Thank you for scribbling for me! And have fun with your project!
Here are a number of optional details... and yes, they are optional. But I figure better to have too much info, from which you can pick and choose, than not enough.
I will endeavor to expand this with some more ideas over the next couple of days.
I Don't Like:
- Sickly-sweet, coy, cutesy romantic stuff (anything in the "tee-hee-hee, is he looking at me?" category is definitely out)
- Extensive use of epithets, or epithets that don't match the character POV (no one should think of his or her long-time lover as "the green-eyed man," for example): these will throw me right out of a story
- Characters acting out of character, especially if the purpose is to force them into a relationship (doubly bad if that relationship is romantic or sexual)
- By-the-numbers, every-action-described sex. Note that actual sex is fine (I love me some sexy stories) — just don't like it when the descriptions turn into a set of exact stage directions.
- Mpreg, rape, forced sex (including sex pollen and fuck-or-die), hatesex. Dubcon is OK, especially the sort when the reluctant partner really wants the other person but is just not quite feeling ready yet or doesn't think se wants it in this particular way but gets off on it anyway.
- Humiliation or betrayal (without a damn good plot reason) of a character by a friend or lover
- Strong characterization (including character-appropriate dialog: no earthy, uneducated characters using $50 words)
- Positive emotional payoffs that are well-earned
- Passions that are strong without being mushy/fluffy
- Moments of realization — satori
- Friendships - although I am a romantic person, not every relationship must be romantic (I do like the trope of friends becoming lovers, however)
- Wry and even dark humor in the course of a more serious story
- And I like any of the following "cool bits":
- being cozy indoors when it's rainy or snowing
- family-of-choice, nakama, or True Companions
- senses of smell and touch and memories attached to them
- brushing long hair, riffling fingers through short hair
- the little spots of light that sift through a thick canopy of trees onto the ground beneath
- water running over pebbles or stones
- old-fashioned sections of town with narrow streets and alleyways and odd shops
- leaning comfortably against a friend or lover; feeling that one chuckle or speak
- whispered admissions of love or forgiveness
- sudden realizations of feelings for another, or another's feelings for the POV character (doesn't have to be romantic: can be friendship, or how much someone needs someone else, or anything of that sort)
- an open-air market or seaside boardwalk or other place filled with joyful bustle and the smell of good things to eat
- a teahouse or restaurant on the water
- A motif, like a theme or a memory or an actual visual object, from the canon work that's echoed unexpectedly in the story
I'm quite content with both straight and gay relationships. I do tend to ship the canon relationships, unless it's a character who has had no clear relationships shown in the story.