thefourthvine: A weird festive creature. Text: "Yuletide squee!" (Yuletide Woot!)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2011-11-16 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

[Yuletide] Dear Author

Dear Author,

We matched! This means we are destined to be friends, I tell you what, because while my requests this year are not as weird as last year's, they do sort of come off like I was trying to define "idiosyncratic" using only a Yuletide signup form. (I wasn't. I wouldn't do that to you, I swear. This is just the list that happened!)

I am, as always, going to provide you with all the details, because that's what I always hope to get from my recipient. But if that's not you, please tap out of this letter now. Just know that I really, really cannot handle child or animal harm or death, and I love you for volunteering for one of my tiny fandoms. See you on the 25th!

Me


If you're curious about what I like in fan fiction, well, there's this entire journal right here. But if you for some mysterious reason would prefer not to wade through seven years of back entries on mostly unrelated topics, here's a cheat sheet.

I love:
  • Happy endings.
  • Humor.
  • Snappy dialog.
  • Plot.
  • Point of view.
  • AUs.
  • Sex and relationships people have to work for, through talking or fighting or world-saving or whatever.
  • Many, many other things.
My major squicks are:
  • Animal and child harm or death. These are my absolute deal-breaker squicks; I can't deal with them at all.
  • Embarrassment and humiliation.
  • Misogyny and abuse of women.
  • Incest.
  • Sex involving children (by which I mean people under 13ish) in any way.


My Fandoms



And now let's talk fandoms! I'm putting the text of my optional details at the top in italics, by the way, so anyone who feels like wandering by can - well, laugh at me, probably.

You Say Party - Lonely's Lunch (music video)

(Note: this fandom is in the list twice, once as You Say Party - Lonely's Lunch, the other time just as Lonely's Lunch. Same thing!)

Worldbuilding! Oh please worldbuilding! What's the deal with that big ship hanging in the sky? Who is in that ship? Why do the enforcers have those weird long proboscis things? Why do the rebels or whoever they are have capacitor symbols on their necks? What is going on here? What does it all meeeeean? (You don't have to answer any of those specific questions, of course. Any and all worldbuilding welcome.) I just. I want to know! Setting is really important to me - I would love for this to stay south Asian. Characters - hey, whatever; you can use the people from the video (who are fascinating, all of them!), or you can use an entirely different set, or, if you prefer, you can skip people altogether and just write about the ships. It's whatever you think will be the most fun. Oh, but, if you do the main guy and the awesome girl from the video please be aware that, uh, I'd like the lady to be triumphant in all ways. (Sorry. Het power imbalances with the woman at the less powerful end are not for me.)

Here's the video, if you haven't seen it and want to! (And you do. You really, really do.)

Someone on my list embedded this late last year and I knew immediately it was going to be a Yuletide request for me. It is basically all my narrative kinks in one six-minute bite. I mean, I love love love SF, and this is the kind with spaceships and technology and governments and stuff! And I love SF best when it has technology and people, and for all the people in this video don't have names, they surely do have personalities. I love both the main people in the video. I love the way they interact. I love that this video even has a plot. And I love all the hints in here, all the little details that make this feel like a complete and fascinating world. I finish this video, every time, wanting to know more. Which, you know - that's what makes a Yuletide request.

And it's six minutes long! So if we didn't match on this, but you're regretting whatever we did match on, here's a fandom you can jump into during a commercial break. And I will truly adore anything you write. If you want some ideas - but only if you do, because really whatever will work - I'd love to know what the debriefing looked like for the main guy in the video, or where the lady went next and what her connection to her side looked like. I'd love to know what was on the chip thing she was trying to smuggle out - what was she going to do with it? Or, you know, what is the deal with this world? Is it a dystopia? Have the aliens landed?

And I really am curious about those weird proboscis things. Okay. NEXT FANDOM.

The September Issue (Anna Wintour/Grace Carrington)

I love love love the dynamic between Anna and Grace so much, and it's so unusual to see such awesome women unapologetically in charge and owning it. I love how determined they are, how in control they are, and how they balance each other. I'm not necessarily seeking a pairing, here, though it's fine if you want to go there - interaction and awesomeness is my focus. And if you want to make it AU - like make them both vampires or space pirates or women in charge of an ambulance unit in London WWII, whatever - that would be so wonderful and I would love you for it; I think this is a dynamic that can totally be explored in other settings than a fashion magazine. Oh, and I love both these characters. I mean, obviously I love Grace enormously, as who could not, but I think Anna is also awesome. So, you know, I am coming to this from a place of sincere admiration. I would love it if you did, too.

