Avengers-Jack Peggy

I made a Tumblr gifset!

Baby's first gifset.

I finally broke down and paid for a year's subscription to the full version of Photoshop. Ever since I upgraded to a new computer that can't run my old CS2, I've been getting by with Elements, but I'm doing more covers and other pro stuff now that needs the full-featured program. So naturally I'm using it in a responsible, professional kind of way ... to make animated gifs of television characters.

I'm pretty happy with how it came out, although I should have cropped the third one so you can see more of Jack's hand. That one was the first gif in the set that I made, though, and I did a ton of editing to it, so I don't think it bothers me enough to start over from scratch making a new one. (Foolishly, I didn't save any of the intermediate, pre-cropping stages.)

One thing I've noticed making Agent Carter vids, and it's also true of gifs, is that the first season is so desaturated compared to the second season, almost sepia-toned. You have to really lighten and saturate it to get it to match ...

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Avengers-Agent Carter OT3

Recent fics

A couple of different ficathons/fic exchanges had author reveals recently, so here are two more recent Agent Carter fics by me.

First of all, I wrote this one for a ficathon that just calls itself The Agent Carter Ficathon, for the round 2 prompt, "Reunited." And also for my h/c bingo square "family":

Coming in from the Cold (Peggy/Daniel + Jack, 5000 wds)
It's Christmas 1955, and Peggy and Daniel get an unexpected visitor.

I started writing a different fic for this (an action-type one) but desisted when I realized it was going to be much longer than I could write before the deadline. So this one is really a sort of fluffy prequel to the other, unwritten one that takes place a couple of years later.

And then there's my fic for avengersfest:

Mirror, Sword and Shield (Jack/Daniel, teen-rated, 14K words)
After his shooting, struggling physically and emotionally, Jack moves in with Daniel to recover.

This was written for the same person I wrote "Tin Soldiers" for (it's a small fandom, okay XD). It's a slow-burn getting-together fic, rather hurt/comforty as you might expect from the description. Various other characters show up as well.

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Autumn-frosted leaf

(no subject)

I wrote a (short) thing:

Unholy Matrimony (Legends of Tomorrow, 500 wds)
Rip keeps a running tally of how many times each person on the Waverider has managed to get themselves accidentally married and/or betrothed in various time periods. Hey, everyone needs a hobby.

This was written for fanfic_tropes over on Imzy (this week's trope: Arranged Marriage), though like all things Imzy, you can't see it unless you're signed up and logged in.

I'm liking Imzy better now that I've started getting a little more engaged over there. Fanfic_tropes is pretty fun; I'm also enjoying indie_authors, worldbuilding, and legends_of_tomorrow. The latter two aren't very active at the moment, but I expect the LoT comm will get more active when the new season starts. (Like I was saying to [personal profile] muccamukk, my current level of emotional engagement with Legends of Tomorrow is just about perfect for discussing it in a general discussion comm. I enjoy watching it, but I'm not that invested in it, and I am resigned to the fact that it's a fun show but not a particularly good show. As opposed to something like Agent Carter, where I have !!OPINIONS!! and I just know I would be That Jerk who gets into arguments all the time because people are Wrong On The Internet.) I also discovered that an AC author I really like, who has no other social media presence I'm aware of, has a personal blog on Imzy (oh_simone), so I finally have a place to keep up with her current projects.

So, yeah, unsurprisingly, the more you do with it, the more fun it is. I haven't tried creating a community or blog of my own yet; you only get to make two of them in closed beta, and I still haven't come up with an idea that's grabbing me. However, I'm getting used to the Imzy interface (I mean, when it comes right down to it, it's more or less like other commenting interfaces, from Facebook to Disqus to LJ) and it's another entertaining time-sink to sink my free time into.

