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Thread: May Activities 2011

  1. #1
    jenny b

    May Activities 2011

    Our featured author for May is Soraya/babewithbrains!

    Her author’s page can be found here.

    • You must review the featured author for it to count as your monthly activity requirement.
    • Post the link to your review here - you may also post it in the May review thread for credit as a review.
    • Questions in this thread are not part of the monthly requirement, but they are greatly encouraged. Also, they must have something to do with the subject of writing.

  2. #2
    jenny b

    May Drabble Challenge

    Take a typical cliche of the Potterverse and put it into a drabble in a fresh and interesting way.


    • Drabble can be between 250-800 words.
    • Content should not be any higher than a 3rd-5th Years rating.
    • All content that would require a warning on the MNFF Archive should be labelled appropriately.
    • This thread is for responses only. If you have a question, PM me.
    • Responses must be posted by May 31st.
    • Please post using this format:
      Word Count:
    • As with all activities within the SPEW forum, this challenge is open only to SPEW members.

  3. #3
    jenny b

    May Discussion: Controversial Topics

    I thought we did something like this recently, but apparently not.

    Sometimes in fanfiction you come across things that JKR would have never dared mention in her books. I mean those R-rated topics - abuse, rape, student-teacher romances, etc. Then things that are more common but are often still controversial, such as religion, sexuality and teenage pregnancy. I'm sure there's more I'm missing. Anyway, onto the questions:

    Do you think that these things have a place in the Potterverse?

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?

    Feel free to add more questions!

  4. #4
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
    Kill the Spare
    ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Forever and always in rarepair hell
    This is a FABULOUS topic! Itís one I think I will enjoy immensely.

    Recently, on LJ, a meme circulated about fan fiction kinks. I decided to resurrect the meme (omitting the ones that wouldnít be archive permissible) and see how I felt about it and whether Iíve written said Ďkinksí. This pretty much covers the Ďwhat place they have in the Potterverse.

    Creature Fics: These have a large place in the Potterverse, since there are so many species of Ďnear human intelligenceí. It would actually be more odd if there werenít any. However, many people for whatever reason have issues with animal POV. Personally, I donít go for it because it gets monotonous to think like a non-human and in much more narrow a spectrum.

    Animagus: This also has its place in fan fiction. The Marauders brought a whole new universe to the idea of animal POV. Apparently, though, this is also something that bothers peopleÖ míkay.

    M-Preg: I really, really donít see why this has a legit place in the fandom, but nevertheless, it seems to be a mainstay in every Harry/Draco community out there. I donít think Iíll ever personally enjoy it, but if someone really wants to read it, have at it. I shall not be joining you.

    Sex Kinks (Angry/Hate, Drunk, Slave, BDSM, S/M, 3+ participants): This stuff happens in real life, so it almost by default belongs in the Potterverse. People are people, and they like what they likeÖ Again, have at it.

    Age difference: Iíve recently written a fic like this (Wild Card), and I believe I handled it well. Yawning age gaps have been a mainstay in matrimony since the dawn of civilisation, so expecting it to not be present is just naÔve. It makes some people uncomfortable, and thatís okay, since there is far more societal stigma placed on age gap, but I really donít see why it canít be part of our happy little world.

    Underage (chan): Kids have been illicitly having sex forever. It happens. Get over it. I have heard a lot of dissent about it being in fiction, mostly from older folks saying that itís a bad influence on their children, but reallyÖ I donít see how it could be any worse than watching a Katy Perry music video

    Crossdressing/Genderbender: I may or may not have written a new chapter in this particular genre. Again, it occurs regularly in real life, so it by default should exist in wizard society.

    Dub-con: This entire concept is sort of strange, to be honest. Either itís consensual or itís not. It almost seems like a loophole for people who are writing less graphic non-con. Personally, I find it rather insensitive, considering that, from the viewpoint of the personís whose consent is in question, it might not be so fuzzy.

    Non-con: There is almost no way of getting around this. It is a prevalent part of every aspect of humanity. Many are not too thrilled with the idea of reading about it in their leisure literature, but to expect it not to exist at all is rather naÔve. It will be in Potterfic, it will always be in Potterfic, and in certain situations, it belongs in Potterfic.

