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[personal profile] skazka
(Exchange letters for the past few years can be read here.)

Dear Yuletide Writer,

You are a champion of the world! My letters are traditionally a little long-winded, so I'll skip the introductions and just thank you up-front for writing for me this year. All the following details are totally optional and it's in no way an exhaustive checklist of things you've got to cram into one story; I hope you write something you're stoked about and have a great time this Yuletide. Format-wise, I'm wide open to whatever you want to try, whether that's weird experimental interactive fiction or blank verse or orderly third-person past-tense prose.



Some general things I dig: historical details, especially domestic/lifestyle details; little gleams of joy or scenes of happiness for characters who in the long term might not see a lot of it; allegiances and loyalty; characters who aren't certain if they can trust their senses and perceptions; dreaminess; gothic horror tropes -- claustrophobia, doubt, guilt, and decay; trauma and PTSD; people being disarmingly tender in a difficult environment; chains of events that have been building for a long time; symbols of status and political office/social role; ambiguity; a sense of transience, of time being against characters or societal change going on around them; spooky atmosphere; cozy atmosphere; poetry and song; always-a-girl genderswap; family relationships and friendships; partners in crime; scheming; dramatic irony; in-universe documents (letters, manuscripts, musical scores, etc. -- whether real or fictional). I love ghost stories, body horror, parental baggage, and religious themes of any kind, though obviously you're not obligated to touch any of that with a 10-foot pole.

(Absolutely all of these prompts and interests are separate options, not things that I want all of in one fic. Given that some of them are mutually contradictory or at least hard to reconcile, I wouldn't be that cruel. Or would I? No, I would not, at least I hope not.)

I'm up for anything in terms of plot (plotty longfic, introspection, mysteries, casefic, PWPs, cracky hijinks, five-times fics…) but I have an especial fondness for fix-it fics, and also for whatever the opposite of fix-it fics are. (Break-it fic?) Pairing-wise, I'm not monoshippy in basically any fandom, so feel free to write any pairing, multiple pairings, OT3s and poly pairings, etc. I dig slash, femslash, het, and any other combinations of genders. As far as nominated characters, you are under zero obligation to include all requested characters in the same fic!

Kink-wise, I dig restrained domestic intimacy between friends and allies, and screwed-up bleak bad-guy hatefucking, and just about anything between those poles, really. (I'm fine with noncon and dubcon, though I'm more into antagonistic/hatesexy dubcon than established relationships that happen to cross boundaries badly or invasively.) Loyalty kink, both the mutually-respectful kind and as a power play; domestic sex and characters who are familiar with each other's bodies; clothed or semi-clothed sex. Hatesex, best friends having sex, brusque sex without any varnish of romance, or romance where the sex is incidental, maybe even a seriously bad idea. (Romance without sex of any kind is totally fine by me, too.) On the darker side of things: characters whose ideas of how sexuality is normally exercised have been warped by their surroundings; screwed-up personal boundaries and transgressing what's socially acceptable in-universe; sex as a power play; physical and emotional whump.

I'm totally on board with AUs, especially those that riff on or echo the original canon events or setting.

Some AUs I especially dig: historical AUs, for-want-of-a-nail or canon-divergent AUs, genre or pastiche AUs (noir, gothic horror, cyberpunk dystopia, languid interwar homoeroticism, Jacobean drama, slasher film, etc.), AUs with ghosts or other ominous supernatural presences, performing arts AUs, vampire AUs. Morality-swapped or polarity-swapped AUs, where the bad guys are the good guys and vice-versa or the like with other allegiances/facts of circumstance. Genderswap AUs and racebent AUs are both way up my alley.

I'm also totally open to crack AUs -- college theater department AUs, characters on road trips, handcuffed-together scenarios, competing shopping-mall body piercing stands AU, fusion AUs with improbable fairytale/mythological storylines, etc. (Apocalypse Now summer camp AU, "Daniel Plainview is a covetous dragon" AU, Over the Garden Wall theater department AU...) If it made you laugh thinking about it, I'm down to read it. Crossovers between my requested fandoms (however cracky -- I've joked about an OtGW/There Will Be Blood crossover before, Over The Garden Blood or possibly There Will Be A Wall) or with fandoms I've written as per my AO3 are totally cool.

