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Much of this is recyled from years previous, but I've changed all the stuff that needs changing. :)

Dear Yuletide Writer:

Thank you for writing for me! Or thank AO3's matching algorithm for making you write for me. Or something. Here's my letter (with prompts included for easy reference/what-have-you), full of joy and "omg this bit is THE BEST" and all the usual stuff like that.

As a fan, I'm pretty easygoing. I love quite a lot of things, and I'm not squicked out by a lot. I have some triggery issues regarding characters with disabilities, though, which I trust won't be problematic given the nature of my requests. Please, don't "cure" or otherwise erase the disabilities/differences of characters, and don't resort to problematic tropes ("Rain Man" is not research), and you're good. :) In each of my requests, I love the way these characters are portrayed in their respective canons, so if you stay true to that, I'll be happy.

Other things I don't like: glorification of the nasty things people do to each other (if you're going to have them in the story, that's fine, but please treat them like the terrible things they are) and gratuitous gore.

Now that that's out of the way, a non-exhaustive list of the general things I like:

- Fiction that's in the spirit of the source material. I love me some "original flavor" fic (not linking to the TVTropes page because then you'll never get anything written). Explore the things that the canon doesn't explore in a way that the canon would do it, and I'll be a happy camper.
- Non-human/human-but-neurologically-atypical characters not thinking the way neurotypical humans do, without being caricatures of themselves.
- Unexpected/odd POVs (external POVs of relationships, for instance).
- Epistolary fiction (that is, stories told in the form of letters/e-mails/telegrams/smoke signals/notes sent by carrier pigeon sent between characters)
- Strong character voices (I love hearing the characters speak the lines I read in my head).
- Stories that explore the characters' reactions to things around them (what makes them who they are? How does that relate to how they react to things now?)
- Anything that passes the Bechdel test (has at least two female main characters who communicate with each other about something other than a man)
- Past-fic, future-fic, missing scenes, sets of vaguely connected drabbles, weirdly formatted fics, plotless "slice of life" fics, fix-it fics, and probably about a hundred other things I could think of.
- AUs, particularly of the "what-if" variety.
- I like happy endings, but I also like it when things don't end exactly as the protagonist plans. I like bittersweet and even sad endings. But please don't make it a "rocks fall, everyone dies" ending. There should be something happy or hopeful to grab onto.

I'm open to all ratings, so write whatever you're comfortable writing, and while my prompts tend to lean toward gen-ness, I do like romance as well, so if you're a shipper of any sort, please don't feel obligated to avoid it for my sake.

Also, you can find my writing both at AO3 and [community profile] nebula_of_words -- the former has newer stuff I need to move to Dreamwidth, and the latter has older stuff I need to move to AO3. I'm (still!) in the process of doing both. (That previous sentence has existed in my letter for six years now, I'm actually becoming rather impressed at my laziness.)

As always, please take these prompts as suggestions and starting points. Don't be compelled to address every aspect of them, and if your muse takes you in a direction I don't foresee, so much the better!. These are meant primarily for inspiration. Also don't be alarmed by the giant wall of text or the varying lengths of my writing about these fandoms. I don't have favorites here, it's just that my squee for some things produces more words than my squee for others.

One other note: I'm fully up to date on all the canons mentioned herein. No need to worry about spoiling me. (The other side of this: this letter is seriously spoilery in places, so read carefully.)


Alphas

Anna Levy, Gary Bell - What is Anna's day-to-day life like? How does she work with her local community? How and why did she join Red Flag? How did she get to such a high position in the group? What was her childhood like? How did she create her language, and who was the first person to understand it for what it was? Who does she work with at Red Flag, and what are their interactions like? What have her interactions with Stanton Parrish been like, and what did she do to piss him off?

How did Anna and Gary's relationship go from Gary hanging up on Anna to Gary disobeying orders to try to save her life? What was their correspondence like? What does she think of him?

Fic about Gary is also most welcome! Something highlighting his relationships with the rest of the team? Yes, please. Or an episode tag would be awesome too. Or Gary's driving lessons. Or a post-series fic (taking the finale into account or handwaving it, I don't care) would also be amazing. What is he doing five years from now? Ten? (Has he taken over Red Flag and led it in a non-violent direction? Is he making oodles of money as a consultant on the side? Who knows? You do!) The world needs more Gary.

