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Kita-Ysabell's avatar

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The excerpt shall change as I decide what the best bit I have typed up is:
If having one or more incarcerated parents was a poker game, I had been dealt a royal flush. Not only was he kept in a forbidding wizard prison fortress on a stark island guarded by miles of sea and some sort of deep, ancient magic, but my father had been put there as a sort of war criminal, the right-hand man of Wizard Hitler. It was like the way little kids will pile all their favorite things into one nonsensical jumble, only somewhat reversed.

This is my Harry Potter fanfic, (the other one) for those of you who know me. For those of you who don't know me, it's still that. It's a letter, (albeit a very long one) written by Nathaniel Rookwood, son of the convicted and imprisoned Death Eater Augustus Rookwood, to Harry himself, and in which Nathaniel tells of his own time at Hogwarts. Armed with wit, empathy, and his long-time involvement in a Muggle support group for kids with incarcerated parents, he tries to unravel the forces that shape his story: the volatile bond between parents and children, the cultural narrative of adventure, the conflict surrounding the Dark Lord's vie for power, (or... something) and a troubling recurrence of victims who have become complicit in their own suffering.

It shall be posted in its entirety on my Livejounal account because it's fricking long, and links to each part shall be posted here:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

Whelp, nope, now it's getting posted on ff.net. Because I seem to think that was a good idea. Chapter 1 (same thing as Part I) is here. Mind you, I am much more likely to reply to comments in this thread than reviews on ff.net, because apparently ff.net thinks the best way to reply to reviews is with private messages. I disagree.

(Also, there shall be section titles once I get around to it. That shall be after I finish typing up what I've got so far, and possibly after I finish the whole thing.)


Further Info:

Genre: Um... I'm gonna have to go with slightly deconstructive. Or Literary. Take your pick.
Rating: Might get as high as PG-13 for violence and some language. Might not. We'll see how Nathaniel describes people fighting and getting injured. PG at least for themes.
Pairings: Hrm. Canonical things happen, mostly offscreen, but things might be... different for the epilogue. Also Tom/Florence. mrgreen And Griffith/Melissa.
Length: Probably about novella length. Possibly. It's unfinished, and it's in a notebook, so I can't give a very good estimate.
Comment/Critique? It'd be much appreciated. This is a draft, it is largely for my own benefit, but y'know what else is for my benefit? Knowing how to improve my writing. Post here, post on LJ, send me a PM, anything'll be fine.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

Hrm. Would it be a good idea to post the actual story in here? It's long, and Gaia doesn't have the best formatting. Lemme know.
I read most of what you have in the links and the only reason why I stopped was because it got late and my mind couldn't comprehend the complexity of the story as much as I would have liked it too. I love it though, for the lack of a better adjective it is really good. Really really really good. You are so talented and I am extremely jealous of you.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

xXKayleaXx
Thanks! I am a bit apprehensive about such a positive review, lemme know if you get around to finishing what's out, (sorry, it's been a bit on hiatus as of late, might be more soon-ish) and if you come up with anything you don't like so much, or if anything stood out to you.

I must say, I do kind of feel like I've hamstrung myself a bit using Nathaniel as a narrator, while he's got a lot of qualities that make him desirable as one, his grammar is terrible in an informal kind of way, and he infects everything he touches with it, namely me. There's a good chance he sounds terribly American, and he's supposed to be British, but I'm sorry, I just haven't done a linguistic study of London street kids and middle class British teenagers, and I'm not going to for the sake of a fanfic.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

Off hiatus, yay!

Also, once I finish this, I am totally writing a crapfic send-up of all the things that I've had to be careful with here, i.e: keeping an OC from being a Mary Sue, reinventing a cannon character to be rather badass, (and a mad scientist spymaster, at that!) having characters act and be viewed as more sympathetic than they are in cannon, dealing with "pairings," (hoo boy, can't wait for that) and what is essentially going to be a conceptual (not literal!) crossover from a completely incompatible genre. Can't hardly wait!
Lethal Trinity's avatar

Aged Genius

This is a really interesting plot idea. Havent seen too many people try something like this on fanfiction.net (though, my search has been kind of passive.) Its a definite change of pace, thats for sure. I like what Im reading. You should post it on FF.net
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

Lethal Trinity
This is a really interesting plot idea. Havent seen too many people try something like this on fanfiction.net (though, my search has been kind of passive.) Its a definite change of pace, thats for sure. I like what Im reading. You should post it on FF.net
Hmm, really? I dunno, I kinda think of it like Methods of Rationality, except with "therapy" instead of "rationality," and Harry's foil narrating the damn thing instead of replacing him. And also not getting so danged bogged down in trying to make as many nerdy references per second as possible.

