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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/15/2018 in all areas

  1. 9 points
    hi!!! i made you a little gift for the house cup opener! i hope you like it i really enjoyed reading your story/drabble From and it inspired me to make you a banner
  2. 9 points
    In honor of Interhouse Camaraderie (though not for points or anything), and because you REALLY have to make an about me page , I gift you this Yzma and Kronk Header/Divider set.
  3. 8 points
    Welcome to the spookiest Prefect Blog around! This month, we are honoring the scary season by taking a look at the way some parts of the world celebrate in October. We also have prepared some rather frightening legends from multiple cultures, and left you all with a list of recommended stories on our very own archives to set the horror mood! We hope you're all having a fabulous October! As a special note, the Prefect's Fall Quarter Writing Challenge, the "[Insert Challenge Name Here] Challenge", has been posted. You can find it +here for more spook-tastic details! Throughout the world, everyone is bringing in the new season in their own spectacular way! In order to celebrate along with them, we would like to present a few fun October Festivities from around the globe! This is Not Art (Newcastle, Australia) In Australia, October hosts an event dubbed "This is Not Art," which has been an annual gathering of artists (both emerging and experienced) that has been happening since circa 1998! It is a gathering for sharing ideas, experimenting, and meeting like-minded individuals (who might even become a future partner for collaborating on their artistic endeavours). Thousands of people attend this festival each year, which is made up of approximately 150 smaller events. It welcomes all artists, performers, writers, thinkers, theatre-makers, dancers, and tech-heads to come together for a fun-tastic and creative weekend! Lake of Stars (Mangochi, Malawi) Over in East Africa, you will find the country of Malawi and, with it, the Lake of Stars Music Festival! This music festival goes a lot deeper than merely gathering people together for some good times (though it does that, too). In its very core, it also serves to and focuses on influencing the growth of the local economy. Due to the tourist attraction to the small country for the festival, and through ticket sales and volunteer activity to things like flood relief programs, the Lake of Stars Festival helps improve life for the locals and they put on a fantastic show while they're at it! Concurs de Castells (Tarragona, Spain) This Spanish event is all about one thing: human towers. Concurs de Castells is an annual competition in which over 40 teams compete to create the most complex and tallest human towers. This event dates all the way back to the 18th century and is still enjoyed by over 6,000 average spectators each year. In a display of Catalan culture, complete with parades, music, and street performances, the event mainly focuses on this competition that creates towers on an average of nine stories high! The teams have five rounds to build their best towers, and a points distribution system helps determine the winners! Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Have you ever been to a Balloon Festival before? If you have, you're familiar with the many crafters gathered to sell balloon-related goods (among other handmade goods), live band performances, and the main event, watching the many colorful and unique hot air balloons take to the sky. In Albuquerque, this festival surpasses any Balloon Festival you've ever seen by leaps and bounds. Crowds gather to watch over 750 beautifully whimsical hot air balloons rise into the blue skies. Besides watching the balloons, the event also offers filmmaking contests, balloon riding services, AfterGlow fireworks, and balloon races. Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal Canada) Filmmakers and film-lovers alike gather to this 44-year-old festival to experience the spirit of good company, revelry, and fun. This 11-day festival brings people together from around to experience over 300 films, conferences, art installations, cocktail parties, performances, and transmedia projects. It has an emphasis on "the new" and acts as a showcase for all cinema types. They try to keep on top of things as the world (and its technology and media) changes from year-to-year, and encourage the latest trends as well as bringing in fresh ideas and features. The Festival du Nouveau Cinéma remains determined to expand the horizons of Montreal audiences by showing them original ways of presenting and experiencing film. Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) This electronic music platform and club festival is the leading and largest, worldwide! By the light of day, this conference is the ultimate business and inspiration platform for the global electronic music industry. It focuses on providing music professionals, aspiring DJs, and musicians the latest in technological, human, and business resources. By the dark of night, this festival provides access to the entire whole spectrum of electronic subgenres, with over 2,500 artists performing in 140 of Amsterdam's music and nightlife spaces. In 2017, the festival brought 395,000 visitors from over 90 countries, which makes it the world's biggest club festival. Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt, Germany) This isn't just your average book fair. Frankfurt's 70-year-old event hosts 7,000 exhibitors from 100 countries and nearly 300,000 annual visitors. For book fans from all over the world and international publishers media, it is all about printed and digital content and the relevant topics for the coming year. The book fair is the most important international marketplace for content, as well as a key trendsetter for society and a major cultural festival. The first three days are for business and industry only, but the public is invited to attend the last two days. These final days are filled with book signings, readings and the perusal thousands of new and exciting titles. Jewish Festivities in October This year, only two Jewish holidays falls in October -- Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret. However, they're the last of a whole series of interconnected festivals and approximately every second year, the majority of them do fall in October, so we're going to cover all of them. Strap in. They're kicked off by Rosh Hashana, which never falls in October, but it's the Jewish New Year. None of the following holidays are spooky in any way, unless you count the inherent threat of death on Yom Kippur (check out the +extremely metal list of ways you can die that we recite) and the threat of wasps on Sukkot if you decorate your sukkah with fruit. Wasps are terrifying. Yom Kippur -- lit. "Day of