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2013 Yuletide Letter
yuletide, writing, letter, fandom
Thank you so much for offering to write in my tiny/non-existent fandoms. I write obscenely long Yuletide letters, so feel free to ignore everything under the cut tags. The only things you really need to know are...

I have no squicks or triggers.

I read gen, het, both types of slash and poly.

I read fic of all ratings, all lengths, all POVs (1st, 2nd, 3rd-omniscient & 3rd-limited) all tenses and all genres.

I enjoy stories in both the standard form and the more unusual stuff (scripts, epic poems, linked drabbles, interactive fiction, etc.) Nothing is off-limits.

I'm happy to read about any of the canon characters (be they main or minor, nominated or not) or about original characters or a combination of both.

I'm fine with crossovers and happy to read them even if I'm unfamiliar with the other fandom.

Hopefully that should give you a nice open playing field. Write the story you want to tell, because that's the story I want to read. Seriously, give me anything in these fandoms and I will love you to pieces.

However, if you're the sort of person who gets terrified by open-ended requests and would like plot suggestions and in-depth discussions of the various fandoms, read on...

FANDOM: Dynamite Headdy
NOMINATED CHARACTERS: Dark Demon, Headdy, Heather, Trouble Bruin

Okay, let's start with the basics. When did you first encounter Dynamite Headdy?

I first played this twenty-year-old videogame when it was still new. I picked up a copy for my Sega Megadrive (You'll probably know that console as the Genesis, if you're American) and I probably got it second-hand as part of a bundle, because that's how I got most of my games. I definitely hadn't read any reviews or anything. I had no idea what to expect.

Okay, so you went in with no preconceptions. What was your first reaction?

Well, I didn't bother reading the manual. (The keys for Action, Shoot and Jump were exactly the same in every platformer ever released for that console. I fucking loved that era. I get so frustrated these days with games that expect you to memorise dozens of different button-combinations just to get started.) I just charged straight in without even watching the explanatory cutscene. I thought the gameplay in the opening section was pretty stupid, since you could take no action whatsoever and you'd still get swept along to the end of the level.

Then the painted backdrop fell over and the baddie was standing in a spotlight and I was suddenly all "Oh wait, this is set in a THEATRE? I'm going to start paying attention. This is extremely relevant to my interests."

It still took me a decade before I got around to watching that opening scene, though. :)

What happens in the opening scene?

All the toys are living peacefully, when the Dark Demon rocks up and decides to turn toytown into his own personal utopia. (For which read DYStopia, obvs.) The toys are inspected by his footsoldiers and all the ones that can't be subdued or reprogrammed are sent to be incinerated. (Honestly it reminds me of nothing so much as the opening credits of Raggydolls.) Anyway, our hero Headdy is naturally one of the ones sent to the reject bin be incinerated, but he smashes his way out using his detachable head and goes on the lam.

Do they ever explain in canon WHY he has a detachable head?

Ha ha ha! No of course not. It is one of many, many things that are never explained in canon. Please feel free to write me fic that explains any or all of them!

Okay, so we'd gotten up to Trouble Bruin's first appearance...

Right and had I mentioned that I spent my whole childhood convinced he was a cat?

You mean the name didn't give you a--

I never read the manual. I didn't know his name. He looked vaguely like a cat. What do you want from me?

Well, let's just skip past Bruin's first appearance and talk about the three assistants.

Okay, cool. Out of Headcase, Hangman and Beau the ones I would most like fic about are Headcase and Beau.

Why them?

Because the mechanism by which Hangman works is more obvious. He dangles from things, Headdy grabs on, Hangman pulls him up. There's no real mystery to be solved there.

What's the mystery with the others?

Well, why does Headcase lug Headdy's spare heads around? He's only ever got three or four available at a time. Where does he go to restock? How is he choosing which heads to provide? Usually they're based on what Headdy will need for the terrain, but if that were true then why would he ever bother bringing what the manual calls Head Trip, most players call the Melon Head and what the Japanese version calls the Buddha Head? Nobody EVER needs the Melon Head. Is he actually carrying physical heads or is he somehow just enabling Headdy to change heads that he already had access to, but couldn't wear? I'd like to see a fic where Headcase is a professional dresser and quick-change artist.

