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In the Spotlight | July 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

When Dahlias Bloom (M) - @dirigibleplums

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




like 8 years later ...

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




Sorting Barry Allen

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




i love cold weather culture (in which i rant)

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




New Beginnings Challenge Winners

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

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

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

After Life [M] by @MegGonagall

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

Scars from Tomorrow by @Nix

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

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

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

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

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

Love in Three Acts [M] by @toomanycurls AND Problems by @800 words of heaven

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

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

Intemptesta Nox[M] by @Alexis Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shake Up

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




On Straws, Environmentalism, and Ableism

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

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

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




the diviners (aka i continue to yell into the void)

i've been a big fan of libba bray for some time now. i remember reading her gemma doyle trilogy and absolutely falling in love with it. and the absolutely wild ride that was beauty queens. going bovine was a pretty interesting book but not my favourite. i was really excited when i heard about the diviners series because for once i actually read the summary and it sounded like just the type of thing that i was interested in. i read it once when it came out and i've been meaning to read it again but i never got it around to it because life happened and then the second and third book in the series came out and well ... those books have just been gathering dust in my drawers as well. i finished my second read through of it last night and i honestly forgot how much i loved this book. if you're into the supernatural and things that go bump in the night i think you'll like this book. a common complaint i hear is that people don't like the main character evie which i can understand but honestly, she doesn't bother me that much. the basic gist of the story is that evie is a diviner, she can read peoples past by touching objects that they own, now this isn't a spoiler because it's literally mentioned in like the first few pages of the book, it basically sets up the rest of the story. so she leaves ohio and goes to new york to live with her uncle who runs a museum for the occult and supernatural. a minor detail i forgot to mention is that this is set in the 1920s which i think really added to the story personally but that's just me. moving on. so she goes to live with her uncle and then these murders begin happening by someone called the pentacle killer and basically he kills his victims and takes a part of their body because he needs it for a ritual. not to give too much away but there's basically a cult called the Brethren (which are in fact a real thing but somehow i don't think the modern day group is up to the same stuff that the people in the book are) and this guy trying to raise the beast to purge the world of sin yadi yadi yada. you get the idea. and evie uses her power to help solve the case. there's also quite a few other characters involved, each who have their own special powers going on and who come from different walks of life. the writing is really great, it really sucks you into the story and it fits with the setting and the plot ya know. like you ever read a story and the plot itself is great the writing style and the tone just don't fit what is going on? this wasn't a problem in this story. the murders themselves were so creepy and gruesome. the characters were great, they all had a lot of depth and believability to them. i know the use of 1920s sland was a problem with some people but i personally enjoyed it, i thought it added to the story. i don't know if flappers actually used slang in each and every single sentence because i wasn't alive then and all but i mean it fit so i was like okay. it's a pretty big book, like 600 pages, and the print itself is fairly small so you K N O W that you're getting your bang for your buck. so all in all i definitely recommend and if you do decide to read it please let me know if you enjoyed it i'd love to discuss it with someone. in the meantime, i'm going to be reading its sequel, lair of dreams, which i'm really excited about and catching up on season 3 of outlander (which i F I N A L L Y found online).




How to Avoid Those Black/White Bars

So ever since we got the new skins (thank you admins!!!), there has been a problem: when you copy something manually from a post, it ends up with black of white bars of background behind the text, depending on which skin you're using. It looks ugly, it doesn't go away when you're trying to copy and paste links even if you manually try to change the background, and it's the worst. I mean, not actually the worst, but it's pretty annoying. One way to fix this is to do ctrl+shift+v but that strips out ALL formatting, including links or bolding. And sometimes you're lazy and really want to keep that formatting instead of redoing it all in the text box. (thank you @just.a.willow.tree for reminding me that I should have put this in here as a solution also!) I have found another solution. The solution was actually always there, I just didn't notice it. So I will walk you through it and then you, too, will have magical power over the background bars! It's possible that everyone knew it and this is going to look silly, but I suspect not, because otherwise the background thing wouldn't be happening. Note that this will ONLY WORK if the thing you're copying doesn't already have a weird background. If it does, then it will keep that weird background and everything is still sad. There is a slightly more bothersome solution to this: copy and paste the thing you want and then hit the Tx button -- the one on the far left of the text box right next to my profile pic in steps two and three. It will strip the bolding and italics but it will KEEP links, so it's slightly better than ctrl+shift+v. STEP ONE: Find your thing you want to copy. Then highlight it and scroll to the bottom of the text you're copying. You'll see an orange "QUOTE SELECTION" button. Click it. (I really should have picked an example that had formatting to demonstrate how it retains the formatting, but I didn't and now it's 1am and I'm not about to change these pictures.)   STEP TWO: So now you've got the thing you want to copy inside a quote box in the text editor at the bottom of the page. This isn't actually a step, I just want to make sure your post looks something like this:   STEP THREE: "But Emma," you say. "I don't want it inside a quote box! I just want it by itself!" Ah, here is the magic.What you want to do is go to the black bar that will say either "QUOTE" or "On [date] at [time], [user] said:" and then ctrl+right click on it, preferably where the [date] [time] [user] text is, just to make sure it'll come up correctly. And then the menu in this picture will come up and you want to click Remove Quote and Keep Contents. And voila! Now you have your text with all the existing formatting, without the gross background, and there's no quote box! We did it! We vanquished IPB!   For further IPB-vanquishing, try ctrl+right clicking other elements of your post! You can set the dimensions of images! I was going to have a list here but that's actually the only other one I've found so far! Do let me know if you find another cool thing you can do.

the love, _____ challenge results!

