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the musical muse challenge: results + awards!

the musical muse challenge: results + awards! Hello HPFTers! It's been a while. Maybe too long of a while. I honestly meant to have these results up a lot earlier, but I'm just kind of lowkey going through it right now? Uni + the future are both daunting and I just really wish I could put a pause on the world for a few months. Anyways, now that I'm done oversharing, let's get down to business So a few months ago, I hosted a challenge called The Musical Muse Challenge in which anyone who was interested dropped me a comment, I stuck my Spotify playlist on shuffle and then assigned them a lyric from whatever song it fell on. Then it was up to the participant to take it from there! I was interested in how they would be inspired by the lyric and whether it would be different from what I'd consider. (Spoiler alert: they were.) The entries were lots of fun to read and I had a hard time whittling it down to the top three because every entry had something I loved about it  But before I announce who won, check out who entered! ENTRIES 1. beautiful fantasy (t) by @Alwynse 2. dum vivimus vivamus (m) by @sunshine_locks 3. out of the magical world (m) by @StarFeather [ch7-8]  4. rinse and repeat (m) by @VaguelyCreativeName 5: sisyphus (m) by @ShadowRose 6. six segments of a satsuma (t) by @Aphoride   Make sure you send them all a lot of love! ^.^ Now, onto the winners of the challenge   In third place, we have dum vivus vivamus by sunshine_locks! I thought that this was such a beautiful piece because it made me feel so many things. Certain aspects of Radha's personality and life resonated with me deeply and I really appreciated the growth in her character. It was interesting to me how the lyric I used to recognise myself/it's funny how reflections change reflected the growth in her character whereas I probably would've written something a lot darker haha. Ultimately, it was the little details that were scattered throughout the one shot that really won me over. The 16k+ didn't feel like too much at all ❤️ As a reward, you have earned 2 reviews and some WJ questions! If you want me to review anything in particular, just let me know   In second place is rinse and repeat by VaguelyCreativeName! After reading this one shot, I just had to honour the entry with an award. The reason for this is because the lyric that was given was a lot more ambiguous than others in the challenge - and i don't know what you're saying but you're talking so loud from intention by kiiara - that I didn't know what I would've come up with if it was me who had gotten it. But 'rinse and repeat' really surprised me by how well it took the prompt and ran with it. Remus' internal monologue was really powerful and evoked something strong in me. Julia articulated Remus' struggle very beautifully and did so in less than 1000 words. You have earned 3 reviews, WJ questions and an aesthetic/picspam. Lemme know what you want your picspam on as well as any specific stories you'd like reviewing (or if you just want me to have at your AP) Aaaand in first place, it's Aphoride with six segments of a satsuma!!! ❤️ My review for this was largely incoherent because I was just blown away by everything in it. I adored Scorpius even though he made my heart hurt and the pure lyricism in the one shot amazed me. The lyric given was the power of youth is on my mind from 'Old Money' by Lana del Rey. When I assigned it, I personally envisioned something to do with the wizarding wars, something action-packed and all viva la revolucion. This was not that and that's precisely why I set the challenge. The one shot encompassed the same atmosphere of the song (though that wasn't a requirement) and weaved in the lyric in a more philosophical, poignant manner.  Your prizes include 4 reviews, WJ questions, an aesthetic/picspam and a spot on my (seriously needs to be updated) recs page on tumblr! Again, let me know if you want anything reviewed in particular as well as what you'd like in your picspam As for everyone who entered my challenge, thank you for doing so! It was tons of fun to read what your lovely minds cooked up.   note: graphics made by me. unfortunately, they're looking a little blurry even though they weren't like that when i downloaded them so. i luv interneting.

dirigibleplums

dirigibleplums

 

Seven Deadly Sins Challenge Winners!

Hey! So I'm here to announce the winners of our joint challenge  @nott theodore! thank you so much to everyone who entered our challenge! ❤️ we had a lot of fun reading and judging them! It's always difficult to choose as you are all so talented but results are as follows:   3rd place: Just a touch of Envy by @juls   This piece is focused on Ginny Weasley using the sin 'Envy'. Ginny is struggling with her feelings about Harry during her time at Hogwarts without him. We thought that the characterisation of Ginny was outstanding. Ginny's inner monologue was engaging and detailed. We loved the sin being used in such a realistic way. You have won 2 reviews and a recommendation in the correct thread! Please PM either of us if you want your reviews on specific stories! Well done, juls!    2nd place: Trick Step by @Chemical_Pixie This piece is focused on Angelina Johnson using the sin 'Pride'. Angelina is trying to prove herself to her friends. We loved the characterisation of Angelina, taking what we know about her from canon and expanding it to create such a vivid character in Angelina. We thought it was cool that this story could have very easily by a missing moment from canon as Abby does an amazing job tying into events in chamber of secrets. It is good to see the consequence of her 'sin' too.  You have won 4 reviews and a recommendation in the correct thread! Please PM either of us if you want your reviews on specific stories! Well done, Abby!    1st place: Daughter of the Sea (M) by @dirigibleplums This piece is focused on Albus Potter using the sin 'lust'. Albus Potter sees something that he likes and willing do whatever it takes to get what he wants. We loved this piece, it was twisted but Plum's writing is so rich and vivid. This piece really stood out to us because Albus' characteristic was so interesting and unique. We thought the way the sin was written was excellent with the way it explored the idea of control coupled with lust. You have won 6 reviews, your story in our signatures and a recommendation in the correct thread! Please PM either of us if you want your reviews on specific stories! Congratulation on being our winner, Plums!      a special thank you to the talented @Sleepingbagonthesofa for the graphics, if you would like to use your graphics then please credit her.  ❤️          

Crimson Quill

Crimson Quill

 

*sigh* tumblr is back at it again

i'm supposed to be working on this lab report that's due in like 1 day but i just had to stop by and waste my time so here we go. we're all on tumblr, so we're all familiar with the tendency that tumblr has with being up the ass of one celebrity one week and then completely turning against that celebrity en mass (i probably spelled that wrong but it's midnight) usually for no seemingly apparent reason. they did it with taylor swift and they did it with jennifer lawrence and occasionally they try and do it with emma watson. every once in a while i'll come across a post that tries to shit on emma watson and its got a bunch of notes and it's literally people just saying that she's useless and doesn't contribute anything to feminism and we should stop idolizing her and so on and so forth. and i'd first like to start off by saying that i don't think people idolize emma watson which sounds weird because i'm going out of my way to defend her right now but hear me out. you don't hear about emma watson nearly as much as you hear about rihanna or beyonce or zendaya, people aren't hyping her up as much or really paying her much attention in any way. if anything, i'd say emma watson does her work pretty quietly without trying to draw attention to herself for the most part. and what i don't really understand is why?????? emma watson minds her business for the most part, she does feminism work pretty quietly, she cares about the environment, like nothing about her is in any way offensive you know what i mean? she's just minding her own business and i don't really understand why tumblr is always trying to get everyone to turn on her. she even said that everyday she's learning more about feminism and trying to educate herself and expand her view and opinions to have a better understanding. so yeah, that was my spiel, i just want people to leave homegirl she's just living her life and doing her best.

greisful

greisful

 

Prefects Fall Writing Challenge Results | December 7th, 2018

Prefect Fall Writing Challenge: [Insert Name Here] Results The entries were spooky, pumpkin-filled and autumnal. From urban legends about Hogwarts staircases to funerals to Greek myths, the entries to the Prefect Fall Writing Challenge had it all! If you haven't read all the entries, we highly recommend you do: @Chelts-rhj Queen of the Underworld  -  Prompt: Myths and Legends @Amortentia1992 In The Forest (M)  -  Prompt: Halloween/Autumn @Finefrenzy__ Eyes Like Steel (M)  -  Prompt: Halloween @Chemical_Pixie Trick Step (T) - Prompt: Myths and Legends, Autumn @northbound24 A Halloween Wake - Prompt: Halloween @potionspartner The Sound of Sacrifice (T) - Prompt: Pumpkins (Autumn) @juls Ghost in the Attic (M) - Prompt: Myths and Legends @Diogenissa Hollow Fences (M) - Prompt: Myths and Legends @Alwynse Pie-Eating Barbarian - Prompt: Autumn @TreacleTart Aguardiente - Prompt: Myths and Legends @StarFeather Chaos Around a Ginkgo Mountain - Prompt: Autumn   However, there can only be three winners! They are as follows... [drum roll] 🥁 Third Place Pie-Eating Barbarian by @Alwynse Prize: Award Graphic, PicSpam related to your entry, WJ Questions Alwynse writes about a fun fall festival where Lily Evans agrees to go out with James Potter only if he wins the annual Pie-Eating Contest. Marlene plays a great antagonizer of Lily about her true feelings for James. This is a cute, fluffy piece great for a quick pick-me-up!   Second Place The Sound of Sacrifice by @potionspartner Prize: Award Graphic, PicSpam related to your entry, WJ Questions, One (1) Additional Review Barbara puts a twist on the purpose of those ever-present pumpkins during Halloween and the autumn season. This story follows the life and sacrifice of one of Hagrid's giant pumpkins during Harry's third year at Hogwarts. The pumpkin takes its sacrifice as the reason for Harry being able to continue his journey to defeat Voldemort, which is a nice touch for something most people consider to be a background element to the plot in Prisoner of Azkaban that gets the spotlight.    First Place  Aguardiente by @TreacleTart Prize: Award Graphic, PicSpam related to your entry, WJ Questions, Customizable About Me Dividers, Feature in the Prefect Blog Kaitlin weaves a tale of a young man walking alone through the streets of Quito, Ecuador late at night. He has memories of his aunt telling him of a ghost story about the Guagua auca, a demon that takes the form of a baby. As he moves along and remembers more of what she told him, the streets get more and more eerie and deserted, and he begins sobering up. His senses heighten as do the readers' until the climactic ending. Her use of a true myth from Ecuador illustrates Kaitlin's knowledge of other cultures and draws upon it for this beautifully written story.    Congratulations to our winners and all of our participants! Your participation reviews will be coming soon.  Prize winners can contact a Prefect about what story they would like their additional review(s) on! @TreacleTart please contact @Rumpelstiltskin about how you'd like your About Me Dividers to be customized if you'd like them. Please rehost and credit @facingthenorthwind for all prize graphics. 

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

don't be this participant

i'm a research assistant for a cognition lab and yesterday i was running this participant on an eye tracker but she couldn't take her glasses off because she's hella blind and i was like okay you can keep them on. the eyetracker doesn't like glasses, it glitches out pretty bad most of the time. so i couldn't get the eyetracker to work, her drift on the screen from the spot she was supposed to be looking at was so bad i couldn't even finish the calibration because it was just like,,,,,,not on the screen. so i said to her that it wasn't working but i'd be willing to explain to her what would have happened if she had gone through with the study. she said no that she was perfectly willing to reschedule for today, saturday, so i did. 20 minutes has gone by since she was supposed to show up and she still isn't here. i even sent her an email telling her to call me so i can come let her into the building since it's usually locked on the weekends. and i'm so annoyed because i was perfectly willing to give her her extra credits yesterday because she showed up to the study but she insisted on rescheduling even though she apparently had no intention of showing up like girl,,,,,,,just take your credits and go!!!!!! and now i don't know if i'm supposed to mark her as a no show or still give her the credits since she showed up the first time. long story short i'm very annoyed with this girl for wasting my gotdamn time.

greisful

greisful

 

October, November, and Damn...the Year is Ending?