What about Beau?

Well that weird little cupid keeps showing up in the boss fights to tell Heady where the keymaster's weak spots are, but how were those weak spots identified in the first place? Beau is clearly a spy and due for a fanfic full of James Bond-esque shenannigans!

Okay, we've talked a little about Headdy and Bruin, let's talk about Heather.

There are a few scenes where it all gets a bit Save The Princess-y, but overall I like how Heather gets dealt with in this game. She shows up a little ways into the story for Headdy to fall in love with, then takes his keys while he's all lovestruck. She's a girl on a mission, yo! I especially like that there are a couple of levels that end with no boss fight because by the time Headdy arrives there, Heather has already fought and won the battle all by herself. Knowing she's had those victories makes the later scenes where Headdy has to rescue her much more palatable to me. I'd enjoy a Headdy/Heather fic that followed their relationship from those first meetings where Heather is kind of using Headdy to get keys through to the scene where they have to work as a team to defeat The Gatekeeper, then on towards the resolution at the end of the game where the level of shippiness will depend upon whether you're playing the English version (which ends with a kiss) or the Japanese version (in which Heather pronounces Headdy "the greatest puppet" but the ending is otherwise lulzy and non-shippy.) I'm open to either.

And I would really, REALLY like a fic that shows Heather's POV on the boss fight we never saw from 4-4. I always felt cheated as a kid that we never saw that fight. (Although if I'm being totally honest, there were plenty of fights in this game that I never saw as a kid.)

How come?

Because there were no walkthroughs back in the day and Dynamite Headdy has pretty challenging gameplay. I don't think I ever managed to progress past Babyface as a kid, but as I kept all my old consoles from the 80s and 90s, I was able to revisit the game post-college and get as far as... hmm... Twin Freaks maybe? Then eventually I found the Walkthrough on GameFAQs and managed to complete the game. I even got to the secret bonus level!

Is that what you get if you collect all the secret bonus points?

You'd think so, but no. You get to the secret bonus level by completing all the basketball minigames. You don't get any sort of reward in the game for getting all the secret bonus points apart from a slightly higher score. Feel free to write me a fanfic which fixes this monumental injustice!

Okay, so what happens in the secret bonus level?

While the stage crew are starting to conduct the Get Out, Headdy leaves the theatre and heads off to visit the Producer who has a fancy-pants office in the top of a skyscraper. (I'll admit that most of my professional theatre experience has been state-funded rather than in the commercial sector, but this strikes me as highly unlikely.) Anyway the Producer tries to throw money at you with wild abandon (again this is diametrically opposed to everything I know about theatre) and once you've defeated him you escape onto the roof.

Why is he throwing money at you?

It's never explained in the English version. Fortunately other fans have posted the Japanese version online. Basically the Producer is trying to persuade Headdy to risk his life to star in a sequel, hence the money that depletes your life force if you touch it.

Wait, so was Headdy actually in danger? I thought at the end the whole thing was revealed to be just a puppet show!

Well, sort of. The continue screen makes it seem that way, with the list of scenes posted in the wings matching up to the list of scenes that make up the different levels and the audience cheering Headdy on like they want him to come back onstage for an encore. On the other hand, Backstage Battle doesn't appear to take place onstage and some of the levels like Spinderella have contradictory visual cues about where the audience might be. (Those totem pole things face inwards. The only way that would work is if the audience were in the centre and the whole thing were performed in inverted traverse.)

Basically parts of the game seem like they're an in-universe stage play, while some parts seem like a genuine life or death struggle that happen to be taking place in and around a theatre. I'd love a fic that managed to explain the inconsistencies or just took a deeper look at these different levels of reality.

Is there anything else you'd like me to include in a fic?

You know all those riffs on movie titles that they have in the level names? And the dialogue that includes lines like "Catch you later" and "Don't lose your head"? Yeah, if at all possible I would like you to include the terrible puns.