So I just spent today reading, reviewing, and judging all my entries for the Love, ______ Challenge, and I've never been happier to just sit back and enjoy your stories in my life. Every single one of them gave me so many feelings, and I just wanted to thank each and every one of you who entered. Reading all these beautiful, or happy-ending, or creative (or all three!) stories about queer couples made me happier than you can imagine. 💛 A quick reminder about the prizes! (I'm going to be leaving a lot of reviews this next week. 😋) Third Place: 3 reviews on a story of your choice; prize graphic Second Place: 5 reviews on a story of your choice; prize graphic First Place: 7 reviews on a story of your choice; prize graphic; link to your story in my signature for a month I received seven beautiful entries, and I'm going to list them all for you (in order of submission) with little blurbs in case they interest you! I highly, highly recommend reading through all of them; they are certain to make you smile and make you giddy with excitement. Two Months (M) by @Levana -- Maggie used JKR's brief mention of Cho marrying a Muggle and created an adorable meet-cute story from that. This entire story was so fluffy and sweet, and the best part for me was, I didn't have to stress out at all about conflict. Two Months is a joyous ride from beginning to end, and though there are of course ups and downs, your heart will almost certainly be warm throughout. Summer Rains by @VaguelyCreativeName -- In this one-shot, Julia took a rarepair (Lavender/Padma) and breathed life into the pairing. From the beautiful, lush descriptions of the Patil's grandparents' home to the adorable, sweet banter between Lavender and Padma (with Parvati's teasing thrown in), this story flows so naturally and progresses so beautifully that I couldn't help but smile while reading. Little White Lies by @magnifique -- What I love about this multi-chap is the sense of mystery that it provides as to the motives of one peculiar Beatrice Wood. The main character is Molly II, and from the very beginning, her lies are told and this intriguing story is set up. Julie does such a wonderful job writing likable characters, from OCs to canon Next Gen characters, and I had so much fun reading this! We, Lawbreaking Citizens (M) by @Rumpelstiltskin -- This is one of the most original ideas I have ever come across while reading both published works and fics. Rumpels created such a wonderful, detailed world with such a unique plot, and the further you read, the more pieces will slowly click into place, until every new paragraph brings a lightbulb to light in your mind. We, Lawbreaking Citizens is just so creative. Slow Love by @TheGoldenKneazle -- The discussion of questioning identity in this adorable piece, as well as the slow progression between Scorpius and James's relationship, was so well done. Lottie handled this rarepair masterfully, and both characters are so well fleshed-out with their own unique hobbies and interests. I loved getting to see Scorpius and James become closer and closer in this story, and I'm sure you will too. Of Bookshelves and Baby Carriers (M) by @poppunkpadfoot -- Kayla put Wolfstar in a Muggle AU setting, and this adorable, hilarious, quirky short story came out of it. Her depictions of baby Harry are the absolute cutest, to the point where I was just clutching my heart at some of the child's antics while reading. Please read this one if you want to smile yourself silly; it's just that amusing and that well-written. Marigolds by @Unwritten Curse -- Gina managed to take Marietta Edgecombe's point of view and turn it into a poetic piece of art. Getting to read her pretty words and also the wonderful, wonderful relationship between Marietta and Cho felt so fulfilling. I really enjoyed reading this one. Now, onto the winners! THIRD PLACE: Marigolds by @Unwritten Curse!   SECOND PLACE: Summer Rains by @VaguelyCreativeName!   FIRST PLACE: Of Bookshelves and Baby Carriers by @poppunkpadfoot! A huge congratulations to all the winners, and an incredible thank you to everyone who participated! All of you helped to just make my day. 💛 Winners, please make sure to PM me about which stories you'd like your prize reviews on, and if you want to use the graphics, please rehost and credit me! 😊 Thank you all again! 💛

