Black Emporium letter

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:36 am
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Sorry for the novel length rambling, don't stress and have fun following your muse, as long as you avoid my DNWs I am sure whatever you make will fill me with happy shippy joy :)

Basics:

DNWs: Sad endings (a little bittersweetness is ok), contagious zombie-ness, parasites, sympathetic rapists, rape, incest, child harm, underage sex, gender essentialism (Men are like X/women are like Y), simplistic "the chantry is 100% right" attitudes supported by the narrative, onscreen sex without feelings.

I am fine with vague references to my DNWs, especially if they happened in canon and are hard to completely avoid. And I am 100% cool with characters having off screen sex without feelings, and maybe thinking about it positively during the story. Especially Isabela, for whom NOT doing so would be OOC! But actually seeing that sex described in detail sets off a squick.

What I want: something relatively happy and shippy, and either fic that tells a story or art that implies one.

For fic I really want that story to be one where the characters go through (overall positive) emotional change. This means I tend not to like established relationship fic unless it contains some personal or relationship growth. A bit of plot is good too. I like moments of change in art, too, but it's not as much of a priority.

My general preferences

In all works I like a sense of empathy for all the characters, and subverting power relationships both big and small.

Pretty much my favourite thing in ship fic is a POV character with a great deal of self doubt coming to the realisation that they really are important to the person (or people) they love, especially if it's a one two punch of "Gasp! I love them! Oh, but they would never love me" followed by "OMG THEY LOVE ME TOO??". The obvious way to do this is a getting together story, but "realising there is more to this friends with benefits relationship than just sex" moments work too and may be more in character for some of these pairings. I like relationship dynamics to be pretty balanced, and the love interest(s) should have some self doubt too. POV shifts so that everyone in the pairing gets their turn to be all OH NO/OMG is AMAZING if you feel up to it.

With art, I absolutely love "OH NO I LOVE THEM" and "WAIT WHAT THEY LOVE ME" moments if you can come up with a good scenario, but also really enjoy in character moments of connection and affection that capture what makes the couple great. With these pairings in particular pretty much any cute couple scanario will make me go aww :)

One of my favourite plots for shippy fic or art is the couple working together to achieve something, where we see how they bring out the best in each other and work well as a team. A lot of these characters have VERY strongly held beliefs and goals, and I'd love to see them respect each others beliefs and help each other achieve their goals.

Also forced intimacy is my JAM. Huddling for warmth, fake dating, all of it. So great for OH NO THEY'RE HOT :D

Note: I generally prefer non-noble female PCs but just do whatever works for the story. I'm cool with original first names. I tend to get thrown out of works that go too far from canon with the NPCs, but enjoy when OCs and PCs add some subtle background diversity eg disabled/non binary/fat etc characters. No making a big deal about it, though, please.

A post about what I generally like in fanworks if you want EVEN MORE ideas.

On smut

I tend not to enjoy sexually explicit art, though a bit of sexual charge can add spice, especially to OH NO THEY'RE HOT. The dynamic I describe in the next paragraph certainly doesn't go astray in (mildly) sexy art.

I can enjoy explicit fic, but have pretty narrow tastes: mild sexiness or fade to black is fine in a wide range of scenarios, but explicit sexual scenes only tend to work for me if the POV character is (a) Feeling strongly emotionally drawn to their partner and (b) feeling a certain amount of negative emotions about having sex. I don't want to see these characters dubconning each other (except maybe a little from Leliana), or being sexually miserable forever, so it would have to (a) be external to the couple or internal self doubt and (b) get resolved by the end. So, for example: a fic where Fenris has sex with Hawke and Isabela while thinking they are both amazing and he loves them but they are better off without him, then as the fic progresses he realises they love him too and it ends with the three of them happily together. Or Sigrun and Velanna have angsty "we're about to die (oh no you're dying too and I love you)" sex during the fake calling, but then it turns out to be fake. Or disquieting xeno! You'd have to put some creativity into having that be relevant to these pairings (Sigrun becomes a titan??) but if you feel inspired I won't complain ;)

Fenris/Isabela: What I love about this pairing is that they recognise and respect each other's mutual yearning for freedom. I thus see them being VERY careful not to push or pressure for commitment or discussions of feelings. And while I do see those things happening slowly over time, I can't see them ever getting married or being an entirely conventional couple. I tend to imagine them as poly but am fine with them being monogamous.

I'm naturally inclined to stick with the canon that they started out as friends with benefits, but if you'd rather a different start that's cool. Either way, what I live for is moments of tentatively growing trust and connection.

