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#1 water_lily43175

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 11:29 PM

Hi! I'm Ellie, welcome to my MTA page. I've been posting on HPFF for years, and I figured it was about time I made myself known here! So here goes...

 

My current WIP is Off the Rails, a Next Gen James II/OC fic. I have a completed novel, Frozen, which is about Gideon Prewett in the last months of the first wizarding war. I also have a small assortment of one shots on my author page, which get progressively worse as they get older ... but I can't bring myself to delete them.  :p

 

Feel free to ask any questions you may have! Please try to keep plot/character-specific questions spoiler-free though (or use the tags), as I seem to have a thing for plot twists and I'd hate for a new reader to be spoiled in any way. Aside from that, ask away!


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#2 nott theodore

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 10:21 PM

Hi Ellie!  You might recognise me from reviewing Off the Rails (although I'm a bit behind :p) - I was really excited to see you'd made an MTA!

 

1. What gave you the inspiration for Off the Rails?

2. How much planning do you do for it?

3. You're almost 60 chapters in now!  How much time do you spend writing and how hard has it been to keep posting consistently?

4. What's your approach when it comes to characterisation?  Do you try and make your characters different to other stories?

5. You mentioned a sequel in one of your recent review responses - have you planned it already?  How much is left of Off the Rails?

6. Have there been any parts of the story which you planned out one way but completely changed when it came to writing?

7. What's motivated you to stay around HPFF for so long when other members have left?

8. Do you also write OF?

9. You're a Gryffie! (You should totally come and join us in the CR, it's tons of fun ;)) What qualities make you a Gryffindor?

10. If you could claim any of the stories on the archives as your own, what would it be?

 

That's all for now - I look forward to reading your answers! :bye:


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#3 water_lily43175

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 11:55 PM

Hi! Of course I recognise you, you're one of my most regular reviewers! :)

 

1. What gave you the inspiration for Off the Rails?

 

I'm going to whack this one in a spoiler code, on the very slim off-chance that someone who hasn't reached Rails forty-two yet comes along for a read. ;)

 

Spoiler

 

2. How much planning do you do for it?

 

Insane amounts. I can tell you far more detail about characters and events than will ever make it into the fic proper. I have to have a story totally fleshed out before I start writing it, because otherwise I feel as though I'm writing blind. I've made some tweaks to the plot as I've written, but much of it was decided upon right at the very beginning. I have a full timeline of everything that's happened or is yet to happen, and it all fits to 2026's calendar. I'm a control freak like that. It makes it very hard to start a new fic, as I'll come onto...

 

3. You're almost 60 chapters in now! How much time do you spend writing and how hard has it been to keep posting consistently?

 

This is the thing I have most trouble with. I don't know how much time I spend writing, because it varies depending on my mood. Some days, I'll churn out multiple chapters in a day and if I'm lucky then I'm writing all week. Other times I won't come to it for weeks, or even longer. I have poor self-discipline in that respect! So this has made it hard to keep posting consistently - and actually, when I look at my submission dates I haven't been that consistent! Last April I did Camp NaNo and made some serious headway, but since then it's taken me almost a year to write the next ten chapters. I wanted to do NaNo last November to finish off Rails but November is always an awkward month for me what with university, so it didn't happen in the end. I'd like to think I can work on my time management once I've graduated this summer!

 

4. What's your approach when it comes to characterisation? Do you try and make your characters different to other stories?

 

For me, a story has to have strong characterisation. I'm a big fan of the notion that the characters drive the plot, rather than the other way round. Admittedly, a lot of Rails' plot has been structured around Quidditch, but at the same time the main arc of Rails is James' personal journey, and if I didn't put as much work into developing him as a character, then the whole fic would fall down. As for how I approached characterisation ... well, I (as most people do) have my own head-canon of the Next Gen characters, which is pretty much what you see in Rails. When it comes to OCs, it's a question of what's required of them as a character. I don't think it's a conscious thing with me; once a character turns up, I just know what their attributes are.

 

5. You mentioned a sequel in one of your recent review responses - have you planned it already? How much is left of Off the Rails?

 

Ah yes, the sequel. It's called Derailed, and I know the basic plot outline. I also have a couple of sub-plots in mind regarding specific characters. At the moment it's just bare bones though, and as I said above, this isn't enough for me. Once I've finished Rails I plan to sit down and start fleshing out Derailed, because only then will I feel confident to start working on it properly. Luckily I've already created the characters and general situation, but there's still a lot of story-specific planning to be done.

