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miramira ([personal profile] miramira) wrote2014-10-12 10:12 pm
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Yuletide Letter 2014

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi!  I may have gotten a tiny bit carried away with the length on this, so let's jump straight in, shall we?

In terms of my general preferences, I like prequels, sequels, and fleshing out anecdotes from canon into fully-fledged stories, or turning quick glimpses of places we don't get to visit into a backdrop for adventure, intrigue, or exploration.  I appreciate humor of both the light and dark variety, particularly when it comes in the form of snarky dialogue.  I enjoy heroes who are forced to make difficult decisions, villains who are utterly convinced their cause is just, and outsiders who aren't afraid to interject a little blue and orange morality.  Above all, I like plot: it can be of the introspective rather than the action-packed variety, but something should change for the characters by the time the story ends.

I'm also fond of crossovers and really interested in connections between a creator's different works, whether they're made explicit or just seem like they'd fit together.  You'll find that several of these prompts contain ideas along those lines, but please don't feel obligated to force those elements into the story or make them a major part of the plot rather than quick allusions if they don't inspire you.  I think (and hope) the fandoms I've picked offer enough to work with on their own.

I will never, ever be disappointed with a gen story, but there are a smattering of shippy ideas in the suggestions below.  Similarly, I won't mind if you decide not to include any sex scenes - but if you do, I'd like them to serve as a means of advancing the plot, or adding layers of characterization, or providing a bit of comic relief, rather than taking up the entire focus of the story.  I prefer to keep canon relationships intact, and unless otherwise noted, am more interested in het or femslash than slash or threesomes/moresomes if you're looking to partner up unattached characters of unspecified sexuality or introduce OC love interests.  My kinks don't extend much past bondage of the sort involving blindfolds and scarves as restraints (unless these are characters who have canonically been known to switch gender just for the fun of it, and even then I'd like them to retain humanoid form), and I ask that all relationships depicted involve enthusiastically consenting adults who are not related to each other.

Apart from the above caveats, my biggest "do not want" in any kind of fic is graphic, drawn-out torture, or anything that results in characters being left as shells of their former selves.  I'm fine with end of the world scenarios, or character death, or less-than-happy endings, but I'd like everyone to go down fighting or for the survivors to soldier on with some hope that things will be better eventually.

I think that covers everything...except fandom details, of course, which are provided below.  If you still have questions or need additional inspiration, feel free to take a look at the many, many other letters lying around this journal, some of which contain repeats for some of these fandoms.  Good luck, and have fun!

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

I had a difficult time narrowing down which of the stories within stories I wanted to focus on from the source material, and part of the reason I settled on Meronym is that she has the necessary perspective to bridge some of the gaps.  (Not just from this particular book, either; I squeed a bit at the allusion dropped toward the end of The Bone Clocks - not a spoiler of any significance, I swear - and I'd be happy to see that thread picked up here if you've had a chance to read it.)  

I'd love to know about any other travels or visits to other civilizations or knowledge of the world (or her past lives) long before the Fall that Meronym might have had, and what she was specifically hoping to learn from her stay in the Nine Valleys before it became unexpectedly extended - especially if that research can help explain how Sonmi went from a political pawn of Nea So Copros to a goddess half an ocean away.  But I'm also interested in the world and personal life she left behind with the other Prescients, and why she left it.  Did she regret that decision?  How did she adjust to her new community, and essentially being Zachry's only remaining family (unless he managed to reunite with any of them)?  Did she ever learn what became of the rest of her people, or see her son again?

As a stylistic note, I assume that Zachry's dialect is native to the Nine Valleys, and that Meronym and the Prescients speak something that might look closer to present-day English when translated, so don't let that aspect of this section of the book scare you away.  Of course, if you want to take on the challenge, who am I to stop you?

Foreigner Series - C.J. Cherryh

A caveat before we get to some prompt ideas: I am currently only through book six (Explorer), and can't guarantee how much further I'll get before reveals.  I don't mind being spoiled - provided those spoilers don't involve Banichi or Jago's death; I'd be about as depressed as Bren if that happens, and would prefer to remain in the dark - but I'm going to need a bit of context to follow along.

