Hi, I'm not sure if this has ever been asked before or if I'm allowed to even ask it, but does anyone have any tips on writing fanfics? Im attempting to write my first one after reading dramione for years and finding it really difficult 😩 if anyone could help me I would really appreciate it!
Congrats on starting your first story! There are a lot of writers on tumblr who’ve shared their tips and advice, and there’s a wealth of articles linked on Pinterest too if you search for “writing advice.” Really though, there’s no teacher like experience, so the more you write, the better you’ll get.
Some of the admins here are Dramione writers. Some of us have written fanfiction and original stories but aren’t regular HP writers. Some of us aren’t writers, but we’re all voracious Dramione readers.
These are my own thoughts, and perhaps some of the other admins will chime in:
On Process - figure out what works best for YOU.
To outline or not: Some writers swear by detailed outlines, and if you have a lot of characters and are juggling multiple subplots, you may need charts or outlines to keep track of everything. JK Rowling had some pretty detailed charts for her books. Other writers tend to fly by the seat of their pants and will take a spark of an idea, start writing, and see where it goes. George R.R. Martin falls into this category. There are pros and cons to both, and it really comes down to finding a method that works best for you.
If you work best with a strict outline and will stick to it, then there’s probably no harm in posting as you finish a chapter. If you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er, then you may want to hold off on posting until your story is closer to complete. Once that chapter is up and shared, it’s there for all to see, and it’s much harder to go back and re-write if you find you’ve written yourself into a corner or you want to make major edits later on.
If you start posting a story and you build up an audience, you’ll get comments like, “more please!” and “when are you going to update?” Yay! That means people like your story!
If that seems like the sort of thing though that would make you anxious and give you a lot of pressure to produce more content right away, then consider finding a few good betas to give you constructive feedback as you write and wait to post the story until it’s complete or close to complete.
Some people swear by a strict writing schedule where they set aside time each day to write, and others write only when they feel moved to do so. There are no right or wrong answers for process. Go with what works best for you.
The plus to fanfiction is that your characters and universe are well known, so you don’t have establish your characters and their personalities too much unless you’re elevating a minor canon character to major character status or adding an original character (OC). The downside to fanfiction is that your characters and universe are well known, so your readers probably have their own opinions about who these characters are and what constitutes “in character” behavior.
In a fandom as big as HP and with a pairing as popular as Dramione, that means that no matter what, someone is going to dislike some aspect of your story. That doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. It just means someone has a different opinion about what they think would/should/could happen.
If you want to deviate wildly from canon, then look at what your characters do and say in canon and give some thought to what a reasonable development in their behavior could be if X, Y, or Z happened. If you want to write a dark Draco, then what would need to change from canon to make him that way? Perhaps he suffered great punishment for failing to kill Dumbledore, and it hardened him. Perhaps he witnessed his mother being tortured and chose to close off part of himself to power through the awful things Voldemort would expect him to do. If you are writing post-war/EWE Dramione, then what happened to your characters after the Battle of Hogwarts that led them to where they are at the start of your story? You don’t necessarily need to describe that action in the story, but do give some thought to what they did and how those actions and the war itself affected them. People change as they grow up too, so how does age change them?
As a reader, I’m willing to read stories that seem pretty far removed from canon in terms of characterization, provided the author makes that leap for me. If Draco is dark, then tell me what made him that way. If Hermione is a bitter, underachieving mess, then tell me what happened to her to lead her to that point in her life.
On Feedback (betas)
Even professional writers have editors, and they’re designed to give you feedback and help you produce a stronger story. There are many wonderful readers in the fandom - some who are also fanfiction writers themselves - who are happy to beta  a story for you. Some people use the terms alpha and beta, but I’ve always used beta to mean someone who can provide feedback on any aspect of the story, from characterization and plot to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Some writers have multiple betas, and some use only one. It’s all about finding what works best for you and your beta(s).
It can take time to find a good beta who works well with you, but if you find one, be open to what he or she has to say. A good beta might be able to find a plot hole you’ve missed or help you with you writer’s block.
Fanfiction.net allows users to create beta profiles, and I believe that Shaya Lonnie has a list of people who are willing to beta HP stories too. I was asked to beta after I left a lengthy review on the author’s story, and I know plenty of writers who’ve found betas that way.
Try to be clear on what it is you want from a beta - is it spelling, grammar, and punctuation? Checking for consistency in little details in a very long story? Suggestions on plot? What kind of turn around time do you expect from your beta? Do you want a response the same day? Within a few days? Do you want someone to edit your chapter in Microsoft Word using tracked changes with lots of comments, or do you prefer more general suggestions? The more openly you can communicate your expectations, the more effectively your beta can help you.
