Thank you for writing for me! And please have fun with this. I only ask that you write me write me a fun story, or a whimsical one, or a kind story, or a bittersweet story, or a hopeful one, but not an outright tragic or very dark one. It's a dark time of year, and Yuletide is a candle lit against that for me.
That's the main thing. But have a pile of preferences as well: they're all optional, of course. And after the preferences, I have notes about what I like about the works. Please don't feel intimidated by the wall of words! It's meant to help, and you can ignore what doesn't work for you.
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":
- family-of-choice, nakama, or True Companions
- 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 or snowflakes clinging to hair and/or skin
- food descriptions: "food porn"
- sudden realizations of feelings for another, or another's feelings for the POV character (doesn't have to be romantic: can be friendship, or how much someone needs someone else, or anything of that sort)
- an autumn leaf or someone's hair or an 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
- A motif, like a theme or a memory or an actual visual object, from the canon work that's echoed unexpectedly in the story
- A study or library or workshop as a refuge against a hostile outside world
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).
Stand Still Stay Silent
I love the way the team is developing into a band of True Companions. Although I had to limit my character picks to four (Lalli, Onni, Sigrun, Tuuri), I enjoy every single member of the expedition and would appreciate all or any of them as additions to the story.
I like the realistically tentative nature of Emil and Lalli’s developing friendship, and I love the Hotakainen family dynamics. Additionally, I am really starting to like Sigrun. She was a brash cartoon at the start, but as things go wrong, she’s starting to become more and more three-dimensional. I’d like to see a little more of how that might be developing as she starts to feel more responsible for the members of her team.
A missing scene from the two weeks of travel that Minna handwaved might be just the thing. Or perhaps you’d rather go back into the personal history of the Hotakainens: Onni shepherding the two younger ones to join the military, Lalli or Tuuri’s first days there, Lalli learning magic from Onni, or the first time Onni or Lalli was able to summon his luonto.
The Machineries of Empire - Yoon Ha Lee
In some ways I am still processing this intricate book! I loved the world building. I really like Cheris as a character: I identify with her sense of duty and her loyalty. The training/brain washing of the Kel reminds me very strongly of the upbringing of the military Azi in Cherryh’s Unionspace, especially in Cyteen. The conflict of this with the thoughts and ideas she gets from Jedao fascinates me. And yet there is that little impractical impulse to compassion on both sides: Jedao trying to get Cheris to take care of herself (yes, some of it is self-serving on his part, but not all), Cheris leaving the light on for Jedao when she goes to sleep so he won’t be alone in the dark. And then there’s Cheris’ weirdly sweet little movie night with Jedao and the servitors as guests.
I’d enjoy a little more of that: strange little interludes of grace on the long journey to destruction. Or if not that, perhaps you’d like to go into Cheris’ past, and trace her long friendship with the servitors.
Craft Sequence - Max Gladstone
One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about this series (apart from the many wonderful and fully developed female characters!) is how the cities are also characters. I’ve also enjoyed the relationships — both in the sense of personalities and in the sense of dynamics of existence — between the gods and their worshippers.
Given the characters I have selected, you can see that here, I’m interested in Alt Coulomb. I’m also interested in the situation with the revived Seril and her worhshippers/clergy: Cat and Shale. Please show me the future shortly after the end of Four Roads Cross (keeping in mind the timeline will soon lead to Full Fathom Five), with how Cat is dealing with her new role (hot interlude(s) with Raz much appreciated but optional), how Shale and his people are relating to their now living goddess, and/or what is happening with the wee nascent friendship between Tara and Abelard … all against the background of that wonderful city.
The People - Zenna Henderson
In a way, I’m glad someone else did the nominations: I would never have known who to pick out of all the many People characters! But Peter Merrill and Dita Verist are two of the characters with whom I’ve felt the most kinship, I always wished Melodye was my friend too, and I worshipped Valancy as much as Karen did.
I’d enjoy seeing any sort of Henderson-ish plot with any of these characters. Dita and Peter might find they have a lot in common. Melodye might come to be as close with Valancy as she is with Karen. And I also have a hankering to see how the People deal with the more connected world that we have nowadays. All four fbrokenof these characters would be terribly old in 2016, so maybe not quite *that* far forward, but the widespread use of the Internet will change things for the People, and if you’re interested in doing some OCs, I’d love to learn how that worked out.
The Broken Earth Trilogy - N. K. Jemisin
The vividness of Jemisin’s worldbuilding and the terribly plausible mindset of people living this tenuous existence have me completely enthralled. I want more.
Clearly, writing in this fandom will be a challenge for anyone trying to give me my glimmer of light in the darkness. And yet … there were likely little spots of happiness or at least contentment at some point for all four of these characters. Give me some little window into that for any of these people: Alabaster as a child, perhaps making some small rebellion against what was expected, or later with Syenite and Innon. Hoa’s strange existence, and his satisfactions in following Essun. Essun building some small measure of satisfaction after the loss of her first family, Or Tonkee’s history: what it was like for her growing up as part of the Leadership of Yumenes, and circumventing her family’s plans for her.
This is a long-time favorite of mine, I love Tokito and Kubota’s weird little interdependent relationship. My favorite volume is the one where their newly formed relationship is viewed through the eyes of the neglected little boy Shouta, especially when he draws a manga about what he thinks they are to each other.
I also really like Dr. Kou and Kubota’s uncle Kasai, the police detective. A little side story about an interaction between those two (hell, Kou might even be interested in Kasai sexually - he thinks Kubota is a lovely, lovely boy … would Kasai be interested? I have no idea. Let me know what you figure out. OK?) would make me happy, as would some little wintertime interlude between the boys, probably involving junk food from conveniences stores, video games, and possibly a lot of violence.
- Current Mood: hopeful