So, okay, my dear Yuletide author, let's get the hard truth out of the way first: this is actually verging on squick territory for me. I can't read modern RPF, and while the fact that these characters aren't celebrities helps a lot, they're close to being celebrities. But here is the good news: I really don't care. These women are exactly the characters I have been longing to see all my life, and it turns out they're of a type fairly hard to find in fiction. (Probably the closest I can think of off-hand are the Queens of Attolia and Eddis. Attolia's Anna, Eddis is Grace. If you've got any better analogs, let me know, because these are characters I never get enough of.) I love that they are both powerful and strong and imperfect and unapologetic. I love how good they are at what they do. I love the way they interact, the way Anna is the queen, yes, but Grace is her equal and opposite force. (There's a moment when Anna makes a decision that she knows Grace won't like and tells her minions not to tell her until she's gone. Grace isn't actually scary, mind you; she's just basically one of the few human beings Anna can even see, and maybe the only person whose opinions matter to her. I love that.) I love the way they balance each other; like, Anna is obsessed with making everything perfect, and Grace is interested in the beauty of imperfection. Anna is obsessive and detail-orientated and utterly focused, and Grace is brilliant and creative and sees the big picture (and also utterly focused, of course; you don't get to be where she is without that).

I also like them as individuals. Anna - oh, man, for me the most telling character moment for her in the entire movie is right at the end. The interviewer asks her what her biggest weakness is, and she says, "My children." By which she means that she has feelings for her children. She defines feelings as weakness. Fascinating. At least to me.

Meanwhile, Grace is all about the feelings, but she's just - she's so fucking good at what she does, she has such a unique way of seeing the world, and she's so damned smart. And she stands up to Anna without any trouble at all, and, just, she's very very awesome.

Anyway. Basically, I love these ladies, and would be delighted to see them continuing to be awesome in any setting you can name.

World War I RPF (Frederick Libby/Stephen Price)

If you are in the mood to write slash, I would love some, you know, tense battlefield slash, or some seize-the-day-we're-on-liberty slash, or even some the-war-is-over-we-meet-again slash. If you are in a gen place, I would love some details of battlefield life, with interaction on the ground and maybe some air battles. Whatever you choose, happy endings would be awesome, to the extent that this is possible in, you know, a WWI pilot setting. (I picked Libby and Price not just because I read Libby's book recently (and oh the slashiness), but because as far as I know they both lived through the war.)

I love the WWI pilots. They were basically making shit up as they went along. They were in these tiny planes, ones that were not entirely up to technological snuff (like, just as a single example, the Nieuport's wings tended to disintegrate during flight - I mean, that is not exactly a minor design flaw), and they were doing something no one had really ever done before. They were inventing tactics and procedures and basically the entire idea of an air war as they were doing it. They were learning on the job, creating the job, and they paid for it by dying, and dying, and dying. (I've read that at one point early on the average lifespan of a flier was ten hours. I'm hoping that isn't accurate, but I do think it's probably accurate that near the end of the war, when they were burning pilots for photos, the average lifespan was eleven days.) And they still managed to be fairly jaunty and cheerful and at least paste on a good stiff upper lip. They were brave and bold and smart and also a little bit stupid. I adore them. Anything you want to write about them, I will read, probably while making insane squeaky noises of glee.

Now, the slash. Libby's memoir cries out for some slash - I mean, his love for Price, the way he constantly takes care of him, the way Price dresses him, the way Libby adores Price, the way Libby is all "oh god I don't want to be without Price but he needs the break SO MUCH" when Price goes to England. And, I mean, there's the tension of the battlefield, which obviously cries out for some slash, followed by the liberty in England and all the time they spent staying together, which also really needs slash. My Kindle copy of his book has many notes, and 90% of them look like this: OMG LIBBY/PRICE OTP! (Or quite often more like this: "And then they had sex.") But if you want to use another pilot/observer team, or two other pilots - anyone from the US, England, or France end of things - I would be entirely fine with that. I mean, I'm the last person to say that, for example, Rickenbacker's relationship with Smyth wasn't just the teeniest bit slashy. So, seriously, if the RFC doesn’t do it for you, the French air service, the Lafayette Escadrille, the 94th squadron, whatever. I am flexible! Just, you know, WWI + pilots + please please please a happy ending + optional slash = JOYFUL ME.

