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just.a.willow.tree

In the Spotlight - May 21, 2018

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Hello, HPFTers! Welcome to another edition of In the Spotlight, a monthly post in the Prefect Blog that features interviews with the winners of special awards and a review column for the Story of the Month. ^_^ This month, in addition to the interviews with the Order of Merlin winners, the prefects are happy to present interviews with the two Head Students winners and the author of May's Story of the Month! (Because this month's post is rather long, definitely feel free to minimize each quote box once you're done reading. :P)

We hope you enjoy! :wub: 

 

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Today we're featuring @RoxiMalfoy, the winner of the Order of Merlin last month, and @Ineke, who is this month's winner! Both are extremely well-deserving of their awards, and so hopefully you'll get to know them a little better through these interviews.

RoxiMalfoy

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How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?

I discovered the anomaly that is Harry Potter fanfiction in March of 2008, via a web search for something that was related to the early planning stages of my first draft of Love, Not War at the time... I was amazed to find that there was an actual name for what I was doing; with writing my own take on Draco Malfoy and his family, and that LOTS of other people were doing this writing thing too!! So, naturally, I was quickly sucked into this amazing little corner of the internet that is HP FanFiction, lol!!:yay: I officially joined the old forums on March 28th, 2008. And after much encouragement and help with some story titles and summaries and such, I posted the 1st chapter of my Novel on December 9th, 2008... And the rest, as they say, is history!! I recently just celebrated my Ten-Year anniversary in this Community, and it has certainly been a wild ride over the last Decade. Just typing that is like... WOW!! I certainly never imagined when I clicked on that search result link that I’d be dedicating a third of my life to all of this, lol! But I am beyond grateful that I found this community of wonderful writers and supportive friends & family members!! And I am certainly looking forwards to seeing what the next ten years will bring as well. :hug:

What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes?

Oh gosh. This is such a difficult one to narrow down, because I really do love doing all the things, lol!! Planning/helping to run the House Cup events, posting and interacting with people on Social Media, and then there are also SO MANY cool new projects that we’ve got brewing right now with our new ML Team too!! But I suppose that if I had to choose just one thing to call my favorite part... Like, I know you're all going to laugh at me - but don’t judge, lol!! xD I’d probly have to say that I really do enjoy having a legitimate reason for it to be considered socially acceptable to openly talk to strangers on the internet, lol!! :roflol: 

All jokes aside though, I used to be SOO shy prior to joining the Staff Team. I mean, I was a background lurker for years. And I was quite okay with nobody knowing who I was, and just going about my own business from day to day. :$ So when I became a Staffer, and had to start PM’ing members more often, and welcoming the new people to the site, and interacting with people on Social Media on like a daily basis; that was a HUGE adjustment for me!! It very much took me out of my comfort zone; and I know that I was so very socially awkward in the beginning, haha!! But now, however, I absolutely LOVE starting up conversations with new people!! It really has become one of my favorite things - I really do not know a stranger anymore, lol! (Thank you, HPFT.) :P But I just love telling new members all about the site, and helping out with whatever I can if they ever have questions about anything. And I love being able to just chat with people about random things; be it life, music, art, food, fandoms, your favorite color - I will literally talk to you over just about anything you want to talk about, lol!!! So like, when I say that my inbox is ALWAYS OPEN guys - I seriously do mean that, haha!!  :discuss:

Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write?

One of my favorite things to both read AND write is Alternate Universe, because I enjoy seeing the story in an alternate perspective. So many different story-lines could have taken place had just one minor detail been changed, and it’s always been interesting to me to explore those other paths that could have been taken. We already have the MAIN Cannon Story, and it’s a really great one!! But I like to imagine other alternate possibilities that could've happened within the HP universe as well. ;) (Like what if Sirius had not fallen through the veil, or what if Harry had been sorted into Slytherin, or my personal favorite; what if Draco had accepted Dumbledore’s offer for help/protection at the end of HBP - just to name a few.) And that’s kinda the beauty in fanfiction, really, is that you don’t have to follow the books 100% to a T. You are not limited to the story-lines of what happened in those seven novels only. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a well-written Cannon Compliant fic every now and then, and I’ve seen several really great ones in my day, too. But for me, personally, AU is where it’s at. Most of the stories I’ve read (that were not requested of me) were either AU in some way or another, or they were NextGen fics. I just love the imagination and creativity that goes into an Alternate Universe story. You can write an AU and still have all of the characters be Cannon Compliant, and maintain certain key elements of the main storyline, and just change a few things - or several even - and have it be fantastic! If it is properly executed, then I for one have got no quarrels with people “changing the story” or any other accusation that’s been thrown at AU’s in the past, lol. Bring them to me, and I will give them all the love!! :hearteyes:

What is your OTP?

I am not a romance person. Not in the slightest. Not in real life, and certainly not in my choices of what to read and/or watch at the movies (or on TV) for that matter. That being said, if it’s included in a fic, and is not the overall arching theme, and it is done right; or if I'm in the mood for something fluffy (which is really rare. I’ll take my stories nice and dark, and full angst, please!) Then I like to read the occasional James/Lily story. Because, Marauders. And because we all know it ends with a baby Harry, lol. Oh, and there's hella angst at the end of that love story too, so… yeah. Also, I've been getting really into Scorbus a lot lately too! Like real talk, those two should have been together at the end of CC. I confess my disappointment in the ending of that play (sorry Ineke)!! ^_^ 

What is your favorite non-HP fandom?

