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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!
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?
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
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?
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.
The cursor keeps blinking on my blank MicroSoft Word document. How do I fill the page with words?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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)?
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?
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?
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.
I'm laughing at my own jokes a bit too much. Am I that funny or that sleep deprived?
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. 😜
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.
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.
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.
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? )
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.
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
--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! ❤️
post contributors - emma, deni, sarah, madi, rumpel, taylor layout | graphics - rumpel question submissions - @PaulaTheProkaryote @esmeraude @Chemical_Pixie
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.
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.
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.
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  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  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  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!
header/dividers - taylor monthly dilemma drawing & question - emma interviewers - taylor, deni, madi, rumpel, nix review column - taylor | prefect reviews - madi, nix layout - rumpel
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Why did you pick the House you are in?
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!
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
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.
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!
headers and dividers - @facingthenorthwind
interviewers - @Sleepingbagonthesofa, @Nix , @ShadowRose, @Rumpelstiltskin
review columns | picspams | layout - @Rumpelstiltskin
prefect reviews - @MadiMalfoy , @Nix
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.
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.
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!! 😁
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:
The Handmaid's Tale -- I'm crazyyyyyy about this one
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!! 😁😁
First of all, I do apologize that this update is coming in so late. I really did mean to post my monthly trip update in August, but as I’m sure many of you know, things got a little crazy around here with the wrapping up of our annual House Cup Tournament last month, lol! So here I am now, better late than never, to provide you all with what will likely be my LAST Missions Trip update before the actually trip itself happens…🇭🇳 That being said, here is what's been happening over the past month since my last update:
1. I am so incredibly happy to report that I sold 15 t-shirts during our fundraiser for that. And then, with a few last minute unexpected donations from some people at work, I received the LAST bit of funding that I needed to meet the August goal of $400.00 - meaning that my trip was FULLY FUNDED on time!!! I met all of my deadlines, and now our flights have all been confirmed and we officially have our plane tickets!! Honestly, I am still completely baffled by the fact that I somehow managed to raise $1,700 dollars in 3 months time. But I honestly could NOT have done it without all of the amazing and overwhelming support of all m family and friends!!! 💕
2. As mentioned in my +Last Update, I am going to be teaching VBS to the 12-17 year old teens in Honduras, and we will have 90 minutes to present a lesson, craft, and an activity to the kids. I was put in charge of the craft and the activity, so I’ve been very busy this past month researching team building exercises and learning how to make Paracord bracelets, lol. Thankfully though, it’s all coming together though, and my partner and I are finally starting to feel as though we have our lesson down-pact. We’re getting together on Friday to go shopping for our final supplies for the activity, so this is like really it, y’all!! 💙
3. I also had the opportunity to get together with our trip leader Sam’s dad, who plays the guitar (and is also the only other musician in our group, lol) and practice our songs for the trip as well. Roger has, admittedly, never played his guitar in front of people before. He’s always just done it for fun, so our jam session was super fun!! Both of us are stoked to lead worship for the people at the center in Honduras now, and we have six songs prepared. I even learned how to sing a few lines of some of the songs in Spanish!! (“You Make Me Brave” and “How He Loves Us”) 🎼
4. In an unexpected turn of events, we discovered that the center we’re serving will be having a “Teen Day” - not just for the kids who attend the One Child Matters center, but for all of the teenagers in the community there to come to as well. Our Team Leader and our Pastor are going to be leading the lesson on this, and they’re doing this whole thing on Identity. Sam has some really cool ideas for the activity involved with it that I’m pretty excited about… But, at the end of it, she asked ME if I wouldn’t mind sharing my personal testimony on teen suicide with the kids. I said no at first, because I am NOT a public speaker, and I was/am very afraid to talk about those intimate parts of my life with anybody. But then, the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that this may very well be the reason that I was sent on this trip. So I called her back, and I agreed to do that too. Putting myself in such a vulnerable position has certainly NOT been an easy thing to do, but I know I’m making the right call. (And if anybody is interested in hearing the story, DM me some time and we’ll talk.) I’m trying to learn how to be more open about it. Who knows. Maybe after the trip, I’ll post the whole thing on one of those anonymous Blog sites for everyone to read. But for now… baby steps, lol. 😅
