"A Guide to Writing Common Lily & James Fanfiction"
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and... oh, just forget it. You'll see what I mean later on.
Hello there fellow Lily/James worshipers!
This is a guide with a collaboration of very common happenings in Lily/James Fanfiction to "help" you write your very own lovely, common fic.
Don't get me wrong- I am in love with a lot of fics like these. This is not intended to offend anyone, and it was not written with any particular story in mind. It was written with common knowledge of how many Lily/James fics go. Many of you will recognize these things because you've come across them while reading Lily/James Fanfiction. Some of you might be guilty of using these things yourselves. Hell, I know I have!
This is merely for humor purposes and amusement for you (and for me). I hope you enjoy.
I'd also like to thank my friend EmilyluvsHP, who ever so kindly edited this fic and made some suggestions for me. Love you, Em!
In the ordinary Lily/James fanfic there should be at least 20-30 chapters.
For their story cannot be told in less than that, obviously. This is LILY and JAMES we are talking about! The OTP of all OTPs.
Their love story has to be stretched out over a course of months. You can start during Seventh Year, as most people do. You could, however, start at the end of sixth year, but let's be honest. Who wants to read about a year where there's no potential for Lily or James to be together yet? So let's just say you start with Seventh Year (but remember to include some scattered flashbacks from first to sixth year respectively for dramatic purposes!).
Now, you should probably start off the first chapter at King's Cross. Maybe in the first paragraph, describe something about how crisp the air is or how the sun is shining perfectly upon our current destination, which makes this day even more exciting. Describe the weather or scenery.
You could also start it off with some dialogue, maybe Lily Evans speaking with her parents or a friend that she spots at the station. If, however, it is Lily Evan's point of view (which is also a very good, common idea), you could describe some of her thoughts. Perhaps on how she is Head Girl and very excited for the upcoming year, but curious as to who the Head Boy is.
She thinks it's Remus, obviously. But she's nervous that it's Snape, all the same. Because she does not want to talk to Snape. Ok? She doesn't. They are no longer friends at this point. Don't make that mistake.
You could also describe Lily's appearance, saying how lovely she is with her dark, red hair and green, almond-shaped eyes. Be specific. Because not all eyes are almond-shaped. Some are walnut-shaped. There are a plethora of different nut-shaped eyes, okay? Be aware. There's a difference, people. Psh.
She, of course, doesn't see herself as beautiful, BUT SHE IS. Remember that. She's stunning, of course. Describe her personality. She has a temper, but a lot of people like her. She likes books. She does homework.
She does not play Quidditch. Do NOT have her play for Gryffindor house. No. She doesn't play. Don't miraculously make her fly in one chapter and surprise the Marauders stiff and have Lily all smug. She can't freaking play Quidditch.
She also might drink occasionally. Of course you need to include a chapter somewhere where she gets drunk. But not yet! We'll get to that later.
So let's meet Lily's best friends.
This will take place either at King's Cross on the platform or on the train in a compartment. You can go with characters already mentioned, like Alice, Marlene, Mary, Emmeline, Dorcas, etc. You know a little about them from the books. But it's wonderful because you can make up a lot of things about them too.
You could also go the OC route, which means you can be creative and make up your own character names and such. But let's be honest, they will still have the same traits as Marlene or whoever else.
Lily has to have AT LEAST two best friends. But you can include others as semi-less than best friends, who also have side stories, Yadda Yadda.
One has to be a slag, but a good slag. Lily loves her to death, even if they are quite different. The slag is outgoing, funny, a bit of a troublemaker, and things like that. She's also completely gorgeous. Let's call her Slag Best Friend 1.
The other best friend has to be quiet, a little reserved, smart, but she also has this side of her that is shown when she's mostly only in the presence of her two best friends. And this is the fun side, including the fact that she sometimes swears, (GASP) and she makes really witty comments at unexpected moments. She is also very pretty. Let's call her Shy Best Friend 2.
You could include a friend from another house who occasionally joins them. But not Hufflepuff. Mostly, Hufflepuffs are full of dumb, slutty girls (and particularly good finders) that Sirius likes to use as playthings. So pick Ravenclaw.
