Title: Making the Fanfic
Author: Amethyst Jackson
Author E-mail: AmethystJackson@hotmail.com
Summary: How fanfiction is made.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Special thanks to the Beta Squad and my Art Team! DOOO COBS and DOC LOD forever! *snerk* Also, many members of the SpellbookFics Group make cameos in this fic. Watch for your character!
Issue 498, No. 1
Week of April 21, 2002
Amethyst is back and well this week, and she's got a documentary fic that illustrates the making of the modern fanfic. She'll be following author Katie Adams as she starts a new series.
Making the Fanfic
By Amethyst Jackson
A mob of angry fans riots outside of Fanfiction Headquarters on this bleary morning, demanding information on Katie's latest fanfic. Humph. Don't flatter yourself, Katie. We'll take the rest of this story from Katie's point of view, since we can't get past the fans to the doors.
The fans are out there, clattering on the doors again. How on Earth did I ever get fans? That doesn't matter. There's work to be done. I walk down the main hallway. It's a bleak, colorless corridor that goes in a circle around Fanfiction Headquarters. If you follow this hall, you'll get to any room you want.
My first stop is the Screening Room. This is where we choose the main characters. It's a funny sort of process. The characters themselves judge their duplicates, but, of course, they're not allowed to rate themselves, which keeps the process somewhat fair. You get your odd character – like Draco – who wants the spotlight so bad that he'll give all the others zeroes. That's why I have to go monitor the process.
I come to a door labeled 'Screening Room' in bold black letters. Walking in, I see the panel of characters. There's a streak of red hair – the Weasleys – and a few blondes – the Malfoys – with the occasional dark head, which would be Harry, Hermione, or some other dark-haired character.
I take the empty seat between Hermione and Draco and watch the stage, where characters are acting out scenes from former fanfics. Currently, Harry and Draco are acting out a scene from Draco Sinister by Cassandra Claire. They've got a couple demons as well to spice things up.
May I just say how difficult this process is for me? Every character wants a leading role.
"You should write a fic with me again," Hermione says on my right. "Hermione Granger and the Year of Adversity was such a smash, after all."
"Suck up," I say, laughing slightly. HGYOA was horrible, and I need a new character to play with. Perhaps I'll put Hermione in there somewhere.
On my left, Draco's doing his best to get my attention – and he's succeeding. He does it every time. Yes, he flirts with me. It's such a bother, since it's nearly impossible to resist Draco when he turns on the charm.
"You know," he says in a seductive purr, "The Line was one of your best yet. You know you want to write me again."
It's time to go now. I'll just pick a random character in my head. That's how it usually goes. Hmm…whom could I use? Ginny! Yes, of course. Someone needs to write a correct version of her where she's neither an immature brat nor a feisty vampire slayer.
In the hall, I proceed to the Plot Room. It's a disorderly room, with papers scattered everywhere. On the walls are fanfics in volumes, printed at Kinkos and bound in regular plastic folders. I see the Draco trilogy, as well as the Paradigm of Uncertainty series. In the newer section are Love Is A Battlefield and Irresistible Poison. These all serve as wonderful references when you're looking for a good plot line. Of course, you have to be careful how much you take. I mixed up Irresistible Poison and Draco Dormiens for The Line, and now it's far too close to those.
I turn to Amethyst – at least one version of her. She's got several duplicates that work throughout the building. What would I do without my alter ego? She's currently writing out possible plots for the next series.
"How's it coming?" I ask.
"Eurgh, not well. Have you got an encyclopedia of occult beings?"
I frown. "No, I don't think so. We need to get one of those. Just stick with the Succubus for now."
Amethyst nods and I leave the room. It's time to choose ships. Ships are probably the most important things in a fanfic, next to plot. I mean, nobody wants a fanfic without snogs.
The ship-choosing process is almost as odd as the process that chooses the main characters. You see, the characters choose their snogging partner, with special limitations, of course.
It's the female characters' turn to choose this time. As I walk into the Ship Lounge, a large, colorful room full of chairs and couches – prime for kissing – the heads of all the characters turn. I see several Hermiones, a few Ginnys, two Chos, the Patil twins, and Lavender among the see of faces.
Since it will be Ginny's fanfic, she chooses first.
