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Dear Yuletide Author: 2014 Edition 
18th-Oct-2014 10:11 am
Dear Author:

It’s that time of year again, the stress is high, the anticipation grows by the day—it’s Yuletide, bitches! If you’ve participated before, welcome back, if you haven’t, welcome to the trip, man. This is now year six of my involvement in this exchange and it’s been really cool to both see how my consumption of fanworks and my own writing has evolved as a result of this challenge. So, I hope that you enjoy the yearly challenge and all that comes with it as much as I do! Every year has been a great and unique experience and I fully hope that this year will be the same for both of us.

So, with that out of the way, here’s a little bit about me. First and foremost, I LOVE female characters and canons and fanfic that focuses on female characters and their perspectives and thoughts and how they interact within the constructs of their worlds. This is my thing and what I am requesting across all my fandoms. This may not be a shock, since I run the Misses Clause challenge with my good friend freneticfloetry, but hey, it should be mentioned.

Specific examples of characters I love to pieces, flaws and all, are Tess Harding (Roswell, seriously I will go to my grave stanning for Tess), Sarah Manning (Orphan Black), Mrs. S (also—Orphan Black), Arianne Martell (ASOIAF), Sansa Stark (also ASOIAF), Mellie Grant (Scandal), Fiona Gallagher (Shameless), Juliette Barnes (Nashville), Cersei Lannister (ASOIAF again), Nicky Nichols (OITNB), Poussey Washington (OITNB), Olivia Pope (Scandal), Elizabeth Keen (Blacklist) and many others. I guess if there is a theme—there’s probably a theme—I like complex characters that are strong and flawed, outwardly confident and brash to mask their inward self-loathing and lack of self-esteem.

Genre-wise, I drift toward canon-based world building, gen, and canon divergence fics. I like het and some femslash, depending on the characters, if the story and the relationship are compelling. I also am a HUGE MASSIVE EPIC FAN of dark fic, angst, unhappy endings, ambiguous endings, and things that are thought provoking and take your breath away. If dark fic isn’t your thing, though, that’s cool. However, please know that I do not like straight fluff, schmoop, happily ever afters without a journey to get them there, crack, or non-canon AUs. To better understand what I mean, here’s a list of my wants and DNWs*.

• Well-developed characters and character-based stories, or plotty stories that have great character development and don’t sacrifice that for the sake of plot.
• Fic focused on female characters
• Canon-world building and backstory that is routed in canon portrayals of folks. This means, for example, I would love a fic that explores how Arianne Martell was raised in Dorne, but not one that has Arianne Martell raised a Stark of Winterfell or a fic on the history of Dorne and the right of gender-blind primogeniture.
• The question of nature v. nurture from a character standpoint. I mean, this is why Orphan Black and morally grey characters are my absolute favorite. So fic that explores this makes my heart grow three sizes.
• Exploration of power dynamics and systemic structures and how that affects characters and the ways they examine the world (ideally, in a non-SJW way)
• Twisted, Dark Fic with some dub-con and D/S elements (though not explicit dub-con or D/S dynamics—again, this is hard to navigate, but I don’t want someone calling someone else master or explicitly sexuality based D/S or some-such, it’s more I like power imbalances which sometimes lend themselves to D/S dynamics)
• Good guys turning bad and vice versa – I like to believe that everyone is shades of grey and that no one is 100% good or bad. I think my requests reflect this, but y’know if you want to go that route, totally cool.

Do Not Want*
• Crack and Meta
• Crossovers
• Genderswap and MPreg
• Issue fic - especially sexuality issue fic
• Incest – or, given one of my requests is Orphan Black, clone-cest.
• A/B/O
• Non-canon based AUs, meaning no coffee shop, library, high school etc (or for OB, no AUs where they are not clones) AUs
• Kid or Baby-fic
• 2nd Person POV
• Bestiality/Necrophilia
• Vore or Guro (including no graphic body-horror stuff)
• Animal Cruelty
• Watersports, Bloodplay, Scat, Enemas etc.
Okay with those out of the way, here are my requests. Please know that all aired episodes of my fandoms are fair game, so if you are in the process of catching up, I would recommend skipping those requests for now lest you be spoiled.

Orphan Black - Sarah Manning

Why I love this show: Oh, writer, let me count the ways. I love the way that it frames body politics and structural institutions/systems of control, I love the think-y (and sometimes weird!) science, I love the questions of identity and the nature v. nurture debate, and I love that it’s grounded in reality by a diverse (and mostly female!) cast. I love that it’s dark, that it doesn’t shy away from controversial elements and that it’s very fast paced.

