Every time I see someone giving writing advice, I always see the same thing:
Now, this obviously works for a great many writers. It does not work for me. I know, for I have tried it. Outlining is the fastest way for me to guarantee that the story will not be written. Once I know the entire story from beginning to end, I no longer have to tell it to myself. And writing down the basic plot–well, it’s writing it down. Writing is the last part of my process, not the first. Once I get to the writing down part…this is what I have settled on. Writing out an outline of a plot before I start writing a story locks me into that plot and makes it harder for me to think spontaneously about what needs to happen, both to develop the characters and to surprise the readers.
And don’t even get me started on those 100-question interviews with your characters.
Mind you, I do plan stories–eventually. I visualize stories like they’re movies. I have shot and re-shot scenes a thousand times in my head to see if this will dovetail neatly with the previous scene or if it will be awkward. I run through dialogue while I’m washing the dishes. But none of the scenes or settings or dialogue are things that I’m committed to…not until I start writing the story. My mental storyboarding still involves planning, but it doesn’t make me feel restricted like an outline does.
I don’t believe that “pantsers,” as writers who don’t outline are called by many in the writing community, are worse writers than those who do outline. What I do believe is that people want to know how writers write. And you see, there are a lot of books about how to become a better writer.
Here’s the problem: My writing process is not very complicated. I start with a character or two and a) a terrible situation, b) a what if, or c) something cracktastic that doesn’t sound like it could possibly make sense and then make sense of it (like the Hamlet/Cthulhu Mythos crossover I wrote once). There is a lot of staring at a blank screen, grumbling, letting my mind drift while playing hidden object games, and thinking out stories while taking clothes out of the dryer, washing dishes or rolling up bandages. You’d be hard pressed to turn that into an essay, let alone a book.
Books by outliners generally talk about a thousand things that they do before they get started. The plot structure. The characters’ personal histories. The themes. The research (which they always do beforehand, rather than, as I do, before and during). The editing (which they all insist must be done afterwards, and not, as I do, during, because I find it less stressful to correct and rewrite as I go along, and afterward, after at least one person has had a chance to proofread it).
Outlining just sounds more serious. More organized. And because you can outline so many aspects of a story, almost all writing books are written by outliners…to the point where some writing books speak disparagingly of those who do not, treating us as lazy and inefficient.
And honestly, I understand this. Many writers of such books seem to gravitate naturally to outlines, so of course that seems best to them. Complicating matters is the fact that, as I said, pantsers tend not to author books on how to write, so the outliners have nothing to compare their method to. Outlining is praised highly from one end of the community to the other–so, the attitude runs, why doesn’t everyone do it? it works, doesn’t it?
Yes. It works for many people. But not all. I suspect that there are as many writing processes as there are people.
And you know what? That’s fine.
So to those who hate outlining, who feel straitjacketed by it, whose minds tangle and snarl when they try to employ it…you’re not alone. And you’re not a bad writer. You’re a writer. Do what works for you.
• All Life is Yours to Miss by Sara’s Girl (114k) Professor Malfoy’s world is contained, controlled, and as solitary as he can make it, but when an act of petty revenge goes horribly awry, he and his trusty six-legged friend are thrown into Hogwarts life at the deep end and must learn to live, love and let go. (This fic OWNS ME. It’s so dear to me, one of the few that truly resonates with me on a personal level. I love following Draco’s journey in this.)
• Professor Potter and His Magical Menagerie by dracogotgame (7.5k) Harry Potter descends on Hogwarts with a horde of magical beasts. Professor Malfoy is not amused. (I love the writing style in this, it is all kinds of hilarious. So much brilliance crammed into this short lil’ fic, obliviousness, awkward flirting, yesssss.)
• Only For The Lucky by SunseticMonster (73k) Things seem to be going well for Draco Malfoy after the war. He’s working as a professor at Hogwarts and makes the papers all the time for his charitable contribution to Muggle causes.But when Malfoy is rushed into St Mungos hospital for a psychotic break, Healer Harry Potter realizes that Malfoy’s success is not all what it seems and sometimes luck can have more than one meaning. (One of my big faves, I love the characterization of Draco in it. It’s so angsty and hilarious and all around excellent. I have so many favorite scenes.)
• Draco’s Delicious Dilemma by darkmagicalgirl (5k) Draco Malfoy bravely deals with new coffee shops, Harry Potter, low-sympathy coworkers, feelings, free muffins, Looks, and some extremely rude signage. (I am still laughing over this one, it is a real treat. Sassy shop signs, Harry is a cinnamon roll, they give each other Looks. You won’t want to miss this one.)
