Author Spotlight: dirgewithoutmusic

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I’m back today with another Author Spotlight! While I do enjoy giving individual story recommendations, some authors really deserve all of the recognition I can give them. Plus, if you enjoy one of their stories if gives you an automatic jumping off point to more high quality tales. Sometimes, you can even cruise through the stories they’ve bookmarked to find even more great stuff!

Today, the spotlight is on dirgewithoutmusic. Everything this author writes is gold. Seriously. I have cried reading some of their stuff before. The level of emotion they can put into a one-shot is impressive. They write a lot of interesting character studies, as well as speculative alternate universe stuff. They have a large body of work that spans fandoms both large and small, so you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. They can be found on Archive of Our Own.

Here are some of my favourites of theirs.

we must unite inside her walls or we’ll crumble from within (arguably Canon, series of one-shots)

stories for the ladies of hogwarts, who cry, waver, giggle, trespass, and who deserve our respect all the same

Absolutely amazing character studies of the ladies of Hogwarts – all houses are represented.

boy with a scar (AU, series of one-shots)

A series of “what if” rewrites of Harry Potter, books 1-7. Cross-posted from tumblr. So far includes: What if Neville was the Chosen One, and James and Lily survived? What if Neville was the Chosen One, and James and Lily were tortured by the Lestranges? What if Neville and Harry were both killed as infants, and there was no Chosen One? What if Petunia refused to take him in, and so Harry was raised in Hogwarts? What if Petunia had raised Harry like a son? What if Harry was Sorted Slytherin? What if Harry was a squib? What if Harry was a girl? (cis) What if Harry was a girl? (trans) What if Ron was the Chosen One? What if Hermione was the Chosen One? What if Harry and Hermione met before Hogwarts? What if the Dursleys died, and Dudley was left on Lily and James’s doorstep?

That’s right. All those HP what-ifs you never thought you’d have answered. They exist and they’re great.

once a queen or king of narnia, always a king or queen (arguably Canon, series of one-shots)

All my Pevensie tumblr fic

A series that depicts what it was like for the Penvensies to rule Narnia and then leave it. Susan especially has several fics, but they are all represented and every single one will rip your heart out.

after the scouring (arguably Canon, one-shot)

Let’s talk about Sam crying over rabbit stew, because a brace of coneys had been a spot of luck, once; because even then, even when he still had his pots and his pans, when Frodo had not yet snarled at him and told him to go– Mr. Frodo had still been gone too far by then to ever come back again.

Rosie, who did not cry easy, chopped onions so he would not be the only one with wet cheeks to scrub off. She asked him about herbs and spices, about stirring and cooking times, about what loaf would go best with it all. Sam said, “Rosemary, tarragon.” Part of him still rang against the greening metal of a copper pot dropped down a chasm and left somewhere on the edges of Mordor, but she saw him breathe deep and reach for thyme.

(a story for Rosie Cotton)

Oh man, this story was so fantastic. I hope they write more Tolkien stuff because this was so satisfying.

I could honestly list everything dirgewithoutmusic has ever written as a favourite and not be lying. That’s how good they are. They’ve written stuff for Emelan, Star Wars, Avengers, Tolkien/Narnia crossovers, Ender’s Game, and so many more. I would find it extremely unlikely if you didn’t find something of theirs to love.

That’s it for this week, folks! Let me know if you check these out, and don’t forget to drop the author a comment as well!

FFF: Author Appreciation How-to

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Hello folks, and welcome back to another Fanfic Feature Friday! So, I’m going to be recommending some great stories at the end of the feature. First, I want to talk a little bit about showing appreciation for fanfiction authors.

Though it’s true (for the most part) that fanfiction authors can’t receive financial compensation for their work, there are other ways to make your appreciation known if you’ve enjoyed their stories.

The most basic of these is to ‘like’ their story. If you have an account on fanfiction.net, you’re able to ‘favourite’ stories. Each time you do this, the author is sent an alert notifying them that you’ve done so. If you read stories on Archive of Our Own, you’re able to give a story ‘kudos’ whether or not you have an account. Again, the author is sent a notification about it.