If I finish it, I will very definitely consider maybe posting it to FF.net. I really don't know how to "publish" fanfics on the web, what works, what doesn't. But I'm willing to admit that Livejournal probably isn't the best bet.
Lethal Trinity's avatar

Aged Genius

fanfiction.net is pretty easy to use. If you do post it, you can always come to me and I can help you learn the ropes. Plus, fanfiction.net also grants protections that LJeg cant offer. Under the Creative Writing act, it has some copywrite protections, which is why I always post to ff.net and link to it from other pages. Other cool things that ff.net can do is track how many views and from where and which chapters are getting view most.

Im gonna add you here on Gaia. You should keep me posted on new chapters.
lacheyenne's avatar

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i think i'll come back.

i read chapter 1- have to say that i enjoyed it. my mind snagged on a few items, but they were nothing so overarchingly horrendous that an editor couldn't take an afternoon and offer you solid fixes. the idea of it all seems strong to me.

mmm... there were grammatically correct tense shifts toward the beginning that, in the interests of content flow, i would rearrange. also the transition into "" (i reference that first scene, as it were, with flitwick) as formal dialogue relates to the format of this "letter to harry" (did i get that right?): there are letters, and then, apparently, there are letters.

i also wish that you didn't need an introduction (by you, the author) to get us started- something like "hey harry- writing you from _____, thought i should tell you a bit about _____" as a reference point, i think, would be nice. ...i hope that i'm not so tired that i completely missed something like that. emotion_eyebrow

mmm... i don't... remember... well. anyway. a general thought: this kid/adult writes pretty well. have you thought about mentioning why he is (unusually, by my standards) eloquent - perhaps in his short "before hogwarts" autobiography? e.g.: he's naturally smart- like dad? his guardians made sure he was literate? or maybe before hogwarts, he was terrible at language but improved over time? due to exigencies?

other little thoughts, here and there. overall: super awesome.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

Lethal Trinity
fanfiction.net is pretty easy to use. If you do post it, you can always come to me and I can help you learn the ropes. Plus, fanfiction.net also grants protections that LJeg cant offer. Under the Creative Writing act, it has some copywrite protections, which is why I always post to ff.net and link to it from other pages. Other cool things that ff.net can do is track how many views and from where and which chapters are getting view most.

Im gonna add you here on Gaia. You should keep me posted on new chapters.
I actually posted something on ff.net once, back when my writing was really, really terrible. I think my "I don't know how to do this" is more aimed towards figuring out what's the best place to post things.

Nice to know that ff.net looks after the rights of its authors, but between fanfiction being a legal grey area in the first place and the fact that The Internet is for Plagiarism, any fanfic I post to the web is something I'm pretty willing to consider a lost cause, copyright wise. Tracking views would be interesting, too. 'Cause I'm a huge attention whore, even when I try not to be.

All in all, I think I'm gonna treat ff.net as a place to publish fanfic, and anywhere else I post is the shitty first draft, albeit one that's cleaned up a little bit. Which means that I'll only put it up on ff.net if it's finished, 'cause you can't really edit something 'till the first draft is done.

I dunno what good adding me is gonna do. If you subscribe to the thread, I'll make a point of posting when I put up a new chapter, although that'll give you a fair few false positives, given how often I post when there isn't a new chapter.
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you thought, although there's some things I'd like to clarify.
lacheyenne
i read chapter 1- have to say that i enjoyed it.

Hrm, by this do you mean that you've only read Part I? If so, forgive me if I take some things you say with a grain of salt, as I would have to anyways-- there's some things that become clarified over the course of the story, some of which happen in parts that aren't even written. And there's a good chance that you should take everything I say with the whole damn salt shaker.
lacheyenne
my mind snagged on a few items, but they were nothing so overarchingly horrendous that an editor couldn't take an afternoon and offer you solid fixes. the idea of it all seems strong to me.