Atonement", this is... well, exactly what it says on the tin. Ten days after Rosh Hashana, you fast (no water or food) for 25 hours, and you're basically asleep or praying, so it's pretty easy to avoid food when you're sitting in a synagogue with hundreds of other people who are also hungry and thirsty. You also wear all white and since you're not meant to wear leather shoes, the shoe choices can be... interesting. You atone communally for all the sins you've committed against God, but the sins you've committed against other people you need to make amends yourself -- God can't do anything about those. There's the idea that God decides whether you're going to die in the coming year on Yom Kippur, but it's just a metaphor, honestly. Sukkot -- Just five days after you're done praying for an entire day without food or water, you have to start eating your meals in a little tent-type thing you rig up in your backyard called a sukkah (sukkot is the plural). It's got to have three walls and a roof made of palm fronds where the fronds cast more shade than there is sunlight BUT you can also see the stars at night. It's a complicated business. Once you've satisfied all eleventy billion rules however, you get to just enjoy it for a whole week! It symbolises the temporary dwellings that the Jewish people lived in when there were in the desert for forty years after they left Egypt. You also wave a bundle of plants and an etrog, which is like a very large and expensive lemon that doesn't taste very nice. I don't know what it's like in the northern hemisphere, but October is perfect weather down here in Australia for chilling outside, it's delightful. Shmini Atzeret -- I had to google this one, I'm not going to lie. I knew it existed, but I didn't really know what it was. Shmini means 'eighth' and 'azteret' shares a root with the word for 'halt, stop'. It's the day after Sukkot ends, and it's a day when we just take an extra day to enjoy God's company, really. It's like when you have a friend stay with you for a few days and you really like their company so you're like "aw, why not just stay an extra day". Also, this is the day you start praying for rain. Simchat Torah -- This one is the most joyful by far. Every year Jews read the whole Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and on Simchat Torah, we get to the end. BUT because we love the Torah so much, we get really excited and then immediately read the beginning again, starting the cycle anew. There is lots of dancing, some drinking, more dancing while holding heavy Torah scrolls, and general merriment. And then, finally, we get to rest all the way until Chanukah! We have survived another holiday season, Halleluyah. Día de Los Muertos by @TreacleTart Across the world, the end of October brings Halloween. Houses are decorated with lights and spooky creatures and kids run around in costumes in search of sweet treats. It’s a great holiday, but not the main reason that I look forward to the close of the month. Instead, I anxiously await the first of November because that’s when Día de los Muertos begins. Día de los Muertos translates literally to The Day of the Dead and is a celebration that honors ancestors with food, drink, music, and family celebrations. It is a tradition that originally comes from Mexico, however, it’s growing popularity has led to celebrations in other Latinx countries and in the Southwestern United States. Like much of Mexican culture, Día de Los Muertos is rooted deeply in Aztec culture. In the 16th century when the Spaniards invaded, they tried to stop the Aztecs from celebrating believing the holiday to be sacrilegious. Their efforts had little effect. Eventually the holiday was shifted from summer when it was originally celebrated to November where it coincided with All Saints Day. One might think that a holiday celebrating the dead would be somber, but Día de Los Muertos is actually very lively and happy. Each family builds an altar in their home which carries photos of all their loved ones who have passed on. Altars are traditionally decorated with bright orange marigolds. Ofrendas (offerings) of favorite foods and drinks are left out for hungry spirits. Shots of tequila or beers are also not uncommon. Families also visit the cemeteries and decorate grave sites leaving similar offerings. Trails of marigold petals can often be found leading to the altars as a sort of pathway for the spirits. Massive displays of candles are also often found at the cemetery entry where people can light them in prayer for an ancestor. In the cities, impromptu parades called calendas spring up. Bands with trumpets, trombones, drums, and tubas lead processions of dancing people through the city, pausing periodically to play a song here or there. These often go on for hours and can get quite rowdy as the crowd size increases. Face painting is another common tradition. Ladies and men alike paint their faces to look like calaveras (sugar skulls). It’s common for women to braid flowers into their hair and dress in bright dresses. Finally, Pan De Muerto (Bread of the dead) is baked and eaten. The exact origins of the bread are unknown, but it is said to be a symbolic stand in for a idol’s sacrifice. The round shape of the bread represents the body, the cross and round decorations on the top represent the skull and bones, and the red sugar is said to represent the blood. The bread itself has a light cinnamon flavor and is usually enjoyed at breakfast with coffee. All in all, Día de Los Muertos is easily my favorite fall holiday. It has the fun elements of Halloween with a deep significance and rich cultural roots. Between the altars, breads, foods, and parties, it’s easy to see why it’s growing so quickly in popularity. Commercialization of Halloween in the US In the United States, the epitome of what "melting pot" culture refers to is the holiday of Halloween. It's a blending of pagan and religious beliefs, rituals, and traditions from all people living in America. Halloween is recognized nationally on October 31st, also known as All Hallow's Eve to precede All Hallows Day or All Saints Day on November 1st. Jack-O-Lanterns derive from the carved vegetable lanterns that Celts would make during Samhain to light the way for good spirits while a bonfire was meant to keep away evil ones. For many children in the US, carving their own Jack-O-Lantern is a rite of childhood and there are national pumpkin carving contests where artists create beautiful works of art in pumpkins ranging from the size of your hand to one thousand (1,000) pound behemoth pumpkins. In the 1800's is when the large influx of immigrants from Europe changed the way Halloween was celebrated into the more modern version that happens today. They brought over many games synonymous with this time of the year such as bobbing for apples, telling ghost stories, and general