Around two years ago, three IF people made games for the Yuletide fanfic exchange, a sort of fanfiction Secret Santa, and at least one of them went on to be pretty successful. I wanted to make an IF game for Yuletide myself one day, so this year I got an AO3 account and signed up for Yuletide*!
*Not yet, actually. I’m still figuring out which fandoms I should request fic from and/or offer to write fic for.
Now this sort of writing challenge is usually more fun with other people, so I’m inviting any of you guys with an interest in both IF and fan-fiction to sign up for the Yuletide fanfic exchange! (I think zarf and adri are at least thinking about joining.) You will need an AO3 account to sign up; get that here. The way this works is that you request fanfics for 3-6 fandoms from the tag set (most of the time you can also specify up to 8 characters as well), and then you offer to write for at least 4 fandoms (with at least two characters each). Then you get matched up, and write a story of at least 1,000 words to your recipient. You’ll get a 1,000-words-or-more fic from some other writer, yourself. This is an over-simplified version of the event; click here to read more about it. Sign-ups end by Sunday the 26th, 6 PM UTC, so hurry!
Anyway, before we get into things, some words:
I checked with the mods, and writing an Interactive Fanfiction is okay BUT you should be sure that your recipient is okay with it. Not everybody likes IF, and that’s fine! This is a fanfic exchange, after all, and you should respect your fanfic recipient’s wishes as best as you are able. So don’t offer to write for any fandoms unless you feel comfortable writing ordinary prose fiction for it. You can check with a mod if you’re not sure your recipient would like IF. Here’s how to contact them.
If you must write Interactive Fanfiction, try writing a treat! You don’t have to sign up for Yuletide, then, although you still need an AO3 account. (You can also still write treats when you do sign up, although you have to finish your main assignment first.) One way to find folks to treat is the Dear Yuletide Writer letters, which are written for the benefit of whoever’s assigned them, but other folks can look at them too, and treat them if they like. I think you can check with the mods about their preferences like you could if you were assigned to them. I’ve been told that you may want to wait on releasing these until the Yuletide Madness subcollection opens, both because of length issues (see below); and because recipients whose writers have to pull out are sent to the pinch hit list, but this doesn’t happen if they already have a treat, so your IF piece will likely be the only story they get. I’m not totally sure why this is an issue if you checked and they like IF, but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you want you can check to see if they already have a gift by visiting their profile.
Oh hey! We should probable get a post about our interactive fanfiction project (including a short overview on parser-based IF, choice-based IF, and maybe some common development systems) up on the general LJ community, just to let everyone know what we’re doing. I’ll write this myself but the earliest I can get to it is late Tuesday, maybe Wednesday, so if any of you guys wanna get to it earlier you are welcome to it. Hopefully this will get people buzzing about this, and maybe even some non-IF people will want to contribute!
Am I forgetting something? Oh yeah, format and length. I don’t think format should too much of a problem, as a lot of the big IF systems these days have a browser-playable option, and for most everything else there’s Gargoyle. Just host an online playable version and/or link people to interpreters and try not to shut out non-Windows users and you should be okay.
Length is trickier, though, as it’s hard to get a sense of word counts when you’re working with code. My advice would be to overshoot the word count by about an extra 2,000-3,500 words or so, OR you could go by playtime instead: 10-15 minutes or so should be roughly equivalent to a 1,000 word story, unless you’re doing something weird.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, so anybody who has actually signed up can feel free to chime in. You can talk about what series you want to request/offer, point out interesting media from the tag set, or whatever else comes to mind. I really appreciate any of y’all that do sign up for this; I know that what with Ectocomp, Parser Comp, New Year’s Comp, Worker’s Comp, and Compy Comp coming up it’s easy to feel all comped out. I hope to see at least some of you in this event, even if you don’t end up writing IF for it.