I didn't get around to posting my blog for October, so this one gets to cover two months...which may actually be a good thing. To be honest, I don't remember much of October. It was a month of trying to settle into our new home here in New York. It was a month of adjustments and changes and a lot of sleep for me—I deal with stress and anxiety by hibernating. November was both better and worse. It was incredibly stressful: my fiancé and I did a ton of wedding planning; I started applying to dream jobs—and being rejected; and we found out that our apartment...has bed bugs. Now, people of HPFT, if you've ever had bed bugs...I am so sorry. It's been an absolute nightmare. I basically haven't slept well in a month. I've been eaten alive, had the exterminator come twice (meaning we all had to leave the apartment for 6 hours, including our kitty who does not like leaving his dominion), spent over $250 on sprays/products/medical supplies/cat boarding/etc., and Googled way too many things about these godforsaken monsters. Bed bugs...are a nightmare. So, you could say that it's been a difficult month. On the upside, though, I did some editing for NaNo! I didn't get nearly everything I wanted to finished, but I was able to edit and post three chapters of Collateral (M) which makes me feel really happy and excited! It means I'll be moving along nicely when things calm down a bit for me and I have more time to write. Unfortunately, that will be sometime in the distant future after we get rid of the aforementioned bugs and put our home back together. We're going into the final month of 2018. It hasn't been the best year, but it's had its definite positives. 33 days until 2019. Let's do this.

Renacerá

Renacerá

 

In the Spotlight | November 23rd

Welcome to the November '18 issue of In the Spotlight -- your monthly recap of achievements, complete with extras and interviews from all the wonderful people we've recognized this month. We have for you all the usual suspects (Order of Merlin, Story of the Month, and more) as well as the brand new Monthly Dilemma for you all to answer AND last month's drawn winner. Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry in the Prefect's Autumn Writing Challenge! We have had a marvellous time reading all your entries and should have results back to you relatively soon. Until then, sit back, relax with a hot beverage, as we bring in some of the coldest parts of the year.     The November Order of Merlin was awarded to the one and only @galadriel! Nim is a wonderful force of enthusiasm that has descended upon HPFT. She has been so kind as to entertain us all with a few interview questions! How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?
Ah, I think I ventured into the world of fanfiction back in 2013 and joined the HPFT forums in 2016 when it was brand new. I went on hiatus in 2017 though and found my way back in 2018 - so that's about 4-5 years of being a part of the community. 
 
What is your favourite part about working behind-the-scenes?
I love being on the other side during events! It's so great to see the different ways in which each of the housesapproach the tasks and the fun that everyone has. I also love the feeling of satisfaction I get from being able to give back in some way to a community that's been a huge part of my life over the last few years. 
 
Favourite type of fanfiction to read/write?
Angst angst angst. Minor characters, mishaps, murder, suspense, interesting sub-plots! Anything that hits me with all the feels. 
 
What is your OTP?
I... don't think I have one? I like some pairings more than others, but I'm not opposed to reading anything as long as it's written well. I'm currently shipping Hermione/Neville so, SO hard though so if anyone has recs, send them my wayplease ! 
 
What is your favourite non-HP fandom?
I'm going with my top three - Merlin, Doctor Who andLoTR - because it's too difficult to pick just one. 
 
What are three of your favourite writing locations?
My little writing corner at home is my top favourite because I've set it up in a way that it induces creativity, with paintings and posters all around it, and the wall adjacent to my desk is covered with bookshelves. When I want a change of scenery, I usually go to a little bookstore nearby - the coffees they serve are all delicious and they have a space for writers and students to sit and work so I tend to have interesting conversations with people there. My third haunt is an outdoor cafe for when I don't want to be within four walls and it also satisfies my caffeine needs. 
 
If you HAD to cut one of your characters out of one of your stories, who would it be and why?
Gosh this is SUCH a difficult question. Umm. I'd go with Jamila, one of the minor characters in the novel I'm writing. While I like her and wouldn't want to cut her out, she's not as important as the other characters and cutting her out wouldn't lead to major holes in my story.      This November, we recognized @teh tarik's To Boil Telephone Porridge | 煲電話粥 [M]. We have featured this story in our In the Spotlight in the past as both the winner of the Spring Quarter Prefect Challenge as well as for winning a Story of the Month title for Slytherin House's monthly awards. As such, it is with great pleasure to see this story featured as sitewide Story of the Month. R E V I E W   C O L U M N As stated above, this story has run miles across the HPFT Forums and our hearts, so much so that it has been recognized for its glory on a number of levels. If you haven't read To Boil Telephone Porridge, I cannot emphasize enough to click the above link. The plot follows the life of Daniel, his journey to discovering himself, and how he is shunned by his family and society in doing so. It explores Malaysian politics and society and what role they have in negatively impacting the LGBTQ community as well as what kind of impact an ostracising family can have in life and relationships. Most importantly, it explores self-acceptance, external acceptance, and allowing forgiveness.  This story has such a strong message weaved throughout its depths. It is truly a pleasure to read and absorb.      November also brought in two new Head Students with it! We recognize @WriteYourHeartOut and @potionspartner for their incredible feats on the Forums and the Archives, who have a knack for spreading that sense of wholeness and community that HPFT is known for. We had the opportunity to ask them some fun questions and they, in turn, bestowed upon us some wonderful answers.    T A N Y A ' S   I N T E R V I E W Why did you pick the House you are in?
I always get sorted intoeither Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw when I take sorting quizzes, and I do feel pretty evenly split between the two, but I think the reason I always choose Hufflepuff over any of the other houses is simply because Hufflepuff's are who I, at the end of the day, aspire to be like. I don't always feel like a good Hufflepuff, but calling myself one anyway keeps me consistently trying to be a better person. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?
Unsurprisingly, I would say Lying Josephine [M]. It's been my baby for eight years, and it's very close to my heart. Even though I'm terrible at actually getting myself to write it, I'm really attached to the characters and the story line and the relationships and all of it. I wish I could just finish writing it already, because I love where it goes, and I have a handful of really wonderful and loyal readers who I desperately want to share the full story with and see their reactions and talk about these secret moments I've had planned for so many years. Someday it will happen! Tell us your favourite joke.
It's cute that you'd think it would be something appropriate for this site. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever broken and how did you break it?
My mom's van. I was camping with some friends, and I guess the sound we all heard the engine making meant it needed oil... And I also guess you shouldn't drive two hours without any... But how were a group of teenage musical theatre nerds supposed to know that?! What character would you like to trade places with for a week, if you had to choose one?
Janet from The Good Place, probably. She knows all the things! Like. Every unanswered question about my life I would suddenly just know. (Which is both amazing and terrifying, but totally worth it.) What was your favourite TV show growing up?
I really loved Hey, Arnold! as a kid. And as a teenager, probably Dawson's Creek. Hard to choose, though, cause I grew up in the90's, and everything was the best then.   B A R B A R A ' S   I N T E R V I E W Why did you pick the House you are in?
Because Claws are the best! I love random facts just for the sake of knowledge. People at work often roll their eyes at me because of my "gifted" answers to questions. A few weeks ago, we actually took a Harry Potter personality test as part of a training exercise. The asinine computer tried to tell me I was a Slytherin. I was so horrified that I refused to when they asked us to stand up when our house was called. (Not that I have anything against Slytherins. It just isn't me. I always get caught when doing even slightly questionable things.) 

If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? 
That's a hard one. I've only been writing for just under a year, but my works are fairly varied: slow-burn, tohumor, to psychological thriller. My main characters are everything from the expected to the obscure HP characters to pumpkins and cows. However, I guess I'll pick: I Hate Multi Colored Days. I wrote it for the Unreliable Narrator Challenge. It's looking at the challenges of having autism from a little boy's perspective. It's also an autobiography of my family.  If you know anyone who has autism, I encourage you to read it.

What is your favourite emoji? 
Emojis? Those are those cute little faces everyone adds to their sentences instead of periods, right? Just kidding. I've tried to use them occasionally but have spent less than 0.001% of my brain power contemplating them. I've seen some people use one hiding behind a sofa. That one is cute. 

If you were magically transported into a movie, which movie would you prefer it to be?
Definitely a Jane Austen romance: Emma, Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sense ability.  HP comes in second place.  

Name one mythical creature you wish actually existed. 
House Elves. I hate cleaning my house.

If you were moving to a foreign country but could only pack four [4] items, what would they be? 
1. Bottled water. I don't like carbonated water some countries thrive on.  2. Chick-fil-A It's more American than apple pie  3. A soft pillow. Not that other countries don't have them, but you can never betocareful about getting a good night's sleep. 4. My family-although they would hate the move, I'm not leaving without them.   
\O/ This is where we all get to peek in each other's common rooms to help celebrate their monthly achievements! Please put your hands together for these phenomenal members and stories.   Gryffindor House saw @Crimson Quill as their member of the month and @Sleepingbagonthesofa's Yaxley [M] as their story of the month! They have both been so kind as to entertain us with some responses to interview questions!    A B B I ' S   I N T E R V I E W Give us your best House Pride shoutout! 
what can I say? our bunch are loud, proud and slightly insane.  What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? 
I love that our common room has been so lively currently! they have been introducing lots of stuff recently, I love RvG. I always have a lot of fun reviewing and I think reviewing is a great way to encourage writers and it's nice to be giving love to my fellow housemates so it's a nice game to little push to review more too.  If animals could talk, which one would be the most annoying?
I feel like it would be a dog, that sounds mean but I think they would always want your attention or need something so they wouldn't leave you alone which can be good thing for some people or just not for me. If you could go anywhere in the world (no matter the cost) where would it be and why?
Somewhere I could see Elephants in their natural habitat so India or Kenya..something like that    D E N I ' S   I N T E R V I E W Give us your best House Pride shoutout!  I present to you... This tweet that I stole off the Gryffie Group Chat! (And thank you to Sam who tweeted this, allowing me to be very lazy months later!  ) What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?
The Common Room was has been so busy recently are there are so many things to choose from! It's quite small but every month Gina includes a game in Printed with Pride, I love having a go and seeing what everyone else's answers and results were. It's such a nice wee thing to look forward to.   What was the last song you sung along to?
Africa by Toto.  If you were given an unlimited amount of money to open a museum, what kind of museum would it be?
I would have a museum containing all of the socks, hairpins and pens that I've lost over the years along with cards that would tell me where the hell I lost them in the first place.    Hufflepuff recognized the wonderful @Dojh167's Pretty Little Thing this November as their housewide story of the month!    Ravenclaw recognised the lovely @Margaret as their member of the month and @Chelts-rhj's Queen of the Underworld as their in-house story of the month!    M A R G A R E T ' S   I N T E R V I E W Give us your best House Pride shoutout!
I'm not fully sure what this is asking (and I'm sure I'm missing something obvious).  What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?
Probably the Nargles. It's great to see all the stories that get nominated and perhaps learn of some excellent stories you'd overlooked. And, of course, it's amazing to have one of your own stories nominated for an award. What is your least favorite trope/cliche?
Falling in love solving everything and/or the plot just being a device to get two people together. I'm not a fan of romance anyway, but it particularly irritates me when I'm reading a really interesting premise and it turns out the whole thing is just a device to get two characters together and the whole plot is forgotten or tied up quickly in order to focus on the romance. Or when a character has a serious problem like PTSD from the war and then falls in love and is instantly cured. What was the last thing you Googled?
Well, I googled this site to come on here, but the last thing I went looking for information on may have been the new philosophy short course in the new Junior Cert. syllabus.   C H E L T S ' S   I N T E R V I E W Give us your best House Pride shoutout!
‘Claw Pride!! Thank you to all the super smarty pants that support me and my random writing capabilities! Couldn’t do it withouty’all.  What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?
While I don’t often put my ideas in, I really like ‘think pink’. I mean, I’ve been agonizing over “Bottle death and brew glory at sea” for weeks now. It’s what I doodle on my yellow notepad when I’m pretending to be working.  What is your favorite scent?
LAVENDER! Omg. I have this lavender eucalyptus candle form the renfaire I work at during spring. It never lasts me all year. Pick a month and give it a tagline!
September- Voir la vie en rose, one leaf at a time.    Slytherin saw the lovely @juls as their member of the month and @Rumpelstiltskin's We, Lawbreaking Citizens [M] as their in-house story of the month.   J U L S ' S   I N T E R V I E W
Give us your best House Pride shoutout!  First off, I just want to thank my Slytherin family for voting me as 'Snake of the Month'. That just tickled me to death (in a good way, I assure you.) I love how welcoming everyone has been since I've joined. I'm so happy I took Elena's advice to come here.