mischief and pranks that sometimes turned into vandalism and crime. Something else that began to become a widespread activity around Halloween was children dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door for more lighthearted fun. This was the early version of "Trick-or-Treat" that kids still do today. It has been called both "Beggar's Night" and "Trick-or-Treat Night," and it often does not fall on the actual day of Halloween, as cities and towns typically schedule it sometime during the week of Halloween instead. Children dress up in costumes (and sometimes so do the parents!) and go door-to-door telling jokes and getting candy and snacks in return for a few hours the night of the event. This commercialization and handing of candy out to kids means that US candy companies jumped on the potential profits to be made during this holiday. Many companies release specially shaped or designed packaging such as adding pumpkins, bats, and skeletons and the colors to purples, blacks, and oranges. Decorating companies also leapt at the chance for profit as well, creating all sorts of Halloween-themed decorations from glittery foam pumpkins to giant inflatable ghosts to put in the front yard. There are often contests in neighborhoods for best decorated home and (unofficial) best house to give out candy -- this often is the house that handed out king-size candy bars every year. With this decorating intensity, another thing that happens during Halloween-time in the US is the idea of Haunted Houses. These are often run by local municipalities, companies, or even on the grounds of theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland. The main objective of these places are to scare the living daylights out of everyone who passes through, including small children and parents. Some places even require waivers due to a possibility of being hurt and to allow the actors inside to be able to touch you as part of their act to scare you more. Often times there is a small charge to get in, as it helps pay for the decorating of the place and cost to run electricity and other things while the Haunted House is in operation. Sometimes though, places will simply ask for a donation of any amount to get in, or if the Haunted House is being put on to support a local food bank or similar community center, they will ask for canned food or other types of donations. No matter the cost of entry though, the main object of Haunted Houses is simply to scare those who pass through and to give them a good show while they are there. While the holiday of Halloween stems from a wonderful mixing of religious and cultural traditions that used to center around the end of harvest season and a way to celebrate before the start of November, today it has become a much more gaudy, silly, and also scary holiday for those who live in the US. Trick-or-Treating is still fun as adults for many people, and Haunted Houses may be an annual family and friends event for others. No matter how we celebrate Halloween in the US, it's a fun holiday filled with delicious candy and fun decorations for all to enjoy. The Best Month of the Year For me, October brings with it a number of wonderful things. First, it's the cooler weather -- a nice relief from the hot summer. With the cooler weather, of course, comes the annual changing of the leaves! The trees trade their once lush green to a vibrant display of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Even after they shed their colorful cloaks, it only means more fun (by way of raking them up into a pile and jumping into them, of course). It feels almost as if those fast and carefree days of summer slow into a tranquil and more reliable tempo. Plus, pumpkin and apple-flavored everything hits the shelves in mass quantities, which are always exceptionally fun to explore. And the decorations go up! Much like with the winter holidays, colorful lights line the streets. Except these lights are brightly golden, green, red, and cheerful. These lights come in ghoulish arrangements, and where a snowman might be in a few months, a life-sized mechanical werewolf can be seen. People string cobwebs, hang skeletons, place pumpkins, and create replicas of cemeteries, where you might find a hand of a zombie plunging through the earth to snatch an unexpecting passerby. It's the time of year where people actively seek to frighten themselves (and others). Scary movies are featured (like the new Halloween movie releasing this month). The lines for Haunted Houses are incredibly long but so worth the wait, as you enter your own personal horror flick, waiting to be chased by a masked man in a chainsaw or jump-scared by a witch hiding behind a door. Some people even create miniature Haunted Hallways for the kiddos to traverse while out trick-or-treating -- for only the bravest will be able to pass through and earn themselves a full-sized candy bar! But it's not only the frights that can attract people to this month. Around here, it's also Harvest Season. Fruits and vegetables are reaching full size and ample ripeness. The reddest of apples, the most golden gourds, and the juiciest tomatoes are all ready to be picked. This is truly when the Farmer's Markets thrive, offering a vast rainbow of colors and shapes to the population. Hayrides and corn mazes are in season, too. If you've never been to a corn maze, it's a fun little adventure that I highly recommend. It's even more fun when you go at dusk, knowing that you'll be stuck in there well after-dark and things feel slightly more spooky than they do during the daytime. People throw parties and dress in costumes! You haven't lived until you've eaten meatloaf and sausage links meant to replicate human organs . So go ahead and embrace your weirdo, spooky self this month (I know I will be), as it's the only month that it's really publicly acceptable to do so . Most of all, this month brings will it all kinds of nostalgic activities with my family. From trick-or-treating (which I now get to do with my daughter), to Cupcake Wars (coming soon!), to group-decorating, parties, apple-picking, pumpkin-picking, potato-picking, and canning/jaring/baking all the things I've grown in my garden, October truly is my favorite month. Spooky Myths and Legends From Around the Globe Halloween has always been notorious for its myths and legends, but frightening tales are not always season-exclusive! Here are some favorite tales from around the world! As a fair warning, make sure to read these with all the lights on and your favorite plushies to keep you safe -- it's about to get spooky in here! The Blood Countess [Hungary] This tale is interwoven with early myths of vampirism, about a Hungarian Noblewoman named Countess Erzsébet Báthory de Ecsed (also known as the Blood Countess). To cut a long and twisted story short, the Countess was known (and convicted) for murdering females