Oh, this is by far the easiest question you've asked - hands down, lol!! :twothumbsup: My first love, even before Harry Potter, has and will always be: The Lord of the Rings... Truth be told, HP was actually kind of my LotR rebound, lol!! I mean, sure, I liked Harry Potter prior to 2003. I'd seen the first two movies in theaters at least, and I had a copy of the first book that was given to me by my friend Sarah (in January of 2001 - Yes, I know. I have a weird thing about remembering dates) that I had read a few chapters of. But I didn't fully immerse myself into the Wizarding World until the fall of 2003, after the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy had ended, and I needed something new to fill that empty void in my heart... :poke:

Fun Fact: Once the last Harry Potter movie came out, I did have a rather mild case of Post-Potter depression... But then I got superrr into the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!! I'm a really huge fan of those books too - Just NOT the movies tho. Please don't ask me about those disgraceful films. Those movies were really unacceptable... <_< But yeah, lol. Percy Jackson is like my 3rd favorite fandom!!! 

Tell us your favorite part of being at HPFT!

The people, for sure!! I absolutely LOVE the feeling of community that we have here at HPFT. Everyone is just so supportive, and accepting, and loving, and caring, and helpful, and kind. No matter what you need; be it help with a plot idea, feedback on a new chapter, title/summary help, input on your characterizations, someone to squee with over the latest Fantastic Beasts trailer, or moral support after seeing the new Avengers Infinity War movie, or even if something is bothering you IRL and you just need to vent to someone outside of the situation (again, my inbox is always open, and I am here for you, loves) - there is always someone here within the HPFT community to chat with; who can talk you through just about anything!! :) 

The staff and the members have always been super open and accepting of ALL people, regardless of age/sex/gender/religion/sexual orientation/fandom preference/etc… and I just love the atmosphere that has been built here SO much. I love being a part of something bigger, and being able to give back to this beautiful community that has given me so much over the years... Yes my schedule is crazy, and yes it is true that this occupies a lot of my free-time IRL. But I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about ANY of it!! I have loved every single second of being on Staff here, because HPFT has become my Internet-Home. I love it here so much, and I am so very thankful for all of the friendships that I have made through this beautiful site. :wub:  So I will happily do anything and everything that I can to serve and protect this place (until it is no longer within my ability to do so). I love being on the Staff Team here at HPFT. It truly has been a blessing, and it has changed my life over the last ten months, in ways that I never even thought possible. You guys all truly do mean the world to me, I hope you know that.  :grouphug: 

Ineke

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How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?

Oh good god. Eh. I think I started reading - and writing - fanfics since 2005? Like, late 2005, though I always had more interest in role-play than in fic writing for a long time (though that's probably mainly due to insecurity, my muse, and because I felt more at home at the RPG of the site). As for being part of the English community - I don't know. I think it's maybe since... 2008? That's my first published on ff.net anyway. It's a long time regardless!

What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes?

Oh that is a hard one! I think I've always been more of a behind-the-scenes person, to be honest, because I always loved doing more administrative stuff like make up lists and everything that can be handy for events or recalling things and that sort of thing. Aside from that, I always love that I have a bigger opportunity to help out members of the site and help the site in general, and it makes me happy if me helping out can make others happy too! Working on events and seeing everyone so enthusiastic also always helps - especially when we've been building up anticipation for a long time and then see the reactions. So it's a bit of everything, I reckon?

Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write?

Oh god. I love fluff, angst, romance - a good slowburn too, both to read and to write, even if I majorly suck at writing longer stories, because I never seem to be able to finish them. Though I do love reading a good mystery too.

What is your OTP?

HP wise: Hinny, but also Romione and Jily. (Also do Scorbus count because it's not canon and do Albus/Nova from dorm 2.6a series also count??? Because if so: those too.)

Other fandom wise: River/Doctor (Doctor Who), Jake/Amy (Brooklyn 99)

What is your favorite non-HP fandom?

Doctor Who & Brooklyn 99. Do not make me pick between the two D:

Since you are an amazing Auror, we want to know your secrets! How do you validate stories so quickly?

Oh my god. I'm not that amazing. Really, I'm not. And I couldn't have done it without my fellow two Aurors last month because we all did over 200 chapters =D But thank you anyway! Okay so as to answer your question: I honestly don't know. I think it helps that I am a very fast reader, which makes me go through the chapters really quick. That and a huge part of me pushing myself even if I should quiet down and take it more slowly.

What are your top two favorite plays you’ve seen in person and why?

...Plays or musicals? Because I need to know.

If we're talking plays: obviously Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It honestly feels like coming home time after time again. I love the portrayals of the actors (especially Jamie Parker's Harry (it's like he jumped out of the books), either Noma Dumezweni's or Rakie Ayola's Hermione (even though they play it vastly different) and David Annen's Snape (who just is like Alan Rickman, not gonna lie)) and the vibe from the theatre, the sheer loveliness from the entire cast towards us and the friends I made through it all.

As a second play: Don Juan In Soho with David Tennant, because that's literally the only other play I have seen in my life and second because, you know, David Tennant. (Though it did have singing? But it really was listed as a play). But David Tennant was brilliant and I don't think I'll ever get over the fact that I saw the man perform live.

And if we can include musicals too - it has to be either Sister Act or Lion King, but please do not make me choose either because I can't. Lion King because it's just... Lion King and it's amazing and I will never not cry during Shadowland (Dutch or English). Sister Act because I will never not leave that show without crying because of laughter.

But which one would take the second place - eh. I don't know.

