Author has written 8 stories for Harry Potter.
I'm a sucker for...
...Independent!Harry, Independent!Neville, Adventurous!Hermione, Self-aware!Draco, Human!Severus
...Master-of-Death!Harry, Sarcastic!Neville, Fabulous!Draco, Fallible!Hermione, Clever!Petunia
...Harry-centric or Hermione-centric stories (I rarely read anything else)
...balanced equal partnership between Harry and whomever his key buddy is (pref. Neville, Hermione, or Draco)
...anything with goblins, Unspeakables, alternative magical schools/systems, Flamels, Atlantis, or the Sorting Hat
...clever humour and fast-paced, plot-driven adventure, well-written for an intelligent audience, with few glaring mechanical errors and authentic, unique character voices
...stories that contain both of my favourite pairings (HGSS & HPDM) or that showcase Harry or Hermione having healthy non-committed dating lives
...stories that avoid HGRW, HPGW, and NLLL without bashing
...Harry being mentored in a constructive manner, preferably by someone unusual, such as Cedric, Victor, Bill, Tom the Barman, Aberforth, or another quirky older character
...stories where Hermione's parents ARE NOT named Dan and Emma ;-)
...stories that closely follow canon up to the divergence point, and then allow the AU to develop logically through the butterfly effect
...stories that give precedence to JK Rowling-created canon, and then fill in the gaps with their own unique take, rather than following the films or fanon
...thorough (but not tedious) research that lends depth to the setting (i.e., British spellings, idioms & culture are used/referenced if the story takes place in Britain) and plot points (Jo Rowling had notebooks of background info on her world and characters, but she didn't use it all in the actual stories)
...hints of gritty realism, pathos, and inner grace are welcome, but happy endings are mandatory! :-D
Current fanon pet-peeve
Maurader-aged character spanking Harry or one of his contemporaries when they are in their teens, in a newly-created parental relationship, especially when their previous interactions (as per canon) had the older party treating the younger party more as a peer (be it friendly or adversarial). Besides the fact that I’m fairly anti-spanking to begin with (if Super Nanny doesn’t need to, neither do you—the “rod” was about authority after all, not a cane), and deadly against the spanking of teens (if they haven’t learned by then, they’re not going to), the previous blurring of roles means that the whole thing comes off as more pervy than anything else. Either that, or humiliation-based hazing. In both cases, it’s just gross.
A defense against other writers’ pet peeves
1) No woman Snape's age or older would put up with him, and he would only put up with a younger woman (or man) if she (he) came close to meeting his Lily-inspired expectations. Because he’s never really moved away from the past, he’s incapable of seeing himself as anything but a direct peer to those who bring his memories most strongly to the foreground. I will agree that Snape with an underaged student has a high 'yuck' factor as well as being almost entirely implausible. That said, it would be nearly impossible for him to find a canon character younger than he is, whom he did not also teach at one point or another, and so denying Snape relationships with past students seems to be an unecessary embargo.
2) Albus was a product of his parents, who in turn were products of their isolationist culture. Not immoral/amoral, nor incompetent-- just misguided with none of the tools to gain enlightenment. ‘Greater good’ be damned—his parents and life taught him that the only way to keep your loved ones safe and alive is to hide them away, to not encourage attention by seeking help, and to deny any impulses towards companionship and sharing confidences with a perceived equal. Albus never realised that his parents should have tried to move to a magical-only enclave, that there's a difference between inciting conflict and mediating consequences/accountability, and that everyone falls in love with the wrong person at least once in their lives.
3) For the majority of people born after the mid-1960s, their teenage relationships aren't forever, no matter what kind of hellfire they go through together. Neither party is really to blame for either giving it a go, or for it all inevitably falling apart. Having a crush on a celebrity is not immoral, and most people have their attraction influenced-- at least subconsciously-- by the pecking order, at least once in their lives. That's just human nature, not malevolence or greed.
4) Slash is not OOC: if we take canon at face value, a large number of the characters are asexual, or at least ambiguous; also orientation takes some people longer than others to figure out or accept-- sometimes not until after they've had kids, and some people never really do come to terms with where they stand in the spectrum. That doesn’t mean it’s realistic to have the majority of the major characters gay, either. Somewhere between 1% (reflected on census) and 10% (what sociologists estimate) seems reasonable.
