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These Spells Are Not Gluten Free

So, pursuant to my interest in using textiles and braids as spells, I was doing some reading on wheat weaving, known as 'corn dollies' in the UK. It is pretty fascinating as a tradition and some variant of it exists where-ever wheat was cultivated throughout the world. The last bit of wheat harvested for the year is taken and woven into a blessing for the farmer's home. The lore suggests that in some areas the spirit of the crop was thought to be forced down into the last bit, so it was being taken and preserved, to be planted first when the time came so that the next crop would be bountiful again.  The area of Britain that self-identify strongest with Merlin would be Wales (correct me if I am wrong!), and there are several designs that survive to this day. I was looking about on the internet and found The Wheat Goddesses, a little shop that sells these intricate works. In addition to the Welsh fans that abound, there is a twelve-spoked wheel, called "Merlin's Wheel" and they state that the idea behind it was that there was one spoke for every month of the year and its purpose was to maintain the balance, the natural progression of seasons. This is a re-phrase of my understanding anyway.  That got me to thinking about some of the Lore presented in the World of the Five Gods, a Lois McMaster Bujold series that I adore. In their belief system there was a period of time where demons escaped into the world, beings of chaos that disrupted order and could not engender it, who enticed men to become sorcerer's (by sharing a soul, which was eventually consumed by the demon) to allow the demon to take on some order - such as speech and memories and in turn lending power to the man. The age of sorcerers was terrible because the seasons were completely disrupted and chaos threatened to consume all. Anyway, it ended well, but what of the age of the Titans as described in Greek mythology or the age where the Jotun had the run of the world before the Norse Gods shut them away are all different viewpoints of the same thing?  A twelve spoked wheel, woven of wheat as a ward against such chaos sounds like it may have been a little prayer, or a small charm against chaos. Was it the basis of some greater spell Merlin was thought to have used? Maybe.  In addition to braiding and weaving the wheat, Challah bread is a woven blessing that has its own significance and different shapes for the occasion and throughout the world. Fascinating!  Does anyone out there weave wheat or make corn dollies? Any stories to share?  Be well! 

FawkesyLady

FawkesyLady

 

For Love of Fanfiction

I hate English. Not the language—I could write sonnets in the style of Shakespeare on how I love linguistics—but the class. Writing, ELA, whatever you call it, wherever you go to school; I loathe it. Abhor it, with the passion of a thousand suns. The in-class essays (40 minutes, class), the insistence upon peer editing (No, that comma goes here), the pedestal on which being able to tell an independent clause from a dependent one is placed (...Huh?), the belief pressed upon us that knowing the definition of "superfluous" will get you everywhere in life (See what I did there? See it?😁). But I always reserve a special place in my blackened, hating little heart for the creative writing assignments. With those, there's just enough room left for me to get my hopes up, to fantasize about writing something real (Read: lightsabers), only to hear the dreaded word count limits, the prompts, the insistence upon conforming to the standard set by whatever dusty book of the week it is. "Klara, you can't set this aboard the starship Enterprise." "Sorry, Alex, you're not allowed to write a crossover sequel involving Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn running away together." "No spontaneous time-traveling Nazis, Jim." Dull, boring, positively dreadful. Quite frankly, Internet friends, I loathe writing, much of the time. But, did I forget to mention I'm also an avid fanfiction author, reader, and reviewer? I've published nearly 100K in the last six months, am a professional 'shipper, and I've begun the painstaking process of outlining an original novel of my own to attempt for NaNoWriMo. Just a bit of a paradox, no? 🤔 How does a high school senior who hates her English classes that much, belong in the magnificent lunatic world we call fandom? I mean, writing is kinda the name of the game here, isn't it? Well, it began...hmm... almost three years ago now, and, as it did with the lovely Mary Sue herself, with Gene Roddenberry's brain child. I'd come off watching "The Tholian Web" (AKA the one where... well, K/S people will remember. 😳), and, innocent creature I was, entered into Google: "Tholian Web Kirk Spock ending fiction", thinking, there had to be some sort of a novelization, possibly. Three guesses what the first results were. The first two don't count, nerds. Fanfiction.net and AO3 were bewildering, frightening, and utterly wonderful. I hadn't a clue what fanfiction was, nor particularly cared for any of the implications of its existence. I had just found my people, who loved Star Trek and the characters—and a short while later, Harry Potter—just as much I did. I wasn't as alone in my geekiness, and love of shipping Harry and Hermione together (These days it's Luna/Harry, for the record). It was fun, and I was unbelievably happy. I got to read these what-if worlds that blew my mind, where Harry married Hermione, and his parents embarrassed him at his wedding; where Ginny traveled back in time to kick ass, take names, and still get the guy, where Ron was Dumbledore and Dumbledore was Ron. Canon? Who needed it? I had the imaginations of thousand of people around the world at my fingertips. It was great. Then, one lazy summer day, I read this article about some schmuck who couldn't even admit he wrote fanfiction. I only recommend reading it if you want your brain to explode. At least E.L. James admitted it. (And thank you, Stephanie Meyer, for never taking legal action, and allowing fanfiction to continue across the world. I mean this in all sincerity, and I will always be grateful for it. Just not for the books you wrote. Sorry.) I just couldn't understand it. I was a few months removed from trying my hand at fanfiction myself, but here was some guy insisting he hadn't written fanfiction, instead having some sort of "writing experience" that involved "lifting large amounts of text" from The Shining, acting like being a fanfiction writer was something to be ashamed of. I was so utterly confused by the phenonemon; so, I decided to look up more opinions from outside fandoms. What found blew my mind. Arguments over the legality of it, over the worth of it, over the worth of the writers? (Which, by the way, do not look up. Most of it's extremely nasty, misogynistic, LGBT+phobic nonsense. Y'all are fantastic, brave people for putting your writing out here, and I love you all.) So, Internet friends, I get it. I truly do. Fanfiction isn't everyone's cup of tea. Not everyone reads it or writes it, or particularly likes it. But that never gives anyone the right to pass judgement on what we do as a whole. Ever. Yes, a good bit of fanfiction is certifiably awful. Admittedly, most of it is still pretty entertaining. *Cough, Cough* My Immortal *Cough, Cough* Yes, teenagers and women make up a large part of the people who write it. But that is the end of what those articles get right. Many of us are aspiring authors, hoping to write something of our own some day. Many of us go through life different in some way that causes struggles, whether we belong to the LGBT+ community, belong to a minority, have a disability, face sexism in our real lives, or anything else. Many of us, use it as a way to escape from the occasional dreariness of daily life. Many of us do it because it's fun. Or, y'know, you're convinced Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood were meant to be. That could just be me, though. But I digress, before I start another 'shipping war. Fanfiction has been my companion as I've come of age, and changed in an infinite number of ways as a person. Occasionally, it's been responsible for those changes. With it, I have been able to accept my sexual and romantic orientations, to learn that I am not alone, and that like so many others out there—my fellow aces, this is for you, above all—I am not broken. I've learned that love comes in infinite shades and shapes, that kindness and honor are not weakness, and that there are so many wacky, weird, wonderful, people with better alliteration skills than me out there. Actually, come to think of it, I rather like the person I've become as a fanfic writer. Also, I've been gaining mad writing skillz. So, read fanfiction. Write it, review it, when you find one in need of precious feedback. Live, love, dream—as you will. Or, don't. You do you. Read your favorite novel, go outside, play a game. Live, love, dream—as you will. Everything's your choice, after all. (Just avoid English class essays. They suck.)   "And it's gonna be...fantastic."                                         -The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who

Lady Ausra

Lady Ausra

 

being too hard on yourself

i don't know why but for some reason i have always been under the impression that i'm a terrible writer. and to be fair, when i first started writing out, i truly was atrocious, like at that point in time it was fair to say to myself, wow this is really just,,,,,not good. but like most people i have found that over time, after you've written a lot of stuff, and read a lot of stuff, you get better, and eventually you find your voice and style of writing. but up until recently i was still convinced that my stories were trash to mediocre, which is why i have literally no expectations of them because i'm like this is not good so it makes sense that no one would read it or leave a review/comment. but one day i went back and i read some of my newer one-shots that i have posted and i was, dare i say it, quite impressed. they weren't as bad as i thought they would be, in fact, they were pretty good, mistakes that i had missed when editing aside. i genuinely was sitting and reading my own work and my mouth was hanging open because i had never expected something like that to come from me. it's by no means perfect and there's always room for improvement, but i wasn't as bad as i thought i was. and to be honest, i was pretty proud, and i still am. and it's something that every writer and artist etc. falls into, constantly thinking our stuff isn't good enough or a lot worse than it actually is and we end up being super hard on ourselves when we shouldn't be. and while it's a bad thing, that sense of never being satisfied with your work is also what pushes you to get better and better at what you do and i'll admit, it's why i no longer write the way that i did when i was younger. so i don't know where i was going with this but i guess don't beat yourself up too much and realize that your work isn't as terrible as you think it is, but also don't get too comfortable because otherwise you might stop pushing yourself and miss your full potential.

greisful

greisful

 

The Sliding Scale of Evil Dumbledore

Reading HP fan-fiction is a fairly hazardous pursuit for me since my favourite types of stories ('Canon Rewrite' and 'Peggy Sue') are also the most likely to include gratuitous bashing on my favourite character. Even the 'exclude' feature on AO3 only goes so far. Here's an example. I was reading a really nice 'what if' story, wherein Lily ended up with Severus. It was going quite well and I felt safe since the summary had specifically stated that there would be no character bashing. Lo and behold, however, my enjoyment was brought to an abrupt end when the author decided to dedicate an entire chapter to an intervention, or some such, where all of the adult main characters berated Dumbledore. Two things seemed particularly egregious; Snape referred to Dumbledore as "worse than Tom Riddle" (yes the self-same mass murdering lunatic) and Elphias Doge was revealed to have been a false friend (leaving the old man friendless and alone). A few months later, I encountered a story in which Fawkes himself abandoned Dumbledore, and there appears to be no shortage of these sorts of stories. I don't go out of my way to read them and I don't begrudge people for writing them (apart from when they pretend they aren't) since fan-fiction often serves a cathartic purpose which character bashing is an efficient, if crude, vessel for. So, for some cathartic release of my own (because, goodness knows, I can't get actually create something to channel my emotions into), I thought I'd make a catalogue of things these stories have in common that make Dumbledore look worse than even the least charitable interpretation of actual text could: The Will. These stories invariably include reference to a will specifying Harry's placement with someone other than the Dursleys. That's fair enough, of course, but the most likely candidates are indisposed so it typically includes an almost comically long list of people with increasingly tenuous connections to the Potters or, more bizarrely, explicit instructions not to place him with the Dursleys. Dumbledore ignores the will, of course, because he's evil. The Magical Core. Another one, though less common, is the idea that every witch/wizard has an innate source of power which is stronger or weaker as the case may be. I can see the appeal, since is makes the writing easier if characters can just make things happen without practice. As it happens, Harry has a very powerful magical core which could lead to him performing wandless magic before he can tie his shoes. Dumbledore decided to bind Harry's magical core, however, because he's evil. The Anti-Horcrux. If Dumbledore had bothered to look it up, he'd have discovered that the procedure to harmlessly remove a horcrux from a living host is quite simple. He didn't bother, however, because he's evil. These three represent the sliding scale of Evil Dumbledore. The first sets up a far more manipulative Dumbledore who is constantly abusing his power to keep Harry away from the wonderful and loving family desperately trying to adopt him and raise him to be the next William Gladstone by the time he's thirteen. The second sets up a far more sinister Dumbledore who is actively harming Harry to maintain his own grip on power and the third depicts the quintessential Evil Dumbledore who is hellbent on an entirely needless blood sacrifice. I find it very strange that these authors can't stick to the canonical list of grievances (leaving him on the doorstep in the middle of the night, keeping secrets and so on) and always include invented crimes which the reader is presumably meant to be incensed over. But what's the point? If you don't like Dumbledore then surely your characters can rake him over the coals for the things in the actual book that made you dislike him rather than for things you made him do.

Simplicius

Simplicius

 

How to Nail Your First Year at Uni/College

so i've been thinking about writing one of these blogs for a wee while, and while i'm sure hpft is not the most prominent of platforms to post advice like this i'm sure there are a few people in this community who are due to start tertiary study soon - so this post is for you. im gonna try and keep it as universal as i can, though i am more familiar with the UK-style university model because i'm from new zealand and colonialism is a thing.  for those of you who don't know me - hi, i'm lisa. i've just completed a masters degree and am a tutor (read: TA if you're in the US) for a 100-level medieval history course this semester. this is my eighth year at uni. i like to think i've picked up a few things. PART ONE: MAKING FRIENDS always remember: everyone is in the same boat in first year this is amplified by about ten times if you're in a hall/dorms/campus accommodation in your first year because everyone else has left home too and they don't know anyone, except maybe a couple of school acquaintances who they're gonna realise they don't have much in common with anymore i was a deeply uncool kid in high school but i ended up with surplus friends in first year because everyone's on the Friend Market. i picked up some weirdos in first year, kids. weirdos making friends in your classes is always a good idea because a) you already have this thing in common; b) you have someone who you can ask for notes if you're away, or help with an assignment; c) complaining about the class is a sure-fire way to connect on an emotional level with other people your tutorials/labs are a good starting point for making friends because they're smaller classes than your lectures and, if your tutor is anything like me, they will help you along by putting you in groups this technique this semester alone has, by my own estimation, resulted in at least half a dozen group chats. i believe many share memes there will be at least one person in your lectures/classes who has cool fandom stickers on their laptop. this is your in to talk to them. put stickers on your own laptop mature students are usually really interesting people with great stories. befriend them. you may find they take you under their wing and impart their wisdom. friendship lottery  clubs. join clubs on campus that relate to your interests galaxy brain: if you're nervous about showing up to their events without really knowing anyone, volunteer early to be on the leadership team/executive of the club. this gives you a) a smaller group of people to get to know; b) a purpose to work towards so you're not stuck making small talk; c) cameraderie. working together with people on something you all care about is the ultimate adult friendship hack clubs look good on your CV and show you're getting something more out of your time at college/uni than just your degree. also they can lead to some interesting opportunities PART TWO: PRACTICAL TIPS backpack. satchels look cool and all but you can't fit all your shit in them and they will destroy your back you may want to cultivate an Aesthetic on campus and while this is encouraged, cool little satchels are only practical if you live on campus and can go home to grab stuff on a regular basis also if your laptop is really tiny or you've gone analogue for your note taking. bold move Dropbox/Onedrive/whatever cloud storage system your institution has a subscription to Keep everything on the cloud and back up to a flash drive or external on a regular basis - especially if you're working on a major assignment As soon as you get your university email account, set up email forwarding to the account you check/have synced to your phone, or set it up directly using the app on your phone. For most institutions this would be Outlook Don't buy food on campus it's a trap do as i say, not as i do follow your institution's social media accounts this is often where they post important updates follow the relevant meme pages as well join the buy/sell or textbook exchange FB groups find the following places on campus: the nicest bathrooms or, if there are no nice bathrooms, the ones with the graffiti that best aligns with your political affiliation the 24 hour study spaces. all-nighters will probably happen your favourite spot in the library the area/floor of your library where the books relevant to your majors can be found an all-weather lunch spot the best coffee place, if you drink coffee PART THREE: ASSIGNMENTS read the course outline/syllabus r e a d. i t. find out the basics like deadline (including time!), where you submit (inc. online or hard copy, etc), word/page count, presentation requirements, referencing style, how much of your grade it's worth, and the penalties applied for late submission, going under/over word count, or anything else you can write an essay overnight but you can't research one overnight if there's a suggested reading list for an essay/assignment, read the things. cite them. they're recommended for a reason get a friend to proofread before you submit read your feedback!! seriously it takes so long to write PART FOUR: ASKING FOR HELP if in doubt, ask disability support most institutions should have something like this this is where you arrange accommodations/support for any physical or mental health issues you have that might affect your studies ours send out confidential learning support plans to the teaching staff of the courses you're enrolled in support can range from having reader-writers for exams, extra time/a quiet room for exams, a note-taker, flexibility with assignment deadlines, permission to record lectures, etc academic writing workshops/skills centres again, most institutions should have something like this these focus on teaching technical skills like grammar, spelling, how to structure an essay, etc this is a good option if you don't need help with course content but aren't confident with writing tutors/TAs if you have one, these are your first point of contact for everything related to your course i encourage all my students to discuss essay plans with me take your tutors up on this offer, even if you think you're fine they can offer you feedback at an early stage, recommend readings, and make sure you're on the right track tutors are typically postgraduate students (Masters or PhD) this means you'd usually be on first name basis with them contacting lecturers/professors your lecturer/professor is your first point of contact if you don't have a tutor/TA as a general rule they are happy to help and particularly to explain course content but they are Very Busy People when you email lecturers/professors, use their correct titles. if in doubt, check their staff page even if it's normal to be on a first-name basis with your lecturer (eg in Australia/NZ) it's best to use Dr/Professor [X] the first time you contact them by email In the US 'Professor' is a generally used title for academic teaching staff, whether or not they have a PhD In the UK system 'Professor' is the highest academic rank and it is incorrect to use it unless they've reached that rank If in doubt use Dr n. b. there is a whole Thing with people not recognising or using the titles of academic women so if you have a female lecturer/professor make sure you address her using her professional title unless she tells you not to.     

