Oct. 20th, 2014

ghostwings: A digitally-drawn picture of a gryphon with moth wings and antennae. (gryphon)
Greetings, mystery writer! I hope this letter finds you well.

I'll start out with the obligatory: I'll most likely enjoy whatever you write, so if none of the prompts I offer inspire you at all, feel free to go in whatever direction your muse leads you.

Still, here are a few of my general likes and DNWs:

General likes:

Backstory, character development, competent people doing their thing, getting perspectives we didn't get to see much of in canon, humor, missing scenes, relationship development, worldbuilding.

General do not wants:

Self-injury, anything sexually explicit.

So far as tone goes, I'm good with a broad range--from the happy fluffy end of the scale to the darker, gloomier side.

Pairing-wise, f/f, f/m, and m/m are all fine and dandy by me. (I do generally prefer not to break up canon pairings.) I also adore a good gen fic!



Cinders (Any)

Pretty much all of the characters are interesting, in their own way; I'd be happy to see fic about any of them.

Carmosa is an intriguing character--she is, without a doubt, a cruel and abusive person--but she's also a person who's gone through difficulties that shaped her into what she is now. (Some of the things she says the night before the ball are quite revealing, such as "If no one wants to see it, it isn't happening. That's the way people work. And I learned that lesson the hard way.") A fic that looks at her perspective, without pretending that she's a better person than she is, would also be interesting.

The stepsisters are also fascinating, in their way--they've been shaped by living under Carmosa's roof, and at the beginning of the story, they pretty much hate each other. But, again depending on how the player acts, they might end up coming to a better understanding. They've both been injured in different ways by living with an abusive mother, and they've lashed out at each other. I'd enjoy seeing a fic that explores their relationship, and how, perhaps, they manage to make some sort of reconciliation.

One of the possible "godmothers" in the game, Madame Ghede, obviously has a story, and we only get to see a part of it in the game. She's a wise woman skilled in the healing arts (or a witch, in the terms of some), but the suspicious populace (who are happy to turn vicious on anyone they see as different) force her to pack her bags and move every so often. She's traveled a lot, and seen a lot. (And has been to some fancy parties in her time, if the dress she lends Cinders is any indication.) It would be neat to see more of her life story.

On a different tack, there's also the issue of the Fairy of the Lake. If you go to her for aid in getting to the Ball, she mentions a Price and Weight that will come as a result. The Fair Folk never grant boons for free--what's that going to mean for Cinders in the long run? Will she end up having to pay more than she can afford? (Especially given what happened to Cinders' mother, if what the shady character says to the Fairy is to be believed--"Oh, poor woman that one, eh? So wise, faithful and devoted to your ways she was! Pity you didn't care that much for her. Some would call killing an ugly way of saying thanks.")

Prince Basile and Perrault both make for interesting love interests--Basile for his struggle with his place as king-to-be and his brand of idealism, and Perrault for his competence as a soldier and the integrity that makes him wary of entering the world of spycraft. (Which isn't to say I don't like Tobias, too, but he wasn't nominated.) I'd enjoy a post-game fic, featuring Cinders and whoever she romanced, adjusting to life together (and possibly facing new and exciting challenges).

(I don't really have a preferred canon ending--feel free to go with whatever you think suits the story you want to write.)



Monk of Mycology - Ursula Vernon (Any)

You can find the picture and its description here.

I'll admit I have a certain fondness for the whole human-forms-a-mental/magical-bond-with-another-creature concept. I also, however, have a certain fondness for stories that take old, tried-and-true concepts and do something different with them.

On the one hand, it's not surprising that one doesn't see pigs as animal companions all that often, given that A) pigs have some negative connotations attached to them (such as dirtiness, and gluttony), B) pigs aren't seen as particularly powerful or majestic (unlike wolves, or horses, or dragons), and C) pigs are often considered to be food animals (and sometimes people don't like the idea of getting attached to an animal character whose real-life kinfolk you're likely to see on your plate.)

But on the other--pigs are intelligent, friendly, adorable, and darn good at sniffing out truffles. Surely, they deserve a bit more time in the animal-companion spotlight.

I'd love to see a story about a novice Monk of Mycology going out into the world with their trusty, newly-bonded pig companion, having marvelous truffle-hunting adventures and occasionally-tense run-ins with people with other sorts of animal companions. (Clearly, they're just jealous they don't get a companion as cool as a pig.)

Or maybe an older monk, who's retired from active truffle-hunting, but continues as a mycology researcher... and occasional detective! (All right, so that last bit's a tad out there, but hey, if pigs can sniff out truffles, why not criminals? Perhaps a dastardly truffle-thief has infiltrated one of the monasteries, somehow, or some other mischief is afoot in the nearby village.)



Nimona (Webcomic) (Any)

Nimona can be found online, here.

I loved Nimona's blend of comedy and seriousness, and its mixed aesthetics--knights and castles here, underground science labs and lasers there. I'm also fond of pretty much all the cast (well, I don't exactly like the Director, but she makes an interesting character) and the various ways in which they interact.

Something post-series, with Ballister and Ambrosius settling into their new, non-nemesis relationship, would be lovely. I imagine there's going to be hurdles for both of them--they're both trying to fit into new roles, both with each other and the world in general. Not to mention the fact that the kingdom will be recovering from recent, Nimona-related events--there'll probably be a lot of work for both of them.

I like the idea of Nimona going off, wandering the world as she tries to figure herself out/stay away from the sorts of people who'd subject her experiments... but I also think she might pop in on occasion to check on Ballister. (In disguise, most likely--though he might realize, belatedly, that she'd been nearby.)

Or Dr. Blitzmeyer doing Magical Science! is bound to be a good time. I imagine she and Ballister will keep up with one another (or he'll keep up with her--she does tend to get rather absorbed in her work.) Perhaps there's a chance the two might be able to collaborate on something (collaborate on something else rather--they worked together pretty well on the whole saving-the-kingdom thing).

Or, if you'd rather go pre-series--I'd love to read more about Ballister and Ambrosius' time at the Institute, before that fateful joust. One wonders how deeply involved the Director was in the way things turned out--did she deliberately play off Ambrosius' insecurities over time, to eventually get him to take the doctored lance? How long had she planned on maneuvering Ambrosius, rather than Ballister, into the role of champion?



Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan and Alys Vorpatril)

I adore this book series. It's full-to-the-brim with wonderful characters--but this year, I'd love to see a fic with two of them in particular.

Cordelia Vorkosigan is a Betan, by birth, who falls in love with a Barrayaran (despite the fact that the two planets are at war, at one point--and they both become part of their respective planets' military.). She learns to adapt herself to his culture--but remains Betan at heart. She went from being a commander in the Betan Astronomical Servey, to a captain in the Betan military, to Countess Vorkosigan and foster-mother to the Emperor of Barrayar himself (deposing a would-be usurper in the process).

Alys is Barrayaran--and, furthermore, Vor--born and bred. She is a woman who, being born into a society that remains rather misogynistic, learned to exert a great deal of power in the Vorbarr Sultana sociopolitical scene, serving for a time as the Emperor's official hostess.

Together, they fight crime! they're an impressive pair of women who've helped shape Barayarran history, each in her own way.

I'd really like a fic in which the two of them interact. Whether it's earlier in their acquaintance, with Alys helping Cordelia learn to maneuver the social world of a Vor woman, to a bit later, with the two commiserating over what their respective sons are getting up to, or helping Laisa to adjust to Barrayar before her wedding, to later still, after Cryoburn, having a heart-to-heart--one widowed woman to another.

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