Author has written 1 story for Harry Potter.
I've finally written a story!!! Its a short one shot (just under 1k words), and very dark. I really don't want to write dark stories, however I'm reading Shakespeare, and while artistically inspiring, don't inspire fluff.
If anyone is curious dwiggie.com and A Happy Assembly provide access to lots of Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. Much better selection than fanfiction.net, unfortunately there is no review count for screening and prioritization.
I try to provide constructive criticism when writing reviews, and really enjoy tearing apart the logic of how a piece of fiction actually works.
Time Travelers hoping to keep the 'timeline' the same. Deal with the frigging butterfly effect. Don't pretend it is possible to make major changes without consequences.
Time travelers afraid of how telling someone older, wiser and with more power than themselves about 'the future' will be bad because then they will change 'the future'. If the time travelers agree with the motives of a leader figure, and trust their judgement they will tell them. Which sort of means a lot of the time Harry won't tell Dumbledore, but Naruto would tell Minato or Sarutobi. Cloud in FFVII fan fiction wouldn't have anybody to tell anyways.
The scene where they open the locket before attacking it with the sword. So the basilisk venom allows it to destroy an otherwise invulnerable soul fragment, but it can't break through the outside of a locket?
"I swear on my magic that such and such" -- oh well if it is that easy to prove what you are saying. Why didn't Voldemort demand Snape (and everyone else) swear on his magic that he wasn't a traitor? Maybe you should have your characters actually deal with trust issues? I like stories which build in an explanation for why unbreakable vows are rarely used.
Also it can be beaten by obliviation. As can veritaserum. And you can get the memories back if you stick them in a pensieve before being obliviated. And memory modification charms can probably get people to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Look, obviously what happened to Sirius was a horrible miscarriage of justice. But realistically, in the wizarding world it is not easy to be sure.
Random artifacts creating binding contracts (with what as a punishment clause?).
First year sorting hat song. I've read it. More than once. You don't need to quote it in your story. So please don't. And I don't care if you change it, I still won't read it.
Time dilation fields which allow large amounts of subjective time to pass while the character ages normally. Why doesn't everyone spend their entire lives in these fields?
Bully!Super!Harry giving 11 year old Malfoy nightmares. Of course Ron and Draco as are assholes, they are in Junior High. You don't use advanced martial arts on a junior high student, or seriously threaten to kill them. You ignore them. Even if they just said something awful about your girlfriend.
The goblins being deeply impressed by Harry recognizing Griphook as the one true financial adviser.
Pointless gratuitous generosity. I'm an utilitarian, If you have money you have a moral duty to use it effectively. Giving Ginny 20 million pounds because Riddle used her to open the Chamber is wasting 19 million pounds. Use the rest to help other poor students. The sort of mentality which thinks because we know who Ginny is, and she has a particular set of needs, it is appropriate to give her a fortune is the mentality allows us to ignore millions of children starving to death each year in third world countries.
On a related topic, why specify how much money Sirius gets in compensation from the ministry for unlawful imprisonment?
Harry wanting to be "just Harry". It gets annoying. And it isn't characterization anymore, its a key phrase drawn from the fan fiction atmosphere. Harry actually does dislike attention-- figure out a way to write that without using phrases we've all seen dozens of times.
The prophecy. It is nonsense. "Neither can live while the other survives"-- that isn't fulfilled by the horcrux or Harry's sucky life, or anything, because it is a nonsense phrase, literally impossible. I hate epic!Rowling (as opposed to witty!Rowling, from the early books).
Not Harry Potter, but disclaimers in Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. Jane Austen does not own Pride and Prejudice, humanity does. More prosaically nobody does. It is in the public domain.
Hermione: "You're in all sorts of books!!!"
Harry: "Nobody knows what happened, so those books are totally inaccurate, you really shouldn't believe everything you read"
Sure, a valid point. But does Harry have to be rude about it? Also meeting someone you've read about is just cool. It doesn't matter if the books are accurate. And it always feels like Harry is being rude in these scenes. Is it really the best start for an H/Hr dynamic to have Harry shut Hermione's first enthusiastic greeting down? I think Hermione's opening lines are adorable.
General Fan Fiction Comments:
Modern world AUs:
I think the primary pattern determining whether there are 'normal human, modern world AUs' are common is whether romance is what the stories are being told about. Also how common they are depends on the specific pairing more than the setting. In Naruto a large fraction of Sakura/Itachi stories are real world AUs, while there are almost none elsewhere in the fandom. In Harry Potter there are almost no actual real world AUs (as closely as I can tell), but while I've read very few of them, a large fraction of post graduation stories strongly downplay the fantasy elements of the setting. The majority of Twilight stories are All Human, a third of Pride and Prejudice stories are modern world, a large fraction of Inuyasha stories are modern world.
Thoughts on Good Writing:
"Well, if you've written something and it's good (though wrong for what you're working on), you can always use it later in something else."
"If you're really interested in writing a good book... you'll rekey the entire work. I know outrageous... Well, the reality is this: As you retype, as you, literally, rewrite, you find other places to make changes, new word choices occur to you-- the work benefits." The Complete Guide to Editing Your Fiction, Michael Seidman p3
You probably shouldn't take creative writing textbooks too seriously. They teach how to produce a specific type of story-- which isn't the story you want to write. Look for books which did something you liked, and figure out howthey did it.
Length and Pacing:
Long stories should be broken into subarcs. Each subarc should have its own climax and resolution. Ignoring structure and pacing is the biggest reason long fan fics drag. Sub sections should probably be between 75-150,000 words. War and Peace is around 500k words, and broken into 4 sub novels. Les Miserables is 500k words, and broken into five pieces. BTW Les Miserables' pacing is probably perfect. Harry Potter is 800-1000k words, and broken into 7 pieces. And it would be a better series if the later chunks were smaller.
People can only pay attention for so long.
I don't like separately posted sequels, but it is a solution. An example of my preferred solution is Hidden Hero a single story, but following Voldemort's defeat there is an A/N which explains that the rest is a sequel. Hidden Hero also has a well characterized Harry, and each half is well paced and the first has a really good climax. Methods of Rationality uses episodic subarcs, specifically labeled as such. Stories commonly break each year into a separate episode, but since the later years are far longer, the episodic structure often breaks down in year three or four. Inserting 'Part 1, Part 2 ... ' into chapter titles also works.
