Hello, and welcome to my Yuletide letter! If you're my assigned writer, thank you for considering writing one of these fandoms; you have impeccable taste. If you're just idly browsing letters, carry on. To start with, here are some general likes and dislikes, which I admit I am mostly copying over from last year.
General things I enjoy seeing:
- complicated family relationships
- canon-divergence AUs
- non-mundane genre AUs
- two characters protecting each other or saving each other's lives
- worldbuilding/exploring aspects of the setting which canon doesn't go into depth on
- established relationships
General things I don't want in this exchange/for these fandoms:
- noncon or dubcon
- heavy focus on navel-gazing and/or angst about sexuality or gender identity
- death of canon characters who are not dead in canon
- mundane AUs
- focus on babies or small children
- unrelenting awfulness/sadness/grimdarkness
- focus on Christmas as religious holiday
- fic where nothing happens but introspection
I love action/adventure-y plots, I love romance, I love the combination thereof. I also enjoy lower-key stuff focused on people's emotions and platonic/familial relationships. I like slice-of-life as long as it's either funny or has some kind of tension/conflict/emotional stakes that are meaningful to the characters, even if in a small-scale, everyday kind of way. I don't have a strong desire for smut for any of these fandoms, but will read it as long as the characters are sixteen or older.
I don't care at all about tense or POV, but I do find writing with no capital letters hard to parse. I like interactive fiction and would be happy to receive it.
On to fandom specifics:
The Mousetrap - Christie - Leslie Casewell
(I'm going to try to keep this vague enough about spoilers that Christie won't be rolling in her grave, so bear with me here.)
Casewell is absolutely my favorite character in this play. I love her sort of unconcerned facade while everyone else is freaking out, and the (relatively few) moments when some vulnerability shows through the cracks in it. (If I have A Type when it comes to fictional characters, it's women who are tough but secretly carrying around a lot of pain, and that is, at least, how I tend to see her.) I love her wicked and occasionally morbid sense of humor. I love her refusal to comply with 1950s gender norms. I'd really enjoy backstory fic dealing with her life in between the part of her childhood that we know about and the events of the play--how she copes with things, what it's like for her growing up/spending her young-adulthood as an expat, how she ends up making the decision to come back... anything, really. Post-canon fic focused on her would also be great--she has some closure now, but there are a whole host of other problems that may come along with that. I requested just her because, for the backstory option, it wouldn't make much sense for the other characters to show up, but if you go the post-canon route I'm fine with any of the other characters showing up.
Side note: I tend to read Casewell as a lesbian (and my only-slightly-reaching theory is that the woman to whom she's writing is her girlfriend--I mean, they never really do explain why she took such pains to ensure no one else saw that letter... which might in fact be because it contained mention of her real identity and/or what she was doing there, but shh). You don't have to do anything with that--100% gen with zero mention of any romantic relationships of any kind is totally fine with me--but I'd prefer no romantic relationships with men to be involved.
Ren'ai Idenshi XX | Love DNA XX - Any
So this is a cheesy tropey manga where the central conceit of the setting is clearly just there to enable a boarding school romance that is Extra Double Gay, but I nevertheless came out of it going "but I want to know more about the worldbuilding!" I'd love further exploration of what this society looks like outside of elite boarding schools, what it means for them to have gender roles that are simultaneously so rigid and so malleable (at least, you can switch from one to the other a hell of a lot more easily than is generally the case in the real world), or even how their political system works (like, is it, at this point, essentially a monarchy whose leader is called the Prime Minister, or is it still nominally a democracy that's extremely nepotistic?).
I'm particularly curious about what happens with Sumire's plans to enact top-down reforms after becoming Prime Minister. She seems pretty convinced it's going to be a piece of cake and solve everyone's problems, but there must be people who won't react well to entrenched social mores being tossed out by government fiat, including powerful people who have a lot riding on the current system continuing. On the other hand, there are probably a lot of dissatisfied people who may not want to wait around for change to come from above. So I'd really like to see a take on how that plays out in practice and how Sumire deals with it if it doesn't go according to plan.
For more character-focused stories, I'd be interested to see Sakura and Aoi after the honeymoon period is over, so to speak, since the tensions that were present when they first met never really got resolved, and maybe Aoi still has issues with etoiles, and one of them did have to abdicate a position of privilege for the other's sake, which could lead to frustration or resentment. I don't want to see them break up, I just want to see them confront some of the issues that canon kind of glosses over. I also find Erika a pretty intriguing character; she's got some legitimate grievances, but it's all kind of festered into this toxic thing that renders her unable to have anything like a healthy relationship. I'd like to see what she does post-canon, once marrying Sakura is definitively off the table, and whether she ever works out some of her issues or not.
Vengeance is Sworn - Francesco Hayez
I discovered this painting slightly too late for Yuletide last year, and I have been sitting on it ever since, because it is clearly a quality five-minute fandom. Masquerades! Revenge! Venice! At least one woman who looks ready to shank someone! I don't have any very complex prompts here; I just want the story behind this moment. Who are these women, on whom is vengeance being sworn, how exactly does that go, etc. I'm happy with either straight-up historical fiction or historical fantasy for this. Also if you wanted to have the two women be romantically involved, I would not say no, but it's not necessary.
(Also, you can go ahead and kill people in this one, whether as a cause for the vengeance or a result of it--the character death DNW is more for traditional canons that have established storylines and whatnot.)