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Dear Yuletide 2014 Writer,

All optional details are optional, and a story that you had fun writing will probably turn out better than one where you had to torture yourself trying to shape it into something against the will of your muse. If you already have an idea that you really want to write for whatever fandom/characters we matched on, then you should go with that. Otherwise, keep reading for some general preferences of mine and some random story prompts. Sorry it's so ridiculously long. Just skip however much of it you want. It's all optional.

Some of my likes:
- happy endings
- bittersweet endings
- unavoidably tragic endings
- stories that give a good view of a character's thought process
- women who aren't afraid to ask for what they want in bed
- lovers who have fulfilling sexlives without sex being the sole basis for their relationship
- foreplay
- sex which occurs as a natural progression of the plot
- fading to black if the sex would disrupt the flow of the rest of the story
- cuddling, either between lovers or platonicly between close firends
- found families
- quiet domestic scenes
- wild action scenes
- banter
- humor
- horror
- schemeing villains
- creative problem solving
- partnerships of equals (or at least something close)
- characters being at least as competent as they were in canon
- character growth
- people learning from their mistakes (and then sometimes going on to make completely different mistakes)
- people playing to their strengths and acknowledging their weaknesses (at least to themselves, unless that level of self-awareness would be OOC)
- people attempting to communicate with each other even if they don't always succeed
- good-natured verbal sparring/banter
- earned respect, with or without earned friendship
- rivals-to-friends story arcs
- a sense of place
- situations where what a person doesn't say is just as important as what they do say
- backstory
- missing scenes from canon
- post-canon adventures
- casefic
- slice of life stories
- canon-divergent AUs (AKA, stories exploring what would have happened if a character made a different decision at some point and changed everything that happened after)
- daemon AUs (AKA, everyone has a physical manifestation of their soul shaped like an animal which represents their personality)
- time travel
- monsters that aren't as bad as they seem
- monsters that are even worse than they seem
- genre-savvy characters
- genre-bending weirdness
- occasional moral ambiguity
- subverted tropes or clichés
- tropes or clichés played straight but lampshaded
- cracktastic premises played straight
- crossovers
- fictional characters interacting with historical figures
- characters dealing with the consequences of having been in situations which brought out aspects of their personalities, either positive or negative, which they had not previously realized they had
- storytelling and/or stories as either a theme or a plot point

- porn without plot
- scat/watersports
- intentional sexual humiliation
- rape/non-con/dub-con portrayed in a positive light
- alpha/beta/omega dynamics
- 24/7 lifestyle D/s
- incest
- underage
- infidelity

Fandom: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Requested Characters: Ben Wade

What does Ben Wade do after the end of the movie? Does he form a new gang and just keep doing what he has been doing even though it seems to bore the hell out of him? Does he give up robbing stagecoaches and try his hand at sommething new? If so, is he any good at it? Does he ever cross paths, either accidentally or intentionally, with any of the surviving members of the Evans family? If those questions do not interest you, then you could write something set prior to the movie. Has there been anyone else that Ben found to be as interesting as Dan Evans? How did he go about choosing who to include in his gang? What did Ben do to inspire such loyalty in Charlie Prince? How many other times has Ben killed his whole gang and started over from scratch? Has he ever run into (and possibly robbed) any interesting historical figures? For an action oriented prompt, I would love to see a story which focused on the planning and execution of a stagecoach robbery. I would be even more thrilled to see a story which compared and contrasted two different robberies Ben committed, one from the beginning of his career when he was still inexperienced but interested in the process, and one from later in his career when he was experienced but bored.

As far as shipping preferences go, I would be equally happy to see Ben paired with either Alice Evans (but only after Dan is dead) or Emma Nelson. For Alice/Ben, I'm a sucker for stories where Ben returns to the Evans ranch post-canon and hooks up with Alice because he both thinks she's hot and feels like he needs to act as a replacement for Dan, so any variation on that theme would be great, especially if it involves other characters not being immediately accepting if/when they find out about it. Alternatively, I would also be interested in seeing an AU where, for whatever reason, Alice either accompanied Dan on the trip to take Ben to Contention or she went in Dan's place, and how events spun off on different path because of that.