Yeah, this isn't exactly highly polished. I might go back, clean it up, and post it to ff.net later on, but as it is, I'm aware that it's riddled with typos and bits of dodgy writing. It's been an education for me on the importance of not allowing that sort of thing, as there are some very deliberate things that I've done that could easily be read as mistakes.
lacheyenne
mmm... there were grammatically correct tense shifts toward the beginning that, in the interests of content flow, i would rearrange.

Overall, there's a lot of tense changes, they're not even really shifts. The story is told from the perspective of a very particular point in time, and the awkwardness of that is... well, it fits. But what, in particular, would you change, how, and why? Because personally, I like the unpolished feel that this arrangement has, and some minor temporal switch-ups do delineate one episode from the next, which I kind of wish carried through past Part I, but that's what editing is for.
lacheyenne
also the transition into "" (i reference that first scene, as it were, with flitwick) as formal dialogue relates to the format of this "letter to harry" (did i get that right?): there are letters, and then, apparently, there are letters.

Um, what?

I really have no idea what you mean here.

Does this relate in any way to the sort of back-and-forth section that is Nathaniel's retelling of what he imagines the debate about whether he should go to Hogwarts or not to be? 'Cause no one's actually speaking there, it can't even be taken as an accurate representation of what Flitwick means to say, though it is something you should keep in mind in terms of the evolving criticism of Rowling's world and work that Nathaniel's story presents.
lacheyenne
i also wish that you didn't need an introduction (by you, the author) to get us started- something like "hey harry- writing you from _____, thought i should tell you a bit about _____" as a reference point, i think, would be nice. ...i hope that i'm not so tired that i completely missed something like that. emotion_eyebrow

Hmm, I've considered having Nathaniel giving some sort of introduction, but given what this "letter" really is, I'm not sure it would be following form. I think any really direct address to Harry himself belongs at the end, for Reasons. If you're wondering what those Reasons are, I would encourage you to consider why--and especially when--said letter would be written, and what its tone and structure might resemble.

On its own, I don't think the story necessarily needs some indication of the premise at the outset, but as a blurb, it does. As far as chapter introductions go, I do think that being able to engage in a dialog with the reader directly is one of the benefits of fanfiction, and I don't want to surrender that, but as it stands, I might be doing this story a disservice by introducing each chapter.

Maybe I should put author's notes in the comments? Take out the intro from the LJ post, because every no one reads my LJ posts who doesn't already know what's going on, and everything that links to that post already has the blurb? This has been, and will continue to be, a learning process.
lacheyenne
mmm... i don't... remember... well. anyway. a general thought: this kid/adult writes pretty well.

This is because I find narrators without any sense of poetry a pain in the a** to write, and they're a major obstacle if I ever want to get any writing done. However, I really don't think Nathaniel is a particularly polished writer: the manner in which he constructs his arguments is rather elementary, (restating the theses explicitly instead of weaving them into the telling of the story) his grammar is pretty danged bad, (and not just in a rhetorical "one-word sentence" kind of way, you should see how many errors MS Word picks up, though it does turn up false positives with regular frequency as well) and the vast majority of his vocabulary is cobbled inelegantly together from outside influences. I have taken some liberty in making the whole thing more coherent than might be completely in-character, because screw it, I do actually want this to sound kinda decent.

As to Nathaniel's age at the time of writing, if you look closely, there are some major clues. Unfortunately, they might be easily be taken for typos, and I can't guarantee that all typos couldn't be taken for something else. See above re: typos suck.
lacheyenne
have you thought about mentioning why he is (unusually, by my standards) eloquent - perhaps in his short "before hogwarts" autobiography? e.g.: he's naturally smart- like dad? his guardians made sure he was literate? or maybe before hogwarts, he was terrible at language but improved over time? due to exigencies?

Oh man, you have no idea how hilarious most of these suggestions/guesses are.

- Nathaniel isn't going to talk about how he learned to write, because he has much more pressing issues to discuss.

- *snrk*

- Given the level of disregard that Griffith and Melissa show Nathaniel, do you really think they care what he learns or doesn't? If anyone wants Nathaniel to write well, it's Augustus Rookwood, and he has a pack of wizard cigarettes that says this copy of The Elements of Style gets sent properly and anonymously. Or something. If you really want an explanation other than "the author didn't want to put everyone through the pain of non-eloquence-boosted!Nathaniel's prose," that's it.

- rofl

- Possibly?

