A Plea

To all those who write emails like the one below,

hi how’re u? m gud as usual. So nice 2 here frm u. i ws jst waiting 4 ur mail my exams start in jan so wish me luck!!!

I hate receiving mails like these. They’re so difficult to read! They may save the writer’s time, since they’re full of abbreviations, but they waste my time since I have to spend a lot of time just deciphering them. Does it really take so much time to type ‘you’ instead of ‘u’ and to insert a period in between sentences?

Ever read a book called ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ by Lynn Truss? Truss claims that she’s a language Nazi. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself that (though I’m sure some of my friends would!). My knowledge of English grammar and punctuation isn’t deep enough. But I do try! I always edit whatever I write. The editing may not be perfect but at least I make an effort!

I always think that a carefully written email shows that you care about what your readers experience while reading it. You may not use colons and semi-colons, but what about commas and periods? A paragraph break? Upper case? They’re not your enemies…they make your written work more coherent!

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Secret Revealed

I think it’s time for me to come out of the closet. Yes people, I’m a secret fan fiction reader. I’ve read so much fan fiction that I could compile anthologies with titles like ‘Wonderful Wizardries: The Best of HP Fan Fic’ or ‘The Best Star Wars Fan Fic…in any Galaxy’. The titles suck; I know…but so does most fan fiction.

So why do I read fan fiction if most of it sucks? I don’t really know. I guess its because I’m jobless most of the time. Or maybe it’s because I really want to know what could happen in an Alternate Universe, as opposed to the Canonical Universe. Or I like to watch events unfold from a different point of view. Or maybe it’s because through all that copyright infringement, I really enjoy being able to spot genuine literary talent.

Fan fiction is actually a lot more complicated than it looks. Anyone can create an Original Character for the main character (who’s usually the fan fictioner’s main literary squeeze) to fall in love with. The OC will generally be closely modeled on what the fan fictioner imagines himself/herself to be. There will be lots of dirty, improbable and grammatically imperfect sex. There will be lots of action and adventure, and in the more angsty stories, deep soul searching and S&M.

It’s a quirk of the typical fan fictioner to like the most despicable canon character. Hence, in the HP fan fiction roster, you’ll find plenty of love stories featuring Snape, the Malfoys and the Dark Lord himself. In most of these stories, the villainous types find a way to redeem themselves…mostly through mutilation and such like, but also through discovering True Love.

But as I was saying, some people do manage to write good fiction, which just happens to be fan fiction. These are the people who don’t choose the easy way out by creating OCs. They stick to all canonical characters, which is difficult, because you have to make them behave as they do in canon, but in different settings and with different dialogues. My personal favourites are the ones that spoof the original or the other works of fan fic.

I’ll leave you with a short selection of some of my favourite pieces of HP fan fiction. I could mention spin-offs of some other books or movies, but I’ve read a lot of HP fan fiction and I guess I know more about these than others. (I shall not bow my head in shame!!)

P.S. There are homosexual elements in the second story. Homophobes Beware! But if you just care about reading a well-written and funny story, go ahead!

A Very Harry Cliche

First Quarter

Plugs and Outlets

For those who want to continue exploring this ‘genre’, I leave a glossary. For first timers it’s generally a safe option to start reading at The Sugar Quill

Glossary

HP – Harry Potter
AU – Alternate Universe
POV – Point of View
R/H – Ron and Hermione
H/H – Harry and Hermione
H/G – Harry and Ginny