Nanowrimo Spotlight: Fan Fiction, It’s not just for nerds

Greetings! I’ve got another really cool Spotlight for you tonight, from fellow Storywonker Betz!

Have you ever done Nanowrimo before?
This is my first NaNoWriMo and had vaguely heard of it before, but didn’t know anything about until I took Alastairs Steven’s Sufficiently Advanced Magic class through Story Wonk. (Note from Chris, this is kinda where I met Betz.) I love the idea of cranking out a story in a blaze of frantic typing in the course of a month, as it’s a kick in the pants to sit down and bang it out. The story that I developed taking Alastair’s S.A.M class, something original, not fanfic, I’ll be researching for the next eleven months and try and create and finish it in one month for NaNo 2015, but in the meantime, I can hash out my plot, develop my characters and do my worldbuilding.

What are you writing about this year?
Back in 2004, I began a Severus Snape/Hermione Granger challenge fanfic called “And They Didn’t Live Happily Ever After.” The challenge was the “I’m Just A Gigolo”, inspired by Irving Caesar’s 1929 adaptation of the song, on the WIKTT board, (When I Kissed the Teacher), a Yahoo Group for readers and writers of Snape/Granger fanfic. Of course the challenge was to get Severus Snape and Hermione Granger in the sack together somehow, the requisite is that Snape is a gigolo and Hermione must visit him for some reason.

As easy as it was to create something quick and full of lemony smut, I wanted to challenge the whole premise of what we knew was going to wind up in canon of Hermione marrying Ron, and Harry marrying Ginny, and how it wasn’t going to be all happiness, roses and perfection. Even before J.K. Rowling came out YEARS later to admit that Hermione and Ron were not a good match for each other in marriage, I was depicting their battle on the page. One reviewer said reading my dialogue between Hermione and Ron fighting was like eavesdropping in on a private conversation, and it was almost embarrassing, because the dialogue seemed that real. What a compliment!!!

In my fanfic, Harry asks Hermione a favor. He suspects his wife, Ginny is cheating on him and asks Hermione to follow her and see if it’s true. Hermione does discover that Ginny has been cheating on her husband, but it opens up a Pandora’s box that shatters all of her perceptions, in the process. Hermione is steered by someone she knows into seeing a gigolo in order to talk, just talk, to a disinterested third party whether or not she should tell Harry about Ginny, because if she does tell him, that will set off a whole new host of other problems just as bad as if she doesn’t tell him.

There is manipulation, injustice, prejudices against Muggleborns that did not disappear after the war, the mediocrity of unfulfilling work, awful bosses, incompetent co-workers, dreams that are compromised, resentment, secrets, murder, infidelity, sex, lots of hot sex (this fic is rated NC-17), romance, seduction, dancing, a masked ball, cooking, hopes, forgiveness, the death of a marriage that should have never been, the spark of new love, an escape, a trial, and more.

LiveFreeAs I mentioned before, I started this back in 2004, before Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows came out. I had the major, MAJOR plot points in my brain, but it took on a sort of George R.R. Martin syndrome where the story expanded ever more and more. I’ve come to accept that it’s a long story format, akin to a TV series over several seasons, and I have 50 chapters posted online so far (350,000+ words), up to my latest chapter which was back in 2006.

Over the years, I’ve had fans of the story ask if I ever intend to finish, which I have always meant to do. Earlier this year I sat down and between January and end of June wrote another 35 chapters. Over the Summer I didn’t have a chance to write, but after hearing about NaNoWriMo, I decided to use this as the impetus to finally finish this monster fanfic. I’m at 42,277 words as of this morning and I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though I still have a comeuppance scene to write, a reuniting scene and an epilogue, I am looking forward to finally finishing this after a decade.

Once I’m done writing this, I’ll begin sending this off a chapter as a time to my betas for editing and start posting it online.

This who want to start reading this can read it over at the main site that hosts my fan-fics. To read it, you’ll have to register, as there is an age restriction to this story. also hosts it, but they only have up through chapter 48 posted:

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Animal Farm by George Orwell. I read it when I was 13 and it forever colored my perceptions of government and the way the world worked. I knew it was a retelling about the Soviet revolution and the sequence of event up through to Stalin coming into power, but having it depicted with the characters as animals has made it easier to see how it mimics the use and abuse of power in any government or system.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Time and energy are hard to find, having two kids myself. Find the time some how. When my kids were younger, I wrote on legal pads while the kids played at McDonald’s in the kiddie play area, at the park, and when they got older, in the car while waiting to pick them up from school. I set my fanfic down back in 2006 because I went back to work full time and had a death in the family that put me in a funk for a bit, but even if it’s been years, pick up that pen or sit down at the keyboard and write when you can. Even if its just one paragraph, it will get your brain thinking about your story again.

Sneaky Ninja question! What’s the tastiest food ever, according to you?
Cheese. It must have cheese in it. There is one particular dish I always order at one restaurant, and while cheese it not the main ingredient, it certainly plays a part in the flavor of the dish. It’s fresh spinach topped with rigatoni that has been mixed with bacon, shredded fontina cheese and walnuts. The dish also comes with sautéed peppers and onions, but I have them hold that. The lightness of the spinach in contrast to the smokey savoriness of the bacon, the creaminess of the cheese for balance and the walnut for a slight astringent bite, and the toothsomeness of the pasta? Heaven!

Please read my fic. I’m a review whore. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to read squee-filled reviews about crap they’ve written? Like unresolve sexual tension? Want to read about two snobs bicker about the use of breadcrumbs in cassoulet? Love the idea of Severus Snape as some tortured Byroic hero forced into protitution, though there wasn’t much forcing – he’s a guy after all. Want to read about Hermione and Ron bicker like the dysfunctional couple that they are? Want to read some hot smut with the excuse that there is some plot in there after all? Come read my unbelievablly long fanfiction story I have yet to finish. Don’t worry, by the time you’ve read through all 350,000+ words posted online, I should be starting to post Chapter 51 in the very near future.

If you love Harry Potter, academic programming on Harry Potter, YA lit, fandom, slash writing, see special guest writers, or just want to hang out with a bunch of Harry Potter nerds, come to Leviosa, July 7-10, 2016, held at the Green Valley Ranch Henderson, NV.   Visit the website to learn more about this upcoming conference.

Thanks for doing the interview, Betz!


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