What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?
I'm going to have to say the 'Count to Ten before the Staff Interrupts'. I think I'm the cause for it being bumped up to '15'. Sorry!!! We did get quite a few wins, and I rather enjoyed the camaraderie of it all.Hopefully it picks back up after NaNo. Another - the Review Swap thread. None of us can EVER get enough reviews. Or give enough reviews. Enjoying each others prides and joys just brings us all closer. And, of course, the Basilisk Bodega. Where we all just climb in our baskets with our plushies, blankets, drink of choice and just chat away. What would be a perfect day for you?
A perfect day for me is a nice cup of coffee (hot or iced), a book to read and some time to write. OR - going somewhere special with my boyfriend and having fun. Gatlinburg is our close place of choice. So much to do there. We haven't even gone to one of the dinner shows yet. But we did go to 'The Titanic' for my birthday one year. If you could have any super-power/magical ability, what would it be and why?
My friend, Mandy, had a character once ask one ofcharacters, if I would want to fly or be invisible. I picked invisible. I still would. It's a lot easier to not to be noticed in life. Be in the background. I was a shy person back when, and I hated to have to speak in class. I even quit violin when I found out we had to do a recital in front of the school. I'm a bit more outgoing than I was back then - but, not by much.
R U M P E L ' S   I N T E R V I E W Give us your best House Pride shoutout! 
Go, SlytherWIN!  Thank you, Snakes, for being a huge part of my life -- you're all a part of my family and I'm not sure what I'd do without you lovelies. #fraternity #familia #love #loyalty   What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?
There's a lot of places I love in the snake pit, but I think my mostfavorite thing is the Silver Quill (our quarterly newsletter). It's awesome to be able to explore the previous quarter of Slytherin achievement and celebrate with my housemates.   If there are only two types of people in the world, what are the two types?
Slytherins and Not-Slytherins. Describe your favorite time of day using only emojis. 🌠🌜🌉🦉🐐     If you aren't already aware, this is our recent blog addition -- the Monthly Dilemma! Each month we will be asking you a question and you can respond to each question by commenting in the corresponding 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. Last month's raffle winner is @Pixileanin! Congratulations, you have won -- one free review! Please contact a Prefect to let us know where you'd like it.  This month's dilemma is: what is the most overrated holiday food?  You have until December 15th to answer!  This month's winner will receive one [1] free review on a story of your choice.  _________________ credits:
graphics [headers/dividers] -- deni
monthly dilemma drawing & question -- sarah
interviewers -- madi, deni, sarah, nix, rumpel
review column -- rumpel | prefect reviews -- nix
layout -- rumpel
 
 

cassie clare: why she makes me tired

cassie clare: why she makes me tired (a spoilery criticism of some of the reasons i am losing interest) Okay so I planned to write this post a few days ago, but then midterms and assignments claimed my soul I am living the dream life, people. Every day is a dream. Anyways, I was inspired to write this particular topic when I was scrolling through tumblr the other day and I saw Cassie Clare had released another snippet of QoAD (which I didn’t read because your girl doesn’t need any spoilers tyvm ). I’m pretty sure I saw the name ‘Alec Lightwood’ as I noped the hell out of there which, for some reason, incited such a visceral reaction in me that I had to come here and say something. Because apparently I think I know a lot. Feel free to disagree. This post is essentially a criticism of Cassie Clare and the Shadowhunter Chronicles. I know a lot of people don’t read her stuff because they disagree with her behaviour and her past actions. However, I was already invested in TDA by the time I fully looked into it, so I kind of really want to see how it ends? That doesn’t mean I don’t have my criticisms, of course. It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the books in the entire Shadowhunter series and I have to reiterate that I do enjoy them a lot. I think Cassie Clare is a great writer, if a little too heavy on exposition and describing every-little-thing, and her characters really hold up her stories. That being said… 1.       She really needs to learn to let go of her characters. I get it. It’s hard to let go of your characters, especially when you’ve poured so much into them. I’ve been there myself actually with the Dormitory 2.6A series because it was so significant to my development as a writer and I had so many ideas about them that didn’t make it into the original story. Writers get attached. Regardless, my girl needs to learn to let them go. "Them" meaning the cast of The Mortal Instruments. When she wrote TMI, she had a bit of overlap with The Infernal Devices, the biggest being Brother Zachariah (my one true love ❤️), but most of it was quite subtle. A passage here about Magnus remembering “the gas-lit streets of London”, or a mention of a book with a faded note from a Will Herondale there. It was very organic. This is not the case with TDA. At every chance she gets, Cassie Clare mentions TMI characters in TDA and quite frankly, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand why Clary, Jace, Alec and so on have such an invested interest in Emma or Julian and the rest of the Blackthorns when they were just some of many children who were left distraught by the Dark War. Actually, I do know why – because Cassie Clare doesn’t know how to let them go. Their contributions to the TDA storyline are so bizarre and out of place. At least Jem has a viable reason to turn up in Lady Midnight – he and Emma are both the last living Carstairs – but Clary? Not so much. Like. I don’t understand why she would tell Emma out of all people a secret she can’t reveal to anyone else. Like. A seventeen year old kid. None of it makes sense. It just frustrates me because it bogs down an otherwise really good book. 2.       Speaking of bogging down… she has so many unnecessary scenes in her books. Look, I love TDA. Mostly because of the characters, yes, but I still really enjoyed reading Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows (more so the first). But there’s a reason why each book keeps getting bigger and it’s because she doesn’t cut the unnecessary scenes. You can really tell with LoS because it takes like five chapters for one event in the Seelie Realm to occur and I’m just like,,, pls. We know you can do better. It just takes away from the book in the end, I feel? Because it just means that the subplots are going at a pace slower than what I would usually be hooked by since there’s so much to cut through. I don’t understand why her editors aren’t telling her to trim down the unnecessary bits. It’s not even about characterisation because her characterisation is amazing without all of these extras. 3.       Love triangles. I’m not really a fan of love triangles, but Cassie Clare apparently is. Throughout the entire Shadowhunter Chronicles, she has had: -          TID: Jem, Will and Tessa (the only love triangle I’ve actually been okay with) -          TMI: Simon, Clary and Jace (a v boring and unnecessary one) -          TMI: Maia, Simon and Izzy (…just… why) -          TDA: Emma, Julian and Mark (I’m really glad this didn’t go the direction I thought she’d take it) -          TDA: Kieran, Mark and Christina (probably going to be a polyamorous relationship tbh) -          TDA: Kit, Livvy and Ty (again: why. just why.) There are probably more that I’ve missed out, but you get the point 😕 I don’t understand why there always needs to be a love triangle, even when the two protagonists have been in love with each other for years (like Emma and Jules). It’s not a very interesting or original way to make their relationship turbulent, especially if you’ve done it so many times within one world. 4.       She’s… never going to stop I’ve decided that I’m probably going to stop reading after QoAD 😕 As in, I won’t be buying new installments because my girl is not finishing with TDA. She has plans to write a trilogy set after TID called The Last Hours and another one set after TDA with the younger Blackthorns called The Wicked Powers. And that doesn’t include all of the special releases such as The Bane Chronicles, Ghosts of the Shadow Market or The Tales of Shadowhunter Academy. I personally believe that we don’t need to know everything about the world of Shadowhunters. We don’t need to know if and how everything gets resolved with the Clave’s corruption and the dated views of Nephilim society. It’s nice to leave a few things unresolved! I actually really like it! Idk everyone, I just feel like a lot of it might be a money grab? Don't get me wrong, I do think Cassie Clare clearly enjoys writing in this world, but I also think she manages to conveniently include a lot of fan favourites in series that should otherwise not feature them and that loyal fans buy them for that. For example, Jem has turned up in TDA and his involvement in GOTSM was really pushed. Will, Tessa and Jem all featured in TOTSA as did the story about Malec adopting a warlock baby. TLH will naturally include Will, Tessa and Jem/Brother Zachariah since the main characters are their children. TWP will probably include Jem and Tessa again. And probably Malec. You see what I mean? Sigh. Anyways, I know I’ve just ranted for a long time, but I guess I’m just tired of it all? Sometimes, writers just need to learn to let go. I guess that's what I'm trying to say ultimately. Another shining example would be JKR. The HP series doesn't need any more additions imho, we have it all sorted  

dirigibleplums

dirigibleplums

 