Okay, I guess I'll head off to write it then.

That's the spirit!

FANDOM: SCP Foundation

You've requested 'Any' for a humongous wiki of loosely connected short stories, with massive tone variation. I don't even know where to begin...

Well, let's talk a little about my engagement with the fandom first and we'll take it from there.

Okay. How long have you been reading SCP?

Since it was linked on a fandom pimping post in the Yuletide comm a couple of years ago. The description (and the picture of 173) totally sold me on it, so I headed over and read hundreds of SCP logs.

173 is the one where you have to maintain eye contact, right? Kind of like the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who?

That's the one. Is it easier if I refer to the SCPs with descriptions as well as numbers?

Yeah, it would probably save me some tabbing back and forth to look stuff up. Actually, links would be great as well.

No problem!

Cool. Should we talk about the nominated characters?

Sure. First off, I wanted to say that you shouldn't feel bound by these characters. If you want to write about other SCPs or staff members that's absolutely fine.

Then why did you nominate characters at all?

I thought they might make good starting points for you since each of them exemplifies a different thing that I love about the canon.

That sounds promising. What is it you like about SCP-294?

SCP-294 is the coffee machine that can serve any liquid from piña coladas to human blood to molten gold. I love the different test logs and I love, love, love that the Foundation stuck it in the employee breakroom. Like they have this artefact of almost limitless power and their first thought about what to do with it is that they can use it to save themselves from a monthly run to Costco.

Yeah, I sometimes get the feeling that the foundation staff have spent so long around this weird stuff that they've lost sight of what normal behaviour really is.

Exactly, and I can relate to that SO HARD. I work in a theatre, so my day to day worklife includes a lot of weird stuff that seems completely ordinary to me unless I really start to think about it. Round robin emails asking who left a skull in the corridor, purchase order requests for a litre of fake blood, passive aggressive notes telling people not to borrow the mermaid without permission... I feel like there's a lot of crossover with the sort of memos you'd see in the SCP Foundation.

Except with them it would probably be real blood.

Probably. Anyway, I have a real soft spot for comedy that comes from mixing the utterly mundane with the deeply weird. I'd love a story that focused on the Foundation's annual performance reviews. Or one that revolved around somebody scrambling to spend a budget surplus before the end of a fiscal year so that they wouldn't have their budget cut the following year. Or a fic about office politics. Or one about arranging the department's Christmas party. Something completely normal that is rendered weird and funny by virtue of the setting. That'd be awesome.

Okay what about SCP-823?

SCP-823 is the murderous theme park. I nommed this because before the wiki got all organised and codified, it was basically just a repository for creepypasta and man, do I love me some well-written creepypasta!

Well-written could mean a lot of different things. What specifically are you looking for?

Well, what I like about SCP-823 is that it takes something people are irrationally scared of (Like rollercoasters. I fucking LOVE rollercoasters, but it's still scary in that moment when the ride's about to start. It's the knowledge that I'm strapped in and have totally ceded control, putting my life in the hands of the people running the ride, even though statistically I'm way more likely to die in a car) then it comes up with a twist like the Thriller Chiller coaster which says that if anything, I wasn't scared ENOUGH. (And you'd better believe that if I was in the back seat of that thing that I would have dislocated my own arms to get out and never mind how high the damn thing was.)

There are some other SCPs that do the same thing. Like, ever since I saw Jaws as a kid I've had a completely irrational fear of sharks when I am swimming, even if I'm swimming in a landlocked indoor municipal swimming pool where I have full visibility of everything in the water. Then I read SCP-1057: Absence Of Shark. Ugh. Never swimming again.

But a lot of people thought that SCP-1057 was ridiculous...

Well, yeah. A lot of horror is subjective.

Okay, so what are you afraid of?

Rock solid tropes for that would be variations on the theme of Be Careful What You Wish For, stuff about People Doing Horrific Things To Prevent Something Even Worse, and paralysis or any other form of Being Aware But Unable To Act

And the last character, Dr Bright? What aspect of the fandom that you love does HE exemplify?