Divergences from canon:
Often a good idea is to explain in AN exactly the ways you diverge from canon.
Stories which are the same until a specific event should add as little as possible.
More divergences are fine in completely AU setting, but minimalism is usually best. Also certain concepts are just silly.
Most divergences are okay if part of the premise of the story, while a divergence that isn't embedded in the premise is worse. For example I recently read a story with the premise that Hermione was actually Merlin's granddaughter, who'd been kept in a stasis for a thousand years. You may not want to read a story with this premise, but it is a perfectly reasonable 'what if'. However an apparently normal post-OotP story, which ten chapters in reveals Hermione is Merlin's granddaughter and Arthur's heir will annoy me.
Good causal explanations make changes more acceptable. For example I recently read a post-OotP where James and Lily are still alive. This bothered me until the flashback scene where Manipulative!Dumbledore convinced them to abandon the magical world.
Easy Ways to Boost your review count:
Make a stupid mistake, if you have a chapter where Flitwick is head of Hufflepuff everyone is going to call you on it.
Cliffies also apparently jump reviews.
Ask a question, or have a poll, or something else, it starts the conversation.
Fan Fiction Tendencies:
Poor pacing. Stories are accumulations of scenes, with poor large scale structure. Crude characterization.
"Hermione listened to Harry's response and started to get concerned. Harry was right about what he just said. Harry also seemed very angry with Dumbledore about something, other than these facts. The fact that Harry said supposedly not definitely meant Harry knew something about Sirius Black others didn't. Hermione was pulled from her musings by the train stopping. The air was getting cold and the windows were frosting over. A feeling of despair was overtaking her as the door to their compartment opened. There was a skeletal hand pushing the door open and the figure went straight for Harry. Harry seemed frozen in place as the figure moved closer, Harry had just lost consciousness when the teacher awoke and chased the creature away. Mr. Lupin stayed until Harry regained consciousness and gave him some chocolate to eat. Harry spoke to the teacher," from Enlightenment by Rolata
There are lots of cool elements in Enlightenment, but this paragraph is awful. It should be broken into several paragraphs. Hermione's thoughts and the entry of the dementors should be separated. Have one concept per paragraph. Short paragraphs are usually better.
The passage also overuses passive voice, "A feeling of despair was overtaking her" should be "A feeling of despair overtook her", or "Hermione felt despair", "There was a skeletal hand pushing the door open" should be "A skeletal hand pushed the door open". Every writing textbook tells you to use an active voice. This is why. Now that I'm finally writing my own story I've found paying attention to this while revising helps, and that I now notice what voice I'm writing in more easily.
Third, the narration is confused. "Harry seemed frozen in place ... Harry had just lost consciousness when the teacher awoke", when did Harry start losing consciousness? Why did we shift from things seeming to happen to Harry to them just happening to Harry? Shouldn't there be a transition word like 'then'? Maybe we are close enough to the first Harry that the second should be 'he' instead? I'm less confident about what is wrong here, but I'm fairly sure something like "Harry fainted before the teacher woke and chased the creature away", would be better.
Vox Corporis is a quite good H/Hr story, diverging at the end of GoF. However its conclusion felt abrupt and unsatisfying. The primary focus of the story is romantic interaction between Harry and Hermione, but the climax is defeating Voldemort. Following a quite good final battle sequence there is no further H/Hr interaction, prior to the years later epilogue. Ending a romance novel with a fight scene is jarring, and doesn't work well.
This is actually a common in good stories. There is a good relationship storyline, and a good action storyline, but they are poorly integrated and large chunks of text will ignore one or the other. This is part of 'not paying attention to structure and pacing'.
"She wouldn’t let him physically withdraw. She would try to ease the nerve-searing residual pain. She would be there to see him through the symptoms of shock. She wouldn’t let him recoil from contact, because she wasn’t going to give his tortured mind time to decide human touch was bound to hurt. She’d talk to him to distract him from any bouts of nausea. She’d be there so she and the night could absorb his tears in secret. She wouldn’t let Harry suffer the way the stupid books said he would, Hermione wasn’t going to stand by and allow for it." Vox Corporis
The excellent use of language is why Vox Corporis is really good. Note the parallelism, each sentence has the same structure, "She would ...", except the last phrase uses a different pattern emphasizing Hermione's resolution. It should be noted though that high quality use of language requires work. And time. Which is why Nobel prize winners release a novel every few years, and best selling authors release a few every year. Also it is why the language in Vox Corporis is rarely as good after the first few chapters (though there are a number of scenes scattered throughout the story that are really good).
"Pierre was shown into the large, brightly lit dining room; a few minutes later he heard footsteps and Princess Marya and Natasha came into the room. Natasha was calm, though the stern unsmiling expression had settled on her face again. Princess Marya, Natasha, and Pierre all experienced that feeling of constraint that usually follows a serious, heartfelt talk. To resume the same conversation is impossible: to talk of trifles does not seem right, and yet the desire to speak is there and silence seems an affectation. They went to the table in silence." War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
I'm not sure if there is a lesson here, I just think this passage is really, really good. Also limited third person PoV is not the only possible style of writing, Tolstoy uses omniscient third person brilliantly where he is an external narrator who observes the thoughts of his characters and describes them in his own terms, without being limited to the language and knowledge of the character. I'm not sure how it would turn out, but I'm thinking of trying to write a Harry Potter story as an omniscient Tolstoy like narrator. Also it should be noted Tolstoy as a narrator had his own very distinct voice which was not that of any character in the story.
"Harry smiled. The whole thing had worked beautifully and he was free to look for the Snitch. Scanning the grounds, he frowned. Ron seemed to be distracted by something and wasn't watching the Chasers as he should be. He followed his line of vision. He was looking at the Gryffindor stand. What on earth was he staring at?