NaNo Helpline

With the NaNo season already well underway, your Prefects would like to present The NaNo Helpline !  Over the past month, we've asked you wonderful people to send in some of your burning questions to be answered. We've also contacted a couple members of HPFT who are highly experienced in the ways of NaNo to give some advice for any new/returning NaNo participants. To tie things off, some of us decided to share some stories of our personal NaNo experiences with you, so that you can learn from our mistakes and victories. We hope you enjoy! We asked you to send us questions, and now we are answering them! Hang on tight!  Dear Prefects, I fear I may have to sever ties with those who insist coffee is the superior caffeinated beverage. How do I correct the error of their ways (because tea is clearly superior) while maintaining these friendships? Sincerely, Tea is Best. while us coffee and tea drinkers may have our differences, i think the important thing here is that we're all united against the real enemy here: those freaks of nature who somehow function with no caffeine whatsoever. -taylor Why isn't that an option for Race to the Death... We would be a united force against the functional humans?!  - Deni Some of us drink both tea and coffee....because either way I get caffeine! It's gotta be a slow correction -- almost imperceptibly keep offering them tea (with a variety of flavors to choose from) whenever you are with them and make them try a different kind each time. This should make them warm up to drinking tea subconsciously. After a sufficient amount of time has passed, the next time they ask for coffee at your place, tell them you're all out but you do have some strongly caffeinated tea they are more than welcome to have instead. They'll still be your friend, and you'll have converted them over to tea in what seems like no time! - Madi Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee -- coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee. - Rumpels   Dear Prefects, I'm out of caffeinated tea. It's 2am and I'm coming up on a really intense scene. My eyes are itchy from lack of sleep, but my hands twitch from excitement. Do I go to bed or keep writing? Love, An under caffeinated and overstressed Nano Participant Dear U-C and OS NaNo Participant,  I have hit this point many a time (in fact, I was in this exact boat on Nov. 2nd just last week!). In this instance, I did end up writing out the next scene because then I was able to complete the chapter I've been unable to finish for months. In years past though, I've decided to jot down a couple notes about the scene, maybe a bit of dialogue I want to use, and then called it a night. In this case, if you're out of caffeinated tea and this upcoming scene is very intense, my recommendation would be to go to bed. Take a few notes, and then shut that computer off (or just close the laptop, you know) and sleep on it because then you can come back at it with a fresh brain the next day.  Love,  Madi Dear Prefects: The cursor keeps blinking on my blank MicroSoft Word document. How do I fill the page with words? Sincerely, Panicking Wordsmith Dear Panicking Wordsmith,  All that it takes to fill the page with words is a good attitude and a goal! Play that perfect playlist for the scene you want to write, or if it's a completely new story, pick something out that feels like it's the right fit for your idea. Keep a beverage close by (preferably tea or coffee, or water for hydration!) and just go for it! The first step is always the hardest when it comes to a blank document.  Sometimes if it's just not happening, a little diversion within the realm of reason is okay too! I usually go find some songs and collect them for how I want the scene to play out/characters to feel, and generally just look for inspo! Then once I feel okay about things again, I open up that document and start typing away.  Love, Madi
  Dear Panicking Wordsmith, If you can believe, it you can achieve it! Grab nice warm cup of coffee (or tea, I suppose 🙄) and settle in with your favorite playlist. The caffeine will fill you with energy and the playlist will have you inspired to write all the words. If you're still having trouble, I recommend treating yourself to a break. I'm partial to a nice Netflix binge. There's nothing like an episode of your favorite to show to make you feel loose and ready to roll. Or pinterest, to gather all sorts of random images related to your story and get those creative juices flowing again! Love, Sarah
How do you manage academia and NaNo without sacrificing the 50k goal? In the 5 years I've been doing NaNoWriMo, I've been in school (undergrad, and now graduate school). In my first year, I did attempt the 50k goal and what I can tell you is that it is going to be so very hard and challenging! But, it is possible. What I tried to do is just find a few minutes throughout the day during the week to get 100 words here and there. Then I would dedicate a half hour to an hour depending on the night to NaNo. Weekends, all NaNo, baby! I didn't quite make it to 50k, but I got to 42k, so it is totally doable. If you think about it like it's your stress relief from school, it becomes a lot easier! Love,  Madi  
If your NaNo goal is to complete a fic, and your word count is going up but your fic is also getting insanely longer, how do you prune it shorter? This is something I usually don't struggle with during non-NaNo events, but I have realized it is an issue, so thank you for bringing it up! Often what I do is just get words on the page so that I stay on track with my goal for the month and don't worry about the number of words. Then when I have a bit more time I go back to the chapter/one-shot/etc and comb through it for general edits and also scene edits -- are they necessary? do they seem to fit here or could they go elsewhere? can I just cut it completely? It's very much about the second-look editing process for me, but for others, they just go for it and don't worry about it being too long! Love, Madi   Turning your WIP into dialogue-only is certain to shorten your word count. Alternatively, you could try cutting out all dialogue all-together to the same effect  .  A more plot-driven way to achieve this is to simply kill off all of your characters in one go, which will end your story and therefore complete your NaNo goal, rendering you a champion of champions.  A final solution to your problem is to be conscious of your plot arch while writing, which can be a bit tricky in the fast-paced world of NaNo. Just keep asking yourself, "Is this important to the story? Does this matter? Will this 'event' move the plot along and ultimately aid in the story progression? Does this matter?''  You've actually set yourself a bit of a difficult goal here, as word counts can be trimmed during editing and any unnecessary fat can be removed. However, since you're racing against 30 days to complete a story of an unknown word count is a bit more difficult than setting a concrete word count in that regard. My best advice is to repeat the mantra, "is this important" and, if it isn't, skip it.  --Rumpels   Dear Prefects, NaNo is overshadowing my other responsibilities in life. How can I balance the thing I most want to do (NaNo) with things that I least want to do (RL responsibilities)? Yours truly, She-who-needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities Dear She-who-needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities, Life is all about balance! Try using NaNo as a reward. For example: I can only open this word document of the story that I just got an idea for once I've finished my laundry. If (or when) that doesn't work, then oh well, you do you, girl. Who needs clean underwear anyway? Love,  Sarah     
Dear Prefects, I have these amazing and wonderful, fully developed characters in my head. I've spent hours finding the perfect pictures and optimal settings for their picspams. Every time I make one, I think of more ideas for graphics. I'm worried that I'll be consumed by pictures and not by words for NaNo. What do I do? From, A Picspamming Procrastinator Dear Picspamming Procrastinator, A picture speaks a thousand words, right? Use your picspams as inspiration for that scene you just can't develop, that chapter you just can't finish, or that story you've always wanted to write. Tell the story; what is your picspam saying? Perhaps, see above advice for additional information about "balance". But uhh, maybe avoid the other above advice and stay off of pinterest. No need for temptation. Love, Sarah
Dear Prefects, I'm laughing at my own jokes a bit too much. Am I that funny or that sleep deprived? From, A Lethargic Comic  Dear Lethargic Comic, You are just as funny as you think you are! But just to be safe, ask yourself after a night of sleep, is the joke just as funny the next morning?  Probably not. 😜  Love, Sarah
After the hype of the first week I really find myself struggling to maintain enthusiasm to write. What's a good way to keep the energy going? The best way I've found to keep the energy going is a good support system! Find a great group of people who are motivating, encouraging, and loving. It'll feel good to be apart of something so wonderful and you'll feel more energized and pumped up every time you offer the same support to someone else! Also: coffee, your favorite snack food, and a dance party (solo or not) with a solid jam. -Sarah
The real question here is how much caffeine are you willing to drink at any given interval? I find that as long as I am passionate about what I'm writing, it's much easier to keep up your energy to write. Make sure you are in love with your characters and plot (which comes right down to make sure you are writing for yourself first). Then you'll find yourself happy to wake up and tap away at your word document over a cup of tea in the morning, sneak in a dozen words during an important meeting at work, and spend your evening splattering your ideas across the canvas.  Also, Sarah's dance party idea is revolutionary.  -Rumpels   When writing OF, how do you balance the need for external validation while being conscious of how much you share on a public forum? The important thing to keep in mind is your comfort level and safety. How much do you feel comfortable sharing at any given time? And, of course, basic internet safety protocols. While it's not damning to expose who you are as a person, it's important to make sure you're not giving away any personal information along the lines of fine location and intimate personal details. When it comes down to it, personal safety is going to reign supreme over validation every time, in my opinion. -Rumpels   How do you persuade your government to make November an academic holiday? Start a petition! Get 3 billion signatures!  (I mean, this always works, doesn't it? ) -Rumpels   Every year I find that I stray more and more from outlines during NaNo. Any tips on how to stay somewhat on track?  Bribe your muse to cooperate with you. Staple a copy of the outline to every surface in your home, so it's always in sight. For on-the-go outlines, make sure to bring a stick of lipstick with you, so that you can write the outlines on your car windows and office computer monitor. Teach your dog to talk. Teach your dog to remind you to stick to the outline. Have custom bedsheets and pillowcases made that have your complete outline on them. That way, you won't ever be tempted to stray from your outline, even in your sleep. While sticking to your outline isn't absolutely important, in my opinion, a good way to stick to your outline might be to remind yourself that on-the-spur inspiration that would take you away from your outline might ultimately change where your story will end. You've taken the time to plan your story so that A meets Z, so taking F - P on a different path from what you've already plotted might mean that Z can no longer be Z, if that makes sense. When inspiration strikes, try making a note of your idea IN your outline for the editing/rewrite stage. While you're trying to put as many words on paper as humanly possible during NaNo, you might not be able to think about how it will affect your plot or characters as clearly as when you're in the editing stages. At that point, you'll have a more concrete idea of where your story is and how the change will affect it overall.  -Rumpels   We are very excited to bring in some experts of NaNo past who were so kind as to answer some questions for us! Please give it up for @Gryffin_Duck  @scooterbug8515 and @Wolfgirl! Thank you so, so much for taking the time to get back to us! You all are simply NaNo legends and we're very excited to share your answers with everyone.   G R Y F F I N _ D U C K 1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo? 1. Write as much as you can, when you can, especially early on. It's only 1667 words per day, but there will be days when you are too busy to write. If you have a buffer built in early, you can not write on those days when you're busy, rather than forcing yourself to write when you really should be going to bed. 
2. Find your writing buddies! Whether they're online or you know them in real life, NaNo is much easier with a support system of others who are also participating. Last year I did NaNo without many writing buddies and it was the year I struggled the most. 
3. Ignore your Inner Editor, to a degree. You don't want to be deleting and rewriting too much during NaNo, but if something is annoying you, be it a character's name, a few typos, or a certain scene, take the time to fix it. Without that in the back of your head, you'll be able to concentrate on new words. 
2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful? Definitely build that buffer of word count as early on as possible. I try and build it the first weekend in November. I have much more steam in the beginning of the month, so it's easier to get ahead than play catchup during the last week.  I owe most of my NaNos to rat races. If I'm doing a rat race I can ignore the internet and not get distracted by other things. If I'm not rat racing, I'm much more likely to get distracted. 
3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences?  I did my first five NaNos with my sister and that was the best. We wrote together both in real life and virtually and it was such a great bonding experience. She was too busy to NaNo during college, but now that she's graduated, I'm going to get her back into it one of these years!   S C O O T E R B U G 8 5 1 5 1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo? My top three pieces of advice for those looking to participate are: 1.  Don't let the word count intimidate you, it is more manageable than you think and you don't have to do the 50k to participate
2. Don't be hard on yourself about your goal.  The event is all about taking time to write.  The extreme deadline was created to push you not to judge you.  So if you write just a few words during NaNo that makes you a winner because you didn't have those words before.  
3. Connect.  Connect with someone who is going to be an amazing cheerleader, an amazing partner during this event, an amazing competitor... whatever keeps you motivated.  Having people cheer you on or working while you are working helps loads.  It inspires and reminds you, you aren't alone.  There are several ways you can connect either here or on the NaNo forums (just practice your usual internet safety as always.) 2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful?  One of my favorite tricks to help with your word count particularly if you are going for the big 50k  One of those tricks is don't delete it just mark it off with a thing I like to call "the brackets of these are not the words you are looking for"  it allows you to mark a scene or collection of words as 'deleted' but they are still there buffering your word count.  You spent the time writing don't count it all as a loss.  Some of my friends have a garbage word file, where they cut and past the would be deleted scenes - the words still count as they should as you spent creative time and energy writing them.  My favorite tip is to write ahead, do your best to create a word count buffer.  Writing 1667 every day is insane - straight up.  But writing 2-3k every few days with 500 in between is more manageable.  By creating a word buffer it gives you an ability to allow for crazy days where you can't write and not be thrown off your mark. This also applies to modified goals... write ahead. 3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences?   My favorite NaNo experiences is participating with my local region's writing events. We physically meet up together to spend some time writing.  It is enthralling to spend time with fellow writerly types.  Hearing the clack of keys all around is magical, you can almost feel the creative juices flowing around the room - it is inspiring.  I have made a lot of great friends there, we bounce ideas off each other, race each other and celebrate together. Most of your times together is a few hours a couple of nights a week, but we also have an annual event where we spend 6-8 hours writing.  Most of us take breaks here and there during the day-long session but that much writing in a day is wicked fun, particularly when doing it with others.  I can't wait to do it this year.   W O L F G I R L 1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo? Piece of Advice Number One: Set yourself a goal. Being a Panster is great (long-time panster here), but you've got to have daily goals if you want to hit your word count. My general goal is to write 2500 words per day (to hit my self-imposed monthly goal of 75k). My general weekly goal is to publish as new chapter of Tip of My Tongue every Tuesday, and usually to push out 2-3 chapters on other fics too (I've got 35+ WIPs published, plus a swath of unpublished ones, so I've got to juggle just to keep them all updating semi-regularly). I've got a monthly goal of 10-15 chapters posted.  Goals like this are handy because they don't have to be specific for what I want to work on, but they do mean that I have something to push myself to achieve. I often talk myself into writing, even when I might be tired or distracted or just really want to watch one more episode of The 100, by bribing myself to watch it, or eat a tasty snack, or do whatever else I want AFTER achieving the word-count goal I've set for myself that day. I forgo sleep almost every Tuesday to push out a new chapter for ToMT, that kind of thing. Until it's done, I ain't moving from my computer. Piece of Advice Number Two: Don't burn yourself out. Don't go into NaNo looking at that looming 50k word-count goal like it's some enormous mountain you've got to scale as fast as you can. Don't grind and grind and grind just to hit your word count. The goals of Advice Piece 1 are flexible, y'all. There are some days that I definitely don't hit my daily 2500 words. I might not write anything at all, some days. I might make up for it on another day. Maybe I skip today because I'm exhausted, or out of sorts, or have killer cramps, or a social function to attend. Maybe tomorrow I'll write 5000 to make up for it. Writing is about being flexible and having fun. Have goals, but recognise that if you're grinding and forcing out every sentence, the writing will read as though it was forced out. If you want it to flow, you've got to be enjoying what you're working on. I do my best writing when I'm so in the zone that I don't even have to think about spelling or the order words go in. Sometimes I don't even see the keys or the screen as I smash out the fics; I'm in my head and it's playing like a movie and it's flowing through my fingers onto the page. You want to write a fic that feels like that. If you open something and it's not inspiring that immersion, work on something else.  For real, no one said you're only allowed to work on one fic at a time, or that you can't juggle. Writing should be fun. If you're struggling to focus on the fic you're writing, start a new one. Dust off an old one. Do whatever you need to to shake things up and get the creative juices flowing.  Piece of Advice Number Three: DON'T EDIT!!! November is an edit-free month. You're not going to go back and agonise over that paragraph you just wrote. You're not going to comb through every sentence for typos, or fragments, or passive voice, or anything else. You're not even going to re-read what you've written. Not yet. You're not doing NaNo to publish as you go, you're doing it to slam that novel onto the page. Let it be messy. Let it be atrocious, if that's what it takes to get it out there. Let it be full of errors and things that make you cringe. You can edit in December. Edit when it's done. No one's first draft is pretty. Your fic's first draft is like a baby taking its first steps. There will be stumbles, and you'll be wobbly, and maybe you'll fall a couple times..... But when you get it all out there, it's going to feel so goddamn good. Fine-tuning is for later. It's for when you've hit your word count goal and you've rewarded yourself with a Snickers, and you've got a real-life novel on your hands. It's called Nation Novel Writing Month, not National Novel Editing Month. 
2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful? Yes. Nothing is perfect. And that's ok. You're never going to make every single one of your readers happy, and that's 100% ok. The most important thing I've learned about writing, in general, is that I have to enjoy what I'm writing. I've got to like my characters, and my plot. No one else has to. If they don't like what I've written, they need not read it, and more fool them. When you give yourself permission to enjoy what you're working on, and to forget what everyone else might think of it, you're free to write the story exactly how you want and that is when it will flow.  Tips for hitting that goal are to set yourself small goals. Tell yourself that you'll write 500 words in a day. Just one chapter. Anything that suits you, that you can achieve but will still push you just that little bit. Count them like pennies. On their own, they are small, almost inconsequential. But you put enough of them together and you've got yourself a dollar. Enough dollars and you're rich. Most people set a 50k word goal for NaNo, and that seems like a lot, but it's only 1667 words a day. Just 1667 words a day, and you'll hit that goal. Participate in Rat Races as often as you're able. Word sprints are the best way to hit those small goals because you've got someone to race against, and if you're competitive like me, you want to hit the highest word count for the sprint. And at the end you've got one more chapter, or 500 more words to add to the pile. Baby-steps, y'all. 
3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences? I haven't officially participated in a long time, to be honest. I suppose the fun is most often had in places like HPFT and FB groups when you can commiserate with other authors over the challenges of having a writing goal, and the triumphs of achieving that goal. The last time I officially did NaNo, I wrote my first complete Original Fiction story, which I plan to publish on Amazon in early December of this year. And though there's been a time-lapse between then and now, (and a good deal of tears throughout the editing process and cursing of myself for a moron when the words don't want to come) it's feeling so goddamn good to know that in just a month's time all the blood, sweat and tears that went into writing that novel are finally going to start paying off.   And finally, some of us have left some of our previous NaNo experiences here for your enjoyment!  M A D I M A L F O Y I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2014 when I decided to overhaul my Dramione novel Love Makes Me. Now I know you're all like, wait a second, aren't you doing this year too? And the answer to that is, yes I am doing that this year as well. 🙃  Turns out I've been writing it for all of my NaNo years, and this is it's third and final iteration, where now I'm just trying to get new chapters out to finally finish the dang thing after 6 years of writing it!  What my first NaNo experience taught me, which is when I attempted the big 50k, is that it's tough when you're in school to try and achieve that large volume of writing. I managed somewhere around 42k that year, and while I was upset I didn't hit 50k, I was still happy with how I'd turned the story around (obviously not anymore) and where it was headed. Something else I learned is that late night writing isn't my best, but does get me more words on the page. I also determined that just finding a few minutes throughout the day to write really helped in the long run because I could just plop out 100 words here and there versus sitting down for 3 hours trying to write 2k words.  Tips of mine:  - Always have a beverage at hand, whether that be coffee, tea, water, pop (soda), alcohol -- just something to keep you hydrated as you write.  - Rat races really do help -- even if you just do them for yourself! - Background noise (loud music for me) is very helpful to keep focused on what you're writing, especially if it's mood music for the scene.  - Buddy system -- have someone who periodically checks in on you and keeps you accountable, and you for them! NaNoWriMo isn't something that you should force yourself to do -- it's a challenge enough sometimes just to write regularly during the year, let alone during a month-long event dedicated to writing. Rebelling with a lower word count or heck not even a word count goal, just something is all that really matters. NaNo is a time to really dive deep into your writing and you get to do it with thousands of your closest friends all at the same time, so enjoy it!   R U M P E L S T I L T S K I N I've been participating in NaNo since 2013, which is nothing compared to some of you. My first year, despite all the prepping I thought I had done, I was nowhere near ready for the madness that was about to ensue. There was not enough time in the day or coffee in the world that could help me finish my word count goal. In fact, I think I came about 20,000 words short of my 50,000-word goal. At first, I was pretty disappointed in myself for failing NaNo. That is, however, until I realized that I wrote 30,000 words. \O/ That was better than nothing. That was a lot better than nothing. My first successful NaNo year was the following year, in 2014, when my outlining turned from simplistic to overly detailed, chapter-by-chapter outlines. And from there on out, I've been rebelling ever since (at approximately 20-25 k each NaNo month). If there was one thing I learned from my first and only successful shot at NaNo was that I do not want to kill myself over 50,000 rather unusable words and would much prefer to not kill myself by writing a 25,000 somewhat usable words.  But that was my personal take on completing a successful NaNo month. I don't like to do huge editing rehauls -- I like to write, edit a bit, and get on with my life (see: other reasons why Rumpelstiltskin really isn't looking into publishing  ).  What I did take away from the successful NaNo year was to bring: --a well-detailed outline of each chapter I'm planning --coffee --a nice pair of slippers -toys to keep my hands busy -a great support system of friends to motivate me when I'm getting off track NaNo shouldn't be about pain, but it is a relatively exhausting deflating time for some people when you feel like you aren't meeting your word count goal. Just keep in mind that, even if you don't meet your 50 k word count goal, each word you write is still a word written. \O/ Happy NaNo'ing! #teamrebel   F A C I N G T H E N O R T H W I N D I logged into my nanowrimo account a week or so ago to discover that I had been a member for ELEVEN YEARS. terrifying. I have definitely won at least twice, but records have been lost, so we will never know I guess.  I know that one year I managed 10k in one day! I have no idea how. I think the last time I won was in 2011.  My favourite activity is finding new word processors specifically for NaNo, because I'm a monster.  My tips: RAT RACES. They are an absolute godsend! If you get stuck on a scene, feel free to just write [COME BACK TO THIS] and move on. Don't worry heaps about not making exactly 1667 words a day -- on days that you have more time to write, feel free to write more so you have a buffer! And if you have fallen behind, hopefully there will be a day where you can knock out heaps. Meetups can help with that -- the NaNo forums will have a group for your area.   _______________ A huge shoutout to everyone who submitted questions and to the three NaNo Legends who helped us out by answering a few questions! We hope you're all having a wonderful NaNo season! May the caffeine be strong and the words flow forth! ❤️  _______________________ credits post contributors - emma, deni, sarah, madi, rumpel, taylor
layout | graphics - rumpel
question submissions - @PaulaTheProkaryote @esmeraude  @Chemical_Pixie      

