Ep. 55 - #HP (Grindledore) - Interview With Fanfiction Writer Prima Vera
In this episode I chat with HP fanfiction writer Prima_Vera about disability representation and her Grindledore fic “Quiet In Blue.” You can find a full transcription of this episode down below.
Thanks for coming on the show, Prim!
Keep on rollin’!
Link to Quiet In Blue is here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/42018363/chapters/105493884
Other Authors Mentioned:
Please note: This transcription was done by an A.I. robot and one very tired human. All mistakes are, most likely, the robot's fault. All hail our robot overlords.
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ChaosBlue: The following paragraphs are from chapter 15 of a fanfiction called Quiet in Blue by today's guest fanfiction writer, Prima_Vera.
His dreams were red, red like the locks he kept seeing even after waking up, red like the fire that was encompassing the roofs of Vienna, red like his own blood and fear. He had no idea why he was scared, but he was scared for him, and because of the ugly darkness looming behind his back, sometimes taking a shape of blue snakes. They were connected with a thin thread of destiny, bigger than them both, bigger than all of them. And though Gellert didn't know his name, he was already in love with his shy smile and his bright mind. He couldn't wait to meet him. What is it like to be immersed in silence? It's like floating in blue, by blue. I don't know.
It's calming. He never met anyone who performed magic so easily before, and who focused on it so intensively, not even Nicholas. He could see a whole grand future ahead for the boy, and his seer dreams thrummed with visions of grandeur, warmth and gold, like sun touching the sky on a summer day. He was fascinated with the way his mind worked and how he tackled any problem he was presented with, never backing out even when faced with a challenge. He was fascinated with the way he threw at his brows, and put his hair behind his ears when deeply engrossed in the task at hand. He hoped that his own smiles and watchful gazers weren't noticeable, but he couldn't help himself but stare. He was simply captivated.
ChaosBlue: To the north, south, east and west, four corners of the world. Greetings from the wild arid desert of the American southwest. I'm your host, ChaosBlue, and this is the Fanfic Maverick podcast.
Our special guest fanfiction writer today is Prima_Vera. She's been a member of A03 since 2021, and she has 50 fan fiction works posted for the Harry Potter universe. Prima is passionate about languages and aerial acrobatics. She's also been writing for the past 17 years.
Hell yeah! Prima, welcome to Fanfic Maverick. How are you doing today?
Prima_Vera: Welcome. Hi. It's nice to be here today.
ChaosBlue: I'm so glad that you're here too. I'm so excited to talk to you.
I always like to start asking about people's discovery of fan fiction for the first time, because I always think that that's like a really cool story to hear from people. How did you discover fan fiction for the very first time? Do you still remember the first fic that you ever read?
Prima_Vera: Okay, so I'm measuring it, so writing and reading fan fiction is a quite a complicated one, because I started writing fan fiction before I started reading it, and I started writing it not even knowing what fan fiction was, how was it defined, whatever the heck it was? So I remember that the first time I actually wrote a fan fiction was the Harry Potter one, and I was like nine years old, I think, and I always had those notebooks stored in my, on my bookshelves. I remember that I picked one.
I wrote something like Harry Potter is coming back to Hogwarts and he's going to catch a train, something like that. I can't really remember what exactly it was, but it was in Polish, so I started writing things in Polish first, and I started writing English.
I switched to English around a year ago, so I've been around for a long time, but it's been mostly in Polish instead of in English, and while I started with Harry Potter, I also wrote some, you know, Talvos fan fiction, Lord Of The Rings fan fiction, Assassin's Creed fan fiction too, so it was like multi-fandom, but then I decided that Harry Potter was actually the fandom I like the most, so I decided to stay there.
And I remember that the first fan fiction I actually read, it was James and Lily fan fiction, I think, it was in Polish of course, so around that time I was only reading Polish fan fiction, I was writing Polish fan fiction, and I was also writing original fiction, so it was like I wasn't writing only fan fiction, but also original fiction. So after James and Lily's story, I also read some Draco and Hermione, and the funny thing is that I was a big name in the Polish fandom, so it's kind of funny to think back about that time, because I'm not really that active in Polish fandom anymore.
So I've mostly switched to the international fandom, and writing stories in English, but it's funny to think back and see how many stories I wrote, and how many people actually read my fan fiction, so it's like it's amazing, it's astounding, and I'm amazed when I look back at those numbers. I mentioned that before when we started talking about Polish fandom, to me, feels very different from the international one, because Polish fandom actually started with blogs, it started with forums that are no longer active, and when those blogs and those forums started to drop down because pages crashed and people moved from there, Polish fandom actually moved to Wattpad, and it's still here.
It's not very active on AO3, but it's very active on Wattpad, and some Facebook groups too, but yeah, Wattpad is the most popular platform here. Personally, I don't like Wattpad very much, it's a very specific platform, but I prefer AO3 because when it comes to writing in English. AO3 is a perfect platform to me, because it allows not just connecting with people, but also promoting your work and the filtering system, it's Super B on AO3, and that's the thing I can't say about Wattpad, because Wattpad is in general not the best platform out here.