Overcoming Depression

Depression is a creature that lurks around at the back of your mind like an icy gooey substance until it engulfs all of sanity. By the time this happens, you're an entire different person. Funny thing is, at this most fragile state would your mind finally understand the nature of the people around you, plunging you even deeper into depression.  I joined the fan fiction world in 2011, through HPFF. This was where I met my first real female friend. I had a serious case of insomnia and depression at the time but I refused to acknowledge either of the conditions. This was when a lovely person with the username "Maybe" posted on my profile offering a welcome note and a tour of the site. My friendship with Emily started with a simple PM.  A couple months passed by and we were having an uninterrupted conversation via PM. The House Cup of 2012 brought us closer. It was not a mere House Cup like every year but it was the Triwizard Tournament that time. We had so much fun writing for all the challenges and she even took part in the podcast. I got closer to Summer, Beyond the Rain, Roxi and so many others. We were having daily conversations on Skype. Even after the tournament ended, we didn't stop talking on Skype.  Due to our time differences Emily was always with me during night time and my insomnia went unnoticed. She introduced me to Doctor Who and we started to watch together on Skype. It was the best friendship I'd ever had. We got really close.  Then it was time for me to go out to the real world. I kept missing her on Skype and we had no smart phones to WhatsApp or anything. I kept receiving her emails about how she missed me and I repeatedly emailed her about how I miss her. We barely had time to talk.  After a while, when I finally got my life together on this end, I came looking for her on HPFF. She hadn't been around in a long while and her HPFF email wasn't working either. It was around this time that I realised how she had helped me get over depression.  I made several efforts to come back to HPFF but ended up deleting my profile every single time. HPFF just wasn't HPFF without her. For me.  It's been six years now and I still miss her like insane. I went through two depression cycles after that and it was not as easy as the first time. But I learned to handle it on my own. I guess I learnt to grow up in the end.  I'm back now, hoping to start a new chapter in my writing life. I'm gonna put everything we planned into action, especially the novel. This way, I'd still have a portion of her with me for a very long time




12 months of positivity - May & June

Apparently I've been naughty and skipped my post last month...  so I'm going to put May and June together.  Also... wait a sec... how is half year already gone? What's happening? It would be really nice if life slowed down a little bit?  Anyway, here we go! And as always, hope you enjoy reading!   MAY 2018 8 - Day so and so, mood not at its highest, but it cheered me up exchanging messages with Richard and I even managed to write a little bit... forecasting a productive evening... maybe... 9 - Productive evening: I wrote, I worked on the newsletter, I even replied to a few reviews... and the mood has definitely improved. And tomorrow is Thursday already! 14 - May almost at a half, the Austrian wedding is nearing, if everything goes well Jimmy will have a new chapter soon (or two? Or three?) and I've been dancing these days... Many goals still to reach, but a little at a time it can be done! 15 - And the new chapter of Jimmy has been posted, and also Sybill's predictions have been written. Extremely satisfied with myself. 17 - The forecast has run and Federico is happy. All the "adult" stuff as been done, so tonight I can HPFT without worries. And tomorrow is Friday! 23 - Home early, with all the time just for myself and a big will to read and write. Half of the week overcome without damage. 26 - A week to the wedding, a nice evening with friends, talking about cinema with Federico and also a bit of time to read and write. Saturday full of satisfaction. 27 - Emma insulting my characters, and then to the cinema to see Star Wars. Busy day, but I'm happy. And next week is a short one and then... we go! 28 - Minus three to leaving! Tiring day, but proficuous. New dancing figure. Starting the day chatting with Emma about history and politics (which actually is a depressing subject, but you can at least try to laugh over it...) 29 - The small joys of life: getting home with the sun, the roses blossoming in the garden, the good food, the unexpected reviews. 31 - On the train, which is leaving right now. And someone just suggested that we are on the Hogwarts' Express (which is true in a way...) Vienna, here I come!   JUNE 2018 2 - Despite it also rained, a spendid day, made of games, dances and hugs. Happy of seeing Jo so happy. 3 - Relax at the lake and then a walk in the evening in the center of Vienna. And at the end the pleasure of getting back home and enjoying the rest after a long day. 8 - Plans for the summer meet-up, the beautiful reviews from Shreya, the small dayly conquests (hesitate only a moment facing the hard question: "But then your parents...?"), discovering that "Love, Simon" is out at the cinema. 10 - The magic of classical music with the scenery of the Duomo under the starry sky. 11 - Even a not exactly idyllic day can improve spending the night making plans for the summer meet-up and chatting with Anja and Renee. 18 - It's official, summer has arrived! And it's lovely to have lunch in the open when the sky is blue. And working at the rythm of latin music. 27 - And June is coming to an end, which means that August (and the summer meet-up) is getting closer. And as tiring as the day might be, it's nice to know that I can get sometime for myself once I get home in the evening. 28 - Sometimes the solution is just granting yourself some relax: couch, chips and a Harry Potter movie.   Credits/translations/explainations: Richard of May 8th is a friend of mine from England (and possible love interest... but not exactly sure... ) Federico of May 17th is not the same Federico of May 26th... The first is a person who works at the bank where I work, and the Forecast is an application that I developed for him. The second is one of my friends, with whom I like to chat about cultural stuff. All other people mentioned are HPFT-ers and I don't think anything else needs special explainations, so... that's all, folks!  See you at the end of July!  

