justasterisms: lydia-adams @ tumblr (black sails; max)
h. ([personal profile] justasterisms) wrote2016-10-04 01:24 pm
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yuletide 2016

Hello, darling writer! First things first: thank you so much for writing for me! Honestly, I love all these characters and relationships, and if you allow me to spend more time with them and write a story YOU enjoy writing, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be happy. <3

You can check out my tumblr here (anon is on, feel free to throw a question my way), my AO3 here, and my previous Yuletide letters here.

I like: strong character voice, slow build, introspective pieces, clever dialogue, character studies, character studies through porn, character studies through plot, worldbuilding, slice-of-life, difficult conversations, complicated relationships, unreliable narrators, pining, the exploration of power dynamics, humor, angst, tragedy and Tragedy, romance and Romance, sad endings, happy endings, and the whole spectrum of endings in between.

I don't like: rape/non-con, any sex featuring bodily fluids that are not usually involved, a/b/o, major character death, greater-than-canon-typical violence, AUs.

Black Sails
Max, Eleanor Guthrie

I LOVE this sad gay pirate romp of a show! I love it's themes of resistance to civilization, based on the thesis that if civilization is corrupt then the only honest thing to do is resist it, and then how it constantly complicates and questions that thesis, it's themes of storytelling, myth, and their roles in the construction of identities. And also it's sheer pirate romp-iness, of course!

And I looooove Max. She's a character type I'm always so fond of: she is both incredibly kind, compassionate, and empathetic, but also ambitious, steely, and calculating, without either side negating the other. Her narrative arc is without a doubt my favorite on a show just brimming with wonderfully done character development.

I love Eleanor too, because of her many flaws; I find her a compelling type of "unlikable" female character that many shows try for but often fail to succeed fully with (for me) because they lack Black Sails basic narrative empathy, pathos, and care in presenting Eleanor's worldview and motivations. She's self-righteous, hypocritical, vindictive, and short-sighted, but I always buy her pull on others because of how compelling I myself find her sheer will, bravery, and nerve.  

And their relationship is so fascinating! I'm interested in their background before the show begins. Mrs. Mapleton implies to Max in season 3 that she arranged Max for Eleanor as she's proposing to arrange a prostitute for Max, which throws a sharper light on the skewed power dynamics that were very much present in episode one. How did they go from that beginning to the obvious mutual love that's present when the show begins? How did Max feel about it to begin with, was she resentful? Intrigued? Was it just another job that transformed into more or was it different from the beginning, and how did Eleanor's gender and Max's (to me) exclusive sexual and romantic interest in women play into it? Eleanor must have thought the emotional stakes would be lower here, so how did she begin to let her guard down, if she ever really did? Anything exploring this tangled emotional territory would please me to no end, and if you decided to do it via porn, my Christmas would pretty much be made. 

Alternatively or in addition, their relationship in season 3 is just fantastic. They're now equals, they're now allies, but of course there is still so much complicated, weighty history underlying it all. The way they mirror each other and understand each other on this whole new level as women who have both tried to achieve power in this male world is so fascinating. Anything that looks at their navigating this new relationship would delight me, whether it remains platonic, features angsty hook-ups, or moves into romantic territory more durable or long-lasting than their previous relationship.

A note: I love Anne and ship Max/Anne really hard as well, and have no problems with Max's relationship with Anne and it's impact being acknowledged. I am less fond of Eleanor's various relationships but am interested about what they say about her and how they affect her, so don't mind them being explored in the context of her and Max either, and indeed it would seem weird if they were ignored altogether.

Poldark (TV 2015)
Demelza Crane, Ross Poldark

Note: I haven't seen the second season and don't know if I will by the time Christmas around, so. I'm mainly interested in their season 1 relationship arc anyway!

So the main draw of Poldark for me is how sexy Ross/Demelza is despite several enormously unsettling things about its premise - he's her boss, it seems like there's a pretty significant age difference, there's a huge class gulf. So I'm interested in the gender and class dynamics here being worked out...SEXUALLY. They obviously have a really fantastic sex life that Demelza enjoys, and I want to see that navigated, with all the discomforts I mentioned above explored, and embraced and not cast aside, in whatever way seems interesting to you. I'd be happy with porn here - especially something that both explores the tensions of their relationship in their wider lives and then takes those tensions to the privacy of the bedroom, and maybe see their sex life become a place of freedom from those tensions. If that makes sense! I don't want these power dynamics dismissed or easily overcome, but rather a look at the ways in which their marriage could be satisfying to Demelza anyway, and the ways it isn't.

