I'm going to tell you a little secret. Shh, come closer. You've got to promise not to tell anyone.
I have zero attention span.
Seriously, most of the time I can barely focus on anything long enough to paint my nails. I wander through life surrounded by half-finished projects, traipsing through my own mind for days while remaining incapable of counting to ten while someone is speaking in the background. When, on the rare occasion I actually do sit down and focus on something, it earns me odd looks from assorted family members because still - after twenty-something years - they aren't used to how I can go from ditz to pathological obsession in .5seconds.
On that note, my brother's reaction to seeing me watch last night's Sherlock episode was hilarious. There was actual terror on his face.
Obviously, when this comes to writing, it can make life very, very difficult. For me, it has to be done all in one go. I have to start, flesh out the middle, and then wrap it up in a neat little bow all at once or I'll never go back to it and never get it done because sorry, the moment's passed. Time to move on. I can go back and edit, obviously, and I do, but stopping writing to go and, oh, have a drink? Cook dinner? Nope. Too long. Bye bye fic.
My hard drive is a mess. Just putting that out there. I have entire folders dedicated to unfinished fic.
With all of that in mind, writing for Yuletide (along with the other gift-exchanges that I entered) was a bit of an experience. I knew that nothing I produced would be very long - see above for reasons - and I knew that I would find it difficult writing anything because a) I jump around fandoms like a weasel on crack, and b) I wasn't overly familiar with any of the fandoms I signed up to write. (By which I mean, I'd loved the series/movies/songs, but had only ever been on the periphery of their fandoms - and I'd only ever written for one of them before.) I signed up to be a pinch-hitter too because this was my first Yuletide and I wanted to do things properly. I wanted to write.
I was praying, praying for Discworld
. (The fandom I'd written for before.) Praying
Guess what? I got Discworld
. Twice, in fact, as Discworld
was on my pinch-hit request as well. There were celebrations. There was jubilation. There were infinite self-recriminations because holy crap I was suddenly writing for a fandom that I barely had any experience with and which had always felt very complete to me and dear gods why did I sign up for so many of these festive challenges WHY?!
Writing Gaps Between Grief and Wrath
let's go with the one I wrote first, shall we? That makes sense
was difficult. I mean, how do you characterise a quasidemonic entity of pure vengeance? Since that was what was requested, that was what had to happen, but I spent a good portion of December gaping at the enormity of the task and trying to hide from it under the blanket.
Inspiration struck, as it often does, in the shower. Getting into the 'head' of the Summoning Dark meant understanding its origins. It meant understanding why anyone would draw it on a wall or door or invoke it in any way. The Dwarves of Discworld are a suspicious and insular lot and they would never do anything like that lightly. Hence the idea of it being a curse as well as a warning was born. Gaps Between Grief and Wrath
became an exploration of that. With a touch of outside inspiration courtesy of The Ring
it started developing into an idea of it being a virus being passed on from Dwarf to Dwarf to Vimes, its current host.
You can't write about the Summoning Dark without mentioning Vimes. Trust me, I tried.
It was Vimes, and the connection to him, that ended up making the fic just that little bit more poignant. It's mentioned in the books that they develop a sort of respect for each other, but the Summoning Dark isn't going to put up with that for long. It's quasidemonic
. It's going to try to break free, even as it learns from - mutates within - Vimes.
And Vimes? He's learning from it too.
*insert interlude where fluffy-dark time-travel romance was written for challenges elsewhere*The Mud and The Blood and The Struggle
was my way of clawing slowly back into my comfort zone after Gaps Between Grief and Wrath
. I'd written about Polly before, in a fic
done about a year and a half-ish ago, because femmeslash OTP and sudden inspiration and all that jazz. I like Polly. She's tough as nails.
The request was (to paraphrase): Discworld
, anyone, anything, I like footnotes. So really, it was an open book, and I chose Polly to work with. The thing was, OTP or not, I'd already written my Polly/Mal fic and didn't want to write another even though that was a fully plausible option. Instead, I shoved the pairing into the background and thought about who Polly was and why I liked her in the first place.
I like her because she's a soldier. She's strong and determined and awesome, and as a soldier, she's familiar with death. That was literally my train of thought at the time. Polly=awesome=soldier=fighting=death=
Polly meets Death. I wanted to show the strength that made her such an appealing character: her stubbornness and her faith in her comrades (and yeah, Mal). Polly facing off against Death and resolutely not letting herself be afraid became such a strong image in my mind that, as soon as the thought had finished processing, I had to write it.
So that was it. I wrote both fics in a single sitting each. One curled up in a corner and the other on the top of the stairs, creating a hazard with my laptop cable. I then left them to cool for a bit before editing pretty much last minute because that's how I roll.
And posting them...that was both nerve-wracking and relieving at the same time. They were done
, they had filled the prompts and barely made the word-count, and all that was left was for their recipients to (fingers crossed)like them.
Will I be doing Yuletide again next year? A thousand times yes...unless I get distracted by something really, really shiny and skip off into the sunset with it.