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Dear Yuletide Writer 2014

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hello, aloha, and greetings in whatever language you feel comfortable speaking!  Thank you so much for participating.  Yuletide has become one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, and every year writing this letter starts out that excitement on the right foot.  It makes me think through all my requests, and exactly what I love about them.  I'm thrilled that you’ve either been picked to be my writer or that you’re just interested in reading this letter, and I hope that my request turns out to be fun for you.  If you can't match the request exactly, don't worry about it!  I want these prompts to provide inspiration to make your Yuletide writing as fun as possible, and to answer any questions you might have about what I like and why I picked the requests I did.  Thank you again for signing up, dear Yuletide writer.  I’m so excited to read whatever you have written!

The General Stuff
What I love most of all is a well-written story, as close to the feel and sound of canon as you can get.  I love the characters I chose because of their canon personalities, both their ups and their downs.  If you have to choose between keeping the characters authentic or filling my request to the letter, always go with the authenticity.  I would rather have excellent characterization and a fun plot than an exact fill of a request, but if you can combine those two elements, you will make me the happiest reader this Yuletide!

I love reading stories in which the style and mood of the original source material is well preserved, from the dogged but surprising intrigue of ‘Columbo’ to the quiet melancholy of ‘The Last Detective’ to the glorious camp of ‘Adam Adamant Lives!’.  I love humor and adventure and unsentimental romance.  Banter is a glorious thing, as is any other form of zippy dialogue and prose.  I love clever plots.  I love mysteries.  I love adventures.  I love horror stories that scare the pants off me.  I love long, brilliant case fics, and I love short, sharp moments in time that are all the more powerful for their brevity.  I love an elaboration of a world I thought I knew in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

Of course, there are also things that I generally avoid reading if I can.  Non-consensual sexual acts involving main characters are not something I enjoy reading.  Same with AUs.  As I mentioned above, I love the canon in my fandoms desperately, and so AUs have very rarely been of interest to me.  I would also prefer not to read stories about character death unless it’s canon.

Having said that, I’m open to any rating!  A wonderfully quiet G to a steamy NC-17: they can all be thrilling!  If you think a character would do something, and you believe you can write it convincingly, go for it!  That's pretty much what I'll always keep coming back to.  If you believe you can write it and keep it in character and in the style of the fandom (warts and all!), I'm going to love it.  I enjoy slash, gen and het in equal measure, depending on the character pair (or lack thereof).

Please don't let these likes and dislikes intimidate you!  I believe in being up-front with you, but I also believe that when you decide what you're going to write, it's going to be fantastic.  Most of all, have fun!  I can't wait to read your story on the 25th.

So, without further ado, let’s get on to the specifics of my requests:

The Last Detective (TV)
Characters: Dangerous Davies, Ray Aspinall, Philip Pimlott, Darren Barrett

Optional Text: Gen request for an exploration of Dangerous’ gradual transition from the team’s pariah to the glue that holds their dysfunctional unit together.

Explanation: This is one of my favorite shows of all time, and one that comes as close as I think I've seen to perfection.  The quiet melancholy that permeates it in spite of the humor fascinates me, and the painful humanity of the characters gets me every time I watch.  I love how Dangerous can seem so disillusioned with his life and so perpetually hopeful all at the same time.  I love Aspinall’s jaded, bitter shell, and I love the cracks you see every now and then.  I love that Pimlott, despite being a grade-A asshole, gets very serious by the fourth season, and you can see in him the makings of a genuinely good policeman and maybe even a decent person.  I love that Barrett jokes around all the time, that he has no sense of proper occasion, and that when he mellows out he’s also very good at what he does.  I love that even at their worst they can unexpectedly do good, and even at their best they can fail.  I love how this series sketches out a group of real people, with all the triumphs and tragedies that go along with being real and ordinary and fallible.    Oh, and I take an unhealthy glee in the fact that Barrett and Pimlott seem to share a tie collection (really, play ‘spot the wandering pink tie’ sometime while watching.)

