abluestocking (abluestocking) wrote,

Yuletide Letter 2013! :)

Hello, lovely Yuletide author-to-be! I am beyond excited that we’ve been matched. You’re already most awesome for signing up to Yuletide and for offering at least one of the fandoms of my heart. Everything above that is gravy. I will adore you and whatever you write, don’t worry. <333

You’ll already have my requests, which I’ve copied down below as well. This letter will go into more detail (and periodically swerve into squee, because this is my third year doing Yuletide and it just makes me so blissfully happy). If you already have an idea and want to get writing, go for it! But if you'd like a little more insight into me and my requests, read on. :)

Before getting to the fandoms, a few general notes: I love all kinds of fic – gen, femslash, slash, het, it's all good. Whichever way your muse takes you is fine (although I'd love it if the story had some plot and/or characterisation as well as its porn, if you go in that direction). ♥

Things I love: gen adventures, falling in love (especially when the characters don’t realise that’s what they’re doing), unreliable narrators, slow build, characters with plans, characters with plans that go wrong, characters in love who have difficulty making the first move (particularly if the person they're pining for is in love with them too and having similar troubles), teasing, snark, established relationships (particularly the old-marriedness and cosy bits), kissing, thorough kissing, worldbuilding, magic, working through problems, laughter and derailments and affection during sex, cuddling, domesticity, happy endings. (More porn likes, if that's your thing, at my Yuleporn comment.)

Dislikes and squicks: character-bashing (I adore all the characters I’ve nominated), gore, scat, torture, bestiality, under-age sex, incest, non-con. Also, I’m a vegan. This isn’t a big deal usually – feel free to have people eating cheeseburgers in the background or whatever. It’s only a squick for me if the eating of animals is graphic (e.g., character is hunting and eats their kill raw with bloody relish) and/or dwelt on at great length & detail.

On to the fandoms and requests!

Political RPF - US 21st c.

(Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

Signup text: I love these two women, full stop. So basically anything you write will make me ridiculously happy. I’m very easy to please. :) Femslash or gen friendship adventures are equally loved; if you want ideas, see my letter (in which I basically squee all over the place). Zombie-fighters! Equal-rights advocates who fall in love while arguing cases before the Supreme Court! Supreme Court justices who transform the bench together! President Hillary being BFFs with Justice Ruth!

First, look at these two and tell me they aren’t just Simply Awesome. <3

Second, ideas? You want ideas? How about a zombie invasion in which Hillary and Ruth team up to save Washington? Or perhaps Hillary went to Rutgers instead of Yale Law and studied with Ruth, or clerked for her. Or maybe in 1974, instead of following Bill to Arkansas, Hillary stayed in Washington and argued seminal cases in front of the Supreme Court, just like Ruth. Maybe, having turned down Bill’s repeated marriage proposals, she and Ruth fell in love over briefs and briefcases; maybe Hillary ran for Congress, with Ruth at her side.

Or maybe Ruth and Hillary both ended up on the Supreme Court, and had awesome friendship adventures transforming it together, and/or fell in love on the bench! (Footsie under the robes! Hillary or Ruth as Chief Justice kicking butt and taking names! Their clerks starting a secret betting pool as to when they’ll get together! Etc.!) Or maybe Hillary became President instead of Bill (before she decided to marry him and move to Arkansas, most people thought she had the starrier future in store), and ends up becoming either BFFs or falling inconveniently but awesomely in love with one of her Justices.

Or, if you want to set it in the present day, maybe Ruth and Hillary meet over tea and Ruth persuades Hillary that she still has more to give the country – that Hillary shouldn’t think she’s too old, that she still has some very good years left and would be an amazing president.

As you might be able to tell, I would adore a slow-build intelligent romance – oh god, would I ever – but a gen friendship would also be simply lovely. And I really do mean that. Anything with these two together would be divine. (Just thinking about it is giving me the shivers!) It may sound like I want a 15K novel (and, well, if you write that more power to you and I will write you the longest most blissful comment of all time), but really a 1K snippet from any of the universes I’ve suggested, or another you come up with, would be fantastic. Again, don’t worry, anything you write about these two will make me really happy. :)

The only caveats I’d make here are: 1) if you AU it so Hillary is Ruth’s law school student or clerk, I’d rather not see them get together while Ruth is in a position of power over her. Friendship or pre-romance is fine, but I’m a grad student and it’d feel weird. 2) Infidelity makes me sad, so if you’re getting Hillary & Ruth together, it’d be great if you could handwave or ignore their husbands without bashing them (in 1974 Hillary can easily turn down Bill’s repeated marriage proposals and send him away to Arkansas, for instance). 3) Related - I like Bill fine, but as a supporting character not a major one. 4) Julian Assange was nominated in this fandom and he majorly skeeves me as a person, so please don't include him. Thanks. :)

Oh, and if you need OCs – clerks on Ruth and Hillary’s Supreme Court, people who fall to the zombie hordes advancing up Pennsylvania Avenue, President Hillary’s aides who pretend not to notice that Justice Ginsburg is spending a lot of time in the Oval Office – I have absolutely no problem with OCs as long as they’re not the main focus. :) Go for it and have fun creating people.