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Autumn-cocoa

Meme

Seen various places ... pick a question and leave it in the comments. :)

1. How did you come up with the title to [insert fic]?
2. Any of your stories inspired by personal experience?
3. What character do you identify with most?
4. Is there a song or a playlist to associate with [insert fic]?
5. If you wrote a sequel to [insert fic], what would it be about?
6. Care to share a favorite hurt/comfort fic?
7. Care to share a favorite crack fic?
8. How would you describe your style?
9. Do you have a guilty pleasure in fic (reading or writing)?
10. Write or describe an alternative ending to [insert fic].
11. What's the angstiest idea you've ever come up with?
12. What's the weirdest AU you've ever come up with?
13. Got any premises on the back burner that you'd care to share?
14. Is there a fic you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?
15. How do you begin a story--with the plot, or the characters?
16. Are you what George R. R. Martin would call an "architect" or a "gardener"? (How much do you plan in advance, versus letting the story unfold as you go?)
17. Do you have any discarded scenes/storylines/projects?
18. Are there any writers (fanfic or otherwise) you consider an influence?
19. Any fandom tropes you can't resist?
20. Any fandom tropes you can't stand?
21. A pairing you might like to write for, but haven't tried yet.
22. A secondary (or underrated) character you want to see more of in fic?
23. Do you like more general prompts, or more specific ones?
24. A character you enjoy making suffer.
25. A character you want to protect.
26. Major character death--do you ever write/read it? Is there a character whose death you can't tolerate?

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Avengers-Jack Peggy

Agent Carter fic: Fever

Fever (9763 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter & Jack Thompson
Characters: Peggy Carter, Jack Thompson
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Malaria, Between Seasons/Series, Friendship, casefic-ish, other characters appear in minor roles
Summary: The Okinawa incident isn't the only secret Jack brought back from the war. Gratuitously self-indulgent h/c set between seasons.

... I feel as if I should make excuses for this ... but no. I tripped and fell into the hurt/comfort id pit. That is all.

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Halloween-candles

Time to break out my autumn and Halloween icons

The [personal profile] spook_me ficathon is running again! Signup post on LJ / Signup post on DW. This is a low-pressure ficathon in which you pick a creature/monster from their list (or they can send you a random one) and also get two creepy or surreal pictures to go with it as a prompt, and then write a story based on at least one of those three things. I really enjoy this one, and there's no penalty for dropping out. I think I've only finished a story for it the first year and whatever year I wrote Ghost Stories in the Van, but I decided to sign up and have them send me a random creature this year. (Two actually, because I decided to sign up for both Agent Carter and MCU -- you can sign up to write as many stories as you think you can manage. I figured that even if I got a completely unworkable prompt for one of them, the other would probably be okay ...) Signups close on Sept. 17.

Today I saw a regular jet airplane fly over with four fighter jets escorting it, which is not something you see every day. I wonder if it was something serious, or a practice maneuver (with an air force base nearby, we see them practicing a lot).

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Avengers-Steve rain

MCU Rolling Remix fic

I was traveling when the reveals happened on the MCU Rolling Remix, so I never actually ended up linking to the fic I wrote for that. I was one of the first people in the remix chain, and I wrote this way back in April. Each person got a fic to remix, and then had theirs sent down the chain to be remixed by someone else. It was a lot of fun, especially seeing how wildly different the stories ended up. A+, would play again.

Skin in the Game (1930 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies), Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Sam Wilson (Marvel), James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Friendship, Team Bonding
Summary: Sam didn't realize Tony's offer to build him a new set of wings was going to come with quite this much baggage, emotional and otherwise.

You can read all the fics in the remix here! Mine was remixed from Between the Wars by MarnaNightingale, and was remixed into Old Dogs and New Tricks by Zippit.

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Avengers-Peggy smile

Agent Carter vid: Try Everything

And with this, my seventh AC vid, Agent Carter has passed SGA to become my most-vidded fandom. (Though honestly, White Collar probably would have been, if I hadn't been having technical issues during most of the time I was watching it that made vidding prohibitively difficult. I planned a lot of vids in the later seasons that I never actually made.)