One of the most fascinating things about this series to me was the organic growth of Dangerous’ unit from something completely incapable of working together or even being particularly professional in season one, to an actual team in season four that each had a vital role to play in solving cases.  I loved how seamlessly this transition happened, how you could never quite pinpoint when the changes were made, but that they were made with each character in their own time.  I would love a story that explores that transition while still retaining all the imperfection and lapses in judgment that make them the characters they are.  It could be a series of vignettes, a single case, or just a conversation in the squad room.  Or anything else you can think up that would work.  I just … I really ended up loving all four of the guys on the unit (in between wanting to slap all of them silly) and want to read more about them and their relationships with one another.  This is a gen request, but I’m not opposed to slash, particularly between Barrett, Pimlott, and their mutual tie collection.  Canon relationships (Dangerous/Julie, Mod/Slew of Girlfriends) are fine to mention, but I would prefer this story focus on the squad.

Characters: Lt. Columbo and Sgt. John J. Wilson

Optional Text: A gen request for another case shared between Columbo and Wilson, because the two we got weren’t nearly enough.

Explanation: Oh, ‘Columbo’, how I love you.  This is a series I loved a long time ago, but drifted away from until I went and got the complete series on DVD.  I went hunting for fic online, only to find none.  This has to change!  I love the formula of the series: knowing the villain from the off, seeing Columbo put it together almost instantly, but needing to take longer to nail down the evidence that proves it.  I love those little moments when his shabby exterior can’t conceal the brilliant man underneath, and I love the big reveal when he sheds that façade entirely.  I also love that we never know if Mrs. Columbo is real or just something he made up to help in his investigations, that his entire personal life is more or less a black box that we can only guess at.  

And Wilson.  He’s only in two cases in canon (‘The Greenhouse Jungle’ and ‘Now You See Him’), and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t even remember his name first name, since it changes between them!  But that’s still one more appearance than any other partner assigned to Columbo, and that makes him special.  I love his nervous, twitchy personality, his attention to detail, and his eagerness to impress Columbo, particularly in ‘Now You See Him’ (which is just a fantastic episode anyway!).  I love that his zeal gets away from him more often than not, but that he’s still a very intelligent man in his own right.  I think that Bob Dishy turned in an underrated, nuance performance, and I want to see more.  Barring that, I want to read more!

My request, then, would be for another case fic for the two of them.  It’s implied that they hadn’t seen one another between ‘The Greenhouse Jungle’ and ‘Now You See Him’, so if you wanted to set it after that I would love it, but if you could sell an earlier date I would also love that!  Basically, any sort of case for these two.  Maybe Wilson catches it first and calls Columbo in, maybe Columbo gets saddled with him when his boss decides Columbo’s been working alone too much.  Maybe after ‘Now You See Him’ Columbo can’t quite shake his new shadow.  The case could be complete in the story, or you could just write a scene from a case that really digs into these two and their dynamic.  Anything would be fantastic, really, so long as it involves crime, Columbo, and Wilson.

Adam Adamant Lives!
Characters: Adam Llewellyn De Vere Adamant, William E. Simms, Georgina Jones

Optional Text: What happens with Adam, Simms, and Georgie when there aren’t villains to defeat and worlds to save?  Are there perils to every-day life even more hair-raising than fighting a villain du jour?  A gen request for an ordinary day made extraordinary because Adam, Simms, and Georgie lived it.

Explanation:  ‘Adam Adamant Lives!’ is one of those series I will probably always adore.  Its sense of whimsy, camp, and sheer joyful silliness can always put me in a good mood.  I love how much fun the show is: the crazy plots, the action, the sword fights, the over-the-top villains.  I love that this series could be the very definition of camp, but it never comes off as forced, rather it feels that everyone involved was in on the joke and having as much fun as you are.

And I love the characters.  I love Georgie being smarter and more charming than she had any right to be, as well as determined and courageous.  I love her insistent modernity in the face of Adam’s culture shock.  I love Simms being clever and sarcastic and unexpectedly heroic.  I love his limericks and the snarky banter he and Georgie have between them (yeah, okay, I might ship those two a bit).  I love Adam’s fish-out-of-water story, and how he clings to what he was and a world that is gone.  I love his sense of himself, and his determination to still be a hero in an era that doesn’t seem to need one.  I love the moments for all of them when they have to get serious and save one another, and how obvious their mutual affection is.  And while I enjoy Adam being heroic, I have to admit I’m a massive sucker for the day being saved by his sidekicks.  Every episode in which Georgie and Simms get to somehow save the day makes me automatically love it more.

