ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer!

One of my favorite things about my Yuletide stories from years past is the wonderful things it could never even have occurred to me to ask for. So all of the below is there in case you need/want it, but please feel free to explore other directions for anything if you're inspired to!

Well, this year I have two femslash requests, two single-character requests, and two worldbuilding/general "see what you can do with this!" type of requests. The source materials are one Twitter account, one irregular webcomic, one short film of less than 10 minutes, one novel, one movie, and one commercial. There are a bunch of short and easy to acquire source materials in here, so if you're considering writing for me on something other than what we matched on, you have options! I included some source/availability notes in the prompts themselves, and I'll elaborate where necessary below.

If you were champing at the bit for me to post this year's letter (and... I don't blame you!), then you may possibly have already looked back at some previous years' letters to get an idea of my general likes and dislikes—they don't change terribly much from year to year!

The Strange Log (Twitter)
The Strange Log: https://twitter.com/TheStrangeLog

You could go so many directions with this—including ones I haven't thought of, I'm sure! If you want to do something that's nothing like what I mention here, please feel free to go with that.

Some possiblities: Pick one or several tweets and write a story about the world they describe, where such strange things happen? Do the changes described in the tweets happen in the world(s), and if so, do the inhabitants notice? I've scrolled back a fair bit in the timeline but definitely haven't read all the tweets yet; I don't know if you want to base your story on particular tweets, or just go with the general concept/atmosphere. Whether seriously worldbuild-y or reveling in the absurdity—or both, or something else entirely!—I'm interested to see what you come up with.


I found out about The Strange Log from this tumblr post, and when I followed the link to the Twitter account I was bewitched by the tiny doses of absurdity. So many fascinating hooks you could hang a story on! I don't actually play a lot of video games/computer games, so while these are tweets from game change logs, a story idea that depends on familiarity with any specific game would probably be lost on me. But if you want to write about an imaginary computer game, that would be fine by me! Or of course writing about whatever world(s) is/are described by the tweets without reference to the external framework of a game at all.


Mailbot (Mailbot (Webcomic))
1. I love robots. I think I may have mentioned this in every Yuletide letter list of likes and dislikes since I started doing Yuletide.

2. MAILBOT IS SO ADORABLE <3 I love his kind and cheerful nature and how he keeps trying and how the message of the very first Mailbot comic is that sometimes you can make a mistake and things still turn out okay :-)

3. I listed this as a webcomic for... lack of... a better category? Some of the Mailbot things are definitely structured like a comic strip, some of them are just drawings (some of those in response to asks/specific prompts), some of them tell a story and some don't...

4. You can find them here! (Along with things like askbox commentary and reblogs of other people's fanart) http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/search/mailbot/

5. I really don't have a particular story in mind, I'm just interested to see what stories could come of this! Jump off from one of the existing comics/drawings, or fill in some more of Mailbot's character/backstory or the surrounding worldbuilding... maybe a new adventure for Mailbot? I'm interested in it all!


I kind of nominated this as a webcomic for lack of a better category. Some of the Mailbot drawings are definitely formatted as a comic! But it's not really a... formal webcomic? There are also e.g. drawings in response to asks, and the Mailbot drawings are one subset of the artist's larger group of cutebot drawings. (Feel free to bring in any of the other cutebots if you want to, by the way, or to make up new ones of your own!) And apparently the AO3 tag wrangling guidelines specifically say that you should not include the author's/artist's name, which bugged me, so: these are by Matthew McGuigan! And they are really cool.

Anyway, for a while I was collecting links of all the Mailbot posts I saw, being aware that I might still be missing some since they're not tagged, and that list is below.

http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/121001946301/by-the-way-i-am-officially-delegating-all-asks-to
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/121032612226/mailbot-answers-your-questions-in-a-helpful-way
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/127375873496/an-important-lesson-about-making-mistakes-you-can
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/127538541666/here-is-the-second-part-by-itself-because-the
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/127699127506/no-problem-too-tall-no-letter-too-small
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/128040522656/would-is-be-stupid-if-i-asked-for-a-cute-little
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/129805871771/i-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend-of-3-years-can
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/130563684511/mattmcguigan-toxicrecall-excuse-me-mail
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/131494479256/hey-canadian-friends-you-should-definitely-go
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/132459362266/mailbot-lends-a-hand
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/132903387326/i-need-resolution-for-the-guy-who-gave-his-letter
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/136371359521/how-did-mailbot-get-the-lollipop-and-comb
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/136432440996/hello-there-ive-been-so-anxious-and-stressed-out
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/136588983696/yes-hello-i-am-here-to-add-one-1-existential
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/140919233626/does-mailbot-have-a-special-someone-a-significant
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/146929584901/tips-the-courier-robot
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/post/146929804631/i-do-believe-the-anon-meant-in-giving-the-mailbot

And then I discovered that you can do a pretty good job of getting all the Mailbot posts here!
http://mattmcguigan.tumblr.com/search/mailbot/

This also includes e.g. reblogs of other people's fanart, and replies to asks, and so on, so it's not just McGuigan's Mailbot drawings, but I think it might include them all?


A Moment (2016 Short Film)
Source notes: a ~10-minute short film available on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOWSo6frm44

BUT WHAT IF THEY ACTUALLY TALKED TO EACH OTHER
(that's it that's the prompt)

No but seriously: an alternate ending, where they do actually talk to each other? or after the end of the film, they seek out and find each other again, perhaps overcoming bus-system-related mishaps to do so (changed work schedules, service changes/reroutings, other obstacles)? Deeper exploration of the backstory for either or both characters would be welcome; we get a number of intriguing details that could be fleshed out! Or future fic with both of them? And in case it isn't clear: femslash is very, very welcome for this prompt! <3

A note: the film uses She and Her consistently to refer to each character ("For a moment, Her wondered what it would be like to know She")—but you can feel free to drop the pronoun conceit and give them other names in your story if you like. Or perhaps their names sound like She and Her, or those are nicknames? However you'd like to handle it, really.


The actual film is about 7 minutes, and the rest is credits. It's the first of Issa Rae's Short Films Sundays that I've watched (and I expect that by the time I finish watching the rest of them, I may have some more potential Yuletide fandoms for next year!).

So, some of the specifics I would absolutely be more interested in knowing about are Her reading interests, Her history in a band and Her work (and like, what does she do on the days she isn't working at the Vietnamese restaurant? Does she have another job, or something else going on, like school or another project?). In a way, even though She opens the film, we get even fewer specifics about her—like we don't even know where she's riding the bus to and from every day! Still in school, her own job, ..?

I didn't grow up riding the bus—in fact for years I lived in places without any public transportation at all—but I think one of the reasons I liked this film so much is that I, too, fell in love with public transportation at a young age, the first time I visited a city with a metro subway system when I was 11.

Also, I technically went to college about an hour outside Los Angeles, where this film is set, but I didn't venture off campus very much so I don't have, like, really detailed knowledge of the setting or anything.