Yeah, in general, my experience in Polish fandom and the international fandom is very different, because when I was writing for the Polish fandom, I felt like I was mostly alone in the writing, because we didn't have a place to gather. We didn't really have a place to talk about our experience, and apart from the comments on blogs, on stories, where people gathered around, every time there was a new chapter published, there was really no platform for exchanging, you know, the talk, the exchange experience and stuff like that. But in the international... a fandom on Discord servers, I found that. I found a community that I can talk to. I found people that support me. I found people that are willing to exchange experiences.
So I feel like the fandom that I've been in, the Polish fandom, was focused mostly on writing, but you were writing alone, right? You were writing with other people, but mostly alone. And that's the biggest difference I've noticed about those fandoms. So yeah, I've been writing in Polish mostly for the majority of my life actually, and I only switched to English around a year ago.
ChaosBlue: So it sounds like you've been more involved in international fandom about a year when you first started writing in English?
Prima_Vera: Yeah, exactly because it was around a year and a half ago when I joined the Discord server for hyperta writers. So I've been more involved.
I met more people who were writing fan fiction and they were from all over the world. And I was like, hey, okay, I want to share my fan fiction and I can try switching languages. So the very first time I actually started writing stories in English, it was very scary, you know, because English is not my first language. So every time I'm writing and speaking English too, I'm always scared of making mistakes. And I'm always scared of, you know, my level of English not being sufficient enough to tell the story, to connect with people.
And I started with writing for a fest. I think it was a Remus fest. And it was a short story. So I started with a short story. And then I dove into longer, a longer one.
And what shocked me the most were the comments stating that, okay, but English is not your first language. No, it's not. No, it's not. I had no idea, right? I read the whole story and I had no idea. So it's very reassuring, you know, because people don't pay a lot of attention to grammar mistakes, to, you know, some small mistakes you might commit, you might make. They just want the story. If the story is coherent, it has plot, it has interesting characters, it's all going to be alright.
So I would maybe get fear when I started writing to read in English. But then it just, it's smaller now. It's definitely smaller when I'm writing now.
ChaosBlue: Yeah. And that's so, so cool to me. I think that it is so incredibly courageous of people when they decide, you know what, I'm going to create something in a language that's not my first language, you know, because I think that that does take a lot of courage and a lot of chutzpah to do that because you're right. You're always kind of sitting there thinking self-consciously, right? I mean, like, what if I make a mistake and what if people don't like it and blah, blah, blah. But then you push forward and you decide to do it anyway.
I love it so, so much. It works too because, you know, you were telling me about this international writing community that you're a part of on Discord. And I think that in any writing project, whether it's in your first language or not, we just need a lot of support, right? And a lot of encouragement when we're writing anything.
But especially if we have, like, you know, concerns about language and grammar and things like that, it could be so helpful to have that community around us who can help answer questions and encourage us. And since it's an international group that you're a part of, it sounds like you're probably not the only one who's writing in English as a second language.
Prima_Vera: I'm definitely not the only one. Definitely.
ChaosBlue: Yes. Right.
So you have other people in your community that understand what that's like and they get it, right? They get it. So I just think that's so, so cool that you have that resource and you have a community because, you know, I've been saying it so many times over and over and over, but community is everything. It really is. And so, to have that, like, that's so priceless.
You know, I have a question for you about something that you said a couple of minutes ago about Polish fandom. You said that most of the Polish fandom after the forums crashed and went down off of the internet, everyone sort of migrated from Polish fandom over to Wattpad, which I think is so interesting. Do you have any insights on why Polish fandom migrated to Wattpad specifically and not places like AO3?
Prima_Vera: You know, I think I've been wondering just too, but I think that Wattpad is actually the most popular platform because it allows you to organize all of your stories in one profile.
And it somehow, it makes it easier to find people, you know, because we use the blogging platform before. And the blogging platform was like, you had to create a blog. And that blog had, for example, a specific address, which was, for example, the title of the story.
But every story was like a separate page. So there was no connection between different stories and finding all the stories that the authors had was much more difficult. And there was no, no catalog of sorts, where you could, for example, set for stories about James and Lily, for example, there was no such thing. So I think that Wattpad, in comparison to that, might have been, you know, leveling up somehow.
I'm not sure why, why exactly AO3 is not popular. It's a great platform. But yeah, it's mostly for fine fiction in English. So I have no idea why it's not so popular here. But yeah.
ChaosBlue: No, that makes sense.
Prima_Vera: I have no idea, actually.
ChaosBlue: No, no, that's perfect.
That makes a lot of sense. I was just wondering, like, oh, that's such an interesting choice of migration. Because, you know, in fandom history over the decades, we've witnessed a lot of different migration patterns in different fandom communities. And it always interests me and amazes me the different places that people migrate and why they choose to migrate to those different places. I was just super curious about that.
I'm kind of with you on the whole Wattpad thing. I don't have burning hatred for Wattpad or anything like that. If people want to use it, I just choose not to use it because I agree with you about the filtering and tagging features on AO3 being superior. Every now and then, I will run out of specific things that I want to read on AO3. And I'll start looking elsewhere to see if I can find other fan fictions in that genre or whatever that I'm looking for. And every now and then, I do end up on Wattpad. Maybe every once every three years or something just to see, is there anything here? But then I get there and I'm always super frustrated because I just can't find what I'm looking for there either because they don't really have a good tagging system, a good filtering system.
