thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2014-10-17 11:16 pm

Dear Yuletide Writer Letter

Dear Writer Person,

We matched! So basically know that I am extremely fond of you already, because clearly you are a person of taste and discernment, loving one of these small fandoms as much as I do.

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!

Or, if you want to know more, read on.

Me

I love so many things, Yuletide author. Here is a small sample:
  • Happy endings. (Um, I mean of the happily ever after kind. Although I am also a big fan of orgasms, not gonna lie.)
  • Humor.
  • Stories that earn their payoff.
  • Slow build romances and slow build sex scenes.
  • Action and adventure.
  • Snappy dialogue.
  • Classic fan fiction tropes, whether played straight or inverted. (Soulbonds! Werewolves! Bodyswap! Arranged marriages! Amnesia! And so on.)
  • Robots, spaceships, aliens, space opera, military science fiction.
  • Urban fantasy.
  • People who have problems with feelings.
I also have some DNWs:
  • Animal and child harm or death. These are my only deal-breaker squicks; I can't handle them at all.
  • Embarrassment and humiliation.
  • Rape.
  • Misogyny, the abuse of women.
  • Infidelity.
  • Grimdarkness.
  • Big power imbalances -- teacher/student, doctor/patient, huge age gaps, etc -- or a male/female power imbalance with the woman on the less powerful end.
I am thefourthvine everywhere -- on AO3, DW, LJ, Twitter, and Tumblr. I'm easy to find.

So that's the general stuff. Let's talk fandoms.

80 Days, Manussiha

Request: It's fine if you don't want to write Manussiha, for the record. I love this world and just want more of it, via any of the nominated characters or any other you want to use instead. Some of my favorite characters are Manussiha (in Rangoon), Cetshwayo (in the Zulu Empire), Ranavalona (in Antananrivo), Octave (in New Orleans), and Daya (in Agra, and Agra is also one of my favorite locations) -- I'd love to hear more about any of them. I'm also great with OCs if you want to do pure worldbuilding -- something about Belgrade, or about what life is like in the Zulu Empire, or about what's up in the places we can't visit in the game. Or, heck, take a different adventure, like space exploration, and tell me about that in this universe, with these characters. I'm easy.

If you want to write slash, I'd love Octave/Passepartout -- maybe Passepartout returns to New Orleans and they meet again? If you want to write het, I'd love Cetshwayo/Ranavalona and their past -- how did they become allies? how did they become who they are? -- or their future that’s hinted about in the game. If you want to write gen, I'd love to hear about Manussiha in Rangoon -- how he made himself, what his future looks like, what it's like to be him. Or Daya in Agra -- what is Agra like? What is living there like? Or, if you're more of a history person, I'd love to hear about this world's future, in 1900 or 1915 or 1950 (or, heck, 2050). Basically: pick your spot. Pick your time. Pick your topic. Tell me more and I will be delighted.


(If you want to pick this up, it takes about four hours to do a playthrough, and it's available for iOS.)

80 Days is my favorite new media experience of 2014. Better than any book I read, better than, uh, all three of the movies I watched, better than any podcast I found. It's amazing. The game developers were trying to make a choose-your-own-adventure that was replayable and engrossing, and they succeeded, but what I really love about this game, what made it incredible, is Meg Jayanth's writing.

Jayanth describes some of her motivations in this article, and maybe even better than that as a summary of what I love is her alternate title for the article: "Rejecting the White Saviour Myth, one choice at a time." I love that this is what I think of as "inclusive steampunk" -- Victorian in tone, steampunk in nature, but expansive and balanced, with room for everyone. And all of those everyones are people, not just objects for Passepartout to meet. It's a world full of people living real lives that happen to intersect briefly with Passepartout's. Many of the non-player characters are more interesting and have more compelling stories than Fogg and Passepartout. I'd be thrilled to learn more about most of them.

I haven't done everything you can do in the game, but I have done at least 50 playthroughs, which included some of the rare events. I've been to most cities and I've met most people. There are few things you can spoil me for. So, basically, choose what works best for you, because it's all going to work so, so well for me.

Basketball RPF - Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Larry Bird

Request: I -- genuinely think Magic Johnson and Larry Bird might have soulbonded at the NCAA Championship in 1979. They certainly went from zero to intense, eternal focus pretty damn quickly. So what I want to know is - what happened? Where did it go from there? How does that work, when you're playing against each other, when at least one of you doesn't even LIKE the other, when you're such incredibly different human beings?

If you go with the actual soulbond, there are lots of interesting possibilities here - Larry fighting the bond, the way it affected them and their game, how it drove them to play. Or there's Magic's HIV diagnosis and how they dealt with that. Or there's the question of dealing with marriage (to other people) and being soulbonded. Or you could talk about how they finally accepted the soulbond and what it's like now, being comfortable with it and each other, years after the fighting and the struggle finally ended. Just, anything.

And if you take the non-soulbond route (which is fine; this definitely doesn't have to be a literal soulbond), just what IS going on? They have SOME kind of bond, that much is clear, so tell me about what it is and what it's like: forever friendship, repeating reincarnation as people obsessed with each other, multiverse-spanning romance, whatever. I just want more about this intense *thing* they have going.

I'm good with gen, slash, and poly. Just please no straight-up infidelity. There's always gen, or AUs, or setting the sex before the marriage, or spousal knowledge and consent (my favorite!), or spousal involvement. Or something else you come up with! LET THE MAGIC (hee!) OF BIRD AND JOHNSON GUIDE YOU, basically.


(If you want to pick this up, I'd start with the documentary linked below. That's where it all started for me. Warning: this slope is very slippery.)

Okay, I am a trifle concerned that my request makes me sound like a delusional tinhat. No! No! I am merely reporting the truth, which is that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird appear to have a real-life soulbond!

