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17 February 2014 @ 01:22 pm
2014 Rarewomen "Dear Author" Letter  
Dear 2014 rarewomen Ficathon Exchange Author,

Thank you for accepting my prompts in this game! That you received them means that you're also a fan of FK, HL, YB or BSG'78. Three cheers for your excellent taste! :-)

I have a standing "Fanfic Likes and Dislikes" post (LJ or DW). It covers almost everything anyone could want to know about my fanfiction tastes. It's absurdly long. (Feel free to skip it!) In short, I love canonicity, history, sad songs, steadfastness and struggles for the good and right; I dislike kinks, out-of-character, absurdity, lack of consequences and depicting evil as admirable. That said, I'm sure I'll both enjoy and appreciate anything you're moved to write in our shared fandom!

Please mix, match or isolate the characters as suits your imagination. (While some can overlap, others obviously don't belong in the same stories!)




These four are the dearest fandoms of my heart. This letter closely resembles last year's for this same fest. You can jump ship here! Follow your fannish bliss with just the summary above! But if you'd truly like to read more about my thoughts on some of these rare women characters, here are some rambles:

FK | YB | HL | BSG'78



Forever Knight


Characters: Urs, Janette DuCharme, Tracy Vetter, Serena, Grace Balthazar, Alexandra, Emily Weiss, Lily Toeffler

Prompt: "Nor do people light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house." --or-- "Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door."

Parameters: Gen preferred, or my favorite 'ships: Nick/Urs or Nick/Janette. (If you choose to go there, canon-compatible Nick/Emily, Nick/Serena or even Nick/Alexandra could be interesting.) No kinks, NC-17 or wild AUs, please. And please, no "dark" -- that is, no promoting vampirism as admirable or desirable. Thank you!

Urs ("Black Buddha, Part 2," "Hearts of Darkness," "Trophy Girl," "Ashes to Ashes") had more potential than canon ever got around to exploring. She has a conscience and self-awareness, yet she's dependent by habit and choice. She's neither precisely Vachon's kind of vampire nor Nick's. Music's place in her life may be important. Vachon's remark that she is [in HoD] as when he first knew her establishes that there have been times she was different. Among romances, I have a taste for involving Urs with Nick in hopes of them being stronger together than apart, knocking third-season off-track, and saving everyone... Third-season FK is one of the rare places where I kick canon while it's down.

Janette (regular in first and second seasons, plus "The Human Factor," and referenced in "Black Buddha, Part 1" and "Last Knight") seems oddly rare in fanfiction for a character so prominent! I believe that her third-season absence alone doesn't explain her neglect. Of Janette's many contributions to FK, my favorite ways to view her are as the personification of Nick's deep, complicated roots in the vampirism he rightly resists, and as Nick's fellow, equal, but differently-coping, victim of Lacroix's abuse. Her accomplishments and entanglements as a businesswoman are also important. We have many opportunities to fill in what Janette was doing off-screen, while Nick's (or Lacroix's) story unfolded on-screen! There are even more opportunities to launch new stories, exploring FK's themes from where she has chosen to stand. (Aside: I'm still sometimes fascinated by the fact that canon doesn't establish Janette's age or origin until "A Fate Worse Than Death;" for all of first season (1992-93) and the first hiatus (1993-94), FK fandom made its own guesses on those scores (in "Love You to Death," Schanke even asks whether she's "Hungarian or something"!) and fandom very frequently guessed that Janette was older and from farther than canon later established.)

Tracy (regular in third season), in an ideal storytelling world, should have been spun off into her own series and developed her own themes. But as Nick's partner in his series, Tracy comes to echo his dilemmas in a mortal, modern, female way, especially with her family issues. One of the things I enjoy in Tracy is her AtA statement that a romance would never have worked between her and Vachon; she's recognizing this fact and moving on, not pining or contorting her life to fit his (well, any more than knowing about vampires contorts it, anyway). If Tracy had survived LK, she would today be in her forties... older than Nick and Vachon appeared to be in canon.