    But if youíre writing about Draco raping Hermione, only to have her fall in love with him, get some counselling. You have problems with perspective.

    Incest: While incest in terms of immediate family is not allowed on MNFF, cousin-cest is. I know a lot of people are squicked by this, and I understand why that is, but itís just one of those thingsÖ you canít NOT have it. Look at the Black family tree and how many of the branches, for the lack of a better term, crossed. There is even an instance where two first cousins married and had kidsÖ and those kids were Sirius and Regulus. Honestly, with the relative small size of the wizarding community, itís almost unavoidable for blood to not be crossed. Itís just a fact. While yeah, brother/sister or parent/child is rather horrid to think about, cousin/cousin wasnít too far for JKR, and it really shouldnít be for us, either. If you donít like it, donít read.

    Death: Urgh, I HATE getting reviews from whiny people, condemning me for killing a character. Iíve even been accused of using it as a plot device. People die. A lot. And when you give people magic sticks when all they have to do is flick their wrist, mumble a short incantation, and point/shoot, it will happen even more per capita. There are some horrible ways that JKR has killed off characters, and in perspective, fan fic authors mostly donít so far as to see a black dog and kick off. Or fall through a seemingly harmless flapping curtain and just disappear. Or bleed to death from a curse like Sectumsempra.

    Unhappy/wide open endings: I remember laughing when I found this on the meme. Like, out loud, real life belly laugh. And then I thought about it. People really do like fluff. Even though the Potterverse is full of deep meaning, bad endings, and general suffering, somehow, the series ending with an ďall was wellĒ sugar coated a lot of things for a lot of people. In fan fiction, we donít always have that. A pairing could be living the dream and then end the story apart and miserable. Or the entire story could be one heap of misery. Honestly, though, this is probably a truer representation of reality than the way HP ended. Not everyoneís ending is a happy one, so in a way, I appreciate endings that are realistic rather than idealistic more.

    Infidelity: In reading my friendsí responses to this question, I was genuinely surprised, even a bit shocked, at how many of them were seriously uncomfortable with infidelity. Personally, it doesnít bother me, but I never thought about how much other people would be bothered by it. But it will always have a place in the Potterverse, merely because itís just such a prevalent part of romantic relationships, both past and present.

    Selfharming/Attempted suicide: Iím on the fence about this. Personally, I canít say I have an issue with it, but there are people out there who have experienced such things first hand who might take exception to someone writing it who doesnít understand the nature of such issues and Ďgetting it wrongí. Controversial issues are fine in fiction, and they add a lot of flavour, but in the case of things like this, Iím almost of a mind to say that, for the sake of people who do know what such things are really like, that people who donít know what theyíre talking about should probably abstain from writing it without doing intense research.

    Addictions/Disorders: Iím fine with it. Just donít be a jerk about it. As with non-con and self-injury, many, many people out there have fallen victim to these. Itís one of those things that, if one has no first-hand experience or a crapload of good research, itís probably a bit on the no-no side to include it in a fic. There is, of course, a place for it in the universe and the culture of Potterfic, but itís not for every author and certainly not for every reader.

    Torture/Violence: It would be disingenuous of the Potter faithful to condemn such a thing, considering the series was actually quite violent. Yes, a lot of people donít like it, but it does beg the question that, if it bothers one so much, then how on earth did said person ever have it in them to finish the books? Just sayiníÖ

    Non-canon: I will never cease to be amazed by how many people get truly angry at non-canon fiction. What is fan fiction for than to explore the unknown and the possibilities of a different outcome? There are only so many ways one can spin a certain set of events before the idea of the unexplored starts to strengthen in appeal. Iím a reformed canon-shipper, and itís because certain things lose their interest when there arenít many other avenues a particular ship or idea can take and escape staleness.

    The short of it is that non-canon will always remain a part of any fandom because it gives everyone a chance to ask the big question of Ďwhat ifí. And I say cheers!

    Rarepairs: I thrive on rarepairs, and I get satisfaction like no other when someone says to me that they hadnít thought about a certain pairing at all, but Iíve made them a believer. Sure, some of them may be the furthest thing that JKR had in mind, but I believe itís part of the reason why she encourages fan fiction. Her imagination made her a gazillionaire and one of the most heralded authors of all time; rarepairs are just a minor part of that equation.

