CHAPTER ONE – The Train Station and First Evening
Before I begin, and am flamed into an early grave for insulting countless ff authors out there, please let me say that I AM ADDICTED to ff, especially L/J stories. I cannot even begin to count the number I have read, and I never follow any particular author. This is a spoof on the similarities between most L/J stories, and if I were to write one, mine would run along the very same lines. Please read this with a sense of humor, for it is not intended to make anyone angry.
"Oy! Evans!" James Potter and his best friend, Sirius Black, pushed through the portrait hole and rushed into the common room. A few students popped up from studying with looks of irritation on their faces. From behind a curtain of red hair, a girl spoke to the two in a stern voice.
"Potter, you are Head Boy this year. Can't you control yourself a bit while people are studying? Shouldn't you be studying? This is N.E.W.T. year you know."
"I know! And we were! We were in the library, and Sirius found-"
"You two were in the library?" Lily looked up at the pair, and while James was too disconcerted to continue, Sirius jumped in.
"Yes, and we found a book about you and Prongs, and guess what? You're getting married, and your kid will be famous and people will write stories about you! It's a how-to book!"
"What have you been sniffing, Black?"
"No really, look!" And with that, Sirius pulled her to the floor to sit in between them. With a very self-satisfied grin, he handed her a slim, shiny book. James was too busy inhaling the vanilla fragrance she wore to make any comment. She gave him a look of severe distaste, opened the volume, and began to read.
Lily Evans/James Potter Fan Fiction: A How To Guide
In this tutorial example, we will examine the formula required to write L/J fan fiction. I am referring of course, to Lily Evans and James Potter, eventual parents of wizarding hero Harry James Potter.
"See!" "Shut it, Black!"
Although it is seemingly necessary to adhere to a very strict formula when writing fan fictions based around this couple, there is a large variance between good and bad versions of these stories. No matter how good or bad your version is, however, YOU WILL RECEIVE REVIEWS IN THE THOUSANDS as long as you spin the story out over thirty or forty chapters. This tutorial, thankfully, will be much shorter.
The first scene (or chapter) is nearly always set at King's Cross Station, Platform 9 ¾. Usually, the stories begin with the beginning of the Seventh Year for our unfortunate couple, and Lily is usually coming back from her summer hols transformed into a goddess, after having been at least one of the following her entire school career:
1. A nerd/swot etc.
3. Shy (O Horror!)
4. Desperately unpopular due to her maniacal rigidity in following school rules
5. Desperately unpopular due to her lone hatred of a group of boys known as the Marauders (more about them later)
"Well, really! I'm not any of those things!"
"Sure you are Evans, numbers one and four anyway."
"Sirius, I think she's better described in the next paragraph."
"Ugh, James, quit kissing up!"
"Wow, you guys, how do you speak at the same time?"
Sigh from Lily "Lets just read on, shall we?"
However, in the better fan fictions, in an attempt to follow the little canon devoted to her, Lily is nearly always a tempestuous, fiery redhead, well liked by nearly everyone, and always good-looking beyond compare.
At this point, after meeting Lily, the reader is introduced to her friends. These girls generally are her dorm mates. The better versions have 1-3 "best" friends, the others 4-8, depending on how far the author is willing to go with this. Of course, it is nearly impossible to keep track of 4-8 secondary "Mary-Sue" characters, so all the reader need remember is:
1. They will all have different colored hair, none of them red
2. They will all be ridiculously thin – one will love food, and be able to eat anything she wants without gaining an ounce. This will be a humourous thread throughout the story.
3. One will inevitably fall for Sirius Black, and he for her, although they have heretofore hated/ignored one another because one or both have reputations for promiscuity (Sirius almost always).
4. One, the quiet one, will inevitably already have been in love with Remus Lupin for 1-3 years. He will also have a crush on her, but both will have been to shy to do anything about it. Sometimes, Lily takes this role.
5. At least one will have a really unusual name, usually starting with a K, such as Kirilyne, Kerosene, Kumbayah, etc.
Enter Lily's boyfriend. What, you ask? Isn't James Potter her boyfriend? No, not at first! James and Lily will get together, but not for quite some time. The author needs to change hatred to love and build up sexual tension, which takes anywhere from one week into school until well after Valentine's day, depending on the quality of the writing.
