05 January 2017 @ 11:55 pm
This year, despite having extra time (since nominations/sign-ups started earlier), I still only got four stories written. My usual, in other words. I guess doing Trick or Treat for the first time is some sort of excuse. After all, I wrote four stories for that, too—but they did tend to be shorter, as one would expect. The truth is, in early December I came over to visit Flo for a long Christmas break, and I spent the first couple of weeks lounging around, watching TV and reading, getting over jetlag, and basically doing nothing about Yuletide except a bit of canon review.

Ah, well ... I clearly needed the time off.

My assignment, "A Correspondence between Gentlemen", was written for [personal profile] elsa, who wanted a Charioteer story about Laurie and Ralph. It took me a while to decide how to tackle this; and, in the end, I wrote epistolary fic (having got the okay through the Yulemods). The "gentlemen" of the correspondence are Mr Jepson and Mr Straike; and all Charioteer fans will appreciate the irony of applying that appellation to them. What starts as Jepson congratulating his old school friend on his recent engagement finishes up with revelations about Ralph's expulsion. Straike is not amused.

This was uploaded before I headed over to England; so the delays in getting back to writing only affected the treats. I had a little list....

Okay, like a lot of other people, each year I go through the requests and copy-paste intriguing prompts. I never do even as many as half of them. However, with all the extra time this year, I thought that I should be able to manage at least one or two more stories than usual. Certainly, I was determined to write a Forever story that I'd not had time to do last year, when so much of November and December had been taken up with caring for my mother (who had finally died a week before Christmas). I also wanted to write a Forever Knight treat, since I always do.

Of the other prompts on my list, I was less sure. However, I brought over to England my copy of Georgette Heyer's Venetia, being uncertain if Flo had a copy. (Just as well: she has several Heyers, but not that one.) I read it on the plane; arrived with it fresh in my mind; and ideas started to flow. It was therefore the first story I started: "The Rape of the Book", written for [personal profile] morganmuffle, who wanted a story about Venetia's younger brother Aubrey.

It seemed to take bloody ages to write. I mean, seriously, there was a point where I wondered if I'd even finish in time to write any other treats. First, I kept looking things up on line—Wikipedia, mostly; but also Google maps, and sites about Austen's Regency England. I spent several days investigating routes from York to Cambridge, and finding out the names of inns that are old enough to go back that far. That section of the story took about three days to write for fewer paragraphs! In the end, the story finished up about twice as long as I'd originally thought it would be.

As I'd failed to write the Forever story the previous year (and I'm terrible at doing NYRs, needing hard deadlines to get me to start writing), I had been really glad when [personal profile] argylepiratewd included the same prompt in this year's Dear Author Letter. So "Whisper" simply had to be written next: no way was I going to risk running out of time. The prompt was for a story in which Henry got ill, and had to cope like anyone else, since people knew how sick he was. For this, I had what seemed like the perfect plot. Back in the spring of 2015, I'd come down with a truly horrible cold that turned to laryngitis, bronchitis, and (according to the X-ray) pneumonia. None of which I wanted my mother to catch, of course, which had led to its own complications. Add a touch of humour, and voilà!

Fortunately, "Whisper" didn't need much in the way of research. (Or, to put it another way, I'd already done the research the hard way.) So, on the 23rd, I was free to tackle a third treat, "The Father, the Son, and the Unholy Ghost". For this, I did not have a definite recipient. In fact, I initially was quite uncertain what to write: I just knew that I always write FK for Yuletide, and had every intention of doing so again, if I could come up with something.

Now, I did have an idea that had been kicking around in my mind for a while: to write a story about LaCroix's daughter, Divia, who had been turned into a vampire back in Roman times and brought her own father across at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. I think it's fair to say that she is far from my favourite guest star; however, I thought her motivation in that episode deserved a closer reading than it usually gets. She's his daughter and his master; and it seemed to me there was more to be said about this than had ever appeared in the script. However, Divia had not been nominated. Eventually, though, it occurred to me that all three of the other people requesting Forever Knight had asked for LaCroix; and recasting the story from his perspective might actually yield deeper insights.

I had then to decide which of the three potential recipients I'd give the story to. It proved very simple. One person DNWed character death: Divia dies in "Ashes to Ashes"; and I'd opened the story with the cremation of her body. A second person DNWed noncon and underage: Divia is only twelve and canonically tries to persuade LaCroix to commit incest. Fortunately, [personal profile] astolat seems to be fairly squick-free; so I gave it to her.

Each of the four stories got very nice comments from their recipients; and each has at least one comment from someone else, as well. Add the fact that the two gifts that I got were both wonderful, and I had a great Yuletide!
 
 
 
 
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