Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, terrible fanfiction, or anything else so related.

Note: This is sarcasm. If I didn't say that, someone would flame me. And I made up all the names and examples. I am not cruel enough to steal directly from someone's story, but I have alluded to quite a few. If yours is one of them, oh well. Sorry.

How to Write a Harry Potter Fanfiction

Considering the rarity of quality in this fandom, I have decided that I must help ease this problem.

We will review this in a step-by-step manner.

Step One: Choose a time period. Favorites are Marauder-Era, Post-Hogwarts, Seventh-Year, or a mix of two of them, usually Seventh-Year and Marauder-Era. Remember, in Fanfiction, anything is possible. Even time warps and Hermione falling in love with herself.

Step Two: Once you've chosen your time period(s), you must choose which characters and/or pairings your story will contain. The Marauders and Lily are always a favorite, as are Harry and Company. The Slytherins are popular (be sure to shed a sympathetic light on the lot of them – perhaps Lucius is a sexual predator and molests Draco in his sleep?). Once you've got your characters, you must have your pairings. Remember, no pairing is so crack-induced that no one will like it. If you think that Remus Lupin had a soft spot for Hagrid, then maybe his furry little problem was more literal.

Don't be confined by the limits of heterosexuality, or, for that matter, homosexuality! Bestiality is an uncharted land, feared by many a writer. Be brave, and try new things. Time-ships are also terribly underused. Don't be afraid to make Tom Riddle fall in love with a young Albus Dumbledore, or to have Hermione fall in love with Lily, or Lily fall in love with Harry. It's all possible.

Remember thy Mary Sues and Gary Stus. I'm sure Sephiroth would have gone to Hogwarts if it existed in the Final Fantasy VII world – you can make it happen. And Clarissa Marigold Heather Diana Ellysandra Brigid Malfoy III really would charm Harry in an instant with her shimmering golden locks and sparkling violet eyes. Don't be afraid to add Celtic themes, however uninformed you may be about the ancient Celtic race. They're all dead, they won't mind. And if you think Duels in the canon are too pansy for Sephiroth or Clarissa Marigold Heather Diana Ellysandra Brigid Malfoy III to fight, then swords and flame-throwers truly are the obvious answer.

Step Three: After your characters and pairings are decided, it's time to come up with a plot. It doesn't have to be intricate, or even particularly coherent, but it does have to involve Snape, ancient folkloric spells unused for thousands of years, and an imminent heir to Voldemort. Should you choose the Marauder-Era, the plot must include Death Eaters attacking the school, an inept Dumbledore, and a heroic James Potter/Severus Snape/Remus Lupin/Sirius Black (depending on who your main protagonist is) to save the day and win Lily's heart.

If you chose to mix timelines, the plot must include Harry/James/Sirius/Lily/Hermione/Remus (etc) being thrown backwards/forwards in time either by mistake, an evil plan of Voldemort's, or to right the wrongs that have been committed, and fixing the problems, saving the day, or killing themselves (if it's a tragedy).

Which brings us to Step Four: Choose a genre. No, no, this doesn't have to be done before you're finished with the story. It can change. Don't worry – it won't confuse too many scholars of the English language.

You should stick to the basics. Angst (and it's child, Mondo-Angst), Tragedy, Romance, Comedy, or Crack. Crack!Fics are the least suggested, though they do have a tendency to rack up reviews and/or cult followings, in much the same way that a car wreck draws unwavering attention. An example of a Crack!Fic: Harry is thrown 3000 years into future to do battle with Neo-Voldemort, high king of planet Hogwarticon 5. With the help of the robots, Hermy7000 and Ron-bot, can he defeat the arch-nemesis of the universe?

Tip: If it sounds like bad Sci-Fi, it is bad Sci-Fi.

The general rule when dealing with Angst is to keep it simple and short. If your fic inspires you to attempt suicide after two chapters, you might want to tone down the depression. Angst is generally best in one-shot form. Mondo-Angst, however, is typically found in "Epic Trilogy" form, in which the main character (usually Harry) goes through life guilt-ridden, depressed, and alone, on an epic quest to defeat Voldemort despite all of the problems he goes through. The difference between Mondo-Angst and canon is that that Ms Rowling does, in fact, include humor, romance, and drama in addition to the angst. Mondo-Angst needs no humor and is the leading cause of depression in modern teens, according to a recent study.

Tragedy works almost exactly like Angst and Mondo-Angst, except that it involves the death of the main character's lover and/or the death of the main character. Think Romeo and Juliet.

Romance is the largest genre in writing, and the one with the most room for error. Don't be afraid to use meaningless sex, pointless side characters to inspire jealousy, and impossible contortionist exercises when creating a Romance. Also, don't assume that it takes time to fall in love, nor that a character has to actually express those feelings at some point prior to the aforementioned meaningless sex. We all know that Draco is secretly in love with Hermione, you don't have to explain it.