How do you pronounce your name? :P

Oh god. Eh. Hold on. I posted about it in a status update here. I also pronounced it in this announcement around the 52 second mark and for those who don't want to watch a vid, I also have this site for you where it is pronounced! This because I totally suck at explaining how to pronounce it so I hope this helps :'D It's far clearer than when I try and type how you need to pronounce it.

 

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These interviews with the Head Students are a new feature! :D We gave the two Head Students, @facingthenorthwind and @Nix, different sets of questions (though there are two questions that are the same in both), and without further ado, here they are!

facingthenorthwind

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Why did you pick the House you are in?

The short answer is because I'm a nerd. The longer answer is that I just super love learning things, and several times a year I have a panic attack because I will die before I read every book. It's impossible to read every book!!!!! Iif I had a dragon hoard, it would be knowledge, is another way to put it.

If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?

I panicked about this question for a bit because the fic I've put my heart and soul into most is still languishing in my gdocs instead of on the archive, but in lieu of that: Hermione Before the Beit Din! The first entry is just a prequel with no important info for the main event, which is where Hermione has to go before a religious court because she broke religious law by obliviating her parents. I had a lot of fun thinking about how obliviation would be thought about in Jewish law, and I just...really like the concept? Also when I asked Maggie what story I should talk about here she said שיבה (shiva) which is the sequel. :P

If you weren’t in Ravenclaw, what house would you be in and why?

Hufflepuff!!! I am if nothing else a coward with no ambition. :P Nah, it's because I'm loyal and it's my mission in life to Hug Everyone Who Needs Hugs. (This is my main goal at my synagogue, I hug all the old people who don't get enough hugs.)

What is your favorite aspect of the forums?

Gosh, um,now I'm panicking about what an "aspect" is. Can it be friendship? Welcomingness? Both of those are very good. I also love having other people as sources of expertise! No matter what question I have, be it how the football season works or how much gin it would take to get drunk, I have found people willing to help me out. :wub:

Aside from writing, what other activities do you like to do for fun?

Does researching Hebrew grammar count? I listen to a LOT of podcasts -- if anyone wants recs, I listen to about 50. My favourites are fictional ones where I get overly invested in the characters, naturally.

Coffee or tea?

Tea! I used to drink it really strong but then I....stopped? I don't like adding in sugar or milk, so I usually drink green tea these days so it's not bitter. ^_^

Nix

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Why did you pick the House you are in?

I've always felt a pull toward Slytherin ever since I was a teenager. Draco, Snape, Bellatrix, Voldemort, these were the characters I loved, that I showed up to the movies to see. Slytherins have always held such a complexity for me, there's so much going on under their facades, and I think there's so much more more going on with them than we get to see. While I may identify as a SlytherPuff, I choose to stay in Slytherin because I love my house, and I love my fellow Slytherins, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. 

If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?

Not for Always. I think this was my first ever one-shot that I posted originally on HPFF. And it took a lot for me to write, it's about the break up between Pansy and Draco post Hogwarts, from Pansy's perspective. It was very difficult to write because at the time I had also recently had a break up with someone I had realized I wanted to spend my life with and so, writing this hit way too close to home, but it was also an outlet I could pour all of my emotions into, and I think it turned out really well. But this story has also opened up a well of headcanon for me. I love Pansy (I know JK hates her but I think that just makes me love her more) and I have so many ideas about her childhood and life post Hogwarts after breaking up with Draco. I don't know that they will be in the same storyline as Not for Always, I'm still working out the details, but I'm super excited to write it all and hopefully one day share it with everyone.

Which House do you identify least with and why?

Probably Gryffindor. I've sort of recently come to terms that I'm not as brave as I pretend to be. I'm not the type of person to make the first move or to go into danger unprepared, and I'm terrible at confrontation. Doing things like that seriously scares me. However, facing my fears is something I've been working on. But while I love everyone's favorite Gryffindors (Harry, Ron, Hermione, and I can't forget the twins, of course) I don't think their house would be a great fit for me. 

What section on the forums can you most often be found in?

Probably the Dungeon. I have yet to spend a lot of time outside of my cozy snake basket, but I haven't had a lot of time to explore and interact with the rest of the site. Hopefully, I'll be able to be more active in the future. 

What’s one of your favorite books (aside from HP)?

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. I love this book. I first picked it up for a high school book report and I wasn't expecting much from it, but I was proven severely wrong. I've read it a few times now, and I want to reread it again now that I've finished the first season of the show which is very closely based off the book (the show is amazing btw, I highly recommend it, and I'm very excited to see where they take it in the next two seasons). But for those who don't know, it's about a dystopian world set in what was New England of the US. I think what makes it so great though is that it's from the POV of a woman, who's also in a position with zero power. I think it's a book that women can relate to because there's such a scary possibility these days that something like this could actually happen. 

Dogs or cats?

Definitely cats. If you read my first blog then you know I have six of them in my house atm. And I adore every one of them for their individual personalities. I do like dogs, don't get me wrong, I think they're adorable and I like to pet them or hold them, but then I like to give them back to their owners. I just don't think I have the energy to be a full-time dog person. 

 

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Stand Tall
by @Chelts-rhj

R E V I E W   C O L U M N

Finding a story that features a character with a disability is a rare occurrence for me but I most generally find them to be both insightfully and engagingly rewarding. Stand Tall does not dissatisfy this preconception as we follow the quirky, sassy main character, Alba Williamson, through her journey at Hogwarts as she faces her typical life alongside a daily struggle with Cerebral Palsy.