You don’t have to have a beta if you don’t want one or if you want to start sharing your story before you find a good beta, but many writers find it helpful to have that extra input.
On Feedback (reviewers)
How often do you go online and leave reviews of restaurants or contact a company’s customer service department? If you have basic good service that you generally expect to get, then if you’re like most people, you probably don’t comment all that often. The people who contact customer service are generally there to register a complaint or to comment about something truly exceptional, but there are usually a lot of otherwise happy customers who don’t really say anything. The same is generally true for fanfiction. You’ll probably have a lot more readers than commenters.
As big as the fandom is, don’t be surprised if your reviewers contradict each other. For every reader who wants more smut, there’s probably another who could do with less. For every reader who loves the marriage law or head boy/head girl trope, there’s another who hates it and thinks it’s overdone. So what do you gain from contradictory feedback like that? I’m of the “take what helps you and leave out all the rest,” mindset. If you really want to write a story with smut, then write your smut, and if people don’t want that, they’ll look for a different story.
Some writers believe strongly in writing the story they want to tell, regardless of how popular it is or how many reviews it may garner. Others who have an established audience may prefer to tailor their stories to their audience and write what experience tells them is popular. My personal opinion is that you should aim for a good balance - tell the story you want but be open to reader feedback. If you are consistently hearing, for example, that the pacing is off in your story and action is happening much faster than seems realistic, then you may want to consider slowing down the progression of your characters’ relationship. For OTP stories, I often see the opposite, by the way - the writer seems to enjoy the characters being in the happy, fluffy romance part of their relationship, and the story stalls a bit with multiple chapters of them dating but little plot movement.
It’s natural to be defensive when someone says, “I like X, but Y doesn’t really work for me,” so sometimes it’s helpful to step back and consider if there’s any useful information in a review. On the flip side, we all love to get, “OMG!!!!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!!” reviews, and it’s always good to know that someone likes what you’re writing, but that kind of review doesn’t really give you much useful information to help you become a better writer or develop your story.
If you’re just starting out, a one-short or short story might be less intimidating as a first attempt, but if you feel compelled to write a long story then go for it! There are plenty of fanfiction writers who started out with longer stories.
There’s no right or wrong answer about chapter length either. Some people like to have a consistent chapter length. I personally prefer that chapter length be organic and reflective of the action, which means some may be only 1,000 or so words and others could be 10,000 words or more.
We get a lot of requests on our site for stories that have a certain number of chapters, and we tend to sigh when we see those asks because the number of chapters isn’t really indicative of the length of the story. A 10 chapter story could be 10,000 words or less, or it could be 100,000 or more, so don’t get too hung up on the number of chapters.
When you’re ready to post your story, consider sharing on multiple sites to build a bigger audience. Fanfiction.net, AO3, Hawthorn & Vine, and AFF are some of the main sites for Dramione fiction, but be open to livejournal, tumblr, and others.
Tag your story appropriately when you post it. If you have graphic violence or rape, most people like to know going in that it’s going to be part of your story, as these are common triggers for people. If you have graphic sex or violence, err on the side of caution and rate your story M/E/NC-17, depending on the site.
Be aware that not everyone reads the author’s notes many writers post at the beginning of their chapters, so perhaps try to limit how many you post/how long they are. Even if you provide valuable info in an A/N, odds are you’ll have readers who scroll right past it.
As a reader, I totally understand that creativity doesn’t always flow on a schedule, and that “real life” often interferes with fun hobbies like fanfiction. However, I also read a truly shameful amount of fanfiction, and if a story hasn’t updated in a few months, I may have to go back and re-read at least part of it to remember where it left off when I last read it.
If you can update your story frequently and with some consistency, it may be easier for you to build an audience.
Finally, when you share your story, SHARE IT WITH US! Send us an ask with a link to your story, and we’ll include it in our tags.
4. Are there any other fic writers you admire? If so, who and why?
Oh, man, too many. I admire @dracolucivs, her writing is simply too perfect and she writes so fast, @gay-street, her way of writing is compelling and addictive, @froekenpest writes in a way I never could, detailed and rich and regal, @mxlfoydraco writes a bit like JK Rowling but gayer (thus, better, in my opinion) & there are so many others but this list can’t go on forever, here’s an old drarry writer’s rec list I made on my personal preferences
8. Why do you choose to write?
Because there;s a lot of noise in my head? I don’t know, I think in words and sentences and paragraphs, and if I sometimes don’t get what’s in my head down on paper, I might go mad. That, and I quite enjoy writing.
Do you have structured ideas of how your story is supposed to go, or make it up as you write?
