DYW

Signups haven’t opened yet, but since I already have this written (heck, much of it is copy-pasted from previous letters) I might as well post it.


Hello, Yulemouse! I know you haven’t written a word yet, but I already want to thank you. Iโ€™ve done Yuletide twice before, and had a blast both times, which means I’m already happy because I know how awesome it is to have somebody write a fic for me. This year, that’s you, and I want you to know I appreciate it.

The optional details below are optional; they are also, ummm, long. Please do not be intimidated. The length comes from me talking about what I like about the sources, and offering a variety of suggestions as to what kinds of stories would interest me; you’re welcome to use any of them, or to springboard off of them into something else you think I’d like. Basically, I’m just trying to feed the plotbunnies. (There are also more general notes about my tastes at the bottom.)

My username on AO3 is russian_blue, and you can check out the fics Iโ€™ve written and received there.

***

Fandom: Gabriel Knight
Characters: Gabriel Knight, Grace Nakimura

This is the one I keep asking for, and will continue to ask for until I get it. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you didnโ€™t match with me on it you probably arenโ€™t going to write it, but juuuuust in case, I should mention that you can now buy all three games on GOG.com, if you’re interested in the old Sierra point-and-click style adventure games. This series is really good! (And not as horror-ish as the descriptions would have you believe.)

What I love about the source: The balance of humour and darkness, the way the stories made use of real-world history and folklore, and the sense that Gabriel was a flawed but still basically good man.

What I’d love to get: All right, I admit it — I’m still sore we never got a fourth game. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the problem with having a game series with actual character development arcs; when those get cut off short, it leaves me unsatisfied!

Which is by way of saying that what I would really love here is a story giving closure (of some generally upbeat kind) to the relationship between Gabe and Grace. They slept together in Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, then never really talked about it, and then Grace bailed out and we didn’t even get to read her note and auuuuuuuggggggggggggggh.

The closure could take whatever form you like (and be from whichever point of view you like, or both). Grace, presumably, was going to talk to that guy in India she’d been e-mailing, about fighting supernatural evil in her own right. Maybe Gabe goes after her. Maybe he doesn’t, and she shows up again a few years later, after becoming some kind of full-blown Schattenjäger equivalent herself. Maybe they run into each other without warning when they both go after the same supernatural beastie. I’d love to see Grace treated as Gabe’s professional equal (I think she’s always been his equal in personal terms), rather than a sidekick, and for him to accept her as such — which is not to say he should have a personality transplant and suddenly be without flaws or blind spots, but I feel like he’s been struggling with a lot of issues there, and it would nice to see him continue to grow.

As I said, I’d like there to be a happy ending eventually — get your mind out of the gutter! I mean happy emotions! — but I don’t mind angst along the way. (Where “happy endings” are concerned, wink wink nudge nudge — eh, I really care more about the emotional resolution. They can sleep together or not, as you like, but I’m not looking for smut.) If you have the time and energy, I would ADORE something plotty, with a supernatural threat they have to take care of. (Flavor of threat is entirely up to you. Rumour had it the fourth game would have taken place in Scotland and dealt with ghosts; run with that if you want, or grab any cool bit of folklore and history that you know and want to play with.)

If, on the other hand, you detest that entire relationship, then I would also be delighted with a story that is just about Grace doing something cool, post-canon, with or without Gabriel appearing. You don’t have to be a Ritter and the Schattenjäger to fight supernatural evil, after all.

***

Fandom: Repo! The Genetic Opera
Characters: Magdalene Defoe (Blind Mag), the GraveRobber

Another repeat request, and I’ll admit that I’m crossing my fingers for a crossover. My first year I requested one and lucked out (I actually got two stories for it), but I do recognize that such things are even more optional than the usual optionality of details. If you can’t or don’t want to do the crossover, I do have other suggestions.

What I love about the source: The weird dystopian aspects (which didn’t get explored enough for my taste), the grit vs. glamour, and the GraveRobber, whose voice is goddamn hot. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’d love to get: The crossover idea is based on the fact that Blind Mag is played by Sarah Brightman . . . who also originated the role of Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera. And, y’know, both characters are singers. So the idea is some kind of story wherein Blind Mag is Christine Daae. How and why this happened, not to mention how she’s around instead of being dead and gone a century past, is up to you; I’d like it to involve the GraveRobber (maybe he dug up Christine’s grave, and for some reason she wasn’t dead/came back to life?), but whatever idea fires your imagination, go for it. Compliance with actual Repo! canon is totally your choice, with regard to her friendship with Marni, etc.

