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Dear Yuletide Author...
yuletide, writing, letter, fandom
Thank you so much for offering to write in my tiny/non-existent, but much-loved fandoms. The things you need to know straight out of the gate.

I have no squicks or triggers.

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

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

I'm happy to read about any of the canon characters 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 is 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 suggestions, I'll be editing this post before signups close with jumping off points for possible stories then I am very sorry for the heart attack I may have given you by only updating this after assignments went out!

Okay, so... let's talk fandoms!

The Bagthorpe Saga - Helen Cresswell

Why did you nominate characters and then not request anybody?

Because I like to be surprised. I nommed characters on behalf of somebody else who wanted to request Bagthorpes fic, but as far as I'm concerned fic about anybody in this fandom would make me very happy.

Which is your favourite book?

Start out with a difficult one, why don't you? I love them all so much!

I think that maybe my favorite moment from the books is the bit at the start of Bagthorpes Abroad, where we discover the kids' end-of-term tradition of having a little picnic together on the way home from school with a big bag of stationery and doctoring each other's school reports. If I had to choose any moment that summed up the series, this would be it. You take a minor problem, (like a bad school report) you have a clear ambition (a good school report) and you single-mindedly work your way from point A to B, creating along the way a situation that most other people would find slightly weird. That's the Bagthorpes in a nutshell.

When did you first read the books?

I'd have been around seven or eight. I think part of the reason I liked them so much was that Helen Cresswell didn't dumb things down for young readers. I enjoyed the books on first reading even though most of the references to Shakespeare and Greek mythology and what-have-you went straight over my head. I also had some trouble getting my head around the class-based humour.

How do you mean?

A lot of stuff in the books is kind of a gentle satire of the British middle classes. I didn't notice it as a child, because the stuff she was satirising was so completely alien to the way I'd been raised that it may as well have been fantasy fiction. The idea of people having au pairs was about as realistic to me as having pet unicorns.

I came back to the books as an adult (after I'd been to university and had my horizons broadened somewhat) only to find there were entire new strata of humour to be enjoyed. I love books that grow with you like that.

Well, let's get to the important bit. What kind of story do you want?

I'd love any type of story that showed the characters outside of the family setting. I think it would be really interesting to contrast the way they behave when they're with each other to their behaviour when out in the wider world. I'd love a story about Laura's work as a JP or about Henry in a script meeting at the Beeb or about any of the kids at school.

That doesn't sound like the sort of thing I was hoping to write. What else would you like?

Well, continuing the theme of seeing the characters from new angles, I'd like to see interactions between characters who seldom get any screen time together.


Like Daisy alone with her mother. Or Grandma's relationship with Grandpa. There are some important relationships between individual characters that never really get explored in the books, because there is always some epic craziness engulfing the entire family.

But what if I want to write about epic craziness engulfing the whole family?

Oh, I'm totally up for a fic like that. The sillier, the better!

You said you liked that the books grew with you. Would you maybe be interested in a fic that looked a generation into the future?

Hell, yes! The dynamic in my family certainly changed when the members of my generation began having kids. I can see it having a massive effect on the power balance in a family as competitive as the Bagthorpes. I'd also be interested in something that looked into the past, Henry and Celia as kids for example.

Some people have said they don't want to get holiday fics for Yuletide. Where do you stand on that?

Oh I'm all in favour of them! If it sounds like something you could write, I'd be chuffed to bits by a fic about A Very Bagthorpes Christmas.

And if none of the above inspires me?

I dunno. Epistolary fic between Henry and in the Inland Revenue, maybe? Correspondence where he tries to make the case for all ridiculous things he's tried to claim as tax-deductible could be fun. Or feel free to borrow from El Staplador's prompts here. (Stap was the other person who requested Bagthorpes Fic.)

Private Eye

Private Eye? Isn't that the scurrilous, hypocritical scandal-sheet run by the most sued man in England? The one that's written by sniggering ex-public schoolboys and filled with unsubstantiated allegations and nob jokes?


Or wait... did you mean the fifty year old national treasure that crusades for freedom of the press and government accountability, despite many campaigns by the powers that be to silence it?

Also yes.

They're the same magazine? How does that even work?

Fucked if I know, but isn't it awesome? I've been reading it off and on since the early nineties, when it was just one of the many places I went to get my topical satire fix alongside Drop The Dead Donkey, Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You. Eventually I admitted my addiction and just took out a subscription.

So how exactly am I supposed to write fic for it?

Lots of ways! I mean, you could write RPF about the people involved with the real life magazine. The neverending battle between Ian Hislop and Carter-Fuck for example.

And if I don't want to write RPF?

No problem! You could totally write fake RPF. It would be amazing! Don't you want to write a story set in a newsroom where E J Thribb really is some precocious child in charge of writing poetic obituaries, where Polly Filler and Lord Gnome and the Krapp catalogue and the rest of it are all real?

Okay, that's... kind of awesome actually. But what if that isn't what I want to write?

Then why not write a fic set in one of the comic strips? I would be totally up for a story about Jez and Quin doing their overpriced, painfully right-on Christmas shopping or about Gary Bloke hiring somebody to ghostwrite his autobiography.

Which is then published by Snipcock and Tweed?

Exactly! You could have an amazing mash-up of multiple comics.

And if I'd rather not write the comics?

Well, I'm a big fan of crossovers. Why not apply the Private Eye format to another fandom? I can just see Glenda Slagg taking on Iron Man. "Tony Stark, DONTCHAJUST LOVE HIM??!! This dishy self-made superhero's said to be very well endowed. IN THE WALLET!!?!"