5. I have my final doctor’s appointment tomorrow to take care of any/all preventative measures that need to be addressed with my Family Doctor prior to leaving the Country. I have also contacted my phone service provider to setup a service and data coverage while I am our of the Country. (Verizon has a really nice Travel Plan option that I would recommend for anyone who has them and may be traveling.) 😉 So at least I know I won't be totally cutoff from the outside world while I'm over there. My cell phone WILL work at all times, should I need to make use of it... And that is it!!! ALL of my prep-work will FINALLY be complete!!! Every bit of paperwork is done, and all of the money has been turned in now. It is a done-deal at this point. We have officially reached the point of no return, lol!! 😱
To say that I have been a nervous wreck over the past few weeks would be an understatement. Tensions have definitely been running high, and my stress levels have been TO THE MAX as I was frantically trying to balance ALL of my responsibilities in life - at work for the doctor, at work for the respite kids, at church for my band, at church for the missions trip, here on the site, and at home too. 😥 So many things/people were vying for my attention, and I know I’ve been a bit all over the place recently as I struggled to stay afloat and get EVERYTHING done that needed to be completed. It has definitely been an exhausting process, and it has taken a lot of patience to not give up. And I'll admit that having to write my life story, and relive some of the things I went through in my youth have put me in a very vulnerable place, emotionally, over the past few weeks as well too... So if I haven’t seemed like myself, or if I haven’t been around as much since the finale ended, know that I am fine. I’m still here, lol! I’ve just been internalizing a LOT of things lately, and as the trip gets closer, I have to start mentally preparing myself for it. I DO feel as though I am refocused now though, and even though I went through that high anxiety period, I am not about to let that stop me from going on this trip now!! 👍
Even as I make this blog post, it is 3:50am on Tuesday the 11th of September. Which means that, in exactly TEN DAYS from NOW, I will be on my way to the airport. Our flight leaves at 6:15am on Thursday, September 20th. So, naturally, we have to be there at the ungodly hour of 4:00am, lol!!! 😆 My suitcase is already packed for the most part. I’ve gotten all of my clothes ready, and I’ve prepared Angie’s bookbag full of gifts. It’s so full now that I officially cannot fit anything else in it, lol!! (TBH, I probly never should have added in those last three Disney Princess dolls, haha!!) I honestly cannot wait to meet her. I am so excited to see this little girl, that it just makes everything I’ve gone through to get to this point so worth it… 💗
So there you have it, folks!!! My Honduras Missions Trip is 10 days away, and even though I am now fully funded, even though we do have a solid itinerary and all of our lessons are all planned out now, even though most of my things are packed and so many other things are all falling into place now, and even though I am VERY excited to meet my Sponsored little girl… I may be slightly panicking a just a little, lol!! 😬 TEN DAYS!?!? Are you kidding me?? It feels like we JUST started talking and planning this whole thing yesterday, lol!!! 😂 And now I will be leaving in less than 2 week's time, OMGGG!!!!!
Needless to say, in my next Blog update, I will be so very excited to share all of my trip experiences with you guys!! Because, nerves or no nerves, I AM going on this trip, lol!! 😋 And yet again, I cannot THANK YOU ALL enough for standing by me, and being so loving/supportive/encouraging throughout this entire process!!! Literally, I don't think I could have gotten this far without the community of HPFT!!! I love all of you guys so much!!!!
🧡 ~ Deana
maggie stiefvater: a discussion
i feel like i need to start this off with a disclaimer that none of this is hate.
hello dear hpfters! it's half 5 in the morning, i've vacated my bedroom because a spider has fallen somewhere onto my bed, and i decided to write a blogpost because why not. this one is brought to you by sinner by maggie stiefvater which i finally finished today after about... two weeks?
i've actually read quite a few of maggie stiefvater's books and yet i still spell her name wrong on the first attempt ever since i was a teenager. i've read scorpio races, i've read lament and its sequel, i've read the raven cycle and i've read the wolves of mercy falls aka the shiver series with varying responses. scorpio races didn't do it for me, but lament did. as for the raven cycle, i enjoyed it thoroughly and am definitely looking forward to the tv show (whenever that arrives), though i do have little things i nitpick here and there. but that's not why we're here today.
we're here because of sinner, a standalone/spin-off to the main trilogy of the wolves of mercy falls. if anyone doesn't know what this series is about, it's actually really interesting. the premise is this: grace brisbane lives in a small town in minnesota where she was once attacked by wolves and since then, she has been obsessed with them. this isn't really a spoiler since it's more or less mentioned in the blurb, but the wolves aren't just ordinary animals - they're werewolves. the reason i called it interesting is because maggie puts a little twist on the concept, as she often does with her books, and the shift into wolf-mode is not triggered by the moon but by the cold. it's involuntary and it lasts months.
bear in mind that i read the series a good few years ago, but i did enjoy the first book [shiver] a lot at the time. if anyone's familiar with her writing, they'll know that maggie (i can't for the life of me continue to accidentally do the typo in her surname so sayonara to that) often focuses more on the characters than a solid plot jam-packed with lots of events. the conflict is more often a conflict of the mind or the self and there's often a lot of introspection. even with the various supernatural settings, the characters are often shown when they're doing something mundane or ordinary, even if they're written as quirky or cut from a different cloth (for lack of a better term). a quick look at goodreads suggests that a lot of people found it too slow, but i honestly don't remember shiver being too much so. it moved along at a pace that worked for the characters and for the general feel maggie was going for imho and it ended at a satisfying place.