To add to the fantastic work creating the loveable, witty Alba whose sense of humor has consistently knocked me out of my chair [and other on-point characterization as well, because let’s not forget the absolute stunning job Chelts did with characters like James Sirius Potter, Chandra and Ben Honeypucker], the interactions between the characters make them shine so much brighter. Some cleverly crafted dialogue and brassy narrative makes the interplay between the already fascinating characters of this piece especially noteworthy.

That’s not to say that this WIP is all fun and games. Beneath the surface of all the hilarity remains the hardships Alba must face, only agitated further by her struggle with her disability. There are downright disheartening moments where the Cerebral Palsy seems to be getting the better of her and, with bated breath, we wait to see how she’ll fight to pull herself up again. Anxiously, we read on, hoping that Alba will pull through as she always has. 

To top it off, her disability isn’t the only thing she has to look out for. Being a teenage witch comes with some heavy baggage of its own, especially in the wake of the return of the Triwizard Tournament. 

Stand Tall was simple to become swept up in and carried away from one chapter to the next. If you’re looking for a story to instantly fall in love with, this is definitely the story for you.

I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R

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What inspires you to write?

Little things inspire me to write. Like the view out my window from laying down on the couch where I can’t see my neighborhood but the trees are waving and making colors dance. Sometimes it’s a girls smile when her dad says that she can have ice cream.  I guess the little emotions in real peoples lives. I want my stories to be like painted characters over a canvas made out of snapshots of real people. 

What is a genre/trope that you've never written before, but want to try?

I love horror mysteries!  I binge watch things like criminal minds but I’ve never written anything gruesome. I’ve attempted a few times with things like Adventures of Arther Weasley, which ended up humorous, and The Brothers Three, which ended up more narrative than mystery and not all that horror.

Published authors you look up to?

Ooo, good question! I admire the world building of Tolkien, the descriptions of Gary Paulson, the prose of Audrey Neffineger, and the frivolity of Lemony Snicket! 

If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be?

Pre-write.  All the pre-write. I have a page on a character in Stand Tall that is probably three times longer than she actually appears in the story.  All the prewriting. That includes not deleting. If you write a scene that is good and you get to the end but it doesn’t quite fit or the pacing gets off, save it, copy paste those paragraphs or perfect sentences onto another sheet (I usually save these as ‘title: worksheet’). When you get stuck or have writers block go back through those scenes and read them. Maybe that’s just what your characters need now. 

What inspired you to write a character with cerebral palsy? 

I have two family members with cerebral palsy. Neither of which have read this or know of its existence. My cousin has had several other complications like a large abnormal hemangioma and partial deafness. Throughout her childhood she was ridiculed, underestimated, and often told she wasn’t as smart or going to go as far because of her physical limitations. She was overprotected by her parents a lot and when I started this, she had gone off to college, out of state, lived by herself, picked her own clothes, and proved to herself and everyone else that she was more than capable.  She got a girlfriend, started photography and eventually went into modeling (oh yeah, she’s freaking GORGEOUS) and now is a successful marketing consultant. I used a lot of the things I remember her doing and going through in the beginning of her plethora of treatments for Alba’s therapy course. I substituted particularly “muggle” remedies like cutting the Achilles tendon and using Botox injections and casting to stretch the calves  with magical ones likes strengthening solution and pain drought. 

My uncle was given up by his birth mother and adopted by my grandmother. His CP is not as severe and really only affects the small motor skills of his hands. When I started this, he had finally come to terms that he would never be in the military, and had his first daughter with her wife. He had felt like his condition, even though “mild” had kept him from the dream life, when really if he had gone off and been deployed he would never have met his wife.  They’ve had another daughter since. 

What difficulties did you face while writing a main character with a disability, especially in combination with typical teenage problems (like love, friendship, and school)? 

I didn’t know what areas of conflict to address. I did a lot of research before I ever wrote anything. But not just clinical research. I researched support groups. I researched grants and scholarships for kids with CP. I found the Paralympic success stories and took from their voice the sense of pride and ownership I needed to make Alba the person she is. You almost have to treat the disability as an amtagonist and make it have pros and cons too. For instance, McGonagall let her bully back her bullies and Alba has an excuse to keep herself distant from others. I came to find it was easier to make a  relatable character if you classified and characterized them normally, with usual goals and aspirations,and then use the personified antagonistic disability as the main source of conflict in achieving those goals and aspirations. 

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This wraps up the new edition of Into the Spotlight! Please comment below and let us know what you think of the new additions, and if there's anything you might like to see from this blog. If you have questions you might like to ask future Order of Merlin, Head Student, or Story of the Month winners, feel free to post them below! :wub: We really hope you enjoyed this issue, and we'll see you in a couple weeks for our special Pride Month post. :yay: 

- The Prefects

interviews compiled by dreamgazer220, forever_dreaming, just.a.willow.tree, Rumpelstiltskin, Slytherinchica08
review column by Rumpelstiltskin
graphics by just.a.willow.tree

just.a.willow.tree

Poetry Over Prose - May 7, 2018

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"Everyone sees, feels, responds to the poetry of the world every day. In a sunrise over rooftops, a dogwood in bloom, a child's bike leaning against a fence, a pair of tennis shoes hanging by their laces from a telephone wire, a moth's wing spread on the screen door, the sound of a train in the distance, the smell of fresh bread. Everyone falls in love with the world daily and we have no words for what spellbinds us. Poems need to be made to recognize that sense of wordless awe.”
 —Dorianne Laux

Welcome, HPFT-ers, to the first installment of the Prefect Blog’s special posts! On the 7th of every month, we’ll select a relevant theme and create a post about it. As April was National Poetry Month, the prefects wanted to take an opportunity to feature our favorite aspects of poetry and share them with you. :wub:

We hope you enjoy this special issue!

