1935 and I wanted to get a sense of time passing and how Sam an Effie's relationship changed after Brigid and the black bird not so much because of Brigid, but because of Iva Archer.

The Dust of the World (Borderland - Terri Windling) for robling_t

This is the story that freaked me right out. Elyn sent it to me because she knew of my deep and abiding love of Windling's shared universe, and I had been wanting to write a B'town story FOREVER. But after three abortive tries, I finally ended up writing it on Dec 24, into the wee hours of the night. I can't remember the last time I wrote 6000 words in 36 hours before. I really want to go back and polish it. I think it's a good idea, but it's about three drafts away from really being the story I wanted to tell. When I started, I thought it was jenny's story. But once I got into it, it turned out to be just as much Scaggs' story. I really want to write more with these two--particularly Scaggs' mother, who is a BAMF. I wanted the Biker Chick to sorta be the opposite of a La Llorona figure. Instead of a water elemental who drowns children and is the stuff of nightmares, I wanted to create an earth elemental who protects children... and is the stuff of nightmares :) Something tells me someday I'm going to write her story as well. I am also possibly a complete basketcase about this story because I really want it to be something Terri and Ellen and Holly would approve of.

The Swan Princess (Once Upon A Time) for flipflop_diva

Once I FINALLY got "Dust" uploaded, it was gone 2am, and Elyn was still awake, so I poked her and asked who still had no pressie. She gave me a list and I went through them, and picked the Once Upon a Time prompt cos I really am tickled that they named Emma "Swan" and I genuinely do think that given a choice between Disney Princesses and Pirates, Emma would so go for Pirates. I apologise to the recipient--I know she was probably hoping for a meaty plotty story instead of a character vignette written four hours before the archive opened.
Tags: ghosts of yuletide past, meme, yuletide
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