Harry could see Hermione amongst the other students. She was jumping up and down in excitement, causing Harry to smile and laugh, when his laughter suddenly turned to horror. Hermione was falling!
Harry seemed to be frozen for a second. That couldn't be right! Hermione had not fallen out of the stands! He saw Dumbledore pull out his wand and mutter a charm to slow her down, but still, she was rushing towards her death. Harry urged his Firebolt towards her. He noticed that Ron was also heading towards her, but the Firebolt easily outstripped his broom. Harry was closer, but Hermione had almost reached the ground. Going as fast as he could, he felt something hit the back of his neck and fall down his robe, but he ignored it. Hermione had almost hit the ground when..." from The Father by black-phoenix-warrior
Sudden, completely unexpected near death experiences are bad. Usually a near death experience is supposed to scare the reader. If one is inserted without proper preparation the response WTF? Not, OMG will they survive?
Causality is part of this. I had no idea it was possible to fall out of the stands (obviously this isn't natural), and if a wizard does, wouldn't some accidental magic probably save them? Including a phrase where we find out how she fell would improve the scene. Foreboding would also be good. Unless you know precisely what you are doing there should be no sudden transitions from amusing quidditch commentary to sudden death. Look at how Rowling managed her transition in book 3 to see how this should be done.
Also Dumbledore's spell would have stopped her from falling. Actually I can't any longer take falling during quidditch scenes seriously because of that.
"Hermione didn’t give up hope, she swore she wouldn’t let me die, she swore she would do anything."
This line is from my own story, I'm including because I know precisely how it was edited into the current form. First it was "Hermione didn’t give up hope, she swore she wouldn’t let me die, that she would do anything." Initially I wanted to turn it into "Swore she wouldn't let me die", I wrote this story in a minimalist style where I removed all the pronouns I could. However parallelism is good, "swore she wouldn't let me die, swore she would do anything". However having two sets of 'she' added an additional level of parallelism. Honestly right now, I rather prefer "swore she wouldn't let me die, swore she would do anything" to the final version. However this does get at how interating across sentences looking for ways to improve them can be a good idea. [Also looking at this several months later, I think 'she swore' is a mild alliteration]
This perhaps is (erroneously?) self congratulatory, but another line a particularly like from Ah Keeper, Keeper is "but this magic left deep, deep scars", because there are several levels of meaning to sentence, the surface meaning is the magical residues studied by the forensics department, but it also refers to the results of the magic. An additional level of resonance.
Another comment about Ah Keeper, Keeper, I noticed in the first draft I had two versions of Harry recalling Hermione right before the final battle in the story. Rather than editing one out as redundant, I left them and made their wording very similar. The idea being we go over the same facts twice, but what we've learned in the interval gives them a new meaning and the repetition creates a resonance. "She’d seemed off -- when she removed my horcrux." is the first version, then with similar language "I remember Hermione was very, very off." in the last paragraph of the story. Maybe making the language even more similar would have been a good idea. Or maybe not. However pounding in an effect repeatedly is a good way to make the effect work.
Thoughts on Harry Potter Fan Fiction:
Financial Service Professionals are Evil:
Never trust a financial planner. Never trust a broker. Never, ever trust an insurance salesman. Don't trust your bank. Don't trust your credit card company. Don't trust anyone who is paid on commission. Ever.
You can with a few hours of research create an investment plan which will let you retire earlier, with more money than anything set up by a financial planner at a brokerage will. Seriously. If you have any money to invest, use Vanguard and use index funds. And figure out exactly how your financial planner is paid. Because he is paid by you. Also losing 1-2% of assets each year means a lot less money in 20 years.
Making Goblins bankers because they aren't allowed to eat babies is more realistic than making goblins a proud warrior race that loves Harry. A Harry who instinctively trusts the goblins is a retard. In the real world trusting financial professionals will cost you around 10-20% of your money each decade. Not doing the work to make sure you aren't ripped off by financial advisors is a personal flaw. It is not cute, it is not good, it is bad when Harry doesn't care about his money.
Harry and Gringotts can have a close, mutually profitable relationship. Lots of reasons can be imagined for why the goblins would treat Harry very well, despite having the opportunity to take advantage of him. And a sophisticated Harry can manage his relationship with the goblins. However most people who don't know what they are doing will be taken advantage of by the Goblins. Because that is how real banks make their money.
I think it would be cool if "Lord Potter" stories which start with a visit to the goblins had the Potter family as traditional ally of the goblins (and probably other non-humans too). Helping the heir of a family they owe substantial favors to provides a better motivation for aiding Harry than a generalized interest in helping large account holders.
Last two books from a Hermione centric perspective:
Just pretend parts of HBP didn't happen. And not Hermione chasing Ron. I don't mind that, and her reaction to the book isn't that OC either. However Hermione would help Harry figure out what Malfoy is up to, and help him get Slughorn's memory.
First, it makes sense that Malfoy would be a Death Eater. He is sixteen, old enough to kill, and old enough to be inducted into adult concerns. It also makes sense that Voldemort would bind the son of a chief lieutenant to him. And besides Snape, Malfoy is the obvious choice for a mission in Hogwarts, who else is Voldemort going to ask? Filch?
Second, the story is told from Harry's PoV, but Hermione, Ron, and several adults know everything Harry does about Malfoy. It doesn't make sense Harry would be the only one to make the obviously correct deduction from this information. In the 'real' Potterverse Hermione and Ron agree Malfoy is up to something.
Third, Hermione in earlier books constantly helps Harry, and would drop everything if he needed her. Are we really supposed to believe she never once over several months of Harry wanting help tried to figure out a way to find out what Draco was up to?
Fourth, Hermione pushes Harry to worry about getting the memory from Slughorn instead of Draco, since it is impossible to try to talk to a professor and try to figure out what a fellow student is up to in the same month. However when Harry tells her he is trying to corner Slughorn, but Slughorn is avoiding him, Hermione's response is "try harder to corner him-- ooooh Ron is tired of Lavender, but is too cowardly to break up with her!!!! YESSSS!!!!! HERMIONE LOVES RON [fan fic. net does not allow heart emoticons, unhappy face]
Book 1-5 Hermione would have helped with Malfoy and Slughorn. Being annoyed Harry outperformed her with the HBP's book is IC I think.