the sequels? i could've done without them.
i think they told a story that didn't necessarily need to be told. that being said, however, they did introduce some interesting perspectives and/or characters, namely cole st clair. sinner follows the story of cole and another character, isabel, after the events of the main trilogy. maybe i just left it too late to read, but i just... couldn't get into it. i finished it, of course, out of a faint curiosity but it didn't enrapture me. i wasn't fully engaged. i kept glancing at how many pages were left. which, y'know, isn't a particularly good sign.
i wanted to like it. i think isabel and cole are fascinating characters on paper - imperfect and aware of it, not necessarily nice, and their personalities sharp enough that they can't help but catch on each other's edges so that they're constantly dancing around one another. i think this, coupled with maggie's general style of writing, is what made me lose interest.
here is my take on maggie s.'s writing: she focuses on characters, particularly the parts that aren't so public-friendly and a little rough around the edges. they are a little off the beaten path and well-aware of it, a little lonely and get lost in their heads a lot. there's a real emphasis on the imperfect. these characters often communicate in gestures that might not seem like they mean much, but they do, which maggie often highlights with simple phrasing e.g. "She raised an eyebrow. He took a card." lol that's not a real quote but you get what i mean; maggie loads small actions with many implications, often creating an anticipatory air. sinner includes all of that and more. the characters are imperfect and cynical and they overthink a lot of things while doing very ordinary things.
and for some reason, i could not hack it.
it's not because cole was an arsehole or isabel was mean and the true definition of an ice queen. they're meant to be this way. it's that, when paired with the overall style of maggie's writing, i could not handle that level of narcissism, cynicism or the forwards-backwards dance of their relationship. there was something that was almost egotistical about it all. there's this whole sense of L.A. and california being this unreal state of artificial aesthetics and manufactured glamour that reels everyone in like a plastic spider on its web. cole and isabel are meant to be a stark, gritty contrast to it and i guess they are? but in a way that i couldn't really connect with either of them much better than i could connect to the bright lights of the city. i didn't hate them or anything. i just couldn't bring myself to care about their problems (as serious as they were).
all in all, i think that's the gamble that's taken with maggie's favoured style of writing. it worked in the case of TRC because i absolutely love ronan, who existed by being difficult on purpose, but i think the intended effect of her writing fell short here.
anyways, this was a little ramble i went on while i killed time before a bed clears up upstairs if you've somehow read this far, i'd love to be hollered at in the comments. whether you've read some of maggie's stuff and agree/disagree with my opinions, whether you have had similar experiences with not enjoying a writer or a book that you (or the masses) thought you would - comment away
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Narrative OF Challenge! All of your entries were so amazing and I am completely hooked onto each of your original universes - each of them was so unique and well-written that I had a really hard time judging them.
Entry 1: When Daddy gets Home (M) by Margaret
[Warnings: contains derogative language and child abuse]
Margaret has written a powerful and heartbreaking story about a dysfunctional family, building up a strong background for her protagonist through her one-shot. My emotions were a wreck after reading this.
Entry 2: Save the Eggs ! (T) by StarFeather
Kenny spins a wonderfully rhythmic story around little elves and their way of life. He connects his fantasy world with the human world and touches upon environmental issues through a very unique PoV.
Entry 3: The Forest Cottage by MadiMalfoy
This beautiful one-shot revolves around a forest-dwelling witch who loves making tea for unsuspecting travellers. Madi's world combines magic and science, and is a beautiful piece of story-telling that filled me with warmth.
Entry 4: The Bone Troll by victoria_anne
Another fantastic entry which filled me a mixture of emotions that I honestly didn't expect when I started reading it. The piece contains great descriptions and a strong build-up to the main event as Bianca's protagonist ventures into a forest in search of a mysterious creature.
Entry 5: Quarter (M) by LunaStellaCat
Jenn describes bittersweet, nostalgic moments through her protagonist, Jacqueline, and touches upon the themes of growing up, empty nest, family dynamics, and illness in her wonderful fic.
I strongly recommend that everyone reads these, they're all so good!
And now, the winners!
First Place: @Margaret
Congratulations! You get three additional reviews on stories of your choice, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic.
Second Place: @victoria_anne
Great work with your entry! You get two additional reviews on stories of your choice, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic!
Third Place: @MadiMalfoy
Congratulations Madi! You get one additional review, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic.
@StarFeather and @LunaStellaCat I was impressed with both your entries and will be adding a link to both of them in my signature as well!