So Many Endings, and a Beginning Far on the Horizon

So, June was the hardest month I've had this year. Welcome back to my blog, and strap in, friends, because this one is going to get emotional.   The beginning of the month was pretty good. I went to two different weddings, in New Mexico and Puerto Rico, and they were both wonderful. I spent time with friends and relaxed a bit since my job ended at the end of May. Then the second half of the month came, and with it all of the emotions of packing up our home and getting ready to move away from a place we loved and all the friends we made there. After almost three years, 1077 days, my partner and I are done with our time in Boston. If you've never been there, I highly recommend it. It was such a wonderful place to start our life together after college, and we really grew to love it. I could never have expected that, to be honest, because it was so much different from the Rocky Mountain region and the Midwest where I'd spent most of my life before moving to Boston. At first, those differences made me hate it, but that changed and now I don't know what I'll do without it. It was a place that gave me and my partner our first real home together, our kitty baby Gumbo, my Master's degree, and so many friends that I'll never stop missing. The last three years blessed me with so many talented, intelligent, funny, compassionate, caring, accepting, unique, fantastic people. They made Boston home. And I'm absolutely devastated to leave them. So on Thursday night when I saw Boston below me as I flew away, it was the most difficult moment of my year. It was so, so hard to say goodbye. I'm facing so many endings right now, but the next beginning is still months away. I'm spending the summer in Florida with my grandpa, helping him out around the house and tackling some projects for him. Brady is off visiting his own family and studying for the bar exam. Then we have a brief vacation road-trip together at the beginning of August. Then we're looking for a lease in our new home city for September 1st. So for now, I'm in limbo. I'm sorry for being so absent this month. It was hard to juggle HPFT along with all the other things happening in my life. I'm back now, but I'm still emotionally distant, unfortunately. I still haven't fully coped with all these changes. Gumbo and I are safe in Florida, but my heart is still in an empty apartment in a suburb of Boston, surrounded by memories and silence. There's a weight that hasn't quite lifted. I promise I'll be back to full functioning on here as soon as I can. Just know that I love you all and I love the site, even when I'm quieter than usual. Wish me luck this summer. I'll need it with all the changes I'm facing. And as always, thank you for reading.




my online presence is garbage (aka, i continue to ramble)

everyday i tell myself that i'm going to make more of an effort to be more present and active on the forums and like interact with people. and everyday i am fully aware that i'm lying to myself. what ends up happening is that i'm usually present for like a week, maybe 2 if i'm really making an effort, and then i just drop off the face of the planet. or at least the interwebs. and it's frustrating. in the brief period that i am on the forums, i become familiar with peoples usernames and their stories and what they have going on to a certain degree. figuring out who has come from other websites etc etc. and then i disappear. sometimes school starts, sometimes something happens and i completely forget about the forums, so that by the time it does occur to me to check back in, school has started, and i no longer have time. it's a vicious cycle. and to be very honest, if i'm not checking on the forums, usually all fanfiction production pretty much comes to a halt. the only time that anything actually gets written for any story is if i'm surrounded by other people who are also working on their story and it puts me into the Writing Mood™. but anyway back to my main point. i disappear off of the forums until the following year where i tell myself around exam season that during the summer i'm going to be more present and interact with everyone more. and then of course i never do. and when i finally do come on the forums and see what is up, there's a whole buttload of new people and everyone has already become acquainted with each other and knows each other and there's a bunch of inside jokes and i'm just over here like and all i know is that that could've been me if i ever bothered to show up on the forums or posted in any topics or provided during the house cup activities. and then i take time and become reacquainted with who is who ... and then i disappear again. rinse and repeat. while i'm at it does anyone ever have this struggle where they're really introverted but at the same time they enjoy talking to people and hanging out but they're also too lazy to respond to messages so they just kind of ignore them until you actually end up forgetting. on a side note completely unrelated to this is that i recently finished reading Obsidio which is the last book in the illuminae files trilogy and i don't know if anyone else has read it but if you're looking for something to read this is a really good series to read. it has so many plot twists and it constantly keeps you on edge, not to mention there's a really diverse cast of characters and it also takes place in space.




i let my friend help me with my fanfiction

so today i made the executive decision to let my friend beta read my fanfiction. now, i'm sure all of you have experienced this at some point, but it's like an unspoken rule that you just never tell anyone that you know in real life that you write fanfiction, and you especially don't tell them where to find it or let them read it. i have broken that rule.  you see, after, i don't even know, something like, six or seven, maybe more, years i finally have decided to begin working on this work in progress that i started when i was like 15 or something. it was the second novel that i had ever worked on. and this fic had had a beta reader on another site but because i haven't updated in so long, and i'm especially bad at responding to people who i don't interact with every day, and a bunch of other factors, we haven't really contacted each other. it's safe to assume that she's probably not working on the fic with me, for reasons other than i just fell out of touch (maybe she's not writing fanfiction anymore, maybe she forgot about me, who knows really) but the first 5 or 6 chapters have been beta read and it feels somehow wrong to not have the rest of the story beta read as well. and this friend, i love her to death, i trust her with everything, i'm not afraid of being made fun of or anything like that, but it's still weird. because no one has read my fanfiction before, at least no one i know. and even though i know that i'm not going to be made fun of for writing this stuff, it still gives that little bit of anxiety, because what if. i don't even think it's the content that i'm writing that gives me some anxiety anymore, it's just having people actually read my work. i love getting critique on how to improve and all, but nobody wants to be told that they're terrible and they suck, especially not by someone that they know.  this honestly sounds like a big mess, i don't really know how to properly express what i'm feeling at this moment, and going back this reads like an unorganized mess. but tl;dr, it's a new experience and feeling allowing someone i know to actually read my work.




