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  1. Rumpelstiltskin
    Latest Entry

    By Rumpelstiltskin,

    NaNoHotline.png.966dc584c77c3be39232f2f0ed33a188.png

    With the NaNo season already well underway, your Prefects would like to present The NaNo Helpline !  Over the past month, we've asked you wonderful people to send in some of your burning questions to be answered. We've also contacted a couple members of HPFT who are highly experienced in the ways of NaNo to give some advice for any new/returning NaNo participants. To tie things off, some of us decided to share some stories of our personal NaNo experiences with you, so that you can learn from our mistakes and victories. We hope you enjoy!

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    We asked you to send us questions, and now we are answering them! Hang on tight! 

    Dear Prefects,

    I fear I may have to sever ties with those who insist coffee is the superior caffeinated beverage. How do I correct the error of their ways (because tea is clearly superior) while maintaining these friendships?

    Sincerely,

    Tea is Best.

    while us coffee and tea drinkers may have our differences, i think the important thing here is that we're all united against the real enemy here: those freaks of nature who somehow function with no caffeine whatsoever. -taylor

    Why isn't that an option for Race to the Death... We would be a united force against the functional humans?!  - Deni

    Some of us drink both tea and coffee....because either way I get caffeine! It's gotta be a slow correction -- almost imperceptibly keep offering them tea (with a variety of flavors to choose from) whenever you are with them and make them try a different kind each time. This should make them warm up to drinking tea subconsciously. After a sufficient amount of time has passed, the next time they ask for coffee at your place, tell them you're all out but you do have some strongly caffeinated tea they are more than welcome to have instead. They'll still be your friend, and you'll have converted them over to tea in what seems like no time! - Madi

    Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee -- coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee. - Rumpels

     

    Dear Prefects,

    I'm out of caffeinated tea. It's 2am and I'm coming up on a really intense scene. My eyes are itchy from lack of sleep, but my hands twitch from excitement. Do I go to bed or keep writing?

    Love,

    An under caffeinated and overstressed Nano Participant

    Dear U-C and OS NaNo Participant, 

    I have hit this point many a time (in fact, I was in this exact boat on Nov. 2nd just last week!). In this instance, I did end up writing out the next scene because then I was able to complete the chapter I've been unable to finish for months. In years past though, I've decided to jot down a couple notes about the scene, maybe a bit of dialogue I want to use, and then called it a night. In this case, if you're out of caffeinated tea and this upcoming scene is very intense, my recommendation would be to go to bed. Take a few notes, and then shut that computer off (or just close the laptop, you know) and sleep on it because then you can come back at it with a fresh brain the next day. 

    Love, 

    Madi

    Dear Prefects:

    The cursor keeps blinking on my blank MicroSoft Word document. How do I fill the page with words?

    Sincerely,

    Panicking Wordsmith

    Dear Panicking Wordsmith, 

    All that it takes to fill the page with words is a good attitude and a goal! Play that perfect playlist for the scene you want to write, or if it's a completely new story, pick something out that feels like it's the right fit for your idea. Keep a beverage close by (preferably tea or coffee, or water for hydration!) and just go for it! The first step is always the hardest when it comes to a blank document. 

    Sometimes if it's just not happening, a little diversion within the realm of reason is okay too! I usually go find some songs and collect them for how I want the scene to play out/characters to feel, and generally just look for inspo! Then once I feel okay about things again, I open up that document and start typing away. 

    Love,

    Madi
     

    Dear Panicking Wordsmith,

    If you can believe, it

    you can achieve it! Grab nice warm cup of coffee (or tea, I suppose 🙄) and settle in with your favorite playlist. The caffeine will fill you with energy and the playlist will have you inspired to write all the words.

    If you're still having trouble, I recommend treating yourself to a break. I'm partial to a nice Netflix binge. There's nothing like an episode of your favorite to show to make you feel loose and ready to roll. Or pinterest, to gather all sorts of random images related to your story and get those creative juices flowing again!

