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Alll the world's a stage.

Dear Prime Time Player,

So happy to have you! I'm excited for not_primetime and all the wonderful fic it will no doubt heed, but I'm most excited for the wonderful fic you've offered to write especially for me. I have a nasty habit of going a bit overboard in these letters (I give you Exhibit A), so I'm going to keep things as short and sweet as possible.

In general, I am all about characters. There are times I would loooove to be in it for the pretty or in it for the porn, but sadly, my brain will not process without some character I find fascinating. Great characterization is pretty, pretty porn for me. Sad, but true. I love symbolism and subtext and little touches tied to canon. I love epic plottiness and slice-of-life stories. I love conflict that comes from within (as opposed to a big bad conspiring to keep people apart). I love characters of color in the spotlight and women off the sidelines. And I love love love found families (as evidenced by my requests) and trust issues and people lying to themselves about the depths of their feelings for each other (whether that's friendship or family or something else) while their actions paint a different picture entirely.

As dislikes go, I have a an irrational embarrassment squick, a significant infidelity squick, and a massive incest squick. I'm an unabashed angst fan who loves to see Complications Ensue, so full-stop fluff really isn't my thing (though open or hopeful endings are right up my alley!). And I'm not big on random AUs of the "and now they're all pirates!" variety. (Unless it's Sherlock. It's canon that Sherlock wanted to be a pirate, and dammit, there's a casefic in there somewhere.)

With that out of the way, let's move on to the fandom-specific, shall we?

The AvengersCollapse )

Fast and the Furious Series (spoilers)Collapse )

The FlashCollapse )

Sleepy HollowCollapse )

Everyone else, join in the not_primetime fun!

Tomorrow, When the War Began

I just realized that I never managed my annual Yuletide post-mortem. Novel, on February 1st - I'm only a month late. :)

Life got away from me this year. While I had grand plans for multiple treats, work, wedding planning, and travel all added up to enough time for exactly one fic, my assignment (and even that was a near thing). Luckily, it was kind of the story I most wanted to tell.

I wrote The Once and Future, in Edge of Tomorrow fandom. Sara dragged me kicking and screaming into this movie, declaring it a must-watch despite my aversion to Cruise. And man, was she right. It's smart, it's fast, and it's unexpectedly funny as hell. Most of all, it features a flawless performance by Emily Blunt, who is both a costar in every sense of the word and the true hero of the story. I can honestly say that this is the first Yuletide when I've gotten my assignment and gone "yes, that's exactly what I wanted to write". My recipient seemed to love exactly what I did about the movie, but more than that, it's literally a wide-open canon, with infinite possibilities and tons of little throwaway moments to expand and explore. The whole film hinges on the fact that Cage is not the first to experience what he's going through, and I thought, what if Rita wasn't, either? I grew entirely too attached to Hendricks (who I really wanted to be Idris Elba, but somehow morphed into Justin Theroux in my head the moment he first opened his mouth) and really, really hated killing him. Over and over. Ad infinitum. But I loved loved loved writing Rita, with all her honor and competence and repressed attachment, and getting to see things (and Cage) through her eyes. Plus, I got to write a non-linear storyline, which you know is one of my favorite things in all the world.

Plus, that Scandal fic that made me flail like a crazy flaily thing? Yeah. [profile] martinigrl wrote it. She totally failed at stealth this time around (unlike last year, when she was actually assigned to me and delivered the most perfect Fiona Gallagher fic ever written), but it was absolutely the best present ever.

All in all, another good Yuletide down. Until next year.

Tags:

Good tidings to you...

Christmas came, Christmas went. For the first time in my life, I spent the holidays away from home... with my parents, in their new home in Florida. Let me tell you, leaving 86-degree weather to return to 30-degree Chicago was no picnic, but I'm so glad I went.

While I was there, [community profile] yuletide happened! This year, there were three gifts under the tree for little old me.

Wives of Powerful Men
Scandal, Mellie Grant, Bitsy Cooper
YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS, MY YULETIDE SANTA BROUGHT ME BITSY FIC. And it is glorious. Takes Mellie's tendency to make difficult decisive choices and immediately second-guess herself (or be made to - thanks for that, Fitz, you putz) and puts it squarely in the hands of a woman who's been there, done that, and lived to say "of course I'll do it your way, which will really be my way." Bitsy's influcence on Mellie, on the show, brought to mind an Armand line from Interview with the Vampire: "They had forgotten the first lesson, that we are to be powerful, beautiful, and without regret." This fic reinforced that in spades. A marvelous gift that made my Yuletide.

