lionteacher (lionteacher) wrote,

Yuletide Letter

Dear Yuletide Author,

Hello! Thank you so much for offering to write a story for me! <3 I've read Yuletide for many years but this is the first time I've worked up the courage to participate and I'm really excited! I'm gonna blather on at you for quite some time, but rest assured, optional details are optional and I'm going to be thrilled to receive a story about any of these characters in any of these fandoms. 

Also, I only nominated one character per fandom on the request page to facilitate matching, but I'm going to list other characters in parenthesis in this letter that I would have listed if requests worked on an "or" basis rather than an "and" basis.  Meaning, for example, I'm listing 4 characters for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I do NOT expect you to include all of them in your story, pick any one of them you want! In fact, as you'll see from my general fic likes below, I tend to favor stories that focus in on one character's experience. Of course, if you like writing plotty fic that involves lots of cast members, go right ahead. 

My General Fic Likes/Dislikes

I tend to favor character studies and/or stories that expand the setting's world-building. I love it when authors fill in the gaps left in the main narrative, whether it's by furnishing back-stories, writing stories that take before or after canon, or through slice-of-life moments while the narrative focus is off on bigger events (even if this is done with OCs or in a different time/place than the main story). I love how stories about side/minor character allow you to look at the narrative from a new, different angle and/or to go off on tangents completely unrelated to the main narrative but within the same world.

Though I am a big shipper, many of my prompts for this exchange are not particularly shippy, though by all means, ship away if you are so inclined. Just please keep in mind that I'd rather you not include explicit sex scenes. I'm also not really into dark stories. I'm not by any means saying I need a fluffy, happy story,but I'm not a big fan of angst-for-the-sake-of-angst or angst-ridden tropes like hurt/comfort, major character death, or dark AUs.

For more information about stories I've written and stories I've bookmarked, check out my profile on 
A03. I'm also Lionteacher on tumblr. I've also included a couple of examples of fics I've liked in these fandoms along with the prompts.

My Requested Fandoms:

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
Characters: Genly Ai, (Therem Harth rem ir Estraven)

I am so very deeply attached to this book but I almost never read fic about it. Mostly, because I feel like the book is just so perfectly rendered that I wouldn't change a damn thing about it. Consequently, I find myself drawn to stories that take place before or after the narrative or stories about original characters. My favorite fic in this fandom is
The Color of Shadow by Ellen_Fremedon.

I would love to read a story about Genly that takes place before the events of the novel--Genly as a younger, less experienced representative of the Ekumen. A story that delves into why he chose this life of exploration and ambassadorship and the difficulties he faces along the way.  A story of longing for his home planet and his long-dead family coupled with the adventure and challenge of, say, his first post on an alien planet, the first test of the ideals that led him to dedicate his life to this work.  

In a similar vein, I'd love a pre-canon story about Estraven's motivations and early struggles in taking up a life of politics. There's just so much in Estraven's back story--the struggles, sacrifices, and compromises that they made, and continue to make throughout the novel, ultimately culminating in sacrificing their life.  Was Estraven always so deeply principled or was this dedication to the greater cause something that arose over time? 

When I think of these two characters and their motivation, and when I speculate on what shaped them in their early lives, this is the quote, from Chapter 20, that I always return to:

"[Estraven] loved his country very dearly sir, but he did not serve it or you. He served the master I serve."
"The Ekumen?" said Argaven, startled.
"No. Mankind."

If these prompts don't speak to you, that's perfectly fine, write the story about either or both of these characters that you want to. Just please no fix-it fic, nothing explicit or that fundamentally changes the Genly/Estraven relationship within the novel, and nothing that would be excessively triggery about grief (I'd rather not read a story about Genly grieving for Estraven in the immediate aftermath of their death). 

PS--If you write a story from Estraven's perspective, I'd appreciate it if you used non-gendered pronouns (they or ze) rather than the so-called "universal" he when referring to Gethenians, as even LeGuin herself now regrets the use of "he" to refer to non-gendered beings within the novel.  It's one thing for Genly to refer to Gethenians as "he," that shows his bias, but there's no reason why the Gethenians themselves would.