Why I love (and requested) this character: Sarah Manning is everything I love in a character. She’s an antihero with a troubled past, fiercely independent and fiercely loyal and has some real vulnerabilities and for all her bravado, she struggles with confidence both as a mother to her daughter and as a member of the clone club. She also has trust issues, which is always a bonus in my book, but in spite of all of this, she is a fighter—she’s the wild type, she propagates against all odds, she’s restless, she survives.

Prompt Ideas (Please know that I’ll likely love anything you come up with, but these are some ideas to get you started):

#1. Sarah doesn’t escape DYAD at the end of season two (you can decide if Kira does or not), because Siobhan doesn’t make the deal, Marian renegs on the deal, Cosima’s pencil gun goes awry or some other reason. We already know that she was scheduled to undergo an oophorectomy, and there were stated plans to get her pregnant right away, so what would happen? How would that affect Sarah? The clone club? The Rachel and Sarah dynamic? I just am really fascinated by the idea of the unmonitored clone, who by all accounts values her independence above all else, in captivity and the idea of Dyad owning a person and what that ownership means. As stated above I am perfectly fine with dark fic (and love it), and OKAY with some body horror (unauthorized oophorectomy and forced pregnancy are solidly body-horror in my book, as well, is cloning in the context of this show), and neolution has some body-horror elements, however I would prefer it not be graphic in nature and definitely don’t want something like The Human Centipede. I like to hurt the ones I love, but not to that extreme.

#2. Dyad makes a public (Gen-erica government backed?) play for ownership of the clones (and resultant DNA) sometime after it is stated that they have patents encoded in their cells. Maybe by claiming Alison signed away her rights via that contract? How does Sarah react and fight this? How does this impact Kira, S, Fe and the rest of the clone club? The fight on the Leda-side has been pretty micro-level to this point, but taking it to a macro-level would bring a whole new element and set of complications to the mix, especially with the knowledge that there is a Gen-erica army made up of Castors. Also, in leading a fight against Dyad, is Sarah the villain or the hero? Maybe a little of both?

#3. Sarah and Mrs. S dynamic fic. I really really really love the complicated relationship between S and Sarah and would love to explore how Sarah came to S as an 8 year old, and how S influenced how Sarah is as an adult and also why the relationship is as tricky as it is – it’s obvious they both love one another but that love is messy and complicated like any family’s and possibly more-so given the nature of it.

Nashville – Juliette Barnes, Avery Barkley

Why I love this show: Nashville is a weird one, for me. It snuck up out of nowhere because I was looking for a show to watch on Wednesdays and I have liked Hayden since Remember the Titans so I figured, why not. Why it’s weird is that I don’t tend to gravitate toward stories about singing and I am not a fan of country music. Why it’s not weird is that the show is full of complicated relationships and explores the role of women in music as they toe the line between sex symbol and talented artist.
Why I love this character: Juliette is fascinating and a force of nature as well as her circumstances. She rejects people before they can reject her, she doesn’t know what a healthy relationship is because the only one she has ever had was with her father, who passed when she was young. She looks for love from her fans because doesn’t love herself and it’s heartbreaking Everyone around her is there because of her profession, first, and she’s so vulnerable that she hides it all behind bravado and desperation and yet she is scrappy and will not be tamed.

Prompt Ideas :

#1. Juliette gaining confidence and learning to love herself. Like this can be plotty, this can be introspective, it can be a mixture of both. I really just want to see her start to grow as a person and everything and taking an active role in her life while not losing her “Juliette-ness” – if she can learn this from interacting with Rayna, Bucky, or someone else that’s totally great, but I want her to start to take responsibility and also start to love herself. (I don’t want to just do some naval-gazing here, I want her to actively take control of her life and everything.)

#2. Juliette and Avery – I really like them together, I think they are tragic and the way that she sabotaged that relationship is just so fucking real as much as it is painful and such so I would love to see something where she either reacts to the ongoing feelings she has toward Avery/herself, I am totally fine with an angsty fic that gets them together.

The Blacklist – Elizabeth Keen, Red Reddington (non-shippy, please!)

Why I love this show: Blacklist was all about James Spader when I watched the show from the start a year ago. I like that it takes the crime tropes of “case of the week” and turns them on their side a bit because although the FBI is involved, it’s truly Red in the drivers’ seat. I also like the maturation of Agent Keen from Psychological Profiler to Handler and the mystery surrounding the Keen and Red dynamic. I do think, however, that the show is dragging that relationship out to the point of absurdity at this point, as I am definitely someone who believes Red is her father, or murdered her parents, and they missed a really great opportunity to tie her into the greater mystery with Berlin last season.