Book 7 is nicer to Hermione (though the book is unpleasant). She was packed at the wedding. She gets them out of fights, etc. On the other hand we are supposed to believe Harry and Hermione spend three months together never having a significant conversation. Please.
Ethics of Time Travel:
Causing the future to stop existing kills billions of people. The instant before billions of people are conscious. The next instant they don't exist anymore, even if the person they were fifteen years ago suddenly does. Further anyone who time travels at any time can destroy everything up to the point they travel back to, our entire civilization could suddenly never have existed if they travel back 3000 years. Anything we fight and struggle for has the potential to suddenly stop existing. This is really, really, really, really not a good thing. Also the year 3000 will probably never exist until someone manages to kill enough people to prevent any 'future' time travelers from existing.
As a result time travel stories should usually be premised on traveling to an alternate universe which is identical to the original universe at the insertion point. This means the protagonist is abandoning his original reality, and not saving anybody in it, but it is better than killing six billion people so he can get his prepubescent dead girlfriend to fall in love with him again.
The exception is a story premised on 'fate' or 'the powers that be' sending the hero back. 'They' presumably know what they are doing, and arguing ethics with Fate is pointless.
Another exception I suppose is stable time lines, where the time traveler creates the future where the time traveler comes from-- but with occasional exceptions I personally don't like those stories.
Also read Orson Scott Card's "The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" it correctly deals with the ethics of overwriting the future (though it ignores the fact that it will keep being rewritten over again and again).
I've found when working on my own stories it feels most natural to write Hermione's parents as distant and unconcerned. It fits best with canon. Hermione consistently avoids them, they never matter, and she happily erases their memory and sends them to Australia. Clearly the relationship is not extremely important to Hermione.
Not that I dislike stories where Mr. and Mrs. Granger are very nice people named Dan and Emma (the convention is slightly disturbing and it was ruined for me when I found out it comes from the names of the actors who play Harry and Hermione in the movies). Just the stories I'm working on have Hermione's parents doing their dentist thing while Hermione happily lies to them, and ignores them when she doesn't want money.
Just because Ginny is a a little fan girl with a crush in Chamber of Secrets does not mean she is incapable of seeing the actual Harry in Half Blood Prince.
In canon Harry/ Ginny develops slowly and Ginny is not an important character. Ginny has an awesomely huge crush on Harry initially. By the start of her fourth year it is no longer there. She talks to Harry, and is interested in dating other people. She likes dating other people. However she has a soft spot for Harry, I still have something of a soft spot for old crushes, and I'd be surprised if most people don't. So when she realizes Harry has a crush on her in Half Blood Prince she is very willing to pursue it once her relationship with Dean falls apart. This is not a fan girl stalker thing, but a high school relationship with her brother's best friend.
Rowling could have developed the relationship better, and should have spent more time developing Ginny, but the Harry Potter series is not a romance. In case you missed it, Harry Potter is not a romance series. Rowling does not care who ships with who, and the relationships exist because hormones are a central to being a teenager. Rowling did not pair Hermione with Ron because she thinks they are a great romantic couple (she probably thinks they are okay). Harry is not with Ginny because they make a great couple either. Ginny was not ignored in Deathly Hallows by accident.
Also remember time spent developing Ginny would make the novels longer, and distract their focus away from the Golden Trio. In my experience it is rare for a story to work well with more than three core characters.
Voldemort should be defeated more often without destroying the horcruxes. Voldemort was insane and stupid in canon. As a result it was possible to discover the identity and location of the horcruxes by looking for clues in his past relating to significant objects and places. However an intelligent dark lord would put his horcruxes in objects and locations with no significance.
It should not be possible to find the horcruxes by figuring out the clues. Either magic should be used to find the horcruxes, or one of the many, many potential methods for semi permanently neutralizing the dark lord without killing him should be used, or there should be methods to permanently kill the dark lord without finding the horcruxes.
I'm not interested in stories where Hermione has been abused by Ron for years. Not if she has access to her wand. Or his.
Gender relations in the wizarding world have probably always been more equal than in our world. Historically there were good economic reasons for a gendered division of labor. Technology allowing women and men to do equally well at most jobs, and substantially reducing the amount of domestic labor required occurs at the same time as feminism. This probably isn't a coincidence.
Wizarding families have probably always been small also, because dynamics of high child death rates, and uneducated women in domestic roles drove historical birth rates.
The wizarding population in America would probably be smaller relative to the muggle population than in Europe. America (and Australia) were populated by immigrants who had large families. The immigrants came for economic opportunities caused by unsettled land. It seems unlikely wizards had more opportunities in America than Europe, the opposite is likely. Hence no massive inflow of immigrants. The population grew quickly in colonial America because excess land let people eat better than in Europe. A larger fraction of children survived and the population exploded. Eventually education, technology, and feminism meant most children survived everywhere, at which point birth rates collapsed to modern slightly below replacement levels. Most wizarding children have probably always survived, so wizarding birth rates have probably been close to modern birth rates for a very long time. Also wizarding families in America wouldn't be much larger than in Europe.
This model of wizard demographics also might explain why blood wars are occurring in the series. The wizarding population will have shrunk relative to the muggle population over the last 3 centuries. Also the fraction of wizards who are muggleborn will have risen. And the higher muggle standard of living will cause muggleborn wizards to be less accepting of wizarding traditions (a sick half starved illiterate medieval peasant is far less likely to argue about values with well fed healthy wizard than Hermione is). This set of factors would drive increasing tensions over integration. Wars generally happen when something upsets old balances of power.
Possibly it also could justify the trope about Wizarding America being more progressive than Wizarding Britain, if most American wizards have recent muggle ancestors they would stay far more attached to their roots, and be far more open to muggle ideas.
Why we shouldn't be disappointed canon isn't Harmony:
The Deathly Hallows was not intended to have a happy ending. The epilogue is not intended to show the characters living happily ever after. Deathly Hallows is a story about a teenager learning to accept death. It is not the final chapter of an epic romance. The only reason there are relationships is because Rowling is trying to be realistic, and teenagers = mating dances.