 

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One of the most enlightening aspects about reading poetry is the process of analyzing and understanding the piece, and though your interpretation may differ from someone else’s, that’s the beauty of it all! Our very own @Rumpelstiltskin (with help from @forever_dreaming and @just.a.willow.tree) put together a detailed post about this in the Writing Resources section of the forums here+. In addition, we’ve also written a guide to poetic meter here+ (which is essentially an explanation of the thing that makes Dr. Seuss’s poems so much fun to read aloud :P). Check it out if you have time, and perhaps you can apply it when you read poetry from the wonderful authors on our archives!

 

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In these next two sections, we wanted to feature poems by authors on our archive, as well as poems from published anthologies! We’ve divided them up into two categories: poems that use form and poems that use sound. We definitely encourage you to look through the poems that we’ve linked to on the archives and leave them thoughtful reviews, because writing poetry is difficult and our authors do it beautifully. :wub: (All poems are linked; click on them to read the full piece.)

This first section highlights a few fascinating poetic forms that you may not have known about!

SESTINA

Both @forever_dreaming and @just.a.willow.tree happened to write sestinas for their English class, so we thought it appropriate to talk a little more about what sestinas are. :P (They are very, very cool. You should check them out afterwards! Here+ is a much more in-depth explanation of the form, if you’re curious. ^_^)

Essentially, sestinas are a very repetitive type of poem, except oftentimes poets use creativity and ingenuity to work around the repetition. In each stanza (except for the last) there are six lines, and at the end of each line is a designated word. These six “last words” are then reordered throughout the other stanzas, though they will always be the last words of the line. This might sound confusing, but here is a visual representation, with each letter representing a “last word” in a line:

1. ABCDEF
2. FAEBDC
3. CFDABE
4. ECBFAD
5. DEACFB
6. BDFECA
7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

It’s easier to understand with an example poem. Take a look at W.H. Auden’s “Paysage Moralisé”:

Hearing of harvests rotting in the valleys,
Seeing at end of street the barren mountains,
Round corners coming suddenly on water,
Knowing them shipwrecked who were launched for islands,
We honour founders of these starving cities
Whose honour is the image of our sorrow,

Which cannot see its likeness in their sorrow
That brought them desperate to the brink of valleys;
Dreaming of evening walks through learned cities
They reined their violent horses on the mountains,
Those fields like ships to castaways on islands,
Visions of green to them who craved for water.

They built by rivers and at night the water
Running past windows comforted their sorrow;
Each in his little bed conceived of islands
Where every day was dancing in the valleys
And all the green trees blossomed on the mountains,
Where love was innocent, being far from cities.

But dawn came back and they were still in cities;
No marvellous creature rose up from the water;
There was still gold and silver in the mountains
But hunger was a more immediate sorrow,
Although to moping villagers in valleys
Some waving pilgrims were describing islands…

'The gods,' they promised, 'visit us from islands,
Are stalking, head-up, lovely, through our cities;
Now is the time to leave your wretched valleys
And sail with them across the lime-green water,
Sitting at their white sides, forget your sorrow,
The shadow cast across your lives by mountains.’

So many, doubtful, perished in the mountains,
Climbing up crags to get a view of islands,
So many, fearful, took with them their sorrow
Which stayed them when they reached unhappy cities,
So many, careless, dived and drowned in water,
So many, wretched, would not leave their valleys.

It is our sorrow. Shall it melt? Then water
Would gush, flush, green these mountains and these valleys,
And we rebuild our cities, not dream of islands.

Notice how the last words of every line are reused over and over again in each stanza, except in a different order every time. Sestinas are beautiful poems this way. In this instance, Auden uses the repetition to paint different images with the same words, and it works beautifully.

In “weary”, @just.a.willow.tree uses a similar technique as Auden: embracing the elements of repetition built-into the form of a sestina to emphasize the weariness of the main characters and the tragic perpetuity of the pain and injustice they feel. However, the repetition of the end words can be twisted to enhance the poem in a different way too. For example, in “Passing Time”, @forever_dreaming manipulates the words themselves, altering their spelling or using homophones in order to convey the paradoxical nature of time passing both quickly and at a snail’s speed.

If you’re curious about another fascinating sestina, check out Carole Oles’ “The Magician Suspends Her Children”. It is so creative and clever, you will almost definitely have a lot of fun deciphering the meaning of the poem while also paying attention how amazing it is, the way she wields her words.

VILLANELLE

Another interesting form is a villanelle! This is a 19-line poem, typically composed of five tercets (a three-line stanza) that follow the rhyming pattern aba, with a final quatrain (a four-line stanza) that follow the rhyming pattern abaa. The first and third lines of the initial tercet are alternately repeated as the third lines of the following tercets (and then are presented as the ending couplet of the quatrain). A visual example of the rhyming scheme of a standard six stanza villanelle might be helpful.

1. AbA
2. abA
3. abA
4. abA
5. abA
6. abAA

What might be even more helpful is seeing this in an actual poem. Take a look at "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas, as an example [emphases added]:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

There are two beautiful examples of villanelles on our archives, both by the lovely @abhorsen.! In “And when the wind whistles through me, I am free” and “And still there’s the wind to batter and moan”, the perfectly-crafted repeated phrases set the tone of the poem. Yet with each new stanza, these phrases gradually shift and grow in meaning as more of the poem is unveiled. We cannot recommend these two poems enough!