The Long Walk - Richard Bachman
So, I didn’t request any characters because this really is a “worldbuilding” request for me; I don’t care whether you focus on or even include any of the characters from the book, but I’d love to learn more about the world the Long Walk happens in. Of course, you may have signed up to write specific characters, so if you do want to include or focus on those book characters: go for it! Just, that’s not required, and original characters are totally fine by me.

Some ideas: So, if most kids over twelve take the test, why are there only boys on the Long Walk? (Unexamined sexism on the part of the author and/or the characters seems likely, of course—they just forgot that "almost all kids" includes girls, too?) Does a token girl ever make it to the Walk, or maybe there's a separate event for girls (perhaps not as well-publicized, just like women's sports in our world)? Or tell me more about how the Long Walk looks from the outside, since we see the event from the inside in the book, but there's clearly a lot of spectacle/publicity and outside observers for the event. Or how about a historical perspective on this time period from further in the future—a future that could be better, worse, or simply differently horrible?

And please don’t think that “worldbuilding” means that I only want some grand, sweeping epic; I’d be just as happy to see how the larger wrongness of the world is reflected in the small events and everyday lives of ordinary people, the ways in which their "normal" is skewed.


In my yuletide letters I've often included something like "unrelentingly grim worlds" in my Dislikes list. In relation to this fandom, that might give you pause! Obviously the world of the story is grim, but what I mean is: the characters do still have other things in their lives, things they like, people they value, things they enjoy—you certainly don't have to summon up a hopeful ending for a Long Walk story! Just a recognition of the emotional complexity of a person's life under these circumstances will satisfy this requirement for me. (Indeed, there can be something particularly chilling about the contrast between what a character thinks are the normal ups and downs of life and what the reader as an outside observer thinks is a horrifying set of circumstances.)


Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
Consider Marge. Consider how Marge is absolutely right about Tom Ripley in the end. Consider how no one will believe her because the old boys' club would rather draw together to protect even someone who murdered one of its own sons than take a woman seriously. Consider Marge returning home from Europe, grieving, betrayed. Consider what she does next. Consider how she picks the pieces of her life back up again.

Consider the book she's been writing since before she ever met Tom Ripley, or even Dickie Greenleaf. Consider what kind of book she might be working on, what work she would consider so important—and take it seriously, because she does, even if no one else does. Consider whether the direction of her work would change after her experiences in Europe, and if so, how.

Consider her eventually being vindicated about the nature of Tom Ripley. Or, alternately, consider her living so well that he recedes ever smaller in the rear-view mirror of her life.

Consider Marge.

And then tell me something about her.

This request is primarily based on the movie, but I have read the books as well (although it was several years ago now). Feel free to incorporate or disregard anything you wish from the books—for instance, we know what Marge's book is about in the books, but there's no need for that to be the same in the movie/your story, unless you want it to be.


I'M SO GRATEFUL to whoever nominated this fandom including this character this year! I get to resurrect my old request. :-D


McDonald's "Mirai no Watashi" Commercial
OH MY GOSH! I had "McDonald's anime ad femslash" down on my (very long) list of potential Yuletide fandoms; I'm so glad somebody actually nominated it!!

So like. Obviously I want femslash for this; was that not obvious? ;-) These two are so cute! And the story in the ad is so simple and happy; I love people being good at what they do and enjoying it (in this case, teaching/learning how to be good at it).

Maybe elaborate on one of the scenarios depicted in the ad? Or fill in a missing scene? Or future-fic—maybe one of them has to move on from McDonalds before they can actually get together (it seems like they might be in a manager-supervisee position, and so getting involved while that's the case could be kind of inherently skeevy?). No preference on ratings: keep it as gen as the commercial or go all the way up to explicit sex or anything in between. :-)


Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTrC86mmPaw
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
This Yuletide letter is now complete!


General notes:
First of all, thank you, yuletide writer! I love this exchange, and I hope you have fun doing it too. :-)

If you already have something you want to write for one of these fandoms, or you get a great idea that's nothing like what I've outlined here, please go for it; some of my favorite things in yuletide stories of years past are things it would never have occurred to me to ask for. (Also, please don't take it that the length at which I talk about each fandom has any relationship with how much I want a story for it!)

Cool bits/some stuff I like (not necessarily relevant to every fandom/prompt!): time travel, hurt/comfort, robots, threesomes, trust, friendship, competence, worldbuilding, audacity, responsible use of authority, the moment where everything changes. Racebending, transgender characters, and similar character interpretations/modifications are always welcome.

Good news: I don't have any squicks or triggers! Yay! I do tend to find love triangles and jealousy a bit boring/uninteresting, but basically there's not a huge "Avoid this!" list for you to worry about.

I don't know how useful it would be, but I'm also on tumblr in case that's a thing that's relevant to your interests: http://ageorwizardry.tumblr.com/

I've also added notes about the source material for each fandom in case you are curious/casting around for possible backup fandoms.


Fandom: Sweeney Todd - Sondheim/Wheeler
Characters: Johanna Barker (Sondheim/Wheeler) Anthony Hope (Sondheim/Wheeler)

Optional details: I love stories about people trying to be good to each other and take care of each other after terrible things have happened to them, and I'd love to see that with these two. While we don't know much of Anthony's background, what we know of Johanna's certainly makes it seem plausible that she may have the more traumatic background, of the two of them--still, I don't think I'd like a story with a dynamic of Anthony being the Normal Person who's here to Make Johanna Better--so feel free to invent any kind of complementary backstory for him you like. (I'm actually kind of fond of the idea that he gets depressed, for instance--and his positive outlook is a practiced defense against it. This isn't required, though; I only mention it in case the idea grabs you, too!)

I had initially toyed with the idea of asking for Sweeney Todd Trauma Recovery Fic over a broader range of possible characters (what if Mrs. Lovett was genuinely nurturing, instead of just putting on a show of it occasionally when she felt like it? or what if Sweeney Todd took the energy he devotes to his revenge and instead directed it toward finding and rebuilding his family?), but it ended up seeming like those might be AUs too universe-breaking to ask for. :-P If you do happen to feel called to any of those ideas, though, I'd love to see what you do with them. (And this is explicit permission to focus on characters other than the ones I've requested if you go with one of those story ideas instead.)

Source: A musical play whose cast recording is commercially available.

Reading alllll the Bucky Barnes recovery fic that came out of Captain America: The Winter Soldier last year has kind of made me want the same kind of trauma recovery fic for EVERY FANDOM. (Don't sweat it if you're not familiar with the Marvel movies/fandom; I'm just using that as a jumping off point.) In a historical setting like this, of course, there's a balance to strike: the characters certainly wouldn't have anything like the modern conception of PTSD, but humans have had a fairly consistent range of reactions to traumatic events documented over long stretches of history (I'm thinking here of Rachel Manija Brown's post on PTSD that points out a speech in a Shakespeare play that practically lists the modern diagnostic criteria for PTSD). At the time the play is set, psychology sort of hadn't been invented yet as a field of knowledge, but people obviously still had feelings about things; they just wouldn't have had psychology as we know it as a tool for understanding and dealing with them.

