pentapus: (Default)
pentapus ([personal profile] pentapus) wrote2012-11-03 10:30 am

Dear Yuletide Author letter

Dear Yuletide Author,

Before I say anything else (and I’m going to say a lot, it’s just my way), thank you for signing up to write some of my favorite wee fandoms. Every fandom I requested this year is a fandom in which any story, of any shape or size will make me happy. So write the story that grabs you.

I threw a number of prompts at you because I know for me, "Write anything!" is the most difficult thing to write. I am a sucker for world-building, plot, and fully-formed characters, even in small doses. If you want to come up with a plot arc and then write me 1000 words of the second to last scene or 1000 words of the first, I will be right there with you.

Now, as far as I'm concerned you can take that paragraph and go, but if you would like more clues, what follows is an extended digression on likes, dislikes, and those wee tiny fandoms I've requested.

So, me. Here are some likes and dislikes, but these are more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules.

Likes:
I like plot that's driven by solid character portrayals. I like characters who are different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning. I like drama, mortal peril, and characters caring deeply about each other -- but a little can go a long way. I like competence and common sense, but I also like seeing what can make a rational, competent character lose it a little bit, good or bad.

I like characters who have support networks and who go to them for help if they need it or for fun. Hell, I like supporting characters in general -- by which I mean, I love when stories have them! I like supporting characters who appear and interact with the focus characters, who share their POVs of the focus characters with us, and who show us how those focus characters fit into the wider world, etc.

I like stories that think about the characters in a realistic way. For example, Shannon Cassul -- while a badass on the level of anything the military could throw at him -- is actually from a very small town. He’s a bit of a luddite when it comes to picking up on the advanced technology as well as the political machinations of the powerful people he’s caught up in. Of course, he doesn’t talk that much, so who would notice? :)

On the other hand, I deeply, deeply love fantasty and sci-fi world building, so ‘realistic’ doesn’t apply to every part of the story! I am a sucker for a well-done cliché -- or a cliché turned on its head.

Dislikes:
I dislike destiny/predestination (except when thwarted), crippling embarrassment, yentas, schmoop, crackfic, and the slash trope where female characters behave like slash fangirls. The end.

Fandoms:
(Last year, when I was binge-reading everyone else’s yuletide letters, I realized that I wanted to read everyone’s prompts and their comments, not just their comments on their prompts, so I included my prompts in mine this year.)


THE BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA
Prompts:

[ONE] Tell any of the juicy stories alluded to in canon but never told – Azure and Stone. Indigo and Cloud. Stone’s children, Stone’s travels. Pearl and Rain.

[TWO] Slightly different AU - I want to read one of those AU fics where everything changes but your favorite characters gets together anyway. Like Moon grows up like a real consort or Jade has plenty of consorts to choose from. Make a small change and follow it through.

[THREE] Court politics! Gender politics! Or any other world-building bits – how are courts governed? What are some differences between big courts vs. small ones? How do all the artisanal goods really get produced? INTRIGUE. OR CRAZY SCARY GIANT PREDATOR LIZARDS. BOTH CANON!

[FOUR] Outsider POV of the Raksura by other races living in the forests. Or outsider POV of Moon and Jade and Stone or any subset.

[FIVE] The history of the court has consequences in the present. Exiled consorts come back to visit! Cloud’s history in Emerald Twilight comes back to haunt them! (Also, I totally think that in the future, when the colony is populated again, there is going to be a thing with young consorts having giant crushes on Moon because he's so...queen-like and fighty and strong. And Chime's gonna be like, "Sigh, this is so embarrassing.")

[SIX] Show us some part of the books – or behind the scenes or missing scene or history – from the perspective of a character other than Moon. E.g. the islanders called him the “quiet one”; he must seem pretty unreadable from the outside. Or what do people think of Stone when they’ve lived with him their whole life?

[SEVEN] ANYTHING.

Comments:
I came up with these prompts on the fly since I am actually on vacation and had kind of a PANIC PANIC reaction to finding out the yuletide sign up deadline. Here is a gleeful rec I made for the books, which says a lot about how much I love the world-building and culture. I also love all the characters and the big, awkward, sometimes pretty bitchy family they make. They feel like a home.

I don't have a favorite prompt I am secretly hoping you write. Whether you write the story of Indigo and Cloud in which none of our main cast appears or simply retell a canonical scene from another character's POV, I will be equally happy. And there's always prompt seven: ANYTHING.

Re: the third book out in December, use it or don't use it - just leave me a spoiler warning, please. :) And if you want to come up with your own elaborate backstory for Moon that’s going to get “jossed” in book 3, please do so! I’d love to read your take on it.

