cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
Dear Yulebeing,

What I like hasn't changed much from previous years (including this sentence, trudging back around again for another year). I like plot, humour, and justified angst, singly, serially or simultaneously. I like all the characters I have requested and enjoy seeing more of them, and I also love the worlds that they belong to. I have no problem with sexual content as long as it fits with the characters, although pages of explicit anatomical detail are unlikely to be my thing. I like stories that make me remember why I love the original inspiration as well as stories that make me think about it differently (and both! both is great). And I do like the canons themselves. I like these characters being part of their worlds, even when they struggle against them.

In terms of writing, I am open to traditional or experimental forms; I prefer past to present tense but if it works for the story I'll enjoy it. If you match on Donaldson do not feel obliged to emulate his style, although feel free to stick in the occasional "telic" or "mien".

DNWs: earthquakes, child or animal harm as a major plot point (I prefer no fatal earthquakes at all as due to personal experience it kicks me completely out of the story, but off-stage references to the second two are okay).

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson; Linden Avery (character)
Linden Avery was hugely important to me in my teens, when there weren't a lot of adult females in sf/fantasy I could see myself in, and I still love her as well as what the Second Chronicles do with portal fantasy, which was fascinating and heart-breaking all in one. I re-read the second chronicles a lot and still think of them fondly; the first trilogy not so much, and I have read only the first two of the third and am not entirely convinced by them yet.

I would like; more Linden! On Earth or visiting the Land, and I'm happy to ignore the third series or go AU from the second if you have a better idea. I do like the third chronicles' idea of time-travelling within the Land's history, if you wanted to do that, and would love exploring more of the Land anyway. Outside the Land, I wonder how Linden reconciles her experiences with her everyday life on returning to our world, especially her healthsense given her job, and I'd like to see her finding some peace or happiness there, having healed from her past. I am curious about how Covenant and Linden were summoned to the Land, and how porous the borders can become - what happens if characters from the Land show up in Linden's world?

I do actually like Covenant as well, but I understand he isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I haven't nominated him. I don't have strong feelings about him showing up or not; he is important to Linden, but not essential.

Annie on My Mind, Nancy Garden: Liza Winthrop, Annie Kenyon, Isabelle Stevenson, Katherine Widmer. Another book that was hugely important to me as a teenager. I'd never thought of fanfic for this, but I leapt on it when I saw it in the tagset. I really want something written *after* the novel's timeline, but apart from that anything is fair game; immediately after, when they meet up again? As adults? Annie and Liza have made a commitment to be together - how does it work out? I don't mind if they have to work for it, but I do want them to end up together. And I loved the older teachers and would be very happy to see them as well, or even be the focus, but I would like to see Annie and Liza again at least once.

Agricola (board game); no nominated characters. I've been playing this a lot this year, and it's soothing and challenging and different every time. Bringing crops in from the fields, building pens for the animals, renovating the house to clay or stone and putting in an oven.. it's all very calming, apart from when you realise it's harvest again and you have too many people to feed. I'm not looking for descriptions of people playing the game, but apart from that go wild - what do the characters think? Was being a medieval farmer really like that? Time slips, experimental formats, horror, sit coms, whatever. I haven't played the Farmers of the Moor expansion; I have the Goodies expansion, but have only used the alien deck from that.


Apart from that - I hope you enjoy writing your story, and I look forward to reading it. Yuletide is a yearly tradition that means a lot to me.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
For Yuletide this year I received Backpack about Will and his friends on their journey towards the White Mountains; although the mood of the piece is bleak, there are moments of kindness and connection that are very true to canon. I know my request went out to pinch-hit and am very grateful it was picked up!

Backpack (2708 words) by spiderfire
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Tripods - John Christopher
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Characters: Will Parker (The Tripods), Beanpole (The Tripods), Henry (The Tripods), Original Characters
Additional Tags: Canon-Typical Violence, Missing Scene, Vagrants, Original Character Death(s), Canon Compliant
Summary:

Some encounters Will, Henry and Beanpole had on their way to the White Mountains.