Serena is from "Baby, Baby," of course, the only FK vampire besides Nick known to be actively pursuing recovered humanity. Grace, Natalie's coworker in the Coroner's Building, appears throughout the first two seasons; her precise job is never specified, but she seems to be a versatile lab technician. Alexandra from "Fatal Mistake" is another vampire who resents being a vampire, about whom almost no fanfic has ever been written. Emily is the author from "Stranger than Fiction" and Lily (or "Lili") the scholar from "1966."

(I should perhaps explain that while Fleur ("Be My Valentine," referenced in "Fallen Idol" and "Last Knight") is one of my favorite FK characters, I don't request her in ficathons because I generally prefer to write her adventures myself. By all means, though, please feel free to mention her, and bring her on stage as needed!)


Young Blades


Characters: Any: Jacqueline Roget, Anne of Austria (Queen Anne), Liana the Sorceress, Emanuelle, Charlotte Larousse

Prompt: Perhaps a story where Liana returns to scheme with Mazarin, and is thwarted by Jacqueline or Queen Anne? Or a power struggle between Queen Anne and Mazarin? Or Jacqueline reminisces or learns about one or both of her parents? (If Monsieur Roget was once a musketeer's lackey, or even somehow across class lines a musketeer himself, he apparently never told Jacqueline, while yet teaching his children advanced swordplay and filling their heads with musketeer stories. Madame Roget is a complete mystery, besides her early death, two children and marriage.) Or the story behind Jacqueline imitating the captain's facial-hair style? Or a story where Jacqueline learns that Siroc and/or Ramon have known her secret for some time and have simply chosen not to mention it because it isn't as important as their shared loyalty? How about farmgirl/musketeer Jacqueline's thoughts on Emanuelle's or Charlotte's lives?

Parameters: Gen preferred (but flirtation and UST okay!). No kinks, NC-17 or wild AUs, thanks. And, please, no blaming Mazarin's evil on the whole Church. Thank you!

This delightful 13-episode series begins too fluffy for my taste, but it quickly settles out into a joyful mix of sobriety and tongue-in-cheek goofiness, adventure and morality, and it overflows with the unrealized potential of every one of its characters.

Jacqueline is the show's premise, though in such a strong ensemble not its star. Her quest for justice is the motivating force larger than any individual mission. And though the show rarely touched on it explicitly, the historical gender roles... oh, my! I understand that her impersonation of a man was itself technically a crime at that time, never mind the other price on her head. (Have you ever wondered whether perhaps YB was inspired by Tamora Pierce's Alanna? Not as much as by Dumas, obviously! But perhaps just a bit.) I like to find Jacqueline's dedication to justice, to the musketeers, and to France, indomitable: not to be diverted by any temptation.

YB's Queen Anne, aka Anne of Austria, is fanfic of fanfic of RPF, at this point in her descent from the real woman through Dumas to his derivatives to us. YB's Anne is much like Dumas's in personality, although not in speech patterns or rigorously historical behaviors, but of course she differs very substantially in her relationships with Mazarin and her son (although not as much those with her husband or the elder d'Artagnan). YB's Anne hides her "masculine" cleverness and political interests behind a "womanly" facade of fashion, fads and gossip -- a kind of masquerade opposite Jacqueline's -- but she's clearly successfully kept her son on the throne through the Fronde, the nobles' uprising [historical event], without yielding to Mazarin [Dumas canon] which makes her potentially a stronger player in ways that modern audiences may better understand.

I wondered whether it might be neat to bring Liana ("Enchanted") back for another scheme, and to have her defeated not by Jacqueline's chromosomal immunity to her magic (an absurd Convenient Plot Device, in my opinion), but by teamwork among the Musketeers, or the hidden cleverness of the Queen preserving the kingdom for her son. What would Liana have been if "Enchanted" had been a late episode instead of an early one? The series tone changes so much!

But, truly, any YB character and situation that catches your fancy will tickle me: Charlotte, the young noblewoman? Emanuelle, the cafe waitress? Even Elise, the ambassador's wife, Mimou, the captain's niece, or Tatiana, the spoiled princess? Go for it! (I couldn't nominate quite all of them.) Any canon-friendly gen scenario? I'm there! Romance? Well, please just tread carefully, if that's all right to ask. d'Artagnan's happy ending may be Jacqueline's hand in marriage, but Jacqueline's happy ending is the downfall of Mazarin and the safety of France with her hand on her sword. (Not to mention the sure exposure a pregnancy would bring.) How Jacqueline feels about her choices and her identity as a woman is absolutely fascinating territory, but... one of the others might be better material for a conventional romance story?


