alixtii: Peter and Valentine Wiggin, from the Ender's Game comic book. (Ender's Game)
[personal profile] alixtii
(N.B.: Portions of this letter have been lifted from previous years' letters: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007.)

Thank you for signing up to write a story for me! You're one of a very small group of people who offered to write for one or more of my fandoms (usually I give the stats, but what with bucket offers not showing up this year, I won't) and I love you for that alone.

If you check out my userinfo, you'll find a 'thon policy which implores that you be true first and foremost to the prompt and your muse, and to consider whether I'd like a story as, at most, a secondary concern. I stand by that, but I also recognize there is a sense that a [community profile] yuletide story is explicitly a gift in a way which most 'thon fics aren't, so feel free to surf through this journal to get a feel for me, and here's a little bit more, if you are interested, to help you understand how I relate to the specific texts and characters in the fandoms I've requested and what I might like. OTOH, don't be intimitated; this letter might demonstrate that I've thought long and hard about why I want what I want, because I'm full of myself and like to navel-gaze so you can get a feel for my tastes, but the specifics of what I'd like are intentionally vague even in my own mind.

As a reader (and, for that matter, as a writer), I'm perhaps most interested in female characters--in particular, adolescent female characters with agency--and in the relationships between them. I'm also drawn to what I call will-to-poweriness, the adolescent fantasy, the desire to exceed oneself that also draws me to things like superhero comics (one of my fandoms is, indeed, X-Men) and fantasy shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is my main fandom). Female children and teenagers who prove themselves to be the equals (or betters) to adults because they are just that awesome are some of my favorite people to read about, and I think you can see this in many of my requests. I talk more about my love of radically autonomous young female characters in this post from 2006 and provide more examples of the specific dynamic I like and why I think it rings for me; I go on to talk about incest, but since that's not relevant for any of my requests this year you can feel free to ignore that part.

Beyond that, I like to think I'm easy to write for. I have few squicks--I'm fine with character death, BDSM, mpreg, dubcon, noncon, chan, incest--you name it, I'm probably okay with it. Just please no bashing of my favorite characters. Happy, uplifting fics are good, but so are soul-crushingly depressing ones so long as the pairings and characters get to be awesome. Ambivalent fics where we're not sure whether we should cheer or cry are probably best of all. If I didn't like existentialism and pseudo-nihilism in my fic, I wouldn't be a Joss Whedon fan.

Fandom: The ILLUMINATUS! Trilogy - Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
Character: Miss Portinari
Request: What is it like for a teenaged girl to be the spiritual leader of the Lief Erikson? Show me Miss Portinari being awesome and wise and a teeanager (with a sex drive) and having fun all while she's at it.
I'm interested in learning more about Miss Portinari. She hits all my kinks: a girl who is both a teen and the spiritual leader of the Lief Erikson, commanding a position of authority and respect while being sexually and spiritually and practically liberated. (Also I sort of love that she is always referred to using the honorific, even if that means we don't know her first name. Assuming of course that her given name isn't actually "Miss"--which I think is a fairly safe assumption to make, especially given her Catholic parents and the fact she was born prior to the Second Vatican Council.) Talk about being will-to-powery!

Pretty much any point in canon would be great, although I would especially like to see some of Miss Portinari after Hagbard appoints her the spiritual leader, and setting it after the Lief Erikson becomes a spaceship in RAW's Schrödinger's Cat trilogy would be just awesome. (For some reason, I have this image of her being the spiritual leader of not only the ship, but also a planet named Fred that the Lief Erikson is in orbit around. Don't ask me where that came from. And I'm not asking you to write it.) But finding out more about the time when she had just joined the crew of the Lief Erikson would be cool too.

What is it like to have reached enlightenment when your body is still changing and being flooded by hormones--and where do you go from there, when you still have the rest of your life in front of you? (Apparently, in the universe next door she visits a man in prison.) How does she interact with the rest of the crew, before and/or after her appointment as episkopos? (We know George Dorn was intimidated by her immediately after her elevation.) Does she miss the company of other people her age? What is her relationship with Hagbard? We know from the appendix that she and Hagbard occasionally have sex (but "never became lovers"); does she have any other partners, and how does she approach those relationships? Basically I just want to see more of this very cool character we saw relatively little of in canon (and much of what we did see only in an appendix), taking control not only of her own life, but being responsible for the spiritual well-being of an entire submarine.

Fandom: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggan
Characters: Emma Jane Perkins, Rebecca Randall
Request: The super-'shippy chapter at the end of New Chronicles of Rebecca notwithstanding, these two are so married to each other. I'd like femslash which emphasizes the way they complement each other. Perhaps futurefic where Rebecca the famous poet travels to Paris with Emma Jane at her side as trusty companion?
Emma Jane is the Alice B. Toklas to Rebecca's Gertrude Stein. These two are just so incredibly married that showing them at pretty much any stage of their life would be awesome. You could write a first time, showing their first date or first kiss or first time they had sex, or you could go established relationship because the books already have done everything needed to convince me of them as a couple. You could write a missing scene from the periods of time covered by the two books, or show what happens after the end of the books, or you could write a futurefic like suggested in the prompt above. Anything really goes here, from a small comfortable vignette like those found in New Chronicles of Rebecca to something more serious wrestling with the historical context to something truly wild in which Emma Jane and Rebecca fight off aliens or travel in the TARDIS to something more solidly romantic to PWP where they roleplay in the bedroom. Or all of the above. Just so long as Emma Jane and Rebecca keep that married vibe which is so--unintentionally, of course, or so one assumes--strong in canon. The more femslashy the better, of course!