In the Spotlight — June 21, 2018

Hellooo, everyone!  Pride Month is still going on (and we've dressed the header up for the occassion, as you can probably tell, to make up for the lack of rainbows last post ), which was why we decided to feature the iconic Simon Spier from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and/or Love, Simon! Anyway, without further ado, we'd like to get straight into the interviews with your fellow featured HPFTers; hopefully their interviews will make you smile a little today.   This month, the all-amazing toomanycurls was awarded the Order of Merlin. She's just such an amazing admin and does so much for this site. We hope you enjoy reading her interview! toomanycurls   And now here are the interviews with this month's two Head Students, ShadowRose and starbuck! Both of them have been amazing the past month, and so the recognition is so well-deserved.  ShadowRose starbuck   an absence of sound
by just.a.willow.tree R E V I E W   C O L U M N Reading an absence of sound is, honestly, an honor.  The mechanics of the poem itself make it an honor to read; it showcases Eva's creativity and ingenuinity, especially with the idea to manipulate the words, slowly removing letters to depict the gradual loss of the ability to speak (in Eva's case) Mandarin. But the greater reason why I'm so honored to read an absence of sound is because of how deeply emotional and vulnerable it is. At the surface, it seems to discuss a rather specific sort of feeling: the feeling of loss associated with the gradual loss of ability to speak one's native language. This feeling may not be accessible to everyone in the HPFT community, but if you look deeper, you'll find that the poem, in truth, discusses a sort of loss that everyone can relate to. It is a raw depiction of the loss of one's connection to their ancestry, their homeland, their family, etc.—presented through the lens of the loss of the ability to speak the native language. Considering this deeper layer, now the dropping of the letters isn't simply a reflection of the inability to speak the language, but also a disconnect from one's personal history and the gradual fading away of our memories of our homeland; Eva masterfully depicts the resulting frustration with a connection that is simultaneously "there right-there" and just "translucent wisps".  Part of what amazes me about this poem is that this feeling in itself is so hard to describe; I personally have always struggled to put into words the unique grief I associate with the loss of my connection to India and have thus been silent about it. Eva describes perfectly this feeling that I've been trying to describe for years now. Also, it takes a really special sort of bravery to share such a raw and true piece, and that in itself deserves a commendation.   Also a final note: this poem is a reflection of Eva's versatility. She is able to write poems and short stories (and now multi-chaps) with such effortless grace. Honestly, I'm just amazed. If you haven't read it yet, go read it now!! It is so deserving to be SoTM. I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H OR --- That wraps up this edition of In the Spotlight, guys!  We hope you enjoyed reading these interviews and little extra pieces; they're always so much fun to compile! As always, thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed this! - The Prefects review column by forever_dreaming
interviews compiled by just.a.willow.tree, Rumpelstiltskin
questions by forever_dreaming, just.a.willow.tree, and Rumpelstiltskin
graphics by just.a.willow.tree