As a fanfiction author myself, I can tell you that every time I get that notification it brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart. (Cheesy, but no less true for it.)

You can also ‘follow’ or ‘bookmark’ a story or author to receive updates on their new posts.

An even more satisfying feeling as a fanfiction author is when someone leaves a comment or review on your story. A favourite is great, but it’s even better when accompanied by some kind words. Tell an author what you liked about their story: the humour, the characterizations, the plot, the world building. Tell them you’ve never seen that character pairing but will now seek it out because of their story. Tell them their writing is captivating, or that you just couldn’t stop reading.

There’s really something frustrating about people liking your work, but never knowing why they like your work. So drop a few comments here and there and help an author out. Boost their self-confidence.

There are also more ways to show appreciation if you’ve loved a story so much that those things don’t seem like enough. (Most of these are easily accomplished and planned for on Archive of Our Own, which has features to enable all of them.)

You could write a gift fic for a favourite author of yours. Writing about their favourite fandom or pairing and presenting it as a gift to them.

You could make some fanart of their story to present to them if you’re artistically inclined.

With their permission, you could even write fanfiction of their fanfiction, or inspired by their fanfiction. I cannot stress enough to ask permission to do this first. But if they accept, what you’re doing is telling them that you loved their story just as much as the original work is based on – after all, fanfiction is a labour of love, and imitation is a great form of flattery.

If you’re into sound and accessibility (and have the permission of the author) you could record the story being read or acted aloud to made a ‘podfic’. Yay for audiobooks!

If you’re fluent in several languages, (and have the permission of the author) you could ask to translate their work into another language, to make it accessible for more people worldwide.

There are so many things you can do to show your appreciation for the people who write stories out of love for them, and who rarely ask for anything in return.

With that in mind, the fics I’m recommending today are those that I feel have gone sadly under-appreciated and deserve a little love.

Harry Potter: Icarus by MarbleGlove (Novella Length, AU)

Some successes are only measured in how long you last before falling. Hermione writes a letter and begins a relationship.

Loyalty by anamia (Short, Canon-Compliant)

“Helga knows without even having to look with her inner eye that they will break apart, that the ties that bind them will thin and fray and snap. She does not ask to see when; half the talent of a Seer is knowing which questions are better left unasked.”

Close To The Dragon’s Fire by lordhellebore (Short, Canon-Compliant)

The first time Neville visits his parents at S. Mungo’s – from Alice’s perspective.

Samaria: La Folia by Kit (Short, Canon-Compliant)

In the 19 years since they first called the lightning, not much has changed. Rachel and Gabriel sing a duet.

Teen Wolf: automatic by seventhswan (Short, AU)

Pop quiz: show me how you’d kill me.


That’s all for this week! Let me know if you check out any of these, or previous recommendations – and be sure to show the authors some love. If you have any questions or recommendations of your own, let me know in the comments below!

FFF: Story Recommendations (2)

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Welcome back to Fanfic Feature Friday! I’m bringing you more recommendations this week, both short and long.

The Hobbit: Child of Earth and Sky by ? (AU, Novel Length)

Certain events in Bilbo’s life were always destined to come to pass, but the will of Belladonna Took is not to be trifled with, and her choice may yet change the lives of many.

This is the story of how Bilbo became the kin of the Eagles of Manwë, and all that happened after.

A story in which Bilbo is tough, the Eagles are funny and fierce, and canon is twisted just enough to be seen with new eyes. Bilbo/Thorin

An Eye For Quality by Linelen (AU, Novel Length)

Fíli lived his life by an old dwarven proverb: when a fool drops a treasure, a wise man picks it up (it sounded better in the original khuzdul).

Bella Baggins never quite fit in the Shire. Perhaps she was made for the mountains, instead.

Features female!Bilbo, good characterizations, and happy endings for all.

Star Wars: Tomorrow (there’ll be more of us) by dimircharmer

“FN-2187 was real, right?” She sounds very young again. “Please tell me he was real.”

“I’m real,” said Finn, who was on his first patrol since his back healed. “And my name’s Finn now.”

Her eyes widened. “You have a name?

