Franzi (franzeska) wrote,

Dear Yulegoat 2014

Dear Yulegoat,

It is once again that time of year, that magical time when stores begin to fill with aesthetically-questionable depictions of santa and green and red decorations sprout like poisonously festive fungus before we're even past Halloween. Fandom could hardly let retail have all the fun, now could it? By my count, we've been talking about Yuletide for at least two months already, so it's high time for letters.

First thing's first: If you are new to Yuletide, you should know that optional details are optional and letters are extra optional. Many people feel that the best letter is succinct for fear of terrifying the writer with a staggering wall of text. You have... not been assigned one of those recipients this year. My condolences.

Cry 'Fic' and let slip the teal deer of Yuletide!

This letter is designed to be perused via multiple levels of nested cut tags. Click on one of the tags instead of the post itself (which will give you the full tl;dr all at once).

A few "brief" notes about my tastes:

Ships, please! First and foremost, I love shippy fic. I'm in fandom for shipping, and I like it on-page, front and center, and explicit. Yes, that means that porn is more than welcome. For anything more involved than PWP, I usually prefer first time fic to established relationship fic. I also love plot, particularly mystery novel-ish, casefic-ish plot. My favorite fics combine these two things.

DNW: I don't have most of the standard squicks, whether that's pee or necrophilia or whatever. I do strongly dislike mpreg, a/b/o, BDSM-verses (i.e. where roles are biological), and soulmate verses. I won't read fic that's about permanent character death, permanent maiming, realistic mental illness, serious psychological trauma that lingers, or my ship breaking up in a depressing way and staying broken up.

Yes, yes! More, more! I like all sorts of pairings, but I particularly gravitate to m/m/f. In any fandom, in any exchange, in any context, you are always more than welcome to write me that, whether or not I've asked for the appropriate characters. Yes, I am that person who will kudos the classic slash OTP having a threesome with an OFC or that chick with the one line from that one episode. I love me some mary sue sandwich! No shame! For my m/m requests, you are always welcome to add a woman if she fits the plot or not if she doesn't.

I like characters who are comfortably bi. I like characters who haven't thought much about their identities because they're not hung up on things like that. I like characters who greet surprising revelations about their sexuality with equanimity. I like characters who will try anything once. I like stories where it's possible to love more than once and in more than one way. (Please, none of that romance novel trope where the one big True Love you end up with invalidates anything that came before.) On the other hand, I am not fond of characters joining the poly or kink communities or self-describing with very modern or fine-grained identity terms. I don't think anybody I've requested would, whether because of era or personal preference, even where their actual behavior might be related. (Uh, except for Grimm. A few of those characters I could see self-identifying as poly. They're just so Portland.)

Which wraps back around to one thing that I really, really do like, which is kinky tropes that are not about lifestyle BDSM and that are more applicable to fiction than to real life. Poorly-discussed sex to maintain a cover, sex pollen, mind control, villains chaining the heroes to the wall and having their wicked way with them: if it's short on safe, sane, and consensual and long on campy scenarios straight out of that 1960s Batman, I love it. I love bloodplay and breathplay. I love characters coming over all dominant because of the plot device du jour, whether that's a matter of going into heat or needing to feed or just the bad guys making them act out their most repressed fantasies because porn logic dictates that villains always want to force the protagonist to make out with their secret crush and not the boring teammate. I like whomever was on the bottom thinking it was awesome. I like whomever was on top being embarrassed or guilty or relieved. I like dubcon that is awkward and funny and unexpectedly hot. I like it when characters eventually switch up who's sticking what where, but I don't mind some power games and macho posturing about what kind of sex they have if it fits the characters. I love characters being casually kinky because that's what's hot for both or all of them. I love sadists and blood-sucking monsters and people with weird kinks discovering that their partner is much more compatible with them than they thought possible.

If you see these characters as super vanilla or even super un-shippy, that's cool too. I also love over-the-top, narm-y manly bonding in the face of danger. I've read more than one terrible adventure novel for the "Go on without me!"/"Don't die on me, man!" scenes. I dislike introspective character studies, but plotty gen that's full of emoporn will get me every time. And chief among my very favorite flavors of emoporn is the delicious set of tropes involving fake or temporary character death. Some of the canons I've requested have magical macguffins. A surprising number have things like zombie powder. All of them have ample opportunities for people to fall off cliffs, get shot, fake people out for great justice, and otherwise find an excuse for a dramatic "I thought you were dead!" moment. All of the melodramatic angst, none of the consequences! With or without romance, it's my kind of trope!

Undercover as a villain plots are similarly fun. I do love tropey plots, especially if they poke fun at genre conventions in a meta way. I dislike most character death other than that of unsympathetic villains or of bland cannon fodder who exist to motivate a murder mystery. (In other words, in addition to giving my requested characters a happy ending, please don't fridge the other canon characters.) I'm a marshmallow, so I'm up for almost any kind of fixit fic, whether you're fixing a canon death or a canon betrayal or unresolved plotlines or just canon jumping the shark utterly. Highlander immortals? Secretly brainwashed? Replaced by an alien shapeshifter? If you can sell me on it as more than crackfic, I'll buy it if it leads to a happy ending.

I like angst on the way, I like humor on the way, but I really, really like fic to end happily with everyone more or less physically and mentally whole, having solved the case and saved the day. For a darker canon that deals with more serious themes, I can like a somewhat darker fic, but I generally prefer endings where the good guys (or my favorites) categorically win to bittersweet, ambiguous endings. I do not like tragedy. I always end up yelling at my screen. Why didn't you call them and tell them the plan? Why didn't you have a backup plan? Why couldn't you have been a slightly better judge of character? Damn it, characters! I love competence, so I especially like it when characters improbably pull off a triumphant ending by having that one last secret backup plan in reserve or by trusting that person everyone knows is evil and being right to do so.

