The chosen people at Jewcy gave me the assignment of a lifetime: Read some Harry Potter fan fiction and report back on your findings.
This week is a big week in fan fiction circles, or at least one circle, or chamber, or goblet, as the final installment of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series hits shelves on Saturday. A quick visit to HarryPotterFanFiction.com confirms this, what with the spoiler alerts, discussions and general Potter-mania afoot. Most interesting, however, is that last week the site announced its finalists for their annual "Dobby Awards," recognizing the best fan fiction produced on the site in various categories. Voting is being conducted presently. I haven't read much fan fiction over the years; saddled as I've been with really bad general fiction produced in the various workshops I teach, I figured reading stories about Kirk and Spock gang-banging a Romulan cum slut or Scooby and Scrappy taking it to a whole new level with "Scooby snacks" probably wouldn't make my life any more rich or nuanced. But it's summer, you see, and I've got some time. In the interest of science, I decided I'd give a few of the nominated stories a whirl, see if they captured me, or, at least, didn't repel me into the arms of a James Patterson novel.
It should be noted that though I haven't read the last three Harry Potter novels, I have seen all of the movies, so I at least have a general sense of the world. That said, I've decided to judge these stories (or parts of massive fucking 89,000 word fan fiction novels that make me wonder how these people have the time and gumption to write a novel based on characters they don't own when it's all I can do to get my ass in the chair for characters I do own and am passionate about and I've already been paid for) on simple creative merit; as in: If they were my student, when would I stop reading and instead begin crafting ways I might get them to drop my class? This usually becomes apparent to me when I begin counting mentions of people smiling, dialog tags using words other than "said" and references to characters' eyes.
You can read the rest here.