Author has written 14 stories for Harry Potter.
So what prompted me to write fiction based on someone else’s fiction and set in someone else’s universe to no profit (in dollars) to myself whatsoever?
The first answer is that I can’t rightly say. And I really feel a bit silly about the whole thing, because I am a grownup and this feels suspiciously like kid stuff.
The second answer is that I was faced with the even more daunting task of writing drama based on history, which is to say, based on a collection of stories about what really happened, starring people who really lived. And furthermore, my mentor in theatrical writing told me that after five years I was still struggling with the notion of dramatic conflict.
The Harry Potter fandom is a quick course in the growth of literature, and it affords writers an opportunity to write for an audience who actually recognize the characters. (We truly envy Mr. Shakespeare.) It has been my curse, in my Real Life writing adventures, to be drawn to historical characters and situations that are obscure, at least to an American audience. (Anyone who recognizes the source for my pen name gets a gold star. In certain circles, she was as famous as Harry Potter, and in fact she is his Russian cousin, by way of the Dickens connection. But that’s a story for another day. We will be posting the cross-over fan fiction at some point, and we wager that it will remain alone of its kind for some time.)
Rowling’s work is wonderful in the way it balances goofy, manic humor against metaphysical horror, which is something that I consciously try to emulate in longer works. And I love the oddball magical technology, much of which has serious psychological resonance. Cases in point: time-turners and Polyjuice Potion.
The method to my madness
How canon are we? Well, I try not to ignore any events explicitly given in canon, for the most part, and if we don't know--we make it up. The inconsistencies and omissions in canon are marvelously fertile; they’re the dark spaces in between, in which other stories can grow. However, I will say for the record, in direct contradiction to Deathly Hallows: in my universe, a wand is just a wand. No do-si-do with who conquered whom. We already have enough trouble. And in case anyone is wondering, I am ignoring the epilogue.
I wrote a political timeline for everything that happens between May 1998 and the end of the following summer, and pretty much everything I have written here depends on that, though I do like to play with possible worlds. J.K.Rowling is a hard determinist, but I am not. The main story that has given birth to everything that you see here is called 'Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation.' It's the story of the year that follows the Battle of Hogwarts, from Hermione's point of view, and includes the wizarding War Crimes Trials of 1999. It's a rather large work for which I am writing the last of the footage even as you read this.
‘Amateurs borrow, professionals steal.’ (Variously attributed to Henry James and T.S. Eliot, and I don’t know where they stole it.) As a professional, I try to acknowledge where I stole the various really good bits; this is done in the author’s notes to individual stories. I try to keep track of this as I'm writing, and I will do my best to acknowledge inspiration from other fan-fiction writers as well as fan theorists. (One person's chronology quibble is another person's plot bunny.)
Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation (2009-11-26 began posting). I began posting this story with a backlog of some 150,000 words. This is the Great Mother of All Fics and the source of my main timeline. Most of the short pieces listed here belong to this timeline. While I began with great good hopes of biweekly posting, of late (2012) I have been quite spotty, due to RL day job constraints and original fiction career.
And just so you know what you're getting yourselves into, here's the full disclosure:
Content warnings: Het and slash, bisexuality, polymorphous perversity; Polyjuice kink, including pseudo-necromancy; workaholism and time-turner abuse; substance abuse (alcohol and Potions); police brutality; inadvertent cross-dressing; political arguments, including explicit reference to racial issues; points of principle. Furthermore: debt slavery; cameo appearance by an investment banker; character death(s); non-monogamous relationship(s); responsible and conscious use of contraceptives; miscellaneous family dysfunction. Contains explicit scenes of data analysis and forensic accounting. (Rated P for pecuniary explicitness. Well, OK, there are no actual money figures. That would be triple-P.)
Story constraints: Multiple persons and tenses, dream sequences, non-monogamous happy ending, answers to a number of fanfiction tropes that drive me crazy, and the inevitably exponential ripple effect of karmic retribution. The original challenge I set myself was "Harry Potter in the style of Jeanette Winterson," but that's way too scary.
