And I can now say that I wrote A Year of Women, for ningloreth, which was a story for the Jurassic Park series, and is a hybrid of book and movieverses.
I also picked up a Vampire Diaries pinch hit and wrote the Caroline-centric Interstate Love Song for shopfront.
And finally I did a little just-over-1000-words last minute Kings treat. Natural Succession for Odyle.
Yuletide is always my favorite challenge of the year, and part of the fun is being pushed outside of my comfort zones to write things I normally wouldn't. The handwringing and panic is part of the fun for me, too. :) (As is the last-minute rush. I am one of those people who work best under pressure, so I procrastinate. Which is bad, but so far it's worked out.)
This year was definitely no exception. My original recipient originally had very little by way of details in their sign up, and hadn't done a Dear Yuletider letter. So my initial idea was simply to do an Ellie/Alan type story with dinosaury fun. But when the letter was done, I saw that ningloreth preferred OC females, and a more bookverse take. So I had to rethink, reread the novel, and plot.
My initial instinct was to do a "five things" type take, because I wasn' comfortable constructing ONE woman and basing a story around her on the offchance that my vision of that one woman wasn't in line with what my recipient would want for that one woman. So I reread the novel, and noticed how much Ellie's gender just isn't an issue for Alan. It is for the people around them, frequently, but not for Alan. Which made me think of how he would have gotten to that point, and the women he must have known. Paleontology seemed, on a casual study via google and a few other things, to be a largely male-dominated field, particularly at the time the book was set. So Alan must have learned his attitudes toward women outside of his field, and early on. Or at least that made sense to me.
So I started working on a five things fic. My initial five women were: Ellie, Alan's unnamed wife (from the bookverse canon), Lex, Nancy, and a reporter (who later morphed into a documentarian. Which may not be a word, but should be.)
However I was deeply unhappy with how I was framing it. My threading device was a box of keepsakes Alan had, and while that worked for me, it seemed a weak thread to carry through. And the ideas I wanted to present in the story just weren't coming through. So I rethought again, and noticed that there were already some pretty heavy weather descriptors in a few sections. Which was when I thought of framing it as a year. A woman per month. And that ended up making me much happier with the framing of the scenes, though it also made it a gazillion times longer.
The idea of a scene with a female raptor had been one I had earlier, and discarded, but with the larger piece I thought it worked again, so I brought that back, and then started pulling in various other females who could have had a profound effect. I was more comfortable working with canon females than OC's, at least in part, so I decided to bring in other women from the series, including Sarah Harding and Amanda Kirby. I wanted a family member, and originally had planned a sister, but decided that it would be too similar to what I had with Nancy, and decided a cool aunt would make more sense, storywise. I also wanted to work in the idea of puzzles and an early teacher, and a first girlfriend. So that gave me eleven women. I wanted a transition month between his wife and Ellie, so I came up with a librarian who could maybe help with the business sense his wife had that Alan didn't.
In terms of fiddling, I think this was probably the most planning I've put into a story for a while. I played with the order of the sections, the months, the years to set them in. (Which I endd up not even using in the section headers, but needed to have approximates in my head to work it through.) I sat with google timelines open and mapped out some major events in those years. I had a little character sketch description for all of the original women to work off of.
So with all of that, I still cut it close, time-wise, but had it FINISHED before deadline by a comfortable margin, and hit the chat for a hippo. I ended up with a wonderful off the cuff beta, who did a fabulous job. And my mom also eyeballed it for me. Heh.
It clocked in at about 13k words, so it was definitely a monster, but I was overall pretty proud of how it came out. And my recipient enjoyed it, despite it not being their exact specifications.
I was pretty much done with hat, save editing, when I picked up the Vampire Diaries pinch hit. competition was FIERCE for pinch hits this year, so when I saw the call for a Caroline, femmeslashy pinch hit go out, I offered, but figured I'd have been too slow, so I was surprised when I got it. I knew what I wanted to do right off, but wasn't sure if I'd have time, and was a little daunted. I really wanted to address some of the consent issues with Damon, because it's something *I'd* like to see the show address more fully. But because it is a dicey issue, the way that I might want it addressed, and how I could conceivably pull it off in the time frame, might not be satisfying, and they would rather it not be addressed then addressed badly. I did work this one out as a five-plus-one story, and what I ended up doing was writing the first scene - giggly threesome girl talking - and editing that and posting it. In and of itself, it was long enough and complete enough to comply with the Yuletide rules, and that way if I COULDN'T get the rest done in time, or well enough to feel like it was worth uploading, I had something complete that filled my recipient's request.
From there I did the other scenes out of order. I knew what I wanted to do with Katherine and Carolin's mom right away, and I had an idea for how to work it with Damon. I decided to use the car rides as the framing device (though the Caroline/Elena scene is sort of iffy on that). Damon's scene was the one I wibbled the most over, but the story didn't feel complete without that, since addressing Damon and what he's done and what he IS seemed like a part of Caroline's journey that would have to happen before she got to the point I had her at in the final Bonnie/Caroline scene.
I was pleased with how it came out, overall. I felt like with a bit more time I might have expanded the Bonnie/Caroline scene, and punched up the funny in a couple of parts, but I felt like it WORKED as it was, and I liked it, and shopfront was happy, so I count it a win. :)
And with the Kings treat, it was very much an off-the-cuff quick treat that I snuck in just before the archive closed. I've since fixed some tense issues an such, and I think it's cute, and it was appreciated, so I'm happy.
In conclusion, yay Yuletide! I think the thing about my stories I was MOST unhappy with this year was the titles. Ugh. I could not come up with decent titles to save my life this year. And I'm done talking about it for the year probably, except for maybe doing another rec post later. Oh and I may repost fic here for completeness too.
Now I'm going to ignore fics for a little while while I do an Avatar: The Last Airbender rewatch for White Lotus, and fiddle with my new RP's!
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