One way to get around that issue might be to go way back and tell a story from the War of the Landing (including the misunderstandings that caused it or its aftermath), or a breakthrough in human-atevi communications by Bren and Tabini's predecessors.  Or give me some backstory on Banichi and Jago: what made her decide to follow in his footsteps, what were their assignments like before Bren came into their lives, and what were their earliest reactions to him like?  Or show me a glimpse of Illsidi in her youth, or Tabini before he came to power.  Or tell me about what it was like for Jase to grow up on the ship, or Ginny's dealings with the Heritage Party while the isolationists were still in power, or what it's like for Toby being Bren's brother.  You could also potentially find a way to tie things back to the various Alliance-Union series: I'd be interested to see how atevi (and Bren and/or Jase) interact with hani, or kif, or mri, or calibans, or even azi.  And while I don't think I'd want to be in the middle of a confrontation between Ariane Emory and Illsidi, it'd be fun to watch from a safe distance.

An additional fandom-specific shipping note: I like Bren and Jago as a couple, and wouldn't be opposed to a relationship-centric story, but I'd like it to be more focused on communication than the mechanics of human-atevi intercourse.  I also like Tabini and Damiri (what I've seen of Damiri, anyway), and am interested in how atevi relationships work from an atevi perspective, but that particular pairing might be a little trickier without getting into the later books. 

The Long Earth Series - Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

If ever a fandom were made for worldbuilding, it's this one.  Canon offers plenty of possibilities - I'd love to see more of the lost treasures of the Rectangles world, or the planet the Earth-moon orbits - but don't feel limited to those options.  Is there a point at which the laws of physics break down enough that magic becomes possible, and if so, how would the visitors who found it react to a real Narnia or Oz?  Or is there some crazy scientific theory about how life could have evolved on this or other planets you want to explore further?  Tell me about the residents of one of these Jokers encountering an intrepid explorer, or give me an excerpt from said explorer's journal.  If you decide to write a research paper, I'd appreciate some stick figure diagrams or Pratchett-style footnotes or snarky marginalia to liven it up a bit, but I will be highly impressed with your dedication.

Need more character-centric inspiration?  No problem!  I'd adore a story about Maggie captaining her ship, or reluctantly running for President as the best hope to keep the colonists loyal.  Or Monica, trying to enforce order in the early days of Long Earth exploration.  Or Sally and her childhood (and possibly a defining encounter with her beloved trolls). Or Roberta and how she feels about her choice to remain with the baseline humans.  Or someone I haven't mentioned here - I find Joshua and Nelson a little boring (though I wouldn't mind young Joshua as a supporting character in a Monica story), but anyone else is fair game.


First of all, whoever nominated this, thank you.  It wasn't there last year, and that made me terribly sad.  Whose Yuletide wouldn't be improved by giant mutant ur-gerbils?

I feel like the best way to come up with a plot for this fandom is by starting with a Mad Lib or random word generator, taking the various nouns and verbs and colors and whatever else, and seeing what kind of shenanigans result when you throw them at Helen and company.  So maybe I should focus on the characters instead.  I love how Artie manages to cause the most trouble despite being "the good one," and the surprising degree of calculation Mell displays for someone who loves explosions so much, and Helen and Dave...oh, Helen and Dave.  I wonder what it's like for their kids to grow up in a household where "guess what horrible thing I put in your coffee this time!" is a term of endearment?

If you still need more direction than that, one option might be to work in a crossover.  Skin Horse would be an obvious choice: I eagerly await Artie and Sergio's inevitable meeting of the minds (and probably other body parts), and I'd love to see Dr. Lee trying to deal with Helen and Dave, or the main cast of that series learning just where Unity's love of mayhem comes from when they encounter Mell.  But I also think Dr. Horrible would fit right into this universe, or Hannelore's dad from Questionable Content, or that the Victorian storyline could easily mesh with Girl Genius, or that any number of other mad scientist properties could put in an appearance.  Basically, go nuts.  (Well, not literally.  I'd rather not have a Yuletide present that springs off the page and tries to eat me.)