Specific DNW: either of them being unambiguously only into the opposite sex. You don't have to make it explicit that they're bi, just don't contradict it.

Prompts:
I'd love to hear what they're up to during Inquisition, or see them working together to fight slavers or other bad guys. A quiet moment of peace and connection (maybe after some badassery!) would be lovely too.

Fenris/Isabela/f!Hawke: So what I love about this setup is that it gives all three of them such great reasons to be consumed with self doubt. I like a scenario where Act 2 progressed much like canon does if Hawke romances Isabella and then Fenris, and Act 3 starts with Fenris and Isabela both thinking "I should just accept I ruined things with Hawke and hope they find happiness with [other love interest]", while Hawke thinks "Oh no I alienated BOTH of them" and the three of them are awkward and angsty at each other until they figure everything out.

All the stuff I said about Fenris/Isabela above applies to them inside the triad. Given the dynamics in canon I tend to see them being initially more focussed on Hawke and only coming to feelings for each other more slowly, if at all. I am fine with their relationship not being explicitly romantic in the work as long as they have a strong close friendship, but romance would be awesome if you can get it to work.

I know how hard it is to capture all three sub-pairings in ot3 works, but if you can manage it via multiple POVs/pictures or whatever that would be spectacular.

I don't care if Hawke is a mage or red/blue etc, but so things feel balanced would want her having her own Emotional Issues and not being too much The Well Adjusted One. Maybe similar issues to Isabela and Fenris, or maybe something contrasting like being friendly but socially awkward. Note that while I like nb!PCs, Hawke has to be a woman for this prompt or you'll break the rules of the exchange.

Prompts:
A smooshing together of the Fenris and Isabela romances into a coherent whole would be great. Or if you want to do something bit more original, maybe Hawke is in a relationship with one of them post DA2 and then they all get reunited, and it's all awkwardness and guilt, and then catharsis and smooches. (off on the wild seas with Isabela? I tend to see them as poly already but that doesn't solve everything) Or Fenris and Isabela team up to rescue Hawke from the fade!

Bethany/Merril: What I love about these two is they're both easily dismissed but have hidden depths. I can see them recognising that about each other, and making each other feel understood and respected.

I like this pairing a *little* fluffier and less consumed with angsty self doubt than the others, but cutely shy self doubt is A+. My preferred scenario tends to be post DA2 with Circle Bethany, since that makes it easiest to imagine a happy ending, but there's something to be said for an emotionally fraught reunion in Act 3 with Warden Bethany (a hug at that moment would make for cute art!)

Prompts:
I'd love to see them doing magic together, or helping rebuild/fix Kirkwall (SOMEONE has to do something about all that evil magic architecture). Or working together to rescue Hawke from the fade! If you can fit in Merrill getting the chance to use one of the bazillion working eluvians from DAI/Trespasser all the better :D

No smut for this pairing please but fade to black is fine.

Cassandra/Leliana: Ah, so much history and such complex feelings! I love that they have years of mutual trust and respect, and in some ways are very similar people, yet they have this pain and awkwardness between them (that we can fix with our imaginations ;)).

I'd love to see them work through the pain of the events of Inquisition, and their differing views on the future of the Chantry, and find their ways to a closer and more comfortable relationship. They will never agree on everything, but can still respect and help each other.

Prompts:
I would absolutely love to see Cassandra coming to the horrified realisation that she's into Leliana AFTER Leliana becomes Divine. Leliana could either not realise what's going on and wonder why Cassandra is being so weird all of a sudden, or flirt a bit (either as a joke or sincerely), get rebuffed, and take out her frustration and hurt feelings by flirting and watching Cassandra squirm (which Cassandra would probably read as pure trolling) Since Inquisition I have been tormented by a frustratingly vague mental image of Leliana in her Divine outfit flirting with Cassandra in a somewhat personal-space invading way and Cassandra blushing like crazy as she is torn between retreat and reciprocation. Leliana is a decent person at heart and cares for Cassandra, so she wouldn't take it TOO far, and being me I want her to have some self doubt and mixed feelings too.

If sexy!pope Leliana isn't your jam I'd be happy with anything that gets them closer and happier after the events of Inquisition without glossing over their differences too much.

Velanna/Sigrun: What I love about these two is that they have both, in their way, been made bitter and resigned by pain and loss, and are willing to throw their lives away. They also have a shared love of snarkily deflating privileged humans/nobles/men :) Yet their different personalities make for a charming contrast, and could lead to mutual benefit: Sigrun helping Velanna be less serious all the time, and Velanna encouraging Sigrun to be less passive.