• The Critiquer by dysonrules (24k) When Harry submits his cock photo to a renowned Cock Critiquer and gets a terrible review, he decides to take a photography class to hopefully improve his skills. (A classic. I love this fic so much, it is cracktastic and really well-written. Great characterizations. Teacher!fic because Draco teaches a photography class!)
• More Than That by joosetta (10k) This is a story about two 52 year old men who refuse to age gracefully. (Meaning they are total dorks, lmao. There’s a softness to them in this, it begins all casual but then before they know it, they’re in love. Siigh.)
• Lessons in Humility by playout (86k) After the dissolution of his marriage and a good bit of soul-searching, Harry returns to Hogwarts as the new Defense teacher. Go figure, it happens to be the same year Draco takes over the role of Potions Master. Neither man is happy about this turn of events. Will they be able to set aside their differences and learn a thing or two about trust and humility on the way? (Spoiler Alert: Yes. Very much so.) (ALL THE SWEET AMAZING FLUFF AND DOMESTICITY. I could honestly cry with all the feels this fic gives me. So lovely, so funny, so so good.)
• Newts by astolat (13k)
“I’m twenty-eight!” Harry said. “I’ve been an Auror for ten years! You want me to go back to Hogwarts now?“
(Only Drarry can go from trying to constantly one-up each other to shagging each other senseless at every opportunity like this. LOVE IT.)
• Are You There, God? It’s Me, Draco by floweringjudas (20k) Harry and Draco are straight Aurors. Then they’re gay teachers. It makes sense in context. (I’ll admit I haven’t actually read this one yet, but a friend of mine is BEGGING me to add it to this list because it made her laugh so much. So there!)
So I was rewatching the shark date, as you do. And I started thinking. The ship was close enough for Flint and Silver to row out to the dead whale. At least within sight. So we’re all in agreement that the entirety of the crew was standing on the deck watching those two idiots get dragged around by an angry shark, right?
I JUST READ THE SADDEST FIC AND NOW I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO IM ACTUALLY SL SAD. IT WAS ABOUT HOW DRACO AND HARRY'S "scared potter?" And "you wish" THROUGHOUT THE YEARS BUT AT THE END DRACO DIES AND HES JUST LAYING ON THE ROAD WITH BLOOD EVERYWHERE AND HE SOFTLY WHISPERS "scared potter?" BC ITS TOO LATE FOR AN EMERGENCY TRUCK TO COME AND THEY BOTH KNEW HE WOULD DIE SO HARRY, TRYING NOT TO CRY STUTTERED "you wish" AND KISSED DRACO ONE LAST TIME. IM CRYING WTF HELP I NEED FICS THATLL CHEER ME UP PLS
OMG YOU POOR SOUL. I feel you, we have all been there! Also that fic sounds heartbreaking I’ll need to read it. I’m going to give you a collection of feel-good fics that I love dearly and that always make me smile.
Drarry + feel-good fic recs
• Crutch, by AWickedMemory (11k) Harry has too much to do, and Draco, too little. The solution? Hire him, of course. Who knew Draco Malfoy would be such a perfect personal assistant? (One of my precious loves in terms of fic. Assistant!Draco is brilliant, and Harry just can’t do without him. This is hilarious, in character, and so good.)
• Little Red Courgette by blamebrampton (31k) When this season’s purple courgettes are woefully thin, Draco Malfoy thinks it amounts to small beans. Next thing he knows, the Department of Standards is over-run with leeks, Brussels sprouts all sorts of legislative difficulties, and somebody appears to have put a roquette under Harry Potter. Can Draco seize a marrow victory? Or will his plans for peas be squashed? (I’ve laughed myself to tears on more than one occasion while reading this because it’s so witty and endlessly fun. Author is a genius, truly.)
• there’s a trick with a dragon I’m learning to do by curiouslyfic (20k) Harry’s live-in’s a workaholic being courted — harassed — by an array of weeping minions and an assortment of overprivileged pricks. Harry’s bloody portraits are being harassed — courted — by, well, an assortment of things Harry doesn’t even want to think about. Harry’s had a long week already and so far, his weekend’s not looking much better. At least he can say with certainty there’s no place like home… (I have so much love for this fic. It has established Drarry with all this domesticity, lovely detailssss, and such great writing. Can’t rec it enough!)
•Life Is The Flower (For Which Love Is the Honey) by bafflinghaze (15k) The Malfoy Manor lands are lush and verdant. Bees hover over carpets of flowers, and ducks paddle in the pond. It is a place far removed from bustling London and pesky reporters; it is a place where Harry finds what—and who—he didn’t know he was missing. (A fluffy favorite of mine. It’s so goofy and full of bickering, them being adorkable, all this argumentative flirting, and Harry’s baking!)
