Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guest Post: Christmas special no-nos (a subjective list) by K.A Merikan

It’s that time of year again. Everything’s red, white and green, there are Santas on every street corner and tv shows indulge us all with the proper Christmas spirit. All those commercials that promise amazing festive deals for those who so far forgot to buy gifts for their loved ones (just like me at the moment I’m writing this) inspired me to reread some of the christmas-themed stories/specials/chapters I’ve written. Let’s face it: anyone who reread their early works was at least mildly embarrassed by what they’ve found. Well, my Christmassy stuff from years ago is horrendous, with the ones written in high school topping it all.

When I was done mocking my early attempts at authoring, my first thought was to write a post about my take on the perfect Christmas story, but then again is there anything like that? I’m the type who can enjoy both fluff and a kinky short about a bunch of reindeer-boys pleasing their handsome and not-so-ancient owner (which is kind of in line with something I’m working on with my co-author right now). It is much easier to sum up the things one should avoid in Christmas shorts, based on my early failures. So here it goes:

1) Long descriptions of food/drinks
We all know the bigger the holiday, the more delicacies there are on the table, but is it really interesting to read all those descriptions? Is it sensible to tease the poor reader like that? What if all they have in the fridge is a box of cheap french fries? Pure sadism, especially if the characters are snacking on pecan pie.

2) Likewise, but with presents
I once wrote a scene with eight characters exchanging gifts and I not only mentioned each present, but even described some of them. It makes absolutely no sense and is boring to the reader. I guess it’s always best to stick to the meaningful gifts. The other ones will be forgotten anyway, because for meaningless things, most people have goldfish memory.

3) Cliches!
Ok, that’s a tricky one, because anything can work if it’s well done, but the fact is that everyone knows how Christmas should be like. For those raised in countries where Christmas is a big thing, the image of its idealised version is always ready to retrieve. It usually features a decorated tree, a fireplace with socks hanging over it, a nicely dressed family or a couple making Christmassy love in front of the already mentioned fireplace. That’s all cool, but the readers have seen it all. They are probably watching snapshots like that every time they switch on their televisions (maybe not the couple, but you get my drift). Even if the author’s idea of a twist on the topic doesn’t go all the way to mixing holiday spirit with sci-fi, it’s great to read something a little bit different. If the story’s meant to be semi-traditional, why not change the setting to somewhere exotic, or throw some kind of catastrophe on the characters. Or, literally, have a cat throw the christmas tree down the stairs. Yay for disaster.

I probably missed some valid points here, so I beg you to forgive me. It’s Christmas.

Agnes Merikan is the worse half of the dynamic duo writing as K.A. Merikan( ). Kat and Agnes have so far published two M/M romance novellas set in a steampunk world plagued by the undead, Scavengers: July( ) and Scavengers: August( ), as well as a free erotic short, Birthday Burglar( ). Agnes can be found on Twitter @AgnesMerikan .


  1. Good advice. I do find that these days the perfect Folgers commercial Christmas scenes make me roll my eyes. It's just too... perfect, not real and annoys me more than makes me go awwwww. I just read one with a pet goat that ate his socks, THAT was interesting.

  2. That's the best avant garde display of a Christmas tree I've seen to date. I have only hairballs under the tree as an interesting gift.
    Happy Holidays.

  3. Tam: Unruly animals make everything better ;D

    Togainunochi: My own photo! (the Cat was too ashamed to appear).

  4. Agnes, Ha ha! I forgot we actually decided to decorate it upside down!

  5. Well, it was no use to pick it up...


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