sapphicsunrise

sapphicsunrise

 

Everything's a Shambles

So I was interested in textiles and their use as spells. The idea, although not used often is not a new one. If you enjoy stories about witches and witchcraft, of course I recommend Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and in particular his later witchworks surrounding Tiffany Aching (starting with Wee Free Men).  A shamble is an instrument put together by a witch who needs a little help in deciphering a feeling or decide something, or perhaps see a little into the future. It is comprised of a bit of string and whatever else she has in her pockets at the time, ideally including something alive (an egg, bug, root etc). The main character has a lot of trouble with them, but it is because it is like putting glasses on someone who already has excellent vision. (If my memory serves me correctly.)  I imagined it to be something like cat's cradle with a bunch of things stuck in it. Tiffany may have used a wee free man in hers once. Cheeky and altogether very confusing.   Some research has led me to the practice of making witch ladders, which is where  one essentially weaves a line of rope with things like crow feathers and herbs stuck into it. I liken it to the prayer bracelets that some wear, with the expectation that the wish or prayer comes true when the bracelet eventually wears out and falls off, but this is a bit more purposeful. I understand this may still be used in a different fashion in modern Wiccan practice, with knot magick, comprising 3, 9, or 13 knots.  From 1621-1623 in Vardø, Norway there were held witch trials, in which one woman, Else Knutsdatter, confirmed that in the Christmas of 1617, the witches had tied a fishing rope three times, spat at it and untied it, after which "the sea rose like ashes and people were killed." Else was arrested after she was seen in the company of demons in the shapes of black cats and dogs, and was exposed to the ordeal of water. Approximately 150 people, including men of the Sami minority died, executed if they survived torture. The whole thing was set in motion by a severe storm in 1617, where ten boats and forty men died. Prior to 1620 there were no laws on the books that permitted the persecution of witches.  Witch hunts continued throughout Europe, so it is not surprising that the International Statue of Wizarding Secrecy was signed into law in 1689. Magical families withdrew from anyone who associated with muggles out of fear of being fingered or drawn into the trials themselves.  Anyway, back to the point of interest. Textiles as spells (or prayers as the case may be), we know that hair holds importance and power even after the being or creature who donated it has passed. Otherwise all of those unicorn hair wands, and mosts especially the Elder Wand would have lost their oomph long before and most likely at an inconvenient moment. Cutting off one's hair as a sign of grief has the weight of power, although it can be renewed. Samson, I salute you! Did the truly paranoid wizard vanish his toenail clippings and shed hair? Perhaps Tom Riddle was completely hairless as a matter of paranoia? Sure suits me to think that Hermione would never be able to polyjuice into him. She had a tough enough time with Bellatrix Lestrange!  Braids in the hair could be used as wards, which the knots we see in celtic works and modern theatre are inspiring, but what if beautiful was also powerful? Back to the shamble idea, a charm made of hair may be able to serve as a guide to find a lost loved one. Such a charm need not be romantic. I can imagine a desperate mother in 1601, preparing for her son to go to sea with her husband, wishing to send with him protection and a way to get home should he become lost. How strong would such a protection be?  Many of these arts must be lost to the milennia in Harry Potter's time, but I like to think that there are still some repositories of old knowledge still waiting to be discovered.  Anyone else do any research on such a topic?  In the meantime, always take care to carry a length of string with you, and a few bits and bobs in case an ill wind blows your way, or you need second sight to see the truth of the world. Be well. 

FawkesyLady

FawkesyLady

 

Pro Tip

@Ineke was very kind in PMing me an extra helping hand. My first submission was released months ago and I didn't see the email from the site that accepted it, so the silence was assumed normal. It turns out every notification and message from HPFT has been filtering to my spam box this whole time. Makes a lot of sense. Now.  I am an idiot, thank you. :) 

FawkesyLady

FawkesyLady

 

Green

Alright, so I've been a member of this community for over a year now and I have to admit, I feel a bit like a child staring in on a tank at the Aquarium. I am sure at some point I'll manage to fall in, or grow up to be rich enough to pay my way in for a scuba session, but please forgive me if I don't seem to understand how this whole thing works. I suppose my content count is low because I don't post, so I'll have a go at it. My only complaint so far is the archive side of things has no direct way of communicating with the staff who are proctoring the chapter approval process. I have to assume that some of my art disappeared from an already approved work recently because it was the wrong size or something of that nature. Where does one get banners that size? Canva doesn't seem to have it as a preset. Anyway...  A little about me:  I posted my very first WIP on 29 May 2017, and it is an ongoing work on A03 and FFN - and so far I've been led to believe that I'm not doing a terrible job. I love the characters and the world that JK Rowling put together. She's fantastic. I should get this out there right now: Snape is one of my favourite characters. I can't apologize, it is my own personal feeling. He's brilliant, strong, tragic and got the job done. No, he isn't the only hero, but he is the one that keeps me coming back. Yes, he's flawed. No, it isn't really okay for adults to abuse their power to bully students (although it hasn't always been such a taboo). I still adore him.  The premise of Time Immemorial was manifold: What if Hermione underwent a dissociative fugue at the end of the war and had a time turner. Secondarily: What would have happened if Snape had a mentor, and if adults were the ones who fought the first war?  A problem that I've had is that the story really is two stories: One - Hermione and Severus' story. Two - What is happening to the whole of the Wizarding World. My cast is too large, the scope is huge, and I have many POVs, all of which work for me, but keeping in mind how I felt the first time reading GoT or anything classic out of Russia, it probably is a bit much. But I can't stop now! I've written over 200K and 54 published chapters. So, if you start reading a story that is sshg, and find a over-arching Wizarding War plot, would you be truly upset that Severus and Hermione are not the stars of every single chapter?  The only stories I've published here are "The Spark," which was a piece written for the Rule of Three Challenge and a piece called "Lost Dog Days of Summer" which is still half caught in the chapter approval machine here after being posted 7-29 to 7-30. The Lost Dog piece was written for a Summer Fic exchange that is hosted on A03. The first four chapters of ten are here, if you are inclined to read a Beach/Summer themed piece about Sirius running away as a dog.  I don't think either piece is bad, and I am rather proud of myself for finishing them.  More some other time.  Love,  Fawkesy.

FawkesyLady

FawkesyLady

 

Common Room Awards: Hufflepuff Edition | August 5th, 2018

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of the Common Room Awards! This post will feature the annual Hufflepuff house awards, also known as the Golden Chalices.  
For this series, each winner not only has the opportunity to be featured in this blog, but they also got to participate in a short Q&A about their story. Enjoy! *** The 2018 Golden Chalice Awards

***
Best Light Fic Nominees: Footsteps in the Forest by @Dojh167
ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) (M) by @esmeraude
Afternoon Tea by @Renacerá
Runner-Up: Footsteps in the Forest by @Dojh167
WINNER: ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) (M) by @esmeraude Question: The epistolary format in “ministry memorandums” is absolutely brilliant! How did you plan and keep track of all the different humorous plot threads running through this one-shot, especially with this unconventional format? Answer: Er... I didn’t? I wrote ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) during NaNo 2016(?) because I was working on the first in a series of fics featuring Susan Bones as an Unspeakable, and I was struggling with the prose in the first fic because I was still figuring out who my characters were, so I decided to write a “short” piece featuring Blye’s very different perspective on Susan’s first day of work. The beginning — Blye’s issues with Edalbert Goffrey and Susan’s lack of ID or uniform — were planned because they’re mentioned in Only Human (which remains unposted) and I ended up having so much fun writing it that I just included random events as I wrote. I think I managed to write it all in one or two sittings? I know one thing that helped me with keeping everything on track was making notes at the bottom of my doc for what events needed to happen next (since poor Blye was dealing with several things at once) and kind of focusing on one thing at a time, for example so that makes it easier for the reader imo. I actually had ministry memorandums lurking in my gdocs for maybe a year? ish? because I was nervous about posting it, so the response that I’ve received is phenomenal and I really appreciate all the love I’ve received on this one-shot.
Best Dark Fic Nominees: Hope by @Jo Raskoph
five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Runner-Up (TIE): Hope by @Jo Raskoph
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree Question: What was the inspiration behind the four lives Astoria was going to save? If you can tell us without spoiling anything, how did you decide on the fifth? Answer: First I picked which five characters I wanted Astoria to save. And I can’t really explain how I chose the characters besides the fact that I found them to be really interesting (except for Michael Corner in the first life, who was mostly someone we were all aware of but unfamiliar with). Like there’s a special place in my heart for each of the four characters that came after Michael Corner, so I just tried to fit them all in. And then the way that Astoria saved them followed; a lot of the methods are kind of tied to the personalities of the characters that she saved. The fifth one…I just went for a story I’ve heard countless times over in testimonies from war survivors. And it’s also present in, unfortunately, the everyday lives of some people. So sorry for the vagueness haha, I’m trying my best not to be spoiler-y.


Most Addicting Story

Nominees: Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
The Seer (M) by @Phoenix_Flames
The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
WINNER: The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: There’s so much happening in “The Harder They Fall”, and it definitely makes for an action-packed read. What’s the one thing you would tell writers who want to keep their readers intrigued enough to hit the ‘next chapter’ button? Answer: The chapter should always end with a question, with a cliffhanger! As long as readers want to know what happens next, they'll keep clicking to the next chapter. I think it's important to keep raising the stakes and introducing conflict in each chapter, too.
Most Inclusive Story Nominees: Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Icarus (M) by @Stella Blue
Runner-Up: When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
WINNER: Icarus (M) by @Stella Blue Question: Diversity in fics is always, always a good thing. What’s one thing you would recommend to people who are including representation in their fics, especially for cultures/sexualities/genders/etc. other than their own? Answer: Well, the one thing I'd most recommend is YES, INCLUDE IT.  The world needs those stories. As for how to write someone different from yourself, just get into your character's shoes for a little while and try to see the world through their eyes - diversity of course isn't just a box to check off, people's backgrounds and experiences shape them into who they are.  So my main suggestion is simply to listen to/read things by people who've lived the experiences you're trying to write about; do research, as you would for writing anything.
Best Dialogue Nominees: The Prince and the Pirate by @banshee
All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin
lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Unapologetic by @victoria_anne
Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut
Runner-Up: The Prince and the Pirate by @banshee
WINNER: All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin Question: You have so many characters in “All the truth about Jimmy Portman”! How do you manage to keep all their characters and voices so distinct from one another, especially regarding dialogue? Answer: Oh, wow... do I manage it? Sometimes I really feel like all my characters are all basically the same and their voices just mix up and blend together... so it's a relief if they feel distinct and recognizable, thank you! I don't really think I have a method...? I think my writing in general consists of putting my characters in a certain situation and see how they behave, like it is a biology experiment, if that makes sense. Having that approach, dialogue generally comes quite easy to me, it's the first thing that forms in my head before I try to put it into writing. This is also why I'm not equally good at description and plotting, I guess... For the Jimmy cast specifically... well... for canon characters I just try to imit what JK did (this applies to Ron, Hermione, the twins, Draco, the teachers...). The Marauders come relatively easy, too, since I've written them so much that they feel like real people to me by now. I think the biggest struggle are Jimmy and Neville (technically, they are canon characters too, but so different from their canon equivalent that they are basically OCs...) They have very similar temperaments and they just snap most of the time so sometimes I'm not sure I'm doing very well with their characterization... but I do love those two troublemakers... (Dunno if I actually replied to your question or just rambled uselessly... my apologies... )
Best Description Nominees: The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by @esmeraude
spring barges in by @Jo Raskoph
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe


Runner-Up: spring barges in by @Jo Raskoph
  WINNER: The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by @esmeraude Question: The writing style in “The Firework-Maker’s Daughter” seems effortlessly beautiful. Is it difficult to switch between styles such as the epistolary “ministry memorandums” and the beautiful prose in this one? How do you manage to write such breathtaking descriptions? Answer: Aww, thank you!!   I wouldn’t say it’s difficult for me personally, because since quite early on as an author I’ve tried to be as versatile as I can possibly be. Also, every time I write, I hear my English high school teacher’s voice in my head shrieking, “Expand! Expand! Expand!”, because high school Isobel wrote in short, succinct sentences and skipped a lot of descriptions, so I guess I have to credit her? She was my favourite teacher in high school, and she encouraged us to include adjectives, consider what an impartial reader would think (because we as authors have a little TV in our heads playing out scenes and our readers don’t) and remember to describe the character’s surroundings. With TFMD, I wanted Roxanne to be the main role in the story, but because there was a word limit in the challenge I originally wrote it for, I decided to write from the other characters’ perspectives in order to show more of Roxanne and her actions. With ministry memorandums, I was limited in description because of the epistolary style, so I included attachments and “arrived in [condition]” and went overboard with those. (The one with the cursed book is my favourite, ngl.  ) One of my top tips, however, is to read more! I know this sounds slightly hypocritical coming from someone who is woefully behind on her “Fanfic To Read List” but it honestly helps. I have novels that were inspired by Aphoride and dirigibleplums, and I remember a couple of years ago, before I “met” nott theodore, I read her fic The Nightingale’s Lament and her descriptions for Vicky’s grief just blew me away, and considering how Sian used Vicky’s physical surroundings to connect to her grief about Colin’s death taught me a lot about describing angsty emotions. (To be completely honest, with the quality of writing in the HPFT community, I could just... list everyone on HPFT and it would be true?) I’ve found that reading inspiring writing can in turn inspire you, which helps with writing something out of your comfort zone, iyswim? Thank you so much for such interesting questions, they were so much fun to answer (and surprisingly hard? I take my hat off to whoever came up with those questions!) and particular thanks go to the Hufflepuffs who nominated and voted for my fics. I love and appreciate you all. 
Best Original Fiction Nominees: What is life by @Felpata_Lupin
across the great expanse by @just.a.willow.tree
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe
From by @Stella Blue
Runner-Up: What is life by @Felpata_Lupin
WINNER: The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe Question: Based on the summary, this story is based off of ‘Maid Maleen’ from the Brothers’ Grimm. What drew you to choose that fairytale? Are you going to be putting any twists on the original tale? Answer: I was inspired to write The Maidens and the Tower because of the Fairytale Challenge. I knew I wanted something different, something that hadn’t been famously Disneyfied. When I looked through my Grimms collection, Maid Maleen caught my eye because it’s pretty complex, and also because the main character refuses an arranged marriage. Pretty feminist compared to most fairytales! There are many twists! The setting is arguably the most dramatic change. The Maidens and the Tower is set on the American prairie during pioneer times, and I’ve altered the scenarios to fit that. Also, the romance is f/f, which causes some significant plot changes Thank you so much to everyone who supports this story!!! ❤️ 
Best One-Shot Nominees: five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
you again by @just.a.willow.tree
First Lit, Last Burning (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Goodbye, Love, Goodbye (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
All or Nothing by @Stella Blue
Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut
Runner-Up: Goodbye, Love, Goodbye (M) by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut Question: Your take on Scorose is so unique and refreshing, and it’s no wonder that this one-shot has received so much love since it was written! What was the inspiration behind “Waltz” that made you write it in the first place? Answer: Thank you so much! ^.^ The inspiration for Waltz came from a Staff prompt around Christmas time a few years ago. There was around 25 days to get submissions in, and I actually spent the first 20 working on a completely different story, but I kept getting stuck and finally had to admit to myself that I wasn't going to finish that one on time, so I had to hop plots right at the end, and this story is just what popped out instead. The biggest inspiration behind it was wanting to take the "stuck under the mistletoe" trope and put a new twist on it. I have to admit, I've seen a lot of stories use mistletoe in a way that keeps you forever trapped until you kiss, no exceptions, and it always just made me feel a little uncomfortable, that forced version of things, so I thought I'd make the option to not kiss a seemingly harmless consequence: a glitter bomb. From there, I just wanted to play with someone who would not see a glitter bomb as harmless at all, and that's how Rose developed. I felt that her struggles reminded me of Hermione, so her daughter made sense as the choice. Scorpius' character came from someone I thought would be very sweetly matched with my version of Rose.
Best Multi-Chap Nominees: When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
The Skull Beneath the Skin (M) by @esmeraude
All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin
Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: “The Harder They Fall” is such a well-planned story! Do you have any advice for planning novels with multiple threads and plotlines? Answer: Thank you so much! I think if you have a complex plot with multiple threads, it's important to plan ahead, and to be aware that new ideas will appear as you write. Everything must tie into the main story, too!
  Best Original Character Nominees: Hollie Finnegan in Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Josephine Adaire in Lying Josephine (M) by @WriteYourHeartOut Runner-Up: Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
WINNER: Josephine Adaire in Lying Josephine (M) by @WriteYourHeartOut Question: Josephine is such beautiful OC. Tell us about her creation, and how her personality and characterization came to be! Answer: Ah, thank you! Josephine first came to be when I was pretty new to the fanfic world and was really only reading these very popular stories, all of which seemed to star the same female OC (aka Mary Sue's). I decided I wanted to try writing a novel-length fanfic with a female OC of my own, and my inspiration was really just to make her as unlike the ones I'd kept running into as possible. Because of the structure of Lying Josephine, information about her background is very slowly released, but she does have a lot of reasons for how she became who she is. When I decided to make her such a quiet character, I just wanted to find deeper roots behind it. And I really did just want her to be... honestly quite average in about every way. Like, that she did poorly in school, she's not exactly quick-witted or funny, she's easily overlooked and forgotten, she isn't brave, she has very few talents, and she is deeply flawed. She will know the right thing to do and still choose the selfish thing. She's honestly a Hufflepuff in the way that other Houses sometimes snobbishly label all Hufflepuff's to be: a leftover, who didn't fit elsewhere. But somehow - I hope, at least - her kind of overall lack of interesting and intriguing traits made her a character you want to follow and root for. She surprises herself along the way, and in turn, surprises us. She finds herself in a situation where she keeps telling herself she's doing it for the good of other people, but it's really for her, no matter what she tries to convince herself of, and regardless of the fact that it may help them too, the driving force is herself. And the situation she's in causes her to discover and face who she truly is.   Best Depiction of a Major Canon Character Nominees: Lily Evans in untrue, untrue (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
George Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Lily Evans in Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
Hermione Granger in Life As We Know It (M) by @Slytherinchica08
Luna Lovegood in How to Catch a Snorkack by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Lily Evans in untrue, untrue (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
  WINNER: George Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana Question: As we all know, you adore the Weasley twins. Was it difficult to write George in his state of grieving? Was his characterization a struggle, or was it second nature for you? Answer: Yes and no? If that makes sense. On a basic level, I didn't find it particularly difficult to write George in a state of grieving - I've always found angst a lot easier to write than happy fluff. And of course I love to make my favorite characters sad. The thing that I struggled with the most was trying to accurately portray the feelings that George would have. I've killed of characters before, but in the past I've always stopped the fic at their death. This was the first time I was actually writing the emotional trauma that would occur. The whole time I was writing this I was flipping back and forth between, "am I going over the top?" and "am I not intense enough?" I also struggled with deciding how fast George would come to terms with Fred's death. Originally I had thought I would have George come to terms with Fred's death by the end of the fic, but that didn't seem natural to me (and also since the Wiki says that George never truly got over his twin's death ). Considering it was Fred that died, I realized that 5000 words probably wasn't long enough for George to get over it. So I threw together a last minute ending that was a "nope, i'm not fine but I might be in the future."
  Best Depiction of a Minor Canon Character Nominees: Dean Thomas in Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
Justin Finch-Fletchley in Goodbye, Jus by @Felpata_Lupin
Hannah Abbott in Hope by @Jo Raskoph
Astoria Greengrass in five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Astoria Greengrass in lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Stan Shunpike in I Believe You by @Leo
Anthony Goldstein in First Lit, Last Burning (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Runner-Up: Astoria Greengrass in five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
WINNER: Justin Finch-Fletchley in Goodbye, Jus by @Felpata_Lupin Question: Justin Finch-Fletchley was written so beautifully! Could you tell us some of your headcanons about him, and why you wrote him as loving mathematics? Answer: I will be honest, I've never thought about Justin's character much... the only reason I wrote him is because he came up as a prompt for @dreamgazer220's "The Say Goodbye Challenge". But I do love him now! I honestly projected a lot in defining his personality and put a lot of myself into him. He is quiet and shy, values friendship a lot and wants what's best for everyone, even if that means stepping aside and sacrificing his own happiness (basically, a true Hufflepuff). He's also the kind of person who overthinks too much and acts too little (which again is something we have in common and, coincidentally, a friend and ex colleague of mine sustains it's a very Mathematician trait... ) His love for Mathematics mirrors my love for Mathematics (let's be honest, Maths are fascinating!) but I think for Justin Maths is mainly his way to keep contact with reality and make it make sense. Maths have precise rules that are fixed and can't be changed and Justin needs that sort of certainty, because life and emotions are just so unpredictable.
Best Character Arc/Development Nominees: Seamus Finnegan in Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
Hannah Abbott in When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
Regulus Black in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Hannah Abbott in When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
  WINNER: Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: One of the most satisfying things to read is a good character growth, and your OC, Finn Blishwick, certainly has that! How did you plot his development from “Hero” to the end of “The Harder They Fall”? Were there any struggles in the process? Answer: I really enjoy writing characters who go through a major change throughout the novel, so these kinds of characters come quite naturally to me. I took his most prominent flaw (arrogance) and came up with ways to turn someone like him into a more humble, kind person, and wrote them into the story. The biggest struggle I had was that the change didn't happen quickly or easily, or completely changed him into someone else. Particularly after the midpoint, I was really poking my beta for approval!
  Best Friendship Nominees: Hollie Finnegan and Alec Williams in Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Emmeline, Edgar, Lily, and Severus in Seven years later by @Felpata_Lupin
George and Ron Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Regulus Black and Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
  Runner-Up: Regulus Black and Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
  WINNER: George and Ron Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana Question: A good sibling relationship is always a fun and fulfilling read. Why did you choose to focus on the friendship/siblinghood between Ron and George for “Then Time Stood Still”? Answer: As we all know, I'm the resident Weasley Twin Queen but my Over The Top Love extends to the entire Weasley family in general. Before joining HPFT I was getting a little annoyed with (what felt like) constantly seeing Weasley Bashing and specifically Ron Bashing fics on AO3. So, when I was writing this fic I wanted to draw attention to a character that I felt was underappreciated by parts of the fandom. The line, "people didn't usually give him enough credit, but Ron cared deeply for his older brothers." was actually a low-key jab at Ron Bashing fics. I actually originally entertained the idea of using Percy - someone else who the fandom loves to hate - but after thinking about it I really liked the possible dynamic between the Twins and Ron. The Twins are often characterized as goofy and not always the most caring of older brothers, so I wanted to play with the idea that Ron would skip going to Percy with his problems and go to the Twins. On top of that, I liked the idea of the tables then being turned - with the older brother leaning on the younger brother for support. With that I wanted to show the maturity that Ron has. And of course I just love Ron.
Best Reviewer Nominees:
@Felpata_Lupin
@just.a.willow.tree
@Stella Blue
@victoria_anne
Runner-Up: @Stella Blue
WINNER: @just.a.willow.tree Question: Your reviews are always such a joy to receive - they’re so thoughtful with a lot of encouragement and details from the story/chapter. Can you tell us a little about your review process, and if you have any advice for those wanting to leave more helpful reviews? Answer: Eep, thank you! I’m so happy that my reviews give joy, but I honestly have little to no process while writing them haha. I usually just read the chapter through and then spend a page in my review doc gushing, rambling, and/or offering many thoughts (most of which are probably neither helpful nor relevant). My general tip is (and sometimes I forget to do this because I’m too busy reacting to all the characters and the storylines *sobs*): always leave at least one compliment. It’s always well-deserved and it’ll definitely make the author happy! Mostly, while I review, I try to touch on all the major events of the chapter, and then if I ever stumble across a particularly brilliant or beautiful line, I quote it. However, I forget events/lines so easily, and I always find that I’ve neglected to mention certain things, so sometimes for multi-chaps I’ll just continue saying things I forgot previously, in a review for the next chapter haha. But just show your love for the story, and I’m sure your review will be appreciated.  ❤️ *** And that's a wrap on our House Awards segment! Congratulations to all of our nominees, runner ups, and winners across all houses! It's definitely an accomplishment to be proud of 
We hope you enjoyed this series on our blog, and keep an eye out right here for future posts!

***

Credits:
interviews composed by @dreamgazer220 and @just.a.willow.tree
header done by @just.a.willow.tree

dreamgazer220

dreamgazer220

 

12 months of positivity - July

Hey, my loves! I'm here again with another one of these posts!  I hope you are still enjoying reading them, even if I've become so bad at these... July is my favourite month of the year (totally unrelated with the fact that it's when my birthday falls... ) but I will admit that this year all I wanted was for it to be over because... AUGUST! HOLIDAYS! HPFT MEETUP!!! But this is for the next blog post, I guess...   So, without further ado (whatever that means...  )   JULY 2018 3 - Holidays are not so far away and maybe a few things are righting themselves. A jump into the past with old songs and watching the storm out of the window enjoying the cooling and the smell of rain. (Talking about the old songs, was I really five when we sang "Spunta la luna dal monte"?) 4 - Women only aperitif on the poolside, beautiful evening. And now the deserved rest. 9 - Real or virtual, the biggest treasure in life are our friends, and I'm so lucky to have so many special ones. 11 - The fact that, even if at times you don't feel worthy, there is always someone who appreciate you and believe in you. And even if we don't always realize it, we have so much strenght and richness to give, it's only about making the effort and the act of belief of pulling them out. And anyway... how lovely is it to get back home when the sky is still light and the sun is shining? 19 - Completing those dayly tasks, even when they make us nervous. Organizing the celebrations for the birthday coming up. Enjoying the evening with a nice movie. 24 - Breathing holidays air, many celebrations and it's nice for one day to feel special. Happy birthday to me! 25 - Another night of party and I have to confess, it's been more pleasant that I expected at first. A long day, but I'm happy. 26 - That wonderful feeling of relief when your doctor tells you that everything is alright. A check on my list of things that make me nervous but that I need to do. And one day less to the holidays. 27 - Unscheduled, but I had nostalgia of a good latin night. Dancing under the eclipse... And the penultimate week of work before the holidays is ended! 31 - And finally July is over, which means only one week to the holidays and only two to the Milanese meet-up! There's still a lot to plan but I'm super excited! I can't wait!   Credits/translations/explainations: Spunta la luna dal monte (literally The moon springs up from the mountain) is a song by Tazenda and Pierangelo Bertoli which was presented at the Sanremo festival in 1991. The summer of that year (and also for a few years that followed) when I was in the mountains, I used to sing it on the balcony every evening when the moon... springed up from the mountain...  Side note: most of the song is actually in Sardinian dialect, which means I have no idea what it says, except for the refrain...   I don't think anything else really deserves an explaination (but if you are curious about something you can always jump in and ask ) Hope you enjoyed reading, as always!  

Felpata_Lupin

Felpata_Lupin

 

Common Room Awards: Gryffindor Edition | July 29th, 2018

We are proud to present the third installment of the Prefect's mini-series on the Common Room Awards. This week we are featuring The Pride of Gryffindor Awards (or POGs). In addition to being featured, each winner has had the opportunity to answer a question or two in a miniature Q&A session! Enjoy!   Best Action/Adventure   Nominees: 1. Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by  @Pixileanin
2. Project Azkaban (M) by  @Unwritten Curse
3. Year of the Snake (M) by @melian   Winner: Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin!       Best Angst   Nominees: 1. Golden Girl (M) by  @Crimson Quill 2. Parisian Scars (M) by @CrimsonQuill 3. Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl 4. silence. death. (M) by @ poppunkpadfoot 5. Thin (M) by @ ShadowRose   Winner: TIE: Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl TIE: silence. death. (M) by @poppunkpadfoot   Question for 1917farmgirl: What was the most difficult part of portraying the dynamic of Arthur and Merlin’s relationship? Answer: I usually don't have too much trouble with their relationship, as it's my favorite part of the show and writing the characters.  I think for this particular story, two things come to mind. Very early in the story, Merlin and Arthur are rather at odds with each other.  That was hard to write - these two boys on the outs with each other. I'm glad it didn't last long. And later in the fic, Merlin loses his ability to speak.  And it's been a bit of a challenge to find ways for these two to communicate.   Question for poppunkpadfoot: What sort of steps did you have to take to write a story relating AIDS in the LGBTQ community to the HP-verse? Answer: I guess my steps were basically: (1) Double-check timeline (2) Write. First I had to quickly sort out how exactly the timeline of the AIDS crisis related to the timeline of HP-verse and the First Wizarding War (which led to me abandoning my plans to write about Sirius and switching over to Remus instead :P) - obviously I knew there was some amount of overlap but I needed to make sure the specifics worked out. Then I quickly double-checked how the timeline and trajectory in the UK compared to in the US, which is more my area of expertise. And after that I just... wrote, I guess. The whole story flowed very naturally. Even the creation of OCs (Tracy and Oliver) just kind of happened as I went.
I should mention though that I've researched HIV/AIDS in the past, chose my current college program with the aim of going into HIV/AIDS advocacy as a career, and am starting a placement in September with an HIV/AIDS and Hep C outreach and advocacy organization. So while I'm very, VERY far from an expert, I did have enough background knowledge to just sit down and write without a whole bunch of pre-writing steps.   Best First Wizarding War   Nominees: 1. Behind the Curtain by @Cassius Alcindor 2. The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse   Winner: The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: How did you go about handling both Amelia and Fabian’s grief and translating it into the form of a relationship? Answer: I guess I'll answer the latter question first--about how I translated their grief into a relationship. Let me start by saying that I have personally experienced the loss of a loved one, and it's an incredibly isolating experience. It's hard to feel heard when you're surrounded by people who don't know grief. When you are with someone else who is grieving, especially someone who is grieving the same life as you, the connection is inexplicable. It feels like coming home. It's magnetic. And for these two, it translated into romantic chemistry--well, sexual tension, at the very least. But despite them both grieving Edgar, they are grieving in different ways, as we all do. Amelia is very much retreating inward and blocking out the rest of the world while Fabian is both literally and figuratively shouting his way through grief.   Best Friendship/Family   Nominees: 1. Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather 2. Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by @nott theodore   Winner: TIE: Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather TIE: Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by nott theodore   Question for StarFeather: The father/daughter dynamic between Harry and Lily is adorable -- what inspired you to write about them? Answer: Just an image of Harry and his daughter popped up in my mind after I made up my mind to participate in Abbie's story challenge. And I feel my child growing up every day, so most of the plot was inspired by the fact.   Question for nott theodore: How did you handle establishing/showcasing the plot using epistolary format? Was it more difficult than it would have been if you had used a more traditional writing style? Answer: I was quite lucky in this story, in that it's a retelling of my story Opals and Fire, which explores Katie's time in St. Mungo's - or rather, what she's experiencing when she's lying in hospital.  I'd already (loosely) crafted the characters of Leanne (who admittedly is a very minor character from the books) and Jonathan for that story, so finding their voices was slightly easier than it might have been otherwise.  I didn't find the epistolary format much more difficult than traditional prose, although I had to be careful not to ramble on too much (which I do when I write letters myself) so that I could keep moving the plot along. It's definitely something I'd like to explore writing again.   Best LGBTQA+   Nominees: 1. And Again (M) by @nott theodore 2. Pro Libertate by @TidalDragon   Winner: And Again (M) by @nott theodore   Questions for Winner: What inspired you to structure the story this way, with the number of times Dom tells people about her sexual preferences? Answer: I think this story partly stemmed from reading a couple of books which have LGBTQA+ main characters, and also from conversations with friends.  When you identify as anything other than straight or cisgender, you don't just get one coming out moment, and I felt like a lot of coming out stories tend to focus on the first time it happens, so I wanted to explore the reality of having to come out time and again, and all the different reactions that there might be to that.   Best Minor Character (HP)   Nominees: 1. Amelia Bones in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse 2. Apollyon Pringle in What lies beneath by @melian 3. Fabian Prewett in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse 4. Fenrir Greyback in Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin 5. The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by @CrimsonQuill   Winner: The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by CrimsonQuill   Best Non-HP Story   Nominees: 1. Leftovers (M) by 1917farmgirl (CSI) 2. Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin) 3. Tragedy (M) by LooneyLizzie(OF)   Winner: TIE: Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin) TIE: Tragedy (M) by @LooneyLizzie (OF)   Question for 1917farmgirl: What inspired you to write a Merlin AU piece? What was your favorite single moment or line in this piece? Answer: Writing AU in the Merlin fandom is pretty much a given.  EVERYONE does it. So it wasn't really a huge decision to chose to write this story.  It just kinda...happened. It was interesting to write the characters in a modern instead of medieval setting, however.