Please note that Hogwarts does not teach either literature or composition, and thus, most of the students are turning in "essays" written at about a fifth grade level at best. Think of all the terrible spelling, incoherent grammar, and ill-concieved attempts to form paragraphs that would result in. Pull out your old homework assignments and revel in their terrible prose, and then see that that's about as well as anyone in the Wizarding world knows how to write. THIS IS CANNON.
lacheyenne's avatar

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argh. bbc editing.

i'm not a literal person and so i apologize for semantics confusion, especially as it relates to connotative differences between us. i hope to be less confusing this time around. (i also wish that i could promise that i'd gotten more sleep last night, but that would be a lie.)
Kita-Ysabell
Hrm, by this do you mean that you've only read Part I?
not to sound snarky- again, just me being tired- but always take things with a grain of salt. no one here is god/perfect/knows it all. except for the author in book-land, so.
Kita-Ysabell
If so, forgive me
no worries.
Kita-Ysabell
lacheyenne
mmm... there were grammatically correct tense shifts toward the beginning that, in the interests of content flow, i would rearrange.

Overall, there's a lot of tense changes, they're not even really shifts.
again, nothing grammatically incorrect:
Quote:
I lived with Griffith and Melissa, my guardians. Griffith worked in a drugstore pharmacy, and Melissa taught at the technical school. They live small but intricate lives filled with hopes and dreams and interests and opinions. They had no children of their own. They didn’t seem to mind that there was a cuckoo in the nest, but they were never really much like family, even though I’ve lived with them as long as I can remember.
again, it's not in the spirit of negativity that i highlight... hoping only that what doesn't flow can perhaps be seen more clearly. perhaps "i'd lived" instead of "i've lived", considering wherever you are in the story? and i'm guessing that the careers are... no longer? they retired? died? whichever. ...although, to think of it, "had had/borne/raised no children" might also be what you're going for, since that was a state of being ended before the moment in time (adoption) being described by nathaniel. i can't tell if you want to say "they had never been able to bear children of their own, so i was a stand-in, albeit an outsider" or "they had never had the opportunity to raise a child, and so i was their first". i'm sure that there's an english class with technical jargon in there, but i'm a bloody engineer whatever. i dislike getting into the weeds, as it were. my point is- with this paragraph in particular, and so close to the beginning of the story- the tense changes are too frequent to read smoothly. perhaps you could lump the stories of states: past/present into separate paragraphs. 'they had been ____.' new para. 'they were _____.' new para. 'they continue to be _____.'

...you throw all three into a single paragraph and then shake them up a bit. (in light of all the revelations as they come to a head at the bottom of this note, i now recommend making this narration much messier. not sure how... the tenses as-are read, to me, as though someone with little writing experience is following through on a half-assed desire to prove to someone that s/he knows how to conjugate verbs. but nathaniel, if i understand you correctly, has no desire to prove his language proficiency to anyone.)
Kita-Ysabell
the awkwardness of that is... well, it fits... personally, I like the unpolished feel
all well and good: the presentation requires that i physically stop reading and mentally extrapolate a timeline before i can in good conscience continue reading. ...insomnia aside, i'm sure you notice that i have managed to misinterpret a few things despite having a footnoteworthy reading comprehension level.
Kita-Ysabell
which I kind of wish carried through past Part I, but that's what editing is for.
i'm sure that i'll take a look, eventually. again, there's nothing significantly format-relevant that i'd change thus far. later bits will perhaps inform earlier bits? (sidenote: also not a bad way to do things anyway.)
Kita-Ysabell
lacheyenne
also the transition into "" (i reference that first scene, as it were, with flitwick) as formal dialogue relates to the format of this "letter to harry" (did i get that right?): there are letters, and then, apparently, there are letters.
Um, what?

I really have no idea what you mean here.
sorry. it's the sleep thing. it begins with
Quote:
I put it somewhere, and didn’t do anything about it for a week, so the school sent Professor Flitwick. He showed up and tried to sell me on magic.

Have you ever felt like you were different, special even?
and a few paras down, you transition into
Quote:
But, as we learned collectively, all cons are cons. Con artists. No matter what they go in for, prison makes them that. And they do it to their kids. Con them, then let them down, again and again. It left marks I had learned to read.