If "trauma recovery" is seeming to you like a Big Deal, heavy-research-y label, I don't want to scare you off—try thinking of it as hurt/comfort? Or, just a hopeful ending for these characters that doesn't ignore how they got there, if that entire kind of thing isn't up your alley.


Fandom: August: Osage County (2013)
Character: Johnna Monevata

Optional details: MOTHERFUCKING SUPERHERO JOHNNA MONEVATA.

I walked out of the theater feeling like Johnna going after Steve with a shovel in defense of Jean just might just be the one unambiguously good act in the entire movie. After re-watching it before Yuletide this year, I still think that may be right.

Johnna’s job requires her to perform both physical and emotional care while concealing whatever her real feelings may be. Aside from her clear and immediate conviction that a grown man making advances on a young teenager is Wrong and Must Be Stopped, we see very little of what Johnna thinks—just her calm professionalism as she keeps her sphere of things running smoothly (while just about the entire situtation around her is falling into various kinds of pieces). So: show some of what Johnna's thinking. What does she think of the book of poetry Bev lent her that she’s reading? What does she read when she's reading for herself? What else is in her head and her heart and her life besides this messed up family she's working for that the movie focuses on?

Source: A 2-hour film of fairly recent release.

At the end, when Violet finally turns to Johnna for comfort after driving everyone else in her life away, Johnna is kind, but I feel so bad for the situation she’s in—everyone else can choose to leave, forever if they like, but she’s obligated to stay. I mean, it's a job, and one she may (?) be able to quit if she wants to, but it's still a difficult, different kind of emotional labor from being family—and a burden that falls disproportionately on women of color, like Johnna.

I also really respect how good at her job Johnna clearly is. Based on how capably she handles things in a situation like this—where the actual person who hired her has died abruptly, and practically everything about her day-to-day work must have changed dramatically, and there must be nobody providing anything like a coherent set of guidelines or instructions—I'd think this can't be the first time she's done work like this; there's no apparent learning curve. Remember above where I said I liked competence? I admire how Johnna evidently just figures out what needs to be done and does it, and keeps herself as clear of the surrounding fray as possible (I'm thinking here specifically of that time she says, "I'll eat in my room," and glides straight through and out of the room the family's next horrible conversation is happening in).

One thing I realized, upon re-watching this movie, is how tired I am of stories about people doing terrible things to each other because terrible things have happened to them. Terrible things happen to people, and their stories matter—but those stories I'm most interested in are the ones about people trying to figure out how to do good and be kind after great hurt. Which is to say: don’t feel you need to mimic the tone or philosophy of the play/movie, necessarily; the hopeless tragedy of the dysfunctional American family is not what I’m here for.


Fandom: Change of Scenery paintings - Rob Gonsalves
Characters: [none requested]

Optional details: In these two paintings, people cut away pieces of curtains to change the shape of the view outside--and perhaps change the view itself?

In the world of the paintings, *is* it just an optical illusion? A game of some kind? Something to do if you have enough imagination, or if you can't travel to see the things you want to yourself? Or are the windows actually becoming portals to entirely different landscapes? (Is it just the view that changes, or also where you end up if you step through the window?) Is it a known skill in this world, something you can hire people to do for you or DIY, or something secret only a few have stumbled upon? In both scenes, there are open books that it seems like the people might be referring to as they work. Let your imagination fly free! I'd be fascinated to see what you come up with. Feel free either to focus on the specific people in the paintings if you'd like to, or to explore the wider world/make up new characters if you don't.

Source: Two paintings, viewable here: A Change of Scenery and Change of Scenery II (Making Mountains). If you're seeking a backup fandom, this is probably the best in terms of quickness and ease of accessing and familiarizing yourself with the source!


Fandom: 커피프린스 1호점 | Coffee Prince
Characters: Choi Han Seong Go Eun Chan

Optional details: So, I'm pretty curious about the alternate universe where Eun Chan and Han Seong ended up together instead--aside from the ordained-to-be-together factor of the canon pairings, it seems like not very much would have had to go differently for that to happen. So if you write that, you will interest me very much! If you'd rather not write a romantic relationship between them, I will also be happy with a story about their relationship in the canon universe--platonic friendships are always relevant to my interests as well.
Source: A 17-episode Korean television show. Episodes subtitled in English are available (in the U.S. at least) to hulu subscribers; I'm not sure where else this may be currently available.

My favorite single line in the entire show is when Han Kyul is shopping for an engagement ring for Eun Chan, and the salesgirl suggests one that Han Kyul rejects because "She's not very feminine." And he says it with such a smile on his face, because he adores her, and she does not have to change at all in order to win his love. That's Han Kyul and I requested Han Seong, of course, but he also adores Eun Chan without her having to change anything. It's such a refreshing change from all the stories where a girl has to go through a makeover or become more sexy/feminine before the love story can happen. (Okay, the end of the last episode seems a little makeover-y--she certainly comes back from Italy looking a lot more feminine than she did before. I just... kind of... ignore that :-P) (Of course, there's also that early episode where Eun Chan actually does get a makeover in order to go to the party. But even that I was okay with because a) Han Seong explicitly told her she didn't have to change anything to go to the party, and b) Eun Chan preferred the offered makeover to her family's attempt at doing the same thing. And it was just a one-off, special occasion thing, not part of a transformation arc for Eun Chan.) So basically: I love how awesome Eun Chan is and how so many other characters recognize how awesome she is and adore her just the way she is.


Fandom: The Long Walk - Richard Bachman
Characters: [none requested]

Optional details: So, I didn’t request any characters because this really is a “worldbuilding” request for me; I don’t care whether you focus on or even include any of the characters from the book, but I’d love to learn more about the world the Long Walk happens in. Of course, you may have signed up to write specific characters, so if you do want to include or focus on those book characters: go for it! Just, that’s not required, and original characters are totally fine by me.

Some ideas: So, if most kids over twelve take the test, why are there only boys on the Long Walk? (Did the author and/or the characters forget that "almost all kids" includes girls, too?) Does a token girl ever make it to the Walk, or is there a separate event for girls (perhaps not as well-publicized, just like women's sports in our world)? Or tell me more about the experience from outside the Long Walk, since we see the event from the inside in the book. Or how about a historical perspective on this time period from the future—a future that could be better, worse, or simply differently horrible?

And please don’t think that “worldbuilding” means that I only want some grand, sweeping epic; I’d be just as happy to see how the larger wrongness of the world is reflected in the small events and everyday lives of ordinary people, the ways in which their "normal" is skewed.

