anime - amatsuki - smile - summer

Going nowhere...

I think I'm in a bit of a fandom funk, after the craziness of last month. Summer means no classes, so even with an internship I do feel a bit...listless. Feel free to skip this post since I really don't know where I'm going with it. Also, this is pretty much off the top of my head and probably includes generalizations - which you are welcome to headdesk over.

I was going through the favorites on the hd_readers survey and found myself going "!!" over the top 5 favorites lists. Ultimately, I had kinda thought there would have been more classics on the lists. But I guess there's a sort of fandom divide now for Before HBP and After - there are those peeps who don't seem to have really connected with the older fics since their interest in H/D was probably sparked by the events in book 6.

And in some cases you could tell when a person got into a fandom based on their faves- the classics? Probably an old timer. New and not quite established authors? Perhaps the person is newer to fandom? And quite often when I scrolled up and checked their dates, they did match.

My Classic!fave was A Thousand Beautiful Things, but for others it was more likely to be Bond or Starts With A Spin or Secrets or in some few cases...The Sacrifices Arc *shudder*

I admit, I wasn't particularly in *love* with the earliest classics. Irresistable Poison was one of the few that worked, as did the Lodger and Transfigurations. Underwater light? Was a hit and miss. Same with Love Under Will. Till today I can't read Beautiful World and I've forgotten Windfallen. So I guess, just like newer shippers I was shaped by the time/period I really got into H/D.

About a year ago, I recall silentauror's and jennaverre's fics appearing a lot on faves lists. Now? Hmm. Fandom seems to be constantly changing. I have a bad memory when it comes to these things but I remember when emmagrant01 was huge and beren_writes too. And now today, we're far more likely to see mentions of libby_drew, calanthe_fics, frayach, lomonaaeren and jordangrant instead.

And then there are peeps like rurounihime, furiosity et all who feel like they've always been there. Perhaps peeps who were active in fandom pre-2004 will disagree with me and point to bookshop and rhyssen and sarahtales instead - a lot of the oldies have moved on but in some cases - like Maya - they're still pretty active.

Though even that is coming to an end. By fall, Maya will be done with fanfic writing. It feels a bit weird really because I can't seem to think of any of the really old big authors from her time that still write H/D. I've probably just forgotten some peeps though. When did amanuensis1 start writing H/D?

I don't know why but it feels like the end of an era - the books are over, the last big bang is almost here, the first worldcup ended and who knows what'll happen in future? Still, I know I'm still very much the same and just as in love with my OTP as I was in past years. I don't think that's going to change for a long time. So here's to more H/D to squee over and new opportunities to celebrate the OTP love.
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I can't comment for anyone else, but ever since I've joined fandom I've done much more writing and socialising than reading. I haven't been around 3 years all told, so I came way after the fics referred to as classics by most had been written. I found myself suffering a common malaise: the classics had been so built up and floridly recced that by the time I read a couple I was heartily disappointed. They simply couldn't live up to the expectation bred in me by the reviews and squee. So I stopped reading them. I fought my way through Underwater Light and decided 'never again'. I would not have my reading preferences dictated by fandom opinion. So I haven't read most of the fics you name.

I dip in to the odd thing these days, but I barely read fic at all. I find myself going 'blah' far too much, and I've become a terribly cynical reader. I use my fandom time for friendships much more than anything else.

It's interesting what you say about which authors names are on the biol. Both SA and Jennavere have been almost completely absent for a year or more, so people have moved on. You can't blame them. We live in a world that provides instant gratification, and as soon as someone drops out of the scene they'[re replaced by someone else.
Yeah, I guess it really depend on what brought us into fandom - I've never been a writer and for that reason it has always been the fanfiction that had me coming back.

I hate it when fandom hype over something gets so insanely big that either a) people shy away from it or b) people go in with certain expectations from the hype and it prevents from from enjoying it. That actually happened with the Coffee Prince drama last year - the back lash from all the hype had people going, "it wasn't THAT great." and ok, it wasn't but it still didn't stop it from being a lovely korean drama in any case.

And the Classics were written in a time when the fandom was smaller and cliches weren't quite cliches yet. So peeps coming in later have a lot more stuff to compare it to and the fandom itself is quite different.

I've found several authors who don't seem to read fics. And if they weren't authors I would think they were shippers who were on the cusp of leaving the fandom/ship - but that's not the case. Y'all just have a different way of approaching fandom that is no less valid than anyone elses.

