prodigy: Julius Caesar from HBO's Rome painted and adorned for his triumph. (it was a wicked and wild wind)
the late, or rather, later Henrik Egerman ([personal profile] prodigy) wrote2011-11-15 12:22 pm
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Dear Yuletide Writer 2011

Hello, hello, hello! I'm going to take a page from everyone else's Yuletide book and say: welcome to Yuletide if you haven't been here before, and welcome back to it if you have. This is my seventh year with Yuletide and I'm as excited as ever, so thank you for being here with me and thank you, pre-emptively, for writing my assignment. I know that I'm going to love it and I know that, like a footprint on a sandy beach, I'm going to be delighted to find that anyone else knows and has written about one of my three fandoms at all. So thank you so much -- thank you for reading this entire TL;DR letter and thank you for all the toil and worry you put into my assignment, I promise that no matter what you write I'm going to be grateful and I'm going to be glad to have met you. Thank you and thank you again.

Everything I write here is optional. Please have fun -- this is your holiday even more than it's mine and if it's a miserable drag to write and you think you have a better idea, by any means pursue your better idea. I know it's not always easy to write for a Secret Santa challenge on deadlines, so I encourage you to follow your heart here and do what seems natural. All the details I'm providing below are just to make your life easier, not harder. I hope you find them useful.

I love nonlinear narratives used to tell a structured story, unreliable narrators and the unreliable stories they tell, elements of horror and suspense, dreamlike experiences, alternate universes, what-ifs and what-might-have-beens, literary allusions and meaningful soundtracks. For these fandoms and requests I love dashes of Rashomon and Twin Peaks and Possession and Silent Hill all. I'm still in love with snappy interplay and characterization, but character is setting and setting character in all of these cases. +1 for queerness even in a non-queer-centric story and the complications of sex and gender and human identity, which are always there even if they're not the focus -- especially when they're not the focus. Bittersweet is my favorite flavor. Surprise me, I love to be surprised, and I'd rather be surprised than comforted.

Alternately, get yourself a great big bottle of brandy and have some fun with this thing. If you're interested in writing one of these requests, chances are I'd like what came out of your mind anyway. Try me.

As a side note: I don't have any fanfic dealbreakers in terms of content, but I urge you to use the AO3 warning system and include any additional warnings for triggers or content that you think might be necessary, for the benefit of myself and other people on the archive. Please feel free to take risks, you're not going to squick me, as long as you're considerate to your readers and warn for what needs to be warned!

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Sleep No More
Any
I want atmospheric Sleep No More fic chronicling the experiences of a guest at the McKittrick Hotel watching and becoming drawn into the McKittrick story -- interpret this however you like, so long as it's creepy, meta, Jazz Age, and horrifically Macbeth. I recognize an Any request is a difficult and elusive creature, so please know that it doesn't indicate a lack of specific request here -- just that the format and premise of Sleep No More is such that it's nigh impossible to specify characters, though I'm sure if you signed up for it you knew that. :) God, how do you capture Sleep No More in a text work? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? I already give you props for considering doing so, so anything from here on out is a courtesy: as I said in my request, I'm looking for a story set at the McKittrick in the spirit of Sleep No More through the eyes of a guest. How does this work? For example, the narrator might be staying there and uncover a bloody ghost story that plays itself out over and over again in the halls of the McKittrick, or they might be present while the living story unfolds; either way, I'd love both the sense of alienation that being a Sleep No More guest evokes and also the sense of being seamlessly swallowed into the nightmarish world that overcomes you by the time your three hours are up. Come one come all with all your House of Leaves and "Hotel California," as those are both excellent jumping-off points for what I'm thinking here.

More specifics -- stories about being dragged in and obsessed despite starting out more detached/observant are fantastic. Sex and violence are lovely, and blood, and bloody violent sex, with whatever rating/warning you think suits: this is Sleep No More, after all, not for the faint of heart. Extra points for the canonical homoerotic elements and bisexuality, up to and including the extremely intense male-male version of the lindy hop on the dance floor and the oxhead rave. Extra points for including period detail and music, including the music in the show itself; all Shakespeare refs are welcome. Feel free to expand on the storyline and details of the show and construct your own theories as to what's transpiring (in fact, I'm pretty sure it'll be needful) -- take artistic license! All the artistic license! Do whatever the hell you want! Surprise me. In the end, whatever you do is going to surprise me. I'm really open to anything.

Your interpretation of Macbeth is also welcome here, if you choose to go that direction. If in the end what results is a Macbeth-themed original short story inspired by Sleep No More, then I will be completely delighted! Or anything else that results. Seriously, go hog wild.

What I really want here is a flavor of the horror and immersion and slow-moving memento mori inevitability you feel in the McKittrick Hotel: make me relive that even a little and I'll be a very, very happy kid on Christmas morning.

The Dig
Commander Boston Low/Dr. Ludger Brink/Maggie Robbins
AU -- what if things hadn't gone so well for Low, Brink, and Robbins? I'd love a version of the storyline capitalizing on the mind-blowing, beautiful, Lovecraftian alien survival horror story The Dig almost was. A darker spin on the events of the game would be lovely. Also I love Brink, so any and all featuring him in a prominent role would be fabulous. Oh, God, The Dig. You know, when I first played The Dig a little while ago I had nothing but endless dreams inspired by it for a few nights after, and it just sort of has that effect on people. But I couldn't help but keep thinking afterward that the whole game was building to a silent horrors-beyond-imagining climax that never came in favor of a nicer, more Spielberg ending; I'd love to see a version of Cocytus that has a more Lovecraftian result to the alien tampering and reason for the planet's emptiness, something that cashes in the endless potential the game environment had to be a horror game set in a world of beautiful rainbow colors and lavender sunsets. There was just something that filled you with awe and creeping dread unearthing what amounted to a gorgeous enormous tomb, wasn't there? So yes -- in case my original request wasn't clear enough, I'd like a dark AU of The Dig's storyline with a creepier mystery reveal, more blood and life crystal possession, and either an unhappy end or an ambiguous and hard-won one. However much tampering with the storyline or world of Cocytus you need to accomplish this is A-OK with me. I'm less attached to all the specific details of The Dig's worldbuilding than I am to the generalities, the atmosphere of the stunning empty world, and the characters/events vaguely involved. However much you blacken the mood of the plot, I'd love it if you kept the dissonant beauty of the setting -- it's part of what sets The Dig apart from other alien-world xenoarchaeological endeavors.

