graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
ETA2: Finally, time and keyboard access at one and the same moment.  Let's get this show on the road:

By normal standards, this letter is going to look very odd; I'm giving the usual sections out of their usual order owing to the circumstances of this year's exchange, my very late signup, and the fact that I'm getting this posted late as well.

First, since the odds are about 99% in favor of one particular match, let's cover that:

Austin/Murry-O'Keefe families (L'Engle) • Adam, Polly, Zachary, Kali, Canon Tallis

As this character grouping may indicate, I am very fond of Arm of the Starfish -- I think I actually read that one before encountering A Wrinkle in Time.  I have remained fond of that corner of L'Engle's universe ever since -- in particular, I regret not seeing more light thrillers in the vein of Starfish and Young Unicorns -- and have long wished in particular for more of several of those characters than she chose to give us.  Kali's story in particular has long seemed unfinished to me, and I'd have liked to see more of Canon Tallis, even as I recognize that he often works better as a mentor and backup player than he might as an actual protagonist.  We did, of course, get a bit of Adam's later career -- and though L'Engle (and I) are content to pair him romantically with Vicki Austin, I can't help thinking that it would be fun to see how his interactions with Polly evolve as both of them grow into maturity.  And then there's Zachary, perhaps one of L'Engle's most complicated characters.  I have requested -- and written -- Zachary before, as I really like to think his redemption in An Acceptable Time may finally stick.  But there are a lot of ways that could go, and I wouldn't mind seeing a further speculation in that direction (particularly involving Canon Tallis, whom I don't think he actually meets in canon, or Adam, who strikes me as the hardest to convince of Zachary's genuine 'reform', such as it may be). 

The foregoing does not say much about Polly and Kali -- except that that's actually telling, because Starfish makes it clear that the two girls will certainly be thrown together while Kali is being treated on Gaea, and nothing in any of Polly's later memoirs says a single word about what came of that.  Which is fascinating, and in some ways hints that the treatment did not go as well as I would like to think it did.

At any rate, a story about any one of these characters will make me a very happy camper, and putting just about any combination of them together is likely to cause long bursts of delighted squee when the exchange goes live.  The one thing I'll note here is that for all that I believe the best of Zachary after An Acceptable Time, I think L'Engle makes it clear that he and Polly are not a workable romantic pairing (and that both of them know it).

 ###

General Likes & Dislikes

Pluses for me include strong characterization, well-written dialogue, wit/banter/snark, clever use of canon, well-developed AUs, UST (heavy on both the U and the T), and more. I'm neutral when it comes to matters of gen, slash, and the like -- if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind. I'm not into noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks, but have few other outright squicks as long as the relationship is age- and canon-appropriate; OTOH, I mostly don't read fanfic for sexual content -- and only one or two of these requests include characters I'd anticipate seeing paired romantically.

I will note in particular that I am a sucker for the clever and well-executed crossover -- not because I expect one (Optional Details Being Optional, and such things being well beyond the call of either duty or necessity), but because in one or two of these cases, the potential amusement/entertainment value would be particularly high if your writerly imagination should happen to wander in that direction.

Where I have listed several (or "any") characters for a given fandom, I will be pleased and satisfied with a story focused on whichever particular character on whom we've actually matched. At the same time, neither a single-character request nor a list should be taken to exclude a character or characters you think it's important to include in your story.

 ####

Now let's get to the rest of the specific requests, in case anyone is contemplating treats:

Young Wizards (Duane) • Harry Callahan, Irina Mladen, Nelaid ke Seriv, Robert Millman

This is a really oddball character list; what I find in the wake of Games Wizards Play, though, is that I'm more and more intrigued by the interaction between wizardly life and traditional family life, and the effects it has on wizards and non-wizards alike.  Thus I am interested in how Dairine's and Roshaun's fathers interact with one another (as we finally start to see in this latest book), how Irina's job as Planetary complicates and complements her life as a mother, and how Mr. Millman as a non-wizard helps keep things glued together for everyone involved.  (I've seen a couple of very good Millman stories, but I don't think I've yet seen one that tosses Irina into his orbit; likewise, I am particularly curious about how Irina and Harry might interact given some time with one another -- although I emphasize that I do not want to unduly tamper with Irina's home life, to the degree that we know about it.)

