barometry: ([sandman] delirium)
[personal profile] barometry
Dear Yuletide Author,

Hello! It is very exciting for me to know that you're reading this (and sorry that it wasn't up quite before assignments went out), because this is my first ever Yuletide as a participant! So first up I just want to say that whatever you write for me, I will be thrilled just that you wrote it for me, regardless of the details of the story. I've provided some story ideas in the original prompts, and I give a bit more detail about those below, but please definitely consider those as optional starting points. If there's another idea that you're excited to write, please do run with that.

I apologize that so much of this journal is locked. Feel free to contact me anonymously; I will also post back here once I've checked with a couple people whether you can get in touch with them to ask questions. If you want to see a collection of shiny objects that have recently caught my attention, I'm [ profile] barometry over on Tumblr. If you'd like to see what types of stories I usually read, I have an extensive and entirely unsorted collection of bookmarks on AO3.

Here I will try to give you some general details about my likes and dislikes, before moving onto more discussion of my specific requests:

Dislikes are easier, so let's start here. I don't have any triggers that I'd ask you to avoid. I do have a few serious dislikes. I have an embarrassment squick a mile wide: If a character is in a situation where they're acting inappropriately because they don't know / have the wrong assumption about what's going on, I usually have to hit fast-forward or scroll down really quickly. I also don't enjoy reading about infidelity -- it's fine if people break up with their partner to pursue a new relationship, but I don't enjoy reading about a relationship with cheating, even if it's later resolved.

Throwing it out there just because it's occasionally a trope: I also have a lot of feelings about irresponsible drug and alcohol use, and addiction. Frank, direct, and accurate portrayals of addiction and recovery are likely to gut me, to a certain extent (not necessarily in a bad way, just in an emotionally fragile way). On the off chance that addiction is part of a story you want to write, right now I really can't deal with stories about addicts who refuse to accept that there's a problem: the movie The World's End was kind of difficult for me to watch for that reason, for example.

Likes are a little bit harder. In general I prefer happy or at least hopeful stories. For eleven months of the year I read mostly long get-together stories with happy endings, most of it slash (some femslash, very occasional het relationships).

I do not expect you to write an epic first-time romance for Yuletide, though! In fact, I don't really think that would work with most of my requests. And in shorter fiction my tastes are definitely a lot broader. I still enjoy happy they-get-together-in-1000-word soties, but I also like tiny slice-of-life vignettes, and darker or more meditative or atmospheric stories. I absolutely love seeing glimpses and facets of a world, things that exist around the edges of canon and hint at further complexity even further on. I also really enjoy character introspection: especially in canons focused tightly on a particular character's perspective, it can be really great to read a story that gives a different character's view of the same events. I don't usually enjoy stories that end on a totally hopeless note ("everyone is dead and the world is about to be destroyed"), but I often enjoy stories that are quite grim ("everyone might die and we are facing the possibility of world destruction, which we nonetheless face with heroic resolve.").

If you want to write gen, or slash, or femslash, or het, in any of these fandoms, I will be happy to read it! I enjoy romances where no one does anything more physical than ardently confessing their affections, but I am also totally comfortable with explicit sexual content. Just to get that out there.

Okay, more specifics of individual requests:

1. October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (Quentin, Raj, May Daye, Jazz)

Original request: I have listed four characters, but really I'd be happy with a story focusing on any of them. What I find so interesting is that these are people whose lives are tangled up with Toby's, but the stories aren't directly *about* them. In the most recent book we learned some more about Quentin (I don't want to spoil you, dear Author!), let's hear more about that! Or maybe what a typical day of him and Raj hanging out between crises looks like? Or maybe the development of May and Jazz's relationship -- behind the scenes on their first date? Or maybe what it's like to be May, and to be the person left behind in the last couple of crises? I would be so happy with any of these options, and I'm sure with many others!

What I love about the October Daye series is the interface between high Faerie and modern everyday life, as well as the mythology that's being built up around Toby and the people around her. I am particularly interested by the more minor characters surrounding Toby: because the books are so tightly focused on her perspective, we see hints at these other characters' fuller lives beyond her mythos, but only hints.

So I would love to see the interface of Faerie and day-to-day life for any of these other characters. What is it like for them during one of the crises Toby has faced, being very much on the sidelines looking on (particularly May and Jazz)? Or what is it like in the longish periods between crises: what is daily life in the Daye household like? Maybe more about who Jazz is, and what her feeling is about dating someone implicated in this kind of myth arc? Or (and this is the one epic first-time romance that fits my requests) tell me any of the details of how May and Jazz met each other and fell in love?

(Note: there is part of me that would love to see some kind of Quentin/Raj story? But there is also a part of me that is not sure how that fits into the larger story -- and it would be so complicated when they got older!)

2. Alice (Hatter)

Original request: I love the slightly-rakish eyeliner-wearing Hatter of Neverland, and was slightly disappointed by his transformation into David at the end of the series. I would love to see more about his perhaps-slightly-criminal tenure at the tea shop, or his earlier existence as someone who knew Mad March, or some kind of explanation of his super-strong arm, or some future return to Neverland (ideally with Alice in tow). I'm a big fan of his and Alice's relationship, so through it doesn't need to be centre-stage, I would be happiest if their relationship doesn't end in or before the story.

As you can tell from this request, I am an enormous fan of Hatter. In general I really liked this slightly-off-kilter view of Neverland, and I love the slightly sinister but also endearingly quirky way that Hatter fit into this Neverland. I would love to see some expansion on either his past or his future, and would be happiest if that took place in Neverland or else imported some of the madcap magical perspective of Neverland into the real world. As I mentioned above, I ship Alice and Hatter's relationship quite a lot -- but if you want to write Hatter with anyone else I would likely enjoy that, though I would hope that his and Alice's relationship ended happily and amicably.