I wrote End in Fire, a crossover between two of my recipient's requested fandoms, Stephen King's Firestarter and Daryl Gregory's We Are All Completely Fine. I matched on the former and had not actually read the latter; I had, however, read the prequel-written-later, Harrison Squared, which is YA horror and had some great characters and a nicely dry sense of humour, while completely failing at any sort of satisfying conclusion, which is just the sort of thing that nags at me and meant that when I reserved Firestarter through the local library I also reserved We Are All Completely Fine, just to check.

I re-read Firestarter and found some interesting hanging threads (other survivors of Lot 6, the hints that Charlie's power will somehow lead her to do something with/to the sun), and started a few ideas which went nowhere (also, inexplicably, research on climate change does not indicate whether it is possible to fix it by accelerating the life cycle of the sun, although it looks as though Charlie would have to cause core hydrogen exhaustion to get anywhere, which has other disadvantages!). While thinking about this I read We Are All Completely Fine - cool set-up, interesting characters, ending not as cliff-hangery as Harrison Squared but still not as good as the set-up - and discovered it had Greta, a girl raised in an all-female cult to be the bride/vessel of an unearthly destructive spirit of fire. I wavered for a bit (another Yuletide where I write a crossover between two tiny fandoms? at least there were a tiny handful of fics out there for Firestarter) but the idea was too compelling to let go, and at rather a late stage I emailed the mods to ask if my recipient would be okay with a crossover.

The story itself was easier after that - I wanted to get Greta out of being a containment device, and I wanted to show a possible future for Charlie, and I wanted a happy(ish) ending for both of them.

End in Fire (4990 words) by Cyphomandra
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: KING Stephen - Works, Firestarter - All Media Types, We Are All Completely Fine - Daryl Gregory
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Charlie McGee, Harrison Harrison
Additional Tags: Crossover, Psychic Abilities, secret government agencies, Unlikely meetings, Cthulhu Mythos
Summary:

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.


I did mean to post a recs post, but I did a lot of reading instead (and still have a dozen or so windows open on long stories). The Wimsey and Wodehouse (Psmith and Jeeves & Wooster) fics were all good this year, and I also liked Mission Impeccable (GBBO spoof), The Fragile Skiff Attains the Shore (Master and Commander, Jack and Stephen endanger and rescue each other), and Many Havens, a Mercedes Lackey Vanyel fix-it fic.

Yuletide!

Oct. 9th, 2016 09:43 pm
cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
What I like hasn't changed much from previous years (including this sentence, which is copied over from multiple other letters!). I like plot, humour, and justified angst, singly or simultaneously. I like all the characters I have requested and enjoy seeing more of them. I have no problem with sexual content as long as it fits with the characters, although pages of explicit anatomical detail are unlikely to be my thing. I like stories that make me remember why I love the original inspiration as well as stories that make me think about it differently (and both! both is great). And I do like the canons themselves. I like these characters being part of their worlds, even when they struggle against them.

In terms of writing, I am open to traditional or experimental forms; I prefer past to present tense but if it works for the story I'll enjoy it. If you match on Donaldson, you don't have to write like him! (although feel free to stick in the occasional "telic" or "mien")

DNWs: earthquakes, child or animal harm as a major plot point (I prefer no fatal earthquakes at all as due to personal experience it kicks me completely out of the story, but off-stage glancing references to the second two are okay).

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson. - Linden Avery requested character. Linden Avery was hugely important to me as a character in my teens, when there weren't a lot of adult females in sf/fantasy I could see myself in, and I still love her as well as what the Second Chronicles do with portal fantasy, which was fascinating and heart-breaking all in one. I re-read the books a lot and still think of them fondly; the first trilogy not so much, and I have read only the first two of the third and am not entirely convinced by them yet.