Yuletide writer, meet my id. Id, this is my Yuletide writer.


Sorry, Id. I can't promise you that. They may not have even matched me on this fandom and if they did, there's no guarantee that they offered Dr Bright.

Id: SCP-034 then?

Okay, shush. Seriously. Back in your box.

Well that was... an experience.

Yeah. Sorry about that. For the record SCP-034 is the knife that works like polyjuice potion.

I wondered. So, bodyswap, huh?

Yeah, I kind of have a thing. I've read everything with that tag on AO3 regardless of quality or whether I know the fandom. (Back in the day, I used to do the same thing on FFN, but AO3 is easier to search..)

Wow, so what exactly is the appeal? The freaky porn where people have sex with themselves?

Or the intellectual explorations of Cartesian Dualism. I'm equally prepared to go highbrow or lowbrow with this trope. I just have an endless fascination with stories about how changes to a person physically affect how they see themselves and how they relate to other people.

But there are lots of other tropes do that too: disability fic, age regression, genderswap...

Right, but a lot of those don't cover the same ground. Always-a-girl genderswap doesn't cover the same ground as suddenly-a-girl genderswap and a lot of age regression has character-as-an-actual-child played for cute rather than character-as-physical-child-but-with-their-own-memories played for identity angst. I want stories about physical changes that teach the characters something new about themselves. There are tons of opportunities to explore this within the Foundation. Dr Bright is just one example.

Anything else I should know?

If you do write genderswap, can you match the pronouns to the mind not the body? I don't mind if other characters misgender people, but I prefer the pronouns in the narration to fit the character's identity. (This is just a preference, though, not a requirement. See previous point about my having read every single fic on the tag. I'm REALLY not fussy when it comes to this trope.)

FANDOM: EE "House Of Bacon" Commercials
NOMINATED CHARACTERS: Apollo 13 Bacon, A Few Good Men Bacon, Footloose Bacon, Hollow Man Bacon

Wait, is this a request for a four-fandom crossover or for RPF about Kevin Bacon?

Neither. Go watch the two videos, I'll wait.

Okay, I'm amused, but still confused.

It's simple. You have Kevin Bacon the actor, you have the different characters he's played and then, somewhere between the two, you have a universe populated by people called [Name-Of-Movie] Bacon, who all hang out together and argue about films, they retain some of the same outfits and mannerisms as the movie characters, but appear to be distinct individuals.

Basically if you ever got into the Marvel Versus DC series on Youtube or were involved in the Subreality Cafe back in the day or read the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde, that's kind of how I see these commercials. Like this is where the characters go after the movie finishes to hang out and be themselves.

So can I write this without having seen all of the movies that Kevin Bacon's been in? I'm trying to work out if the canon review for this fandom is super short or super long.

It's super short unless you want it not to be? I mean the aspects of the movie characters that make it into the actual commercials are all the sort of things you could pick up from cultural osmosis or a handful of Wikipedia articles, not stuff that makes a close examination of their source canon. And while I've watched or re-watched all the movies for the nominated Bacons fairly recently, I hadn't when I decided to request it for Yuletide.

Which was?

About six months ago when I first saw the commercial. I literally turned to my friend and yelled "Ohmygod! SO requesting this for Yuletide." She responded by viciously shushing me because other people in the cinema were looking at me funny, but still...

And what is it you're looking for in a fic?

There are a few different routes you could take. Probably the simplest would be a straight up comedy fic about day-to-day life in the House Of Bacon.

Like fighting over who does the dishes?

Right! I was a HUGE fan of Bagenders back in the day, so cracky fandom houseshares are definitely a Thing I Enjoy. I can definitely see Footloose Bacon and A Few Good Men Bacon clashing over chores. (Meanwhile whenever there's work to be done, Hollow Man Bacon is nowhere to be seen. Funny that.)

Y'know, from skimming the SCP Foundation section of your letter, I also get the impression that you'd be interested in something that dealt with invisibility generally. Is that fair to say?