I would also really enjoy reading (this just occurred to me) always-a-girl!Hatter, still in a relationship with Alice. I think that would be fascinating to read, especially Alice's reactions to her (would they be different? The same?)

3. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Henry Crawford)

Original request: Dear author, I am one of the people who finds the ending of Mansfield Park disappointing. I would love to see the alternate ending (described in passing in the book) where Henry Crawford *doesn't* run off with Julia, and eventually he and Fanny end up together. It's been written many times before, but I would love to see even a slice of life from that alternate future. If that's not your cup of tea, I would love to see almost any character study of Henry Crawford, or a story where Fanny actually stands up for herself about something, or even a story focusing on Fanny's brother William, away at sea or back in England.

As I say, there are many stories I would be interested to see! I am particularly interested in anything that casts light on Henry Crawford's character, or investigates it further, but I would (as I say) be very happy with stories focusing on other characters, especially any vision of Fanny's character growth into someone a bit more self-assertive.

Or a retelling of key parts of Mansfield Park in a modern setting? That would be very interesting to me, regardless of which characters you chose to focus on.

A note: this is probably the one request where I might not be totally comfortable with explicit sexual content. It's hard to tell! This is partly because I simultaneously (a) care a lot about accurate portrayal of historical social mores, and (b) find period attitudes towards sex and virtue kind of awful. But if it works in a story, I'm game to see where you go!

For your reference, the following is the passage I mention in the request (in Chapter 48):

"Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman's affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of success and felicity for him. His affection had already done something. Her influence over him had already given him some influence over her. Would he have deserved more, there can be no doubt that more would have been obtained, especially when that marriage had taken place, which would have given him the assistance of her conscience in subduing her first inclination, and brought them very often together. Would he have persevered, and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward, and a reward very voluntarily bestowed, within a reasonable period from Edmund's marrying Mary.

"Had he done as he intended, and as he knew he ought, by going down to Everingham after his return from Portsmouth, he might have been deciding his own happy destiny. But he was pressed to stay for Mrs. Fraser's party; his staying was made of flattering consequence, and he was to meet Mrs. Rushworth there. Curiosity and vanity were both engaged, and the temptation of immediate pleasure was too strong for a mind unused to make any sacrifice to right: he resolved to defer his Norfolk journey, resolved that writing should answer the purpose of it, or that its purpose was unimportant, and staid."

4. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Richard Mayhew, Marquis de Carabas)

Original request: I am endlessly fond of stories that show Richard Mayhew figuring out the details of London Below, and his new identity as the Warrior. I would love to see him poking around and discovering some lost treasure, and being accidentally heroic. I also love the Marquis de Carabas, who knows so much more than he is willing to let on. I imagine the Marquis asking Richard for some kind of favour -- but avoiding actually *calling* it a favour. Or maybe some background on who the Marquis is -- how he got to be the person he is today? Or maybe Richard trying to solve some kind of problem for Door, and as he troops around London Below he keeps almost or actually running into the Marquis, who is working on some unrelated matter of his own? My one caveat is that I have a huge embarrassment squick: I find it painful when someone is *too* out of place and doesn't know the unwritten rules of what's going on (it's a miracle I've ever made it through the early parts of Neverwhere itself). So if you could try to avoid such scenarios in the story, that would be great.

I love Neverwhere for many of the same reasons I love the October Daye series: the interface between modernity and a huge depth of mythos and magical rules. I am one of the few people I know who read the book of Neverwhere first, but it has long since been surpassed in my head-canon by the 1996 BBC miniseries. I love the atmosphere and the flavour of London Below, and the way that the logic of its rules and its inhabitants is not the logic we're used to, but perfectly straightforward in its own way.

The prompts in my original request all hint at my interest in seeing more about how Richard and/or the Marquis fit into the tapestry of London Below, in either the past or the future. I would love to see anything relating to that general idea!

5. Arkham Horror (Board Game)

Original request: What is it like to find yourself in a sleepy New England town shooting a Great Old One with a tommy gun? Casting spells that slowly drive you insane? Why is a character -- any character -- sticking around to deal with this rather than running for the hills? It's not that I want to see an actual session of the game fictionalized, but I'd love to see some of the aspects of the game world deepened in a story -- the tone of something like Arkham Horror is more Night Vale than HP Lovecraft, in my mind, or maybe just somewhere in the middle. You could probably pick up any character card and use the back as the starting point of a story, and I would be deeply interested in the result.

I have loved Arkham Horror since shortly after it came out. I love the world it describes, sort of noir gangster period piece meets unknowable eldritch mystery. Confession, though: I have never made it through an entire H.P. Lovecraft story. I have come to the conclusion that I love things that are Lovecraftian, but not so much actual Lovecraft. I also love Neil Gaiman's A Study in Emerald, I love Welcome to Night Vale, things in that vein.

As I say: do you have a favourite character? The ability to pick a random character from the deck? If so, I would be interested to see any of their stories filled out in a bit more detail. Or perhaps you played a game recently and there was some moment or series of moments that you feel lend themselves to being immortalized in fiction. I would love to see the game world developed in more detail, because I find its character very interesting.

I hope there is something helpful or illuminating for you here, Dear Author! But let me once again repeat: if nothing I've said inspires you, please feel free to go in a totally different direction. I look forward to seeing whatever you end up writing!

See you on the other side!

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Barometry Jones

October 2014


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