Congratulations everyone! Please PM me and let me know which fics you'd like reviewed. And if you're using your award graphic, please remember to credit.
We Prefects are proud to present the T.O.A.D.s (otherwise known as the Totally Outstanding Awards, Dudes!), your totally (un)official awards...dudes. In the aftermath of the Finale, while recovering from the intensity and trying to regain our sanity, one lovely Prefect brought up the idea to present awards to those Housemates and Staff Members that stood out to us during those trying times. Please note that these "awards" are NOT affiliated with the Staff or Officially House Cup business, and they are not worth points or anything like that. They are just a way to show appreciation and spread some love!
If you'd like to use your awards, please rehost and credit the appropriate artist.
@Aphoride @dirigibleplums @Downbelow @facingthenorthwind @FawkesyLady @forever_dreaming @greisful @hecate @MadiMalfoy @Margaret @potionspartner @Theia
Your winners of the House Cup Finale 2018, Ravenclaw managed to find TWO wild cards. Their statistics were as follows:
89 reviews 12,466 words 27 graphics 16 writing tasks 12 puzzles solved
To @forever_dreaming for her outstanding reviewing support during Quadpot, we award:
The Hermione Granger Award for a Little Light Reading!
award by emma
To @Theia for her amazing Graphicking, we award:
The Luna Lovegood Award for Finding the Beauty in Everything
award by emma
Gryffindor @Chemical_Pixie @melian @nott theodore @TreacleTart @poppunkpadfoot @ShadowRose @adorably cute @Sleepingbagonthesofa @Crimson Quill @Deeds @StarFeather @Lady Ausra
Gryffindor absolutely smashed their Quodpot matches AND put up top-notch writing, winning several placings in the individual tasks! Their statistics were as follows:
184 reviews 7,994 words 15 graphics 12 writing tasks 12 puzzles solved
To @Chemical_Pixie for her conquering of the dreaded Snape Riddle, we award:
The Severus Snape Award for Impossible Riddle-Solving!
award by taylor
To @TreacleTart for her phenomenal reviewing skills during Quadpot, we award:
The Hermione Granger Award for a Little Light Reading!
award by emma
Slytherin @beyond the rain @Rumpelstiltskin @starbuck @teh tarik @MalfoysAngel @Nix
Slytherin was small but mighty in this House Cup Finale, managing to pull together a spectacular paper that's absolutely gorgeous. Also, I'm pretty sure the riddles made everyone cry.
45 reviews 6,922 words 23 graphics 12 writing tasks 12 puzzles solved
To @starbuck for her excellence in everything and brilliant imagination, we award:
The Basilisk Award for Being Slytherin's Superstar!
award by rumpel
To @teh tarik for her incredible riddle-solving abilites, we award:
The Tom Riddle Award for the Mastering of Riddles!
award by rumpel
@just.a.willow.tree @danicasyer @sunshinedaisieswindmills @Dojh167 @MuggleMaybe @dreamgazer220 @Phoenix Potioneer @Stella Blue @VaguelyCreativeName @ShazaLupin @WriteYourHeartOut
Your 2017-2018 House Cup Champions, Hufflepuff was a terrifying force to be reckoned with. Their frankly unbelievable statistics were as follows:
215 reviews 9,733 words 22 graphics 13 writing tasks 12 puzzles solved
To @Dojh167 for her criminal mastermind and finding skills, we award:
The Hufflepuff Award for Being an Exceptionally Good Finder!
The Voldemort Award for Being an Evil Genius! (This is because we couldn't choose which to give you, Sam.)
award by rumpel
award by rumpel
To @just.a.willow.tree for making the graphics and going absolutely above and beyond for the whole event, we award:
The James Potter Award For Being Awesome Since Birth!
award by taylor
To @Ineke for putting up with the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaws, we award:
The David Tennant Award for Excellent GIF Use!
award by emma
To @Alopex for answering approximately three billion questions and handling all of us, we award:
The Arabella Figg Award for Herding Cats!
The Minerva McGonagall Award for Having the Patience of a Saint!
award by rumpel
award by rumpel
To @TidalDragon for being a Genius Mastermind (and the Kevin), we award:
The Albus Dumbledore Award for Knowing What's Going on Even When Nobody Else Does!
award by taylor
To @RoxiMalfoy for being the best morale booster, we award:
The Colin Creevey Award for Motivation!
award by rumpel
That wraps up the T.O.A.D Awards and our 2017/2018 House Cup!
Congratulations to our winners, to all of the wonderful members who contributed and, of course, to the Staff. Together we've written over 36,000 words, 605 reviews and pulled together four wonderful papers.
Your Prefects are incredibly proud of you!
We hope you've all found some time to relax and recharge but don't get too comfortable...
The House Cup kicks off in just over a week and this time, we're running the show.