Some final bits: I like that Pearl is a real person and that she and Moon both clearly hate strangers and diplomacy. (Pearl/Moon AU anyone?) I loved Moon + kids + his lioness-style protectiveness. Loved how you could take any combo or subset of the cast and I would be interested in what their personal relationships were like. Loved the details of Raksuran culture - e.g. how Raksuran sexuality is woven into daily life, how different castes contribute to the colony, etc.


SCRAPPED PRINCESS
(Ok, well, first off: Spelling of character names is flexible here. :D)

Prompts:
[ONE] A story with Shannon and any one of the people he protects, perhaps with the roles reversed. Pacifica? Zefiris? Or: Shannon Casull, massive badass.

[TWO] The ladies! Especially something interesting and plotty with Senes or Zefiris. Senes seizes the day post-series; Senes & Scarlet pre-series (bonus: Obstinate Arrow cameos) , Zefiris has 5000 years to prepare for war, Zefiris post-series.

[THREE] I think Shannon and Senes the Beast Princess would make terrifying children together. Senes is devastatingly sharp, ambitious, and fierce but also a bit unsubtle socially. Shannon has the personality of a lethargic old man and the reflexes of a viper. I think there could be sparks!

[FOUR] Another not-immediately-obvious pairing. Or an obvious one (Raquel/Berkins?) or a physically improbable one (Shannon/Zefiris? Shannon/Shizu?).

[FIVE] A straight-up romance story between Chris and Forsyth, I would fall for that like a sack of bricks off the Eiffel tower.

Comments:
Re-watching this show, I don’t think a scene has gone by that hasn’t made me think, "Oh, why didn’t I ask for a story about THAT?" How did I forget Baroness Bairach? Why didn’t I put Shannon + Zefiris’ warrior codependent love into one of my prompts? And of course, there’s the tantalizing glimpse of ‘life after the war’ given by the series’ final scene. :)

In short, when I say you could come up with almost anything here, I’m not kidding. On another level, if you want to know what I like in a story, this anime is pretty close to the platonic form.

A note about my prompts for Senes and Zefiris:

For Senes, I don’t think she’s the character people are drawn to first when watching this anime. But I always come back to the shot of her as a child, roughed up and furious and hiding in the garden while Eirotte’s voice-over tells us how much smarter, faster, sharper Senes is than her brothers and how that scared them. I hear that and I think, "This lady is a badass." Eirotte also tells us that in that moment she felt the overwhelming urge to protect this person, despite Senes’ obvious strength. That scene captures why I’ve become so fond of Senes. She is a badass, but she also has enough vulnerability to make her feel like a real character and, more importantly, like a character I want to read fic about.

With Zefiris, it’d be interesting to see something that considers what she’s been doing in the 5000 years since humanity lost the war. Planning? Watching? The show mentions that she was performing self-upgrades, that she’s only just now getting back up to fighting strength, as well telling us there were instabilities in the original dragoon programming. Did she take steps to prepare for the day after her objective was accomplished? What does she know about the world’s magic system? (If you read this and think ‘Forget the characters, I could write an entire story about how magic fits into the sci fi aspect of the show and what happens to it afterwards’, go for it! I am with you all the way.)

Basically, Shannon may be (close to) the center of Zefiris’ world, but she’s a 5000 year old A.I. with super powers who’s spent millenia preparing for this objective. I’d like to think she took some kind of active role in that time, even if she thinks of herself as passive. On another note, it’s been 5000 years since she was programmed to think of her pilot as the center of her world. How has that shifted?



Ronin Warriors/Yoroiden Samurai Troopers

Prompts:
[ONE] Mia is finishing her dissertation. It’s fraught! Any pairing or none.

[TWO] Mystical powers appearing in mundane life. Ghost stories, weird weather, developing abilities (voluntary or not! Convenient or not!), or something much simpler, etc, etc.

[THREE] Mia’s family seems to have either money or history. Either one of these interacts with the boys or their magic.

[FOUR] Netherworld post-show: what’s it like living in (basically) feudal Japan with demons? From the practical challenges of youja government to the quirks of the local book stall. What do they think of the boys? Or Inferno/Kikoutei?

[FIVE] Any alternate universe! Such as: Feudal AU, Ninja AU, Steampunk AU, Insert-your-favorite-period-or-genre AU, Ryo-the-badass-soccer-player AU, Backpackers-meet-the-supernatural AU, or just Something-is-slightly-different AU, etc... ANYTHING. :D

[SIX] The history of the armor has consequences in the present. Family history! Byakuen! Warlords! Inferno! How were the bearers chosen?!? Someone with competing claims? Etc!