 

Rails is very nearly finished. I basically need to write one more chapter and do some edits, and then it's finished. In total it will be 64 chapters. :)

 

6. Have there been any parts of the story which you planned out one way but completely changed when it came to writing?

 

James' breakdown was going to play out differently. I think he was going to be more reckless in general - i.e. drinking, skipping practices - but not actually hit a breaking point, possibly because he had lower standards. But this just wasn't him; he's always been incredibly disciplined and driven in that area of his life, so obviously the plan wasn't compatible with him as a character. And I think the relationship with Carlotta was going to develop slightly differently too. Aside from that, I can't recall making any big changes - but as I've said, I've been working on it for three years! It's all a bit of a blur now *giggles*

 

7. What's motivated you to stay around HPFF for so long when other members have left?

 

I joined HPFF 8 years ago, and I've never considered leaving! I've had times when I've stopped writing or reading fanfiction, but whenever I've come back to it this has been the first site I've come back to. It's the most comprehensive HP fanfic site there is, and I like that you can make a story stencil so detailed, in terms of era and characters and genres. It doesn't really concern me if other members leave; if I still have readers, then I'll continue to post here!

 

8. Do you also write OF?

 

I don't, because I've never really had any ideas come to mind! I love writing and always have done, so there's no reason why I wouldn't want to write my own fiction, but the plot bunnies have never visited me in that respect! When they turn up, it's always fanfic related :)

 

9. You're a Gryffie! What qualities make you a Gryffindor?

 

Yay for Gryffs! When I first hopped onto the HP fandom, way back when, I identified myself as a Gryffindor from the start. Probably because Harry was there so it was the cool house.  :rolleyes: But the older I've gotten, the more I've come to realise that actually I AM a Gryff! All the sorting quizzes put me there, including the definitive Pottermore sorting, so I was right all along. ;) I'm not entirely sure what qualities make me a Gryff - I'm not very good at self-reflection! I can tell you what I'm not, but I'm not so sure on what I am. I'm reasonably academically clever but I think the aforementioned lack of self-discipline would stop me from being a Claw. I'm terrible with deadlines! I'm not sure that I have the cunning to be a Slyth, either, and I'm not a fan of toil so that rules Hufflepuff out! *giggles* In all seriousness, I'd like to think I'm a brave person and I'm definitely rash! I'm probably more of a Neville or Ron Gryff than a Harry Gryff, I'm not as pure-hearted as him. But I feel at home as a Gryffindor, not just here but on Pottermore and every other HP community I'm in, so I guess that's the most important thing. :)

 

10. If you could claim any of the stories on the archives as your own, what would it be?

 

Oh, now I like this question. *strokes chin* One of my favourite authors, Slide, has a four-part series on Slytherin OCs covering HBP to post-DH, and it really is a wonderful series. Too few people focus on Hogwarts-era fics that aren't about Harry or one of the other characters in the books. There are a fair few Next Gens about that I like ... but I'm happy with my own Next Gen universe, so I wouldn't be fussed about claiming anyone else's. *giggles*

 

Thanks for all your questions! They've been really fun to answer, and I hope I've fully sated your curiosity :)


Edited by water_lily43175, 09 March 2014 - 11:58 PM.

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#4 -BookDinosaur-

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 03:13 PM

Hi there Ellie! I'm a terrible person and haven't reviewed Off The Rails, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that I really enjoy that story. Yay for making and MTA and joining the forums! :)

1. How on earth do you plan out the Quidditch matches, rules and tactics in such detail?
2. Do you plan to change anything in your novel now that JK's giving us new info or not?
3. Have you found out whether pumpkin and fish actually go together?
4. Who is your favourite character to write?
5. Is there a genre/character/era you can't see yourself writing?
6. Try to describe your writing style in one word?
7. How did you start writing fanfiction and how did you come to join the forums?
8. What would you smell if you brewed Amortentia?
9. Would you describe yourself as oil, acrylic or watercolour paint?

(...there's no need to answer #9 if you don't want to, haha. :p)

Enjoy! :D
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#5 water_lily43175

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:14 PM

Hi! No need to apologise for not reviewing, I'm awful when it comes to reviewing fics :/ It's lovely to know you're reading and enjoying, though!

 

1. How on earth do you plan out the Quidditch matches, rules and tactics in such detail?

 

Um. I have no idea, if I'm honest. I think a lot of it is down to my understanding of the game increasing with every chapter. I expect the earlier matches I wrote might seem a bit more simplistic compared to the later ones. It really depends on what I want out of the match in question: whether it needs to be a long game or a short one; whether one team needs to win by a large margin or not; whether one Chaser attack needs to outshine the other; whether James needs a good match ... and so on. The more I think about Quidditch, the more I get out of it. I think I've created a far bigger beast than JK ever considered it could be!

