dorinda: Someone writing at a desk while wearing a large helmet with an oxygen tube attached (a device called "The Isolator"). (isolator)
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Dear author or artist,

Thank you so much for making something for me! Above all, I'd like you to have fun and create something you enjoy, so any other blatherings here are purely optional for reals. Just in case they might help. If you already have an idea, go for it!

Some of my general preferences:

"First time" stories. Happy or at least hopeful endings (that doesn't rule out bittersweet or melancholy tones, and needn't be fluffy...just no unalloyed sadness/darkness/loss please.).

I requested slash relationships, though for me that doesn't automatically require explicit sex. I mean, sex is great if the story or artwork calls for it. But don't feel hemmed in; it's entirely up to you. For me, slash is first about the depth of connection and intimacy between the characters, however it's expressed. I am, I admit, a sucker for tenderness. Could be from an already-openly-tender character , or a repressed character for whom tenderness itself is an admission of vulnerability.

Some of the tropes and approaches I enjoy: words that camouflage deeper/unspoken meanings, protectiveness, worry, extreme competence (with honest weakness), hurt/comfort, chosen families, uncovering a secret, partners against the world, nurturing via food/drink/warmth. (Also, in stories I must admit I like past tense, unless there's a reason for present tense.)

Don't be afraid of classic frameworks if you like 'em! I mentioned hurt/comfort, but I also won't turn up my nose at Having To Share A Bed, Huddling for Warmth, Pretend Couple, Undercover as Rentboy, situations where one suffers or sacrifices for the other, rescues, stranded somewhere (idyllic or non-), etc.

A few thoughts by fandom, alphabetically:

Almost Human:
Dorian/John Kennex

I love an android character who is not, for once, striving to be "more human" as some longed-for condition. Dorian is his own being, and he has his own concerns. John instead is the one who does more changing, learning to mesh with and open up to Dorian, and getting through his previous trauma (which still must feel relatively recent for him, given his coma, even though the rest of the world has remorselessly moved on).

More casework could be nice, seeing them on the job in the sort of cases we didn't get a chance to see on TV. Maybe even the less dramatic, more daily-cop-life sorts of things that don't become Major Incidents (although, granted, they're not beat cops, but even detectives must have routine days and weeks, even in The Bladerunnerish Future). Dorian wanted so badly to be a cop, and still (I expect?) sees it with fresh eyes. Public service! <3 Does that help John, in his traumatized, almost-burned-out place, maybe come a little more back to why he loved the job in the first place?

But a case isn't necessary, either—I'd just as much like to see them in their off time. Does Dorian get off time other than required charging? Or when John's off, does Dorian basically do a second shift? How else might John be learning to integrate Dorian into his life—or, how might Dorian be developing his own life, whether or not he is technically supposed to? Dorian can be a worrier, especially about his own potential instability. I like his vulnerabilities, and I like thinking about how John—who can be so emotionally repressed—ends up being Dorian's major emotional support on this issue.

And of course, questions of intimacy, sexuality, and the meshing of flesh and machine are always great! I like thinking about John's hangups, struggles, and breakthroughs in this regard—but also, what about the issue from Dorian's side of things? What might he want /need from a romantic/sexual relationship?


Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian
Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin

I'm just finishing up The Letter of Marque, but I'm okay with references from anywhere in the series, including later. Or, if you'd rather not link to any specific moment in the books, that is perfectly fine! O'Brian often creates these timeless, eternal voyages where the ship becomes its own self-contained world, and where it seems that anything could happen, and I love that feeling.

I love Jack and Stephen's old-married-coupleness so much. They're so different, but their angles fit with each other in a way they don't with anyone else. I feel like neither of them knows himself half as well as he knows the other. Where they might live in denial about their own weaknesses (like the way Jack often gets in over his head on land, or the way Stephen never believes he has a dependence on any of his drugs), they are knowledgeable and sweetly indulgent of the other's weaknesses. (Even when there's also teasing. :) )

I'd particularly love something hurt/comforty, or with a hurt/comforty vibe to it (a la rescues, or tropes like huddling for warmth, etc.). I think because the books dole out so much wonderful hurt, physical and emotional, but leave a lot of the comfort between the lines or off the page. I enjoy seeing them wrestle with injury or emotion (sorry guys :D ), but I'd then also like to see more explicitly them comforting and helping each other. Not that you have to get out of character—I mean, Stephen can react badly to being cosseted, that's fine, you don't have to pretend he'd be a model patient. But getting more of the C along with the H in some way would go down a treat! Along similar lines, worry is a big trope for these characters, as we see in the books, and feels like it would fit in well with this kind of h/c-ish approach.

