Oct. 9th, 2016

graycardinal: Yuletide warning flag (Yuletide Crossing)
Note: A good deal of this text has been ported straight from last year’s letter, including a couple of recurring requests.  Things have been kind of hectic around here in recent weeks – and also, I find I actually rather like this particular introductory paragraph.

Greetings, O YuleScrivener, and welcome!  And also, thank you!  Where Yuletide is concerned, I am nothing if not a Requester Of The Seriously Obscure.  Thus I am always amazed when the technomancy of the matching process succeeds in finding a writer who shares my appreciation for said obscurity, and delighted on Christmas morning when a wonderful and wondrous story from that writer's (metaphorical) pen lands in my AO3 gift-folder.  We may just be setting out on this year's journey, but I know there's a happy ending to come, and I am grateful for it already.  Your work is (and will be) appreciated and valued, and I look forward to seeing its fruits.

These letters aren't getting any shorter, so while I've got detailed material farther down, I think it's only fair to give you the list of fandom requests up front.  So, those would be:

* Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham (Arilyn)
* Legend (TV 1995) (Janos Bartok)
* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)
* Oz - L. Frank Baum (any)
* Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (Ivy)
* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

General likes and dislikes

Feel free to wander backward through this journal and my fic on AO3 (linked to your left) to get an idea of my interests; what I write is very much also what I like to read -- and has, over time, added up to rather a variety of fandoms. My past Yuletide letters (and those for other exchanges) are tagged "dear santa" herein; see the "Yuletide" tag too, if you like.

To summarize, though: text-driven pluses for me include effective use of wit (aka banter aka snark, etc.), as well as strong characterization & dialogue. I value both respect for and clever use of canon (including well-developed AUs -- the plot-driven kind, not the baristas/highschoolers/alt-species kind). I thrive on UST (heavy on both U and T), and am neutral where gen/het/slash is concerned; if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind.

I am also a sucker for the well-executed crossover, whether via oblique allusion or head-on fandom collision. Yuletide being Yuletide and Optional Details Being Optional, I have absolutely no expectations along this line...but if your muse's musings should happen to run in such a direction on their own initiative, feel free to encourage them. Again: the key word here is Optional.

None of my requests call specifically for mature/explicit content.  This doesn't mean I don't appreciate sizzling erotica/smut/porn; it's just that my fanfic-reading interests and my e/s/p-reading interests mostly don't tend to intersect.  That said, if your muse happens to take you into explicit territory in the context of one of these requests, I'm totally willing to follow along for the ride.  I have few outright personal squicks save for noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks so long as a given relationship is age- and canon-appropriate.  [See the requests for canon-specific notes.]

Character matching and prompts

Most often in exchanges, I request single characters.  This is not because I'm opposed to relationship-fic or multi-character stories – far from it. My goal is to give you greater flexibility in introducing additional characters, whether from those nominated or from wider canon. Even where I supply relatively specific prompts in a request, I want you to be able to shape the story; my suggestions are meant as springboards, not outlines.

Where I've requested multiple characters, I've given a specific note in each request as to whether it's an "either/or" request or not (different fandoms, different answers to that question).  As above, you're absolutely encouraged to bring in any additional canon characters (or OCs) you feel should be involved given the demands of your plot.

In a couple of cases here, I've left the character selection blank (there being no "Any" button on the offer side of the signup).  Any is pretty much still Any, though, and I've framed the prompts accordingly.

#### SPECIFIC REQUESTS ####

A note first: in past years, I've added a few additional notes to the text pasted from "Optional Details" in the signup form.  This year, I've gone the other way: all of the Optional Detail notes are included in the signup form proper, and what's here exactly reprises that content.  (It seems safer that way, and ensures that my officially matched writer sees all those notes.)

* Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham (Arilyn)

It’s been some time since I’ve reread these, but they remain among my very favorite Forgotten Realms novels (and I've read fairly widely in that canon).  Even when matters become emotionally or physically challenging, Cunningham imbues these books with a degree of underlying optimism that makes the books fun to read.  (I recently came across the term "noblebright", coined as a counter-category to "grimdark"; I think maybe that's applicable here.)  Along with the wonderfully drawn characters, one of the things I like about this series is the magic: Arilyn’s moonblade, Dan’s eccentric uses for illusion, and so forth.  I’d love to see a tale in which untangling a magical problem or puzzle is the focus.

Two observations here in addition to the commentary from the request proper.  First: While we've matched specifically on Arilyn, I absolutely encourage you to bring in additional characters, nominated and otherwise, to fill out and complement your story.  Although this is Very Optional, since he's not in the tag set, I'd be especially happy to see Khelben Arunsen onstage.  I find I've somehow missed the moment in the larger Realms continuity when his status...changed, and I always found his role in this series enjoyable and provocative.  Second: having made the above comment, I'll note that as much as I like Arilyn and Danilo as a couple, we get enough of that relationship in canon that what I'm hoping for here is a somewhat different focus.  I don't mean to discourage you from bring Dan onstage; I'm just looking for something other than romance in this request.