Highlander


Characters: Tessa Noel, Randi McFarland, Angie Burke, Michelle Webster, Rachel MacLeod, Alexa Bond, Anne Lindsey

Prompt: Perhaps a story with a mortal villain to be overcome (like "Bad Day in Building A" or "Deadly Medicine") with Tessa bravely involved (like "See No Evil" and "Eyewitness")? Perhaps a story from when Tessa and Duncan were friends of Michelle's parents, and Michelle ("Rite of Passage") was a child? Or Randi re-entering canon later, elsewhere, working as the true investigative journalist she always wanted to be... or pushed out of journalism altogether? Or Rachel's subsequent government career, per her entry in The Watcher Chronicles? Or Angie reaching out to Richie after Tessa's death? Or Alexa (with Methos) in Egypt or Jerusalem per her The Watcher Chronicles entry? Or when and what (if anything) does Anne learn about Richie's death and Duncan's breakdown? Or a Duncan/Tessa romantic interlude from any time in their years together? Or even Duncan remembering Tessa (flashbacks!) and mourning her?

Parameters: Duncan/Tessa or gen preferred (other canonically-feasible romances fine as needed). No kinks, NC-17 or wild AUs, thanks. No student/teacher. And please, no Zeist, The Source or Horsemen (but Methos okay if needed). Thank you!

I believe that HL's Tessa epitomizes the rare woman character, unjustly neglected and underrated by her own fandom. Granted, Tessa is difficult to write! Because of the language issue, she doesn't achieve as strongly characteristic a voice on screen as many do, and because of her modern French background, her past can seem paradoxically less accessible to English-speaking fanwriters than even characters with distant historical backgrounds. But I love her strength, capability, determination and commitment. I admire her (while acknowledging her stumbling blocks). I also think, to this day, that she and Duncan are the best genre couple ever. I love how evenly matched they are in their relationship, despite Duncan's "head start" on life; I love their mutuality.

Randi (recurring through first season through "Band of Brothers"), Angie ("The Road Not Taken," "Revenge is Sweet" and a phone call in "See No Evil"), Michelle ("Rite of Passage") and Rachel (“Homeland,” “Deliverance,” “Promises”) are all also favorite characters of mine -- not just among HL's women, but among all HL's characters. I rooted for them each to return in canon, but obviously never got much satisfaction. Alexa ("Timeless") came into greater focus for me just this year with a Fandom Stocking wish. Anne, I never learned to understand until very recent years; I appreciate her now as I couldn't when the series first aired.

(I love the earlier seasons of HL more than the later seasons, though of course I know them all. The Duncan/Tessa&Richie family unit is a particular favorite trope, both before and after Tessa's death... and Richie's, too.)


Battlestar Galactica (1978)


Characters: Cassiopeia, Serina, Rigel, Tinia

Prompt: "Gold and love affairs are difficult to hide." --or-- "The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart."

Parameters: Gen or Starbuck/Cassiopeia or Apollo/Serina preferred (other canonically-feasible romances okay as needed). No kinks, NC-17 or wild AUs, thanks. No supposing that Boxey is not Serina's biological son, please (for me, on-screen canon overrides the novelization). Thank you!

Serina has been a favorite ever since I was a small child watching this series with my family, at once and at different ages a mother-figure and an identification. Cassiopeia is a newer favorite since I grew up and came to understand her (and her writers, directors, actress, and cultural context) better; I cannot but be uncomfortable with her original career, but I entirely endorse her determination and self-possession in every position in which she finds herself. As apparently the only woman on the Council of Twelve during the entire series, as well as clearly the least obtuse of the councilors, Tinia gets my support, and Rigel, the officer with the braids who relays command directives to operations, is a pretty, serene enigma. (Neither Athena nor Sheba are dear personal favorites, but I would be happy to read thoughtful, mature approaches to either or both of them -- that is, not eliding their struggles and sometimes poor choices.)



Again, thank you for playing this game in one of my best-beloved fandoms! I hope that you have loads of fun writing, and I look forward to reading your story!

Best wishes,
Amy
[Brightknightie]

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