 

And I've well and truly put myself off Quidditch for the rest of time, too. After x many matches, it gets to the point where you run out of tricks, and I got to that point just as I had to write the final of all things. I HATE QUIDDITCH.

 

2. Do you plan to change anything in your novel now that JK's giving us new info or not?

 

Oh gosh, WHY DID JK HAVE TO DO THAT? Why the World Cup, and why now? I won't be changing anything, because it would require a complete rewrite, near enough. My World Cup is 4 teams to a group, and a two month process. Hers is 16 teams to a group, and a years-long competition. It's not like it would just be little tweaks, I'd have to pretty much change everything, and obviously that's not possible. So, no, I won't be changing anything. If only she'd told us all this three years ago...

 

3. Have you found out whether pumpkin and fish actually go together?

 

HA! Best question ever. I haven't tried it out yet but the internet tells me there is such thing as a fish and pumpkin curry. Maybe I should give that a go? Carlotta may need to add it to her repertoire!

 

4. Who is your favourite character to write?

 

Ooh, I like this question! it's obviously a joy to write from James' point of view, because he's so adorable and caring and loving. His darker moments aren't so nice to write, but when he's riding the crest of a wave he's a darling. Maddie Bennett steals every scene she appears in, and Louis has this utter charm about him. Post-war Harry is so blasé about everything. My favourite would have to be Carlotta though. She's got so much sass, and her curiosity about the wizarding world is ridiculously cute, but she's also got this underlying vulnerability about her. Plus I love what's to come for her in the sequel to Off the Rails. :)

 

Having said that, I think all my Rails characters would be beaten by Gideon Prewett, who is the main focus of the other novel-length fic I have on the archives. I finished that fic a year and a half ago, and I miss writing about my Giddy P. :(

 

5. Is there a genre/character/era you can't see yourself writing?

 

Never say never, but I can't see myself writing Founders-era stuff. Also I tried writing a Hogwarts-era fic before DH came out, and that was a struggle. I just couldn't get Harry right! As I've said above, post-war Harry is an absolute joy to write, but I just couldn't get a proper handle on him aged 17. But there's no character (other than that) that I can categorically say I wouldn't write. Likewise for genre. It all depends on what plunnies turn up. :)

 

6. Try to describe your writing style in one word?

 

Convoluted! My beta reader does wonders shortening and re-ordering my sentences. :)

 

7. How did you start writing fanfiction and how did you come to join the forums?

 

I discovered HP fanfic after OotP came out - I, like most people, flatly refused to accept Sirius' death for a long time. I didn't start writing until after HBP came out, though. I posted those fics on HPFF at the time, but they're gone now. ;) I had a hiatus after DH came out, but then started writing again a few years ago. I made a forum account at the time I joined the archives, as my joining date will tell you, but I never got round to posting! However, as Rails nears completion and its sequel becomes my focus, I thought it would be a good idea to create a MTA page so you lovely readers could come and ask questions about it if you wanted to. :)

 

8. What would you smell if you brewed Amortentia?

 

Hmm. Probably new book smell, tea and the sea. :)

 

9. Would you describe yourself as oil, acrylic or watercolour paint?

 

Acrylic, all the way. :) Thanks for the questions!


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#6 missclaire17

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 05:00 AM

Hi Ellie! :) I'm popping by like I said I would! 

 

1) Since we kind of already have a general guideline of Next-Generation canon characters, when thinking up of Original Characters (such as Carlotta, Maddie, Kit, etc.), where do you get the inspiration for creating them? 

 

2) If you could change one plot point (ie: a death, the result of a Quidditch game, etc.) in the Harry Potter books, what would it be? 

 

3) What position in Quidditch would you play? 

 

4) How do you keep your motivation to keep writing and not give up? 

 

5 ) Do you have any new ideas for fics besides Derailed?


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#7 water_lily43175

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 11:31 AM

Hi! :)

 

1) Since we kind of already have a general guideline of Next-Generation canon characters, when thinking up of Original Characters (such as Carlotta, Maddie, Kit, etc.), where do you get the inspiration for creating them? 