I usually just have a general idea - like, per example, “harry finding out Draco is trans” and just… write. See what happens. Usually takes a minute or ten. It’s with long fics, like the one I’m writing with Misha or my longer ones on ao3 that take some thorough planning haha
1: My name- georgie :)
2: Do I have any nicknames?- g, george or nina
3: Zodiac sign?- cancer!
4: Video game I play to chill, not to win?- sims 4
5: Book/series I reread?- Harry Potter obvi
6: Aliens or ghosts?- aliens !!
7: Writer I trust enough to read whatever they write? -jk rowling
8: Favourite radio station?- bbc 6
9: Favourite flavour of anything?-CHOCOLATE!
10: The word that I use all the time to describe something great?- amazing
11: Favourite song?- love,lana del rey
12: The question you ask new friends to get to know them better?- what stuff do you like
13: Favourite word?- mint
14: The last person who hurt me, did I forgive them?-yes
15: Last song I listened to?-wait a minute by willow ;)
16: TV show I always recommend?- teen wolf !!
17: Pirates or ninjas?- pirates !!
18: Movie I watch when I’m feeling down? -harry potter or the breakfast club
19: Song that I always start my shuffle with/wake-up song/always-on-a-loop song?- anything by David Bowie
20: Favourite video games?- sims 4 lol
21: What am I most afraid of?- isolation, my secrets being discovered
22: A good quality of mine?- im very caring
23: A bad quality of mine?- i tend to be too hard on myself and others
24: Cats or dogs?- dogs!
25: Actor/actress you trust enough to watch whatever they’re in?- emma watson!!
26: Favourite season?- spring
27: Am I in a relationship?- no lol
28: Something I miss?- my old self
29: My best friend?- is amazing
30: Eye colour?- green
31: Hair colour?- brown
32: Someone I love?-my family
33: Someone I trust?-my best friend
34: Someone I always think about?- my crush lol
35: Am I excited about anything?-holiday!
36: My current obsession?- anything harry potter
37: Favourite TV shows as a child- in the night garden.
38: Do I have someone of the opposite sex that I can tell everything to?- no
39: Am I superstitious?-yes
40: What do I think about most?-my problems
41: Do I have any strange phobias?- i bloody hate feet, and toast crumbs eW
42: Do I prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?-behind
43: Favourite hobbies?-singing
44: Last book I read?- game of thrones
45: Last film I watched?- miss perigreins home for peculiar children
46: Do I play any instruments?-no
47: Favourite animal?- otter
48: Top 5 blog on Tumblr that I follow?- I CANNOT NAME JUST FIVE
49: Superpower I wish I could have?-to change my appearance at will
50: How do I destress?- green tea and face masks
51: Do I like confrontation?-no
52: When do I feel most at peace?- in my bed
53: What makes me smile?- other people being happy
54: Do I sleep with the lights on or off?-both
55: Play any sports?-never
56: What is my song of the week?-wait a minute by willow
57: Favourite drink?- probs tea. any tea
58: When did I last send a handwritten letter to somebody? bloody while ago
59: Afraid of heights?yes
60: Pet peeve?people chewing loudly
61: What was the last concert I went to see?something at latitude
62: Am I vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian?-no but I want to be!
63: What occupation did I want to do when I was younger?- fairy lol
64: Have I ever had a friend turn enemy?-no
65: What fictional universe would I like to be a part of?-harry potter or lotr
66: Something I worry about?-people finding out my secrets
67: Scared of the dark?-yes
68: Who are my best friends?-mostly internet ones
69: What do I admire most about others?-how they treat other people
70: Can I sing?-kinda
71: Something I wish I could do?-fly
72: If I won the lottery, what would I do?-give it to charity, then buy shit for me
73: Have I ever skipped school?-no
74: Favourite place on the planet?cook islands
75: Where do I want to live?new york
76: Do I have any pets?- two cats and a puppy called Luna
77: What is my current desktop picture? New York lol
78: Early bird or night owl?- night owl
79: Sunsets or sunrise?-sunrise
80: Can I drive?-nope
81: Story behind my last kiss?-haven’t been kissed yet lol
82: Earphones or headphones?-both
83: Have I ever had braces?-no
84: Story behind one of my scars?-depression
85: Favourite genre of music?-indie
86: Who is my hero?-David Bowie
87: Favourite comic book character?- idk
88: What makes me really angry?- racists, homophobes, anything like that
89: Kindle or real book?- real
90: Favourite sporty activity?-swimming
91: What is one thing that isn’t tight in schools that should be?- uniform
92: What was my favourite subject at school?- it’s English
