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Dear Yuletide Author! (2013)

First: please enjoy yourself! The best fictions seem to be those that the author enjoyed writing. I'm going to give a number of possible prompts, and I'm hoping you'll find something that lets you take off. If not ... well, you can look at some of my bookmarks on AO3, and see whether those inspires any other ideas.


I Don't Like:

  • Characters acting OOC, especially if the purpose is to force them into a relationship (doubly bad if that relationship is romantic or sexual)
  • Romantic/sexual relationships between partners of very uneven levels of power (adult/child, master/servant) - only a couple of writers have ever managed this without squicking me out.
  • By-the-numbers, every-action-described explicit 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)
  • Sickly-sweet, cutesy romantic stuff (most romance-focused fiction/shoujo manga leave me cold: anything in the "tee-hee-hee, is he looking at me?" category counts)
  • 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

I Like:

  • Friendships - although I am a romantic person, not every relationship must be romantic (I do like the trope of friends becoming lovers, however)
  • Strong characterization (including character-appropriate dialog: no earthy, uneducated characters using $50 words)
  • Wry and even dark humor in the course of a more serious story
  • Positive emotional payoffs that are well-earned
  • Passions that are strong without being mushy/fluffy
  • Moments of realization — satori
  • And I like any of the following "cool bits":
    • hurt-comfort
    • being cozy indoors when it's rainy or snowing
    • senses of smell and touch and memories attached to them
    • impulsive acts of valor (especially on behalf of the weak or an underdog)
    • someone's profile silhouetted against the light
    • opposites attracting
    • romantic partners who are both competent
    • old-fashioned sections of town with narrow streets and alleyways and odd shops
    • licking honey or something similar off fingers
    • kissing the inside of the elbow or the base of the throat
    • brushing long hair or riffling fingers through short hair
    • finding in a fight that one's ally feels like a protective wall
    • drops of water clinging to hair and/or skin
    • food descriptions: "food porn"

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 Characters and Their Stories

This is pretty much what I wrote for the sign-up, but I have refined it and added some more writing ideas.

Black Lagoon

Eda is my favorite, and she doesn't seem to get a huge amount of love. I love her crazy schemes, her lust for life, and also her secret background, which seems so at odds with her public persona in Roanapur. (And I'm interested in just what her deal with Yolanda is, and what they think of each other.) I'm also a big Rock/Revy shipper, although I think it will take a long time for them to confess what they're feeling for each other (Revy keeps trying to hint at it, but Rock remains clueless thus far). Finally, I love the rest of the Lagoon Traders, and many of the other characters (Shenhua, Sawyer, Chang), so cameos from them would be appreciated.

So, for inspirations, the framing story could be something like: a bet gone wild or wrong (plenty of potential for Eda-style scheming), a mystery (Rock kidnapped? Eda and Revy have to get him back? A cargo drop goes awry? Eda gets strange news from home?), one of them tries to quit smoking, Yolanda is ill and Eda has to get her medical care … or anything else you come up with. A series of little character-revealing vignettes (like the 5 + 1 meme) would be lovely too, or something cracky like Revy taking Rock shopping after he first comes aboard (I know he refuses to wear the Hawaiian shirt she bought him: what else did she get him on that expedition?).

Wild Adapter

I'm a big fig fan of Kubota/Tokito here (either way: flexibility is a good thing). Some cracky slice of life (buying weird foods from the convenience store, planning a movie night and a big take-out order, their lack-of-housekeeping, their odd is-it-sexual-attraction? intimacy, time spent with videogames either at home or in the arcade), first-time actual sex (with all the attendant awkwardness), hurt-comfort when Toki has flashbacks or pain from his hand, or when Kubota's past catches up with him – again, or poignant little incidents during errands for Kou … wherever your fancy takes you.

I also have a yen for an encounter or situation between Kasai and Kou, both of whom I like a lot. I can't see them ever really trusting each other, but some scenario involving a problem with the boys, where the detective and the doctor have to work together, would be wonderful. Finally, I love a number of the other secondary characters: Anna, Takizawa, Shouta, and Saori are special favorites. Cameos by them in stories about my official requests would be wonderful. (I am not nearly so fond of the various Yakuza thugs, except for Ryuunosuke — and we know what happens to him.)