As is probably obvious above, I am not at all opposed to AUs--some kinds of AUs. My favorite type of setting is one that is basically the real world but with some hidden speculative fiction elements: Cops discover secret vampire societies and investigate them. Super spies have mind-control devices the general public doesn't know about. Every dumb trope ever used on Veritas from crystal skulls to prophetic dreams. If you want to add hidden vampires or immortals or psychic powers to these fandoms, go right ahead, as long as it's a change that a random bystander in the canon universe wouldn't notice. (In other words, not a His Dark Materials fusion or a coffeeshop AU.) Canon divergence AUs where a particular plot point goes differently and the story branches off from there are great fun too. If they're fixit fic, I think they work best when the divergence is subtle until the point where everything went horribly wrong in canon, as opposed to taking a left turn and the canon situation never coming up even a little bit. Similarly, I usually prefer futurefic or missing scenes to fic set prior to canon. I'm a wuss about sad endings, but I still like the emotional territory the heavy parts of canon explore.

My fandom specific sections are plenty long and contain some more specific prompt ideas. I have more ideas for some than for others, but they're all fandoms I would love to be matched on. I hope that something above or below inspires you and makes Yuletide fun to write for this year.

Veritas: The Quest
What is the canon? A 13-episode American TV series from 2003 about archeologists looking for magical artifacts

Where can you get it? It's never been released on DVD, but it's available on Youtube, among other places.

Characters: Solomon Zond, Vincent Siminou

Signup details: Vincent used to work for the bad guys. Now he's Solomon's best friend, his son's mentor, and a spy in their midst. Write me some of the angsty revelations or hilarious archeology!fail that would have happened in season 2. (And all of the Solomon/Vincent that wouldn't.)
God damn it. Someone infected me with this fandom, and there just isn't enough! Nikko and Cal are fun, but it was Solomon and Vincent who really drew me in with their mixture of absolute trust and absolutely unavoidable future drama. I think it's clear that Vincent is firmly on Solomon's side, but spying on Nikko would be the worst kind of betrayal in Solomon's eyes. Solomon is already hypersensitive to the idea of losing his family. You know he wouldn't have taken the revelation about Nikko's powers well, and the idea that people might be after Nikko and one of those people is the viper he's been clasping to his bosom... The fireworks would have been impressive.

I love Veritas for how utterly ridiculous it is. Somebody wrote a Mummy crossover, and the only reason it rang false to me was that they changed the way Imhotep's magic worked. Otherwise, sure, why not, Vincent could totally be an immortal mummy priest in ancient butt floss (gotta love that Mummy costuming). It would interfere with his canon backstory of having somehow ended up in a Tibetan monastery as a kid, but it wouldn't be tonally out of place with the rest of Veritas.

Veritas is just such a 90s show. Never was this more obvious than when Juliet decided to seduce the international arms dealer to sneak everybody into his house. I mean... what?! She's Solomon's grad student, not Mata Hari. Are you for real, show?! It would have made more sense if the episode had turned rapey, but Mr. arms dealer treated her with more respect than Cal usually does. Unrealistic, maybe, but not unwelcome in a show about people stealing giant golden orbs inscribed with the wisdom of the ancients. Hooray for fluffy undercover shenanigans where nothing too vile happens (unless it's hot). I loved that Vincent called Solomon out on going after the arms dealer though. I got the sense that Solomon can be rather trying to work for. (Though, if it were just the two of them, I'll bet Vincent would be charmed by any stupid, death-defying plan Solomon wanted him to come along on.)

And in that same episode is the slash bait to trump all slash bait. I mean, really, Vincent gave Solomon a scar? And then joined Veritas? And now he's ~betraying~ them and Solomon won't believe a word of it even after Vincent sticks a gun in his face? That's some serious trust right there. I'm usually more about future fic, but fic about their first meeting and/or how that scar came about would be fun. (Or, this being me, fic about the defiant Veritas leader/very Bad Dorna assassin sex they had to celebrate Vincent's return. Tell me they wouldn't be into kinky roleplaying! That's one case where I'd be more than happy with established relationship fic.)

I also love how that episode uses Nikko to provide the emotional tone Solomon can't. Nikko's tragic little betrayed face is the best. No, wait, Vincent's quickly-smothered look of horror is the best. Here he is trying to fake some people out, and he suddenly has to deal with a massive guilt trip from Nikko and figure out how to get him out of there safely. (Yes, it was obvious what was coming. Yes, you have correctly guessed that I still loved that part. And that past Yuletide fic about Solomon and Vincent's first meeting that made use of it.) I love what a good mentor Vincent is to Nikko and how he keeps prodding Solomon to open up and be a better father. Aww. Best step dad ever! (If Solomon would only notice!) I'll bet Solomon does a good betrayed face too. Pity we never got to see it.

One thing that episode does bring up is the question of why Vincent had to "make it real" for himself so Dorna would "smell the scent of a traitor" or whatever ridiculous phrasing he used. Aside from the obvious answer (bad writing and plot holes), it makes me wonder if there could be more to it than just Vincent being a method actor. Does Dorna have rudimentary mind-reading capabilities? Is that why it was necessary for him to think about it as though it were real? Is that why he didn't just tell Nikko everything was fine in the first place? Does Vincent, perhaps, actually feel like a traitor every time he reports in on Solomon and Nikko? Why couldn't Solomon tell them "until I knew he was safe"? Is there a traitor at Veritas who would have reported back to Dorna? Or any answer more interesting than bad writing and plot holes.

I like the other characters too. Juliet and Maggie are particularly fun. I like how, by the end of the season, Juliet was snapping at Cal for acting like the boss of her, and she made a surprisingly good seductress. I liked Maggie being the infallible plan b. (I did not so much love how this was an excuse to stick her in the background all of the time, alluding to her awesomeness rather than showing it.) Cal is adorable. Eric Balfour always sells technobabble and dorky victory dances so well, not to mention those horrible shirts. Nikko is kind of annoying and immature, but he's usually supposed to be. I like Vincent smirking knowingly at him. I like Nikko and his dad sparring and butting heads. I liked the combination of found family team dynamics and actual blood relations: Solomon as a sort of crappy father vs. Solomon as a truly inspiring professor.