Song: Try Everything
Artist: Shakira (from the Zootopia soundtrack)
Fandom: Agent Carter
Summary: Seasons 1 & 2, Peggy + ensemble. I wanna try even though I could fail. They all get knocked down, but they keep getting up again.

Streaming: https://vimeo.com/179973614
Downloads: 87 Mb DivX (zipped) | 125 Mb MP4 (zipped)
(Smaller download options at the Vimeo link.)
Tumblr: http://sholiofic.tumblr.com/post/149392705078/try-everything-agent-carter-seasons-1-2-peggy

Embed and lyrics under the cut.

Embed and lyricsCollapse )

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Winter Sunlight

This is not the vacation post you're looking for

This is really more a post to mention that I watched Zootopia on the flight home from England, and absolutely adored it. I think it might be my favorite of the various Disney/Pixar/computer-animated movies since Finding Nemo. A buddy-movie about an adult male and female character without a romance in sight, multiple female characters doing stuff and interacting with each other (including some very atypical female characters, like the polar bear drill sergeant, and a main female protagonist who didn't feel stereotyped or sexualized), loads of sight gags and jokes that are genuinely funny (THE DMV OMGGGGG), a plot that hit a lot of unique beats and (to me at least) didn't feel as formulaic as the Pixar-style movies sometimes can ... it was basically just a really fun, distracting movie that hit loads of my character-related happy buttons. Definitely one to be rewatched.

coulda used more h/c though, given the premise

Edit: Movie spoilers in comments!

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Avengers-Agent Carter OT3

Drive-by Agent Carter/Avengers fic rec

This is post-Civil War, and therefore contains huuuuge spoilers for that movie. But it's SO GOOD:

the lingering remainders by oh_simone (gen, 5500 wds)
In which, a visitor from Tony Stark's past drops by the Avengers compound to drink his top shelf liquor and provide some perspective.

Despite the Civil War time period, this is very much an Agent Carter fic (though equally much a Captain America-Iron Man fic). Back when I first got into the show last year, oh_simone's AC fics were one of my favorite things in the fandom; she writes a fabulous Jack-Peggy-Daniel triad, so I was really hoping she'd come back and write some more after season two. And this does not disappoint in the slightest, tying together the present and past generations of MCU characters with themes of forgiveness, family, and redemption -- all delivered in a light, funny tone that just means it hits all the harder when it turns around and delivers a straight punch to the feels. Oh, my heart.

(This fic does incorporate a small amount of Marvel comics canon -- Flash Thompson, a comics-only character, and his rivalry with Peter Parker -- and those bits make more sense if you're familiar with the comics versions of the characters, but it's a relatively minor aspect of the story. Normally mixing comics with MCU canon is a hard DNW for me, but in this case, it's so adorable and connects to the overall theme of the story so well that I'm delighted to have it.)

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Avengers-Ana

(no subject)

It really delighted me to come back from running errands to find that this post, which I reblogged on Tumblr to talk about my teenage celebrity-picture scrapbooks (vintage Tumblr, basically), had spawned a bunch of reblogs of people talking about doing the exact same thing. It's always nice to know you're not the only one.

Packing, packing .... I am about 95% sure that I'm not going to take my laptop to England with me. The fic I just posted, Chasing Lightning, was mostly written on my phone while I was traveling earlier in July. It was an experiment -- I bought a cheap Bluetooth keyboard (because I can't type on my phone keyboard to save my life; even my texts are picked out one key at a time) to see if I actually could use the phone as a functional laptop substitute for writing. The experiment was mostly successful. The keyboard is a little frustrating because it often fails to pick up all my keystrokes and, even more annoyingly, it'll sometimes fail to notice that a key has been released (so I have to be careful not to end up with two pages of "ddddddddd" -- or, worse, get the delete key locked down; I got in the habit of deleting blocks of text by shift-clicking to select, rather than holding the delete key, because it was so easy to try to delete a sentence and end up deleting two paragraphs instead). I also discovered by tragic accident that it is VERY easy to unrecoverably delete a file with a single tap in the Google Docs android app. Fortunately I was being incredibly paranoid, writing my fic in smaller files of about a thousand words each, AND c&p'ing that into a backup file in a different plain-text app. And my phone-written fic requires a lot more editing than my usual fic; normally I write very clean drafts, do a lot of on-the-fly editing, and don't do much more than a SPaG and continuity edit before posting. However, the combination of rampant keyboard-related typos + only being able to see one paragraph at a time on the phone screen produced a rough draft that needed a lot more cleanup than normal.