P.S. If we didn't match on this one, you probably think I'm dangerously crazy right now. Let me just persuade you a bit, so you don't go into this thinking I'm hallucinating. Here is a quote from ol' Eddie (Rickenbacker):

"I liked Smyth immensely from the first... but subsequently I found that he had the ability and character of a wonderful pilot and he was a reliable companion in a fight. Various men in my squadron appealed to me in various ways, but Smyth got so close to me by some attractive quality in his nature, that I sometimes dreamed of him at night..." ACTUALFAX QUOTE. I am just saying.

Anyway. My point is: if ever there was a time to seize the day, it was if you were a pilot in WWI. And whichever pilot you want to write about will be fine with me (and if you go down the slash route, still fine, because apparently they were all gay for each other).

RPF - Charles Baudelaire

I'd love to see a story in which the things Baudelaire describes in his poetry are real - where he's surrounded by vampires and demons and tormented by things other people can't see. If you want to go to a crossover place, Angelus/Baudelaire would be lovely, but truly, any Baudelaire story would be extremely welcome. (Baudelaire/Duval would be insanely awesome.) Realistic setting and place is important to me. I guess you could say my ideal here is: Paris! But with demons!

There's a reason why I always put this request fourth: it's certifiable. Or maybe I am. But still. I love Charles Baudelaire so much, and I find the world he describes in his poetry so fascinating, and I would love to see a story about him, especially if it's set in the world his poetry describes. (If you're wondering about the origins of the Angelus/Baudelaire thing, it's the episode "She" from the first season of Angel. I just think Angelus having been around could explain everything about Baudelaire, that's all. And Angel makes it clear they knew each other, so...)

I have no single favorite translation of his works; I think most of the translators rocked some of the poems and totally lost it on others, so I kind of pick and choose. However, in case you're unaware of it, there is an awesome resource for Baudelaire's poetry online: fleursdumal.org. You can find translations of all the poems there, and there's at least one good one for almost all of them. I whole-heartedly recommend it.

(Oh, and I should note: I don't speak French. I know, I know, I'm totally pathetic, reading Baudelaire in translation. I own it. My point is - a realistic, period Paris background is desirable; I've done enough reading about Baudelaire that I would love that. But realistic language would be kind of a problem, since, you know, I couldn't read it.)

And, well - in general I love lighter, happier stories with happy endings. I crave the happy! Except here. Baudelaire's story is not happy, and neither is his ending, and I would in no way want you to change that. Go to town - go for creepy, go for tragic, go for crazy. Whatever you feel works. (Just, I know with Baudelaire it's tempting, but if you could try hard not to hurt animals or children, that would be awesome. Feel free to abuse Baudelaire all you want, of course.) I will read with gratitude and wonder, and I will fully appreciate it, because Baudelaire's story is totally a lush, insane tragedy.
surexit: Two young girls walking away from the camera holding hands. (let's stick together)

[personal profile] surexit 2011-11-17 11:04 am (UTC)(link)
I love this letter. ♥
twtd: (Default)

[personal profile] twtd 2011-11-17 01:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Anna and Grace as Attolia and Eddis is too perfect for words.
cleo: (Christina of Sweden: The Androgynous Que)

[personal profile] cleo 2011-11-18 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
+1 to [personal profile] twtd so HARDCORE. And it makes me want an uber where Attolia and Eddis are totally in these positions...OR I COULD JUST WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY AGAIN!
Edited 2011-11-18 18:02 (UTC)
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

[personal profile] vass 2011-11-17 02:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Have you read The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson? Jeanne Duval is a main character, and there's a lot about her relationship with Baudelaire.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

[personal profile] vass 2011-11-18 08:02 am (UTC)(link)
I just flipped through it:

Pages 28-38: Georgine gives birth to a baby who dies shortly after. She and Tipingee and Mer bury the baby by the river, and Mer prays to Lasirén, and for a moment feels something supernatural respond.

Page 64: Mer goes fishing. I don't know if that bothers you or not. Anyway, the fish is only mentioned briefly.

Page 96-97: description of female genital cutting. You will definitely want to skip the paragraph just after "Never mind the pain. You will look so pretty." The second paragraph after that is about the same topic, but Mer is discussing adults, not children. Proceed with caution.

Page 161: reference to a teenager, Marie Claire, being sold into marriage away from her parents.