Diana Winthrop series ("Chambers")
Planet Builders series ("Tallis")

These are two of my ongoing micro- to nano-fandoms in the teen/YA category -- well-nigh unmatchable in the present context, and both long OP and relatively hard to find.  If you happen to be in the small group of folks who read either series, you know why I like these -- strong plotting, engaging ensemble casts, and genre-savvy in the way-above-average category. 

The Winthrop books are a teen-sleuth series (six slim paperbacks from the mid-'80s) set mostly in New York and New England, with "Kate Chambers" being a pen name for versatile writer Norma Johnston -- a fact I didn't learn till much later.  The individual mysteries are dedicated to (and often plotted in the style of) various classic and then-famous mystery authors, and the characterizations are much more nuanced than is usual for this category.

The "Planet Builders" books were a 10-book paperback series (also from the '80s) involving a large teen cast on a colony world with ongoing mysteries involving psi powers, mysterious native aliens, and light interplanetary intrigue.  "Robyn Tallis" was a combine with authors including Sherwood Smith, Bruce Coville, Mary Frances Zambreno, and collaborators Debra Doyle & James Macdonald.  The overall tone was akin to classic Andre Norton space opera with modern sensibilities and a touch of Tom Swift (not unlike A. C. Crispin's Starbridge series), and character-driven humor was skillfully integrated to keep the tone fairly light.  Also, while the teens are the stars, there are well-characterized grownups in the mix as well -- an unusual touch for this genre.

 ####

And that, as they say, is a wrap!

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).]


graycardinal: snowy gateway: Yuletide, Enter Here (Yuletide)

Note: A good deal of this text has been ported straight from last year’s letter, including two out of the current six requests.  Things have been kind of hectic around here in recent weeks – and also, I find I actually rather like last year’s 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:

Birds of Prey (TV) (Alfred, Barbara, Helena)
Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham
(Arilyn, Danilo, Khelben)
Gargoyles
(Macbeth)
Jacqueline Kirby - Elizabeth Peters
(Jacqueline Kirby)
Tomorrowland
(Athena)
Young Wizards - Diane Duane
(Carmela, Dairine)

 

 

 

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
deep breath]

Whoof.  All right, out from under prior deadline, caught up on sleep, several weeks out from next deadline.  Time to actually write a Dear Writer letter...

First, and always most important: thank you. This exchange, more than most, is about fandoms long-loved and of long standing, and I really appreciate the chance to see a story in whichever of them the two of us happen to share.  I know one of my favorite parts of this process is the chance to make someone's day with a new story in a really rare fandom, and I suspect I'm not alone in this. So thank you (as Linus Van Pelt said once) from the bottom of my socks, because the bottom of my heart isn't deep enough.

Now, then: first, you want to know what I like. 

And here's a cut, because this will run longish.... )
graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (rec)
And now a quick run-through of recs from my early reading, in a variety of fandoms and culling from both the main collection and the Madness archive.

Fandoms are: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Austin & Murry-O'Keefe Family (L'Engle), Batman Beyond, Calvin & Hobbes, Justice League/JLU, Mageworlds (Doyle & Macdonald), The Muppet Show, The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy), The Sherwood Ring (Pope), Star Trek: Rihannsu (Duane), Young Wizards (Duane), Zorro (TV 1990).

Recs themselves are under the cut, for length: )
graycardinal: Carmen Sandiego (carmen sandiego)
Posted at nearly the last moment for the latest round of A Ficathon Walks Into a Bar (I signed up on LJ, but the challenge is running in parallel on LJ ([livejournal.com profile] intoabar) and Dreamwidth ([community profile] intoabar).

Title: Spell and Counterspell
Prompt: David Xanatos walks into a bar and meets...Dairine Callahan
Fandoms: Gargoyles / Young Wizards series - Diane Duane
Word count: 1687
Rating/Contents: G / gen; no warnings needed.

Rirhath B Crossings, just look at the stars,
How do you spell it without any Rs?

Charter

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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