Dear Author

Oct 24, 2014 19:54

ETA: since offline life has gone a little crazy and since I requested the same fandoms, this 2014 letter has become my 2015 letter!


Dear Yuletide Author,

Before I say anything else (and I’m going to say a lot, it’s just my way), thank you for writing for me. Every fandom I requested this year is a fandom in which any story, of any shape or size will make me happy. So write the story that grabs you.

I am a sucker for world-building, plot, and fully-formed characters, even in small doses. Now, you could write from just that, but if you would like more info, what follows is an extended digression on likes, dislikes, and the wee, tiny fandoms I've requested.

So, me. Here are some likes and dislikes, but these are more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules.Likes:
I like plot, I like world-building, I like characters who are different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning. I like drama, mortal peril, and characters caring deeply about each other (and about each other in peril) -- but a little can go a long way. I like competence and common sense, but I also like seeing what can make a rational, competent character lose it a little bit, good or bad.

I like anything that puts our characters in context. Like other characters! Hell, I like supporting characters in general -- by which I mean, I love when stories have them. I like supporting characters who appear and interact with the focus characters, who share their POVs of the focus characters with us, and who show us how those focus characters fit into the wider world. Stuff like: outside POVs, rumors, gossip, reputation, reactions, the differences in a character's private vs. public face, etc.

I like stories that think about the characters in a pragmatic way. For example, Scrapped Princess’ Shannon Cassul -- possibly the biggest badass on his planet -- is actually from a very small town. He’s a bit of a luddite when it comes to picking up on the advanced technology as well as the political machinations of the powerful people he’s caught up in. Of course, he doesn’t talk that much, so who would notice? :)

On the other hand, I deeply, deeply love fantasy and sci-fi world building, so ‘realistic’ doesn’t apply to every part of the story! I am a sucker for a well-done cliché -- or a cliché turned on its head.

I dislike destiny/predestination (except when thwarted), crippling embarrassment, yentas, schmoop, crackfic, and the slash trope where female characters behave like slash fangirls. I also tend to scroll through sex scenes. They’re just not really my thing. I love sexual tension, though! I just don't need the details of the pay off.



[ONE] Tell any of the juicy stories alluded to in canon but never told - Azure and Stone. Indigo and Cloud. Stone’s children, Stone’s travels. Pearl and Rain. Pearl and Ember. Malachite and Dusk. Malachite vs. Onyx.

[TWO] Slightly different AU -one of those AU fics where everything changes but your favorite characters get together anyway. Like Moon grows up like a real consort or Jade has plenty of consorts to choose from.

[THREE] Court politics! Gender politics! World building! How does the polyamory work? How are courts governed? Who's rich, who's poor? What does powerful mean in a Raksuran court? How do all the artisanal goods really get produced? INTRIGUE. OR CRAZY SCARY GIANT PREDATOR LIZARDS. BOTH CANON!

[FOUR] Alternate POVs - re-write a scene (or missing scene) from the books using the perspective of a character other than Moon.

[FIVE] The history of the court has consequences in the present. Exiled consorts! Cloud’s history in Emerald Twilight! Opal Night! How does any of this effect what happens next?

[SIX] Malachite. Moon. My two very favorites. Just give me something about one of them.

[SEVEN] Write me something that includes the dynamic between Moon and Ember. Or Moon and any other consorts in his age group.


Here is a gleeful rec I made for the books, which talks a lot about loving the world-building and culture. I also love all the characters and the big, awkward, sometimes pretty bitchy family they make. They feel like a home.

I would read a story about any character. I don't have a favorite prompt I am secretly hoping you write. Whether you write the story of Indigo and Cloud in which none of our main cast appears or simply retell a canonical scene from another character's POV, I will be equally happy. And there's always prompt eight: ANYTHING.

Some final bits: I like that Pearl is a real person and that she and Moon both clearly hate strangers and diplomacy. (Pearl/Moon AU anyone? Or you know, Pearl/Ember.) I loved Moon + kids + his lioness-style protectiveness. Loved how you could take any combo or subset of the cast and I would be interested in what their personal relationships were like. Loved the details of Raksuran culture - e.g. how Raksuran sexuality is woven into daily life, how different castes contribute to the colony, etc. Loved Jade not having a clue what she’s doing but kicking the shit out of Fell anyway.