HAIKU

A haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that consists of 17 syllables that are arranged in three lines of five, seven, and five. A fun aspect of a haiku is that the short pieces are meant to encapsulate a single impression on something, in a particular season. This creates a sense of simplicity and intense expression. 

To assist in the visualization, take a look at a haiku from Basho Matsuo, and notice the syllables in each line:

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

And we have a number of elegant haikus on the archives as well! One example is from M C Crocker (or @scooterbug8515 on the forums), with her collection of season-inspired haikus: “One Love One Year”. Each poem perfectly captures the essence of the season within such a small number of syllables. Definitely go check out this piece if you have time!

 

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One of the main differences between poetry and prose is the manipulation of how words sound. Poets choose words whose sound reflects the meaning they are trying to convey, creating a more immersive experience and enhancing their meaning further; sound makes poetry more vivid and sensory than prose. One of the classic sound devices is onomatopoeia, or, simply, when a word sounds like what it means. 

English is a cool language in that lots of words are onomatopoeic to some degree. The obvious examples are words like “crash”, “clang”, “smash”, etc. But other words have a subtler onomatopoeic effect. For example, consider Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach”. We’ve only put an excerpt below, but do check out the entire poem if you have time. (We recommend reading the poem out aloud to yourself, to get the full effect!):

The sea is calm tonight. 
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light 
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, 
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay; 
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! 
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sun meets the moon-blanched land, 
Listen! You hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling
At their return, up the high strand, 
Begin, and cease, and then again begin, 
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in. 

In the first stanza, Arnold uses heavy sound-focused imagery. The long “ea” sound in “gleams” mimics the word, just as the long “a” in “vast” stretches out the word to further emphasize the image of the vast ocean. Similarly, the quick “imm” sound in “glimmering” mimics the action. Arnold does this purposely; he practically tells us this, with a command for the audience to “Listen!” and other sound-related diction, like “cadence” and “note”. In this first stanza, Arnold is building a sound-based image of the cliffs of Dover, which he then contrasts with a more sight-based image of the cliffs of Dover, to illustrate the difference between expectation and reality—a central theme in the poem. 

Alliteration is the repetition of the first letter or consonant. In “Dover Beach”, Arnold alliterates “gl” in “glimmer” and “gleam”, to emphasize these two words; this alliteration brings focus to the inherently contradictory picture Arnold is trying to present, of something that is both ephemeral (that glimmers for a short amount of time) and enduring (that gleams forever). Alliteration helps poets draw attention to specific words and forces the reader to connect the images these words present. 

@Alexis Black’s “The Wind Chimes are Calling to Me” is a great example of a poem that is enhanced by manipulations of sound. The use of words that sound like the term they are describing, such as “whisper”, “sigh”, and “murmur”, truly enhances the poem and brings it to life, and it’s this vibrancy that adds a tinge of nostalgia to the piece.

 

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The main purpose of this post was to celebrate National Poetry month while highlighting a few of our talented authors. So here are a few more poems that we would like to recommend to you from the archives:

What is life” - @Felpata_Lupin

When Spring Doesn’t Return” - @Rumpelstiltskin

Poetry Collection” (M) - @MalfoysAngel

Truths and Lies” - @TreacleTart

“an absence of sound” - @just.a.willow.tree

“Love Is a Whisper In Your Soul” - @abhorsen.

“Supernova” - @TreacleTart

“The place where planes take off and land” - @Felpata_Lupin

Dreamwalker” - @Alexis Black

“Pillars of Smoke” (M) - @abhorsen.

"From" - @Stella Blue (not exactly a poem but beautiful nonetheless)

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This has been our special blog post for May! We understand that poetry isn’t something that everyone enjoys, but hopefully after reading this, you’ve taken away a few things. ^_^ (And, who knows, maybe this’ll help you out in the next reviewing event when you stumble across a poem!) Let us know what you think of the post, if you like/dislike poetry, or if there’s anything you’d like to see in the future!

The Prefects

written by forever_dreaming, just.a.willow.tree, and Rumpelstiltskin
graphics by just.a.willow.tree

just.a.willow.tree

In the Spotlight - April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018

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Welcome to the debut of the revamped, bimonthly Prefect Blog!

Aspiring to further add some creative material to our already amazing and ever-growing site, your Prefects are proud to present this collaboration of fun, facts, and frivolity. In addition to expanding upon the preexisting monthly site awards (the Order of Merlin and the Story of the Month), we have planned some exciting content to present. We're hoping to provide not only entertainment, but some meaningful, relevant, and informative material as well.

Without further ado, here are some interviews with previous Order of Merlin winners as well as a review of April's Story of the Month!

Enjoy!

 

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Our wonderful staffers bring an indescribable light and life to the HPFT community, from the detailed and fun events that they plan to their presence on the site in general! The Order of Merlin is awarded each month to a staffer who has gone above and beyond in their duties, and the Prefects wanted to feature interviews with each staffer who wins this award.

To make up for lost time, we’re going to compile a set of interviews from all of the previous winners from 2018, and from this month forward, we will continue to feature interviews with future Order of Merlin staffers! This month, we will be featuring the Order of Merlin winners from February and March: @Alopex and @abhorsen.. Next month, we will feature April's winner, @RoxiMalfoy as well as the May Order of Merlin winner (to be announced, so keep an eye out). And now, here are the interviews:

Alopex

Quote

How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?