ETA: I forgot to mention, this year I'll be participating in Crueltide and Yuleporn both! So if any prompts/tropes/kinks there strike your fancy, I'd love to read what you want to write.




Squicks/DNWs:
- Omegaverse/BDSM-verse/corporal punishment AUs
- Urban fantasy-style werewolf dynamics (packs, alphas and betas, mates, etc. -- solitary medieval/Early Modern-style werewolves are fine so go ahead and write that Bisclavret AU you've always dreamed of)
- magic or SF-induced spontaneous genderswap ("always-a-girl"/"always a guy" genderswapped AUs and transfic are both fine)
- teacher/student pairings in an actual school setting
- noncanonical incest
- sexual experimentation as "practice" for later relationships

I'm not that comfortable reading about non-canonical instances of habitualized self-harm, eating disorders, or sexual abuse of children. If you're not sure what counts as canonical, feel free to shoot me a line via a mod, but I don't want you to have to agonize too much about this -- you can't go wrong with tagging if something potentially-squicky ends up in your fic anyway. (I've totally been there.) Canon-specifically -- there's canonical skeevy ward-guardian relationships and at least the specter of underage sex/prostitution in Gangs Of New York, and you're fine touching on that. A couple of my fandoms either contain canonical underage sex or general teen romance, and that's completely fine, but I'd prefer no explicit sex with characters under eighteen.

In general I'm totally fine with depictions of historical/real-world -isms and similar heavy subjects -- racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia, partner abuse, torture, etc. You don't have to strive to include them for any reason, but you don't need to strive to exclude them either.




Now on to the actual fandom part!

**


Apocalypse Now (1979)
[Kurtz, Photojournalist, Willard]

[Anything about these three characters or how they ended up colliding. Something set during Willard's trip upriver, facing down what he's ultimately on his way to do? Or Kurtz making an equivalent trip -- I find Kurtz fascinating and anything showcasing his unsettled state and his weirdly rich warrior-poet inner life in the middle of this hellish situation would float my boat. How the hell did the photojournalist find his way to Kurtz? What made him stay? Something about his time in Kurtz' orbit, or how he ended up so trauma-bruised even before he crossed paths with Willard's little assassination vacation.]

This film plays some interesting games with genre (it's a war movie, it's psychological horror, it's a literary adaptation, it's social commentary, it's a legendary filmmaking clusterfuck…) and Willard's position in the film is straight-up film noir -- untrustworthy superiors, moral ambiguity out the wazoo, even a borderline femme fatale if you watch Redux. I appreciate how much of the film is filtered through his narration, his own very concrete trauma and his attempts to understand not just Kurtz but his fellow soldiers and the whole damn war. He's in this weird position of being simultaneously manipulated by his higher-ups and manipulating the crew of the boat, keeping them in the dark. How does he navigate that, as psychologically bruised as he is? What becomes of him after his assignment?

The Photojournalist has a lot of influences -- both his literary antecedent in Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, and his real-life analogues, a little bit of Sean Flynn and a little bit of Charles Manson, among others -- and the final product is really something. The way he acts as an intermediary between Kurtz and Willard before ultimately opting to split is super interesting to me. What happens to him after he flees? What would happen to him if he stuck around? He's both apologetic and adoring as he tries to relate some of Kurtz's mystique to Willard, but Willard doesn't actually seem to get it, at least not in the same way, until he actually meets the man. Anything about his life before Kurtz and how that changed in meeting him, or the way he relates so worshipfully/fearfully to Kurtz the warrior-poet -- what was it about the war and about his own experiences before it primed him to accept Kurtz's influence? His admiration is real, but so is his fear, the very real and pressing sense that Kurtz may well kill him. Obviously (or, well, quite arguably) he's fried off his rocker, which can't make The Kurtz Experience much easier to process. What's that like? Feel free to explore Kurtz's cult as a cult, with all the systemic influence that entails.