Alliance-Union - C. J. Cherryh

I love the camaraderie under fire of the Earth Company ships (and in the case of Norway, the Alliance), and the attempts of my favorite characters to keep their humanity in the face of brutal situations. Meg and Graff are two of my favorite characters anywhere, ever. I love Signy's galaxy-weary badassery and random flashes of snarky humor. And I'm curious about Di. Note that I have written several stories in this 'verse myself, so you might want to take that into account.

Here are a few ideas if you need prompts to get started: Some exploration of Meg's backstory? Maybe her first meeting with Sal? Meg's viewpoint of the story Sal tells Ben about how the Shepherds were treating Meg? The first days of the Hellburner four on their real ship assignment? Meg's viewpoint (and Graff's, and Di's, and Signy's?) when Norway goes over to the Alliance? A later adventure for Norway in the time of spooks and rimrunners? Backstory for Graff, when he left his family ship? Backstory for Di, who's almost a complete cipher? First time for Signy and Graff, or Di and Signy? Graff and Di getting to know each other (was it on Norway, or did they know each other earlier)? The moment when Signy realizes how much Graff (and/or Di) means to her? Signy working directly with Meg on some matter where Meg's smuggler background is needed? (And finally, hot times between Meg and Dekker, or Signy and Graff and/or Di), would definitely be appreciated.)

Cyteen Series - C. J. Cherryh

My favorite things here are Justin and Grant's relationship. I only know of one explicit piece about them, so more would be welcome - or something warm and cuddly and just everyday between them - or something angsty: hurt/comfort is one of my things. Missing scene from early in their relationship, when things first become physical? Breaking in the new bedroom in Alpha Wing? One of them plans a special surprise (anything form a birthday dinner to something naughty) for the other? Or even one of those classic writing memes for multiple little scenes (five senses, five thing plus one, and so on) to provide some little vignettes into their relationship. Or anything else that occurs to you that you want to tell me about them.

Second-favorite is Florian II and Catlin II: their take on the world of born-men, their education, and their companion/lover relationship. I identify more with Florian, but I love Catlin so much: her slightly alien viewpoint is ever endearing and often points out things that we born-folk take for granted. I love the scenes from their childhood when they're in training. A missing scene from their childhood together would be great. What about more advanced training? Do either of them ever decide s/he needs special courses in cookery or the like, before Ari gets her own full-sized staff? Do they have doubts and problems dealing with other staff? (either Ari II's original add-on security or the big team that gets added for the Alpha Wing apartment). Finally: Maybe Ari II/Catlin II/Florian II threesome? Ari is very possessive, but the three of them have come close to it a number of times. Again, tell me something about them that you think I might like to know.

October Daye Series - Seanan McGuire

I'm not at all sure where the series is going, so my request here is for missing scenes and side stories during the established canon. I'd really enjoy anything with McGuiresque irony and wit. Of course the canon series is all Toby's POV: you can mix that up if you would like. Other favorite characters whom would be nice to see in cameos are The Luidaeg, April, Tybalt, Danny MacReady, Jazz, and Spike the Rose Goblin. (I love Toby and Tybalt together, but this is presumably going to be A Thing in canon, so I don't want too much that could be overrun by the author herself.)

Here are a few stray ideas if you need prompts to get started: Toby and May's cracky domestic arrangements (or how about a shopping trip? I'm not into clothes myself, so I really appreciate Toby's point of view on this …), for example, or a boys' night out for Quentin and Raj with some sort of unexpected adventure. Danny gets a new pet and needs help with it? Quentin finds some unknown sort of changeling/fay in one of his classes at school, or Raj finds one in his ramblings (I'm somewhat disturbed, for example, by the lack of Native American spirits of any sort)? Toby's household goes for a day trip somewhere (Napa Valley?) and mayhem ensures? May and Jazz (or Quentin and Raj) have a fight, and Toby finds herself in the unaccustomed role of counselor? Quentin/Raj slash? Show me something new about these characters.

Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell

Jame Jame Jame! I have loved this character for more than 30 years now. Her lack of self-pity, dark humor (take up knitting snake cozies!), and sheer gutsiness are my favorite things.