So these best friends are chatting it up on the train. Include their appearances. One has to have longish hair, another shorter hair. It's very common for Lily to be the only who has red hair.
Lily finds out about the fact that James is Head Boy from her friends and completely flips the fuck out. Or, James could come by and let her know, and she completely flips the fuck out. Also, she could go to the Head and Prefect meeting where she sees him, and still completely flips the fuck out. You have to include that. But James is rather mature and treats Lily differently. She decides maybe he has changed a bit, which gets her thinking. But nothing happens yet.
As for the Marauders, Sirius has to have something with one of Lily's best friends, probably Slag Best Friend 1. Maybe not right away, but at some point, yes, he does. Maybe they could hook up occasionally. Or they discover they like each other. But they also hate each other and argue a lot.
It's best if this friend is not Alice, as she is destined for Frank Longbottom and him only. They're probably going to get engaged at some point if you include her in your fic.
As for Remus, Shy Best Friend 2 likes him, but doesn't do anything about it. Remus, obviously, likes her too, but similarly doesn't do anything about it. He's too shy, which just makes them even better suited for each other.
Lily and James have to share a Head Boy and Girl dormitory together (which I am almost positive is NEVER mentioned by JK Rowling, but it's ALWAYS there in fics). Lily is a little skeptic about this. James is utterly thrilled of course. There will most likely need to be a scene at some point where James is half-naked and positively sexy as fuck with water dripping down him from a shower, and Lily's all hot and bothered by it. But of course she's embarrassed, and she runs away all awkwardly. James is amused by this.
You should have Lily and James go on rounds together, maybe in the third chapter. This is a chapter in which they get to know each other more. They ask questions about each other. They laugh. They tell some secrets (it may get a little emotional, bring tissues). They decide they should become friends because they will be working together often. Yay, friends.
BUT WE WANT MORE. HURRY UP. Keep in mind that some readers are impatient. So you should maybe include that Lily feels a tug or a little something, something at some point in regards to James that she has never felt before. But she hasn't come to terms with it yet. But it'll calm some readers down. Face it, every fic has at least one "ZOMG, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO SHAG, UPDATE PLZ!11!1!" reviewer. And we love those to death.
Remember to include filler chapters. This is your chance to be creative. There are the obvious, common things that you need to add to MAKE it the Common Lily/James fic, but everyone needs to be a little unique here and there. Make sure you also put a lot of humor in your fic. Have the characters crack jokes and argue playfully. They can insult each other, too. Everybody loves to read these sorts of things. Rack your brain. You can come up with something.
Don't forget the pranks! Just because James is Head Boy now doesn't mean there aren't still going to be Marauder pranks! Lily might even suggest one or two of them, which the Marauders will of course be astounded by. But they agree. And that's where Lily really begins to become friendlier with the guys.
You should introduce a man interested in Lily, probably an OC. This man is smart, good-looking and a little pompous.
Lily doesn't notice. James thinks he's a git.
He plays Quidditch. He's of course a Ravenclaw, DUH. This character will drive all of your readers completely bonkers because he is clearly not James, but Lily still seems to find him interesting, regardless!
If you'd like, you could instead make this person Amos Diggory. He's a very common boyfriend for Lily. Whoever you choose, James has to have some sort of conflict with him. He does not like him at all, and Boyfriend doesn't seem to like James very much either.
Said OC might date our beloved heroine for a bit, but soon everyone will hate him SO GODDAMN MUCH that you spare their hearts and ditch him. He probably cheated on her or did something else to upset her. At which point, she runs to James in shambles, and he comforts her lovingly.
Of course, you need to include a Quidditch match. No one really enjoys reading Quidditch match chapters, but you need to include it.
It's Harry fucking Potter, there needs to be Quidditch.
You could go two ways: Maybe James ends up in the hospital wing, and it frightens Lily. She is worried about him, and some feelings might spark when she realizes she cares for his health. Maybe he doesn't get injured, but there's a close call in which he could have been. Lily is obviously very proud of his bravery (and is enjoying watching him fly around). But Gryffindor wins either way.
This chapter needs to broken into two parts. The first is all about the Quidditch match. The second chapter is all about PARTY time.
