Update! Stories have been revealed! please see this post for details!
"So how long before it becomes a standard?"
—Crow T. Robot
What is Yuletide?
Yuletide is a fanfic exchange event that started on LiveJournal in 2003. The original Yuletide was for obscure fandoms, but its popularity eventually led to people creating fandom-specific events, regardless of whether or not they're obscure.
And here we are! Welcome to the Serebii Yuletide, a cross-forum fanfiction exchange event between Shipping Fics and Fan Fiction. The concept of a Yuletide is pretty simple: sign up, write a story of at least 1000 words for someone else, and get a story in return. Who you'll get to write for is a complete mystery. Will you be writing a shipping fic? Will you be writing gen (non-shipping fic)? Who knows, and that's half the fun! The other half, of course, is the receiving!
How does it work?
During the sign-up phase (October 1 to November 16), participants will submit forms (see below) via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to mods. Mods will collect these until sign-ups close, at which point all the profiles will be mixed up and matched (based on the Recipient part of each profile) in order to create author-recipient pairs. Assignments (the second half of the profile) will be sent out to participants via PM, and from that point onward, the event's in your hands, writers.
During the writing phase (November 17 to December 20), writers will be expected to hammer out at least 1000 words for their assignment. (See rules for further details.) Every two weeks, there will also be check-in posts to ensure that everyone's still on task, and yes, you should respond to them. Writers who complete their assignments, meanwhile, will send us their stories via email (email@example.com), just like in contests.
On December 20, we enter what's known as Yuletide Madness, a two-day event wherein we take a look at which requests have yet to be filled. Then, we post all of the unfilled prompts publicly at once to ensure that everyone gets a fanfic on Christmas morning. If you're a writer whose prompt is posted, you'll want to contact a mod immediately to let them know your status so your prompt can be taken down. If you see a prompt you'd like to fill, however, contact a mod to claim it.
On December 22, the writing phase closes, and all fics are due.
That leaves us with the reveal phase. The reveal phase comes in two parts:
Story reveals happen on December 25. Throughout the course of the event, all stories we receive will be uploaded to a folder on Google Drive and renamed after the recipient. On Christmas morning, this folder will be made public, and recipients will be able to access and comment on their stories via Google Drive's commenting system.
Author reveals happen on January 1. During this phase, a full list of stories and their authors will go up at the end of both stickies. Authors are then allowed (and encouraged!) to post their work in the appropriate forum—shipping fics to Shipping Fics, and non-shipping to Fan Fiction.
How do we sign up?
As mentioned earlier, if you'd like to participate, you need to fill out this form in its entirety. Email the filled-out form to the mods (to firstname.lastname@example.org). DO NOT POST YOUR SIGN-UP FORM IN THIS THREAD.
Yes, both halves of the form are necessary. You cannot submit only a writer half or a recipient half.
[u][b]You, the Writer[/b][/u]
[b]Username:[/b] (actual Serebii username, not a nickname, please)
[b]Email:[/b] (to make things easier for email submissions)
[b]If push comes to shove, can you pinch-hit?:[/b] (yes or no—see below for an explanation for pinch-hitters)
[b]I WILL Write:[/b]
[i]Rating:[/i] (Use this space to specify the range of ratings you're comfortable with. Please use movie ratings—G, PG, PG13, or R—to fill out this field.)
[i]Characters/Pairings:[/i] (What pairings and/or canon characters do you prefer writing? Please note that you only need to mention canon characters by name here and that Pokémon species as a whole do not count. Specific members, such as Ash's Pikachu or Team Rocket's Meowth, would count as canon characters. You may also specify that you're comfortable with writing OCs. No response to this field and the next one will count as a no preference note.)
[i]Canon:[/i] (Would you be willing to write a fic set in the anime? In the games? In the manga? Let us know here! Please also specify if necessary. For example, if you prefer writing PMD fics, that counts as a gameverse fic and should be noted. Likewise, if you prefer Special to ReBURST, that should also be noted.)
[b]I WON'T Write:[/b]
(Use this freeform space to list any gens, universes, characters, or pairings you do NOT want to write here. Also list anything that would make you uncomfortable to write, such as angst, war fic, or anything that may require a trigger warning. You may also use this space to specify genres you'd prefer not to write. Also, an important note: Please note that while you are absolutely free to specify that you're not comfortable with shipping fics or fics about canon characters, this may restrict you from a lot of the fun. Same goes with specifying that you're not interested in writing gen fic.)
[u][b]You, the Recipient[/b][/u]
[b]Acceptable Rating:[/b] (The all-important rating. Please specify the range of ratings you'd be willing to read. If you don't like R fic, for example, you'll want to note that here.)
[b]Pairings/Characters:[/b] (Who would you like to receive a fic about? Please specify if necessary, such as clarifying which character you may mean if characters share the same names. If you'd prefer a fic that's about a member of a Pokémon species, you may specify the species here as if it was a character. If you want your writer to create an OC of a certain occupation, such as breeder or trainer, you may specify that here as well. Please limit yourself to ten pairings/characters at the very most.)
[b]Shipping or Gen?:[/b] (Shipping = canon characters in relationships; gen = everything else. Which do you prefer?)
[b]Prompt:[/b] (List as many prompts as you'd like. Anything can be a prompt, including pictures or songs. If offering a one-word prompt, please also offer an alternative prompt that isn't just a word. Please limit yourself to ten prompts at the very most.)