For Emma/Ben, I would be interested in seeing what would happen if they ever crossed paths again post-canon. Alternatively, in the commentary track on the DVD, during the part where Ben is asking Emma to jump out the back window with him, James Mangold says that if Emma had said yes instead of laughing it off, then the Ben Wade gang would have broken up right then and there without any bloodshed, and none of the subsequent events of the movie would have happened. It made me want to see an AU where Emma does go "shinning down to Mexico with Ben Wade on her arm," as she put it, instead of just imagining it for a moment. Would life down there really be as easy as Ben suggested, or would other complications (**coughcough**Charlie**cough**) arise?

Fandom: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
Requested Characters: Any (nominated characters = John Bly, Brisco County Jr, Comet (Brisco County Jr.), Dixie Cousins, Lord Bowler, Pete Hutter, Sheriff Aaron Viva, Whip Morgan)

This is a fandom where I would be happy with anything. Really. I have been very, very lucky in regards to recieving stories for this fandom in other fic exchanges (Seriously, if we matched on this fandom and you haven't read my previous gifts yet, then you should go take a look, because what's not to love?), but I am going to be greedy and continue to request it, because there are so many fun characters and the show provides such a big sandbox to play in that people could write thousands of stories without repeating each other. Heck, even just the term 'casefic' could cover any combination of genres including action/adventure, western, scifi, steampunk, supernatural, mystery, courtroom drama, piccaresque, romance, martial arts, buddy-cop, historical RPF, and probably a bunch of others I'm forgetting, and I would welcome any of them.

As far as shipping preferences go, my favorites are Dixie/Brisco, Dixie/Brisco/Bowler, Bowler/Lenore Raymond, Pete Hutter/Aaron Viva, and, for pre-canon stories, Dixie/Big Smith/Pete Hutter. However, for this fandom I am open to pretty much any combination that isn't incest or bestiality, so if there is some other pairing you want to explore, whether the characters were nominated or not, then go for it. Socrates/Ellie? They'd probably be pretty cute together. Whip Morgan/Dolly Cousins? The attraction is canon. Pete/Pete's Piece? That's pretty much canon too. Iphegenia Poole/Amanda Wickwire? They could set up house together in No Man's Land and live happily ever after. John Bly/his entire Gang of Twelve? Okay, so I mostly threw that one in as a joke, but I'm kind of surprised no one seems to have written it at any point in the past twenty years.

For character specific prompts:
I would love to see backstory for John Bly. What set him on the path toward world domination by way of time travel? Had he tried to plan everything down to the last detail, or was he just making it up as he went along? Did he ever have any ridiculous moments of culture shock due to research-fail? How did he go about recruiting people into his gang, and why did he choose such an assortment of oddballs? How long had he been in the past before the events of the pilot episode? Did he have any actual feelings for Jenny Taylor, or was getting a girlfriend (and having old-timey portraits taken with her) just another part of his game/cover story? What were some of the highlights of the alternate timeline where he succeeded in getting the Orbs and having his centuries long reign of terror?

For Brisco, we got a few little mentions of what his childhood, teens, and early adulthood was like, and I would love to see those expanded upon. Or, how did Brisco talk Harvard into letting him come back for a law degree after being such a horrible student as an undergrad? What random shenanigans did he get up to during his years spent wandering around, looking for the coming thing? Show me anything from his gradually forming friendship with Bowler or how his relationship with Dixie went from a one night stand to an actual relationship to realizing that she was The One. Show me his reunion with Dixie when she finally gets back from China and where they go from there. Show me Brisco helping Professor Wickwire with his latest invention. Show me Brisco's reaction to the latest dime novel about his adventures.

