lady_ragnell: (roses)
lady_ragnell ([personal profile] lady_ragnell) wrote2017-02-15 07:13 pm
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Dear Once Upon a Fic Author

Dear Author,

When I heard about this fist, I was so excited! I love fairy tales and folktales and all the ways people retell them, so if we match on a story and you get an idea that inspires you, the first thing I want to tell you is that you don't have to match any of my prompts. I'm most going to enjoy reading something that you enjoy writing. But obviously that's not always a helpful thing to say, so here are some general likes and dislikes and some prompts for the specific tales I requested.

If you want to know more about me and my taste in things, you can find me at lady_ragnell on the AO3 and theladyragnell on tumblr.

General Likes and Dislikes


  • I love happy endings, especially for characters who don't always get them because they're written out of the story or because they were villains who didn't quite get to redeem themselves--angst along the way is more than fine, and acknowledging the darkness of fairy tales, but a happy ending when all is done is my biggest love, or at the very least a hopeful one.

  • AUs! Especially for fairy tales, a new setting is always amazing. Space, a specific time period, college, add or subtract some magic, have them meet online, really any new setting makes for a fresh take on a story.

  • Relationships--whether friendship or romance or family, what I really love is to see characters caring about each other, or learning to do so, and interacting. Found families are great for me, and teams of people coming together, and of course I'm always here for a good love story, especially if it comes with some pining.

  • Worldbuilding is great--feel free to delve into the worlds around any of these stories, the kingdoms (or space stations, or online forums, or whatever) where they happen, how the magic does or doesn't work, really anything. I am always here for worldbuilding.

  • New perspectives and the spaces around stories--missing scenes, focus on side characters, focus on main characters through a side character's POV, what happens before or during or at the same time.


  • Terminal illness, particularly of a parent or parental figure. If a character's parents need to die in a story, that's fine, but please don't focus on it.

  • Darkness without hope, or darkness where things only ever get worse instead of better. Fairy tales can get really dark, and I encourage you to explore that, but I like hope and growth and optimism too much to want to do without it.

Things that do not impact my enjoyment one way or the other, so do what YOU like:

  • If you choose to focus on romance, I don't care if it's f/f, f/m, m/m, or polyamorous, so whatever works for the story and works for you is wonderful for me! If you want to make a princess into a prince or vice versa, that is absolutely fine. Wherever the story takes you!

  • Rating also does not matter to me--I'll take the G-est of G and I'll take E (though for this challenge I love the tales so much that I'd prefer not to have PWP--porn WITH plot is fine, though)

  • Fairy tale crossovers--if there's a prompt for a minor character having adventures and you want to steal another tale or a minor character from that tale to do so, that's awesome! If there's a prompt for a minor character having adventures and you make up your own original story for them, that is also amazing!

And now for the tales themselves!

12 Dancing Princesses

I have loved this tale deeply since I was very young and it's so underadapted and underexplored! It begs a hundred questions: why are the princesses dancing? Is it of their own free will? Do they even all agree on whether they like it or not? Is the land where they dance a place of good or of evil? Who are their dancer partners--are they part of the spell, or there against their will, or demons who decided to team up and seduce princesses? The eldest and the youngest princesses get their moments, but what are any of the ones in the middle like? How did the king end up with twelve daughters? That seems statistically unlikely.

A few prompts:

  • How does the cobbler feel about all of this? Has he fallen madly in love with one of the princesses? Does he desperately need a vacation?

  • SPACE AU. Perhaps where the worn shoes are depleted oxygen tanks?

  • What happens when the story is done? One of the princesses marries their rescuer (or "rescuer"). What happens to the rest of them? Are they married off (I sure hope there are enough kingdoms around with kings and princes of marriageable age, if so) or considered unmarriageable after all that scandalous dancing in another realm? Does one or more of them have an adventure with or without her sisters?

One-eye Two-eyes and Three-eyes

This is a strange story with a lot to unpack. The monstrous sisters who hide away the one who appears "normal," the magic goat who her family then kills, it's all fascinating--and like most fairy tales, it asks a lot more questions than it answers.

  • Bad sister redemption--I always want stepsister and bad sister redemption, really. Sure, One-eye and Three-eyes eventually repent and throw themselves on their sister's mercy, but I'd love an exploration of one or both of them stopping, thinking, and realizing how horrible they were to their sister, and then making amends. And maybe finding an adventure or love of their own!