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

it's been a hot minute but let's talk about exo

hi it's me, in case anyone remembers i'm the one who kept posting blog entries during the summer because i had literally nothing to do and that's how i wormed my way back into the hpft community. i'm back at it again with yet another post that has nothing to do with writing or reading whatsoever. welcome.  in my defense i haven't totally disappeared off the face of the planet, i still check on the forums once in a while even though i just lurk, i just mostly scream into the void that's twitter these days. but anyways. i don't know how many people on the forums listen to kpop but i'm here to discuss it. i'm here to talk about my kings, my BOIS: exo. i've literally been waiting over a year for their comeback, it's been so long since there's been a brand new exo album and brand new songs for me to listen to on repeat for the next two months. y'all, my crops were withering, plague had taken over my farmland, the drought was so hard for me. there's only so many times i can put what u do on repeat okay. i was absolutely elated when i heard they were having a comeback, finally the drought was ending, my village was thriving.  and i'm kind of disappointed if i'm being honest. like in terms of marketing, i know sm did everything right and delivered what the fans asked for and i'm happy, but in terms of music, i'm a little bit disappointed. see, with exo, every album they've come out with has just improved on the last. Exodus improved on XOXO (Call Me Baby was better than Growl). Ex'act improved on Exodus which I didn't even think was possible but they did it (Monster and Lucky One were way better than Call me Baby at least in my non-professional opinion). The War essentially told me that i wasn't allowed to be sad and stressed about my future because we were gonna bop through the summer (Ko Ko Bop was on the same level if not a teeny bit better than Monster/Lucky One but only because it fit the summer vibe of,,,,,everything). and while i think don't mess up my tempo is a bop and i already have it on repeat, i don't think the entire album is an improvement on The War. the album was good, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't get me as hyped up as the war does (i'm done capitalizing now that took way too much effort). i just feel disappointed in a sense and maybe that's because i expected another album full of bops similar to what was in the war to push me through the last few months of this semester. personally i'd rank the album somewhere in between exodus and ex'act? and don't mess up my tempo as somewhere around the level of call me baby? it should be noted that none of these ratings that i'm giving have been proved to be statistically reliable so if you think don't mess up your tempo was super amazing that's cool. and before i leave, can we just take a moment to talk about jongdae's half mullet? like what in gods name was that? mullets in general are disgusting but a half mullet? that's literally a sin and no one should ever do it i can't believe they did him dirty. also if i ever see my boi jongin in a mullet ever again i'm going to scoop out my eyeballs he's had one one too many times enough is enough.

greisful

greisful

 

NaNoWriMo 2018

So it's that time of year. I have been attempting this every year since 2006 and have never won. This year I'm hoping to break that drought. I'm working on various things this year. I'm looking at finishing some HP WIPs and my original fic. Fingers crossed, people. Let's see what magic I can do this year.