And trust us, there will be no riddles.
A Question: Is the power differential between male and female so uneven that there can never be true consent between the two?
Some background first: I was reviewing a number of possible challenges that I was considering over the next several months. Of the three two were purely smexy if you know what I mean. *wink wink* *nudge nudge* I showed the prompts to a close friend to gauge her interest and it sparked a discussion about certain kinks. Now, she identifies as a radfem and goes to rallies and as a woman I would like to think of myself as a feminist although I do not necessarily agree with her on every point. That said, her reaction and opinion of the prompts was so violent that I felt the need to re-examine the subject.
She gave me a link to a reddit discussion on the kink in question and dutifully I read it, and I came to the same conclusion as I started with. The subject is thorny, one that needs to be spoken about chiefly by the people who engage in it. Those of us who have not been educated or initiated are making assumptions and that is close-minded. The heart of the matter is whether or not the people involved consent to the activity. Beyond that, it is none of my business. This topic is back in the spotlight because of a number of highly publicized deaths due to what I assume to be negligence and poor communication (or sheer dumb luck, undiagnosed heart conditions maybe?) These cases are extremes and should not be taken as examples of the whole community.
Let's circle back to the power differential issue. This is the heart of the debate, and to be clear the statement that a woman is not able to give consent because of a power differential between her and a man who wants to do a thing, then I sure as hell don't understand how that is a feminist viewpoint. It asserts that a woman cannot have the ability to consent in a sexual context if there is a man because she's programmed to very likely make a decision that is not in her best interest when it comes to her body and its use.
You can't use this argument in only a 'kink' context. That's sloppy, and suggests that if the feminist community approves of vanilla pudding then of course the programmed woman can do that, but Hecate forbid if you should want Rice Pudding. Or even a slice of lava cake. Nope, can't consent to those.
Now, I'm not a enthusiast of Rice pudding or whatever you want to substitute in for the kink on hand. The point is I trust that if done right, lava cake is a valid dessert that can be enjoyed by both parties so long as there is proper consent.
My personal experience is limited, but what I do know is that the average sexual M/F relationship of my generation didn't have a lot of open conversation about what the couple would be and wouldn't be willing to have on the proverbial dessert menu. I wish we had. I know that I would have been much better off. I myself was hurt more than once in the consumption of vanilla pudding.
Consent, enthusiastic consent is my main kink and it is necessary; without consent dessert becomes assault punishable by law. Good communication between partners needs to happen. Always. There are checklists that you can use to help facilitate these conversations if you are not comfortable with discussing what is and isn't on the menu. It can be an uplifting and eye opening experience, a jumping off point for building trust between partners. If nothing else, if you find yourself uncomfortable discussing these things with your partner, for whatever reason, perhaps something isn't quite right. It should be okay to say no, or that you are not comfortable with dessert and you should be able to do so without fear.
I do not wish to upset people or hurt feelings, and I hope I haven't. I am still not certain of what to say to my friend, and this post is the product of my agonizing over the subject. It is my sincere hope that it makes at least one other person think about the issue in a new way.
Hi everyone! 👋
I just thought I'd make a blog post about some big things that are happening in my life because it's about to get crazy for me in RL!
So first things first: I moved halfway across the United States from Iowa (Midwest) to California (West Coast) for graduate school! I'll be going for my PhD in chemistry -- specifically, looking at atmospheric chemistry in the environment (think smog, forest fire smoke, air pollution, etc) and hopefully will be doing a mixture of laboratory and field research once I'm in a group. This also means I'm far away from the majority of my family and my long-term boyfriend, so I'll be pretty down these next couple weeks as things start happening for school (training and the like), so love and hugs would be greatly appreciated ♥️ (Don't worry too much though, I do have an aunt & uncle and their oldest daughter/husband nearby so I'm not totally alone) As a heads up, I will likely be pretty quiet on here towards the end of this month into the first chunk of October as I get settled into classes and such, but I'll do my best to answer PMs and reviews and the like.
Also, I've started my first venture into Original Fiction at the prodding of @Theia with a character vignette for her Narrative OF Challenge. I'm in the very early stages of planning a novel, the very early ideas of which can be found in my Writer's Journal and I will hopefully be better planning things with Scrivener once I download that (free trial).
I'm also going to be trying to update SOMETHING every couple of weeks so I can get my WIPs done and hit that complete button something other than a one-shot finally! This includes finishing Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls and also (hopefully) Love Makes Me (M) by the end of the year. Something else on my docket is re-writing an old Jily one-shot from HPFF and various other projects including (but not limited to) further expansions in my The Triwizard Effect Series and also just some Harry/Hermione BFF things that I want to write now that I've completed my rewatch of all eight films this weekend.