I would like; more Linden! On Earth or visiting the Land, and I'm happy to ignore the third series or go AU from the second if you have a better idea. I do like the third chronicles idea of time-travelling within the Land's history, if you wanted to do that, and would love exploring more of the Land (I nominated (ha) Nom for the tagset; I haven't requested him, but I'd love it if he showed up). Outside the Land, I wonder how Linden reconciles her experiences with her everyday life on returning to our world, especially her healthsense given her job, and I'd like to see her finding some peace or happiness there, having healed from her past. I am curious about how Covenant and Linden were summoned to the Land, and how porous the borders can become - what happens if characters from the Land show up in Linden's world?

I do actually like Covenant as well, but I understand he isn't everyone's cup of tea and his actions in book 1 are appalling. I didn't nominate him as a character and don't have strong feelings about whether you keep him alive or not.

The Tripods, John Christopher. Will Parker requested.

I imprinted on these books at a young age, and then watched the BBC adaptation when I was only a little older (so feel free to use elements of both!). Yes, the female characters are atrociously underserved but I loved the set-up; the division between the toxic world of the Masters and the controlled, limited world the Capped humans live in, the tensions between those fighting back, the body horror aspects of the Capping and the bug planted on Will. And I loved Will himself with all his flaws; short tempered, impulsive, and unthinking, but loyal and heroic despite this.

I have received fic for this before and enjoyed it – a retelling from the Masters' point of view - but as stated above I've always loved Will as a character and would like to see him again. I'm happy with AU - what if the confrontation between Will and his Master went differently, for example - pre or post canon, outtakes, or even crackier rewrites - genderswap would be fascinating, for a start, and then there's all those canonical tentacles...

Imajica, Clive Barker. John Furie Zacharias, Judith Odell, Pie'oh'pah. This is another recurrent request, although I've never received fic for it (and no-one has written any). Again, this is a book I loved at a certain time in my life, and I still admire the sheer audacity of it as a novel and as a universe. I think there's a huge amount of space there to do anything with it. I like all three characters but would prefer slightly less of a focus on Furie than in the book - I think the other two have earned some attention. I am happy with just exploring in the Imajica, or going into the characters' pasts or futures (if you can manage that!). I love the way art runs through this book (painting, theatre, magic), and anything around an artwork or a performance – making, taking, destroying – would be fabulous. In this fandom, I'm happy with explicit sex, although I'd like something else to happen as well during the story.

Banana Fish Okumura Eiji. This manga series pretty much broke me - it's brilliant and tragic and totally over-the-top in a way that manages to be somehow completely convincing emotionally. You can find recaps of all but the last volume on the banana fish tag - I did write notes on the last volume but could never quite manage to type them up and make it that final.

I asked for Eiji - I'm happy with any of the other tagset characters and, really, you can pretty much do anything with this (this is the fandom where I am totally open to cracky AUs - space, post-apocalypse, French Revolution, secretly a robot) but I am also happy to just have more time with Eiji. Before the manga, during or after - the glimpse we get of him afterwards did pretty much have me sobbing into my pillow, but if you can find a way to go on from that I'd love to see it. I would love to see him doing something with photography, in the US or Japan, and getting to see him in his areas of competence. I am not really looking for fix-it fic - if you are going to change Ash's fate, I'd prefer it not to be the only change (i.e. in a wild AU, fine, but not as the story as it stands but the ending different.

Anyway. These are all optional details, and you should feel free to go where your story takes you! I hope you enjoy writing it - I am very much looking forward to reading it.

Yuletide!

Oct. 25th, 2015 02:45 pm
cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
Dear Yuletide writer,

Thank you for writing for me! Really, I'll be happy just seeing what you do with whichever one of these fandoms you've signed up for, but feel free to read through these notes as well.

Onwards. )

Yuletide!

Oct. 25th, 2014 09:13 pm
cyphomandra: fluffy snowy mountains (painting) (snowcone)
Dear Yuletide writer,

Thank you for writing for me! Really, I'll be happy just seeing what you do with whichever one of these fandoms you've signed up for, but feel free to read through these notes as well.