The world of Veritas is a big chunk of the attraction too. Amusingly silly tropes are built into every bit of it. I like Daniel Jackson Hayley appearing from the great beyond with plot-driving nonsense. Tibetan monasteries! Invisible ink tattoos inscribing riddles on Vincent's back and necessitating random shirtlessness! Crazy street bums spouting crystal skull conspiracy theories! Avaricious treasure hunters creating havoc in the carefully laid plans of evil and good secret societies alike!

I loved Bella, ridiculous Bella, who kissed a skull in her first scene. She didn't seem good, but she did seem fun and full of life, and I was very annoyed that she immediately got shot… And then much less annoyed to find she's harder to kill than a cockroach and appears to be an ongoing thorn in Solomon's side. The templars and secret societies plot may be a cliche, but it's a fun one. What the hell is going on with Veritas' founder? Is he himself an immortal templar? Is he descended from the original de Molay? What's up with that mystical temple where Hayley ascended? What's with the pieces of the wheel? Did they really think they could prolong this show until 2012 and still have macguffins to chase after?

Feel free to take on the apocalypse plot the show was heading towards or not. It's more Nikko's plot, and I'm more interested in Solomon and Vincent, but it is also something that concerns the whole team. I like Veritas best when it uses standard new age conspiracies in slightly cleverer ways. I was less fond of how utterly white and whitebread it sometimes felt (that was very 90s not in a good way). Vincent's bitchy Tibetan monk teacher was a highlight; I liked the vibe of his scenes. I love Juliet and Cal being clever but also dorky. I hated Cal mocking Nikko for reading "comics". Nikko was reading Mad Magazine, which already feels like an anachronism written by an out-of-touch middle-aged dude given that this was 2003. Cal calling that "comics" is even worse, and Cal thinking that there's something wrong with reading comics… dude… in the 00's and played by Eric Balfour with a bad haircut and worse fashion sense? Are you fucking kidding me? That's less realistic than the crystal skulls! Since the show already fucked up its time period, IMO, you are welcome to move it forward in time so that the events of the series are closer to 2012. You are also welcome to ignore the stupider moments like the comics mocking. The meat of the show was fluffy, tropey adventure genre fun, and that's the only part I particularly want you to stay true to.

I was so taken with Veritas that I decided to write a new and improved canon primer and make a Vincent/Solomon vid. If you're thinking of switching from one of my other requests, perhaps one of these will lure you into Veritas fandom.

Walt Longmire Mysteries - Craig Johnson
What is the canon? A mystery novel series about a sheriff in a rural Wyoming county

Where can you get it? Any bookstore. It's a current series and popular. There are also ebooks and unabridged audiobooks.

Characters: Walt Longmire, Henry Standing Bear

Signup details: They've been friends since they were little kids. They went to 'Nam together (sort of). They save each other from blizzards and gunshot wounds. They ineptly planned Cady's wedding together. If ever there was a pair that screamed oldschool slash, it's Walt and Henry. Write me some good old-fashioned h/c, a case, Walt freaking out over Henry being a suspect yet again, last minute rescues and late-night heart-to-hearts: they're perfect for the classics.
Jesus, where do I start with Longmire? I haven't written a canon primer for AO3. I have written thousands of words of slavering wall-o-text about its many, many charms. It is not possible to exaggerate how much I love Longmire or how quickly I fell for it.

I watched the series, and I liked it from the first frame, but when Lou Diamond Philips appeared, I was in love. It must have been around the time I started watching Sleepy Hollow because I remember thinking it was going to be another of those situations like with John Cho on that. (I thought it was obvious they'd have hyped his presence more if he were a lead and not doomed, but a lot of people were unpleasantly surprised.) For whatever reason, I managed to watch Longmire without noticing who the leads are, so I completely fell for the red herring in the pilot where Walt suddenly finds evidence that Henry is a pimp. Poor Walt, I figure he's devastated, though he's so stoic that you can barely tell. I was devastated myself. ("Why is the hero's friend always evil? But he was my faaavorite! Noooo!" etc.) Their argument is fantastic. All that simmering anger...

...and then Walt finds out it was all bullshit and Henry was absolutely right that Walt is a jerk who still doesn't trust him after forty years. Walt gets to do some more stoic freaking out. (It's like catnip to me!) You can just see this nonverbal guy trying to work out what he can possibly say to make this right. Like many stoic characters, I think Walt has a volcano of melodrama underneath. And all Henry is worried about is the fact that Walt is about to go put himself in danger again because Henry is that laid-back and friendly a guy. Aww. I have a weakness for arguments where one of them thinks it's The End of the World and the other is irritated but fond.

My one complaint was that this deliciously iddy situation of Walt suspecting Henry was resolved far too quickly. Couldn't they have dragged it out a little more? Then I read the first book. You know that thing where anime characters' eyes sparkle and the background dissolves into flowers and ribbons and rainbows? Yes, oh yes. Iddy though the TV series was for me, the books were a thousand times more so. Henry has long hair and a black leather duster and an absurd black ops backstory to rival any ridiculously-dressed super-spook from any of the cheesy canons of my heart. Walt is infinitely less manpainy and much more of a sly politician. Vic is lewd, crude, and rude. Branch and his ilk are nowhere to be seen. I do like the show (and you're welcome to write me show fic or to blend the two canons if you like), but the books are so refreshing with how much less of that standard crime drama wangst they feel the need to include.