It's TOTALLY fair to say. I'm interested in everything from the trials and tribulations of living with an invisible housemate to freaky invisibility porn if that's how you roll.

Should we talk shipping generally?

Sure. If you're happiest writing shipfic, the pairings I most easily see are adversarial A Few Good Men Bacon/Footloose Bacon, friends with benefits Friday The Thirteenth Bacon/Apollo 13 Bacon, because of their asides to each other about A Few Good Men Bacon (and because the pairing name would be fun) and Hollow Man Bacon/Apollo 13 Bacon because the logistics of sex between an invisible man and a man who is apparently incapable of taking off his spacesuit is just objectively hilarious.

Why DOESN'T he take his spacesuit off?

I don't know. Feel free to explain it in your fic.

Can I include any other Bacons?

Feel free! JFK Bacon the hooker, Murder In The First Bacon the convict, Sleepers Bacon the abusive guard, Stir Of Echoes Bacon who sees dead people, Mystic River Bacon the detective, Frost/Nixon Bacon the Chief Of Staff... I think he's only been in one film that's too big for Yuletide, but so long as you don't turn this into a straight up Sebastian Shaw fic, I think you'd probably be fine to include X-Men: First Class Bacon the mutant.

So you're okay with the inclusion of new Bacons, but not necessarily crossovers?

Actually there's one crossover that I'd really be interested in seeing. You know the scene in Being John Malkovich, where John himself goes through the secret door and ends up in a world where everybody looks liked him?

I think I see where you're going with this.

Yeah, I'd love to see a story that mashed the two concepts up in some way.

Is there anything else you'd like me to include?

The set dressers for this commercial clearly had a lot of fun. Did you notice the date on the wall calendar? The message on the chalkboard? The mask hanging by the door? The picture on the staircase? I'd love lots of little background references like those.

I'll do my best.

That's all I ask.

FANDOM: Cracked: After Hours (web series)
NOMINATED CHARACTERS: Daniel O'Brien, Katie Willert, Michael Swaim, Soren Bowie

Wait, you're nominating Do you know how distracting that site is? Just doing canon review will take me until February! I'm gonna have to default and it will all be your fault, AD!

No, no, no! Look, I'm not asking you to read the whole of There is just a very small and specific section of it for which I would like fic.

Which is?

The After Hours Videos. There's around thirty of them and they're each about five minutes long. You could blitz through your canon review in the same time it takes to watch a movie. Also the links below the videos are only to other After Hours videos, so you're less likely to get sucked into other areas of the site and wind up with a billion tabs open. More importantly it's so much fun! It's a series of short videos starring fictionalised versions of four staff members from The conceit of the series is that after work Soren, Daniel, Michael and Katie will go out to a local diner and dissect pop culture over dinner.

Wait, is this about your obsessive need to Overanalyse All The Things?

No. It is also about my obsessive need for snappy, overlapping dialogue; terrible puns; neat pop culture trivia and characters who snark at one another, but remain good friends deep down.

But mostly the meta?

Yeah, mostly the meta.

Okay, well now we've established that, what are you looking for in a Yuletide fic?

Well, the series updates way too slowly for my liking, so I'd be psyched about a "missing episode" type fic with the gang in the diner discussing something.

Discussing what?

Doesn't matter. I'm happy for them to be discussing a fandom I'm not familiar with, so long as I get enough context from their conversation to follow the argument. (That's the same way I watch the episodes after all!)

I appreciate that, but I thought it might be nice to use a fandom you were actually in or had strong opinions about.

That's so sweet of you! Here are some things I would be discussing if I were in the diner with them:

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe we learn that The White Witch has magically induced a never ending winter and there's been thick snow on the ground for literally generations and all trade routes are closed. We know the witch can magic food out of nothing, but we also know that eating it will put you in thrall to her because that's what happens to Edmund. Narnia has a burgeoning resistance movement that is not in thrall to the witch. Where is all their food coming from? I think Michael would agree with me that there was probably some cannibalism going on among the sentient animals there.

