Dear Yuletide Writer,
It's Yuletide time! Are you excited? I'm super excited. I hope you have an excellent Yuletide, and that you won't find me an unreasonably demanding recipient. Generally speaking, I like most things: character sketches, slices-of-life, adventures, lovely prose, lengthy bantery dialogue, whatever. Exploration of character interaction in particular is high on my list. My number one bulltetproof storytelling kink is domesticity in strange situations. From the department of unhelpful vagueness, I like stories that I can have lots of feelings about, favorite feelings being prosaic realism-dipped joy and self-indulgent mellow sadness. All my requests happen to involve canon pairings, but if you really prefer to write gen, I would also be happy with that. Conversely, I would welcome a certain amount of sexual content, so long as it wasn’t the majority of the fic and didn’t go over an R rating. I tend to avoid explicit sex. Also explicit violence. And I'm deeply uncomfortable with fic that tacks on childhood traumas and tragedies to characters, particularly characters with canonically disastrous childhoods.
And I want a pony and a mink stole and an extrasolar plantetoid named after me. Yeah, if at any point this starts to sound unreasonable or excessive to you, turn your ignoring blinkers on and go for what feels right.
Now, on to the requests! These are massively expanded forms of what I wrote in my optional details, which, naturally, are optional. I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of feelings.
Oh, and heads up, my Hexwood and Tinker Tailor blatherings are full of spoilers.
Hexwood - Diana Wynne Jones - Vierran of Guaranty/Mordion Agenos
I love this book unbelievably much. The more I read it, the stronger a contender it becomes for my favorite DWJ book. (Other major contenders being The Dalemark Quartet, Deep Secret, and Archer's Goon, and, um, really all of them because Diana Wynne Jones is pretty much my favorite writer. Anyway.) I love the mind-bending plot and the complex world, and I love that particular subtly balls-out way she approaches serious topics that by its very bland understatedness gets the message across more effectively than any hyperbole would. But also, I spent a solid half of this book guiltily delighting in the sheer volume of blatant sexual chemistry between a adult man and an apparent teenaged girl, and I respect that that happened, and also that it totally came through for me. Also I love everything about Vierran. Her sense of humor, her anger, just, I want Vierran to be my best friend.
Specifically, what I would like to read is a post-canon story that looks at Vierran and Mordion’s relationship, and how they make it work. I mean, chemistry, shared adversity, and a meeting of the minds will get you a long way, but Mordion is bringing about a jumbo jet cargo hold’s worth of baggage with him, and then there’s the fact that they have to govern a galaxy together. And because I’m extremely invested in their relationship, I do believe quite fiercely that they can make it work. I would just love to see them handling a crisis together, or an ordinary day, or a tricky political maneuver, or Vierran’s parents. Or any combination of the above, or whatever. I think weirdly this Yuletide’s theme for me is a lot about couples who work as a team, and that’s sort of what I most want to see.
Persuasion - Jane Austen - Admiral Croft/Sophia Croft
I might be something of a Jane Austen fanatic. I’m enamored of her narrative voice, of her ability to draw out fully formed characters with broad strokes, and most importantly of the variety and depth of the relationships she portrays, among friends and family as much as romantic. Persuasion definitely edges out the rest as my favorite of her novels. Give me two spare hours on a terrible day and I’ll watch the Amanda Root movie and the world will be good again. While I absolutely adore Anne and Captain Wentworth -- let me tell you some time about how I would marry Anne Elliot in a heartbeat -- another huge part of its appeal is the Crofts. I love them and their love. How they talk about each other; how Mrs. Croft is as much a part of the Navy as her husband; how as far as the Admiral is concerned his wife may as well be the only woman in the world. They more than anyone else are my favorite Austen couple.
As far as the request goes, I would adore a story about their courtship, or about some time they were at sea together, or about them moving into Kellynch, or really anything about, again, them working as a team. Persuasion has always felt to me like the novel that’s most obviously enmeshed with external events while also being from Anne’s limited domestic perspective, so I guess I’m very interested in seeing fic in an expanded world that has some of the same feeling as the novel.
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy - John le Carré - Bill Haydon/Jim Prideaux
Unlike the other two, this was a very recent read for me, from an unfamiliar author, and in an unprecedented occurrence I read it twice through in one month, plus spent a day emoting at the miniseries in between. What that means is that it’s both very immediate and present in my head, and also that it hasn’t quite sunk into any kind of interpretation grooves. This request is also coming from a fairly different place than the other two, that place being the frighteningly large mess in my psyche called My Feelings About Bill Haydon. I’m absolutely fascinated by how awful he is, even while I can't quite help enjoying his style. I'm intrigued by how actually very little of him we actually see in the book, and how much of it is from secondary sources, and from Smiley's theories of him, which, George Smiley's mind is a beautiful thing, I want to crawl into it and listen forever, but, this is something else. In an odd way, I feel about Bill Haydon a lot like I feel about Milady de Winter -- except I like Jim Prideaux a hell of a lot more than I like Athos.
What I would love is a fic from Haydon’s point of view, covering pretty much any of the timeline that you’d like, that really gets into his head and digs around a bit. Something that really reflects how engaging he is, while at the same time not ignoring the less savory parts of his character. Something that really explores his motives, or, if that's a thing, the extent to which there aren't motives anymore. I would enjoy his perspective on his relationship with Jim, which is something else we only get from hearsay and secondary sources. I’d love to read about an operation they carried out together, or their time at Oxford, or the lead-up to and aftermath of Testify, or anything you can think up.