But if you don't want to write sex, I'd be MORE THAN HAPPY with anything about Demelza and her struggles, I adore her, and I'm interested in anything from her POV whether from her time as Ross's maid to navigating her new life and situation in society after she marries, as well as of course her relationship with Ross itself. I haven't requested any other characters, but I'd be interested in exploring her friendship with Verity or the tense, wary, grudging respect between her and Elizabeth. 

Some random notes:

-Ross and his continuing fixation on Elizabeth, and how that plays into their relationship. "Elizabeth was born yo be admired." "And I was born to pull turnips!"- oof, what a line. What are his expectations of Demelza's behavior, especially how they hold up to his ideals of womanhood as represented by Elizabeth? How does Demelza make sense of and experience those kind of subconscious expectations?
-The scene where Demelza tells Ross that marriage hasn't changed at all, except for her getting less sleep KIND OF SUMS UP EVERYTHING I'M INTERESTED IN HERE. It's both sexy and a bit disconcerting. They are married but what is a wife but a maid with sexual access added in, really? In terms of their relationship outside the bedroom, this is what i'm interested in.How do they go from being employer/employee with added sex to a MARRIAGE? Are they able to find something resembling equitable partnership?    
-BAD SEX. I kind of would love a story where Ross like doesn't even know what the clit is, I mean Demelza is obviously THIRSTY but what if she's actually kind of disappointed in the prospect of the marital bed post alas-we-must-wed-because-I-just-deflowered-you? What if their first encounter had her lying back and thinking of England? WHAT IF THE WHOLE TIME HE THINKS HE AN EXPERT LOVER OF WOMEN. "what if" just kidding he definitely does. He may be inconceivably toned for a Cornish country gentleman but it is like 1780, I don't have much confidence in him. SHOW ME THEM FUMBLING THEIR WAY TO MUTUAL SATISFACTION DESPITE THE ODDS AGAINST THEM. 

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Fanny Price, Mary Crawford

I really like Mansfield Park, and I like it mostly because I am actually really fond of Fanny as a heroine! She's quiet and at first glance kind of a doormat, but has a uncompromising set of ethics and an iron core where it really counts. I have so much sympathy for the passivity that seems to be very off-putting to most readers nowadays, but is so obviously the effect of a childhood of neglect and abuse. I'm also interested in what parts of her character ARE unappealing to me, her judgemental attitude that occasionally edges into mean-spiritedness, her inflexibility and intolerance that is the negative flip side of that wonderful moral clarity.  

I love Mary Crawford! I love that she's a typical Austen heroine, save for the skewed moral compass, I love her cheerful, mostly benign selfishness matched with genuine warmth and kindness, I love her wit and charm, I love her obvious experience of the wider world.

Mansfield Park suffers today because of Austen's novels it's the one most steeped in a stale-feeling moral and cultural sensibility, it's the most truly OF it's time rather than the relative timelessness of say, Pride and Prejudice, and that's exactly what I find interesting about it. And what I'd like explored here, via the medium of Fanny and Mary, who are such fascinating mirrors. Whether you want to take that into romantic or sexual territory or leave it platonic up to you. I'm not so much interested in total divergence AUs where Mary/Fanny end up together instead of Fanny/Edmund, as that would undercut the things I mentioned above about the book's appeal.

But what about something during the course of the story? How could her obvious fascination/crush on Mary come to a head, given the facts of her character? If you want to go the porn route (which I would welcome!), I think there are, ahem, interesting things to be done with Fanny passivity and self-righteousness, especially coming up against sexual desire for another woman. Or what about post book, with Mary and Fanny crossing paths after Fanny and Edmund's marriage, and Fanny's unwilling fascination with Mary reappearing? What about Fanny as a widow? An AU where Mary and Edmund marry and Fanny is still living as their poor relation? 

It's up to you! I'd be interested in anything you'd happy to throw at me examining these women and their relationship, whether straight-forwardly antagonistic, improbable tense friendship, or improbable tense something more. Wink wink.