I love the scenery and the sense of place, from the wonderful descriptions of nature to the quirky cameo characters. I love the absurd side characters and the crazy things they do, like Omar and his wife shooting up their mansion every time they have a spat. I love how women in the series can be unpleasant and dangerous and often get beaten up physically. I wish Vic on the show were a little more like Vic in the books. Most of all, I like how inseparable Walt and Henry are. It's great to get so much background on Henry and to see him with friends and relations, but the big difference is Walt: because the books are narrated in the first person, Walt comes across as a wily, funny, loquacious soul with a talent for local politics and no more than the usual ineptitude with technology. The way he seems on TV may well be how many of the characters in the books perceive him, but even if his actual dialogue is sparse, we can see inside his head where there is a keen love of words and a great sense of humor. I think that's the side of him that Henry sees. The absence of the arc plot about Martha's death and the fact that she died four years before the books (as opposed to one year before the tv series) means that he's a much happier, funnier guy who's ready to move on. I really prefer him like that. I also find it interesting that, in the books, maybe Martha wasn't the great love of his life.

Speaking of which... Vic. You can tell it's true love because Walt let her come on his fishing trip with Henry. Bwahaha. No, but seriously, I love the canon romance in the books. It's everything I should hate: she's beautiful and his daughter's age and his employee and she even starts out married. But the way it's written, she runs rings around Walt who wrings his hands and tries to cling to his maidenly virtue. There are parts where it's rather like watching a komodo dragon with a tethered goat. And Vic may have decided to get married, decided to move, and then decided to stay out of contrariness and to spite her family, but you never get the sense that anything is less than Vic's decision. I really appreciate that Walt, as narrator, seems a bit befuddled about why this obviously too-good-for-him woman is interested, but the reader has a pretty good idea. It's similar with Henry: he's this over the top Cool Best Friend whom Walt sings the praises of constantly, but the reader isn't at all mystified about what Henry might see in Walt. I like that Vic was already part of Walt's life and that there's no weirdness over who he's going to spend time with, nor does he suddenly try to keep her out of danger or distance himself at work. I love that most of the really dangerous and stupid shit they do they do as a threesome, ditching the other deputies and other assorted heavily-armed characters. Vic and Henry are Walt's default backup. Aww. I figure Vic is perfectly capable of sharing: she's had to do so all along. As for Vic/Henry, I don't really see it, but they're both hot. They both like blowing shit up. If you're writing PWP or have time for a longer fic with some buildup, sure, I could see the three of them having a threesome. They're certainly together enough in the iddy, emotionally-charged book scenes like that one where they joke about having to decide which one of them would perform CPR on Walt. (If you're using more TV show canon, do whatever you like with the Walt/Vic relationship including ignoring it entirely.) Walt/Henry is what I really want out of fic, but I don't see Walt/Vic as any particular impediment to that.

My other favorite part of the books is the way they frequently make me pause and go: "Wait... what?" Whether it's Walt making boner jokes or a sudden day-saving psychic episode everyone is going to try very hard to ignore later or some completely over the top action sequence, these books have a lot of moments like that. Henry and bears is another one. Henry luring the bears away from the outhouse: Adorable! Walt reminiscing about the time teenage Henry fought a bear at the state fair: Hilarious! Wow, they were stupid teenagers. And the image of teenage Walt worrying about Henry is really cute. Dream bear Henry that time Walt did peyote to solve the case: WTF?! Bears, bears everywhere.

I love the flashbacks to Vietnam and the other tidbits we get about Walt and Henry's pasts. It must have been very strange to be apart after spending so much time together, and Walt's distress over Henry thinking he won't make it through the war... It hits me right in the id, man. Right in the id! I'm more into future/canon time period fic, but this is a case where a past setting could be a lot of fun or a past/present structure like in that book. I love it when Walt freaks out about Henry. (Like that one book where Walt sends him off unarmed and then thinks he's been killed only for Henry to show up to rescue Walt and steal his coat back from the bad guy. Again, right in the id!)

Uh, what else can I say... Um. If you're considering switching to this fandom, keep in mind that it's getting to be a long-ish series. Many of the iddy things I like in it start hard and heavy in book 1, so you could easily read that one alone. The TV series is good too. It's three seasons right now, ending on a massive cliffhanger. (And then it got canceled for being popular with old people, but we're hoping another network will pick it up.) I've written fic for it (AU and in need of a continuation), and I've vidded the TV series. I'd say this vid encompasses my feelings about both versions of Walt and Henry pretty well. I was cherry-picking extra book-like bits of the show to make it.

I Spy (1965)
What is the canon? Several seasons of 1960s spy-fi. If you've ever boggled at the hot shots of Bill Cosby in oldschool multifandom slash vids, this show is where they came from.

Where can you get it? Streaming on Hulu, DVDs, etc.

Characters: Kelly Robinson, Alexander Scott

Signup details: Kelly/Scotty!
Is it the banter that makes this such an unpopular fandom to write in, or has the show just not been syndicated enough? Thankfully, you can now watch the whole thing for free online, and it's well worth it. I love that they filmed all over the world and many episodes are set against a backdrop of 1960s Venice or Hong Kong. This gives the series a marvelously cinematic, international feel that other spy media of the period rarely matched and that's rare in TV of any era.

I do love Kelly and Scotty's weird 60s jive talking, but if your heart quails at the thought of trying to duplicate it, I love the settings, the spy hijinks, and their nonverbal rapport just as much. Sense of place or an action sequence where they don't have time to talk would be just as good as witty banter. (Not that I object to show-style banter! I just think it's awfully hard to write.)

I haven't watched every episode yet, but don't worry about spoiling me. I've probably been spoiled for anything significant already, and, if I haven't, I still don't care.

