So this year, in a marked departure from previous years, I didn’t write one or two fics, I wrote nine
across five fandoms (Orphan Black, Nashville, 10 Years, Scandal, and Orange is the New Black) for a total of like 36,000 words.
can attest, this is pretty epic on the yuletide production scale for me as I often run up to the deadline and go oh shit what have I done?
. I also lost a bet to freneticfloetry
on bold being a totally awesome stylistic choice, so, you were right, oh wise one.
This year, for whatever reason, I didn’t have that moment. Instead, I kind of found writing again after a bit of an absence? I think Orphan Black had a lot to do with it because it’s the first show in a while that I’ve been obsessed with to the point that I want to play in that world and explore these characters. And explore I did, I guess?
Anyway, I was assigned to fleurlb and we matched on two fandoms! That’s both awesome and intimidating because like… how do you choose?
The answer, in my case, was I didn’t
and I wrote her two fics – one for Nashville and one for Orange is the New Black. I also picked up three pinch hits (my first three ever) and wrote for Orro, atatteredrose, and katiac. I finished that up with four treats.
So now that the cat’s out of the bag, here’s a little bit of my thinking on each of these as well as the songs that kind of inspired them (songs tend to tie into what I write, for whatever reason). I’ve broken them out alphabetically by fandom for ease of reading.A Notch in Your Bedpost/Just a Line in a Song (10 Years, Elise/Reeves).
I’d decided to treat one of my besties before yuletide had even started because I have never written for her and she has suffered through betaing lots of my stuff (I do return the favor but still ;) ). My thinking was that she would request Orphan Black, considering Sars is the reason I started watching this show in the first place, but she didn’t. That changed things considerably as I didn’t know any of her other fandoms.
I’m often the odd one out when it comes to the three of us and our fandom love affairs because I don’t do a lot of sci-fi or comics or anything. This also leads to a lot of fun memories like when I tag along to SDCC/NYCC and am just DONE for the day, but yeah.
So I hunkered down and watched this movie because I was determined to surprise Sara. While watching it, I focused on Elise and Reeves because Kate Mara(!) and I thought about how like this wouldn’t work in the long term, even if this movie wanted you to believe that it could. She’s too practical, and he’s too much of a dreamer so of course, angsty person that I am, I went for it.
The surprise lasted about 5 seconds into her reading it—I flunked stealth school this year after successfully pulling that shit off last year when I was ASSIGNED to Court, so well, yeah. Note to self, don’t treat people after sending them over 30k of your writing. They will be on to you.
Song wise, this absolutely was written while listening to one of my favorite songs ever, “Sometime Around Midnight” by the Airborne Toxic Event
---> “You just have to see her/you just have to see her/you just have to see her to know that you’re breaking in two”.The Ghost of You (Nashville, Liam/Scarlett).
I rewatched a lot of last season to prepare for this—I don’t tend to focus on Scarlett when I watch the show as I’m all Juliette all the time, but I really wanted to try my hand at this relationship because it does feel so angsty and like it didn’t get a chance to really grow because Rayna sent Liam away (to go be hot!Daario, but I digress…). And double matching with my recipient is pretty effing rare, so why not?
So I tried to grow this organically from where we left them both and also weave in the new canon (I got jossed a few times) where Scarlett seems poised to front the band with both Gunner and Avery and find a plausible way back to one another knowing everything that has gone down between them. I’m not a big fluff person, so of course there had to be angst, and apparently a bunch of band mates, but this came out and I was pretty happy with it.
Songwise, I kind of went to Fiona Apple a bit for this and “Werewolf”
sort of played in the background, but I went happier than that song end up, which is rare for me because seriously… I love my angst. On the Outside (Orange is the New Black).
This was the LAST thing I wrote and posted this yuletide. It was on like 2 or 3 hours of sleep after blowing through all of the pre-Christmas stuff and editing like whoa and I was finally like, you know, let me try this out. I’d kicked around a few OiTNB ideas all yuletide long, but none of them felt right
when I tried to put them to paper. You know how that goes.
Not to be deterred, I finally started again. And I stared at word for a while, before I focused in on Red.