Sexually/intimacy-wise (if it becomes relevant), no need to cleave hard-and-fast to the Articles of War, or angst over it much. I mean, we've seen how flexible those can be, and how masculinity and sexuality are expressed in various ways without really surprising anybody. (Even in book 1, we hear that the crew knows all about Marshall, and also his feelings for Jack, and don't find it a big deal.)

I'm not a purist, re: book vs. movie. If you want to stick clearly to book canon, that's great! If you want to mix the movie and books together in your own way, that's great! I love it all. (Also, don't worry about technicalities of sailing terminology or whatever—don't let that intimidate you. Include it if you want, skim over it if you want, it's all good.)


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin

I adore the movie's style and tone, and the way it adapts Jack and Stephen. Jack's love for and deep knowledge of his ship, the way he cares for his officers & crew but also carries such natural authority over them, and his unquestioned intimacy with Stephen (and vice versa); Stephen's passion for the natural world, his disdain for someone like Howard (ugh such a bro), his patience with Blakeney as they sit quietly together drawing beetles (or, in the deleted scenes, teaching Bonden to read). The ship becomes a timeless world of its own, with Jack and Stephen at the center, Jack the body and Stephen the mind, with the two of them together forming the heart. ♥

I know the movie already gives us hurt/comfort of various stripes for both characters, but I would love more if that's your sort of thing! Whether physical injury/tending, or emotional struggles/help, or whatever else, anything that would let them be in each other's space and show just how connected they are. They have an intimacy with each other, are allowed liberties with each other, that no one else is and that they've come to rely on in this isolated little world of theirs.

If you want to connect your work to specific moments in the movie, a missing scene or aftermath or whatever, feel free, but you certainly don't have to! I love that timeless, eternal feeling, with the Surprise a world unto itself, sailing on forever, so it could also take place at no time in particular.

I'm not a purist, re: book vs. movie. If you want to stick only to movie canon, that's great! If you want to mix the movie and books together in your own way, that's great! I love it all. (Also, don't worry about technicalities of sailing terminology or whatever—don't let that intimidate you. Include it if you want, skim over it if you want, it's all good.)


The Sting (1973)
Henry Gondorff/Johnny Hooker

Henry and Johnny are mentor and mentored, but also equal partners by the end of the movie, each one bringing something valuable to the game. I love either or both of those dynamics, so feel free to suit yourself--I enjoy Henry teaching and Johnny learning, but also Johnny opening Henry's eyes or otherwise keeping him on his toes.

Another con, big or small, could be lots of fun (or them playing parts to help out someone else's con), but don't feel like you have to. I'm sure a lot of their life together happens between cons (and heck, you can't work all the time), whether it's prepping for something, ducking away from danger (from the law or the underworld), Johnny learning a new skill, or Henry learning a little something himself.

If it becomes relevant—I vastly prefer cons against "deserving" targets—fitting the Robin Hoodish tone of the movie, where you go after the well-heeled and greedy, using their own greed to trap them.

Lately I've been thinking about the ins and outs of love and protectiveness, in their particular field. They're undeniably risk-junkies—not in it for the money, obviously, the money is just a tool that lets them put on these big, risky, freedom-and-even-life-endangering shows. But they've also connected very deeply, and in the movie already we see Henry trying to hedge his bets by giving Johnny a secret bodyguard.

So how might this develop, the addiction to this work combined with the increasing love and protectiveness? The job can be dangerous, and they're increasingly attached to and worried about each other's safety, possibly more than they ever worried about their own before they met. Does it throw a wrench into the works? How do they get past that? Does it intensify their relationship?

Other characters are welcome--I love the world of other con men and women that they live in, that feeling of a grifter society--or it could just be Henry and Johnny, shoulder to shoulder and on their own.


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