I stumbled upon Harry Potter fan fiction shortly after the sixth book in the series arrived. I was quickly addicted.
Fan art by Hito, via The Leaky Cauldron
With one book left, the worldwide fandom for the boy wizard went into rampages of speculation about what might happen, including a frenzy of fan fiction production that reached into the hundreds of millions of words. Like a movie novelization or tie-in book, fanfic is easy to swallow, but often bursting with interesting twists or speculations about Rowling's world. HP fic is incredibly entertaining for anyone who ever put down one of the original books and wanted MORE.
Fan fiction comes in several flavors, but nearly all is created to satisfy this craving for more. Fans want to spend more time in their favorite fantasy world. They want to see more of favorite characters—even secondary ones. Sometimes they even want to see things that were not intended in the original text, like romance between characters, or homosexuality.
These days, HP fandom has been slowed only a little by the end of the book series, as the movie franchise continues to spur the imaginations of the fans.
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Want to dip your toe into the world of HP fic? Here's a glossary of fic terminology:
AU: Alternate Universe — Fic in which the characters or setting is used, but with some major change. This could be as simple as "Harry got sorted into Slytherin after all" or as major as "Harry and Draco are rock stars in rival bands." (No, I'm not kidding.)
Crackfic — Usually intentionally humorous fic, but sometimes just plain hysterically funny of the "this writer must have been on crack when she wrote this" kind.
WIP: Work In Progress — Many fics are ongoing works, written and posted a chapter at a time. There are WIPs that are now longer the original book series. Warning: WIPs can be addictive, but some writers may lose interest partway through, leaving their readers jonesing.
Gen, Slash, and Femslash — "Gen" fic is non-sexual, though it can be romantic. These days, slash means male/male homoerotic, while femslash means female/female. You will often find fic rated with the same terms used by movies:G, PG, PG-13, R, X.
MPREG: Male pregnancy — Yes, there is a whole subgenre of HP fic in which Draco (for example) is carrying Snape or Harry's ass-baby. Amusingly, you'll also see the tag "FPREG" to denote stories in which a female character is the pregnant one.
Severitus — An entire subgenre of HP fic in which Severus Snape turns out to be Harry's father. Yes, much of it is slash, too, and yes, much of it makes Oedipus look like he had a functional relationship with his parents. No, I don't know what this says about the psyche of the modern reader.
Malfoycest — I'm not sure I should even define this one. Oh, those decadent, beautiful Malfoys.
Pairing or Ship: A pairing is who gets together in the story or fic. Harry/Draco is often shortened to H/D, whereas Harry/Snape is usually dubbed "Snarry" a la "Brangelina." Ship is short for "relationship" and so "HD shippers" are those for whom the Harry/Draco romance is their OTP. (One True Pairing.)
EWE — Epilogue, What Epilogue? Inconveniencing many shippers and fic writers, Rowling killed off some characters and married off others. If you thought the epilogue was a poorly writtten, tacked-on cheat, there are plenty of fic writers who agree with you.
Of course, the Internet is like the world's biggest slush pile. Here are some resources for "quality" fic:
The Hex Files — A vetted archive for Harry/Draco romance and erotica. Delve into the subgenre of fics in which Draco is part-Veela, or can turn himself into a ferret.
Walking the Plank — A vetted archive of Snarry fics that also has fan art and multimedia works, as well as a nifty search interface.
Archive of Our Own, aka AO3 — Speaking of nifty search interfaces, a group of enterprising fans formed a lobbying and advocacy organization known as the Organization for Transformative Works. As part of their mission, the OTW has created the Archive as an open source software project. They archive fic and fanworks in all fandoms, but Harry Potter tops the book list by a wide margin. You'll also find Supernatural, Star Wars, and even Shakespeare and Rent fanfic here.
Skyehawke — The mother lode of international fan fiction. Skyehawke has slightly higher standards than some sites because a writer has to be recommended for an account. Skyehawke has a nice, clean interface and makes it easy to search all fandoms.
HP Book of Fests — HP fandom is alive and well on Livejournal, where dozens of fanfic "fests" are run every year. The winter holidays are a very popular time for fests, so you can check out H/D Holidays, Snape Potter Daft Day and many others at the central community for Potter fest announcements, the HP Book of Fests. Coming up soon, HP Kinkfest, the "Draco Tops Harry" Fest, and many more!
And then, if you really still need MORE, there are the many fanfic writers who have gone on to write and publish professionally in a similar vein.
Some of them are in the closet about their fanfic pasts, but others are not. U.K. writer and former fanficcer Sarah Rees Brennan stayed in the realm of magic for teens with her Demon's Lexicon books, and so did Cassandra Clare in her Mortal Instruments series.
In my case, though, I went the other direction, writing books not for Rowling's young audience, but for the other adults in the fandom who enjoyed mixing sex and fantasy. The "Magic University" books are my take on the magical school trope, except I've sent my hero to Harvard instead of Hogwarts, and he's going to be learning sex magick as well as enchantment. (The Siren and The Sword, the first book in the series, is in bookstores now, and available as an ebook.)
And there's always more where that came from.
Cecilia Tan is the author of The Siren and the Sword, a paranormal erotic romance just released in paperback from Red Silk Editions and the first in the Magic University series of books reviewers call "Harry Potter for adults," and the editorial director of erotic science fiction publisher Circlet Press.