    Student/Teacher: Yay, another hot button! I say YES to student/teacher, as well. Sure, Snape/Hermione may gross me the hell out, but thatís more character preference than anything. I think the only objection I have to the concept is that the teachers we know from the books are quite, um, old. I donít cherish the thought of old people having sex, especially with teenagers. It justÖ lol. Iíd rather not. But Iíve run into fics with OCs, and they were rather interesting, such as Spireís Twilit Woods.

    Polyjuice Potion sex: YES! Of course, Iíd be a hypocrite if I said no, considering Jenís 25k Christmas gift. I wouldnít go so far as to say Iíd seek it out, but if it were written well and in an interesting manner, I would enjoy a fic like this. Itís not for everyone, but I wouldnít condemn it outright.

    Religion: While Iím not religious at all, I do find the idea of, say, a Muggle-born who IS religious assimilating their beliefs into the magical world. One would think that a lot of assumptions about things would be turned upside down by the knowledge that magic is real. Exploring these would be fascinating, so religion not only would have a place by default, it would remain a very potent source of interest and a bit of good old fashioned controversy.

    Teen Pregnancy: This isnít a controversy so much as a fact of life. As long as there are collections of teenagers in enclosed spaces, there will be teen pregnancy. The interesting part is how the author handles it or even how they theorise things like contraception.

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.

    I think most of my fics have some sort of hot button issue in them. Iíll just make a list and briefly highlight whatís Ďcontroversialí about them.

    The Vindication of James Potter ó Violence, Torture, Non-Con, Murder, Alcoholism, Divorce, InfidelityÖ probably more.
    A Promise to Keep ó Infidelity, Spousal Neglect
    Diary of a Black Widow Woman ó Violence, Spousal Murder
    Unbreakable ó Abuse, Disability
    All the Time in the World ó Killing beloved character, Broken familial relationships
    In the Ashes ó Relationship issues, Borderline mental disorders, Ex drama
    Collateral Damage ó Polyjuice potion sex, Gender crossing, Overall crudeness
    Seeds of Indifference ó Implied Abuse, Alcoholism, Violence
    Heat of the Moment ó Infidelity, Smut, Love Potion
    Counting the Ways ó Teen Pregnancy, Smoking, Questionable Parentage
    Dark Requiem ó Borderline Mental Disorders, Obsession, Violence, Murder, Delusion
    What They Deserve ó Torture
    Wild Card ó Generation Crossing
    Azure in the Snow ó Drug Use, Solicitation

    There are a few more, but theyíre mostly the same recurring themes, such as character death, strong profanity, or whatever. These are the hotter issues.

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?

    I donít particularly care if anyone is offended by my work outside of one thing, and that is if Iíve handled something poorly. If, say, Iíd written a drug use fic and someone who has been in that position read it and found it insulting and off-base, then I care and will heavily consider changes, but other than thatÖ if you donít like it, donít read it. My work isnít for everyone, and itís not my fault if someone ignores the warnings and reads something that makes them uncomfortable.

    Anywho, I think this discussion is long enough. Feel free to skim, and I really wish there was such thing as an LJ cut on the boards, hehe.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws

    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.
    I'm no longer active, but my inbox is always open. I'd love to hear from you!

  5. #5
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
    Lockhart Removed My Bones!
    welshdevondragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    London/ Newcastle
    This is a good topic.

    Do you think that these things have a place in the Potterverse?

    Yes. Just because JK doesnít mention them/ only mentions them slightly doesnít mean that we canít write about them. I find it very annoying when people say that, just like when people say you should only write in third person limited because thatís the way JK wrote. Sheís given us a world that is basically ours- which I think is part of the reason the books are so popular- she goes to trouble to mention actual locations like Charing Cross/ Kingís Cross- except for the existence of magic but she makes it possible that this world can exist without us knowing. Until HBP at which point sheís already got us.

    So I donít see why we should not write about things which exist in our world and which therefore would exist in the Potterverse. The existence of magic does not make those things go away.