Elena

Elena

 

In the Spotlight | October 22nd

Welcome to our particularly spooky In the Spotlight where we wrap up our spooky season with a bit of Prefect Blog features and extras from this month. We will, of course, be interviewing the October Order of Merlin, Story of the Month, and Head Student recipients, as is our typical style. However, we are also bringing in those monthly Common Room features (like individual story and member of the month winners), as well as revealing who won the raffle in last month's Monthly Dilemma! Plus, we have a BRAND NEW Monthly Dilemma for you all to enjoy. With the newest (and spookiest) House Cup event on the prowl, we hope you all enjoy yourselves and have a wonderfully haunted time! Also, in case you've missed it previously, the Fall Prefect Challenge is now open and accepting submissions!  G I N A ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community? Since September 2007. 2. What is your favourite part about working behind-the-scenes? Being in the queue. I've been a validator for a while now (though I'm still a baby Auror on HPFT) and there's something familiar and calming about the routine of validating. I like to dive in and get work done. It's also cool getting a glimpse at all the wonderful stories on the archives! 3. Favourite type of fanfiction to read/write? Harry Potter, hands down. But I've been branching out lately. I quite enjoyed writing the Scythe fanfiction and I think I'll be adding more to the archives. 4. What is your OTP? I am a huge Dramione shipper, but I'm not sure they're my OTP (mostly because I don't believe they could ever be canon). I honestly think my OTP is Wolfstar (and I am convinced that they ARE canon). I've been reading a ton in the past year or so and there's something that keeps drawing me in. Maybe it's the inevitable tragedy that tears them apart. Maybe it's the sense of forbidden because they're both marauders and they don't want to "ruin the dynamic" of the group. Maybe it's Sirius's goofiness tempered by Remus's calm logic. Or the high stakes of Sirius helping Remus with his "furry little problem." I don't know. I just love them. 5. What is your favourite non-HP fandom? Probably Hunger Games. 6. If you had to pick one character from any fandom to have to swap places with for exactly one week, who would it be and why? Betty Cooper from Riverdale, mostly because I have a HUGE MASSIVE CRUSH on Cole Sprouse as Jughead. I don't know if that counts, because Cole Sprouse is a real life human being, but my crush is specifically on him AS Jughead (the awkward nerdiness meets not-quite-a-gang-member angst... YES PLEASE). So I think it counts. 7. What is one thing (anything) you wish you knew more about? Other religions. I studied religion as a minor in college but it was more of an overview than a deep study. I'd love to immerse myself in other cultures to learn about their spiritual practices because it helps me understand other people and, in a weird way, better understand myself (and my place in the universe). This month, two very well-deserving members were recognized as Head Students -- Madi @MadiMalfoy and Laura @Aphoride .  They were kind enough to provide us with some interview questions so that we can learn more about just how amazing they are. M A D I  ' S    I N T E R V I E W 1. Why did you pick the House you are in? I picked Ravenclaw way back when because I really enjoyed reading and learning new things. I couldn't identify with the bravery/courage aspect of Gryffindor as I've always been kind of a shy person. (I'm still working on that, if you can believe it!) I've always kind of craved knowledge about interesting topics so that's also a very good reason as to why I'm in Ravenclaw and not Hufflepuff. (though it's likely my secondary House no matter how hard I want it to be Slytherin) 2. If there's one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? Ooh shameless self-promo here  A couple summers back, @Pixileanin requested a story from me focusing on Sybill Trelawney's young adult life. So I've done just that, with her owning a shop and navigating the adult world and also possibly a light workplace romance. It's called Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls .   3. If you could have dinner with any one character from any fandom, who would it be and what would be a question you would ask them? Ooh this is tough. Honestly I'd probably sit down with either Raven Reyes from The 100 and ask her how she remains so tough and resilient and always has a solution to a problem.  4. Who is someone that greatly inspires you and why/how? my mom.  She's literally Wonder Woman because she raised all three of us at the same time and went right back to teaching and getting her Master's degree after we were born. She also has taught my siblings and I what it means to be good people and not judge others based on first appearances. I also think I got a bit of the teaching bug from her (and my dad too, of course) but generally she's just taught me a lot and now that I'm halfway across the country from my whole family, I think I've realized her wisdom much more.  Okay I'm going to be super cheesy here and say 5. What would a batch of Amortentia smell like to you? Well my bf of six years uses cologne from Versace so definitely that mixed with the smell of the woods after a heavy rain and campfire is what Amortentia would smell like to me.   6. If you were an animal, which animal would it be and why? I'm going to pull from my good ol' middle school/high school brain files and say probably a lynx.  They're such gorgeous "big" cats with the little tufts of fur on the ears and they remind me that even though I'm not that large, I can still stand tall and be confident in myself and my actions.  
L A U R A ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Why did you pick the House you are in? So this is where I confess that originally - on the RP site I was on, in all the quizzes I took - I was a Slytherin, and I wanted to be a Slytherin. But when I came to join here, I took a single house quiz after a long time of just, yk, being a Slytherin, and got Ravenclaw. It kinda made me wonder if I was or not, so I just picked it anyway because I figured, hey, I could always switch later. I think mostly, though, I've grown into Ravenclaw: I definitely value things like creativity, intelligence, open-mindedness, and learning a lot more than I used to - or, at least, used to think I did.  2. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? You do know this is a super embarrassing question, right?   Self-promotion always feels so awkward... I guess, though, if I had to pick one, it would be La Salvezza. It's obscure and it's actually not that long (for me), and I wrote it ages ago in three quick sittings as a gift for Kristin (StellaBlue), but I still love it. I loved writing it so much and I'm so happy with how it turned out - and always a little bit sad it didn't get much love. It's kinda dark-ish and lonely and angry at times, because it's Gellert in Nurmengard, dealing with everything that means for him, for his ideals, for Albus.  3. Is there any one character (from any fandom) that inspires you (either on a personal level or while writing)? If so, how/why? I don't think there's any one character, tbh. I tend to bounce from characters and pairings and fandoms to other ones fairly quickly, playing around with ideas and scenarios, scenes in my head, to try to find inspiration somewhere. I read in a bunch of fandoms, though, so while I'm mostly in HP, I think a lot more about other fandoms than I end up writing, so it varies a lot.  4. What are your top five [5] things to do on a rainy day? Ooooh. Drink tea, sit in the conservatory at my parents' house and listen to the rain drumming off the roof, have a walk, read something fun, end up playing Monopoly with the family because we can't play Risk because my mum hates it and we can't play Trivial Pursuit because dad always wins and we can't play HP trivia because I always win. (Me and my sister then have the usual fight about who's the dog in Monopoly. Usually I let her win.)  5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? India. I'm super fascinated by India - it's such a beautiful country and my friends who've been or have family there all love it. There's so much culture there and so much history, and I always regret I don't know more about it. And that I'm too terrified of snakes to actually go, at least not without someone to protect me from the snakes...  6. If you could only write with one character (as the main character) for all of 2019, who would it be and why? Mmmm I suppose since my NaNo novel is (probably) going to be a Minerva McGonagall-starring novella it'd have to be her. At least then maybe I'd finish it?  Thank you both so much for participating!    We are thrilled to present some extras from this month's sitewide Story of the Month winner, Project Azkaban [M] by the lovely Gina @Unwritten Curse! Gina is a fantastic writer and a lovely person (you know, in the event that you didn't know -- which means you've never actually spoken to Gina, which is highly recommended)!  R E V I E W   C O L U M N Project Azkaban is a masterpiece, from the very first line. Gina starts the story by throwing you straight into the action as Teddy, who’s in Azkaban, is suddenly confronted with the concept of escaping. Her exploration of his thought process and foggy mental state throughout the chapter is so well executed, and really gets at how he’s been affected by his time in the magical prison.   Then, after all of that, a moment of clarity - the chapter concludes with a project proposal, explaining that this Azkaban that Teddy is experiencing is a new iteration of the wizarding prison, designed as a self-functioning unit that traps people in a universe with an altered timeline and erases their memories. And not just that: the prison required trial runs before being implemented, so it’s entirely possible that Teddy and these other people are merely subjects of an experiment, and hadn’t even committed a crime prior to being subjected to these conditions. Overall, this story is completely fascinating - for those who have ever been heard of the Stanford Prison Experiment and its after-effects, Gina’s Project Azkaban is a thrilling exploration of its wizarding equivalent.
  This is our very first month that we are adding some spectacular extras from all four of our lovely Common Rooms. We are very proud to present the extras from your individual monthly Common Room awards. This is a very exciting feature for us, so be sure to congratulate one another on their in-House achievements!  Gryffindor recognized Abby @Chemical_Pixie as their Member of the Month and Taylor's @ShadowRose Complicated [M] as Story of the Month this October. Please give a round of applause to these phenomenal creatures as they entertain us with some interview questions! A B B Y ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout!  If we ever break our jar, I offer my one remaining Gryffindor sock to hold our marbles.

2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I love Gryffindor’s growth and passion and pride. We’re implementing new things, like a book club and a review competition, as well as keeping up with our newsletter, Leading Lion, SotM, and blanket fort. Roar! 