Source: A novel of moderate length (300-400 pages, it seems depending on edition) by Richard Bachman, an alias of Stephen King. (As you might tell from the optional details above, also hella depressing, if that's a consideration.)

I'm excited to be able to repeat my Long Walk request from last year! I wasn't planning to, at all; I only discovered it had been nominated again during the sign-ups phase. :-) Honestly, I wrote an unreasonably long Yuletide letter for this fandom last year, at the link if you want to check it out! I think I did a much better job of condensing it down to the most important parts in my request for this year.


Fandom: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Characters: Mike Timlin (Inside Llewyn Davis)

Optional details: So why did Mike Timlin throw himself off the George Washington Bridge?

He's the ghost that haunts the entirety of this movie, hanging over everything but never seen, a mystery. Tell me something about him from before, when he was still alive; show me something about this man who's a motivating factor for so much in this movie, for the people he's left behind. A snapshot, something about his work with Llewyn, anything--up to and including his suicide or not, as you wish.

Source: A ~100-minute film of fairly recent release.

I thought this was a beautiful film, and I felt such sympathy for Llewyn, even as I could absolutely see how frustrating he'd be for everyone around him—lord knows I also wouldn't be at my best when bouncing around between places to stay and often not knowing where I'd sleep the next night! It seems likely things might have been better for him, at least in some respects, when Mike Timlin was still alive. This is about Llewyn so far and my request is for Mike, but that's part of where it comes from—we learn barely anything about Mike in the course of the film; we just see the effect his death has had on Llewyn and other characters, and we hear his voice in just one song. The film is all about Llewyn, but he can have as small or large a role in your story about Mike as you like—or be absent entirely. I'm not very knowledgeable about the time and place of the setting, so historical research/expertise on your part will be admired but not required. :-)
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Optional details are optional!

If you already have a story singing in your heart for one of these fandoms, you just go ahead and write it. All if this information is here for you only in case you want it.

My default stance on characterizations, pairings, interpretations, etc. is that of willing to be convinced; even if it doesn't match the way I already see things, I can believe it for the length of the story and be happy with it. When it comes to kinks (which are also optional, dear writer!), it's more important to me that the kink works for the character(s) than whether it was something I already knew I was into. Like, I've read sweet, tender cannibalism fantasies, among many other amazing fanfics featuring kinks in ways I could never have imagined beforehand, so I'm really not going to pre-emptively rule anything out. Please don't feel bound or restricted by what I say here if you have another idea.

I have no squicks or triggers!

Some things I like in stories (not necessarily relevant to each request): time travel, robots, trust, competence, friendship, threesomes, audacity, revolutions, worldbuilding, meaningful gifts, responsible use of authority, the moment when everything changes. Characters of all genders and sexualities are always welcome.

I don't tend to enjoy love triangles or jealousy in stories.

With that, on to the fandom-specific prompts, including additional details for some of them.


The Long Walk - Richard Bachman
So, I didn’t request any characters because this really is a “worldbuilding” request; I don’t care whether you focus on or even include any of the characters from the book, but I’d love to learn more about the world the Long Walk happens in, in any of severalmany directions you may choose to explore. (And if you do want to include or focus on book characters: go for it! Just, that’s not required, and original characters are totally fine.)

Some ideas: So, if most kids over twelve take the test, why are there only boys on the Long Walk? (Did the author and/or the characters forget that "almost all kids" includes girls, too?) Or tell me about a special moment on a Walk one year. Does anyone ever attempt the rebellion that Garraty at one point realizes they've missed the chance for, and if so, what happens then? Or tell me something about the rise to power of the Major—how did this version of the United States get to be the way it is, anyway? How about a historical perspective on this time period from the future—a future that could be better, worse, or simply differently horrible?

And please don’t think that “worldbuilding” means that I only want some grand, sweeping epic; I’d be just as happy to see how the larger wrongness of the world is reflected in the small events and everyday lives of ordinary people, the ways in which their "normal" is skewed.

My Yuletide Letter contains some elaborations on these ideas, in case you'd like more about my background thinking that led up to them.

Elaborations follow!

“…most of the kids in the country over twelve take the tests but only one in fifty passes.”

So, if most kids over twelve take the test, why are there only boys on the Long Walk?

I mean, probably the answer to this is unexamined sexism on the part of the author and/or the characters (depending on how you want to interpret it) meaning they didn’t really think through the fact that “almost all kids” includes girls too.

But this is fanfiction! That doesn’t have to be our interpretation.

Assuming girls take the test too, are they just overwhelmingly weeded out at the grading stage? Are there ever years where a Token Girl does make it to the Walk? Or do girls have another event besides the Long Walk just for them, and if so, what does that look like? (And it’s probably not as well publicized as the Long Walk is, just like women’s sports in our world, which might account for why it doesn’t seem to be on any of the Walkers’ radar in the book.) Perhaps it takes place in another part of the country? (It always seemed a bit odd to me that something billed as the “national pastime” would always start in Maine and only ever take place in a very small part of the country.)

I’d be fascinated to see something about the media treatment of the Long Walk—I mean, it’s “the national pastime,” immensely popular, watched by throngs of people crowded along the roadside as well as broadcast throughout the rest of the nation, but in the book we mostly see the event from the inside, and I’m sure the media depiction is very different experience. There seem to be aspects of the Walk the participants didn’t expect, despite their familiarity with coverage of previous Walks. And it seems odd to me that they’re not even certain whether the winners of previous years are even alive or whether they’ve been taken out somewhere and shot. Are there no retrospectives with the previous years’ winners, no “where are they now?” Not a single talking head with a microphone walks up to the last walker standing and asks the idiotic question, “How does it feel to have just won the Long Walk?” No one writes magazine puff pieces about what winners request for their prize afterwards? What does an unlucky media intern’s Walk-related assignments look like?

I’d be fascinated by any backstory exploring how this version of the United States got this way. Is it like the Star Trek Mirror Universe where everything is just inexplicably darker? Or did the U.S. specifically take an even wronger turn all by itself? How did the Major’s rise to power come about? Speaking of which: I’m no military expert, but isn’t “major” kind of a low rank? For someone who’s apparently in charge of the entire country? Or is it, like, a nickname? Is his position even an officially established one, within the framework of existing government, or did he execute some kind of coup, or..?


Check Please! (Webcomic)
HOW CUTE IS EVERYONE, I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.