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.

    Yes. A few...One of the first fanfiction stories I published which I havenít subsequently deleted was a student/ teacher Ďromanceí which, looking over it, was more than a little influenced by the (brilliant) film ďFish TankĒ. There was certainly not a happy ending, and I wrote it partly because I was annoyed there didnít seem to be any student/ teacher stories which didnít have a happy ending. Yes, occasionally in RL a student/ teacher relationship can actually have a stable relationship (a friend went out with a teacher for the last year of secondary school- it got him sacked when the school found out, but they were together for two more years) but itís very rare. Itís a horrible abuse of position on the teacherís part to even get into something like that.

    In a few chapters of another story there was discussion of abortion but I warned people of this in the story notes, saying that it assumes that abortion is a legitimate option and the choice is whether to have it or not, as opposed to whether itís right or wrong.

    Substance abuse is another topic which features rather heavily in both the chaptered fics currently on archives. In one the MCís best friend has just died of a drug overdose, and in the other one of the MCís is a drug dealer. Which was an interesting difference. Most people seem to think Iíve handled it well, or rather, no oneís said Iíve handled it badly.

    I also talk, a bit, about religion. Itís a subject Iím slightly obsessed with, and it comes up in a one-shot Iíve just written but hasnít been beta-ed yet, when an atheist falls in love with a theist, but they are both, to all extent and purposes, Muggles.

    Iíve also got one chapter where thereís an attempted suicide. I had a lot of betas look at it, and they thought Iíd handled it well, but only a few people have read it. That story is due for a summer revamp, and that scene will probably go into an OF instead.

    There are others, including non-consensual sex and torture, but I think Iíve rambled on enough.

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?

    The one time people have been offended was the student/ teacher story which some thought I was trying to make Ďhotí, when my intention was the opposite. I just explained that in an authorís response. Also someone thought it was OOC for the canon character I used, which I disagreed with.

    I donít ďworryĒ about their reactions as such. One reviewer recently commended me on how well Iíd handled sensitive topics and that made me really happy, as that is the only thing that really matters, like Jess said.

    Jess, I found your list very funny. Since I agree with you for most of it Iíll just post the ones where my opinion differs or I have an example/ feel very strongly about.

    Crossdressing/Genderbender: It exists in RL, why not in Potterverse? I really enjoyed having Draco see a transvestite for the first time on the London Underground though, so for the purposes of that story it wasnít as prevalent in Potterverse as in RL.

    Dub-con: I really donít see how this exists. No matter how high/ drunk someone is you can tell whether they want it or not and pretending otherwise is disingenuous. I feel pretty strongly about this one.

    Incest: I love Greek Tragedy, which is full of this, but characters suffer because of it and in real life thatís what tends to happen. I did once read a really good story about Bellatrix and Draco, which was told from Narcissaís POV and about how scared and helpless she felt because of it. I think itís something thatís so easy to handle badly that I know why itís banned on MNFF, but that story was really well written.

    Selfharming/Attempted suicide: Iíve written about an attempted suicide, though I think I had four betas look at it just to make sure it didnít come off as badly handled. The warnings mean that if people are uncomfortable reading it then they donít have to but handled well itís an important part of life, and everyone is aware of it even if they have no experience with it.

    Student/Teacher: Ah, no. Well, if theyíve left school itís fine, because then the teacher/ student relationship no longer exists even if itís hard getting their head round. But whilst at school- not unless itís showing the consequences, like I said above- though there are exceptions.

    Polyjuice Potion sex: Umm, Iíve never come across this. If each person knows who the other ďreallyĒ is then fine, but if say one character pretends to be another to sleep with his wife (like in Arthurian myth) then thatís not right, but if the story obviously knows this then I think that would be okay.

    I wrote that and then realised thatís basically what ďCollateral DamageĒ was. So I have come across it, and I really enjoyed that story.

    Yep. Definitely rambled enough. Wish I could think of some intelligent questions to ask.
    Banner by Minna.

  6. #6
    Do you think that these things have a place in the Potterverse?