Feel free to just ignore the het romances gestured towards in canon; I suppose I don't have a problem with Adam Ladd appearing in the fic, since he obviously has been a huge influence in the lives of both Rebecca and Emma Jane, but the romance and focus of the fic should be between the two girls.

Interestingly enough, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm actually plays a central role in one of my Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fics, Some Thing to Watch Over Me, in a way which I think maybe casts light on how I understand the character:
"I loved this book as a kid," she tells Cameron, who followed her into the bookstore, as she flips through the pages. She remembers hearing it read to her by her parents, before Judgment Day. She remembers carrying it around with her as she hid from the machines, wishing that Aunt Mirandy would protect her from them, or that Mr. Aladdin would give her one of his marvelous gifts, until the book became so dirty and worn it fell apart in her hands. If only she could escape that post-apocalyptic landscape the way Rebecca did Sunnybrook, she had told herself, then she, like Rebecca, would have been able to succeed through sheer virtue and willpower.

[. . .]

She should have known that life, even life before Judgment Day, wouldn't be like Riverboro, the universe bending out of shape just to acknowledge a little girl's awesomeness. But she had allowed herself to hope, to believe that just because Jessie had taken an interest in her, that meant she would be as good as an Aunt Mirandy or Mr. Ladd.

Fandom: Awoken - Serra Elinson
Characters: Andromeda Slate, Bree Fifan, Chloe Bay, Scarlett Epistola
Request: Femslash or gen focusing on the female-to-female relationships.
To say that Elinsen's novel leaves plenty of room for fanfiction is probably something of an understatement. Her characterizations (Uncle Neil included, when you get down to it) are admittedly not the most fleshed-out ones in the world. Andromeda Slate in particular is essentially a Rebecca Randall (or a Sara Crewe, etc.) in the hands of a lesser writer not quite capable of pulling her off. Rebecca shines off the page so brightly from her first appearance that we don't quite notice that she hasn't technically earned the good things to come to her. Whereas Andromeda is such a blank slate--ahem--that we can't not notice that fact, unless we've successfully placed ourselves in her shoes, in which case we don't want to.

That said, there's a lot of potential in the female characters Elinsen gives us for the fic writer to take advantage of. Chloe doesn't appear for most of the novel, but from the brief appearance she does make you can tell she's awesome--most certainly more so than her brother or Andromeda--and I wouldn't mind the chance of getting to see more of her. And I mean that in more than one sense.

Not that Andromeda herself is beyond redemption by any means. I feel that in the hands of the right fic author, I can easily be convinced that Andi really is just as awesome as the universe she inhabits seems to think she is. So if you can show her taking charge of her life and actual earning her status as a special snowflake and exhibiting some agency--well, that would be pretty darn cool. Especially if said agency involves her kissing other girls.

Much like Anna Kendrick's character in Twilight (and let's face it, her scenes are the best part of that series, even if I do enjoy the whole more or less unironically), Bridget seems to be the sane person in a world gone mad--and because the world has gone mad, her reason ends up being dead wrong because it fails to account how reality is going to warp to account for Andromeda's intrinsic specialness and the power of her great love. Because of all this, I think her character would be interesting to explore further, as we see her interact more with Andi, Chloe, and/or Scarlett. Just no fat-shaming, please.

Getting Scarlett Epistola into the mix is more complicated, I recognize, as she's MIA at the end of the book. If inserting her into the fic becomes too complicated, I give you permission to leave her out, but I do think she provides some interesting options for interacting with the other female characters, and I'd enjoy seeing her turn her sex appeal onto one of the girls.

Both femslash (using any of the possible permutations of characters up to and including foursome orgy) and gen would be great. I don't mind het in and of itself, and obviously there are a couple of canonical het relationships that need to be dealt with (the book is a paranormal romance, after all), but I just find the male characters in the book fundamentally boring. So any antipathy I feel is toward Riley and Vivek rather than het as a genre (which I love and have written many, many times). On the other hand, I wouldn't exactly object to Chloe/Riley, or to Chloe/Riley/Andi.

Despite my criticisms, my enjoyment of the novel is largely unironic--what can I say, I enjoy self-indulgent wish-fulfillment--so don't feel the need to write intentionally bad prose or dialogue in an attempt to parody Elinsen's style (such as it is).