to bath in their blood, believing that this was the answer to eternal youth. The Countess was convicted of around 80 murders, but testimonies and eyewitness accounts have boosted numbers into the 600s, and apparently, attendants of her estate estimated that between 100 and 200 bodies were removed from the premises at the time of her conviction. La Llorona (The Weeping Woman] [Mexico] Legend has it that La Llorona is the spiritual remains of a mother who was accused of drowning her children in the local river. Her ghost haunts rivers and creeks alike [specifically the Sante Fe and offshoots of the River], searching for children to drag into the watery depths. Recipient of the title, The Weeping Woman, she is always reported to be in a grievous state of crying when spotted. Children are warned not to venture out after dark, in fear that La Lorona will catch them. While some tales say that she will only take children, others claim that she will take pretty much anyone. It's probably best, however, to steer clear of a weeping woman in white if you're ever out near the Santa Fe after dark. Gjenganger [Scandinavia] The gjenganger is a particular type of spirit that has an actual physical entity about it -- it is completely corporeal. As is said for most unhappy ghosts, it is said to be the spiritual remains of someone who has some unfinished business in their life and often were met with a violent end. Gjenganger seem to target the family and friends of the deceased person and can inflict actual damage (even kill) as they have a physical 'body' and can interact on the physical plane. However, a gjenganger will not brutally attack anyone. Instead, they spread pestilence and plague by "pinching" their victims, which causes a necrosis that will slowly kill the person infected. This pinch is known as dødningeknip or the dead man's pinch. Like other mythological entities, holy symbols seem to ward them off, and there are also precautions in place that can be done to prevent a loved one from rising as a gjenganger. To mean, they seem to be some cross of spirit, zombie, and vampire, which is pretty cool (and absolutely terrifying). The Man-Eating Tree [Madagascar] A German explorer and botanist by the name of Karl Leche wrote a letter in 1874 (which soon went on to be published in journals and newspapers), detailing his discovery of a man-eating tree. Of course, to a botanist, this was an astounding discovery. The tree was described as having a thick, bulging trunk (shaped similarly to a pineapple), and had huge three-foot-wide leaves covered in tiny hooks. With a sweet and tempting nectar in the plant's center and protruding tendrils that stood taller than a full-grown man, the plant was a spectacle of curiosity. Tale has it that Leche bore witness as one of the locals drank from the nectar, who was then captured by the tendrils and the giant leaves closed around them. Leche wrote that after 10 days, the tree unfurled its leaves once more, and where was once a person then lay a skeleton -- just bone. While the tree's existence or the validity of Leche's letter have neither been proven or disproven, if you're ever out wandering the jungles of Madagascar and happen upon a giant, frightening plant, it's probably best not to drink from it. Which would you prefer to tango with -- the Man-Eating Tree or the Whomping Willow? The Girl in the Bathroom [Japan] Nope, she's not named Myrtle, though she does like to haunt the girl's bathroom of one particular Japanese school. Legend has it that if you go to the third stall of the third floor's girl's bathroom and knock three times while reciting the girl's name (Hanako) when you open the door, she'll be there. I've found two versions of what happens at this point. The first is that you'll be grabbed by one of her bloodied hands, and the second is that she appears in the form of a giant lizard, which will eat you. Either way, it's probably best not to do it (especially if there's a chance you're going to be devoured by a lizard). And, apparently, she's not the only ghost known to haunt public bathrooms in Japan! What are some of your favorite myths and urban legends? We'd love to know! In the spirit of the season, we would like to present some of our favorite Dark/Horror Fic Recs (with some tasty treats for the authors)! Rinse and Repeat [Mature] by @VaguelyCreativeName Project Azkaban [Mature] by @Unwritten Curse Sisyphus [Mature] by @ShadowRose China Doll [Mature] by @forever_dreaming Antebellum [Mature] by @Aphoride Beyond the Veil and into the River of Death [Mature] by @pookha The Brother's Three [Mature] by @Chelts-rhj Crouching Parasite, Deathly Agenda [Mature] by @AbraxanUnicorn Out of the Shadows [Mature] by @dirigibleplums Hate [M] by @abhorsen. Non-Omnis Moriar - Not All of Me Shall Die [Mature] by @Celtic_Dreamer7 Joy [Mature] by @scooterbug8515 Misconstrued [Mature] by @Diogenissa All Hallow's Eve by @MadiMalfoy OooooOOOooOOOoooo! That's a wrap, folks! We would like to give a huge shoutout to @TreacleTart for providing us with the Dias de Los Muertos piece as well as those lovely pictures! We hope you have a wonderful and safe month, full of excitement, love, and spooks! >3 _________________________ credits: articles: Jewish Festivities in October - Emma Dias de Los Muertos with Photos - Kaitlin Commercialization of Halloween in the US - Madi Spooky Myths | Worldwide Festivities | Fic Recs - Rumpels Header/Divider | Layout Fic Rec Graphics - Rumpels
  4. 8 points
    Three things we learned at work today: 1. PETER CAPALDI IS NOW A REGULAR CUSTOMER??!! 2. Peter Capaldi is the sort of gold star angel who answers "Good to see you Mr Capaldi." with "Nice to see you! Call me Peter." And 3. (most importantly) When your dishwasher breaks it is 100% possible to clean over 100 martini glasses with a single old kettle. AM I ALLOWED TO SCREAM YET? *Faints*
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    Hey Shreya!! I seen in your post that you wanted an about me header, and I seen you liked a few of the same things I did, so I decided to make you a header! I really hope you like it - it's not much, but still, I hope you do! I love your username btw - I like to dream big, so your username speaks levels to me Anyway here it is, I hope to see you around. My inbox is open if you want changes to the header as well! oh, p.s. if you use the header (and you don't have to, so don't feel obligated!) please re-host and credit to Newt Scamander at TDA or Hobbit' at HPFT
  6. 7 points
    So like I truly need to know which prefect is from the spice girls fact bc boy do I love the spice girls and can talk about them for like ages so feel free to hmu! (or anyone else who was a spice girls fan bc hello they were gon tour again)
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    This segment of the House Cup is brought to you by Revenge of the Prefects.