I did not request specific characters for this fandom because I would truly be happy with fic about ANY/ALL of the nominated charcters, so, you just go where your heart takes you, you fellow Check-Please!-lovin' fool. ;-) You have SO MANY DIFFERENT OPTIONS for what you could write to make me happy with your story for this fandom, just. Pick one you like and GO WITH IT. Of course Jack and Bitty kissing and/or touching each other’s butts would be relevant to my interests, but so would MANY OTHER THINGS AS WELL. Jack’s *angsty past* (and, er, present)? Bitty’s radiantly sunshiny self? (Bitty’s angsty past?? It seems like it could maybe be a thing!) Jack’s future happiness (I JUST WANT JACK TO BE HAPPY OKAY)? (Now don't think I really want Jack and/or Bitty more than the others! I just got KIND OF ON A ROLL starting off, there.) More of the awesome Ransom & Holster show? The awesome adventures of Lardo that we have not yet seen? More meta and fourth-wall-breaking musings from Johnson the goalie? Or how about the backgrounds/adventures/future exploits of the new frogs? Seriously, you could give me the margin notes from Shitty’s gender studies thesis and I’d be over the moon (SHITTY IS SO AMAZING, his margin notes would be SUCH A DELIGHT). If you want to explore non-nominated characters, outsider POV, original characters? HAVE A BLAST.

So like, pick your favorite character or just something you’d like to explore and GO WILD. I’ll be cheering for you from the stands. :-D


Maleficent (2014)
Maleficent, Aurora
OKAY BUT MALEFICENT LITERALLY WAKES AURORA WITH TRUE LOVE’S KISS THOUGH

(that’s it that’s the prompt)

If you want some more to go on, though, here it is!

MALEFICENT AND AURORA LOVE EACH OTHER BEST; DISCUSS. Feel free to utterly disregard the suggestions of male-female pairing-off the end of the movie makes by having Aurora smile at the prince and Maleficent fly off with Diaval because WHATEVER, MALEFICENT AND AURORA HAVE TRUE LOVE’S KISS. IT’S CANON. (Gosh, I’m still excited over that. Can you tell?) If you’re just especially inspired to include either of the men in particularly meaningful roles, I don’t object; I would just prefer for the focus to be on the relationship between the two women. I’m fond of stories about “nontraditional” relationships (not the ideal umbrella term, but eurgh) of many kinds: queer, poly, platonic, kinky, so all of that territory is wide open! (If you do go the romantic route—which, yes, LESBIANS ARE AWESOME :-D—there is also that kiiind of potentially creepy I-watched-you-grow-up age difference involved? which you may or may not wish to explore, but which I feel could yield some interesting results if you're inclined to.) You’re also wide open in terms of setting: a missing scene during the movie? an alternate timeline? (like: what if Aurora actually had gone to live with Maleficent in the Moors before she found out about the curse and everything? they both seemed really happy about that plan.) after the movie? (like: uniting the kingdoms seems like Maleficent is reeeeally putting a lot of trust not only in Aurora, who totally deserves it, but also all of Aurora’s successors, which seems a lot more dodgy: how does that work out? or what safeguards have they put in place to ensure that it does? What does it mean that the Disney's Sleeping Beauty version of the story, rather than the version told in Maleficent, is apparently handed down to future generations?) Worldbuild-y fic or pwp or fluff or political intrigue, it’s all good with me! HAVE FUN :-D :-D :-D


Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
Marge Sherwood
Consider Marge. Consider how Marge is absolutely right about Tom Ripley in the end. Consider how no one will believe her because the old boys' club would rather draw together to protect even someone who murdered one of its own sons than take a woman seriously. Consider Marge returning home from Europe, grieving, betrayed. Consider what she does next. Consider how she picks the pieces of her life back up again.

Consider the book she's been writing since before she ever met Tom Ripley, or even Dickie Greenleaf. Consider what kind of book she might be working on, what work she would consider so important—and take it seriously, because she does, even if no one else does. Consider whether the direction of her work would change after her experiences in Europe, and if so, how.

Consider her eventually being vindicated about the nature of Tom Ripley. Or, alternately, consider her living so well that he recedes ever smaller in the rear-view mirror of her life.

Consider Marge.

And then tell me something about her.

This request is primarily based on the movie, but I have read the books as well, so I'm familiar with both sources and where they diverge. Feel free to incorporate or disregard anything you wish from the books—for instance, we know what Marge's book is about in the books, but there's no need for that to be the same in the movie/your story, unless you want it to be.


Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Tamora Calhoun, Fix-It Felix Jr.
I can't be the only one who watched that scene with Sergeant Calhoun repeatedly hitting Felix in the face, with Felix gleefully asking her to keep hitting him, and with the magical hammer fixing any damage she did to him, and thought, "There is some enormous kinky potential here," right? :-D :-D

So I'd be really excited by that story. But if you'd rather not go the kink route, please show me anything your heart desires about Felix and Tamora's developing relationship. (Or established relationship!) Some possible ideas: What else *do* they get up to in the bedroom? How is Tamora dealing with/recovering from her traumatic past? What do they do for fun? What other game worlds do they explore? Or whatever other scenario you can dream up! I love the subversion of typical heterosexual romance tropes and the reversal or mixing up of gender roles, so feel free to explore as much of that territory as you're inclined to.


An Undone Fairy Tale - Ian Lendler & Whitney Martin
Source description/availability: this is a children’s picture book, still in print, and also available used online for cheap. If your local library stocks U.S. children's picture books, you may find it there as well, as I did. And since it's a picture book, it's really quick to read!

Wonderful meta on story production! Fertile ground for yuletide writers. *Of course* I love that the princess rescues herself, and the kingdom and the knight while she's at it—I also love that the knight stays in his tutu for the duration of the story. Genderbending ass-kicking wonderfulness for all!

I didn’t nominate or request any characters for this fandom, either, because I didn't have a specific story in mind to request and I wanted to give you free rein. You can focus on the world depicted in the story—show me the future adventures of the heroic princess and the tutu-wearing knight (together or separately), or tell me about one of the minor/background characters. You can explore the impact that Ned’s art substitutions have on the story-world, either reveling in the absurdity or taking them seriously as bricks for worldbuilding. You can focus on the narrator and Ned the illustrator, in relation to this story or to others they’ve worked on. Or does the reader have interactions like this with other stories, too? You have carte blanche, and I’m fascinated to see what you might do with it.


And that's it! I hope your Yuletide 2014 is a lovely one. :-)
ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)
So I went to see this little movie called Chef because once I saw the trailer I realized Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. were in it, and that made me think fondly of those two Avengers food truck AU fanfics I liked. (Hey, there are worse reasons to decide to go see a movie.) In fact, for one brief shining moment while watching, I thought that it was even going to be AN ILLEGAL FOOD TRUCK, as in The Coffee Bandits of Greater Manhattan, AND I WAS VERY EXCITED BY THIS PROSPECT, but it turned out that when the Miami cop stopped to ask them questions they actually did have a license to operate. How they would have gotten licenses in all the other cities they stopped at along the way back to L.A. is a mystery the film leaves unexplored…

Cut for spoilers (if you care about that kind of thing), also length. )

Also. Like. He has “El Jefe” tattooed on his fingers and he doesn’t even speak Spanish? Seriously? What.
ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)
I've been watching the original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy with a friend. Neither of us knows a word of Swedish (well, by this point I've picked up a word or two), but we still occasionally notice things about the translation that amuse us.