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I’m the girl who plays it safe. I dislike change and fear the unknown. I like for things be as much within MY control as possible...    Which is probably why I’m still working at the first place I got hired on at, right out of college, even though my boss is intolerable and I really do hate the work environment sometimes. But getting a new job, starting my career all over at a new place, is too much unknown territory for me to explore right now. I’m tied up in a car payment for the next 2 years, I have other obligations and bills that have to be paid, and I know for a fact that where I’m at now will cover everything… So why make a change that might lead to financial instability?   This also (partially) explains why I haven’t really stepped out my my comfort zone and taken any chances with any of the romantic interests that have come my way over the past 5 years now. Dating is unpredictable, after all. Why would I ever want to put my happiness and emotional vulnerability in the hands of someone else? I am perfectly independent and able to take care of myself. I have embraced my singleness, and I am genuinely happy on my own right now… So why take a risk on love if it could potentially end in ruin?   Don’t ask me why my mind works like this. I have such a bad habit of always jumping to the worst of conclusions, no matter how unrealistic or illogical they may seem.     I currently work 3 jobs (1 full-time, and 2 part-time) in addition to helping out with the site; which is honestly more like a hobby/escape for me, really. Y’all truly do help keep me sane when RL gets to be too crazy, lol!!  But, like, I haven’t had a proper vacation since I went to Georgia back in March of 2008. (Not that this trip is going to be a Vacation, exactly. But it's getting me away from work. Away from home. Away from the Country, even! So I'd say that it counts as a type of Vaycay, in it's own way.)   You see, I’ve always been the one who works for everything that I have. My family wasn’t exactly poor, per-say, but we certainly knew from a young age what it meant to go without. Being the oldest, my parents were harder on me than they were the other kids, and it pushed me to be this driven individual that I am now... I am still the only one of my 6 other siblings who went to College and got any sort of degree. But that’s because I learned from the time that I was old enough to hold a job (which is now the age of 15 here in OH) that if I wanted something, I was going to have to work for it. Nearly everything I own, I’ve worked for. (My car, gaming systems, all of my furniture, my clothes/shoes, etc..)  Nothing in my life has ever been handed to me... And I LIKE my independence. I enjoy being able to help myself, and not having to ask anyone for anything. Because you can’t control other people. You can’t tell them what to do, or how to act. You can try, but that doesn’t mean they’ll listen to you, lol!!
   So why, oh WHY, in the world, did I ever volunteer myself to go on this Missions Trip to Honduras?!?!?   I’ve never traveled out of the country before - I barely ever even leave my own State! So I’ve certainly never gone on a missions trip before. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to help!! I am just NOT the person who usually signs up for these things. There are better, more qualified people out there; who are probably better suited and more able to handle the work that is involved in Missions than me. Or at least that’s what I’ve always told myself…   So what could possibly make things so different this time around???   I don’t have any kids of my own yet. And honestly, at this point, Idk if I ever will. After all, I am far too busy with my career to settle down and start a family right now… But that doesn’t mean that the desire for these things is not in my heart. So when the representative from One Child Matters came to speak at my church in March of this year, I made another crazy decision - I sponsored a little girl from Honduras!! Her name is Angie, she is now 6 years old (her Birthday is April 1st - the same day as Fred & George Weasley!!), she loves art, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up!! She calls me her Godmother.   Never in my life have I ever thought that one tiny decision to put someone that I didn’t even know - some family in another country even - ahead of myself even, could impact me in such a HUGE and meaningful way… And when I found out that my church was planning a Missions Trip to the One Child Matters center that Angie attends in September, naturally I signed up to be a part of the team without even thinking, lol!  I was just so excited at the very thought of getting to meet my little Angie face-to-face, and having the opportunity to see her hometown, and experience her culture, and meet all of her other friends at the OCM Center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras!!! Why wouldn't I go? She’s counting on me to be there, after all. And who knows when I’ll get this opportunity again - it could be a few years before they plan another trip like this.   But going on a Missions Trip... It is a LOT of work!!!! And I’ll admit, I was not prepared in the slightest for half of the things that have been asked of me so far.   So if I’ve seemed distant, or even more crazy than usual; it’s just because I’m juggling a ton of uncomfortable uncertainties at the moment. I am being pulled out of my comfort zone, and there are so many variables that are beyond my control at the moment, and I am just such a mess!! (And I shall continue to reserve the right to be a hot mess for the remainder of the summer, until all of these fundraising shenanigans are over with, lol!!) I will definitely be sure to keep you guys updated/in the loop as the summer goes on though, and the trip gets closer. And I’ll even be sure to post updates during/after the trip as well!! (Although the during part may actually depend on how much internet access we have available to us while in Honduras.)     - And now, for my 1st official Update: I have completed ALL of my official paperwork, background check is completed, and I am currently in the process of getting my first ever US Passport! Our biggest funding deadline is also coming up here within the next three days, and I am still $300 dollars away from the total needed goal… Our trip leader wants to book all of our plane tickets and hotel rooms this coming weekend, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everyone on the team reaches their $700 goals by this Wednesday. If anyone here wishes to partner with me on this journey, do feel free to find me on Social Media, where I have a few fundraising pages setup at!! (There are also pictures of my adorable sponsored child, Angie, posted on Twitter & Facebook as well!!)    I am super excited to share this adventure with all of my friends and family, as it’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life!! Thank you all so much for your amazing love and support. You guys have helped me see that the World isn’t such a scary place, and it deserves to be explored more. This community has really helped me grow and step outside of my comfort zone more and more over the past year, and I am so thankful to all of you for that. I shall carry you all with me on my travels.   ~Deana  