    Love,

    Sarah


    How do you manage academia and NaNo without sacrificing the 50k goal?

    In the 5 years I've been doing NaNoWriMo, I've been in school (undergrad, and now graduate school). In my first year, I did attempt the 50k goal and what I can tell you is that it is going to be so very hard and challenging! But, it is possible. What I tried to do is just find a few minutes throughout the day during the week to get 100 words here and there. Then I would dedicate a half hour to an hour depending on the night to NaNo. Weekends, all NaNo, baby! I didn't quite make it to 50k, but I got to 42k, so it is totally doable. If you think about it like it's your stress relief from school, it becomes a lot easier!

    Love, 

    Madi

     
    If your NaNo goal is to complete a fic, and your word count is going up but your fic is also getting insanely
    longer, how do you prune it shorter?

    This is something I usually don't struggle with during non-NaNo events, but I have realized it is an issue, so thank you for bringing it up! Often what I do is just get words on the page so that I stay on track with my goal for the month and don't worry about the number of words. Then when I have a bit more time I go back to the chapter/one-shot/etc and comb through it for general edits and also scene edits -- are they necessary? do they seem to fit here or could they go elsewhere? can I just cut it completely? It's very much about the second-look editing process for me, but for others, they just go for it and don't worry about it being too long!

    Love, Madi

     

    Turning your WIP into dialogue-only is certain to shorten your word count. Alternatively, you could try cutting out all dialogue all-together to the same effect ;) .  A more plot-driven way to achieve this is to simply kill off all of your characters in one go, which will end your story and therefore complete your NaNo goal, rendering you a champion of champions. 

    A final solution to your problem is to be conscious of your plot arch while writing, which can be a bit tricky in the fast-paced world of NaNo. Just keep asking yourself, "Is this important to the story? Does this matter? Will this 'event' move the plot along and ultimately aid in the story progression? Does this matter?''  You've actually set yourself a bit of a difficult goal here, as word counts can be trimmed during editing and any unnecessary fat can be removed. However, since you're racing against 30 days to complete a story of an unknown word count is a bit more difficult than setting a concrete word count in that regard. My best advice is to repeat the mantra, "is this important" and, if it isn't, skip it. 

    --Rumpels

     

    Dear Prefects,

    NaNo is overshadowing my other responsibilities in life. How can I balance the thing I most want to do (NaNo) with things that I least want to do (RL responsibilities)?

    Yours truly,

    She-who-needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities

    Dear She-who-needs-to-sort-out-her-priorities,

    Life is all about balance! Try using NaNo as a reward. For example: I can only open this word document of the story that I just got an idea for once I've finished my laundry.

    If (or when) that doesn't work, then oh well, you do you, girl. Who needs clean underwear anyway?

    Love, 

    Sarah

     

      
    Dear Prefects,

    I have these amazing and wonderful, fully developed characters in my head. I've spent hours finding the perfect pictures and optimal settings for their picspams. Every time I make one, I think of more ideas for graphics. I'm worried that I'll be consumed by pictures and not by words for NaNo. What do I do?

    From,

    A Picspamming Procrastinator

    Dear Picspamming Procrastinator,

    A picture speaks a thousand words, right? Use your picspams as inspiration for that scene you just can't develop, that chapter you just can't finish, or that story you've always wanted to write. Tell the story; what is your picspam saying? Perhaps, see above advice for additional information about "balance".

    But uhh, maybe avoid the other above advice and stay off of pinterest. No need for temptation.

    Love,

    Sarah


    Dear Prefects,

    I'm laughing at my own jokes a bit too much. Am I that funny or that sleep deprived?

    From,

    A Lethargic Comic 

    Dear Lethargic Comic,

    You are just as funny as you think you are!

    But just to be safe, ask yourself after a night of sleep, is the joke just as funny the next morning? 