If you don’t want to do the crossover, then Blind Mag is optional; I’d be interested in a story about her (especially the eyes — those are really cool; what kinds of things have they recorded?), but really, let’s face it, I am shallow, and the GraveRobber is hot. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anything focusing on his work would be cool, and if you write about both of them, maybe they’re friends for some reason? My GK request above notwithstanding, I’m a sucker for good platonic friendships between men and women.

***

Fandom: Elfquest
Characters: none

Another repeat request — yes, there’s a theme here. ๐Ÿ™‚ This one actually got fulfilled last year, but the nature of what I want is such that it’s possible for lots of different people to write lots of totally different fills. And as I said in the comments to last year’s fic, it really made me want to ask for this again and see what I get.

What I love about the source: Oh god, where do I start? This was, for many years, the only comic book I had ever read. It’s still one of the deep foundational stories in my mind. I love how well-realized the characters are, and the capacity for the narrative to be about the ensemble and subsets thereof, rather than being just Cutter’s story with everybody else playing bit parts. I love the way conflict is handled, never being casually dismissed, or treated as if violence is a get-out-of-jail-free card for everything. I love the consequences, and the fact that the characters experience both real losses and real victories.

What I’d love to get: This request is stupidly open-ended, and I admit it. If that’s a problem, feel free to contact teleidoplex and she’ll serve as a go-between for questions — but really, there are so many things I could be happy with, you should be safe.

I really just want an expansion of the universe. I’ve read possibly everything there is — certainly I’ve read most of it, including the far-future Jink stuff — though nothing after Kings of the Broken Wheel quite hit me the same way, as the world started being farmed out to other writers. But there’s so much richness there, and also so much open space to develop new things. Possible angles include:

1) A tribe of your own devising, either meeting one of the canonical groups or off doing their own thing. This could explore an environment not already covered (last year I got subterranean volcanic elves!), or be your own take on something the canon already touched on. (I love the idea of sea elves, for example, but the actual canonical Wavedancers didn’t really do it for me.) My academic background is in anthropology, so elves adapting socially and physically to different environments is really interesting to me — which sounds high-falutin’, but really what I mean is make cool shit up!

2) History for any of the canonical groups. Life under a past Wolfrider chief, early days of the Sun Village, Go-Backs vs. trolls, the Gliders before they fell into decadence and apathy — any of those would be cool. The High Ones right after the fall. Etc. Whatever strikes your fancy.

3) Backstory for a canonical character, in case you’d prefer to stick closer to the actual series rather than haring off into the wild blue yonder with your own ideas. If you’re like me and get neurotic when you don’t know what your recipient might be looking for, I can say that Clearbrook is probably my favorite female character and Strongbow my favorite male, but I like pretty much everybody. All the nominated characters are cool — I’m especially fond of Nightfall and Redlance, Skywise, and Rayek (ohhh, thirteen-year-old me has a soft spot for angsty Rayek) — but I don’t mind if you end up writing about somebody who wasn’t nominated (Venka, Dart and his pack of jackwolf-riders, etc). You could probably even sell me on Winnowill backstory if you have a cool idea for that, though I’d prefer nothing future, i.e. The Further Adventures of How Winnowill Is the Problem That Keeps on Giving. She played the role of central villain enough already in the series for my taste.

4) Human contact. This one could combine with practically any of the above. Maybe your invented tribe runs into humans, or has even learned to co-exist with them in (non-warped-Glider-style) peace. Or maybe there were other contacts that we haven’t been told about, for the canonical tribes or individual characters therefrom. We’ve already had a few examples of how that could go, but there’s room for a lot more variety.

Really, I just want MOAR ELFQUEST DAMMIT, whether it’s following the existing material into the past or exploring new ground. (And yes, I’m aware of the new series, which is not “final” in the way the title would have you believe. But it’s publishing too slowly! One page a week?! <makes grabby hands>)

***

Fandom: The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
Characters: Milady Clarick de Winter

And here we have one I would have asked for last year (and thought about asking for the year before that), but Milady wasn’t on the list of nominated characters. <shakes fist at new limitations on nominations>

The easiest way to approach this one is probably to quote my own comments after I finally got around to reading the book for the first time:

Has anybody published a revisionist retelling of this story, from Milady’s point of view? The thing practically writes itself. Her original crime (breaking her holy vows) can easily be written off as youthful stupidity followed by a badly-conceived attempt to escape the consequences; making that sympathetic would be a piece of cake. But said attempt doesn’t work out (I admit I’ve forgotten the details of this transition), and she ends up falling in love with the Comte de la Fรจre. The movie [i.e. the Disney one, which I saw long before reading the book] predisposed me to believe she actually did love him, but there’s no particular reason to believe she didn’t; the novel at one point talks about her going from “the man she had ruined to the man she was about to ruin,” but what ruin was that? I don’t recall any evidence she was planning to help the Comte off this mortal coil, or otherwise mess up his life. The eventual ruin went the other way: having discovered the brand, he saw no better course of action than to string her up from the nearest tree.