I find my volubility failing me. Usually, I can annoy people for hours about my new favorites, but I Spy renders me mute. What's up with that? Maybe it's partly that I've only seen a few episodes. I think a lot of it is how visual the show is. (Tight white jeans. So many tight white jeans. And I disagree, offline friend I was watching with, I totally did need to know how Bill Cosby looked in pants that tight. The answer is: "Impressive!" From both sides.) I love the little bit of fic that's out there. I'd like to see more. Exactly what kind… Uh…

I have yet to vid the show or write fic for it or do much of anything else. This and Festivids will be the first time I've requested it in an exchange too. People had tried to get me into it for years, but I watched So Long, Patrick Henry, and I just couldn't see the appeal. It wasn't awful, but nothing clicked for me. Lamardeuse's lovely pairing primer has gotten a lot of people into the fandom, but I'm not sure I read it before watching. (As she says: "Yes, I know you're traumatized that the man who sold you pudding when you were a child was that hot. Deal." Bwa ha ha! I, however, was raised on a steady diet of PBS mystery costume dramas. I have still never seen The Cosby Show and have only rarely encountered a JELLO ad. Pudding cups are not local, organic, and healthful and were therefore not found in my childhood home, but I digress.) Dorinda's Scotty-centric post is also good, but also not something I read until after I was into the show. It was actually Dorinda's icon that got me to go back and give it another shot. Was it on a Highlander rewatch post? IDEK. I had finally gotten fed up with Haven fandom, saw it and thought: "Oh, hey, I always meant to give that another shot." It wasn't even pimping as such: just years of vague awareness and a free afternoon. But, seriously, guys, why is Patrick Henry the go-to for pimping this? It completely turned me off of the show and I don't even remember why. Maybe it will work better for me now that I already know and like the characters…

I love how stylish the series is. That shot of Barbara Steele just before she kills the first guy or her shooting from a motorboat are such 60s Italian cinema shots. There's nothing like shooting in the real locations to make a show stand out. I loved Steele's character, the enigmatic serial killer who gets off on murdering men and who talks about "high level socialism and a low cut dress". I thought the ending was too pat. It was annoying that her partner just shot her like that. But then the other side's lady assassin shows up, and I was terribly amused. There are many fun single-episode characters. Feel free to include some of them.

I liked that I Spy did not feel very Rah Rah America. All of the sides seem to be bad. I enjoyed Kelly and Scotty collaborating with that soviet agent in Blackout to keep their spy crap away from the local authorities.

I am a language nerd and, well, a nerd, so Scotty is my favorite. I love him quoting 19thC poetry about Venice while Kelly rolls his eyes. I do love the local color, so if you want to keep things really short, perhaps a fic about one of their destinations and a brief period of downtime? If you write something episode-related, pretty please note which one so I can make sure I've seen it. A more MFU level of 60s goofiness would be fine. A darker, more "realistic" take on spycraft would be fine. The only thing I would really prefer to avoid is more fic where their government tries to institutionalize them for being gay. They're super spies working for a weird agency: they'd either be too valuable working or too valuable as cannon fodder for a suicide mission. I don't mind some period-appropriate homophobia, but in a toned-down way on par with the racism depicted in the canon. Blackmailed into a bad idea mission because of being gay: totally fine with me. Fired and/or institutionalized for the same: ew. Too much realism! (Or at least depressingness.)

One thing I particularly enjoy about Scotty and Kelly as a pairing is that they might be fairly screwed some places back home, but they spend their time running around Paris and such where neither being a black intellectual nor being in an interracial relationship was that big of a deal. I like media with POC, but the farther back you go, the more inherently depressing a lot of it feels to me. I like that Scotty is able to definitively win quite a lot, and he doesn't have to pretend to be subservient except perhaps to serve the immediate needs of a mission. For a setting that's very dark in some ways, it's very optimistic in others. I enjoy that.

Wait, are there any fanvids for this series? At least there are some screencaps. The two primers I linked to above have more pics. I can't believe how little fan stuff there is for I Spy!

Smoke Signals (1998)
What is the canon? A single movie about a couple of American Indian teenagers having a coming of age experience.

Where can you get it? DVD, streaming on Netflix

Characters: Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor Joseph

Signup details: Thomas/Victor 4eva! I want to see a future that's more bright than bittersweet. Victor may be an Angry Young Man, but I still think they can make it work.
Oh man… my three nominations were the three fandoms above. I completely forgot and didn't have space for Tony Hillerman's novels or their glorious TV adaptation (fridging retcon FTW!), the Dreadfulwater books, and a bunch of other stuff, but somebody out there had me covered on a few things, including Smoke Signals. Thanks, nominator! For the rest, there's always next year, and I see some tempting additions of media I haven't watched yet. (Hey, whoever nominated The Red Road, Thunderheart, or Smoke Signals, have you checked out Longmire yet? The books aren't like you might be expecting from the author, and the TV series features everybody who isn't busy on The Red Road/Banshee/etc. and some who are.)

If you are familiar with Sherman Alexie's work, you know it ranges from abject trolling of the gay panic-inducing kind to deliciously overt hoyay to gay media. I don't doubt his self-identification as straight, but man is his writing gay, gay, gay. Book-wise, Victor/Junior makes more sense and Thomas eventually got laid (with a woman, much to my surprise) and escaped, but not before everything turned dreary. They're beautiful books, but I'm a wuss and I like sunshine and puppies, not dark allegories about how the rez sucks the life out of people or painful truths about how some people just can't be friends.

(Why the heck do I like so much media with Indians, you might be asking. A lot of it is dark as shit. You're right, but a lot of it is also side-splittingly funny, deals with culture clashes and cross-cultural communication in an interesting way, and is above all about survivors. I always love characters who take a licking and keep on ticking, or whatever the expression is. Plus, dude, have you seen the hotties in Smoke Signals? I mean, really. Thomas needed no makeover! Victor did need a better wig though. Oh, tragically low budget...)

Some people criticize this movie for being Hollywoodified, but I thought the more optimistic tone was great. I don't want Victor to go back to being mean to Thomas. (Or beating him nearly to death? WTF! Though considering how continuity works from story to story…) You are more than welcome to include some book elements in your fic, but I'd love it if you kept the tone closer to the movie. (If you have only seen the movie and are going "Oh no!" at my book mentions, fear not: a 100% movie fic is 100% fine.) I enjoy how the movie deals with dark themes while staying mostly hopeful. Book Victor was set on a course to nowhere good long before the stories, but movie Victor seems like he might be able to get his shit together and find happiness. Because Thomas is a way better boyfriend than Junior. Shut up, he totally is.

