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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.

The General Stuff
So, first there's the question of likes and dislikes as general rules of thumb.  What I love most of all is a well-written story, and 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.  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 in Yuletide!

I love reading stories in which the style and mood of the original source material is well preserved, from the dogged but surprising mood of ‘Columbo’ to the quietly ordinary styles of ‘The Last Detective’ to the quirky bittersweetness permeating ‘George and the Red Giant’ 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, although as a fan of case-fic in law enforcement fandoms I know that such things can be in the case aspects involving secondary characters, and that’s okay as long as it’s necessary to the plot.  I would also prefer not to read stories about character death unless it’s canon.

As for ratings I prefer, I’m open to anything.  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, quite honestly, one of my favorite series of all time.  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 that jaded, bitter shell that Aspinall has, and 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 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 to the unit in season four that came together in a crisis or gathered around the hospital bed of a friend.  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 would love 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 need to take longer to nail down the evidence that proves it.  I love the character of Columbo: a genuinely good man with endless curiosity.  I love his meandering stories and how he knows just how to get under a suspect's skin.  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 love those buzzing moments between him and a suspect when they both know they're on a collision course, and that it's becoming a matter of time.  I love the lengths people go to in hopes of foiling him, and how they can never quite manage it.  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.  It makes him almost a myth in his own right.
                And Wilson.  He’s only in two cases in canon (and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t even remember his name first name, since it changes between them!), but that’s one more than any other partner Columbo got.  And that's part of what makes him special.  The other thing that makes him special is exactly how much personality he had packed into two episodes.  I love that his zeal gets away from him more often than not, but that he’s also a very intelligent man in his own right.  I love his nervous, twitchy personality, his attention to detail (although often the wrong detail), his love of technology (seriously, him and that typewriter in 'Now You See Him' and him and the camera in 'Greenhouse Jungle.'  ... there is no truer love than Wilson/gadgets) and his eagerness to impress Columbo is incredibly endearing.  When Columbo compliments him in 'Now You See Him', he practically glows.  I don't think there ever was a more adorable character on the show, nor a better outsider character to act as a foil for Columbo.
                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 too!  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, or it's about technology and he actually asks for Wilson personally.  Maybe after ‘Now You See Him’ Columbo can’t quite shake his new shadow.  Anything would be fantastic, really, so long as it involves crime, Columbo, and Wilson!

George and the Red Giant
Characters: Phil Beard and George Newbould
Optional Text: A look at what comes after the end, and another meeting between George and Phil.
Explanation: ‘George and the Red Giant’ is an odd little gem, simultaneously tackling gender-bending, species-bending, love, loss, and the end of the world.  And has giant flying lemurs.  And two New York dudes falling for one another after they get abducted by aliens.  There is literally nothing normal about this hour-long radio play and I sort of love it for that.
At the heart of this story is a life-long love, quiet and bittersweet, that then abruptly has to face that it isn’t the end of their lives.  Phil comes into it jaded and angry and bitterly unhappy with his life, both pre- and post-lemur.  George, on the other hand, adapts better, sees the possibilities of their new world because one gets the feeling he wasn’t leaving much behind, that even being a lemur is preferable to his lonely life in New York.  I give tons of credit to Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas for selling how they fall for one another, and play the absurdity of the situation with such earnestness that you totally buy into it.  It makes the end of the play, with both of them back in their own bodies after an entire lifetime together—Phil back with his family and George back to his lonely life—simultaneously hopeful and tragic.  They get another chance at life, yes, but they also seem to have to leave their old life behind.
And that’s what I really want to read about: the aftermath.  Specifically, I want them to be unable to stay apart, or at least unable to leave that life at such a loose end.  I would love a story that sees them get back together, dealing with the fact that they may not be lemurs but now they’re both men and how that could easily complicate an already odd relationship, how Phil has two conflicting families all of a sudden, how they want to have everything but possibly can’t.  I want it to be messy and beautiful.  I’m fine with any rating for this one, from barely able to hold hands all the way to sex.  Whatever works for the story you’re writing.  I don’t want unending heartbreak, but bittersweetness fits the tone of the original well, and I can’t really see any other sentiment when it comes to having to decide between the family you thought you lost and the one great love of your life.  Happy endings aren’t nearly so simple after all that those two have been through, but if you could find one I would love you forever!

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 love.  Its sense of whimsy and camp, and the sheer joyful silliness of the series can always put me in a good mood.  I love how much fun the series 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 these 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 affections are in such a situation.  And while I love 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 to their minds, or if it really is something extremely dangerous, harrowing, and yet ordinary.  We’ve got 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, and the things about it that I find particularly fantastic.  Even if my specific request is proving unworkable, hopefully you can look at my likes about the fandom, and come up with something else you think will work!  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