My name is Caz and I am an eighteen-year-old fanfiction addict. I have read around, ah, 200 Harry Potter fanfics since the release of HBP. I won't go into a rant of how bad it was because many of you have already heard every insult thrown at the book. My favourite commentary on HBP was said on the HPFF forums and went something like this: "I've read HBP and it sounds like it was written by an American teenager."
Seriously though, I have read fics that were written by American teenagers and I find that 90 percent of them outshine HBP by far. (They can be found in the archive of my C2 Community Novel Length Oasis if anyone is interested).
Now that DH has been out for a while, and considering that I haven't read it (and don't plan to) I have only two things to say about it. First, I don't believe that Remus would act the way he did when he was confronted with fatherhood. He seems WAY too gentle, kind and caring for that sort of garbage. One would think that if a person never thought that they would develop friendships due to a disability of theirs, let alone a wife, they would be utterly overjoyed by news of a child. And second, I think that JKR went a bit overboard with the death toll, after all, Harry Potter is a series of novels meant for children. Speaking of that, it always makes me chuckle when I hear literary critics speaking about the straightforward "good vs. evil" theme of the series being "childish."
I've read and re-read the stories in my C2 Community so many times that I can sometimes predict the next line. They're just that good!
Something I can't stand is when Harry's abusive childhood comes into light in fanfiction and Dumbledore's excuse for not noticing is that he is 'only human'. If leaving the savior of the wizarding world in an abusive environment and essentially forgetting about him for ten years is considered 'human' behavior than I do not want to know what constitutes inhuman behavior. This flaw is only made worse when Harry accepts this horrid excuse without complaint.
My "half-life" concept...
I've read many fanfictions in which Harry thinks that his life is worth less than the lives of his friends or of complete strangers in some cases. I have came up with an explanation for that way of thinking. It goes like this:
Harry was abused for the first ten years of his life (the most crucial time in a child's development) and because of that, his emotional state was never "whole" to begin with. He was never happy, loved or praised, things that children need to develop a proper emotional state (a "whole" emotional state). So from the age of two to eleven he had a "half-life" where emotions are concerned. And, naturally, he would feel that someone with an emotional "half-life" would be worth less than someone with a "whole" emotional state.
The "half-life" concept also works for mental, social and physical states. A mental "half-life" would probably occur when someone was mentally handicapped from birth (or a very young age). A social half-life would be likely to occur when someone is either deaf and mute or hears and has trouble speaking. Because they have never had full communication abilities they would have a "half-life".
And lastly, a physical half-life. I have some personal experience with this concept because I have Cerebral Palsy. Since I've always had it, my physical state was never "whole". For instance, I learned how to walk when I was eight (after a major surgery) instead of the normal age of one or so. And its because of all the limitations this gives me that I have a physical "half-life" and would find it very easy to lay my life down for someone. People with "half-lives" often have 'a saving people thing'.
My Latest Fanfiction Addiction: House MD
This is a great universe for fanfiction. First of all, the main character in this series is my favourite main character of any television series. (He leaves my previous favourite, Gil Grissom, in the dust, which was something that I didn't think was possible). His intellect is astounding and his sharp wit is only sharpened by his crass and manipulative attitude. His ability to think outside the box and work outside the rules make him the great doctor that he is. And since House MD is a television series, that means that the public is only given limited backstory. This provides an ideal environment for fanfiction authors to run wild in. And this universe is the only one I've come across in which pairing the main character with an original character actually seems more plausible than pairing him with an already established character. This can be a double edged sword however. On one side a character can be designed that fits perfectly with the main character, but on the other, this original character runs a very high risk of becoming a Marry Sue. This universe also has many different themes within it that an author can approach; pain management, infatuation, emotional immaturity, and (my favorite) friendship, just to name a few.
Speaking of friendship, the one pet peeve I have with fandom within this universe, is that the line between friendship and romantic relationship is crossed, all too often, when it shouldn't be. I have seen more slash in this fandom than any other, aside from ones in which the cannon universe contains characters that are already established as homo- or bi-sexual. Why can't people write a piece of fanfiction regarding two character's friendship without turning that friendship into a sexual relationship? I've read beautiful friendship related fanfictions that had no trouble expressing the depth of the friendly relationship without turning it into a sexual one. There is nothing wrong with slash in an of itself, it's just that the characters involved all too often have to be warped so far out of character that the only similarity they share with their cannon counterparts is their name.
My Definition of Novel Length Fanfiction
To me, for a piece of fanfiction to be called novel length it has to have two traits. First, it has to be at least 100,000 words long (the amount of space needed to have a complex and descriptive plot line). And secondly it can't compress time to a ridiculous extent. For example,each Harry Potter book (90,000-250,000 words) encompasses a year so, logically, if an author chooses to write Harry Potter fanfiction(s) that last 7 years, they should make each year its own novel, with its own detailed plot. If they write a fanfiction like that and only make it 200,000 words long then that means that each year averages about 29,000 words, which is barely a descriptive novella in my opinion.
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