5) Snape was a bully, the Mauraders were bullies, Remus ignored Harry and later threatened to abandon Tonks. Draco was a bully, the twins were bullies, Harry used two unforgivables in the same day that he tried to trick Griphook, he constantly took Hermione for granted, and tended to live blinkered and reactively rather than introspective and proactively. Hermione tattled on the broom and persistently patronised Harry’s views and Ron’s abilities, not to mention her rather aggressive need for control and dismissively vindictive treatment of Skeeter and Umbridge. Minerva did nothing constructive about the Dursleys, Stone, Tournament, or Umbridge, Ginny could be a catty bitch, Ron let his insecurities override common sense, Cho thought moving on was a physical process, etc., etc.
At the end of the day, people are people with weaknesses and strengths, and even the holiest of characters can be brought to previously-unplumbed depths by desperate circumstances. Pranks are funny if you’re in control of yourself (or the prank) and are not battling insecurities that the pranks have exacerbated. Some people just have to be built up before they have the foundation necessary to allow them to laugh at themselves and trust that the pranksters don’t have malicious intentions or that the prank's effects won't result in even lower social status.
Likewise, extraordinary circumstances should be recognised, as should maturity levels and the various environmental factors in creating maturity discrepancies. It seems a bit unfair and not very realistic for an objective portrayal to excuse some bad behaviours and not others of a similar degree. Ultimately, all characters have the potential to be redeemable—all it takes is sufficient interest and creativity.
On my writing...
I have mixed feelings about this. I've finally recovered from the operations I had this last year and am more or less caught up at work, so there's nothing really holding me back at this point. That said, being caught up on health and work means that I'm starting to get back into life as an independent adult. So I guess it's about choices, really, and about priorities. When I could be finally reading the second half of Fate's Favourite as prep work to writing and publishing more vignettes, I could also be working on my house and garden, resurrecting important former pursuits, or even reading another fanfiction story that I've never read before. I think about publishing more chapters to Fighting Fate, but then the fact that the real story's done, that there's nothing plot-wise to add, and that there's still half of the story to 'cover' plus relevant chapters in the accompanying fics... well, I have to ask myself if it's worth the effort, particularly when I have pages of notes for other stories, and there are just so many other things I could be doing with my time other than writing... things that by and large, I enjoy more.
So yeah, it's definitely a bit of a mixed bag, and I haven't really decided one way or the other, yet. The thing that was nice about the FF vignettes was that they were low-pressure-- what I did had no potential negative impact on the enjoyment readers found in the real story. This meant that it was a good way for me to experiment and try to improve my fiction writing skills a bit. That whole scenario hasn't changed, even though somehow knowing that there's just so much left to the story has made it feel a bit more high-pressure and overwhelming/daunting. At this point, I'm not even sure where I'd start, really. So I guess if you're an FF fan and you're reading this, and you'd like me to write a particular scene or play out a particular scenario, PM me and I can give that a go. In the meantime, status quo in my life has only recently returned, so I'll just keep tabs on how I feel about the whole thing over the next two months or so, and try to keep an open mind along the way. If, come late Octoberish I'm still on the fence, I'll go ahead and reread all of Fate's Favourite, then come up with an ending for my vignette arc and publish that with perhaps one or two chapters as segue material. Sound good?
Once the FF albatross has been cut from my neck, some of my sketchy plans (should I decide to pursue more fanfiction writing) include a multichapter songfic (I hate reading them, but for whatever reason feel compelled to add to the repository) called 'Swansong Sacrifices' with each chapter featuring a different character at their greatest/lowest moment. There's also a potential HP crossover with Trevanian's 'Shibumi', as well as scrapping my big post-DH epfic (from which 'Doomsday Book' is a scene) and perhaps converting it into a series of vignettes a la FF. For this I would probably republish 'Pity the Living', 'Feeding the Hungry', and 'Windows' with 'Doomsday Book' as chapters in one story file. Final possible writing plans include adding a few more one-shots and drabbles here and there to explain canon holes; for instance, I have a mostly-written one-shot on how Hermione's middle name changed from 'Jane' to 'Jean', which will slot nicely into 'Mocking Miss 'Mione' (which I definitely need to rename and possibly severely prune).
And that's it for me on the writing front. I continue to be amazed (and not a little intimidated) by the immense talent out there in the fanfiction world. There's so much incredible creativity and inspiring craft that for the most part, now that I'm no longer bed-ridden and bored to tears with computer solitaire, I'm just generally much happier as an admirer than as a sincere, if struggling, flatterer.
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