For instance, the subtitles read "Holy shit" while a character said something that sounded like "Oh, fah."

I commented, "Somehow I think 'holy shit' might not be the literal translation for that." (Of course, it may only sound like "oh, fuck" to me and mean something entirely different, but based on my attempts to look up Swedish swear words I believe I can confidently state that it does not literally mean "shit.")

Another time the subtitles showed "Your view of women is from the middle ages," even as we could clearly hear the speaker ending her sentence with "Jurassic Park."

And then there are all the words that are either very similar-sounding cognates to English words or are straight-up loanwords from English, and you're suddenly and dizzily hearing the same words that you're reading on the screen. A bit disorienting, that.

(Hm. I wonder, could "fah" have been "fan"? I don't remember hearing a consonant at the end of the word, but it's the closest Swedish swear word I've found so far... The delivery in this video sounds a lot like what I remember hearing. If so, then it seems the literal translation is "the devil.")

And then there was the time a person answered a question with a single word that the subtitles translated as "yes," but sounded for all the world just like "no."
ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)

He couldn’t use the Rome American Express as Tom Ripley, but he had to keep Tom Ripley with him, his passport and his clothes in order for emergencies like Marge’s telephone call this morning. Marge had come damned close to being right in the room with him. As long as the innocence of Dickie Greenleaf was debatable in the opinion of the police, it was suicidal to think of leaving the country as Dickie, because if he had to switch back suddenly to Tom Ripley, Ripley’s passport would not show that he had left Italy. If he wanted to leave Italy—to take Dickie Greenleaf entirely away from the police—he would have to leave as Tom Ripley, and re-enter later as Tom Ripley and become Dickie again once the police investigations were over. That was a possibility.

It seemed simple and safe. All he had to do was weather the next few days.

—from The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

"It seemed simple and safe"? Tom Ripley, your brain is a maze full of cats.
ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)
So I emailed a friend my reaction to the latest episode of Hannibal, and when I copied the text into 750words.com and looked at my statistics for the day THIS HAPPENED:

Two colorful pie charts with labeling

I am FEELING MOSTLY AFFECTIONATE and CONCERNED MOSTLY ABOUT DEATH. Well, that is a pretty good encapsulation of my reaction to the show!

It gets even better when you look at the next-largest slice in the pie charts, too. Then I'm feeling mostly AFFECTIONATE and UPSET about my show, which is concerned mainly with DEATH and EATING AND DRINKING.

...750words.com is an ORACLE; IT KNOWS THE TRUTH
ageorwizardry: purple dreamsheep (Default)
"Gravity was marketed as a co-headlining movie from Bullock and George Clooney, but anyone who saw it knows that it was Bullock’s film. Clooney was perceived as being necessary to market the movie in spite of the fact that since 2008, his movies have generated about $634 million total at the domestic box office, compared to Bullock’s $891 million. During that time, Clooney made nine films to Bullock’s six, meaning that the per-film average is even more heavily skewed in Bullock’s favor.

During that time, the total budget for Clooney’s films came to a minimum of $307 million and the budget for Bullocks clocked in at $214 million. That means that for every dollar spent producing a George Clooney film, the studio saw $2.07 back. That isn’t half bad, really. You know what it is half of? The $4.15 they saw on every Sandra Bullock dollar they spent during the same five-year period. Each of them had a couple of low-budget indie films and a couple of failures during the five-year period, but Clooney–the name Warner Bros. was convinced was necessary to promote the film–averaged just over $70 million per film during that period while Bullock averaged upwards of $148 million."

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: What Marvel, DC and Hollywood Can Learn by Russ Burlingame
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

We matched!

And, based on the sign-up summary, I am guessing that we probably matched on The Artist, since—unless offers for any of my other fandoms were hidden in a bucket list—that was the only fandom I requested that anyone offered. :-P If this is true, yay! And I also want you to know that all three of the other fandoms I requested have sources that are even shorter than The Artist, as well as being entirely available online, so if for any reason you don't want to write for my prompt for The Artist, or are just interested in the possibility of exploring my other fandoms, that should be a very feasible option.

My default stance on characterizations, pairings, interpretations, etc. is that of willing to be convinced; even if it doesn't match the way I see things, if I can believe it for the length of the story I can enjoy it very much. So please don't feel bound or restricted by what I say here if you have another idea! Also, while I haven't specifically requested sexual content or kink, I am definitely open to both (except that, as I said in the request, I'd prefer that the relationship between George Valentin and Peppy Miller in my request for The Artist not be a sexual one).

I have no squicks or triggers!

Some things I like in stories: time travel, robots, trust, competence, friendship, threesomes, audacity, revolutions, worldbuilding, meaningful gifts, responsible use of authority, the moment when everything changes.

Some things I tend not to find interesting in stories: love triangles, jealousy, angst about physical attractiveness, unremitting bleakness or despair.

Fandom:
The Artist (2011)
Characters:
George Valentin
Peppy Miller
Optional details:
I have a great love for platonic relationships between men and women in my media, which I don't get nearly enough of; one thing I really appreciate about this movie is that, while the relationship between George Valentin and Peppy Miller can easily be read as romantic, the movie doesn't force that reading. (See also: reasons I <3 Pacific Rim!)

So what I would like is the story of the great platonic friendship of George Valentin and Peppy Miller! Either during or after the movie is fine—in fact, some nice hurt/comfort-iness around Peppy providing George with a safe haven when everything goes so badly for him would be right up my street (although don't feel at all obliged if it isn't up yours!). I just want to see them recognizing how important they are to each other without that importance being based on romantic or sexual attraction.

While I can understand that, depending on their personalities or past experience, they might have to do some figuring out that the bond between them isn't romantic/sexual, I would really prefer that that kind of "will-they-or-won't-they" romantic tension not be the focus of the story.


I'm fascinated by the history of film (though I still have a lot to learn about it!), so I really enjoyed this film for its depiction of the transition from silent to sound films as well as for the characters and the story—especially all the meta tricks having to do with sound and sound effects. If you are so inclined, I'm sure I'd love any further glimpses into film history to appear in your story! For instance, apparently in this universe George and Peppy helped to invent the movie musical? How does that go? How do Peppy and George fare through the transition to color later on? (I mean, with Peppy at the helm, I'm guessing they do okay!)

And of course if you'd prefer to focus on the characters and not go on a romp through film history, that would be cool, too!


Fandom:
We Haven't Got There Yet - Harry Turtledove
Character:
William Shakespeare (We Haven't Got There Yet - Harry Turtledove)
Optional Details:
Shakespeare + time traveling players = AWESOME.

I don't have a specific story in mind for this; any possibility you care to explore should be interesting! What did Shakespeare turn out to think of Waiting for Godot? Which other plays do the time-traveling theatre troupe choose to perform? What becomes of them—do they get to go home eventually, or do they stay in Shakespeare's London? Does Shakespeare become involved in their troupe in any way, and/or does their work have any influence on his own? What if Shakespeare wound up visiting them in their future?