That's the thing - looking at those lists, there were some authors who haven't churned out much recently but still get mentioned. Some fics seem to have struck a fandom nerve or just have a lot of...staying power? Don't know if there's a way to describe it...
ROFL. I haven't written much in the last year, and like you say I'm on those lists a lot. Am I one of the WTF?! moments for you? No - don't answer that. I don't want to know.

:D
I don't think it's really the end of an "era" - fandom is changing constantly, and IMO that's a good thing because it's what keeps it alive. I would find it rather sad if people who came later would just limit themselves to the "old" stuff instead of giving a new spin to things. I love many of the old classics, but I don't want them to become them the once-and-for-all measure in my fandom.

Also, fandom has become much bigger than it was in, say, 2004 or so, which means it's much more unlikely for a fic to reach such a "classic" status than those first few, simply because of the sheer number of fics produced these days and the fact that reader circles have become much more fractured. There were a few writers pretty much every H/D shipper knew a few years ago, simply because there weren't that many of them; nowadays a person can be an almost-BNF in some circles while being mostly unknown in others. I don't think that's a bad thing either; variety is the spice of life ;)
Normally I do divide fandom up into periods in my head, usually dependent on when I got active (before/after 2004/2005) and the books (post-OotP, post HBP etc.) So a year after DH and with the last big bang almost here, it feels like we're getting to a transition point again - probably isn't true since there's no new canon to change the face of fandom like in the past but *shrugs*

Sometime during books 5 and 6, everybody and their BFF seemed to be writing their own version of H/D. In some ways it was easier for a fic to get famous if it was written well, since a lot more peeps would talk about it but few fics got the fame of Classics, despite being amazing due to the size of fandom. So I guess the ship itself is so big now that it's gotten more obviously fractured into subgroups.
Fandom seems to be constantly changing.
Well, that's kind of what fandom does, though. It's inevitable that it'll happen; old faces leave, new faces show up... and some of the new faces resent the old ones for not having the grace to quit while they're ahead. XD

I mean, I loved H/D fandom circa late 2004-late 2005 best of all because that was when it was still shiny and exciting -- we still had new canon on the horizon, and a lot of the H/D avenues had not been explored yet. Post-HBP, there seemed to be an influx of newbs who were content to mine the hell out of the old cliches of H/D because those old cliches were what got the classics their status, way back when they were not cliches at all.

Post-HBP, there was a lot of excitement in H/D, but it amounted to very little because what HBP did, with the heavy subtext and the anvil-sized possibility of redemption for Draco, was lock the pairing on a permanent course, more or less, and while I squeed as much as the next fangirl over "rapidly becoming obsessed with Draco Malfoy", I knew then that was the beginning of the end. Because 90% of fanficcers, put simply, lack imagination (this is not a slight on ficcers specifically; 90% of all people lack imagination, and the percentage can be applied fairly evenly across any subgroup, even one that has pretensions of ~*~creativity~*~). And they're going to take the most predictable route because it's easy and hey, it gets the job done.

I haven't seen anything fresh in a H/D fic since DH came out. Sure, there are lots of inventive plotlines that frame the fics, and increasingly popular devices for telling stories differently (like that horrible trend of third-party/OC narration that's all the rage these days, blecch) but H/D is no longer edgy, it's more like Old Faithful. People don't really explore the character dynamic anymore, they focus on "getting them together" and "keeping them together", as I think all the wailing about happy endings during HDC clearly showed. Nobody really cares about Harry and Draco's myriad issues; the focus is on sex and romance, and yeah, that focus became greater post-HBP. But it's not sex and romance that makes H/D interesting -- sex/romance can be found in any fic, for any ship. And yet, you take any H/D fic and the biggest problem is "how do we get them to have sex and to keep having sex". It's boring.

And amanuensis1 wrote H/D long before Emma, me, or SA ever did. XP
prob contradicted myself somewhere...
and some of the new faces resent the old ones for not having the grace to quit while they're ahead. XD

Hahaha - I always feared the old ones would follow their friends into new fandoms XD

2004/2005 really was awesome - even the cliches were weirdly exciting, 'cause they were still sort of shiny. There were the possibilities and a lot of shippers were happy with a ship that a lot of fandom just didn't see happening. And then HBP came and while the...validation?...it seemed to provide for Draco and H/D makes it close to my heart, it also led to drastic changes. It think it also led to a lot of early fans moving on: bookshop, dorrie6...it seemed like the beginning of the end for them (n regards to active fanfic reading, squee etc.)

