The 2016-2017 Sekrit Solstice Sci-Fi Fantasy Story Swap

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CobraMisfit

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Hear ye, Hear ye!

The First of December is once more upon us, which means that we stand on the precipice of yet another season of writer-based joy and wonderment.
That’s right, gang, polish up your prompts, spool up your spellcheckers, and flex those fingers because it’s time once again for the best thing to happen to humanity since the tacos*....


THE FIFTH ANNUAL SEKRIT SOLSTICE SCI-FI/FANTASY STORY SWAP!



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I feel like this with every SS-SFF-SS kickoff thread.



So what exactly is the SS-SFF-SS you may ask?

The SS-SFF-SS (AKA: The Sisyphus) is a 10-ish week writer-focused word party where folks provide prompts, then receive stories based on those prompts. Hilarity normally ensues. If you want an idea of the general madness involved, feel free to review last year's SS-SFF-SS Thread.

That said, because NaNo just finished and the holidays are soon upon us, we decided to give folks enough time to rest before jumping back into the story-making process. As such, we're aiming for a delivery date of FEBRUARY 28th. This ensures that folks don’t feel pressure to write during the holiday season AND gives them enough time to get their stories to betas as needed.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a bunch of gifs for how this event normally operates (apologies Zan!):



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In other words, we prompt, we write, we trade stories, we guess, we share the joy of the event, and we create life-long bonds with our fellow writers.

If this sounds like your kind of literary playground, then here are the rules and such.

The Rules and Such:


RULE #1) HOW TO PLAY: There are two primary ways of participating: RECEIVING and GIVING. (See Rule #6 for The Beta Option.)

Signing up to RECEIVE a gift means signing up to GIVE a gift. No exceptions. Since the spirit of this event is giving, you ask for treasures, you have to give treasures. To do so, you’ll make a post with what you want to read as well as what you’re willing to write. I’ll then put the names of participants in The Sign-Up List of AWesome located at the bottom of this post.


RULE #2) PROMPT PARAMETERS: When you sign up to RECEIVE, please include a prompt that provides parameters for your gift. This can be anything: a word, a quote, an author name, an idea, a theme, etc. Just give your gifter a direction in which to run.

That said, this year we’re asking folks to KEEP IT REASONABLE. Long, detailed prompts run the risk of not getting matched because people don’t want to be boxed in. Feel free to ask for the moon, but also allow your gifter room to maneuver.

Also, please specify themes/topics that you are okay with/not-okay with, i.e. boo to violence, sex, swearing, gore; yah to kittens, marshmallows, and smexy emo teen vampires.

Unless otherwise specified, the person writing for you will assume all bets are off.

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Here’s Loking at you, kid.


Example Prompt:
Queen Novella Von InkyQuill said:
Golly, CM, this sounds like the best thing to happen to humanity since tacos! Of COURSE I’ll participate. Sign me up to both give and receive.


Prompt: I'd like an Alt-History Steampunk YA Cookbook, please. Nothing grimdark or with explicit violence/smexy times. Bonus points for a manatee in a tutu!

I'm willing to write anything, even smexy manatees in tutus.


NEW FOR 2017:
While the above is intended to be humorous, PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS IS NOT AN EVENT WHERE SOMEONE ELSE WRITES THE STORY YOU CAN’T/WON’T.
The Sisyphus is meant for writers take a prompt, add their unique spin, and return to the prompter a gift of words. The prompt serves as an inspirational spark for a story, not an outline for a novel. If your prompt is deemed too stringent or “outlinesque”, the Story Elves may contact you to tweak it. If you refuse, you run the risk of Getting Benched (See Rule #11).


Final Prompting Note
: If there are topics you absolutely don’t want to write about, please include that as well. Similarly, if you're both GIVING and RECEIVING and a prompt really excites you, rep me and I'll try my best to accommodate you. Otherwise, I'll do my best to match your likes with prompter wishes.

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mwa. ha. ha.



But CM, what if I don't want to RECEIVE a story, but DO want to GIVE one?