Yeah, it's true. Yeah, it's really difficult. So I don't know what makes me keep going back every three years to see if it's any different. And it never is.
So yeah, I stick to AO3 because it's just a much better experience.
Prima_Vera: You know, there's one more thing about AO3 and Wattpad that makes me wonder because, you know, I think that Wattpad is actually a great tool for building a community. You know why? Because Wattpad actually allows you to command each paragraph of the chapter and and you can actually interact with the outer of the story on the Wattpad board or outer profile, something like that. So it's actually easier to connect with the author and other people who are reading the story because I've seen it happen to many of my stories. I also have a lot of them published on Wattpad also.
And I've seen people interacting with each other, about what they liked in this specific paragraph. For example, what they liked about this specific chapter. And it was amazing to me to see how many people just came, read the story, then interacted with each other, and they started to talk and exchange ideas. They talked about this specific chapter, specific paragraph.
So I think that in this specific case, Wattpad is better than AO3. But when it comes to searching for fan fiction to read, fan fiction or even original stories to read, then AO3 is definitely superior when it comes to that.
ChaosBlue: Yes, definitely, definitely.
I have heard so many people say over the years, like reminding everybody, hey, AO3 is not a social platform. It's not meant to be like Facebook or Instagram or anything like that. It's not really a social platform. It's an archive.
And so I have heard people say over the years, hey, I really like the social features that Wattpad has integrated into their system. Because yeah, they specifically always mentioned that feature about getting to comment on specific paragraphs, on interacting with specific chapters, and things like that. So it does make sense to me, just in context of the group of people using Wattpad, I know that the crowds over there in Wattpad tend to skew younger teenagers and really young adults and things like that, who are used to that type of social platform. They probably find Wattpad a little more recognizable that way, whereas AO3, sometimes I think to the younger crowd, seems a little archaic, just in the sense that it does not have social media capabilities built into the platform. Older people like me like that better, because we don't want AO3 to be a social media platform. So, we like that. Just fine.
Now, I did have this question on here, on this list, about your writing history and whether you were writing any fan fiction or creative works before coming to AO3 in 2021. But it sounds like you've already answered that in the sense that you were writing fan fictions, you were writing fan fiction at nine years old, in a notebook, which I think is amazing. I love that so much.
When you first discovered fan fiction online that was written by other people, did that surprise you to discover that other people were doing that too?
Prima_Vera: Well, it wasn't a surprise, I think. I already had friends at this time that were also writing things together. We exchanged ideas. It was my school friend, actually.
So, I think we started that journey together. So, no it was a big surprise to discover that other people are writing too, and they are writing fan fiction too. I think maybe I was a bit surprised that it's called fan fiction, that it has a name, it has an etiquette attached to it. But apart from that, no, I don't think it was a big surprise because, yeah, I had a community, right? I had people who also liked writing. So, no, it was more like, it's amazing to discover that.
ChaosBlue: Yes, amazing, and probably just felt really natural to you, because like you said, you already had this community of people who were doing that. So, that wouldn't have been so much of a surprise for you, just like a pleasant discovery of, oh, here it is, all the stuff people all around the world are writing. That's cool. That's so, so awesome.
Speaking of surprises, are there any things about fan fiction that you've discovered over the years that surprise or excite you the most?
Prima_Vera: Well, the thing that's amazing to me the most is the liberty of expression and the exploration, because you know, you can pick any character you want, you can write anything you want, you can write, I don't know, a tragedy, you can write angst, you can write fluff, you can write anything you want, you can also explore your own experience in a safe environment too. So, you can explore your feelings, for example, towards specific characters, you can also explore the world. I consider Harry Potter’s world a big and complex one. So, there's not just Hogwarts, there's also Goddric’s Harrow, there's like an alley, there's a lot of people in a lot of places to explore in this world. And the magic system is also another thing that can be explored here.
So, I think that's the thing I find so amazing because, you know, when I was thinking about Harry Potter…. so that question, I actually wrote down a metaphor. I love metaphors.
Okay, so the metaphor I wrote down was, I'm thinking of fine fiction as parallel universes, you know, because every person creates their own version of what happened, what could happen, what could have happened too, and each and every single of those stories is valid. Every version of the character, every version of the events that happened or did not happen is as valid as every other one.
So, that's the thing that amazes me and that's the thing I love the most about fandom and about writing stories.
ChaosBlue: I love that answer so much because as you're talking about it, I see this huge web of possibility in my brain and you can literally pick any thread of possibility that you want and you can follow that thread as far as you want and you can just, like you said, you can pick anything to write about. I love your analogy of like multiple universes, right? Because yes, yes, if you think about it, every single fan fiction that I've ever read has been this slightly different interpretation of the character, of the universe, of the story, whatever it is and they're all valid just like you were saying, all valid and they just exist parallel.
