artifactrix: My pseud, written on graph paper. (Default)
[personal profile] artifactrix
Dear Yuletide Author,

First and foremost, thank you for volunteering to write for one of my fandoms! Also, I am very sorry (again, still, in perpetuity, this year and every year) about the delay in posting this letter. I continue to be the actual worst. Please feel free to disregard everything in this letter and write whatever you damn well please. That being said, I have tried to cover my general likes and dislikes, and provide a few (totally optional!) ideas.

General Information

In any and all fandoms, I am 100% OK with receiving any subset or combination of characters requested.

I enjoy both shippy (slash, femslash, het, poly, whatever strikes your fancy) and gen fic of all flavors and genres and ratings, from unapologetic schmoop to grimdark, bad-ending, Terrible Things to out-and-out smut. Kink-wise, anything goes; just show me the characters being themselves, and being into it, and I'm game. In my signups, I may have mentioned ships I particularly like. Please feel free to write gen, or a totally different ship if that's what floats your boat. If you'd like to write it, go for it! I am happy to be convinced.

A note on characterization: In cases where I have mentioned my oddly specific character feels, please do not feel obligated to incorporate them if they don't work for you. My perceptions of characters are almost certainly not exactly the same as your perceptions of them. I know mine; please introduce me to yours!

I love worldbuilding, especially the mundane details of daily life (what is Character X wearing? Sleeping on? Eating for breakfast? What do the surroundings smell like? Tell me about the weather! Tell me about politics!). I like complicated feelings and human (and other sentient being) complexity, and morality that isn't merely gray so much as polychromatic.

My one hot-button narrative squick is embarrassment-based comedy.

I personally have no triggers; I urge you, however, to apply content warnings as appropriate for the health and safety of other readers.

My Requests

CAVEAT: All of these are optional details which are optional. If there's something you were aching to write when you offered, please go for it. If there's something you'd like to write that bears no resemblance to any of my nonsense, by all means write it! The story you want to write is the story I want to read.

English and Scottish Popular Ballads - Francis James Child

Either requested song is fine singly, no need to combine.

"The Famous Flower of Serving Men" | Child 106

My favorite version of "Famous Flower" is by Martin Carthy; lyrics and a video are available here. Specific characters of interest for "Famous Flower" are Fair Eleanor | Sweet William and The King, but I'm open to other characters.

This ballad has so much scope for playing with gender stuff and identity porn, and I would be all about some Fair Eleanor|Sweet William / The King. Like, the King's immediate reaction to the Big Reveal is to run right home and kiss "William" in front of everybody, but I'd argue that he was already into "him" before that. Maybe some relationship development in the verses 6 and 7 timeframe, with, like, "you're my boss and you think I'm a man and I'm dealing with some shit right now, but dang, you're cute"/"you're totally a guy, and also just some random peasant who showed up out of nowhere, but I am okay with that, because hot damn" flirting? Or the denouement - how is Eleanor feeling about being Eleanor again? Does she miss being William? Does the King miss her being William?

Or! I'm super curious about the mother's motivations - there's definitely a story there - and/or the supernatural aspects of the story. What's going on with the husband-ghost-bird? Reincarnation? Possession? Is the milk-white hind also him, or just a friend? (Crack ship: Hind/Dove? I am ridiculous, please ignore me.) Is he endorsing Eleanor's life choices from beyond the grave, or just angling for revenge, or...?

(If you're reading this because we matched on one of my other requests and now you're thinking better of having offered that one, this is a folk song about a young woman who, after the murder of her husband and child at the behest of her mother, disguises herself as a man and becomes the trusted servant of the King, who comes to love her "as his son" (ahem). Through some supernatural intervention by woodland animals and/or the ghost of her husband, the King learns her backstory, and immediately rushes home to kiss her (ahem) and arrange for dreadful vengeance against her mother. It is roughly ten minutes long. Lyrics and video are linked in the description above, and there are several other renditions available on youtube.)

"Bold Archer" | Child 188

My favorite version of "Bold Archer" is by Brass Monkey; lyrics and a video are available here. Specific characters of interest for "Bold Archer" are Archer and Dicky, but again, I'm open to others.

The Brass Monkey rendition of this ballad is pretty lighthearted - is it even a ballad if nobody dies? - and mostly it makes me think of the jailbreak sequence from Disney's animated Robin Hood in its funny-and-dramatic-but-not-too-perilous tone (now there's a formative childhood media influence). Dicky's just so over the top Heroic - Eleven? No, we need forty dudes! Oh, Archer, you can't walk? That's okay, I'll just carry you! Your horse is lame? That's okay, my horse is the best horse, come ride with me!

So, like, I'm sure there are versions of this which are traceable back to Actual Scotland, and possibly to Actual Real People, but I'm really just interested in the wacky hijinks version which bears the same relation to reality as Disney's Robin Hood does. With that said - where is this? Who the hell are these characters, and what's going on? Why does everybody care about Archer, and what did he do to end up in prison? Not gonna lie, I'd be thrilled to see some Archer/Dickie - that Heroic Rescue narrative is hitting my trope buttons, I am forever weak for guys rescuing each other - but that is ofc Optional.

(If you're reading this because we matched on one of my other requests and now you're thinking better of having offered that one, this is a folk song about a guy who is in prison, and another guy who stages an extremely heroic rescue to save him. It is roughly ten minutes long. Lyrics and video are linked in the description above, and there are several other renditions available on youtube.)

Iolanthe - Sullivan/Gilbert

I love this operetta, like, stupidly much. It is clearly Gilbert and Sullivan's finest, I will fight everybody on this forever. It's quality (vintage) social satire, and it deftly plays its wacky premise straight enough for genuine emotional impact and investment without losing sight of its own fundamental silliness.

