Firstly, thank you so much for writing in one of my beloved fandoms. I’m really looking forward to reading whatever you decide to write! I’ve also tried to offer a few different “fic I’d like” options, because it’s important to me that you write something that you’re happy with, too.
This letter is, basically, in three parts: first, the generic about-my-tastes stuff that applies to all of my requests; secondly, details about each of my requests; and lastly, a massive tl;dr about some of the things I love about my requested fandoms and/or characters. This last section is really only there if you're looking for extra information, so feel free not to read it or to disregard it completely.
Unfortunately my LJ is all but abandoned for most of the year. However, if you want to try and figure out my tastes and preferences beyond even what I’ve detailed below or just have a slightly frustrating time stalking me, I do have a (also infrequently used) Tumblr, which includes a list of my top ten favourite fic; and you can also check out my own fic on ao3, since not unusually I tend to write what I like!
My requests this year are largely similar to requests I made last year, so feel free to read last year’s Dear Santa letter for a slightly different take on my wants. (Some of my tastes have changed since then, but I’m not really that fussy if push comes to shove.)
Here is some general info about my preferences:
- Most importantly: I really love female characters. I definitely prefer fic which heavily involves at least one lady character, and preferably more than that. I also really like lady POV stuff, although I appreciate with some of my requests that may not be feasible!
- Shipping wise, I tend to lean towards shipping everything and everyone, usually with a few ships I really like and a few I really don't like. I've listed a few preferences for each of the fandoms I request, just so you have some idea. I will happily read both straight and queer couplings, but I also like gen, and am perfectly OK with that too!
- I’m pretty on the fence about sex scenes. If you’re a confident writer, go for it! If not, kissing and hugging and hand holding are pretty awesome too. No dub or non-con, please. I'm also not good with incest, underage, or huge power imbalances.
- I don't want angst or death-fic. Not that you have to write fluff! But at the very least I'd like something that has a hopeful feeling to it.
- I hate character bashing. I love all characters.
- If you're writing one of my comics fandoms, AUs are always beloved and appreciated.
- Again, if you're writing one of my comics fandoms, crossovers within each universe (ie Wonder Woman appearing in a Batgirl fic) are just fine. If you managed to crossover Batgirl with Alias I would be super impressed, but obviously that's pretty tricky even if you are familiar with both canons! I'd prefer no crossovers for Emelan or The Long Earth, though.
- If you want to write December holiday-themed fic I am quite happy with that. (And December is summer where I live, so if you want to feature a summer festival or holiday, that is totally seasonal for me.)
The Long Earth: Monica Jansson
What was Monica Jansson's life like before Step Day? What made her marriage fail - was her constant thinking one step ahead just too, well, spooky for her partner/wife? What made her decide to become a police officer?
As of writing this letter I've only just finished reading The Long Earth, and it's buzzing around my head like a fly that won't go away. I'm definitely more interested in the characters than the world building. On the other hand, if you want to give me a character - Monica, or maybe Joshua or Sally on their lone or joint adventures - exploring a particular world, or a couple of worlds, I would probably enjoy that.
My prompt was for something Monica-centric, but there are I couple of other things that I'd love if that doesn't excite you. One is for some kind of Joshua/Lobsang thing. I'm not sure... how it would work. I don't think I want to read about a physical relationship between them, but a deepening emotional relationship, maybe in relation to Lobsang's (possible) humanity, would be amazing.
And the other thing I'd love to read is based around that tantalising detail about Hermione Dawes. How did she end up marrying cowgirl? How did she get so far out West?
If you want to write something in the style of The Long Earth - a series of third person POV vignettes from different characters - that would be fab. Maybe you just take a single world and show the characters I've mentioned above moving through it?
Apart from Joshua/Lobsang, I don't have a huge craving for shippy stuff! If you want to write Joshua/Sally that's cool, but I'm also fine with them being good friends.
Circle of Magic: Any
Take me back to the beginning! How do a merchant girl and a Trader learn how to get along? How does Briar cope with learning to be respectable? And how does Sandry convince the others that she really doesn't believe herself to be a cut above them all?
Rereading Circle of Magic books it always strikes me how much of the day-to-day settling in stuff we don't see. We get told Tris, Briar and Daja argue a lot, for example, but we don't see that much of it. What I'd really like is a fic that explores in a little more depth the four learning to get along in their first days. Daja and Tris are sort of natural antagonists, as a Trader and a merchant; Sandry's a "bag", and while she decides to trust Briar, would he trust her? Tris and Daja make their feelings on thieves plain. Then there's Briar's initial attitude to magic - he calls it "fakery". There's a lot of stuff there just aching for fic!
If you want to do something a little more off the wall, my not very secret wildcard pairing is Tris/Kirel. He's known her since she was a little girl - he knows there's so much more to her than her looks and her magic. And as a non-mage he doesn't have any of the jealousy that comes with that. I'd love if you managed to make the two of them work (with Tris' siblings having plenty of unasked for advice on the subject, of course!).