Gryffindors are the ULTIMATE party students. You need ALCOHOL (provided by Sirius of course) and lots of it. Sirius is smashed. He's talking to a lot of girls. Slag Best friend 1 is jealous. So she might go off and talk to a boy, making Sirius somewhat jealous. Remus does not get smashed, for he is responsible. He looks after the Marauders, and will probably end up cleaning up some of the mess when the party is over.
Now. Lily can do two things. She can either unexpectedly get smashed as well, or she can remain sober, (She IS Head Girl, you know) and still have some fun anyway.
Although being a Head doesn't stop James from loading up on the firewhiskey. Common sense, people.
But it will be more fun and common if Lily gets drunk. She will at some point end up snogging James, and he will enjoy it very much. But Lily will be angry and/or embarrassed the next day when she regains her sanity, and she realizes that things can't go back to the way they were because obviously she is now realizing she might like James. Because she DEFINITELY liked kissing him. Who wouldn't?
You also need a slag in your fic, but a bad slag who tries to ruin relationships. She's a total bitch. She should be either in Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. And she wants James. Maybe James will be in a relationship with her at some point. Maybe she just kisses him. But Lily is jealous. Slag and Lily do not get along. Best Friends do not like Slag either. Slag should have a friend who is second in command. She is less slaggish than Slag but a complete gossip and really annoying.
If James is with Slag at some point, they will eventually break up. Slag cheats on James, or he finally realizes how awful she is. James still likes Lily anyway. He was probably only with Slag to make Lily jealous, to be honest. And Lily now has to admit she has feelings for him after seeing him with Slag. BRILL, right?
Most likely, a good idea is to have the Marauders and the girls come to James' mansion at some point over Christmas break. His parents are throwing their annual Christmas Party with all sorts of prominent witches and wizards attending. So James is allowed to invite his friends so he isn't bored to death.
There will be snowball fights, more drinking, more games, and a scene with Lily and James that is very much anticipated. Maybe an almost-kiss. Make it have a lot sexual tension, but nothing actually happens. Perhaps they are interrupted. Make it torturous for the readers who want more.
Have Lily find out about either animagi, the map, the cloak, etc. She needs to find out about them at some point. Scatter the discoveries throughout your fic, or just have James let Lily in on it all at once. She's going to be very surprised, but she thinks it's clever as well. But of course she already knows about Remus' furry little problem. She's not stupid. She figured that out ages ago.
BALL TIME. Yes, the Yule Ball is the only one mentioned in HP, but let's face it- the MWPP era always needs a ball.
Make it themed. Of course the girls will wear dresses that need to be explained in GREAT detail. Every damn color, ruffle, and sequin needs to be mentioned... or else! They need to look shocking. The Marauders will be amazed at how completely beautiful they are. Lily will be wearing green, probably. Green is ALWAYS associated with Lily because of her eyes. SORRY LIL, YOUR FAULT. If not green, then probably a navy blue. Not pink. It will clash with her hair (didn't Fleur teach you anything?).
Some point during the ball, Lily and James will be forced to dance. Or James will confront her. Probably outside. Preferably by the lake. Everything is more romantic by the lake (except for the giant squid...).
ANYWAY, THE LAKE IS ESSENTIAL, PEOPLE.
Here he confesses his feelings and describes how much he cares for her. And Lily, of course, doesn't want to hear it at first. She might tear up and shout a little. She will say that things will never work between them and that she's scared. But, you know, James will kiss her, and things will be lovely because she will kiss him back, and everyone will be excited and squealing.
Sirius and Slag Best Friend 1 will probably dance and possibly even hook up after the Ball. Remus might even be brave enough to confront Shy Best Friend 2 if she doesn't bury herself in a hole from embarrassment first.
But then they will eventually get together at some point because Remus needs a little love, too.
And even though Remus confides in Shy Best Friend 2 that he is a dangerous werewolf and can't be with her, she will NOT care whatsoever. And they'll date. Happiness.
And snogs all around because snogs are great endings.