Pages 198-205 Marie-Claire is poisoned and nearly dies; Makandal saves her, and then she's sold away, as planned.

Page 301: Meritet has a miscarriage.

Pages 336-337: Jeanne's dog, Tati, is starving but alive. (She gets fed later on.)

Apart from that, there's a whole lot of suffering, but none of it children or animals.
sinensis: robert mitchum, kilmer house (Default)

[personal profile] sinensis 2011-11-17 04:22 pm (UTC)(link)
lordy, now I want to read stories for all of these. (WWI PILOTS, OMG YES.) here's hoping you get lots of yuletide treasures!
toft: graphic design for the moon europa (Default)

[personal profile] toft 2011-11-17 06:39 pm (UTC)(link)
EEEE! I LOVED the September Issue, what a brilliant idea for a YT fandom!
gnomad: Squid wants to marry you (Squid-Marry Me)

[personal profile] gnomad 2011-11-18 01:48 am (UTC)(link)
The September Issue (Anna Wintour/Grace Carrington)

Omgomg! You asked for my fic! I've been asking for this fic for 2 years without success and you asked for my fic! \o/ I hope this means it might have a better chance of getting filled this year! Gah!

/end writing sentences that all end in exclamation points
gnomad: Squid wants to marry you (Squid-Marry Me)

[personal profile] gnomad 2011-11-18 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I am! It's one of my two always asked for fandoms. I'm hopeful that this year we'll get more than the 2-3 offers to write that it has in the last 2 years. Mmmmpower femslash...
gnomad: Have you hugged your cephalopod today? (Squid- Hug A Cephalopod)

[personal profile] gnomad 2011-11-20 05:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Ha ha. I'm not sure about excellent taste. My other unloved fandom is Laura Antoniou's Marketplace Series. If you haven't heard of it, it's a BDSM erotica series that revolves around a secret society catering service slaves. The books are all about the slaves and the people who train them. It is a series of...dubious quality. However! There are bits of juicy worldbuilding and there really still isn't enough erotica out there featuring a transman as a main character.
ext_6368: cherry blossoms on a tree -- with my fandom name "EntreNous" on it (hp: ron heeeyyyy!)

[identity profile] entrenous88.livejournal.com 2011-11-17 12:39 pm (UTC)(link)
We matched! This means we are destined to be friends

This brightened my morning, truly. :D

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-18 04:22 am (UTC)(link)
Yay! I am spreading Yuletide cheer!

[identity profile] liddle-oldman.livejournal.com 2011-11-17 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
And I really am curious about those weird proboscis things.

Obvious. The better to sniff out defiance and treeeeeeson!

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-18 04:24 am (UTC)(link)
MY THEORY WAS THAT MAYBE THERE ARE ALIENS AND THE COMMUNICATE THROUGH SCENT.

Yours is probably more accurate, though. Or, hey! Maybe they are merely extremely butch straws! Maybe this version of the future subsists entirely on extra-thick smoothies.

[identity profile] liddle-oldman.livejournal.com 2011-11-20 12:23 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah! They thrust their fascist proboscii into your beer and SUCK IT ALL UP. And then belch in your face. So much for freedom!

[identity profile] starfishchick.livejournal.com 2011-11-17 07:58 pm (UTC)(link)
The September Issue (Anna Wintour/Grace Carrington)

I ... think I love you.

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-18 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
*beams* It is SO PERFECT, am I right?

[identity profile] lady-alys.livejournal.com 2011-11-17 11:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Why do the rebels or whoever they are have capacitor symbols on their necks?

I am reminded of the Watchers from Highlander, a supposedly secret organization that marked all members a really, really obvious tattoo....

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-18 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
HA. Yeah, my theory was more that it was, like, a brand inflicted on them by the Overlords, because that is NOT where I would put a Secret Symbol of the Resistance. (There's no explanation for the Watchers, though. EXCEPTIONALLY POOR PLANNING is what I would call that.)

[identity profile] annaalamode.livejournal.com 2011-11-19 08:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I put The September Issue on my list of "fandoms I will write" but the thought of getting matched with you was too stressful to contemplate! (Not that you are a scary person or something. Just, I have this think about writing for people I respect? Where writing for them is super stressful.)

However, I completely agree that the world needs September Issue fanfic. How awesome was that movie? How awesome is Grace Coddington's hair? How awesome was her work in the November 2011 issue of Vogue? (I will stop listing my favorite GC editorials now.)