And it's amazing that after all this time, we can still make new discoveries and we can still make valid contributions to the world through these stories, even though there are millions of stories that exist at this point. So, so interesting. Since you've been writing so long, I was wondering if you had to pick the coolest or most interesting thing that you've learned while writing, what would it be?
Prima_Vera: I actually left that question empty because I had no idea how to answer it. Well, I think that throughout all those years I've been writing, I definitely learned how to structure the story, how to make it more compelling but it's also, you know, writing has always been an intuitive thing to me. There was not a lot of theory behind it.
So it was like, I just wrote whatever I wanted, I wrote about the fandoms I wanted and I just told the stories I wanted to read. So it was like building up, you know, like, building. showing and gaining new experience and learning also from other people that came to my stories and told me that this thing didn't quite work so maybe you could try this and you know it's also an interesting thing because I didn't have a lot of critique on my stories to be honest throughout all those years I've been writing there wasn't a lot of critique.
I've been always wondering if there's a specific reason behind it because I find I actually find Polish fandom to be more focused on critic instead of writing positive and you know constructive comments really yeah yeah it's more like well this character doesn't work I don't like it I hate it and I feel like people are so much more nasty in comments than in the international fandom so I find the difference also very interesting and maybe that's the thing that surprised me.
Because it's an interesting thing if you think about it because critique in itself doesn't really help when you are trying to write better stories, because first and foremost we are writing just for ourselves. It's a hobby, it's not something we are saying it's not something that has a lot of editors. Okay I wouldn't say it's not serious because it can be serious, but it's more like it's just a hobby so we are just taking our free time to create content and people are reading the content or they are not reading it and they have a choice to you know read it to the end or just throw it away and decide that well I'm done I don't want to read it anymore.
And what I found in Polish fandom that people instead of, you know, closing the tab with the story and decided that it's not worth my time, they tend to scream at the outro that the story is stupid why did you even write it and I find it incredibly harmful especially towards young people, young writers, because if you are writing it’s your hobby. When you read such a comment only when you get such a comment on your story it's like, okay so my writing is not good I shouldn't be writing. I'm not going to write anymore, right?
So it can be incredibly harmful. So it's difficult to say what's the coolest thing I learned because it's been a process. It's been a process of learning, it's been a process of acquiring new abilities, new manners of saying something, and also I also studied theory of literature a bit later so I think that my awareness and consciousness about how the story is constructed, what are the methods that can be used to make the story more compelling, also increased.
But you know there wasn't one single revelation that this is the coolest thing, it's been more like a process of learning of studying and making my writing better. And maybe if I had to indicate something cool is that I find writing in Polish and English, and even Spanish, because I speak Spanish too, very different. The process is very different in Spanish and it's very different in Polish, and in English even because I made a comparison once. I wrote the same thing in English, and I wrote the same thing in Polish to compare the way I described things.
And it's like I find Polish more floral so it's like I'm using a lot more metaphors, a lot of more expressions that are okay, they are natural but they are not colloquial, but they're just more like poetic prose. And Polish is easier to me when it comes to writing metaphors and using poetic prose. That I love. English is a bit more stiff, it has a fixed order of everything in the sentence, it's also a bit more difficult to you know swap things around and have fun with the language and play with the language, so it's actually interesting and it's cool to learn how to how to use that language to help you to tell the story.
ChaosBlue: I love that. That’s so interesting. That reminds me of a conversation that I was having with my brother last week about English, which is so funny because I was telling my brother sometimes I get really frustrated with English because I feel like…. you know, they say that English is the international language of business. It’s a very…. like you said, it's a very stiff language, it's very business oriented, and that's fine.
Those of us that, you know, English is our first language, we get around that. We, you know, find ways and stuff but I have always admired other languages outside of English because other languages have words and phrases for things that we do not have in English. You know?
And so it does not surprise me at all that you find that there are certain things that you can do with language when you're writing in Polish compared to what you can do when you're writing in English, because in many ways English can be very limiting sometimes I feel that frustration too, so that's so cool. I'm so glad that you brought that up and I just have to say that I love how you've described your writing process.
It's like this journey of, you learn a little thing here and a little thing there and you just kind of build on it and you've learned all of these cool things over the years that just kind of build on each other, and I can absolutely see that come through in your writing. One of the things that struck me about your fan fiction, and we'll talk about it here in just a few minutes, but I really enjoyed all of the different features that were kind of packed in to this story.
Because there was drama, and there was plot, and there was mystery, and there was like all these different things in there and I thought yeah, as you said, yeah I've really learned how to structure you know my stories, and I thought yes she does because that's exactly the impression that I was getting as I was reading your story.
But anyway, we will talk about that in a few minutes, but before we do…. of course the story that we're talking about for you today, the fic is a Harry Potter universe fic, so I just kind of wanted to hear really quick about what drew you into the Harry Potter fandom in the first place.
Prima_Vera: I think that the thing that actually drew me into the fandom with the magic itself. I know this sounds cheesy, but it's true, right? Every time I'm writing a Harry Potter fan fiction it simply feels like coming home. I cannot explain it, but it does feel like it, so it's just that's it.