Aaand last suggestion: how would a meeting between Evvy and Pasco go? Preferably set after Melting Stones. Whether the two of them meet merely through their former teachers, or have to team up, or simply run into each other by pure coincidence, I imagine the results could be... dangerous. Or hilarious.
Ships: I really do only see the four as siblings, and don't really have any ships for them except for Tris/Kirel, Daja/Rizuko and Daja/Polyam. Rosethorn/Lark and Yazmin/Vedris are both canon, so far as I'm concerned! I see Pasco as having a bit of a crush on Sandry, and Evvy as not being interested in sex and possibly not romance.
Batgirl: Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain
Just what are Steph and Cass up to in the DCnU? Fighting crime, committing crime – or leading completely ordinary lives?
I miss these two desperately and would love, love, love any fic with them. My prompt is for a story that fits them into the DCnU, but I’d also be happy with anything set during either of their tenures as Batgirl - something that explores their friendship in all its unevenness and dorkiness. I also find the Batfamily ripe for AUs – maybe Steph really did die and Cass finds a way to bring her back? Or Steph’s around during the unmentionable period when Cass goes evil and is determined to bring her back? What if they were both adopted into the Arrow family instead of the Batfamily? What if they're loveable rogues? Cameos from Wendy, Nell and Damian are always appreciated :D
Ship-wise, I tend to see Steph as straight, with Steph/Cass as the exception. Steph/Dick is the ship of my heart, although I also dig Steph/Superboy and Steph/Roy Harper. I like all kinds of interpretations of Cass – pan, lesbian, ace – and ship her with Tim, Babs, Rose Wilson, Onyx, and Supergirl. Ships I'd rather you didn't include just because they can have a real squick factor for me sometimes are Bruce/any of "his" kids, Dick/Tim, Damian/anyone.
Alias: Jessica Jones
Jessica has been a lot of different people in her life. What anchors her to the person she is now? Is it her family and friends, or does it run deeper than that? I'd love to see Jessica being introspective about her choices, her role and her found happiness, especially if it's done in that noir-ish, slightly-against-her-will narrative of the original "Alias" series.
I hope that request makes sense! I don't really have anything else to add to it. I'm less familiar with Jessica post The Pulse, although I more or less know what she's up to these days, so any time you want to set the fic is fine by me :D.
On the romance side, Luke telling Jessica just exactly why he wants to marry her is one of my favourite moments in The Pulse, although it doesn't particularly matter if you haven't read it! I'd love to see a fic exploring their relationship more from his point of view - when did he realise he was falling in love with her? A team-up between the two of them would be pretty awesome too, before or after Danielle.
I'd love to see Jessica getting to know his old "Heroes for Hire" buddies, Misty and Colleen but especially Danny, who says some pretty terrible things to her in The Pulse. Does she try to win them over, or does she just say fuck it?
On the AU side, I love how ridiculous it is that Jessica and Peter Parker were at the same high school (and that she had a crush on him!) I'd love a what if where they'd been friends, or more than friends, earlier in their lives, and the possible ramifications of that on Jessica's life later. (Especially if you still manage to work in Luke/Jess as the endgame pairing...)
If you want to pretend like I do that the last Young Avengers story never happened and have Jessica bonding with Cassie Lang, the girl whose father she quite liked but just couldn't get herself together for, that would be pretty cool too.
Ships: Luke/Jessica, obviously. Also Jessica/Carol, Luke/Jessica/Steve Rogers thanks to that terrible What If...? story. I actually quite like Scott/Jessica, for what it was (to me, it was two people meeting at just not quite the right time.)
tl;dr fandom love
Stephanie was my first Batgirl; I only really got into comics just before her series took off, having already heard about her Spoiler/Robin/death/Spoiler backstory from friends. Having now read a lot more of her earlier appearances, I do dislike the way she's been written in retrospect as having been incompetent and only in it to get to know Robin better; she was more hasty and inexperienced than incompetent, and took down some pretty tough fighters on her own, and she was first and foremost out to catch her Dad and secondly out to save the kids like her. Part of the problem is, of course, different writers writing her differently. Before War Games and Robin there were some real moments of her and Bruce bonding, and Tim was sometimes a sweet and supportive boyfriend - and sometimes a condescending dick. Comics!
What we did get with BQM was, finally, some stability in Steph's character. No, she doesn't do what Bruce and Tim and Babs do, planning a mission down to the tinest detail beforehand, but she can think on her feet with the best of them, can use her surroundings unexpectedly to her advantage, and is always flexible in her approach. She's aware of her own social awkwardness and mostly doesn't care; she hides her very real insecurities with an upbeat attitude and a stream of chatter. She doesn't always "get" things unless they're pointed out to her, but she's compassionate - I love her slowly growing "big sister" relationship with Damian, for example.
