Dear Creator Letter
|Dear Santa, Dear Yuletide goat, Dear Author
|gift exchange, challenges, optional details, ODAO
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A Dear Creator Letter (alternatively: Dear (Event) Author or, for festively-themed events, Dear Santa) is a letter that gift exchange participants write to include in their signups with their optional details so that anyone who wants to write for them knows what they want. Often these letters include DNWs, likes, dislikes, prompts, AUs, kinks, and/or further information about the participant's thoughts and ~feelings about the fandom, pairing, and/or character they've requested. Generally, both assigned gifters and people who are considering writing treats are free to read and browse the letter, either for inspiration or direct requests.
In many exchanges, writing a Dear Creator letter is entirely optional. However, many participants prefer them, as recipients can easier articulate exactly what they dislike and what they might prefer, while gifters can better understand what exactly to avoid and what elements they may include in their gift to make their recipient happy.
Letters are written for two reasons a) more exposure and chance at getting another story or b) one has more to say than the optional details hold. But the longer than a couple sentences then letter is a hold over from Yuletide which only had small optional details field. The AO3 ones are huge, you can get a good sized letter into each of them, but you miss out on adding pictures and links.