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Hello! Rarewomen is one of my favorite fic exchanges of the year, and I'm already glad that we have a love of these fandoms and these unfortunately much-too-rare women in common! I'd first like to emphasize that if you have a story you're waiting to tell for these women, please go ahead and do it! The suggestions below are exactly that, and more than anything, I would love for you to write something that you enjoy as much as I'm sure I will! That said, if you don't mind some more tl;dr detail:

12th Century CE RPF
Liang Hongyu, Queen Tamar of Georgia, Rusudan of Georgia, Nest ferch Rhys, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd
Anything about any of these women would be amazing:D. There's Liang Hongyu, basically a real life version of Disney's Mulan (brilliant strategist and general in the Chinese army, winner of battles through unconventional methods, national heroine in her own right, married to a fellow general who she fought alongside). Or Tamar of Georgia, Queen regnant during Georgia's Golden Age, strengthening it politically and culturally.
Rusudan, her aunt, married to two sultans before returning back to Georgia; she was apparently a keen scholar, as she was the patron and tutor of Tamar's second husband David Soslan, and one of Tamar's most important advisors.
Nest ferch Rhys, the Welsh Helen of Troy, abducted against her will but nonetheless iron-willed enough to first smuggle her husband out to safety and then to negotiate her children's return to their father, before ultimately being rescued. Not to mention her sister-in-law, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, who organized Robin Hood-like raids against English colonizers of Wales and eventually led her troops into battle.

First off, I know this is the smallest of small fandoms, and please know that I would welcome any snippets from these women's lives. But, as I rather want to ramble on about why I find them so fascinating, I hope you'll bear with me:

LIANG HONGYU: As I wrote in my prompt, she does rather resemble the generic woman warrior figure. But there are so many other fascinating details in her story. For example, in the most common version of her story, she was a general's daughter, who got sold into slavery when her family fell into disgrace after her father's defeat. Some versions make her out to be a camp follower, but other versions have it that she was a female wrestler instead. Either way, though she met her husband while entertaining at a banquet (and while he was sulking over not getting credit for his recent victory) but instead of being saved from slavery by him, she saved her winnings from her tournaments, bought her own freedom, and then married him on her own terms and fought alongside him. As mentioned, she was a brilliant general (one of her most famous victories involved her directing . She was also commendable for her --one the other stories about her say that she once denounced her own husband (though one could argue that that was actually a--successful, as it turns out--gambit to avoid punishment for them both). So anything about her riches-to-rags-to-riches again story would be interesting; how did she deal with the reversals? What were her motivations?

QUEEN TAMAR, RUSUDAN OF GEORGIA--As I've said before, I really love Tamar as a nicer Irene of Attolia in terms of her political acumen and need to outmaneuver her barons. Anything that played up that dynamic would be so great. Also, Tamar really has a lot of Rusudans in her life. There's her aunt, who, in her youth, was married to two Seljuk sultans and apparently wise and influential enough to tutor princes and become her niece's trusted advisor and supporter. How did this Rusudan feel about molding her niece into the perfect ruler; worried, proud, guilty? There's her sister, who we...pretty much don't know much about, other than that she might have taken refuge with her sister after her husband was killed, and that Tamar helped her nephews reclaim their throne; but even otherwise, what must it have been like to be the sister of a sovereign Queen like Tamar?And finally, there's Tamar's daughter, who followed her brother onto the throne--what was her relationship with her mother like?

NEST FERCH RHYS--Famous for her beauty and/or for being an ex-mistress of , Nest is compared to Helen of Troy, when another lord attacked her castle and kidnapped her, holding her hostage for years. Despite her abduction (and despite some claims, I don't see it as voluntary on her part), Nest notably got her husband and his men to safety before her kidnapper made it into the castle, and later negotiated with him to get her children, initially taken prisoner with her, to safety as well. Given all of that, I suspect she had more strength than anyone gave her credit for, and something exploring that would be very interesting. As a note, I really don't like consent issues, but I fully understand that dealing with Nest's story necessitates that. That said, I'd appreciate something that gave Nest a bit more power and agency (while recognizing what a terrible situation she was in) rather than dwelling on the other aspects of her captivity.