ChaosBlue: That sounds so right when you say that, because the other thing that struck me about your fan fiction is, you spent a lot of time describing magical processes and describing the way that your characters think through different magical problems and different magical challenges and different magical spells.
I was so impressed by that. I could never do that, my brain just like doesn't work that way, but as I was like reading the way that you wrote their thought process as they were dealing with magical challenges it was so interesting to me, and I just thought okay this writer is very passionate about magic and the rules of magic and how you get from point A to point B, especially in the creation of spells and things like that.
Prima_Vera: Actually it's funny that you mentioned it because I put a lot of into the magical theory in this fanfiction and it was actually inspired by physics, you know? I have a scientific mind.
Prima_Vera: I think it was clear while reading the story. But I was reading Stephen Hawking's book by this time and I wrote down all the ways that physics functioned. You know, I made a whole list of notes and I used those notes later while writing it.
So it was cool to see if physics can be interpreted in a magical way or if magic defies physics, for example. It was a cool thing to explore and one of the problems I have with the word JK created is lack of magic per se because, you know, we have those basic spells. Like, they are here, they are repeated throughout the whole story, but we don't really see what's behind them, how actually they work, why they work this way, what exactly needs to be pushed into the spell once even work.
So it was cool to explore it and give a bit more reason to the magical theory and yes, here's one of my favorite parts about this space. So I'm glad that you noticed it and you enjoyed it.
ChaosBlue: I did and I enjoy it even more now that I know your process of getting there with your writing. You read Stephen Hawking and took notes like that is so freaking cool that you did that because yes, this was probably the first Harry Potter story that I've ever read that really goes into as much detail as you do with, hey, let's pick apart this spell here and let's explore why it works scientifically, right? Scientifically.
And I've talked to a lot of people who are fantasy fans, they love fantasy genre and that's a huge topic that comes up in the fantasy genre fandom. People do want to know what is behind this magic, why does it work the way that it does and what are the rules and blah blah blah. And so it was very cool to see somebody kind of pick it apart on the back end and be like, well, there's this thing to think about and there's this to consider. I wouldn't say I have a scientific mind, but I do have a analytical mind, and my analytical mind appreciated that very much because I could look at what you were writing and be like, oh, that makes so much sense. Yes, okay, I get it. And it was just very, very cool.
So very awesome that you put that in there. I want you to kind of walk us through your fic today. Your fic that we're covering today is Quiet in Blue. This is a story about Dumbledore and Grindelwald. So this would be during the time that Dumbledore was still a student at Hogwarts, which was super cool.
I was hoping that you could tell us what the story is about, first of all, and then tell us what inspired the writing of this piece.
Prima_Vera: Okay, so if I had to summarize the story, I would say that it's a story about self-acceptance. It's a romance, but the romance thread that appears in the story is actually just a pretext to explore a relationship between a hearing person and a hard-of-hearing person. And have a closer look at the problem that might arise while communicating, while the relationship is progressing.
I wanted to write this story because it actually started with a post on Dumbledore. I wrote that the reasons why I hate Hogwarts as a hard-of-hearing person. Yeah, so it was a start. And then I was like, okay, maybe it would be cool to actually write about those issues and include them in a fic. So then I was like, yeah, okay, let's do it. I'm writing it. So it didn't actually take me a lot of time to go from writing that post to starting telling the story. So I was like, okay, yeah, let's do it.
I actually, with this piece, I wanted to underline issues that a hard-of-hearing person might have. I wanted to raise awareness too, because I feel like disabilities is not a thing that is explored a lot in fandom, and it wasn't explored in the books itself either. So I wanted to add a bit more representation about it. And I also wanted to share my own experience because it's something I share with Albus. The problems Albus has are mine. So I wanted to share them, you know, because when I was talking sometimes to hearing people, they were just like, okay, I haven't even realized that it might be a problem for you. And sometimes those issues are very small, but it can make a huge difference if you know about them. Just like the subtitles I was talking to you about, the subtitles that also Albus uses, those live captions, it can make a huge difference.
And it's not something that you can casually think about it, because if you're a hearing person, you don't need them. So you're not thinking that, okay, hey, maybe the thing is not as clear as it might be, it might be a bit more problematic. So that's what I wanted to do with the story. I wanted to not just have his problems, describe them, but also I wanted him to look for self acceptance, because that's the thing that people with disabilities. I'm not going to speak on behalf of every single person with a disability, I'm going to speak on my behalf. But it's something that I struggle a lot with self acceptance and accepting that, okay, yeah, I can’t hear all that well, but it's okay.
And I wanted to show that through the relationship he has with Gellert, because he's actually the first person that accepts Albus the way he is. The words, I still remember from writing that fic, that those are very strong words. Gellert said that disability is not a measure of a man. And it's something that I wanted to drive that point home while I was writing this fic. And that's mostly what inspired me, what motivated me to finish it. And that's the purpose behind it.
ChaosBlue: Oh, that's perfect description of what this film is about. Yes, yes, self acceptance and the exploration of what it's like for somebody with a disability of that nature.
Have you written representation fix like this before? Or was this the first one?
