athenejen: (yuletide)
athenejen ([personal profile] athenejen) wrote2014-10-26 11:17 am

welcome to yet another hilariously long yuletide letter

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Thank you so, so much for offering one of these wonderful fandoms! I'll tell you right off the bat that if you already have an idea you're excited about, 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 extensive thoughts, here are a few paragraphs (mostly) cannibalized from my Yuletide letters 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 (and there are a couple of my requests this year that have stronger than usual plot or world-building components), 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, categories in between, something else entirely, it's all good) develop. Established relationship fics can be wonderful, but 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. Gen, het, slash, femslash, fluid sexuality and gender, monogamy, polyamory, other types of non-monogamy and less "traditional" relationship configurations, I am open to any and all of these things and more. I am also open to receiving alternative format fic (interactive fiction, poetry, scripts, document-fic, etc), if that's something that interests you.

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/girls, power games and bondage and D/s dynamics, 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 at times, 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 (though a purely happy ending can definitely be awesome if it suits the story), 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; even for kinks and tropes that I'm less personally invested in by default, if the characters are into it and it makes sense for them in terms of characterization and the relationship interactions, I'll probably be just fine with it. One thing I will say is that though I'm usually a fan of AUs, part of what I love about most of these fandoms (Lost Coastlines being the outlier, as it's a different kind of prompt than the others) is the setting/world-building, so in general I'd probably 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 almost certainly be enjoyed, and creative, speculative future fic is totally encouraged, as is probably obvious from the prompts. (And I do enjoy crossovers, if that happens to be a direction you're inclined to go.) 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! It is entirely likely that I will love it.

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

The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher
Carlos Ramirez (Dresden Files - Butcher), Molly Carpenter (Dresden Files - Butcher)
Molly and Ramirez are two of my favorite characters from the Dresden Files, and while the interactions we've seen between them have been relatively brief, they have intrigued me. This is especially true in light of the recent complications in Molly's life and how that might interact with Ramirez's work as a Warden, not just in terms of how the two of them must navigate their places in the complex web of power politics, but also looking at how their responsibilities continually affect their development as individuals, and how that might impact their interactions with each other. I would love to see them in some kind of romantic and/or sexual relationship, but I would also be thrilled to receive gen that focused on other aspects of their interaction. Pretty much anything about the two of them would make me happy!

I find Molly as the Winter Lady to be completely fascinating. It's been both heartbreaking and gratifying to see her transformation over the course of the books, and I love the complex woman she has become. That she has a significant place in the larger mythology and power politics of the world now heightens that even more, especially given that we only have really seen hints so far of how she's been developing. Meanwhile, Ramirez has always struck me as one of the most steadfast and down to earth characters in the series, which is something I have always appreciated about him. He's a wizard and a Warden, but more than that, he's a guy you can count on when the chips are down. We don't know exactly what's been going on with him the last couple of books; he was mentioned as seriously injured while fighting the Fomor in Cold Days, so it's clear he's involved in various action, but we don't get many specifics because Dresden's perspective is somewhat narrow at the moment. I would love to know more about both Molly and Ramirez's stories, and I would especially love for that to come through the lens of focusing on their interactions with each other.

The Dresden Files currently consists of 15 novels and one short story collection. I believe they are all in print and available in e-book editions as well as hardcopy, with all but the most recent available in paperback.

October Daye Series - Seanan McGuire
Quentin (Toby Daye), Raj (Toby Daye)
Quentin and Raj are best friends with very complicated lives, both individually and together as part of Toby's orbit, and I love pretty much everything about that. I admit, I ship them and slash would make me very happy, but I'd also love to read gen about their friendship if you'd rather go that route. I adore them both equally as characters and am fascinated by how they fit into the world on both internal and external levels; add in their fondness (platonic or otherwise) for each other and that could have a lot of fun repercussions (again, both internal and external). Basically, I love them, I love them together, and I love how they fit into the world, and if you write about any combination of these things, I am pretty sure I will love that, too.