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    Welcome to the September Issue of In the Spotlight! We've prepared your usual goodies such as some extras with the September Sitewide Story of the Month winner, an all-exclusive interview with this Month's staff member who received an Order of Merlin, as well as an interview with our most recent Head Students. This month we're also bringing you even more extras with the Summer Quarter's Prefect Challenge winner! September is a bustling month -- it's back to school here on the Forums as well as some of you in real life! So take some time to yourself, kick back, and enjoy. Abby ( @Chemical_Pixie ) has even prepared some...poetry for your entertainment purposes. Finally, we have prepared a SPECIAL SURPRIZE for you all at the end of this Blog Post! Be sure to check it out! We hope you've been kicking off this Hogwart's season the right way (with lots of writing)! As seen in the September News Bulletin, the one and only Lotte ( @LadyL8 ) was chosen by the Prefects to receive an Order of Merlin. She was kind enough to provide us with some responses to interview questions, despite her life being quite busy and hectic at the moment. Thanks so much, Lotte! How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community? I joined the Harry Potter fanfiction community back in 2010, so about 8 years ago. I was still in middle school back then and had just finished reading all the Harry Potter books for the first time. I was watching some Harry Potter videos on youtube, found a fanfic trailer and got really interested. I started reading fanfics, then writing and eventually I joined some forums. And well, I loved the community so much that 8 years later I'm still here What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes? There are lot of things I love about working behind-the-scenes, but my favourite part is probably being able to give back to a community that has given me a lot over the years. I found the Harry Potter community at a time in my life when things weren't going all that well for me, and the community really helped me feel better. So for me, my favourite part about being a staffer is probably being able to help run a site that could help others like the community helped me. And also, I love teamwork. I work much better in teams than on my own and the staff team is just the best! Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write? I'll enjoy just about anything as long as it's well-written, but I've always loved stories about minor characters. There are so many interesting minor characters in the Harry Potter books, and I honestly think you could write a good story about just about any one of them. And I really love it when authors take the little facts they have about the character and incorporate them into the story, but then they also add lots of interesting new information. So yeah, I think that's probably my favourite type of fanfiction What is your OTP? That's a tough question. I don't know. The first pairing I fell in love with in the Harry Potter books was Harry/Ginny, so I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them. I'm also a big James/Lily fan, so it's probably one of those two pairings What’s your favorite story from mythology and why? My favourite mythology story is definitely the myth of Icarus and Daedalus from greek mythology. The moral of the story is really good and I can relate to it a lot. And being from Norway, I'm also a big fan of norse mythology, and my favourite story from norse mythology is probably the story of the creation of Thor's hammer. I'm not really sure why. I just love Loki in this story We are proud to present some interviews with one of our two Head Students for September, Abby ( @Chemical_Pixie ), who allowed us to pick brains! Abby's Interview Why did you pick the House you are in? III. My heart holds pride for daring Gryffindor, My veins bleed loudly in crimson and gold. Adventures linger on a distant shore, Online, nearby: exploration so bold. In competition, I may lose my head, So watch your back, my friend, I play to win No passionate arguments go unsaid, In games or life, my roar comes from within. I live with a lion’s ferocity, In the hopes of pleasing Godric the brave. I face new things with curiosity, And I’ll take my loyalty to the grave. I stand for what I believe in: what nerve! For a betterpurpose I hope to serve. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? To the current and potential readers of A Place Not Far From Here: I would tell you not to believe everything you hear, but you’re going to believe what you want, anyway. For those of you who are curious enough, yes, I dated James Potter while at Hogwarts. And no, I didn’t have a clue of what was to come of him. The signs might have been there, but that’s for me to decide. Oh, you’re wondering about The Cause? They might be worse than the Ministry but perhaps not half as corrupt. Though, I am not so sure anymore… If you’re trying to get me to tell you about the Hallows, stop if you know what’s good for you. And why am I doing this? Do you even need to ask? Signed with all due respect, Amelia Fortescue. What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Why? “Does the US have equitable education and universal healthcare yet?” Let’s start actualizing our humanity, people! What TV Channel doesn’t exist but really should? Why? Something without ads And with book adaptations: One chapter per slot. Because ads hold us hostage; Not interested in Your flashy products. But the art should speak Fromfirst frame to close Storytelling comes to life. What is the best single day (or group of days) on the calendar? Why? For this one, let’s turn to our relationship with the sun: the solstices and equinoxes, for we’re in balance and in transition, a cyclic change as time marches onwards in an ever revolving pattern, bringing forth life and death and hope. What’s the best thing that happened to you this month (or last month)? There was once a lonely soprano Who auditioned for a guy and piano Lim’ricks have dirty hearts So think of muddy carts And in a new choir the girl began-o! This month's story of the month was That's All [M] by Bex ( @beyond the rain )! We have written a review column about this lovely piece, [and we've managed to score an interview with the author][pending Bexy's answers]. Enjoy! R E V I E W C O L U M N Reading Bex's That's All has been a sweet, rewarding journey thus far. Her use of nonlinear time progression creates an excellent hook when diving into the Prologue, and it just gets better from there. The main character Clara Leavitt, an original character, is perfectly unique, easily relatable, and entirely likable. Having faced difficulties in being a Muggleborn Slytherin while at Hogwarts -- and with the world in shards during the First Wizarding War -- Clara chose to estrange herself from the Wizarding World and pursued a career as a nurse in the Muggle world. Save from communication with her best friend Severus Snape, she had essentially isolated herself from magic all-together until she became reunited with Remus Lupin. They formed a friendship based on need and kindness, which progressed in a beautifully frustrating slow-burn into a relationship. The nature of their relationship is so natural and so sweet. They create this organic banter, complete with flirting, that is downright hysterical. In each review, I keep using the term "domestic" to describe them because the two have this classic chemistry that is evident even from when they were just friends. They're symbolic of what I envision growing old with