Author has written 27 stories for Harry Potter.
I'm a Snape-aholic stay-at-home mother of six who has been writing fanfic in my head for decades but only started writing it down this century. In general, my stories are an N/S3 zone, ie, no slash, no swearing, no sex, but there is an occasional kiss and "Dreams" glances obliquely at the marriage bed. I do explore parental-guidance issues like self-harm, guilt and shame, and occasionally find it necessary to lightly touch on violence.
Writing derivative fiction is as much an art as writing for publication, but like my other field of interest, quilting, it is an art of the community rather than the elitist. As such, the quality of work produced may range from masterwork to dross. I am committed to aiming for excellence. Quilts made from pre-printed fabrics are not valued less than those using the maker's own hand-dyes; neither should writing be valued less for being made of pre-printed characters and/or situations. (Shakespeare's isn't.) It's what you do with your materials that counts.
My aim in writing fan-fiction is twofold: to offer new (true) insights into canon and to create stories that are complete in themselves. All of my stories were bookcanon-compliant at time of starting, however canon may have subsequently deviated, and I usually explain in A/Ns where I have extended or extrapolated further than the source-text.
Nevertheless, I can enjoy any well-constructed story that doesn't trip my baloney-sensors. For me, canon (or designated portion thereof) defines the parameters of fanfiction just as much as reality defines the parameters of general fiction. I find non-compliant details and interpretations in a semi-compliant story as jarring as green double-suns in a biography, and I prefer a complete AU to one that deviates slightly without consistency, because even small changes can have a huge impact and even huger blow-back. The smaller the change, the less likely authors are to consider its implications for their story - and the more likely readers are to incorporate the wrongness in their personal canon, and subsequently retransmit the error.
(The neurotypical brain is geared to finding patterns and framing narratives.In o-fic, fantasy needs to have a point of reference for where it differs from the real world, so that there is both internal consistency and - to the point of change - real-world consistency, because we are still reading from a real-world perspective, using our real-world understanding. We understand that, if the suns are green and double, then colours will change, day and night will follow a different pattern, and many words and phrases will lose their meanings. Art, physiology, agriculture, business, the daily conduct of life will change too.
Likewise, derivative fiction needs to have consistency with both itself and - up till the point of change - with the work it derives from. The point of difference doesn't have to be explained or identified to the reader, but the writer has to know it and understand how it changes what follows, or the AU storyverse gets more and more cracky. Nothing wrong with that if crack-fic is what you *want* to be writing or reading. It can be a pleasant diversion, but it's unlikely to engage the reader's heart or brain or soul.)
When canon itself trips my baloney-sensors, I prefer Watsonian (in-universe) explanation to Doylist (out-of-universe explanations, such as authorial convenience or stupidity), because it better preserves that coherence and internal consistency on which my readerly suspension of disbelief rests. Characters are the sum of their actions and attitudes. What they do and think and say (their "choices", as Dumbledore might say) shows what they truly are. Attributing anomalies to plot necessity or authorial fiat turns the protagonists from characters to puppets and destroys the integrity of the canonverse.
I've noticed that my favourite fandom characters, such as Snape and Percy and Neville, are all under-appreciated and male. Perhaps they symbolise my autistic sons, and society's tendency to dismiss disabled people as being worth less than "normal" people.
What draws adults like myself to Snape is not "bad boy charm" (I find the very suggestion ludicrous, frankly, for he is neither bad nor boyish nor charming), but identification and/or hurt-comfort. We recognised early on that Snape was a profoundly unhappy man, trapped by duty and obligation into a dead-end job/life. "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation" (Thoreau) - only for Snape, despair is perhaps equally present.
As I wrote, back in 2004, in "Everything", ch 5: "Miserable. Yes, that was it, he was miserable. Under that cold, grim mask, he’d probably been grieving almost since before she was born, grieving in silence because who could a spy confide in? ... Ron wasn’t the only person who wouldn’t forgive him. She was sure he’d never forgiven himself."
The books show him almost entirely through the eyes of Gryffindor students, and even the authorial voice is a Harry-echo - to the detriment of the series, in my opinion. To redress the balance, I tend to give a Snape-eyed view of events and characters. (This leads some readers to assume I'm fully in agreement with him, when all I'm really doing is presenting the opposing argument.) I've extended this to include SSHG romance and mentor-fics because they play well off each other and give me an opportunity to explore unresolved issues from canon or life.
I'd like to acknowledge some particular influences: Dzeytoun, ReeratheRed and Whitehound, whose fics have strongly coloured some of my Snape-views, Lady Claudia's site, whysnape, for extracting and analysing all the Snape sections in JK's books, Harry Potter Lexicon, for its vast repository of information, Little Tigger, for persuading me to post, and Bellegeste, Cecelle and Lady Memory, my previewers, whose searching questions and criticisms greatly improve the finished product.
I found the final book a profound disappointment on almost every level - even worse than my rather low expectations - and the author's apparent vision and morality abhorrent. Prejudice is confirmed and corruption entrenched, in and by the heroes. This was not a story about ethics, or good vs evil; it was merely a story about politics. (The under-story tells a better tale, but JK's interview comments show little awareness of its existence.) I still intend to finish my WIPs, but updates will be irregular and I don't promise to start any new stories.
June 20, 2010 On this day my sweet gentle father passed away from this world: a scholar and a gentleman. Love you, Dad.
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