I have also greatly enjoyed being welcomed to the Prefect team at the beginning of July and I hope to do Ravenclaw (and by extension, all of you) proud. If anyone ever has questions about the site, archive, or just life questions in general, please don't hesitate to send me a PM, my inbox is always open ❤️ My first ever time participating in the House Cup Finale was also hugely exciting and I am so proud of Ravenclaw for all of the work and wonderful effort we put into our newspaper 💙 🧡
Even though I'm not/didn't do writing/posting at the rate that I would have liked this summer, I'm still very proud of my entry for the Prefect's Celebration Challenge and the progress I've made so far for Love Makes Me and Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls. Be on the lookout for new chapters and postings from me soon along with updates about how grad school is going over on my Twitter account (M).
That's all for now, folks! I'll check in soon with an update on how grad school is going in October!
Starting in June 2018, you were all given the task to honor the many celebrations taking place that month by competing in writing some stories to commemorate a special occasion.We are here today to announce the results of the challenge!
For this particular challenge, there were three different prompts for you to choose from. You could write about:
vacation: can include a trip or a staycation
a “meet the family” situation which includes any kind of families or relationships
a topic relating to Pride Month: coming out, first kiss, the first time a character realized they were queer, etc.
You could write about one (1) of these prompts or combine two (2) of them or even all three (3)! While you were only required to write about one, we will be offering extra reviews for those that attempted multiple prompts in one story but this did not factor into the judging of the entry. You will still receive the reviews even if you do not place in the challenge.
We had several amazing entries for this challenge:
you make me feel good by @facingthenorthwind Antebellum [Mature] by @Aphoride Slow Love by @TheGoldenKneazle Weasley Family Dinner Shenanigans [Mature] by @adorably cute Good Things Come in Twos by @MadiMalfoy heaven taking the place of something evil [Mature] by @dirigibleplums Somewhere in Between by @ShadowRose Constellations [Mature] by @ssslytherinnn The Outset by @Renacerá passionfruit [Mature] by @poppunkpadfoot To Boil Telephone Porridge [Mature] by @teh tarik Locked in a Broom Closet [Mature] by @Nix
But only three could win!
heaven taking the place of something evil [Mature] by dirigibleplums!
Prizes: two additional reviews on a story of your choice
Antebellum [Mature] by Aphoride!
prizes: three additional reviews on a story/stories of your choice, a picspam of your story
To Boil Telephone Porridge | 煲電話粥 [Mature] by teh tarik!
prizes: five additional reviews on a story/stories of your choice, a picspam of your story, and a feature in the September edition of the Prefect's In the Spotlight blog.
Congratulations to all winners!
Please contact @Rumpelstiltskin for your review portion of your prizes. Thank you!
Special Note: Each entry will still receive its review, plus any bonus reviews awarded soon. Apologies for the delay! Here is the list of bonus reviews awarded to entrants. To claim your bonus reviews, please contact Rumpelstiltskin and let her know which story(ies) you would like your reviews on. If you believe to be missing a bonus (or any bonuses awarded to you are incorrect), please contact Rumpelstiltskin
Bonus Reviews by Member (not including entry reviews or placement prize reviews):
facingthenorthwind: 2 extra reviews
Aphoride: 2 extra reviews
The Golden Kneezle: 1 extra review
MadiMalfoy: 1 extra review
ShadowRose: 2 extra reviews
ssslytherin: 1 extra review
poppunkpadfoot: 2 extra reviews
teh tarik: 2 extra reviews
graphics [header and awards]: @Rumpelstiltskin voting and discussion: @dreamgazer220, @just.a.willow.tree, @forever_dreaming, @Rumpelstiltskin post write-up: @Rumpelstiltskin
We are happy to present the August edition of In the Spotlight! We will be interviewing the Head Students of the month, the winner of the Order of Merlin for August, and providing a review column for the Story of the Month. This month, we are including a special section to commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment in the United States in 1920 and Women's Equality Day (August 26th).
Our well-deserving Head Student's for the month of August, @adorably cute and @Theia, provided their responses to a few of our interview-type questions. Enjoy!
adorably cute/Sarah's interview:
Why did you pick the House you are in?
So, I've always at least partially identified as a Gryffindor (which is what Pottermore sorted me into), though I would say I have a lot of Ravenclaw traits as well and when I was younger, it was a lot harder for me to choose! The older I get, I definitely identify more with and have maybe started to value those Gryffindor traits more, so it's not really a difficult decision any more!
If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?
Definitely Home! It's really, uh, spiraled from its original concept but I'm really happy with the way it's turned out. It's about a girl finding herself, family, friends, and love, after transferring to Hogwarts when she has to move in with her Dad. I just really love what this story has become, I love all the characters and their relationships, I even (now) love these darn Quidditch statistics I made up for this thing!