"Ginny!" I call, and three appear at my side by the door to the Choosing Room. One is a young version, which won't do. Another is sixteen, and one is in fifth year. I take the fifth year Ginny – this fic will have to be about the Trio's sixth year.
We walk into the Choosing Room. Both walls are lined with male characters, ranging from Weasleys to Malfoys to Potters to Snapes, all trying their best to look attractive. Draco is wearing leather again, Harry's in one of his 'adorable' poses, and Ron is looking less mean than he usually appears to me. Snape, remarkably, has even washed his hair. I turn to my assistant, Mia. She's a helpful person in this area, always telling me which ships she would most like. Emily wanted the job, but it was always Draco and Hermione, and that ship is impossible.
"Who should I leave?" Mia asks. We narrow it down to certain characters so that the fic doesn't become too far-fetched. Bad things happen when you leave all the characters, like Dumbledore/Snape fics.
I ponder the question for a moment before replying, "Harry, Draco, and Seamus." These characters are the only ones that Ginny fits well with, I've found. I do hope she doesn't pick Seamus. He annoys me terribly.
All of the other characters disappear, and the remaining three stand in a line before us. Draco is, as usual, giving Ginny sexy looks, which is harder to resist when he's in leather. Harry's still got the 'adorable' look, which I've found works best on Hermione. Seamus is smiling, looking a bit like your average character on an American sitcom for teenagers.
Ginny bites her lip, obviously conflicted. Who wouldn't be?
"Draco," she decides finally. Harry pouts, and Seamus nearly throws a fit, but she's made her choice. Mia leads them off to the Acquainting Chambers, where the characters get to know each other and practice snogging techniques.
Back in the Lounge, I grab a sixth year Hermione and take her into the Choosing Room. I tell Mia to leave Harry, Ron, Draco, and Lucius. I might make this one of those odd-but-funny fics.
Harry gives the 'adorable' look, and, of course, Hermione chooses him. Having been together many times before, they know the routine, and they go off to the Acquainting Rooms on their own.
That's enough ships for now. I'll choose the others as I go along.
Now I'm off to visit the minor but important divisions. I go first to the Writing Division, where the Beta Squad and Phrase Makers reside. The Phrase Makers are best left alone, so I go to check on Aileen.
Aileen is Commander of the Beta Squad, usually known as CBS or COBS. We normally stick with COBS, since the Muggle readers confuse her with the television network.
In a room very much like a classroom, Aileen instructs four beta readers. Aileen stands at the front of the room by a blackboard, covered with dialogue rules, wearing a black cap with COBS in yellow letters. Above the board is a sign that says, "No matter what she says, 'Muggle' is capitalized. (It shouldn't be, I say! We don't capitalize 'wizard,' do we?)
"How's it coming?" I ask, knowing what to expect.
"Horribly!" she replies, predictably. "Where did you find these Beta Readers? They don't even understand the I before E except after C rule!"
I grin at her. "That's what you're here for. They just give me positive feedback."
Aileen rolls her eyes and picks up her pointer, explaining the differences between 'there', 'they're', and 'their.'
Now I go to the Creative Division. On one side of this particular hall is Idea Development. Nobody will be in there, because I do all of that. Across the hall is the Art Team, however, which could probably use a visit.
Contrary to the name, the AT only has one member, Emily. I've tried to recruit new artists, but they never respond to my e-mails. Anyway…
This room is quite a bit like the Plot Room, with papers everywhere, mostly scenes from fics and character descriptions. The walls, however, are lined with art supplies.
Emily sits alone at a table, surrounded by crumpled up failures, frantically scrubbing a drawing with an eraser.
"What's wrong with this one?" I ask her. The only person left on it is Hermione, and to me she looks perfect.
"Harry's head was in the shape of a football!" she cries.
I peer down at the paper. "This is the cover for HGYOA, isn't it?"
Emily nods and erases some more. I leave, exasperated. She started that cover months ago.
I'm going to leave you all here. I've got to go to ID and start working on my new series, though I'll probably end up working on the sequel to The Line. I do hope you've seen the complexity of writing fanfiction through this documentary.
And that, my friends, is how fanfiction is made, though most authors aren't as full of themselves as Katie is. Humph.
AHEM, THIS IS THE END