I'd love to see some Tolloller/Mountararat, anytime pre-, during-, and/or post-canon. I mean, come on, they're competing for Phyllis entirely on principle, and then they call the whole thing off because the - ahem - sacred ties of friendship are paramount. That entire scene is its own ship manifesto. (To be fair, I have seen so many productions where they're overtly played shippy that I literally can't not see it now, but clearly it's not just me.) Or, back in gen territory, I'm forever and always into worldbuilding, and I'd love to get a flavor of the only-slightly-sillier-than-reality alt!England of the setting. And I'm super into the idea of the culture shock which the peers must - or must they? Maybe not? - go through as they adjust to post-canon life in fairyland.

Or! I was saying earlier, about emotional investment. I'd love to see some post-canon Iolanthe and Phyllis bonding - Phyllis never had a mother to advise her, after all. Or any of Iolanthe's backstory! The Lord Chancellor didn't make it into the character noms, but if (and only if!) you're interested, I'd be super into Iolanthe's relationship with him, pre- and/or post-canon - in an Iolanthe-centric way. Ooh, or, just - fairies! Fairy society! Fairy politics! Fairy friendship! Fairy femslash.

(If you're reading this because we matched on one of my other requests and now you're thinking better of having offered that one, this is a comic light opera which premiered in England in 1882. It's about... political satire? With fairies? A synopsis is available at Wikipedia, and there are several full versions available on youtube, with some digging. This performance by the McGill Savoy Society (runtime 4 hrs 45 min) is pretty good, although it plays Tolloller and Mountararat painfully straight.)

Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

I would be happy with either or both requested characters. Additional characters are fine - may even be inevitable, given how this series features a cast of dozens, and quite a tight-knit one at that, and they tend to travel in packs - and Captain Flint is extra fine (but not requested, and Optional!). No specific character exclusions, but please, no John/Nancy.

My favorite thing about this series is how the children reinterpret and perform other stories as a context for what they're doing - how they're aware that they're only playing, but at the same time, being explorers is Very Serious Business, and they're going to do it right, and just about anything can become a Grand Adventure, or at least be made more palatable by virtue of being less mundane. Reality enhances play, and play enhances reality, and stories are powerful; it's all very meta. And then the children write stories - really, really bad stories, novel-length self-insert badfic, which actually exists as part of the series - about themselves having Even Grander Adventures. I also really love how the adult characters understand and respect and play along with the story - there's very much a sense of a generational legacy of imaginative play (e.g. how Molly and Jim and Bob climbed the Matterhorn; Molly's daughters and their friends climb Kanchenjunga). I didn't request any adult characters, but if (and only if!) you're into it, I'm always interested in seeing adult perspectives on the children.

I'm also super weak for stores about What The Swallows and Amazons Did In The War. Enlisted or on the Home Front, I don't doubt that Nancy would find something that needed doing and wade in up to the teeth; Titty is less overtly (less performatively?) bold and brash, but she has a quiet, private, sometimes grim get-things-done resolve. Consider the war in Swallows and Amazons, when she's alone on the island, or the dowsing in Pigeon Post, when she grits her teeth and chokes down her overwhelming squick and saves the day.

Speaking of Pigeon Post, I would love any character exploration of either Titty or Nancy or both, and would super love some exploration of friendship (or romance?) between them, especially circa or after Pigeon Post. That conversation between Nancy and Titty, just before the dowsing? They're awesome girls, I love them both so much (lbr, I relate to both of them, like, real hard) and they'll turn out to be awesome women, and they get each other, and I ship it. (Shippiness, as always, is Optional. If you decide to go for it, though, please aim for period-appropriate social mores, however distasteful you may find them. I am 100% in favor of de-straightwashing history, but unfortunate baggage comes with the territory.)

(If you're reading this because you got assigned to me in one of my other fandoms and now you're thinking better of having offered that one, this is a series of novels set (and mostly written) in interwar Britain. They are about a steadily increasing number of children, and what they do on their holidays in the Lake District There are a lot of them.)

Uprooted - Naomi Novik

This book left me with so many questions about worldbuilding - I want to roll around in the setting and learn all about it. The politics! The geography! The magic system! Food! Clothes! Everything! And the ending is so open. I would love to see more of Agnieszka's life, day-to-day or over time, as the mysterious witch of the forest. Or more of Kasia's adventures as an indestructible warrior. I would super super love some post-canon Kasia/Agnieszka, any emotional tone - joyous, melancholy, there are so many possible approaches! I didn't request the Dragon, so this is Very Optional, but I'm also open to Kasia/Agnieszka/Dragon if the fancy strikes (vee seems more likely to me than triad, but I'm an easy sell tbh).

I really love Agnieszka's journey of discovery of her powers, and her rediscovery/inheritance of Baba Jaga's magic, and her determination to think outside the box and do the right thing even if it's difficult or expensive or scandalous or deeply impolitic. Anything dealing with Agnieszka coming into her own - not just her powers, but as a person - is great. (Pretty much all of her social interactions in the capitol were embarrassment squick hell for me, though, so if you want to work in that timeframe or setting, please, no more 'insecure country girl gets hazed by mean girls, is constantly embarrassed'.)

(If you're reading this because you got assigned to me in one of my other fandoms and now you're thinking better of having offered that one, this is a standalone fantasy novel about a girl who is unexpectedly tithed to the local wizard (not sexually; there's some speculation early on, but it's not true). As it turns out, she has magic of her own, and figures out how to use it. Also there's political intrigue and a spooky haunted malevolent forest, and a best friendship with loads of femslash potential.)


artifactrix: My pseud, written on graph paper. (Default)

October 2016


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