As you may be able to tell, while Shakespeare is the only character I nominated, I don't at all mind if your focus is elsewhere: on the time-traveling theatre troupe themselves, on the situation in general: you have a free hand!


This story is full of things I love—time travel, theatre—but one of the things I enjoyed most about it was the fannish nature of what Shakespeare experiences; that he encounters a derivative work based on a play that he wrote and comes to appreciate it so much for what it accomplishes that his play can't. So anything playing with the meta nature of it would be neat.

I want to throw one neat thing out there in case it sparks something for you—I recently learned from Tiffany Stern's talk "Shakespeare and the Stage" [video][audio] about how scripts and rehearsals differed in Shakespeare's day from ours—actors received scripts with only their parts, and a cue of the last three words from the previous speaker would indicate where they should come in. And how Shakespeare played with this aspect of the form he worked in, for instance, having an actor repeat his cue for the next player multiple times throughout a speech, so the next actor would repeatedly try to interrupt him, and making that part of the plot and characterization in the play! (Seriously, I recommend watching/listening; it's only about fifteen minutes long and it's so cool.) So that got me wondering and wishing we could find out how Shakespeare would have applied his genius to playing with other forms, had they been available to him—modern plays, with their full scripts and lengthy rehearsal periods? movies? television? It would even be cool just to have him find out more from the theatre troupe from the future about how their plays and other media are made—to appreciate the process as well as the product. But again, this is just an "I think this is cool, and if you're interested in this story I bet you'll think it's cool, too!" thing—use it if it's helpful, discard if it's not!

And, while that's a neat tidbit I learned recently, I am still by no means an expert on Shakespeare or his time period, so you don't need to worry about throwing me out of the story if the characters have the wrong kind of shoes or whatever. (If you are an expert in the time period, then I will bask in your expertise and make suitably admiring noises in the comments!) And of course, any anachronisms could surely be easily explained away by the presence of the time travelers...

Source availability: The short story "We Haven't Got There Yet" by Harry Turtledove is available in its entirety online!


Fandom:
Mr. Fox - Frankie Armstrong (song)
Characters:
Mary (Mr. Fox (song))
Mr. Fox (Mr. Fox (song))
Optional details:
The wall is high...

Augh, this song. The isolation, the fear, the rising tension, how the ending is left unresolved...

I mean. You know what has to happen, after the end of the song. But we don't actually see it happen, so maybe not..?

This song captivates me. The fine depiction of how Mary is made subject to a cruel and capricious power makes me feel for the terrible situation she's put in, makes me feel trapped right along with her. Obviously I'm interested in the darker themes and emotions involved in the song—still, while a certain degree of bleakness, danger, despair, and other unpleasant things would clearly be appropriate for this source, I do prefer stories that are not absolutely hopeless. What can be salvaged from Mary's situation; how can the ending it seems her story must have be changed? I confess, I have a hard time seeing a way to an unambiguously happy ending from here, but if you do, go for it. I would certainly be satisfied with an ending with more mixed emotions, as well.

I love remixes and retellings of fairy tales, so if you'd like to bring in elements from any other fairy tales/folk tales/folk songs, that would be very cool.

(Some singers include an optional extra verse at the end, which I hate; I will include a (probably too-lengthy) section in my Yuletide Letter about why. For now, though, just know that this singer does not, so if you're working from this version of the song you should be fine.)


The golden ball can easily be read as a transparent metaphor for virginity (Girls! Be careful what you do with it, or you could end up stuck in a bad situation! —Ugh), but it doesn't have to be read that way. For instance, Catherynne M. Valente offers quite a different view of golden balls in The Orphan's Tales, in which a girl is given a golden ball after a neighbor boy steals a kiss from her:

"Perhaps a good child would not admit that she owned such a thing as a golden ball—it has never done a girl any good to have one, in all the history of the world. But I am not a grown woman, and I loved my ball.

My sister was not given one, nor my cousins. What you must understand about a golden ball is that by giving one over into eager hands, parents acknowledge a certain wickedness in their children that must be occupied by something other than flesh or sweets. A mother does not give such a gift to the daughter she bathes in milk and perfumes in asters and daisies. She gives it to the scraggle-haired, mud-kneed child who plays by herself at the side of the old well. It will keep her from young men and candies that glitter like fluttering eyelashes, and if she or it or both together should tip over the side of the well, as has been known to happen from time to time, well, at least no daisy was wasted on her."

Here a golden ball seems more to represent the indifference of authority figures and society in general to the abuse of the vulnerable, which is certainly an idea that's also relevant to the story in Mr. Fox (why did no one come looking for Mary?). And of course, the golden ball doesn't have to ~symbolize~ anything at all! I'm just throwing stuff out there in case any of it is helpful.

Now, about that extra verse I hate! I first heard this song performed by live singers, who hadn't recorded it; when I went looking for a copy I could download a few months later, I had some trouble finding one that matched the one I had heard. I learned that a number of singers include an extra verse at the end, as this one does:

Outside Mr. Fox's garden
Three maids playing with a golden ball,
Jenny threw it up and Susan caught it
Nancy bounced it over the wall

Part of what makes this song so haunting to me is, as I said in the optional details, you know what has to happen next. But you still don't know; you don't see it happening; it just hangs there, unresolved, as the final note hangs in the air, as Mr. Fox hangs in the air frozen in his leap towards Mary, teeth flashing but never yet reaching her, and as long as we don't see the end of that leap the possibility is preserved that something else might happen instead (though we still feel the dread that there is no escape after all).

And to me what this final verse says is, "Not only is this how the story resolves, but it resolves the same way over and over again." It takes all of that tangle of anticipation and dread and hope and fear and ambiguity and lack of resolution and just takes it away. So: I don't like the final verse. Write me a story that ends in any way but that final verse, and I'll be happy! :-P

Source availability: I have made Frankie Armstrong's version of the song "Mr. Fox" downloadable from mediafire.

I have also transcribed the lyrics here:
Outside Mr. Fox's garden
Three maids playing with a golden ball
Jenny threw it up and Susan caught it
Mary bounced it over the wall

The wall is high
Mr. Fox has a little red eye

In she ran to fetch it back again
The garden gate stood open wide
It silently closed and locked behind her
Mr. Fox stood just inside

The wall is high
His smile is cruel and his eyes are sly

He says, "I'll keep this golden ball, Miss Mary
I shall have it, and here you will stay
You will keep my house and be my servant
Never stir out for a year and a day."

The wall is high
the grasses shiver and the tall trees sigh

Spring and summer passed like shadows
she watched the green leaves fade and fall
she walked alone in the empty garden
Mr. Fox said nothing at all.

The wall is high
Never a soul come near nor by

But three strange things he did forbid her
"Never touch my iron box
Never go near the thirteenth bedroom
nor near the bed," said Mr. Fox.

