Dear Seekrit Santa Author,
Thank you so much for writing for me! I'm sure I'll love whatever you do.
I like having lots of options and information when I write, so I kind of went the same way with this. The end result is a big long; sorry! If you don't work that way, then please feel free to skip the letter and just go with the requests. Or the parts of the request that speak to you. I'm really not that picky, and the best stories are always the ones you actually want to write.
I like competence, revelations, first times of all sorts, turning points, introspection, integrity, loyalty, friendship, and happy or hopeful endings. I love it when a character's past returns in some way, and I love to know what characters are thinking and feeling. I love that moment when the characters realize that yes, the interest and attraction are mutual, and I love the uncertainty that precedes that moment.
Things I'd prefer not to receive in this particular exchange: relentlessly unhappy endings, severe angst, serious physical injuries to a requested character, PWP, non-con between major characters, major power differentials in a romantic relationship, jealousy as a positive trait, character bashing. humiliation, crack, BDSM, and complete, everyone-works-in-a-coffee-shop type AUs. (I'll make an exception for hockey AUs, in the unlikely event you're dying to write one. I have a weakness for those.)
I'm good with bringing in any character who's needed to tell the story. There are no characters I particularly dislike or want to avoid, although I'd rather not dwell on the Victoria storyline unless you're absolutely inspired to write something fantastic with it. I'm good with pairing characters off with OCs, as long as that's not the main focus of the story. I tend to read Ray Vecchio as straight, so I'd mostly rather not see him slashed with any of the male characters. I also adore his friendship with Fraser, and I love seeing how supportive he can be. I don't mind character death if that's where your inspiration happens to take you, but for this particular exchange I'd rather keep Fraser, Kowalski, and Smithbauer alive. Everyone else is fair game. Christmas/holiday fic is fine, and avoiding the holidays altogether is fine too.
My requests, copied from the sign-up form:
1. Benton Fraser/Mark Smithbauer or Benton Fraser & Mark Smithbauer
Mark Smithbauer is kind of an ass for most of "The Blue Line," but the ending (and Fraser's enduring loyalty) suggests he can do better than that. I'd like to see him given the opportunity to try.
I'd really love a story that focuses on Mark and Fraser developing an ongoing relationship as adults (either at some point after "The Blue Line," or AU from "The Blue Line" if you want to play with the timeline or keep Mark in hockey). I'm equally happy to see them trying for a romantic relationship or platonic friendship, as long as their relationship consists of more than a one-night stand/couple of days of reminiscing after "The Blue Line" and a vague promise to keep in touch.
If you'd like specific suggestions: I always enjoy first time stories--figuring out how things might work if they tried for a romantic relationship, or establishing the new parameters of their friendship. Or Fraser helping Mark figure out what to do next without robbing him of agency or single-handedly saving him. I'd also be interested in seeing one of them drawn into the other's world a little (hockey/post-hockey or police work or both). Or one turning to the other for help with something. Or something lighthearted, a holiday or a party. Or a trip back to Inuvik. Or meeting each other's friends. Or coming out to old friends. Or dealing with things if Mark came out publicly, deliberately or accidentally. Or Mark failing sometimes at not being an ass, and then doing better. Or just seeing the development of the relationship over time.
Putting them in relationships with other people in a friendship story is fine, but I'd rather not see any one-sided, unrequited pining, please. And I'd really rather stay away from the Victoria storyline, or at least have it play out in a way that doesn't damage their relationship.
2. Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski
There are two things I'd love to see in a Fraser/Kowalski story. First, I'd like to see them in a reasonably equal relationship, with neither of them badly broken or utterly terrible at romantic relationships. Second, I'd like to see them in a relatively happy, stable relationship: no dramatic fights, no major disagreements, no break-ups. It doesn't have to be fluff; I'd just like to see any tension come from somewhere else.
Apart from that, I'm pretty flexible: first time fic, established relationship fic, casefic, fic about family or friends, slice of life, coming out fic, kid!fic...it's all good. Pick an episode and spin it out from there. Talk about how Ray's parents' reaction. Have someone from one of their pasts pop up. Have them share stories from the past. Talk about how they get together. Have them help someone. Have Welsh or Thatcher or Stella ask them for a favour. Send them to a hockey game. Have them participate in some sort of sports game/league for the precinct. Show them working as a team to solve problems big or small. Address some of the consequences that might emerge from being gay cops. Have them worry about being caught. Pick a classic trope and treat it seriously. Show someone else's perspective on them (I'm a sucker for external POVs). Set it in Chicago. Set it in Canada. Whatever strikes your fancy.
If you don't want to write them as a pairing, gen friendship is fine too. Hanging out or one taking care of the other or getting to know each other early on. Just no unrequited pining or pairing them off with other men, please. Well, except Mark Smithbauer. :)
3. Stella Kowalski and/or Harding Welsh
Stella and Welsh are two of my favourite under-used characters. While I requested them both--and I'm happy to receive a story that includes the two of them--I'm equally happy to receive a story about one or the other. Whatever you feel like writing.
For Stella: I'd love to see something from her perspective. Why did she become her lawyer? Why did she marry Ray? What did her parents think of her choices? Or her friends? What was her married life like? Most stories of this ilk seem to be told from Ray's point of view, and I'd really like Stella's take on it. Alternately, post-CotW is great too--her courtship with Vecchio, or their move to Florida and what prompted that and why she went or what happened afterward. Or a day-in-the-life story during the show would be wonderful too. Stella at the office. Stella being awesome in court. Stella going on her first date post-divorce. Stella helping Ray out somehow. Stella getting to know Fraser, possibly without Ray around. Stella spending time with Ray's parents or her own. Anything, really, as long as it's reasonably sympathetic toward her without demonizing Ray.
For Welsh: I feel like we don't know much about Welsh, apart from the fact that he's apparently a solid leader and an honest cop who stands behind his people and who's pragmatic but not (too) cynical. So anything that fills in the gaps a bit would be great. Something about his relationships with his brother or father. Something about his early days as a cop. A day-in-the-life showing his take on his precinct and his job. What he thinks of Thatcher or Turnbull or Fraser or the whole Canadian consulate situation. What he thinks of either Ray. Whether he had any say in the whole undercover thing. What he does when he goes home at night. How he celebrates the holidays. Get him in a bit of trouble and have his people get him out, or have him help someone else out of trouble. Etc.
If you're in the mood to write both, then...maybe a trope like being trapped in an elevator together? Or encountering each other at some sort of function? Or maybe Welsh talks to Stella before accepting Ray for the undercover assignment, or maybe Stella goes to talk to Welsh about Ray or Fraser? Maybe they both boggle over Ray going on a dogsled expedition post-CotW? Or maybe they talk about something else entirely...a case? A personal issue? Local politics?
I've tagged this as gen because I'm not looking to see Stella and Welsh paired off with each other. However, I'm happy to see them paired off with other people, or to see other pairings in the background. Stella/Ray (either), Stella/OC, Welsh/OC, Welsh/other, Fraser/Kowalski, etc. are all fine. Whatever you need to tell the story.
If that's somehow not enough information, there's more here about things I like and don't like, both generally and in specific fandoms.
This entry was originally posted at http://skieswideopen.dreamwidth.org/99859.html, where it has comments. Comments are equally welcome on either entry.