Garlands
Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane/Abbie Mills
I have a secret weakness for Christmas fic (which may not be all that secret, since I've written it. Twice.). The idea of Abbie establishing holiday traditions for the two of them is delightful (and something I sincerely hope we see on the show, at some point, for their entire makeshift family) and that's the premise here. Ichabod would be familiar with the concept of a Christmas tree, having come from a wealthy family of worth, but Abbie explaining how she chooses a tree in Charlie Brown terms is adorable, and Ichabod choosing a teeny tree because it would make her happy is doubly so. The whole concept makes me wonder what Christmases were like for Abbie the foster kid. Likewise, I'm sure our favorite male witness would also have a selection of facts on the history of mistletoe, as the association with kissing began in England in the 18th century, but it's forever the perfect excuse to shove your ship together at the holidays. :)

The Secret Smile
Fargo, Greta Grimly, Lou Solverson
After the grimdark humor of the show (which, don't get me wrong, I love), this treat was a little slice of life from happily-ever-after. The Grimly-Solverson blending of the epilogue was squee-inducing, if a bit sparse, but my favorite moments actually came over the course of the show. Greta and Lou could not be better family if there were blood involved - she immediately looked to him for wisdom and guidance, and he immediately took her under his wing. This fic took that dynamic and ran, with a look at a night at home for Grandpa Lou, big sister Greta, and new baby Grimly (who's undeniably a boy). It's short and sweet, but says a lot about both characters and their relationship with each other.

This was my least-productive Yuletide in years - I only wrote one fic. But it's one that I'm proud of, and was enjoyed by my recipient, so I suppose, if you can only write one, that's the one to write. As always, anyone who guesses which one is mine (except you two there, you know who you are) gets a free ficlet.

Tags:

These are a few of my favorite things

Hello, yuletide, how lovely to see you! Especially since you are officially the only time I'm consistently productive all year.

This marks Yuletide number eight for me, and the fourth Misses Clause Challenge I'll be running with martinigrl, my partner in crime. Once again, Yuletide participants are allowed up to six requests (which you'd think would make my selection easier. It really, really hasn't.), so here I am, with this year's ridiculously wordy Ode to an Anonymous Author.

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Welcome! Thanks so much for volunteering to put your time and talents toward a story for one of my favorite fandoms. I hope this letter will provide some insight and ideas without being intimidating — when it all boils down, I love each of the things I've requested here, and will embrace every word I can get.

Generally...

Yes, please: Character-driven fic (with plot. Or porn. Or plot and porn). :) Found families. Platonic soulmates. Canon divergence. Demonstrating love, not declaring. Magical realism. Verbal sparring (TO THE DEATH). Internal versus external conflict. Symbolism, subtext, and stories that live between the lines. Unique approaches to the narrative (non-linear storytelling, stories that have fun with format and structure, things that play with poetry or re-imagine fairy tales or fuse one universe with another - tell me a story entirely through dreams, or the sliding doors of misunderstandings, or messages in friggin bottles, and I will love you forever). Broken-boy soldiers, magnificent bastards, snarky sidekicks with hearts of gold. Strong women whose strength isn't all (or at all) physical. Certain tried-and-true tropes: amnesia, huddling for warmth, fake relationships (when they both have Feelings!). And good old-fashioned jealousy, when the jealous party is the person who holds the balance of emotional power.

No, thank you: Incest. If you take nothing else away from this section, please take that. Completely non-canon AUs (i.e. of the bookshop, coffeeshop, or college variety). Unabashed fluff of the curtainfic variety - I like a dash of salt with my sugar. Sidelined female characters or marginalized characters of color. Second person (sorry!). Infidelity. Rape as a plot device. PWP. For Yuletide, D/s, BDSM, kinks that end in "play" (and don't start with "fore"). And bananas. Because reasons.

Specifically...

10 YearsCollapse )

Edge of TomorrowCollapse )

Fargo (2014)Collapse )

The LeftoversCollapse )

ScandalCollapse )

Sleepy Hollow (TV)Collapse )

And that's all, folks! I'm so looking forward to Yuletide this year, and greatly look forward to reading whatever you decide to write.

Tags:

Had to title this with one of my favorite Fiona Gallagher quotes, because yuletide is upon us once again! Every year I have the nagging feeling that I'm due a bad experience, and every year I am proven wrong. This year, I got two amazing gifts. First came my assignment fic...