So you want an Iron Man crossover?

Well, I wouldn't say no, but my point was that you could cross Private Eye over with ANY fandom. Hell you could cross it over with fandom itself if you wanted to. I enjoy meta even more than I enjoy crossovers!

That sounds complicated. Is there anything simpler I could write for you?

Topical comedy will always make me :D You could just write a Private Eye style article about something that's currently in the news and make me very happy.

Cool. Or, hey, what about a historical version? Like if Private Eye had been around in the 1600s or something?

Yes! Yes, you could totally write that! There are so many different angles you could take!

Okay, but is there anything that you would love above all else?

Well, I should probably mention that I am particularly addicted to the Private Eye crossword. Cryptic crosswords full of dirty jokes and political snark are the best thing ever. I have no idea how you would incorporate this into a fic, but on the offchance that you are a professional crossword setter with a mind like a corkscrew, I thought it was worth bringing up.

That's... not really me. Nevertheless, I will do my best for you!

Thank you! The idea that there may soon be Private Eye fanfic in existence fills me with glee!

A-Z Picture Book - Gyo Fujikawa

C is for Canon!

Gyo Fujikawa is a Japanese-American author illustrator who created engagingly drawn picture books for very young children. She's notable for being one of the first people to create work for this age group containing characters from lots of different ethnicities. Gyo Fujikawa's A to Z Picture Book is one of her earliest works. It was first published in 1974 in the USA and rapidly made its way around the world, so that a British imprint found its way into my grubby little hands as a toddler.

I found some of the colour pictures quite frightening, particularly the yellow demon on the Dreams page, but I loved the illustrations for the little details. I'd spend ages staring at a single page, trying to identify all the Vegetables or looking at the things buried under the snow in Winter.

P is for Phonics!

I revisited the book as an adult recently, because I started reading aloud to my sister's kid. She's eighteen months old and she loves it too. However, during the process of endlessly re-reading the book to her, I realised just how weird it actually is.

Normal alphabet books for toddlers have C is for Cat and D is for Dog. Short, phonetic words that the kid will understand. Gyo Fujikawa used D is for Dachsund and X is for Xeranthemum! There are words in this book that I absorbed as a small child and have never actually used. Foreign words for familiar things like Automobile and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Words for creatures and customs from far away like Junco and Kowtowing. It felt so cool and cosmopolitan!

I also totally got into the spirit with the non-phonetic spellings. Next to the Garland there is a pencil drawing by my young self labelled "Gnat". (G is for Grafitti! )

B is for Bunnies!

As always, I am more than happy for you to write what you want. I make a point of only ever requesting fandoms where I have no strong dislikes and where I would be happy with absolutely any character. However, if you're running low on inspiration, feel free to adopt any of the following ideas.

D is for Decapitation!

Suppose the Zombie went on a rampage, making his way through the book from the last page? Would the first half of the alphabet band together to defend themselves from undead Spiders and Tigers? Will Kenny grab the Hatchet in time to save the Babies? A reverse alphabetical zombie apocalypse would pretty much blow my mind.

A is for Alliteration?

If you're the sort of person who enjoys formal challenges and constrained writing, there are some amazing things you could do here with alliteration and alphabet sentences. Has there ever been a Yuletide fic where every word (except prepositions, conjunctions and articles, I'm not that mean!) began with the same letter? I don't think so. Instant fame could await!

F is for Framing Device!

The frontispiece for the book has a scene where a young schoolmarm is holding a class in the wood and attempting to teach her young charges the alphabet. Maybe you could use this as a starting point? Like the content of the book itself is just the content of her lesson, (which gets progressively weirder as she fights for the kids attention.)

N is for Narcissism!

The book uses Yuletide as the main ilustration for the letter Y. If that's not an excuse for a #Yuletide RPF crossover, I don't know what is!

S is for Source!

I've posted some pictures from the book on my Flickr and browsing the GyoFujikawa tag will also bring up some pics by other people .

G is for Gratitude!

Thanks for offering to write this fandom. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

#Yuletide RPF

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.

Once upon a time 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?

Yep! 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 visit Antarctica. #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 Antarctic trip is to tie in with this year's challenge and #Yuketide is a reference to the story Lan wrote you last year, right?

Yep. I haven't checked with her yet, but I bet you anything she'd be totally cool with an unofficial sequel. Edit to add: she is!

How did you even get #Yuletide fic last 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 fifty sixty people on that list!

Crazy, isn't it? I've edited the consent post to include an alphabetised list of consented participants, so you don't have to go digging around in the comments to find people.

Thanks, but I can't help noticing some notable #Yuletiders are missing.

Can't be helped. You'll just have to write around them. Although if you can think of a classy way to acknowledge their contributions while still respecting their wishes, that would be kind of cool.

Like how?

I dunno. Maybe the unattributed QOTM could be a lovable yet curmudgeonly comment about World of Warcraft fandom, to give a COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE.

Hypothetical. Suuuure. You're such a dork.

Yes I am. Now go away and write me some glorious, glorious crackfic!

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Oh yes - I totally endorse unofficial sequels for #yuletide, were someone to be game for such a thing :V


FIC REVEAL: Bagthorpes v. Zombies (Gen/Ensemble, PG-13)

User mayhap referenced to your post from FIC REVEAL: Bagthorpes v. Zombies (Gen/Ensemble, PG-13) saying: [...] For this I can only partly blame my lovely recipient, who wrote me delightful, discursive prompts [...]

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