What I really want to see is the two of them helping each other value themselves beyond their use to others, and to find things worth living for. I am imagining a friendship with shippy overtones or a "meaningless doomed fling" where, in either case, they realise they actually want to stick around and open up to each other, and have to reassess their life and plans. I don't want them giving up on their values, just finding a way to pursue them and still be happy.

Prompts: Sigrun helps Velanna find her sister, or come to terms with not finding her. Helping each other through the fake calling, and maybe realising they don't want to die yet. Getting to know each other's cultures and experiences: visiting a Dalish clan (maybe helping them stick it to some sucky humans!), learning about the weird dwarf stuff from Descent etc.

wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:34 pm
isis: (head)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb, a short story with a lot of trans and/or gay characters and a demon (who turns out to be actually pretty nice). I enjoyed it all right but it didn't really make much impression on me. The worldbuilding's rather vague and there's not much in the way of plot, but I expect it resonates more with trans people. It's been nominated for [community profile] yuletide and is free online at http://thebooksmugglers.com/2017/08/avi-cantor-six-months-live-sacha-lamb.html

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (abandoned). I like the idea of presenting the story as excerpts of conversation, magazine articles, books, and so on. But it didn't work in the ebook format with minimal formatting, and also, it just didn't work for me in the more conversational sections because I felt as though I never got to know any of the characters enough to care about them. Though I appreciated the cleverness of the idea that the spirits of the dead are unaware that they are dead, glossing over the strangenesses in their new selves and referring to tombs as "sick-homes" and coffins as "sick-boxes", the general absurdity just didn't appeal to me and I found the slow pace boring.

What I'm reading now:

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan, the second book in the Trials of Apollo series, because after I realized I could either wait forever for the ebook, or pick up a physical copy from the library RIGHT NOW, I opted for the latter. I am still loving this series so much, especially since one of my favorite characters from another series, who showed up at the end of the first book, is a major character in this one. (skip) Leo Valdez! ♥ And Calypso! With whom Apollo has a history, so it's hilarious. Also, I'm impressed with how Riordan manages to have gay and bisexual characters in a way appropriate for middle grade, too.

I'm not listening to Airborn since I've been sick, and audiobooks are for exercise, but hope to get back to it soon now that my lungs are coughing out the last of the phlegm.

What I'm reading next:

While I was at the library I also picked up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has been recommended to me by a number of people. Also the second volume of Saga.

Other than that, still playing Dragon Age: Origins (in Orzammar now). Mostly I'm writing fanfiction :-)

Weekly Reading

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:05 pm
tamsin: (Gunnerkrigg Court - Kat & Annie)
[personal profile] tamsin
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
It's available for free online here. A really affecting story. What made it for me where the small details, like the water buffalo wanting to wallow and jumping into the soy sauce.

What I’m Reading Now

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
I really like Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, so I picked this up at a book flea market. I'm not very far in yet. I'm currently at the point where professor Challenger invites the protagonist back into his house after having bodily thrown him out a moment before. He's certainly a memorable character. I loved the interaction with his wife.

What I Plan to Read Next

Probably This Census-Taker by China Mieville since it needs to go back to the library soon.

remix and other festathons

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:30 pm
isis: Write what you're told! (micah wright)
[personal profile] isis
Hopefully if you're planning on signing up for [community profile] trickortreatex you've already done so, as sign-ups close in under 3 hours. (Of course, you can always write treats!) I've been diddling with my offers but I think I'm set. Ordinarily I think of it as warm-up for [community profile] yuletide, but considering that I've been doing a lot of exchanges recently (maybe too many) it's not exactly that for me this year!

Speaking of exchanges-in-progress, I've got the next two weeks to finish my [community profile] femslashex fic - I finally got a good grip on what I want to write and it's going like gangbusters now - and to incorporate beta changes into my [community profile] crossovering fic. Then it will be time to write whatever I get assigned for [community profile] trickortreatex, and to sign up for [community profile] yuletide. Whew!

But one exchange is done and dusted, and that is [community profile] remixrevival! There are two remixes of my work, one in the main exchange and one in madness, both in Raven Cycle fandom, and I have no idea if they are by different people, though each was done with a different approach. And even though this isn't a gift exchange, I'm delighted by both of them and happily ticked the "link to this related work" button, because they're both great, and I enjoyed reading them even though I'm not really in the fandom any more.

