Author has written 2 stories for Harry Potter.
Who am I?
I'm middle-aged, stuck in a job pushing paper as a small cog in a big company. I'm bored beyond belief with my job but it pays the bills. I got into writing through roleplay and people tell me I can write. I've tried several times and I've got the writing bug. I've submitted a few short stories, but have nothing published professionally. Currently my biggest flaw as writer is that I cannot shut off my self-criticism. I get half-way or three-quarters of a way through a story and I stop writing because I feel it isn't good enough and everything that I'm writing is crap. Oh, and while it should be obvious, my name isn't Harper Potts
Harper Potts, the Girl Who Died
I'm currently only planning to write one fandom here on fanfiction.net ever. I'm writing Harper Potts, the Girl Who Died. This is my attempt to lower the bar on myself. By intentionally writing a fandom, I know that what I'm writing is not for publication. It is all the property of JKR. I hoping this will get me past my self-analysis paralysis. My goal is to overcome my block of completing novel length stories even if those stories are less than publication quality. I've read books about writing and several of them emphasis that in early drafts it is important to turn off your internal censor and just get it written.
I'm very much aware that Harper Potts, the Girl Who Died is a cliche. The concept is a sixteen year old reader of the Harry Potter books gets thrown into the story as Harry. After going through a short bit of denial she sets off to change the story for the better. It's a do-over story with a bit of self-insertion. No, the protagonist isn't myself. I'm not a sixteen year-old girl dying of cancer. However, when I'm writing the story I'll often ask myself 'what would I do?'
I'm currently seeking fast beta readers. Please understand that my ultimate goal is publication. I need to develop the writing habits that will get me published. As I've already said, my biggest flaw is finishing a story. I'm hoping that this exercise will get me past that. However, I do have other flaws. I'm really bad about comma splicing. I tend to be repetitive in my wording. I often fail to paint the setting and focus too much on dialog to carry the story. Another flaw that I want to address is handling the passage of time. I get too focused in on 'what happens next' and follow characters day-by-day through a story. Personally, I feel that one of JKR's greatest strengths as a novelist is how smoothly she makes a story stretch over months. Forcing myself to write in her universe where the stories last a school year is another strech goal. Beyond that I need good writing habits in general. If my characerization is weak or unrealistic, say so. If my character is becomming a Mary Sue, say that as well. I'm not afraid of harsh criticism especially in regards to grammar. Every good writer needs at least one grammar nazi editor to keep them in line.
I honestly don't know if I'm going to finish the Harper Potts saga through all seven books. I do plan on finishing at least book one, because that was the whole point of this exercise. I'm trying to write fast and break my barriers. I seriously doubt I'll do the entire seven book series. However, I could see Harper wrapping up the stories in less than seven years. She has a big advantage with her foreknowlege.
I now some people live for the ships. I'll be honest with you. I haven't decided what ships if any Harper will have. I can tell you that book one at least will be about friendships. Harper has the mind of a sixteen year-old girl stuck in the body of an eleven year-old boy that hasn't gone through puberty yet. There will be no romantic relationships in year one. That said, there may well be friendships that set the groundwork for future relationships.
I love feedback from my readers and I'm not scared of negative feedback. If Harper is turning into too much of a Mary Sue, tell me so. I have taken deliberate steps to limit Harper's potential Mary Sueness. Her biggest asset, foreknowledge from reading the books, is of questionable value. There are significant changes between the world she inhabits and the wizarding world. In addition there seems to be an outside force (destiny? fate? a meddling old fart?) that keeps pushing certain events to happen in a same or similar manner regardless of the changes Harper makes.
The desire not to have Harper be a Mary Sue is also why Harper isn't a good flyer. The defining characteristic of a Mary Sue is power/talent/ability that is achieved with effort. Harry Potter's crowning moment of Marty Stueness was when he caught the snitch in his mouth during his first Quidditch match. He didn't earn his Quidditch and flying skills. They were given to him by the author on a golden platter. If Harper were to earn a place on a Quidditch team it would be through hard work and practice, not innate talent.
I'm also upping the realisim a bit in the books. Part of that is because I want to throw off Harper's foreknowledge. Thus I'm deliberately changing things such as introducing a card catalog to the library at Hogwarts to make her unsure of just how much she can trust her knowledge from the books. I also find it incomprehensible that wizards couldn't grasp the value of a card catalog.
Another specific place of upgraded realism is with the Dursley's. Child abuse isn't a joke. I treated what happened to Harry as a realistic events and imposed realistic consequences. I understand what happened in JKR's stories. She started off writing a book for children. In children's literature there is a tradition of incredibly overabuse families. I honestly feel the start of HP and the SS was JKR giving a hat tip to British author Roald Dahl, author of James and the Giant Peach. The tradition is older than that going back to fairy tails such as Cinderella. Even children understand that abuse in such stories is over the top. That it is fiction. However, JKR went on from children to write for tweens and teens. As she did the stories became more realistic and the abuse by the Drusleys (and Snape and Umbridge) became less tolerable. As the tone changed from a modern fairy tale for children to a story for teens, the context of the abuse changed to become unacceptable. Long rant, but the point being in Harper Potts, the Girl Who Died, Harper inhabits a realistic world. So abusive behavior will not be treated in a Cinderella fashion in my writing.
Why Rated M?
Chapter one opens with a teen-aged girl dying of cancer. Chapter two has a realistic portrayal of child abuse. That's some hard hitting stuff. After that it is a pretty much a T rated story. I've been tempted to lower the rating to T because it would probably bring in more readers. However, people avoid M rated stories for a reason. So I erred on the side of caution.
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