We Die Like Fen

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Gift Exchange
Name: Round 1: We Die Like Fen (Round 1)
Round 2: Death Waits For No Fen, Vice and Fen, F is for Fen Who Do Stuff Together
Round 3: What Fen Do (Instead of Going Outside), When Death Loves Flamingos
Round 4: We Lived to Die Afen
Abbreviation: WDLF, WDLF2, WDLF3
Date(s): Round 1: May 31st–June 3rd, 2019
Round 2: August 9th–August 21st, 2019
Round 3: April 9th, 2020–April 26th, 2020.
Round 4: September 8th, 2020
Moderator(s): Round 1: Mornelithe_falconsbane
Round 2: Morne, Asymptotical, shadowsapiens, fencesit (sort of; see below)
Round 3: Morne, Asymptotical, fencesit, heartbeatstumbles, flowersforgraves, Labocat, Masu_Trout
Round 4: Morne
Founder: Mornelithe_falconsbane
Type: fanfiction, fanart, podfic, fanmixes, and noodle art
Fandom: multifandom
Associated Community: Exchanges After Dark
URL: Parent collection on AO3
Icon for the Round 2 collection.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

We Die Like Fen was the first flash exchange that went by that term. It was run by Morne for members of Exchanges After Dark and anyone who stumbled across it from the larger exchange fandom, as well as being advertised and discussed on the Heliocentric Discord server. The first round had 60 participants and produced 127 fanworks; the second round had 96 sign ups[1] and 325 fanworks; the third round had 38 sign ups, then an additional 43 sign ups in the second collection (some of them repeats), and produced 217 works.[2]

AO3 Support had to be added to the collections of the first two rounds because Morne accidentally revealed a serious bug in Archive of Our Own's challenge system that exposed user's emails to each other.

The first round of We Die Like Fen started a trend of flash exchanges, including but not limited to Iron Triangle, Writing Rainbow, Mpreg Flash Exchange and 300bpm, many of which tried different formats and rules.

Round 1: We Die Like Fen

Participants had three days to sign up and write 1,000 words or make a piece of noodle art. The exchange was "intended as a community writing challenge. It is supposed to be fun and sort of stupid, but it's not a bad fic exchange. Do your best to help the challenge succeed!"[3]

WDLF was run out of the Exchanges After Dark Discord server in its own channel, but discussion spilled over to the multifandom anon meme fail_fandomanon and the Dreaming of Sunshine Discord server Heliocentric.

Premise and Structure

The first round exchange had no pinch hits, no tag set or nominations, and no optional details. Participants signed up with fandom tags and freeform tags only, pulling from the canonical AO3 tags only because of the lack of tagset, leading to creative use of freeforms. Instead of the mod sending out emails to ask unmatchable participants to add offers, participants with unmatchable signups had their signups deleted. The FAQ notes that there was "a non-zero chance that this exchange will completely fail, and no one will even get assignments" because the deletion of unmatchable signups might cause "a cascading failure that knocks out more than just one participant. Actually, it probably will. This isn't an issue, and it's not something that will be or needs to be fixed."[3] There were 64 sign ups when matching started.


People who fail to complete their assignments will be have their AO3 name shared, along with the name of the person who they defaulted on (because this exchange has a name and shame clause)[3]

Most requests can be browsed here.

Round 2: Death Waits For No Fen / Vice and Fen / F is for Fen Who Do Stuff Together

Announcement as posted by Morne.

The second round's date, theme, tagset set up, minimum word count, and special recipient were decided by a randomized generator that used a google form linked to a spreadsheet. The version that was generated for Morne at the end of the day on July 31, 2019 (which can be seen to the right) decided the specifics of the exchange, which in this case was teachery, with a tagset for freeforms and a minimum of 1000 words. Participants were forbidden from discussing the specifics for most of the first half of August.

Hostile Takeover

shadowsapiens took over the collection and held it for ransom. Fics would be revealed either at the originally planned time or once 50 fics had been tagged with catboys, corsets, or coffee, whichever came first. The tag requirement was met a couple hours after the original reveal time.

Unauthorized Anon Collection

Morne did not promise that there would be an anon period. Therefore, fencesit created Morne Did Not Authorize This Anon Collection. Works in this anon collection remained anon (but not unrevealed) up until two days after fic reveals.

Ghost Assignment Bug

"Ghost assignments" were buggy assignments from both rounds of WDLF that appeared on participants' assignments pages but showed information for another participant's assignment because AO3 would use the same assignment ID for both assignments and get confused.

Usually, assignments have the assigned creator's username and an envelope with a link to their email, and then below that the recipient's username with a link to the assignment page, which shows the recipient's requests. Typical exchanges only assign one participant to each writer. Extra assignments are usually picked up via pinch hits. An assignment page for a user who has one regular assignment and one pinch hit for the same exchange would look like this:

Normal pinch hit assignment example.png

In the above screencap, the user looking at their assignment page would see:

  • Person A, labeled in yellow: the username of the creator looking at their own assignment page.
  • Person B, labeled in pink: the name of Person A's regular assignment recipient; their "main assignment" given to them via matching.
  • Person A* (pinch hit), labeled in yellow: the creator's own username again, this time marked as a pinch hitter.
  • Person D, labeled in blue: the name of the user's pinch hit recipient, given to them by the mod after the PH recip's original writer defaulted and the user looking at the page volunteered to take the pinch hit.

To the right, there would be two buttons: "Fulfill" and "Default". The "Fulfill" button brings the user to the exchange collection's Post To Collection page, ticks the "Fulfil assignment" box for them, and fills their recip's username in the "gift this would to" field. The default button removes the assignment from the user's account and alerts the exchange mod that the assignment will not be completed.

Ghost assignments looked different. A user with one regular assignment and one ghost assignment would have an assignment page that looks like this:

Ghost assignment example.png

In the above screencap, the user looking at their assignment page would see:

  • Person A, labeled in yellow: the username of the creator looking at their own assignment page.
  • Person B, labeled in pink: the name of Person A's regular assignment recipient; their "main assignment" given to them via matching.
  • Person C, labeled in green: the name of a user who has Person D as their regular, main assignment the same way Person A has Person B.
  • Person D, labeled in blue: the name of a user who is both Person A's "ghost recipient" and Person C's main recip.

Round 3: What Fen Do (When they're Stuck Indoors) / When Death Loves Flamingos

Although Morne had initially said she would never run another round of WDLF, Round 3 took place from April 9, 2020 to April 26, 2020.

Initial Premise & Structure


Matching Criteria


Discord Server Roles

Fire Sales

Statistics & Feedback

Round 4: We Lived to Die Afen

Although Morne had again said she would never run another round of WDLF, Round 4 took place from September 4th, 2020 to September 8th, 2020. 51 participants created 84 works in 60 fandoms. Requests were allowed one fandom, 1-20 freeforms, and a title; matching was on one fandom and one freeform.


External links

Fail_Fandomanon discussions:


  1. ^ Two people signed up late via Discord and were give assignments and then sent out to pinch hit by Asymptotical.
  2. ^ This post gives totals for the exchange that omits the works that are winner/shame certificates.
  3. ^ a b c Mornelithe_falconsbane, We Die Like Fen AO3 profile.