  • The AU I immediately jumped to for this one is an apocalypse AU, which I think could be fascinating. Maybe there are societies where mutation gives social cachet or religious significance and that's why Two-eyes is shunned by her family?

  • Two-eyes exploring some magic--she sings the rhyme the wise woman gave her to the goat, and she sings to put her sisters to sleep in a way that seems more like magic than a lullaby. Is this an ability people know about? How did she get it?

King Lindorm
The Dead Brides, King Lindorm's Twin

The Dead Brides: once he becomes human again, King Lindorm never has to deal with the consequences of what he did as a monster. According to the story, he killed every woman they tried to marry him to. At the very least, he deserves some serious haunting for that. The Brides could act as observers for the rest of the story, or have an afterlife to themselves. If you want to give them a happy ending, maybe every time the lindorm shed a skin when he finally married his last bride, one of the other brides was resurrected! That's the kind of logic fairy tales work on, after all.

King Lindorm's Twin: he was brought up as the heir to the throne, but the second his brother is made human again and made into the heir, he's gone from the story. He's not even the one making trouble for the heroine in the second half, which one could almost understand, if it were the case! So what happens to him? Did he hate being the heir and go out into the world to have adventures? Does he stay at the court, teaching his older brother how to take over a kingdom when he spent his formative years as a monster and thus probably doesn't know much about politics? Does he find love, fulfillment? He certainly deserves it!


The prelude to this tale is funny (honestly, who loves parsley that much???), but I tend to get intrigued when the tasks come in. Why doesn't the king just name his eldest son heir? Why on earth does he pick the tasks he does (perhaps you want to give them different tasks that actually make sense for the future ruler of a country)?

  • What happens to the elder princes on their journey? Do they resent the younger brother who obviously is getting the help of magic? Why don't they demand to switch roads with him for the second and third tasks?

  • Once Parsley is turned into a toad, we don't get her opinion on any of this. Did she secretly like the youngest prince best when they first met? What kind of magic does she know to get the linen and the dog for him, and to change herself back into a woman at the end? And the youngest prince seems to genuinely like this frog--he doesn't want to hurt her feelings by refusing her linen on the first task, and bemoans that finding a beautiful woman is the only task she can't help him with. He's happy that the toad is Parsley--is he kind of also happy that Parsley is also the toad who helped him, since all he knew before was that she's pretty?

  • The most beautiful women in the world. The elder princes stuff carriages full of them. Do they get along? Do they even speak the same languages? How on earth did they persuade them to go along with them? Also, the king orders them DROWNED when they aren't as beautiful as Parsley. Save them, please! (If you want to imply that the little dogs he also ordered drowned were saved, I would be extremely pleased.) Surely some of them can swim, and they all dragged each other out of the water, and went home or had further adventures or fell in love with each other or other people. It's this tiny throwaway thing but it's so awful! They deserve a happy ending.

  • If you want an AU idea for this particular tale, what about academia? The princes are graduate students vying for the attention of an advisor who keeps setting them tasks as TAs or lab assistants or whatever you please (and perhaps Parsley ends up getting the slot, since the professor definitely knows who's doing the youngest grad student's work for him).

The Twelve Huntsmen

I love this story so much! The princess who goes out and gets what she wants and won't let herself be tricked into revealing herself. Her eleven handmaidens, who are apparently willing to go along with the princess on this. The poor overwhelmed new king who accidentally promised something he didn't want to do. The odd element of the lion who knows secrets and truths!

  • How do the eleven handmaidens feel about any of this? They got chosen based on looks. Are they excited for the adventure? Bemused? Annoyed? Do they really want to pay attention to those spinning wheels? Perhaps a romance between two of them! Or perhaps one of them is a trans man and decides to continue being a huntsman when the story is done.

  • What about the bride who gets sent away at the end? "Someone who has found an old key does not need a new one" is a pretty brutal way to be rejected. Is she disappointed? Relieved? Humiliated? Is she nice about it or does she plot revenge? Does she find a story of her own? Maybe one of the huntsman-handmaidens is sent to her as a gesture and they fall in love.

  • This is another one that could go into space so easily and delightfully.

Thank you so much for writing for me, dear author! I can't wait to read whatever you come up with, and I hope you have fun.

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