No, this isn't an update, nor is it a message about a sequel. Its just me reflecting upon the story and what I have gained from it. You don't have to read this if you don't want to.
Author's Final Thoughts.
Well there we go. I wrote a story that had a word count of over 100,000, and also went on for more than twenty-five chapters. Yikes.
But in the experiance of writing this story over the past eight months, what have I, as the author, learned?
Well, I can actually write pretty good battle scenes, according to reviewers. That is something that surprises me, even though it shouldn't if I think about it. I have never been one to watch war films, per say. Films set during WW1, WW2, the Vietnam War etc have never appealed to me. Must be soming to do with the guns and tanks I suppose. However, something with wizards battling it out at wandpoint, like Deathly Hallows part 2, or men and elves firing projectiles from bows and catapults, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy are battle sequences that I could happily spent hours and hours watching over and over again, so somewhere along the line I must have picked up a way to effectiively visualise battles effectively, something I know several authors have claimed they are unable to do.
Opposite to that, I think my weakest point is character development. Over the course of the story, several arcs of character story went well, such as Lily and Harry. My trouble is that I don't usually take the time to focus on what a person is thinking or feeling during particular moments. Towards the end of the story I did get better at this, and certainly no one has really complained about it, but for some reason it never felt like enough to me, no matter how hard I tried. It is probably for that reason that I am not the sort of person who can churn out chapters that are eleven-to-twelve thousand words long, and I might never be either. But then I guess that's the key to writing a story; write the amount you are comfortable with.
To be honest, this story twisted and turned to become something way beyond my original goal, thankfully many people enjoyed the ride, but keeping the story from trailing off dramatically is probably something I should work on. Luckily most of the changes worked out favourably, but as I said, this story is nowhere near what I originally set out to right.
I was relatively new to writing fanfiction when I started this (and I still am), my experiances from getting reviews for this thing really opened my eyes. For the most part, many people were higly supportive, I'll not name those who were with this story from start to end, but you know who you are, and I heartily thank you.
There were three points in this story where I lost a good number of readers. The first instance was my revealing of Harry's replationship with Luna before I revealed Harry's relationship with Hermione. Some people really hated me for that, and that really was my first taste of truely hateful reviews. Some of them did hurt, but that was more because I knew what was coming in the story, and these people were not willing to read that far. I learned my lesson about listing the pairings in the summary there and then.
The second was when I revealed the truth about Arnold Potter. Some people just could not get their heads around the idea that Lily created what was essentially an advanced Inferious. A good number of people dropped the story at that point.
If you have come this far then obviously that means you know the point in the story that triggered the most hateful reviews and the point where I lost many readers. I do not for one second regret my decision to describe Wizarding America the way I did. I fully expected for there to be hateful reviews, even though I explained my reasonings the best I could. What really shocked me though was how supportive of the idea many people were. I was starting to think that I was alone in being fed up with the, in my opinion, over-used plot device wherein the Muggle-technology-using American wizards fly in to safe the day (I know of several stories where the story quickly died after such a plot device was used). But the positive responses outweighed the negatives, which is why I don't regret adding that little twist.
Furthermore, I came to realise something else. Many of those leaving reviews critical of the idea had not (rather obviously) actually read that part of the story properly. I kept getting things thrown at me like America's anti-slavery laws and the Civil-Rights movement thrown at me as reasons why I my idea was wrong. These people obviously missed the part where it is stated that Wizarding America grew separately from Muggle America. For the most part, the Wizards ignored the Muggles, except to steal Muggleborns, and as such the Civil-Rights movement, amongst other things, was something that they were unconcerned with and therefore did not affect them.
One review for that chapter, and I'll not name names, really did scare me. Nothing threatening, I assure you, but it worried me so much that it made me scared, for the reviewer claimed this in their review: "... Americans have always fought against slavery." Really? Can every American honestly say, hand on their heart, that their country has always fought against slavery? So there has never been a slave in America has there? Hmm...
Some reviewers seemed to be under the impression that America is the only country in the world to have an army, and the only one to use surveilance equipment. That's quite a scary notion.
Also, Americans, I don't mind you being patriotic, I say go for it, but patriotic-bordering-on-racist is not a good thing.
That said, I'm not sure if I'll do the "America has Muggleborns for slaves" thing again, as I am a little fed up arguing the point, though a day may come when I use it again. Does this mean that the next time Americans crop up in one of my stories they'll be portrayed in the same, overused way that they often are in Harry Potter fanfiction? Nope.
Of the numerous story ideas currently running around in my brain, trying to get themselves developed, only two contain Americans, and they ain't gonna come off looking too good. One idea is essentially a long series of many linked one-shots looking into various events concering Harry's life as an Auror, and his relationships with his (eventually ex) wife Ginny, his Auror partner Susan, his healer friend Daphne, his friend and coworker Hermione, and his source of constant souorce of headaches: Ron, as well as Harry's kids, nieces and nephews, and a host of others. The idea is for at least one chapter to contain a group of visiting American Aurors, who turn up at the request of the ICW to help monitor things in Britain, as part of an ongoing program following the war with Voldemort. Harry's irritated with these repeated sessions (having already endured French, German, Australian and Canadian Aurors (to name but a few). Things then go badly wrong when Harry is not listened to when he says that the American Aurors' Muggle Weaponry won't work in Hogsmeade. Following that, Harry is dragged before the ICW for an inquest that might very well ruin his life.
The second idea involves a Harry that is disillusioned with human kind. After getting some new friends, Harry wages war in Europe. Then Amerca comes running in to offer assistance, earning Harry's ire in the process. To give you some more idea as to what this story is about, I'll say that it is linked to the supposed 2012 event that is meant to signal the end of the world (or something) and will be called Harry Potter and the Court of Magical Brethren. Some of you might be able to guess where I go with that.
Anyway, I'd have to say that the most important thing I have learned in the process of writing this story is this: we need to be able to write longer summaries for our stories, because unless I can write out everything that happens in bullet-point form for the summary, there are always going to be people who hate what they read.
On that note, Damn Wizards is my next project to finish, and I expect that Harry Potter and the Court of Magical Brethren will start up during that time.
Anyway, see you next time.