For this or any other request of mine, don't psych yourself out too much about race/ethnicity/culture. I'm the biggest WASP there is. A good faith effort to write something in-character and related to the canon is all that I require. If this is the canon of your heart because you grew up with Thomas as the only Indian dork like you in media, by all means write me your magnum opus about identity and self-acceptance. If that's not you, don't worry about it; I'm not going to notice a few details being off.

What I would really love to see would be post-movie fic where Victor and Thomas get together. Thomas acts like he has a massive crush from the very beginning, and I think Victor has come to appreciate him over the course of the film. At the end, it's a little like The Breakfast Club: you want them to stay friends, but you figure they're going to go their separate ways instead. I'd like to see Victor realizing he doesn't want to do that or realizing he already has, regretting it, and trying to fix things. There has been some Yuletide fic in this vein in years past. I love it all and want more. A day past canon? A month? A few years when Thomas has moved to Seattle and become even more of a Gary Stu a successful writer? I am not at all opposed to yenta relatives or lulzy coincidences or premature obituaries or any other silly plot device to get them together. Maybe skip yenta ghost dad though: there was already a fine Yuletide fic about Victor's father wielding the cluebat on dreaming Victor.

I have liked Smoke Signals for a while, but, so far, I have failed to produce anything but exchange prompts. However, I did get a fabulous fanvid of it that could be read as mega-shippy even though I foolishly did not ask for that. (Why would anyone not ship them?! The idea of this terrible wrongheadedness pains me. You could write me a cute reunion between them or something, though, if you happen to be thus afflicted.) If you need a refresher on your Thomas and Victor feels or you're fleeing from my tl;dr in another section of this letter, perhaps this vid will convince you to give Smoke Signals a try:

SEE? SEE? ISN'T THOMAS THE MOAST ADORABLE CHARACTER OF ALL TIME? Err… anyway, go leave the vidder feedback on AO3.

What I love best about Thomas, OTHER THAN ADORABLENESS, is what a champion bullshit artist he is. His constant tall tales are such fun, and I like how he irritates Victor out of his black moods. Victor's anger is natural, but you can't spend your whole life pissed off, you know? I like that Thomas is this really sweet, happy, goofy person and that he seems to be rather self-assured despite how other people like Victor see him. Maybe it's because of his grandmother? They're super cute. Aww, family feels. Whatever it is, I love characters who are cheerful in the face of adversity and who like themselves even when other people don't. He's a good influence on Victor. But I don't think it's all one-sided: Thomas doesn't really need that makeover, but he obviously enjoys having someone way cooler hang out with him, and he likes taking care of people. When he's not sulking, Victor is a lot of fun too. They make good foils.

Grimm (TV)
What is the canon? US TV series about a supernaturally gifted cop investigating fairytale monsters in Portland, OR. 3 seasons and counting.

Where can you get it? DVD, Amazon Prime streaming, Hulu/ for the last few episodes

Characters: Hank Griffin, Nick Burkhardt

Signup details: Hank/Nick? Hank and Nick investigating? A giant poly blob of half the characters on Grimm? Fixit fic for un-nominated characters? When it comes to Grimm, I'm easy!
I requested Hank and Nick because they're two of my favorites and because they're a combination I felt was likely to match me with someone who also likes many different Grimm characters and possibly many different ships. Hank can get kind of overlooked sometimes, which is too bad because he's probably my number one favorite for how sane and stable and reliable he is. If you would like to write about somebody else, that's cool. Here is your out that you can show the Yulemods. Most Grimm ships and many kinds of plotty Grimm fic would make me very happy.

I totally ship Hank/Nick. I also ship all of the canon ships and some poly configuration of Nick, Juliet, Monroe, Rosalee, and Hank. I mean, what don't I ship in Grimm? It's a short list: Nick/Monroe sans ladies and Nick/Renard sans magical compulsion or plot necessity. I'm also not all that interested in fic where everyone is 110% straight, but if you're going for plot and want to stick to background canon ships, that's fine.

Plot-wise, I love casefic if you want to write an original case. If you're looking to write episode-based fic, I adored the episode where Hank finally found out about the supernatural. That was the episode that really sold me on the show. Normally, that kind of reveal comes so far into the series that the character looks like an idiot or you wonder how the relationships can ever be repaired. The first awesome, awesome thing that Grimm did differently was that Hank does start to notice that strange things are going on around him. He eventually is forced to conclude that he's cracking up, so he… starts seeing a therapist. I'm pretty sure this is more emotional and mental health than I have seen from a cop show character… ever? When he freaks out at her, he realizes he's not fit to be running around heavily armed and thinks about quitting. I love that that's where his mind went. Hank is a guy who has rock-solid self confidence normally and who knows himself well, so when he sees impossible things, I think it's even more unsettling than if a character who isn't so sure of themselves does.

I also love Nick's reaction. His horrified little woobie face gets me every time. (And I have watched that scene many, many times.) He obviously wasn't going to tell Hank what was going on in episode 1. Nick himself barely knew what was going on back then. And it probably is true that it would be cruel or stupid to try to burden most of the non-magical characters with this knowledge. I'm sure Nick spent a lot of time justifying to himself his decision to lie to the people he is close to, especially Juliet and Hank. So to find out that not telling Hank has resulted in something much worse… Oh man, his face. I know some people find Nick a little bland and Gary Stu-ish, but I think he's the perfect foil for everybody else, and he looks so very pretty when he's upset. I like what a team player he is and how he actually isn't the manpain-y lone wolf you'd expect from the series concept. He seems to be all about domesticity and family and making sure everybody else is okay. Aww.

