athenejen: (yuletide)
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Dear Yuletide Writer,

Thank you so, so much for offering one of my offbeat little fandoms! I'll tell you right off the bat that if you already have an idea, then don't worry about reading this -- just run with it! As long as you're having fun writing, I know I'm going to adore reading whatever you come up with.

But if you would like some more data about my preferences, well, here are my recs, though they're just a tiny subset of the stories I've read and enjoyed. As for more general thoughts, here are a few paragraphs cannibalized from my Yuletide letters from previous years (though really, most of this letter is cannibalized from previous years!):

In general, the very most important thing to me in fic is character interaction. I often like world building and plot and atmosphere, but in the end, the key is almost always how the characters relate to each other. And what I really like to see is how relationships (of all types -- romantic, platonic, antagonistic, something else entirely, it's all good) develop. Established relationship fics can be wonderful, but in general the thing that really moves me is the getting there. I like it when things change, and the characters have to deal with that change, to interact with it, to drive it, to adjust to it. (I also like stories about change and transformation more generally, not just as applied to relationships.)

Beyond that, I like a wide range of story types, characters, character interactions, plot points, narrative moods, settings, and kinks. I have a special fondness for UST, steadfast attachment, desperate sex, sincere sweetness and charm, affectionate snark with an edge, absurd and/or clever humor, comfortable banter, dysfunctional-but-hot co-dependency, complex motives, possibly reformed bad boys, power games and bdsm, fighting as foreplay, morally grey characters, fumbling first times, and unexpected discovery (among others -- these are just the ones springing to mind at the moment). Obviously these don't usually all fit in the same fic, though I have to admit that I'm a sucker for any fic that somehow manages a good combination of hot and adorable. I do like angst and conflict, but usually I'm happiest when it eventually resolves in some satisfying way. I am generally more of a hopeful ending sort of person -- not the kind wrapped all tight with a bow, necessarily, but also not completely bleak. On the other hand, I have been known to appreciate wistfulness and sadness, there are some stories that really just need tragic endings, or at least less-than-optimistic ones. I can be a big fan of ambiguity if it's done well, and often like matter-of-fact realism... though I also like dreamy surrealism and sharp stylization and really a lot of different moods and styles. A wonderfully foreshadowed first kiss can make me just as happy as scorching hot explicit porn, as can any sort of well-drawn and vivid character interaction.

I am relatively hard to squick, I believe, but I admit to not being particularly fond of mpreg or some of the more extreme kinks. One thing I will say is that though I'm usually a fan of AUs, part of what I love about all of these requests is the setting, so I'd rather have something more related to canon than not, though it also doesn't have to be super closely tied -- AUs that are more of the "what if this one thing were different" type would probably be fine, and creative, speculative future fic is totally encouraged, as is probably obvious from the prompts. And, as always, these are all vague guidelines rather than rules -- if a dramatic AU strikes you and it works with the character interactions, feel free to go with it! I just might love it.

Okay! Onto the specific requests (and I would be equally happy with all of them!):

Athena (A.M.Works)
No characters specified
I love the gritty yet futuristic worldbuilding of Pan Athens, and I would adore seeing any of the characters dealing with changes before, during, or after the events of the comics. (Note that this series consists of only 13 comic book issues, also available as two graphic novels, easily acquired from Dean Hsieh's website.) Every single one of these characters is fascinating and deeper than they first appear, and I love them all. You can focus on one, you can pair them up (I am certainly delighted by the canon couple of Athena/Kallie, but I would be thrilled to read pretty much any pairing, girlslash or slash or het, or gen, too, for that matter, there are some wonderful friendships in this series and I also love character studies), you can put them in multiples (monogamy and polyamory both make sense to me, and group friendship fic is always welcome), whatever you like. I just want more of this world and these characters to exist.