Main pairing is Hermione/Neville, although there are also side relationships with Draco, Tonks, Percy, and Ginny. Yes, that's Hermione and all of the above, and Neville and all of the above except for Percy. Neville/Percy is difficult for me to imagine. (But if someone writes a good one, I will read it.) Two OCs (an investment banker and a Healer).
In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon (2009-11-26 began posting). I will be posting regularly, either weekly or biweekly, most likely on the weekends. POV Andromeda at the Weasleys', lots of family drama, no particular warnings except that this takes place in the same political timeline as Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation, so there will be spoilers for that work since this tale moves at a somewhat brisker pace. Rather longer than I thought it would be, and turning into something of an epic. (2012) Not on hiatus, but coupled to the Amends timeline, so updates to this story have been lagging.
Storm Surge (written August 2009; now complete). Same timeline as Amends and In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon. 14 chapters, probably the shortest of all of these works, so warnings for spoilers especially on Amends. POV Draco; main relationship(s): Draco/Neville/Hermione, and that's almost as much fun as it sounds. More sex and violence on-screen than any of the others, as well as a fair serving of whining and snark.
Four O'Clock in the Morning (first snippet written April 2009; updates posted intermittently). AU to the universe of Amends, Storm Surge and In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon. POV Hermione, Draco, and female OC. Unlike the Amends universe, which is plotted within an inch of its life, this tale depends upon the whim of the muse. Main pairings are Hermione/Neville and OFC/OFC. There's a Draco/Hermione relationship but it's not a romance. Topics addressed include post-traumatic stress, border crossing, and the Squib Problem. Warning for cute babies (Teddy Lupin puts in an appearance and Draco gets a baby sister) and Malfoy/Black/Tonks family dysfunction.
Sunday 22 May 2011 update:
Posting schedule: More regular posting schedule will resume soon. RL day-job craziness has abated somewhat for the moment, though we are now proud momma to an original-fiction novel, which has siblings on the way.
Sunday 5 June 2011 update:
Thank you for everyone who asked after my health and whereabouts in the last months. None of the three WIPs are slated for abandonment, and you will be seeing updates on all three as the summer progresses. We are actually approaching the endgame for Amends and Princess, though after many inaccurate estimates, I don't venture to give an approximation of the number of chapters left. Thank you all for reading and reviewing with such regularity. Your comments have been invaluable.
Scholarly discussion: I have received PMs from a number of correspondents who report that they are discussing these fanfics in theses, dissertations, and/or scholarly articles. For those studying and citing these works, I would definitely be interested in reading yours in turn! Feel free to contact me by PM with your contact information and/or citation.
Friday 9 December 2011 - Update
Yes, I'm still alive. Since midsummer I have been absorbed in my original-fiction projects including the launching of a blog, writing 200K words of fiction, and participating in National Novel Writing Month. This December and January, I will be returning to work on my fan fiction work. Thanks to all who reviewed and expressed good wishes! I will do my level best not to disappoint.
Fanworks: Faithful reviewer bas-bleu has created the following playlists for the Amends universe. Each playlist follows the emotional arc of one of the major characters of Amends, or Truth and Reconcilation, through chapter 58. I'm listening to these as I draft the next chapters.
October 2012 - Update
Special thanks to all of the readers who have started following these stories since 2011, especially those who lost whole nights to Amends and Princess in the faith that it would be updated soon.This timeline is plotted out to the end. At this point the major delay is in drafting the chapters. Current estimate is 10-12 more chapters (and action-packed ones!) for Amends, and a comparable number for Princess. Four O'Clock in the Morning has maybe 3-4 chapters to go.
I am particularly grateful to my long-time readers, some of whom have followed me into my alternate life as a writer of original fiction. Your comments about craft and process in reviews, correspondence, and (in the case of TruantPony, SwallowB, and Bas-Bleu) your beta reading, have been invaluable to my development as a writer.
Fanfic-related nonfiction project
Once I have completed the works in progress, I will be working on a fanfic-related non-fiction project, From Fan-fiction to Original Fiction: A Guide to Craft. This is not about 'filing off the serial numbers' on fanfic (a la 'Shades of Grey') but about how to apply the lessons learned in working with fanfiction to the challenges of original fiction. I will continue to post short pieces here from time to time.
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