3. Which animal would you like as a pet if it could be scaled down to the size of a cat? Lil’ Sebastian. (You’re 5,000 candles in the wind…)
4. Tell us a very quick story synopsis using only emojis. A Woman's Place T A Y L O R ' S  I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House pride shoutout! despite winning an award for writing a 125k monster (that's somehow getting even longer as i edit early chapters), i'm struggling with words here. so please enjoy this gif of gryffindor destroying the competition instead.
2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? we're currently doing a book club for the harry potter books, and i'm absolutely loving it! i haven't re-read the books in forever, and it's so fun to go back to them and fall in love with them all over again. 3. Explain why your favorite scene is your favorite scene in Complicated! i have to pick one??? okay, fine. it's the end of chapter 12, and it's a moment when abby, the main character, has finally reached her breaking point, and then dominique weasley just saunters in and basically tells abby that she's not allowed to take this lying down. it's a kinda pivotal moment, not only because dom is the MVP of the story in this moment (pretty sure someone wrote those exact words in a review - whoever you are, thank you for letting me borrow them), but because it's a turning point that leads into abby getting this whole new group of friends and growing immensely as a person and, yes, eventually getting together with james. 4. Which character (either canon or original) do you find the most frustrating to write in this fic? asdfghjkl blaise. and scarlett. who are, for reference, abby's boyfriend and best friend, respectively, at the start of the series. they're frustrating because i thrive on writing grey characters - that is, characters that have both noticeable flaws and good qualities. abby starts off as a mostly awful person, and james is honestly kind of an asshole at times too, but they grow and change from their mistakes and become better for it - and continue to do so in the sequel. scarlett and blaise are both completely flat characters (wow, english lit terms apparently still exist in my subconscious), meaning that there's only one side to them; they don't really do anything good in the story, like, ever. and part of that is because it's from abby's perspective and, after what happens, she'll never see them in a positive light again, but it's also because... well, they're just selfish/bad people. 
Hufflepuff featured the lovely Bianca @victoria_anne as their Member of the Month and Kristin's @Stella Blue to dwell on dreams as their stellar Story of the Month. Give it up for these wonderful Puffles as they humor us with their interview questions.  B I A N C A ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! So here’s the thing about Hufflepuff –
The other Houses don’t think we’re tough enough.
They’re brave, cunning, smart or whatnot,
And constantly thinking, “What’s Hufflepuff got?” Well, hold onto your hats and hold onto your socks,
Because underestimating Hufflepuff has its aftershocks.
They don’t think we’re brave, cunning, or smart?
Let me tell you what sets them and Hufflepuff apart. Our House is all class, sass and badass,
Better watch out when we’re en masse.
You may think we’re quiet, down in our sett,
“Aw, look at those badgers – are they really a threat?” Well, why don’t you find out in this year’s House Cup?
We little badgers dare you to step up.
Have you never heard the Hufflepuff war chant?
It’s going to make yours sound extremely scant. So, lions, snakes and eagles (oh my!)
You better run when you hear our battle cry.
The other Houses may think they’ve got it, they’re tough, 
But this year, baby, the Cup goes to Hufflepuff. 2. What's your favorite event/activity/thing you hold in your House? Why? We have a thread in which we party and snuggle simultaneously I love when badgers drop in with exciting new life updates, or are in need of a pick me up from their fellow Puffs. 3. Where is the most unusual place you’ve had to stop what you were doing to scribble down a plunny or thought about a story? I'm pretty sure I stopped mid-shower to scribble something (damp) down. I do some good thinking in the shower but somehow forget it as soon as I'm out. 4. What is the opposite of a koala? Trick question - there's no such thing as a koala. It's a myth.
K R I S T I N ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1.  Give us your best House Pride shoutout!  I wanted to put a badger gif here but can't load gifs on my phone but like,  I don't know how to answer this with words, haha. (And you call meawriter! )  Here are some heart emojis in Hufflepuff colors because I love all my Puffs and we love everyone  2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I really like the Chalices (our annual awards) as I love seeing what everyone has been writing. I'm unfortunately not able to participate in much since there is no internet where I live, but during Chalice season I get to hear about all the stories I've missed and read them then. 3. What was your primary source of inspiration for to dwell on dreams? There was a love triangle challenge hosted by clevernotbrilliant a while ago, and that sparked the idea of writing as unconventional of a love triangle as I could come up with. 4. What was the most difficult part of writing this story? Mostly just the process of actually getting the words on the page  This October, Ravenclaw house saw brilliance in Holly @Alopex as their Member of the Month and Shreya's @forever_dreaming China Doll [M] for their Story of the Month. Put your hands together for these two wonderful people! H O L L Y ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! My go-to house pride shout-out would definitely have to be Clawsome. I'm also a fan of the Ra-ra-ravenclaw rallying cry we came up with several years ago (sing it like the similar sounding line in the Bad Romance song by Lady Gaga). 2. What is your  I am a bad Claw and don't really actively participate in things.  Nor am I very involved in organizing house activities, as my focus is more sitewide. However, I am extremely proud of favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? the IT, if that counts as an activity. I think it's something that makes our house special. If stretching back to its origins on HPFF, we have the longest running newsletter. Seeing new issues come out is definitely one of my favorite things about the Ravenclaw CR. 3. If you were given a PhD but had no more knowledge of the subject of the degree besides what you have now, what degree would you want to be given to you? Oh snap. I am not sure if I deserve a PhD in anything, to be honest! But I probably would want one in geospatial sciences or something similar, as that's what my educational background and profession involve. I'd be closer to qualifying in that than anything else, and I do have a cool profession if I say so myself.   4. What’s a smartphone app you would love to see? I am totally at a loss for this question. I was hoping to come up with a creative or useful idea, but best I've got is an app that sends a cute fox picture every day. It probably exists already. 
  Slytherin also started their month by featuring kris @starbuck as their Member of the Month and Nicole's @teh tarik  To Boil Telephone Porridge [M] as their Story of the Month! A standing ovation for these two wonderful Snakes! K R I S ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout!  I really loved how we all came together during the House Cup opener (and I hope we'll manage to keep it up)...so here's a shoutout for my fellow snakes who fully supported my 'we hang the man' strategy, no questions asked - it just shows they're quite willing to participate in a bit of casual murder in order to win, which is obviously great   .  2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing that you hold in your House? Why? I love the Hot Seat! (A reviewing game for non-snakes) It gives me opportunity to read Slytherin stories I might not have found otherwise and it's always lovely to leave someone a nice review  3. If you could swap one actor with another from one of the HP Movies, who would it be and why? Hmm, this is a really tough question  I honestly have no idea - I mean, all the characters are quite different so I'm not sure how to swap them...I'd have loved a different actor for Bill Weasley, that's for sure, he was supposed to be very cool and hot while the actor who played him...kind of wasn't? (At least not in the way they made him look in the movies).  4  What is your biggest pet peeve? In writing? I think it's using 'would of' and/or 'should of'   In general? Eh, people copying my ideas  I got a lot of that from a friend during uni and it would've been rude and probably fight-inducing if I pointed it out.    N I C O L E ' S   I N T E R V I E W 1. Give us your best House Pride shoutout! Thank you, Snakes, for being such a fun and welcoming House. Your fierce competition is wonderful - and very amusing for a laid back person like me. You're a fantastic bunch and I love you all and happy to be with you in our Snake Pit! 2. What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? Do you mean favourite Slytherin House event??? Um...ahaha...I haven't been active recently (again) BUT I really enjoy reading the Silver Quill. I think it's fabulous how detailed it is, and how much effort goes into putting the whole thing together. Kudos to the newsies for that! I always enjoy newsletters -- they help me get up to speed with the goings-on in the site and CR. 3. Do you have any more background/characterization information about Aizzit in To Boil Telephone Porridge that you’d like to share? I never explored Aizzat's character much in the story because I wanted the focus to be on Daniel and Kwai Sim. I guess some things about Aizzat that I may have hinted at in the story, but didn't fully develop: Aizzat and Daniel have a very difficult relationship. The kind of relationship which is sometimes comforting and at certain brief moments of awareness, something both people are intensely grateful for. But it's also the kind of relationship that at times leaves them both really feeling the depths of their own isolation and loneliness. And sometimes a disconnect from each other. Aizzat is more curious and active than Daniel - he loves Daniel but is sometimes impatient with him. He, too, had a falling out with his family, but didn't take it as hard as Daniel did - and I do feel that he has more connection to the outside world than Daniel. And I feel that the older Aizzat is a lot more confident with himself, compared to Daniel. 4. What do you think would have been different about the plot if Daniel’s parents had openly accepted him as he was? There would have been no story  I wrote the story specifically to explore the intersection of family, LGBTQIA+ issues and cultural/political/social attitudes in Malaysian society. I would be writing a completely different story and with different characters. These characters were crafted specifically to suffer (with hope at the end for them, though). Sorry to sound harsh about this, but it's true, and reflects a bit of the truth of being LGBTQIA+ in Malaysia.  BTW, thank you to all lovely Snakes for nominating and voting for my story.    Before we hop into our newest Monthly Dilemma, we would first like to announce the winner from last month's Monthly Dilemma raffle! And the winner is @nott theodore! Congratulations! You've won one [1] free review on a story of your choice. Please contact one of your Prefects to let us know where you would like it  .  Now, for those of you who don't know what the Monthly Dilemma is: The monthly Dilemma is a new feature to our Prefect Blog as of last month! 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 is:
What stereotypical role would you fill in a scary movie? If you need suggestions for horror film archetypes, there's a good list +HERE.  You have until November 15th to answer! This month's prize winner will receive one [1] review on a story of your choice.  ~*~ That concludes October's Edition of In the Spotlight!  We would like to profusely thank everyone who has participated in answering our questions, as it provides the true meat of this blog! We hope you are enjoying the Spoooooooooktacular House Cup Event! REMINDER: It's not too late to submit any burning NaNo problems/questions you may have to the Prefects for the November 7th potpourri post! We are anxiously awaiting submissions! We are also breaking in our newest Prefect, Sarah @adorably cute! She's becoming entirely familiar with our madness, so stay tuned for even more shenanigans from the Prefect Crew  .  See you next time! __________ credits
header/dividers - taylor
monthly dilemma drawing & question - emma
interviewers - taylor, deni, madi, rumpel, nix
review column - taylor | prefect reviews - madi, nix
layout - rumpel

ShadowRose

ShadowRose

 

Home Again!

I can not describe exactly how I feel right now. It’s too much. After MONTHS of waiting and worrying and wondering, I know for a fact when I will see my children again. I know that they will be coming home with me. To stay. I understand that this is a temporary matter, and there’s a chance (albeit a small one) that it will not be permanent.  I have been a mother for 7 years. I have two children. The younger is 16 months old, and I have missed 5 of those months. I will never get them back. The loss of identity you feel when you e built your whole adult life for your children, only to have them wrongly taken from you is something I can’t justify with the English language. Maybe if I knew every language I would have the words.    I am whole again gain with this ruling. I will be even more fullfilled when their sleepy heads are resting peacefully in their rooms.    Thank you thank yoh thank you to to everyone who was able to help me with the fundraiser. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without generous souls like you.  This is probably a big mess because I’m on my phone and going really fast, but this is the only community I have to celebrate with and I just wanted to tell everyone THE BOYS ARE COMING HOME!!!!!!!    Side note- I didn’t even know I had won after the judge gave his ruling. Lawyer speak is so confusing. Lol. My lawyer had to give me the thumbs up before I knew what was going on. 

Chelts-rhj

Chelts-rhj

 

World Spooktacular | October 7th, 2018

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

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

12 months of positivity - August and September

I'm getting so bad at these...    Anyway, I'm back!!!   August has been as great as I expected it to be (even if I wasn't really good to record it here... too busy enjoying it in RL...  ) and September has seen a lot of Jimmy progress, as well as a very special visit...  But I'll just go with the actual post, now.     AUGUST 2018 1 - The month of the holidays!!! The day has been intense but that's a good thing because at least I didn't have time to get bored. And it's always nice to work in time with music. 4 - Lovely night with friends, Gio's anecdotes which (almost) never tire... Meeting up with the usual suspects and feeling like at home. 6 - Just got home after a happy hour with the colleagues. Third evening out in a row, something that hasn't happened in... practically ever? Busy day at work, but not too much (much better than get bored, anyway). And tomorrow it's the last day!!! 7 - Officially on holiday!!! Waking up with an unexpected review, chatting with Renee (knowing that we'll meet in person in a week), getting done small things that had been on my to-do list for ages. 19 - The most beautiful holiday ever! Extremely happy and grateful for the lovely days spent with Renee (and Anja, Sian and Val, obviously). I already can't wait for the next HPFT meet-up. 26 - An unexpected postcard in the mail (okay, maybe that was 3 days ago...), planning Richard's arrival and that wonderful feeling of updating Jimmy after ages! Impatient to start the new chapter... 27 - Nothing is more satisfactory than win a strenuous (and apparently hopeless) fight with technology! And now finally I can sleep in peace... 31 - The quiet of Friday night (after an intense working week), a review swap, a chat with friends, a laugh at the office and cutlets for dinner. And also August is gone... and what a great month it's been!   SEPTEMBER 2018 1 - A lovely night with friends, the satisfaction of writing a new chapter (even if a very future one...), an unexpected meeting with someone I hadn't seen in a while, finishing the small missions of the day. 2 - Productive day, I've finally caught up with my review requests... and I've discovered some very interesting story in the meantime... proud of myself. 3 - The joy of getting inspired... and who knows, maybe chapter 26 is not so much of a mirage anymore... 5 - Emma reprimanding Jimmy. Pizza at Chiara's and then watching together To all the boys I've loved before. Cough and a bit of boredom at work aside, a good day. 9 - When internet suprise you and you find again that girl you had a correspondance with 20 years before... not to say... unanswered review count is finally back to 0??? 12 - Beautiful evening with the Armundine (including gelato, obviously). Tired but happy. And in two days Richard is arriving! 14 - Cooking for a friend. A walk and a good icecream in company. The weekend finally arrived. Just happy that Richard is here. 16 - The best part of weddings? Dancing until your legs can't hold you anymore. And I've adored each minute of this weekend with Richard. 21 - Friday night is always the best moment of the week... especially when you can find some time to relax and read. 22 - Productive day (at least HPFT-wise) and evening spent dancing with the music of the concert under my house... I'm walking on sunshine! 26 - Sharing the draft of a new chapter with my preferred betas and finding myself discussing the misteries of languages with Emma. And meanwhile planning the trip to Iceland with Richard... 29 - Super productive Saturday: I did the laudry and the ironing, cleaned the floors and the kitchen, left reviews, went grocery shopping, went for a bike ride and bought a brand new pair of flamenco shoes! Extremely satisfied of myself!   Credits/translations/explainations: Gio is Giordano, one of my Uni friends, who always has some hilarious fact to recount. Renee, Anja, Sian and Val I don't think need any introduction.  Neither does Emma, I'm quite sure   Richard is a friend from England who's spent a few days at my place for a common friend's wedding. It is possible that I might like him as more than a friend, but... time will tell, I guess?  
Chiara is my best friend (yes, we have the same name...  ) To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a film directed by Susan Johnson, released by Netflix on August 17, 2018 and based on Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name. The Armundine are my colleagues. Actually, not my colleagues but some girls from another consultant society (the word Armundine, which is my invention, comes from the name of their society) who work in the same openspace as my team. I wouldn't say that we are friends, but we do get along nicely and we have gone out a couple of times. I'm walking on sunshine is a lyric from Walking on Sunshine, 1983 song written by Kimberley Rew for Katrina and the Waves   And that's all, folks! Love and snowball hugs and see you at the end of October!