* Legend (TV 1995) (Janos Bartok)

On one hand, much of the fun of this series is watching Our Heroes fence with one another, and I don't want to lose sight of that.  But I think here I'd like to see the Professor spread his own wings a little, purely to prove that he *can*.   There are depths to Janos Bartok that we didn't have time to plumb onscreen; let's explore that here -- though please do keep the tone light enough that we don't lose the roguish charm that makes this series what it is.

For Extremely Optional Bonus Points: one just knows that Bartok and a certain Prof. Wickwire of a certain other alt!Western universe must have or have had a long-standing professional rivalry....

* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)

This book is such an ensemble piece that I've not tried to pick among the available characters.  Just give me a solid "further adventures" story -- whether of foiling another Evil Science Plot, coping with school/academic politics, or simply wreaking cheerful familial havoc on some unsuspecting foreign metropolis.  Romance between Oriole and Gabriel is definitely on the table, too.

For Extremely Optional Bonus Points
: I've always regarded the Birds as a deliberate homage to L'Engle's Austin and O'Keefe families, if in a slightly lighter vein.  What sort of conference and/or diabolical scheme might toss the two sets of characters into one another's orbit?


* Oz - L. Frank Baum (Button Bright, Polychrome)

[NOTE: I will be happy with a story featuring either *or* both of the selected characters.]

While I'm not at all opposed to revisionist or sideways looks at Ozian canon (I am, for instance, a huge admirer of Ryk Spoor's recent
Polychrome), in the present context I think I'm looking for more traditional Oziana.  Keep Baum and the Famous Forty (I've read many but not all of these) in mind and you'll make me a happy reader.  That said, while I wouldn't be opposed to a story in which the above two characters develop into a couple, that's not at *all* why I picked them, and I'd be just as happy with a story where romance is wholly absent.  I'm fascinated on one hand by Button Bright's general disregard for magic (even when he has access to it), and by Polychrome's status as a being of almost pure magic, who seems sometimes a physical being and sometimes a nearly intangible one.   Neither character flusters easily, and I think it would be fun to see them confront a magical challenge together purely as a study in contrasts.

* Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (Ivy)

I've picked Ivy this year not because I'm not fond of Carmen (quite the contrary), but because Carmen takes up so much space in the admittedly small body of fic in this fandom -- and I'd like to see a little more from the ACME side of things in general, as well as from Ivy's perspective in particular.  I've also remarked before that one of my great fascinations with this series is the bond that develops between Carmen and the detectives as the show progresses; at times there's what I'd call a slightly maternal quality to Carmen's interest in Our Heroes, and I'd enjoy seeing that idea considered from Ivy's point of view.  I also can't help thinking that it's interesting that canon gives us essentially no information about Ivy's and Zack's parents...which might be because they're utterly ordinary, but could also have to do with some tragic past event -- or that fact that technically, Ivy and Zack are computer-generated avatars.

OTOH, if deep familial musings aren't your cup of tea, I will also be greatly pleased with rapid-fire casefic (infoscans optional) or a straightforward snark-and-action encounter.  One thing, though: I'd prefer strongly *not* to see a Carmen/Ivy romantic pairing; that one pushes a button for me.

* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

[NOTE: I would strongly prefer a story featuring both characters, but a story featuring either one will satisfy this request.]

I chose Carmela and Dairine both because I like them individually and because canon gives us so very little that puts them together with one another -- which I find surprising, even granting the age difference.  I would very much like to see how they interact given an excuse and/or opportunity.  Additional characters welcome; suitably brain-bending crossovers totally welcome but emphatically not required.

With WIZARDS IN PLAY out, we have many of the answers we've wanted relative to Dairine and Roshaun, so I'm no longer deeply worried about excessive angst arising from that quarter.  It does occur to me that Dairine might find it easier to talk to Carmela about Roshaun than to have the same conversations with Nita, perhaps especially now that his situation's been resolved.  (Or you could set such a tete-a-tete earlier in canon, while things are still unsettled....)


Other possible tacks: Dairine getting one up on Nita with Carmela’s help, or the girls and the Alien Study Group having an adventure (I’ve seen a fair bit of fic in this line set in the Crossings, not so much here on Earth).  I would also be very much on board for quality father-daughter bonding -- no matter which father/mentor figure(s) is/are involved.

[Canon notes: I'm equally at home in the original and New Millennium timelines, and have read all the shorter and e-only material up through WHEN WIZARDS PLAY (except for THE BIG MEOW and the latest post-PLAY ebook).]


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This is a fanfic journal. I'm interested in a wide variety of fandoms as well as in meta- and theoretical discussions; see my interests list for specific fandom categories. Comments, critiques, recs, reviews, and the like are always welcome.
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