Even before turning up in Cambodia, Kurtz himself is something superhuman -- his dossier is practically too good to be true, and he's also freaking Marlon Brando. Has Kurtz really settled into his own godhood, even with an awareness of how his body is betraying him, or is he aware even before Willard's boat arrives that it can't last? Anything with his philosophizing -- whether you choose to interpret it as entirely cracked, or basically rational despite its extremity, or something in between -- or his potent, weirdly poignant memories of life before the war. What does he lose first as a witness to war crimes and no doubt a perpetrator of them as well? Is he really losing no more than an obstructive veneer over some fundamental, Übermensch-y nature, or is he disintegrating?

In Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Marlow as the Willard-analogue does reconvene with Kurtz's lady friend upon return to civilization, and finds himself incapable of truly explaining to her what her beloved had become -- there's analogous scenes in some versions of the Apocalypse Now screenplay where he can't escape what he'd seen of the war and the real gravity of Kurtz's last words. It's a total shot in the dark, but if you did want to write an equivalent scene (even as an imagined encounter) for movie!Willard I would be so into it. And in general post-canon Willard interests me a lot; he's assassinated people before, but hardly under the same circumstances as Kurtz and his earlier killings didn't exactly leave him unscathed either. What becomes of him after that?

Pairing-wise, I am particularly fond of Photojournalist/Kurtz (at any level of subconsciousness/reciprocity) but basically any pairing or no pairing is fine here. I find the prospect of Clean romancing or getting romanced by any of the film's characters a little squicky because of Laurence Fishburne's age during filming, but everybody else is fair game. I love the whole cast of this film, even its minor characters, so if you feel inclined to include or feature other characters -- I'm particularly fond of Clean and the rest of the boat crew, Roach,, Kurtz's cult and neighboring locals, and the USO girls -- please feel free. And if you want to incorporate any of the film's other source materials and influences like Heart of Darkness into your fic I would be down for that, so don't feel like you need to shy away. This year I requested Heart of Darkness for NoFM, so I'm more or less familiar with it as its own thing. If you feel up to it, I'd especially love epistolary fic (whether real letters/tapes or imagined ones) for this canon.

As a film, Apocalypse Now is focused on a certain set of American experiences basically exclusively, and it shortchanges other viewpoints including actual Southeast Asian POVs on the conflict more than a little -- if you want to explore or touch on this this any way you feel up for, that's what transformative fic is for, feel free to go ahead. (But again, you have zero obligation there so no pressure.)

**


Gangs Of New York (2002)
[Jenny Everdeane, Bill Cutting, Amsterdam Vallon, Priest Vallon]

[Fic about Jenny going about her business as a thief or how she picked up her craft -- I'd love to see fic about her interactions with and views on any other women in her life. Or her extraordinarily complex and difficult relationship with Bill, the man who took her in but who also marked her permanently. Fic about Priest's origins, or Bill's origins, or both of them -- how did Priest become so nearly mythic and how did his legacy live on after his death before Amsterdam consciously came to revive it? How does someone like Cutting or Everdeane come to be?]

I love this film's sense of place, and the sense of an end of an era -- a profoundly necessary end, in the case of Bill's political sympathies, but the stress that this is a political and social situation that has sprung up under very specific circumstances, and these specific characters have thrived in their very specific social niches.

I'll start with Priest because he seems like the least explored of all these characters -- he looms large as Amsterdam's father, but aside from Amsterdam's boyhood take on him we only really get Bill's memories and his memorial for Vallon. A friend pointed out to me that the qualities that Bill admires in Priest may well mean he wasn't such a saint himself -- anything you want to flesh out about how he ended up in New York or the role he plays in the founding of the Dead Rabbits would be fantastic. He's such a near-mythic figure with a keen sense of symbolism -- carrying a huge cross, to start with -- how did he become that kind of icon? A fic about him consciously mythmaking as a means of self-defense or about how his memory lingers on, both as a leader felled in battle and specifically as Bill's fallen enemy, the guy who taught Bill Cutting a thing or two, would be really cool.

(I'm a big sucker for nemesis pairings, so if you want to go there with Priest and Cutting I would be beyond thrilled. But you're under zero obligation there. Bill just speaks so genuinely fondly of the beating he received at Priest's hands during the American flag scene, and his weird way of memorializing him after he's gone seems so off-kilter endearing despite his hatred for everything Priest Vallon is.)