 

I honestly don't know. At least, I can't give you a fluid answer on how I go about creating OCs. For one thing, I created these characters three years ago, so I can't really remember exactly how they came about. But a lot of it depends on what their purpose is within the story. With Carlotta, for example, she catches James' interest right from the start, so she has to have attributes which draw him in. And she needs to be someone special in order for him to persist even after she learns about magic. So she's sassy and independent and doesn't fawn over him. Also, she needs to be curious and open-minded, so she sticks around after she learns about magic, and forgives James for hiding things from her. I don't know how Maddie came about, but Kit's creation was based on him being a foil to Maddie, so once I'd identified that she was loud and brash and bouncy, he became the opposite of that so as to provide Lily with a more emotionally observant friend. So I guess that's my basic thought process - what purpose am I introducing a character for, and therefore what should they be like as a result?

 

2) If you could change one plot point (i.e: a death, the result of a Quidditch game, etc.) in the Harry Potter books, what would it be? 

 

Ooh, I like this question. You know, I'm not actually sure. I have this terrible habit of skipping the last chapters of OotP these days, because I just find myself screaming at Harry NOT to fall into Voldemort's trap. I was devastated when Sirius died, at the time he was by far and away my favourite character. But I wouldn't actually change that, because he needed to die in order for the story to carry on as it did. Weird as it sounds, I think I'd keep Ted Tonks alive. I hate the thought of poor old Andromeda losing everyone within the space of half a year. I don't mind Lupin and Tonks dying because I like the symbolism of Teddy being the Harry of the second war, and also having all the Marauders die (I am clearly a very morbid person) but Ted dying as well just breaks my heart. I wouldn't even change FRED dying, even though that made me cry like a baby, because a Weasley needed to die and having it be one of the twins just makes it an even bigger sucker punch. The major character deaths that occured were all necessary for one reason or another, so I wouldn't change any of those. I'd bring Ted back though. :) I honestly can't think of any other plot point that I would want to change! 

 

3) What position in Quidditch would you play? 

 

At the moment, NONE because I hate Quidditch now after 60+ chapters of it. :p I know this is the answer that most people would probably give, but it has to be Chaser. :)

 

4) How do you keep your motivation to keep writing and not give up? 

 

Excitement about what's to come, really! I've had lots of lulls, but at the end of the day the thing that always brings me back is knowing that I have stuff planned which I want to write and share with other people. Especially when it comes to big plot points, it's the feedback from you lovely reviewers which makes it all worthwhile. :)

 

5 ) Do you have any new ideas for fics besides Derailed?

 

Within the Rails universe, yes. I know lots about Lily's background, and I could easily write a novella on her, although at the moment I think if I were to write anything, it would be a short story. There are also other characters who I could focus on - Maddie, actually, has an interesting story in the time between Off the Rails and Derailed. And there are a fair few other things - missing moments, alternative POVs - that I could turn into a one-shot collection if I ever found the time. It's the sort of project that I can dip in and out of when I have moments of inspiration.

 

Outside Rails, I have nothing. Which is probably for the best. I'm terrible at juggling fics; when I first started Rails I had another WIP on the go, and the end result was I stopped writing both of them for a fair bit. But when a plunny strikes, you can't ignore it!

 

Thanks for the questions :)


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#8 nott theodore

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:48 PM

Ellie!  I told you I'd be back to pester you with more questions! :D

 

1. How long have you known that you were going to end the story the way you have?

2. When you first got the idea for Rails, did you know the whole overarching plot, or did that take a long time to develop?

3. How do you come up with names for your OCs?

4. If you were to write another next generation story, not focusing on James or Carlotta, would you set it in the universe you've created in Rails?

5. Rails is such a long fic - have there ever been any moments when you just wanted to give up?  And if so, what advice would you give to people who feel like giving up on stories?

6. Was it difficult to make the switch from writing Gideon in your Marauders era fic to writing James in the next generation?

7. What's the main lesson you've learnt from writing fanfiction?

8. This is kind of similar - which area of your writing has improved the most since you started writing fanfiction?

9. If you could create your own Quidditch team, what would it be called and what would the mascot be?

 

I look forward to your answers! :hug:


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#9 water_lily43175

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:52 AM

Yay for more questions! :)

 

1. How long have you known that you were going to end the story the way you have?

 

I feel so bad with these questions because I honestly don't remember! I always knew that James was going to be a Quidditch player with Problems, and this seems like the logical solution to that. I think my original draft had him putting more emphasis on seeing his career as coming between him and Carlotta (given she was worried about being a burden and holding him back) but other things have changed since then so that part never made it into the fic proper. So this has been the plan for as long as I can remember, in which case the answer to your question is probably "for almost as long as this story's existed". :)

 

2. When you first got the idea for Rails, did you know the whole overarching plot, or did that take a long time to develop?