What can I say, I love everything about this series. I love the wacky-fun hijinks of the first volume, with Athena's punk band and Dionysus' strip club and Hephaestus' college (where he teaches) and all their friends. I love the epically epic god-and-goddess level battle and the threat of world destruction in the second volume, not to mention all the relatives who put their hands in, including the antagonists. I love every single character in this -- they're all so human! Except they're also former Greek gods (or, you know, current modern gods based on technology and bureaucracy). (P.S. Here's the creator's webpage for the series (he's got a few pages up but I wouldn't necessarily call them especially representative; they do at least give you an idea of the manga-like art style, though), and here's where you can buy the comic book at discounted prices from him directly, including a complete set for $20, which is less than what Amazon has been showing me lately. This series is so good, I'm always tempted to buy yet another copy.)

Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) (Song)
No characters specified
This Florence + the Machine song has a gorgeous, epic quality to it, and the lyrics imply a story both mythic and intense, full of transformation, sacrifice, consequences, menace, and strength. There are a lot of possible directions you could go, a lot of possible interpretations, and I am open to any and all of them, as long as the overall feel of the piece in some way captures the atmosphere and drama of the song.

Here are the lyrics at If you haven't heard the song and wish to give it a listen, I've uploaded it here. When I first heard to the album, it was maybe in the second tier of songs for me, but the more I listened to it, the more I liked it, and now if I were forced to choose, it just might be my favorite. I just really love the whole feel of it -- the beauty and intensity of the music, the themes of transformation and sacrifice and strength, the hints of what the larger storyline could be. Despite what I wrote above in the general guidelines about character interaction being of primary importance to me, I think for this request in particular, my desires are much more open than that. You could go literal, you could go more metaphorical, you could go wildly AU, it's really up to you, as long as the atmosphere is there.

A Tale of Time City - Diana Wynne Jones
Jonathan Lee/Vivian Smith
I would adore a post-book story, particularly one that features Jonathan and Vivian's relationship as they adjust immediately following the book, or one even further into the future. Romance (particularly the subtle kind that Diana Wynne Jones does so well) is enthusiastically welcomed, but friendship gen could also be just as fun and enjoyable. Setting could be in Time City itself or out in history (or both!), I'm easy that way. It's really the character interaction that I care about most.

I've shipped these two so hard for basically forever and ever. Their interaction in the book is what I think of as classic Diana Wynne Jones pre-slash (er, for the widest definition of slash), all two real people, messy edges and flaws and everything, growing together in a way that seems both complicated and natural, with a sort of subtle-but-strong affection that doesn't preclude the full range of human interaction and emotion. I just want to watch their relationship develop in some way, or failing that, I'd also be interested in seeing how they both develop as individuals, even if their relationship stays mostly the same.

Gosford Park (2001)
Elsie/Mary MacEachran
One of my favorite subtle things about this movie is the development of Elsie and Mary's relationship -- there's just something really down-to-earth and honest and supportive about it that's wonderful to see, especially given their contrasting personalities. I liked how Elsie took Mary under her wing without being dismissive or condescending, and how over the course of the film they seemed to build up a real, if mostly unspoken, understanding and rapport. I would love to read something post-movie (maybe epistolary, or Mary visiting Elsie in America, or vice versa, or Elsie moving back to Britain, or anything else you can think of, really), but I could see an interstitial story (set during the events of the movie) working brilliantly also, and I love both female friendship stories and femslash, so whichever you prefer works for me. I think both of their perspectives changed a little because they met, and getting to see more of that would be lovely, but in the end, I just want more of them being awesome together.

This movie, oh, this movie. Such an amazing film, full of fascinating characters that clearly each have their own stories and complexities and development, even if we only get to see a fraction of that on screen. Just about every single character in the movie could generate so many stories, just because they manage to feel so real. One of the things I've been wanting to read for a long time is more about Mary and Elsie and their relationship. I'm intrigued by how their friendship developed over the course of the movie, and I think it could be fascinating to watch it continue develop post-movie, however it might occur (such an interesting historical time period!). I'd like to believe they stayed in touch, anyway, and there are so many possibilities for the women they might become, separately as well as together.

The bottom line is: I like a huge variety of stuff (and am all in favor of experiments, creativity, and unusual things), I'm harder than usual to squick, and I'm willing to try almost anything. Please just enjoy the writing, and I know I'll have fun reading it. :)

much love,
[ profile] athenejen
location: Temporary Storage
Mood:: 'anxious' anxious
Music:: Florence + the Machine, "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" (in my head)
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