But to return, and view the cheerful skies (1727 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Ronan Lynch/Adam Parrish
Characters: Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Long-Distance Relationship, Murder Squash Song, Remix
Summary: Come visit, Adam didn’t say, because at some point before he even met Ronan, he had set himself this idiotic challenge: he would do everything he could to prove to himself that he could make it alone.

This is a sequel to a ficlet I wrote for [personal profile] jain a few years ago for [community profile] fandom_stocking, but it also stands alone as an exploration of the same basic idea (so therefore it's a legit remix), and the author very subtly brought it into compliance with the last book in the series, which hadn't been published at the time I wrote the original. Stylistically it's fabulous (and exactly the style I love to read), the details are delightful, and the ending made me grin a little and tear up a little and I'm not even in the fandom any more.

Disappearing Act (the Smarter than I Look remix) (950 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Noah Czerny/Joseph Kavinsky
Characters: Noah Czerny, Joseph Kavinsky, Ronan Lynch, Richard Gansey III
Additional Tags: Non-Consensual Oral Sex, Ghost Sex, Supernatural Elements
Summary:

Kavinsky's still around, which means he's still dangerous. There are ways to change that. But they're not fun.

This is a remix of a nasty little noncon story I originally wrote as a kinkmeme fill, but what's brilliant about it is that the author used a POV shift to completely change the meaning of the original story, revealing the original POV as an unreliable narrator. This is one of my favorite devices in fiction - it's a feature of the brilliant Iain Pears book An Instance of the Fingerpost, and I've used it in remixes before - and it shows that Noah has agency, rather than being the victim.

While I'm talking remixes, have a few recs:

Underworld (the Etruscan pottery remix) (5 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Etruscan Mythology
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Female Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Vanth (Etruscan Mythology), Karun (Etruscan Mythology), Tuchulcha (Etruscan Mythology)
Additional Tags: Digital Art, Fanart, Etruscan mythology - Freeform, Red-figure vase painting, Underworld
Summary: "I could not leave you here alone," Thana said./Velia folded her hands over Thana's. "I wanted you to live, my love."/"I know," Thana said. "But I could not leave you here."

This is beautiful fanart, which makes a bit more sense after you've read the (linked) original story, which is a sort of f/f Orpheus story, also very good and makes sense even if you're not familiar with Etruscan mythology.

Down the Garden Path (and what Alice found there) (4517 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
Additional Tags: Dreams and Nightmares, Dreams vs. Reality, Non-Linear Narrative, Board Games, Pastiche, Poetry, journeys, Nursery Rhymes, Werewolves
Summary: Alice throws a six, and finds herself on the square of the hypotenuse. But she's been here before, and she'll be here again, and perhaps she's already here...

This amazing expansion of the original ficlet is fantastic, in both literal and figurative senses. The early bits are perfect pastiche of Carroll's nonsense, and then the later chapters are really quite transcendental, bringing sense to the nonsense and gathering all the elements together in a lovely way.

Of course I wrote something for the exchange as well, though it's unlikely that you'll stumble over it unless you know the fandom. I'll post about it when works are revealed next week.

Dear Trick-or-Treater!

Sep. 16th, 2017 03:59 pm
isis: (harry punkin)
[personal profile] isis
I like: historical (if appropriate) and worldbuildy detail, scenery porn, what-if AUs, original characters, time travel, bodyswap, ghost/afterlife stories, mythological and supernatural elements, and magical realism. I like gen, het, slash, and femslash. In general I'm not a fan of AU that completely changes the setting, but if you have a brilliant idea, go for it; I would prefer "interesting" to "mundane" AUs, e.g., in SPAAAACE yes, coffeeshop no. (Coffeeshop in SPAAAACE, okay!).

In fic: I prefer past tense to present tense, though don't feel constrained by this preference if your story really wants to be in present tense. I don't really care for second-person narration, but again, feel free to slip this preference if you have a fantastic idea. I'm happy with epistolary fic. I like lots of dialogue. If you want to create IF, go for it!

In art: I like both serious portraits and funny little cartoons. I have a soft spot for art in which one character is doing something typical-but-alarming, and the other is rolling his or her eyes, or reacting with horror, or getting ready to douse them with a bucket of water, or whatever. Stylistically, I love interesting and experimental compositions, unusual perspectives, emphasis on textures such as hair and clothing, and scenery porn (Mountains! Trees! Cliffs with water crashing on them! Brooding ruins of an ancient castle!) and I like line drawings as well as full color.