iterated algorithms: over and over and over

Recently, my mind has been in a bit of a disarray.  A large part of it is because I'm at this precipice in my life where lots of changes are happening very quickly. My family and I just moved into a new house after living in the same apartment for ten years. I'm going to head off to college in the fall, 500 miles away from my twin sister, and I've never been apart from her for more than a couple days. My brother's moving in July for his new job. And there's just the general instability that comes with depression, plus my natural discomfort with big changes. (I think everyone is a little afraid of big changes. Humans are rather complacent creatures in that way).  Whenever I'm feeling so disarrayed, I like to fall back on science.  I'm sure some of you don't see science and math as very comforting hahaha. For me, science and math are concrete and stable; they're distanced enough from emotion that I can use them to process my feelings in a sort of calm and rational manner—which is what I'm going to attempt to do in this post. I'm keeping the science and math jargon very simple, but if I'm being honest, the ideas I'm presenting here are very intuitive, so I don't think anyone will have any trouble following along. I realize that it might be a bit boring for people who aren't as STEM-oriented, so I've included some really pretty gifs and images to entertain you   In my English class this year, I read a fantastic play by Tom Stoppard called Arcadia. Arcadia is about... many things, but one of the topics it discusses is iterated algorithms. I think the phrase "iterated algorithm" is another example of Scientists Making Things Sound Unnecessarily Complicated, so I'll break it down. The word "algorithm" has been convoluted so much by Scientists Making Things Sound Unncessarily Complicated; we've forgotten how to define it in simplistic terms because our view is completely clouded by computer scientists going insane with all sorts of crazy formulas. In very simple terms, an algorithm is just a series of step—a procedure. Generally algorithms are supposed to solve problems, but I have a sort of algorithm for procrastinating on homework, so that's certainly not always the case  The word "iterated" is probably much more familiar to everyone. In conjunction, an iterated algorithm is just a series of steps that continuously repeats, or a cycle, where what you get out, you put back in.  Here's a very simple example of an iterated algorithm, written in functional notation:  fn+1 = fn + fn-1, n > 2, f0 = 0, f1 = 1  That's an example of Mathematicians Making Things Look Unnecessary Complicated. All that notation means is that in the sequence, every term is the sum of the two terms before it. (I probably could've just written that, but I really love functional notation. That's a post for another day, though.)  If you're unfamiliar with the sequence, it goes like this:  f0 = 0 f1 = 1 f2 = 1 f3 = 2 f4 = 3 The sequence should be coming together now—if you've never seen it before, this sequence is called the Fibonacci Sequence, and it's a pretty famous seqeunce. If you plot it, it sort of looks like this: Remarkably, this pattern is found everywhere in nature: in the spiral of a sunflower, in the petals of a rose, in the shape of the Milky Way, in your face—the list goes on! (Sidenote: this (Youtube, so M) is a really cool video describing how to find Fibonacci spirals in pinecones!) If you ever needed proof that science is magical, you don't need to look further than the Fibonacci sequence. I find there's some beauty in the fact that all these different objects in nature can be united by a sequence—a very simple sequence too, if you recall the functional notation. That's kind of amazing—and really comforting, that amidst all the complexity and mess in my life, there's something that can be as simple and beautiful as the Fibonacci sequence.  But the Fibonacci sequence is just one example of an iterated algorithm. There's so many others, and I'd just like to highlight a few others (with more pretty pictures!).  There's this misconception that math can't be beautiful (bah!) and I'm here to forever dispel that idea. My evidence: fractals!  if you don't know what a fractal is, here's an example:   (Let's be honest—you cannot objectively say that that isn't absolutely beautiful.)  Fractals are geometric curves that are "self-similar" across all scales, which means that if you were to zoom into that image, you'd see the same pattern. That means that it's cyclical, a never-ending pattern—which means that fractals are created by iterated algorithms. Each iteration of the algorithm plots a new point, and with enough points, you get a pretty image. The below gif demonstrates this with a fractal called the Koch snowflake. The gif demonstrates how to draw it, but the simple algorithm is this: you draw an equilateral triangle. Then, on each side, draw another, smaller equiltateral triangle, with the side of the original as its base. Then repeat with each new equilateral triangle. With enough iterations, you'll get something that resembles a snowflake! (You should try drawing it, it's super easy and requires no artistic talent whatsoever!)   In the center of the first fractal image is one of my favorite fractals; it's called the Mandelbrot set. I'm always a little amused when I see it because it sort of resembles a snowman with little baby hands, heh. The gif below demonstrates the "self-similar" aspect of the Mandlebrot set: The equation for the Mandelbrot set is the following:  zn+1 = zn2 + C, where z0 = C and C is the number of points in the complex plane for which the orbit of zn+1 does not tend to infinity  Erm.... yeah, I would try to translate that, but I don't fully understand it myself. It's rather complex (haha, math pun!). But the beauty of iterated algorithms is that the exact equation doesn't really matter. The process for drawing it is still the same. You take an x-value, plug it into the equation, and then plot the y-value. Then you take your y-value and set that as your new x-value, and repeat the process on and on. All that changes is the equation in the middle—it can be as simple as the equation for the Fibonacci sequence, or as complicated as the above equation for the Mandelbrot set. The below gif demonstrates how the Mandelbrot set is created:      With enough iterations, the image of the Mandelbrot set becomes clearer and clearer—just like with the Koch snowflake, demonstrating that this process really is universal.  The thing about the Mandelbrot set, and the Koch snowflake, is that there's a limitation to how many iterations you can go through by hand. If you tried to draw out the Koch snowflake, you'd quickly run into a space problem that would thus limit the number of iterations that you can do. The Mandelbrot set has a similar complexity problem; it didn't become clearly defined until the 1950s, when computers started taking off and suddenly humans had much more power in their hands. Sometimes, this idea is really frustrating to me. Iterated algorithms are supposed to be never-ending—they are supposed to be inherently limitless. But that's all theoretically. Nothing bears out in practice what it promises incipiently—there's always factors beyond our control. As a scientist, this is unbearingly frustrating; can you imagine running an experiment knowing that there were factors you couldn't control that could possibly invalidate all of your findings? As a human, this is unbearingly frustrating. I've always struggled to come to term with the fact that free will is, honestly, a bit of an illusion; anything could happen anytime, and even if I don't meet my untimely demise in the next week, there's always the ominous promise of an inescapable death. There's always that thought in the back of my head that there just isn't enough time—which makes all the changes I'm experiencing at the moment all the more terrifying.  It's okay, though—iterated algorithms are slowly helping me to come to terms with the spontaneity and disorder of life and how much is generally beyond my control.  Think of it this way: beyond the realm of STEM, what other processes emulate iterated algorithms?  I started to think about this and was amazed by the number of things I could think of. In Arcadia, the final scene features a waltz between the characters—the waltz is a perfect example of an iterated algorithm. You start off where you end, and continue, seamlessly, gracefully. On a larger scope, isn't history a sort of an iterated algorithm? After all, history repeats itself. This phrase is often used as negatively, as a warning. "Great, the Nazis are back again—history really does repeat itself." But I think that there's some sort of comfort to be found in this idea, too, that things that are lost are bound to turn up again because history repeats itself. There might not be enough time in my life, but everything I discover and learn and experience will be picked up by future generations, and the search for meaning will continue.  This also means that change isn't final—because you can always retrace the algorithm. Everything I've lost isn't actually lost; it's just hiding somewhere in the algorithm. This gives me comfort as a means of fighting the impermanence of life.  So, I guess, that begs the question of what to do now, in my life at this exact moment, where so many things are spiraling and so many uncontrollable forces are acting on me.  I think that all that's left to do is keep on iterating. Keep drawing, and keep looking for the larger pattern, the beauty in what I'm creating—and keep trusting that a greater pattern will indeed emerge.  I didn't mean to get so nihilistic at the end and I think this post also spiraled out of control at some point. This is my near-midnight brain talking now, haha. I hope some of this was entertaining/interesting/hopefully also comforting to any of you, and would love to hear your thoughts. Do you know of any other iterated algorithms? (Remember: broaden your mind. They're everywhere.) Do you have general advice for dealing with lots of monumental changes happening very quickly? Does anyone else find comfort like this in math and science, or am I just weird? Did you like the pretty pictures?!  (...okay, I'm shutting up now. Thanks for reading. <3)          