But it did work! I don't really like traveling with my laptop because it's not only large and expensive, but the consequences of losing it would be too personally devastating; even though I back up regularly, my whole life is on there. Plus, it's really amazing how much space it frees up in a carry-on if there's not a 15" Macbook stuffed in it.

In theory, I should be able to use the phone + keyboard to do everything I can normally do online (post to DW/LJ/Tumblr/etc, answer comments, and so forth). In actual practice, there may be a lot of frustrated screaming as I try. XD

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Avengers-Agent Carter OT3

New fic on AO3

Chasing Lightning (15717 words) by Sholio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter/Daniel Sousa, Peggy Carter & Daniel Sousa & Jack Thompson
Characters: Peggy Carter, Daniel Sousa, Jack Thompson
Additional Tags: Case Fic, Hurt/Comfort, Thunder and Lightning, Electrocution
Summary: Peggy & the SSR pursue a supervillain in a lightning storm. Yes, I got them wet again. For my h/c bingo "electrocution" square.</p>

So there's that. I've been working on that one off and on all month, and I wanted to finish it before I left.

And the Tin Soldiers AU (the Jack/Daniel Almost Human fusion I wrote for MCU AU Fest) is now a series, as I've added a couple more (short) installments to it:

Gratitudes and Little Favors - schmoopy h/c for my "food poisoning" bingo square.

First Principles - from a prompt request: "Do you even want to be a cop?" Daniel wants to know and robot!Jack has to think about it.

Both rely heavily on Tin Soldiers for context.

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Avengers-Agent Carter OT3

Prompt call on Tumblr

I'm open for fanfic prompts at my Sholiofic tumblr, in Agent Carter and White Collar. Here's the post describing what characters/pairings/etc I'm looking for, though it basically just amounts to "what I normally write."

I'm trying to keep them consolidated on Tumblr right now, mainly because I'm going to be traveling for most of August, and I think I can write fic on my phone and answer directly from the ask page. You can leave them anonymously if you don't have a Tumblr account. Askbox link.

Running masterlist - Agent Carter:

Daniel, Jack, and Samberly have to walk out of the desert in 2x09
Robot!Jack AU: "Do you even want to be a cop?" (Also on AO3)
Missing scene after Daniel is exposed to Midnight Oil in 1x08
Peggy is conflicted about Daniel moving to California
Another snippet of the Highlander fusion
Medieval AU, part 1 (not for a prompt, just for fun)
Harry Potter AU (really more like the notes for an AU than an actual fic)
5 times Peggy lost someone, and 1 time she got someone back
Howard builds Daniel a flamethrowing crutch
Daniel accidentally hurts Jack while under the influence of Midnight Oil
Dottie has a well-deserved spa day after season two
Ana gets a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy
Feverish and ill Daniel gets some h/c
A happy ending for Violet
Amanda Carter says goodbye to Peggy


Running masterlist - White Collar:

AU in which Peter and Neal are SSR agents in the 1940s
"Another fine mess you've gotten us into."
Diana saving the day

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Avengers-Peggy in cafe

But wait, there's more

So apparently this is what happens when you deprive me of Internet for a week and a half. POSTAPALOOZA!

Since I've been thinking about Peggy & co's future lately, let's talk about the MCU future timeline and how it relates to the Agent Carter characters as they age.