...That didn't help my case. But I have solid evidence. The documentary A Courtship of Rivals (YouTube link to full documentary in HD, but you only need to watch the first ten minutes to see the literal discussion of the soulbond) could not be clearer. These guys are bonded in some way. And I just find that fascinating. You could not have two more different guys (unless, like, one of them was a Vulcan - SHUSH NO WRONG FANDOM). You could not have a more intense rivalry. And yet it's abundantly clear they have a ton of respect for each other, a ton of very genuine love for each other, and they know each other so well - every appearance I've ever seen them in has just been so great for that.

Basically, I adore these guys. And I am riveted by their great and weird relationship. Anything you write about them navigating that relationship while being their extremely awesome selves will be wonderful for me.

Tour of the Merrimack -- R. M. Meluch, Augustus/John Farragut

I love Augustus. He's a gay decadent cyborg from the Roman Empire with a feelings dysfunction! Like. I was basically born to love him, I think. And what I'm hoping for here is more Augustus, either paired with John Farragut (that KISS oh HELP) or by himself.

If you're going with the gen option, I'd love to see what it's like to be Augustus, or especially what it's like to *become* Augustus. (This is a classic "a human being learns what it means to be a robot" scenario, and I am so completely there for that I have no words.) Worldbuilding of the Roman Empire would also be awesome -- I'd love to see Rome through Augustus's eyes, find out what it's like from the point of view of someone who actually likes it. (Because, well, it's not just that Farragut doesn't; Meluch doesn't, either.) Basically: I'd love some Augustus in which he sounds like himself and I learn more about him, whether that's his world, his history, or his -- well, future, to the extent that he has one or that you can give him one.

If you're going with the slash aspect, obviously I'd love to see Augustus and Farragut together. Somehow. Maybe it's post-canon but Augustus has a surprise comeback? Or maybe it's in the Myriad's continuity? Or -- maybe something else? I am totally flexible on this. If you can get them together at any point, with them still being themselves and having the kinds of interactions they do, I will be there for it and reading with absolute fascination. Because the thing is, I think they meet each other's needs. I think they are a mutual fascination society, and they are so obviously drawn to each other. And I also think they'd prefer to die than admit any of that. So if you can get them to admit it and not die -- wow, I will love you forever.

Note: I haven't read the fifth book.


(If you want to pick this up, it's -- well, it's a book series. It's available on Kindle? Or maybe at the library?)

Oh man this book series. [profile] brown_betty originally got me into them years ago, and I plowed through them as fast as I could get my hands on them, with a weekend of total agony when I could not get more and nearly died of it. I was obsessed. But I tried to move on. I did.

And then this year I, uh, spread the infection. And ended up discussing the series via Twitter and email in a manner that used up most of my supply of capslock and exclamation points for the rest of the year. I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SERIES, is the thing. (!!!!) And I'm so weak to it. I basically just have to look at the titles to get sucked back in to a complete reread, because the pacing is so compelling, and because I love Augustus and his relationship with John Farragut, and also certain plot devices and settings so very, very much.

So much, in fact, that I ignore the, uh, really not wonderful aspects of these books. (Jo Walton perfectly describes my very mixed feelings about this series in her review. Basically, they're the most fun books I've read that I can't in good conscience recommend without a full page of caveats.) And I'm hoping you will, too, Yuletide Writer, unless you want to invert or address some of the more problematic aspects of the canon, in which case do that thing.

But, no matter what you do, whether you get Augustus and Farragut together or take Augustus apart and show what makes him work or fix something that's broken, I will be delighted.
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)

[personal profile] wychwood 2014-10-19 08:44 am (UTC)(link)
I am intrigued by your comments about the Meluch! Someone recced me those books yeaaaars ago and I finally picked up the first one a few months back - and when I started reading it, I just hated it. Flat-out hated. I only got about ten pages in because I hated the prose and the characters so much. But! You give me faith that it might be worth trying again.
sumofparts: person holding a cloud in a field (Default)

[personal profile] sumofparts 2014-10-20 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the rec for 80 days; I'm not even a person who's into games or has an iOS device but I kind of want to borrow one just to check it out.

(Anonymous) 2014-10-20 02:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Someone needs to write Bird/Magic. THE UNIVERSE DEMANDS IT.

-sfa
lilyleia78: Close up of a lily in black and white (Default)

[personal profile] lilyleia78 2014-10-21 04:04 am (UTC)(link)
Sort of off topic but I found this site while trying to figure out if it was safe to watch Oculus and thought of you.

http://doesthedogdie.com/
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

[personal profile] nextian 2014-10-22 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, I somehow had totally missed 80 Days, but on seeing this letter I picked it up and loved it. I'm in the middle of my fourth playthrough and riveted. Did you ever solve the murder mystery?
mayexist: (Default)

[personal profile] mayexist 2014-10-27 04:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I, uh... finished the Merrimack series (and am sleepdeprived and in the process of a second readthrough of all of the books for lack of fic). 'Augustus' is the most coherent comment I can manage at the moment. I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for bringing him into my life.

(Miscellanea: I did some googling and am fairly certain that Meluch writes M/M romance under a different name. I was also wondering about the feasibility of selling greater fandom on Augustus by the power of Winter Soldier parallels. I mean, he falls of a bridge and is reborn as cyborg! It fits perfectly.)
exceptinsects: (Default)

[personal profile] exceptinsects 2014-12-20 01:30 am (UTC)(link)
Aaaaah I am totally obsessed with 80 days now!! Thanks for the rec.
Tell me, can I get Fogg to fall in love with me? I feel like there is the possibility but I've only played once so far. ❤️❤️❤️