Here, have a picture of young!Hillary to inspire you. :)

And Ruth at about the same time.

♥ ♥ ♥


Jewish Scripture & Legend


Signup text: Why did Vashti refuse to come when Ahaserus sent for her? What was she doing with that banquet of her own – was it a political ploy? What happened to her after she was deposed? What did she think of Ahaserus gathering all the beautiful virgins in the land to look for her replacement? I’d love to see anything you wanted to write about Vashti and her choices. (More thoughts in my letter about this.) Or, if the melancholiness of her story isn’t your cup of tea, I’d enjoy her meeting up with other similar heroines - perhaps they rewrite their stories to be less about jerkface men and more about themselves? ;)

Rereading the book of Esther recently, I was struck by how dark it is. As a kid, you’re focusing on Esther, and how she saves her people by making Ahaserus fall in love with her and choose her over Haiman. But Vashti was queen first. The king had a 180-day party to show off the wealth of his kingdom, and at the end he threw a huge banquet for his friends, and the queen threw a banquet for hers, and when the king was very drunk he sent for Vashti to “show off her beauty” to his friends. (What exactly did this entail, I wonder?) And when she refused to come, he deposed her as queen and started gathering all the beautiful virgins in the land to find her replacement.

Why did Vashti refuse? Did she underestimate how angry the king might be? (The response to her refusal is interesting to me; Ahaserus’s advisers seem to think that her example could ignite a rash of marital disobedience among all the noble women in the land – many of whom were probably at Vashti’s banquet and witnessed her refusal – and thus she must face dire consequences to keep the patriarchy intact.) Did Vashti think Ahaserus really loved her (he was in the third year of his reign, so they may have both been young, and he had chosen her as queen originally), and that he’d therefore overlook her disobedience? Or was their relationship bad and this the final straw, and she simply couldn’t obey him any longer?

And what happened to her? The text doesn’t say she was killed, just deposed and banned from ever entering the king’s presence again. Did she have to remain in the king’s harem, watching as all those girls received intensive beauty treatments and then were sent to the king, girl after girl going into him at night and coming out in the morning to join the concubines, not having sufficiently won his favour? (It took more than a year before Esther won the king’s favour and was crowned queen, as all the girls had to undergo twelve months of beauty treatments.) Was she happy to be “retired”? (Ahaserus certainly seems to have had a volatile temper – maybe quiet retirement and being banned from seeing him ever again was a good thing!) Did she already have a child or children? What did she think about being replaced, and the process by which Ahaserus was doing it?

So many questions, I know! I’m just fascinated by Vashti’s story and character and would love to see a fic that looked at any of these aspects. I’m not expecting something that knows all the current scholarship as to who exactly Ahaserus and Vashti were, or what actually happened to Vashti, or any of that. Mostly I want something that gives me a satisfying look into who Vashti could have been.

Alternatively, if all this sounds wholly too melancholy for you, I love the other women nominated in this fandom as well (Dinah, Rahab, and Bathsheba). They could meet up at Vashti’s for tea and talk about their lives, or decide to rewrite their stories and sneak them in to replace the current ones, having hair-raising adventures in the margins of the book of Joshua as they race ahead of the pursuing Story Police. (Feel free to add your own favourite Tanakh heroines if you're going with a group plot.)

Double-alternatively, Vashti/Esther could be interesting! I doubt they would have been allowed to become close initially, but after Esther’s triumphant victory she probably got to do more of what she wanted. Maybe she and Vashti became friends and fell in love; Ahaserus, despite the “favour” he took in Esther, had plenty of concubines to keep him busy most of the time. If you go this route it’d be great to still get plot/characterisation – I love porn, but I prefer the kind that focuses on the characters and the story more than detailed descriptions of genitalia and positions. :)

♥ ♥ ♥

Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers

(The Dowager Duchess)

Signup text: I love the Dowager Duchess, I just do. Like, ridiculously much. So this request is pretty simple. More Dowager Duchess! Maybe you want to write a canon event retold from her unique perspective, or a missing scene, or her with her grandchildren. Maybe you want to write her as a younger woman, having adventures and reminding the reader of her talented son a bit. Maybe you want to write her late-in-life romance with Miss Climpson. Maybe you want to write a quiet scene between her and Bunter during the Difficult Bit of Peter’s recovery. Whatever you want to write, it’s all good! I will be excited! Because she is simply wonderful (and so are you, for offering to write her). <3

Not sure what else to say on this one! I love the Dowager Duchess so much, and I really would be happy with pretty much anything you write about her.