Thursday's Child
Shameless, Fiona Gallaagher, Debbie Gallagher, Lip Gallagher, Frank Gallagher, Monica Gallagher
If you've read my Yuletide letter, you know that Shameless beat out four other fandoms in the battle for the last request. Now I know why: so that I could get this kickass Fiona fic. The characterization and pacing are positively perfect, and it gave me exactly what I asked for in absolutely the best way possible. Fiona is so herself here, which is a tall order when you consider how in-her-head this POV is. I love her sense of resignation-as-determination, I love all her little insights into her reality and the world around her, and I LOVE that she's the same person inside her head as out -- that she's as fiercely honest with herself as she is with everyone else. Plus, my darling author (who is a first-time Yuletider) went to such awesome but organic lengths to include my Chicago love without tweaking any of my tendencies to cringe at tiny wrong details. It is the fic I was meant to have, and I am honored to call it my own.

And, as if that weren't enough, I got an eleventh hour treat. I was convinced it would be Scandal, but lo-and-behold, the archive went live, and I had...

Not knowing when the dawn will come
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Peter Guillam, George Smiley, Ricki Tarr, Connie Sachs, Guillam's Boyfriend
I may just scream and whimper and cry for the next five minutes. If there's nothing else here, please pretend that I gushed profusely. (...) Alright, I'm okay now. Greetings, friends! Allow me to introduce you to the Tinker Tailor fic of my heart. I've made this request two years in a row, the exact same request, and my wise, anonymous author has taken that prompt and said "well, that's a good start. Now here's what you really want." I don't even know that I can boil it down to a synopsis, when it deserves words, all the words, all the fawning, fawning words. So I will simply say this: it's a post-film look at Peter, adjusting (and not). Every voice is spot-on, every nuance is perfection, and it surprised me with every single sentence, but I felt right at home. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

Honestly, I have no idea what I did to deserve a Yuletide like this, but I am positively astounded by the quality and the voices, and I could not have received two more perfect gifts. Please go read them, and give them all the love.

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls.

Happy days are here again! And by happy, I mean yuletide, that super special time of year when I'm actually productive.

This year marks my seventh Yuletide, third running the Misses Clause Challenge with martinigrl, and numerology dictates that this time around shall be a magical one. And though there have been many changes to the exchange for 2013, the departure of elynross among them, the one that will have the most profound effect upon this year's letter is… (dun dun dun…) the advent of six possible requests. Count them, six.

In short, my fellow Yulefolk, in light of the length of my previous letters (in no particular order: this little letter provided leverage, this little letter wrote a poem, this little letter had my first treat, this little letter had none, and this little letter begged for backstory backstory backstory all the way home)… brace yourselves.

Dear Yuletide Writer,

Welcome! Happy to have you, make yourself comfortable. I'm so glad you've volunteered to spin a story for one of my much-loved fandoms, and I can't wait to read what you come up with. I hope this letter will provide some insight and ideas without being intimidating — when it all boils down, I love each of the things I've requested here, and will embrace every word I can get.

My fandom brain is highly character-centric, and that extends to fic as well. Strong characterization is pretty much porn for me, and I've been extremely lucky in that respect in gifts of Yuletides past. I love symbolism and subtext and stories that live between the lines of canon. I love unique approaches to the narrative — non-linear storytelling, stories that have fun with format and structure, things that play with poetry or re-imagine fairy tales or fuse one universe with another. Tell me a story entirely through dreams, or the sliding doors of misunderstandings, or messages in friggin bottles, and I will love you forever.

I'm a sucker for certain archetypes — the broken boy soldier, the magnificent bastard, the snarky sidekick with a heart of gold, and especially the awesome and oft-overlooked women who save the day or hold everything together and never ever take the credit. I live for interesting interaction unfolding between characters — the dynamic between people is incredibly important to me, that tangible bond that makes people trust in each other and fight for and with and alongside each other, makes them have entire conversations without words and feel like parts of a whole. Particularly if that bond is not romantic. Having that kind of connection between characters you ship is all-important, yes, but give me two people with a completely platonic relationship who would lie down in front of a train for each other and I will be putty in your hands. As far as actual shipping goes… when it comes to Yuletide, I tend to pose prompts that skew toward gen, but if you prefer to write something shippy, I've noted favorite pairings for every request.

On the "do not want" side of things, outside of one particular fandom, I'm not a huge fan of the completely non-canon AU. I'm all for things that diverge, in a butterfly effect, "twist at this turning point and now everything is different" sort of way, but I don't really connect with the coffeeshop/college/captured by pirates scenarios. I'm an angst lover at heart, so unabashed fluff doesn't have the same impact (though I'm totally down with conflict and turbulence that leads to open, hopeful or happy endings!). I hate to see female characters sidelined or characters of color marginalized. Sex is more than welcome when it's rooted in character, but it works best for me in the abstract and as part of a larger story. I have no preference as to present or past tense, but something about second person rarely clicks with me. Infidelity will take me right out of a story, as will porn-by-numbers, rape as a plot device, and any of my pretty boys in pain being overly verbose or emotionally overwrought. Squickly-speaking, steering clear of bodily fluids beyond blood (in a non-"play" sense), saliva, and sexual byproducts is generally a safe bet (so kinks like watersports, scat, vore, etcetera aren't really up my alley), but the most important thing to note is that I have a massive incest squick. If you take nothing else away from this section, please take that.