someone would look like, and it's incredibly sweet. The two help one another heal and move forward on a number of different levels, which is a difficult thing to do in the aftermath of the first war. Sweet and slow romance, beautiful characterization, hilarious moments...you really can't ask for more if you want something to fill you to the brim with fluff. I highly recommend this fic, so if you haven't read it -- go do that right now. You'll thank me later. I'm so happy to see this receive a well-deserved spot in the Story of the Month archives! Bex's Interview What inspires you to write? Small things. Sometimes I'll read a sentence, or see the way a person acts (in real life or in a film) and my imagination runs with it. There are certain parts of history, the conflicts of that era, the music and even the fashion just really inspires me. I'm also a huge sucker for picspams and aesthetics. The colours and compositions of pretty graphics just give me ideas and before I know it a world's created in my head. What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try? Fake dating! Or when two friends book two hotel rooms and of course there's only one and it's a double bed. I love seeing characters squirm and battle with their emotions! Published authors you look up to? Oh wow, this is a tough one. I think J K Rowling - yes she's a controversial figure, but she created one of the biggest, and in my opinion one of the most well known, worlds...all in her head! There's so much detail and it's such a warm place, I have to admire her for that. Right now I'm loving the Bronte sisters too. I actually started by reading a book by the lesser known sister, Anne, and while her structure is more of the time (I read a sentence that was a page and a half long. It was crazy.) she was so forward thinking. She wrote even though her two sisters refused to have her work published, she wrote about feminism and even challenged religion and the middle class way of life...I think that's really cool! Now I've started reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and I've somehow managed to avoid finding out what this very famous book is about for years and it's crazy how much I relate to Jane. In reality the two of us don't have that much in common but Charlotte Bronte has this style that makes you feel like you've known all of her characters for years and I find myself nodding along or just generally reacting to things that happen loudly. It's the effect her writing has on me!  If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? Write for yourself and at your own pace. I know there's a lot of "write everyday even if it's just 100 words" - I haven't written anything in three weeks and I feel great. I'm not stressed about my writing and I'm not worried that people will lose interest in my works. It's lovely to have feedback, but don't write something for other people. Write because you love what you're doing and because it makes you happy. What does your planning/outlining method look like? Does it vary from story-to-story? hahahaha. haha. ha well. That's All specifically has about six different documents full of plans, and two books full. Originally I started out by planning using a timeline. It was very informal it had lots of question marks, lots of swearing, and lots of gaps. From chapter two I had to come back and rewrite most of that timeline, and colour code it based on what chapter it was, whose POV it would be in, and how certain I was that this particular part would stay in the book etc. I branched out because the timeline was far too vague and it never stays the same. I also have lots of endings planned depending on what sort of character deaths we're looking at. Those are mostly like drafts, the writing isn't very descriptive it's just very step by step. The books are a different. I'm not sure if this is because I love acting and think dialogue is the most important part of any book/script/whatever you're writing, but the books are full of quotes. Or the quotes are prompts and then I have an entire conversation written out like a script with nothing descriptive. The conversation ends up changing but it's like a starting point or a guideline to just get me motivated. So this is an example of my script plans (this is a possible scene for a chapter that's like...10 years away from where That's All is right now, it'll probably change so it's safe enough for me to share it with you! "That greasy git went to your wedding?!" "He's Clara's closest friend, Pads. I could hardly say no." "Did he at least wash his hair for the big day?" "I wasn't getting married to admire Severus Snape's hair." "Bet you weren't admiring her hair either." *remus rolls eyes rather than rising to SB's bait* "she's sucked the life out of you, trust me - I'd know" **is it too soon for Azkaban jokes idk If you couldn’t pair Remus with Claire (blasphemy, I know), which other character would you ship Claire with and why? I honestly have no idea. Clara needs someone who's patient like Remus, someone who would support all her endeavours and that is so non-judgemental that he wouldn't berate her when she does let her guard down and starts acting silly. She was almost paired with Severus, but at the time I loved ss/hg for me to fully consider any other pairing that involved him. In the long run I think it was for the best...they'd have killed each other. Maybe Chandler from friends? Or Joey. I can't see her with anyone else from the HP fandom at least. We recently wrapped up our Summer Quarter's Prefect Challenge and announced winners! We have another review column for the lovely winning story below. Nicole ( @teh tarik ), the author of the first place entry To Boil Telephone Porridge | 煲電話粥 [M] has given us a short interview as well, despite having to struggle to type with a broken finger! R E V I E W C O L U M N To Boil Telephone Porridge, an Original Fiction piece, is one of the best short stories I've read in a while. It showcases what societal and personal issues the LGBTQ+ community faces in Malaysia, personified through the main character Daniel and what repercussions he has faced from his family. Not only does this story explore the previously mention cultural aspects, but also puts emphasis on entirely real fears of coming out and the effects it can have. Nicole's writing is beautiful and the story fits together smoothly, despite leaving the reader wondering, "What happened?" as the story kicks off. Since there is a bit of a mystery to it, which makes this even more fantastic to read, I won't give away the "What happened?" portion of the fic. However, I will say that when Kwai Sim receives a phone call from Daniel, her son, after ten years of not hearing from him, the readers are left with a sense of mystery and wonderment, especially after the opening scene of Daniel's childhood, when everything seemed simple -- like a childhood should be. Though, with implications of Daniel's sexuality and his possible attraction to his best friend, Aizzit, the readers are left with a vague idea as to what had happened between Daniel and his parents. I love how this story also explores Kwai SIm's perspective. It's clear that she loves her son and misses him desperately. She tries to make amends the best way she knows how, but favorite meals are not always the solution to everything as she quickly discovers. There's a moral here about being able to grow and adapt, which is shown through a magnificent ongoing allegory of Kwai Sim and using a mobile phone instead of her old landline. There is an emphasis on how important that ability to change is, especially when it's for