Why I love these characters: I love “Lizzie” because she’s growing up and growing a backbone. She started out dwarfed both by her husband and Red as somewhat of a plot device—although she was obviously smart and capable, she was always kind of just “there” in a sense. I get it, it’s wicked hard to compete with Spader when he’s a magnificent bastard (and boy is he ever as Red), but what we saw in the tail end of season 1 and a bit in season two is that she is coming into her own after having her world rocked. Red I love because it’s fucking Spader being spader. That may seem silly, but I loved him on the Practice, and later, Boston Legal and his stint on The Office and as Red, he exemplifies the glorious bastard from the start. I also have a thing for people who are content to be assholes (and Raymond Reddington is an asshole) while also being mercurial and having weaknesses underneath them all.

Prompt Ideas:

#1. Keen is not as by the book/morally good as she thinks. Look we are starting to see, and I would love to continue to see, the exploration of Elizabeth Keen as she deals with the fact that her interactions with Red and her assignment as his handler means that she is forever navigating these shades of grey. She had to let Berlin go in the pilot, there’s this subplot with Red and his ex-wife and she’s keeping secrets. So I want this to continue, I would love to see her continue to explore this darker side as she grows with the FBI and in her involvement with Red and his operation.

#2. Casefic where Red is so convinced that he is right about someone and Lizzie proves him wrong, but only after believing Red as a default and compromising her integrity in the process and what the fallout of that is both in their relationship and for Liz as a person/agent. In the episode where Red rescues his former wife you start to see this with Keen, where she doesn’t freeze Berlin’s assets to protect Red (she’s his handler first), but I want to explore this more and have her start to make decisions that are a little darker and less aligned with the Bureau’s policies but more aligned with Red. If you can tie it back into the bigger mystery of the show, that’s awesome, and I would love you for it. Also, FWIW, I like a lot of the fucked up cases that Red brings up in his crime of the week stuff – the abused son who is now taking his sick revenge fantasies/form of vigilante justice out on other would-be abusers was fascinating, but really the main points here are Liz acts in the best interests of Red and finds herself in the process.

Scandal - Abby Wheelan, Mellie Grant, Olivia Pope

Why I love this show: Scandal is the kind of show that keeps me guessing. I mean I worked in DC so I avoid a lot of shows based in DC that deal with politics and this was the one that reeled me back in. I love the pace of it, I love that no one is good, even though people think they are and that we all can be villains or make mistakes for THE GREATER GOOD. Also Shonda can do no wrong.

Why I love these characters: Abby is quickly tying Mellie for HBIC status on this show and I love how assertive she is being while also wearing her hurt on her being. It's very true to life and also I like that she's becoming harder post-OPA. Mellie is my absolute queen and I find her reaction to Jerry's death fascinating. I love Olivia for her willingness to Do the Right Thing even when it's messy, and I also love her blind spots that make her human.

Prompt Ideas:

#1. Why is it that we are all trying to be Olivia Pope?

Abby is quickly tying Mellie for HBIC status on this show and the whole scene where David confesses to Abby what he tried to do and how he tried to wear the white hat only to realize that it's far uglier than he imagined it could be breaks my heart. So I would love to see Abby reflect on David's comment as well as her messy relationship with Olivia. I know he wasn't nominated, so I don't want to back you into a corner, but I do love David so so so much and would love to see him in there if you are willing. If not, totally cool and understandable. I threw Mellie in there because I find her behavior after Jerry's death fascinating, so I could also totally love and adore a fic where Abby has to manage Drunk Mellie and Drunk David.

Basically, give me Abby fic after leaving OP&A, even though OPA is not the kind of thing you ever TRULY leave, and I will love you forever. And if the canon takes things in a new and badass direction, like it looks like it will next week, totally down for you riding the canon wind where it takes ya! Please note, I am not adverse to shipping any combo of Mellie/Abby/Olivia (though I tend to want Mellie/Olivia to happen and I ship David/Abby) but I fucking HATE Fitz (and I am not a huge fan of Jake Ballard, either). Please don't write Fitz into this in any major way--unless it has something to do with him being a total asshole.

Anyway, these are my requests, dear author, and I hope that you are excited about them just like I am about offering them up for you to write. Again, these are just starting points and if the muse takes you somewhere else, that’s fine, but I hope that this was helpful and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

-G (aka: hauntedd/martinigrl – my fandom pursuits mostly fall under “hauntedd” in case you want to creep my AO3/FF.net profiles or if we happen to run into one another on yulechat)

*I know this list is exhaustive this year, but it’s mostly due to one of the prompt ideas I have and I feel like since it lends itself to body horror, my boundaries should be clearer up front.
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