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17 August 2014 @ 12:24 pm
I've rewritten and updated my Lucius/Hermione fanfic Unthinkable. The old version kind of sucked, but I've fixed the characterisation, grammar, pacing, etc. It's now a whole new story with a new plot that actually makes sense and has never been written before. It's probably my best work and the only one I'm really proud of. I post new chapters every week or every couple of weeks depending on how busy I am with university and work. Let me know what you think.
11 June 2014 @ 08:32 pm
So I suddenly regained interest in Harry Potter, and then I found out about this:



Isn't it hilarious? Rowling once said Harry/Hermione fans were delusional. Now even she can see that the epilogue kind of sucks. JKR, you sure know how to make both sides of a ship war mad at you.

Maybe the first link is blowing things a little out of proportion, but imagine if this was fanfiction, not canon. Imagine a person saying a certain pairing would probably work out but only if the characters got counselling and changed some of their core personality traits. We wouldn't qualify that person as a shipper of the pairing in question. Under that reasoning, Rowling doesn't ship Ron/Hermione. And really, who does? Can anyone who understands the characters and wants them to be happy really want them to be together?

Missed so much potential for something deeper there. Sure there is no sexual tension between Harry and Hermione, but the main theme of the books is love, not sex. And the love between Harry and Hermione is so deep and beautiful even someone as cynical as yours truly (come on, you know what sort of things I ship) is kind of touched by it.

I've never really been a fan of Harry/Hermione as a pairing in fanfic because it's too boring for my (admittedly weird and extreme) tastes unless you change Harry's character (and I've never seen it written quite right), but it makes loads more sense than Ron/Hermione and it could have made for a more powerful story. What a sad waste.
Hello everyone. Er, long time no see? Okay. I've just read the final chapters of Deathly Hallows.

I was sceptical about book for many reasons, the main being that I feared it would be darker than HBP, and HBP was more than dark enough for me. But I'm glad I finally decided to read it, if for no other reason than the bet a friend pressured me into taking. I lost that bet.

spoilers, bewareCollapse )
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
15 November 2006 @ 07:43 pm
So I've taken up fandom analysis as a hobby, and I'm back with another poll to satisfy my endless curiosity. This time, I'm trying to determine whether there is a correlation between people's choice of fandoms and OTPs and their political preferences.

Poll #868595 Fandom Politics
This poll is closed.

Which fandom(s) are you part of?

What do you do in fandom? Are you a ...

Beta reader
Compiler of lists or another obscure function that everyone seems to forget about when making polls

What is your One True Pairing? (One per fandom, please.) If you don't have an OTP, what are the pairings that you like the most?

What is your country of residence?

If there was a general election today, which party would you vote for? If you don't have the right to vote, name the party you would most likely vote for. If you don't like any political party in your country, which one do you think is the least abominable? (If you live in a country that doesn't have a multi-party 'democratic' system, skip this question.)

And finally ... ticky box?

What kind of stupid question is this?

Comments are welcome, but please do try to stay on topic, i.e. political preferences in relation to fandom, because I don't feel like hosting a political debate in this journal. ;)
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Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
24 October 2006 @ 10:45 pm
I was talking to shyngr8 about literary rejection, of all things, when it occurred to me that some writers use their memories of past experiences to make up plot twists and conflict while others rely almost entirely on their imagination to create the main lines of a plot or the details of a character' daily life. Our conversation led me to suspect that this is where our differences in attitudes about posting our work publicly for other people to read and judge originate from. To further my investigation, I came up with a poll for everyone who writes fanfiction and publishes it on the internet in some way.

I'm going to address the question of how our past experiences, especially those that happened during childhood, may have shaped our imagination at a later time.

This poll is about fanfiction only. If you also write original fiction, your answers in that area may be different, as they definitely are for me. I'm only interested in your answers in relation to fanfiction (regardless of which fandom(s) you're part of). I have set the results to whoview='none', meaning that no one will be able to see your individual responses.

This poll is closed.

How do you come up with the plots and ideas you use in your stories? When you are writing fan fiction, some ideas stem naturally from the book or show you're basing your fic on (and possibly other fics you've read), but where do you go from there? Where does the rest of your inspiration come from?