I am absolutely okay with OT3 (Moon/Jade/Chime) in this fandom, but I do not want to read a story labeled OT3 that reads like a Moon/Chime story with a Jade cameo. I want her in there with her own hopes and fears, and I want to feel how important she is to Moon. Even if you want to write about how Raksuran polyamory works, and are focusing on Chime as a warrior lover to the first consort of a sister queen, I still want to feel Jade's importance in their lives. I just hate reading mixed slash and het pairings where to girl is just... gone.

OH AND ALSO I LOVED MALACHITE, STONE COLD BADASS. The scariest, coldest, quietest thing in the room, and yet who loves her half-fell children unconditionally and doesn't bat an eye (or a heart) at what Moon has done to survive. BE STILL MY HEART.

And you know, all the other kids from book 3 were pretty interesting too. Ember, Celadon, Shade, Ivory, Umber, Onyx. I JUST LIIIKE ALL OF THEM. :)

ETA for 2015: I have read the novellas! My only note there is that I'd love to see either Indigo or Cloud's POV of that shitshow (I especially loved the idea that Cloud is not a dummy and angled to get stolen to save himself, not for love of Indigo. I also felt we didn't really get to see either of them develop feelings for the other. It was just sort of... there all of a sudden. OR you are welcome to write and entirely different version of the Indigo-Cloud dramatic get together.)

[ONE] What happens next? Whether long plot or just a scene. I'd love to see some world-building of their new home in Fayre - introductions to the members of Kade's court or her castle. What do the residents think of this new development? Is he scary or an easy mark? Also: getting to know each other in the context of breakfast instead of battles.

[TWO] Thomas Boniface - just as dangerous in fairy intrigues as he was in humans', whether or not he thinks he's retired.

[THREE] Outside POV of Thomas. We hear that he's this scary, unreadable player at court, but that's hard to picture from inside his head. That said, it can be outsider POV of Thomas doing anything.

[FOUR] An alternate universe Kade/Thomas story of any kind.

[FIVE] Back up prompts! If those aren't working for you, how about Young Thomas and Warrior Ravenna? Or Kade, Thomas, and Fayre in 50-100 years? Alternatively, a "rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated" story - you know, when somebody thinks somebody they care about is dead or missing, and then they're not! Yay, hugs! I am a tragic sucker for "I thought you were dead!" (Just leave Ravenna's rather glorious hero's death alone, please.)

[SIX] Anything with Kade and Thomas.

Comments: I liked how much her own person Kade was, and how unaware she seemed of that. Kade is always obviously, publicly, ostentatiously herself because she can't help it. Thomas on the other hand has spent decades honing the ability to never react without calculation. And now he's retiring to Fayre because he's just that tired and pissed off! More on that please. :D :D

(Ok, well, first off: Spelling of character names is flexible here. :D)

[ONE] A story with Shannon and any one of the people he protects, perhaps with the roles reversed. Pacifica? Zefiris? Or: Shannon Casull, massive badass.

[TWO] The ladies! Especially something interesting and plotty with Senes or Zefiris. Senes seizes the day post-series; Senes & Scarlet pre-series (bonus: Obstinate Arrow cameos) , Zefiris has 5000 years to prepare for war, Zefiris post-series.

[THREE] I think Shannon and Senes the Beast Princess would make terrifying children together. Senes is devastatingly sharp, ambitious, and fierce but also a bit unsubtle socially. Shannon has the personality of a lethargic old man and the reflexes of a viper. I think there could be sparks!

[FOUR] Another not-immediately-obvious pairing. Or an obvious one (Raquel/Berkins?) or a physically improbable one (Shannon/Zefiris? Shannon/Shizu?).

[FIVE] A straight-up romance story between Chris and Forsyth, I would fall for that like a sack of bricks off the Eiffel tower.

Re-watching this show, I don’t think a scene has gone by that hasn’t made me think, "Oh, why didn’t I ask for a story about THAT?" How did I forget Baroness Bairach? Why didn’t I put Shannon + Zefiris’ warrior codependent love into one of my prompts? And of course, there’s the tantalizing glimpse of ‘life after the war’ given by the series’ final scene. :)

In short, when I say you could come up with almost anything here, I’m not kidding. On another level, if you want to know what I like in a story, this anime is pretty close to the platonic form.