Or: The resistance is starting to get stormtrooper defectors. Finn helps them out.

This is the fic that made me look for Force Awakens fics.

Defiance: These things without names by CherryIce (AU, Short)

The air on Earth tastes strange, sits lightly upon Stahma’s tongue but heavily upon her skin, atmospheric pressure and gravity greater than her home. Alak’s feet are pressed so much more firmly to the ground than were hers, as a child.

I adore this story. I wish it was so much longer than it is – or that the author wrote more about the alien cultures from Defiance.

Harry Potter: Harriet Potter Is by setepenre_set (AU, Short)

There are stories with snakes that bite and say {you knew what I was when you picked me up} but this isn’t one of them. This is the kind of story where the abandoned child walks in the jungle beneath the branches full of hissing things and tells them {we be of one blood ye and I}.

 A female!Harry story, in which she chooses Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. Beautifully written.

That’s all for this week. Take a gander and let me (and the authors) know what you think!

Do you have any fic recommendations? Any fandom requests? Any questions about fanfic? Let me know in the comments below.

FFF: Story Recommendations (1)

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This week, I’m bringing you a few short stories from fandoms that I’ve read less of, and a few longer tales that I’ve really enjoyed.

Orphan Black: Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue by possibilist (Canon, Short)

“I’m sick, Delphine. Jasmine tea. That shaking, those knuckles. Lips.” Cophine post 1.10—there are so many ways Delphine is scared.

A short fic centered around Cosima and Delphine’s relationship. This is set before season two. Sad and lovely, and really anything you could ask for in such a small package.

Old Kingdom: First Flight by Sanaryelle (Canon, Short)

The Abhorsen who built the Paperwing takes it on its first test flight. Mogget also features.

A short little tale filling in a bit of lost Old Kingdom history. A fun story that sets a great introduction to this author’s other stories.

Protector of the Small: Fallen by Confusedknight (AU, Novel-length)

Kicked out of Page training, Kel becomes entangled in a bitter struggle for the suffering people of Scanra. Four years later she returns to Tortall, a stranger to those who once knew her, a stranger who has not forgotten the promises she made…

The most comprehensive Tortall fic I’ve ever read, it really delves into the people and culture of Scanra. This really opened to door for me to more fics about what would have happened if Kel was sent away after her first year of probation. Good characterisation, and a storyline worthy of a Tamora Pierce quartet. Highly recommend.

Harry Potter: Island of Fire by esama (AU, Novella-length)

The founding of a wizarding nation in a world of dragons.

An absolutely unique tale in which the Tri-Wizard Tournament goes horribly wrong. In the chaos, a malfunction occurs and all those affected must do their best to build new lives. First of a series. If this author wrote professionally, I would buy all of their books. Seriously. Read this.

So that’s it for this week, folks. Take a gander and let me (and the authors) know what you think!

Do you have any fic recommendations? Any fandom requests? Any questions about fanfic? Let me know in the comments below.

FFF: Stories to Get You Started

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Hello folks! After last week’s introduction to fanfiction, I hope that you’ve had time to poke around some sites and found stuff that has interested you. If you were too busy, or too horrified when you stumbled upon a tale you couldn’t un-see, this week’s feature is for you. (Sorry for the late post!)

Behold, five different, vast, and enjoyable fandoms. For each, I’m linking two good stories that will hopefully pique your interest. One short, one long.

Please keep in mind that everyone likes different kinds of stories! There are stories that follow canon (fitting in with canonical events in the source work) and stories that are very AU (alternate universe, assuming something is very different than the canonical events). I tend to veer AU, but I’ll try to include good canonical stuff as well.

Harry Potter: One of the largest fandoms found for fanfiction, often sited as a ‘gateway’ fandom for those just getting into fanfiction.

Short: the family evans by dirgewithoutmusic (AU)

What if, when Petunia Dursley found a little boy on her front doorstep, she took him in? Not into the cupboard under the stairs, not into a twisted childhood of tarnished worth and neglect—what if she took him in?

Petunia was jealous, selfish and vicious. We will not pretend she wasn’t. She looked at that boy on her doorstep and thought about her Dudders, barely a month older than this boy. She looked at his eyes and her stomach turned over and over. (Severus Snape saved Harry’s life for his eyes. Let’s have Petunia save it despite them).