Onwards. )

Requests:

Pandemic (Board Game) )

The Tripods - John Christopher. )

The Marlows - Antonia Forest. )

Above all, enjoy your Yuletide!
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Dear Yuletide writer,

Thank you for writing for me! Really, I'll be happy just seeing what you do with whichever one of these fandoms you've signed up for, but feel free to read through these notes as well. This year, all my requests are ones I’ve made previously and never had fulfilled, so I’m really looking forward to whichever one you end up going with.

Details under cut )
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Somehow (12887 words) by Cyphomandra
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Bagman's Gambit - The Decemberists
Rating: Explicit
Warning: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Narrator/Secret Agent, Francis Cartwright/Stanisław Woźniak
Characters: secret agent - Character, Narrator, Francis Cartwright, Stanisław Woźniak
Summary:

"The golden rule is to help those we love to escape from us"

Friedrich von Hügel, Letters to my Niece, 1852



This year I wrote Somehow, for The Decemberists’ song The Bagman’s Gambit. I did so with the help of three fabulous betas, whom I can now name – [personal profile] china_shop and [identity profile] rhuia.livejournal.com encouraged me through the whole thing and sent me very helpful feedback (next time I write a story I am giving [personal profile] china_shop all my commas in advance, so she doesn’t have to rearrange them later) and [personal profile] lightgetsin did an heroic last minute American beta and readthrough in response to my pathetic appeal less than 48 hours before the collection opened. Thanks again to you all for your extremely necessary assistance.

Lengthy writing notes and citations, with spoilers (for the story, not the citations). )

Yuletide!

Dec. 31st, 2012 10:39 pm
cyphomandra: vale from brotown celebrating (woo hoo!)
Careful examination of my AO3 history indicates that I have read just over 200 stories since Yuletide opened, or just under 10% of the total number of stories. I suspect this is not a representative sample, except where of course where it's totally representative of me. I still have a number of fandoms to explore (haven’t read the Code Name Verity fics yet, for example), haven't put everything I've enjoyed in here and have no doubt missed plenty of excellent ones. However, these ones listed here are certainly some of my favourites.

Yuletide recs. )
cyphomandra: vale from brotown celebrating (woo hoo!)
Dear Yuletide person,

Thank you for writing for me! Really, I'll be happy just seeing what you do with whichever one of these fandoms you've signed up for, but feel free to read through these notes as well.

What I like hasn't changed much from previous years - in general terms I like plot (particularly if you can surprise me with characters doing consistent but unexpected things), humour, and justified angst, singly or simultaneously. I am not all that fond of the present tense, but can be sucked in if the story drags me along. I have no problem with sexual content (slash or het - Hands Off! is slashy in a low-key way, the central pairing for Santa Olivia is f/f, and I don't really have strong opinions for the Tripods - hmm. Although I've just realised the Masters have canonical tentacles :) ) as long as it's consistentish with the tone of the source, and as long as it's not written either like an anatomy textbook or via excessively tortured metaphors. I like stories that make me remember why I love the original inspiration and stories that make me think about it differently. I like world-building, and characters who are part of those worlds, even when they fight against aspects of them.

Last year I asked for an earthquake ban for personal reasons; I'm less sensitive about it now, but would probably prefer them not to be a major feature. I can cope with unhappy endings without slitting my wrists, but probably prefer either happy or bittersweet. If you want to do something out there with the source, I'm pretty much up for it as long as I can recognise the original characters and their story, and I guess probably the only thing I don't want is a Santa Olivia American high school AU (with or without werewolves. Sorry.). Above all, enjoy what you write, and go with that even if it veers off from these suggestions!

Sono Te Wo Dokero!/Hands Off! )

Santa Olivia – Jacqueline Carey )

The Tripods – John Christopher. )

Yuletide

Dec. 20th, 2012 11:40 pm
cyphomandra: vale from brotown looking put upon (give me strength)
I have 3300 words. The minimum is 1000, and the deadline is in 14 hours. So, no problem, apart from the bit where I still have RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF PLOT to fit in. Bears, arrggh, etcetera.
cyphomandra: Endo Kanna from Urasawa's 20th century boys reading a volume of manga (manga)
Last night I saw Skyfall, which was enjoyable if overlong and moderately incoherent. Moderately spoilerish and probably overlong. )

Anyway. It did leave me with a desire to re-read Charlie Higson's Young Bond books, which I rather like, but it will have to wait because a) they're in a box somewhere and b) I am currently writing (panicking) over Yuletide. As always, I have way too much plot, not nearly enough writing, and am inexplicably on volume 19 of 20th Century Boys (not even remotely my assignment). Onwards.