    Probably not. 😜 

    Love,

    Sarah


    After the hype of the first week I really find myself struggling to maintain enthusiasm to write. What's a good way to keep the energy going?

    The best way I've found to keep the energy going is a good support system! Find a great group of people who are motivating, encouraging, and loving. It'll feel good to be apart of something so wonderful and you'll feel more energized and pumped up every time you offer the same support to someone else!

    Also: coffee, your favorite snack food, and a dance party (solo or not) with a solid jam.

    -Sarah


    The real question here is how much caffeine are you willing to drink at any given interval?

    I find that as long as I am passionate about what I'm writing, it's much easier to keep up your energy to write. Make sure you are in love with your characters and plot (which comes right down to make sure you are writing for yourself first). Then you'll find yourself happy to wake up and tap away at your word document over a cup of tea in the morning, sneak in a dozen words during an important meeting at work, and spend your evening splattering your ideas across the canvas. 

    Also, Sarah's dance party idea is revolutionary. 

    -Rumpels

     

    When writing OF, how do you balance the need for external validation while being conscious of how much you share on a public forum?

    The important thing to keep in mind is your comfort level and safety. How much do you feel comfortable sharing at any given time? And, of course, basic internet safety protocols. While it's not damning to expose who you are as a person, it's important to make sure you're not giving away any personal information along the lines of fine location and intimate personal details. When it comes down to it, personal safety is going to reign supreme over validation every time, in my opinion.

    -Rumpels

     

    How do you persuade your government to make November an academic holiday?

    Start a petition! Get 3 billion signatures!  (I mean, this always works, doesn't it? ;) )

    -Rumpels

     

    Every year I find that I stray more and more from outlines during NaNo. Any tips on how to stay somewhat on track? 

    1. Bribe your muse to cooperate with you.
    2. Staple a copy of the outline to every surface in your home, so it's always in sight.
      1. For on-the-go outlines, make sure to bring a stick of lipstick with you, so that you can write the outlines on your car windows and office computer monitor.
    3. Teach your dog to talk. Teach your dog to remind you to stick to the outline.
    4. Have custom bedsheets and pillowcases made that have your complete outline on them. That way, you won't ever be tempted to stray from your outline, even in your sleep.

    While sticking to your outline isn't absolutely important, in my opinion, a good way to stick to your outline might be to remind yourself that on-the-spur inspiration that would take you away from your outline might ultimately change where your story will end. You've taken the time to plan your story so that A meets Z, so taking F - P on a different path from what you've already plotted might mean that Z can no longer be Z, if that makes sense. When inspiration strikes, try making a note of your idea IN your outline for the editing/rewrite stage. While you're trying to put as many words on paper as humanly possible during NaNo, you might not be able to think about how it will affect your plot or characters as clearly as when you're in the editing stages. At that point, you'll have a more concrete idea of where your story is and how the change will affect it overall. 

    -Rumpels

     

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    We are very excited to bring in some experts of NaNo past who were so kind as to answer some questions for us! Please give it up for @Gryffin_Duck  @scooterbug8515 and @Wolfgirl! Thank you so, so much for taking the time to get back to us! You all are simply NaNo legends and we're very excited to share your answers with everyone.

     

    G R Y F F I N _ D U C K

    1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo?

    1. Write as much as you can, when you can, especially early on. It's only 1667 words per day, but there will be days when you are too busy to write. If you have a buffer built in early, you can not write on those days when you're busy, rather than forcing yourself to write when you really should be going to bed. 
    2. Find your writing buddies! Whether they're online or you know them in real life, NaNo is much easier with a support system of others who are also participating. Last year I did NaNo without many writing buddies and it was the year I struggled the most. 
    3. Ignore your Inner Editor, to a degree. You don't want to be deleting and rewriting too much during NaNo, but if something is annoying you, be it a character's name, a few typos, or a certain scene, take the time to fix it. Without that in the back of your head, you'll be able to concentrate on new words. 


    2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful?