Specifics beyond that: my headcanon of Boston Low is that he's a cheerful blithering idiot, possibly impacted by how I made him show Brink his shovel about 9000 times, so if you want to interpret him that way too I would be chuffed. Maggie and Brink have easier personalities -- I'm going to take the time here to say I LOVE LUDGER BRINK. There, I said it. Seriously, I spent way too much time trying to drag every single dialogue response out of his beautiful irascible German mouth, so all the Brink snark is utterly welcome at this table, you can possess him or de-possess him as you like or make him a bigger villain or make him the actual hero of the piece (<-- !! this idea appeals to me) or whatever, so long as there is Brink involvement. I actually don't care if there's a pairing interpretation between any of these two characters (or hell, all three); if you think it suits the story you're trying to tell, then go right ahead.

All ratings are fine: this is horror, after all, I understand things can get kind of disturbing. I'd love if you preserved a sense of the snark/reaction-type humor that came through in the game along with the atmosphere and the creepiness, if possible. For The Dig I prefer creeping realization to shock, insinuation to overstatement, but don't take this to mean I'm squeamish about bad things happening and people doing bad things -- life crystals can have a pretty terrible effect on a being. Just so long as there's Brink. Personally, I don't know why Brink's not leading this team. Seriously, it seems unfair, but LucasArts rejected my Vindication of the Rights of Brink so here I am.


The Debt
Rachel Singer/David Peretz
Rachel/David. What could've been, maybe, or Rachel and/or David's perspective on their doomed love for the other: I prefer tragedy to revisionist happy endings here keeping in mind that Rachel and David might've genuinely had a shot of being happy together in another world. G to NC-17 all welcome, definitely not complaining if you find ways to make this one a little sexier. Tensions with Stefan also welcome. My most straight-up pairing request here, partly because I left the theater on The Debt feeling a bit stunned and also a bit heartbroken and unresolved on David and Rachel's behalf. I preferred the flashback storyline to the current one, so if you want to set your story primarily/mostly over the course of their mission to retrieve Vogel then be my guest; the actors' performances there are my favorite anyway and it sets up the most despairing, fraught, sexually tense dynamic between the three of them. I ship Rachel/David so I would love an in-depth paean to their relationship, be it romance/smutfic or unresolved character study, brimming with silent UST or with fruitless dialogue interchange; something about their there-but-for-the-grace-of-God relationship really compels me, between serious awkward young Rachel and serious awkward young David and the complicating matter of Stefan. Speaking of whom, Rachel/Stefan is definitely present and important so please do feel free to examine it; it's not my ship or preferred focus here but it's a crucial part of the story, and however you spin their trio dynamic, their tensions are integral to the story of The Debt and things wouldn't have transpired the way they did without the contributions and escalations of all three of them. Marton Csokas is easily my favorite performance in the movie, anyway. So write me something about what it's like to be David Peretz, from the silent tormentedness of his life and singularity of his mission (and how it doesn't translate into unquestioning bloodthirst with Vogel) and the pained yearning he feels for Rachel, or about what it's like to be Rachel Singer, about her mission and the difficulty of her role in it and the pressures of being a woman in what they all silently know they've been told is a man's job and how much David represents a human connection she's never gotten to have and a freer life she never quite lets herself lead -- okay, I ship it, if it's Rachel/David I'm going to be pretty happy anyway.

For this pairing I go for the angst, the tragedy, the unresolved and the unrequited, but don't let that ratings-constrain you; they were also completely yearning to bone onscreen the entire time, I am just observing, so if you want to have that transpire (even in imagination) I am, uh, not objecting. My favorite is the younger storyline for plot compellingness, but I also love their older selves. I'd love: the claustrophobia of their setting, the silent paranoia of having to live undercover in East Berlin for all that time, details on their various backstories and relationships with WWII and the Israeli cause, meditations on Vogel and how they each see Vogel and what Vogel is to them, sarcasm from Stefan, more ironic piano tunes, 1960s pop culture, the heat of international politics in this time, the politics of Nazi hunting in general, the urban dystopian paranoia of the Berlin Wall, the difficulties and complexities of planning a spy caper as Mossad agents.

An extra consideration for this fandom is the complicated issue of Nazi hunting and what moral stance to take on its media presentations. I'm a little uncomfortable with source material that too tidily presents the revenge fantasy of Nazis as cackling criminals to prevent you from having to feel bad for them, and The Debt itself sometimes dangerously treads this ground, so if you want to present Vogel as a force of pure evil I'd prefer if you root that in Rachel or David's POVs -- not that I think that's inaccurate to their POVs, just that I don't want an unintentionally unambiguous revenge tale and I'd like to preserve the feelings of discomfort you get from the bit where Vogel's asking after his wife when they first capture him. I like a version of the story that is not a casual violence apologist and recognizes that there's some moral ambiguity to Mossad and Mossad operations.

Basically, I want to see what was behind the silences in Rachel Singer's and David Peretz's lives and I'd genuinely just like to read a story about how they loved each other -- not just that they loved each other, but how. I'll be happy with any iteration of this.

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