(If you only want to write about one character or the other for this prompt, that's cool with me.)


I've loved Anna since the second they introduced her.

I love antagonists who aren't necessarily wrong (though I obviously don't condone Red Flag's methods). I love that they make her relatable, but obviously very different from "normal" humans. I even love that she's been misdiagnosed all her life because none of her doctors knew about alphas. I love how sympathetic she is. I love that she and Gary bonded so quickly.

One thing that fascinates me as well is the possibility that her ability might allow her to understand what people mean versus what they actually say.

(From an in-universe perspective, I hate how she died. From a fannish perspective, I totally understand it and am fascinated by the implications. This isn't to say I desperately want an AU where she lives, though I'm definitely open to that possibility, and I'd be kind of fascinated to see what Anna-ten-years-from-now would be up to.)

And then there's Gary. Gary, Gary, Gary. I love how they (both the showrunners and the characters) treat Gary as an individual. His autism is an integral part of who he is, but he's not the token oddball or the savant or the Very Special Episode The Writers Put In So Neurotypical Viewers Can Feel Good About Themselves. (And speaking of which, this show is literally the only time I've encountered the word "neurodiversity" in mass media. Which says quite a lot.) Sometimes it's helpful, and sometimes it's debilitating. He does get the lion's share of the funny moments, but it's not in an exploitative way.

In short: Anna and Gary are both the best. If you can make them be the best together, all the better. If not, they're still the best! (Best-ness is not zero sum.)

His Dark Materials

Any - I'm truly open to anything in this fandom. You can even ignore the nominated characters (or even canon characters!) if you want to; I'd love to hear stories, myths, and legends from any of the other worlds we see. If there's a geographic area and/or time period you love, I'd love to see what life is like in that time/place in Lyra's world -- create a character and send them on an adventure in Lyra's world. Or you know those snippets of documents/other materials in Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North? Excerpts from things like that -- from any world -- would be amazing as well. Lots more ideas in my letter.


I request this every year, only tweaking the request slightly based on what I got the previous year/what mood I'm in when I'm letter-writing.

I'm pretty much obsessed with this series, and have been since I was 13 (which is omg more than half my life now). I love the worldbuilding, I love the variety of characters (especially non-human ones!), I love that the non-human characters don't think like humans do. (And not all the humans think like most humans, either...)

Some completely optional starting points:
-If there's a geographic area and/or time period you love, I'd love to see what life is like in that time/place in Lyra's world -- create a character and send hir on an adventure in Lyra's world.
-You know those snippets of documents/other materials in Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North? Excerpts from things like that -- from any world -- would be amazing as well.
-What are the logistics of daemons in Lyra's world? The great taboo must make team sports interesting, for one. And how do people with dolphin or giraffe or daemons make their way in the world? Or what is it like for a daemon in the form of, say, a bird of prey who can't fly more than a few yards from the ground? Is life easier for people with certain disabilities in Lyra's world because their daemons can provide guidance and aid communication, or harder because of how much further entrenched certain prejudices are?
-The mulefa have an oral history that spans their entire existence as a species. What must their storytelling sessions be like?
-Gallivespians. We see so little of them, but Pullman manages to throw in quite a few tantalizing hints about their world. What is it like? Why do the large people feel animosity towards them?

If you don't like the ideas I prompted, take whatever you have in mind and write the story you want to write. Just because I'm obsessed doesn't mean I'm a total "OMG IT MUST BE THIS WAY" purist. Keep to the spirit of the novels and I'll be glad. (Please no crossover fusions, though; there's a plethora of those on AO3 anyway, and those aren’t really HDM fics in the sense that I'm requesting.)

(The "snippets" I mention in the request, btw, are things like a functional board game that folds out of a packet, or Lyra's letters to a friend as she decides what to write her thesis on, or the cover page of said thesis, or a postcard Mary Malone sent that has a certain row of hornbeam trees and The Bench and a lab near Mary's. Stuff like that.)

Jake 2.0
Jake Foley - What other effects do the nanites have on Jake later on? What happens as his allies in the NSA all end up being promoted and the government tries to keep him right where he is? As he gains more control over himself, how does everybody around him react? How does Jake keep up the friendships he had pre-nanites, even as he becomes more and more involved in his job? (He's already had one best friend moved "out of the way" in the name of security. How does that inform his future decisions?)