To some extent my AC fic is basically taking place in a headcanon AU of my own devising. I haven't watched enough of Agents of SHIELD to avoid canon slip-ups if I deal with SHIELD's future too much, and I don't really want to deal with certain parts of it (like, we know Hank and Janet were active on the superhero scene by the 1960s or the 1970s at the latest, which means they had fully functional shrinking suits -- and for me, the AC 'verse isn't really a superhero 'verse; it's a Cold War spy 'verse). So basically, my fic is taking place in a one-step-away-from-canon 'verse that never quite engages with superheroes if I can avoid it; not that they definitively don't have that future (one of the things I like about AC, actually, is the doomed-tragic aspect of knowing how most of them end up), but rather that I just don't really want to put larger-than-life Marvel superheroes and AC characters into the same fic. They don't really fit together.

But I'm interested in the idea of figuring out how to work characters like a young Alexander Pierce or Obadiah Stane into the future AC 'verse. I was considering the idea that partnering with Stane might have had something to do with Howard really going off the rails. We know that in the 1940s he backed away from making weapons, after the Midnight Oil incident; he's haunted by guilt for the people who died in the weapon's field test. So how did he get from there, to large-scale weapons manufacturing a few decades later? But I'm not sure if Stane actually had that much influence at the company early on. Plus, I don't really want to take all culpability away from Howard; though I do like him, it's much too tidy to say that Stane was largely responsible for the way Stark Industries ended up going. Howard's slide to the darkside isn't something he gets to wash his hands of. Stane might have helped tug him that way, though.

And then there's Pierce. One of my various non-canon-based bits of future speculation is that Jack goes into politics later on -- that he ends up as a Senator or something, not necessarily for the rest of his career, but for awhile. So it's actually very plausible that he might've run into Pierce early in Pierce's career with the State Department. Plus, once Pierce became involved with SHIELD's oversight and management, then Peggy would have known him and worked with him ... though I'm still considering when they might have actually met. (I don't think we know exactly when the hostage crisis involving his family canonically took place, do we?) If we take Pierce as roughly the age of the actor playing him, Redford was born in 1936 according to imdb, so Pierce could've been getting his start in politics as early as the late 1950s.

(Unpleasant thought: Peggy or Jack actually mentored him.)

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Avengers-Steve Bucky past

Oh, and also

MCU Rolling Remix is live -- this is a remix challenge in which the participants remixed each other's fics in a chain (actually three different chains), with no one being able to see any of the fics in the chain except the one they were remixing. One of them is mine! They'll be anon for another week or so. There's a guessing post here.

(The icon is not a hint; it's carefully selected to relate to NONE of the fics in the collection, so as to give nothing away. XD I AM actually kind of surprised, given what a juggernaut pairing it is, that nobody managed to take any of the remix chains in a Steve/Bucky direction.)

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Winter Sunlight

Back, and thinking more about genfic

Back from the Internetless Wilds! I think it was good for me to spend a week or so in enforced Internet withdrawal -- I actually didn't miss it (much), and it gave me an opportunity to think a lot and not have other people's thoughts getting in the way (as they sometimes do, on the Internet).

The post I made before I left touched a nerve with a lot of people. That really wasn't something I meant to do. Like I said in the comments, I'd been thinking about the gen thing for awhile (the better part of a year, at least), and tossed off a mention in a post without really thinking about it -- that's what I get for posting on not enough sleep, in between packing. Anyway, though, it was a good thing to have space to think about it for a week or so with that conversation at the top of my mind.

And I'm still thinking about the various points people made. Two particular points struck a chord with me:

xparrot commented that fictional romance is typically an idealized version of actual romance and people are okay with that, so why isn't it equally okay to write an idealized, romanticized version of friendship?
• And several different people made the point that emotionally-intense friendship fic is affirming for a lot of people (it certainly is for me) and dismissing it also dismisses a lot of people's own experience with diverse kinds of love and affection.

Which is not to say most gen fic is a strictly realistic depiction of friendship or other platonic relationships, but then, most romance isn't particularly true to most people's experience of romance IRL, and that's certainly not going away anytime soon. (Nor should it.)