I started reading Harry Potter fanfic in the fall of 2006, though it took until sometime in 2007 before I was reading basically daily on HPFF rather than every so often. The next step was leaving anonymous reviews (because I didn't want to make an account). In summer 2008, I joined the HPFF forums, although I really didn't make any posts until sometime in the fall, and then in 2009 I made an archive account so I could write a story for an event that was held. My story actually was chosen as a featured story, and I am still proud of that even though I haven't posted any of my writing here.

What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes?

Probably the best part is seeing people's reactions to activities or things we do, or just seeing that this community is important to them. It's really gratifying for me to see that, because the community is also important to me and has been a big part of my life and a constant through many changes. Over the years, I have given a lot of my time and energy, but thats my way of giving back to the community and investing in something important to me.

Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write?

Honestly, I haven't written anything in years. *hides* I was always more of a reader than a writer anyway. I also don't read fanfic all that often anymore. However, I suppose I prefer stories that use the HP Universe as a framework but branch out to obscure/unpopular characters or have something unusual about them. I also like unseen moments type stories at times.

What is your OTP?

This is a tough one because I don't really specifically seek out romantic stories or get terribly invested in ships. The two I have thought about the most, though, are Percy/Pansy (when they're in their 60s) and Scorpius/Hugo. Yeah, super popular ships, I know.  So popular I have never read one of them and have only ever come across a couple of the other. They mostly just exist quietly in the back of my head.

What is your favorite non-HP fandom?

Hrm. I haven't read much fanfic outside of HP. I did read some Green Rider fanfic for a little while a few years back. I'm not actively involved in any other fandoms, not have I ever really been, but I am open to reading other fandoms if it comes up in the staff review thread or through a recommendation or something.

Tell us your favorite part of being at HPFT!

Simply put, it is my internet home.

abhorsen.

Quote

How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?

I started writing fanfiction in late 2010/early 2011, and I initially posted on FF.net. In the summer of 2011, I joined HPFF's archive, and I joined the forums over there in early fall. Since then I've had some periods of being more active than others - I went on a total writing hiatus for awhile - but I've generally been involved with at least some part of the community since then, even if it was just TDA (HPFF's sister graphics site).
 
What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes?

Ooooh. I think probably planning events and ways to generally improve the site - I have a lot of fun with that. I obviously don't want to change things just to change them - don't fix what's not broken! :P - but by the same token, I don't think we have all the answers, and I think there's often room for improvement.

Bex (beyond the rain) actually said something awhile ago that stuck with me,  even though it was in the context of another site we're both on - she said something along the lines of how sometimes things work and sometimes they don't, but it's important to do them because at least you can say you tried.

Things change - society, our community, the way we all interact. I love our team here because I feel like we're all very conscious of what change means and how important it is that we evolve, too. Ultimately, we flourish or we perish.
 
Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write?

Hmm. I think that often, my favorite fanfiction to read is fluffy escapism. The world can be a pretty shitty place, and I tend to focus most of my pop culture stuff on stuff that entertains me and keeps me laughing. (My news media consumption is a different story - there are a lot of podcasts I listen to about current events, and I try to at least glance at the Washington Post most days - but I've found that I can end up feeling really overwhelmed if I'm not careful about balancing it out.)

Ironically, my favorite fanfiction to write is often kind of dark, especially these days - my Drastorias have their fluffy moments, but I think they also involve a lot of complex themes and hard conversations, and that's generally by design.
 
What is your OTP?

Right now, probably Astoria/Draco. It's evolved a lot over the years, though, and generally centers on whatever pairing I'm obsessed with writing at the time. :P

 

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Letter to the Lost
by @Crimson Quill

Everyone, if you have not yet read Abbi’s beautiful story yet, head over there immediately (and leave her a review while you’re at it)! This story has that distinctive writing style that we have all come to love and expect from Abbi, and with the added bonus of being from the wonderful "Sirius Black is Gay Challenge." The pairing is perhaps one of the rarest pairs I have seen yet (Sirius Black/Caradoc Dearborn), yet Abbi manages to highlight how these two bring out the best in each other in a single short section.

This is a story about love and loss in the midst of a cruel war, and you will read it and love it. I can’t say more without giving away the crux of Sirius’s amazing development, but just know that this story is more than worth your time, and definitely deserves to be April’s Story of the Month.

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This wraps up the debut of our revamped Prefect Blog! We hope you enjoyed this issue, and if you did, make sure to keep an eye out for the next one on May 7. If you have any questions you would like to ask future Order of Merlin winners, feel free to post below, or just leave a comment! Any and all feedback would be appreciated. Thank you for reading!

- The Prefects

graphics by just.a.willow.tree

BlackPixie

FROGS 2018 Reading List!

 

Hey everyone! Voting threads for the FROGS categories will be open soon, in the meantime here is a full reading list for your perusal!

Best Humor (Fan)fiction Nominations

Hormones (M) by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap @Deeds

Immortal Misconceptions (M) by @AbraxanUnicorn

When Dahlias Bloom (M) by @dirigibleplums

In Which Ron and Harry Discuss Everything But Quidditch by @Veritaserum27

 

Best Romance (Fan)fiction Nominations

A Candle (M) by @abhorsen./Beeezie

Nights Like This (M) by @banshee

When I Go Out with You (M) by @Dojh167

Skewed Toward Truth (M) by @MuggleMaybe

Thrill (M) by @nott theodore

When Spring Doesn't Return (M) by @Rumpelstiltskin

 

Best Minor HP Character Nominations

Peter Pettigrew in Liar (M) by @Felpata_Lupin

Crookshanks in Hermione's Betrayal by @forever_dreaming

Anthony Goldstein from First Lit, Last Burning by @MuggleMaybe

Roxanne Weasley in Jigsaw (M) by @nott theodore

Olive Hornby in Dear Myrtle by @Stella Blue

Lysander Scamander from Lightning Love (M) by @toomanycurls

 