Tricks I would like: ghost stories (either scary or sweet), supernatural elements, afterlife stories, relationships between living characters and ghosts/spirits/supernatural entities, meddling deities, magical objects that do surprising things. I don't care for explicit horror, but I like mildly spooky things. In general I prefer happy endings, but see individual fandoms.

Treats I would like: romance, friendship, wacky hijinks, first kisses, first times (of anything), comedy of errors, matchmaking. Please don't add in any unrequested background non-canonical relationship. Explicit sex okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for that era or fandom. UST, gen, whatever. It's all good. I certainly like explicit sex in fic, but I prefer more focus on the emotions than the physical mechanics, and my preferences are fairly vanilla: mouths, hands, genitals, toys, all are fine, but I'm not into BSDM or bloodplay or watersports or anything that might get a special tag.

I would prefer not to receive explicit horror (fic or art), any kink you'd specifically tag, or artwork that depicts explicit sex (NSFW R-rated is fine, NC17 showing genitals is not). I do not want any fic focusing on pregnancy, children, or with the A/B/O trope.

And now onto the specific fandoms. Please note that prompts may be spoilery. Also, I tend to go rather light on prompts, because if I had particular ideas, I'd write them myself! If none of my vague ideas appeal to you, I assure you that as long as you incorporate things I have said I like, and avoid things I have listed as dislikes, I will be happy with whatever you choose to create.

17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future - Jon Bois (Juice, Nine, Ten) )

The Mark of the Horse Lord - Rosemary Sutcliff (Conory, Murna, Midir, Phaedrus) )

Old Kingdom - Garth Nix (Original Clayr, Lirael, Nicholas, Sameth) )

The Shining Company - Rosemary Sutcliff (Prosper, Faelinn) )

Wiedźmin | The Witcher (videogame) (Cirilla, Cerys, Sylvia Anna | Syanna) )

Halfassed Hiveswap Act 1 Walkthrough

Sep. 15th, 2017 03:14 pm
alias_sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Hiveswap Act 1 is the long awaited Homestuck point and click adventure game! It's a lot of fun and not TOO hard but I still got stuck sometimes. Also quite short! Here's a full playthrough video I used when I got stuck.

Note for anyone with bad reflexes: the vast majority of it isn't time based but one section is and I found it mildly challenging as someone with very poor hand eye coordination. Also there's some references to abusive behaviour on par with stuff in Homestuck.

Below the cut is a half remembered text walkthrough. It's just the relevant instructions, but still pretty spoilery.
Read more... )

wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:25 pm
isis: winged Isis image (wings)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. Short graphic novel that is a bit darker than I had expected. Well done and a quick, entertaining read.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, which is book 1 in the Trials of Apollo series. I didn't even know about this series until someone mentioned it in relation to the Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase books! I love how these book series interweave. Riordan's genius is in humor that is both silly and poignant, with heartfelt sentiment at its core. The god Apollo may be a total jerk, but as a human teen he is forced to confront his egoism and poor choices of the past, and maybe he'll come out of it a better, er, god. (Also, I am so pleased by the setup for the next book, and am anxiously awaiting my library hold to come through!)

What I'm reading now:

I'm still sort of poking at Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, but if it doesn't grab me soon I'm ditching it.

I'm also somewhere in the middle (I have no idea how far in I am, really, because my waterproof mp3 player has no display) of Airborn by Matt Cruse, which is reminding me more of Steampunk Tom Sawyer than anything else. I'm enjoying it, though some of the events (the volcano that happens to start erupting as they go by!) make me roll my eyes.

What I'm reading next:

I have a couple of things people have mentioned nominating for Yuletide on my phone to check out. Also, I may give in and read the last of the existing Expanse books. (But then there won't be any more! Not for a while!)

What I just finished watching:

Finally saw Ex Machina, which I mostly liked but really, I wanted more scenery porn. Apparently it was filmed in Norway. Beautiful! Oh, yeah, AI robot plot and mad scientist type, whatever.

We are thinking of starting Westworld, speaking of AI robots.

What I'm playing now:

Still Dragon Age: Origins, which continues to be excellent entertainment. I have a golem companion now, who is a hilariously sarcastic pigeon-hating pile of rocks that is good at bashing enemies. Also I can't manage to make my character be anything other than basically lawful good. I am terrible at choosing objectively awful responses to things, even when they look like they might have interesting results!

What I'm playing next:

I bought the second Witcher game for $3 from a Humble Bundle promotion, so I will give that a try next.

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