If you want to bring in other characters to interact with her, I like pretty much everybody. [Gerald kind of annoys me for some reason (the Duke, not St George). Harriet is the love of my life, St George constantly amuses me, I randomly have a soft spot for Helen, and Peter is just perfectly Peter.] But if you want to keep it solely to the Dowager Duchess, that is completely awesome. (More Dowager Duchess! Hooray!)

Hmm. I feel like I should give you more options here, haha, because I go on for so long about my other fandoms. The Dowager Duchess at Harriet and Peter’s wedding, fending off the descending hordes? Ooo, the Dowager Duchess having conversations with some of the dons at the wedding! Or the Dowager Duchess and St George after one of his escapades. So so so many things that you could write! Eeeeee!

(Have you figured out by now that I really love saying “the Dowager Duchess”? Even her name is awesome! Ahem. Shutting up now.)

♥ ♥ ♥

Oxford Time Travel Universe - Connie Willis

(Binnie, Eileen, Polly)

Signup text: Binnie is a terror of a child who loses her mother and has to protect her little brother in the middle of the London Blitz. Eileen and Polly are time-travelling historians who are stuck in the Blitz and frantically trying to find a way home. Together, they’re a trio of amazing, complex, flawed and fascinating characters who find friendship and family in the middle of fear and loss. What kind of fic am I looking for about them? I have some ideas about missing scenes and alternate POVs (uh, make that “a lot” of ideas, because I love this fandom – see my letter for more details), but primarily I’m hoping for a fic that focuses on their characters and on their relationships with each other. You can’t go wrong focusing on the three of them. :)

I just finished listening to Blackout and All Clear on audiobook a few weeks ago, and I absolutely loved them. I know some people fault them for being altogether too long and repetitive, but I fell in love with the characters. So many wonderful minor characters, and so many terrific major ones! I particularly loved the fact that not only are two of Willis’s main three characters women, but three-dimensional, complex, flawed women as well. Polly and Eileen are awesome, yes, and they are the heroines of their own stories, but they’re also very human and relatable, and I really liked that.

So, ideas. First of all, I love Binnie. Like, I adore her. Her relationship with Alf, the way she keeps the two of them alive and together in the middle of the Blitz, her sharpness (how old is she supposed to be again?! and responsible for a younger brother on top of that?), her intelligence (figuring everything out about Eileen, Polly, and Mike, go Binnie!), her orneriness (I love the name thing, I really do), her love for Eileen (found families hit me right in the heartstrings), her heroism (it’s interesting how the book comes at this from the side - Eileen’s always going on about terror children in the beginning, of course, but Binnie the ambulance driver is truly a heroine, besides all the times that she and Alf make it possible for the others to do what they need to do). Plus her love for film stars and her parrot and the name she finally chooses and the quest she goes on for Eileen’s sake - just everything about Binnie is so wonderful. She’s complicated and, yes, a terror, but she loves so deeply and will go to any lengths to protect the people she loves.

What kind of stories would I love to read about Binnie? Any scenes from the books from her perspective – what is she thinking during that incredibly long night when they’re dragooned into driving the ambulance, for example? How about during V-E Day, when she thinks Eileen is about to leave them? Or missing scenes! How does she try to hold things together after [spoiler]their mother dies? How do she and Alf puzzle out the mystery surrounding the time-travellers? What is her experience like during the later part of the war, once [spoiler]Polly has left and Binnie is driving ambulances? [Does Binnie ever hear of Mary Kent? Does she know who Mary is? Is she trying to avoid her, or does she catch glimpses of her from afar?] How does she decide on her name at last, and how does she tell Eileen? Basically, any stories about Binnie that focus on her Binnie-ness will make me very happy. :)

I also adore Eileen. Her first mission, gosh. She’s so young, and so scared for so much of the books. So scared…Polly has the bombing raids in her implant, but Eileen was supposed to be a maid up north, she wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the Blitz and the bombings and danger! What must those weeks have been like, between the time she came to London and the time Mike and Polly found her? Yet as the books go on, Willis develops her so carefully; Eileen’s no longer just the scared rookie, she’s puzzling out the mysteries of the lies/omissions that Polly and Mike are telling her in their misguided attempts to protect her, she’s coming to her own conclusions and making her own plans. And I love the way her POV is so frequently annoyed with the “terror children” and even Theodore’s clingy whininess, but it’s belied by the way her actions speak louder than her thoughts. She’s a protector, a mother, a friend; she may be an undergraduate, but she grows up so quickly. By the time she makes the sacrifice at the end of the books, it feels both earned and satisfying, even though it’s sad at the same time.