I put a lot of my heart into this story, so there are quite a few places in it that I'm proud of and moments I like.  I think my two favorite parts right off the top of my head, are when Merlin admits to Arthur he has nowhere to go. And when Arthur realizes this homeless boy who just lost everything, gave him his ONLY possessions to pay for a night of shelter.
  Best Novel   Nominees: 1. Home (M) by  adorably cute 2. Ignite (M) by Slide   Winner: Ignite (M) by @Slide   Best One-Shot   Nominees: 1. Becoming a Longbottom by  Deeds 2. Letter to the Lost (M) by CrimsonQuill 3. Live and Be Well (M) by  Pen2Paper 4. silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot 5. Thin (M) by ShadowRose 6. Thrill by nott theodore   Winner: silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot   Question for Winner: What was your favorite part about writing Remus Lupin. What was your least favorite? Answer:  Remus comes fairly easily to me at this point, so that was good - I didn't have to think too hard about characterization or anything. I was kind of amazed how well his wartime experiences and his characterization ended up aligning with the story that I wanted to tell. He really was the best choice for the story, and I'm actually really glad that Sirius didn't work out!
I wouldn't say this was my "least favourite" part of writing Remus, but I'd say the biggest challenge was drawing connections between Remus's experiences in the war/his feelings about those experiences and his experiences in the LGBTQ+ community/with HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously staying VERY far away from drawing connections between lycanthropy and HIV/AIDS, because I hate that allegory with a passion. It was less that I was like "oh no, I might accidentally use that allegory" and more that I wanted to make sure nothing could be misconstrued as using that allegory. But yeah, that was a bit of a challenge.   Best Original Character   Nominees: 1. Amie Bell in Amie Bell. Squib, Barista Auror. (M) by @Sleepingbagonthesofa 2. Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute 3. Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa   Winner: TIE: Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute TIE: Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa   Question for adorably cute: What inspired Carson Wood’s characterization? Answer: Ahh, first I am blown away about this PoG and honored to share the win with Deni (sleepingbagonasofa)! Thanks everyone! A lot of Carson’s characterization comes from personal experiences- like, her sass comes easily to me because I’m a lot like that myself! And then some of the characterization just comes from where she is in life. She’s a 17 year old who’s at a point in her life where she doesn’t know what she wants to do and is trying to make the most of things before she has to become a real person with a real job. So between all that, and the way I built her childhood growing up between her two parents, she just came together into this sassy, stubborn, kind of awkward human who likes Quidditch and numbers!   Question for sleepingbagonthesofa: What was the most difficult part about writing your OC, Cassiel Yaxley? Answer: Writing Cassiel, or Cass, was surprisingly easy at first. In a lot of ways she's similar to me- overdramatic, grumpy, stubborn and some good things too (hopefully)- although her personality is exaggerated quite a bit. The most difficult thing about writing her has started to appear as the story has gone on, whenever I want her to do something unpleasant (or just anything she wouldn't want to do) yet plot-driving aaand she wont. The words will not appear. I end up going of in a completely different direction and it makes sticking to the plot almost impossible. Having said that, characters that become that real are one of my favourite things about writing, even when I end up staring at a blank screen for hours. My stubborn little baby has taken on a life of her own!   Also, it was such a shock to be nominated for a POG in the first place and incredible to win alongside Sarah! Thank you so much everyone!

  Best Portrayal of a Gryffindor   Nominees: 1. Bill Weasley in The Fox by @StarFeather 2. James Potter (I) in Live and Be Well (M) by @Pen2Paper 3. Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian   Winner: Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian   Question for Winner: What inspired you to write about Neville during this time period? What was your most difficult scene to write? Answer:  I write the stories that I want to read. This is particularly the case with novels – How to tame a Marauder was a direct result of me not being able to find a canon-compliant Marauders novel that showed the characters the way that I saw them, for example. For Year of the Snake, well I just really wanted to know what Neville’s experiences from that year were like, and how he got to the point he did where he just shrugged off evidence of torture as an everyday occurrence. Unlike when I was reading stuff for HTM, though, I didn’t actually look at what else was out there for this story. I just decided to write one myself.

I will say though that it’s been a much harder process. Part of that is because I naturally write romance, and this is most definitely NOT a romantic story. But I suspect that part of it is also that I’m not drawn to the year of Deathly Hallows as much as I am the Marauder era. I want to write Neville’s story because I think he deserves to be written (I won’t say by me because that sounds really egotistical, but hey, I’m better at writing than I am most other things), but it really is a horrible story. I’m writing about children being tortured and kidnapped and forced to do really terrible things to each other in order to survive, and it’s not pleasant. (Most difficult scenes, right there.) So that might have something to do with my struggles here. In any case, this is taking MUCH longer to write than it should, and than I thought it would.   Best Quote   Nominees: 1. "Sometimes I think I'd give up the Egyptian silk for some genuine interest in my life." from Complicated (M) by ShadowRose 2. " 'It's not the power inside the bike we have to worry about,' Sirius said, looking straight at Peter. 'It's the people we give it to.' " fromThrillseekers: Marauders with Machines by Pixileanin 3. "...because death seemed to linger around the The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten CurseBoneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from 4. "Dad and Alicia have three other kids in addition to me, their part-time-turned-full-time child." from Home (M) by adorably cute 5. " 'Remus are you gay?' You were expecting a denial, or confusion. What you weren't expecting is for him to blink slowly and say, 'Only at the full moon.' " from perilune by poppunkpadfoot 6. "The full moon that month was almost a relief. The wolf doesn't care about Oliver - the wolf doesn't care about anybody. For one night, he can stop [expletive] thinking, stop feeling anything besides the physical pain as he tears himself apart.   The next morning, he waits longer than he should to treat his wounds. He lies there on the floor and stares at the blood oozing out of his body, pooling on the floor, and he wonders idly if, after everything, it will be his own blood that kills him." from silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot   Winner:"...because death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: What impact does this quote have on your character and/or plot in this piece? Answer: This quote ("death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree") reflects Amelia's perception of her place in her family now that it has been so ravaged by death. Her parents and eldest brother (along with his wife and children) have all died as a result of the war, and now it's just her brother, Michael; his wife; and herself that remain. She senses acutely, now, her duty to her brother and her duty to survive. In the chapter wherein this quote appears, Amelia has just had a fainting spell out of nowhere, and she won't let herself dwell on it because the possibilities are too scary. So she shrugs it off as a minor annoyance versus letting her thoughts spiral. It's kind of ironic, as well, because her fainting spell is connected with the theme of the story and is quite literally the opposite of what she fears (i.e. adding to the family rather than subtracting from it).   Best Post-War   Nominees: 1. After Destiny (M) by cambangst 2. Amie Bell. Squid, Barista, Auror. (M) by sleepingonthesofa 3. Fix You by TidalDragon   Winner: After Destiny (M) by @CambAngst   Question for Winner: What was the moment you struggled the most with this story? What was your favorite moment? Answer: It's hard to pick a single moment. The biggest struggle throughout the story has been to hit the right balance in portraying characters who have been forced to be mature beyond their years in some respects while not losing sight of the fact that they're only 17 years old, or 16 in Ginny's case. Harry is the prime example. He's had to make choices that led -- unavoidably -- to people being hurt and killed. At the same time, he's baffled when it comes to managing his day-to-day life and especially his relationship with Ginny. There's a temptation to treat these characters as super-human because of what they've survived and accomplished. But the reality is that they're only human and they're only beginning to come to terms with their experiences.   Best Worldbuilding   Nominees: 1. Jigsaw (M) by nott theodore 2. Lucky Strike by TidalDragon 3. Not Fade Away (M) by Slide 4. Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse   Winner: Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: What inspired you to write Project Azkaban? Did you intend for it to be so dark when you first began writing it or did that happen naturally due to the content? Answer: The inspiration was twofold. I had a nagging question regarding Azkaban prison post-Voldemort, seeing as the guards of Azkaban (the dementors) had joined the Dark Side. They presumably could not be trusted to guard the evildoers of the wizarding world any longer, so I wondered... what's next? Project Azkaban or Azkaban 2.0 was my solution to that problem. Then, in the midst of my dreaming up what this new prison would look like, I had a dream that I was inside the prison and broke free. The prison break entailed a lot of deadly obstacles that felt kind of like a puzzle and I was at the mercy of my comrades to help me survive *cough cough*. As far as the piece being so dark... well, that was intentional. It has a lot to do with the construction of the prison and that's all I will say.    Most Addictive Story   Nominees: 1. Breathe (M) by @poppunkpadfoot 2. Complicated (M) by @ShadowRose 3. Home (M) by @adorably cute   Winner: Complicated (M) by ShadowRose   Question for Winner: What was your motive for purposefully making the characters ‘unlikeable’ at first? Answer: Ok, so when I started writing Complicated, I knew it was going to be a James/OC romance but I wanted it to be more than that too, you know? So in addition to being a romance, it’s designed to show how this one girl - the main character Abby - is shaped by the experiences of her seventh year and how they serve to turn her into a more mature and generally kinder person. So she starts off as this stuck-up Queen Bee character because there’s just so much room for character growth there. I think I’d also just finished binge-watching Gossip Girl when I started writing this story, so that may have also been a contributing factor. And as for James, he himself isn’t exactly unlikable; he’s only made unlikable through the narrator’s voice. The story is told from Abby’s first-person POV, and she doesnt like him, so the reader only hears about his worst traits at the start of the story because they’re the only things Abby notices.
  Most Original Story   Nominees: 1. Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin 2. Golden Girl (M) by Crimson Quill 3. Sentience by  TreacleTart 4. That Post is a Keeper by Pixileanin 5. The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore   Winner: TIE: Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin TIE: The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore   Question for nott theodore: What did your draw inspiration from to weave these awesome, imaginative tales? Answer: For the two tales I've written so far, I wanted to create a magical backstory/legend to places that are pretty well-known and already have associations with magic.  I've written stories like that before, picking out an historical event and shaping it into the Harry Potter world, but this was fun because I used the magical world - creatures and legends - included in the books to write the stories, more than anything.  There are a couple more I'd like to write based on local legends from the North of England, but I think the places themselves were probably the biggest inspiration.   Most Versatile Author   Winner: @melian   Question for Winner: Is writing different types of pieces a challenge for you or does it come naturally? What’s the most difficult story you’ve written? Answer: Oh, it’s a challenge. But a one-shot doesn’t have to be very long and really, it doesn’t even really have to have a story. Drabbles even less so. So long as you convey a mood and show a scene, then that’s all that really matters. You’re showing a snapshot of something that people can extrapolate further themselves if they want to, but that’s their job, not mine. The thing is, I like to challenge myself. I’ve managed to make Ron/Pansy and Draco/Luna both fit canon (both written for challenges) and I even managed a Dramione, which for someone who pretty much ONLY writes canon was definitely a stretch. Again, not sure it’s any good, but I wrote it. 

Hardest story I’ve written? I’ve already touched on Year of the Snake being a struggle for me, but I will also say that I fought with a number of others. People in Gryffindor will tell you I can write very quickly when I need to (if it’s a one-shot, of course!!! Like I said before, I often don’t really need to tell a proper story then) but that doesn’t mean what comes out is any good. Breathe was difficult, probably because it was from the point of view of a Mandrake and I have no idea what their thought processes might be, or if they even have them. Twelve Years I struggled with, because while I had the idea in my head it just wasn’t coming out on the page for me. Though, the fact I was writing it on a plane probably didn’t help. The Arthur Weasley story in The Battle of Hogwarts (Paladin) was also one that I wrestled with for quite a while before it started to come together.   Best Artist   Winner: @Poppunkpadfoot   Question for Winner: Do you have any advice for aspiring  graphic artists? Answer: Yes! Definitely do seek out and accept critique - it will be really helpful for improving your art! However, I have sometimes noticed there's a tendency to actually be over-critical of new artists, and that it can become really discouraging really fast. So I would say to be careful not to define yourself or your art by the critique you receive. Practice looking at each piece you make, even when it has flaws that you can see, and saying "here is what I like about this piece, here's what I'm proud of about this piece, and here's what I learned or applied from recent learning while making this piece". Also, make friends with other newbie artists and be supportive of each other! IMO, that's about as important as seeking out critique.   Best Moment   Winner: The Record-Setting CTF Win vs. Ravenclaw   Question: Do you have anything to say about Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw in a record-setting CTF round? Answers: poppunkpadfoot: It was such a great moment! We were all extremely nervous to face Ravenclaw because they'd basically been sweeping everyone they went up against; if I recall correctly, we were basically unanimous in being most worried about that match. I think we were kind of expecting to get our butts kicked, ahaha. When we were told we'd found the flag, we really could not believe it. We were all so excited and completely freaking out. It was such an awesome team spirit moment! It was definitely a highlight of the House Cup and it really bolstered our team's confidence for the rest of CTF.
I also think it's pretty much hilarious that this won Best Moment, because it was up against Gryffindor literally winning the whole House Cup. Like, you'd think that would've been a shoe-in, but no, the CTF win won by a landslide. Which I think is SO Gryffindor 🦁
(Also... we love you, Claws! ❤️)   StarFeather: Lions are the earnest participants at House Cup, especially :Gryffindor: for CTF, the event was invented by our king lion, Kevin. Who could ignore it? We had to win for Kevin and our house, Gryffindor. So I tried doing what I could at that moment.   nott theodore: Only that I still don't think I've recovered properly from that month of CTF!  Every house seemed to really have it together when we were playing them, with their formidable spreadsheets and well-planned attack, and we... were very Gryffindor, and didn't.  It was only in the final round against Ravenclaw (which we'd all been dreading) that we managed any semblance of a plan, and to actually get a win that quickly, after they'd won our first game with some incredible magic and skill (I think they got our flag in a 100+ chapter story after 3 chapters, maybe?), was a pretty amazing feeling.   melian: That was amazing, wasn’t it? I admit we did have a plan of attack, and the stars aligned in our favour in that we found the Flag author almost immediately, thanks in no small part to Ysh and her magnificent spreadsheet. But I won’t say too much in case it gives our strategy away. I felt kind of bad for Ravenclaw because they were doing SUCH a good job with their other Flag battles, but it was also incredibly satisfying when things worked out like they did.     Huge congratulations to all Lions who were nominated and who won! Next week we will be taking a look at the Hufflepuff House awards.  Header by Eva ❤️
 

OMG, This is REALLY Happening Now!!!