A fanfiction trope that I deeply enjoy, by one of my favourite fanfic authors.

Long: New Leaf to Turn by slavetothepen (canon-compliant)

Dudley Dursley lived a very normal life. But when an all too familiar letter makes an appearance on his son’s 11th birthday, Dudley must seek the guidance of a cousin he hasn’t seen in 19 years. Who else but Harry Potter?

Lily Evans was a witch – it may have passed over Petunia, but what of her grandchildren? A very enjoyable story.

Tolkien: Arguably the largest fandom around. Writers are often Tolkien junkies, coming up with cultures and customs that work well with the source material.

Short: Garden in Dol Goldur by esama (AU)

“If you wouldn’t mind it terribly, I would like to take a small detour south on our way through Mirkwood.”

A tale in which Gandalf and Bilbo make a slight detour, and hobbits prove to be marvelous gardeners.

Long: Sansûkh by determamfidd (Novel-length, AU)

The battle was over, and Thorin Oakenshield awoke, naked and shivering, in the Halls of his Ancestors.

The novelty of being dead fades quickly, and watching over his companions soon fills him with grief and guilt. Oddly, a faint flicker of hope arises in the form of his youngest kinsman, a Dwarf of Durin’s line with bright red hair.

This is a story in which Thorin watches Gimli during the War of the Ring, as does well, everyone really. It is complete and is incredibly well-written. Many people have created beautiful fan-art for this tale. One of my personal favourites.

Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU): With the rise of superhero universe has come the speculation of just what those heroes do when we’re not watching them.

Short: A Future Shining by icarus_chained (canon-compliant)

It took Tony a while to notice. To see the increasingly massive sections of memory space that someone had blocked off in JARVIS’ systems, the processing power being diverted to something that … that Tony couldn’t breach.

Tony, and JARVIS, and a conversation Tony never, ever thought he’d be having.

AI are pretty cool – and so is this story. Let us bow to our robot overlords.

Long: both have sharp teeth by cosmicocean (AU, but fits with canon)

“And there are stories about wolves and girls. Girls in red. All alone in the woods. About to get eaten up. Wolves and girls.”
-Black Widow, Nathan Edmondson

She is one of 28.

The story of the girl who would be Karen Page, through Russian winters and New York streets.

The one where Karen Page is also a Black Widow. Tragic and lovely.

Twilight: While the source material is divisively loved or hated, a great deal of its fanfic is absolutely brilliant in correcting issues with canon or creatively changing them to suit better stories.

Short: Do You Remember by LJ Summers (AU)

A winner in the Sort of Beautiful Challenge, this is a story about unconditional love and the value of memory. Jacob and Bella have been married for about forty years when the Cullens want to visit for what is possibly the last time.

A tragic and memorable tale about love, life, and all that comes with it.

Long: Neon Moon by NoSleep3 (Novel-Length, AU)

New Moon A/U. Abandoned by the Cullens, Bella emerges from depression with a wall around her heart and a chip on her shoulder. Closed off and immersed in her college studies, she finds her emotional outlet in a surprising source.

A story of a tougher Bella learning how to cope, and living her life.

Mass Effect: The extensive world building of these games are often expanded upon in remarkably cool ways, and character pairings are given more scrutiny.

Short: Followed Him Home by madamebadger (AU, but fits with canon)

In which Shepard was the greatest mom, because she gave Grunt a pony.

Only for “pony,” read “kakliosaur.” For “mom,” read “battlemaster.” And for “greatest,” read “Oh my god, who thought that was a good idea?”

But things worked out—as they do, as they will—in the end.

Heartfelt and fun, a short focus on the relationship between Grunt and female Shepard.

Long: Juxtaposed by Squiggly_Squid (Novel-Length, AU)

Garrus Vakarian never thought being stopped right before the end of his shift would to look into suspicious activity would change his life forever.

Jane Shepard thought it was just a normal day when facing a C-Sec officer come to convince her to leave her bench on the Presidium. Little did she know what would come.