    Well, yes. I mean, even JKR deals with some pretty mature themes -- I think Snape killing Dumbledore would be euthanasia, or mercy killing or assisted suicide, because Dumbledore asked Snape to kill him since he was dying anyway -- and then there's stuff like Remus about to leave Tonks with their baby, which I don't think a nine-year-old would understand, and since about GOF, there were definitely bits in it that were downright scary, even for me.

    Regarding more R-rated stuff, like abuse or student/teacher, I think that yes, they do have a place in Potterverse. JKR's world, while being fantastical (I think that's what you call it) is realistic in terms of human behaviour and family life etc., and therefore it's only inevitable that controversial themes would come up.

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.

    Recently, I've started posting on HPFF, and the first story I posted on there, I was told that Hermione having a miscarriage was a sensitive issue and I needed a warning for that. Now, I'm not trying to be insensitive or anything, but I think it was a bit overboard. I mean, it's not that much of a sensitive issue that it would warrant a warning, would it?

    Also, in my WIP, Checkmate, the MC is about to attempt suicide, and she's been suicidal all her life, so that was a sensitive issue, admittedly. Then there's kidnapping, murder, general crime, violence, and...ooh, yeah, strong language. This one got me into a bit of an argument with a reviewer, because she said that in the 70s, they didn't use the f-word much. And I found out that the f-word has actually been around for a few hundred years, which proved that theory wrong, and even if it hadn't, I have relatives/friends who were teens in the 70s and none of them swear any less than we do.

    Oh, as well as that, I have a...erm...mercy killing in an unpublished chapter of Checkmate. But I've asked my betas and they said I handled it well, so that's all right.

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?

    I worry a lot about my readers' reactions. Because at the end of the day, I'm writing for them, so it matters to me. That's why I really appreciate it when I get reviews -- at least I know I'm doing something right. And if the review has crit, I do pay attention to that too of course.

    New questions:

    Do your personal beliefs ever get in the way of writing a controversial theme?

    Often I find it does. Being a Muslim, we're not allowed to drink alcohol, so sometimes I find it difficult to write someone -- a good character, that is -- getting tipsy. Not because I put down anyone who drinks (I'm not) but for some reason, it gets in the way.

    More recently, though, I've been writing a slash fic. (This one's got nothing to do with religion, though.) Since I'm straight, it felt weird writing two people of the same sex snogging. I'm fine with reading it, but writing it was just plain strange.

    At the same time, though, I find it easy to write about murder or kidnap or corruption because I make it clear to the reader that I think that that controversial issue is wrong. Whereas if I write about someone being drunk, and that someone is an MC and a good guy/girl, then it makes it seem like I find it acceptable to be drunk, or that my standards about alcohol are the same as the MC, when it isn't. Oh, I don't know. This is more difficult than I thought it would be.

    Do you ever feel the need to write a controversial theme simply to get out of your comfort zone?

    All the time. So now, the femmeslash fic is so far out of my comfort zone I'm going to have to get at least three betas for it, and look over it like a million times myself. When I wrote the mercy killing scene -- and Alex knows this, as my beta -- I had to do a lot of editing and add a whole new scene to make things seem more plausible.

    But I thought it was important not to just write fluff. I mean, none of my stories are complete fluff, but there isn't as much plot in my oneshots that are posted now than in Checkmate, which is far darker and has an extremely convoluted plot.

    I'm not going to go through the themes like Jess and Alex did, because for most of them, I do agree. But there was just one I had to comment on -- incest. I recently read a story where Albus and Rose were going out, and I think I was the only one out of several reviewers who wasn't grossed out by the idea of cousins going out. Personally, I think it's weird, but as my parents are first cousins, I can't really complain, and there's no way I can call it incest. To me, incest is parent/child or sibling/sibling or aunt/nephew or uncle/niece. That's pretty much it. Plus, even Harry hinted at "cousincest" with Tonks and Sirius, and they were first cousins once removed, I believe, so I can't say anything about that, and neither can anyone else, frankly. And as someone else said, the Black family tree crosses so many times -- no one can fault JKR's very own work.