I got into this show a few years ago and enjoyed the crap out of it. I love the way the showrunners implemented the idea (which, yes, has been done before, but they hang enough lampshades on that fact to fill a lightbulb store, which is one of the things I love). I love the banter between Jake and Kyle, the relationship between Jake and Diane, the protective relationship Lou has with everyone. I love how Jake grows into his new role. Having nanites enhancing every part of him they can reach surely has to change how he sees the world, and the show touches on that somewhat, but I'd love if whatever you end up writing explores that even a little.

A final note: I'm fine shipping Jake with either Diane or Kyle (or both!), if that's what you're interested in writing. If you don't want to write romance, that's no big deal either. I am open to all possibilities on that front.

Lock In - John Scalzi

Any - Worldbuilding, plz! Character backstory, more oral histories along the lines of Scalzi's tie-in novella, catching up to the characters in the aftermath of the novel... it's all good.

Big Block of Questions time: What was growing up like for Chris? It's not just a matter of being a Haden, but of being really effing famous for being a Haden (and the child of someone who's a celebrity in his own right). What's Nicholas Bell's life like, as such a well-known Integrator? He's kind of the face of a well-known person who's... well, even more well-known by the end of the novel; how does that work? (Seeing his relationship with his sister would be great as well). What's going on with the twins? Are they two people in one threep, or what? More in my letter.

I would prefer it if you followed the author's lead and didn't assign a gender to Chris.


I love the ideas Scalzi has laid out in this world. It's not just a matter of losing such a large percentage of the world's population, but of the way the disease and subsequent technological developments have reshaped the post-outbreak world.

There are a lot of people (both Hadens and not) who want access to threeps and the Agora but lack it, and an equal number of Hadens who don't want to be forced into the non-Haden world for the sake of "normalcy." What's it like for them?

There are so many splits between groups in the book -- Hadens vs. non-Hadens, Hadens who were locked in as children vs. ones who took ill as adults, people who're seeking cures and integration into "normal" society vs. people who see Haden culture as distinct from that of non-Hadens... and the thing is, none of these sides are fundamentally wrong. So if that's something you feel like exploring, go to town!

The novella I mention in my prompts, btw, is called Unlocked: an Oral History of Haden's Syndrome, and it's worth reading if you're a fan of the novel.

The Martian - Andy Weir

Mark Watney - What happens next? What's the trip home like? What are Mark's calls home like, and how do his parents react to hearing his voice? How does Mark adjust to being back on Earth, having actual contact with people in real time, not having to fix everything himself? How does he come to terms with the fact that now that he isn't alone, he's not responsible for everything that goes wrong? What other habits from Mars does he have to break (or end up never completely losing)?

How have things changed between Mark and the rest of the Ares 3 crew? We see some of how the crew react to learning he's alive, and we have the letters he wrote each of them, but we don't see anything beyond his rescue.

And then there's the earthside folks. What happens when Mark meets them in person? How does he react to coming face-to-face with all these people who banded together to save his life? Is "survivor's guilt" a thing when nobody's dead? Because a lot of people on Earth (and off) made huge sacrifices for him.


I read this book last year and have re-read it several times since then (and the movie is awesome as well!) I'm not sure whether it's the story, or the structure, or what, but I find it absolutely fascinating. I really like Mark's voice as he narrates his adventures, and the hints the book leaves about his interactions with the rest of the Ares 3 crew.

One of the things about humans is that we react differently to stress than to the lack of it. It's not just Mark here who has to learn to decompress after so much time spent in "if something breaks and I can't fix it, I'm a dead man" mode, but the Ares and NASA folks as well -- what happens when the pressure suddenly goes away?

You don't have to include Mark in what you write, especially if you focus on the Earth folks. I'm just including him because he seems to tie in the most to the themes I'm interested in, and I didn't want someone offering only other characters and being disappointed to get my request. :)


Thank you so much for writing for me! I hope you have lots of fun. As usual, feel free to contact the mods if you have any questions; they'll pass them along and preserve your anonymity.

<3,
Neb.

October 2016

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