Also, pet names are cute. I'm positive that Hermione would call Snape "Sevvy-Wevvy".

Finally, comedy. The bottom line about comedy: If it makes you laugh, it will make everyone else laugh. Even if you wrote it while high on sugar and caffeine. Don't be afraid to incorporate inside jokes, random fairies, or completely incoherent plotlines into your comedy.

And Leet-Speak will always make someone laugh. Don't forget that.

Step Five: Now that you've got your genre decided, it's time to actually write the story. Don't be hindered by things like grammar or spelling, just write what's in your heart – there's bound to be some CIA codebreaker reading your story who will get it. Also, don't be afraid to break into your story and add an A/N in between sentences. Example: "Seriously, Sirius" (lol, serious/sirius, get it? lol)

Assume that your readers have the collective IQ of the average Wal-Mart parking lot oil stain, and speak down to them at any possible interval. Use baby language and write in net-speak when applicable. Correct spelling is for geeks. Split every infinitive you come across in the most heinous ways possible. Don't bother hitting the space key after a period – it's not that important. Don't forget the 's' on the end of "anyway". Everyone knows it's "anyways". And don't worry about using the correct form of the verb "be", nor about the difference between they're, their, and there. Nobody cares. Also, remember that it's and its are the same thing.

When actually writing the story, there are a few things to remember that are staples of the fandom.

-First, Hermione will always straighten her hair, so it falls below her waist. This will charm Ron/Harry/Draco/Remus/Sirius/Ginny/Luna (etc) into forming a Hermione Fan Club and following her around with a blank look on his/her face and a thin line of drool. At this point, Hermione always becomes either extremely clumsy or extremely stupid.

-Ron will always be one of two things. He will either be Idiot!Ron who knows nothing about anything (except that his chosen love interest is the most bee-yoo-tiful thing on the planet), or he will be Suave!Ron who wins the poor clumsy Hermione's (or other love interest's) heart. Idiot!Ron has none or very few lines, Suave!Ron has eaten three dictionaries and a book of pick-up lines. He's also KingoftheBedroom!Ron.

-Harry speaks in all-caps, no matter what.

-Draco will always be PoorAbusedButOhSoSuave!Draco. His character must be shed in a delightfully pathetic yet unwaveringly sympathetic light when his Twu Wuve is around. Try to make his father a sex offender, or his mother an abusive, alcoholic bitch. Or he could have been raped as a child by a Death Eater (preferably Snape, to add to the tension). When not casting him as a poor, abused child, make sure that he knows all the best pick-up lines and has an entourage (NOT including his Twu Wuve) at all times.

-Voldemort will never shut up and attack, so feel free to give him long soliloquies about anything and everything while the heroes save the day.

-Lily is perfect in every way, shape, and form. Her hair is long and glistening (and forget that nasty redhead thing – she's dyed it blonde), her eyes are sparklingly beautiful and can be seen from Tibet, she has "curves in all the right places", and never makes below a Perfect grade on anything. In order to make her seem more human, it's a good idea to make her secretly anorexic, or have her lust after Snape.

-Lupin is always a whiny wet rag, constantly complaining about being a werewolf to his friends, and always running away from people who frighten him, namely the entire female population. He is also extremely sexy to everyone, male, female, and animal alike.

-Sirius Black is either secretly gay, God's gift to women, or both. When he speaks, you must mention how terrible his family is or motorcycles in every sentence. Preferably, incorporate the two.

-Snape is a god, and the object of everyone's lust.

Step Six: After writing your story, it's time to post it and beg for reviews. Whoring yourself out in a blatant attempt to get another review is not a crime, so be sure to go all out. An example of a successful beg for reviews: hey, guys! theirs my story, hope u liekd it. if i get sixty reviews, ill put up the next chapter, so review plzzzzzzzzzzzz! u no u want 2!

Be sure to remove all capital letters and use internet speak as often as you can. Use only the most basic of the language when speaking directly to your readers, they'll not comprehend anything more. It's also a good idea to let the characters speak for you and beg for reviews because they want to be written into your story.

Don't be afraid to leap directly from your story to the A/N with no break to show that the chapter's over. Your readers will understand.

Step Seven: Now, you should write the summary. You've only got 255 characters, so you'll have to write in abbreviations and net-speak whenever possible, and be sure to make good use of the fact that too, to, and 2 sound the same, as well as for and 4. Beg for reviews here as well.

Also, telling what the story is about in the summary is unimportant. What is important is letting people know that you're a great writer, they should review this story thousands of times, and that you suck at writing summaries. Example of a good summary: hey……i suk liek, major, at riting summris, lol, so just r&r, plz……draco and harry go back in time to his dads place and they, liek, fall in love and stuff……lol. stroies better then the summri, i promise.

Remember, never, ever use a single period. You must use at least six. Make sure you laugh out loud at least once, and directly address your readers a few times.

I think that's about everything you need to know. Happy writing!