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
Round 5: We Die Like Fen: Time Loop
Round 6: We're Punished Like Failures: We Deserve Less Fun
Round 7: We Die Like Fen: Morphogenetic Fields
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
Round 5: July 1st–August 21, 2021
Round 6: December 1, 2021–January 8, 2022
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. At least 51 participants created over 84 works in 60+ fandoms.[4][5] Requests were allowed one fandom, 1-20 freeforms, and a title; matching was on one fandom and one freeform.

The exchange had two collections: a main collection for normal gifts, and a secondary collection meant for pinch hitters and treats.

Round 5: We Die Like Fen: Time Loop

At this point Morne seemingly gave up on swearing to never again run another WDLF. Round 5 took place from June 1st, 2021, to August 21st, 2021. Approximately 101 participants created 634 works in 252 fandoms.[6] (Exact participant numbers cannot be verified, since some participants joined or left the exchange between rounds.)

Time Loop Rounds

Round 5 was split into four week-long rounds with varying matching and minimums. After each round, a new option for matching criteria was added, and participants could alter or delete their signups as they wished before the next round began. Failing to provide data for a matching criteria would be treated as creator's choice for the relevant field.

The rounds were Bullet (500 words, freeform matching only), Black (1000 words, fandom matching added), Strawberry Moon (1500 words, character matching added), and Heart (2000 words split across 4 assignments of 500 words minimum each, ship matching added.)

Feedback or Yeetback

Round 5 introduced a commenting challenge event at the end of the exchange, dubbed Feedback or Yeetback, in which creators who received no recipient comments would be allowed to ungift their works. The challenge included a goal of at least 3 comments on every work posted to the exchange.

Round 6: We're Punished Like Failures: We Deserve Less Fun

Round 6 took place from December 1st, 2021, to January 8th, 2022. 78 participants created 404 works in 175 fandoms.[7] Unlike previous rounds, it was run almost entirely on the exchange's own Discord server.

This round was run as a 'punishment' by Morne for failing to achieve a minimum of 3 comments per work in Round 5's Feedback or Yeetback commenting event. It was a double-blind exchange, in which all requests were anonymized under alternate pseudonyms in an Airtable database.


Matching was based on themed 'teams' formed in the exchange Discord, which were given all assignments for the relevant team and let individuals choose which assignments to fulfill. Assignments could be given multiple times to different teams, and no rule prevented a participant from requesting the same team(s) they were added to. Other matching fields included fandom, relationship category, and freeforms.


Round 6's creators were spread across 35 teams, each with an associated role and locked channel in the Discord server. Teams were created by a period of brainstorming and voting at the beginning of the exchange, and creators were matched purely by what team(s) they were willing to be placed in. Members of a team would receive collective access to an Airtable of the team's assignments, and informally claim assignments to fulfill. Fulfilling a pinch hit for a particular team would grant also membership in that team (and access to its assignments) if the creator wasn't a member previously.

The teams were: "Marriage: Arranged, Accidental, and of Convenience", "Time Loops/Time Travel", "Noncon & Dubcon & Under-/Un-Negotiated Kink", "Worldbuilding", "Hurt/Comfort", "Loyalty Kink", "Unhealthily Codependent, Fuzzily Defined Relationships", "Small or Exchange-Rare Fandoms", "Unconventional Works", "Found Family", "Femslash", "Team First Times", "Team Pining", "Xeno, Alien, Monsterfuckers and Lovers", "Just Here for the Participation Trophy", "Fixit", "Woobie So Fucked Up Right Now", "Kink & BDSM", "Angst!", "All the Fluff & Smut", Pretty/Sexy Clothes and Hair", "Wings", "Spooks Scares and Screaming Horrors", "Only-One-Bed", "Pregnancy/Breeding", "Multiple Orgasms and Too Much Come", "OW filth", "Nature That Probably Wants To Murder You (Because It Loves You)", "Polyamory, Polyfuckery, and Moresomes", "Pathetic Miserable Men", "Dark Femslash", "Casefic & Related Concepts", "Soulmates & Soulbonds", "Myths and Legends & Competence Kink & Consensual Smut & Awesome Women Being Awesome" (AKA Team 'Fuck Zeus'), and a bonus team for pinch hits which all participants (including latecomers) could take part in.

Gift Claiming

While the moderators had a spreadsheet of deanonymized requests, works posted to the collection had no recipient attached, and participants were encouraged to guess, claim, and "lick" works they believed had been written for them, which would be gifted to any possible recipients at the creator's discretion. Recipients were not revealed until the end of the anonymous period.

Round 7: We Divine Like Fen: Morphogenetic Fields

Round 7 ran from April 14th 2022 to May 20th 2022, and ran primarily from an exchange-specific Discord server. At least 100 participants created 141 works in 106 fandoms. [8]

Round 7 revolved around creating tailored assignments for individual recipients. Matching used the freeforms "guess", "find me", "my works", and "My Bookmarks" as options for how to determine a recipient's preferences. [9]


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.
  4. ^ We Die Like Fen 4: We Lived to Die Afen, AO3 collection profile page.
  5. ^ We die afen and afen, AO3 collection profile page.
  6. ^ We Die Like Fen: Time Loop, AO3 collection profile page.
  7. ^ We're Punished Like Failures: We Deserve Less Fun, AO3 collection profile page.
  8. ^ We Divine Like Fen: Morphogenetic Fields AO3 collection profile page.
  9. ^ We Die Like Fen: Morphogenetic Fields signup summary.