For Comet, does he ever go on any adventures without Brisco, either on his own or with Dixie, Bowler, or someone else? Where did he learn to play chess? Did he ever disapprove of Brisco not talking to his father enough the way that Brisco Sr. disapproved of Brisco talking to his horse too much? Does he still hold a grudge against Pete for calling him a pachyderm? Does he ever gossip with the other horses he shares a stable with? Why is it that some people are completely shocked at how smart he is while others see nothing strange about bribing a horse to get information about Brisco? Is there any story behind his fancy (looks like it might be Navajo made?) horse blanket?

For Dixie, I would love an adventure from her time running with Big Smith, or her time as the lady of the revolution, or as ambassador to China, or whatever came next for her, with or without Brisco. How often does she see her sister? Dixie must have spent at least a little time around Bly. What did she think of him? How did she get into show business? What does she do in her free time when she's not working or helping revolutionaries or getting involved in Brisco's shenanigans?

For Lord Bowler, what exactly is the story behind his comment about having a friend once but it didn't work out? Or show me scenes from his pre-canon romance with Lenore. Or, where did he learn his amazing tracking skills? Does he ever get talked into singing for anyone besides Brisco? Maybe Dixie needs a male co-star on short notice for whatever reason, and Bowler is the only one available. Or show me one of the bounties Bowler brings in on his own, without help (or interference, depending when in canon you set the story) from Brisco.

For Pete Hutter, what trouble was he getting up to between times we saw him on the show? What are your most cracktastic theories for why he won't stay dead? What's up with him and his gun? Does he manage to take advantage of the presidential pardon after High Treason, or does he go back to his criminal ways? Or, you could just give me one thousand words of Pete expounding on life, the universe, and art criticism, because pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious thanks to his slightly skewed world view.

For Aaron Viva, how did he become sheriff of Hard Rock? How long did he have to deal with Whip Morgan causing trouble before the situation with Hondo came to a head? What was the story behind that wagon jumping contest that got out of hand? How did Aaron, Pete, and Whip go about planning that rubber bullet rescue in High Treason? Does Aaron ever meet Dixie, and if so, how do they get along? Is he secretly a time traveling Elvis Presley? And, yeah, I totally ship Pete/Aaron, so anything about any trouble/adventures they might get into together post-series would be awesome.

For Whip Morgan, he spent half his life planning to kill his father. How hard was it for him to adjust to life afterwards, without that goal? Does he ever write to Hondo in prison? How did Dixie and Dolly end up hiring him for that poker game in Reno? For that matter, does Whip ever play poker with Brisco, and if so, who wins and how much does Brisco cheat? Or, you could examine Brisco becoming Whip's unofficial mentor figure while comparing and contrasting the two men's daddy issues.

Fandom: Deadwood
Requested Characters: Any (nominated characters = Al Swearengen, Alma Garret, Charlie Utter, Doc Cochran, Jack Langrishe, Jane Cannary, Jewel (Deadwood), Joanie Stubbs, Seth Bullock, Silas Adams, Trixie (Deadwood))

My favorite romantic pairings for Deadwood are Alma/Ellsworth, Joanie/Jane, and Trixie/Sol, (and they all fall into my category of "Please, just find a way to let them solve their conflicts and be happy!") but a great deal of my enjoyment of this show comes from the friendships and found families. I love watching the community building process, as acquaintances become allies of necessity, which in turn become if not friends then at least people who had greater respect for each other than when they started working together. I also love the weirdly Shakespearean tone that the show has in both its dialog and scene structure, but do not feel obligated to try to copy that if you do not want to.

I'm fascinated by the whole dynamic of the 'Gem Family' made up of Al, Trixie, Jewel, Dan, Johnny, and eventually Silas. They are all so very human and care for each other in their own abrasive and often violent ways. Show me the backstory for how any of its core members came to join it. Was Al the center that they individually gravitated to, or did some of them know each other before meeting Al? Why is Al more protective of Jewel and Trixie over any of the other women working for him? Were they just the ones he has known the longest, or is there more to it than that? Does the Gem Saloon's name have anything to do with Jewel? How does Trixie deal with someone else dying in her place to satisfy Hearst? Does anybody know what's in that box that Al sometimes talks to, and if so, how do they feel about it?

