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With spoilers for the fandoms tastefully hidden behind spoiler tags...


Dear Yuletide Writer,

Yay, you have been assigned to me! Hopefully writing for me will be a fun experience for you. First of all: don't panic! I always feel absurdly touched when someone goes to the effort of writing me fic, so honestly, don't let the experience stress you out. This is my first Yuletide, and I'm just thrilled to be involved in a big fandom event like this. If you want to learn more about me, this journal is friends locked but I do have a fanfic journal - [livejournal.com profile] rachelsfic - which may prove of use.

Things I like

Before we get to the specific fandoms I requested, I figured it might be useful to know a bit about the things I like (and don't). I guess for me fanfic I enjoy tends to fall into three categories: "filling in the blanks", "wish fulfilment", "what happens next?" "Filling in the blanks" are fics that enrich our canon knowledge by filling in missing scenes, providing additional character history etc. "Wish fulfilment" are those fics I read because they provide me with scenarios that haven't (and probably won't) be provided by canon. "What happens next?" are speculative fics for fandoms in which I'm waiting for the next book/film/season, or for fandoms that finished in an open-ended sort of way. The first two categories are probably the kind I like best, though, which you'll see reflected in my prompts!

Characterisation is really the key thing for me rather than plots. I like thinking about what makes characters tick. I like being made to think again about moments that we saw in canon, to see them from a new perspective. I love good dialogue and atmospheric pieces - it's great to read a fic and get a sense of place and time. Basically, if you have awesome plot ideas, I'd love to read them, but if you end up writing an introspective 1000 word character study where hardly anything happens, I will be absolutely fine with that!

In terms of style, I like lots of things. I'd rather not read something entirely bleak and dark, but gritty fic works for me. I enjoy hard realism and I also enjoy whimsical fics. I enjoy fluff - if it's in character, and I prefer the fuzziness to come with a dose of realism rather than out-and-out schmaltz. (I realise what this could mean is open to interpretation, so here's an example from a well-known fandom: if I was reading a fic where Sherlock from the BBC Sherlock realised he had ~feelings~ for John, I would rather he then awkwardly invited John to an autopsy-and-a-movie rather than plying him with champagne and declaring his love.) I love sexual tension! And if it can be resolved eventually after a nice build up, great - though that can be onscreen or offscreen. I'm generally not a huge fan of AUs, but I make an exception for cracktastic AUs (a friend and I wrote a fairly popular high school Game of Thrones fic where Jon Snow wrote bad poetry, so I'm all for taking a loving dig at canon from time to time), or for AUs that make use of different, interesting genres, such as noir.

I like fics that give women agency, and that treat minorities with as much respect as male characters in a particular fandom, and I would love fics that give more page-time to characters who are underrepresented in canon.

Things I don't want

Write as much sexy stuff as you want, but I'd rather it wasn't PWP: if I feel like I could replace the character names with anyone else's and the only thing that would change would be how athletic the sex was, that's not really me. I am pretty hard to squick and I have few triggers but I do not want noncon, dubcon, domestic violence, or watersports. Otherwise, knock yourself out, and a bit of kink can be fun!

I'm not really into darkfic, so extreme violence, psychological torture and killing off my favourite characters are not things I tend to look for. Basically, whilst some of the fandoms I list below have dark, bleak aspects I like to see represented realistically, I don't enjoy fics that wallow in misery! So for example, in Homeland a fic that dealt with Brody's internal conflict while being tortured by Al-Qaeda would be fine and interesting, a fic that spent pages detailing exactly how he was tortured would just make me uncomfortable.

The fandoms

Enough flim-flam, onto the real meat! Here are my requested fandoms, with a bit of blather about why I love them and a few prompt suggestions. Remember they are only suggestions! If you have awesome inspiration, run with it.

Abarat

Clive Barker's astonishingly rich universe dazzled me when I picked up the first book several years ago and continues to dazzle me now. The Abarat series is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the best conceived YA series ever. I love the extraordinarily detailed world Barker invented, and honestly, if you spent a whole fic just describing one of the islands we haven't had much chance to see, I would be happy with that. I love the way Barker marries playfulness with emotional intensity and real darkness.

I love love love Christopher Carrion - he is the most fascinating kind of monster. His vulnerabilities, his cruelty, his desires, his bleak childhood, his relationships with Mater Motley and Candy - there's so much scope here. I ship him with Candy, because I find the strange mutual sympathy they've found despite their antagonisms to be truly fascinating. But I am very open to receiving fic about any and all characters in this wonderful, perplexing universe.

Prompts:

  • Christopher Carrion had his lips sewn together by his grandmother for daring to speak the word love. I want to know more about how it happened, how he dared defy Mater Motley, and what those stitches cost him. (If it's helpful, my head canon is that Christopher was once not as physically grotesque as he is now, but that his transformation into Prince of Midnight was a gradual result of his increasing corruption.)
  • How did Zephario Carrion, after he was blinded, find he had a gift for reading tarot cards? And what sort of things has he seen in them, over the years?
  • Anything with Candy and Christopher having to form an uneasy alliance that makes them uncomfortably aware of their complex feelings for each other.



