Well, I'm an idiot.

So, two months ago, on October 31st, I made some plans for writing during the month of November. I have officially achieved none of those, and it's been almost a month since the point I said I would be done by.

So, whoops.

Finished Yuletide, though.

Dear Yuletide...

This year I'm writing my letter to the general concept of Yuletide, so anyone that stumbles upon it can feel like part of the fun. But especially to you, Yuletide author, who I look forward to giving an enthusiastic thumbs-up to on New Year's Day. I hope my requests give you something reasonable to work with.

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Yuletide! A User's Guide.

I like titles that rhyme.

So, today I learned that if you're new to Yuletide, the tutorial video is fourteen minutes long, and filled with incredibly unhelpful jargon, to the point that they could do with a glossary. Here's a (hopefully) brief introduction to the signup process, and then there'll be another post about Yuletide itself, and finally my 'Dear Yuletide' letter.

Step One - Nominations and selecting fandoms.

The signup sheet asks you to nominate four fandoms that you'd like to receive fic for. This year (2011) is notable in that everybody got to nominate only three fandoms for selection at the very beginning, thus making the list of available choices a fair bit smaller than it was last year, and hopefully stopping the website from falling over when everyone tries to use it at once.
If you start typing the name of a fandom in the signup form (available here, but you'll need to be signed into AO3*), it should autocomplete the names of fandoms, but that doesn't really help you see what's going on. An easier way is to visit this post, which has separated all the fandoms by category and sorted them alphabetically. The 'uncategorized' tab on that webpage has everything that doesn't already exist on AO3, so be sure to check everything. It's a long process, but worth it. Make a list of fandoms you'd like to receive for (you're allowed to select four) and ones you'd be comfortable writing (you must select at least four).

*Archive of Our Own.

Step Two - Prompts.

Open up a word document. Write the names of the fandoms you'd like to receive. Looking at the list of fandoms in the link above, note the characters that have been nominated. You can either request particular characters from this list, or leave it up to the author to select characters for you. If a character you'd want isn't listed, then unfortunately you can't request those specific characters this year. Make a note of which characters you'd like to receive.
Now, for each fandom, write a prompt. The most helpful prompts are those that give the author a whole bunch of options about where they could go with your story. Less helpful prompts are those that say 'anything' (a blank page and no guidance can freak authors out) or those that have one very detailed plotline that you desperately want (which can do two things; either make your author freak out about filling your every request, or make them say 'if you know what you want so bad, why don't you write it?').
A good analogy is buying tea for a gift. If the recipient just says 'I like tea', then you'll be paralysed in front of the shelf. If they say 'I like Black Peach, and if I don't get it, I'll die for srs', problems might arise if you can't get Black Peach. The best help is 'I don't generally like green tea, but I do like black, and anything peach-flavoured is good. If you can do both, great.'
One other important thing to do is let your author know what you don't want. If you hate a character with a vengeance, say you would prefer it if the fic didn't focus on that person. If non-consensual sex, or sex at all, would make you a sad panda, let them know about your 'personal preference'. Make it clear what you don't want, without being pushy or insulting. I received a request last year from someone that disliked a character, and it was phrased in such a way that if I was a rabid defender of that character, it would have made me resent the person I was writing for. So be nice.
Done? Great. On to...

Step Three - The Sign-up Page!

Start typing the name of your first 'I wanna get' fandom in the first box. It should autocomplete. Write down the characters you'd like to get, or leave the box blank if you don't mind.
If you have a LiveJournal, or some kind of fannish blog, take the word document you wrote in Step Two, and publish it to your blog. Call it your 'Dear Yuletide' letter. Take that URL and paste it in the space where it says 'Website/Journal/Dear Yuletide Author'. If you don't want to give your author a link to your blog, leave that space blank, and put the prompt you've written for your author in the space below that, where it says 'Optional Details are Optional'.

Repeat for your other three 'I wanna get' fandoms.

Step Four - Offering to Write.

Below the requests section, there's the segment for writing offers. Start typing the fandoms you want to request (you must offer at least four, generally up to six, or more if you're mad like that). Below that, type the characters you're comfortable writing. Make sure you're okay with writing the characters you offer. If you get matched up on those characters, you'll have to write them. No options.
If you're seriously okay with writing any characters for that fandom, check the 'Any' box.
Done? Click submit. You're signed up for Yuletide.

What Happens Now?

You'll be assigned to write a story for a reader. You'll be matched up because they requested a fandom you offered to write. Your request will be assigned to another writer.
You'll receive a list of all the requests your reader made. You can choose to write anything they requested, although you'll likely only have the one fandom in common. This is important in case you just cannot write what they've requested. It's uncommon, but it happens.
The only requirements are that you must write in the fandom, and feature the characters they've requested for that fandom. All their optional details are just that - optional, but you should ideally try to tailor your story to them as much as possible. After all, you're giving them a gift. Unless it makes your life unreasonably difficult, try to get them what they want.

NaNoWriMo plans.

I have none.

Well, wait, that's not entirely true. I don't believe in writing 50,000 words of fiction in a month because a) I could be far more productive elsewhere, b) I need to be far more productive elsewhere, and c) I don't feel like writing original fiction at the moment.

Instead, I'm setting myself something that'll challenge me far more, and accomplish so many things I wanted to do.

By the end of November, I will have:
1) Drafted the first chapter of my thesis, and be well on my way to a second chapter.
2) Started writing fanfiction for Christmas gifts (if you want something, leave a comment).
3) Written another piece of Matrix fanfiction.

This is my writing for the month. It'll only be about 20,000 words or so, but they will be 20,000 researched, polished, and good words.

Back again (again)

Is it customary to repeatedly apologise for not updating as often as I'd like, only to disappear for another month or so?

I've been lurking on my own journal, and reading my friends page daily, posting comments when something takes my interest (although there's a few comments that I've been meaning to leave for a few days now).

I guess this is to say I'm still alive. I've laid out a list of everything I have to do before the end of the year, and it doesn't seem quite as unbearable on paper as it does in my day-to-day life (although I didn't get out of bed until 5 p.m. today - I read and watched episodes of The Daily Show instead). So I don't foresee any reason why I won't be updating more often from here on out.

Just wait. I'm sure I'll find yet another distraction, although I sincerely hope I don't.
  • Current Mood

A brief history of August, in five parts.

     Hello, all! My word, is it cold here. Now if you're not a New Zealander, you probably won't know what's been going on the last two days, but you probably will (being intelligent people) know that we're in the middle of winter here.
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    The question is how much people want to hear about the movies I watch. There's a lot I could write about some of these films, and the puzzle hunt debacle has me questioning how much of what i write is interesting to read. So, I pose the question to you all.

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    I'm certainly interested in writing more Zephyr/Mouse for fanfic25 but I'll need to be inspired... I dunno. Prompts?

    And with that, this overly long post as a desperate atonement for going so long without checking in comes to an end.

Only a few more hours to go...

...before I can consider this weekend over. And boy, has it been... something.

I've spent the last forty-eight hours procrastinating on writing, procrastinating on planning a LARP, and procrastinating on marking reading assignments. But! I have managed, this evening, to work on planning some LARP, marking two-thirds of the assignments, and preparing to write some things. Like this lovely blog post.

I've managed to locate another 95 movies from my '1001 Movies You Must See' list, eat some very spicy chili with Boyfriend and his friends, and have dinner out at an Indian restaurant where the food was awesome and the decor less so. I slept in until this afternoon, got up-to-date with some crossword puzzles and did some laundry. I think, overall, I managed a neat balance between things I had to do and things I wanted to do.

So, a little bit more LARPing, and then fanfic! I swear.