How does Silas feel about joining this occasionally homicidal group? In certain ways, Al favors Silas over Dan and Johnny, but at what point, if ever, does Silas stop being an outsider and irrevocably join the family? Does he recognize the pseudo-sibling rivalry that Dan and Johnny have with him for what it is? What was his thought process behind siding with Al and Deadwood over his old associates in Yankton? Does he ever regret his decision and consider trying to change sides again?

What is Jack's backstory with Al? Why did he decide that Deadwood was the best place to move the troupe to, and once he got there and saw what kind of a place it was, why did he decide to stay? Was Hearst the only person he played amateur chiropractor on?

I love the long friendship and shared history between Charlie and Jane, and how they both adjust no longer living in the orbit/shadow of Wild Bill Hickock. I love how they still deeply care about each other even while refusing to talk to each other beyond yelling obscenities across the street. Show me a piece about Charlie being happy for Jane finding happiness with Joanie while at the same time being somewhat jealous of the relationship because he seemed to have his own crush on Joanie. I would also love a piece about Jane and Charlie both getting past their grief enough that they can both sit down and really talk about Wild Bill without it messing up either of them.

I love Doc Cochran and how he's just as cranky as everyone else in the camp but genuinely cares about helping people, which he can often only express by yelling at people to take better care of themselves, because usually people ignore him whenever he tries to phrase things more politely. Show me backstory about his work as a doctor during the Civil War, or about why he came to Deadwood, or what he did between those two times. I loved his working relationship with Jane during the plague and would like to see more of that. I'm also interested in his odd back and forth with Alma Garret over her opiate use, not wanting to give her too much but also arguing when he thinks she's taking too little. You could also write about his thoughts on his medical studies vs. his own mortality now that he has what looks like TB.

Show me something about Seth and Martha trying to make their marriage work, Seth's long friendship with Sol, his grudging alliance with Al, his grief over the death of his stepson/nephew, and his general frustration with politics and trying to maintain law and order in Deadwood.

Or you could take any of these characters and show me what happens to them after the end of season three, either the direct aftermath of the election or maybe the fire of 1879. Or maybe an AU where Ellsworth is less severely hurt and survives.

They weren't nominated, but feel free to include Martha Bullock, Wild Bill, E. B. Farnum, Richardson, Aunt Lou, Samuel Fields, Mr. Wu, Sol Star, Merrick, Blazanov, Dan, Johnny, Tom Nuttall, Harry, or any of the other Deadwood locals. I never warmed up to Cy the way I did to most of the other characters, so if you decide to include him, then I would prefer that he not be a major focus of the story. Also, while I don't mind mentions of Hearst, I would prefer that the man not show up in person at all unless you plan to have somebody try to shoot him again or kick him in the balls or something like that.

Fandom: Hell on Wheels (TV)
Requested Characters: Louise Ellison, Maggie Palmer, Eva Toole, Ruth Cole

I'll start off by saying that you do not need to use all four of these characters for this fandom if you do not want to. I would be overjoyed if you managed to get all four of them together as the main characters of a single story, but it is not really a requirement. I would also be very happy if you just picked any two or three and had them interacting in some significant manner. You could even pick just one of them on which to focus a character piece, and I'll still be happy.

Next, but possibly of equal importance, I want to say that this is the only one of my requests which will be releasing new parts of canon between when sign-ups close and when assignments are due. I have not read any spoilers for the remaining episodes of this season, but Ruth was left in a rather precarious position as of the end of the most recent episode, and Hell on Wheels seems fond of the "Anyone can die at any time" style of storytelling. So, dear author, should the worst happen and one or more of my nominated characters dies before you start writing your story, I would like to make a preemptive request for fix-it fic to save the day and pretend that the death or deaths never happened. Once again, I have no proof of anything. This is a "just in case" type of precaution, because I'm paranoid like that.