Specific fandoms-wise, I'm so torn! There are three things fighting it out for the last spot — Jennifer Crusie's "Bet Me" (which would be a request for Liza Tyler), Emily Owens, M.D. (which would be some sort of bottle episode request for Emily Owens, Gina Bandari, and Tyra Dupre), or Orange is the New Black (which I'm almost positive would be a request for Daya backstory). Well. Or Sleepy Hollow (which would be all the Abbie Mills. Duh.).

Never mind, I went with Shameless. :)

Parade"s EndCollapse )

ScandalCollapse )

Shameless (US)Collapse )

Spartacus SeriesCollapse )

Third StarCollapse )

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyCollapse )

There you have it. Thanks again, Yuletide writer. I can't wait to read whatever you have in store for me.

By the numbers.

Probably should've done this at the turn of the year (but since I didn't do the last one until the end of April, uh... oh well?). Have the AO3 Hit Meme!

2011's recap:

  1. Ashes and Flame (Every You and Every Me), The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins, Katniss/Peeta, 6,291 hits
  2. Creative (Non)Fiction, Community, Ensemble (Abed-centric), 3,073 hits
  3. Deck the Halls with Daddy Issues, The Avengers, Steve/Tony, 2,411 hits
  4. Lost In Translation, The Losers, Jensen/Cougar, 1,503 hits
  5. And To All A Goodnight, Faking It - Jennifer Crusie, Davy/Tilda, 1,053 hits
  6. Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Covert Affairs, Auggie/Jai, 947 hits
  7. Big Girl Pants, New Girl, Jess/Nick, 897 hits
  8. Of All Our Yesterdays (Sunrise, Sunset), Black Dagger Brotherhood - JR Ward, Ensemble (Phury-centric), 495 hits
  9. Dinner and a Show, Dexter, Ensemble (Deb-centric), 404 hits
  10. All The Things She Said, Smallville, Oliver/Chloe, 334 hits

2012 breakdown:

  1. Ashes and Flame (Every You and Every Me), The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins, Katniss/Peeta, 10,431 hits
  2. Deck the Halls with Daddy Issues, The Avengers, Steve/Tony, 8,347 hits
  3. Creative (Non)Fiction, Community, Ensemble (Abed-centric), 3,913 hits
  4. Lost In Translation, The Losers, Jensen/Cougar, 3,084 hits
  5. Big Girl Pants, New Girl, Jess/Nick, 2,068 hits
  6. Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Covert Affairs, Auggie/Jai, 1,221 hits
  7. Shells of a Long-Ago Lifetime (Faces That Once Were Mine Mix), Supernatural, Dean, Sam, OCs, 1,186 hits
  8. And To All A Goodnight, Faking It - Jennifer Crusie, Davy/Tilda, 1,130 hits
  9. Of All Our Yesterdays (Sunrise, Sunset), Black Dagger Brotherhood - JR Ward, Ensemble (Phury-centric), 689 hits
  10. Something to Talk About (The Million Dollar Quartet Cover), The Losers, Jensen/Cougar/Pooch/Jolene, 687 hits

Attention, Hunger Games fandom: I cannot believe there are still new people reading this fic. It's incredibly flattering, but ridiculously unexpected. The Steve/Tony moved up a notch, but that's less unexpected. The New Girl piece, with its plethora of pants, jumped two spots. I remain shocked by its popularity. Both the pieces I wrote for this year's Remix round charted. I'm no stranger to Supernatural gen, but the poly of the Losers piece was very, very new (and so much fun). And, sadly, we said goodbye to Deb. I'm kind of bummed about that one. It's one of my favorites.

2012 wasn't the greatest year for me, productivity-wise - 8 fics (in 7 fandoms, of course, because I'm me), with a combined wordcount of 39,053. But I like what I put out, and 2013 is already shaping up to be a better one.

Oh shit, son.

So I signed up for Trope Bingo, and my card is terrifying.