93: Siblings?- one sister
94: What was the last thing I bought? Clothes
95: How tall am I?- 5'9
96: Can I cook? kinda
97: Can I bake?yes
98: 3 things I love?tea, animals, nature
99: 3 things I hate?bad people, animal cruelty, poverty
100: Do I have more girl friends or boy friends?-yes but I don’t have a choice as I go to an all girls school
101: Who do I get on with better, girls or boys?-boys
102: Where was I born?- hospital
103: Sexual orientation?-straight
104: Where do I currently live?england
105: Last person I texted?-my friend
106: Last time I cried?-yesterday 107: Guilty pleasure? Where do I start
108: Favourite Youtuber?jacksfilms
109: A photo of myself.- on my blog
110: Do I like selfies?- they’re okay
111: Favourite game app?- moon tracker
112: My relationship with my parents?- p good
113: Favourite accents?- Nigerian, Irish
114: A place I have not been but wish to visit?- nyc
115: Favourite number?-8
116: Can I juggle?-no
117: Am I religious?-no
118: Do I like space?-yes
119: Do I like the deep ocean?-yes
120: Am I much of a daredevil?-no
121: Am I allergic to anything?-yes
122: Can I curl my tongue?-yes
123: Can I wiggle my ears?-no
124: Do I like clowns?-no
125: The Beatles or Elvis?-Beatles
126: My current project?- my blog I guess but it’s not really a project idk
127: Am I a bad loser?- no I’m not competitive at all
128: Do I admit when I wrong?-yes
129: Forest or beach?-forest
130: Favourite piece of advice?-I just go to mum
131: Am I a good liar?-yes
132: Hogwarts house / Divergent faction / Hunger Games district?- hufflepuff, amity and idk
133: Do I talk to myself?-yes lol
134: Am I very social?-no
135: Do I like gossip?-yes
136: Do I keep a journal/diary?-no
137: Have I ever hopelessly failed a test?-yes
138: Do I believe in second chances?
139: If I found a wallet full of cash on the ground, what would I do?turn it in
140: Do I believe people are capable of change?-yes
141: Have I ever been underweight?-no
142: Am I ticklish?-very
143: Have I ever been in a submarine?-no
144: Have I ever been on a plane?-yes
145: In a film about my life, who would I cast as myself, friends and family? i would cast everyone from got bc my life is dead
146: Have I ever been overweight?-no
147: Do I have any piercings?-yes
148: Which fictional character do I wish was real?-stiles
149: Do I have any tattoos?-no
150: What is the best decision I have made in life so far?-none
151: Do I believe in Karma?-no
152: Do I wear glasses or contacts?-yes
153: What was my first car?-haven’t had one
154: Do I want children?-yes
155: Who is the most intelligent person I know?-my dad
156: My most embarrassing memory?- about a year ago, when I still had friends, I went into town (wow georgie so interesting) i went clothes shopping at a shop I do not want to name, just after grabbing a coffee with my friend. we went to the top floor of the shop to look at then men’s clothing because it’s comfy goddammit and after pretending to contemplate buying things but not actually having any money, we decided to go back downstairs.
this is went it happened.
before I knew it I had spilt my coffee all over myself and the stairs, TRIPPED OVER MY OWN FEET and then started tumbling down the stairs ON MY KNEES NOT ABLE TO STOP and landing in a HEAP at the bottom of the stairs with the ENTIRE shop silent and staring, and then, my friend who seemed extremely embarrassed to know me, tried to help me up and I LITERALLY said ‘oops, it’s a pain kink I suppose’ WHY FUCKING WHY DID I SAY THAT IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE, and then i proceeded to RUN out of the shop, leaving the floor covered in coffee and my friend apologising who then followed me out. we got onto the nearest bus and sat in silence the rest of the way, me with my white shirt completely ruined, dignity lost and no fucking coffee.
the moral of the story is to run away from your problems and avoid any confrontation okay bye
157: What makes me nostalgic?- cinnamon and pesto
158: Have I ever pulled an all-nighter?- many a time
159: Which do I value more in others, brains or beauty?- beauty in the soul
160: What colour mostly dominates my wardrobe?- pastels
161: Have I ever had a paranormal experience?-no
162: What do I hate most about myself?-alot
163: What do I love most about myself?-lol nothing
164: Do I like adventure?-yes
165: Do I believe in fate?-idk
166: Favourite animal?-otter
167: Have I ever been on radio?-no
168: Have I ever been on TV?-no
169: How old am I?-14
170: One of my favourite quotes?- anything said by david bowie
171: Do I hold grudges?sometimes
172: Do I trust easily?yes
173: Have I learnt from my mistakes?