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-20 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
WOE, because September Issue fan fiction by you would be awesome! But I don't want to be, like, part of Increased Yuletide Stress Syndrome for you or anything, so I am glad I posted early, so you could get while the getting's good. (I should point out, though, that I am not the only person who plans to request this exact story! [livejournal.com profile] gnomad has been requesting it for two years. You could get her, not me. A THING TO THINK ABOUT.

And I think we both know that there is nothing about Grace Coddington that is not awesome.
Edited 2011-11-20 05:24 (UTC)

[identity profile] annaalamode.livejournal.com 2011-11-20 06:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, after I posted this I put on my big girl pants and went "what the hell"! I'm doing this altruistically, of course, because the world needs September Issue fic writers who know not to put Anna Wintour in Versace or something equally silly!

[identity profile] dormouse-in-tea.livejournal.com 2011-11-21 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
You remember last year, how you were all "AND IT WAS A NOVEL, AND THE OTHER IDEA WAS A NOVEL, AND OH MY GOD YULETIDE DOES NOT HAVE TIME FOR NOVELS" and I was very unsympathetic and nagged you about WANTING the entire novel for a while?

I am a newbie author (very, very, very newb) and so I am mostly offering micro-fandoms, where the source material is either less than six minutes long total, or comes in chunks that size. As my final step before submitting my sign-up form, I went through my offered fandoms and made sure I had at least one idea I thought I could write for each of them if I end up matched to someone with no characters, no optional details, and no letter.

...five of my eight ideas, I suddenly realized, were totes for novels. HELP ME.
Edited 2011-11-21 03:14 (UTC)

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-21 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, first, DO NOT PANIC. (Yet. The time for panic is AFTER you get your assignment! That is the tradition. Do not fuck with tradition.) When you get your assignment, go read your recipient's letter (assuming you get one; for a while there, I had a GIFT for getting recipients who didn't write letters) and see if that sparks any short story type ideas for you. If it doesn't, my advice is talk to someone before you start. I volunteer, for the record!

The thing about micro-fandoms - this is something I learned last year, the hard way - is that you have less source review to do, but you are likely to have more writing to do. It balances. If something has four books or three seasons or five movies, you've got a lot of niches in which to slide a missing scene or some background. (Most of the time. Some canons are so tightly packed and so delineated that it's actually really hard to find space for a story; [livejournal.com profile] norah got one of those one year, and it SUCKED for her. But that's the exception rather than the rule.) If your entire source is three minutes long, you often don't have those spaces. You also have less work done for you in terms of characterization and setting on so on. This is why novel ideas are the first things that come to mind.

But! You do not have to write a novel. You really don't. (Definitely don't do what I did, which is embark on a novel-length idea and pretend to yourself that it will magically turn into a short story. They don't, is the thing.) You can beat this thing into a short story - Q did it for me with my main story last year, and if you can't do it on your own, someone can help you. (Some ways to make short stories happen: Crossovers, whether implicit or explicit. Build the background, then write a missing scene from it. Start in medias res - no, start MORE in medias res than that. Answer a single question. In retrospect, I can see a lot of ways I could have made a short story happen for my main assignment last year, more easily than the way I took.)

Anyway, my point is: I WOULD BE GLAD TO HELP YOU. If you want to panic at someone about your assignment, I AM HERE FOR YOU. (Email is best - thefourthvine at gmail.) And if you need brainstorming help, again, totally here for you. Yuletide is not as terrifying as it seems! (And, hah, remind me I said that after I get my assignment, so I can MOCK MYSELF. Because then I will be panicking.)

[identity profile] dormouse-in-tea.livejournal.com 2011-11-21 05:55 am (UTC)(link)
Once I finish my first round of panicking, I will indeed remind you!

And thank you. You are amazing. <3 <3 <3

[identity profile] thefourthvine.livejournal.com 2011-11-22 07:10 am (UTC)(link)
How did it go? Are you feeling relieved or terrified?

STRENGTH THROUGH YULETIDE, that is my new motto!

[identity profile] dormouse-in-tea.livejournal.com 2011-11-22 01:15 pm (UTC)(link)
That is an AMAZING motto. I think I am going to design a cross-stitch sampler for it.

...er, after Yuletide, that is.

I am. . . well, okay, I'm panicking. :P Because I got pretty much the BEST ASSIGNMENT EVER...and now I have to live up to it! :D

I hope you're happy too!