Friday, 3 October 2014

Crossposted from tumblr

We saw a question on tumblr this week:
Where is the good Harry Potter fanfiction hiding? The amazing, well written, fluffy stuff with great characters and moments? I know it must be out there somewhere on ao3 but whenever I try to venture in I can only find... weird, weird stuff. Any help would be greatly appreciated :) 

Kellifer_K started the discussion off by asking for recs, and there were some great suggestions (including that people search FA); Heidi wanted to share here what she said over there.

I know that all fandoms have their own natural lifespan but as someone who has spent years involved in Harry Potter fanfiction - and wrote about it for annejamison's FIC book, the fact that people are having a hard time finding Harry Potter fanfic makes my stomach twist. 
AO3 went live six years ago (October 3, 2008) today in a very limited beta - but that was already well over a year after the last Harry Potter book had come out. Harry Potter fanfic was very book-centric, even once the films started coming out, and a large proportion of magical HP fanfic was probably posted between the release of Goblet of Fire in 2000 and Order of the Phoenix in the summer of 2003 - it was called The Three Year Summer (although great stories were definitely written well after that, too!)
Because of this, most Harry Potter fanfic isn’t on AO3. People did go back and upload older fics - but out of the 64000 fics with Harry Potter in them on AO3, perhaps 2500 of them are things people uploaded from their archives after 2008. A lot of people had written wonderful fics but left fandom by then, which is why you won’t find A Certain Point of View or Draco Malfoy, The Amazing Bouncing… Rat?  on AO3. The Shoebox Project is a must-read (fluffy, angsty and perfect) but it’s only on LiveJournal. And I’m not sure the NC17 version of Boys’ Own Camping Adventure exists anywhere anymore because it disappeared when FFN took down all the NC17 fics ten-plus years ago, but the R rated version is still on FictionAlley. Most of the original Alternity fics are gone - flourish and I have looked - and Nocturne Alley’s been closed for over ten years, but they’re still interesting reads.  
Rec lists that were on Geocities are all gone - and most of the links would be broken by now, because people who used to have sites on Angelfire or EZBoard - or who paid for their own domains - have abandoned them by now, but it’s  possible to go to (no relation to AO3 except both are awesome) if you have a dead link and want to see if the archive of that page is still available somehow. But the rec listd above are terrific resources but everyone will have their own favorites - I was looking for a rec list on Sugarquill but couldn’t find one. FictionAlley’s user recs are all over the Park, and there’s a curated set here
What should we do to be a better, more user-friendly resource for people to find fics? FA's content management system needs to be updated (but for that we need either volunteer coders willing to spend a few dozen hours, or funding/donations - let us know if you can help either way via those links)) but what can we do with what we have?