Imperial Radch Series by Ann Leckie
Character: Mercy of Kalr

Oh wow, there is just so much to say about this character! And this universe!  I guess I should say spoiler alert for Ancillary Mercy because that's only been out a few weeks. If you are assigned to write for me and have not read Ancillary Mercy and do not plan to read it before writing your fic, read as far as the ***** break and no further. After that, I'm gonna talk about Ancillary Mercy, because boy do I have a lot of feels about that book.

I'm only requesting one character, Mercy of Kalr, but you can have her* interacting with as many characters (or OCs) as you want. I love this universe and just about everyone in it :)  

I chose Mercy of Kalr because she is a) a darling and b) endlessly fascinating.  I would love to have a story, any story, from her perspective. She's been through so much, both before and during the second two books, I'd love to see any of those events from her perspective. 

I'm just endlessly fascinated with the ships in this trilogy--the ways they interact with each other; the way they interact with Breq; the ancillary-crewed ships vs. human-crewed ships dynamic; the swords vs. mercies vs. justices dynamics; the ships vs. stations dynamics. You get the idea, I really like the ships :)  


I'd equally be happy to receive a plotty, post-canon Mercy of Kalr POV story--setting up the Republic of Two Systems, interacting with other ships, Athoek Station, her crew, whatever. Mercy of Kalr just got a whole bunch of agency, I'd love to see her using it! 
 If this plot appeals to you but you don't feel up to the task of writing a story from a ship's perspective--you can write it from Breq, or Seivarden, or Tisarwat, or I guess any of the Mercy of Kalr crew's perspective, just so long as there's lots of "ships are people!" politics and love for Mercy of Kalr involved. 

Side note--I am also totally in love with the Breq/Mercy of Kalr/Seivarden OT3 relationship that starts getting established in Ancillary Mercy, so I'd be happy to see that included, just please respect Breq's (and presumably Mercy of Kalr's) asexuality. There are so few canon asexuals out there, and fic about asexual characters that ends up being all about getting the asexual character to have sex with their partner REALLY bothers me (and would totally be against canon in this case since all parties involved have stated that they are down with their relationship being about snuggles and feelings).

*I know ships are primarily referred to as "it" throughout the series, but the end of the trilogy firmly establishes their personhood, so please refer to Mercy of Kalr as "she" just like all the other people in the book. In fact, I think Mercy of Kalr struggling with her new identity and agency, with this very pronoun shift, would be a great focus for a fic!  

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Characters: Emma Pole, (Arabella Strange, Maria Absalom, Catherine of Winchester)

What I want most of all from this fandom is a post-canon story about Emma Pole. Lady Pole has lived through some serious shit and I have to believe she comes of it very strong and very wise.  I think she'd make an excellent magician. Or an excellent politician. I think she'd do an excellent job writing endless opinion pieces about English Magic and being very important in the leadership and education of English magicians now that magic has been restored to England. Obviously I'd be thrilled to see Arabella show up in this story as well.  "Lady Pole and Arabella Strange take over English magic" is a story I would very much enjoy reading :)

Now, after giving you a very specific prompt, let me pull back and say I would very happily receive any fic about any of the female characters in this novel so if you have a story in your heart about one or two or all of them, write that story! I really just want to know more about these ladies. I love this novel very dearly, I just wish there was more gender parity in the narrative and I hope the future of English magic involves a whole lot of badass lady magicians.

My favorite fic in this fandom is a tie between
City of Salt and Time by Eccentric_hat and John Childermass's Last Employer by Prodigy

19th Century Paleontology RPF
Characters: Othniel Charles Marsh, Edward Drinker Cope

Marsh and Cope! Bone Wars!  Paleontology nemeses! The actual historical record is crazier than anything you could make up. They set spies on each other! They blew up fossils out of spite!  They were totally 
Kate Beaton-style nemeses.  All I know is, these dudes were totally obsessed/in love with each other in a way that is very amenable to fandom and I want to READ ALL ABOUT IT.  I also see a lot of potential for epistolary fic or diary fic. For inspiration I would listen to Nemeses by Jonathan Coulton on repeat :)  I assume since you offered to write this fandom, you're familiar with the history, but just in case (or if someone is reading this letter just for funsies and is intrigued) here's an American Experience episode about the Bone Wars

Once again thank you so much for writing a story for me! I can't wait to read it <3

crossposted from
Tags: dear author, fandom, yuletide
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