Yuletide

Nov. 20th, 2011 11:03 pm
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Dear Yuletide person,

Thanks for writing for me! I look forward to seeing what you come up with, and hope you enjoy exploring the canon.

What I like hasn't changed much from previous years (including this sentence, which is copied over from at least last year's letter) - in general terms I like plot (particularly if you can surprise me with characters doing consistent but unexpected things), humour, and justified angst, not necessarily all at the same time. I am not all that fond of the present tense, but can be sucked in by a good story. I have no problem with sexual content (slash, het, etc) as long as it's appropriate to the story, and as long as it's not written either like an anatomy textbook or via excessively tortured metaphors. I like stories that make me remember why I love the original inspiration, as well as stories that make me think about it in a different light.

When I've listed characters, I've done so based on a desire to see them as important to the story, but that doesn't mean they have to be the protagonists or even there, as long as they're significant in some way. Looking at what I've chosen, one of the things that holds true for my three relatively sensible requests is that, in the source material, the characters are integral parts of their world; even when they try and change things, there's still an acknowledgment that they're very much part of the thing they're attacking.

This is new for this year - I would prefer there not to be any massive earthquakes in your story, as I have definitely met my quota for the year. I suspect this will not be particularly limiting, although if you have the sort of brain I do then sudden earthquakes will now seem like the only logical resolution to any number of plot dilemmas. Also, I signed up on deadline in a bit of a hurry, so have added some notes in italics.

Kaze Hikaru. )

Imajica, Clive Barker. )

Snow Queen series, Joan D Vinge. )

Rutshire Chronicles, Jilly Cooper. )
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
This year, I wrote Down All the Days, which is basically the Iliad via a series of AUs. I actually matched for The Anubis Gates, but when I thought about the request I couldn't find a way into it without writing something very, very long, and I was also very tempted by the idea of writing Homer fanfic. Then I actually started looking at doing just this, and panicked.

Talking about writing. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
First, and most importantly (and I apologise if my authors have been lurking out there waiting!), my gift fics – Five Trades Worth Making, and Lonely Hearted, both in Settlers of Catan. This was my wildly insane request, and I’m thrilled to get not one but two stories set in it.

Settlers of Catan (board game), Othello - Shakespeare, Bacchae - Euripedes, Ghost Soup Infidel Blue (reboot). )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
From the wikipedia page on the black-headed gull:


"In the 1990's, local Broome birder Brian Kane saw a strange species of bird while trawling the local sewer ponds for a suitable place to dump the corpse of a person he had just murdered. Upon seeing this bird, he called one of his many bird-watcher friends to verify the species, who confirmed that it was indeed a Black-headed Gull that Brian had stumbled across. This was the first recorded sighting of the species in Australia."


Oddly, neither of the two references given for this mention any murder whatsoever.

Yuletide

Nov. 24th, 2010 05:47 pm
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
Dear Yuletide person,

Thanks for writing for me! I look forward to seeing what you come up with, and hope you enjoy exploring the canon.

Cut for assorted detail. )
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
This year I wrote Mistaken for Strangers, which is a short story set in Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel universe (The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and at least one short story – Fire Watch – with two more novels due out next year). Basically, a short sequel to To Say Nothing of the Dog (the lighthearted Victorian time-travelling romp one, rather the middle ages plus plague one) from Verity's point of view.

Far too much detail about writing for Yuletide, this and other years. )

Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog (re-read). )

Connie Willis, Uncharted Territory (re-read). )

Jack London, People of the Abyss. )

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cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
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