GWENLLIAN FERCH GRUFFYDD--I once stumbled across an article saying that if Nest was the Welsh Helen of Troy, her sister-in-law Gwenllian would be Maid Marian. She and her husband led raids from the English settlers to give to the relatively impoverished Welsh, and Gwenllian herself . As is probably obvious, I am a sucker for the Robin Hood (or Maid Marian, in this case) legend, or any historical inspirations, so playing that aspect up would be great. Or, if you choose, something that explored the dynamic between Nest and Gwenllian--they were so different, in terms of personalities and stories--would also be nice. However did they react to each other? Did they find mutual respect in the end?

In terms of sources, I honestly don't know half as much as I'd like to about quite a lot of these women (and in many cases, the known historical record is dubious to begin with), so I mean, if you want to work off a wikipedia article, that would be absolutely okay. Please don't feel as though horribly extensive research is necessary!

Gyeongseong Scandal | Capital Scandal
Na Yeo Kyung, Cha Song Joo, Yeong Rang, Ueda Miyuki
I love all these characters! (And more, so um, if you feel inspired to write about Sachiko, or Yeo Kyung's mom, or a sympathetic look at Wan's stepmother, I will absolutely not mind at all!) Yeo Kyung, with her earnest belief in Patriotism! and Morals! is a particular favorite, as earnest adorable idealists is a character trope I've always loved, but also I love her mentoring of Yeong Rang, and how she, in turn, is mentored by Song Joo.
Cha Song Joo is obviously awesome, seeing as how she's (appropriately) everyone's favorite, so if you want to write more backstory about her, particularly as it relates to her relationship with both Yeo Kyung and her fellow gisaengs, go ahead, by all means.
And Yeong Rang, for that matter--what happens to her after the events of the series? How much does she ever find out about what happened?
Also, I'd be interested in something about Miyuki, and her perspective on things, was something I found really interesting--her introduction, as a Japanese character who nonetheless is more sympathetic and reasonable than we'd seen so far--and how she approaches the events of the drama would be very neat.

This is such a darling show, and I love everyone in it. But there are so many things I love about the characters: Yeo Kyung's idealism and prudishness and the fact that though people mock her, she doesn't change at all. Cha Song Joo, and the fact that not only is she an awesome freedom fighter but also a loving mentor to the other girls in the gibang; I love that the cliche of women being competitive gets so soundly trounced in this drama, how all the female characters are supportive of each other. I love that, despite the trope of romantic love trumping all, I love that Wan is unquestionably her soulmate. I love Yeong Ran's determination to learn to read, and I dearly want to know what happens to her afterwards (maybe something with her and Yeo Kyung's mom, if you want to incorporate her?). And Ueda Miyuki, too; I remember thinking that she seemed fairly levelheaded, given her parents or her background, and for a romantic false lead, quite sympathetic. Also, as I said in my letter, I would love fic about any of the other female characters: hijinks with Sachiko! Yeo Kyung's mom's backstory! Something where Wan's stepmom's perspective gets explored (and I do find her motivations understandable--not sympathetic, perhaps, but fascinating. Her talk with Wan about his dad is one of my favorite scenes featuring her.) But something--anything, really--exploring any of these women would be great.