Fandom: That Guy with the Glasses/Channel Awesome
Characters: Nostalgia Chick, Nostalgia Critic, Mara Wilson, Evilina
Request: The aftermath of the Critic's resurrection. Does Mara return to her constant quest for revenge? How does the Chick respond to the loss of her nostalgia monopoly? Work in Evilina somehow, throw in a bunch of OTT meta humor, and stir.
I got into TGWTG after meeting [profile] agent_anachronism (who is, of course, one of the core members of Team NChick) at [ profile] mini_merlin 2009 and subsequently adding her to my friends list. I really enjoyed Nostalgia Chick and soon moved onto other webseries hosted on the site (in particular, Nostalgia Critic, Obscurus Lupa, and those which now fall under the Chez Apocalypse label). I've even written my own fic in this fandom, for Yuletide 2011: Nostalgia Chick Must Die!.

I love the fundamental flawedness and complexity of the Chick and the Critic as fictional characters: their near-sociopathic megalomania, the Critic's existential angst and anger management issues, the Chick's alcoholism and how she's not nearly as enlightened as she thinks she is, etc. But I also love the levels of pathos, drama, and real emotion possible in the TGWTG-verse--just as Doug notes at the end of To Boldly Flee, they've taken on a life of their own.

Mara Wilson's two appearances were of course both awesome, but in the wake of the Critic's resurrection after "The Review Must Go On" I'm left wondering what consequences it would have on Mara's quest for revenge. Would she once again set out attempting to smite him? I do follow Mara on Twitter, so if you want to draw on her personality there for her characterization, that's fine. Or if you want to restrict yourself to just the characterization we get in TGWTG canon (since Mara on Twitter presumably isn't, you know, undead), that's okay too.

And how would Nostalgia Chick fit into it? We haven't really seen her react to the loss of her nostalgia monopoly--but of course, we haven't really seen all that much of her in general since To Boldly Flee, yet alone "The Review Must Go On." I can't really imagine she'd take it any better than RPF!Lindsay did in that fascinating meta-verse we saw in"The Review Must Go On" (which intrigues me quite a bit, I must admit), though. As the Chick notes in the "Matilda" review, calling Chick!Lindsay and the Critic "allies" is a bit strong; so does Lindsay help Mara to take the Critic down? Or does she take her place alongside her fellow producer and sort-of leader against the fury of Mara's vengeance?

As for Evilina, I know I'm not the only one who really enjoys the character. The mixture of gleeful childhood innocence and the lingering threat of Satanic fire works really well together, Rachel plays her beautifully, and she has some really great chemistry with the Critic. Of course, the whole spawn of Satan thing might mean she has some mutual acquaintances with undead, demonic Mara. Maybe the two of them have already met in the underworld. Maybe Evilina's father has already endorsed Mara's quest, and Evilina is powerless to protect the Critic from Mara without invoking his anger, and is forced to choose.

If you're looking for other characters to include, some of my favorites include Lupa, Nella, Drs. Block and Tease (I wonder what happened to them after To Boldly Flee!), the Makeover Fairy, Elisa/Maven, and Diamanda Hagan.

Fandom: Honor Harrington series - David Weber
Characters: Rachel Mayhew
Request: Rachel on Manticore being awesome. Like Honor.
I got into this fandom after seeing a couple of different discussions in fandom in which Honor Harrington was brought up as a potential example of a "canon Mary Sue." I interpreted this as meaning I would like the books, so earlier this year I began to listen to them on audiobook.

I wasn't wrong.

The Honor Harrington series includes a large number of dynamic interesting female characters (not the least of them being Honor herself, obviously), but out of all of them, Rachel gets the least attention, which is why I would really love to read some fic about her. I think it's pretty clear how she fits into this list alongside Rebecca Randall and Andromeda Slate and their ilk: she's quite literally a princess, or rather the Grayson equivalent thereof. She has a treecat. She's an independent thinker who doesn't let her misogynistic culture limit her choices.

I'd like to see fic about Rachel's time on Manticore that shows her being awesome, having to draw on all she is and wants to become as she navigates a new society in one or more of the roles she has to play. I like worldbuilding, so revealing a new side of Manticorean society, its navy, etc. would be very interesting to me. Perhaps she finds herself drawn into some type of negotiation where she ends up needing to represent her planet? Or maybe she just has to work her way through social problems with her classmates and/or instructors. Maybe she falls in love with a girl and/or has to work her way through a spiritual crisis.

Other characters I'd be especially interested in reading about (i.e., you might consider having Rachel interact with include) pretty much anybody with "Harrington" and/or "Alexander" in their name (but especially James or Faith, who intrigue me quite a bit!), Abigail Hearns, Andrea Jaruwalski, Sonja Hemphill, Theodosia Kuzak, Helen Zilwicki, the House of Winton, and Shannon Foraker, among others. (Obviously, these are only suggestions, and I have no idea how you could get Foraker to Manticore.)

Thank you again for writing a story for me. Be true to your own muse, make sure the girls have agency, and I'm sure I'll love the result!

Yours in La Mancha,

[ profile] alixtii/ [personal profile] alixtii/ [ profile] alixtii
Alixtii O'Krul

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