Imagination only - my brain/muse/the voices in my head present me with weird ideas that seemingly come from nowhere
Second-hand experience: things I have seen or heard other people experience
First-hand experience: situations I have been through in real life
A combination of imagination and experience, with imagination being the main source
A combination of imagination and experience, with experience (first or second-hand) being the main source
Something else that I'll explain in a comment (anonymous commenting is allowed ;)

Do you let people who know you in real life read your fanfiction?

Yes, I have a fan club of friends and/or family members who regularly read my stories.
Yes, but only a select few family members or very close friends; I rely on their feedback to make my stories better.
No way - I wouldn't be able to look them in the eye if they saw some of my fics. They'd never expect me to write such stuff!
No - my family and friends aren't interested in the books or shows that I write fanfic about.
Other (I'll comment to explain)

How do you feel about publishing your fanfiction online for people who don't know you to read?

Great - I'm proud of my work and I'm glad others find it enjoyable.
Awkward. I don't think my writing is very good and I don't get why people like it, but they do, so I trust them that maybe it's not as bad as it seems to me.
Awkward. I don't like showing people that my mind has such a twisted side. What if they judge me by the sort of things I think up?
Terrified - I don't think my writing is good and I'm afraid it'll attract vicious criticism, but I pull a Gryffindor and gather the courage to risk it every time.
I don't care.
None of the above applies to me; I'll comment with my answer.
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Current Mood: curiouscurious
Ouroboros by bellonablack
Summary: Voldemort has taken Luna Lovegood prisoner, but gets a bit more than he bargained for. Luna/Voldemort, R, (rather long) oneshot

Cryptic, mystifying, captivating ... these are the words that come to mind when I try to describe this story. It's the second fic I've ever read with this pairing, and while I don't particularly care for the ship or the main characters, I found that I couldn't stop reading.

Ouroboros is rich in dialogue, and it's dialogue like I've rarely seen. The conversations between Luna and Voldemort are this story's highlight; they're full of thought-provoking riddles that kept me on my toes throughout the story. Philosophical and moral debate is worded in a format light enough that it requires little thought to follow, and it's always dialogue where things are hinted at but never stated, and where Luna and Voldemort find enough insanity in each other to reach a level of mutual understanding that they retain even when they are arguing – from viewpoints that couldn't be more irreconcilable – about how wizards should treat Muggles.

I find that Luna Lovegood is an extremely difficult character to write. I've discovered, somewhere along my way as a fanfic author, that to write a character plausibly, be they hero or villain, lead or secondary character, you need to understand them first. This is especially true for POV characters, and that's why I've never tried to write Luna. Since I find her extremely difficult to understand, I feel that I wouldn't be able to do her justice with my portrayal of her. But bellonablack does it skilfully. And while reading this fic, you start to wonder whether Luna should have been Sorted into Gryffindor, but amazingly, at the same time, you see exactly why she belongs in Ravenclaw.
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17 August 2006 @ 09:16 pm
Harry is my favourite character in the books, but in all my fics except two short oneshots, he is a minor character or is not mentioned at all. I’m not sure why.

Is it because he's the protagonist in the books and I, as a fanfic author, want to focus on the lives and POVs of other characters who are less explored in the books? Or maybe because it's harder to write a character you personally like/identify with.

My second favourite character is Narcissa, closely followed by Bellatrix. But if you read my fics, you would never guess this. In fact, from what happens to Narcissa in my stories, you would think I absolutely hate her. Here's her fate in the fics I’ve written and those I have a detailed outline for but haven’t started posting.

Warning: spoilers ahead. If that bothers you, skip the bulleted list under the cut.
Narcissa's fate in my storiesCollapse )

As you can see, her future is quite bleak under my pen (in the rest of my stories, she isn’t even mentioned). Again, I’m asking myself why. Maybe it’s because I favour the sort of plot and pairing where I have to get her out of the way, but the point is, I really like her as a character, but I have no qualms about making her suffer and/or die in my stories.