Uh, but anyway, that episode: amazing id-fodder for me. Nick is freaking out. And he decides to tell Hank then and there. I love that. As soon as he finds out how bad it has gotten, he doesn't hesitate. But, of course, the rules of drama mean that they're immediately interrupted by the episode plot, and we find out that Hank's best friend and father of his goddaughter is a Wesen and never bothered to tell him. Well played, Grimm! Well played!

Because the thing is Nick has been lying to Hank for a few months, but this other guy has been lying to him for years. It's a surprisingly elegant solution to the problem that Hank really ought to be pissed as hell at Nick for a very long time. Not that Nick knows this right away! I love his rising desperation as the situation spins out of control and Hank threatens his own goddaughter. Poor Nick. You can see the giant All My Fault written all over his face even though this particular situation has to do with Hank's past and Nick being there is a very lucky thing. The poor goddaughter too. I like how quickly she figured out that something was weird about this Grimm and how quickly Hank took it on faith that Nick knew what he was talking about.

The end of that episode is my second favorite Hank moment. Nick attempts to grovel, and Hank is just so happy that he's not bonkers that he's not even mad. I'm not a fan of the extremes of grovelfic in fandom, but Nick really hasn't been a very good friend to Hank at that point in the series, so I like seeing him contrite. But I also love that Hank is sufficiently chill to get that both Nick and his old friend were in awkward positions and to not want to hear any apologies. He has his priorities in order, and he's just so god damn sane. I like that in a character.

But possibly my very favorite Hank moment in the series is what happens next: Hank drags Nick off to some diner and makes him brief him on Wesen. Yes! That is what a cop who has encountered a new and unfamiliar threat should do. I love that now that Hank knows he wasn't crazy, he is proactive about dealing with the real situation. I love that he takes all of the Captain Renard stuff in stride. I love that he's all cutely intrigued by this new knowledge. Hank and Nick researching in the trailer is every bit as adorable as Monroe geeking out in there. The best part of the series is all of that ensemble stuff where characters tell each other things and collaborate. I am so happy that Hank gets in on the Monroe-Rosalee-Nick case discussions. I would have assumed from the show's ads that it's very much about Nick and Nick's individual relationships with each character, but the real show has a very ensemble-y feel where many of those characters have interesting interactions with each other that aren't primarily about Nick.

Uh, anyway, Hank/Nick. Hank and Nick investigating a case. A missing scene at the end of the episode where Hank finds out or the rest of the diner scene that we didn't see. (Or Hank's POV about any of that since the show is more Nick's POV.) They're so much fun together. In fact, I love all of those parts so much that I have vidded them:

If, however, you would like to write some other sort of Grimm fic, I'm not opposed. This fandom could use more fic of more kinds. Here are some thoughts on other characters and aspects of the series:

Some people said Trubel would be a horrible Mary Sue. Their terrible wrongness about my precious baby wounds me. In fact, there's a bit of an epidemic of Terrible Wrongness about all of the women in Grimm. Juliet is whiny? Adalind is a bitch? Rosalee is boring? Who are you terrible people and why are you in my fandom with your bad opinions? (If you have not encountered any of this terrible wrongness, dear writer, count yourself lucky.)

Now, on to happier things: Juliet: saint and perfect girlfriend, even if the amnesia plot that was inflicted on her was tiresome. Any other woman would have dumped Nick's ass long ago. I love how her skills as a vet immediately became useful once she knew what was really going on. I especially love Juliet for how she gets cranky about the bullshit that gets foisted on her and how she's portrayed as a normally physically robust adult woman. Ogre in the kitchen? Burn him with the ravioli water. College roommate's abusive husband invading the house? VIOLENCE IS THE ANSWER! Nick appears to be having an affair yet again because sometimes Grimm thinks it's Three's Company? Confront him in the next scene and clear the air. I am so glad that most of the recurring cast knows about Grimm powers by now because it means that characters like Juliet can interact with the full spectrum of other leads instead of us being stuck forever with the Nick is lying to his girlfriend plot. Juliet and Monroe sharing recipes and Juliet, Hank, Monroe, Rosalee, and Nick sharing a nice glass of red wine while discussing the case of the week are among the reasons I like to call this thing "Portlandia with werewolves". Seriously, could you get any more Portland? This coming season's obvious plot sounds a little dubious (Juliet wants Nick's powers to stay gone until she realizes that he's "half a man" without them--seriously, PR team, seriously?). I hope the show quickly returns to its real strength: cute ensemble interactions. Juliet being buddies with Monroe and Rosalee is awesome. Juliet interacting with Hank, also awesome. Juliet off on her curse-lifting w/ the curandera plot: totally cool!

Adalind: Well, okay, she is a bitch, but people say that like it's a bad thing! Adalind should go on chewing the scenery and causing trouble forever as far as I am concerned. Adalind vaguely growing a conscience with Meisner and freaking out over her baby was surprisingly sympathetic. The good guys are normally smart about talking to people. They stonewalled Adalind at the stupidest possible time, and her return to the dark side is no more than they deserve.

Rosalee: FLAWLESS! All other opinions are invalid. I would accept fic about Rosalee and her sister having a drunken makeup after the wedding dress incident. Everything about Rosalee is amusing and fic-worthy. Everything. (And how cute was her sister saving her from the curse of the wedding dress? I'm not normally a fan of failboat characters, but Rosalee's sister is easy to empathize with and she's funny.) Rosalee and her whole family are just so god damn cute. I like her messed up family relationships and how she warned Monroe not to just cut his parents off without thinking about it. (I also love that Monroe was having none of it. It is indeed his right to have whatever wife and boyfriend best friend he wants and his parents should butt out.) I love that we got to see all of this family drama and it was poignant but really fucking hilarious at the same time. I love that it all worked out. Grimm is such a warm and fuzzy show. It could have a PSA at the end of every episode about how you can always turn your life around and it's never too late to make up with someone. Awkward wedding shenanigans in normal dramas bore me. Awkward wedding shenanigans plus monsters: my favorite.