See for yourself.

alpha / beta / omega wingfic au: daemons snowed in road trip
fusion au: hooker / porn / stripper handcuffed / bound together animal transformation forced to marry
virginfic / secretly a virgin secret twin / doppelganger FREE

SPACE
kiss to save the day rivals to lovers
poker/strip poker fake relationship accidental baby acquisition sharing a bed soul bonding / soulmates
cross-dressing au: all-human au: cop / detective day at the beach mind control


I thought I could bingo with a single fandom, but um... not likely. Pretty damn unlikely, in fact.

Help me, Jeebus.

Oh so revealing.

Heretofor anonymous authors have been revealed, so here's the annual yuletide post-mortem extravaganza!

For my assignment fic, I wrote By Any Other for carlyinrome, in Lucky Number Slevin fandom. I adore this awesome, underrated movie, and have offered to write it in every single Yuletide I've participated in. I'd seen (and own) Wicker Park, but this is the film that made me fall in love with Paul McGuigan (a.k.a. my favorite contemporary director, and half the reason I ever gave Sherlock a shot). It's smart and sharp and snappy and so gorgeous, with all the telltale McGuigan camera angles and frame swipes and over-the-top wallpapers that Sherlockians now know so well, and the sheer talent that makes up the ensemble cast (Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, and Stanley Tucci are just the tip of the iceberg) borders on ridiculous. Basically: if you haven't seen this movie, do it. Do it now. (Also, steer clear of this fic until you do, as spoilers abound.) My recip requested Lindsey (Lucy Liu) and Sleven (Josh Hartnett) being happy and banter-y and adorable. I think the word "fluff" may have been used. As most of you know, I am virtually incapable of fluff. But Lindsey is quick and adaptable and awesome, so it was a lot of fun to play with that. I still can't quite believe that there's only a hanful of fic in this fandom (literally, there were five fics before mine), and that absolutely none of it was about Lindsey. For shame, Slevin folk. For shame.

I picked up a pinch hit for kiki_eng, and after some serious soul-searching, I truly believe that I willed it into being. I'd absolutely adored her Yuleletter during the annual period of Trolling for Treats, especially her request for my favorite episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Josh Groban! Martin Freeman! Omid Djalili! Simon Amstell's last episode! And upon reading said request, I had a bunny. A cracktastic bunny. A cracktastic bunny that was unprecedented for me, since I am not an RPF writer. But I bookmarked the letter (because it really is adorable) and went about my business, occassionally complaining to starseverywhere about the bunny that wouldn't leave me alone. And then, two days before deadline, what pops up on the pinch hit list? It was fate, I tell you. So yeah. Never Mind the Bite Marks is NMTB RPF in which Simon, Josh, Martin, and Omid brave the zombie apocalypse. Do with that what you will.

Then there was a glitch in the matrix (or the Madness collection, whatever), and elynross announced that she'd be approving submissions all day on the 26th (even after stories went live!), so I sat down and banged out my first ever treat for a friend. My Strongest Suit is a quick set of vignettes for the four leading women of Revenge. I thought that I could disguise myself from martinigrl well enough to make it a week as her anonymous writer, by using a story structure and format that's completely unlike me and an actual semicolon (and oh yeah, writing multiple women without a man in sight). As it turns out, I utterly fail at stealth, since she figured me out within half an hour of reading, but she enjoyed it, and that's what matters.

Another Yuletide gone. Until next year, peeps.

Tags:

And I will try to fix you.

yuletide is live! (And has been for a few days now, I just suck at updating.) As usual, I shall return with a reading list of awesome recs from both the main and Madness collections, but in the meantime, let's just heap some love on my giftfic, shall we?

last year in your garden
Scandal, Olivia Pope
No body, no crime.
OMG Y'ALL, SOMEONE WROTE THIS FOR LITTLE OL' ME. It poses the question When did Olivia Pope start fixing things?, and then answers it in the most logical, heartbreaking ways. The leaps back and forth from Olivia's childhood to Olivia's present are perfectly timed, the sketchy slivers of each situation or extenuating circumstances are perfectly shown, and the dialogue, this terse, to-the-point double-speak that Olivia Pope has perfected, is perfectly written. It's a short, tight, hard-hitting piece without a single word out of place, and I absolutely adore it. If you're a Scandal fan, or just a fan of awesome female characters, please go read it and give it all the love.

I've got three fics in the Yuletide archive (two in the main collection, one in Madness). Two are the only fics in their respective fandoms, and miraculously, none of them are in fandoms I've ever written before. I think it's ridiculously easy to guess my main assignment, if you know my writing (and my Yuletide-sized fandom loves) at all, but if anyone actually guessed the pinch hit and the treat, I'd be absolutely shocked. Try as you will - anyone who guesses correctly gets a free ficlet.

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