Hello again, my HPFT family!! As promised, I am here with another monthly update on my Honduras Missions Trip, and boy has it ever been CRAZY since the last time I posted here!!!! 😅   1. Okay, so for starters, I am extremely happy to report that I have now met BOTH of the fundraising goals for June (which was $700.00) and July (which was another $500.00) and I am now on my way to meeting the very LAST goal of $400.00 for the month of August!!!! I currently only need another $325.00 and my Missions Trip will be fully funded!!!!!    We've had several fundraisers over the last 6 weeks; including a Yard Sale, a dine-in partnership with a local restaurant, and I am currently selling T-Shirts that I designed!!! The shirt design was inspired by the Honduras Flag, and sales were originally supposed to end on July 31st. However, the Team recently extended that out another week, to August 8th. The shirts were $22.00 total, and we get $15 out of ever sale. I sold a LOT of shirts, and have been able to get most of my funding for the this way!! It has been pretty awesome!!! 👍  If anyone is interested in seeing the design, here is what they looked like:    2. Last weekend, our sister church at the One Child Matters center took a team to Honduras, and they kindly offered to take letters & small gifts down to our sponsored kids since they would be seeing them all while they were there. I absolutely cannot thank @MuggleMaybe ENOUGH for offering to help my team translate our letters to the kids from English into Spanish, so that they could read them once they arrived without having to wait forever to go through translators first!!! Renee, you are AWESOME, and you made so many of those children happy!!!!   They lady who was in charge of the Simple Church group, Aimee, even sent me this adorable video of my little Angie opening up the coloring books and box of crayons that I had sent to her!!!! (As well as a letter with some pics of me, my cat, and my dog too!!) But GAH!! Just look at her!!!  She is too precious for words, and I CANNOT WAIT to meet her in person you guys, OMG!!!!! 💗💕♥️💓  I've already got her a bookbag to take with me in September that I am filling with markers, earrings, hair scrunchies, pencils, erasers, and a couple of cute new outfits for her!!! This is the only time we're allowed to give them gifts, and I plan to spoil her while i can, lol.        3. Since my last Blog post, I both applied for and received my U.S. Passport in the mail!! Funny story about that though, actually... So I put my Passport in my mom's safe, where it would be "safe" and I would not lose it over the next few months until I need it again in September. Now, mind you, we've had this Safe for like a good 12-14 years now, and it has always worked PERFECTLY!!! Zero problems.... So please explain to me WHY, three days after me putting my U.S. Passport in there, the stupid thing decided to crap out and JAM?!? Like, the whole locking mechanism just errored out, causing the Safe to not open anymore at all!!! 😱  I'm telling y'all - the Devil is alive, and he clearly does NOT want me going to Honduras, LOL!!! But anyway, after another three days of panicking, dropping the safe from several different heights, calling up locksmith companies, AAA, our renters insurance place (all of which were NOT helpful), attempting to take various tools to the thing (hammer, axe, drill, crowbar, you name it!!), and then kicking it around the basement a bit for good measure (because, why not??)... My mom finally decides to look up "How to break into an [insert name of safe]" videos on YouTube. And I'll be damned if there wasn't an actual video tutorial on how to stick a screwdriver into the latch of that thing and hit some sort of hidden reset button inside and open it tf up!!! 😂 I mean, It's no freaking wonder the world is full of so many common criminals these days!!! Apparently you can learn how to break into a freaking safe just by watching video tutorials on YouTube!!!!  I am so done right now, lmfao!!!! 🤣  We jacked that safe up so hardcore tho, lol!! The whole front panel and the latch/lever part fell of of it and everything... It's like not even usable anymore, and we most definitely need to get a new one ASAP now. But hey, at least she got it open!!! 😆  #RIPsafe   4. And finally, for my last update: our flights and Hotel rooms are BOOKED, and we have received our itinerary for the whole week already now too!!! 😁  I am signed up to teach the 12 - 17 year old VBS classes on Friday while we are there. The classes are 90 minutes long, and must contain a lesson, craft, and a game of some sort. Then on Saturday we will be taking ALL the kids from every age group to the park nearby for a "Sports Camp" day, and we'll get to hang out and play games with them for the entire 3 hour VBS day!!!! 😊  I am also signed up to help with Worship, and will be helping pick the songs to play while we're there. AND I also got put on the Photography Team as well, which I am super excited about!!!! 👍  Over the next month we will be planning our lessons/games/activities for the kids, gathering supplies, and raising the last of the needed funds for the trip!! Everything is falling into place now, and I could not be more excited/nervous for this trip now!!!!! It is all VERY REAL at the moment, and I can't WAIT!!! 💙🇭🇳    Thank you all so much for all of your love and support throughout this journey, you guys. It really does mean THE WORLD to me!!!! ~Deana     

RoxiMalfoy

RoxiMalfoy

 

Sorting Buffy Summers

I like sorting characters from other fandoms - a lot. I’ve been debating doing these in blog posts rather than in various threads, and… well, now I am. I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. And now I’m going to sort Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.   Primary (the “why”) At first glance, Buffy looks like a bit of a Hufflepuff primary. From sortinghatchats: Hufflepuff Primaries value people. They value community, bond to groups, and they make their decisions off of who is in the most need and who is the most vulnerable and who they can help. They value fairness because every person is a person and feel best when they give everyone a fair chance. Buffy doesn’t always have the luxury of putting individuals first - she’s often grappling with an impending apocalypse - but each person she’s too late to save takes its toll on her, and you can see that as it weighs down on her throughout the seasons. She also does end up finding a community-of-sorts in the Scoobies, which is a vital (if occasionally contentious) part of her life and survival throughout the series. Ultimately, though, Hufflepuff isn’t quite right. Buffy isn’t “loyal before she’s right” - when she thinks that she’s right, she’s willing to tear down everything and everyone that gets in the way, regardless of her attachment to them. And, apart from that very small group of friends, Buffy often seems actively uncomfortable with the concept of being part of a broader community - she rebels against the Council on multiple occasions, she doesn’t last long in the Initiative, and while she takes on the potentials in season seven, she’s clearly not particularly comfortable with that aspect of it. Buffy can train them; she can’t bond with them. That’s because Buffy is, at her core, a Gryffindor primary. From sortinghatchats again: Gryffindor Primaries trust their moral intuitions. They feel what’s right in their gut, and that matters and guides them. If they don’t listen to and act on that, it feels immoral. Her decisions are guided by what her gut says is right and wrong. Her moral compass evolves over time - there are decisions she makes earlier in the series that are clearly very different from decisions she’d make later on - but it’s always her guiding force - and no matter what trauma she faces, it tends to remain steady, and no matter how much she loves someone, it doesn’t override her sense of right and wrong.  She’s devastated about killing Angel at the end of season two and struggles with it throughout the third season, but she never regrets it. She’s haunted by it because it hurt her, not because she questions that it was the right thing to do. In ‘Sleeper’ in season 7, she says: “I killed Angel. Do you even remember that? I would've given up everything I had to be with - I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life and I put a sword through his heart because I had to.” In ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’ (also season 7), she refuses to give ground when Giles and Wood want to kill Spike, to the extent that she was far more concerned about Spike’s well-being than Wood’s. There are a lot of layers to Buffy’s relationship with Spike, but ultimately, I take her at her word: she believes that keeping Spike around is the right thing to do. Now he has a soul, and she’s willing to forgive him because she thinks that now he has the capacity to move past his selfishness. If there’s one thing that Buffy struggles to forgive, it’s selfishness. She’s more angry at Giles for leaving her in season six than she was with him for poisoning her in season three, and she can’t live with herself when she feels like she’s being selfish. In season one’s ‘Prophecy Girl,’ she briefly quits when she hears that she’s prophecized to die - but she clearly feels guilty about it, and when she talks to Willow after the murders on the school campus, she changes her mind. She’s sixteen, and she willingly walks to her death. She’s got a reputation as being fairly straight-laced, but I think a lot of that is about not wanting to be selfish - and on the occasions where she’s not sure what right and wrong are, she tends to collapse into despair, even (especially?) when she’s the only one aware of her lapse. In season 5’s ‘The Weight of the World,’ she short-circuits into an endless loop when Dawn is taken by Glory because she’d had one moment of wishing that the fight with Glory was over and Dawn was dead, because she was so overwhelmed and so tired. For Buffy, this lapse into selfishness was overwhelming and self-defining. Even her depression in season six ties into this - part of it is clearly being yanked out of heaven, but I think that part of it is that she’s grappling with the consequences of doing something that she comes to see as selfish. She robbed the world of a slayer and comes back to a hellish nightmare because she couldn’t deal with losing her sister. She felt like she was doing the right thing in the moment - but she’s less convinced of that when she comes back, and it’s really only after she finds her purpose again that she gets back to herself. And, while her depression in season 6 exists independent of Spike and is a major contributing factor in their relationship in the first place, she’s also wrecked with guilt about their relationship - and it’s not a coincidence that her depression starts to alleviate shortly after she ends things with him, despite ‘Seeing Red,’ Tara being murdered, and Willow turning evil, committing murder, and trying to destroy the world. In ‘Dead Things,’ she beats him bloody and tells him, “There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!” (She was clearly talking to herself as much as him, but it pretty clearly applied to both of them.) When she ends it with him in ‘As You Were,’ though, what she says is very different - and seems much closer to the truth. “I can't love you. I'm just ... being weak, and selfish... and it's killing me.” While part of her self-loathing is that she thinks that having sex with Spike is wrong because he doesn’t have a soul, part of it is that she’s using him - and that’s wrong. Buffy is all about right and wrong. She’s a Gryffindor primary through and through.   Secondary (the “how”) Buffy is a Gryffindor seconary too. From sortinghatchats again: Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in.  While she’s certainly resourceful, she’s also all about addressing her problem in the most straightforward way possible. In season 2’s ‘When She Was Bad,’ Giles buries the Master in consecrated earth; when Buffy has nightmares about the Master coming back, she takes a sledgehammer to his bones. When Lily/Anne comes to her because Ricky is missing in Season 3’s ‘Anne,’ Buffy breaks into the offices to find information and even comments that she “sucks at undercover.” In season 4’s ‘Something Blue,’ she tells Willow while they’re patrolling, “part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting.” Her friends can see this tendency, too. Early on, it takes the form of jokes - in season 2’s ‘Inca Mummy Girl,’ Buffy protests that she doesn’t “always use violence!” Xander’s response? “The important thing is you believe that.” The implications start to get darker as the series progresses, though, including in season 6’s ‘Grave,’ when Willow is about to destroy the world. She sinks Buffy and Dawn into the earth and conjures monsters for Buffy to fight, because she thinks that Buffy “should go out fighting.” Willow’s speaking from experience here, too - Buffy’s devastated to the point of catatonia in ‘The Weight of the World’ because she feels that her moment of selfishness killed her sister - and because she was sure that Glory would beat her. If Buffy doesn’t see a way to address the problem head on, she shuts down. On the rare occasions that she tries to dissemble or change her tone, she does a poor job of it - it doesn’t come naturally, and more importantly, it feels wrong. Buffy is at her best when she’s attacking everything the world throws at her, not trying to hide who she is because her classmates or family can’t know the truth. She’s also a born leader. That’s not just a Slayer thing - characters throughout the series explicitly remark on how unusual it is to have a Slayer with such a big group of people who both know her secret and actively support her. While some of them do either have or develop connections to that world independently of her, most of them join the Scoobies because they want to, not because they have to. And, while her relationships with both Angel and Spike range from a little warped to downright toxic depending on the season, that tendency is true of them as well; she pulls Angel out of the depression he’d been in since getting his soul back, and love for her causes an unsouled Spike to turn his back on his sire after more than a century of devotion, not break under torture to protect her sister, and ultimately even seek out a way to win his soul back. Buffy inspires people without really meaning to, and they’ll follow her into hell because of it - literally, in the case of Spike, Faith, and the potentials.   Summary Buffy is a Gryffindor primary who will do what’s right even when she knows that it will destroy her afterward, and she uses her Gryffindor secondary to face the problems head-on and to lead a consistent core group of people through fire and back.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

In the Spotlight | July 21, 2018

Hey, all! It's that time of the month again where we feature winners from monthly events like sitewide Story of the Month, the Order of Merlin, and Head Students! Stay tuned for a few interviews with these winners as well as a couple review columns! This is an opportunity to get to know the authors, stories, and staff of HPFT a little bit better than before.   The one-and-only @TidalDragon was awarded the Order of Merlin for July, which was very well-deserved. You may know Kevin best as being the site's Gamekeeper, who is extremely helpful and friendly. We hope you enjoy this interview!  TidalDragon  

Next, we have prepared an interview with our two Head Students for July, @danicasyer and @Sleepingbagonthesofa. These two have been positively rocking the site lately, so we're all very excited to have them featured.  danicasyer Sleepingbagonthesofa
Dolor Lake [M]
by @Rumpelstiltskin R E V I E W   C O L U M N I read Dolor Lake a little while ago for a review swap, and even though it's been almost a month since I reviewed it, the images have remained vivid and at the forefront of my mind. I kept thinking about this piece and the messages that Rumpels is trying to convey through it. The beauty of this piece is that she uses a metaphor so powerful and strong that it can convey manic depression flawlessly, even to people who may not have experienced it before. This depiction of the endless cycle between the happiness and the depression is so personal and written so beautifully. The monster in the lake may not mean something to us the way it means to Rumpels (or perhaps it does, which is why these pieces about mental illnesses are so important) but the importance of this piece, to me, is that it's something that's understandable to everyone. The imagery, tone, diction, figurative language, and second person POV in this piece all come together to form a masterpiece of original fiction. And in that way, Rumpels manages to show the nuances of manic depression far more effectively than if someone had just tried to describe it outright. A story that can do that -- teach something new while conveying a deeply personal experience -- is one worthy of the highest appreciation. I can't recommend this enough. Please read it. ❤️ I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R Lying Josephine [M]
by @WriteYourHeartOut R E V I E W   C O L U M N Lying Josephine is such a phenomenally plotted story, filled with fully-developed characters with their own very distinct personalities and ways of speaking, time jumps that slowly start piecing the story together bit by bit, and emotions ranging from elation to grief. Tanya conducts the story masterfully, and the fact that there aren't more chapters makes me feel incredibly unfulfilled. Her Fred and George are some of the best I've ever seen, and my favorite thing is how easily she gives them both extroverted, jokester personalities while still keeping them separate from each other. The way she ties her story into the war while keeping the setting centered largely around Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and the Burrow is also so, so good. But we can't leave without talking about Tanya's OC, Josephine. Now, Josephine is quiet, shy, and reserved, yet she's best friends with Fred Weasley as she works in his shop. We'll find ourselves rooting for her as she tries to help George, her crush, especially in the aftermath of the war. She's fascinating because she's not morally perfect, but we'll love her anyway. Read this story and fall in love with all the characters, because there is no way you'll come out of it any other way. 💛 I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R --- And that's it for today's edition of In the Spotlight! As always, leave a comment let us know what you think. We sincerely hope you enjoyed reading! 💛 - The Prefects review column by just.a.willow.tree
interviews compiled by dreamgazer220, facingthenorthwind, Rumpelstiltskin
graphics by just.a.willow.tree
 

Common Room Awards: Ravenclaw Edition | July 14th, 2018

Common Room Awards: Ravenclaw Edition
  As an exciting new edition to the Prefect Blog, we've decided to host a mini-series on the Common Room Awards for each House! This week, we're taking a look at the Ravenclaw House Awards [or the Nargles]! In addition to being featured, each winner in each category had an opportunity to answer one question pertaining to their story. [Winners for other Houses, if you haven't received your questions yet, you will soon!] "Wittiest Story" Nominees:
A Candle (M) - @abhorsen.
When Dahlias Bloom (M) - @dirigibleplums

Runner-Up: 
When Dahlias Bloom (M) - @dirigibleplums

Winner:
A Candle (M) - @abhorsen. Question: Your Drastoria is so beautifully crafted, a perfectly balanced relationship (seriously, it’s impossible not to ship your version of them!) Why were you drawn to them as a ship? Answer: Thank you! I think a big part of it is that I like a redemption arc, especially when it comes to kids/teenagers. I hated Draco in the books, but I also saw a lot of potential in HBP and DH for someone who was capable of growing and changing into a better person, and that was something I really leaned into for my Scorose Curiosity Is Not a Sin (which was my first HP fanfic, back in late 2010/early 2011). I didn't want Draco 2.0 or Hermione 2.0, and part of that was not having Scorpius grow up in the same environment as Draco did. I also always had a vague thought that the Greengrasses were not pureblood supremacists - the Greengrass cousins in CINAS weren't, and I'd intended for Johanna Greengrass (Astoria's niece by her OC brother) to be a Slytherin Auror and one of Teddy's best friends. When I started writing about Astoria, it just kind of snowballed. "Best Ravenclaw Character" Nominees:
Alba Williamson in Stand Tall by @Chelts-rhj
Myrtle Warren in The First by @Veritaserum27 Runner-Up:
Alba Williamson in Stand Tall by @Chelts-rhj Winner:
Myrtle Warren in The First by @Veritaserum27 Question: What was the most challenging part of writing Myrtle? What drew you to her in the first place? Answer: Wow.  First of I was totally blown away that I even won a Nargle!  I'm just beaming with excitement over this. Myrtle was a little bit tricky because she's just so damn whiny.  She doesn't really do anything to help herself win friends and she kind of reminded me of someone who was completely misunderstood, so I started with that.  I wrote this piece as part of a Ravenclaw house collab waaaay back on HPFF, but it never got posted. We each took a different Claw character and a different era and wrote a one-shot.  I was excited because I hadn't written this era before. I did a little research about what it would've been like for a young girl in muggle London during WWII and went from there. "Most Original Story" Nominees:
Eidolon (M) by @Aphoride Stand Tall by @Chelts-rhj Runner-Up:
Eidolon (M) by @Aphoride Winner:
Stand Tall by @Chelts-rhj Question: Stand Tall is about a young witch in her final year at Hogwarts living with cerebral palsy and dealing with the Triwizard tournament and teenage friendship problems. What made you want to write such an inspiring story like this? Answer: It’s a complicated question that I can ALMOST answer completely. 😊 I have two members of my family with two vastly different cases of CP. For my cousin it put her in a position of being constantly underestimated and overlooked. She has since started living her own life. When I started writing Stand Tall she had moved away to college and really grown into herself. That’s where the CP came in. I have always been disappointed in the way people get nervous around anyone who falls out of the social norm. I wanted a hero for Hogwarts, with friends and nemeses, without making her Susie Q. She needed an abrupt challenge to unexpectedly wow herself as well as everyone else, and not in a ‘for someone with CP’ way. Add in that the Tournament pits her head to head against able bodied boys? Bring it on! (And I needed practice with active voice in action sequences so it couldn’t just be romance.) There is one more theme/point I wanted to get across but it’s a spoiler so ask me again after the next 13-15 chapters to find out. 😜 "Best Original Fiction" Nominees:
Empty (M) by @abhorsen.
Fall in Love with a Writer by @manno-malfoy
Passing Time by @forever_dreaming Runner-Up:
Passing Time by @forever_dreaming Winner:
Fall in Love with a Writer by @manno-malfoy "Best One-Shot" Nominees:
Little Red (M) by @sunshine_locks
Moment of Clarity by @AltraX Runner-Up:
Moment of Clarity by @AltraX Winner:
Little Red (M) by @sunshine_locks Question: Given we know roughly the same amount about all the next gen kids in canon (that is, nothing), what made you pick Rose as the killer? Why Lucy as the victim? Answer: The short version: I'm a spiteful and vindictive person. The long version: at the time I wrote this, I was into ScoRose. Like, a lot. And naturally I found every ScoRose story there was in the HPFF archives, but I was disappointed by the lack of variation in Rose's personality. She was almost always a carbon copy of Hermione, except with red hair. And I... was not impressed. There were so many amazing ways to spin her, and people wanted her to be Hermione, and not a shred of Ron was represented in her. So, I frustrated with two things: (1) her go to characterization being Hermione and (2) how almost everyone seemed to forget Ron is her parent as well. So, I was like, you know what? I'm going to make Rose the exact opposite of how people wanted her to be, but I was mindful of making her a unique character who could definitely be Hermione and Ron's daughter. I also thought it would also be nice to add in that how the Wizarding World viewed her paralleled how people seemed to love writing her. This is the true and honest answer, but if anybody likes writing Rose this way, I mean no absolutely no harm to you, and keep writing her like that if you so wish! [On Lucy as victim]: Oh, gosh, there was so much thought put into this story, and I'm kind of wondering why I don't put this much thought into all my other stories. I do have a very specific answer for this. So, basically, I tried to follow Rose's line of thought for her first victim. First of all, Rose is an arrogant person, and you can really see that by the end of the story, how she seems to be proud of the lives she's taken. I thought that she'd want her first victim to be be kind of famous? Like Rose thought Lucy's death would symbolic of the begin of her reign over the Wizarding World, or something of the sort. Lucy's status as a Weasley (and the fact that she was dead) would effectively tell the Wizarding World that something insidious was among their midst. But compared to the other Weasleys (like the Potters, or something), Lucy's not as famous, and that was deliberate in the story, as Rose wanted to start small, not be too ambitious. So, yup. Please don't think I'm a serial killer, I promise you that I'm not! "Best New Author" Nominees:
@Chelts-rhj (AP)
@facingthenorthwind (AP) Runner-Up:
@Chelts-rhj Winner:
@facingthenorthwind Question: Where do you get your ideas for all your insanely creative stories? Answer: 99% of the time they start out as conversations with my friends! All my best ideas come from other people. Either that or sometimes it’s just following JKR’s worldbuilding to their logical conclusions: if the description of being under the Imperius curse in GoF sounds like being under the influence, why wouldn’t people use it like that? If Jewish wizards exist, how have they married that with Jewish law? How does home security work when you’re connected to the Floo network? "Best LGBTQA+" Nominees:
And the World Went On by @manno-malfoy
ginevra, darling by @sapphicsunrise
two certainties (M) by @facingthenorthwind Runner-Up:
two certainties (M) by @facingthenorthwind Winner:
ginevra, darling by @sapphicsunrise
  "Best Description" Nominees:
Imperium (M) by @Aphoride
Tom (M) by @Theia
two certainties (M) by @facingthenorthwind
War Stories (M) by @forever_dreaming Runner-Up:
War Stories (M) by @forever_dreaming Winners (tie):
Imperium (M) by @Aphoride
Tom (M) by @Theia
two certainties (M) by @facingthenorthwind Question: How do you capture such beauty in your descriptions with such dark, angsty plot material? Answer from @facingthenorthwind: I actually think description is one of my weaknesses, so I have no idea what I’m doing here, haha! But I think it helps to have dark, angsty plot material because I feel obligated to distract from it, in a way? To give the audience some kind of reprieve by delving far too deep into the plot of the radio soap opera or getting too attached to exactly what Sirius would think of when he was conjuring a dining room chair. I guess it’s the only way I can inject some kind of whimsy into something so dark. And despite writing quite a lot of angst, I am extremely fond of whimsy. Answer from @Theia: I honestly don't know. I love writing about individual characters and getting into their mind space, and because of my own struggles with mental illness & toxic relationships, it becomes easier to write angst. I just put myself in the character's shoes and try to bring in the various sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings associated with it. I think one of the biggest realisations I've had when it comes to angsty descriptions is that your sentences don't need to be complete all the time - rather, they *shouldn't* - because when someone's in a dark situation of any kind, their thoughts tend to be disconnected, erratic, and layered with emotions. I don't think about my descriptions being *beautiful* but try to bring all the individual elements together to look at a single instance/ plot point in depth, and write about it in a realistic manner. If they turn out to be beautiful, then that's a bonus, haha! Thank you so much for the Nargle, and to everyone who voted for my fic, I still can't believe it! Congratulations to all the other winners as well! ❤️ Answer from @Aphoride: Ahhh thank you! Oh god, that's a surprisingly hard question! I think a lot of it is that I have a really visual mind, so it's easy for me to picture things, from landscapes to the detail on clothes, and then it's just a question of trying to translate that onto the page (and it's actually impossible for me to say things simply, I always have to add more and more and embellish ). So a lot of it comes fairly naturally for me? But I think dark, angsty stuff works for description, because dark/shadowed stuff plays off the mood of the story, and then you can have that kind of jarring feel with describing something really bright and light-coloured, in comparison to the dark material, yk? It also helps with Tom is a creepy little thing, which works well I don't think I've ever written as much physical description (like, of muscles and bones, etc.) as I have done in this fic!
  "Most Versatile Author" Nominees:
@abhorsen. (abhorsen | Beeezie)
@clevernotbrilliant (AP)
@dirigibleplums(AP)
@FireOpal (AP) Runner-Up:
@abhorsen. (abhorsen | Beeezie) Winner:
@dirigibleplums (AP) Question: Is there anything you haven't tried yet but want to? Anything that you would never write? Answer: There are actually lots of things I haven't tried yet! I'm big on daydreaming so a lot of my ideas are big and intricate... I just never quite manage to get them out of my head and onto paper - or, Word, to be more accurate. I'd love to write something rooted in fantasy with a lot of fairytale elements, or a high fantasy novel. I also have a vague plunny of this post-apocalyptic gangster novel that I will probably never have the skills to write As for things I wouldn't write... Well, I can never imagine myself writing horror. It's not something I read or watch so I likely won't write it either? There are some tropes that I'm not too fond of either, but horror is probably the main thing "Best Reviewer" Nominees:
@Ineke (reviews)
@manno-malfoy(reviews)
@PaulaTheProkaryote ( reviews ) Runner-Up:
@Ineke and @manno-malfoy (tie) Winner:
@PaulaTheProkaryote Question: Do you have a system for how you write your reviews or do you just make it up on the fly? Answer: I tend to write my reviews as I read the chapter so I don't forget any of the good tidbits! I try to include my favorite lines, something about characterization, and at least a few details that I really loved! I edit in my final thoughts at the very end when I finish the chapter to make the reviews a little more cohesive!   Congratulations to all of the phenomenal Ravenclaws who were nominated, the runners-up, and the winners! Well done, everyone! In two weeks on July 28th, the Gryffindor House Awards will be featured.   

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

like 8 years later ...

we are all familiar with starting a novel and getting maybe like 9 or 10 chapters in and then something happens to delay you from writing the rest of the story and it just doesn't get updated. maybe for weeks or months, or like me, even years on end. and you get your loyal readers asking to please update every few months because it has been literal years since something was updated. this was me. years ago i first joined the fanfiction community and i posted my literal worst piece of writing to ever exist. "oh i'm sure it wasn't that bad," no no sis, it was literally that bad. towards the end, the quality obviously improved because i had had  a steady year of constantly writing and reading and obviously school helped a lot so it wasn't a total trainwreck on fire by the end. but the beginning was atrocious. anyway. once i finished that fanfic novel, i was super excited to finally be able to start something new. and so i did, that was how a minor setback came to be born. i got about 7 chapters in and then life happened, i wrote a bunch of one-shots, i started, quite literally, like 30 other stories that never made it past the first chapter for all of the stated reasons and it just kind of got left behind. don't get me wrong, i have every intention of finishing this story, that's the one thing i've promised myself, every single fic that i've started is going to be finished even if it takes my entire lifetime to do so. so yeah, it got left behind. all i ended up having time for was the occasional one-shot, or short story and really nothing else. at least i didn't make time for it. and yeah, the people who had read a minor setback and enjoyed it and stuck around were suffering. i got quite a few reviews going along the lines of "for the love of god please update i'm dying." also, i kind of left the last chapter on a cliffhanger so .... anyways, it has been around 8 years, no exaggeration since that story has seen an update. and now i am happy to announce that after almost a decade of nothing,  A NEW CHAPTER IS COMING SOON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S RIGHT Y'ALL, TODAY I FINISHED THE NEXT CHAPTER OF MY FIC AND AFTER IT HAS BEEN EDITED IT'S FINALLY GOING TO BE POSTED. THE DROUGHT HAS FINALLY ENDED.  i'm just super excited because it's been literally so long and i finally managed to finish the next chapter and i can finally get a move on with this story. and to be honest, it only happened because i've made a list of which stories i'm going to be updating in which order and i've stuck to it otherwise i'm fairly certain chapter 8 would not exist today. i don't know when chapter 9 will be finished but i can at least say with certainty that it won't take 8 years. maybe 6 months-1 year but definitely not 8. i've planned out the story up until around chapter 15 so i'm good until then but this also means that i need to get a move on and keep planning so i don't hit some kind of road block and run out of ideas and end up in a 10 year drought all over again. so yah i'm pretty freakin excited. congrats to me.

greisful

greisful

 

Sorting Barry Allen

I like sorting characters from other fandoms - a lot. I’ve been debating doing these in blog posts rather than in various threads, and… well, now I am. I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. And now I’m going to sort the Arrowverse’s Barry Allen.   Primary (the “why”) Barry is a little tough to sort, because he can look like a lot of different things. The only primary he doesn't look much like is Ravenclaw’s. I’ve second-guessed myself a fair amount as I’ve gone through the series, so I’m going to just look at the other three houses one by one. Slytherin Primaries prioritize individual loyalties and find their moral core in protecting and caring for the people they are closest to. They often construct a morality system to deal with situations that are not addressed by their loyalty system. It’s probably the easiest to pick out when Barry has shown a Slytherin side: they’re some of the most significant decisions he’s made, and they’ve had lasting consequences. Changing the timeline to save his parents and his fixation on saving Iris to the exclusion of almost everything else (both in season three) were both motivated by his individual loyalties. However, the key here is that Barry isn’t truly comfortable with the selfish choices that he’s made. He feels an enormous amount of guilt over them. A Slytherin primary wouldn’t be wrecked with guilt over Flashpoint the way Barry is, for example. It’s also important that, even at his lowest and most unhappy, Barry doesn’t look anything like a petrified Slytherin primary. He never stops caring about the people in his inner circle, and even when he cuts himself off from them at the beginning of season two, it’s not because having people close to him is dangerous to him - he’s (somewhat justifiably) afraid that it’s dangerous for them. I think Barry fits better with one of the ‘felt’ houses - i.e., Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, which can look quite a bit alike. They trust their guts; they don’t need to pick feelings apart to know that they’re real. But Gryffindors are also idealists, where Hufflepuffs are loyalists. For Gryffindors, the impact their actions have on people helps shape what they think is right and what they think is wrong, but there’s a bigger picture; for Hufflepuffs, people are the big picture. The end result is often the same, but how they get there isn’t. Let’s look at Hufflepuff first. Hufflepuff Primaries value people. They value community, bond to groups, and they make their decisions off of who is in the most need and who is the most vulnerable and who they can help. They value fairness because every person is a person and feel best when they give everyone a fair chance. This looks a lot more like Barry than Slytherin does. He forms strong bonds with his team at STAR Labs very quickly, and his focus is invariably on saving people who are vulnerable. He wants the world to be fair, and he embodies that when he doesn’t just give members of his team second chances - he dismisses their apologies as unnecessary. He does it for Cisco when he reveals Barry’s identity to Leonard Snart to save his brother. He does it when Harry steals Barry’s speed to save his daughter. He does it when Caitlin turns into Killer Frost and helps Savitar. Hufflepuff could fit Barry - but it’s not the best fit for him. Gryffindor Primaries trust their moral intuitions. They feel what’s right in their gut, and that matters and guides them. If they don’t listen to and act on that, it feels immoral. Barry is a forgiving person, but that doesn’t automatically make him a Hufflepuff. A Hufflepuff might forgive or help someone they dislike because people have inherent worth. That’s not Barry - he’ll forgive people because he believes they’re better than their mistakes and have the right approach inside of them, not because they have innate worth. It’s not just about his friends, either - he forgives Leonard Snart because he believes that Snart is better than that. People who he doesn’t see the capacity to change in are locked up in the pipeline. Barry is also more than willing to sacrifice social harmony when if conflicts with doing what’s right. He'd certainly prefer for the people around him to get along and agree with him, but Barry doesn’t need them to get along or agree with him. That’s a pattern established in the very first episode, and it runs throughout the series: if Barry thinks that something is right, he’ll do it, and screw what anyone else says. “I’m sorry, but you can’t talk me out of this” or “I’ve made up my mind” are used over and over and over again - and for Barry, social harmony is collateral damage that he doesn’t hesitate to accept if it means that he’s doing The Right Thing. A Hufflepuff would care about preserving it; a Gryffindor wouldn’t. And while Barry’s attachment to his ever-expanding team at STAR Labs is significant, the nature of that attachment points at a Gryffindor primary, too. His core identity doesn’t revolve around STAR Labs - it revolves around being the Flash. He doesn’t seek out a new community to get involved with in Flashpoint until it becomes intrinsically connected to doing the right thing. And, in the original timeline, his passion for his ideals drags the team out of a thick malaise and brings people together to work toward his vision. That’s far more characteristic of a Gryffindor primary than a Hufflepuff primary. Throughout the first season, Barry has a decision to make over (and over, and over): should he break his father out of jail? He wants to, but he doesn’t. Part of that is knowing that his father wouldn’t want that, but part of it is that Barry feels like it would be <i>wrong.</i> The other key is to look at Barry not just at his best, but at his worst. Barry at his worst doesn’t really look much like a burned Puff primary - he never really sees having a community as inherently unsafe, nor does he ever try to shrink it, with the possible exception of stepping away from it in the beginning of season two. However, Barry at his worst looks a lot like a Gryffindor primary who’s starting to strip - he’s never at his most anguished than he is when he doesn’t know what’s right. It’s true that some of his alter-egos do look a bit like burned Puffs - both Savitar and future!Barry in season three have stepped away from their communities in ways that are a little more characteristic of a burned Hufflepuff than a stripped Gryffindor. However, there’s too much about their journeys and internal struggles that we just don’t see to sway me. It’s entirely possible that future!Barry’s experience surrounding Iris’s death involved something that shook his faith in his ability to tell right from wrong, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a Gryffindor primary in that position wall themselves off. Similarly, if Savitar was truly ostracized from the group, I can absolutely see his feelings about right and wrong becoming warped. We don’t get to know future!Barry or Savitar well enough to puzzle that out, and their characterization isn’t inconsistent with Gryffindor, so I’m going to stick with my original conclusion: Barry Allen is a Gryffindor primary.   Secondary (the “how”) His secondary is a lot more straightforward. His team at STAR Labs improvises and plans, and he works hard to improve his speed, but none of that is who Barry is. Charging is who Barry is. Inspiring is who Barry is. And that's all Gryffindor secondary. Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in. “Brash” is perhaps a bit harsh, but as “Wells” once pointed out, he’s a bit of a show-off. His pure glee at being mugged in S1 E7 and at helping Joe and Eddie fight criminals after Eddie finds out that he’s the Flash speaks to that. Whether something’s seen as possible doesn’t really enter the equation - Barry’s sentiment is always “I have to try.” Sometimes that involves using his powers - he does what his team thinks is impossible that against both of the Margon brothers - but it doesn’t always involve it. His unsuccessful appeal to Abra Kadabra’s better nature in season three to learn who Savitar is a great example of how he uses it in a verbal capacity as well as a physical one. He even (briefly) manages to break through to Savitar himself. His attempts don’t always fail, either - they’re often quite successful. He inspires the people around him with his hope, optimism, and sincerity. Eobard Thawne came back in time to kill Barry, but while his initial motivation in creating the Flash was clearly just to get back to his own time, he clearly comes to feel genuine affection toward Barry, leaving him both STAR Labs and a taped confession for Nora Allen’s murder. Barry pulls Caitlin back from the brink of becoming Killer Frost in episode 7 of season three because he trusts her. Future!Barry was broken by Iris’s death; Present!Barry inspires him to reconnect with the team members and become the Flash again when he goes off to fight Mirror Master and Top, because it’s The Right Thing To Do. “I heard what you said, and you were right.” Barry doesn’t just inspire the people around him to be better, either - he also inspires them to be honest. He tells them how he feels and what he knows: he’s honest about he remembers from the night his mother died, he’s honest about his feelings for Iris, he’s honest about Flashpoint. It causes him clear distress when he hides things from people - Barry’s default state is being an open book. While he can accept that it’s not always possible, he doesn’t like it, because he often isn’t deciding to tell people things so much as being too earnest not to tell them. It being a “moral matter” to stay true to himself is a perfect description of where his struggle comes from in S1 after he discovers that “Wells” was involved in his mother’s murder. Joe can fake it. Barry can’t. If he tells you that he’s going to do something, he will do it. He tells his father he’ll free him from prison, and he does. He promises to go back for the real Jay (twice!), and he does. He promises to save Iris, and he does (albeit with assistance from HR). Yes, he’s saving people he cares about (or identifies with) - but it’s often clear that Barry’s motivated by the principle as much as the practical implications. He doesn’t break promises because that’s just not what you do. In summary: Barry is a Gryffindor primary and a Gryffindor secondary.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

i love cold weather culture (in which i rant)

this topic has nothing to do with writing, which as anyone has probably noticed, is the general theme for almost all of these blog posts. but anyway, today i want to talk about, or i guess complain, about what i have dubbed i love cold weather culture. now i have nothing against cold weather i enjoy a nice rainy day and i enjoy winter (all -30 to -40 degrees celsius for 8 to 10 months of it) so i have nothing against cold weather. but do you ever find that whenever summer comes around and you're talking to someone and they bring up how hot it is and you inevitably get sucked into a discussion on which season is better summer, or winter? or is that just me? (i'm going to be working in celsius here y'all) but yes i get sucked into these discussions all the time, why you ask? because i love hot weather and i live in canada where it normally doesn't get that hot even in the summer. this preference causes a lot of discourse. see i have a friend who thinks that 22 degrees (that's 71.6 for you farenheit folks) is stiflingly hot. i am of the opinion that until it reaches like 35 degrees it's not that hot, mostly because i don't break a sweat until it reaches that temperature. and we got into this big argument over whether or not 22 degrees is hot and i still maintain that it's not. and this conversation came about because we were planning on going as a group after we all graduated with our degrees on like a trip around europe, one of those stops being greece and italy. and i told her i was like if you think 22 degrees is unbearably hot, you're going to die in these countries because the minimum during the summer is like 35-40 degrees (assuming i can trust my relatives living there). anyways that conversation devolved into her trying to explain why 34 degrees in canada is different from 34 degrees in italy which i get in the sense that italy is closer to the equator so it would be even WORSE there than in the north. but to this day i still don't understand the logic behind 22 degrees in canada is hot and 34 in italy is not hot because that was essentially what she was getting at. and from there we got into the conversation of is summer better than winter. now i like summer better, so it comes as no surprise that i said i thought warm weather was better, my friend has gone her whole life living with cold weather, it's what she's used to so obviously she was going to pick cold weather. and i would've been fine with this except for the fact that she tried to convince me to change my answer to cold weather, and it's not just her, i find this happens with a lot of people whenever i say i like summer. i get fed a lot of logic like if it's cold you can just put on more layers to be warm or you can move your body to generate heat etc etc. and that when it's hot you can only remove so many layers of clothing before you're left in just your skin and then you have to endure. and that's great and all but the thing is: i don't give two shits. like don't get me wrong the logic is sound but i don't care. i just enjoy hot weather. like i don't need an essay defending your position i just enjoy hot weather. the first few years of my life were spent living in a hot country, and then i came to canada and now i'm stuck wearing like 2 layers of everything for 80% of the year. don't get me wrong i can tolerate the cold, like as soon as it hits like -20 after it being balls cold for weeks on end, i also strip some layers off and claim that spring has come but IT'S STILL C O L D.  my problem with layering is that i'm not cold in my torso area, i can layer up there all i want i have like 40 baggy sweaters and a puffy parka. as such, i am not cold in my torso area. it is my legs that are freezing. now i can layer up my legs too, but i can only wear about 1 extra pair of leggings underneath and then that's it. my jeans don't exactly allow room for more than 1 pair. proper winter boots don't really come any higher than my knees. "but why don't you wear snowpants," well i have nowhere to put them. i have my laptop, a textbook, all my notebooks, my pencil case, a calculator, and lab equipment in my backpack. i can't fit lunch in there, i can barely fit my scarf, my toque, and my mittens. there's just nowhere for snowpants to go. I AM DESTINED TO FREEZE. and on top of that i have poor circulation in the winter, like my nails turn purple. and on top of the poor circulation the weather is forcing my body to draw even more heat from limbs to keep the important bits warm. i am forever cold, i always have to wear my scarf even inside buildings on campus or my freaking parka because i'm always cold. okay so yes i love hot weather. i love being uncomfortably warm, i love being sweaty just from sitting around because it's so hot. i don't even mind when the sun's been on me long enough to give me a sun burn. I LOVE IT OKAY. and imma just say it i love going to the beach and i can't go to the beach when it's cold, or out to a lake when it's cold. and the clothes are so much cuter too, i love clothes and fashion i get so hyped up about it. seeing the new summer patterns every where gets me so excited i spend all of my time on pinterest.  and just something about the combination of pretty clothes, and beautiful weather and scenery, and looking good makes me feel good. and it's not that winter means i'm constantly feeling bad about myself because i have my winter aesthetic, but feeling good about myself is not exactly what comes to mind when i have numb toes, wet socks, numb legs, and my glasses fog up every time i exhale into my scarf when it's wrapped around my nose or whenever i enter a building. tl;dr let me enjoy my hot weather in P E A C E thank you for listening to my TedTalk.

greisful

greisful

 

New Beginnings Challenge Winners

So this blog is to celebrate my winners for the 'new beginnings' challenge and thank those who put in entries. It was difficult to judge as always such a high standard from everyone! The winner for this challenge is the wonderful @victoria_anne graphic by @just.a.willow.tree @ hpft Bianca's piece is a brilliant expansion of her Heroes and Monsters Universe, I was really impressed with Bianca's storytelling with this piece. She uses the theme wonderfully and fleshes out some of her more minor characters from the universe here. We had a snapshot into the future of Brindley and Finn too which is a treat. Anyone who has read anything else in this universe, must read this. Congratulations, B!  2nd Place is @StarFeather graphic by @just.a.willow.tree @hpft Kenny's piece was so sweet. it focus on the relationship between Harry and Lily Luna. I thought this piece deserved to place because it was a really good take on the challenge theme, I really liked how it explored growing up too. Well Done, Kenny! 3rd Place is @melian graphic by @just.a.willow.tree @hpft This piece focus on Gellert Grindelwald. I loved how she explored his family and his sexuality, she has a unique take on both of these aspects. The element of 'new beginnings' is Gellert's first meeting with Albus Dumbledore which is one of the most important unseen moment in the universe and we know how this beginning ends. Honestly Mel does this significant moment justice!  
 

Common Room Awards: Slytherin Edition | July 8th, 2018

Common Room Awards: Slytherin Edition
  As an exciting new edition to the Prefect Blog, we've decided to host a mini-series on the Common Room Awards for each House! This week, we're taking a look at the Slytherin House Awards [ or the 'My Father Will Hear About These Awards' / MFWHATAs]! In addition to being featured, each winner in each category had an opportunity to answer one question pertaining to their story. [Winners in other Houses: if you haven't received your questions yet, you will soon!]     “Most Hypnotizing Tale” [Most Addicting Story]   Nominees: Saving Severus Snape [M] by @MegGonagall 
Like a House on Fire by @800 words of heaven
Not My Own by M C Crocker / @scooterbug8515
After Life [M] by @MegGonagall

Runner-Up:
After Life [M] by @MegGonagall

Winner:
Saving Severus Snape [M] by @MegGonagall   “Best Snake of a Different Scale” [Best Alternate Universe]   Nominees: Scars from Tomorrow by @Nix
Child of the Hunt: the Journey Begins [M] by @Alexis Black
Like a Multiverse on Fire [M] by @800 words of heaven

Runner-Up:
Scars from Tomorrow by @Nix

Winner:
Child of the Hunt: the Journey Begins [M] by @Alexis Black
  “Most Careful Handling of a Snake” [Best Depiction of a Canon Slytherin Character]   Nominees:
Draco Malfoy in Love, Not War [M] by @RoxiMalfoy
Bellatrix Lestrange in The Moonlight War [M] by @BoredOneNight

Runner-Up:
Bellatrix Lestrange in The Moonlight War [M] by @BoredOneNight
  Winner:
Draco Malfoy in Love, Not War [M] by @RoxiMalfoy
Question for Winner: From the moment Love, Not War starts to where it’s at now, Draco has experienced a lot of character growth. What was the most difficult challenge you faced while showcasing his personal growth? Answer: To be honest, I am probably facing my most difficult challenge in writing one of Draco’s personal growth/development scenes right NOW, lol. 😛 Each moment of the story, every thought that Draco has had, every conversation he’s held with others; it has all been about how he hates his father for the decisions that he’s made, and how he wants nothing more to do with Lucius Malfoy. But now the story is gearing up for this pivotal moment of confrontation between father and son, and Draco is going to have to make a some pretty heavy decisions regarding his relationship with his father. He has been told that this is going to be the last time he will ever see/speak to his father again. Lucius has been sentenced to death at this point, and the Minister has offered Draco one hour to say goodbye. (But that’s all the details I’m going to give here, lol!! If you want to know more, you’ll just have to read the story!!)  😉 But I will say that the conversation that ensues between the two Malfoys in Chapter 24 of LNW is... yeah, it gets pretty intense, to say the least. Lucius makes several confessions to his son, and Draco in turn ends up venting his frustrations to his father about everything that he’s been holding onto for most of his childhood. And by the end of it, I can honestly say that I am very proud of Draco Malfoy, and the decisions that he makes after being faced with everything that's thrown his way during this particular conversation.

I mean, it was one thing for him to declare his forgiveness to the angry mob of people at the Ministry in Chapter 19. But now he will actually be required to put those words into action when he sees Lucius face-to-face for the first time since everything that's happened to him at the beginning of the story. And honestly, writing that particular scene was always one of the MOST challenging parts for me, because it's very personal. It was difficult back in 2009 when the first draft of this section of the story (which, at that time was only Chapter 13) was written. And even now while I am rewriting this section for my JulNo project, (and it is now Chapter 24 of the story, due to all of the new content and spacing out I've done during the rewrite/edit process) I’ve still had a very emotional time with writing it. But I'm making my way through it. Albeit a little slowly, lol! 😅

I’m not sure how much of a widely-known fact this is, but when I started writing Love, Not War back in the summer of 2008, I was dealing with a LOT of personal issues surrounding my own paternal father. Coming from a single parent home, he and I have never really had much of a relationship. 😕 But I had reached a point in my life where I had decided that I wanted to let go of all the anger and resentment that I had been holding onto from my childhood. Being in my early twenties at the time though, I wasn’t really sure what true forgiveness of that nature looked like, and I had quite a bit of feelings and emotions surrounding my broken/damaged relationship with my own dad. So, naturally, I channeled a lot of that into this fanfiction. And I feel as though Draco and I both learned to forgive our fathers together, in a way. It was all quite therapeutic, writing through it for the very first time. ✍️

Fast-Forward 10 years (dear lord, have I really been working on this thing for an ENTIRE Decade now?!? 😱 )  and now I’m rewriting the entire fic all over again. And while I have since forgiven my father, and he and I are, in fact, on speaking terms now (he’s actually moving into the neighborhood over from us from us next month, so he’ll only be about a 20-30 minute drive away now, as opposed to an hour and a half away) but that still doesn’t make reliving this section of the story all over again any easier. The emotion Draco experiences is still very real, and is still very much a reminder of everything that I, personally, was going through at that time in my life. His thoughts of betrayal and accusations of neglect were very much my own, so I know how hard it was for him to overcome that situation and then grow from it. But thankfully, we overcame our adversities, and I feel as though we have both come out stronger for it in the end.  💚🐍
  “Best ‘Love Bites’” [Best Romance]   Nominees:
Love in Three Acts [M] by @toomanycurls
Problems by @800 words of heaven
Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot by Dark Whisper
Lightning Love [M] by @toomanycurls

Runner-Up:
TIE!
Love in Three Acts [M] by @toomanycurls AND Problems by @800 words of heaven

Winner:
Lightning Love [M] by @toomanycurls
Question for Winner: What was it like working with such a large character cast in Lightning Love? How do you keep track of all the characters? Answer: Writing a large cast is something I generally enjoy doing. I like giving a voice to a lot of people instead of just a few. I've been working up to large casts for a while (it started with scenes that had a lot of people or parts of entire stories that had a lot of people, and now an entire story with a lot of people). In each scene, I usually know what I want to happen and who needs to be there. I also have any key development that needs to happen mapped out so I'll always include people who need to go through some experience. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I haven't revisited someone's story arc in a few chapters and I make room for them in the narrative. I almost never include a character incidentally. For instance, in True Romance, the entire reason I showcase Albus' relationship with Molly/Arthur is so that Arthur's death will have a bigger impact on the characters (and readers ). I had fun mapping out the character arc for each main/secondary/tertiary character in Lightning Love. All of the main/secondary characters have rather intertwined story arcs so it's easy to keep them at pace with each other. I know that if I want to advance Joao's story arc, I need to move him along with Hugo. I'm not sure if I've answered the question or just talked a lot without saying much. Oh! One thing that gets a little stressful is making sure the large cast of people don't sound unrealistic or repetitive. I try to make sure that everyone speaks in a scene without making them speak in the same order like they're taking deliberate turns.

In terms of keeping track... they're all very different people to me so it's easy to keep their voice distinct. Joao and Puja are both very playful but Puja is so much more reserved than Joao so her playfulness comes out in different ways. I have an outline for the rest of Lightning Love that reminds me what I need to include hints for and make happen at certain times. There are a few really big shocks coming up (one I forgot about until I revisited my story outline a few months ago). In particular scenes it's sometimes a scramble to make sure I haven't silenced someone or written that they're around but never describe what they're doing or give them a line in the dialogue. There are times I only catch a drifting character when I reread a scene.
  “Most Deadly Fangs” [Best Dark/Horror]   Nominees:
Intemptesta Nox [M] by @Alexis Black
Dolor Lake [M] by @Rumpelstiltskin
kisses-blood-valentine [M] by @toomanycurls
Misconstrued [M] by @Diogenissa

Runner-Up:
Intemptesta Nox[M] by @Alexis Black

Winner:
Dolor Lake[M] by @Rumpelstiltskin Question for Winner: What inspired Dolor Lake? Answer: Dolor Lake is a cathartic piece. Experiencing the ups of mania and the downs of depression can be a crazy experience but what I really wanted to touch on were the lowest points of depressive episodes. I wanted to peel back the layers and explore what my feelings were and where they were coming from -- and what better way to do that than through analogy? When we can reveal our monsters for what they truly are, we can face them head-on and we'll know exacltly what they're capable of. 
  “Best ‘Didn’t See That One Coming’” [Best Plot Twist]   Nominees:
Not My Own by M C Crocker/ @scooterbug8515
That’s All [M] by @beyond the rain
People Watching by @BlackPixie

Winner: TIE! Not by Own by M C Crocker/ @scooterbug8515 AND That’s All [M] by @beyond the rain   Question for scooterbug8515: What inspired you to write a body-swapping piece and what was the most difficult about writing it? Answer: The original inspiration for Not My Own was an ages-old challenge back in my early days of writing fan fiction.  The challenge was not a judged thing thing more of a writing prompt issued as a challenge. "What if Remus Lupin was actually James Potter?"  

My brain started to buzz with ideas of what that meant emotionally for the characters, and from there I knew I had to write it and I opted to do a body swap because honestly Polyjuice Potion is weird and complex for something so long term and meta-morph abilities had not come to light at the time (I was writing pre-OotP then).

The first version of the story exists on the internet by a different name and lacked a lot of detail Not My Own has, also the old story never got much further than the train ride.

As for the most difficult bit I can't decide if it is keeping James in line because he wants to break the book canon from time to time or if it is covering events not seen in the book some are easy to slip in others not so much it is the cause of the current delay in the next chapter. A couple of months pass in the books and not much happens I don't know how I want to cover or fill that and it is a struggle.   Question for beyond the rain: When planning Clara’s character, was she always as you’ve established her in the fic or did she change at all between the planning stage and the writing stage? Answer: Clara was always going to be a pacifist and her reasons behind that were always going to be selfish (Those reasons mainly centering around her not wanting to see the ones she loves get hurt, it has nothing to do with the fact that war itself is terrible.) From day one she's been a slytherin...but I could never decide on her blood status; eventually I settled on muggleborn. She's always been a medi-witch/nurse too.

I think what's changed between planning and writing is that I've discovered her weaknesses and what makes her vulnerable? Before I started writing she seemed invincible, she was some sort of omniscient being just tutting and judging the entire HP world. Now I've discovered her flaws. She doesn't like to talk about her problems, she's extremely self-conscious, and it's never been about being 'too good' for the wizarding world, but rather that she was never good enough.
  “Best ‘Laugh Out Loud’ Moment” [Funniest Scene]   Nominees:
@Nix's Bring a Muggle to School Day @BlackPixie and WindingArrow’s In a Flash @800 words of heaven ’s Chai, Dancing, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning:   Runner-Up:
In a Flash (Chapter Two) by @BlackPixie and Winding Arrow   Winner:
Bring a Muggle to School Day by @Nix
Question for Winner: Writing humor can be tricky! What was the most difficult part of planning out/writing Bring a Muggle to School Day (a moment, particular character, etc.)? Answer: Oh, gosh. Humor is super tricky, which might be why that's the only humor fic I've ever written! And it was so long ago that I don't remember a lot of the details of planning. I think the most difficult part was keeping it funny, which was why I decided to make it a parody because I didn't want to get wrapped up in the details. If I had written it strictly canon, I don't think the story would have ever even happened considering Fred and George are the sons of Arthur Weasley, who works for the Ministry, and they know all the rules regarding the Statute of Secrecy, and they would know their father would be punished more than a random person would because of this.

I loved writing Fred and George, and I loved creating Melina and making her the instigator in this situation, and the muggles were super fun to write. But yeah, the main part was not getting too wrapped up in my head over the details and just being in a good humored sort of mood. I was probably laughing at myself all the way through writing it as I went along, because I genuinely thought it was funny, and it still makes me laugh today, even though I didn't know at the time if anyone else would think the same or that it would win any awards.     Fantastic job to all of the Snakes who were nominated, the runner-ups, and the winners! Well done, everyone! Next week, Ravenclaw's House Awards will be featured.   ❤️Header by Eva❤️
 

On life, writing, adulting, fanfiction, representation and other things – a stream of consciousness

Okay, people. This is high on my list of things that have absolutely no priority to be done but, like, I need to? I'm jumping into this without any real plan and I have no idea what will come out of it... also, a word of warning: this might turn very personal and I might also include thoughts that might be disagreeable or that might be triggering for someone (I'm not saying it is going to happen, I'm saying it is a possibility)... please know that, if that eventually happens, it is not my intention to hurt or offend anyone... because I love every single one of you from the bottom of my heart (probably a bit too much considering I don't even know most of you in RL and I still care for you as much as - if not more than - I do for some of my RL friends, which is sort of crazy? I don't know, I'm already rambling and I'm not even started...) Anyway... I'm turning 32 in little over two weeks... which is crazy because I could swear I was 15 the day before yesterday? And while I think I have a pretty "standardized" life (a master degree, a full time job, a house that I keep at a decent state of order, even if my aunts would probably disagree on this point) I still feel like I'm missing a point... lacking a purpose... I feel like I haven't actually learnt to live yet. This probably has something to do with the fact that I've never been in a relationship in my whole life... I'm not even sure about my sexuality and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to deal with that. I'm not sure if my current job is truly what I want to do and sometimes I feel like I'm throwing away my life just because I want to fit in certain standards, but in truth those standards are just too tight for me? Do you ever feel trapped into what society expects from you? Do you ever think that life is too short and that you should enjoy it at his fullest and yet you don't because you need to make it fit into some kind of predefined structure and you don't know how to escape it? Well, this is how I feel a lot of the time. And I feel guilty because I was born in the best possible conditions and I'm still managing not to make the best of it. Because it's obviously my fault if I don't know what I'm doing with my life and I'm too lazy or too coward to change it, isn't it? (Well done, Chiara! This already sounds depressing!) One thing that actually gives me happiness is writing. I've been writing since I was a child, being it nonsensical fairytales, bad poetry or just simple diary pages. I've always had a big imagination and sometime I get lost in the worlds inside my own head, where there are no boundaries and I can just be whatever and whoever I want to be. Probably that would be the key of my happiness, and I have seriously considered (especially in the last months when I worked for my old society and I was starting not to feel at ease there anymore) to drop everything and just write for a living. But that sounded like something too crazy that no sane person would do, especially because I don't think I would actually be able to get published for a bunch of reasons, namely I'm not good enough, patient enough and determined enough. Still, I love to write and I try to do so, even if it's hard and even if it requires time and dedication and even if it's just for myself. When I discovered HPFF and the wonderful community that still lives here (I don't want to get into all the drama that was HPFF, even if I have a lot of thoughts about that, too... let's just say that I still feel lucky to stumble upon that site because, despite its many flaws, it introduced me to the wonderful world of fanfiction and to all of you beautiful people that, as I said already, I love from the bottom of my heart) it was in a hard time of my life (and I'm not going into that, either, because I've talked about that enough loads of times and it is not the purpose of this... not that this has a purpose...) and fanfiction helped me through a lot. I rediscovered the love for writing and I could finally share it with someone, and I was shocked and so happy to discover that my writing could actually resonate with someone. This community also opened my eyes over a lot of things I had never really thought about, like the importance of representation and the beautiful complexity that is the LGBTQA community. I have learnt so much just by interacting with you and I know I still have a whole lot to learn but what I'm trying to say is that the world is vast and diverse and wonderful and that I have to thank you for making me look a bit further than what I was used/comfortable to see. And well, the world can also be ugly and harsh and cruel at times, and we see that a lot nowadays, unfortunately... and sometimes it feels easier to just turn the head the other side and pretend it's alright, because, really, what can one person even do? I'm not even sure what I'm talking about anymore, I'm so sorry... I think I screwed this up completely, but now I'm sort of exhausted and I don't really want to try to make this rambling sensical. So I'll just have to decide if post this or discard it completely. But I'll do so after lunch, because it's 1.30am and this Italian needs her food. (Going to make myself spaghetti with clams. Anyone want some?) Just one last reminder that you are all awesome and that I love you all so much! Snowball hug rolling your way, Chiara
 

Shake Up

The hows and the whys of me having the time and the urge to write are probably something for another blog. Suffice to say: I must write, I will write. I sort of cannot write. One of the various problems I'm struggling with is that I can't let go of past projects. Not Fade Away was put to sleep for many reasons, and the fact that it's left me alone rather suggests I was right. But the Stygian Trilogy or the Anguis Series just will not Shut Up and Let Me Rest. One answer to that is 'write Regeneration', to which the answer is still (for the moment) 'no,' also for hows and whys belonging to a different blog. It's not as simple as me wanting to write More of them. It's not as simple as the idea that there are more stories to tell with the characters (for the most part, there are not). But the projects keep overshadowing anything that comes next. One of the problems I had for Not Fade Away was that I didn't let myself write two bickering, love/hate romances back-to-back, going from Stygian's Scorose to NFA's Jily. And NFA suffered for it, because I artificially held myself back. Any idea or concept that I have, I keep feeling like it's derivative of something that I did before, that I'll just keep retreading the same old ground. So I hold back on ideas or feelings or writing instincts, and I think it's starting to shoot me in the foot. Less abstract, more Actual Problem: My latest project. The one I have in some corners joked about being 'like my old stuff, but more Batman.'  Yeah, the premise is 'what if a wizard started to fight Muggle crime as an anonymous vigilante', and as a concept it is so much fun. I have stretching before me huge swathes of possibility, I get to riff off Batman and Arrow (it's far more on that end of the superhero scale!). The world-building to explain how and why this has come about has a chance of honestly being some of the best exploration I've done of the Potter-canon. In terms of plot possibility, themes, drama, it has basically everything; I should be in heaven. It's just the characters are misbehaving, or I'm smothering them. I didn't want to write this with OCs, because honestly it is hell to get people to pay attention to OC-centric fics. I'm not writing 'Harry Potter snaps and becomes Batman'; hilarious as that sounds, someone else can have that plunny. And in contemplation of interesting canon characters I could use, there was one who had all of the tropes I needed or could use interestingly, and it's Scorpius sodding Malfoy. You know, the guy I wrote an entire trilogy-plus about, who is probably one of my most iconic characters with the strongest Voice? And my muse says "hey, write a different version of him!" Other characters (Albus, Rose) then start to come with the territory of such a Next Gen, even a post-Hogwarts Next Gen, and I feel like not using them would be entirely out of an obligatory effort to be Different to my past work. But these characters are compelling to readers for specific reasons, we're curious about them above all other Next Gen characters for specific reasons, and within the world building there is specifically Interesting Stuff I could do with them that I couldn't do as easily with other characters. Now, Albus isn't a problem. I can remake Albus all day long. He's got a great plot. He's a star. He's fine. I'm feeling my way through writing a brand new Scorpius Malfoy as someone who is legitimately more mature, more reserved, still sarcastic but not irreverent, with family issues of a different flavour, and I can't tell if this is flowing naturally or if I've shackled myself. Part of me thinks that a Scorpius Malfoy who pretends to the world that he's irreverent and superficial while secretly being a much more committed guy with a specific sense of justice and a crusade - pulling a Bruce Wayne - could be exceptionally interesting (and now I write it, it does sound way cool). And then I worry that I'm just writing my old Scorpius, with his Stygian personality, except in a different set of circumstances with different experiences - - wait, that sounds like a completely different character, doesn't it, even if they have some similarities. It's like I've written several different versions of Ron, with different life experiences, but all still Ron. And what I do with Scorpius will impact Rose, because she will absolutely be a foil in this story, and We'll See(??) on if it's a romance. I could wax lyrical about my problems with her, but they're pretty similar in essence. The essence being, is it okay to let myself cut these characters from the same cloth and do different things with them? I suppose I've been trying for years to run away from these characters and it's done my writing absolutely no favours, so why shouldn't I try writing naturally and not care if I'm repeating the same beats? The worst that happens is I have another abandoned story under my belt, and that's not sarcasm, if I can ditch 200k words of NFA I can basically survive anything. Thoughts and opinions of anyone are really welcome, but already I can feel just by sitting down and feeling this one out, I'm a lot happier with where I am going forward.

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On Straws, Environmentalism, and Ableism

If you've seen something along these lines on my facebook, sorry - I was thinking about it, and I was like, you know what this would make a blog post. So here we are. There's been a lot of attention paid to the impact plastic straws have on the environment lately, and I know a lot of people who have become pretty active in pushing back against how the waste they generate. That's not a bad thing in and of itself; many people don't use straws, and throwing out unused or unnecessary straws is definitely not good for the environment and should be avoided when possible. However. It is not okay to go around telling restaurants that they should no longer carry straws, or shaming people for using straws, or dismissing the fact that some people need straws to drink - and there's a growing trend toward taking it to that extreme. My mom needed a straw to drink before the ALS progressed to her not being able to drink on her own, and there were at least a couple events we went to where there weren't straws and so she literally couldn't drink. It was upsetting, and trying to get her water in other ways was nowhere near as safe as her being able to control what she was drinking through a straw. (It's really, really hard to tip just the right amount of water into someone's mouth at just the right pace, especially when their disability impacts things like breathing. When the straw stopped being an option because she didn't have the breath to suck the liquid up and we had to hold up the cup for her, there were multiple times when she inhaled the water - including one incident that resulted in an exhausting trip to the hospital.) My mom is not the only person in that situation. There are a lot of people who literally cannot drink or struggle to drink without straws because of disabilities or other health issues. Shaming them for needing straws is shaming them for being disabled. A lot of people don't realize this. I get that - it's not something I would have been so aware of if I hadn't seen it with my mom. But once you're aware of the issue, please, please call out the ableism when you see it. Not being to access water (or other liquids) - especially when it happens all the time because no one carries straws anymore - is really, really dangerous, and it's not an exaggeration to say that it can lead to serious health complications and even death. Reusable straws are an option - but they're not always a good option, either for individuals to carry with them or for restaurants/other events to use them like they use utensils. Ineffective. Metal, wood, and glass can be too hard (or cold) to be viable solutions for some people, and a lot of the reusable straws on the market - especially the ones that are most durable, which are also probably the most desirable for both individuals and companies - are metal/wood/glass.
  Price point. Reusable straws are often much, much more expensive.

That's a problem for individuals because people with disabilities are disproportionately poor, because disabilities are expensive. Healthcare is often incredibly expensive, accessibility isn't a priority, and just getting around can be prohibitively exhausting and also not at all cost effective.

That's also a problem for places that serve food. Some restaurants probably could afford to provide them, but many - especially places that are less formal or primarily to-go (i.e., cheaper) - would not. If we're talking about a one-time event, that's even more true, because no one is going to spend $30 on reusable straws for one event.
  Sanitation. Reusable straws aren't that hard to clean if you have the physical ability to do so, but they're still harder to clean that silverware. That's an additional barrier for people who don't have the physical ability to do so for their own personal straws, and it also makes using someone else's reusable straw problematic; there's no guarantee that it's been cleaned properly, which is particularly a concern if you have a vulnerable immune system - which many disabled people who need straws do. Beyond that... straws don't exist in a vacuum. Disabled people are often less able to minimize waste than abled people, and the answer can't be to tell disabled people to just be more like abled people - they can't be. That's the point. The onus for saving the planet has to rest on the people who can do it, not thrown at the feet of people who can't - and if people can't accept disabled people sometimes needing disposable straws, it's not going to stop there. Absolutely ask people if they need straws. Advertise reusable straws. But people need to use a little empathy, too, because they can reduce waste without shaming people for needing a little more than they do.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

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