“You see, the reason you haven’t been able to see him isn’t because of security. He’s in a wizard prison, in Azkaban. You couldn’t know, I’m afraid.”

“Can I see him now?” I asked.
and yes, i think that we're talking about the same place. the way that this has been written, the first reads not as a supposititious conversation but as a literal one, despite the lack of quotation marks. iow "he showed up and tried to sell me on magic" isn't reading as a 'and this is how, with my voice and memory and imagination, i interpret the way the conversation that happened went'- it reads as 'this is exactly what happened next'. the next sentence, in my mind, is therefore directly related to how flitwick is selling magic to nathaniel. ...if i do that thing where i mull on it for a while (not having any idea what "evolving criticism of rowling's world" looks like nor how it pertains or relates to this piece) then i really have no issues with it... it's just... eh? i wish that there were no transition or change; i would choose one or the other. maybe i don't deal with fifth-grade-level writing often ('at all' being the truth of the matter), but i still think that a fifth-grader would use dialogue and narration with a consistent voice and style.

...thinking 'aloud', perhaps make voice-related stylistic changes over chapters/parts/letters? if they are written by nathaniel at different times in his life (over several months/years?), i can see formatting and language changes. (rather, i would expect them.)
Kita-Ysabell
I've considered having Nathaniel giving some sort of introduction, but given what this "letter" really is
oh, maan. ...uhm. well. i wish that i could un-read the introduction, then. if there are, as you say, "Reasons" with which i will be contending, then i'd rather not have seen anything implying 'letters' or otherwise. sad
Kita-Ysabell
On its own, I don't think the story necessarily needs some indication of the premise at the outset, but as a blurb, it does.
no, no. now i completely disagree with you in the other direction. hmm. if we get to the end of this, maybe i'll have a better idea of how to respond to this issue but... if you are alluding to Anything Requiring Capitalization at the story's onset, its development will, imo, be less-than-subtle. i might be agreeing with the 'disservice' bit, but i need to read the whole thing before i can decide either way. as you say: learning process.
Kita-Ysabell
This is because I find narrators without any sense of poetry a pain in the a** to write, and they're a major obstacle if I ever want to get any writing done. However, I really don't think Nathaniel is a particularly polished writer
ah. then.


...i wish that my baseline understanding of fifth grade writing was more... panoptic (sorry, can't think of a more precise word). given that mine is skewed, however, i still think that i can now confidently suggest that exaggeration will be your ally. i wish that there were blatant language and spelling errors. those would come across very clearly, even to a less well-read audience. i think that they would significantly aid your characterization of nathaniel. if my between-the-lines reading of your motives is correct- you don't need to worry about demonstrating your language proficiency (i see that you're not going for "prowess" but "the errors you see aren't the product of my being under-educated" ). imo, you're far from giving the audience a headache with fifth-grade-level writing. the story stands well enough on its own that a few stylistic writing changes made to reflect nathaniel's true voice will supplement and not detract other story elements. ...e.g., the story itself.

anyway. i was beginning to imagine an ender's game, bean-like character: an obscenely smart kid from the streets in one of those rags-to-riches pieces. what i'm not remembering well is, well, anything HP that i haven't read in years. ...that's what i get for walking, uninformed, into fanfiction. haha- silly me.


...bloody hell. from now on, i do my editing with folks on buggering skype. this is ridiculous. OCD does not appreciate. grumble
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

So apparently I thought this would be a good idea.

I'm just now realizing how amazingly error-ridden the whole thing is, too. And I already have a review.

Eh.

(And lacheyenne, if you read this, it's not that I disregarded your post, I just wrote a whole reply and then the internet ate it. Sorry.)
Kita-Ysabell's avatar

Distinct Conversationalist

There's a new chapter. Or several. Forget the last time I posted here.

If you're looking for it/them, follow the links to the ff.net version. The livejournal one, until further notice, (ff.net does something really dumb? or decides that the totally-not-graphic nature of the fic is too graphic for them?) will not be updating. I'll leave it there, there just won't be any new posts.
AliKat1988's avatar

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Kita-Ysabell
Hrm. Would it be a good idea to post the actual story in here? It's long, and Gaia doesn't have the best formatting. Lemme know.
You could put each part in a different spoiler and indicate what each part is by putting a heading right over it. This is what I mean.
Sample spoiler1:

first sample's content here

Sample Spoiler2:

content of second sample here

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