A note about my prompts for Senes and Zefiris:

For Senes, I don’t think she’s the character people are drawn to first when watching this anime. But I always come back to the shot of her as a child, roughed up and furious and hiding in the garden while Eirotte’s voice-over tells us how much smarter, faster, sharper Senes is than her brothers and how that scared them. I hear that and I think, "This lady is a badass." Eirotte also tells us that in that moment she felt the overwhelming urge to protect this person, despite Senes’ obvious strength. That scene captures why I’ve become so fond of Senes. She is a badass, but she also has enough vulnerability to make her feel like a real character and, more importantly, like a character I want to read fic about.

With Zefiris, it’d be interesting to see something that considers what she’s been doing in the 5000 years since humanity lost the war. Planning? Watching? The show mentions that she was performing self-upgrades, that she’s only just now getting back up to fighting strength, as well telling us there were instabilities in the original dragoon programming. Did she take steps to prepare for the day after her objective was accomplished? What does she know about the world’s magic system? (If you read this and think ‘Forget the characters, I could write an entire story about how magic fits into the sci fi aspect of the show and what happens to it afterwards’, go for it! I am with you all the way.)

Basically, Shannon may be (close to) the center of Zefiris’ world, but she’s a 5000 year old A.I. with super powers who’s spent millenia preparing for this objective. I’d like to think she took some kind of active role in that time, even if she thinks of herself as passive. On another note, it’s been 5000 years since she was programmed to think of her pilot as the center of her world. How has that shifted?



[ONE] Mia is finishing her dissertation. It’s fraught! Any pairing or none.

[TWO] Mystical powers appearing in mundane life. Ghost stories, weird weather, developing abilities (voluntary or not! Convenient or not!), or something much simpler, etc, etc.

[THREE] Mia’s family seems to have either money or history. Either one of these interacts with the boys or their magic.

[FOUR] Netherworld post-show: what’s it like living in (basically) feudal Japan with demons? From the practical challenges of youja government to the quirks of the local book stall. What do they think of the boys? Or Inferno/Kikoutei?

[FIVE] Any alternate universe! Such as: Feudal AU, Ninja AU, Steampunk AU, Samaria AU, Insert-your-favorite-period-or-genre AU, Ryo-the-badass-soccer-player AU, Backpackers-meet-the-supernatural AU, or just Something-is-slightly-different AU, etc... ANYTHING. :D

[SIX] The history of the armor has consequences in the present. Family history! Byakuen! Warlords! Inferno! How were the bearers chosen?!? Someone with competing claims? Etc!

[SEVEN] Life goes on. Teenagers don't stay teenagers. Tell me a story you learned about transitions in life. (...a hopeful story? I hope?)



This show is my first love, and I'm flexible. I'm interested in friendship and a bit of peril or just a story about everyday things--an excuse for Ryo to stand in a snow drift with a scarf and a betrayed expression, for Rowen to think too much, or for Mia to wander her house in an afghan in the middle of the night, embarrassed to be caught with messy hair. You can run with just that, but in case you'd like more, I have provided prompts. Any of them would be great, but so would something completely different!

Ryo, Mia, and Rowen are my favorites, but I love them all. Gen, romance, or gen + romance where the pairing involves at least one of those three would be perfect. (By which I mean, Ryo/Rowen, Mia/Rowen, Ryo/Someone-Else, Mia/Rowen/Ryo, etc -- all great! The only pairings I do not like are Sage/Rowen or Cye/Kento.)

You are also welcome to throw Kento into the mix if you have trouble with those three. I wrote him for yuletide last year, and now I am far gone. I think he’s the guy I’d put in charge once they grew up; I bet he knows how to delegate. (That is, I would like to see more to his character than just comic relief guy who's obsessed with food.) If you want to write a story about Ryo, Rowen, and Mia, in which one of them is paired romantically with Kento? I would be okay with that.

I don’t care whether you use the American dub or the original Japanese names. Ignore the OAVs or not (but please don’t use Message as I slept through it).

