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WIP On the Way to Greatness - By Mira Mirth - T

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by ChuckDaTruck, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Well, I would hope so. After all, that's the entire reason to read a Slytherin!Harry to begin with -- to have a less reckless and more cautious Harry. It's supremely annoying if he ends up in Slytherin and behaves exactly like he did in the books (to say nothing of even more rehash, if he did end up being involved there). So in this case, it's not a bug, it's a feature.

    What stuck around from this story is the writing: I enjoy it enough so that I would probably read MiraMirth's shopping list; that aside, the discussions about the nature of the Ministry in particular and Harry's views on the conflict in general, as well as the fractioning in Slytherin after Voldemort returned.

    That's after the fourth year, naturally, so if you made it that far, try the rest as well.
     
  2. Euroclydon

    Euroclydon High Inquisitor

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    @Scott_Press
    Yeah I finally broke down and read through this story for the first time just last week. I assure you it is 5/5. I had similar complaints, especially in the earlier chapters. It felt like a mildly interesting, well written cannon rehash. I actually found myself a bit annoyed because the early chapters felt more like a long summary than an actual story. (Which I suppose is inevitable if you're doing 1 year for first year, 2 for second and so on)

    Anyway, going to echo what others are saying. yeah tons of divergence and really captivating. You should not do yourself the disservice of failing to read past 4th year. If you stop at 4th year you have only read a mediocre yet technically sound 3/5 - low 4/5 story. Years 5 and 6 are what do the really heavy lifting here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  3. esran

    esran Professor

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    Don't believe the hype. Do not read this story for the divergence. It is a canon rehash, as far as I can tell that is all it was ever meant to be.
    It is the best damn canon rehash I have ever read in my life. read this story for the 5/5 writing. If you read fourth year and you aren't impressed by the writing alone, then just stop reading. That's all you're going to get.
    Do note the writing gets better as it goes. It does not stop getting better. Also, characterization of Slughorn is top tier.
     
  4. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    Skipped to Fourth Year directly after reading some of DLP's reviews. I have to agree that its a good canon rehash, but that it does end up being boring. Character development looks good, as does the writing, but I'm just not really able to enjoy a story where there's no suspense for me. Sure, a few things change here and there, but none of those changes end up mattering in the grand scheme of things. I haven't read years 1-3 and everything happening nearly exactly the same way in Year Four makes those initial years irrelevant and a waste of time going through.

    *sigh* I'm going to take a break and try to slog though the rest of it later.
     
  5. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Oooookay. Must give credit where it's due.

    The story finally got interesting in fifth year. Shame it took some 100k words of virtually nothing for that to happen, but we can't have everything.

    Writing is top notch, to rival DLP's best. I can honestly give OtWtG a shiny 5/5 for everything post-fourth year. 3/5 for years 1-4, for good technical writing in the first chapter and steady improvement to, indeed, greatness, but rather boring content plot-wise.

    Overall, I'll say 4/5, beacuse boring first half of a 200k + story must be taken into account.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  6. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    So I reread this for a 4th time yesterday, catching up on the last few chapters too. It's funny - I went to leave a review, but found that I couldn't because I had already left a review last time I had read through, saying basically exactly the same thing.

    I have to say, I'm somewhat baffled by the claims of the writing here being brilliant. It has elements of brilliance, I will admit, mainly in the dialogue, but there's one thing that prevents it from being great. This is that the writing is entirely parasitical on canon. The story does not stand in its own stead. Places, events, character interactions etc. are bypassed entirely on the assumption that the reader will fill in those details with their canon knowledge, despite the story becoming increasingly AU.

    There are two types of canon parasitism, as I see it.

    The first is "continuation parasitism". That is, if you're writing an HBP AU you can rely on things from the first five books. You wouldn't have to describe the Ministry from scratch, because you're writing as if your story was a sequel to OotP, which contained such a description. This type of parasitism is legitimate, because it's exactly how writing normally progresses in a series.

    The second is "AU parasitism". That is, you're writing an HBP AU and you rely on things in the actual version of HBP but which have never been described in your own story, or in the previous 5 books. This type of parasitism is illegitimate, I feel. It means that your story is not, nor can it ever be, held to the standard "of publishable quality" because the story cannot stand alone on its own merits.

    OHWTG is a clear case of AU parasitism. Conversations are cut short or paraphrased, locations are not described, character histories are not uncovered. We're expected to assume these things from the canon that this story is supposed to be an AU of. It's certainly an effective way to cover a lot of ground in relatively few words, but I cannot endorse it as good writing, because the author has not had to do the work themselves of actually developing the characters or world. They just have to highlight the differences from canon and we assume the rest.