I write mainly Hermione-centric fics, though I have always found Hermione rather annoying in the books. But she is easier to write, and not being a character I particularly like, I can write her from a neutral standpoint without getting emotionally involved. In my judgement, stories where the author relates too much to a character have a tendency to stray toward badfic and Mary Sue-ism. Of course, there are exceptions to this – for example, I’ve read great Harry fics written by authors who claim they see themselves in him more than in any other HP character. But in general, I have the impression that you need to be able to curb your character-directed empathy to write a story that most people will find readable interesting.

So, what happens to your favourite characters in your fics?
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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: BBC Radio 3
Originally posted at potter_cliche

Have you noticed that when Dumbledore's eyes are described in fanfic, it is always in terms of whether they are twinkling or not twinkling? This expression is used in the books several times, true, but I think using it every time Dumbledore appears in a story is overdoing it a little, especially if it goes to the point where Dumbledore never expresses emotion in any way other than by twinkling or not twinkling his eyes.

I hope people realise it's a metaphorical expression, since eyes, unlike stars, can't really twinkle. When the Headmaster's eyes are described this way in the books, it is Harry thinking they looked almost as though they were twinkling, but they weren't literally, I hope! And it isn't possible to twinkle your eyes at will either – if you don't believe me, do sit in front of a mirror and try.

Twinkling eyes is a generic description. Its meaning is actually vague and ambiguous: what emotion is behind the twinkling? Joy? Delight? Devious scheming? Or are the eyes twinkling with tears?

I'm asking authors to use some variety in their descriptions of characters' facial expressions, please, because I think I've developed an allergy to repetition. And I don't mean replacing twinkling with sparkling or glittering (gleaming apparently has an evil connotation in Harry Potter), though that would be a good start.

As a beta reader, I'm sick of rewording things like his eyes twinkled like mad. Next time you're tempted to use the expression twinkling eyes as though it summarises everything you want to express, why not conquer your laziness and write instead, There was a scheming look in Dumbledore's eyes or Behind half-moon spectacles, his eyes showed a deep amusement? And what about replacing Dumbledore's eyes weren't twinkling anymore with There was a grave expression on Dumbledore's face?
Originally posted at potter_cliche

My last entry dealt with the most common clichés present in Dark and rebellious!Harry fanfics (I reject the independent!Harry term used by many authors because I think Harry is independent in the books. Have you read OotP? May I suggest instead ... nonconformist!Harry?). This time I'm shooting another plot bunny I've seen far too often in this kind of stories: supposedly simplified Occlumency techniques.

It goes like this: Harry buys a book about Occlumency and realises Snape has been teaching it all wrong. Following the directions in the book – as if they would sell how-to books about such an obscure branch of magic at Flourish & Blotts – he spends days in meditation as he 'sorts' his memories into the compartments of an imaginary trunk, or else builds walls and castles in his mind, then adds guard dogs or snakes to the courtyard of his mind (but where is that exactly?).

Where do people get these ideas? Dumbledore needs a Pensieve to organise his memories. And it is made clear in OotP that the concept of Occlumency is based on distancing yourself from your emotions and being able to turn them off at will rather than building physical or magical protections around your mind – if that were feasible, anyway. In her HBP interview, JK Rowling confirmed that Occlumency is the ability to disconnect your emotions and that it's an ability Harry does not have.

So excuse me for hitting my head against the wall in exasperation next time I read about Harry exploring his mind and locking away select memories in an imaginary trunk or fortress.

I have only one thing to say to these authors: have you ever tried to organise your mind this way? No? I suggest you do. Good luck!
As creator and manager of the Darker Harry fanfiction C2, I have encountered a pattern with few variations while reading hundreds of Dark/Independent/Powerful Rebellious Harry fics. You might object that all of these are cliché and you're probably right. So let's look at what makes them so cliché that after a good dozen of these, you feel like going to sleep as soon as you see the signs. By the way, kudos to those who manage to write a Rebellious Harry fic without using all these plot devices.

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I was as incredulous as you when I first had this thought. The first time I read OotP, I would screw my eyes up in puzzlement every time I came across something hinting in this direction. But after a lot of thinking, I started to believe that maybe it can be argued that the Harry/Bellatrix ship does have a basis in canon. I'll try to show you what I mean in this essay, which is an attempt at analysing the dynamic between Harry and Bellatrix in the fifth book.

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