Harmony is a classic happy ending. The hero gets the girl, and they live happily ever after.
This doesn't justify R/Hr, but the not-happy ending is even less happy than it would be without an epilogue, or if Hermione was with someone like Neville in the epilogue.
Because H/Hr shippers are Hermione centric we focus on why Ron sucks. However look at the other perspective. An unambitious man, with an inferiority complex is paired with an extremely driven woman who is far smarter than him, and happy to point it out. Ron is going to spend his life being nagged about not working harder, being told he is an idiot, and feeling like half a person because his wife has a far more impressive career than him. I see Hermione as ignoring her husband, and finding fulfillment in her job. Which isn't either sad or happy.
Also the genre of Harmony stories which sees Harry pining after a Hermione who is engaged/ married to Ron don't interest me. For me half the point of H/Hr is Hermione wouldn't marry Ron. The key moment in my personal version of a R/Hr relationship is when Ron asks Hermione to marry him, and she really thinks about whether she wants to. And she decides, despite being currently in love with him, not to spend the rest of her life with him. Because Hermione would think about it. And she would be aware of all the objections we have to the ship. Because she is Hermione. And she would do research on what sorts of relationships work well, and what sorts of things it is important to agree on before getting married. And if you can write a Hermione who after thinking it through still thinks it is a good idea to marry your version of Ron, maybe you should write an R/Hr story.
Canon!Hermione is not desperate. She is not convinced she is the least attractive girl in the room. She is not going to marry Ron because she can't afford to be picky. She has options, and she knows it. Victor Krum. Cormac McLaggen. Ron Weasley. She has a substantial number of admirers, several of whom are high quality. In HBP she pursues Ron because she wants him, not because she decided to settle at 17.
Hermione in the Trio:
My interpretation of canon is Hermione felt like both Harry and Ron were her boys, and hence was mildly jealous when Harry interacted with Cho. Also dating Cho would pull Harry away from the closeness of the trio, and Hermione didn't want that. I suspect she semi intentionally sabotaged their date in OotP. She wasn't interested in Ron in OotP, but didn't have a full blown crush on Harry. I rather suspect though, if Harry had been showing subtle hints of interest in OotP, the way Ron was, Hermione probably would have encouraged him. Hermione in HBP only pursues Ron when he flirts with an interested Lavender. Under this reading Hermione is okay with Harry being with Ginny, because this relationship will tie the trio closer together, not separate them. The Big Happy Weasely Family is Hermione's construction because it allows her to protect into adulthood her school relationships. Which also suggests the fan fic trope where the three of them grow apart despite being inlaws is missing something important.
The popular myth about Neville Chamberlein, the Munich Agreement, and appeasement claims Hitler was obviously dangerous, but the cowardly Chamberlein ignored this threat and signed a peace agreement he stupidly thought would hold up. In reality Chamberlein knew Hitler was dangerous, and signed the Munich Agreement because he thought it was in Britain's best interest to delay a conflict as long as possible while rearming, and he hoped Hitler's domestic enemies might prevent him from starting a war. Also though Chamberlein didn't expect it, but there was a chance Hitler would stop pushing after Munich.
This is relevant because Rowling based Fudge off of the mythic Chamberlein. As a result Fudge's behavior doesn't make sense. Rowling thinks Fudge ignoring Voldemort's return is realistic, because a historical politician did so in a similar circumstance. However the real politician did nothing of the sort. Fiction is stranger than truth (though physics is way weirder than magic).
Rereading the scene with Fudge, Dumbledore and Harry at the end of GoF, a better interpretation comes to mind. Fudge acts like he works for Voldemort because he does. Malfoy bribed a blood supremicist minister to betray the ministry. Fudge expects to retire when it becomes clear Voldemort returned. Or he thinks it will never become clear. And his plan probably worked, I think Fudge survived the war and lived happily on Malfoy's money, which he left in large quantities to his grandchildren when he died at an extreme old age.
This is also relevant to analyzing Dumbledore, ignore what he says. What does his behavior do? Fudge's consistently helps Voldemort. Therefore assume that is his intention.
The Camping Trip:
You know, I've realized with the fiction writer's ability to cause time to pass without talking about it Rowling's writing of it makes absolutely no sense. For several months Harry and Hermione are completely alone. And we are supposed to believe their relationship doesn't substantially change? Seriously I don't care how close you are. I simply don't believe two people can spend three months alone together their interactions changing. I seriously think any realistic portrayal of the camping trip after Ron left would have strong Harmony and anti R/Hr tendencies.
What Dumbledore does to Harry is very wrong. It's also stupid. Most nominally good Dumbledore stories have Dumbledore purely as an obstacle. An alternative approach would be to make Dumbledore's treatment of Harry actually the best way to defeat Voldemort. Then we have a tension between means and ends. Of course that is intrinsically dark, and fan fiction is about the happies.
A morality which views you as less culpable for deaths caused by inaction than deaths caused by action disgusts me.
Rowling is a Christian who presumably 'believes in' an afterlife. Further she probably has a model which reconciles evil and a benevolent God. Thus she doesn't see minimizing human suffering and your own casualties as important. If what matters is the soul, and this life is preparation for the next, Dumbledore's behavior is almost permissible. Right behavior depends on the nature of reality. If death is not permanent, but damnation is, your enemy's redemption matters more than your survival. Letting Voldemort kill muggles and muggleborns could be right if just one death eater is saved from damnation.
Canon!Dumbledore is a plot device. He leaves Harry on a doorstep with a note as his very first action-- any reasonable person would at least talk with the Dursleys. His final actions in his will intentionally forced Harry wander around cluelessly. Every major action is to set up a story, and non-functional.
Plot devices cannot be consistent characters. But in fan fiction we want Dumbledore to be a character. So we try to make sense of his nonsensical behavior.
How I think magic should work:
First, I really like PerfectLionheart's idea that everything should have a loophole. In his story Horcruxes age, so Voldemort uses a ritual that sterilizes him in exchange for not aging. Of course that ritual doesn't protect him from someone killing him, like the horcrux does. Binding magical contracts have outs, so you construct layers of protections. And there is still an out if you are willing to pay the price.