Bill is flamboyantly horrible and I enjoy that about him -- I don't need to see that justified and I'd rather not read redemption fic but he's so larger-than-life, this charismatic appealing bully and abuser. How did Bill become who he is and what was he like as a young man or straight-up as a child? We see young Amsterdam briefly, and I'd love a similar look at Bill. Who were his antecedents, and who took him under their wing? (He briefly alludes to having a similar institutional background to Amsterdam's -- is that just a way of relating himself to his young friend, or did he spend some time in an orphanage or a reformatory himself? So much of his adult persona is centered around having survived long enough to be established; he can't always have been that way.)

What on earth did Vallon think when he actually received Bill's eye wrapped in blue paper? How do you get a hold of a custom glass eye like that? And how the hell did Bill end up a butcher anyway? The real--life Bill Poole was participating in a family trade; does the same go for Cutting? Or did he volunteer himself at some point on the basis of already being handy with a knife? In general it sounds like butchers of Bill's status had a pretty good cash flow for a number of reasons during this era, so anything with Bill as a bit of a local big spender would thrill me, I love what a motif his trade is with him and how it ties into his choices of threats. Also him teaching Amsterdam to cut meat. Oh yeah.

(I love this film's costumes to death, so anything with characters' wardrobes would thrill me to death -- whether stuff like the waistcoat taken off Bill's would-be assassin that's clearly acquired some grisly sentimental value, or Jenny's various work outfits. Status as expressed through dress is a big thing in this film, whether that means gang affiliation or social class, and that seems like fertile territory for a fic or two.)

I love Amsterdam's complicated and torn loyalties -- there's something a little Hamlet-y in the way he goes about killing the man who killed his father, and the strain of holding out for the right time to kill Cutting while every day growing to actually love him a little more despite himself. Depending on how earnestly you want to take Bill's corresponding affection for him -- whether it's as a replacement for the son he never had, or whether he knows on some level that this is Vallon's child come back for him and he's hoping to postpone the inevitable between them or simply waiting for it to occur -- there's tons to write about in their relationship. I'm a huge sucker for the borderline identity-kink aspect of Bill not knowing Amsterdam's real affiliations, and the possibility that he might find out, even in a different way than plays out in the film.

I love Jenny to death for just about everything she encompasses -- I love her attitudes toward her business, her complicated relationships, and her genteel toughness in a world that really hasn't been good to her. You could do post-canon stuff about her achievements and her relationship with Amsterdam, pre-canon stuff about her growing up female and Irish in such an extraordinary place and time -- her backstory is more suggested than filled out, and what's there is interesting and puzzling. If you want to do canon-era fic you can elaborate on her interactions with Amsterdam or with Bill post-assassination-attempt, feel free to go full canon-divergence on this one if that strikes your fancy. Or maybe something with Jenny ending up a gang leader in her own right?

Her relationship with Bill is a tough one but really interesting. It's easy to imagine how genuine good will might have developed between them with him as her benefactor, but his treatment of her during pregnancy and afterward is ice cold -- what happened there? Is his professed distaste for women with scars just a smokescreen for something else -- given what he did to her, it must have been incredibly traumatic for her and hardly his finest hour as a human being. Or if you'd rather not go somewhere so potentially heavy, anything with her career as a thief and her acquisition of various skills. (And also of that fake arm.) If you wanted to do an AU, maybe something where Cutting take Amsterdam in after Vallon's death -- clearly out of the goodness of his stalwart true-American heart, and not in any way as a weird power play, of course -- and he meets Jenny then?

The relationship between Bill, Jenny, and Amsterdam is a complex and kinda acrimonious one and I like it that way, though some of Amsterdam's chauvinism toward Jenny as supposedly damaged goods gets on my nerves. Pairing-wise I'd especially love uneasy OT3s or anything where the complicated sexual relationship goes every which way instead of just hinging on Jenny as a focal point. I'd love to read dirtybadwrong Bill/Amsterdam, Bill/Jenny, Bill/Amsterdam/Jenny… and of course I'd also be up for gen about any of these characters, together or separately, just interacting with everything that makes mid-19th-century New York so nuts. I'd be especially up for anything dealing with the Astor Place riot, because it's hard to imagine Bill and co. wouldn't get mixed up in that

**


Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
[Llewyn, Mike Timlin]

[Anything about these characters separately or together -- how they first met, their performances together or what went on during the making of their last record, how Llewyn got into music, or anything set against the backdrop of the Greenwich Village scene. Timlin is a posthumous character, so you can go wherever you'd like with him and his personality/history. Were they birds of a feather in terms of Llewyn's sour temperament, or was Timlin a helpful counterbalancing force in his life? Something about another performance of Fare Thee Well under better circumstances, maybe.]

