To the Check Please fandom: I love you, but you guys are missing out on something that I think you’ll love.
It’s called You Could Make a Life
The latest Check Please update currently has over 12,000 notes on tumblr and the ycmal chapter with the most likes and comments has less than 1000. Based on how great ycmal is, I can only assume that you guys are unaware of its existence or these numbers would be more similar.
It’s superficially similar to Check Please in that every story is about a gay, male, hockey player and his life on and off the rink.
Keep reading for my pitch or just go straight here and treat yourself to some fantastic writing
Ycmal is a series of stories that exist in the same universe but can each be read independently. There are nine (NINE!) complete stories ranging from less than 4000 words to 158,966 words (trust me, when you read this long one, you’ll be grateful for the length).
In addition, there are so so many short snippets about the characters. Think Ngozi’s extras but this is where the author’s incredible generosity comes in. Most of these stories are based on direct requests from readers and they range from “everybody’s cats!” to bodyguard AUs. If you’re still not convinced then read on.
To borrow some quotes from that amazing Check Please primer that went around for a long time:
What’s that you like zany casts?
Dan Riley: The gateway drug and a true romantic
Marc Lapointe: Shitty’s social justice in an almost Bitty-sized body but with more pretentiousness, and he’s French! (Canadian)
Ulf Larsson: Swedish sex god who makes bad decisions
“Vinny” Vincent: His teammates call him Bambi and he’s a goalie
Anton Petrov: Angry bub defence man
David Chapman: Seriously his character development is the most amazing thing. You will LOVE him
Jake Lourdes: We voted on what we thought of him and half of the suggestions were some variant of “golden retriever”
This isn’t anywhere nearly all of the characters. I haven’t even touched on the supporting characters and they’re all delightful
Are main character guy and pupil guy going to kiss? (No, nobody stylistically differs by having pupils but they all have pupils so it still fits)
There is pretty much always kissing ;)
How do I read every [ycmal story] ever?
Good question, we’ve got you covered.
This is the author’s Archive of Our Own page, which has all the official plotted stories
This is the author’s tumblr, which has all of the extras and also where you should go when you need to yell at someone once you’re crying
OKAY YOU GOT ME (hopefully). Here are a few hours of my life. What do I need to do to get into this rad universe?
Good question, we’ve got you covered. Again, we voted.
The number one recommendation as long as you’re up for paying for a novel right now is purchasing You Could Make a Life here. This is the namesake of the whole universe, the epic love story of Dan and Marc and a book that I have read approximately six separate times not including the times I’ve read sections.
The number two recommendation depends on what you’re feeling right now.
- between the teeth is my personal favourite. It is absolutely incredible in terms of plot and character development, and it has a lot of my favourite characters. (Hold your breath for Kiro people, then you can use the breath you saved to laugh your ass off) This is the long one though so maybe the next suggestion?
- Vinny gets a life would be an amazing first entrance to this universe. Vinny is a super fun narrator and the story and central relationship are both compelling
- In taking it apart has the tagline “He made his bed and then he fucked a teenager in it.” This one earns an Explicit rating on ao3 more than any of the others
- No expectation of returns is the ultimate friends to lovers so if that’s your jam, start here first
Just please don’t start with throw up your fists, throw out your wits because that one can be emotionally tough to get through.
You guys, Check Please is an incredible and unique work of art but everyone I know that loves ycmal loves Check Please so I think they cater to similar tastes. Give these stories some love and improve your lives.