What would I love to see about Eileen? Similarly to Binnie, I’d love to see missing scenes. Those missing weeks before Polly and Mike find her? Her adventures in the later part of the war, between the time [spoiler]Polly leaves and V-E Day? Maybe the aftermath of [spoiler]Polly’s departure – what is the troupe (and Binnie and Alf) like without her, and how does Eileen fill her place both to the outer world and in her own heart? I’d also love to see anything with both Eileen and Binnie. Any time in the books, honestly; if you wanted to do missing scene stuff, maybe how Eileen and Binnie’s relationship grows and matures as Binnie grows up? She becomes an ambulance driver, what does Eileen think of that? (I seem to remember she lied about her age to get in – does Eileen just sigh and go along with it because Binnie will do whatever she wants, or do they have a discussion and talk about it?) As Binnie matures, does her relationship with Alf change, and where is Eileen in this – do they bond some more over trying to keep Alf from swimming the Channel to join the D-Day invasion? Like I said with Binnie, though, anything that keeps Eileen’s Eileen-ness will be absolutely wonderful. :)

And Polly! Beautiful, smart, star-crossed Polly, who everyone falls instantly in love with, from Sir Godfrey to Colin to Stephen. I love her fights with ribbons and her friendship with Marjorie, her misguided attempts to protect Eileen and Mike from the truth about her deadline, her tendency to always think the worst (assuming the troupe’s dead after the church is bombed, assuming she’ll get everyone she touches in 1941 killed and thus must never see them again, etc), her inability to get anything past Sir Godfrey, and her fearlessness in the face of danger (staying at the drop during the bombing raid, going into the bombed theatre after Sir Godfrey).

I can think of three groups of things I’d love to see with Polly. 1) I’d adore a fic with her and Binnie and Eileen, after they take the children in. It’s a desperate time for them, particularly if you go with Polly’s POV and her impending deadline, but it’s also when they become a family in the wake of [spoiler]Mike’s loss. A story set in this period that focused on their interactions would be lovely. 2) I love her interactions with her coworkers. Marjorie! Miss Snelgrove! If you want to write me a Polly/Marjorie fic, I will adore you. Or maybe Miss Snelgrove’s POV of Polly’s career at Townsend Brothers. 3) EILEEN/POLLY. In this fandom I’m mostly interested in gen fic, but if you prefer to write shipping fic there are some lovely possibilities. I’d rather not see Binnie shipped, and definitely not with Eileen. But I do ship Eileen/Polly more than a little bit. :) Maybe Binnie trying to solve a mystery and finding out that Eileen & Polly are together? Perhaps Eileen, following [spoiler]the loss of Mike, finds solace in Polly’s arms? Other pairings I like, although as background not primary ones, are Eileen/Vicar Goode and Polly/Sir Godfrey (I almost requested Sir Godfrey so I could ask for Polly/Sir Godfrey porn, but decided not to at the last minute. Maybe next year!) I’m not really into Polly/Colin.

Nota bene: Like I said at the beginning, I listened to these on audiobook with a great narrator. I’ve heard from other people that in print Willis’s attempt to portray Binnie and Alf’s dialogue patterns can veer into “cockney Dick Van Dyke” land. Please don’t feel that you need to copy her style in this! ;)

♥ ♥ ♥

That's all of my fandoms! If you read all of that, I am very impressed indeed. :) Sorry to chatter on so, I just love Yuletide and these fandoms so much. I've had such a wonderful time the last two Yuletides, and I know this year will be just as fantastic. Thank you again for offering to write one of these fandoms, dear writer! I know I will love your fic.

If you want to see the kinds of things I write myself (I know I check out my recipient), here are a couple of my fics from prior Yuletides. :)

No Longer a Friend of Narnia (Wicked Girls (album) - Seanan McGuire, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis).
Noah's Arkangel (Tanakh). [Warning, this one's really long, haha, but it was my assignment last year so I include it for completeness.]
Springtime in Ihistan (Damar - Robin McKinley).
Wicked Wiles (Fairy Tales and Related Fandoms, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)).
A Novel Solution (Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen).

See you on Christmas! Happy Yuletide writing, and thank you again!

Tags: exchange letters, yuletide, yuletide letters
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