I love this film's atmosphere of melancholy punctuated by weird, dark humor -- the ongoing cat chase, the shaggy dog story quality of Llewyn failing again and again in trying to turn his career around, Roland's boasts about using Santeria to ruin Llewyn's already awful life, the phantom presence of Mike Timlin's life hanging over the characters who have survived him. Llewyn is deeply flawed, grieving, struggling -- but he's also a real asshole; Timlin is completely absent from the film except as a topic of discussion or a painful memory, but he exerts a real influence and there's some sense of what he might have been like from the shape of other characters' loss. Was Mike just Llewyn's opposite number -- somebody similarly drifting through life, who happened to anchor himself with somebody whose talents complemented his own -- or was he more grounded, somebody like Joan or Troy Nelson (or hell, even like Al Cody) who could conceivably have made something of himself, whether artistically or financially? When did Timlin and Davis start collaborating, and what brought them to the folk scene? What was it like making a record together?

Any Llewyn fic at all is fine by me -- missing scenes from canon, pre- or post-canon vignettes, another fruitless ramble or a day where something goes right for him for a change -- would be fantastic. The possibility of him visiting his child in Akron is kind of teased at, but never comes to fruition; maybe a fic where that actually comes to pass, or just fails differently. His hitchhiking in-film is pretty eventful, even if he doesn't exactly succeed in what he set out to do -- I'd love to read more of his hitchhiking adventures, or a fic where his canon trip ends up somewhere else. His fellow passengers are a bit mysterious, abrasive in Turner's case, and that trip could easily have unfolded differently. Or roll it way back and write fic set during his time with the merchant marine. (Or roll way, way forward and write a space travel AU. Lonesome space sailors ftw.) Is there anywhere or any time when Llewyn would fit in better? Is there any chance of him succeeding at his goals?

(As far as backstory fic -- Mike's a blank slate but I'd love to know more about Llewyn and his family. On a non-prompt another note, other characters do speculate on his ethnic background, sometimes nastily, and it sounds like the perception of his ethnicity is one of the numerous obstacles impeding him on his already tough path to musical recognition. I'd definitely be down for reading fic where Llewyn's ethnicity matches his actor's, but you don't need to be wedded to that interpretation, or to remark on it at all.)

Pairing-wise I'm wide open here, especially because domestic heavily committed parenthood and monogamy don't seem to be Llewyn's strong suit. Canon pairings are totally on the table and if you'd like to ship Davis and Timlin romantically -- at any degree of seriousness, since Llewyn seems to be something of a rolling stone -- I would love that. But I'm just as open to a totally gen interpretation or to any other pairings between characters. (And this part is totally optional, since these characters were not requested or in some cases even nominated, but if you'd like to include any interactions with other denizens of their Greenwich Village scene, with the Gorfeins or Bud Grossman or Llewyn's sister or with other musicians, real and fictional, that would be fantastic.)

You are also more than welcome to include as many cats as you like.

**


Over The Garden Wall
[Sara, Wirt]

[Anything with these two separately or together -- show me Wirt and Sara post-canon! Do they get to hang out a little more? What does their acquaintance look like from outside Wirt's perspective? Or pre-canon fic about their awkward quasi-interactions before the poetry and clarinet tape came into play. Canon-era explanation of the Unknown's autumnal landscape, or further adventures of Wirt in the Unknown, maybe for Sara too -- whether more voluntarily this time, or by equally unsettling real-world accident. Maybe something where she ended up in the river too on Halloween?]