Prima_Vera: I actually did, but it was an original story, and it was in Polish. So I felt like the audience was very limited when it came to that story, because obviously it was mostly for Polish people, Polish speaking people. And original stories also have a lot less audience than from fiction. It's an interesting thing.
Yeah, fine fiction generally tends to have more audience than original fiction. English stories also have a bit more audience. And that would draw me to writing this story in English, because I wanted to make it a bit more universal, you know, it wasn't the first story, but it was the first story in English. And yeah, I think that’s it.
ChaosBlue: Oh, Okay. Yeah, because I was just wondering, what did it feel like for you? Exploring your own experiences with being hard of hearing in the context of this fan fiction, Was it difficult to go there and to be honest about your own experiences as you were writing them through Albus's perspective? Was it cathartic? I'm just so curious to know what that felt like for you specifically, like exploring that through Albus's eyes.
Prima_Vera: So it was difficult and at the same time it wasn't. You know, how to explain it?
You know, I was and still I'm very involved in hard-of-hearing person environment in Poland. So I was already a part of the circle of people who were, like, trying to raise awareness about what it's like to be a person with hearing disability and the stuff that you know, hard-of-hearing person might not even realize they are doing and the stuff that we'd like to change. So writing about those things wasn't something new and it wasn't really difficult. But the thing that was difficult, when I was writing this fic was it was a very personal experience because Albus in some ways is me, and he's not. So it was like he has some characteristics of me. He has some issues, some problems that I also have.
And in a way it was much more personal than you know, just writing that hey, this is a [ ] of speaking to a hard-of-hearing person. And it was much more personal telling his story. And that's probably what I found more difficult.
And you know, the thing about disability is like, to me, it feels like a coming out every time. Every time that I admit that I have a disability is like a coming out because there's like some share of shame rooted around the disabilities and there's a lot of stigma still surrounding the disabilities. So writing about his experience and his thoughts regarding his disability and his lack of acceptance towards him, that was very personal. And the relationship he has with other people was also kind of a reflection of the relationship I have with other people. And it was somehow also wishful thinking because wishing for people who could just understand and accept the disability I have. So yeah, in some ways it was cathartic to write it. But it was also like coming out in a way.
ChaosBlue: Wow. Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much for sharing that with us because I did get the impression that this could have been challenging maybe emotionally, right, to explore, especially if some of the aspects of the story are so personal.
But at the same time, that is what I appreciated the most about this fan fiction is that you did let us in to exploring this through Albus' eyes. You let us in to what Albus is going through emotionally as he's confronting all of these challenges. So it was very eye-opening to see the different challenges that he encounters on a daily basis, right, things that I would have never thought of before.
So I appreciated that, just learning and understanding, oh wow, that would be challenging for someone on a daily basis in that situation or oh, I never thought about it like that. And then to kind of also see the accompanying emotions that come with those challenges for Albus and especially that challenge of self-acceptance and that challenge of believing that he's just as good as everybody else, that it does not define him and that he has so many, like, strengths and so many things to offer the world. He's great. He's great. Like everybody else, he just needs to believe it. And that was so relatable. That's the word I'm looking for.
It was so relatable because I feel like sometimes when we have these things that we believe about ourselves, it is so hard to convince ourselves to start believing new things about ourselves, right? When we've believed something about ourselves for so long, it doesn't matter sometimes how many times other people tell us, that's not true, you're amazing and you're awesome and you're not defined by this or that. It can be very challenging to believe that.
I really appreciated the way that you kind of led us through this relationship that he has with Gellert because he does open up emotionally to Gellert about his challenges and about the things that bother him. And it was really sweet that Gellert took the time to kind of challenge his perspectives on himself. And he took the time to say such beautiful things to Albus to kind of help him realize like, like, maybe I'm not so defined by this and I do have things I can offer the world. And I can try new things and discover new things about myself in the process.
That's one of the things I really loved about this fic is like, I got the impression that Albus had been keeping himself small for so long, a lot of self confidence issues, right? For a lot of different reasons. And it was really cool in this fic that you put him in a situation where he could step way outside of his comfort zone and discover that he can do really difficult things, things he didn't know he could do before.
Because you put him in the situation where he's participating in this international student competition. And at first he's kind of like, I don't know if I want to participate. But he gets encouragement from different people. So he decides to just go for it. But he's like, out of his mind nervous about it the entire time. But guess what? Like, he discovers that putting himself in that situation, he discovers that he can do it and not only can he do it, but he's so, so good at it. So it was just really cool to see him push himself into a situation that was way outside of his comfort zone. But he discovers that he does have the courage to do it. And he can not only do it, but he excels at it and he does it well. And that was so, so cool to see.
Prima_Vera: Yeah, it's also, you know, to me, Dumbledore is one of the strongest and the most powerful people in the whole universe, right? You have this image of him being, you know, able to have a power, not only gathered, but also both the most. So you know that he has a lot of power. You know that he knows a lot about magic. So now when you take a step back and you look at him now as a teenager and see that he's not only okay, he's still powerful and he can do a lot of stuff. He can do a lot of things. But he also when it's correlated with his disability, it might be a bit jarring, you know, to see that yes, he's very powerful, but he feels also limited by his disability. So the people who are looking from the outside, like Gellert is, they are like, okay, but it doesn't define you.