    Definitely build that buffer of word count as early on as possible. I try and build it the first weekend in November. I have much more steam in the beginning of the month, so it's easier to get ahead than play catchup during the last week. 

    I owe most of my NaNos to rat races. If I'm doing a rat race I can ignore the internet and not get distracted by other things. If I'm not rat racing, I'm much more likely to get distracted. 


    3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences? 

    I did my first five NaNos with my sister and that was the best. We wrote together both in real life and virtually and it was such a great bonding experience. She was too busy to NaNo during college, but now that she's graduated, I'm going to get her back into it one of these years!

     

    S C O O T E R B U G 8 5 1 5

    1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo?

    My top three pieces of advice for those looking to participate are:

    1.  Don't let the word count intimidate you, it is more manageable than you think and you don't have to do the 50k to participate
    2. Don't be hard on yourself about your goal.  The event is all about taking time to write.  The extreme deadline was created to push you not to judge you.  So if you write just a few words during NaNo that makes you a winner because you didn't have those words before.  
    3. Connect.  Connect with someone who is going to be an amazing cheerleader, an amazing partner during this event, an amazing competitor... whatever keeps you motivated.  Having people cheer you on or working while you are working helps loads.  It inspires and reminds you, you aren't alone.  There are several ways you can connect either here or on the NaNo forums (just practice your usual internet safety as always.)

    2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful?

     One of my favorite tricks to help with your word count particularly if you are going for the big 50k  One of those tricks is don't delete it just mark it off with a thing I like to call "the brackets of these are not the words you are looking for"  it allows you to mark a scene or collection of words as 'deleted' but they are still there buffering your word count.  You spent the time writing don't count it all as a loss.  Some of my friends have a garbage word file, where they cut and past the would be deleted scenes - the words still count as they should as you spent creative time and energy writing them. 

    My favorite tip is to write ahead, do your best to create a word count buffer.  Writing 1667 every day is insane - straight up.  But writing 2-3k every few days with 500 in between is more manageable.  By creating a word buffer it gives you an ability to allow for crazy days where you can't write and not be thrown off your mark. This also applies to modified goals... write ahead.

    3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences? 

     My favorite NaNo experiences is participating with my local region's writing events. We physically meet up together to spend some time writing.  It is enthralling to spend time with fellow writerly types.  Hearing the clack of keys all around is magical, you can almost feel the creative juices flowing around the room - it is inspiring.  I have made a lot of great friends there, we bounce ideas off each other, race each other and celebrate together. Most of your times together is a few hours a couple of nights a week, but we also have an annual event where we spend 6-8 hours writing.  Most of us take breaks here and there during the day-long session but that much writing in a day is wicked fun, particularly when doing it with others.  I can't wait to do it this year.

     

    W O L F G I R L

    1. What are your top three pieces of advice for anyone who is interested in participating in NaNo?

    Piece of Advice Number One: Set yourself a goal. Being a Panster is great (long-time panster here), but you've got to have daily goals if you want to hit your word count. My general goal is to write 2500 words per day (to hit my self-imposed monthly goal of 75k). My general weekly goal is to publish as new chapter of Tip of My Tongue every Tuesday, and usually to push out 2-3 chapters on other fics too (I've got 35+ WIPs published, plus a swath of unpublished ones, so I've got to juggle just to keep them all updating semi-regularly). I've got a monthly goal of 10-15 chapters posted. 

    Goals like this are handy because they don't have to be specific for what I want to work on, but they do mean that I have something to push myself to achieve. I often talk myself into writing, even when I might be tired or distracted or just really want to watch one more episode of The 100, by bribing myself to watch it, or eat a tasty snack, or do whatever else I want AFTER achieving the word-count goal I've set for myself that day. I forgo sleep almost every Tuesday to push out a new chapter for ToMT, that kind of thing. Until it's done, I ain't moving from my computer.