This show is basically wall-to-wall spooky atmosphere and I love it, but the mundane details are what hooked me -- amped up by Wirt and Greg not actually being natives of a "magical" world at all, except in the sense that they're children and the whole world seems fraught and mysterious. They're really strangers in the Unknown, but they're willing to roll with the strange things that come up. I do like the kind of gentle childhood melancholy and at the same time, pressing adolescent stresses that are present in Greg's mind as he travels through the woods -- his musical aspirations, his prematurely doomed crush, his insistence that he's a high schooler thank-you-very-much while temporarily residing in a world where the educational system chiefly consists of one-room schoolhouses where animals are taught to wear clothes and spell. In general, Wirt is initially an overdramatic defeatist dingus and I love that about him; he ends up coming through beautifully and I love his whole emotional journey, how seemingly ill-suited he is for heroics and how he grows. We don't see tons of Sara, but I love her quirks and how different she is from how we're set up to see her -- for Wirt she's the tragic love from whom he's parted, and he's pitifully outclassed by her gallant swain, but Jason Funderberker is a complete nerd and Sara is an energetic dancer/wrestler who likes NASA and drinking age-appropriate drinks in graveyards. Wirt's difficulties in approaching her are chiefly in his head, but that doesn't mean they aren't real, and I like that Sara's pretty chill and normal while still reasonably considerate of Wirt's anxieties. They're both so mutually shy and goofy and quintessentially teenagers.

If you want to write something creepy -- I love this show's jaunts into horror (Pottsfield, the edelwood trees and their origin, the Beast's true form, Lorna's possession) and if you want to inject something ghastly I would be thrilled. For horror in this fandom I'd prefer no graphic blood-and-organs gore, but the macabre tone running all through canon is full of possibilities for psychological horror and weird stuff lurking in the Unknown. Or maybe outside of the Unknown, with tendrils of that creepiness escaping to the seeming safety of the real-world town.

As much as I love the Unknown's spooky intricacies, I'm likewise down for anything with Wirt and Sara in the "real" world, especially if you can incorporate the kind of gently weird strangeness of the parts set in the Unknown.

- anything showing unglimpsed parts of the Unknown or places only alluded to -- are there more witches besides Adelaide and Auntie Whispers?
- anything with Sara ending up in the Unknown, with or without Wirt & Greg
- post-canon or future fic with Wirt and Sara hanging out, whether platonically or on a dating basis -- they're young, they can definitely afford a false start or two
- Dante references! Wrestling! NASA! Poetry and clarinet!

And of course you are absolutely free to include other characters whom I didn't request! I'd love to hear more about their adventures or have Sara meet them. (My one caveat is re. Greg -- I'd prefer it if you didn't kill him off or retcon him out of canon or anything on that level of seriousness to explain why he's not in the picture. I love this show's sibling relationship and would hate to see it disappear entirely. You can have him off on an adventure of your own if you'd like, just don't have him come to serious harm to facilitate writing him out so the rest of the fic can focus on Wirt. Unless the brothers are both doomed, which is fine by me. In that case, by all means kill them both off/turn them both into Edelwood trees/have Wirt fall in a big hole and Greg turn into a mini-Beast/etc.) The cast of this show is pretty big so absolutely anybody non-requested is fair game too, but I particularly like Lorna, the people of Pottsfield, the two tea merchants in their mansion, and Sara's friends from the cemetery.

Pairing-wise, I particularly like Wirt/Sara, Wirt/Lorna, the Beast/Enoch, and Quincy Endicott/Marguerite Gray, but you're under no obligation to write any of these, or to write only these.

**


There Will Be Blood
[Eli, Daniel, H.W.]

[Any exploration of Eli and Daniel's hostility -- beyond the basic struggle for control of the town, how do they understand each other? Who is Eli trying to kid with the "I'm your old friend, Daniel" stuff? How does Eli's whole charismatic preacher mode change with the times? Anything about the continuing adventures of H.W., either boyhood hijinks (for a slightly grim value of 'hijinks') or adult experiences and accomplishments. The film's sizable timeskips leave a lot of room for missing-scenes-type fic, but canon-divergent stuff would be great: what if H.W. wasn't sent away? What if Sunday's investments didn't go badly and he straight-up came to the Plainview estate to gloat? What if Eli came to Plainview to sell out the Sunday land and not Paul? Or a role-swapped AU where Sunday is the ambitious newcomer and Plainview is the deeply entrenched local who won't lose his grip on the community without a fight.]