For this fic, I really want something in the spirit of the series: fun, funny and action-packed.  And yet, I would love it centered around a completely ordinary day, with all the peril generated by our favorite trio.  I don’t care if that peril isn’t really perilous except in their minds, or if it really is something extremely dangerous, harrowing, and yet ordinary.  We’ve gotten to see them in extraordinary circumstances so often, but we’ve only caught glimpses of what ‘normal’ is for them, and how they respond to something that isn’t a kooky villain or an overblown plot of world domination.  So I want to see their crazy, perilous version of ordinary, still treated with the same glorious, overblown camp of the series.   I would love to see all of them overwhelmed, extraordinary, and fantastic in the face of something terrifying, life-threatening, and mundane.

So that’s it, Yuletide writer!  Every request fills me with anticipation and glee, and I hope for all of them equally.  I hope you have as much fun writing as I did requesting.  If any of these requests are stumping you, please note that I try to include in the explanations the reasons I love that fandom in general.  Even if my specific request is proving unworkable, hopefully you can look at my more general squee and come up with something else you think would be great!  I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, and so I will love any story that made you happy or proud or satisfied to write.  Have a great Yuletide and thank you, thank you, thank you!

All my admiration and gratitude,
Nemo the Everbeing
Happy New Year, all.  This year for Yuletide I received an absolutely lovely gift from Andraste, Phil and the Yellow Dwarf : a story about 'George and the Red Giant'.  Anyone who likes 'Babylon 5', particularly the Londo/G'Kar dynamic, and has somehow missed this 1-hour radio play ought to find it and listen immediately.  The story I asked for is a followup for the play, and Andraste delivered beautifully.  It's poignant, beautifully written, and gives no easy answers.  Everyone should read this!

My own story ended up being the usual novella-length affair (nearly 40,000 words ... why do I do this to myself?), and this year it's a post-series followup story.  The prompt was possessed!Cooper, and I thought it was high time I addressed the series finale and my thoughts about how it could be resolved.  I didn't want everything to be too neat or too easy, and I definitely didn't want my solution to be without cost.  In that spririt I plunged into writing a story that ended up with several new POVs (those of you who have read my previous 'Twin Peaks' stories know I've pretty much limited myself to Albert's POV), and some serious canon-spelunking (though as far as I know the entire story is canon-compliant, if extrapolating on vague aspects in some places).  Audrey turned out to be the unexpected delight of this story.  Writing her POV was a trip, and the twists and turns of her part of the story were very rewarding to write.  What stemmed from the idea of Albert, Audrey, and Denise on a road trip ended up being a story I'm quite proud to have written.

Rating: PG-13 (for canon-typical violence, horror themes, and some language)
Fandom: Twin Peaks
Characters: Dale Cooper, Albert Rosenfield, Audrey Horne, Denise Bryson, Harry Truman, Deputy Hawk, Big Ed, BOB, MIKE, the Log Lady, Major Briggs, Sarah Palmer, and other surprise appearances!
Historian's Note: Takes place roughly one week after the series finale (dates checked for accuracy).
Summary: On April 3, 1989, Audrey Horne turns up at the Philadelphia FBI field office looking for Albert Rosenfield. She has a story to tell, a business card, and a request for assistance. Over the next few days Albert discovers supernatural science projects and the reason why even forensic specialists should keep up their firearms training, Denise Bryson has a car and the will to use it, the Bookhouse Boys really ought to subcontract more, and Harry Truman has a serious problem on his hands:
BOB is out, and eager for fun. He wears a smile; everybody run.

Cutting It Very Fine Indeed

And with a half-hour to spare, I have posted my Yuletide story!  And yes, it's gargantuan.  Why do I do this to myself?  Because I seem constitutionally unable to see 'minimum 1000 words' and not strive to have a word count at least one order of magnitude greater (in this case, nearly 50,000 words).