Felpata_Lupin

Felpata_Lupin

 

Chuffed

My major work in progress, Time Immemorial (M) has been nominated for a Marauder's Medal for best work in progress through the Shrieking Shack Society group on Facebook. There are so many good stories alongside it, I'm feeling very thankful. I've honestly already won just by being nominated. Anyone interested in checking it out can see the full list of nominations with links where available, or if so inclined anyone can cast a vote. There are some of my favourite Marauder works up there so it is a nice list if you are looking for something to read that's been published or updated this year.  I haven't cross-posted TI here yet because frankly it is a monster 56 chapters and running, but it is on ffn and ao3. The gist of the story is that Hermione experiences what is called a dissociative fugue after the Battle of Hogwarts and happens to have a Time Turner on her. She lands, unconscious and without any knowledge of who she is or from where or when. It just so happens that she lands in 1976, and Severus Snape had a particularly bad night as well.  I've rated it M because there's some pretty intense mental stuff going on, and there's some bad words that would fall under hate speech here. There may be sexy times later, but so far not more than smooching. I like my burns reaaaaaal slow.  Ta! 

FawkesyLady

FawkesyLady

 

September, I Love You

Were I to live in an endless September... September has always been my favorite month. It signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall—my favorite season. The weather cools down, leaves start to turn, and there's this transitional feeling in the air that I love more than anything. But this September felt somewhat different. It was a busy one for me, and those "transitions" I mentioned felt more monumental than in years past. I finished my stay in Florida—the best summer I've ever had, spent with my grandpa. My fiancé and I found our new apartment. We moved to NYC. My birthday passed. And suddenly...suddenly the world feels so huge and terrifying, all over again. I don't know how to describe the feeling I've been having the last week or so, but there's this weight on me right now that I haven't felt in a long time. I've considered myself pretty independent and brave and strong...but now I'm in one of the biggest cities in the world, and I'm job searching, and I'm planning a wedding, and...and I really just want to curl up under my blankets and hide until I feel capable again, which for some reason feels like it's never going to happen. The news lately has been bringing my mental health into a bad place. My anxiety is really bad, and my depression has been swinging all over the place. I've been sleeping way too much and balancing on a razor's edge of having a stress-related breakdown, and somehow I'm expected to still be a functioning adult through all of this. I promised myself I would write in September. It's the same promise I made to myself in August. And July. And June. And yet...I've basically written nothing for months. It's really discouraging me, and I know I'd feel better if I wrote even one tiny thing...but the motivation just hasn't been there. It doesn't help that my to-do list gets longer and longer every day, and I can't seem to keep up with it all. My fiancé just left town until Friday, so I'm alone with our kitty-baby in an apartment that doesn't yet feel like home, surrounded by boxes, with the sounds of a unfamiliar city out our window. I just feel like the rug has been torn out from under me, and I'm trying so hard to regain my footing before I come crashing down. Wish me luck in October. Maybe as the weather cools off, so will this burning feeling of dread. #drama #adulting #hashtags

Renacerá

Renacerá

 

Anything But Harry Challenge Results

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.

 

scooterbug8515

scooterbug8515

 

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune by Frank Herbert
Science Fiction | T | 4.8 stars One of the first books I read this summer was Dune by Frank Herbert. Yes, I know, it was published back in 1965 but it's gotten popular again (I just happened to find it in Half-Price Books and picked it up and thought it sounded cool.) I literally could barely put this book down for longer than the time it took to eat meals and do required activities this summer, it was just that much of a page-turner that kept me up at night. This book has actually stood the test of time extremely well. The novel takes place in a foreign universe with very different planets but still has the echoes of modern-day capitalism throughout mixed with medieval titles like "Lord" and "Lady" because of the feudal setup of this futuristic world.  The book opens on Duke Leto Atreides of House Atreides being suspected as a threat to the emperor because he has favor with a majority of the other Great Houses, and is therefore sent to the desert planet Arrakis, which is controlled by their feuding rivals House Harkonnen. Arrakis is also the only planet that naturally produces the mind-enhancing spice, melange, which fuels higher-order thinking in all those that consume it. Arrakis is also home to sandworms and the native folk called Fremen, whom Leto quickly allies himself with.  There is a larger plot for Leto's son, Paul Atreides, whose mother, Lady Jessica, subscribes to the Bene Gesserit way. They wished to produce a male Bene Gesserit who could see the future in time and space, called the Kwisatz Haderach, whom Lady Jessica believes Paul can become.  As the stakes get ever higher for the Atreides family as the Harkonnens continue attempting to end their feud by ending the Atreides' lives, Paul has to make some significant decisions that could potentially affect the future of the entire planet of Arrakis.  Taking away the "new world" aspect, Dune is a pure science fiction novel done extremely well and it has also aged very well in the 53 years since its first publication in 1965. While Frank Herbert clearly wants you to feel for the Atreides family and the Fremen, it's hard not to have empathy and understanding for where the Harkonnen family is coming from, along with some of the plot twists that occur throughout the novel.  The only detractor that I found with this story is that it sometimes got hard to follow with the Arrakis-specific terminology because of reading too quickly and not fully understanding the meanings of various words. Also, there could possibly have been a bit more exposition in setting up this entirely new world system because it's something brand new to all of us readers.  A big bonus is that Frank wrote 5 more books for this series, so Paul's story doesn't end at the end of Dune, but is continued on in several following books. At the end of the day, this is such a great, fairly quick read and there's so much potential to be had with the rest of the books in the series, so I'd highly recommend this book to any science fiction lover. 

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

In the Spotlight | September 2018

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  

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

My boys are gone.

I’m missing the greatest part of my life, and it’s very difficult. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I have eight younger brothers and sisters and I had enough money from babysitting by the time I was twelve to buy a laptop.  I met a boy at 16 and fell head over heals. All his ideals and passions made me ensnared by the idea of starting a life together. We had one beautiful son before things started to go downhill fast. It became apparent that he suffered from mental health issues when the stress piled on. I tried so hard to “make him” get help to no avail. Interventions, ultimates, begging, it made no difference. When I found out I was pregnant again, it was bitter sweet. I wanted my child, but I knew I was incapable of supporting all four of us, and my husband was the only optional one. I made the decision to leave in the hopes that maybe if I wasnt supporting him anymore he would learn to support himself. I didn’t file for divorce. He moved out of state. Now, ten years after we met, at the conclusion of our eight year marriage, I am beginning to despise him.  I never wanted to keep him from the children’s life. I met him halfway for visits.  I always made sure our son went with him at EVERY holiday. When I was big and pregnant and couldnt drive to meet him I made arrangements for others to do so. When I went into labor I made sure to tell him and he was there for the birth of our second son. After that I tried even harder to include him in their lives. I missed my baby’s first Thanksgiving. First Christmas. First Easter... First Birthday. You can’t be a single mom of two kids and take off work to drive out of state like that. I had to keep those times off for fevers and school trips, tummy aches and plays.  It was a hard, hard summer with them gone. But I had a date - Aug 11 - to keep me through.  August 11th came and he didn’t bring them to our spot. I drove all the way there, and he hid them from me. He had filed for divorce, custody, and put a temporary restraining order on me.  I was distraught. I have made the 7 hour drive several times, with two ending in visits. I got them at home once and was there for three hours before being told I wasn’t welcome. Took off work and had lunch at my sons school. Went by the daycare to see my baby and he called the police on me as though I was a criminal. I most recently went to be with my baby as he was admitted to Children’s hospital with 105 degree fever. He had fevers for two weeks and they hadn’t told me. He was admitted at 2pm on Friday, and I didn’t know until Saturday at 10am. My older sons birthday party was the next day.  He dropped his case when his lawyer told him a judge in his state would rule in my favor. I have two sets of lawyers, my state and his, and the retainers plus travel costs have drained my savings. I’m not wealthy. What single mom is?  Thankfully a friend of mine has set up a fundraiser to help. You can find me on Facebook and PM me for the link if you’re interested in donating.  The baby didn’t have mono like they thought, and was discharged after the weekend. My older son had a great birthday party with family and friends and really enjoyed the Polaroid I got for him. I finally have a court date. It’s not nearly soon enough, and I’ll be in debt by the time it gets here, and even if the judge here rules in my favor (he should) I still have to wait another two weeks to have the papers recognized in his state before I am legally able to go and take them from his custody.    This community of happy, supportive people has been a real crutch for me since the boys left end of May. I am very thankful that it was set up. I’ve felt like the statue “emptiness” by Albert Gyorgy for awhile now. The end is far off, but in sight.   If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your time.  -Cheltsey 

Chelts-rhj

Chelts-rhj

 

The Cultural Diversity Challenge Results

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.

Unwritten Curse

Unwritten Curse

 

Hello! Salut! Salaam! Namaste!

Hello folks! This is my first ever blog post and I've a lot to say, so I really hope that you'd find it in yourselves to read to the end of this. If not, still drop me a comment and say Hi, I'd feel really welcome. So, starting off my blog with a post containing my introduction, giving some information about my life and what do I hope to do here on the site. Who Am I? Please call me Maggie. I officially joined this site on June 10, 2016. That's more than two years ago!! Forgive me but I found it in me to come say hello to you amazing people only now.. 😪 Well, if you haven't already guessed by my joining date, I was really active on HPFF (Are we allowed to mention it here? 😋). I do remember many of the names here (I've been snooping around a bit), had forged some great bonds with many of you folks and I'm no stranger to this community. I was active in the forum events, used to participate in challenges and continually gave life to my plunnies and even delved into graphics during my brief stint on HPFF previously. I hope 😅 some of you would be able to recognize me if I were to mention my old username/pen-name. But, I just feel like I need a fresh start here on HPFT, hence the new name. I hope I'll be able to make friends here again. I'm no troublemaker, I promise!! 😁 The Sabbatical If you're wondering where was I during the last two years or even if you're not, please read on. 😋 The short version is, real life took over. The long version is, I graduated university, got a job, moved out of my parents' home to a new city, built a new life, struggled with bosses and assignments, slogged in many late night hours for work and finally, finally got my due in terms of recognition from my management. Old friends grew distant, people changed, met awesome people, made some great new friends, even had a crush which I eventually outgrew!! 😋😋 WHew!!!! It doesn't seem as long and challenging here, but believe me, I've been through a hell of a roller-coaster ride! I could never distance myself from the HP fandom though. I continued on reading Jily (my one and only OTP) here and on tumblr and just kept making up stories in my head which I still hope to write one day. I even tried participating in one of the house cup events (it was the reviewing event, snowball event I think 🤔) but just had to leave in the middle because real life took over once again. Apologies to my fellow teammates.. 😢 Why Come Back? Because.. I just feel like it?  I'm in a very happy place in life right now. I've got my dream job which I would be hopefully starting very soon and things are looking up for a while now. And all this happiness and positivism, which I feel around me nowadays, has inspired me again to come back here.  Blah.. Blah.. Blah.. Some other things about me, if anyone's interested.. I'd soon be moving countries, but that's OK because it's for a job I've wanted for a long time. I'm into other fandoms as well, so we can talk about these as well: GOT The Handmaid's Tale -- I'm crazyyyyyy about this one Stranger Things Marvel Universe Arrowverse Did I say that I'm a software engineer? I love singing. One of my hobbies is to sing and record those songs. I'm not a terrible singer, I promise.. 😉 Also, I'm a Gryffie!!  A special shout out to any fellow Gryffindors reading this post 🤗 I love writing character sketches and about magical objects. Actually, I'm planning on writing a magical object series soon!!   Did you read through all of this? Thanks a lot! Please drop me a note below!  Hopefully I'll be able to have a longer journey here this time!! 😁😁

SolitarySorceress

SolitarySorceress

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