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is not a comedy, it's a tragedy. Everybody thinks of it as having a happy ending because the four Athenians get paired off in the end. This neatly ignores the fact that Demetrius has basically been roofied by Puck and forced to marry his stalker. You could argue that since he was pursuing Hermia against her wishes, it's a sort of karmic justice, but it still makes the play a dark morality tale and not a light hearted rom-com.

Oh. I don't actually know either of those fandoms.

No problem. What about putting together teams of heroes? There's this one fic I read where the concept was the British Avengers.

Like John Steed and Emma Peel?

No, like if they'd put together the team for the recent superhero movie using only British characters. So Harry Potter, The Doctor and James Bond all work for a government department led by Blackadder.

But if it's already been done...

Okay, but what would the French line up look like?

Well, I guess you'd have Amelie and Asterix and Tintin... wait, is Tintin Belgian?

Daniel would know! Isn't that exactly the sort of thing they'd be discussing in the diner?

Okay, but look what if I don't want to write a standard episode-in-the-diner type fic? What if I want to write something plotty or 'shippy or do character introspection?

Good point! Let's talk about the characters.

Shall we start with Soren?

Oh man, Soren! Between the womanising ("booty call list?" "It's more of a booty-base"), the constant need to be in control, the refusal to admit he's a nerd ("I'm not out like you guys") his privileged upbringing ("the working classes really are invisible to you aren't they?") his belief that might makes right and his McCarthy-style accusations that everybody is a terrorist (Princess Leia, zombies, Slytherins, Mario...) I would probably hate him in real life.

But then I see the way he looks out for Daniel (taking his side, approving of his terrible impressions) who by all the evidence available would not have survived high school without Soren's friendship, I see him picking up the tab for everybody's dinner in the robot apocalypse ep even though they're all making fun of him. I see how without him leading, moderating and directing the conversations that each episode would be six hours long and never reach a punchline. I see him discussing his essentially loveless childhood. I see that his greatest fear is his own weakness and inevitable failure and then I kind of want to hug him and generally get way more invested than is appropriate for a canon this silly.

I'm especially interested in how far back he and Daniel go or the continuing ideological battles between him and Katie, either of which could easily be written as shippy if you wanted to go in that direction. (I don't really see Soren/Michael, but I'm open to being persuaded if you do.)

What about Daniel?

Poor, poor Daniel: ever the buttmonkey. (Which is kind of hilarious because the real life Daniel O'Brien is a senior editor and therefore their boss.) I have a vague idea that Dan and Michael might be roommates (mostly based on them leaving together after the Batman ep and the comment about Michael pooping in Dan's toaster) so I would absolutely be up for an Odd Couple type fic about those two living together. I'd also like anything exploring the roots of his Spiderman obsession, his compulsive need to document everything or his fear of abandonment. Extra brownie points if you can somehow combine that last one with the theory Michael mentions in the High School ep about how Ferris Bueller may have just been a figment of Cameron's imagination. The Halloween ep shows us that Daniel's greatest fear is just that he's sitting in a diner by himself with his little notecards. He's AFRAID THAT HIS FRIENDS AREN'T REAL. (Even more brownie points if you can get Daniel to believe this and then it subsequently turns out to be Michael staging the whole thing to mess with Daniel's head. Because he so would.

Actually let's talk about Michael.

Socially awkward or sociopathic? Does he really not know how inappropriate he's being or does he just not care? There's a case to be made either way and I imagine the rest of the group have had that argument multiple times in Michael's absence. Whichever it is, he's hilarious. I'd be psyched by a fic exploring what passes for Michael's decision-making process or looking at the mysterious Michael/Katie incident that is mentioned in the first episode and then never brought up again. I like the dichotomy of how he's all naive and childlike about everyday things (from Scientology in the Trek ep to Sex and the City in the Turtles ep) yet also Machiavellian (selling his friends to the zombies for leniency in the apocalypse ep) and sex-obsessed (every single episode).

And Katie?

