You know how much I love spoilers, so I’m going to spoil the whole thing right now:
The Harry Potter franchise produced way more than just an army of rabid fans and a steady avalanche of profits.
It produced one of the singularly most useful resources for writers of fantasy fiction (or just about any other genre, for that matter).
If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re probably scratching your head and asking:
But those are the wrong questions. The only question you should be asking is:
- How do I use this to improve my writing?
Well, read on, kiddies, and all will be explained…
A Challenger Appears…
Autumn, 2005. I’m schlepping down the Vegas strip, arm in arm with hubby, feeling energized and a little overwhelmed. It’s not the Sin City nightlife that’s making me feel like I’ve got a stomach full of butterflies, nor is it even the fact that it’s our anniversary (wouldn’t be caught dead at the Luxor if it wasn’t!). No, the fact is – we just came out of a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This was the 4th Potter movie we’ve watched, like loyal little Potter-heads, and it truly was the shiznit, let me tell you.
What I don’t need to tell you is just how crazy-popular the books were starting to get. I can’t recall the numbers off the top of my head, but it was around this time when J.K. Rowling’s literary creation was sparking up into a worldwide phenomenon, prodded forward by the accessibility and fun-factor of the movie adaptations.
“For a movie, it wasn’t all that far off from the book,” sighed Eugene. “I mean, yeah, they had to nix some parts but, y’know, 2-and-a-half hours is cutting it kinda short, right?”
I must have stopped dead in my tracks then, the gears in my head grinding to a halt. “Wasn’t all that far off?” Good god, man, you don’t know the half of it! It took me several moments to remember that he’s talking canon. Obviously, for ‘Euge, Harry’s quest for Triwizard victory, tense rivalry with the Slytherins, and narrowly dodging Voldemort’s machinations was all there ever was and all there’s ever going to be, as far as Book 4′s concerned.
For me, however, J.K. Rowling’s so-called canon is just… yeah… another book. For my literary heart belongs to another.
Oh, I’m as loyal a Potter-head as can be – it’s just that MY Harry Potter had a twin brother. And that twin was the chosen one, destined to defeat Voldemort – not Harry. MY Harry was duty-bound to take every blow for him. MY Harry was sorted into Slytherin. And that’s just scratching the surface. Why, it sounds like a completely different friggin’ story, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is – it’s a 79,000-word-long (and completely brilliant) fan-fiction called Saving Connor. And that’s just Year One. The series moves on to produce six more books, growing ever more complex and wordy – reaching nearly 800,000 words at its peak (Year Five). Dostoyevsky, eat your heart out!
And it’s written by my hero, my teacher, and my inspiration (well, that is, after Eugene) – Lightning on the Wave (also known as Limyaael).
A Guru, Start to Finish
An opinionated sort, Limyaael raged against what she perceived was sub-par fiction, ill-conceived plots, poorly-imagined and cheesy characters – and put her money (or rather, her ink) where her mouth is. Over the span of several years, she wrote (in addition to her Harry Potter fan-fiction, as well as tons of original fiction) this amazing series of 400-something literary rants. Each one unique, each one full of deep lessons for anyone interested in crafting a world and putting living, breathing characters into it.
Limyaael toiled onward, rescuing authors from committing unforgivable mistakes and offering sage advice – all the while completing her alternate-history Harry Potter series.
And then, the unthinkable happened: Limyaael disappeared.
The rants stopped. The fiction halted. The comments froze. Disheartened, we followed Limyaael’s digital breadcrumbs for some time now, trying to get a hold of her, to thank her for what she’s done, but after some time in 2010, the trail went cold. We hope she’s alright. We hope she’s happy. And we hope she’ll return to write another day.
But until then, her work lives on through her thoroughly-educational rants. Characterization, world-building, cliches, languages, and more are all covered – if you are a writer of fiction, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It really ought to be required reading for anyone delving into this line of work seriously, whether you agree with her (sometimes harsh) opinions or not.
These days, Eugene has been thoroughly brought around to the dark side by Limyaael’s work. Though he read and re-read every Harry Potter book before this, he hasn’t touched the Deathly Hallows. Why would he want to? Oh, he’ll see the movie, of course, but to him, it’s just another variation on a theme (and not nearly as deliciously complex as the Lightning on the Wave version).
The NEW canon awaits.
Please visit http://curiosityquills.com/limyaaels-rants for the full index of Limyaael’s rants.