Dear Exchange Author, thank you so much for picking up my prompts! I hope you will enjoy working on the one you select. This [long!] set of optional details is meant mainly for inspiration if you get stuck or if you want to add some extra bells and whistles to your creation to personalize it for me.
About the Books and Their Characters
- The young characters from The Changes series: Let's have a side adventure for the crew between Stranger and Hostage, where any or all of the listed characters get to know each other better, or a pre-canon vignette. Because this series has such a large ensemble cast, we don't get too many quiet moments between them. For example, Jennie and Mia talking about something other than Ross; Mia doing something with her father and his figuring out her feelings about Ross, a tender moment between Yuki and Paco; Mia helping Ross with his schoolwork; how Yuki gets his rat and his early breakthroughs in training her; and so on.
- The cast of White Ghost Summer: It's interesting how my focus in this book has changed as I have grown older myself. Of course I was first attracted by it as a horse story, so my character focus was Melani. Later I got into Zeezee, because she was artsy but didn't know what to do with herself (I used to go to a summer camp for arty/musical kids at that age). And more recently, I've enjoyed the situations of Susan, with this huge family to feed and yet still has a career as a working illustrator, and Aunt Kelly, the children's author who respects children. Future fic, especially for Will and Zeezee, but including the other family members (even those I couldn't list) at least in passing mention. How does school go for Will and Zeezee? Do they ever actually pair up (there are hints of this in the canon)? You could take this farther: does Zeezee go to architecture school? Does Will eventually get his own breeding stables? Does Melani compete nationally or even farther? And Susan - Mother - how does her life go when her children start to fly? I also really like the spark that's growing between Aunt Kelly and Linda. Perhaps Kelly can get Linda an intro to a publisher? Maybe they go on a road trip together that results in books for both of them? Does practical Deb fly off on adventures of her own?
- The cast of Wintle's Wonders: Future fic for the three girls and those who care about them. Of course I alwys loved Rachel the best, but I appreciate HIllary's buoyancy and her way of living in the moment, and I feel sorry for Dulcie, who basically has no life of her own. Does Dulcie ever get a movie at all, or does she change careers entirely (or both)? Does Hillary ever find someone to help carry out the "lots of babies" plan, or does she instead become a beloved Broadway comedian first? (She'd be great in "Once Upon a Mattress"!) Does Rachel move to Hollywood, or learn a language and end up making moody Scandinavian or French films? Does she become a Shakespearian and play in London? Does Mrs Storm continue to tutor privately? Does Pursey give up the school?
- The cast of Sally Watson's English Family Tree series: My favorites were always The Hornet's Nest and Lark. I enjoyed the ensemble cast of Hornet's Nest, and the fact that Carilla and Lauchlin were a team in their way as much as the boy-girl pairings of Lauchlin and Andrew, Carilla and Ronald. In Lark, I liked Lark's never-say-die spirit and talent for crazy plans, and how her sense of humor matches James' (once he gets that stick out of his behind ... ). Near-future fic about what happens when the family gets back to Skye in The Hornet's Nest, or further adventures of James and Lark, or extra points for bringing the stories together somehow. (Maybe a family history is discovered in Skye that tells of James and Lark?)
I Don't Like:
- Sickly-sweet, coy, cutesy romantic stuff (most romance-focused fiction/shoujo manga leave me cold: anything in the "tee-hee-hee, is he looking at me?" category is definitely out)
- Extensive use of epithets, or epithets that don't match the character POV (no one should think of his or her long-time lover as "the green-eyed man," for example): these will throw me right out of a story
- Characters acting out of character, especially if the purpose is to force them into a relationship (doubly bad if that relationship is romantic or sexual)
- By-the-numbers, every-action-described sex. Note that actual sex is fine (I love me some sexy stories) — just don't like it when the descriptions turn into a set of exact stage directions.
- Mpreg, rape, forced sex (including sex pollen and fuck-or-die), hatesex. Dubcon is OK, especially the sort when the reluctant partner really wants the other person but is just not quite feeling ready yet or doesn't think se wants it in this particular way but gets off on it anyway.
- Humiliation or betrayal (without a damn good plot reason) of a character by a friend or lover
- Strong characterization (including character-appropriate dialog: no earthy, uneducated characters using $50 words)
- Positive emotional payoffs that are well-earned
- Passions that are strong without being mushy/fluffy
- Moments of realization — satori
- Friendships - although I am a romantic person, not every relationship must be romantic (I do like the trope of friends becoming lovers, however)
- Wry and even dark humor in the course of a more serious story
- And I like any of the following "cool bits":
- senses of smell and touch and memories attached to them
- someone's profile or entire form silhouetted against the light
- the feeling of warm garments or blankets (especially if the item belongs to someone else significant to the character who ends up wearing it)
- an open-air market or similar place filled with joyful bustle and the smell of good things to eat
- realistically depicted children and/or animals
- brushing long hair or riffling fingers through short hair
- drops of water clinging to hair and/or skin
- food descriptions: "food porn"
- the sound of a flute or panpipes or something similar; or more generally, the sound of a song or tune (whistling definitely counts) that means something to the character hearing it
I'm quite content with both straight and gay relationships. I do tend to ship the canon relationships, unless it's a character who has had no clear relationships shown in the story. I'm not comfortable with sexual relationships shown in children under the age of, say, 14 or so, and even then it's better in context (teens with other teens or in a societal setting where girls expect to marry by 16-18 anyway).
- Current Mood: hopeful