    Piece of Advice Number Two: Don't burn yourself out. Don't go into NaNo looking at that looming 50k word-count goal like it's some enormous mountain you've got to scale as fast as you can. Don't grind and grind and grind just to hit your word count. The goals of Advice Piece 1 are flexible, y'all. There are some days that I definitely don't hit my daily 2500 words. I might not write anything at all, some days. I might make up for it on another day. Maybe I skip today because I'm exhausted, or out of sorts, or have killer cramps, or a social function to attend. Maybe tomorrow I'll write 5000 to make up for it. Writing is about being flexible and having fun.

    Have goals, but recognise that if you're grinding and forcing out every sentence, the writing will read as though it was forced out. If you want it to flow, you've got to be enjoying what you're working on. I do my best writing when I'm so in the zone that I don't even have to think about spelling or the order words go in. Sometimes I don't even see the keys or the screen as I smash out the fics; I'm in my head and it's playing like a movie and it's flowing through my fingers onto the page. You want to write a fic that feels like that. If you open something and it's not inspiring that immersion, work on something else.  For real, no one said you're only allowed to work on one fic at a time, or that you can't juggle. Writing should be fun. If you're struggling to focus on the fic you're writing, start a new one. Dust off an old one. Do whatever you need to to shake things up and get the creative juices flowing. 

    Piece of Advice Number Three: DON'T EDIT!!! November is an edit-free month. You're not going to go back and agonise over that paragraph you just wrote. You're not going to comb through every sentence for typos, or fragments, or passive voice, or anything else. You're not even going to re-read what you've written. Not yet. You're not doing NaNo to publish as you go, you're doing it to slam that novel onto the page. Let it be messy. Let it be atrocious, if that's what it takes to get it out there. Let it be full of errors and things that make you cringe. You can edit in December. Edit when it's done. No one's first draft is pretty. Your fic's first draft is like a baby taking its first steps. There will be stumbles, and you'll be wobbly, and maybe you'll fall a couple times..... But when you get it all out there, it's going to feel so goddamn good. Fine-tuning is for later. It's for when you've hit your word count goal and you've rewarded yourself with a Snickers, and you've got a real-life novel on your hands. It's called Nation Novel Writing Month, not National Novel Editing Month. 


    2. Are there any tips/tricks you've learned through your experience and NaNo that helps you be successful?

    Yes. Nothing is perfect. And that's ok. You're never going to make every single one of your readers happy, and that's 100% ok. The most important thing I've learned about writing, in general, is that I have to enjoy what I'm writing. I've got to like my characters, and my plot. No one else has to. If they don't like what I've written, they need not read it, and more fool them. When you give yourself permission to enjoy what you're working on, and to forget what everyone else might think of it, you're free to write the story exactly how you want and that is when it will flow. 

    Tips for hitting that goal are to set yourself small goals. Tell yourself that you'll write 500 words in a day. Just one chapter. Anything that suits you, that you can achieve but will still push you just that little bit. Count them like pennies. On their own, they are small, almost inconsequential. But you put enough of them together and you've got yourself a dollar. Enough dollars and you're rich. Most people set a 50k word goal for NaNo, and that seems like a lot, but it's only 1667 words a day. Just 1667 words a day, and you'll hit that goal.

    Participate in Rat Races as often as you're able. Word sprints are the best way to hit those small goals because you've got someone to race against, and if you're competitive like me, you want to hit the highest word count for the sprint. And at the end you've got one more chapter, or 500 more words to add to the pile. Baby-steps, y'all. 


    3. What was one of your favorite NaNo experiences?

    I haven't officially participated in a long time, to be honest. I suppose the fun is most often had in places like HPFT and FB groups when you can commiserate with other authors over the challenges of having a writing goal, and the triumphs of achieving that goal. The last time I officially did NaNo, I wrote my first complete Original Fiction story, which I plan to publish on Amazon in early December of this year. And though there's been a time-lapse between then and now, (and a good deal of tears throughout the editing process and cursing of myself for a moron when the words don't want to come) it's feeling so goddamn good to know that in just a month's time all the blood, sweat and tears that went into writing that novel are finally going to start paying off.