The moments in Dark of the Moon where Jame encounters Tirandys again are heartbreaking ("Welcome home, Jame" — that line stomps my heart flat).. How about some of their history together, in Perimal Darkling? Or some history between Jame and her mother, or Tirandys and the Dream-Weaver? I also love Jame's prickly relationship with Nightshade. Perhaps a missing scene between them at Tentir? Finally, I love Kindrie, and he's so much more than a woobie. The scene where Jame manages to get him back together and he briefly sees Bane and is greeted by him as "little cousin" really touched me. Does Bane ever contact him again? [Note for anyone who's thinking Yay, Bane/Kindrie slash! ... see the discussion in the comments here.] (Please *don't* hook Kindrie up with Torisen. It's the last thing either of them need.) Finally, I love the strangeness and always surprising realm of wonder that is Rathillien, and ditto the dreamscape, so some vignette when you make me see more of either would be lovely too.

(Other favorites include Briar and the other Knorth cadets at Tentir, Jorin, Marc, Kirien, Death's-head, Addie, and Mother Ragga.)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC)
Not writing for Yuletide this year, but I will read hell out of any of the A/U or Cyteen things anyone writes you! You are right to love Meg, and Meg-Signy interaction would be iiiinteresting. (I also personally have a soft spot for a Meg/Sal/Dek/Paul foursome, mostly because I just want me some Meg/Sal. But that might just be me.)

Also approve of Catlin II/Florian II/Ari II, and all the happiness for Justin and Grant!
Oct. 16th, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)

LOL, I have never had so many comments on a "Dear Author" post!


I am definitely hoping that we get some stories for CJC fandoms this time around. Alliance-Union had 3 requests, 4 offers, and Chanur had 2 requests, 1 offer, but Cyteen had 6 requests, 4 offers, and Foreigner had 7 requests, 4 offers. (Fortress had 2 requests and no offers ... but I really can't write that.)

ETA: I think I covered the Meg/Sal possibility with my request for Meg backstory fic! You do know that you don't have to be signed up for the main challenge in order to write treats, right, Nenya nadi?

Edited at 2013-10-16 12:22 am (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
Okay, this is probably bad yuletide etiquette, especially since it's not inconceivable that I'll be assigned to write for you, but I gotta ask--are you saying you're open to the possibility of Kindrie/Bane?
Oct. 16th, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)

Errr ... no, not necessarily. But you know, slash is not the only possible relationship between them.

Although I could see Kindrie finding Bane both fascinating and repellant at the same time. But Kindrie is not Bane's type: he's not a young boy anymore and he's not Jame. XD

I think it depends on what you mean by "slash" - there might be some wacked-out chemistry, but it would have to be handled awfully skillfully to avoid squicking me out, and given Bane's current, er, condition, I don't want to contemplate anything physical.

*scratches head* I wonder whether Kindrie could make Bane really truly dead, and whether Bane would want that.

Edited at 2013-10-16 12:14 am (UTC)
Oct. 16th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
Fair enough; it was mostly the part where you followed up wanting to know more about Kindrie's relationship with Bane with "no Kindrie/Tori" that made me wonder. And it was also partly Bane's current condition (along with the general unlikeliness of the idea) that made me go, "Huh. I wonder how that would work . . ."

I think, in the current situation, Bane would not want to be truly dead; Jame's given him a job to do. In the absence of that . . . the reason he's not truly dead is because Ishtier is still holding onto his soul, right? So in order to make Bane truly dead Kindrie would have to go into Ishtier's soul and forcibly get Bane's out. Which he might be capable of. But it's probably the very last thing he wants to do, possibly even beating out things like "betray Tori" or "have anything to do with Rawneth again."
Oct. 15th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
Didn't sign up for yuletide, since deadlines stress me too much for writing to be any pleasure, but the Alliance-Union prompts all look delicious.
Oct. 16th, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)


I'm really hoping we get some CJC stories out of this go-round. There was a lot of interest during the signups, especially for Cyteen and Foreigner.

ETA: If you see something you like, you could always do it as a New Year's Resolution. After Yuletide reveals in January, all the prompts are open, and anyone can write a story to put in the Resolution collection, until next year's Yuletide main challenge opens. There's no real deadline.

Edited at 2013-10-16 01:05 am (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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