I wrote And To All A Goodnight (Jennifer Crusie's Faking It) for w0rdinista. Another year, another lit fandom... I think the Yuletide gods are determined to make me push my limits, since writing litfic is such a vastly different animal than I'm used to. Last year was the strange, visceral, violent world of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, which definitely has a language all its own. So when I got my assignment this year, I admit to breathing a little sigh of relief. Writing chicklit couldn't possibly be as hard as writing Ward's paranormalverse, right?
Wrong. Oh so wrong.
Crusie is deceptive. She makes it all look so easy, but she has a certain cadence and a very distinct style - even beyond the banter and the puns and the scene closers and comebacks that snap, crackle and pop, there are the touches she adds, little details, that have become stealth trademarks. Quirky alliteration. Paragraphs that are sentences in and of themselves. More than one person speaking in any given paragraph (or, hell, in any given sentence). These are things that fly in the face of the rules of writing, laughing all the way ("Rules? I need no stinkin' rules!"). Things that totally work for her, book in and book out, and all conspired to slowly drive me insane.
Still, there's a real freedom in spinning a style that's so completely not your own. The structure kind of set itself (I hemmed and hawed for a week and a half after assignments went out, then opened up Word and thought Write something, dammit, and out came "On the twelfth day of Christmas..."). Then, of course, it took on a life of its own. Davy got to conning, Steve got creative, and several characters who were not in the original plan made surprise cameos. There were frantic freakouts along the way, and the urge to default for safety when it spun out of control, and the lingering feeling that I was chickening out by writing from Davy's POV, when Crusie is all about her heroines, but it all worked out. And I ended up with a 21,500-word monster that I absolutely loved writing, my recipient enjoyed it, and she left not one but two glowing comments, the second of which made me teary.
Huge, huge thanks to martinigrl and Stacie for being the best betas ever, and to darkmuse_ic and kalenodonnell for the moral support. And all of the #yuletide IRC channel, attempt_unique and Kat in particular, for their endless encouragement and bottomless pit of procrastination devices.
Until next year.