     

    Experiences.png.032a7acad53e938d2074b54318aca033.png

    And finally, some of us have left some of our previous NaNo experiences here for your enjoyment! 

    M A D I M A L F O Y

    I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2014 when I decided to overhaul my Dramione novel Love Makes Me. Now I know you're all like, wait a second, aren't you doing this year too? And the answer to that is, yes I am doing that this year as well. 🙃  Turns out I've been writing it for all of my NaNo years, and this is it's third and final iteration, where now I'm just trying to get new chapters out to finally finish the dang thing after 6 years of writing it! 

    What my first NaNo experience taught me, which is when I attempted the big 50k, is that it's tough when you're in school to try and achieve that large volume of writing. I managed somewhere around 42k that year, and while I was upset I didn't hit 50k, I was still happy with how I'd turned the story around (obviously not anymore) and where it was headed. Something else I learned is that late night writing isn't my best, but does get me more words on the page. I also determined that just finding a few minutes throughout the day to write really helped in the long run because I could just plop out 100 words here and there versus sitting down for 3 hours trying to write 2k words. 

    Tips of mine: 

    - Always have a beverage at hand, whether that be coffee, tea, water, pop (soda), alcohol -- just something to keep you hydrated as you write. 

    - Rat races really do help -- even if you just do them for yourself!

    - Background noise (loud music for me) is very helpful to keep focused on what you're writing, especially if it's mood music for the scene. 

    - Buddy system -- have someone who periodically checks in on you and keeps you accountable, and you for them!

    NaNoWriMo isn't something that you should force yourself to do -- it's a challenge enough sometimes just to write regularly during the year, let alone during a month-long event dedicated to writing. Rebelling with a lower word count or heck not even a word count goal, just something is all that really matters. NaNo is a time to really dive deep into your writing and you get to do it with thousands of your closest friends all at the same time, so enjoy it!

     

    R U M P E L S T I L T S K I N

    I've been participating in NaNo since 2013, which is nothing compared to some of you. My first year, despite all the prepping I thought I had done, I was nowhere near ready for the madness that was about to ensue. There was not enough time in the day or coffee in the world that could help me finish my word count goal. In fact, I think I came about 20,000 words short of my 50,000-word goal. At first, I was pretty disappointed in myself for failing NaNo. That is, however, until I realized that I wrote 30,000 words. \O/ That was better than nothing. That was a lot better than nothing.

    My first successful NaNo year was the following year, in 2014, when my outlining turned from simplistic to overly detailed, chapter-by-chapter outlines. And from there on out, I've been rebelling ever since (at approximately 20-25 k each NaNo month). If there was one thing I learned from my first and only successful shot at NaNo was that I do not want to kill myself over 50,000 rather unusable words and would much prefer to not kill myself by writing a 25,000 somewhat usable words.  But that was my personal take on completing a successful NaNo month. I don't like to do huge editing rehauls -- I like to write, edit a bit, and get on with my life (see: other reasons why Rumpelstiltskin really isn't looking into publishing ;) ). 

    What I did take away from the successful NaNo year was to bring:

    --a well-detailed outline of each chapter I'm planning

    --coffee

    --a nice pair of slippers

    -toys to keep my hands busy

    -a great support system of friends to motivate me when I'm getting off track

    NaNo shouldn't be about pain, but it is a relatively exhausting deflating time for some people when you feel like you aren't meeting your word count goal. Just keep in mind that, even if you don't meet your 50 k word count goal, each word you write is still a word written. \O/ Happy NaNo'ing! #teamrebel

     

    F A C I N G T H E N O R T H W I N D

    I logged into my nanowrimo account a week or so ago to discover that I had been a member for ELEVEN YEARS. terrifying. I have definitely won at least twice, but records have been lost, so we will never know I guess. :( I know that one year I managed 10k in one day! I have no idea how. I think the last time I won was in 2011. 