Harry in canon:
Harry did not defeat Voldemort in canon. Harry's only skill based victories are the fight in the ministry, and the patronum in book 3. Book 1, he survives because he is toxic to Voldemort. Book 2, he survives because he gets lucky in a fight with a basilisk. And Fawkes. Book 4, he needs to be told how to beat the first task, for the second task Dobby wakes him up with the gillyweed, and Moaning Myrtle points him in the right direction. He survives Voldemort because 1) Voldie is one of the stupidest villains in literature and 2) the priori incantatum effect. Book 5, maybe it was mad skillz that let him survive the ministry fight, or maybe dumb luck. In book 6 he doesn't even do anything, he just sort of stands there and gets to watch while Dumbledore kills himself. Oh, and despite trying hard he fails to figure out what Malfoy is up to, and only gets Slughorn's memory with the help of a luck potion. Book 7, I've reread Dumbledore's explanation at King's Cross several times, and I still think it is incoherent. It sounds like Rowling came up with at least four possible mechanisms for why Harry would survive, and then refused to choose among them, saying "this is really deep magic, nobody understands". Which frankly, sounds like Rowling flipping off the part of her audience that cares about how things work. Obviously Harry getting the Elder Wand from Draco was not part of Dumbledore's plan. In other words Dumbledore didn't have a plan to defeat Voldemort.
Have I mentioned I hate Dumbledore?
Harry didn't have the ability to defeat Voldemort. His victory is due to pure luck and deus ex machinas.
Fan fiction wants a Harry who can defeat Voldemort. So you need to give Harry a huge power up relative to canon. Power porn is still juvenile (though occasionally fun), but there needs to be some boost.
I read story on Portkey which posits Harry is a really powerful wizard whose accidental magic is expresses itself by making Harry ridiculously lucky, as though he is always high on felix felicis when he needs to be. I doubt this fits with canon, but it is a causally coherent explanation for Harry's apparently implausible ability to survive situations he should die in.
Also read Larry Niven's Ringworld. One of my favorite books ever, and it includes an alien species who got humanity to set up a lottery system to determine who could have children which was designed to breed luck. And it worked. Which is physically impossible, as all of the characters are constantly pointing out. Hence funny. It also includes adventures on a world with 3 million times the surface area of earth.
This is my term for stories where with no causal explanation Harry is more powerful than half of wizarding Britain.
Note, the problem is only partially the excessiveness of saying Harry is 4 times as powerful as Merlin was, the real issue is the inexplicability of his power. To give an example of this not being the case, in the story Hidden Hero Harry spends a large amount of time using his connection to be inside of Voldemort's head, where as a result he is able to teach himself essentially everything Voldemort knows, and this combined with the advantage of surprise allows him to easily defeat Voldemort in their final confrontation. What I liked about this is the source of Harry's power made a lot of sense in the story, and wasn't arbitrary in the slightest.
Also Darth Marrs' story Defense for Two is fun because its concept of Harry, Dumbledore and Voldemort all being 'sports' who are wizards vastly more powerful than anyone else, and having the entire DoM policy built around managing Harry as a sport sort of shows how a rational world in which some wizards randomly were more powerful than everyone else would operate.
Also in the real world things like height, or speed, or intelligence are normally distributed-- which means nobody is as smart as twenty regular people-- while wealth is exponentially distrubuted-- which means the richest person is a lot richer than most people. Power in stories is generally distributed like wealth, despite it being intrinsic to the person the way height is.
Story Ideas I want to play with:
Darkish time traveling Harry forces a soul bond on Voldemort as part of a resurrection ritual so he can control Voldemort as part of his fight against the pureblood establishment (Possibly Harry murders wormtail to make a horcrux of Voldemort).
Hermione/ Neville story: I just find something appealing about the idea of the brilliant girl, and a potential badass with a learning disability. I'd specifically write Neville as having a disability which if properly dealt with wouldn't harm his potential, but of course the wizarding world doesn't keep up with new advances in psychiatry.
Despite the implicit awfulness, I'm thinking of writing an H/Hr next gen version of Hamlet. Hermione discovers Ginny has been dosing Harry with love potions for decades. As a result Hermione ends up killing Ginny, and very shortly after marries Harry-- I haven't specified yet precisely how it happens, and it matters. For example maybe Hermione kills Ginny because there are no wizard divorces, and she refuses to let Harry be permanently trapped with someone who did that to him. Or maybe Ginny tries to kill Hermione to prevent her from telling Harry, and Hermione wins the fight (so it is self defense). Or maybe something else.
Ginny's ghost will approach her and Harry's daughter Lily (I'm specifically inverting the genders in the play), and beg her to get revenge against Hermione.
The story will end tragically when Lily successfully kills Hermione, accidentally kills her father, and as a result of the magic she used dies herself.
Optional is having the Laertes/Ophelia subplot. Luna's son was in love with Lily, Lily accidentally kills Luna, after which Luna's son commits suicide, and Luna's daughter swears vengeance against Lily. Luna's daughter dies in the end scene along with Lily, Harry and Hermione.
Lines from Shakespeare that just beg to be used in a story:
But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
The original context is Hamlet unable to complain about his uncle marrying his mother less than two months after his father's death. But I think the line can inspire the emotion is say one of the Harry is in love with Hermione, but she is dating Ron, and he wishes he could tell her how he feels "But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue".
Nature tis fine in love and where tis fine
I read this and think of soul bonds. "Nature tis fine in love And where tis fine/ It sends some precious instance of itself/ After the thing it loves". It just hits me in the gut, is beautiful, and reminds me of why we love stories about love.
Ah keeper, keeper, I have done these things
This line inspired the story it gave the title to. I was watching the John Gielgud say these lines in Olivier's version of Richard III, where projects this feeling of regret about what he has done for his brother's sake, and it just made me think. H/Hr stories are all about friendship-- characters being extremely close, who are willing to do anything for each other. Yet in the stories they almost never do anything regrettable for each other. Their devotion is shown by being willing to die for each other, or by being willing to kill someone who deserves it for each other, but would they be willing to kill someone who doesn't deserve it?