I only started reading Cass' series later, but I fell in love with her pretty quickly too. The most important thing about her, to me, is her heart: there's enough room in there for everyone, and yet her lack of language skills mean she needs to show this, rather than say it - and she's not always sure how to show it in a way that people will understand. I love her determination - she never ever ever gives up - and the way she just sees things in a different way to other people. One of my favourite moments is when Bruce asks whether she's loyal to him or Babs: her reply is that her loyalty lies with the Bat symbol on his chest. That just encapsulates Cass perfectly for me. Whereas Steph's tenure as Batgirl is about proving herself, being a figure of hope rather than one of the grim-faced men of the Bat-symbol, Cass's time is about finding herself - a mission she can believe in, a use for her skills that will help people, not hurt them - and about redemption, not just for herself but for the people she meets, too.
Lastly, I really love the friendship between these two. Most of the time it's not an even friendship. Steph idolises Cass - when she fights a guy from the League of Assassins she imagines Cass is with her, to spure her on - but at the same time she doesn't seem to notice just how much Cass cares about her; I'm positive when Cass, the last member of the Batfamily whom Steph thinks she can trust, tells her to go home and stop being Spoiler, Cass is more heartbroken over it than Steph is. And Cass, of course, hallucinates Steph twice when she's having a near death experience.
But the last time we see them together they're fighting perfectly in sync. Cass is the first person to trust Steph to be able to become Batgirl, even before Steph knows that's what she's going to do. That's why, really, I love fic showing a really strong relationship between them - because I think it's the relationship they ought to have. (It's the relationship Gotham City deserves!)
I started off coming to grips with the huge and confusing universe that is Marvel 616 with picking my way slowly through a few self-contained stories, and Alias was one of those. I'm not going to lie - the hard-boiled, alcoholic detective is one of my favourite tropes, and the slow, creeping reveal of just how Jessica Jones got to where she ended up was executed perfectly. I can't say I'll ever be entirely comfortable with her backstory (although I think, for me, the worst part is actually just all those heroes laying in to her without stopping to ask questions) but I liked that instead of a backstory of why she became a superhero, it's a backstory of why she isn't one.
I love that Jessica Jones is such a jumble of conflicting emotions and thoughts. I love that she always just keeps pushing when she shouldn't, that she feels like she has to look for answers and do the right thing even when she really just doesn't want to and knows that answers and doing the right thing are just going to make it worse. I love that even when she's managed to come to terms with her past, and is in a relationship that makes her happy and that she really wants to make work, she still makes mistakes. To me, her flaws are a quintessential part of her character, and I love her for that, too.
I love that these books are such a mix of idealism and realism. Emelan - and their world at large - seems to be a place where queer relationships are easily accepted: Daja receives no prejudices for hers. Yet there are still plenty of ways that people find to divide and discriminate, and while Daja's sexuality is a non-issue she is treated as an outsider for being a Trader, and again among Traders for being trangshi. It's a world full of magic, but Tris is still constantly misunderstood and feared for being different. It's a work where a woman like Sandry, born to the right class, can have power - but even then men try to use her as a pawn. And despite the magic and the nobles who want to do what's best for their people, kids like Briar still have no real options beyond crime if they want to survive.
And despite their hugely different backgrounds the four kids manage to build and retain a very close relationship, one that's really of equals. I know that sounds very after school special, but their different backgrounds never leave them. While I disliked the way they basically broke up in the beginning of The Will of the Empress, the book did do an excellent job with this. Tris and Daja are ultimately still scared of rejection; Briar and Sandry butt heads over Sandry's noble privilege, which she has stopped noticing herself. But they're all still there for each other, and that's important.
I like how grounded Emelan feels at times, even its magic. We don't get to hear that much about academic mages, and so most of the magic we see is in doing - cooking, craftwork, gardening. Unlike Tortall, the gods, while so important in the lives of the Dedicates, are never actually seen. (Evvy's weird mountain companion seems pretty out of place to me, incidentally. Feel free not to include him in any Evvy related fic if you don't want to.)
The Long Earth
I don't have as much to say about this, having (as I mentioned) only read it recently. I think what ultimately captivated me was that the effects of the discovery of the Long Earth allows us to see the very best and very worst of humanity; the mother who abandons her son because he doesn't fit in with her plans, and all the people who feel like outsiders, and gang together to try and cause mass destruction, just because they're so angry with the world - and then the opposite end of the spectrum, Joshua saving all the other children and a town where humans and trolls have learned to live together. And all the people who lie somewhere in the middle - Hermione walking out on her job, Monica relentlessly sticking with hers, Sally and Joshua never quite being able to do without other people, and Lobsang, who quite possibly is human, and quite possibly... isn't.