Hello! This is my third year doing Yuletide, and I'm excited to be doing this again. I hope that you find something in my requests that makes you go EEEEE and that you have lots of fun with. If it helps you to get a sense of what kinds of things I like, here is my rec list from last year, and if you rummage in the yuletide tag, you will find other commentary.
Looking at my requests, they are rather all about music and history, sometimes together, and possibly with a side of myth. Which, yeah, sort of story of my life.
Things I especially like:
- Worldbuilding. Particularly interesting to me are things like 'stuff people are reading or learning or experiencing in the background that make them go that direction in the narrative' or stuff that's about ethics and self-awareness and how characters developed it, as well as the more practical 'how the world works' parts.
- Canon relationships developed further (backstory, missing scenes).
- Relationships and interactions that are about friendship, or being colleagues, or being teacher and student, or all sorts of other things, (romantic and sexual relationships are lovely things too, but they get a lot more of the focus a lot of the time.)
- Music, academia, historical geekiness, libraries handled well and with an attention to the details that people who do those things notice if they're mentioned (but in all cases, glossing over them with a very brief reference will likely also work.) Obscure historical awesomeness makes me squee, as long as it's either accurate or handled as "potentially awesome thing not yet proven" as appropriate.
- I really like stories that involve people being competent. They don't need to be perfect (no one's perfect, everyone makes the occasional stupid decision), but I love stories where people have worked to develop skills, and then they use them, and the world's better off.
Things I do not want in my Yuletide:
Like most people, I have weird quirks about some things, and particularly in the context of Yuletide's length and timeframe and context, they are probably more sensibly avoided. (They're all things that I like in some cases, but there's a decent chance a Yuletide implementation of them would hit a spot that would not be fun for me.)
These things are:
- RPF involving people who are still alive. (Quoting or referring to public information from/about them is fine, but referring to their thoughts or private conversations is not always comfortable for me.) It bothers me much less once the person and their immediate loved ones are dead.
- Explicit sex or kink beyond the degree it exists in the canon. (A lot depends on the set-up for me, and that gets hard to explain, so 'as in canon' seems a sensible guideline here.)
- Non-canon relationships or AUs depend a lot on set-up for me, and in general, take more words than the time frame of Yuletide is likely to allow. Except for the note in my request #4 (the blog post), it is probably better avoided.
- I have a thing about not liking narratives which rely on teachers being stupid, entirely inobservant, etc. (Some are, but it's when every teacher in the narrative is that I go grr a lot.) Likely only relevant to one of my requests, but I mention it just in case.
Requests- some additional prompts, comments on what I find fascinating about it, or whatever else seemed possibly useful.
1) Follow Me Down (song) - Seanan McGuire
(The King Who Is Buried in Winter, The Lady of Springtime)
I've loved this song for a long time, and I know that Seanan has work planned in the seasonal monarch series *sometime*. But. Y'know. There's so many possible stories in this song. One of the things that fascinates me is the way relationships change over time - and this song is an excellent example of that. I would be totally happy with a story that's about the change over time, or snippets from different moments in the progression, or that is a retrospective looking back. I'm less interested in a story about the beginning of the cycle than about the end of the cycle. (or, if the beginning, 'another time around' rather than 'first times')
(CD available here and lyrics are here.)
2) Haunted Ballad series, Deborah Grabien
(Ringan Laine, Penelope Wintercraft-Hawkes)
I nominated this series because it's one I really wish more people knew about. If you're not familiar, it's a series of five novels which are mysteries centered around traditional ballads and what inspired them, usually with ghosts. The protagonists are thoughtful, competent grownups, and the plots do not generally rely on people being stupid. (People not factoring some things in, yes.)
If you're not familiar with the series, they're available very cheaply used these days, and because they're sequential, feel free to set something before or in the scope of the first book or two. (Later books do give you a few more details, but they are all fairly minor.) http://auntieknickers.blogspot.com/2
I would like to see mentions of both Penelope and Ringan, but really, any characters from the series are totally fun. My favourite of the novels are Famous Flower of Serving Men and Cruel Sister. I also am really fascinated by the larger implications of the setting of Matty Groves. The last book is my least favourite, and I haven't figured out why yet.