    Oh, yeah, I know I said I'd only comment on one, but I've got to say something else. Rape glorification. There's actually a story on MNFF about Draco raping Hermione and then Hermione somehow falls in love with him or something. I can't for the life of me figure out why on earth anyone would fall in love with their rapist. Falling in love with your kidnapper's kind of romantic (hex me if you want :P) but rapist?? Please. Be real here. The vast majority of people are not like Rihanna (S&M, anyone?) so this shouldn't really be acceptable in Potterverse.

    What I find extremely disturbing about the story -- I can't for the life of me remember the name of the fic -- was that the author wrote it when she was 14/15, and it was rated Professors. That's just...I don't even know. As well as that, I can remember that the story, despite only having 13 chapters, had a hell of a lot of reviews and reads. So that's interesting -- would the inclusion of a controversial theme guarantee more reviews?

    OK, that's enough rambling. Bye bye!

  7. #7
    YAY I'm so excited to do the kink meme. >.> I didn't do it on LJ because I told myself no memes while I was in India and I was sad when it went around and I didn't get to do it... But now I have a legit reason to! mwahaha. (so I edited some of them out...)

    M-Preg: I think this is about the most ridiculous thing ever, but I don't really have a problem with it. I probably won't ever read one, but whatever floats your boat...

    Sex Kinks (Angry/Hate, Drunk, Slave, BDSM, S/M, 3+ participants): I definitely think that this belongs in the fandom. It exists in real life, so if authors want to explore it in fanfiction, than they should.

    Age difference: It's funny, this is actually something I use to have a problem with. Reading FF about it changed my perspective. As long as both participants are of age and willing and don't have like forty years between them. Again, as Jess said, it exists in RL, so it should in the fandom as well.

    Underage (chan): I'm actually reading a book now--Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie--in which two fourteen-year-olds have sex. I think this might squick some people out, but everyone matures sexually at different ages, so I think it's impossible to label one age as The Age It's Okay To Have Sex At. For me, as long it's not an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old, it's fine.

    Crossdressing/Genderbender: I have no problem with this. I haven't read any fanfic that address this in particular, but it might be interesting to read about.

    Dub-con: I think there are some times when this could exist. Hannah (h_vic)'s Katie/Oliver LoveNote sort of addressed this. Maybe dub-con doesn't exist at the particular moment, but I can understand not remembering if consent was given.

    Non-con: I think this can be written really poignantly.

    Incest: Incest does squick me out quite a bit. Even cousin-cest. I just imagine an author making me and my sister or me and my cousins doing stuff and just NO. But. I will read it. I may not like it, but if it's well written, I can appreciate it.

    Death: I don't really understand how this is a controversial topic. People die--it's a part of life and it's a huge part of Harry Potter. I think death is a really beautiful thing to write and I love writing grief. Also, I agree with Jess. Fanfiction authors tend to kill of characters in much nicer ways than JKR did.

    Unhappy/wide open endings: Well, looking through the SSSIII sign-up thread, I don't think this is a problem with us SPEWers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    Even though the Potterverse is full of deep meaning, bad endings, and general suffering, somehow, the series ending with an ďall was wellĒ sugar coated a lot of things for a lot of people.
    I actually had this really intense discussion with some of my friends about the ending of Harry Potter once. Both of them were extremely disappointed with the ending because it was so fluffy-Harry-and-Ginny-and-Ron-and-Hermione-get-married-have-kids-life-is-good. One of the argued strongly for an epilogue that had Harry crouched in the corner of a padded room rocking back and forth and muttering strange words like "Voldemort" and "Horcruxes".

    While I like that Harry does finally have some real happiness in the end and that the Potterverse is real, I think that ending would have completely blown my mind.

    Infidelity: I don't like infidelity on principle. It goes against my morals. But that doesn't mean I won't read it. It does happen in real life and I think the motives behind it are certainly worth thinking about it.

    Selfharming/Attempted suicide: It has to be well-written, but other than that this doesn't bother me at all. I understand that this might be difficult to read for someone who has been there, but I think if the author has taken his/her time with it, than it can be really moving.

    Addictions/Disorders: I'm fine with this and I think it has a huge place in the Potterverse. JKR doesn't show anything of the time immediately after the war. I doubt very many characters could have escaped without at least a little bit of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and I think addictions are also a very believable result.