174: Best gift I’ve ever received?my headphones
175: Do I dream?yes
176: Have I ever had a night terror?lots
177: Do I remember my dreams, and what is one that comes to mind?i remember when I first wake up
178: An experience that has made me stronger?- the last few years
179: If I were immortal, what would I do?- oh shit idk
180: Do I like shopping?- only online
181: If I could get away with a crime, what would I choose to do?-steal money for people who need it
182: What does “family” mean to me?- you can’t choose them, but I love mine
183: What is my spirit animal?- idk
184: How do I want to be remembered?- being good to ppl
185: If I could master one skill, what would I choose?- dancing
186: What is my greatest failure?-alot
187: What is my greatest achievement?idk
188: Love or money?-love
189: Love or career?-love
190: If I could time travel, where and when would I want to go?-the future
191: What makes me the happiest?-love
192: What is “home” to me?-my house lol
193: What motivates me?- what I’ll be in the future
194: If I could choose my last words, what would they be?- something funny
195: Would I ever want to encounter aliens?-YEHA
196: A movie that scared me as a child?-the grinch
197: Something I hated as a child that I like now?- aliens
198: Zombies or vampires?-vampires
199: Live in the city or suburbs?-city
200: Dragons or wizards?-BOTH
201: A nightmare that has stayed with me?-I can’t say
202: How do I define love?- idk
203: Do I judge a book by its cover?-no
204: Have I ever had my heart broken?-no
205: Do I like my handwriting?-no
206: Sweet or savoury?-sweet
207: Worst job I’ve had?-none
208: Do I collect anything?-harry Potter stuff
209: Item of clothing or jewellery you’ll never see me without?-sweater
210: What is on my bucket list?- go to space lmao
211: How do I handle anger?-I cry
212: Was I named after anyone?-no
213: Do I use sarcasm a lot?-no
214: What TV character am I most like? probs stiles
215: What is the weirdest talent I have?- I don’t have any lol
216: Favourite fictional character?remus lupin DUH
Both the writer of the books AKA JK Rowling and the main character Harry Potter "defend" Snape, so like, what intelligent and well reasoned response do you have to that?
Listen my sweet anon I love HP a lot, but JK Rowling isnt a good writer, she made lots of mistakes and there are a LOT of instances of poor writing. She apologized for killing Snape on Twitter and it was dead ass written as if she were a 13 year old fanfic writer on Fanfiction.Net
also harry potter is a…….dumb guy. he named his child after two people who were real bad to him through the e n t i r e series. He didn’t name his kid after Sirius Black or Remus or Hagrid, any of the characters who made his life better and tried to be good to him and protect him all through his life.
nah he named it after the guy who abused him all his life all bc he looked like Lily. Like.
your reasoning of “well jk rowling defended him so-” is so invalide. Like my dude. She wrote the character and thought his backstory of “I loved lily even though i was shitty to her. She didnt love ME and now im BAD” was tragic…..it made me cry when i was 16, but i have seen the truth.
I love Severus Snape as a character, but yall cant defend an abusive asshole like that. You can love a character who does bad things! You can love characters who are bad and abusive! Don’t try to excuse it is all im Saying. :) No need to be so grumpy <3
☯ Is there a muse you've always wanted to play? ♣ Is there an author(s) that you look up to with your writing skills? ♧ Is there an RP partner(s) that you credit for becoming a better writer? ♥ What's your favorite ship with your muse? ♡ Would you ever write a poly ship?
A poly ship probably not honestly simply because I’m just not into that.
And it would be fun to be Ed honestly because he’s cute and adorable XD
My favorite ship is Kevin edd sue me lol but seriously though I love them and edd and Eddy
Author I look up to is jk Rowling Harry Potter books are amazing
I suppose I enjoy talking with @eddwardian
I love roleplaying with them they are a sweet heart
You know that point were you’ve started insulting your fans by telling them they have ‘unhealthy fantasies’ about characters because they have a unique interpretation of what they’ve read because they’re readers with imaginations?
You couldn’t have worded it better? Or Better yet, left them alone?
You’re literally calling them unhealthy because they’re trying to find redeeming points in a character that you wrote as someone worthy of (at least some) redemption.
(Queer white woman from America writing here, ftr. I think I stayed in my lane throughout, but please drop me an ask if I fucked up somewhere.)
So let’s start here before I get the ‘stop hurting JK’ brigade on me: I genuinely think that JK Rowling had good intentions when she wrote her new supplements about the wizarding world in the Americas. I’m willing to bet she even did a bit of homework, reading up on things. I think she genuinely feels like she tried, hell, I think she did try.
I love Jo with every bit of my black little heart, and I’m sure she means well. But that is not good enough – that is never good enough.
She clearly, obviously, explicitly failed.
When you’re a wee little thing with 12 followers on twitter, you need to be a regular amount of careful because you may hurt a few people if you’re not. When you have a platform as broad and far-reaching as JKR’s you have to be extraordinarily careful, because you have the capacity to hurt a LOT of people. Millions of people. Instantly, simultaneously, you can accidentally step on millions of toes, break millions of teacups, leave marks on millions of spirits.