Now. Here's the thing. A lot of fics end here, when Lily and James have kissed, and everything is just spectacular. You can just end this way. Or you can continue it. If you wish, here are some things you can add:
The whole kiss is embarrassing to Lily after the ball. She avoids James at all costs. She's nervous about relationships and just everything. James is worried that this has ruined their friendship, never mind a chance for a relationship. But eventually, something will happen in which James and Lily have an encounter and will kiss again. James will ask Lily out, and she'll say yes. They'll probably become a couple down the road.
OH, and if they go to Hogsmeade on a date, Lily doesn't want to go to Madam Puddifoot's. That place is absolutely vile.
Petunia's wedding can be included. Lily will bring James, of course. They are both together at this point, and she wishes for him to meet her family (if they are still alive?). Let's say that the wedding takes place over the Easter holiday. Petunia and Lily will fight at some point. Lily will cry. She will accept that her and Tuney won't ever be friends again. James will comfort Lily. Her parents like James a lot (hem hem, again, if they are alive). Petunia does not like him. But who cares about ruddy Petunia.
You should have a happy chapter in which something fun happens because everyone is together at this point (in one way or another). Have a Hogsmeade trip. Or the Marauders and the girls play a game or something. Let them be happy for a bit before the nasty war.
Oh, did I forget to mention Peter? I think I did. Who cares about Peter? Maybe throw him in once and a while. I mean, it's not like he's important or anything, even though he IS a marauder and the reason Lily and James end up dead... Nope, not important at all...
You need to have another conflict at this point to make it stay interesting. A good one is that the Marauders made a childish bet of some sort that hurts Lily. Or that Slag kisses James again later in the story (James doesn't want Slag to kiss him, but of course Lily will walk in on them and refuses to believe that James didn't want it).
Whatever the conflict may be, it needs to get Lily angry and maybe reconsider her thoughts that James had matured. They won't talk for a few weeks. James will try to get her to understand whatever it is he needs to explain, but Lily won't hear it. She's angry and hurt. Emphasize this constantly.
Eventually, Lily and James will be forced to talk (maybe by the Marauders and Best Friends, who are completely fed up with the two bickering). They could be locked in a room together. Room of Requirement? Who knows. Be creative. Or James could just confront her.
MAYBE BY THE LAKE AGAIN. IT'S ESSENTIAL.
Of course, Lily's actually sort of gotten over it, but she's been too cowardly to actually talk to James. So now James has explained everything, and they make up and snog. Marauders and Best Friends probably have celebratory drinks.
But oh no, guys. Some Slytherin bitches decide to do something bad in another chapter. They maybe curse someone, like one of Lily's best friends. Spice it up a bit: use an Unforgivable on her. She will end up in the Hospital Wing.
Now things are getting a little more Sirius (yes, I did just do that).
Death Eaters will be brought into the story. Dumbledore will of course confront the Marauders and Lily & her BFFs and convince them to help fight against the Death Eaters and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, even though they're only 18. Dumbledore knows what he is doing.
There will be a battle. Probably one at Hogsmeade. Some will get hurt. But the Good will win the fight over the Bad.
Sadly, either James or Lily's parents need to die. By Death Eaters, Voldemort, etc. They aren't alive to take in Harry, so they need to die at some point to make the Common-ness believable. They are killed obviously to get back at Lily and James, who are at this point seen as powerful and potential threats.
The character whose parents die will be devastated. They will want revenge. Their counterpart will comfort them. The now-orphan will suggest that maybe they should break it off because they might die next. But HA, no, silly orphan. How dare you suggest this! You are in love, and you are in this together. They agree that the other is right, of course, and comforting commences. The other set of parents also will need die at some point (if they haven't already...?).
Oh, and don't forget to include Lily and James shagging for the first time. You can make it smutty if you wish. If you want to remain more mysterious with it, that's fine too. But they must shag.
Things are getting a bit boring because everyone is together now. And the ultimate thing everyone looks forward to is the moment Lily and James get together. The chapters will be updated less and less often. Maybe there will be a couple months hiatus. Take some time to cry over how you wish you had ended it simply with a snog MONTHS ago. But eventually, for your own sanity, you continue it.
They graduate Hogwarts. You might want to end it here. No? Alright...
