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October 19th, 2014

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.

Columbo
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