If you could only read one book (or fanfic) again for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Is it cheating to pick Harry Potter? Do I have to pick one? If so, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If it is cheating to pick one of them, then maybe The Great Gatsby.
What is your favorite HP Era and why?
To write, it's definitely Next Gen. I love how much freedom there is with it so you can pretty much do whatever you want with it! To read, it's a toss up between Next Gen and Marauders. probably for a similar reason. I love seeing the worlds people build (because even with the Marauders era, there's still so much we don't know) and how everyone characterizes different characters!
Do you have a method of story plotting that you’d like to share?
HA! Ok, so my method for story plotting is so basic and terrible, it's like
gang goes to bar
plot point y
plot point z, etc, etc
and then underneath those bullets I will sometimes have pieces of dialogue that I've thought of that I want to add in. But since this outline is SO BASIC, I frequently end up adding more dialogue/information than I thought was going to be in a chapter and accidentally end up with two chapters instead of one.
You get to ask one HP character (alive or dead) three questions. What are those questions?
Ahh this was a tough one! But I think I'd like to ask James Potter (the first):
1) how they actually created the Marauder's Map and all of the details about its creation
2) what their best prank was
3) how he finally got Lily to agree to go out with him
Why did you pick the House you are in?
I was initially sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore, and I could relate to the qualities associated with the house, so that's how I made my first decision to be in it. But moving forward, I realised I have a mix of some Slytherin and Hufflepuff qualities as well, and I did shift to Slytherin for a brief period of time a few years ago. However, I chose to be back in Ravenclaw because I've made some of the best friends, amazing memories, and received a LOT of support from people in this house, and it will always feel a lot more like home than any other.
If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?
Self-promotion is not my thing - the self-doubt is so real and I get unsure about everything I write. Buuut I do have a fic that I'm working on (which isn't on HPFT yet) that I'm super excited about. It's an Albus Potter- centric fic in which he's a thrill-seeking asexual curse breaker in his mid-twenties. It's an exploration of an impulsive personality, familial tension, and the stigma around being ace packed into an action/adventure plotline. It's a lot bigger than any other stories I've planned out and I'm psyched to complete it and put it up!
What is your favorite memory involving one of your eight cats?
Do you know how HARD it is to answer this? I have eight cats, and they all hold a very dear place in my heart. I can't pick out just one favourite memory but I think my life changed when each of them came into my life. They were all rescues/adoptions and were in dire need of some love and care. Looking at them growing up into healthy, well-adjusted cats has got to be the best part of this lifestyle (and it makes all the medical bills and poop-cleaning worth it :P)
Describe your favorite tattoo (either one that you have, have done, or have seen).
Again, a super difficult question to answer! The one I've done also happens to be the one I have - I have a little cat face just above my right ankle which I tattooed on myself. It was the first one I've ever done and I'm super proud of it even if it's not the best technically. In terms of one I have that's tattooed by someone else, I'd go with the Tardis on my upper arm - it has the cleanest lines I've ever seen, has settled so beautifully, and depicts my love for the fandom as well as a deeper meaning - that we're all bigger on the inside and we have the power to move through time and space, affecting the world around us through our actions.
I'm also taking this opportunity to highlight some of my favourite artists across the world:
Dmitriy Samohin - based in Ukraine, does AMAZING colour-realism.
Victor Portugal - artist in Krakow, Poland, who specialises in dark-themed realistic pieces
John Monteiro - artist in Brazil, delicate linework and illustrative custom tattoos
Megan Jean Morris - Nevada based, does brilliant colour-realism (yay for women artists!!)
Eva krbdk - Turkey, and her style is absolutely rad. She takes realistic landscapes/portraits and packs them into tiny geometric shapes.
I can keep going on and on (and if anyone wants more recommendations, feel free to PM) but these are a few who deserve some shout-outs. They're also pretty expensive since they're so accomplished and have many years of experience, but if you get the chance to get tattooed by them you absolutely must do so!
If you have any one piece of writing advice to give to others, what would it be?
I think everyone reaches a point where it seems like they're "not good enough" or "not getting ideas" or just feeling the pressure of delivering something amazing. But I think we all need to remember why we started writing in the first place and stick to it. Let yourself have fun with what you're doing, without giving too much importance to how it's turning out - the first draft is meant to be messy and filled with holes but once it's complete, your story is DONE and it's such an overwhelming feeling. You can always edit it later on and polish it up, but don't stop yourself before you've finished writing it! (this is something I remind myself of every day as well)
If you could pick one, with all of the benefits and none of the downsides, which would it be and why: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, the Cloak of Invisibility?