And I do feel like friendship tends to be an afterthought for most people, in media and in real life, even though we need social bonds to other people and function best as part of a community, whether a geographically connected community or one that we self-select. We aren't really designed to feed all our social needs, emotional and intellectual, off a single person, but we live in a society that valorizes romance and tends to suggest other kinds of relationships are disposable afterthoughts.

That was one of the reasons why I liked Legends of Tomorrow so much, incidentally -- because the non-romantic relationships got their own mini-arcs, and most of them got nearly as much narrative weight as the show's love triangle.

And one reason why I latched onto the Jack-Peggy friendship in Agent Carter so hard is because it really nailed the whole feeling of an experience I've actually had, an intense bonding experience causing a sudden falling-into-friendship with somebody you never saw that way before. In my case it wasn't antipathy to friendship, it was more like indifference to close friendship in a matter of hours. I remember wondering in the beginning if it was going to fade, because it was a startling feeling to go from being near-total strangers to almost as close as family in a single day -- but it didn't; we're still close friends 20 years later. So I know you can have those intense, transcendental experiences in relationships where romance and sex aren't involved; I know you can fall suddenly into friendship the way people fall in love, because I've done it.

And besides, even if I hadn't -- and even if friendship wasn't one of the biggest driving emotional forces in my life, which it is -- I still know that human relationships are endlessly complicated. I think fiction should reflect some of that complexity, and I love getting to explore it myself. Sure, it's often idealized to hell and back, but that's what cranks my engine, and romance gets to have that all the time, so why not do it with gen?

People mentioned in the comments to the last post that they get affirmation from this kind of fic (in an "I am not alone, there's someone else out there who feels this way too, there's someone who's had these experiences too" kind of way). I certainly did, when I first discovered that gen h/c was something that existed on the Internet. And I like the idea of being able to help offer that feeling to other people.

Basically I came back from my wilderness isolation feeling much more like "screw it, I don't care what anyone says, I'm going to write what I want." And I made the conscious decision not to worry about it as I have been. Because, honestly, in the grand scheme of things, there are WAY bigger things in the world to worry about than whether I might be ~teaching bad lessons~ by writing about people loving each other in a socially-unapproved way. Besides, fandom also contains unrepentantly titillating rape fic (I've written some of that too, believe it or not, back in the day of anon SGA fic memes), underage, and basically a whole WORLD of things that are not okay in the real world, and I don't think fics like that shouldn't exist, or that they don't have valuable things to offer people who write and read them. So I cannot and will not bring myself to believe that a PG-rated gen fic about people cuddling each other is something to feel terribly guilty about -- not for me, and not for anyone else.

ETA: I really do appreciate the intelligent and reasonable discussion in the comments to the last post. You guys made thoughtful points, and it gave me a lot to think about.

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Winter Sunlight

Fandom things

... so I went and signed up for avengersfest, since Agent Carter is an option. I'm not entirely sure what the state of the fest is right now, because ... there was a notice two days ago that the mod was going to be closing signups? And then signups don't seem to have been closed? So maybe you can still sign up but I'm not sure. (I mean, this isn't meant to be mod-pokery, it's just that I hadn't mentioned this because I didn't think you could still sign up, but it's possible that you might be able to.)

I've mostly managed to talk myself out of signing up for [community profile] genex, a gen relationship exchange. (Signups close July 23.) On the one hand - gen relationship exchange! That is totally my thing! But the dates are really NOT the best considering my current travel plans; it's bad enough I'm going to need to turn in my Avengers Fest assignment by Sept. 10, but Genex fics are due on Sept. 3, which would give me just a couple of weeks to write both of them when I get back in August. Genex also requires at least 3 different fandoms requested and 4 offered, and while I can do it, I'm not sure how enthusiastically I can do it.

(Plus there's my rather conflicted relationship with gen, of late. I feel like it's probably ridiculous to spend too much time fretting over whether writing gen is ethical, or I should say whether writing the kind of smarmy friendship stuff I like to write is ethical ... but I do worry about it, and while I am absolutely not going to beat myself up for writing a little idfic from time to time, I probably don't need to sign up for a ficathon that's going to encourage me to write even more of it.)