dreams: a world of nonsense

dreams: a world of nonsense I'm a very vivid dreamer. Always have been and I hopefully always will be. I have a distinct memory of describing a dream to a friend when I was twelve years old and how she lamented that the most exciting thing that she'd dreamt about was falling down the stairs. There I was recounting an action-packed plot where my family was escaping town to avoid war and I suddenly realised we'd left my little sister behind so I threw myself out of the car and ran back for her, but couldn't escape in time so we were hiding in the walls of a block of terrace houses while we waited out the soldiers - but I digress. Point is it didn't occur to me that not everyone dreams such vivid dreams. Many of mine have appealed to me so much that I've tried to make them into stories albeit a lot more coherent and logical. I mean, I failed, but that's not the point. To be honest, I find dreams to be really fascinating. I've seen facts in the past that state some people don't dream in any colour and others that say you're completely paralysed while dreaming. I find that one to be pretty cool actually. Your body's locked down while your mind is racing at a mile a minute. All this thinking about dreams was inspired by two I had last night, or what I remember of them anyways. I've been considering making a blog on HPFT for a while now as a way to be more active in the community, but my unoriginal butt couldn't think of anything until now. (Hi, by the way! I'm Plums if you don't know - which you probably don't tbh because I am a well-seasoned Lurker who just hangs about for a bit until I come out for like two minutes to chat lmao.) If I'm being really honest with myself, this is all an elaborate way to let me talk about my dreams because my sisters are too busy doing unproductive things with their time like revising for exams or socialising. Pfft. Honestly. Anyways, DREAM ONE: I'm pretty sure this one was inspired by my sister showing me Blackpink's latest comeback, but basically I was part of this talent competition where the winning group would debut as part of the next big band. I managed to make a deal with five other people as per the rules to form a group and the entire dream was about us struggling to make it through the competition. One of the managers/judges was really supportive throughout the entire process as we learnt some intense choreography, made some pretty humiliating public appearances and trained our voices... only to vote against us in the final round and tell us that was just how cutthroat the industry was. Really, the highlight of the dream was one of my fellow members responding with this pretty amazing retort that I sadly cannot quote as it includes mature language, but we had to make a break for it afterwards lol DREAM TWO: This was one was more action-packed. In the dream, I was this Elizabeth Swann-esque character who had run away from home with a bunch of pirates. Somewhere along the way, we managed to anger the most notorious pirate gang on the seas - I think we were after the same treasure? I can't remember, but it all culminated in this insane battle on a stormy sea where NPG (Notorious Pirate Gang) nearly won, but we managed to turn it all around in the nth hour. Tbh my most vivid memory from this dream is swordfighting with a bunch of the NPG and then turning around to see the Captain of the NPG land on the captain's deck at which point I grabbed a rope to swing myself around and kick him in the chest so he went flying down to the deck below. The guy tried to kill me afterwards, but it was well worth it to be frank Anyways those were my dreams from last night. To make this entire thing less about me: what are some of the dreams you have all had? Are your dreams ever really vivid and complex? Do you have any recurring dreams? Can you lucid dream? I would genuinely love to know <3 First blog post woohoo

How do you think?

I was just wondering how people experience thinking. For me, thinking is exactly like talking, only silent. This has an impact when writing as I have no picture whatsoever of my characters or any of the settings. It also means that things like the battle scenes in Harry Potter make little sense to me and I tend to just skim them and wait for Dumbledore to sum up the important parts. So just wondering how it works for other people.