[edited 12/20/2013 because apparently this isn't linked directly from my Yuletide request. ]
[Edited 10/11/2013 because I had misunderstood which DESIGN FOR LIVING was nominated. I'm in a high fever, so apologies if incoherent.]
This is an effervescently nice thing for you to do. I hope you have fun; I look forward to seeing what lurks in your devious mind.
I wish I could say I'm a woman of simple tastes, but in fact I'm a woman of rococo tastes. I like wildly overwritten language (Swinburne, if you can carry it off in brief patches, but who can?) I like European social history from (roughly) the 1500s on, although I'm happy to be educated. I love reading Trollope, Dickens (when I ignore my Woman Issues), Ankaret Wells, the Gondalverse, Browning, Christie, Susanna Clarke, biographies, Anthony Hope Hawkins (Zenda), juicy tell-alls about private life (Procopius), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Lately I'm mostly watching British historical crime dramas, because they're emotionally safe and soothing. In the past I have been gung-ho for Buffy, MAD MEN, SHERLOCK, FIREFLY (after it finally got its feet under it), THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, FRANK'S PLACE, THE PERSUADERS, TOPSY TURVY, DOCTOR WHO (3, 4, 8, 9, 11 for preference), BUCKAROO BANZAI, BLAKE's 7, FARSCAPE (oh God, Farscape), and a lot of other stuff.
I'm not sure how you boil that into a principle; my best guess is "wit and adventure".
What I love: witty dialogue; vividly-described surroundings, not just sight but sound and smell. Doomed lovers; doomed fighters; people who keep on keepin' on even though they know they must ultimately fail. I love swordfights
, masked balls, love-hate sex -- although gen is great, too -- melodrama, clothing and decor neep (Tell me about your chaise longue, baby), descriptions of food, kidnappings. I like the edge cases of non-con; bring on the sex pollen or the "must do it to save the universe" if you like it, too. Actual plots. That scene in the library where everybody figures out what the hell was happening all along. Crossovers from one medium to another. If you read all this and say "I know the perfect way to handle it in limericks/a one-act play/Flash animation", go for it!
What I don't like: people thinking at length how clever they are, unless this results in a pratfall. Rape. Condescension. Moral lessons. Standalone vignettes in which a character thinks about one or more of the other characters, but takes no action. Slash is just peachy, as are all the other sexual variations. No urine, excrement, or vomit.
Overall, though, I think Yuletide is a time for surprises. Surprise yourself. Surprise me. Do something you enjoy doing (with the few exceptions noted above), and we'll both be happy.THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE.
This show not only passes the Bechdel Test, it IS the Bechdel test. Four intelligent and competent women, who have important relationships with one another, SOLVE CRIME. I just want more of that. If you feel up to a casefic, that would be lovely; if not, just give me some scenes where they talk together, where they solve problems together. Do not want: stand-alone vignettes with any of them agonizing about their fate in life. In the course of the series each of them learns to value herself, and I don't want to see that lost. (However, events before the series are great; I'd love to see them in Huts 8.6, or 3.
NINE COACHES WAITING - MARY STEWART.
Linda Martin wants to live in a Gothick romance. To get there, she lies to everybody she meets and forces all her acquaintances into their appointed roles. Then she discovers that life lived in a tragedy can be horrible. In her efforts to scramble offstage, Linda breaks her beloved's heart. [Block that metaphor. Please.]
Then what happens? That, dear, reader, is up to you. Does everybody wind up glaring at one another from fauteuils for the next
sixty years? Does the Demon King win it all? Or, miraculously, does Raoul manage to scrape a little happiness from the ashes of Manderley? (yes, I'm well aware that's a different novel, but they're both deconstructing the same conceit.)NIMONA (webcomic) gingerhaze.com/nimona
A Webcomic about science, magic, derring-do, and a girl who changes into a shark. Nimona has a wonderful cartoony style with a great line. It also has three major characters (Ballister Blackheart, Ambrosius Goldenloin, and Nimona) with complex and changing relationships to one another. I'd like to see more of any (or all) of those relationships. Ballister and Ambrosius at school. Ballister and Nimona arguing. Ballister, Ambrosius, and Nimona have the world's most awkward Academy Awards party. Ambrosius trying, again, to keep Nimona from committing mayhem. I don't expect you to create art, but if you want to, feel free!Anthony Hope Hawkins, Zenda novels, Rupert of Hentzau
Well, here's the one you see from me every year.
Ah, Rupert of Hentzau. Dashing, handsome, competent, witty, and stuck with the Worst Boss Ever. Seriously, Black Michael couldn't plot his way into overthrowing a paper bag. (Why imprison King Rudolf? Why not just kill him? Rupert would have.) I am well aware that Rupert is Not A Nice Guy; he isn't just the hero's foil, but he is ruthless and threatens to commit rape on at least one occassion. However, let's face it, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. diving through a window is one of the great moments in film.
Some ideas that may or may not work for you: Rupert/Rassendyll -- you never know where a corps-a-corps might lead; Antoinette de Mauban -- who is not a wimp -- going up against Rupert earlier in the plot and winning; Colonel Sapt confronting and then cashiering a young Rupert earlier in their careers. Do not feel constrained: these are plot bunnies and I bet yours are better. Feel free to use the entire "Prisoner of Zenda" pseudo-canon: book, as well as any movie based on the Zenda plot including The Great Race. if you've read Rupert of Hentzau, go for it, but don't feel obliged to seek it out for this challenge. Bring in any supporting characters that work for you, but please make the fic Rupert-licious. (Link to Rupert of Hentzau, but I'm serious, don't feel obliged.)
I like Sapt because he is the Crusty Old Mentor stereotype writ large and I like him harrrumphing through his mustache. To be totally honest, though, he's there because I had to put in two characters, and if he is a total walk-on that is fine with me. (Turns out you don't have to give two characters. I still like the Colonel, but he is way optional.) Rupert! Hardy! Always!
Please write the story you think is funny and/or adventurous. Please have fun. I will, too.