[SEVEN] Life goes on. Teenagers don't stay teenagers. Tell me a story you learned about transitioning. (...a hopeful story? I hope?)

[EIGHT] ANYTHING.


Comments:

Ryo, Mia, and Rowen are my favorites, but I love them all. Gen, romance, or gen + romance with *any* combination of those three would be perfect.

This show is my first love, and I'm flexible. I'm interested in friendship and a bit of peril or just a story about everyday things--an excuse for Ryo to stand in a snow drift with a scarf and a betrayed expression, for Rowen to think too much, or for Mia to wander her house in an afghan in the middle of the night, embarrassed to be caught with messy hair. You can run with just that, but in case you'd like more, I have provided prompts. Any of them would be great, but so would something completely different!

I don’t care whether you use the American dub or the original Japanese names. Ignore the OAVs or not (but please don’t use Message as I slept through it).

Here on some notes about why I loved these characters, but I think all I really care about is that Mia be competent but still feminine (and maybe not used to 5 younger brothers!), that Rowen think too much, and Ryo be that physically talented guy who cares too much. And that they value each other and the rest of the team.

Ryo - I saw the cheesy, cheesy dub first. Ryo’s stuck with me as a shy, easy-going sort of guy whose eloquence is all tied up in the physical - but oh man, I bet he moves like a masterwork of literature. (I have involved fantasies about Ryo going to university and getting picked up by dance students who realize he’s amazing.)

He’s not the kind to mastermind a plan--more the sort to go with tumble headlong into the flow--but he’s powerful and skilled, and we know he once chose his friends over the world. Some people suggest that he’s the leader, but it seemed to me more that he was the one that the bad guys wanted and the good guys needed to protect. He’s also, you know, impressively lethal. Er, to youja.

Rowen aka Touma - I’m not sure how to explain what I think of Rowen, except that he probably thinks too much. My favorite part of the show is when he and Ryo are trying to rescue the missing three in the dynasty, and Rowen’s job is basically to keep Ryo from dying or breaking down. Oh how much did I love his initiative and problem solving skills? [---------------------this much-----------------]. Ok also that time he crashes to earth from his space bubble and doesn’t remember it. He’s competent and sensible, but also sort of oblivious and occasionally surprised by things he shouldn’t be ("You’re a man!").

Mia aka Nasuti - This is the character that I probably like more than most people, so I’ll say a little bit extra. I think she knows how to meet society’s expectations for a woman from a wealthy family, to be beautiful, and well-dressed and well-spoken--what can I say, she’s good with languages--but I think that's what it is, a language. Really, what she lives for, she’s an academic, she wants to do research, and she’s got a steel backbone. She’s willing to walk into dimensions of demons and ghosts with no mystical weapon or armor to keep her safe, and then she’ll yell at those demons if that’s the crucial distraction they need. I also like to think she sometimes teases those boys she lives with.

Canon paints her a bit close to a feminine ideal, so I like to see her out of that role and a perhaps a little uncertain about it. One of the possibilities I mentioned in my request was "an excuse for Mia to wander her house in an afghan in the middle of the night, embarrassed to be caught with messy hair," and--yes, that. I mean, I’d love to see her in the final weeks of her masters thesis or her dissertation. Whether she’s at the center of her own story or at the edge of a story about someone else. Or, you know, Mia ends up in a mud fight. Or perhaps circumstances require her to fill a more aggressive, masculine role than she'd like to (whether she actually does it in an aggressive, masculine way is up to you). Do as you will! I’d also like to see her acting, rather than just reacting to what the boys do.

The first time I requested this fandom, I threw Kento into my request just in case you had no idea how to manage a story with Ryo, Rowen, and Mia. I like him; I think he’s the guy I’d put in charge once they grew up. I bet he knows how to delegate. That said, Ryo, Rowen, and Mia are my main three. Though, if you want to write a story about Ryo, Rowen, and Mia, in which one of them is paired romantically with Kento? I would be okay with that. (To be honest, the same goes for Cye or Seiji, with the caveat that the only pairings I don’t like are the ‘too obvious’ ones – Rowen/Sage and Cye/Kento.)

Finally, I know shit all about Japan. I appreciate an attempt at accuracy, but I won't be the one nitpicking you on it. *thumbs up*



That’s all for my requests. I hope you found something in there that helps you. If not, no worries. You are writing a story in a wee, tiny fandom of my heart. I already love it. Thank you!

Cheers,
Pen

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