Much Ado About Nothing
Beatrice, Hero, Ursula, Margaret
Oh, I know everyone focuses on the Beatrice/Benedick (and they are my Shakespeare OTP as well, so if you want to include them, YES PLEASE) but I'd love something about these four women. They're close, and one can assume they've all lived together for years if not all their lives, but they're so different. What are their relationships and their loyalties like? They're all clearly upset when Hero is slandered at the wedding, but at the same time, it's not all sweetness and light; I've read at least one critical study that hints that the others' criticisms of Beatrice during the gulling scene are due to resentment of her cleverness and popularity (which I'm not sure I entirely buy, but it adds an interesting dimension to their relationship). Ursula just hangs out in the background and doesn't have much character development, so expanding on that would also be something that I'd really like to see! Margaret has no qualms dressing up as Hero or flirting with Benedick later, but none of the others seem to mind, which says interesting things about her friendship with the others and what role social class plays in it as well. So to sum up; any backstory of their lives and relationships that we don't see would be great!
Or, I mean, run with a wacky AU, like the cheesy fantasy one where Hero is a Hero (shining armor and all), Beatrice is the cranky enchantress, Ursula is the angst were...bear, I guess, if we're going with thematic names, and Margaret the cheerfully amoral thief every quest fantasy must have.
(Also, I am....not the biggest fan of Claudio. I'd prefer that Hero be indeed innocent of any betrayal of him, but uh, if you want to conveniently write him out or or have him exit pursued by a...bear?...I would not mind. At all.)

I feel like my signup covers most of the ideas I had, complete with the obligatory bizarre AU prompt, but I just really find all of these women interesting! They are all so different, and surely that must have caused some friction growing up. But they still read as devoted to each other, so any way you'd like to play with those connections would be awesome.

The Perilous Gard
Kate Sutton, Alicia Sutton
Kate one of my most beloved heroines for how very atypical she is—basically, she gets everything she ever wanted by being surly and practical and plain-spoken, and her character arc over the novel is one of my favorites ever, but I’ve had this bizarre fondness for Alicia that I’ve never been able to explain, so anything about Kate and Alicia's troubled but loving relationship would be great. Or, the comedy fic where Alicia attempts to help Christopher plan to woo Kate (because I can't help but imagine Alicia being horrified at all Christopher's initial ideas of courtship.) In particular, I've always wanted to see an AU where Alicia replaces or accompanies Kate on her exile and also stumbles into the world of the fairies. The possibilities are endless: Alicia finding another way to free everyone? Alicia charming the Fairy Folk, or being frustrated when they don't respond to her? Alicia/Lord Geoffrey? Alicia/one of the Fairy Folk? Alicia/her own previously-unknown awesomeness? (That said, Kate/Christopher is a childhood OTP, so if Alicia is replacing Kate, I'd prefer Kate and Christopher not be split up.)

For some reason, I've always been curious about Alicia's perspective on her relationship with Kate, or heck, anything at all, so if you feel up to it, that would be particularly great. But I do love Kate, too, her stubbornness and, as Christopher points out, her hilarious practical outlook on things, so a fic centering around her would be just as wonderful.

The Squire's Tales
Lynet, Lorie, Eileen
I love this series (and I've squeed about it in previous letters, so definitely check those out if interested!). Lynet and her practicality and steadfast unromantic nature is a delight, as is her banter with Gary, so anything that bridges the gap between SD&D and Lioness and her Knight would be amazing. Cameos from Lyonesse, or Morgan, or fluff with Gaheris, would also be fantastic!
Lorie, on the other hand, is still a cipher to me. She has a few cameos, and is clearly Ragnelle, but whereas Dame Ragnelle in the ballad is enchanted, we never really find out what Lorie's deal was with the loathly lady thing. Moreover, she's rude and brash in her very first appearance but then settles down into Proper Lady mode; but which is her real self? (And is she secretly much snarkier than she appears?) I would love to read anything that delved into her and her motivations (or at least what she was doing behind the scenes in Avalon all those years.)
With regards to Eileen, I'd love to hear about another adventure that she had with Gawain and Terence (we might never hear about her going questing in the books, but I refuse to believe she just sat quietly at Camelot all those years.) Otherwise, anything about how she managed to keep a secret marriage under wraps for sixteen years would also be something to explore.
Otherwise, anything that kept the general feel and delightfulness of these books would be wonderful.

This is another case where I feel like I don't have much to say other than my signup prompt, unfortunately! I've rambled about the fandom in other dear author letters, too, if you would like more ideas or suggestions, but ultimately, I really would be happy with anything!


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