[b]Do Not Want:[/b] (Whatever you absolutely do not want to receive. PLEASE LIST YOUR TRIGGERS IF THEY'RE COMMON. Also note things that would generally make you a sad panda on Christmas, including downer/sad endings, violence, angst, certain characters, etc.)
How are assignments generated specifically?
As mentioned above, mods will take all of the forms you send and compile them in a list. Then, to the best of our abilities, we'll match you with a recipient, based on what you've mentioned in the writers' field and what everyone else has mentioned in the recipients'. In order to make things interesting (i.e., in order to prevent people from gaming the system by tailoring their forms to their friends' preferences so that they can get a fic from their friends), there will also be randomization involved, especially if we have multiple assignments that can't be matched with any specific author.
In other words, for the most part, we'll pair your writing preferences off with (what we feel to be the best matching) readers' preferences. If, however, we can't decide in some cases, we'll be flipping coins and pairing you off.
What happens when people can't finish? (ALSO: What's a pinch-hitter?)
Like in the original Yuletide, there are deadlines here.
If an author realizes they can't finish a fic (because, y'know, holiday season and all), they'd have until December 16 to drop out consequence-free by sending the mods an email saying they can't make it. Their assignment will be sent off to all people who specified that they'd be up for pinch-hitting.* Someone will hopefully come forward to pinch-hit, and the Yuletide progresses as if nothing happened.
If the author drops out between December 16 to December 22, their assignment will be sent off to pinch-hitters, but they'll also be banned from the next Yuletide (if it happens). Repeat offenders will be banned from all Yuletides.
If the author just straight-up never shows up and never says anything, the orphaned prompts will be collected and offered up to participants as part of a belated Yuletide drive. These fics won't make the story reveal phase for obvious time-constraint-related reasons, but we hope to get you a fic by the author reveal phase on January 1.
The AWOL participant, meanwhile, will be banned from all future Yuletides, and an army of Bidoof will be sent after them.
* Pinch-hitter: If not already evident, a pinch-hitter is an author who agrees to take on orphaned assignments. The process of assigning a pinch-hitter is a bit looser than the actual sign-up phase. Whereas the normal assignment phase involves the mods pairing off writers with the best-fitting assignment according to their preferences, pinch-hit assignments are sent out to everyone who specifies that they'd be interested in pinch-hitting. Anyone interested in taking up the orphaned assignment should respond via email to claim it and pull it out of rotation.
We've gone this far without discussing rules. So what are they?
1. You must write a fic to receive a fic. Do not sign up for the event just to receive.
2. Again, to sign up, to submit your work, to claim pinch-hit prompts, anything like that must be done via email. Basically, if it would reveal yourself as an author of a particular story, contact us privately, not publicly.
3. All entries must be at least 1000 words in length.
4. While you can be as creative as you'd like with your prompts, please keep in mind that the following are not acceptable:
-- NSFW (Not Safe For Work—i.e., porn) prompts/prompts that specifically request NSFW fic or can only result in NSFW fic. This includes image prompts that link to porn.
-- Prompts requesting non-Pokémon fic. Sorry, but for the sake of the other writers (who might not know your fandoms), this is a Pokémon-only Yuletide.
-- Prompts requesting fics about your fics, your fan-created settings, or your OCs. If your prompt requires someone to read your fanfic/general body of work in order to write, that would be unfair and is therefore off-limits.
-- Any other prompt that would be a violation to forum or board-wide rules.
5. You're free to interpret prompts as you wish, but your story absolutely needs to match the prompt you've received. If, for example, someone asks for an Ash/Misty fic in which Ash learns the true meaning of Boxing Day while Misty attempts to write her own Christmas carol about the Patrick Swayze classic Roadhouse, your story must focus on all of that. Looser prompts, of course, will probably be a little more merciful.
6. Do not write something to deliberately piss off your recipient. This will be considered trolling.
7. You can fill as many prompts as you'd like, so yes, you can write multiple stories for one recipient. As long as the total number of words your recipient gets equals at least 1000, you're good.
8. No, you cannot collaborate with another author in order to finish your assignment. You can, however, get a beta reader, and in fact, you're heavily encouraged to do so.
9. You are free to submit your work early if you get it done early. Remember, all entries should go to email@example.com so we can keep track of them. However, your deadline to get your work in is December 22. On that date, you will be considered an AWOL author, and even if you get your work in, you will be banned from future Yuletides.
10. Mods are completely free to participate. Those who receive mods as recipients will also receive special instructions on how to submit their fic. Please take note of them!
Who's running the event?/Who do I talk to if I have issues with the event?/Who do I submit my work to?
If you have any questions or concerns about the event that you would like to ask privately or if you'd like to submit your work via PM, please contact any of the mods of Shipping Fic or Fan Fiction. To get a definite answer, though, your best bet is emailing the mods at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You mention email a lot. Why? Can I just PM stuff to you?
We tend to like emails a bit more because, as the email address listed here is a shared one, all mods can see each message, which means we have less of a chance of your stuff getting lost (not that we don't trust each other!). However, if you prefer PMing, you totally can. If you use this method, please make sure to include all mods' names (Dragonfree; Psychic; JX Valentine; xEryChan; Meowth City) in the To line. Thanks!
Good luck and happy holidays!