Downton Abbey

I love the drama, the humour, the nostalgia and the campness of Downton Abbey. I often find it frustrating or infuriating, but it's always compelling. The prompts I'm suggesting are ways of soothing my irritations with the way certain characters have been treated, but do feel free to venture off in other directions! I'm most interested in seeing stories about the staff at Downton, the Dowager and Edith; I'm less interested in the rest of the Crawleys, though I'm happy to have them as supporting characters. I'm pretty bored with Mr Bates right now so would prefer no prison-centric fic, please! I really love Edith - she's average in so many ways and she complains a lot and can be downright unlikeable, but I still love her. She's not only neglected by her family, but I also think she gets the short end of the stick from the writing in terms of good plots, though I'm hoping that may change. I also love The Dowager Countess of Grantham (who doesn't?!), Carson, Mrs Hughes, Thomas and Anna. I would love Thomas to have a meaningful relationship with a man. The way his queerness is treated by the show really frustrates me. I don't want fic that depicts Thomas as nice and cuddly, because he IS a bitch, but I would like fic that acknowledges that part of his bitterness and nastiness probably comes from his extreme frustrations with his life.

Prompts:


  • I sort of love the idea that when Carson and Mrs Hughes retire, they retire together, because their years of (occasionally prickly) friendship have bloomed into love. No doubt Carson would still dote on the Crawleys and Mrs Hughes would roll her eyes a lot. Aw.
  • Edith Being Awesome. Maybe she becomes a journalist, or she goes and stays with her grandmother in America and has her eyes opened about the world. Some romantic interest might be nice, but I'd rather Edith learned she isn't defined by her spinsterhood, no matter what the world thinks.
  • Edith/Alfred or Edith/Anna after Edith is jilted at the altar - Alfred was the first amongst the servants to say Edith could do better, and Edith has seemed sympathetic that he's been looked over in favour of a more attractive candidate for first footman. It's hard to imagine this being a long-standing love affair, but maybe Edith could finally see for herself what all the fuss is about. Or maybe Anna and Edith could end up consoling each other over their respective romantic woes and it goes a bit further than they expected...
  • I'd love to see fic about a younger Thomas realising he had feelings for men, or a series 3 Thomas finally managing to make a connection with someone, or a flashback to before series 1 where Thomas has the affair with the Duke of Crowborough and how that came about.
  • The Dowager when she was a young lady, being awesome and snarky and having occasionally slightly shocking times that she hasn't revealed to her rather stodgy relatives.


Homeland

This show is so extraordinarily rich, and I love the way no decisions are easy, nothing comes without consequences, and no one has the moral high ground. I think it deals very sensitively with mental health issues and with the complexities of the Middle East and fundamentalism. My favourite characters are: Brody, because he is at heart such a decent man and it is so hard not to root for him even if he may end up doing terrible things (and I love his interactions with his daughter Dana); Carrie, because she is brilliant and selfish and sometimes surprisingly kind, and she is a tough and resourceful woman in a very macho world; Saul, because he is so dedicated and caring and open-minded, yet he has given up so much because of his tunnel vision about his job. I ship Carrie/Brody, because they're both damaged but they seem to understand how each other work, and I love the father-daughter relationship Saul and Carrie have.

Prompts


  • More on Brody's perspective about his time as a prisoner, particularly his conversion to Islam.
  • Carrie's recruitment by Saul when she was at Princeton: what made him notice her? What made her say yes?
  • Carrie's diagnosis with bipolar disorder when she was 22 - how did she react in light of knowing her own father's history? How did she tell her sister?
  • What if Saul had called Carrie about Tom Walker before she confronted Brody at the cabin? Would they have continued their affair?
  • As a complete change of pace, the characters of Homeland in, say, a 40s noir setting. Because noir is great for moral ambiguity. And I like the hats.



Swan Lake (Bourne)

This is my very very very favourite ballet in the world, and I really love ballet. Tchaikovsky's score is my favourite, and married with Matthew Bourne's choreography it becomes something sublime and moving. I love the Swan - how alien he is, how powerful and strange, but how tender and sweet. I love the Prince, weak and broken and loving and hopeful and hopeless as he is. But I'd love to know more about the other characters - why did the Private Secretary want to destroy the Prince? Who was the Girlfriend before she was bribed to play the sweetheart of the heir to the throne?

Prompts:


  • Who is the Swan? This is much more ambiguous than in the traditional Swan Lake, and so we have no idea where he came from or even what he is - he's clearly not just a man who's been transformed into a swan, because he seems more swan than man. Who is he, and what makes him love the Prince?
  • The Girlfriend - she's obviously sweet, and kind, and loving: why does she accept money from the Private Secretary to pose as the Prince's girlfriend? Does the Private Secretary have something to blackmail her with? Or is she in dire straits?
  • Some kind of happy ending for the Prince/Swan would be lovely. In the ballet, he is freed by death of his broken mind and body, and it seems that he and the Swan achieve happiness in the afterlife. I'd love it if the Prince could escape the shackles of the palace and his past in some non-terminal way.




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January 2013

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