A lot of peeps didn't like GoF, but I remember the books after it as having some of the most variety. Voldie was back and anything was possible - so fanworks and approaches to H/D reflected that. OotP led to insane amount of angsting and I don't know, peeps did seem to wonder if in the next book JKR was going to make H/D even harder. But there was quite a few peeps who also knew they'd still ship H/D - I kinda associate those authors with the 10% XD

I was surprised by how similar wordcup fics were in that sense. There were few extreme AUs or diverse approaches to the pairing. I did adore the quality of writing but each fic tended to have a gimmick or a plot device which was used to set it apart from the rest. It's been a while since I read a shortish PWP that managed to develop H/D dynamics. The focus now seems to be on getting the two together in a way that seems plausible - and for most peeps, writing H/D where the characters are not OOC means, sticking to most canon elements. I do like these fics, but I miss the AUs, the reinvention fics, the short pieces that really made you go "whoa" I'm hoping the Big Bang bring some of that back.

Yeah, but I wasn't sure if she was from the time of Aja or sometime in between bookshop and emmagrant XD
Re: prob contradicted myself somewhere...
It's been a while since I read a shortish PWP that managed to develop H/D dynamics

This is exactly what I intended to do with my WC fic, "The Spell," but I'm not sure I hit the mark. But exploring H/D's dynamic through sex still fascinates me as a subject: when that sort of fic works, it can really pack a powerful punch.
Re: prob contradicted myself somewhere...
See, I couldn't view The Spell as a PWP because there were several scenes before and moments after that gave it more...layers?

There were certain PWPs in the past, where yes, the sex was incredibly hot and pretty much 90% of the fic - but the dynamics/interaction and connection between H/D made the sex almost secondary. I was all about the sex yet...not. And it hit me in ways that long, plotty H/D fics usually don't.
I've been in fandom 2 years (post HBP, pre DH), so I'm still a relative n00b. I haven't read many of the "classics," but Irresistible Poison still resonates with me, as does a lot of Aja's stuff. And Emma Grant's writing will always be classic to me. There have been other early fics that people have recommended that I couldn't get into. Perhaps these tropes have lost their freshness, as F suggests.

I am excited to see new authors on the scene, and I think a lot of their work is well worth reading. Pushdragon, Frayach, and Blame Brampton come to mind, as do many other names. Like Calanthe, I don't read a whole lot of fic due to time constraints, so if an author mainly writes long fics I probably haven't read them.
It's always incrediby interesting to see which older fics have managed to connect with people even if there are several years between the time it was written and the time it was read by the individual. IP is the one which seems to really click, as does Transfigurations more often than not.

As with all authors, ther are some that kick ass and some which really don't click. I do find it tiring when some newbies fall into cliche traps in such a way that I can't help thinking, you know what? This cliche has been done over a hundred times and those fics did it better. But there are also new authors who really come into their own style and bring a fresh perspective.
I think you have to remember that people could only choose 5 - which is very hard to narrow down to. My top 20 H/D would all be fairly close.

Of the 5 I choose, only 1 is post DH. I've only been reading H/D about 2 years, but have gone back and read a lot of the classics. For example, I liked ATBT and IP a lot and they'd probably be top 10-15. I emotionally connected much more with the stories/writers I chose - why? who knows - that's just it, me and my psyche.

Most of the other novel length (well some of them epic length) very popular fandom classics, I enjoyed, but they really could have been edited down 25-35%. They probably read much better when they were originally released serial style. People who read them at the time (chapter to chapter every few weeks etc.) probably got into the soap opera aspect of them. I don't think a lot of them are as compelling a read as well as complete novels.

I noticed that some people chose their absolute favorites - the fics that mattered the most to them - while others seemed to choose current faves which might be WIPs. Some people abstained from making a selection because choosing 5 is very limiting.

I admit for me 1 was AU and only one other was 'classic'. The other three were all written after book 7. I did expect there to be more mentions of fics like IP and non-Maya classics. And I'm not sure whether the lack of them is due to lack of exposure for newer readers or whether they aren't getting that emotional connection we did.