I am totally with Michael on the Katie-has-an-annoying-voice thing. Other than that, though she rocks pretty hard. I love that she's not afraid of bringing the long words or referencing classic texts in the middle of their ridiculous pop-culture conversations. I can relate to her occasional frustration at being the token girl in a male group of friends and at having to be somebody rubbish (usually a stripper) when they re-map themselves onto characters from whatever they're discussing. I love her passion and enthusiasm (ever notice just how many of her contributions start with "Ooh!") and determination. I love that she made a slashy Harry Potter collage and firmly believe that she's a fanwriter herself. (If you wanted to go meta, I would definitely be open to a fic where Katie is participating in Yuletide.)

Did we just discuss the characters in the same order they sit around the table?


Why do they always sit in that configuration anyway? They do it even when they're away from the diner, like the camping episode!

My hunch is that they arrived at the configuration after trying all the alternatives and finding that they didn't work. Daniel needs Soren beside him for protection. Katie is the only one who can deal with Michael's crazy up-close. I imagine there was some pretty hilarious trial and error there.

Maybe I should write fic about THAT!

Maybe you should!

FANDOM: Werewolf (Party Game)


Yes! Werewolf.

That's a fandom now?

It will be if you write it! (In all honesty, people keep writing me such amazing stories when I request these crazy fandoms that I have zero incentive to stop. Anyway, if they can make a movie out of the game Battleship, you can make a story out of the game Werewolf.

That Battleship movie sucked, AD.

But you will do better, Yuletide Writer. I have faith in you!

Okay, so this game Werewolf, it's basically Mafia, right?

The underlying game mechanism is the same, but the stories and characters used are different. I want Werewolf fic, not Mafia fic.

Okay, but there are a shit-ton of variations on this game. Which one are you familiar with?

I've played quite a few, but the one I come back to is always the simplest. A big group of people sits in a circle. One of them is The Narrator and they give everybody else a card or a slip of paper to tell them if they'll be playing a villager or a werewolf. The Narrator then acts as moderator while play alternates between nightime (when the villagers close their eyes and the werewolves pick a victim to kill and eat) and day (when all the players vote on who to lynch as a suspected werewolf). Play continues until either all the werewolves are dead (villagers win) or until all the villagers are dead (werewolves win).

And you want fic about that?

The thing is? If you get a good Narrator in your group, then it's practically fic already. I went to one Adult Play session where...

Wait. Adult Play? Is this a kink thing?

It sounds like it should be, doesn't it? But no, it's more embarrassing than that. It's actually an event run by some local artists in an empty warehouse. They have a whole mission statement about the value of play as a cultural pastime, but at the end of the day it's just an excuse for a bunch of alleged adults to drink beer and play freeze-tag.


Oh, and sometimes there's a bouncy castle.


Don't judge us too harshly. I'm very aware that the whole thing is first world, urban, hipster nonsense that verges on self-parody, but we're not hurting anybody and we have a lot of fun.

I'm not even gonna go there. What were you saying before?

Oh, right. At one of the sessions we had an awesome Narrator who actually wrote horror novels and managed to ad-lib so much extra detail about the village and the murders that everybody got really invested in it and the game became genuinely frightening in places.

So are you looking for horror?

I'm open to other stuff, but yeah, horror would be cool. I'm really interested in the idea of taking this silly game and treating it deadly seriously. Because the werewolves aren't the scariest part. (Hell if you play the mindfuck variant you don't need werewolves at all!) The scary part is a community dealing with an unseen menace and slowly turning upon one another, selling out friends and neighbours out of fear or selfishness or secret alliances or a misguided sense of what's right and turning into an unstoppable mob.

It's a parlour game. You make it sound like the plot of The Crucible!

Because it is! Or it could be, anyway. I think it'd make an awesome story. If it's good enough for one of the twentieth century's triumphs of dramatic literature I think it's a good enough theme for my Yuletide fic.

AD, you know how we talked about how I'm not the writers of Battleship? I'm also not Arthur Miller.

Don't worry. If I can get something between the two I'll be happy as a clam.

FANDOM: #yuletide rpf
NOMINATED CHARACTERS: Bears, Grues, Hippos, Plotbunnies, Yulegoat

You're requesting fic about yourself and your chatroom friends? Isn't that kind of dorky and self-indulgent?