Here on some notes about why I loved these characters, but please don't your back trying to fit my specific vision of the characters. I think all I really care about is that Mia be competent but still feminine (and maybe not used to 5 younger brothers!), that Rowen think too much, and Ryo be that physically talented guy who cares too much. And that they value each other and the rest of the team.

I want these character notes to be helpful rather than restrictive. Every year I try to take this part of my notes out because it feels too specific, but I physically can’t. I just love them too much, and part of my happiness is getting to repost this love letter every year.

Ryo - I saw the cheesy, cheesy dub first. Ryo’s stuck with me as a shy, easy-going sort of guy whose eloquence is all tied up in the physical - but oh man, I bet he moves like a masterwork of literature. (I have involved fantasies about Ryo going to university and getting picked up by dance students who realize he’s amazing.)

He’s not the kind to mastermind a plan--more the sort to go with tumble headlong into the flow--but he’s powerful and skilled, and we know he once chose his friends over the world. Some people suggest that he’s the leader, but it seemed to me more that he was the one that the bad guys wanted and the good guys needed to protect. He’s also, you know, impressively lethal. Er, to youja.

Rowen aka Touma - I’m not sure how to explain what I think of Rowen, except that he probably thinks too much. My favorite part of the show is when he and Ryo are trying to rescue the missing three in the dynasty, and Rowen’s job is basically to keep Ryo from dying or breaking down. Oh how much did I love his initiative and problem solving skills? [--------------------this much-----------------]. Ok also that time he crashes to earth from his space bubble and doesn’t remember it. He’s competent and sensible, but also sort of oblivious and occasionally surprised by things he shouldn’t be ("You’re a man!").

Mia aka Nasuti - This is the character that I probably like more than most people, so I’ll say a little bit extra. I think she knows how to meet society’s expectations for a woman from a wealthy family, to be beautiful, and well-dressed and well-spoken--what can I say, she’s good with languages--but I think that's what it is, a language. Really, what she lives for, she’s an academic, she wants to do research, and she’s got a steel backbone. She’s willing to walk into dimensions of demons and ghosts with no mystical weapon or armor to keep her safe, and then she’ll yell at those demons if that’s the crucial distraction they need. I also like to think she sometimes teases those boys she lives with.

Canon paints her a bit close to a feminine ideal, so I like to see her out of that role and a perhaps a little uncertain about it. One of the possibilities I mentioned in my request was "an excuse for Mia to wander her house in an afghan in the middle of the night, embarrassed to be caught with messy hair," and--yes, that. I mean, I’d love to see her in the final weeks of her masters thesis or her dissertation. Whether she’s at the center of her own story or at the edge of a story about someone else. Or, you know, Mia ends up in a mud fight (not the sexy kind). Or perhaps circumstances require her to fill a more aggressive, masculine role than she'd like to (whether she actually does it in an aggressive, masculine way is up to you). Do as you will! I’d also like to see her acting, rather than just reacting to what the boys do.

Finally, I know shit all about Japan. I appreciate an attempt at accuracy, but I won't be the one nitpicking you on it. *thumbs up*

ETA for 2015!
Gotham (TV)
Prompts: I'll be honest, I have only seen about 3 episodes of this TV series, but anything with Alfred and Bruce is just going to make me squeal happily. I don't mind spoilers. I just love so much that Gotham!Alfred is an Alfred who is not yet prepared for the ridiculous bundle of high intensity grimness that is Bruce Wayne. Comics!Alfred cannot be fazed. He's all "Yes, sir. Very good, sir. I'll just make tea then, sir," no matter what happens. Gotham!Alfred is still "WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE ROOF WHY ARE THE KITCHEN KNIVES MISSING GOD HELP US ALL" and it. makes. me. so. happy.

I don't really have any (sorry! this request was the equivalent of impulse candy bars in the grocery store checkout). Ok, except this: since Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth are only 'yuletide characters' by the thinnest of threads, I'd like the story to be within the Gotham TV setting and time period. Anything else would not really be in the spirit of yuletide. I mean, if it weren't yuletide, I'd be chanting time-traveling Dick Grayson! time-traveling Dick Grayson! over and over. So let's not go there.

That’s all for my requests. I hope you found something in there that helps you. If not, go where your heart takes you. You are writing a story in a wee, tiny fandom of my heart. I already love it. Thank you!


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yuletide letter, yuletide

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