• In the Company of a Rubber Duck by birdsofshore (34k)
War makes for strange bedfellows. However that doesn’t fully explain how Harry ended up sharing his bath with Draco Malfoy… nor why Malfoy was a rubber duck at the time.
(This sounds cracktastic, and it is. All kinds of hilarious, but also very sweet and precious. Featuring Draco at a muggle cinema and such fun things.)
• Crystal Clearby ICMezzo (6.7k) Harry customizes a snow globe. Draco listens to centaur weather reports. Ron investigates the height of Pansy’s boots. And Hermione knows even more than everything, as usual. (No one signs up for the class for lactating witches.) (I love everything about this short lil’ beauty. It is chock full of gloriously fun details, Auror partners!Drarry, and such great characterizations I can’t.)
• Endangered Familiar by ravenpan (8k) After the war, all he wanted was some peace and quiet. What he got, was a penguin that brought the exact opposite. (Extremely cute is what comes to mind when I think of this fic. I just love penguin!Draco so much and the way he and Harry are in it. Wonderful!)
• Settle in my slow-burning heartby Teatrolley (10k) Five years after the war Draco is working a tech developer job in the Auror Office, and it’s all great except this one thing: Harry Potter works there, too. Things only become stranger when Harry starts bringing Draco ugly souvenirs back from his work travels. When Harry then shows up injured in Draco’s flat, Draco considers the possibility that he’s going insane. (All kinds of precious, this one! Harry is an adorkable cinnamon roll, the writing style is amazing, and Drarry are sooo passionate together and yet soft.)
• Adriftby dysonrules (13k) Auror Harry takes a vacation in the Caribbean and ends up falling from the sky, straight into the lap of Draco Malfoy, modern pirate. (This is guilty pleasure galore, which is exactly what I need in my life sometimes. So much fun, so good and yet so simple. Love it.)
• Paws of Fury by Veritas03 (92k) “Bellow, bluster… your rage is insignificant. No more than the mewing of a kitten. Do not be afraid. He will save you. Calm you. Love you.” Harry has a furry little problem – but Draco’s scent soothes the savage beastie. Will Draco be able to save him when Harry’s world begins to crumble? (Way longer than the others on this list, but I usually only need a few chapters to get my fix of fluffy feels. This is so cute my heart melts. Kitten!Harry is the most precious thing, and the cuddles are all you’ll need after angsty times.)
Hi hi! First, you are amazing and so is your blog! Second, could you give me a run down on the Drarry fic Turn? Is it worth the read? What's it about? Is it super angsty? Thank you!! Keep on being awesome xx
Oh gosh this is so sweet, thank you so much! ALSO YES I WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO GIVE YOU A RUN DOWN ON MY #1 FAVORITE FIC TURN
(beware, you have now unleashed the ranty beast)
Turn by Sara’s Girl might seem daunting at its 300k+ words, but let me tell you, you won’t even notice because you’ll be too busy praying for it to never ever end. It has a plot line that will make itself visible quite early on, so you won’t feel that “how the hell is this fic going to be 300k what’s even going to happen??” feeling that at least I tend to feel when I go into the long fics. Also, the pacing is on point. So don’t let the length scare you off!
What is it about then? The fic summary “One good turn always deserves another. Apparently”, while fitting, is woefully vague. So, a longer one:
The story starts a few months after the epilogue (yes, Turn is epilogue-compliant, but again, trust me on this one) with Harry having hit a bit of a rut in his life; he’s going through the motions, doesn’t like his job, his marriage isn’t what it should be, and he’s wondering “what if?”. What if he had done things differently in the past? What if he had gone back for Draco Malfoy after the Sectumsempra incident and apologized? Offered to help him out of his impossible situation? What would life have been like then?
And then, of course, Harry wakes up the next day in a parallel universe in which he did save Draco. It also turns out that they’ve been together for the past 18 or so years. Cue the shock. And confusion. And… excitement…
Angsty? I wouldn’t pin it down as an angsty fic, but sure, there are definitely moments that will make you cry. A lot, if you’re like me. In fact, it broke my heart and stomped on it. But the overall feeling is hope, warmth, humor, and lots of love. You’ll be laughing through your tears half the time!