Nick's mom: LONG MAY SHE STAB THE SHIT OUT OF BAD GUYS! My level of caring about female characters who are "strong in their own way" is not usually very high, especially if they're described like that and share canons with action hero men. My level of interest in female characters with martial arts skills and a vast capacity for physical violence, on the other hand, is boundless.

Speaking of which, I liked that we saw some random women when Renard met with the Resistance. The whole European plot is great except… Sebastien, NOOOOOO! It made total sense, but I was very sorry to see him go. I was equally ecstatic to see Meisner escape. Their interactions and their interactions with Renard were awesome. I loved their uneasy trust. I thought Meisner and Adalind could have been good for each other. Kelly wreaking havoc along with Resistance members would be fun. I think it's fantastic that Renard is willing to get his hands dirty when it's something that doesn't involve the normal rule of law in Portland but that he's also apparently teaming up with a Grimm and various types of Wesen for the purpose of building some new world order that's all about conventional law and giving antiquated royal garbage the boot. Very populist.

As I've said above, one of the things I appreciate most about Grimm is the team-y dynamics and how it's good at both found family vibes and incorporating literal blood relations and romantic relationships into that. Something with a team vibe would be great. If you're the kind of writer who likes doing Christmas-themed Yuletide stories, Grimm is so very ripe for them. Everything about Monroe's reaction to the holidays and Rosalee's attempts to learn to love Christmas are at the top of the list, but everybody in the Grimm cast is super cute around holiday time. Never has a child-eating monster given me more holiday feels than on this show. I'm not usually into holiday-themed fic, but this particular canon has a tone that is very well suited to it. (I love Grimm's Halloween episode with La Llorona too. It's a show well-suited to cute themes.)

Besides the shocking presence of mental health, lack of manpain, and adorable ensemble that understands how to use their words, the other thing that particularly draws me to Grimm is how it's really quite multicultural without making a big deal of it. I think I've seen more Latino characters on Grimm than in anything else about Portland ever. (To the point that I got curious and googled demographic stats for the area.) Hank gets love interests and screen time and development. Wu hasn't had a lot yet, but that episode focusing on him was one of the best of the series, and I have high hopes for next season. (Will he be pissed? I would be pissed. He was institutionalized, FFS!)

Being a language nerd, I am especially charmed that Grimm has so much multi-lingual-ness. Juliet fills in when the department's Spanish interpreter is unavailable. Wu's episode features a lot of calls home to the Philippines. Renard speaks French and Russian. Grimm has a reputation for lulzy bad German, and this is deserved if you look at the monster names and magical jargon, but it is actually well above most shows in how much non-English content it puts on the screen. Whole conversations with subtitles! A bunch of unsubtitled Spanish that changes to subtitled when Juliet arrives and is able to interpret for Nick and Hank! I like that some of the monster mythology itself follows that: Wu's episode is about an aswang. The Mexican detective is a "balam", and they never bother to explain this naming (she's a jaguar monster). The La Llorona episode features a curandera. El Cucuy shows up. The stuff with the European royals and the Resistance feels markedly different from the Portland stuff. Grimm has a strong sense of place, and its strong sense of culture is an important part of that. I like that all of this is included as a matter of course, not as some big statement. There are a bunch of Mexican immigrants in Portland: why wouldn't El Cucuy follow? Wu knows other filipinos. Why wouldn't one of them have filipino monster problems? Not because monsters are a metaphor for minority identity but because, where the real people are, there you will find their folklore too. Plus, dude, aswangs. They're like the metal-est of monsters. I'm throwing up the horns right now.

Framed (TV 1992)
What is the canon? A UK TV miniseries about a suave and wiley criminal played by Timothy Dalton

Where can you get it? The vidder's download links, US DVD (butchered), UK DVD

Characters: Eddie Myers, Larry Jackson, Lola Del Moreno

Signup details: Does Timothy Dalton's sly leer make your head explode with dirty, dirty thoughts? I'd love to see what happens post-canon with the three of them.
Were you mentally adding "in bed" to that sentence? I know I was. I got into this after seeing a vid. You should watch it too:

Go leave them feedback on AO3.

Done? Okay, now what does that vid make you think? Innocent bambi being stalked by a mountain lion, right? Timothy Dalton is a Very Bad Man, right? Hello there, voyeurism and dubcon and everything that is amazing bad, right? Great! Go write that fic!

Okay, okay, I will have some real details coming after I do a full rewatch Monday night. (That ending. JFC. Seriously, that ending! Futurefic is called for, yes?)

ETA #1: Okay, so I am super, super busy right now, so I actually had only seen the vid when I decided to request this. I watched the ending to make sure I would still be into the fandom (YES! I WAS.), but I hadn't actually watched the whole thing through properly. I have now done so. I will write a second ETA with more of an actual prompt once I get off work tonight, but for now, here is my and my friends' reactions to watching it:

Episode 1:
"Haha. It's totally as slashy as the vid."
"I wonder if it will stay this slashy?"
"Maybe Episode 2 will be even slashier?"
"Nah. No way."
"Hey, it could be."
"Slashier than this? C'mon!"

Episode 2:
"Uh... it got slashier."
"Wait... what are they..."
"Episode 3: slashier or not?"
"This has Timothy Dalton. I vote slashier."
"Yeah, I think it's possible. I don't see how, but I have faith."

Episode 3:
"Wow, and it just got slashier."
"You have got to be kidding me..."
"That vid has seriously underrepresented the slashiness. Jesus!"
"So, episode 4, can they keep it up?"

Episode 4:
"Aww, the poor baby. 'I thought he loved me!'"

And then the ending happened, and, well...

"Oh. my. god."

If any of these fandoms get kicked out of the final tagset (unlikely except for 1), I'll just remove them from my letter. The requests above are final: I've spent way too long coming up with them to change between now and signups. Oh, and last but not least, yes, I do plan to write more words of yuletide fic than yulegoat letter. Why do you ask? ;D

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Tags: yuletide, yuletide 2014 letter
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