18 January 2018 @ 06:13 am
Yuletide 2017  
This Yuletide looked at first as though it was going to be rather frustrating—not because of my assignment in itself (for it was fine), but because I had writer's block. My story ground itself out slowly, even though I had it planned out well ahead of the deadline. Then, when I was finally raring to write treats in the last days before Christmas, there was so much shopping to do that I never seemed to have time to write.

Still, all's well that ends well. I did manage to squeeze out writing time, especially on Christmas Eve. At least in part this was because much of the tree-decorating was done by Flo. So much thanks to her!

My assigned recipient was [personal profile] swmbo, who matched with me on Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. In "Entire of Herself" (comments on AO3), Susan is left alone in the camp on Wild Cat Island when the others go sailing. Like [personal profile] swmbo, I think Susan's role in the series is often underappreciated by readers who focus more on the children's adventures. If she (a rather domestic girl) were not there to ensure that her younger siblings eat properly, stay out of danger, and go to bed at a reasonable hour, I doubt if their mother would have let them camp out with relatively little supervision. In my story, the others take advantage of Susan's good nature; and the adults are less than amused. As far as the page I designed for it on my website is concerned, it's based on the design I've used for other Ransome fic. However, as there's a storm, I modified the water background to a darker, greyer tone.

I wrote one treat for Mary Renault's The Charioteer, "Don't Insult My Intelligence" (comments on AO3). [personal profile] moetushie wanted a story about Bunny, who is more or less the villain of the book, so I wrote a follow-up to a scene in which Bunny, having offered Laurie a lift back to the hospital, makes a pass at him en route. It is clear from canon that Bunny sexualizes the corporal punishment that was endemic to British public schools of the period; and [personal profile] moetushie mentioned an interest in the subject. To symbolize this aspect of the story, I used bright tones in the frame around the story, including an animated background graphic that, reduced to a thin line, produces the effects of sparks. However, for the main background, I used a stylized foliate design to represent the dark nighttime road, lined with tall hedgerows, along which Bunny drives back to Bridstow.

My other two treats were both for Forever Knight.

"A Tale of Cain and Abel" (comments on AO3), written for [personal profile] androcksandthings, briefly tracks Vachon's early years as a vampire while he slowly works his way out of Tahuantinsuyu (the Inca name for their country) up to Mexico. Off-scene, he is followed all the way by his enemy; but the two do not really talk to one another until after an encounter in Mexico City. For the webpage, I used a background tile described as an Aztec design—well, more or less, I suppose—since much of the story takes place in Mexico. However, for the top of the page, I found a picture of a figurine of an Inca warrior on Wikimedia Commons. I altered its colour to fit the webpage design, and turned it into a little button-sized decoration.

"A Rat's Eye View of the World" (comments on AO3) was written for [personal profile] ladygray99, who said in her prompt that she used to be a RatPacker. So I wrote the fic in Screed's own peculiar idiolect, presenting his perspective on the life of a carouche as he talks to ... well, the reader, I suppose. It was written with tabs open to a dictionary of Nadsat and another of Cockney rhyming slang, these being the principal sources of Screedspeak. The latter was more to jog my memory than anything; but I know nothing of Nadsat beyond a handful of words used in the episodes in which Screed appears. I can only hope I worked the words into the story with sufficient context to make their meaning less than utterly obscure. Given the focus, I decided to make a rat's page for the fic. I can only hope the background passes for fur at an casual glance, for I actually colour-shifted a grass tile!