the ones you love -- to let go of your old ways and move forward. I can't promise a lot of fluff or a brightly happy resolution, but the note of quite hope that To Boil Telephone Porridge ends on is absolutely genius. I highly recommend this one-shot. Nicole's Interview If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? There are lots of valid writing advice out there given by writers better and more prolific than me. Not everything you hear will be useful. But I do believe that you need to find your process when it comes to writing. Find out the best way to get those words going. Get those words out, no matter how slow and painful it is. And if you're already struggling, make sure you don't delete anything. Later you can always come back and fix - and it's easier to work on existing material, at least for me. What does your planning/outlining method look like? Does it vary from story-to-story? It varies. I guess I'm not a very orderly writer, so I really do have to plan, otherwise I'm just going to abandon stuff left right and centre *shoves my drafts folder out of sight* If I have an idea for a fic, I'll just vomit out everything onto a page without structure - snippets of dialogue, sketches of scenes, details of setting, bits of imagery etc., interesting words - then I'll put them in bullet point. Then I'll start writing. USUALLY. I DON'T FOLLOW MY OWN PROCESS MOST TIMES. What inspired you to write an LGBTQ+ fic based out of Malaysia, specifically? I was born in and grew up in Malaysia. Still Malaysian, with close ties to Malaysia, and I still speak the language, even though I don't live there now. Malaysia comes to me naturally as the place to set my stories in. And also because I follow the LGBTQ+ situation and news in Malaysia. A little bit of context about Malaysia, in current times: this year has been historic for the country, because for the first time since independence from British colonial rule, Malaysians have voted out the old corrupt government, without bloodshed (we have a history of race riots and violence). We have a new government, and everyone I knew was overjoyed, posting non-stop about a New Malaysia, etc. I was one of those with so much hope for the change. Unfortunately in the months following the new government coming to power, there has been a constant sequence of LGBTQ+ controversies, where the community has been persecuted in various ways. We've had politicians openly opposing LGBTQ+, there's been a public caning of a lesbian couple, there's been vicious attacks on the trans community because people 'just felt like it', and the social attitudes toward LGBTQ+ has been so homophobic and vicious and I don't even know. I wrote this story because I've been following LGBTQ+ news in Malaysia for a long time (way before this backlash), and because I'm quietly devastated by everything that's been happening. What was the most difficult part of writing To Boil Telephone Porridge? I wrote from my own internal experiences, and of my family. I've never actually said this out to anyone on this community, but I am many shades of queer in terms of gender and orientation and have known this since I was thirteen, but never really bothered to acknowledge (homophobic family and all). I wrote an earlier version of TBTP last year, and that was an incredibly personal one, and the main character was pretty much me. That was too personal to post anywhere. So when I wrote TBTP, I reworked some of my original ideas from that story into this, and distanced myself as much as I could from these characters. Took myself out of the story. But it was still difficult to write, because I had to confront a whole lot of truths about myself. This nearly never got posted, and after writing and re-writing, I finally got sick of it, threw it out into the internet and said to my story, I'm done with you. I'm just done. You've caused me enough pain so begone. So there. But to answer your question in a more direct way - the personal elements of it was the hardest. It required a lot of courage on my part to get through, and to reread. What was your favorite part of To Boil Telephone Porridge? So I'm Malaysian and I speak like a Malaysian - and I definitely enjoyed having my characters use Manglish (Malaysian English) to communicate. That means odd grammar, English mingled with words from other languages, lots of suffixes etc. It felt good to write Manglish, you know? Just like some writers can effortlessly write slangs or use references from different communities or cultures, so I can do the same with Manglish. Is there anything you wish you could change about the fic now and, if so, what is it? Oh dear - if I reread this story, I'll want to change everything about it. >.< I definitely wanted to explore a lot more about Daniel and Aizzat's imperfect and at times somewhat desolate relationship. But the story was already getting too long, and the focus always had to be on Daniel and Kwai Sim. I guess the other thing I would change is my adherence to the stupid structure of the whole thing! I actually borrowed the structure of this story (and some phrases as well) from one of my fics - a Star Wars fic lol. I regularly cannibalise parts of my fanfic to put into my OF. The structure was very restrictive, but I guess it worked for a long distance relationship. This month, we are debuting a brand new feature of In the Spotlight! Each month, we will be asking you all a question! You can answer the question by responding to that specific blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section. This month's dilemma: If you had to be half animal/half human, which animal would you pick -- and which half? You have until October 15th to answer! This month's raffle prize winner will receive a free review on a story of your choice! ~*~ That concludes September's In the Spotlight! Beginning in October, we will begin featuring extras from each House's monthly Common Room Awards! Also be sure to keep your eye out for the Autumn Quarter Prefect Writing Challenge, soon to be announced. We hope you're surviving the Train Ride to Hogwarts (studying by way of Hangman can be tricky, but don't worry -- we have more study options coming your way) as well as enjoying making some new friends. We'll see you again soon for our monthly potpourri Blog Post in a few weeks! ________________________________________________________________ credits headers and dividers - @facingthenorthwind interviewers - @Sleepingbagonthesofa, @Nix , @ShadowRose, @Rumpelstiltskin review columns | picspams | layout - @Rumpelstiltskin prefect reviews - @MadiMalfoy , @Nix
  10. 6 points