    Torture/Violence: Perhaps I've watched to much Alias, but torture doesn't bother me at all. >.> Both of these are so present in my HP that they have to be part of the fandom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    I will never cease to be amazed by how many people get truly angry at non-canon fiction.
    AGREED! For me, canon is more like guidelines. I don't really worry how my stories fit into canon, if people think they could've "actually happened". As long as it's a believable interaction between the characters, than it's a go for me.

    Rarepairs: They're just so fun, how can anyone not like them? This is like non-canon for me. I may not believe that it actually happened in JKR's head, but I think it's fun to write.

    Student/Teacher: The main thing that bothers me about this in HP is that, like Jess said, all of the teachers at Hogwarts seem to be really old and old people and teenagers is just...gross. This doesn't particularly bother me, though.

    Polyjuice Potion sex: Considering how much I liked Collateral Damage...YES. I mean, I suppose there are situations in which this would bother me, but they would probably bother me regardless of if PJP was used or not.

    Religion: I'm not religious at all, either, but I find religion to be extremely fascinating. I think putting a religious Muggle-born in Hogwarts or Beaxubatons or wherever would be very thought-provoking. Oooh, plot bunnies!

    Teen Pregnancy: I have a problem with this if teenage pregnancy is glorified. There were/are a lot of pregnant girls at my school and I saw firsthand how life-wrecking it can be. So as long as it's handled as a real issue, than I have no problem with it.

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.

    I've written Substance Abuse, Character Death, Violence, Sexual Situations, Slash, Abuse, Self Injury...

    Possibly my two most controversial fics are Drowning in Darkness and Blood, Tears, and a Diamond. DiD is about abuse and it gets very, very bad. BTD has a self injury warning, but it's not actually self injury. I added the warning because my beta suggested I did. She doesn't cut herself on purpose, but she enjoys it. Empty Words deals with infidelity. As the Dawn Breaks has character death, drinking, drunk sex, and lots of swearing. [i]Hold Out Your Hand[i] is James/Sirius and it's a little detailed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soraya
    Since I'm straight, it felt weird writing two people of the same sex snogging.
    I had a similar reaction when writing HOYH. For me, though, it wasn't really the fact that they were of the same sex, but that they were both guys. Like, I don't really know how their bodies would react and I started thinking about mechanics... >.>

    I also have two fics up A Cataclysmic Reaction and Heartbeats that have very heavy warnings including suicide and mental disorders, respectively, but I haven't actually written either of those things yet. I'm just planning to.

    My first NaNo delt with rape in the Potterverse. Most of the story sucked, so it hasn't been posted, but I was really proud of how I handled the actual rape scene.

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?

    um, no. I add warnings to my stories for a reason. If someone can't handle it, than they shouldn't be reading it. I've never run in to anyone how's been offended by something I've written. At least, they've never mentioned it to me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Soraya
    So that's interesting -- would the inclusion of a controversial theme guarantee more reviews?
    My personal experience is no. The more controversial a fic is, the less reads and reviews it tends to have.

    I think this post is long enough (and I'm running out of time) so I might answer the other TQs later.


  8. #8
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
    Lockhart Removed My Bones!
    welshdevondragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    London/ Newcastle
    Interesting questions Soraya...

    Do your personal beliefs ever get in the way of writing a controversial theme?

    No, actually. Which is odd, because they probably should. Like Viv being a drug dealer- although I know why she does it, and that others do it for reasons which are possibly better than hers, it is a foul job. But I didn't feel weird writing about it, except having to have one character point out that it was wrong. Once I'd done that I was fine.

    Actually there is an exception. I have one character whose a Death Eater and have to write about him enjoying being a Death Eater. I didn't feel comfortable with that, though I feel fine writing Bellatrix Lestrange.

    Do you ever feel the need to write a controversial theme simply to get out of your comfort zone?

    Umm...I don't think so. Except that in writing about a theme you understand it more and then once you've understood it then you can write a better version of it. Not consciously, but probably sub-consciously as writing about things which are "easy" gets dull, for me anyway. I mean I occasionally write a scene for fun, mainly in my OF, just because I like the idea of it but know it has no presence/ doesn't add anything so cannot go into the actual thing.