Of COURSE it's dorky and self-indulgent. This is me we're talking about!

For real, though. All the fandoms in all the world and you pick #Yuletide?

Okay, let me tell you a story.

Many years ago there was a fan named AD. A combination of bereavement, an awkward break-up, a reduction in her working hours and some associated money troubles meant that one way or another Christmas was going to be VERY NOT FUN for her that year. This sucked, because AD had always loved celebrating Christmas (albeit in a completely secular way) and was kind of a dork about it.

What happened?

Well, she stumbled upon this fanfic challenge with an associated IRC channel... Stop me when you can tell where this is going.

Is this going to be the story of how #Yuletide saved Christmas?

They got me through kind of a downer period. Yes.

Are things okay now?

They're better yes. Bigger, happier family and better paid job. And hey, you know how I got that job? You know who proofread my application and checked it for typos before I sent it in?

You're going to say #Yuletide aren't you?

Yes. I <3 #Yuletide.

Okay, so this request has more behind it than just a desire for ridiculous crackfic about hippos?

Yes. Although, let's be completely clear here. I am ALWAYS up for ridiculous crackfic about hippos!

Hee! What else would you like to see in a fic?

I would quite like a story that involves food in some way. I've always enjoyed the impromptu recipe-swapping that takes place in #Yuletide and would love to see it incorporated into a fic. Bad puns on the subject of "noms" optional.

Optional? Who are you kidding? We all know about your love of terrible puns.

Optional details are ALWAYS optional, but point taken.

Do you have any other suggestions?

#Yuletide taking down Peer once and for all. The drama of netsplits. An amateur's guide to hippo-rearing. #Yuletide stuck on a desert island. #Yuletide versus #Yuketide. #Yuletide and the trope war.

Okay, I get that you all like to pretend Peer is an actual person and I know the deal with netsplits and hippos. I assume the island thing is to tie in with this year's challenge and #Yuketide is a reference to the story Lan wrote you in 2010, right?

Yep. She's already said it's fine if people want to write sequels!

How did you even get #Yuletide fic that year when nobody requested it?



Okay, fine. LAN is just that awesome.

That's better. Now getting back to my questions, what the hell is a trope war?

The trope war thing goes back in 2009 (when I'd been spending so much time in the chat that I was actually beginning to dream about it.) There was this game we were playing where you scored points for each TV Trope you managed to incorporate into your conversation. Then you could score additional points for successfully recognising the tropes other people were using. It was all kind of involved, but the main rule was that if you accidentally used a discredited trope, you automatically lost the game.

So who won?

Well, I certainly didn't.

That link goes to doesn't it?


I'm not touching it with a bargepole. I have a fanfic to write and mustn't be distracted. Hey where did you put the list of #Yuletiders I'm allowed to write about?

The consent post? It's over here.

Woah, there are over forty people on that list!

It'll grow as the chat gets busier. Previous years we've had more than sixty people opt in. Crazy, isn't it?

No Voks yet?.

I'm working on it. If I can't persuade her to opt in, you'll just have to come up with an bear-besieged OC who likes to cook and play video games and talk about velociraptors.

AD I can't help can't help noticing that this part of your letter is almost entirely recycled from 2011. Don't you have anything new to include?

Sure here are some fun new bits of canon from the Autumn 2013 season. Metaphasia has been training to wrangle a giant hippo, IN REAL LIFE. (Ask her. She has photos, this is totally a thing!) Yarns (who isn't opted in yet) came up with #Yuletide the call centre, which you could totally use as a fic premise "Please for the love of god don't transfer me to the bears!" Oh and we also spent hours workshopping limericks and discussing the physics of supernatural axes. New canon will be invented as we go, feel free to incorporate whatever you'd like. If you feel up to crossing this over with one of my other fandoms, SCP Foundation and Werewolf are probably the most natural fits.

Good luck!

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Just saying, this whole letter was like a treat in and of itself. Bless you. ♥_♥


I just get carried away talking about the stuff I like.

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