    First off, I want to apologize to all participants of my challenge! I did not expect to take as long getting your stories read and judged. Life just swooped in like a hawk taking me off to do things that were not this challenge. However, I am back I am here and I am super impressed! Ya'll knocked my socks off with these wonderful stories. I revisited worlds I traveled to before with some of you and then others took me to new worlds or worlds of your own creation and it was brilliant. I am so thankful to everyone for participating. There were 10 entries and 9 participants. (Someone got eager and took advantage of multiple entries being allowed). The judging for this challenge was no easy task, and I highly recommend that people read these stories they are legit and even if you don't know the world you get enough to appreciate the story for what it is. So those not familiar with the universe explored in the stories take a chance learn about a new place - you may want to pick up a new book after the fanfic, I know I do! For the judging process I had a set number of points that could be earned with a set number of bonus points such as obscure fandom and OF (a bonus point I think everyone got) I judged on other things such as flow, form, details. and various other things important to the craft of story and the challenge. Of the entrants 6 out of 10 people met or exceeded the base score of 17. It made final counts very difficult. To be honest two people actually tied for 1st place and will both receive 5 review apiece. I thin thought about just then awarding a 3rd place as many professional competitions do but I could not do that as I would be remiss in not award our 3rd place winner for their fabulous work in meeting the challenge requirements. So we'll start with 3rd place and work forward to our dual winners. 3rd Place Revenge (M) by @StarFeather Kenny wrote a wonderful original fiction about a young person who is being bullied and sets things up wonderfully for what is to come which I suspect will be revenge based on the title. Anyone who has read anything by Kenny knows that he has a true artists heart and it was a pleasure to read this beautiful piece and feel right along with his character. I look forward to when you write more! As a reward, you get 1 additional review from me. Please let me know if you want something specific reviewed. 2nd Place We, Lawbreaking Citizens (M) by @Rumpelstiltskin This is another brilliant original fiction by Rumples that had me gripped from the get go. The story takes a look at a dystopic future where people take medication to eliminate the human 'diseases' of negative emotions. The side effect? You forget the previous day. Not only does Rumples present an intriguing world but she also presents compelling characters where a beautiful romantic relationship is being softly woven in. There are already 3 chapters up with more to come. I can't wait to know what happens next. (Please note I only judged the 1st 2 chapters as I did with all entries) As a reward you get 3 reviews, please let me know if you have a specific story/stories you want me to focus on. 1st Place Seven Deaths (M) by @Unwritten Curse & I have a Dream by @potionspartner I can't imagine two more dynamically different stories winning 1st place. Seven Deaths is a a fan fiction for Scythe and it is a book I very much want to look into if the fiction is anything to go by. This is a story set in a future where people are now immortal and to keep balance in the world there are those trained to be Scythe's to glean people from the world. It is an accepted practice and the deaths caused this way are minimal compared to how it was in the time of mortality. Love is forbidden for a Scythe and yet this story explores the forbidden romance between two of them and what that entails. Conversely, I have a Dream is a whole other creature. I would summarize this particular tale but to do so will rob any reader the joy of discovering the unique twist this story provided. This is almost original fiction but at the same time lightly references some fandoms. Honestly upon reading this story you'll know what I'm talking about and how the story cannot be summarized but indeed in comparison to Seven Deaths it is completely light hearted and maybe even a bit comedic. As a reward you both get 5 reviews each. Please let me know if there is a specific story or stories you would like me to focus on. Congrats again to all winners. Also fabulous work to everyone else. Ya'll made this judging process fun and difficult and did an awesome job too.
  11. 6 points
    Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream... If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends...
  12. 6 points
    I swear when I get home from this trip, y’all are about to be so sick of seeing my name cause I’m going to be all over everything. So much writing and catching up to do. #OneMonthAndCounting
  13. 5 points
    Just your friendly neighborhood reminder that you can always submit stuff (story snippets, graphics, jokes, fic recs, etc) to us SM dorks and we'll happily post it to tumblr, twitter, etc
  14. 5 points
    If you ask me whether I'm crying over How to Train Your Dragon again I'm going to lie
  15. 5 points
    hey hey! i made you a tiny little gift for the HC opener, a banner for your story 'hey, rajwa' - i hope you like it!
  16. 5 points
  17. 5 points
    Hey there Emma! In the spirit of the House Cup 2018-2019 Opener, here is a little present!
  18. 5 points
    I said it on twitter and I wanted to say it here. Prefects, you are loved and appreciated for your hard work!
  19. 4 points
    A tribute to @Aphoride that deserves to be in public rather than die a lonely death in the Doctor Who DM: omg new laura fic, reading laura's work always feels like.... really decadent chocolate. it's delicious and also you can tell enormous amounts of care went into like.... nurturing each individual cacao bean or something. each letter was selected with the utmost care and precision by an entire committee of the most learned and accomplished scholars, written in perfect calligraphy with the quill of a bird only found on the peak of one specific mountain. instead of paper, it's written on some of that goat hide that westminster keeps on hand to write new laws on. the ink was prepared by a monastery that is entirely devoted to ink crafting.
  20. 4 points
    My heart has grown three sizes watching all the interhouse gift-giving.
  21. 4 points
    Hello Paula, my love!! In the spirit of House Commadre, I made a beautiful picspam gift for your new OF!!! I hope you like it, dear... Love you!!
  22. 4 points
    Hi everyone! Just sticking my head round the door And currently reflecting on how much it sucks that Hogwarts kids don't have pastoral tutors. Or any other pastoral lead apart from their Head of House. There's nobody really looking out for their personal wellbeing, no way do Heads of House have time to look after the entire House properly. In related news, I'm now a teacher at an English independent boarding school (and yes, we do have a House system. fyi.)
  23. 4 points
    for love of goats ...
  24. 4 points
    we heard the train ride entertainment's getting a little slow, so we've upped the ante a little. from this point forward, new words will be posted approximately every FOUR hours. the next word is coming soon... you better bring your A game. (or your B game, or your whatever-letter-you-want-to-guess game)
  25. 4 points
    Welcome to my first blog ever at HPFT! I am excited to announce the winners of The Cultural Diversity Challenge, in which participants had to write about a cultural experience that was foreign to them. Each of my participants did a phenomenal job honoring various cultures and I certainly learned a lot from their efforts. Thank you and congratulations to the winners! In third place, with a beautiful depiction of Nordic culture... Albus Potter's Trip to the Nordic Magical World by @StarFeather Please PM me for two additional reviews on whatever stories you choose! In second place, with a thought-provoking look into Deaf culture... Sound of Silence by @Chelts-rhj Please PM me for four additional reviews on whatever stories you choose! In first place, with a moving exploration of Indian culture... Dum Vivimus Vivamus (M) by @sunshine_locks Please PM me for six additional reviews on whatever stories you choose! Thank you again to all participants! I enjoyed reading and reviewing your stories, and I highly recommend all of them! Feel free to use your awards graphics wherever you choose, just make sure to rehost them and credit me.