Turn also has:
• the most wonderfully written Blaise in existence • (side-pairing Blaise/Ginny is amaze you will ship this one so harddd) • Harry’s snake Frank who is more narcissistic & melodramatic than Draco • amazinggg original characters (Maura!) • a LOVELY Romione they are both so well-written in this and their relationship is loving and beautiful. their friendship with Harry is A++ • no Ginny bashing whatsoever in fact she’s all kinds of great in this • LUCIUS MALFOY SINGING CELESTINA WARBECK • rlly good next gen • excellent character development & personal growth • cracktastic humor • SO MUCH PINING • my favorite Draco ever • my favorite Harry ever • all the feels • such good writing I can’t
More than anything, it’s just such an inspirational story, you know? If you’ve ever been in that stage in your life when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing with yourself, this fic will speak to you. It does to me. Harry goes on an amazing journey in it and we’re so lucky to be allowed to join him. It’s like, if Harry can do it, if he can fight for his happiness like this, we all can.
TL;DR: Turn is 1100% worth the read! GO READ IT NOWWW
The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot, Kara Danvers, (codename Supergirl) is sent to the school, her reckless attitude and cocky demeanor put her at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Maxwell Lord (Iceman). But Supergirl isn’t only competing to be the top fighter pilot, she’s also fighting for the attention of her beautiful flight instructor, Cat Grant.
half-hour web series that goes with Once. small town, big magical drama.
Maleficent gets some tedious taxes and paperwork job for the town, because Regina’s out of the office often saving the town, going to Camelot and the Underworld but governing still has to happen. It is mind-numbingly complicated and involves so many forms, mayoring used to be a full time job for Regina, after all, before the Snow Queen and Peter Pan and the Camelot invasion.
She secretly loves it. It’s like being able to horde an entire town. She’s also very patient, and meetings take a distinctly different tone.
Ursula returns from the far oceans because she misses the internet , and indoor plumbing. Her father and other merfolk visit, occasionally. She opens a bar. Hilariously, at first it’s just ‘the dive bar’ but it sticks. It has a strange sort of underwater and antique aesthetic and she performs several nights a week.
Since Storybrooke has a housing shortage, Ursula and Maleficent live together in a big old Victorian house (like the Dark Swan house). Ursula takes forever in the shower, but she sings beautifully. Maleficent has a collection of various kinds of hot sauce that takes up a whole cupboard.
Cruella discovers she can haunt them both, as she’s now queen of the underworld. (turns out it’s meant to be a ghastly place, and she’s really quite good at convincing people to move on in one way or another). She appears in mirrors, in glasses of water, anything reflective, and she can occasionally possess animals, to hilarious effect. (squirrels, rabbits, the neighbor’s cat).
She jokes that she could possess Maleficent in dragon form, but they’re trying to get along. Cruella didn’t really abandon Lily in the woods, she brought her to a fire station and left her with some very attractive firefighters. How was she supposed to know that Lily wouldn’t stay there and grow up with them? She would have left herself there if she could have.
Lily gets pissed off and accidentally destroys her apartment by turning into a dragon and has to move in with them because no one else will rent to her. Leading to the hilarious problem where everyone but Lily knows Regina is Lily’s other mother. (Cruella promises not to tell because she wants to see Lily’s face when Mal eventually has to tell her).
Maleficent’s quietly unrequited love for the Evil Queen turned heroic Mayor of Storybrooke is hilarious to Cruella (She’s gone soft, how can you find that attractive, Mal, really?) and Ursula (Well, the chances of actually having a successful relationship are much better now that you’re both reformed, less curses, less heroes causing trouble.)
Kathryn returns from law school, now a real lawyer and sets up a magic friendly legal practice, as well as helping Maleficent with the town business when Regina’s away. She’s also their neighbor, who has a cat that Cruella keeps possessing.
They have over the fence style discussions and garden together (Ursula can uproot anything and Maleficent is very good at weed control). Kathryn helps them navigate.
Its atomwave week, and today’s theme is music, so I thought I’d share a very silly headcanon with you all. Ray Palmer has a totally embarrassing taste in music (you know its true!). Mick is less than impressed but totally gets his own back by playing uptown girl loudly outside Ray’s door
Heres the song in case you heathens dont recognize it [link]
Welcome to Hannibal Cre-Ate-Ive’s Masterpost for #ReleaseTheCrackin! Thank you so much to all the creators for making us laugh, and all of the commenters and rebloggers and kudo-givers for making us feel loved!
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There’s something definitely… ironic… when a bunch of fanfic authors sit around and laugh about how “trashy” and “shitty” historical romance novels are.
Like honestly, this is part of why I haven’t written more of any of my historical AUs: if you’re gonna laugh about it and talk about how ridiculous and lulzy the genre is, I do nooot want to crank out more for you to be snidely ironic about.
If I’m writing something, it’s because I believe in it. Even if I know it’s cracktastic and not up to high artistic standards–I’m doing it because I believe that spontaneity and play are important in creative communities. But it knocks me down every time someone acts like the stuff I make is worthy of contempt or mockery.