    I'm also not convinced that the characters that are developed are very three dimensional. Blaise basically has a single character trait (Harry-friendly traditional Pureblood). Millicent is basically a female, less thoughtful Blaise. All of their interactions just repeat those single traits. And the other characters are largely their canon selves with minor variations, though we're mostly told that rather than shown it. Harry is the only character who really stands up as fully realised.

    The story is good, don't get me wrong, though I do wonder how much of that is simply down to the fact that it avoids being bad. No bashing, no kids acting like adults, no idiot Harry but also no unexplained genius Harry, no shipping, no magical cores, decent technical writing. Those factors immediately make the story more attractive than most of FF.net. But I'm not convinced that the story is great.

    Another disappointment is the action, which is what I left reviews on last time I read the fic. I don't think the action is done well at all, with curses mixed in with dialogue like this:

    "I swear, I'm going to - Crucio! - kill you."

    Using dialogue to communicate action sequences, rather than narrative, means we lack a clear mental image of what's happening. Further, the amount of dodging in this fic is just absurd. There hasn't been a single Killing Curse that has hit someone who was trying to dodge.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  7. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    So your complaint is basically that a fanfiction author takes advantage of the fact that they are writing fanfiction in a well-known fandom and skip over stuff that people likely remember from canon.

    Explain to me how every fanfiction author ever, including you, isn't doing exactly the same thing.
     
  8. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I invite you to read my original post, which already answers this question.
    To illustrate the difference:

    Continuation parasitism: you're writing a DH AU and Scrimgeour is in a scene. You don't describe him because he was described in HBP, which your fanfiction follows from and which is part of the canon of your fanfic's universe.

    AU parasitism: you're writing a DH AU and the characters go to Malfoy Manor. You don't describe it because it was described in the real DH, which is not part of the canon of your fanfic's universe.


    And also consider:

     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  9. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Honestly, that argument kind of stinks of bullshit to me. Can you honestly claim that you described everything of significance in Alexandra Potter to a sufficient degree that a reader wouldn't require canon knowledge to visualize places or people?

    And I understand the difference between the two types of parasitism you laid out. I didn't describe how Harry looks in a fic I'm writing, because it's OotP AU, essentially a continuation of canon. I just don't think there's harm in omitting some things and that it automatically downgrades the quality of writing.

    Edit: and for the record, I think that OtWtG has aspects that are great (like quality of writing and divergences starting in fifth year), but on the whole, I think it's good, not great, becaue the first 100k words are boring. So in that, we are in agreement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  10. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Yes. I made a conscious effort to make the story stand on its own (besides, it was sufficiently AU that I had to describe everything anyway). There are whole chapters that would not exist if I hadn't been committed to do so, such as when McGonagall explains to Alex about the first war.

    Many other writers do this too, e.g. Prince of a Dark Kingdom describes everything as if new.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Okay, that was a cheap shot on my part, I missed and it lends your argument validity in the way that you weren't being hypocritical. I still don't agree with your stance on "AU parasitism".

    In an AU fic of mine I didn't dedicate a single sentence to explaining the basics of Legilimency/Occlumency, even though the entire story is essentially about that, but I don't feel the whole thing is worse because of the lack of that explanation. So, it may be more simple bias for my own writing talking more than anything. Still. I think you're being unfair.

    Edit: Also, all fanfiction is parasitical on canon. Why is one type better than the other? It's fanfiction, not original fiction. And no fanfiction is "standalone". If it is, it's original fiction. All fanfiction relies fundamentally on being based on canon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  12. VanRopen

    VanRopen Headmaster

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    Does it though? Yeah, all fanfiction benefits from the emotional attachments the reader already has with the characters, but I can think of at least a few pieces that don't rely on any knowledge of the original.
     
  13. esran

    esran Professor

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    Canon parasitism may be "bad writing", but it doesn't actually seem to make the story any worse. The story simply correctly assumes that I have already read Harry Potter. I admit, I would never reccomend this story to someone who was not already a big fan of Harry Potter, but then again few fanfiction fall into a category where I would.
     
  14. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Would they exist without their fandom's canon existing first? Do they not rely on canon in the way that canon is where they originated from?

    If they could have existed without the canon, they would be original fiction.
     
  15. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Headmaster

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    By that assertion, the Thrawn Trilogy is fanfiction.
     
