Yes, like many and many a teenage girl of the mid-2000s, I wrote Harry Potter fanfics. I even published some of them on Quizilla back in the day (and last I checked they were gone, thank God). I tried to get some posted on…what was it called…The Leaky Cauldron? It’s been so long… Anyway, they rejected my writing, telling me one of my stories (which started with James and Sirius performing stupid Fred-and-George style antics) as being “too violent.” I, obviously, did not agree with that assessment.
Most of my fanfics revolved around the Marauders in some way, shape, or form. They were the characters that caught my attention the most, since there was room to work with it. One of my stories, the one that went on the longest anyway, had a main character named Elizabeth “Ellie” Black, the daughter of Sirius Black. (This was a common theme in my writing.) Ellie was friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but of course darkness followed her just as much as it followed Harry because, with her father’s reputation, people didn’t look favorably upon her.
That’s not to say I didn’t focus on other characters too. I have one story I’m actually really proud of that focused on Oliver Wood and a girl he met at Quidditch Camp in America, a girl he loved and lost at the end of the summer. A girl who was just as obsessed with Quidditch as he was. It also delved into gender equality as Lorraine (“Rain” to her friends) fought against the Bro culture of Quidditch.
In some ways, I’m kind of embarrassed about my fanfics. Many of them were pretty terrible. (I even had one with Voldemort’s rebellious daughter in the lead role, with Draco as her best friend.) But I can’t deny that it was a huge stepping stone to helping my writing get where it is today. I learned so much by writing fanfics. I learned how to show the actions and emotions characters were feeling without going overboard. I learned how to show flaws that didn’t really turn out to be flaws after all. I learned how to see a scene in my head and turn a picture into words.
Overall, it was a fun experience. I liked having readers who were anxious to see what I would post next (ironically, not unlike you guys…). I liked the process of writing it all and being just as surprised as my readers about where the story went next. I liked the moments of inspiration when I thought of a new story idea and how to make it work. Those kinds of things are irreplaceable. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to publish something real and put these to good use.
Until then…would you like a taste of what my fanfiction looks like?
This is from an unfinished, untitled piece I started early in college when I just couldn’t get Prisoner of Azkaban out of my head. (That happened a lot.) This is the beginning of my story, which is undoubtedly the best part of everything on this doc.
My life was in ruins.
I knew something was wrong the moment the doorbell rang, waking me. Sirius never bothered to use the doorbell, even if he forgot his key. He much preferred to barge right in. So someone ringing the doorbell at 6:38 A.M. was worth a good dose of nerves.
I threw off my covers and shouted a quick, “I’m coming!” before grabbing my robe and throwing it on hastily. I glanced at the bed out of habit. Sirius’s pillow hadn’t been slept on and his side of the bed was still cold.
He promised he’d be home by midnight last night.
I slid into my slippers and rushed to the door. Remus stood on the other side, looking decades older than he had any right to be. His mouth was drooped in a frown and he refused to meet my eyes when I opened the door.
“Remus? What’s wrong?” He didn’t say anything, only looked at his feet. “Remus, talk to me. You’re scaring me,” I admitted, my voice shaking.
“Can I come in, Melody?” he asked softly. I noticed a tremble in his voice.
I opened the door farther. “Is it James and Lily? Did he find them? Oh God, Remus, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me he didn’t get them. Tell me he didn’t get Harry.”
Dark spots dotted my vision. Remus grabbed me by the arm and led me over to the couch. He sat next to me, holding my hand in his. His silence told me more than his words.
“They’re gone, aren’t they?” I whispered, tears rolling down my cheeks. Not Lily, my best friend since the first day at Hogwarts. And not James, my rock when Sirius and I fought. And poor little Harry, who was just over a year old now. He didn’t deserve any of this.
“Harry’s safe, Mel. Dumbledore took him to Petunia’s.”
My relief in knowing Harry was alive mixed with horror. “Petunia Dursley? Why would Dumbledore take him there? Sirius and I could take care of him. He could have a home here. We’re practically family!”
Remus seemed to get even smaller. “There’s more.”
My heart stopped. Harry was safe, but my best friends were dead. How much more could there possibly be?
“Voldemort tried to kill Harry, but for some reason it didn’t work. Voldemort’s gone and Harry only has a scar on his forehead from it.”
I flinched when Remus said His name. It was stupid, since I was part of the Order, but I couldn’t help it. But Remus wasn’t finished. “Peter’s dead.”
A chill seeped through my veins. Who would kill Peter? Unless they had to in order to get to James and Lily. Peter was supposed to keep watch last night. That’s why Sirius left, to check on him.
Sirius…where was he? I had a sinking feeling that I didn’t want to know.
“Remus,” I started, my voice dropping, “where’s Sirius?”
A deathly calm settled over the room as I awaited an answer and Remus tried to avoid it. “Azkaban,” he finally stated.
Every piece that held me together fell away and shattered. I fell forward, wailing into my hands. Remus pulled me to him, hugging me and patting my back. It was quite some time before I calmed down enough to realize he was crying nearly as hard as I was. God, we were all that was left of our group. Everyone dead or, in Sirius’s case, in prison.
“What are we going to do?” I asked, hopeless.
For once, Remus didn’t have an answer.
I found out the whole story later, thanks to the Daily Prophet. Sirius led You-Know-Who straight to James and Lily in the night. Then, when Peter confronted him in a busy street, Sirius killed Peter and a number of innocent Muggles. All he did was laugh when he was captured.
Was it truly possible Sirius had led Death Eaters to James’s door? They were best friends. I didn’t think it was, but it was pretty hard to refute the facts. And Sirius had gotten mysterious as of late, leaving home for long lengths of time with a flimsy excuse.
Oh God. He really could have been a Death Eater.
Everywhere I went, people looked at me as if I was a Death Eater too by association. They avoided me like the plague and grimaced when they couldn’t. Even Remus fell away from me. After a while, my love for Sirius turned to cold hatred. How dare he kill his friends! How dare he do this to me! He was just like his pathetic family after all, no matter how much he tried to deny it.
But I had bigger things to worry about, I soon found.
I was pregnant.
“Are you sure you’ve packed everything?” I asked my daughter Heather once more.
“Yes, Mom. God, I had everything packed the first time you asked.” She rolled her eyes at me.
I smiled. “Alright then. I’ll let you go.” I kissed the top of her head before she ran off to board the train for her first year at Hogwarts.
My little girl was starting school now. How fast time goes by. But I worried about her and not for the most obvious of reasons. Sure, I was scared she wouldn’t find friends on the train or that she’d get sorted into a House she didn’t like, but they were the least of my worries.
I frowned as I thought, watching her load her things onto the train. She turned and smiled at me, waving, before disappearing onboard.
“They grow up so fast, don’t they?” a voice said next to me.
Molly Weasley was shorter than I was by more than a couple inches. It’d been so long since I’d last seen her. She smiled up at me pleasantly.
“They sure do.”
“She’ll be fine, if she’s anything like you,” she said helpfully.
An owl screeched loudly just as I was about to answer. It headed straight for me, dropping a letter into my open hand. A Hogwarts seal covered the back flap of the envelope.
Molly looked at it curiously, but didn’t say anything. I read it quickly, unable to believe it. Dumbledore was offering me a job as Ancient Runes teacher so I could keep a closer eye on Heather.
I started walking off before remembering Molly. “Sorry, I have to pack. Dumbledore’s giving me a job.”
She smiled and waved me on.
Dumbledore’s a life saver. I would have spent my time at home worrying about her. And I was scared for both of our lives.
Her father had escaped from Azkaban.