And then I started to hear Red in my head talking about Pirozhki and then I sort of came up with the idea of three truths and a lie, except I inverted it a bit to be 3 lies that are better than the truth, and one that isn’t. Red was the first part of this that I wrote, then Taystee, then Miss Rosa and finally, I had to come up with a truth that was better.
For a while I thought about Morello or Daya, but I think both of them are too tied to their fantasies to find a truth that’s better outside of Litchfield. So, I went with Piper because I love her and because I think that she fit the narrative pretty well as they all sort of grow as a result of their disillusionment.
Musically, I went with a bit of Bob Dylan, which always makes me reflective, and it was basically You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
all the way.Confessions & Definitions (Alison Hendrix & Felix Dawkins)
This kind of came to me when I was driving and I wasn’t sure what was going to come of it before I picked up this pinch hit—it’s the kind of thing that exists in parts til you can make it a whole. I have this tendency to sort of imagine bits of conversation in my head and build from there, so it started with Fe awkwardly telling Alison about Tony and then Alison, being Alison, confessing her Leekie situation. The rest of it (defining who they were to each other) came later I love both Fe and Ali and their relationship, so I wanted to do it justice without making either of them a caricature. If Tony were to ever come back to town, I do think Fe would run to Ali or Art instead of Sarah because of what went down between them, so I wanted to play with that.
Song-wise, I would loop this in with a lot of Tegan and Sara’s new stuff off of Heartthrob, it’s what I was listening to when I was finishing it up because it’s more upbeat than their older stuff (which, honestly, I like better) but there’s a bit of bite and the interplay between the sisters reminds me a bit of how I see Fe and Ali. “Closer”
can work as a soundtrack of sorts.Disconnect and Self Destruct
(Paul Dierden backstory).
This was almost titled The Misadventures of Big Dick Paul
but I decided not to as it doesn’t really fit the serious tone of the fic. But, yeah, I picked this up as a pinch hit because it terrified me and intrigued me to build on Paul and explore the canon inconsistencies—his name being misspelled on his uniform in the Season 2 finale, why there were random videos of Beth lying around for Sarah to find, why he sort of knew Mark Rollins during the bar scene, the deal he and Siobhan made—and weave them together into a progression of events that made sense. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do in fanfic with secondary characters, so to get to play with that multiple times this yuletide was a lot of fun.
I have very strong opinions about Paul and what he’s doing in the background and I have a soft spot for him and even though I don’t see how it could happen now, I will always hold a candle for Paul/Sarah. This was actually one of the more fun pieces I wrote this yuletide and I think I pulled off Paul pretty successfully.
In terms of music, I listened to a lot of A Perfect Circle, Tool & Nine Inch Nails for both this fic and The Hand that Feeds because their music fits both Rachel and Paul in different ways. But the title comes from a lyric on “The Outsider” by The Perfect Circle
and although the song has a female protagonist, I really can tie a lot of that into Paul and what I think of him.
PS. What kind of came out of this is that this and Swan Dive (Beth’s back story) can be read as parts of the same universe, even though that wasn’t really the intention. But when I looked at both of them as a whole they do play off of each other, which kind of only makes sense since I was writing them at the same time? Swan Dive (Beth Childs backstory).
Speaking of Swan Dive, this fic was a treat and it was SO much fun, even if Katja and the euroclones would never shut up when I wanted them to (I think I bitched to both of my betas constantly about how the EuroClones would just not stop talking). But I got to breathe life into Beth, Katja, Aryanna, Janika, and Danielle and develop who I thought they might be and how they all related to one another. Aryanna struck me as the paranoid type; Janika was brash and a hot-head; Danielle aloof and also a bit of a survivalist, while Katja was the calm, centering force of the EuroClones.
I also got to explore Beth’s life before any of clone club, the near misses that might have occurred when she, Alison, and Sarah all lived around one another, and also show where the early warning signs were as she falls deep into the rabbit hole. The title and the theme came from an Ani DiFranco song of the same name, specifically the line “I’ve had a lack of information, I’ve had a little revelation/I’m climbing up on the railing trying not to look down”. I also threw in a reference that a few readers caught to Nadia Stasky, a character Tat played on Parks & Recreation, because I firmly believe all Tatiana Maslanys are clones.
