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Title: Any Instrument
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 131,000
Warnings:Magical disability and the diagnosis and treatment thereof, addressing mental health issues, explorations of identity and self-worth in the aftermath of war, attempts (some successful) to manipulate Harry for the sake of politics, brief accidental voyeurism, coming to terms with sexuality
Enticements: Slow build, mystery, medicine, politics, angst (but not forever!), wandlore, wandless magic, drapples, Slytherins, Unspeakables, the Ministry, an asexual secondary character, dinner parties, coming out, awkward first times, long walks, Wiltshire, Paris, kittens, breakfast, snark, and a happy ending
Summary: Draco Malfoy wouldn't go back to England for anything less than an exceptional case. Being asked to figure out why Harry Potter can't control his magic might be exceptional enough to qualify.



In lieu of Author's Notes, extended flailing in three parts!

First, to my incredible recipients, [livejournal.com profile] femmequixotic and [livejournal.com profile] noeon. Writing for you was truly an honor and a pleasure. Your work, together and individually, is at the heart of my HP fandom origin story. I was amazed, blown away, in awe, and enraptured to discover your stories, which build beautiful worlds and give these characters extraordinary complexity and depth. I've often taken comfort in them in rough moments, escaping to your worlds for an evening to visit other countries, or be reminded that change and love are always possible, or to experience the beautiful, complicated, human love that your characters discover for themselves. To call that a gift is a massive understatement, but I'm at a loss for a better word, so: thank you for the many incredible gifts you've given to fandom, and me, over the years. And for giving me a good reason, with this story, to try stepping up my game. Having you as recipients was the kick I needed to take a risk and try something bigger, deeper, more elaborate, something that I hoped would give the characters a chance to grow and the world to develop. I'm absolutely thrilled (again, understatement!) that you enjoyed it!! And thank you for your lovely comments, too! ♥

Second, I know it's corny to say it takes a village, but it does. Huge, massive, oceans of thanks to my beta and brit-picker [livejournal.com profile] disapparater, who saw this through from infancy to posting, who answered a million questions and caught all my Zs and let me ramble on endlessly and replied thoughtfully and who, most importantly, really is my editor, and told me what wasn't working, when scenes needed more depth, when I needed to stop being lazy and do another rewrite. You were right, and this story wouldn't be what it is without you. No question about it. More village!! Many, many thanks go to [livejournal.com profile] eidheann_writes for being The Fixer (Ficser? Ficxer?) and talking about this way into the wee hours and for telling me to explore the relationship between Harry's emotions and the wand. Wound up being kind of important!! To [livejournal.com profile] firethesound for use of her dining table and for visiting mine and for lots of very productive word-making and excellent conversation. To [livejournal.com profile] ani_mage for great conversations and for pre-reading the first 2/3 and, among othe things, reassuring me that they weren't secretly terribly offensive w/r/t disability and asexuality. To [livejournal.com profile] sophie_french for entertaining a ridiculous number of questions about France, including some urgent last-minute inquiries that must have seemed truly bizarre ("Urgent!! In Paris, in 2008, did Starbucks cups have logos?") but that were always handled with aplomb and kindness and reassuring speed. To everyone who joined me in chatzy sprints for keeping me on task and for cheerleading and support. And to the mods, [livejournal.com profile] capitu, [livejournal.com profile] sassy_cissa, and [livejournal.com profile] gracerene, for being encouraging and patients, for giving me an extension (or three...I'm sorry! Thank you!) so I could edit this behemoth properly, for catching stealth typos, for uploading to AO3, and for making [livejournal.com profile] hd_erised the incredible event that it is. And to all of you, for moments of support and friendship that have ben more valuable than I can ever say. And to everyone who has left comments on Any Instrument, or who left bolstering comments on other stories while I was in the process of writing - thank you!

Third, a few thoughts about process and writing. )

Erised recs to follow soon - what an embarassment of riches this fest was!! And, again, unending thanks and love to everyone who helped this story come into existence, or who read it and left comments and kudos, and to everyone who will. Goodness, do I love fandom.
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Following on [livejournal.com profile] eidheann_writes' discussion about slowdowns yesterday (and subdiscussion with [livejournal.com profile] 0idontknow0 about hurtfest progress), I got to wondering about where writing obstacles come from and what it takes to get into a writing project.

At the moment, I'm loving plotting for my hurtfest fic, but finding it challenging to actually write. Some of that is down to a heavy week of dissertating, but it also has to do with finding the right mindset for this particular project, which, as the fest title suggests, involves writing about some hurt. I tend to call up whatever emotions I'm trying to write about, lest everything start sounding trite or mechanical. "And then Harry became sad and his face was salty with the salt of his tears so Draco licked his face in a metaphorical attempt to take away Harry's sad salty sadness." Do not want! Especially do not want in place of something actually (hopefully) moving or pretty about kissing + crying (or whatever other scenario). I generally love this part of writing projects but can also find it daunting, and thinking about other types of obstacles has me wondering how much the emotional experience of writing plays into productivity (or lack thereof).

When working on a fic, what does it take for y'all to really get into the groove? Are your obstacles mostly logistical - finding time and space to write, not getting distracted?

Are they to do with the kind of slowdowns [livejournal.com profile] eidheann_writes was asking about, the parts of writing that are particularly hard or frustrating?

How much of it is emotional? Do you need to get into your characters' headspace? To feel the things you're writing about? Do you hesitate to write if you can't capture that, or hold off on writing if you don't want to feel those feels? Or is writing relatively unemotional?

Or does it all depend on the project?

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