The wall is high
Mary, don't you dare ask why!

Mary, she rose up one morning
found an iron box on the shelf
but of all the rooms at Mr. Fox's
bedrooms there were only twelve

The wall is high
Mary, don't you peep or pry!

One day, Mr. Fox went walking
in that box she found a key
it fitted a door she'd never unfastened
and when she opened it, what did she see?

The wall is high
The door said "Run!" and the key said "Fly!"

In Mr. Fox's thirteenth bedroom
a naked sword hung on the wall
In a silver bowl on the bed's black counterpane
there she saw her golden ball!

The wall is high
The bed said "Come!" and the sword said "Die!"

In she ran to fetch her ball again
to snatch it off that great black bed
Out jumped Mr. Fox and leapt at her!
His teeth flashed white and his eyes burned red!

The wall is high...


Fandom:
Geordie (Child 209) - Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (song)
Characters:
A fair pretty maid (Geordie (Child 209) - Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (song))
Geordie (Geordie (Child 209) - Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (song))
The judge (Geordie (Child 209) - Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer (song))
Optional details:
By the time I got to the end of this song, I was all prepared for an installment of Swordfighting Women in History: Even More Awesome Than You Could Have Imagined!

And then the song just ended! I didn't get to see this awesome brave tenacious lady challenge this judge to a duel and fight him after all, and it was just—why? Why would you miss an opportunity like that? A pregnant lady dueling a judge FOR JUSTICE. It would be awesome!

So, obviously I would enjoy an exploration of that scenario, but there are any number of other interesting threads here, too. I'd love to know more about the background of this lady and her Geordie. It certainly seems to me like she can back up her words about fighting with a broadsword and a pistol—how'd she get those skills, and how has she used them in the past? What about the history of how she and Geordie came together and made their family together? If Geordie is hunting the king's deer to feed his family, they clearly have fallen into some misfortune, if they weren't always poor—what happened there?

I also can't get over the dynamic between the "fair pretty maid" and the judge—at first he says "I'm sorry for thee," but if you believe it then what can you make of "he'll be laid in a coffin brave / for your six fine sons to carry." HOW IS THAT A THING YOU SAY TO HUMAN BEINGS. Is he just a callous asshole, or is something else going on there?

TL;DR summary: anything you'd like to explore about what's happening here—or things we don't see happening in the song—I'd be interested in seeing. Go wild. :-)


When I listened to this song, I had just been reading about Julie D'Aubigny ("Julie D'Aubigny was a 17th-century bisexual French opera singer and fencing master who killed or wounded at least ten men in life-or-death duels, performed nightly shows on the biggest and most highly-respected opera stage in the world, and once took the Holy Orders just so that she could sneak into a convent and bang a nun. If nothing in that sentence at least marginally interests you, I have no idea why you're visiting this website.") as well as a duel between a princess and a countess in which all the participants were women and in which the duelists fought topless at the suggestion of a baroness with a medical degree on the grounds that " strips of clothing being driven into the wound by the point of a sword."

(THAT'S RIGHT THIS IS ACTUAL HISTORY, ZOMG. History, how are you so awesome.)

So this was what primed me for expecting Swordfighting Women in History: Even More Awesome Than You Could Have Imagined! And then I was terribly disappointed that a swordfighting woman did not actually appear in the song. So if all you want to write is a fair pretty maid dueling a judge for the life of her lover, I WILL ADORE IT.

But you don't have to write swordfighting at all if you don't want to! I've outlined several other possibilities in my request—and feel free to do something else entirely if you get an idea for something besides them. (Also, while I've requested all three characters in the song, feel free not to focus on them equally if you don't want to.)

Source availability: The song appears on the album Child Ballads by Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer. You can see Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer perform "Geordie" on youtube here. I have included the lyrics here, and lyrics for the full album are also available on Anaïs Mitchell's website.

Lyrics:
As I walked out over London bridge
On a misty morning early
I overheard a fair pretty maid
Crying for the life of her Geordie

“Saddle me a milk white steed
Bridle me a pony
I’ll ride down to London town
And I’ll beg for the life of my Geordie”

And when she came to the courthouse steps
The poor folks numbered many
A hundred crowns she passed around
Saying,“Pray for the life of my Geordie”

“He never stole a mule or a mare
He never murdered any
If he shot one of the king’s wild deer
It was only to feed his family”

And then she strode through the marble hall
Before the judge and the jury
Down on her bended knee she falls
Crying for the life of her Geordie

“He never stole, he never slew
He never murdered any
He never injured any of you
Spare me the life of my Geordie”

The judge looked over his left shoulder
He says, “I’m sorry for thee
My pretty fair maid, you’ve come too late
He’s been condemned already”

“But six pretty babes I had by him
The seventh one lies in my body
And I would bear them all over again
If you give me the life of my Geordie”

“Your Geordie will hang in a silver chain
Such as we don’t hang many
And he’ll be laid in a coffin brave
For your six fine sons to carry”

“I wish I had you in a public square
The whole town gathered around me
With my broad sword and a pistol too
I’d fight you for the life of my Geordie"
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
This Yuletide letter is COMPLETE. Yes, really. :-P

(So sorry for the delay! And if you already have a great idea, go forth with it! Optional details truly are optional! If you're worried about stomping on any squicks or triggers—worry not, for I have none! ETA: And then "a couple of days" turned into a couple of weeks... Regrets once more, dear Yuletide writer! And may your writing be free of any further anxieties caused by me. Seriously, do your thing, and don't worry if it doesn't match the letter. :-))

My first two requests, for The Fool's Tale and Lettice and Lovage, are carried over from previous years; you will find both overlapping and additional information about them in my previous yuletide letters, should you care to consult them. The other two requests are new! I am equally excited about ALL of them, so whichever one you matched with me on, I'll be happy!

The Fool's Tale - L. Timmel Duchamp )



Lettice and Lovage - Shaffer )



We Haven't Got There Yet - Harry Turtledove )



Albert Nobbs (2011) )
Go Yuletide. \o/
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
This is no longer a work in progress! It is DONE.

All of my requests turned out to be at least a bit Shakespearean this year. The part of ShakespeaRe-Told I've requested is of course a modern-day re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew; "The Fool's Tale" features a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night as a major plot point; and in Lettice and Lovage, Lettice adores Shakespeare's plays after growing up doing them in translation in the French countryside with her mother's theater troupe. It's a theme! How nifty!

Read more... )

HAPPY YULETIDE! \o/
ageorwizardry: yule log with text "yule-tide" (yuletide)
I'm going to start off with the usual thing and say that all of these details truly are optional. If you have a story idea that moves you but is different from what I say I'd like, or if you just aren't interested in this level of guidance, I want you to go with what you want to do! I'll still be thrilled to see your story on Yuletide Day.

That said, if you are interested in knowing Even More About Me And My Preferences, you are in the right place.
Read more... )