    And I agree with Mere. As weird as it may seem to some people (like me) people generally prefer fluff, rather than controversial topics. By far my least read stories are the professor rated ones (though I have to say they're not as good as my other ones). This may be because most people on MNFF are teenagers and too young but I read professor fics when I first joined, if the summary intrigued me.

    EDIT: I meant to say- I'm one of those people who hated the epilogue. I thought the book ended perfectly and then saw the "nineteen years later", read it and groaned. I wouldn't have wanted an unhappy ending, but before the epilogue you know they are all going to get married, have children and be basically happy people. We lesser mortals don't need that shoved down our throats. I have to add that I finished it whilst I was ill and waiting for a ferry so they weren't the best circumstances, but I think I would have thought the same nevertheless.
    Banner by Minna.

  9. #9
    Hi Soraya!

    I reviewed Regret and enjoyed your use of the villanelle form. Is there a type of poetry you enjoy writing more than any other?

    ETA: A villanelle you might enjoy.

    Mad Girl’s Love Song

    Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

    I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead,
    I lift my lids and all is born again.
    (I think I made you up inside my head)

    The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
    And arbitrary darkness gallops in.
    I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

    I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
    And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
    (I think I made you up inside my head).

    God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
    Exit seraphim and enter Satan’s men:
    I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

    I fancied you’d return the way you said.
    But I grow old and I forget your name.
    (I think I made you up inside my head).

    I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
    At least when spring comes they roar back again.
    I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
    (I think I made you up inside my head).

  10. #10
    Simply Being
    Do you think that these things have a place in the Potterverse?
    Absolutely. If it exists in real life, why not the Potterverse? If you skate around the tough issues, you really arenít writing about life at all. Iím not hating on fluff fics (Iíve actually written one myself) but controversial issues should definitely be allowed. Of course, the appropriate ratings and warnings should always be used. Otherwise, if you personally are offended by an issue simply donít read it. Conflict is what drives our lives and our stories, and much of that conflict revolves around these kinds of ďcontroversialĒ issues. Basically, I say that people should be allowed to write what they want as long as it doesnít go too far beyond common human decency (i.e. Jessís example of a girl falling in love with her rapist). Iím actually very glad that the seventh book touched on more adult issues. It not only adds realism and drama, but I think it gives the writing more depth.

    Do you write about controversial issues in your fanfic? Give us examples.
    When I first looked at this question, I almost thought ďnoĒ. I guess maybe Iím desensitized, but I didnít even realize that some of the things that I write about are actually considered controversial.

    Leaves: Mental Disorders, Self-Injury, Suicide, Character Death
    To Separate Light From Darkness: Religion
    Whatever Happened to Saturday Night: Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations, Substance Abuse

    Do you worry about the reader's reaction to your fics? How do you deal with people who are offended by what you have written?
    No. I donít think the fics that Iíve written are the kind that would really offend anybody. And Iíve never had a bad reaction to any of them from a reader. I have a fic called ďTo Separate Light From DarknessĒ that revolves around God/religion in the Potterverse, and I was very careful in placing warnings at the beginning of the fic. It was also my goal to remain objective and Iím definitely not trying to offend anyone.

    Do your personal beliefs ever get in the way of writing a controversial theme?
    As I said above, it hasnít before. Maybe my personal beliefs will seep into future writing, but so far I havenít encountered it.

    Do you ever feel the need to write a controversial theme simply to get out of your comfort zone?
    Actually, Iím pretty sure that controversial themes are part of my comfort zone! Iíve never shied away from those kinds of issues. Either they donít make me uncomfortable or if they do, I simply donít read them. For example, to me fics with self-injury and mental disorders donít make me uncomfortable so I donít have issues reading any of them. On the flipside, teacher/student relationships do generally make me uncomfortable so I simply donít read them/write them.

    New questionsÖ

    When writing about a controversial issue, do you believe that the author has a responsibility to try to remain objective?
    Basically, Iím asking if you think that even though it is alright for writing to address these issues, is it OK to take a definitive stance. For example, should writers express homophobic/pro-choice/anti-religion sentiments, etc? Personally, I think some opinion should be acceptable but there is a fine line between starting a discussion and simply being offensive.

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