Sometimes an attempt to increase diversity, to reach out to people, can be more damaging than doing nothing. Nothing, a complete and utter lack of representation, at least that is the status quo. People know how to handle not being represented. It’s a microaggression that can be managed. But unfortunately the failure state of trying is going to be active injury to those exposed to your attempt at diversity. And if you’re going to try, you have to be extraordinarily aware of that fact.
I’m starting to think that failure in these circumstances is inevitable. When your universe is an international juggernaut, it is somewhat impossible to be educated and aware enough to sensitively write about folks on the other end of your oppression axis. I think some folks who write The 100 are learning that particular lesson in a nasty way right now. (Are there wlw/queer women on the writing staff of The 100? I’m willing to bet no.)
That leaves folks like JK – who are more keenly aware of these sorts of things now than they were when they started their process/series/etc – in a rough spot. How do you expand your universe – one you now understand as unnecessarily white, unnecessarily straight, unnecessarily male, unnecessarily able-bodied – without being an ass?
And I think the answer is: you are going to have to let other people in.
TL;DR for the rest of this: JKR, please bring more authors to the table and create a properly expanded universe if you’re serious about better diversity.
JK Rowling is one of the best writers, and the twists and the world she has created to such details -it deserves respect. Having said that; I feel with all that going on, she could have done just a teensy little bit more with developing Ron, Harry, and Hermione in academics. I mean, no person is the same in their studies for years, some discover their passion later. Specially Ron, who was really good at chess in the first book, Idk I felt talents could have sprouted better.
I see so much advice that goes against itself. Not from you, but in general. 'Be yourself, don't write to sell, only you can be you, only you can offer the world your story---' And then 'Let publishers rip it apart and fill it full of things that'll make it sell.' Editing is never bad, all first drafts suck, I know and accept this. But agents, editors and publishers can only go on corporate ballspeak, and nothing of passion or individuality. It worries me, and I just wanted your thoughts?
I know sometimes it can seem contradicting and some of it is contradicting because different people give and take different advice, but I’ll try to expand on some of it:
Don’t Write to Sell
When we talk about not writing to sell, we mean don’t sit around when you’re creating a story and think, “What will get me the most money?” If Urban Fantasy involving shape shifters becomes the next big thing, don’t go, “Oh! That’s selling a lot right now so to get money, I should write that!”
Don’t write with the dream of fame and fortune in mind. Money should not be the only motive for writing. Great writers write great books because they love to write.
Writers who do know what will sell (e.g., E.L. James (scroll to user hurricangst) or who only write to sell are just marketers who are in it for the money and not much else. Their stories aren’t going to stay with us like stories written with passion are.
Editors Will Rip Your Story Apart
They will. Because that’s their job and they’re passionate about it. Sure, they might get stuck with a project they don’t particularly like, but they still know how to make it better so that the story or content is better and so that it may sell more. They know the audiences and the markets better than we do. They know what has been done and what might be a turn off for certain audiences. You know how JK Rowling says her editor won’t let the characters swear? That’s because there is such a wide audience for those book and plenty of them are young children.
Editors (and sometimes agents) became editors and agents for a reason. They take on books because they truly believe in them and they know there are ways to make them even better. Trust me, they are just as passionate as writers. They have their own wishlists of what they want to see in books and they fall in love with characters, worlds, and stories just as we do. But they also have to believe that a project will sell if they’re going to take it.
This is important because to keep a publishing company going, you have to make money. You have to pay everyone and there are fees for production, marketing, and everything else. Signing new authors is a risk that they take all the time and if those books don’t sell well enough, then it’s a loss. Publishing is a business and writers have to remember that, but we also have to keep in mind that it’s a business mostly built on a passion for stories.
I honestly can’t believe that people are arguing with JKR about the character that SHE wrote. People. Honeys. Darlings. The woman fucking WROTE the character! His actions and his personality were adjusted to her worldview, to the way she perceives people and what she herself deems acceptable, forgivable, kind, brave, despicable, etc… If you don’t like her attitude towards the character, then it’s only because your own views on life differ from JKR’s views. And that’s fine. But don’t try to shove your own views on HER character, down her throat, just because you can’t stand it when canon differs from what you like to think about people. Don’t try to “educate” her on the morality you’ve chosen, acting like you know better than her.
Yes, writers are human. You don’t have to agree with the views they express through their stories or through the attitudes they have towards a character. But for goodness’ sake, don’t be so arrogant as to act like you have a say in how they view their own plot and characters. Just… don’t. It’s pathetic.
