I have so many fond and not-so-fond memories about this website. It was one of the first websites I frequented after I began writing fanfic as an eleven year old, lying about being thirteen. (I had learned better than to be honest about my age after being banned from the Neopets forums for 2 years, by which point I had lost interest).
The sheer amount of content was overwhelming and quality veered wildly even back then (my earliest stories were unashamedly in the 'terrible quality' category - see cool story at the bottom of this post).
There were, however, gems of stories hidden within the murky pools and I'm going to share some of them.
If you're looking for FF.net fics nowadays, the Fanfic Rec category of TV Tropes is probably your best bet. Do not wander into the pit alone and unaided.
Many of these fanfics are literally the 'fanfics of my childhood', so they're all pretty old. Some have been discontinued.
The releases of the actual canon often killed the momentum of continuous, long fic.
Some of these have become slightly dated and maybe some of the writing isn't as amazing as I originally thought. Nevertheless, many of these fics are amazing examples of fanfiction in one of its most basic forms - fans speculating about unreleased content or gaps in the best way they can: writing their alternative.
- The Year of the False Spring
Sera dy Relandrant
One of my most recent discoveries - absolutely gorgeous ASOIAF fanfic spanning the 'previous' generation up to Robert's Rebellion. Still in its early stages. Aligns seamlessly with canon in its tone and writing. Am waiting very eagerly for the authoress to update...hoping she will do so again by the end of this year or early next year...
- Tale of a Time Long Gone
Star of the North
One of my personal 'fandom epics'. Founders-era Hogwarts complete with medieval-era magic and a beautiful, heartwrenching exploration of Hogwarts' founding, the development of the Founders' relationships and degradation. It takes the hints about Hogwarts we get in the books and expands and brings it all to life, in an unfamiliar age of magic with swords and horses and knighthood. Lots of gorgeous, nerdy Hogwarts references if you're reading closely.
- A Magical Journey
One of the true epic AUs of my personal Harry Potter fanfic age (I will tell you I didn't see many fanfics get over 500 reviews, let alone over 1000 at the time. I remember seeing it pass 1000 reviews and being in awe). This was written over such a long period of time and before HBP, so it was truly a fanfic interpretation. This fic was probably where my Marauders era love started. Such a tragedy that it looks like it'll never be finished.
- Obsessive Lily Disorder
Another 'classic' of my childhood, and one of the first humour stories I truly enjoyed. I waited eagerly through every update. I actually got to know the author better through LJ and she is amazingly multi-talented. Unfortunately, she's no longer writing for HP fandom, but there are a huge store of fanfics she wrote on her FF.net account so, if you like her style, definitely read them~
- Seven Days
Howl's Moving Castle
I still read this from time to time now - it's just a simple, lovely story and fits well with canon representations of the characters, while also guiding them along an alternative plotline
- Blue Dragon
I remain an Animorphs fangirl to this day - I honestly think the series contains amazing insight, realism and depth about war, child soldiers and its effects, despite it being a 'children's' series. Blue Dragon was the Animorphs fanfic author, to me. Her mostly AU stories were always so vivid, imaginative and believable.
- The Kelbrid War Chronicles
I love it and will forever check to see if she will update but I don't think she will (there gets to a point where a story - especially a long, exhausting epic - just can't keep going). It's an AU continuation after The Beginning; so detailed and thought through. It really is an entirely original epic in itself and worth a read if you enjoy the world
- Please Forgive Me (warning: graphic violence)
Animorphs fanfic of the most tragic, angsty kind with torture, dark and terrible things. Rips your heart out and stomps it to the ground, then sets it on fire. I don't recommend this to everyone but the little shreds of kindness and hope you find between the misery is heartbreakingly sweet. For those feeling masochistic.
COOL STORY: One of my earliest fanfics posted on FF.net got its thread on Godawful.net, back when it was still around (or maybe it still is?). It got taken down several times, I stubbornly re-posted every time and then started a different series.
To be fair, my stories really were awful back then (god...awful, as is this sentence), but I was too young to really understand sarcastic internet flaming, so the brunt of the mockery never quite hit home. Much to the frustration of the flamers, I suspect.
I did learn the amazing value of constructive criticism, from it all, and, to this day, have a certain ambivalence towards people who only post insults online so...yay.