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I came across an article yesterday (found here) that I became completely intrigued with. I finished it within a couple of hours. It was fascinating, and definitely a walk down memory lane for a variety of reasons. It's specific to the Harry Potter fandom, so if you're still interested in the ramblings of a nostalgic HP fanfiction author who misses the magic fandom had to offer right after Goblet of Fire, keep reading.



I got into fan fiction inadvertently. I'd been a huge fan of fantasy fiction for many years, but to my shame had never read what many considered the 'original' father of fantasy fiction, J.R.R. Tolkien. When the first Peter Jackson movie began to get a lot of buzz, I thought it was a fine time to read the books, so that when I saw the movie, I'd know the full material.

Well, one thing led to another, and my obsessive/compulsive tendencies kicked in. Surely there was more I could learn about Frodo? It couldn't end like *that*! ;-) I read Tolkien's letters, and began checking online to find out more about when the movie was going to be released.

This led me to Imladris (it's been such a long time, I don't even have the link anymore, but I'm pretty sure it was the forum section of this site). Within the forums, I came across what can only be described as Tolkien scholars; people so well read in all things Tolkien that their debates had references and quotes to letters and lectures not known to the general public.

It was fascinating. I was hooked. I began trolling the forums daily, putting in my two cents as I became more well versed in Tolkien. I began noticing that people would put links to little stories they'd written in the LotR universe, and that I adored them. ::still pets Frodo affectionately::

I began to learn the lingo: hurt/comfort, angst, et al. I also started looking for more. Updates, new fics, anything I could get a hold of. This is how I came across Cassandra Claire's The Very Secret Diaries of the Lord of the Rings. I read it at work, and nearly died laughing.

Of course I had to find everything else she'd ever written. I'd just started the Harry Potter books, to have them read in time for *that* premiere, and found I couldn't put them down. So of course I had to begin reading The Draco Trilogy.

This was my introduction to the Harry Potter fandom verse. I flitted from fanfiction.net to Fiction Alley to The Sugar Quill to Gryffindor Tower (site now defunct) and beyond. I started with the tame stuff, but went where the good stories were, no matter my personal relationship preferences.

Cybele's If You are Prepared series was just starting out, and her version of Snape (at the time I had no idea where it was going. Surprise! Welcome to H/S! *g*) was something I could get on board with (up until then I'd loathed Snape with a passion, but she helped introduce me to the inner snark that has been refined since then by her and many other fine authors).

Favorite Quote from that series: "A watched Potter never stirs." ::still dies::

There were so many good authors out there to choose from; it became my new crack habit. I couldn't stop trying to track down more, more, more... I finished the HP books that were published at the time, and was infuriated at the ending of Goblet of Fire. What? They were still sending Harry back to live with the Dursleys after that?! I had to intervene. ;-)

I'd been a closet writer since I was a teenager but had suffered at the hands of negative criticism, and looked skeptically towards my friends who complimented my work. Here, I'd thought, was a whole community of writers whom I admired, who I didn't know in person. If I posted my chapters, maybe I could get a few reviews. Maybe ever lure some of the writers I'd so admired to give critiques and suggestions that I could trust (since I knew they didn't know me and might not feel obligated to sugar coat things).

Thus began Never Alone, Never Again. The reviews began to trickle in, and got better, and longer, each chapter. More and more authors I admired began to leave suggestions, compliments and tips. My husband still laughs at the day I pulled him to my desk to show him when P.A.R. left an in-depth review for my story. *g*

Since then, I've gone on to many different things. I ventured into another universe for a bit (I'd stumbled into The O.C. fanfiction while avoiding HP spoilers, and how could I resist another lost boy in distress? *g*) to see if I could write something other than HP. I've dabbled in Firefly (Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin are both on my list of writing heroes), and I've finally gotten the courage to start serious work on an original fic as well (but am currently working on a cookie that keeps getting bigger by the day. I should know better *g*).

I don't know if this growth on my part would have happened if I hadn't felt safe enough to post that first chapter. I know the feedback has been incredible. I've gotten to know other authors within the community (waves to [livejournal.com profile] wishweaver and [livejournal.com profile] nightwolfwriter), and make friendships beyond the Harry Potter verse ([livejournal.com profile] brabbel). I've branched to other fandoms and met an amazing array of people (another wave to the Sushi!verse).

I guess I'm posting this because I wanted to talk a little bit about the good that HP fandom, and now a variety of other fandoms as well, have done for me. As I read the account of how MsScribe allegedly manipulated the community (the post seems to be well thought out and certainly sounds legit, but I'm always aware that there's two sides to every story, so try to reserve complete judgment), I'm saddened to think of how such a place rich with creativity and inspiration has been toyed with, at other's expense, for what appears to be someone's own personal gain.

I remember being bewildered the day Gryffindor Tower closed their doors (so to speak) and wondered at their cryptic goodbye. Equally, I remember the hubbub of Charitygate but had no idea how bad it got. As I wandered from R/H to H/H to H/G and beyond ;-), I was surprised by the hostility I saw in some of the posts, and never understood.

[livejournal.com profile] charlottelennox's post has been a fascinating read, and it certainly explained a lot. But after it's all said and done, the thing that stands most firm in my mind is that this place is where I learned to trust in my dream to be a writer, and to honestly pursue it. So thanks, everyone, for being a part of my life! No matter what the current round of 'wank' is, I can't ask for a better community to hang out with!
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