How would their unexpected meeting years before the events of Eden Prime affect their futures?

A fleshed out female Shepard and Vakarian pre-Mass Effect. First part of several stories, a truly massive undertaking. Warning for explicit inter-species sex later in the story.


So, there you have it! Some stories to get you started if you’re familiar with these fandoms. If you look into them, please be sure to be kind and leave a review for the author! If you’d like, you can let me know what you think after you’ve read a fic.

Please feel free to request fandoms, tropes you’re curious about, or ask about anything else fanfiction related in the comments below. 

Are you a fanfic reader? Are there any ‘starter’ fics you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Introducing Fanfiction Feature Friday!

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Welcome to a new blog feature! I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, but now it’s finally happening. Every Friday, I will introduce you to more of the wonderful and divisive world of fanfiction. I read a great deal of it, from drabbles to novel-length stories, and the creativity and passion of the writers never ceases to amaze me.

So, what is fanfiction?

The simplest explanation is that fanfiction consists of fiction written about characters or place settings taken from another person’s original fiction. It is written by fans of that particular book, film, tv show, or video game, rather than the creators themselves.

So – wait. Does that make it plagiarism?

No, it does not. Though there have been questions of copyright infringement in the past, fanfiction authors are not paid for their work. They write stories as a labour of love, and readers respond by favoriting and reviewing their work. While some authors of original works have banned the use of any of their stories in fanfiction, many others are indifferent or even encouraging of fanfiction authors playing with their characters and concepts.

You may in fact be very familiar with some works of fanfiction. While its true that fanfic authors can’t profit from their work, there is an exception. Fanfiction of public domain works can be published for profit. What does that mean?

Well, any novel that you’ve seen that’s a fairy tale retelling? Fanfiction. The immense number of TV shows based on Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes? Fanfiction. You can barely walk into a bookstore without tripping over a Shakespeare retelling. Fanfiction.

Basically, any work that is derivative of another work is fanfiction.

Who writes fanfiction?

Literally anyone you could imagine. Both men and women, though for the most part female authors seem to dominate. People come from all walks of life – professors, veterans, students, housewives, and everyone in between write fanfiction.

Why read fanfiction?

But Daniella, you say, why bother with fanfiction when there are so many undiscovered published works out there? Well, the simple answer is because I enjoy it. There are many reasons to read fanfiction.

Have you ever read a book which you thought was just okay, but a side character you really loved never got any page-time? There’s probably at least one fanfic written focusing entirely on that character.

Have you ever wished that an author went more into the politics, religion, or history of the world they created? Chances are that someone else has, and that they’ve written fanfiction about it!

Have you ever wished that there was more diversity in your favourite book? Someone else has, and they’ve written fanfiction about it!

Have you ever wished that the characters from one book grew up in the setting of another book? Or that characters from your favourite TV show and book meet each other? There’s probably a fanfiction for that.

Have you ever finished a book and wished that the author hadn’t left so many questions unanswered? Someone else has, and they’ve written a fanfiction about it!

But wait, I’ve heard that fanfiction is porn?

Yes, some of it is. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll find some. If not, don’t read those stories. All stories are usually clearly marked for explicit content.

Where can I read fanfiction?

Though there are many places you can find fanfiction, there are two main websites that fit the bill.

FanFiction.net is the first. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest and most popular fanfiction site in the world, with stories hosted in more than 30 languages.

ArchiveOfOurOwn is the next. With millions of stories, it has been praised for its curation and organization.

Okay, but where do I start?

Every Friday I’m going to bring you different fanfiction recommendations and reviews, both for those getting started in fanfic, and those who already love it.

Everyone has opinions on what they want from fanfiction, so you may or may not like my suggestions. The best way to go about things is to poke around the search features of the sites and see how it goes!

Don’t be discouraged by finding stories with bad grammar, or incomplete ones. The bane of every fanfic reader is finding quality stuff that’s complete (or at least updated regularly).

Ultimately, for those who love fanfiction, the brilliant stories are worth the search!

Do you read fanfiction? Why or why not? Are there specific fandoms you would like story recommendations from? Let me know in the comments below!