Anyway, feel free to include whatever other characters you want in supporting roles, whether they were nominated or not. My main ships are Eva Toole/Elam Ferguson and Ruth Cole/Joseph Black Moon. I would love to see a story where Joseph decides to come back to Ruth, even if just in secret without interacting with the rest of the town. And speaking of fix-it fic, I would love to see a story where Eva and Elam actually got a happy reunion instead of what we got in canon, or going further back, a fix-it where Eva convinces Elam and Mr. Toole to solve their love triangle woes with a threesome. I would also be quite happy to see Louise Ellison and Maggie Palmer having a secret "friends with benefits, no strings attached" type of arrangement. I'm still not really sure what's motivating Louise to sleep with Governor Campbell, whether she actually likes him or if sex with him is just a means to some other end, so I haven't really been able to form a solid opinion on the relationship. Feel free to include it or ignore it as you see fit. That being said, I thought it was hilarious that he was the one walking funny in that one morning after scene rather than the other way around. If that inspires something in you, then go with it.

Gen is great too though. Maybe Louise wants to interview the other three women for an article she's writing. Or maybe Maggie throws a giant party with everyone in town invited, and she ends up in conversation with Eva, Louise, and Ruth. Or maybe Ruth organizes some church function which the other three participate in. Or maybe Eva holds an improbable and/or anachronistic ladies only poker night and they spend all night drinking and telling dirty jokes. Or somehow Maggie ends up teaching long distance marksmanship to the others, which soon becomes a plot relevant skill for some reason which involves action, adventure, and badassery. Or they band together to help further their own interests within the town, because if they don't look out for each other, then who will? Or Louise, Maggie, and Eva all try to help Ruth in their various ways in the aftermath of Ruth shooting Sydney Snow.

Okay, these are admittedly not the greatest prompts, so if you can think of anything better, then please go with that. I really do want to see these ladies interacting, but the show tends to have each one off in her own little separate bubble, surrounded by guys but not many other women, and it's difficult to break that pattern. Show me the formation of unlikely friendships or instances where they might not actually like each other but need to work together anyway. I would rather see cooperation than competition (unless it's of the "whoever can do thing X the best wins a blue ribbon" variety, not fighting over a man or anything like that), but disagreement is fine. Show me conflicts resulting from them having such vastly different life experiences. Show me them pooling their knowledge, skills, and resources to achieve something together which none of them could have managed on their own. Who gives comfort in which times of hardship? Who accepts it and who refuses? Who organizes the jailbreak and who says they should just wait for the trial? Where do they expect to be once the railroad is completed? Who is the first to set something on fire? Give me anything, really.

Fandom: Justified
Requested Characters: Loretta McCready, Rachel Brooks

I would love to see anything about Rachel and Loretta interacting. I would like to keep this one gen due to Loretta being underage and Rachel being less willing than Raylan to sleep with someone who might end up involved in an ongoing Marshal investigation at any minute. I love the contrast of Rachel's competence and professionalism vs. Loretta's attempts to be more grownup than she is and her ever more serious forays into criminality, and I think they would be pretty evenly matched in terms of snarkiness/sass. Rachel could probably relate to Loretta better than Raylan could in certain respects, but would Loretta be willing to listen?

Maybe Loretta shows up at the courthouse looking to get help from Raylan, and Rachel is the only one around to help her, leading to the two of them having adventures in backwoods Kentucky. Or maybe Raylan specifically sends Loretta to Rachel, because he knows the way he deals with the kid is teaching her all the wrong lessons, and Rachel is less likely to end up wrapped around Loretta's little finger and might actually be able to talk some sense into her before she becomes just another criminal who died from doing something stupid. Or maybe Rachel is taking part in a raid, and Loretta happens to be selling weed in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suddenly there's a hostage situation. Or any other situation where Rachel gets to be a tiny badass and Loretta either gets a new hero or a new nemesis, depending on what she had been trying to do before it all went down.