  16. Stan

    Stan Order Member

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    I think you completely miss the point of this story - it is not supposed to be a massive AU by any means, but rather a realistic interpretation of what would happen were Harry sorted into Slytherin. Unlike other Slytherin!Harry stories like Sitra Ahra and The Grey Maiden series, the only difference between this story and canon is Harry being sorted to Slytherin. Nothing more and nothing less. What would be the point in wasting words in characterizations and world building when none of it is supposed to be different from canon?

    Well, the story is centered on Harry- and his characterization is amazing here. Neither Blaise nor Millicent are very important to the story- I somehow doubt Harry is taking them on his little camping trip like he took Ron and Hermione in canon. They are better developed than any of Harry's classmates in canon (besides the trio) anyway and their interactions are hilarious. More important characters like Snape, Dumbledore and Slughorn are very well characterized, so I don't really see the problem here.

    Eh, I loved both of the major action scenes- the DOM fight and the Lestrange fight were awesome. So we have a difference of opinion here. The dodging thing is true, but in canon the DEs rarely managed to land their spells either. In this story it seems to go both ways, so the amount of dodging becomes abnormally high.

    While your criticisms of the story are more or less valid, that is because you seem to expect a different kind of story than the author is trying to write. This story was never really going to be about its plot, this was going to be about the subtle (and some not-so-subtle) changes that would have happened if Harry were sorted into Slytherin. It is this stuff- Harry's opinions on Voldemort, Death eaters, dark magic, politics, Dumbledore, The Order and war in general- that makes the story so fascinating. You can sense how that one divergence in the sorting ceremony that led to this new Harry Potter, who is both so similar to and yet so different from canon Harry.

    Plus, Harry here has a really nice sarcastic side that he in canon pre-Hogwarts, but then inexplicably lost. It makes his character so much fun. :)
     
  17. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    Whatever this is, I think we've strayed from the point. Does this AU parasitism downgrade the quality of writing? Not in my opinion. If something is relevant and wasn't mentioned at all, like if Harry's reaction to the first view of Hogwarts was omitted, I would concede that it's a detriment. But when things that don't have bearing on the story and would just be pointless repetitions are omitted, I don't see the fault.
     
  18. PWIZDUO

    PWIZDUO Fourth Year

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    I just reread this again for what must have been the 4th or 5th time but the first time in a couple years and I remain convinced that this is either the best or second best epic length fiction written.

    The development of Harry was believable. His skills, developed over the course of 6 years, aren't the result of some deus ex machina power burst and the story alludes to training without getting sucked into any of the tedious training montages.

    The battle scenes are well written but this is a character driven story. This is where it shines. As we watch Harry become more and more involved in the war we see his psyche manifest the tolls of dark magic, of responsibility and war. The way Harry is written engenders empathy in the reader, his growing stress is almost palpable. He is the perfect imperfect narrator. Contributing to this is the frequent use of flashbacks, normally off putting in fan fiction, which are used to great effect.

    The flashbacks rather than being long copy and pastes, or newly introduced scenes, are usually one line of dialogue from preceding chapters. They're used as a device to show harry coming to a conclusion or realization, and they work brilliantly because they allow the reader to come to the conclusion along with harry in basis of something they've already read.

    The way dark magic is described is one of my personal favorites and again it is shown and not told. We assume, along with Harry, one (commonly used in fanfcition) definition without it having been articulated and by the time Slughorn corrects harry with the story's first definition of the subject, we've already seen its truth.

    Still 5/5. Hopefully we can get another update. The previous chapters spanned 6 years so I'm far from writing this off as abandoned.
     
  19. desinys

    desinys Squib

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    I agree that the chapters about the first two years are basically summaries and rely heavily on the canon storyline. Unlike many others, I really like it. Usually the stories that cover all the seven years at Hogwarts are pretty much canon based for a few years, but unlike those stories, this one covers them very efficiently and you don't have to read a ridiculous number of sequels just to get through the canon parts. Even thought the AU part truly starts in the fifth year, I would give the story 5/5 after the beginning of the third year and 4/5 before that. That's simply because the canon parts are either covered very briefly or changed entirely. I love the way I can follow Harry growing up and his personality developing into a much more interesting direction as the story goes on. That's something many writers do, and in the end it's all about how they do it. The writing, Harry's growth, and the plot are all excellent, and I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who has a hint of patience to read past the canon parts in the beginning. Even those are a solid 4/5 if you pay attention to the how instead of the what. Definitely one of my favourites, I really hope it will be finished at some point, this story is way too good to be abandoned.
     
  20. yrtb

    yrtb Squib

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    The first few years are definitely a canon rehash in some ways, but I'm fine with that due to how well written the story is, and how well it takes off in years 5 and 6.

    I really hope it gets updated and finished eventually, I feel like 7th year would be really good.
     
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