OK, I have finished this! Thank you very much for undertaking to write Purim treats for me. In addition to optional details about my likes and dislikes in general, I have added information about what characters I like in my requested fandoms and some ideas, if you need them, for what kinds of things to write.
I Don't Like:
- Sickly-sweet, coy, cutesy romantic stuff (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
- being cozy indoors when it's rainy or snowing
- warm and oversized bathrobes/dressing gowns or sweaters/jerseys
- old-fashioned sections of town with narrow streets and alleyways and odd shops
- water running over pebbles or stones
- brushing long hair or riffling fingers through short hair
- drops of water clinging to hair and/or skin
- food descriptions: "food porn"
- romantic partners who are both competent
- an autumn leaf or item of clothing as the only bit of color in a bleak landscape
- the sound of a song or tune (whistling definitely counts) that means something to the character hearing it
- places where arts or martial arts are studied or where master crafters or artists are at work
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).
The Works and Characters
Esther Diamond Series - Laura Resnick
I have only just started book 3, so don't spoil me! I enjoy Esther's downrightness and lack of shock at weirdness, Max's otherwordliness and the rapport — almost student-mentor — that they are developing. I like Connor's stubborn resistance to noticing supernatural shenanigans. It would be fun to see something odd happen with them at some famous NYC landmark, from Zabar's to the Cloisters to Coney Island.
The amazing thing to me about Saga is the treatment of parenthood and especially motherhood, which come up so rarely in adventurous tales of any kind: parents are usually dead or at best, far off stage. I love both Alana and Klara for the tough mama bears that they are, Izabel for her managing to be a spunky, cheery teen even though she has died a horrible death, and the Brand for her devotion to her brother, Sophie for her determination to be worthy of her saviors (and man, does she make mistakes), even Gwen (although I often want to slap her). Given me a small, happy moment (perhaps ironically so) involving any of these. Alana/Marko smut is also fine!
Gentlemen of the Road - Michael Chabon
"Jews with Swords!" What else does one need to say? I love Amram and Zelikman, and I slash them like burning. Most of what happens to them in the canon novel is pretty realistic, if somewhat far-fetched. I'd love a truly supernatural encounter for them (I'm a big Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser fan too). But a quiet little moment of hurt-comfort, either platonic or not, would be lovely too.
Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms
Feel free to adapt any fairy tale that appeals to you. One of the tropes that I love is the prince/boyfriend/brother in distress and the guileful, tough, enduring girl who rescues him. Role reversal or AU of a classic tale, merging of multiple tales (what if the wolf in Red Riding Hood is her brother or friend under enchantment?), all good. Also, my phone case is currently this, from Threadless. You could write a story about that, too!
As "people persecuted by an evil vizier," all the Kou-tachi qualify (Gyokumen Kushou would give Haman a run for his money, all right!), and then we have Yaone and Lirin as female characters, as well. I love how Doukugakuji's brotherly tendencies extend to both Lirin and Kougaiji, and I certain slash Doku and Kou. I wish Yaone had a little more of an edge, and indeed, my favorite scene with her is when she and Doku disobey barcode Kou's orders to save him. And Kou's poignant love of his mother Rasetsunyo, her life apparently endlessly suspended as a statue, also plucks my heartstrings. What about Rasetsunyo? What if she could perceive what was happening to her son? Finally, my favorite characters of the entire series are Gojyo and Hakkai (together), but it might be stretching things to say they are persecuted by an evil viziers ... in general, yes, because of the hatred of youkai and Gijyo's halfbreed status, but ... probably not Purimgifts-worthy. *sigh*
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
Who doesn't love YT? And as a civil servant myself, I have a huge amount of sympathy for her mother. Something mother-child involving them, a what-happened-next sequel bit for them, and so on. Also Juanita: what happens to her after the story ends? She does this whole Inanna-in-the-underworld thing: what was that like from her point of view?