How much do I love that Quentin is the Crown Prince? SO MUCH. (Incidentally, I also love whenever his Canadian roots come through, as I am from Minnesota and therefore feel a kind of kinship with Canadians about certain things.) I mean, I already loved Quentin before we found that out. But the added twist of his background and the future responsibilities that goes with it puts a whole different spin on basically all aspects of his life in a way that is fascinating to think about it. And then when you consider that Raj is Prince of Cats…. There is just a ridiculous amount of possibility there. But beyond all the political and external stuff, I also just really like their relationship on a personal level. They're best friends, and it's endearing as heck. Everything going on around them and the roles they are slotted in to play might complicate things, but they are there for each other and I love that. I would be happy to see more of any aspect of their relationship, and from any time period in their lives -- interstitial scenes from anywhere within the book series timeline, near-future fic, far-future fic, I'd welcome it all. From simple everyday vignette to character study to relationship evolution to complex political maneuvering to world-rattling epic to anything or everything in between. As long as you focus on Quentin and Raj and their interaction, I'll be thrilled.

There are currently eight novels in the October Daye series, and as far as I can tell they are all in print and available reasonably cheaply in e-book and mass market paperback.

Gosford Park (2001)
Elsie (Gosford Park), 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 (definitely feel free to include other characters from the film if you like, as long as the focus remains primarily on Mary and Elsie). 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 DVD is available fairly cheap used online, as is the shooting script in paperback form, and it's available through Netflix DVD (but is not on Netflix Streaming at the moment, alas) and Amazon Instant.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
Dev (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), Thom (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), Lethario (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist)
So while Nick and Norah are busy doing their thing in the movie, Dev, Thom, and Lethario are clearly off together having wacky Manhattan adventures of their own! Threesome slash of any level of explicit would be completely welcome, but certainly not required -- there are, after all, lots of different kinds of hijinks the three of them could get into while wandering around the city (or afterwards or in the future!), and I enjoy gen just as much as I do slash. I see this trio as generally a force for happiness and fun and positivity -- some conflict is fine, of course, but in the end, good things and good feelings should abound.

Dev, Thom, and Lethario make me so happy in this movie. I feel like when they're around, things are always just a little more delightfully madcap. I love how supportive they are of Nick and Norah, but also how they're clearly really living when they're off-screen, having their own awesome adventures. If some of those adventures were on the more explicit side, well. Let's just say that I would read that eagerly! But I would also be entirely delighted by gen adventures -- I welcome all types of upbeat hijinks. :) I enjoy the NYC setting of the movie, so more of that might be nifty, but again, certainly not required. If you feel like including other characters from the movie as side characters, I am very fond of Caroline and quite like Nick and Norah (though I prefer the book version of Tris if you for some reason feel compelled to have her), so definitely feel free, as long as the main focus stays on the Dev, Thom, and Lethario. A story set during the movie could work well, but so could something set in the direct aftermath or in the future. It's allllllllll good.

The DVD can be acquired very cheaply on Amazon; it's also available to rent or buy on Amazon Instant, and it's on Netflix DVD but not Netflix Streaming or Hulu.

New York Rangers RPF
Derek Stepan (New York Rangers RPF), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers RPF)
Best friends for years and now teammates. Played against each other in the Minnesota high school leagues, then played together in college and now in the NHL and for Team USA. I would adore fic about them and their relationship from any part of their timeline, from as far back as their first meeting to post-career future fic and anything in between. A single moment, a longer arc, slash, gen, het, monogamy, polyamory, I'm open to it all. I'd prefer no unrelenting angst -- some angst is fine, but I lean towards at least somewhat positive resolution. I generally like my endings on the happy side, but that's a wide range and I don't mind a little ambivalence if it fits the story. Really, there are a ton of directions you could go! I just have great affection for both of these guys and I love that they have such a long history together.

Steadfast attachment of all kinds is something that I really love, and these guys have it. High school or college era hijinks would make me super happy -- with or with a slash component -- but really, so would stories from pretty much any past, current, or future time periods. (McDonagh is not-so-secretly my favorite, and he's captain now! His adjustment to that is just one example of something that might be fun to read about.) I enjoy the hockey aspects of the fandom (team-centric fic with a wider ensemble is certainly something I like, though I'd still want their relationship to be at the center of it), but I also love glimpses into the other aspects of their lives. (I grew up in the Twin Cities, so a dose of Minnesota would be cherished if it happened to be there! But like all of the random thoughts and suggestions in this letter, only jump on it if it works for the story you feel like telling. I am easy to please in all sorts of different ways and approaching from all sorts of different directions.) I'm sure that over the years their relationship has changed and developed in various ways (and will change and develop in various ways in the future); any exploration of that is likely to interest me a whole lot.