‘Cause, y’know, that’s what you do with the wife you supposedly love.

Okay, sure, Dumas was writing in the nineteenth century, when that is what you did. She was a criminal, ergo a subhuman and inherently untrustworthy being incapable of redemption. One line from the film stuck in my head, leaping to mind every time I think of their Milady: “I have become the monster you once thought me to be.” Yes, she undoubtedly commits crimes later — horrific ones — but after what happened to her, I can sympathize. Not approve, but sympathize. She had to make her way in the world somehow, and the somehow she found involved the Cardinal — who has at least a modicum of respect for her brains and her skills. The way she got out of prison in England was a masterwork of manipulation, and if it had been a man doing all the things she did, I doubt Dumas would have criticized that character a tenth so much. Half of his description of her evil centers on things like her (unnatural and unfeminine) rage, which a modern audience is more likely to admire than to deplore.

I would love any sort of “apology for Milady” tale, that shows us the story from her perspective. Not necessarily her actual point of view; it would be entirely fitting to write it in a more nineteenth-century omniscient-narrator voice, if you’re comfortable with that. But a perspective that is sympathetic to her. I don’t think Milady is a good person by the time she shows up in the book, and I’m not at all asking for her flaws to be hand-waved away. I do think, though, that it’s understandable how she acquired those flaws, and want something that doesn’t treat her as a villain.

You can take whatever angle you like on that: one or more episodes from her documented backstory, an incident from the book’s actual plot, some scene of your own invention. All I ask is that it feature Milady and show some understanding of her life.

***

More generally: I love stuff with actual plot in, but since I know that can be a lot of work, I would also be very happy with something that really examines the characters or world. I prefer stories that stay close to the characters as written, respecting canon relationships, working with flaws rather than sweeping them under the rug, etc. Apart from the crackiness of the Repo!/Phantom crossover, I’d rather the fic be presented as something that could fit into the the canon, rather than something that blatantly ignores the existing narrative. Go ahead and include any characters I’ve not listed that might be useful to you, or invent OCs to serve your narrative needs.

I adore drama; I also like humour, especially when it’s of the “witty” variety rather than physical comedy or gross-out excess, but I love it best when it’s used as leavening for the more serious stuff, or as the jab to set up the dramatic roundhouse that follows. (The kind of thing Joss Whedon excels at, if you want an example.) I don’t like humiliation, or characters being flat-out stupid — which is not the same thing as their flaws getting in the way of good decisions. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not really looking for smut. I don’t mind violence, as long as it doesn’t cross the line into splatterpunk gore, but I don’t like torture. Especially against women: by all means let them fight, even if that means they get hurt, but please don’t victimize them, or refrigerator them, or push canonical women to the sidelines of the story.

As mentioned before, I’m russian_blue on AO3, so feel free to rummage around in the entrails of what Iโ€™ve got there if you need more data on what I like.

0 Responses to “DYW”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    There have been at least two Milady reworkings as novels, both in French. (Milady Mon Amour, by Yak Rivais, and Milady, by Olivier Merlin). The first is amazing — I read a library copy as finding it 2nd hand is a nightmare. I have the 2nd, but have yet to read it.
    I could probably write you a Milady story, though I don’t do Yuletide, due to being flaky. But I love to write in the Musketeers universe!

    • Marie Brennan

      Now if I just read more than ballet levels of French . . . <g>

      It’s possible to participate sort of tangentially in Yuletide, should you decide you want to. If you have an AO3 account — and I could send you an invite — you can write stories for people just for the hell of it, as treats; there’s a list of what many, though not quite all, of the people are requesting. (That is, when the list is done it will have many. Right now it has only a tiny fraction.) A higher level of commitment is to sign up for the pinch-hit list, but that means actual obligation; pinch-hitters are there to write stories for people whose assigned writers have defaulted, meaning that you actually do have to produce something by the deadline.

      I bring it up mostly because I may not be the only one requesting Musketeers. Somebody else nominated other characters from the novel, and while that’s no guarantee there will be a request, there might be.

      • la_marquise_de_

        I tend only to write fanfic on request from friends these days, in fact. But I would be delighted to write that Milady story — as I said, I love to write the musketeers. I don’t have an AO3 account because most of what I’ve written is old, in a long redundant format (locoscript) and rather bad! Or based on things so obscure that no-one would know them, I suspect.
        I think Yuletide is a fine idea, but it’s all a bit big and organised for me.

  2. Marie Brennan

    You need a fan installer for the patch to run GK2, even if you do it in an emulator; the game was bugged from the start. Or you could just check my links up there and buy modern-runnable versions from GOG, which is what I’m strongly considering doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

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