Dear Yuletide Writer

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hello, aloha, and greetings in whatever language you prefer to speak!  Firstly, thank you so much for participating.  Yuletide has become one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, and every year writing this letter starts out that excitement on the right foot.  In that vein, I'm thrilled that you’ve been picked to be my writer, and I hope that my request turns out to be fun for you and that it sparks a good story.  If you can't match the request exactly, don't worry about it.  I want these prompts to provide inspiration to make your Yuletide writing experience as interesting as possible.  This letter will, hopefully, make things simpler for you, and adequately clear up issues like likes, dislikes, and general notes on requests.
Read more...Collapse )
Hey, all!  So, I realized I had neglected my LJ both in terms of gift and what I had written for Yuletide.  My gift was a fun little 'Whitechapel' tale, written by a last-minute (seriously, the maintainer apparently realized with about six hours to spare that my original writer had posted my Yuletide letter as a placeholder for a story and never gotten around to updating it or properly defaulting) pinch hitter who should get all the praise for not only cranking through the series but writing me a very smart little story in record time!

Ship's Ahoy! (by kittydesade) is a fantastic gen piece about Chandler, Miles, and Buchan on the trail of yet another historic copycat.  Good times.

As for what I wrote, I once again went a bit overboard and ended up writing a first-season Babylon 5 novella that was originally supposed to be mostly about the three ambassadors, but the entire rest of the cast ended up chiming in, and the aides handily stole the show.  Don't know how, but it has made me really want to write a lot more about Vir and Lennier.  Anyway, for any of you who are interested, here is the AO3 link.  I'm moving over to only posting there, because LJ posting is becoming such a pain in the ass.  You can (and are welcome to!) comment there if you like it, or what you think about it.  You don't need an account to comment, either.  Just enter a name and an email address and rock on!

So, without further ado ...

The Subtle Arrangement of Stones
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, and some sexual references and humor)
Fandom: Babylon 5
Characters: Londo Mollari, G'Kar, Delenn, Vir Cotto, Lennier, Na'Toth, Susan Ivanova, Jeffrey Sinclair, Stephen Franklin, Talia Winters, Kosh Naranek, Lou Welch, Senator Hidoshi
Historian's Note: Takes place shortly after 'The War Prayer.'
Summary: Ambassadors Mollari, Delenn, and G'Kar are kidnapped by the Homeguard.  It goes according to no one's plans: Earth dithers, Ivanova stews, Kosh is his usual helpful self, Franklin makes assumptions, Sinclair tries to hold everything together, the three aides mount a cockamamie rescue, and Delenn hopes only to keep Londo and G'Kar from killing one another long enough for someone else to do it.  A first season ambassadorial romp.

It was a fun and interesting Yuletide, and as always I look forward to the next one!

Eleventh Hour Squeak In

It's done!  My gigantic Yuletide monstrosity is finished, and clocks in at 37771 words. Some day I will learn to write shorter stories for Yuletide.



It's that time of year!

Yuletide nominations are open, which means soon signups will be too!  All fans of a rare fandom (i.e. most of my friends list) should don their Santa hats, light their menorahs, bust out the Kwanzaa fruit and decide which fandoms they will write for and which they want to request!

I love Yuletide.  Every year, it's the one fannish thing I will always participate in, because I've always had great fun writing, and I've met some fantastic people through it.  Those who haven't participated, but who have the time should definitely consider getting in the spirit this year.  If you have questions about it, I would gladly field them.  If not, go!  Get thee to the nominations and sign-ups!  I've already nominated 'The Last Detective', 'Adam Adamant Lives!' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'.  There are still plenty of fandoms wanting love!

Everything you  need to know about Yuletide, from the experts.


Title: Between You, Me, and the Stove
Rating: PG
Fandom: M*A*S*H
Characters: Father Francis Mulcahy, Hawkeye Pierce
Historian's Note: Takes place about a year after 'Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen'
Summary: Father Mulcahy hears eight confessions and tries to remember that God moves in mysterious ways. Father Pierce hears one and concludes that God might be drunk.

Chapter 9a: There but for the Grace of Someone

Chapter 9b: There but for the Grace of SomeoneCollapse )

Title: Between You, Me, and the Stove
Rating: PG
Fandom: M*A*S*H
Characters: Father Francis Mulcahy, Hawkeye Pierce
Historian's Note: Takes place about a year after 'Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen'
Summary: Father Mulcahy hears eight confessions and tries to remember that God moves in mysterious ways. Father Pierce hears one and concludes that God might be drunk.

Chapter 8: As Though We had Never Been Here

Chapter 9a: There but for the Grace of SomeoneCollapse )

Chapter 9b: There but for the Grace of Someone