So. Yuletide is this marvelous online institution set up as wish fulfillment for a holiday present. Here’s how it goes:
To the people who read Apocalypse Weather (here) or Eating Hard Candy Alone (Livejournal) but aren’t part of fandom, per se, people who have never written fanfiction though you are aware of its existence, or people who are on the fringes of fandom and just don’t know how to get involved, Yuletide is a great place to do this.
In general, “fandom” refers to two things. First, a group of people involved in the practice of being fans, ie, “we met through fandom” or “we’re going to a conference to speak about fandom”, or, second, a specific group of people and their stories, art, etc, focused on a single object of fannish interest, ie, “there are some crazy people in Doctor Who fandom,” or “I like House, but I’m not really in the fandom.” Either way, it’s a noun. Does that help?
Yuletide, on the other hand, doesn’t restrict itself to the second definition, isn’t organized around any specific fandom or even “fandom” in the first definition. It’s not a commitment to fannish practice — again, it’s a present.
There are many, many, many “fandoms” listed, though they’re not necessarily “fandoms” at all. Here you’ll find the books of the Bible, Greek Mythology, Aeschalus plays, shows like Scarecrow and Mrs. King or movies like Lost in Translation. Go give [this list] a lookover.
In many cases, creative works on that list have little or no “fandom” surrounding them; they’re just books or plays or movies people would love to see a sequel to, or a look at from a different point of view, or offscreen “missing scenes” or happy endings. And in many cases — most cases — these works are listed and screened by the moderators, with a profound focus to make sure the project sticks to those works that don’t already have stories written about them. Sticks to the non-fandom works.
What you do is go through [the big list] and see if there’s anything out there that piques you. Sometimes it takes seeing it in writing to remember that you’ve always wondered if the Scarecrow and the Tin Man had sex while Dorothy was off with the Wicked Witch, or that you always wanted to know what Horatio does after the play is over, or how Mary Magdalene dealt with her boyfriend’s death.
If you see something you like, or several somethings, give it a thought and ask yourself whether you could write a story based on one of these works. Then ask yourself what you’d request from a gift-giver. You can be specific in your requests — “I want a story where Antigone has a lesbian affair and then goes into suspended animation and wakes up in the 20th century looking for the descendants of her lost lover” — or you can be much more general — “I’d love anything set in the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time universe” — there is room for all things in Yuletide.
Then, if you’re excited about the project and are already anticipating both the finished present (that another writer will write at your request) and the prospect of writing a story in a cool universe or arena that you’ve always loved, first read the [faq] — the dates on the schedule are wrong — and then [go sign up]
The close date for signups is tomorrow (Monday, for Americans) at 9pm Eastern Time (that’s 6pm Pacific or 2am Greenwich and other times in other time zones for which I am incapable of doing math). You’ve got over 24 hours to think about it, read the big list, read the faq, ask me questions here or your other friends who may have participated in Yuletide before.
This annual event has been going on for at least five years to thunderous applause, and with each passing year more and more people participate, and more and more new “fandoms” (for svv of fandom, as I said above — creative works is a more apt description) show up. The more people who participate, the better chance you have of getting matched with a writer who shares your interests, and the more presents at the end!
In sum: read this post. Then read [the big list], then give it some real thought, then read the [faq] and the rest of the [website], and then take a deep breath, think about what you want to receive from another writer and what you’re interested in writing yourself, and then [go sign up].
I think the idea of Yuletide is one that extends beyond fandom proper and extends to anyone who has an old, favorite book or ever wondered “what if?” after a movie. I love the idea of bringing it out into the larger world, where people who don’t consider themselves fannish/people who don’t know that they’ve got a fan deep down inside/people who have a more mundane or academic relationship with texts and creative works can come and enjoy a cool holiday experience, write something new and exciting, and at the end, get an awesome present (as well as the opportunity to read all the awesome presents everyone’s got). We’re already at 1272 participants. The more, the the more awesome for all of us!