I'm glad you fake-asked, fake participant! It's a perfect segue to:

RULE #3) GIFTING ONLY: Should you so desire, you may absolutely sign up to GIVE a gift, but not RECEIVE one. If you’re the benevolent type that loves to give and give, I’ll forward you a copy of my Wish List. I’ll also hook you up with a giftee (or more than one if you so fancy). Please let me know if you want to give a story in general or for a specific prompt that inspires you so I can match you appropriately.


RULE #4) NO THANK YOU: If there is someone you don't want to write for, no matter the reason, please rep me with your request. I will do my best to honor it.


RULE #5) WRITING TIME: Once the sign-up thread closes, you'll have approximately 8-10 weeks of writing time to create your masterpiece. As always, if you hit a snag or have questions/concerns, you can contact me via the e-mail that I'll send your prompt from. Or you can reach out here on AW. Either way, please keep me in the loop and I'll do my best to assist you. If you’re struggling and go radio-silent, especially as we reach the terminal weeks of the event, the Story Elves will go into full panic mode and may initiate Rule #11.


RULE #6) THE BETA OPTION: This is the tangential way to participate since beta volunteers are always welcome. If you're not interested in giving or receiving, but would like to play as a beta, let me know via Rule #12. Just don’t use this to your advantage when we open the guessing thread! Authors may also seek out betas exterior to this thread/genre as they desire.


RULE #7) WORD COUNT: There is no limit to story length. We’ve seen everything from 500 words to over 20k. A good story is a good story, so don't fret the word count.


RULE #8) SUBMITTING COMPLETED STORIES: When you're ready to deliver your story via the e-mail from which you'll receive your prompt, please make sure to include a 200-400 word section (pasted directly into the e-mail) that you feel best represents your tale of wonders. I’ll use this for the guessing thread. For those unfamiliar, here is a link to last year's Guessing Thread.


NEW FOR 2017: DON’T FRET IF YOUR STORY ISN’T “COMPLETE”: It can be rough, clunky, filled with typos, etc. Thing is, folks won’t care. What they WILL care about is the fact that you put in time and effort to make something. We’re among friends here, so do your best, but don’t lose sleep over the story. If the deadline hits and you need/want more time, submit what you have and work things out with your giftee for the "completed" story down the road.


RULE #9) OWNERSHIP: The author of the story owns the story outright. This is especially true if the author decides to polish/expand the story for a professional market. The prompt they used is merely a motivating tool, but does not transfer ownership of the story to the giftee in any way. Everyone who participates in this event agrees to this.


RULE #10) THANK YOU!: In the past, a few people have expressed concern about whether or not their giftee liked their story. Once you receive your gift, PLEASE rep your gifter to thank them/weep crocodile tears of joy before them. You can and should additionally swoon over your gift in this thread. A heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way to convincing someone that the hours and hours spent building something special were not in vain. So please be courteous and vocally appreciative.


RULE #11) GETTING BENCHED: NEW FOR 2017 –This year we’re adding the “Benching” Rule. Basically, by participating in this event, you agree that if you bail without sorting things with the Story Elves (me) and/or the Mods, or if you won't flex on your prompt because it's deemed too stringent, you’ll be forced to sit out of next year’s Sisyphus.

WHOA, ISN’T THAT A BIT HARSH?

Yes and no. In years past, we’ve had some issues with folks bailing after signing up. Life happens and we here at Sisyphus Inc, LLC completely understand that. HOWEVER, we’ve also had to scramble to either fill stories at the last minute because gifters were no-shows OR we’ve had to jump through hoops to match people because prompts were too confining. The Sisyphus is meant to be a fun, relaxing writing event, but it’s also about respecting your fellow writer. Rule #11 is an insurance policy against the one or two regular speedbumps that crop up from time to time.


RULE #12) GOT IT AND I’M IN!: To ensure you have read ALL THE RULES, including this one, please rep me (on this post) a statement that says you have read and agree to all the rules AND that you swear to give your gift by the deadline. Please also provide an email in the rep, even if you've played in the past, so the Story Elves can send you your gift when it’s time.

To ensure everyone has a warm and fuzzy moving forward, I'll send you a confirmation e-mail.


FYI, please avoid PMing me. My inbox is stuffed with messages as far back as 2010, which I need to clean out soon.