You can have a Lily and James wedding if you wish. That will be fun. Everyone likes a wedding. This gives opportunities for lots of reminiscing the olden days when they hated each other. Sirius can get drunk and dance on a table. Just make it really cute and fluffy and very, very detailed.
Include some more battles to show how bad-ass Lily and James are. Remember, they defied Voldemort three times before their death.
Unfortunately, one of the best friends needs to go. It is her time to depart. If it's someone like Alice, Marlene, Mary, Emmeline, or Dorcas... play to it. Alice is tortured, remember? Marlene is murdered, along with her family. Emmeline is killed many years later, so not her. Dorcas is murdered as well, by Voldy himself. And who knows what the hell happened to Mary...
If you have OC's, kill one of them just as well. A Death Eater probably did it. It will devastate either Sirius or Remus. But they don't marry either of the best friends in Canon HP. Unless you are going for A/U. But don't go there. Just, don't. Remember, we are going for COMMON L/J here.
If you are feeling sympathy, just have a break up. But it will be more sad, and you will look like a better, more experienced writer if you kill one off and explain the emotions felt by everyone because of it. And remember, Sirius and Remus both die (SPOILERZ ALERT). So they will meet up with Best Friend 1 or 2 again eventually in their little ghostie land (recall the scene in Deathly Hallows with the resurrection stone).
But of course Remus and Tonks get married... so better make Slag Best Friend 1 die. Maybe Shy Best Friend 2 and Remus break it off because he's got his furry little problem, and he doesn't think he can ever be with her permanently. Which she goes along with unhappily, but it's what he wants. They remain friends, but still have feelings for each other.
If you wish, you may proceed to baby Harry being born.
You can include the deaths of our beloved OTP. But that will make a very sad ending. So you might want to make it end after Harry is born. Your readers might come after you with pitchforks if you kill Lily and James and have a sad ending.
Everyone basically forgets that fact that Lily and James die because these fics end mostly after they become a couple. Hell, sometimes I forget Lily and James die.
If your readers have stayed with you this far after Lily and James had gotten together for good, bravo. You have made it to the end and clearly did it right. Include a VERY HAPPY epilogue chapter to end things with. Make it happy. Or you'll regret it.
Just remember, if you are thinking of doing a sequel in which Sirius and an OC get together again (if you don't kill her off), then it is probably doomed to have constant hiatuses or you will never update it because it will get boring.
Hope this will help you in creating your lovely, common Lily and James saga.
And don't forget about the fact that you are the author. You of course need to do A/N's where you beg for reviews and bribe your readers with "cookies" even though you know perfectly well that you're not going to be giving anyone any cookies. You are behind a computer screen, dammit. Those fools...
You will probably tell your reviewers that you accept constructive criticism. It makes you look more professional! But the moment someone says a bad word against your story, you spiral into depression and either a.) write them back and just shit on their lives, b.) try to ignore it best you can if it bothers you, or c.) take their criticism as an opportunity to become a better writer …. except c is never going to happen is it...?
You also need a disclaimer. You will be creative for the first few chapters, using different ones.
I don't own Harry Potter. It belongs to the lovely JK Rowling.
I only own the characters I've created (write down OC's names).
Everything is Jo's, of course, except the OC's.
Then you will get bored and probably use the same one over and over for the next few chapters because you really don't feel like being creative with them anymore.
And eventually, you'll probably just disregard the disclaimer entirely because you'll realize nobody fucking reads them anyway.
A/N: Review, please. I accept constructive criticism!
^You see what I did there? Lawl.
Really though, I hope you guys liked it. Of course, I'm aware that this sort of thing has probably been done dozens of times. I've only come across two ever since I discovered FanFiction. But this is what it looks like in my eyes.
If there are any other Common L/J happenings that I missed, let me know! I'd love to hear your other ones!
Remember, I don't mean to offend anyone. I meant for this to be funny. The whole lake thing... I've written like 3 fics with the lake scene, no joke. So I'm pretty much making fun of my self as well. :)
Also 10 Points to Gryffindor if you picked up on my AVPM reference.
~COOKIES TO EVERYONE WHO REVIEWS~