Dear Fellow Sutcliff Fan, thank you so much for creating something for me! Please do something that you will enjoy doing, because I think, in the end, that's what will matter most. This rather 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
- Dream and Blai from Warrior Scarlet: Blai is in some ways a much more complicated character than Drem. The canon shows us how their mutual affection and respect starts: I'd like to see how it grows and develops. This can be through a character study of the partner from either point of view, or through a plotty incident that shows them both together. I have no squicks about kids or childbirth (I have a grown daughter), so if you want to include their parenthood, that would be fine.
- Aquila and Ness from The Lantern Bearers: After their rough start, we see how their relationship grows and warms. I'd like to see either some little incident from when they are first feeling their way to liking each other, or something from the mellow afternoon of their relationship before old age sets in for real.
- Ancret from Knight's Fee: Something from her POV early in her days on the manor, or when Bevis is first born or while he is small, or what becomes of her after she leaves the manor.
- Cullen from The Silver Branch: I'd really love a Cullen POV piece: what was his childhood like, was he always out of the ordinary, his feelings about coming into Carausius' service and what that was like, or his experiences after the close of the book.
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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- licking honey or something similar off fingers
- 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
- kissing the inside of the elbow or the base of the throat
- 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
- an autumn leaf or item of clothing as the only bit of color in a bleak landscape
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).