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No really, I will!



Here ends The Rules and Such.




The Timeline of Excellence:


December 1st: Sign-ups open. Masses flock to this thread. A new dawn of storytelling breaks and hope reigns supreme.

December 21st: Sign-ups close. Late-comers reap a harvest of sorrow.

December 25th: Assignments are lovingly wrapped and hand-delivered direct to your inbox. Hooray! Presents for everyone!

December 25th – February 28th: Plots are generated, characters are drawn, and words are flung.

February 28th MARCH 8TH!!! MARCH 12th!!!!!!: Stories are due to moi. Everyone celebrates the impending burst of Spring with the knowledge that their masterpiece is a mere hours away from arriving in their giftee’s inbox.

March 1st 9TH!! 13th: Stories are delivered to giftees who are overwhelmed by teh awesomez. Guessing Thread open in SYW. Stories are read. Friendships are forged. Joy spreads through the valley and there is peace.

March Somethingth: We crown this season's Supreme Guessinator who lords over all of us with her/his story-guessing might.

All hail last year's winner: Maggie Maxwell (aka: The Artist Formerly Known as TAMaxwell)!

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We are, indeed, not worthy.

As Supreme Guessinator, MM ruled the land of Sisyphus justly, spreading goodwill to all the people. But will this season's winner be as magnanimous or will they rule with an iron fist?

Only time will tell.



Personal Note: This is hands-down my favorite writing event. There’s something magical about writing specifically for another person using their prompt. Not only does it allow you to move outside your comfort zone, but also helps you explore a genre you may have never considered before. The more people who participate, the more fun we have, so feel free to tell your friends, family, kids, cats, or even that strange neighbor who mows the yard in nothing but a sheen of sweat and a smile.

And now, without further ado....


The Official Proclamation:


Let it be known throughout all the writing lands that the 2016-2017 SS-SFF-SS season is now officially open!



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And so it bee-gins! ba-dum-tishhhh!



Let's light the tires and kick the fires, gang!


The Sign-Up List of AWesome:

Name: | Both Give and Receive(B)/Give Only(G)

1) Maggie Maxwell: B

2): Riv: B

3) Myrealana: B

4) ShadowFlame: B

5) paddismac: B

6) Kitkitdizzi: B

7) Ari Meermans: B

8) Religion0: B

9) Marlys: B

10) Aggy B: B

11)KateSmash: B

12) Anna_Headley: B

13) Mary Love: B

14) Jaymz Connelly: B

15) Damoclian: B

16) tianaluthien: B

17) Hoplite: B

18) Tazlima: B

19) Lillian_Blaire: B

20) shortstorymachinist: B

21) JJ Litke: B

22) Cliff Face: B

23) Bobo The Bard: B

24) SianaBlackwood: B

25) tiddlywinks: B

26) mrsmig: B

27) EFB: B

28) CuddlyClementine: B

29) Richard White: B

30) Friendly Frog: B

31) maawolf36: B

32) feyngirl: B

33) zanzjan: B

34) Tamlyn: B

35) Scripty: B

36) eyeblink: B

37) EnzoC: B

38) themindstream: B

39) Blinkk: B

40) Alma Matters: B

41) smokymountainlvr: B

42) PastyAlien: B

43) tjwriter: B

44) Sue77: B

45) ManWithTheMetalArm: B

46) griffins: B

47) LisaBean: B

48) CheG: G

49) Michele AKA Twig: B

50) CobraMisfit: B

51) AnnieCollins: B



Betas:

1) Shadowflame

2) Ari Meermans

3) Marlys

4) Damoclian

5) feyngirl

6) Riv

7) themindstream

8) smokymountainlvr

9) PastyAlien

10) paddismac

11) griffins













*but not better than Colin Firth on a taco. NOTHING is better than that:

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Maggie Maxwell

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Yeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss :greenie


Count me in for giving and receiving, as usual.

