Everybody has a dirty little secret. Mine is a dirty little we-all-know-about-it-but-pretend-otherwise secret. That is to say, I have an unholy addiction to fan-fiction. I absolutely love reading what people imagine could have happened in someone else's sandbox. (A side effect of spending my teen years playing MUSHes, but that's a different post.)
Without a doubt, I have read some truly atrocious things over the years. Many who write fan-fiction are still in high school and are in the process of developing thier writing chops. I have found some truly amazing and enjoyable stories as well. Not necessarily the best crafted from a critical standpoint, but truly enjoyable none-the-less. And, even more rarely, I have come across tales which are well-crafted, well-written, and extremely enjoyable.
As such, tonight I'm going to share with you some of my favorites from a fandom that is near and dear to my heart: Harry Potter. These are my top five favorite stories in the Harry Potter Fandom--as determined by the number of times I have reread them.
5. To the Rescue by DrT
One of the big things I love about this story is the original character of Tabitha Spellman created by the author, as well as the idea that there are other magical cultures out there, including one in North America. Set during Harry and company's sixth year, this story was written before Half-Blood Prince came out.
4. Dumbledore's Army by DrT
"Remember Cedric Diggory!"
"And all the innoncents slaughtered!"
Also set during Harry and company's sixth year, this one is a far more martial take on what could have happened in canon, had things gone differently. DrT has written many, many pieces of fanfiction, all of which are as lengthy as the two mentioned here. However, these are the two that I absoluely love reading. Written before HBP came out.
3. The Psychic Serpent Series by Barb
Probably the best known of any of the fanfiction series out there in the HP fandom, Barb started writing her vision of the Harry Potter universe in the long summer between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, and as such is AU after GoF. Of all of the stories, this is one the one that comes to mind when I think of fanfiction that is "well-crafted, well-written, and extremely enjoyable." She did her research to make it as authentically British as possible in language and description while still being an American. Plus, the character of Buttercup in the second book, Harry Potter and the Time of Good Intentions, always makes me think of Sherri.
2. Draco Malfoy the Amazing Bouncing ... Rat? by Maya
This one is pure crack, and I love it oh so much! This is for all of those people out there who have a soft spot in their hearts for Malfoy, think the Gryffs are waaaaaay too innocent at times, and are in love with coffee. "There's too much blood in my caffiene system!" Written between OotP and HBP.
And my absolute favorite Harry Potter fanfiction of all time (and the one that probably made me resent Rowling's Canon so much)...
1. The Refiner's Fire by Abraxan
If you can make it past the first five pages, you'll absolutely fall in love with this story. To me it's a realistic look at the way everything could have fallen out from a Wizarding War point of view, rather than the disjointed world that Rowling presents to us. Also, it has an absolutely kick-ass version of Ginny in it, and realistically handles Harry's reaction to Sirius's demise in OotP. Written before HBP came out.
So there you have it--proof that I am a geek who needs to get out more. I hope that at least one person out there will read one of these, even if they never admit it to anyone else. I feel it proof that there is enjoyable fan-fiction out there. You just have to find it.
Until next time, my friends!
"A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote."
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960