For over seven years I've contributed to my fandoms in visual (aka graphics & stuff) or imported (aka translated) content, but about two years ago I thought I was ready to try and actually write something, which was always my dream (that I lacked confidence in pursuing). I've struggled a lot with comprehending what writing even is (transitioning to another medium was HARD), and finally something akin to actual progress is happening. (p1)
(p2) Of course, my writing is far from perfect or even semi-confident at this point, and I know that I’ll need to share it eventually and receive my share of criticism in order to evolve. But as of lately I’ve been struggling with this crippling fear that I’ve missed out on too many years and thus it’s too late to even try. All the writer folks around me have started very, very young;
(p3) my first attempt to write something was at 26, and wherever I look, every advice and every guide just shoves that ‘oh you need to start writing since before you could even hold a pen to be any good lol’ mindset in my face. So… d'you have any advice for a late bloomer? Sorry for rambling and thank you just for reading all this, even if you don’t feel like replying.
I started seriously pursuing the idea of writing a novel at twenty-eight, but lacking any sort of talent or skill, I turned to fanfiction to practice. I’ve watched the age JK Rowling published her first novel pass me by. I’ve watched the age Stephanie Meyer was when she published pass me.
I’ve seen fans of my writing grow into amazing writers themselves, better writers than I could hope to be. I’ve seen some of them publish, while I can’t get my foot in the door. I’ve written about six original novels I have no hope of ever publishing and one… which I’m finally confident enough in myself to self-publish.
But, now…I look back… I have ten years of experience behind me now. I am so much better than I was when I started. Whether or not I become successful in writing, I have made some wonderful, lifelong friends. I have had people tell me I changed their lives. I’ve seen people grow from fifteen and into their twenties and come tell me I helped shaped them.
It’s humbling, and certainly not what I expected when I sat down and thought to work on my skills.
My advice, ignore your age. Ignore how much experience you might think you need, or people telling you you need to have before you can write. Ignore it all. Everyone goes at their own pace. You can be thirty and start doing something you love. You can be sixty and change your life. There’s no age limit, only yourself.
You do you. Writing can be a magical experience when you share with others. Fandoms can be great and uplifting and… fandoms can form around you without you even being aware it’s happening. I have people cheering for me now and some days I can’t believe it how many lives I’ve touched.
Continue writing, age be damned. There’s always going to be someone younger, someone better, but you know what? There’s probably someone looking at you saying “I wish I could do that,” and if your advice to them is “Just write” then it should be the same advice you give yourself.
Am I the only one isn’t bothered by what some call J. K. Rowling’s “lazy, after the fact diversity”? I even like some aspects.
If I was a book character, with the exact same speech patterns, background, personality, mannerisms and even some aspects of my appearance, I would probably be coded as white, and maybe even straight.
So why is each and every culturally British character with a name of European origins assumed white? Hogwarts is…in Britain…it doesn’t admit people outside of Britain and Ireland and Scotland… What’s wrong with descriptions like…dark hair…green eyes…bushy hair…tan skin…brown hair…none of those are white only traits…
The way some people talk about this, I feel like they’re seriously gatekeeping communities. When J.K. confirmed that Dumbledore was gay and people said that “he didn’t seem gay” (I heard this from people of all sexualities), I kept thinking “don’t gay people act like…people?”
And characters with obviously Asian names (Parvati and Padma Patil, Cho Chang) acted like…people…who are culturally British…like…do people want them parading around in sarees and cheongsams (instead of the school uniform) with thick as hell accents?
And if J.K. Rowling had explicitly coded anyone as an ethnicity, how many complaints about their portrayal would there be? (Reminder she had to sign away casting rights when she signed the movie deals) Racial ambiguity should not be equal to “everyone’s white”.
Most, if not all, of posts about this give off this reek of “in order to be of x group, character ABSOLUTELY MUST do thing 1 and thing 2 and be described with trait 1 and wear clothing items 1, 2 and 3 and unless they do thing 1 and 2 EVERY SINGLE FUCKING HOUR and ONLY EVER EVER wear clothing items 1, 2 and 3 and are described as trait 1 EVERY FUCKING TIME THEIR NAME IS MENTIONED, then it is COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE THAT THEY ARE A MEMBER OF X GROUP”
I feel like people should at least change the way they talk about this and stop acting like people can’t be culturally British or American and still Asian or Black or another race. Because for me, a Asian person who’s culturally American, the way this is discussed has made me feel really excluded from Asian communities. #whitepeopledontreblog
I hope you don’t mind but I took out a few paragraph breaks for accessibility.