Dear Sekrit Solstice Santa-writer,
This year I have been a very good girl and didn't kill anyone, on accident or on purpose! Unless you count characters. I've definitely killed them on purpose. I'm very sorry about some of them, though.
Anyway, I would like a story with superheroes, a non-verbal animal companion (unless it's a parrot doing like parrots do, that's okay), and a family dinner gone awkward. I like comedy SF/F (think Terry Pratchett), but I'm open to most genres with a little touch of the unusual. Please no smexytimes or extreme gore/violence.

I can write SF/F with humorous tones, or touches of horror. I cannot write smexytimes or gore. I am willing to write shiny emo teen vampires if it comes to it. Just don't expect it to be serious.
 

-Riv-

The much appreciated
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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

RECEIVE: I’d love to receive a retelling of a fairy tale—well known or obscure. It can be a faithful retelling or simply inspired by the tale. It can be whatever tone and setting gets the creative sparks flying for you. Bonus for interweaving a fable. Example: A mash-up of “The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf” and “Little Red Riding Hood”. Bonus for including a tardigrade in any capacity. :greenie

No restrictions on theme or content.

GIVE: Anything SF/F or horror. Preferably not historical or hard SF. No restrictions on theme or content.

Yippee!
 
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Myrealana

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Hope I'm doing this right.

I will sign up for giving and receiving

RECEIVE: I would like a story involving a serial killer, but with no on-screen violence. I would also like to see unusual pets playing a key role. (Not cats,dogs, birds, fish)

GIVE: I don't do graphic sex or violence. I write SF/Fantasy, traditionally, but I'm willing to stretch into other genres.
 

Shadowflame

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I love this event!

I'll be Giving and Receiving AND tossing my hat into the mix for BETA (and maybe if there's an emergency a back up giving)


Wants: This year I'd love to have a western type story. It could be science fiction, fantasy or horror, the writer gets to choose. It must contain some sort of curse, a revolver, and some sort of showdown type of event (it may or may not be the final conflict of the story.)
Bonus points if it contains snowflakes, an angry cow/bull and a reference to a popular table top or video game.
I'm not really into smexy times or humor, but pretty much everything else goes

Gives: I'm up for writing SF/F or Horror. I don't do smexy times and humor is another thing that I just can't grasp. Not really good at emo stuff but I'll give it a shot.
 

paddismac

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AW YEEAAHH!! I am so in!! For both giving and receiving (with apologies in advance to my eventual victim giftee).


RECEIVE: I'd like a story that involves the preparations for and production of some sort of entertainment: could be a play, a charity gala, a talent show, a sporting event, a beauty contest — some level of competition would be good, but not required — whatever sparks your imagination.

It can be comedy, tragedy or anywhere in between; this world or another; humans, non-humans (I love interaction between the two), male, female, both or neither; blood & guts and smutty sex or cutesy sweet with sparkly unicorns... it's all up to you. Whatever you need to tell your tale.


GIVE: I basically write something that can loosely be described as "fantasy" and I can throw in a touch of horror if needs be, but no matter how hard I try, everything I write devolves into slightly bizarre absurdism, so if you're looking for WTF lunacy, I'm your goat... Anyone looking for a serious, contemplative or profound story will probably be really offended by my offering, and I'm afraid I absolutely cannot write coherent SF ('cause ungulates ain't got no science smarts... unless it involves biology :e2brows:). Other than that restriction, I'll take a stab at whatever is tossed my way.


Mmmm... hoping I can write about smexy manatees in tutus this year... <gets all tingly and whatnot>


So ummm... yeah... that's it...


And now I will spend the day maniacally refreshing the page to read every prompt as it posts.... GGGAAAAHHH!!!!
 
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Kitkitdizzi

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Yesssss, yessss my precious. Time for the Sisyphus it is...

:hooray:

Receive: This year I'm offering an open-ended prompt. Follow the muses, write where they take you. Whatever you want, I will love it. I fear nothing. There's one stipulation. Somewhere, somehow, there must be an otter.

Give: I tend to keep my toes in fantasy, but wouldn't mind slipping a little more into SF or horror. I have a habit of writing more on the dark side (probably stemming from me tapping fingers together and laughing maniacally as I think of horrible things to do to my protagonists) so if you want a happy sparkly story full of sprinkles and rainbows it probably won't happen. Actually, there will probably be sprinkles and rainbows...but they won't be the only thing in the story :greenie
 

Ari Meermans

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Ari Meermans: B

Give: I'm willing to try my hand at almost anything except smexy times, gore, or gratuitous violence. What to expect: You’re more likely to get something somewhat readable if it’s soft SF or fantasy than you are if it’s heavy-duty stuff like hard SF, Mystery, or Romance.

Receive: I love almost everything, but would appreciate no smexy times, gratuitous violence, or gore. I adore snarky humor.

But if you really, really want a prompt, how about this one:

You found a stunning antique carved wooden box in an antique store or at a flea market. The price was an unbelievable steal and you HAD to have it. How and why did it turn out to be not such a great bargain, after all? (Horror, Humor, Fantasy, Paranormal, or Science Fiction—you choose.)

If you do wish to include the optional prompt, let your inner child's creativity flow. Do, however, make it an integral part of your story. Don't "plug" it; stretch yourself.

ETA: Will also Beta this year.
 
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Religion0

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Sign me up for giving and receiving!

I should like to give something fantasy, low in sax and violins.

For receiving I would like to ask for... magic! Magic and unicorns! No such thing as an unhappy ending allowed. Bonus points for no humans showing up, but it's not a requirement.
 

Marlys

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I participated two--three?--years ago, and have now recovered sufficiently to jump in again.

Will give and receive. Will also beta if you need it.

I want! A story titled "The _______ Tree" (author fills in the blank). I'd prefer it not be too depressing, and should contain mention of a painting, picture, photograph, or other depiction of one of the speaking characters. There should also be...train... Wait, a choo choo? The train of a dress? A Lionel train set? A training bra? Training group for a marathon? Pfft. You decide. Just...train...

I'll write! Just about anything, so you choose: SF, Fantasy, Horror, or Other; funny, sexy, poignant, romantic, scary, light, dark (well, darkish--my Muse only occasionally pulls me into Hell, but if you want it I'll just drink vodka and think about the election until something emerges from the depths). You think of it, I'll give it a try.

Not crazy about receiving (or writing) retellings, but if it's an incredible idea do it anyway.
 

Aggy B.

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I would love to give and receive this year.

In regards to giving: I write Steampunk, Weird West, Southern Gothic, and various flavors of Fantasy. Sometimes I write Sci-Fi, but rarely the "hard" stuff. I'm comfortable with sex/romance, violence, swearing, action, and intense feels.

In regards to receiving: I would love to receive a subversive fairytale - either brand new or a traditional tale that has been repurposed. I leave the level of subversion up to the gifter. Bonus points for genderbent tropes (I.e. Princess rescues prince), monsters who are not monstrous (I.e. Dragon rescues princess from something that seems mundane but isn't) and conflicts due to philosophical or ideological differences (rather than things like "You killed my father, prepare to die."). Super special bonus points for diverse characters including but limited to: LGBTQAI, elderly, differently abled, or PoC. I am okay with most levels of violence, swearing and sex (with the caveat that rape or the threat of rape as conflict is a non-starter for me).

Now, let me go reppy CM.
 

KateSmash

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Hi, I'm new here. Not here in general, but here here. And I'd like to participate in both the giving and receiving of story goodies.

RECEIVE: May I please have some high fantasy elves (you know, tall, pretty people with pointy ears) in places they don't belong? Options include but are not limited to; cyberpunk elves, time traveling elves, horror monster hunter elves, post apocalyptic elves, and elves in space. The only things I don't like genre-wise are grimdark and paranormal romance. Smexy-times and violence are at your discretion, though gratuitousness is not appreciated.

GIVE: I'm flexible with genre, though I stay away from the aforementioned grimdark and pnr. I might not be the best fit for comedy, since my sense of humor is a little off. But otherwise I'm good to go and willing to stretch into new areas. SF, fantasy, interstitial ... it's all on the table. I do YA-ish things well, but am also surprisingly good at bringing the smexiness of all heat levels.

ETA: With respects to goats and sparkles - I really don't wish to give or receive it. Thank you.
 
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Anna_Hedley

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I'd like to sign up to both give and receive.

RECEIVE: I'd like something where the protagonist is a badass old lady (60+). Can be any genre within the speculative fiction bracket, any tone, any scenario. The only restrictions are that I'd prefer no rape or sexual assault in the story either explicit or implied, also no animal death. I'm fine with character death though.

GIVE: I'm more familiar with writing fantasy but happy to try scifi. I've wrote paranormal romance, comic fantasy, and second world fantasy before but I'm happy to take a stab at other subgenres. I'm not very good at horror that's actually scary. I'm fine with writing explicit sex that's f/m (but not maledom/femsub), m/m, or f/f. I'm fine with gore, violence, body horror, swearing etc. I like writing LGBT characters but it's not essential. I'd also prefer not to write from an animal's (talking or otherwise) PoV.
 
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Mary Love

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I'm a little scared, but I read over last year's threads with timid yearning, so I'm hopping in this year! Both giving and receiving.

RECEIVE: A rags to riches story that includes a dress and a young antagonist. Protagonist and world/setting is up to you. Also, I’d love to see ‘shniveling muckshoveler’ used as a swear word. Please, no violence, gore or explicit stuff.

GIVE: YA, SF, fantasy, magic, dystopian, light romance, humor, historical. I’m also willing (and excited!) to try something new, but nothing that will make me sick or embarrassed—I’m basically a 12 year old in an adult body. I prefer younger MCs.
 

Jaymz Connelly

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*sidles in* Maggie said I should do it, so here I am, talked into it. Signing up before I can talk myself out of it again. I'd like to give and receive, please.

Give: I can write soft SF, fantasy of just about any kind, and paranormal (but not horror). I have never written steampunk. I'd be willing to have a bash, but can't promise it wouldn't suck. I won't write explicit violence, and no romance or smexy times. I don't write MC teenagers either. No zombies. Also, no vampires or shapeshifters - unless the shapeshifters are dragons. Please say if you don't want swearing. My characters swear unless they have to behave.

Receive: I'd love an urban fantasy, include maybe an 80's hair metal band (think Poison, Cinderella, Motley Crue, et. al.) and a sulphur-crested cockatoo. If the cockatoo scares the bejesus out of the hair metal band with its call, it would be awesome. But if those elements don't grab you, that's okay. Urban fantasy of any kind would be great! Colourful swearing is very good. No explicit violence, romance or smexy times, zombies, stupid vampires or shapeshifters, please. Ghosts are okay.

Did I do that right?
 
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Damoclian

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I wanna play, too! :D

Mark me down to GIVE and RECEIVE, please.

Receiving prompt (I'll keep in simple, promise!) :

I want a "first-contact" story - sci-fi OR fantasy, you choose, sweet gifter - with a twist. The first contact is with "aliens" (they don't have to be "aliens") who are in Earth's oceans. Now, I don't necessarily mean Pacific Rim aliens, or The Kraken Wakes aliens, either. Do what you want with magic or science or scientific-magic. You could do a rediscovery of Atlantis story, or something else, I just want it to be first contact-y. :) And oceanic! :O

My only caveat is that I don't want to read about sexual-violence. Other violence is more tolerable, so is actual sex, but not both put together. Thank you.

Giving: I'm not the most scientifically literate individual... I can do it, but fantasy is my strong suit. The same caveat about sexual-violence applies, I won't write about it. I can do most other things with some acceptable degree of mediocrity, and I will do my best! :)

Am I allowed to beta as well? I would like to help as many people as I can as much as I can!
 

tianaluthien

What I do is not up to you
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Yaaaaaasssssss!!!!!!!!!

I am signing up to GIVE and to RECEIVE.

Give: I will write SF/F/UF/steampunk/victoriana horror/fairy tale rewrites. I'll do dark, but not grimdark. I don't write excessive violence or gore or erotica or full-on smexy times (but I'm comfortable doing *some* heat). I'm also good with humour and lighter fare. And sad endings, I can do that too. Actually, if you want a smexy emo vampire I could do that...but he'll be the butt of everything :evil

Receive: I'm sticking with last year's prompt because I like it. Basically, "a tale for a winter's night". The kind of thing you'd read on a long winter's night, with a fire burning on the hearth. And I'd like it set in winter, whether it's a place of eternal winter or just the season is up to you. Happy ending, please :) I'm a fan of guy-meets-girl stories (or girl-meets-guy, whatevs), but solid friendship fics are gold as well. Please no gore or excessive violence (inc. sexual violence) or erotica. SF/F/steampunk/urban fantasy all ok.

Bonus points for including:
-something red and sparkly
-a dance
-mulled wine
-"In my defense...the moon was full and I was left unsupervised."
 
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Hoplite

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I'll sign up to give & receive.

A note to all new participants: don't worry, it's all a lot of fun. I missed out on last year's due to impending baby and have been looking forward to this all year.

Give: I'll try my hand at anything. Just do the universe a favor and don't ask me to write erotica.

Receive: I'd like a alternate-history future sci-fi story, if that makes sense. Think Man in the High Castle. What if Rome never fell? What if European colonists were driven off North America? What if everybody liked fruit-cake? How does some change to human history affect humanity's future? No gratuitous violence, but otherwise anything goes!
 

Tazlima

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I'm signing up to GIVE and RECEIVE

Give: No romance or erotica please, but I'll write anything else.

Receive: A story about a zombie apocalypse, but from a dog's point of view.
 
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Lillian_Blaire

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Hi, everybody. I'm signing up to GIVE and RECEIVE.

Give: I can't do horror/gore (I don't think--never tried it, actually). I've never written westerns, steampunk, or mystery. I'm willing to give it a go, but it'll be my first attempt and will require much forgiveness on the receivers part. I'm an erotic romance writer, so if anyone out there does want explicit smexy times, I'm your gal. But I'm also comfy with fantasy, YA, LGBT, and just regular old sweet romance. Tragedy or comedy, doesn't matter. Just don't make me write from the viewpoint of an animal.

Get: No talking animals, please. Hot and spicy romance is awesome, but not necessary (but you'll earn extra admiration on my part). I'm a huge fan of characters that transform--from meek to amazing, from timid to bold. Growth formed through trial is my favorite theme (refiner's fire). Punish that protagonist, push him/her to the very edge of their physical and mental abilities, and then bring them back a better person. Toss in a little love story and I'm sold (but this is optional). My one last and most important requirement is a happily-ever-after. I'm comfortable with everything--except talking animals. Push the limits, you won't scare me.
 
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shortstorymachinist

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I'm in to ENDLESSLY ROLL A GIANT BOULDER UP A HILL (give) and RECEIVE A GIANT BOULDER FROM SOMEONE ELSE (receive)!

Giving: I mostly write fantasy with some sci-fi every so often, and I'll dip my toe into horror experimentally, too. If you reeeeally want a romance I can try, but I can't guarantee the results...it will probably wind up being a comedy. No explicit sex, gore, or emo vampires.

Receiving Prompt: I want a fantasy or sci-fi story about someone searching for something/someone. It can be anything: their other sock, a family member, Colin Firth on a taco, whatever. My other stipulation is that I want a scene where the MC has been managing mischief, and instead of lying when they're questioned about it, they tell the truth in such an outlandish/sarcastic way that no one believes them. It's one of my favorite tropes.

Speaking of favorites, here are some of my favorite words for imagination-sparking purposes: dirigible, clock, firebrand (as a reference to someone's personality) quicksilver, fable, nebula, sidereal, chalice, mesmerize. No unnecessary sex, gore, or emo vampires.
 

JJ Litke

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Rats, sorry, Cobra, I messed up and didn't include my email in rep to you (I'll fix that in a sec).

Receive: Strange Horizons has a list on their site of stories they've seen too often, and I'm weirdly fascinated by #35: "Twee little fairies with wings fly around being twee." So that's what I want. Of course it doesn't have to be only that, that can be a small part of the story if you like. I especially like the idea of someone being seriously annoyed with those fairies. Overall the more humorous or off the wall it is, the better. Forbiddens: no dogs may be harmed. No sexual violence, either; regular violence is okay.