Best Angst (Fan)fiction Nominations

Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe

Gods Without Grace (M) by @dirigibleplums

Haunting Shadows (M) by @dreamgazer220

silence.death. (M) by @poppunkpadfoot

This Misery Will Suffice (M) by @BellaLestrange87

 

Best Family/Friendship Nominations

Fred II & Victoire Weasley in Shenanigans, Capers, and Hi-Jinks (M) by @abhorsen./Beeezie

Lavender Brown/Parvati Patil in to the end of time (M) by @clevernotbrilliant

Dumbledore family in Prisoner by @Crimson Quill

Chloe & her family in red luck by justawillowtree/ @just.a.willow.tree

Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black in Secret Keeper by @poppunkpadfoot

 

Best LGBTQIA+ Character Nominations

Hannah Abbott in When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167

Albus Severus Potter from And the World Went On by @manno-malfoy

Albus Severus Potter in the 'Before the Sun Sets' Series by @toomanycurls

 

Best Major HP Character Nominations

Albus Severus Potter from And the World Goes On by @manno-malfoy

Hermione Granger from After Life (M) by @MegGonagall

Lily Luna Potter from Icarus (M) by @Stella Blue

Petunia Evans/Dursley from Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe

 

Best Dark/Horror (Fan)fiction Nominations

Erasure (M) by @AbraxanUnicorn

Muggle Studies (M) by @esmeraude

The Skull Beneath the Skin (M) by @esmeraude

Spiral (M) by @Rumpelstiltskin

Got You (M) by @sihaya

Bruises (M) by @TreacleTart

 

Best Original Fiction Nominations

a garden of weeds (M) by @ailhsa23

The Wind Chimes Are Calling To Me by @Alexis Black

Fall in Love with a Writer by @manno-malfoy

I Am by @Rumpelstiltskin

From by @Stella Blue

 

Best Original Character Nominations

Brendon Greengrass from Sidenote: Greengrass dys/function by @abhorsen./Beeezie

Dahlia Darzi from When Dahlias Bloom (M) by @dirigibleplums

Hero Blishwick from Hero (M) by @victoria_anne

Piper Stone from House of Stone (M) by @WindingArrow

Roxi Zarooni from Love, Not War (M) by @RoxiMalfoy

 

Best Depiction of Mental Illness/Disability Nominations

Words and Silences (M) by @Shadowkat678

The Department (M) by @poppunkpadfoot

keyframe by @forever_dreaming

Dead Eyes and Red Eyes (M) by @abhorsen./Beeezie

 

Best HP Rare Pair Nominations

Cormac McLaggen/Eloise Midgeon in Logarithmic (M) by @val

Dorcas Meadowes/Marlene McKinnon in war and mint by @sihaya

Lavender Brown/Parvati Patil in Parisian Scars (M) by @Crimson Quill

 

Best Non-HP Fandom Nominations

Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl

Hero (M) by @banshee

Age of Change by M C Crocker/ @scooterbug8515

 

Most Versatile Author Nominations

@abhorsen./Beeezie

@BlackPixie

@melian

@nott theodore

@PaulaTheProkaryote

@pookha

 

Best Reviewer Nominations

@Felpata_Lupin

@forever_dreaming

@just.a.willow.tree

@PaulaTheProkaryote

@Rumpelstiltskin

@Stella Blue

@victoria_anne

MuggleMaybe

Branwen Appreciation Post!

I'm here to post a gift on behalf of a Pass It Along participant. :)

To: abhorsen.

From: Keeper of the North

- - -

For my last gift in the Pass It Along Challenge, I thought it was appropriate to share an appreciation post for everything my giftee has done for HPFT.  She’s known around this corner of the internet as abhorsen., but you might also know her as Beeezie or Branwen.  

Here’s just a few of the many things we love about her:

  • She’s one of our fearless leaders. If you have any questions or concerns about the forums or archives, she’s always available to help those in need.

  • She’s brilliant.  Have you taken a look at her AP? Her stories are amazing and all written so well -- and not to mention she finds time to be an awesome graphic artist on TDA as well!

  • She’s open-minded.  She might have helped create the forums or the archives, but she’s also open to suggestions, feedback, and tag requests!

  • She’s passionate about subjects she cares about.

  • She’s dedicated.  She’s constantly working with other members of the staff behind the scenes to make sure things continue to run smoothly for us.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for the happiest corner of the internet.  HPFT wouldn’t be the same without you. :wub:

--Keeper of the North

Have something you love about Branwen?  Sound off in the comments below!

MuggleMaybe

June Prefect Challenge Results

Now that we have blogs, it seemed worth reposting these results here
The Coming Out Challenge Results (Again)

Back in June, as a celebration of Pride Month, the first ever Bi-Monthly Prefect Writing Challenge used the following prompt:

Write a story under 10,000 words about someone coming out as queer.

 

WINNERS

Third place: A Sudden Bi-alisation by FireOpal
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Second place: What lies beneath by melian
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First place: And Again (M) by nott theodore
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All three entries are amazing - we definitely recommend checking them out! And thank you so much to those who entered!

Winners, you are responsible for messaging a MuggleMaybe, Diogenissa, or clevernotbrilliant to let us know which stories you'd like reviewed and if you have a preferred theme for your pic spam. Please credit abhorsen. for the graphics. ^_^

You can check out the August Prefect Writing Challenge +here.

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