Or maybe Loretta is witness to another major crime instead of being a participant, and Rachel gets assigned to protection detail, and they spend their time sitting around and having the sort of girl talk that involves topics such as the best pressure points to jab somebody in when all you have to defend yourself is an unsharpened pencil and other useful skills, or maybe they eat pizza, watch movies, and do their own personal two woman version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Or maybe Rachel is having trouble bridging the generation gap when trying to talk to Nick about something, and Loretta is somehow the most convenient teenager to ask for advice, much to her amusement.

Or anything else you can think of for these two. I love watching and reading about pretty much all the other characters of Justified, so you can bring in whoever else you want, either nominated or not, in supporting roles, but I would prefer that Rachel and Loretta be the main the focus of the story. Other than that, go nuts. Banter and/or action are always a plus, but are not required.

Fandom: The Last Ship (TV)
Requested Characters: Any (nominated characters = Darien Chandler, Mike Slattery, Rachel Scott, Tex Nolan, Tom Chandler)

My main ships for this fandom are Darien/Tom and Rachel/Tex, but I wouldn't say no to a little Rachel/Mike or maybe some Tom/Tex when they're on the Russian ship and not sure they're going to get out alive. Gen is great too, especially where Rachel is concerned; don't feel required to pair her off with anyone if you don't want to, because a lady is allowed to be married to her work, which is not the same thing as shipping Rachel/toaster, whatever Tex might think. Also, I am in complete denial about Darien being dead. We never saw a body, and a person can never be dead on TV unless the audience gets to see the body. Actually, since this is a show with John Pyper-Ferguson, even if we see a dead body, there's still a good chance that it might get back up again as if nothing happened, because that seems to be the pattern. Darien is totally waiting in the wings for a second season dramatic reveal and reunion with her husband, and you shouldn't try to convince me otherwise.

Anyway, the Nathan James has been taken over, and we just found out that soylent-coal is people. Tom has his kids and father but is separated from the rest of his crew. Darien is ill but recovering in an undisclosed location. Mike is being held at gunpoint on-board the ship with almost everyone. Rachel is being held captive at the headquarters building whose name I can't recall. Tex is out in the wild without a clue about what is happening to everyone else. What do whichever characters we matched on do next? Hopefully the answer involves lots and lots of tropey-ness, because that it what the Last Ship runs on. Please give me all the over the top action scenes, and things exploding with beautiful giant fireballs, and fortuitous coincidences, and science which works because we say so, and brave sacrifices, and last minute saves, and brand new allies who may or may not be trustworthy, and double, triple, and quadruple-crosses, and overly complicated master plans, with the occasional quiet moment set aside for some manly tears of either sorrow or joy as the situation warrants. Assign everyone a number and roll a die to determine who has secretly been a spy for the Russians all along. It's the apocalypse, have fun with it.

If that isn't the kind of story you want to write, then keep it smaller and more focused. Does Rachel try to sway the other scientists back to the side of sanity? Even if she gets them on her side, are any of them competent enough to be any help, or is she going to have to MacGyver her way out of the building on her own? Do Tom and his family end up finding shelter with that so-called warlord guy? If so, do they let him find out about their last remaining does of cure/vaccine? Does Mike have a plan for regaining control of the ship? Is his apparent surrender all part of a ploy to lull their attackers into a false sense of security? What exactly is the personal mission Tex is trying to accomplish on his own? Who is the woman in his locket? I would also love to see something set earlier in the series, maybe something about the burden of command for either Tom or Mike while Tom is lost/captured, or about the very slowly forming respect between Rachel and Mike, or Tex trying to adjust from basically being in a survival horror situation on Guantanamo to the relative safety and civilization of the Nathan James, or Darien working to keep her family safe and maintain as much normalcy as possible while the whole world falls apart around them.

Alternatively, you could go full AU and have the crew of the Nathan James be trying to find a cure for the zombie virus or the vampire plague or some other pandemic which results in the infected becoming the hungry undead.


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