Note: the two players do have real-life wives; I am totally fine with stories that pretend their wives never existed, and I am equally fine with stories that include them in some capacity (including polyamorous configurations, making whichever relationships you want platonic, having those relationships be in the past or evolving over the course of the story, and/or any other possibilities that make sense to you), as long as they are not demonized in any way. (I am also not particularly into stories featuring cheating; it can be made into a story that works for me, so I wouldn't call it a dealbreaker, but it's not a natural fit for my usual inclinations.) Basically whatever you feel comfortable with on that front is fine by me.

Here, have an awesome primer by [ profile] blueabsinthe.

Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River (Song)
No characters specified
A journey of uncertain duration, to unknown, unmapped lands, away from the familiar, towards such unpredictable things as melee escapes and foreign lords and faraway stars. Lost, but every night still "rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide." Feel free to go as literal or as metaphorical as you like, as long as that spirit of adventure is there, and if you can also find a little bit of the wistfulness that's threaded through the song, well, so much the better. (This song is wonderful -- if you haven't heard it before, I highly recommend that you hop over to my letter and give it a listen!)

There are so many different directions you could go with this! You could focus on just one lyric or part of the song, or you could concentrate more on the general gist of the thing. You could make up characters entirely, or somehow connect them to Will Sheff and Jonathan Meiburg and the rest of the band (possibly even relating to the real life context of Meiburg leaving Okkervil River (amicably) to concentrate on Shearwater -- this was, essentially, his farewell song), whatever makes you happy. (Is Meiburg/Sheff a thing I would read? Hell yes! But that is just one tiny possibility out of a whole pile of amazing stories you could tell.) You could bring in concepts from the rest of the The Stand Ins and The Stage Names (or for that matter the rest of the Okkervil River and Shearwater catalogues), or build a world of one ship and the sea based only on the details of the song, extrapolated. Free rein, anything goes. Just have fun with it, and I'm sure I will love whatever you come up with!

If you haven't heard the song before, it is a delight and one of my favorite Okkervil River songs. It was a KEXP Song of the Day and was featured on Stereogum -- download available at either link -- or you could watch the the official video (which features a somewhat shortened version of the track, but none of the lyrics are missing, just la-la-las).

Here are the lyrics, as best I can figure (some of them are a bit tricky to decipher):

[Will Sheff]
Packed and all eyes turned in, no one to see on the quay
No one waving for me, just the shoreline receding
Ticket in my hand, I’m thinking, wish I didn't hand it in
‘Cause who said sailing is fine?
Leaving behind all the faces that I might replace if I tried on that long ride
Looking deep inside but I don't want to look so deep inside yet

[Jonathan Meiburg]
Sit down, sit down on the prow to wave bye,
There might not be another stop, further on the line
Look out, look out at each town that glides by
And there's another crowd, to drown in crying eyes

And see how that light you love now just won't shine
For there might just be another star, (but) that's high and far in some other sky
We sing, is that marionette real enough yet to step off of that set
To decide what her dance might be doing
Ruining the play, to in the ensuing melee escape
We packed up all of our bags, (the) ship's deck now sags
From the weight of our tracks as we pace beneath flags, black and battered
Rattling our swords in service of some fêted foreign lord

We sail out on orders from him, but we find
The maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines
Where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined
For we don't recognize the names upon these signs

And every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide
Well we have lost our way, nobody's gonna say it outright
We just go la, la, la la la la... [etc]

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

[identity profile] 2014-10-27 12:02 am (UTC)(link)
oh yay! I am crossing my fingers that someone writes you Quentin/Raj. The only thing I love more than either of those two guys on their own is the two of them together. <3

[identity profile] 2014-10-28 04:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River (Song)