You can remove the middle line and it becomes a beautiful expression of a more general, potentially happier, devotion "Ah keeper, keeper, I have done these things/ For Edward's sake". You could see a character like Jean Valjean in Les Miserables saying that after the end of the novel, or alternatively the variant of Harry who is conceived of as fighting Voldemort, really for Hermione. Perhaps it also captures Harry's attitude, but with a Edward generalized to all of his friends, when he walks into the forest in Deathly Hallows. Much as I hate the book as a whole-- the scene where Harry willingly walks to his death is still deeply touching.
I just recalled a tragic H/Hr one shot where Harry discovers the Weasley's had been love potioning him and Hermione, but because the affect of taking the potions over a long time were irreversible they committed suicide after killing the people they still loved. If they have love potions they almost have to have indifference potions. Its not like falling in love is at all irreversible. Its a switch in the brain that is fairly easy to throw in either direction.
Fanon!Alastor Moody is waaaaaay more badass than canon!Moody. I mean canon!Moody, both the polyjuiced one, and the real one, talk awesome, but-- fanon!Moody would never have let Barty Crouch Junior get the drop on him. Ever. I suppose canon!Moody was intended to show how even if you are very serious about paranoia, you still can make a mistake and lose. Fanon!Moody is essence of retired badass.
Alternative interpretation of the canon pairings: Harry was love potioned by Ginny-- and never finds out. Used occasionally for post epilogue H/Hr, chilling if you think of it as actual canon.
Great Quotes from Fan Fiction:
Angel's voice came over the line less than thirty seconds later.
"Dawn? What's wrong? Is Buffy-"
"She's falling in love!" Dawn exclaimed throwing her free hand in the air, still disgusted with that fact.
"Love?" Angel repeated tightly, then sighed and continued on trying to sound uncaring and failing miserably. "Dawn, isn't that a good thing? Why are you calling me about it?"
"You need to get your butt down here! Seeing your face will hopefully remind her what a disaster being in love is."
"Thanks, Dawn…" Living Conditions by sweetchi
""Why does everyone compare everything to defeating Voldemort?" asked Harry, pulling at his black hair. " Does that become the new bar for whatever I do? Surely if I defeated Lord Voldemort I can do such-and-such? I defeated Voldemort so surely I can give an interview for the Daily Prophet? I defeated the Dark Lord so surely I can handle this raid on those Death Eaters in Canada. I defeated You-Know-Who so surely I can learn to ski. I defeated Voldemort so I can—," Harry started counting on his fingers at this point, "—raise the dead, save cats from getting caught in trees, pay for a round of drinks, learn Chinese, and face the wrath of one Molly Weasley." Ron smirked at the last one." Magic and Misperceptions by addisonj
"As they waited they allowed Ginny to continue to rant and rave about how she was going to have pretty clothes and fancy robes, and how she didn't care if she had to 'dose' Harry to do so. She even said "Daddy's been being dosed for years, it hasn't hurt him."
All four brothers looked at each other. They all shared one thought. Did she just say what I thought she said?" Death's Design, Fate's Plan
"Harry, if muggles knew about us, they would come to us for magical solutions for everything, from love potions to cures for diseases."
"If they want a cure for diseases, then you should give it to them, sir." Harry said, unmoved by the argument. "Having a cure, but withholding it, is murder by complacency." Draconus Book One: The Sorceror's Stone, by fullsailnate
" Even if Gilderoy hadn't been planning on shamelessly taking advantage of Harry's fame, if he had found out about Dumbledore's plans for the boy he would have had to have rescued him out of sheer altruism." When in Doubt, Obliviate by Sarah1281
Thoughts on Naruto fan fiction:
I started reading because top HP writers, notably PerfectLionheart (of Partially Kissed Hero) and the writer of Nightmares of Futures Past having written two of the high review Naruto stories. I don't think the viciousness of HP character bashing translates well to Naruto-- I've never found a reason to question the distaste for Dumbledore and Ron I got from fan fic. Chuunin Exam Day, many of the other NaruHina stories I read early on strongly bashed Kakashi, Sakura and Sasuke.
In reality they are all awesome characters. And 12 year old Sakura is a shallow person because she is twelve. Get over it.
I did find the experience of realizing characters I initially disliked were awesome rather interesting.
Sasuke's 'betrayal' of Konoha was in a real sense the right thing for him to do. His primary personal goal was revenge against Itachi. Not loyalty to the location he happened to be born in. He sacrificed a secondary goal for a primary goal. Of course trusting Orochimaru is retarded, but that's a different question.
Itachi and Danzo: I've not read the actual manga, or seen the shippuden episodes relevant to this, but it seems likely to me that Itachi ended up getting partially programmed by Danzo and Root, and that is where the complete focus on protecting Konoha comes from.
Sarutobi: He isn't treated like Dumbledore, but objectively it is more his fault that Naruto's childhood sucked than it is Dumbledore's. Also looking at the story it makes a lot of sense that Naruto was intentionally raised to be fanatically loyal to the Sandaime and his faction in village politics.
Thoughts on Inuyasha fan fiction:
First, the show is waaaaay better than the fan fic.
All of the two dozen or so stories I looked at were Sesshoumaru/Kagome, and I get why the pairing is popular. Sesshoumaru is probably the coolest character in the setting, and he has all of those becoming more compassionate things going on. However there is something intrinsically off about a pairing where in half of the stories Kagome comments to herself about how OOC Sesshoumaru is acting.
Also Sess/Kag is an example of a pairing which works well in fan fiction (we like Kagome, we like Sesshoumaru, wouldn't it be awesome to stick them together?) but would be completely retarded in canon. After all the entire point of the romance sub plot in the show is built around the defects in Inuyasha which are complained about in these stories (while the stories completely ignore Kagome's defects, which are equally important to the show's humor).