    My favourite activity is finding new word processors specifically for NaNo, because I'm a monster. 

    My tips: RAT RACES. They are an absolute godsend! If you get stuck on a scene, feel free to just write [COME BACK TO THIS] and move on. Don't worry heaps about not making exactly 1667 words a day -- on days that you have more time to write, feel free to write more so you have a buffer! And if you have fallen behind, hopefully there will be a day where you can knock out heaps. Meetups can help with that -- the NaNo forums will have a group for your area. ^_^ 

    _______________

    A huge shoutout to everyone who submitted questions and to the three NaNo Legends who helped us out by answering a few questions! We hope you're all having a wonderful NaNo season! May the caffeine be strong and the words flow forth! ❤️ 

    _______________________

    credits

    post contributors - emma, deni, sarah, madi, rumpel, taylor
    layout | graphics - rumpel
    question submissions - @PaulaTheProkaryote @esmeraude  @Chemical_Pixie

     

     

     

  2. abhorsen.
    Latest Entry

    By abhorsen.,

    Hello, all! It's time for us to announce the winners of this year's FROGS awards! If you didn't catch our livestream from earlier this evening, you can find it +here. ^_^

    First off: thank you to everyone who nominated, reviewed, and voted in this year's FROGS awards, and congratulations to everyone who was nominated, whether or not you won. HPFT is home to some incredibly talented people, and we can't express how glad we are to be part of this community. We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. :wub:

    All of that said: we'd like to unveil our special, limited edition set of chocolate frog cards. We're including small versions of them in this post, but if you click on them, you'll find the full version hidden behind them. ;)  I'll also be uploading the entire collection +here on my deviantart. ^_^  Please use only the mini-version in your story notes, since the full version is so big; however, you're welcome to include the full size card as a chapter image, on your profile/in your writer's journal here, and anywhere else you hang out online. :P

    Best Reviewer

    k9YIDx4H_o.gifWGJRSbUL_o.gifRCGJ2bIN_o.gif

    Congratulations, @Felpata_Lupin, @just.a.willow.tree, and @Stella Blue!

     

    Most Versatile Author

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    Congratulations, @abhorsen., @nott theodore, and @BlackPixie!

     

    Best Angst

    z3PGHhVY_o.gifx6zGvcIm_o.gifsb2ufT0g_o.gif

    gods without grace (M) | beyond repair | silence.death. (M)

    Congratulations, @dirigibleplums, @MuggleMaybe, and @poppunkpadfoot!

     

    Best Dark/Horror

    3OBFbnXG_o.gifdHiLxn7S_o.gifMFi2DFFu_o.gif

    Congratulations, @esmeraude, @AbraxanUnicorn, and @Rumpelstiltskin!

    the skull beneath the skin (M) | erasure (M) | spiral (M)

     

    Best Humor

    V2u4YKDl_o.gif4ZK5ZrpN_o.gifUbXdO1PA_o.gif

    when dahlias bloom (M) | immortal misconceptions (M) | hormones (M)

    Congratulations, @dirigibleplums, @AbraxanUnicorn, @Deeds!

     

    Best Original Fiction

    mKmQS2DD_o.gifBcMla7b9_o.gif eh8auxeP_o.gifIEkBBS6U_o.gif

    from | I am | the wind chimes are calling to me | fall in love with a writer

    Congratulations, @Stella Blue, @Rumpelstiltskin, @Alexis Black, and @manno-malfoy!

     

    Best Romance

    HiUqnekv_o.gifE1rYsH33_o.gifZvlPS5b4_o.gif

    nights like these (M) | a candle (M) | when I go out with you (M)

    Congratulations, @banshee, @abhorsen., and @Dojh167!