 

Again, it's difficult to say. The initial plot idea was the James/Carlotta storyline. I think I always knew that if I was to write a James II fic, it would be about a James crippled by the pressures of being Harry's son, so the minute I decided to make him a Quidditch player, the breakdown idea would have been there straight away. Or perhaps I decided to make him a Quidditch player because I wanted to put him through his breakdown? I really don't know. (These questions will be a lot easier to answer when we get to Derailed because I'm still planning it, so hopefully I'll remember how things unfold in my mind!)

 

As for Lily, I always knew I wanted to throw a character like her into a fic and tackle the issues that come with that, so the minute I started working on a Next Gen, I knew picking her for that plot would be doubly interesting, with her being Harry's daughter.

 

3. How do you come up with names for your OCs?

 

Fun fact: Carlotta was originally called Evangeline. That was before I decided to make her part-Spanish, I think (and THAT was only because I wanted her mum to be Spanish, for reasons which will hopefully become apparent in Derailed). Then she became Carlotta, which is a name I always loved when I was younger and read Enid Blyton's St Clare's boarding school fics. Her mum is now called Evangelina, because I liked the name too much to shelve it completely.

 

To be honest, a lot of the time I just pick names I like, so long as they fit the character. I mean, there are some names which won't suit a pureblood witch or wizard, and the names which are more suitable for them would sound ridiculous for a Muggle. I remember struggling a lot with Cato's name. I wanted something to match the Bagman pattern - Ludo, Otto, both four-letter names. After that, Cleo was easy. Sometimes it can be fun to name a character, other times it's a nightmare. :p

 

4. If you were to write another next generation story, not focusing on James or Carlotta, would you set it in the universe you've created in Rails?

 

I think I'd have to; it's my head-canon now. I get confused when I read other people's fics and Lily's at Hogwarts. That would be the difficult thing, including Lily as she is and managing to write it in such a way that it wouldn't confuse non-Rails readers. But I don't think I could write about the Next Gen characters if they weren't my characters.

 

5. Rails is such a long fic - have there ever been any moments when you just wanted to give up?  And if so, what advice would you give to people who feel like giving up on stories?

 

I was fine with writing Rails until about a year ago. I did Camp NaNo and got myself to the World Cup, and about ten chapters away from the end. I then had exams so stopped writing completely, and then I had a busy summer, and then come September I couldn't get back into the fic. Especially as there was so much Quidditch to write. There were times when I wondered if I'd ever finish it! But I got my head down the other month and just ploughed through it, and it was the best feeling in the world to finally finish. :) I guess if I were to give advice to someone else in that position, I'd say to not force anything, because that can just make things worse. Remember why you're writing the fic, and what you want to achieve from it, and in the end something will hopefully come. :)

 

6. Was it difficult to make the switch from writing Gideon in your Marauders era fic to writing James in the next generation?

 

I started writing Rails just after I started posting Frozen, so for a year and a half I was writing them both at the same time (never juggle WIPs. It's terrible). Frozen actually had three narrators in all - Gideon, another known character, and a few pronoun-only, present tense sections (for MYSTERY). It was a challenge in itself to juggle those, because the two characters were quite different, and the pronoun-only bit got interesting once there were more than two characters involved and there was lots of "she" and "he" to keep track of.

 

James is actually very similar to Gideon in a lot of ways, especially now James is more mature, so going back to James after writing a bit of Frozen wasn't too hard, especially if I'd been writing Gideon. It was made easier by the fact the two fics are set in totally different times so it was easier to separate them in my head. I think the biggest difficulty was actually the switch from third person in Frozen to first person in Rails. Before Rails, I'd never done first person for anything longer than a one-shot, but I thought Rails needed to be told from inside James' head. Now, I think it would feel odd to go back to writing third person. But equally, first person wouldn't have worked for Frozen. It's odd, that something like that can make such a difference in a fic.

 

7. What's the main lesson you've learnt from writing fanfiction?

 

Planning and pacing are vital. In an ideal world, I wouldn't be posting as I write - that was my plan for Frozen, and then also for Rails, to hold them back until they were complete. Instead, I gave in both times after about eight chapters. But I'm fuelled by the feedback from readers, and without that I had no real go-forward, which is why I began posting. I know I'm not going to be able to adopt that approach with Derailed either, because aside from anything else I'll leave you guys hanging for years on end if I did that. 

 

8. This is kind of similar - which area of your writing has improved the most since you started writing fanfiction?

 

The general narrative, and description within that, I'd say. I think I've always been better at writing dialogue, and in the early days I would pretty much neglect the narrative. Which is very naughty. :p

 

9. If you could create your own Quidditch team, what would it be called and what would the mascot be?

 

...you clearly asked me this because I bailed on the mascots for the World Cup final, didn't you? :p Um. I'm trying to think of a cool magical creature that could be the mascot. You can't get much cooler than a dragon, can you? As for a name, I really have no clue. That kind of thing is where I completely fall down. I'd just call it after the dragon, probably. Really original, I know. :p

 

Thanks for the questions! :)


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#10 MissesWeasley123

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 12:06 AM

Hi Ellie! Sian's told me some greaf things about Off The Rails, so I just began reading it today and will review soon too!

1. I must ask, how did you form Carlotta's character?
2. I really really like Ginny in this! Do you like her character? How about the pairing of Harry/Ginny?

That's all for now :) When I read more I'll stop by <3
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#11 water_lily43175

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 09:47 AM

Oh, oh, more questions! New reader! :) Thanks for taking the time to check out Rails!

 

1. I must ask, how did you form Carlotta's character?

 

Carlotta had to be someone who would catch James' attention and make him want to persevere. The James we see at the beginning of Rails is a James who, for certain reasons, doesn't want commitment and isn't likely to chase after girls. In addition to that, Carlotta being a Muggle makes things a lot more complicated, and any sensible person would just run away from the situation. So all in all, for James to make an effort she had to be someone who he would be willing to make an effort for. So she's independent, she knows what she wants to do with her life, she's not afraid to speak her mind ... all qualities which James would admire in a person. And she's also sassy, because he needs someone who can give as good as she gets.

 

There's more to Carlotta than first appears, and so there's a reason why she's so independent and driven. And James will discover this in time. She's one of my favourite characters to write. :)

 

2. I really really like Ginny in this! Do you like her character? How about the pairing of Harry/Ginny?

 

I'll confess; I took an age to warm to Harry/Ginny. This has been said fairly widely, but JK didn't do a great job of developing them in the books. I think OotP did a good job of showing how Ginny had grown up since the beginning of the series, and looking back it's clear that JK was trying to lay the seeds for them in that book, but I wasn't convinced by Harry's sudden discovery of his undying love for her in HBP. In fact, it took fanfiction to convince me that yes, I did like this pairing. Now I've come round to it, I adore them, especially in a post-Voldemort world.

 

I'm really glad you like Ginny, because I had a great time writing her in Rails. I think she'd adopt that maternal streak that's so strong in Molly, but underneath she'd still be that strong-willed, confident, savvy person we see in the books. And I love her. :)

 

Thanks for the questions!


Edited by water_lily43175, 10 May 2014 - 09:48 AM.

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#12 TidalDragon

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 02:19 PM

Howdy! I was drawn in to Off The Rails from my Golden Paws reviewing quest and though I've only read that first chapter still, you'll be hearing more from me soon! I just wanted to stop by your MTA thread though, and leave some questions!

 

1. If you had to compare yourself to a Quidditch ball, which would you choose and why?

 

2. Agent is a career I've never seen in a fic before! Good catch! How did you think of it and what challenges were there with the way you envisioned the character and the way sports agents are typically viewed in our culture?

 

3. Based only off what you've said about Carlotta in the answers above, she sounds a bit like Ginny - independent, sassy, not afraid to speak her mind. Purposeful similarities or coincidence?

 

4. The Holyhead Harpies - part of the problem or part of the solution?

 

Have fun answering!


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#13 water_lily43175

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:29 AM

Hello! Thanks again for popping by and giving Rails a review - and all the other Paws nominees! Awesome stuff. :)

 

1. If you had to compare yourself to a Quidditch ball, which would you choose and why?

 

A Quaffle. Seems fairly straightforward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, but with a little surprise.

 

2. Agent is a career I've never seen in a fic before! Good catch! How did you think of it and what challenges were there with the way you envisioned the character and the way sports agents are typically viewed in our culture?

 

I'm a big sports fan generally, and agents are always present there, trying to get better deals for their players etc. etc., so when it came to writing about sport in the wizarding world, I guess it just seemed natural that agents would be there to represent the players. I think they do have a reputation as people who are in it for the money, and who come across as quite ruthless. (In fact my local rugby union team has seen this recently, with one player in particular who appears to have somewhat lost sight of what playing rugby is all about, and is snatching up all sorts of endorsements and is forever seen on red carpets and whatnot, while his playing ability has sunk like a stone. He's now left for another club, and a lot of it feels orchestrated by the sports agent who obviously wants his clients to be in the public eye as much as possible. Generally speaking, these days in Britain footballers are pretty much celebrities by right, but rugby's a lot more down to earth and about the game first and foremost, so when a player seems to get too big for his boots it doesn't sit well with fans of the club. And now I'm rambling... but I think that's partly what's influenced my way of thinking here.) In Brigid's case, James is lucky because she is someone who tries to get the best for her players but never once forgets their integrity. There's a contrast between her and another agent in the fic, who wants to represent as many national players as possible and who gets very annoyed when Brigid picks up some of his clients - that's your stereotypical sports agent, I think. Brigid is the one who breaks the mould. Having said that, she does face the challenge of juggling being a friend to James and also representing him in Quidditch, and this does cause some conflict at one point in the fic. It's a fun dynamic to explore!

 

3. Based only off what you've said about Carlotta in the answers above, she sounds a bit like Ginny - independent, sassy, not afraid to speak her mind. Purposeful similarities or coincidence?

 

Heh, you know, I'd not even noticed that before! But you're right, they are similar in that sense. Obviously not purposeful, but now I think about it, it's probably not a coincidence either. Harry and James aren't all that dissimilar in Rails when it comes down to it, so they would perhaps look for the same traits in a partner. Having said that, Carlotta is the way she is for other identifiable reasons - you can see even from the first chapter that James has a certain opinion about women, particularly those who like him for the fame, so Carlotta is deliberately the opposite of those women he's come across before - she's opinionated and says what she thinks. He's the kind of person who would admire someone who can stand on her own two feet and knows where she wants to go in life, too. However, I didn't just create her to be the "ideal woman" for James; she has her own stuff going on too, and it's for that reason that she's independent and refuses to let herself depend on other people. But that's all spoilers. ;)

 

4. The Holyhead Harpies - part of the problem or part of the solution?

 

Now, I like this question a lot (now we've established we're on the same wavelength!). I think the crux of this issue is - is there sexism in the wizarding world, and in Quidditch in particular? My approach here is actually that there isn't. We see right from the start, with Gryffindor's Quidditch teams, that girls are present on the team, and there are also girls who play for the other house teams - like Cho for example. Also the Irish national team has women on it, albeit only two from seven. Having said that, Slytherin don't seem to have girls on their house teams, and Bulgaria is all-men I think (although it's hard to tell who is what gender in that chapter). But when I came to creating teams for Rails - and I've had to come up with a lot of names - I did it on the basis that there was going to be a relatively even split in terms of men/women, especially given we're a generation on from the books. I didn't make teams 50-50, but I think across the board it comes out fairly even. However, Beater does appear to be the one position which men are more likely to play than women, and I made one of the Falmouth Falcons' Beaters a women deliberately because of that - subversion of gender stereotypes and whatnot.

 

So I guess that begs the question, why are the Harpies all-female if there's no sexism and misogyny to overcome? Maybe their existence is evidence that there is actually sexism in Quidditch, or that there was at the time the Harpies were created, and that women needed that extra bit of help in order to make their way in pro Quidditch? It's something that's not really comparable to real-life sport, because there are few, if any, sports in which men and women play alongside each other. Most sports are split, and it's the men's game which by far and away is more popular (this coming from the perspective of a Brit and therefore British sports) - although having said that there's currently a women's tennis game on TV.

 

I expect JK created this all-female team without really thinking much about it other than "it's a nice sentiment". But she does seem to have created a world in which there's not all that much sexism, or at least if there is, it's not apparent, and so the existence of an all-woman team is odd in that sense. In fact, when looking at the other teams I've created, it's a bit unfair. The sequel to Rails is a lot more political, and there's an interesting anecdote about the Harpies which will emerge at some point within the fic. But the wizarding world throws up oddities all the time, and maybe this is just one of those oddities. Is it right? I guess that depends on whether you agree with countering anti-woman sexism with a pro-woman agenda. It's something that's not covered in Rails, but as I've said, the Harpies do have some relevance at one point in the sequel.

 

Thanks for the questions! :)


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#14 nott theodore

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 04:40 PM

Ellie! :hug:  I'm back to pester you with some questions (and cheer you up before your final exam, hopefully!)

 

1. How did it feel to finally mark Rails completed?  Were you happy with the way it ended, and people's reactions?

2. What has been the most surprising thing about writing James?

3. How difficult was it to switch to writing from Carla's point of view for the sequel?

4. To what extent is Derailed planned?

5. If you could meet one character from your Rails universe, and ask them any question, who would it be and why?


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#15 water_lily43175

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 09:02 PM

Yay, more Sian questions! You're right, they have cheered me up.  :hug:

 

1. How did it feel to finally mark Rails completed?  Were you happy with the way it ended, and people's reactions?

 

It was so surreal marking it as complete on here. It's taken me three years to write - and, perhaps most annoyingly, it took me nine months to write those last ten chapters - and so to finally be at the END is the weirdest feeling ever. But it's so lovely to finally be able to share what happens with everyone else! There's nothing worse than wanting to talk about things but not being able to. :)

 

I was really happy with it in the end, which surprised me. I'd written the last two chapters ages ago, and the epilogue remained pretty much untouched, but the penultimate chapter needed a lot of changing to fit with the story that I eventually wrote. I've had this before, with Frozen, and it can be really difficult to edit something you've already written and you're happy with, to make it fit what's gone before, and yet still be happy with it. In Frozen I felt like I missed the mark a couple of times, but in Rails I loved what I ended up with, so that was good. I struggled with the Final but I liked how it turned out in the end, so all in all I was happy!

 

People's reactions have been lovely. I knew it would be polarising, and I've had reviews from people saying they thought it would happen and loved it, from people who said it came as a surprise but still loved it, from people (like you) who didn't like the notion of it at first but came round to it (and those have been the most satisfying reviews) and also from people who just don't like it. But honestly, I don't mind if people don't like it, and if anything it shows that people have invested in James to the point that they want to see him carry on playing Quidditch. I think that's a fairly big positive to take from it all. Plus, I know I'd probably be one of those people if it wasn't my fic. ;)

 

2. What has been the most surprising thing about writing James?

 

Oh my word. What hasn't been surprising? I always knew he was a character with more depth than at first glance. I didn't realise just how deep and nuanced a character he'd become. Honestly, at times he's written himself. I'll miss writing from his perspective, but there's something exciting about the thought of portraying him from someone else's perspective. Especially someone who adores him so much. ;)

 

3. How difficult was it to switch to writing from Carla's point of view for the sequel?

 

Well, I haven't actually written much at all yet, so I'm not quite into the swing of things with her. Having said that, this sequel has been actively bouncing around in my head for the last two years, and I've spent a fair amount of time musing over it so I've had time to get into her head, even if I haven't gotten much written down yet.

 

In many ways she's similar to James, but the interesting thing is where their insecurities differ. James didn't always recognise the talent he had, and in his darker moments he doubted himself, but most of the time it wasn't a crippling insecurity. Carlotta is, on the face of it, more pragmatic than James, and certainly more perceptive. But she obviously has her own issues, which in the lighter moments are just irritations, and in the darker moments manifest into self-hate and a sense of inferiority - her insecurities do cripple her at times. James never once felt that he wasn't good enough for Carlotta. She, on the other hand, worries about this a lot. It's something that was hinted at in Rails, but will only become really clear once we get inside her head. So James had one big low, and aside from that he had a couple of rocky patches but nothing minor. Carlotta is constantly up and down. So that will be interesting to tackle. And, of course, she presents a very sensitive issue in her own right, which I really want to get right, so that will be a bit of a task.

 

4. To what extent is Derailed planned?

 

Um, pretty much to the extent that it was planned about three months ago. :shy: I know the main plot arc. I know how James/Carlotta pans out, and I know how Carla's own personal character arc will go. It's a case of piecing things together, developing that main plot arc to establish what events need to happen, and how to thread in everything else with it. A few of the other characters - Brigid, Lily and Maddie for a start, of course, along with Albus - have their own things going on. So I need to sit down and piece it together, and then we're good to go. Having said that, I could easily write the first five chapters without knowing where I go from there. So I have a bit of leeway which is nice; I should be able to churn out chapters while I'm planning. :)

 

I think my main issue is fitting it all into a time scale. Rails had to end by the end of August for James to be able to take up the teaching job, so it was easy enough to build up a concise, compact calendar of events. With Derailed it could take as long or as short a period of time as I think is necessary. As yet, I don't know how long it needs to be. And that makes it harder to work out what happens when. It's a vicious circle I'm stuck in. :p

 

5. If you could meet one character from your Rails universe, and ask them any question, who would it be and why?

 

Hmm, now I could go for Maddie or Louis, because I think they'd both be a right laugh. Having said that, I think it would be pretty awesome to meet my Lily and ask her something - pretty much anything really - about her life, and what it's like to be her and living in the wizarding world. Or maybe Carlotta, to ask if she could perform one kind of magic, what would it be?

 

Ultimately though, I'd want to meet James and ask him to marry me. :p


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