"Ooh, Lily, it's almost Christmas! You only have two months of freedom from James left!" "Sirius SHUT IT! James, wipe that grin off your face!"
So usually, to add an obstacle to their inevitable relationship, Lily starts her Seventh Year with a steady boyfriend, someone incredibly good looking and popular, and nice on the outside. This young man almost always turns out to be one of the following:
1. Cheating on Lily with another random promiscuous student. Everyone but Lily knows about this until she physically catches the couple in the act, even though she is supposedly the brightest witch in her year.
2. Using Lily to (a. Win a bet, (b. Get better grades, (c. Make random promiscuous student, whom he used to date, jealous (d. Hide behind her reputation while he pursues his rampant alcoholism/drug addiction, etc.
3. Verbally/Physically Abusing Lily, (often due to out-of-control jealousy) who meekly takes it, while lashing out at James Potter for turning her hair green and other various pranks, etc.
"Well, see," Lily sputtered. "That's ridiculous! Thomas doesn't beat me, yell at me, use me, or cheat on me!" Over her head, Sirius and James exchanged a look, but said nothing.
After meeting up with her posse of friends, Lily then bumps into James Potter and the rest of a group known collectively and to everyone in the school as the "Marauders". This group consists of James, best friend and ladies' man Sirius Black, quiet, bookish werewolf Remus Lupin, and pathetic, clingy, future spy Peter Pettigrew. Later, we will examine each of these characters in detail, but for now, suffice it to say that Lily will one or all of the following:
1. Physically bump into one or more of the Marauders on the train. Embarrassment, insults/barbs, and slapstick humour is usually the result of this.
2. Talk loudly, in Marauder's hearing, about whom the Head Boy might be, only to be completely disconcerted upon discovery that James is Head Boy.
3. Engage in an altercation with Bellatrix Black and a random crowd of Slytherins often including Severus Snape, the Lestranges, and sometimes Lucius Malfoy, although he is supposed to be several years older. When Marauders attempt to assist, Lily usually gets angry with them, insisting she can handle things by herself.
The rest of the train ride to Hogwarts includes a lot of discussion between secondary friend characters about who likes whom, how to attract a certain Marauder, Lily's boyfriend problems (unless he is the jealous type, in which case she sits meekly by his side, while her friends exchange knowing looks), how to get rid of a certain Marauder, etc.
The opening feast continues in this same vein. Lily and boyfriend sit side-by-side, earning jealous looks from James. James and Marauders have managed to pull a quickly-put-together-but-brilliant-and-embarrassing prank on random Slytherins, usually Snape. Lily is annoyed about James not taking Head Boy duties seriously, and vaguely upset by random promiscuous students hanging on James, although unsure as to why it upsets her.
By bedtime, boyfriend has shown his flaw to the reader, friends are making headway into their relationships, Lily goes to bed annoyed, without knowing why, and James resolves to change something about himself (hair, attitude, promiscuity, personality, etc.) in order to win Lily's heart. This all occurs in the first day/chapter!
The next chapter, "Inside a Marauder", will closely examine each of the four young men who comprise this group, and their importance to the plot.
"Evans, you have to admit some of that stuff is spot on. James does shoot you dirty looks when you sit with Thomas. You do get annoyed when girls hang all over him. We always pull a prank on Snape at the opening feast, and we did try to help you fight against Bella on the train this year. Not to mention the fact that Thomas is a git."
"Black, first of all, I do not care if a bevy of nuns drape themselves over Potter, let alone our classmates. Secondly, Thomas is not a git. Finally, it is obvious that someone is spying on us all. This is someone's idea of a really bad joke. I have no idea who Daisy Pennifold is, but if I find out, she will not be able to write ever again!"
"Then why are you turning to the next chapter, Lily?"
"Because, Potter, I want to see what she has to say about you guys! Honestly, though, who refers to you as the Marauders? That's so arrogant, to have a name for your little club."
At this, James leaned over Lily to whisper to Sirius, "Do you think this bird knows about the map?" Sirius just shrugged.
Lily pushed James off of her and sat up straight, stretched her arms above her head, once again rendering James speechless as he stared at her chest, and yawned. "Are you ready for this?"
"Lead on, my dear! Turn the page!"
"Shut it, Black."