It's, you are very powerful, but it's, come on. Come on. What are you doing? What are you even talking about? But to him, it's like he doesn't even notice the power, the strength he has because the negative aspects of his personality, the negative aspects of his life, so strong and they have like built up all over the experiences, all over the abilities he has. So they tend to like overpower their positive experience and the positive thoughts he might have about himself and might be stronger.
Negative emotions are always stronger than the happiest ones, you know, so he's doubting himself even though he's not weak, he's not weak, but he considers himself weak and that's what I wanted to show that the people from the outside won't perceive him, most people, most people in the from the outside won't perceive him as a person who's not able, but he will perceive himself as not able and able to do everything because he feels like the disability he has is defining him and that's what Gellert would try to show him that it's not like this, it's not, disability doesn't define anyone.
I think that's the thing that I wanted to show with this thing because the message is a strong message, I think that.
ChaosBlue: Yes, yes it is, it is and I'm so glad that you went there in your story because I love what you said about how when we encounter Albus in the Harry Potter canon books, right, he's already this old man and he's so powerful and like you said, we just regard him as like one of the most powerful wizards in the whole wizarding world, right?
So it was very compelling to see him not as an old man with, you know, his life pretty much figured out at that point. We see him as a teenager just starting out and just learning for the first time how powerful he actually can be, but we get to see him at that starting point and it does give the reader, I think, a lot of encouragement.
Because sometimes when we see people who are already in that powerful place in their lives, we think sometimes, and I don't know why we think this, but we think sometimes, wow, that person has it all figured out. They must just have been born that way, not me, there's something wrong with me and we don't realize that that powerful person that we're looking at, they had to go through all of these challenging experiences of their life and they had to discover just how amazing they were along the way, you know.
We're not just born amazing, I mean, we are, we are all born amazing, but I just mean that nobody is born with everything figured out automatically. Like, you know, we all have to go through that journey and so I loved that you took us to that place. The place where he doesn't have it all figured out and he's just learning how to step into his own power a little bit and push himself, and in that pushing himself, he discovers amazing things that I think carry him through the rest of his life.
And it was just really, really cool to see. The other thing I really loved about this fic, this is so random, okay, I don't know why this stood out to me, this is so random. But you know that part in the fic where he gets cursed by Mulligan, right?
And he is like freaking out, right, like, oh my god, these snakes and this poison are going to kill me, like, this is terrible, it's almost like he's looking at himself from the outside a little bit and he's observing the way that his thoughts are spiraling out of control, you know, because his thoughts are like, oh my god, I'm going to die, I have no idea how long I have before this poison kills me, like, how could he do this to me, I'm so weak, how could I let this happen.
And he can observe how chaotic his mind is in that moment and he knows that there's no way he's going to be able to rationally solve his problem in such a state of chaos. So I loved that he knew that he needed to get himself out of that chaos spiral somehow and ground himself in the moment, so he decides to take a bath, right, because he's like, this will relax me.
And he just has this moment in the bath where he's all alone and he's just kind of floating there in the water and he's observing the way that the water feels on his skin and he brings himself back to the moment and he just stays there in the moment for a while and doesn't think about his problems, doesn't let them spiral out of control in his brain, he just stays there in that moment for as long as he can.
I know why I thought it was so cool.
It's because there are philosophical practices out there that teach that, that we can deal with our problems that way, and it's actually healthier in many ways when you observe yourself spiraling out of control like that, you can do things to bring yourself back into the present moment to stop that chaotic thought spiral, and when you bring yourself into that moment of awareness in the present, you find that your mind is actually able to find the solution quicker and you find the inspiration out of your challenge better when you're able to calm the frantic panic in your own mind.
I have had to learn how to do this myself, you know, and when I saw Albus do it, I was so impressed. I was just like, yes, Albus, yes, that's exactly what you do when you find yourself panicking. You bring yourself back into that present moment and suddenly you find the inspiration just kind of comes to you so much easier that way, and you're able to solve your issues and problems so much healthier and faster.
So I just thought that was a really cool thing. I don't know if you meant to do that, but I noticed it right away and was like, oh, that's so cool.
Prima_Vera: Well, yeah, actually, I meant to do it because that's the way I'm doing it myself. So it was based on my own experience, actually.
But yeah, I feel like Albus's way of solving problems and Albus's way of thinking is very scientific and the way he observes himself, I don't think he even realizes he's doing it, but he's like analytically thinking about every situation out there, analyzing every factor in the situation. He's not thinking himself panicking, but at first he doesn't know what to do with it, because the panic actually makes it impossible, makes it more difficult to solve the problem. So he knows that he needs to take a step back to think, to take that bath, and cool down a bit, and then he's, you know, he's more calm. When he's more calm, he's able to solve the problem rationally. But yeah, it's interesting because that's actually the process I have myself. I know that I'm panicking, I know that I have the swirling in my brain, and I know that I need to take a step back.
So it was actually one of those personal things in the fic that I included.
