First off, my name, age and address are: ...i had you going there, didnt i?
I discovered HP fanfiction a bit over 2 years ago (which is the only kind that i have been reading so far). Before that, i must have read the canon books like 867690708 times. Honestly! Then i came upon this awesome little world that manages to take the Hp universe to its limits, and in some extreme cases, makes canon look like some amateur story. Undoubtedly, JKR did the hardest and most important job of coming up with this universe and its rules, but there are writers so talented and with so many great ideas that make for even more interesting and engaging stories than hers. Once again though, kudos to JKR since obviously without her there would be nothing.
My favorites list
Some people fill their lists with dozens of fics that they find simply interesting, or to support the author, or whatever. However, the few fics that make it in my list are those that are, as you guessed, fucking awesome and on a league of their own. Apart from that, they have a high re- readability factor, because in my books (no pun), that is when a writer has succeeded in his story: the reader would have no problem reading his fic again and again. If you have not read one of the fics in my fav list, you should seriously consider checking it out. It is for your own good. I guarantee you will like them. Else, you get your money back.
Elements that make up for a good story
First off, good grammar and structure. I really am no grammar nazi, but whenever people butcher the english language i feel like ripping my hair off.
I especially dig stories where the hero kicks ass. Come on, who does not like those now? Canon Harry was a major idiot and a lazyhead, he could have done so much better. However, there is a fine line out there. While he kicks ass, he must do it with style. There are quite a lot of stories that make him out into a ponce, due to overdoing it with the badassery. Finding the golden line is quite important.
I left the best part for last. It is sometimes the most underestimated as well. Emotions. The writer really has to have talent to incur these to the reader. This is the most difficult quantity to be measured in a story. There is really no recipe for it, some people can just do it, some cannot. You can be the god of grammar, description and linguistics, but if you do not succeed in this, your story will read like your grandma' s shopping list.
Elements that make up for a bad story
Bad grammar and spelling (read above). Also, people misspelling names. I mean, come on, you are writing fanfiction, for god's sake, how can you not know the names? So far i have encountered these: Mafloy, Pomfery, Pavarti, Parvarti, Hermoine, Fluer, Macnamara instead of MacMillan (lol) , Lee Jordon, Michael Connor, Ginerva, Scrimgauer, Serverus, McClogen ( Instead of McLaggen). I actually think i will keep this list updated.
Lord too many names. No, just no! Seriously, this is stupid. When most writers do this, Harry comes off usually as a- guess what? - a fucking ponce! ( "I, Harry James Potter-Peverell-Gryffindor-Stiffler's mom Hereby declare... - Sorry mate, but by that point you have lost several readers!) If you have managed to add the suddenly brave Lord Longbottom as Harry' s friend, then even better, you get two facepalms for the price of one.
Stories where Merlin, lady Hogwarts, the founders, Batman, or whatever ' insert god mode plot device here ' come back from the past, the future, the dead or the undead for 'training' . All of a sudden, Harry, with the use of Merlin's staff, or Excalibur, or Thor's hammer, is able to smite his enemies and kick ass along with the time travellers. Almost always, this kind of story, for a lack of a better word, sucks.
Fics where the hero is and remains pathetically weak and is run all over by others. No thanks, we can see enough doom and gloom in the real world, we do not need to read about more. I am not talking about drama or angst, but that dangerous line that some writers think it' d be cool to cross. You will know what i mean if you have happened upon such fics.
Slash. No need to say anything more than ' each to his own ' i guess. (FFnet, give us a filter to avoid those stories btw!!)
Evil Dumbledore stories. (Not manipulative or misguided. ) Let me tell you what is wrong with those. Dumbledore is a genius, he is powerful, and he has three at least influential political positions. Of course roses don't shine out of his ass, neither is he always right, but if he was really evil, it would all be over. He' d simply win. The authors who go down that path, have to artificially hinder Dumbledore by either making him act retardedly or suddenly overpower the hero to beat him. If people like to read that.. okay, but it is not realistic. Not to say that there is no way to make badboy Dumbledore work, but it would be very hard to make it believeable.
Excessive use of nicknames like Moldypants and whatever people like to make up. If a nickname is funny, and used once in a while, no problem! But in some stories, really stupid ones, like the afforementioned, are used all the time.
All this is very nice, but do you actually write any stories?
I actually am, but for some reason i decided not to post anything until i am either done or i have written at least 200k words. There are way too many half written and abandoned stories. I do not really want to have that happen if i start posting and later on lose heart or get stuck. And i was right to do so, since i am at about 50-60k words, and i am already losing the incentive to write more fast enough, despite having loads of ideas and scenes written down.
So, to all the writers who have the patience to finish their story , no matter if it is good, bad, or ridiculous, you get a high five from me anyway!
Peace out, fellas!
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