I am totally fine with there not being an explicit ghost story, but an explicit folksong and ghost story plot would be lovely if you wish to write one. I like the way the ghosts are here: mostly abiding echoes of history. I love the musical references. I am familiar with a lot of the Child Ballads and other trad folk sources, but not obsessive about them, and I don't have a One True Interpretation issue with them.
3) Foyle's War
(Andrew Foyle, Paul Milner, Samantha Stewart)
Foyle's War is a BBC series focusing on Christopher Foyle, who spends the years of the second World War solving crimes and other problems in southern England, with excellent attention to historical detail and complexity.
What I love about this series: smart people, being largely competent, but also very human. I love watching Sam grow up and make her own way. I love Paul finding his way back from some really horrible experiences. I love Christopher's sturdiness and commitment to doing the right thing, even when it's amazingly inconvenient. I adore the historical detail. (I really adore the historical detail.)
I would love stories that focus on any of the above, or a nice bit of mystery that shows them digging in and finding the truth. Backstory fic or missing scene fic would also be lovely, but since there are new series in progress, I'd rather not have 'what happens after'.
4) The Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified (Blog Post)
(Henry VII of England (Ten Stupidest Things) Richard III (Ten Stupidest Things) Tudor Osteologist Spy)
For those reading this letter who don't already know this one, here is the original blog post. One of the things I love about Yuletide is random awesome stuff.
I should start by saying that I am pro-Richard and have been since I read Elizabeth Peters in my young and formative years (The Murders of Richard III) and my mother is actually a card carrying member of the Richard III society.
However, that doesn't mean I think he was perfect, or blameless or anything - just that he got a bad rap via propaganda from the Tudors, and that while he certainly did some of the things he's blamed for, he didn't do all of them. (In particular, I tend toward the argument that Henry had more reasons to kill the Princes in the Tower than Richard did.)
Anyway. This is one where I can see all sorts of awesome stories and styles of fic. The Tudor Osteologist Spy bit totally delights me in modern times (Does the spy have an academic mentor? A loved one who is an ardent Richardian?), or something that is entirely in the historical era between Henry and Richard. But I'd also be fine with you going totally other places with this - turning it on its head and coming at is an AU where Henry lost, and his body was just rediscovered, or some other weird set of events.
As noted in my general comments above, RPF about living people can weird me out, which is why Queen Elizabeth II is not on my character set. Public quotes from people involved in the discovery (or later wrangling) are just fine, but if you're inserting someone in the narrative whose thoughts and private conversations are in your work, I'd much rather they didn't match a real person's name or identity.
In terms of historical and academic currency: I've read quite a few of the primary sources and a fair number of secondary ones related to Richard, especially around his portrayal by the Tudors and later, but a lot of that was fifteen years ago, and the details are not in current memory. Likewise, I've been generally following the news around his being rediscovered, but not obsessively. If you put details in, I will probably poke at them with various search tools, though.
5) Die Zauberflöte | The Magic Flute - Mozart/Schikaneder
(Königin der Nacht | Queen of the Night, Pamina, Sarastro)
I love this opera, and have sung a shortened version of it in English (in the chorus) back in my teen years, and have been fascinated by it ever since.
The thing I keep coming back to is how the relationships between the Queen of the Night, Sarastro, and Pamina work. What the backstory is, what the future story is, how both the Queen and Sarastro show multiple sides to Pamina (and Tamino) and the audience. While this opera has a lot of fantastical moments, and an awful lot of allegory and mystical allusion dumped over everything, there's also a lot of "people are just plain complicated." in here that I love. There's a interesting post that gets into some of what's in the opera and different takes on it in various performances that you may or may not find sparks some ideas. (I am open to all sorts of interepretations here, as long as they have complexity.)
I would also love a story that's about Pamina having agency, sorting out for herself who to listen to, what to trust. (And while I don't really want a "aw, adorable, love story" thing that focuses on Tamino, I'd love something that explains why there's more there than "shining noble rescuer" holding them together.)
There is a comment to this post with a summary of the opera I ended up doing for a friend in email, because having written it, it needs a wider audience. Clearly, part of what I love about it is the absurdity.
(If you are reading and are not familiar with Yuletide, there is a comment on this post explaining more.)