ChaosBlue: That's so cool. I'm so glad that you told us about that.
Because yeah, if anybody wants like a really cool way to like help themselves out of a panicky thought spiral in the future, just read this fic, observe what Albus does. It works, dude. It works. I like to kind of sit quietly and meditate for a little while when that happens to me. There are lots of different ways and methods of pulling yourself into the present moment for just a little bit.
So that's mine. But it works, guys. It works so well. And it's really helpful. So just throwing that out there for anybody out there who might need that.
I loved this fic overall. I know I said it before, but I really loved that not only were you exploring themes of self-acceptance and themes of self-discovery and then there was the romance aspect of everything, but there was also a really interesting plot. There was some intrigue and mystery. Unexpected things happened. There was moments of drama.
So I feel like this fic just kind of has an all plus the scientific exploration of magic and magical theory, which was super cool. So like overall, this was such an entertaining, interesting, compelling, amazing read. I'm so glad that I got to read it.
You were talking earlier about how exploring the disability aspect of Albus' character was challenging in some parts for you. Were there other parts of writing this fic that were also challenging? And if so, I'm wondering what you did to kind of solve those writing challenges for yourself”
Prima_Vera: Well, I think that the most difficult part of this was the intimacy of the story and how personal it is. The funny thing is that the story wrote itself for most of the part. I was writing it last year in November, and it was also the national novel writing month.
And it was a crazy time. It was a crazy month. And my people from our community, our server, still call me insane because of that month, because you know what the purpose of the national novel writing month is to write like 50K of words in this month. Yeah, so I did double that, and 30 more.
So it was like 130K written that month. And Quiet in Blue was one of the stories I wrote that month. I don't even know what happened in November.
It was a blur. It was a crazy month. It was insane.
ChaosBlue: That's amazing though. That is absolutely amazing.
Prima_Vera: Yeah, so actually that's why the story wrote itself. So you know, the most difficult thing, like I said, was that the story is very personal. So translating my own experience into Abus's experience was also a thing that I had to think about a lot.
Because you know, here we don't have magic, right? So it's not like I can just wave my wand and I make this subtitle magically appear above everyone's heads. It's not working that way. And so in some cases, some aspects of the story, I would have it easier than I had. It's also kind of wishful thinking because I wished those features were available to us, but they are not, unfortunately.
ChaosBlue: I know, yet.
Prima_Vera: Yeah, definitely.
ChaosBlue: Yeah, it would be cool if we could discover magic in our lifetime. So I still have my fingers crossed for that, actually. So you never know.
Prima_Vera: Yeah, and apart from that, there are also some like future that are maybe possible to be included because I also mentioned textbooks and the story textbooks with a spell textbook where you have the pronunciation of the spell written above it above those words. Because that's the thing that I've been wondering about a lot.
How to pronounce the spells and how did people know how to pronounce them? Because the names of the spells that JK plays in the story come from Latin, come from Greek, some have some part, some are English in some part. So the whole deconstruction process of, also in magical theory, also refers to the magical theory of the magic. So the whole deconstruction process of how magic works and how to make it work for the story for the plot, how to make it relevant to the experience was definitely challenging.
But I had to admit that I had some. It was one of the parts of the story that I enjoyed the most while exploring it. And yeah, the story overall feels very personal. It is personal.
And I know that I mentioned it in the author’s note at the very beginning of the story. So I think that people who are starting to read it already know what kind of story it's going to be. That it's going to feel personal. That it's going to be a story about my own experience too. In kind of. And yeah, I think that that was the most challenging part of it.
ChaosBlue: Oh, thank you so much.
Yeah, I can absolutely see how those things would be challenging. And when you look at the finished product of the thick and you read through it, you can tell that you did have so much fun. And I think that you did such a great job overcoming all of those challenges and really giving us like this really solid thick that just had so many different elements in it that were so interesting and fun to read. And it was just a really awesome experience.
So thank you for sharing the story with us and the background of what I was like to write for you. We really appreciate that. Do you have any other fan fiction writers that you'd like to shout out on the podcast before we end today?
Prima_Vera: I wanted to give a shout out to one of my friends from the writing server to Glo who is my friend. And I wanted to just to say thank you for all your support. And I actually wrote her before I joined the podcast. I wrote her. I have a stage fright.
And she was like, okay, come on, you can do it. So thank you for that. And definitely shout out to Glo for that.
ChaosBlue: Perfect. And thank you, Glow. Thank you for your encouragement because we're really glad, Prim, that you came on the show today to talk about your experiences. It's been so much fun to talk to you. Thank you so much for coming on today.
Prima_Vera: Thank you for the invitation. It was fun to join you and to talk about it.
ChaosBlue: Yes, absolutely. The pleasure was all mine.
Check out her stories guys on AO3 and give her some love. You can find the fanfic maverick online at fanficmaverpodcast.com, on Tumblr at fanficmaverickpodcast, on Instagram and Twitter at fanficmaverick, and I can always be reached at fanficmaverickatgmail.com. Thank you all so much for listening. Don't forget to subscribe and I will see you next episode. In the meantime, keep on rollin'.