I love Plainview's ruthlessness and his ability to deftly play on what people want while still frankly hating and mistrusting most everyone he encounters. Plainview is so lonely, so desperately in want of a family -- he wants someone to recognize his desire to have a family and a houseful of children, but at the same time he really doesn't know how to be a capable father. His misanthropy is rooted in a deep bitterness that I'd wager extends long before the timeframe of the film itself -- anything in which that's explored or challenged would be fascinating to me. So I'd be open to fic about Plainview finding something close to salvation for him -- finding some way to reconcile with his son or make peace with his brother(/s) -- just as much as something concerning his downward spiral on its own merits, as something driven inexorably along by his own massive flaws.

Man, where do I begin with Eli. In one way, he's very easy for me to understand -- he doesn't have a direct line to making money like Plainview does, and religion is an easy way for him to gain influence, seeing as he's something of a natural showman, thirsty for recognition, and Little Boston is pretty isolated. Regardless of what his personal beliefs may be, his practice as a pastor and a faith healer bolsters his social station pretty effectively until Plainview rolls into town. By the time the 1920s are in swing, he says he's let the Devil grab hold of him in ways he'd never even imagined -- what is happening there? If you want to go to town with what seems to be insinuated there, feel free. (I'm a huge sucker for Eli Sunday/Daniel Plainview, and hostile pairings are my bulletproof kink, but their canon relationship is weird and twisty enough that you're free not to go any further than that as well.)

H.W. is one of this movie's few more-or-less decent characters and even he's definitely troubled. It's hard to imagine many people wouldn't be with his experiences, even in the early-childhood installments of the film. Even apart from his disability, being compelled to act as basically a miniature adult for most of his childhood, and the whole setting-beds-on-fire thing, H.W. hasn't had the easiest family experience. Him being sent away on the train is such a moment of unique horror for me in the film -- it just gives me the willies big-time, as such a pointed moment of childhood betrayal. Anything set in the aftermath of that or during H.W.'s education would be way up my alley for pain and sadness. Or if you want to get away from that, anything about him in adulthood and his career as a deaf(/Deaf) man in the early 20th century, or him as a kid getting up to less-horrible hijinks.

Again, I didn't request other characters but you're more than welcome to write about them or to feature them in fic. I'm especially fond of Mary and Paul Sunday -- their household situation is such a shitshow and it affects each of them differently, so if you wanted to write about either of them or compare and contrast with how Eli turns out, I'd be really into it. The scene where Mary's signing her vows is really poignant (especially with his dad's hostile attitude toward disability and deafness, and absolute scorn for ASL later in the film) and I'd really appreciate fic about her relationship with H.W. and the bond they have from their earliest scenes. Mary's own dad sounds like a pretty hard, unforgiving person, and I'd love to get her perspective on everything that plays out with the Plainviews or on starting her own life apart from the Sunday home.

(There's also a few tantalizing details in the screenplay that don't end up in the film -- stuff like Plainview pushing to build a school for the deaf on his own land and not grasping why this would inconvenience the other students' families, for instance, or whatever the hell is going on with his sexual dysfunction. Okay, maybe the sexual dysfunction and miserable cunnilingus is only tantalizing to me, but I love it, and if you choose to draw on any of the stuff that didn't make it to the film proper I would be thrilled.)

Pairing-wise, H.W./Mary and Daniel/Eli are my Kryptonite, and I'd be totally down for Eli Sunday/miscellaneous bad dudes who are not Plainview, or Daniel Plainview/Paul Sunday, or Daniel Plainview/miscellaneous women of negotiable virtue. (Potentially accounting for that part in the baptism scene where Eli accuses Daniel of lusting after women -- because um, what, when? In the screenplay, I guess?) My only hard limit is that I'd prefer not to receive Daniel/Mary.




So that's where it stops! I know I tend to go on for about a thousand years (believe it or not, this was my attempt at restraint in DYW-writing) but I hope there's something in here that's workable for you and I trust your abilities. If you need to get in touch with me, you'd be best off using the anonymous Yuletide mod go-between option, but if you feel like creeping on my interests or seeing me completely lose my mind during the next few months, I'm on AO3 as skazka, LJ as Samgrass and Tumblr as Harkerling. Good luck, and have fun.

-skazka
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skazka

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