Author has written 5 stories for Simoun, Ranma, Naruto, and Harry Potter.
According to some writers:
The First Law of Fanfiction states that every change which strengthens the protagonists requires a corresponding worsening of their challenges.
I do not hold to a strict interpretation of this law. The problem is the term corresponding: just how much balance is kept? It cannot mean exact parity must be maintained in balance of power, tension, and level of conflict - many writers are attracted to write, and readers drawn to read, fan works designed expressly to alter the balance of the original material.
Others make changes in the original material as experiments, tracing them out just to see where they lead. Quite a few works are inspired by a revenge motive or a visceral reaction against the original author laying too many challenges on the protagonists or not making them functional enough as people.
I also hold there is a place for character studies, mood pieces, and expository works, though these are generally short. In longer works some conflict is necessary to drive a reader’s interest, but the author may not seek to make it as ambitious as the original.
Bear in mind some writers also want to “do it right”, fixing perceived flaws in the original work. They often wish to work with the same material, cover the same time period, or deal with problems left dangling. These works do generally have to follow the usual rules. The Harry Potter series in particular has been accused of not developing the characters properly and having them suffer far-too-convenient mental lapses (forgetfulness, distraction, obtuseness) as the series reaches its end. Though, to be fair, Rowling may have written herself into a corner that only a platoon of writers could get out of.
Thoughts on crossovers:
Note this list is far from exhaustive.
Visitation: In a crossover between A and B, both in separate universes. Characters from A are transported to universe B. Requires determining ground rules: what laws of physics and magical systems apply, what powers/effects are possible. Most works are Type 1-compatible.
2. Characters from works A and B share the same universe, merely have not been in contact before. Requires universes to be compatible.
3. Characters from works A integrated into universe B, which is incompatible with the background of A; characters from A must be adjusted to some extent. Some authors and critics will argue that all crossovers are technically of this type: each original work is in its own universe, with the absence of characters and elements from other works implied as part of the background but not specifically mentioned; any crossover is thus altering a work to the extent of adding elements of B to setting A. In this view, type 2 crossovers are a specific case of minimal adjustment, while type 3 covers a whole spectrum of greater degrees of change to B to fit into setting A.
4. Characters from A and B are both integrated into a third setting C, often specifically constructed to be able to hold both at full capacity. Usually takes the form of an overarching setting that includes settings of A and B as subsections (multiverse settings). Similar to 3, some critics will contend this is just a further case of integrating B and C, rather than A and B, into setting A, with setting A being unseen outside of the crossover story.
I have been reading a lot of Naruto and Harry Potter stuff lately. I should have a few ideas to develop shortly. Unfortunately I have less time than I would like available to write, so many ideas will be given up for adoption.
Observations so far on Naruto:
It’s an older boys - early teen work, with all the strengths and weaknesses of the form. The tournament format dumped into the Chuunin Exam arc in particular feels out of place. Shouldn’t examinations be more objective?
Sasuke and Sakura are supposed to be two of the better students from the genin training, but show no sign of knowing that teamwork is central to ninja operations as practiced by their village. This indicates the training program somehow does not explain it. The bell-capturing exercise should explain as well that the students are being taught to synthesize their training: ninjas have to be able to operate with little food and sleep for extended periods, and sometimes members of a team must be sacrificed.
Ultimately, the bell test portion of the storyline is junk. It sounds cool, but like anything included by Rule of Cool, it is vulnerable to Fridge Logic, leading to Unfortunate Consequences. Several writers have noted it is more of a team-BREAKING exercise when a team-BUILDING exercise is needed. It plays head games that twelve-year-olds aren’t going to respond well to.
Naruto with any Leaf girl
Sasuke with any Leaf girl
Anyone with Temari
Notes on Harry Potter:
Starts as a children’s series, with appropriate cartoonish elements, then tries to get more mature. That never seems to work well. Lots of stuff included on the basis of Rule of Cool ends up having Unfortunate Consequences when you think too deeply. (Witness the popularity of stories that try to fix this...)
The series readily lends itself to time travel/Do-Over type fics, which are well represented. Harry and his friends - and Dumbledore - learn much over the course of the story that is hidden at the beginning. Naturally if you give them foreknowledge, they will be able to deal with their problems much easier.
I like stories that make Harry smarter; he seems a little too slow on the uptake in the later books. How hard can it be to come up with Horcrux candidates? You would think Hermione would have grabbed books on the Hogwarts founders when she had the chance in the month before Harry turned 17; several good candidates would come from there. And Harry trying to break off his relationship with Ginny sounds noble, but someone needs to tell him it won’t work; that Voldemort will be going after FORMER girlfriends on the off chance Harry still carries a torch for them. Perhaps the Horcrux in his head is clouding his mind.
(Of course, Ginny doesn’t HAVE to come with them; it’s just not wise for any Weasley to show up at Hogwarts that year. She could hide out with the rest of the family.)
I also like stories that give him rich inheritances, though those are less canonical; we don’t really know what position the Potters had in wizarding society.
Some of Harry’s failures are clearly due to his youth and inexperience, some due to lack of resources or failure of support. I understand he is intended by Rowling as an Everyman, an ordinary kid dealing with extraordinary pressures. His unique abilities are narrowly designed for their purposes: to overcome particular obstacles and provide a few plot points. He does not have the usual high talent level and broad competence of a hero facing the level of threats he does. He is a Gryffindor: he gets by on raw guts and innate goodness.
And it is supposed to be a modern coming-of-age story: the adults hold the kids back, pleading that the kids are not competent to face the threat, but their own competence has its limits, and after a certain point the adults are swept aside and only the kids remain to carry on the fight. But it is just frustrating to see Harry after book 3 not seeming to get his bearings or learning from experience.
I support most pairings between characters that are not outright enemies.
I will have nothing to do with pairing Ginny, Hermione, or any of the Grypffindor Girls with Draco, Lucius, Severus, etc. My disbelief just cannot be suspended for these.
I will have some ideas to throw out soon.
Echo Uchiha is taking on both stories up for adoption; anyone else care to try? All entries are welcome.
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