Give: I can write fantasy and sci-fi, usually edging into humor (or trying to edge there anyway). Attempts at dark tend to go dark-humor or absurd, not like dark dark. Animals manage to show up fairly often—not necessarily the speaking variety, though I've done that, too. I can't write shmexy, and I could probably only write romance if it's a parody.

ETA: These are my prompts. No one else gets to tack on their own ideas about what prompts should be included.
 
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Caitlin Black

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Ah, heck, I'm in. Both giving and receiving. :)

Receiving: My prompt is a setting. A big music festival (whether single day, weekend, or whatever), but set in the future. Could be on Earth, could be somewhere else - the important part is that there are SF elements, whether aliens, cool technology, or both. Doesn't have to be hard SF. In fact, you can do whatever you like with the story, provided it's set at a far-future music festival. I'll read just about anything - sex, violence, emo, humour, whatever.

Giving: I'm willing to write just about anything. It can be SF or fantasy, sex-filled or violent, humourous or intensely dark, diverse characters, unique situations - really, pretty much anything. I do have to rule out historical settings, though. I fear that would take too long to properly research, given the February 28th deadline.

:)

(Also: Did anyone else get a "dating site" vibe from this thread? :tongue "Oooh, she sounds nice... I'd love to write that!" :D)
 
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J. A. Rama

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Yay, it's back! I am signing up both to GIVE and to RECEIVE!

GIVE: I prefer science fiction/fantasy/dystopian. I'm not great at whimsy, humor, horror, or paranormal, etc., but I'll try. Results not guaranteed. I'd prefer to stay away from western and historical, as that would take too long to research. Please don't give me erotica, smex, or emo teen vampires unless you want it turned into the story's punching bag. See also RECEIVE.

RECEIVE: I'm sticking with my prompt from last year, because reasons. I want a story about a robot, android, AI, or cyborg. It's up to you regarding how human/inhuman/alien the character is, what abilities they have, what they face, and what genre you do. No emo teen vampires, extreme gore, erotica, or grimdark please. Sex, violence, and sexual violence is okay as long as it's absolutely necessary for the plot, and isn't gratuitous. Please don't portray rapey/creepy/incestuous/abusive behavior as normal/healthy. That said, if you want to put the character through hell, have at it! (Talking animals are okay as long as there is good reason they can talk, e.g. they are robots, or somehow evolved the ability to do so.)

Be warned, I am probably going to completely ignore the sparkly goat thing.

That's all for the requirements, but if you need further suggestions, consider the following as jumping off points or inspiration. I prefer science fiction/fantasy/dystopian/any mashup thereof. I love epic, strange, out there worlds, alternate universes, time travel, etc. I'm not big on whimsical stuff, although I do love Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett books, so some silliness/humor is okay. I'm not very big on paranormal, horror (unless it's Lovecraftian/existential rather than monsters), western, or anything too much like the modern world. I do like a romantic subplot that is more about the relationship than mere sex (although consensual sex is admissible), especially when the characters end up together. I like it when characters and conflicts are complex, i.e. there's no easy 'save the world from the evil aliens!' choice. I love stories where characters clash against something far beyond their understanding, whether it's other characters, cultures/creatures, technology, or an object. I love harsh environments, like ice, oceans, or space. I love far future. I LOVE fairy tale retellings, especially if they deviate substantially from the original. I don't mind if you torture the characters through all circles of hell, though I do prefer endings that range from bittersweet/looking up to happy. That said, these are NOT required. It's YOUR story, so go where it takes you!

EDIT: I can take or leave the sparkly goat, so please only do it if that's genuinely what you want to do.
 
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SianaBlackwood

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Woohoo! It's here! I'm signing up to both GIVE and RECEIVE.

Receive: I'd like my story to have a mad scientist and either a cat or a goat, with bonus points for a cat AND a goat! Everything else is up to you.

Give: I write softer SF and/or contemporary(ish) fantasy, with occasional horror elements. I also like to include giant glowing things and assorted random silliness. Expect my characters to get hurt a lot and (probably figuratively) dragged through hell, but come out all right at the end. Not so good with the heat/smexytimes, but the emotional side of romance is okay.
 

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