Music-wise this went back to my girl Ani DiFranco and I titled it after Swan Dive
because the lyrics just scream Beth to me. “I’m just going to go ahead and go boldly/cuz a little bird told me/that jumping is easy/that falling is fun/right up until you hit the sidewalk/shivering and stunned” <--Tell me this doesn’t scream Elizabeth Childs.The Hand that Feeds (Rachel/Delphine).
Okay, this fic made me so uncomfortable. It wanted to be wholly in Rachel’s head and that’s a terrifying place to be—and I say this as someone who used to write a lot of weird things for my other fandoms (Roswell, I am the queen of strange). But I actually really enjoyed this from start to finish even if it sort of came out of that dark place you have to go to sometimes to get it out.
What I wanted to do here was explore Rachel’s obsession with home video (she tapes herself pretending to be Cosima while dominating Delphine so both can see it later) and Rachel play with the comment from Sarah back at the beginning of Season 2, “you don’t own us”, and prove a point. She went in there to video tape herself with Delphine and then killing her (which she never divulges in the story), but modifies her plans once Cosima is proven to be alive. Instead, she wants to prove to Cosima that she is just one of several and that Delphine is too in love with the science of what they are to ever love Cosima as a person/differentiate Cosima from the others.
I also got to play with a lot of my weirder headcanon-y pieces where like they might have a bunch of spare clone parts to put into others, which I hinted at, but sort of kept to the background. Rachel has lots of secrets, so I wanted to paint some of that in broad strokes. I think it worked.
Song-wise, I listened to a lot of Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails and while the title comes from a Nine Inch Nails song, the real unifying song for this fic is absolutely Keep it Together by How to Destroy Angels (one of Trent Reznor’s side projects)
. It’s eerie and the way that he and his wife sing I can/I can’t keep it together really helped me get into Rachel’s headspace.How to Disappear Completely (Amelia backstory)
This was the first story I started during yuletide and one of the last ones I finished. It wound up being a pinch hit, but was always intended to go to her, and she absolutely loved it.
I am fascinated by Amelia and her role in the clonespiracy and again, I got to do what I love and build out a minor character and develop their backstory and what brought them to where we are introduced to them in canon. I think she got the shaft and we missed out on a lot of important information by Helena killing her (even though I understand why the writers went that route), but I tried to focus on Amelia as a woman and a mother and someone who was taken advantage of instead of a prop for information.
The bonus for me, was that as she’s South African in canon, I got to use my knowledge of South Africa to fill in some of the blanks and also got to loop Carlton in by way of his mother. This was a labor of love and I am so proud of what came out of this.
Musically, I actually didn’t listen to much of anything when writing this which is rare. But I think that the silence helped me to give weight to a lot of Amelia’s struggles and focus on all of the little things that might have set her off and on a path away from the Duncans.Wives of Powerful Men (Scandal, Mellie & Bitsy).
Full disclosure, I wrote this to see if I could trick Court two years in a row after tricking her wholly and fully last year.
It turns out that I couldn’t.
It probably didn’t help that all three of us were texting when the archive opened and tried to use the excuse that they thought that I wrote THEIR gift as a reason why I couldn’t have written the other’s gift. Guys, that’s not how you lie, just so you know for the future.
I had a lot of fun with this, and yet again, the thing that I thought was going to tip her off right away (this year it was Connecticut references—she didn’t get it from this, but instead DC references. I’ve lived in both places), was not what it was. I guess I have a style? Or maybe it was 30k of my writing this year that I flooded both of them with.
Anyway, I really enjoyed playing with Bitsy and writing Mellie even though I SWORE I would never write Scandal, ever
Musically, this was another one that sort of didn’t really require anything? I wrote it fast and furious but I’m pretty sure since it was a DC story, I probably had The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
in the background as that’s become my default for writing about the city where I used to live.
And on another note, it was another successful year for the Misses Clause Challenge
. We wound up with 230 fics tagged this year, which I think is a record? Either way it’s totally awesome and I’m always impressed with the variety of fandoms and authors that take it on/request things that lend themselves to the challenge.
Okay, this is already way too long, so I’m going to just wrap it up here and go back to watching the New Years Day 6 because college football is always fun.