The problem with JK being vague about Hermione’s race (and Harry’s, but lets be honest more focus was on Hermione because. surprise!! she’s black in canon) is that young black girls with dark skin aren’t getting any validation from this. When all this stuff was going across my dash, some of the comments did hurt but at the end of the day, it’s not about my feelings because I don’t have dark skin. I’m not black passing, and all those girls who are visibly black only got extremely, extremely vague descriptions of a canon black character. “Hermione looked very brown today” “Her hair was bushy” Like… the few statements about her appearance didn’t really imply that she was black, aside from the keywords used to describe the texture of her hair, which kids can easily mistake when they’re nonblack or know nothing about afrotextured hair.
The problem with her being vague is that it speaks more to racially ambiguous people like myself. It was easy to imagine Hermione as black. I have all my life because of the descriptions of her hair and that one statement about her looking very brown. Dark skinned black girls and young girls of color who are visibly black and are very obviously not white, did not get the representation they deserve. At all. If she couldn’t handle getting harsh comments for not making her characters obviously characters of color, instead of giving out vague statements about body parts, then she shouldn’t be a writer. She’s probably getting more criticism now from people of color for her purposefully excluding visible minorities.
When you’re white, having headcanons about your characters of color and not actually writing them into your book is pretty racist. JK vaguely mentioning how Harry’s dad had a holiday of lights, alluding to Diwali, is barely representation. Hermione looking very brown and having bushy hair is barely representation. The colorism, misogynoir, racism, racialized misogyny, that JK expresses in her work becomes very clear because of how blase she is about representing these characters. She didn’t have the rights to casting but I watched a side documentary about the actors and she did get to choose who was casted as Harry. She could have written her characters better and thousands of children across the globe would have read her books and known that their favorite characters weren’t white or white passing, or racially ambiguous. They could have seen themselves in a dark skinned Black Hermione, they could have seen themselves in the muslim girls from Beaubatons who wear head coverings, they could have seen themselves in Harry, whose father celebrated Diwali.
You say you feel excluded because there are people hurt about the racial ambiguity and the colorism at work in JK’s writings. That means you need to take a few moments to think about this further from the point of view of someone who needs the representation, not vague descriptions of racially ambiguous characters who just so happened to actually be characters of color in canon, after the books and movies were already out. She, as a white woman in Britain, has a lot of power as a writer because of her race. She’s not a helpless little white woman who was bullied into toning down the racial descriptors of her characters.
Any visibly black person, or darker skinned person of color could talk about this better than I have because it’s their representation that they missed out on.
My dashboard was full of black women who spoke out about this in much better ways than I could. I related to JK’s descriptions of Hermione and saw my relatives in Harry, and easily related to Cho. Who are they, the visibly black kids, the darker skinned kids, supposed to be able to relate to?
In the end, we can find better representation from writers of color, and in the end, the pedestal that JK is placed on is not reserved solely for her or other white writers.
“The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet… Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places… We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling
I want to write a book that people talk about, that people run to the stores and the books fly off the shelves. I want that line of people at midnight waiting for the release. I want a book that people will write fanfiction about.
I want a book that will break hearts and make you cry; that will make you laugh and have to bite your pillow because it’s midnight and you don’t want to wake the whole house when you scream at a plot twist.
I want a movie deal; I want people to have long discussions about whether they liked the book or movie better.
I want to inspire people.
I want to write a book that will be remembered for ages.
Rowling’s admission that Hermione should never have married Ron vindicates a certain romantically inclined branch of fan-fiction writers
But the article should irk all fans, regardless of what they ship, if anything. Apart from the fact that they can’t stay consistent abut how “fans” “feel” - calling us fervid in one paragraph and wistful later on down the page (seriously? Has anyone seen any Harry Potter fans demonstrate wistful feelings about shipping this weekend?), they also said these snazzy - um, I mean utterly false and weird - assumptions:
They like being wistful. And they are used to imagining some fairly unlikely things, such as Harry and Draco getting together, or Ron and Harry – they called that “Rorry”.
I see. Is there a strong gay subtext in Harry Potter?I don’t think they need one. Shipping is often said to have begun with people imagining a gay relationship between Captain Kirk and Mr Spock in Star Trek.
Wouldn’t that be “illogical”?Let’s not get into that.
Now, we can have a long discussion about gay subtext in Harry Potter that can start with Dumbledore (because while JKR’s been textual outside of the books, Dumbledore being gay was never mentioned in the books’ pages) but the fact that JKR has said that Dumbledore was gay means that the gay subtext in Harry Potter was, actually, an accurate reading of the series regarding said character.
But also, no, the shippers did not call Ron and Harry “Rorry”, which a quick search of tumblr’s tags would have evidenced. And why are gay relationships “fairly unlikely things” anyway?
(And why did they only mention guys?)
The article is probably totally clickbait, but if you want to get irritated about outsiders’ views on fandom, check it out.
If you don’t want to read the whole thing, just look at how they summarized Hermione: