In "Interview the Internet," Jamie Schuh investigates the sub-cultures and unique characters that populate the strangest corners of the Internet.
What do teen girls do alone in their bedrooms? Look up chloroform recipes? Kiss their Justin Bieber posters are whisper "tomorrow you will be mine?" Yes, probably, but also teen girls are writing fan fiction about boys kissing each other. Not all of them, sure, but a lot of them. A friend of mine, who we will simply call "L," because she has a grown-up job and life now, was writing sexy Harry Potter stories a few years ago, mostly about the series' male characters rubbing their wands together (a few selections are still online here). On a quest to find out what was so titillating about wizards humping each other, I sat down with L to ask her about her secret life as a fan fiction writer. Here we go!
CH: So, I know you got your fan fiction start with the world of 'N Sync, everybody's favorite tousled-hair-and-matching-velour-tracksuit boy band. I once had a sexy dream about Joey Fatone, so I sort of understand the hormones aspect. Who wouldn't want to write about getting into a hot tub with Justin Timberlake? But what got you into slash (the term for stories about dudes boning down on each other)?
L: Yeah, I was introduced to fan fiction through the 'N Sync message boards and fan sites. The stories were chiefly about a Mary Sue character magically getting to know Justin and falling in love. I don't remember a lot of the fan fics from that period, but I remember FictionLyn. She was the E.L. James of 'N Sync fandom, and I was banned from her message board for arguing with other fans over her merits. My fourteen-year-old self was not here for boring, unoriginal stories. So, enter, slash fan fic. I don't know how it happened, but one day it seems I just decided I would rather read about JC fucking Justin than about Justin fucking some dumpy girl he picked out of a crowd at a concert.
CH: Rightly so, JC did once have abs you could grate cheese on. So, how did you end up writing about Harry Potter? Also, what was it about the Harry Potter books a children's series, I might add that got you thinking about butt-sex?
L: When the boy band thing fizzled, I was left without a fandom. A lot of my friends were reading Harry Potter, so I did, too. By the time I finished Goblet of Fire
I was like, "Harry and Draco should totally fuck." And Harry/Draco has been my OTP
("one true pairing") for a decade now. Why Harry and Draco? Well, I could repeat some of the justification and theories in the fandom, like how Harry's rebuff in first year ultimately led to Draco joining the Death Eaters, but I'd like to preserve as much dignity as I can, and just say that I thought it was hot.
CH: OK, so what's the Harry Potter fiction world like? How do new writers get their start? Where do people publish their steamy bits?
L: It's not hard to find places to post your stories fanfiction.net still exist, but Livejournal was always more of a mecca for slash. Most of the stuff that I read and wrote was posted on a Harry and Draco Livejournal community. Skyehawke.com was an invite-only site, so usually the better-written stories were posted there. I stopped updating a story about four years ago, but I still get a notification that someone left me a review on it every few months.
CH: Let's get to the crazy stuff. What's the weirdest story you've ever read? And what's the strangest you've written?
L: It's the Internet. Rule 34, right? I remember reading a Harry/Dobby fic where Dobby (a house servant elf) is caught exiting Harry's bedchamber one morning by a very alarmed Ron Weasley. There was also a Harry/Giant Squid fic that I wish I could forget. On the Harry/Draco front, I read a story where Harry effectively falls in love with Draco as a ferret.
CH: I'm sort of regretting that I asked that now. Speaking of, has there been a story you've read that you thought pushed it a little too far?
L: Some of the gross stuff is the cross-generational fic and incest fic. To each his own, but reading about Dumbledore and Harry, that's kind of gross. Also, reading about a time-traveling Harry that ends up fucking his father. That's taking it too far.
CH: I am wholly regretting asking that. Thanks L, for sitting down with me over the Internet and explaining your creepy world to me. Just kidding, after all, that E.L. James lady made a buttload of money with her Twilight fan fiction story that became Fifty Shades of Grey. Also it got everyone's mom all steamy for a while. Maybe one day you'll do that too.