The Elder Wand, especially if its without the downsides. I'd love to be able to perform powerful magic that can help people all over the world. (and myself of course haha :P)
The Staffer awarded the August order of Merlin -- the lovely @PaulaTheProkaryote -- has provided some responses to a small interview as well.
How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community?
I've been around for as long as I can remember! I used to hang out on Quizilla reading Drarry and day dreaming about being the perfect Mary Sue to really change Draco.
What's your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes?
I love watching the way that each house tackles events so differently. Hufflepuffs are legendary for their spreadsheets and organization. Ravenclaws are so, so creative in everything they do. Gryffindors roll up on pure enthusiasm and dominate. Slytherins are crazy efficient and not afraid to delegate jobs. It's just amazing how each house has their own problem-solving style.
Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write?
Fluffy happily ever afters. I can read angst all the way to the end, but I really need that happily ever after or else I'm mopey for weeks. Oh, and AUs. I have an obsessions with AUs.
What's your OTP?
My tried and true OTP is Jily. I love so many other pairings, but I really love the portrayal of each of the characters and their growth together.
What is your favorite non-HP fandom?
For actual content I love the Raven Boys the most, but as far as non-HP fandom community I'd have to say Star Wars. There's so much love and support there. I've met some of the most wonderful people through it.
Have video games ever inspired any of your writing? If so, explain. Or do you generally keep those two interests separate (and why)?
I try to keep them separate to the best of my abilities, but I do have an Elder Scrolls inspired Founders fic sitting in a google doc that I might publish one day. Each founder is from a different province in Tamriel (the world the game is set in). An orc Helga Hufflepuff is pretty awesome tbh.
Can you tell us more about your interest in insects and your collection?
I signed up last minute for an entomology course a few years ago because a professor I adore needed a few more students to actually host the class. We spent hours wandering parks collecting specimens and we had class dinners where we'd set up light traps. I loved it so much I kept up the hobby! I have several hundred insects that have been mounted and even more in jars to be mounted. My favorite specimen I have is a "trash bug" or lacewing larvae. It collects debris on it's back to sneak into aphid colonies and feast. They're super cool and it was a neat find.
Emma provided a wonderful review column for @esmeraude's featured Story of the Month fic, ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) [Mature].
Ministry Memorandums (From the Mysteries) was one of the first fics I read on HPFT and I fell in love with it instantly. The concept is genius -- Isobel is hardly the first person to write an epistolary fic, of course, but the level of detail she puts into the condition of the letters, the mood of the owls and the provenance of the attached items really elevates the fic to something special. That, and the rapid decline from very professional sounding missives to all-caps swearing is a delight.
The fic is mostly OCs, but even though there's no prior knowledge to rely on, everyone has really excellent characterisation just from things like how they write their memos or what condition they arrive in. It's pitch perfect British bureaucracy-themed absurdity, full of things not being people's department, accidentally forwarded memos and owls vindictively defecating on things. It is also surprisingly heart-warming, considering all that.
If you're looking for a hilarious fic that really effectively utilises the HP universe to tell a story that could only happen in a Harry Potter fic, be sure to check out this one! Also, where can I donate to the communal fund to send Juniper Blye on an extremely peaceful seaside holiday?
Measuring 'feminism' or 'progress' by women's suffrage is inherently a Western-centric and flawed view, as many communities had women in positions of power and leadership and they had full voices in the community until Europeans came and imposed restrictive gender roles on them. We also frequently speak of 'women's suffrage' when we mean 'white women's suffrage', as voting rights were denied to women of colour for far longer.
All that said, the 26th of August was Women's Equality Day in the United States in commemoration of the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution that gave white women the right to vote. As such, here are some facts about women's suffrage! (The gaps in some of these facts are due to information not being readily available; please comment if you know something more!)
The Kingdom of Hawai'i gave men and women equal voting rights in its very first constitution in 1840, although the voting rights of both men and women were curtailed by an 1852 amendment.
Aotearoa New Zealand was the first still-existing country to give (some) women the right to vote: in 1893, both Pākehā (white) and Māori women gained that right. However, as voting rights were tied to citizenship, Chinese New Zealanders were unable to become citizens or vote until 1951.
Australia gave white women and Māori women the right to vote in 1902, but Asian, Indian and Pacific Islander women had to wait until 1925, and Indigenous Australian women until 1962.
In the first Finnish election with female suffrage (1907), they elected 19 women to parliament.
Every European country except France allowed women to vote in at least some municipal elections by 1943; France finally followed suit in 1944.
In Switzerland, women did not have the right to vote in federal elections until 1971. The last Swedish canton (state) to give women the vote at a local level was Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1991.
graphics [header and dividers]: emma | interview gathering: madi, emma, deni, and taylor | review column: emma | women's suffrage facts: emma | sotm reviews: nix and rumpel | layout: rumpel