Today's my last day at home before I'm gone for a week and a half, then back for a couple of days, then gone again for almost three weeks. I feel as if I should be using my last day at home more usefully, but aside from proofing Kismet book files (AMAZON, PLZ STOP MAKING ME RE-UPLOAD THESE STUPID ENORMOUS FILES XD) I don't really have anything left to do urgently, and I kinda just want to chill online and maybe write another h/c bingo square.

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Avengers-Ana

SSR Confidential matching - behind the scenes

I was going to leave tomorrow but it's now pushed back to Tuesday, which is AWESOME because instead of spending today hastily packing and doing all the errands I haven't done yet, I can do my errands in a leisurely way, chill, hang out online, and write fanfic.

I was also remembering that I'd meant to post about my SSR Confidential matching process, after the reveals were out so I didn't risk giving away anyone's assignment. It's been a REALLY long time since I ran an exchange (actually I can't remember off the top of my head if I've modded an exchange like this before -- ficathons and prompt communities, yes; straight-across exchanges, possibly not). So I was pretty much operating from scratch on how to do this.

I tried running AO3's automatic matching algorithm, but most of the results were terrible -- I mean, they technically matched, but most of them matched only on one character, and all the ones I spot-checked were not going to work well (people being matched to writers who hated their favorite character/OTP, and that kind of thing). So I decided to hand-match all of them. I'm not entirely sure if anyone else does it the way I did it, but it worked really well for me.

I downloaded all the requests, put them in a text file, and printed them out. I did it twice, on different-colored paper, so I had each person's full sign-up on two different colors of paper (for requests and offers). Then I cut them apart and ended up with a bunch of slips of paper that looked like this:

SDC16425

(These are already partially paired off, at left. I just paper-clipped the assignments together.)

As I went through the requests, I realized that broadly, they all fell into one of three general categories, which I thought of as the Jack group, the Angie group, and the Howard/Jarvis/female-character group. That is, nearly everyone who wanted Jack ALSO wanted Peggy, Daniel, and ships involving those characters, so they were all pretty good matches with each other. Most of the people requesting Dottie, Whitney, the Jarvises and Howard wanted at least three of those four. The Angie people basically just wanted Angie or Angie/Peggy. If I broke up the players into those three divisions, they were almost all compatible within each subgroup.

So I divided the requests and offers into those three groups, and first of all went through doing the best possible matches. There were a handful of people in each group who were SUPER compatible -- they wanted almost all the same things, or they had the same rarepairs, or someone was offering to write exactly what another person wanted to receive. So I did those first, to make sure as many people as possible would get the best of all possible matches.

Then I separated out the people who only had non-fic requests or non-fic offers, because doing the remaining people was going to be like a jigsaw puzzle anyway, and I didn't want to have different media types to further confuse things. So I matched those ones next.

Then I went through and matched the remaining people. Some of them got good matches anyway; others ended up matching on only one or two characters. In the end, I had a number of different stacks that were labeled like this:

SDC16676

I did actually end up having to switch some people around when I went and entered all of the new assignments into the AO3 panel, because in one case (ironically involving me) I had accidentally done a direct assignments swap (I was writing for them, and they were also writing for me) and I didn't want that. I think I also had someone who was assigned to write for someone whose request TECHNICALLY didn't match -- from the way their requests/offers were written, I think it would have worked fine (it was basically a case of, they requested X and Y, and offered X/Y, and I assigned them to someone who requested Y), but AO3 wouldn't take the match. So I did some shuffling. Since I was writing in the exchange myself, I was also able to use myself as a wildcard; I was willing to write basically anything, and also to accept a less-than-optimal writer match. In the end I did end up giving my writer a difficult assignment, since we only matched on one character and none of our ships, but they did a great job with it. :D

Basically it worked great and I'll probably be doing the same thing next year. I also had several people mention how much they loved their assignments, which, yay! \o/ I tried very hard to make sure everyone had an assignment they would enjoy.

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