A third point is about the general subgenre of stories about the daughters of men mating with the sons of God. Or more specifically human/powerful fantasy nonhuman stories. They are popular, and have been since storytellers started telling stories. However the story needs to have a cheat built into it to avoid being intrinsically tragic. You cannot have a fluffy story which involves A) the human and the immortal falling in love, knowing the human will die long before the immortal does, or B) the immortal taking on a human lifespan to age with the human.
Hence the only way to make one of these stories happy is to insert into it a mechanism to make the human immortal. Which is intrinsically cheap. Which is why Tolkein didn't do it.
Thoughts on Twilight Fan Fiction:
Positive things about Stephanie Meyer:
Say what you will about him, manic-depressive stalker who hates himself or not, Edward is a character. There is such a thing as an Edward thing to say or do. This alone makes Twilight better than most fan fiction. In Harry Potter fan fiction for example, Hermione never does Hermione-ish things, though she does in a pro-forma manner act out the behavioral tags fandom has attached to her. To get at what I mean, look where Hermione tries to find out what object Malfoy was looking at in Borgin and Burkes at the start of Half Blood Prince. Her plan was retarded, but also adorably Hermione-ish. It was the same behavioral pattern which she used when tortured by Bellatrix and when she stopped Umbridge from torturing Harry. Talk fast, and make it up as you go. Fan fiction characterization normally is a undifferentiated goo level where people are tagged as having particular traits.
She built her ideal of characters always staying at the infatuation stage of love into vampire physiology. She was smart enough to know the really romantic conception couldn't work with physiologically normal humans. In playing around with ideas relating to H/Hr the idea of claiming magic changes how love works has a strong appeal to me.
Why I don't like Volturi stories:
A) They can be part of a good story, and if they are what you are looking for, have fun.
B) Bella is not Peter Petrelli. And Peter Petrelli's power was the worst part of Heroes. This also goes more generally for giving Bella a power which allows her to, alone, destroy or intimidate all of the Volturi.
C) I generally don't like stories where they become the deus ex machina which, after chapters of 'I don't want to change her' Edward angst, creates the situation where Bella is changed. More generally I don't like it when Bella is changed after Edward angst because Jacob nearly kills her, or because she was horribly injured otherwise. If Edward refusing to change her is a significant part of the story, then you should make the relationship dynamic such that Edward comes to terms with her being changed before it happens.
D) Changing someone into a creature which can rip a sky scraper down with his bare hands, because you are worried about this person revealing to the world there are creatures which can tear sky scrapers down is really stupid. *Really* stupid. More generally a rational Volturi will treat telling humans the same way it treats creating newborns. They are your responsibility. Seriously, the Volturi should be more worried about pictures taken of the Cullens than about the Cullens telling Bella. The pictures, will eventually become hard evidence something weird is going on. Bella is just a crazy person.
Why the treaty with the werewolves is not significant:
Wars are never about treaties being made or broken. They are always about the balance of power, and underlying interests. To the extent that the author actually thinks through the logic of decision making this is as true in a fictional world as in the real world.
Very simply put the relationship between the pack and the Cullens was never about the formal treaty. Even Meyer, partially realized this. For example in Breaking Dawn Sam decided not to attack when he believed Bella had been turned, which violated the treaty, while he decided to attack when he discovered Bella was pregnant, which did not violate the treaty. In the Midnight Sun draft when Bella tells Edward how she discovered he was a vampire he muses that he now had a right to slaughter the defenseless inhabitants of the reservation. The point being that it was not a serious intention despite the treaty being broken.
In the 1930s A) the Cullens were considerably more powerful than the pack, B) the Cullens had no desire to kill the werewolves, and C) the Cullens were not hunting members either of the Quileute tribe, or the surrounding population. A) means the wolves did not want to fight because they would probably lose and be unable to defend the tribe, not to mention the whole dying thing, C) means that they did not need to fight the Cullens to protect the tribe. Hence no fight. The treaty simply formalized the reality of A,B, and C.
Carlisle agreed in the treaty that they were not to bite anyone, but when he made that agreement he was not thinking of it as a binding constraint on his behavior. I think after Rosalie and Emmett he now had no intention of changing more people, and anyways if there was a reason to would do what actually ended up happening, and view the opinion of the werewolves as irrelevant. The treaty was about establishing a modus vivendi in the Forks area, about staying out of La Push, and telling the werewolves, "we are going to do what we were going to do anyways- not kill people- so don't worry".
By the end of Eclipse the relationship is different, primarily because the power imbalance is much smaller. The Cullens are still considerably more powerful and would probably win a fight, at least if they were prepared, but the wolves now have a reasonable chance. However werewolves are much easier to permanently kill than vampires. To kill a vampire permanently you need to control the corpse for a period of time, to kill a werewolf you just need the corpse. Hence even if the werewolves won a fight with the Cullens they would lose people. And they still probably wouldn't win.
So look at the situation after Bella has been bitten and changed. The Cullens have violated the treaty, the specific terms of the treaty after all are "you will not bite anyone". So the wolves have a causus belli. And of course this is a point where they have a decision to make. "Are we, because Bella desperately wanted to become a vampire so she could permanently be with Edward, and finally, after quite a bit of effort, talked him into it, going to try to kill Bella? And of course the rest of the Cullens. And also in the process of trying to kill Bella for this choice create a situation where probably all of us will die, hence leaving the tribe defenseless if the Cullens decide to get revenge (which they won't of course because they aren't like that) or if another group of vampires come through the area (and another group might), and even if we don't all die, some of us will. Or are we going to just let it go, and repeatedly tell them we are very unhappy with them?"
The point of the pack after all is to protect humans, they will only risk fighting the Cullens if the Cullens are a threat to humans, and clearly Bella being changed doesn't make them a bigger threat to people.
There was a line in Breaking Dawn which expressed the idea that what made the difference about whether it would mean war when Bella was changed was the cooperation during Eclipse. That is not the case, the pack never would have started a war over this, because Sam is too smart and too responsible to do that.
I'm right now looking through my favorite stories links, and basically all of you should read a few of's stories. They are all short humorous and sweet one shots or multishots. They won't take up much of your time, but they are really good. is probably my favorite though.
This is a story which so far is looking very good, and only has a few chapters up so far. Anyways read it, and if you like leave a review.
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