Most of the big popular fics in fandom could do with editing. Popular =/= good and that applies to classics too. Invisible to See by FayJay was one where I wish I'd been active when it was written. It would have definitely been an experience *_*
Yeah.
I also think there's an emotional attachment with following a serial style fic over a long time. You become emotionally invested - kinda like fictional transference (*makes up term*). So it's not surprising that people who are active now would choose more recent (last 2 years?) serials over serials form 3-5 years ago that if they read them, it was probably in just a few sittings. Some of them (like I mentioned IP & ATBT) do hold up, but some will or won't to varying degrees. I also think that's why longer one shots like A Mile in His Shoes (blatant Sansa fanrgl) will hold up better with new audiences - it doesn't matter if you read it when it was orginally posted or 2 years later.


I seem to come from the opposite direction wherein I can no longer read serials today (WIP status) until they're complete - and more often than not, the hype has gotten so insanely huge, that when I do get around to reading the serial fics, they pale in comparison to older works I read earlier.

people who are active now would choose more recent (last 2 years?) serials over serials form 3-5 years ago

Not necessarily perhaps...a long fic is a long fic and peeps know before hand whether a fic is complete or not so I see them as being just as likely to read old serial fics. However, the emotional attachment to following current serials is probably a major factor too soin that case new serials definitely pwn the old ones...
Yeah, I rarely read WIPs. Occasionally when I find something enjoyable and the author (with a track record of finishing) is activiely updating on a regular basis. It sort of becomes my Melrose Place.

people who are active now would choose more recent (last 2 years?) serials over serials form 3-5 years ago

Ooops - I meant choose as their top 5 fics of all time, not choose to read, and that the emotional investment of reading something over a long period of time/looking forward to updates vs. reading in a few sittings might explain some of folk's choices for all time favs.

I skimmed through those lists of H/D favorites, and you have no idea how psyched I was that someone mentioned ivyblossom's Cicatrix Cycle, which was the series that sucked me into H/D once and for all. She's been out of fandom for years, but it still makes me really sad that so many H/D people don't even know who she is anymore. :(

And I have to admit a lot of the fics and authors I saw on those lists I didn't even recognize. I suppose that puts me not just into the "old timer" category, but into the "old and stodgy" category as well. ;)
Y'know, looking at the Invisible to See comments in the original lj entries, you had made a comment and I was all "!!!" because I'd forgotten that you were in the fandom for so freakin' long - just never thought about it *headdesk*

I remember reading the first fic in the Cicatrix Cycle and it was Draco in fics like that one that made me fall in love with him.

Unfortunately, it also seems like one of those fics that newbies overlook and I'm just like bvjisdhdurfhas. Someone needs to post a list of underappreciated classics.

The sad bit is H/D became my OTP through the 2003/2004 fics, so those are the ones I can remember more readily. Ask me for pre-2003 and I'd need to look some fics up *embarassed*
Yeah, I started reading H/D slash just about six years ago now, and have been writing it since, oh, August or September of '02, I guess, so about a half-dozen or so of my fics would count as pre-2003, actually. ;) But, man, the fandom was so, so much smaller back then. There were just a few really big names in H/D that everyone knew, and everything seemed much less splintered than it is now--although I came into fandom when a lot of fic posting was still being conducted on various mailing lists, which I guess is splintering of a different sort.

Unfortunately, it also seems like one of those fics that newbies overlook and I'm just like bvjisdhdurfhas. Someone needs to post a list of underappreciated classics.

I've thought about doing something like that, or maybe making a game out of it, like "Guess the Pre-2004 Fic" or something, to see how many people have read fics I remember from my early days in fandom. The sad thing, though, is that even I don't read a lot of those fics anymore. Like, the Cicatrix Cycle will always hold a special place in my little fannish heart, but it's been years since I've read it, in part because I'm afraid it won't have the same impact for me that it did when I was still a starry-eyed newbie, and I don't want to taint that memory, you know? *sigh* But...hmmm. It really might be fun to revel in nostalgia for a bit and maybe expose some people to fics they might not otherwise have read. Thing is, I'm so old-school that I don't really have a whole lot of newish-to-fandom people reading my LJ, so it might very well be preaching to the choir. ;)

Also:

When did amanuensis1 start writing H/D?

Early 2003, I think. I still remember when her stuff on Restricted Section was the buzz of fandom. ;)
Reading this post makes me feel so old. My top five fics were classics, and I realized while skimming through the other comments that I had no idea what they were talking about since I haven't read a chaptered H/D fic in ages. I feel so out of touch with fandom these days. :( It'll be a good thing when they put together a comprehensive top five list, I'll make an effort to read some of the newer fics.