     

    Best Non-Harry Potter Fanfiction

    gJshZE8s_o.gifzBIA3U93_o.gifFDman8Sv_o.gif

    silence cuts loudest through the chaos (M) | hero (M) | an age of change (M)

    Congratulations, @1917farmgirl, @banshee, and @scooterbug8515!

     

    Best LGBTQA+

    UZ0tkQ9f_o.gifJJl66Nw6_o.gifw0rRg7gt_o.gif

    when I go out with you (M) | and the world went on | before the sun sets

    Congratulations, @Dojh167, @manno-malfoy, and @toomanycurls!

     

    Best Depiction of a Mental Illness/Disability

    ucd5GOzM_o.gifQVLp8zpM_o.gifGQCT5yto_o.gif

    the department (M) | keyframe | dead eyes and red eyes (M)

    Congratulations, @poppunkpadfoot, @forever_dreaming, and @abhorsen.!

     

    Best Major Harry Potter Character

    Vpb1mz8g_o.gifpLl3bx8Y_o.gifwgH2jBcz_o.gif

    beyond repair | icarus (M) | after life (M)

    Congratulations, @MuggleMaybe, @Stella Blue, and @MegGonagall!

     

    Best Minor Harry Potter Character

    uEXswYtY_o.gif eh1zB3D1_o.gif nYhlcQoS_o.gifDS6HXeBJ_o.gif

    liar (M) | jigsaw (M) | first lit, last burning | lightning love (M)

    Congratulations, @Felpata_Lupin, @nott theodore, @MuggleMaybe, and @toomanycurls!

     

    Best OC

    7sWcoiix_o.gif9Gwlq5Wk_o.gifZkHDp1uW_o.gif Rnup7kv4_o.gif

    when dahlias bloom (M) | hero (M) | love, not war (M) | house of stone (M)

    Congratulations, @dirigibleplums, @victoria_anne, @RoxiMalfoy, and @WindingArrow!

     

    Best Family/Friendship

    qpEJaZm7_o.gif6huDhkrI_o.gifvDRLEjpD_o.gifqlPlHAdv_o.gif

    secret keeper (M) | shenanigans, capers, and hi-jinks (M) | prisoner | red luck

    Congratulations, @poppunkpadfoot, @abhorsen., @Crimson Quill, and @just.a.willow.tree!

     

    Best Rare Pair

    PkQMr5s4_o.gif8K4wqeVG_o.gifWRpdcgsI_o.gif

    parisian scars (M) | logarithmic (M) | war & mint

    Congratulations, @Crimson Quill, @val, and @sihaya!

     

    Finalist

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    Even though you didn't necessarily win your categories, congratulations on being finalists, @abhorsen., @ailhsa23, @BellaLestrange87, @clevernotbrilliant, @dreamgazer220, @esmeraude, @forever_dreaming, @manno-malfoy, @MuggleMaybe, @nott theodore, @PaulaTheProkaryote, @pookha, @Rumpelstiltskin, @Shadowkat678, @sihaya, @Stella Blue, @TreacleTart, @Veritaserum27, @victoria_anne!

     

    Thank you all again, and I hope you enjoyed the livestream and enjoy your cards! Please remember to rehost & credit them to me (abhorsen.) if you want to use them. ;)

  3. cassie clare: why she makes me tired

    (a spoilery criticism of some of the reasons i am losing interest)

    Okay so I planned to write this post a few days ago, but then midterms and assignments claimed my soul :) I am living the dream life, people. Every day is a dream. :)

    Anyways, I was inspired to write this particular topic when I was scrolling through tumblr the other day and I saw Cassie Clare had released another snippet of QoAD (which I didn’t read because your girl doesn’t need any spoilers tyvm :thumbsup:). I’m pretty sure I saw the name ‘Alec Lightwood’ as I noped the hell out of there which, for some reason, incited such a visceral reaction in me that I had to come here and say something. Because apparently I think I know a lot. Feel free to disagree.

    This post is essentially a criticism of Cassie Clare and the Shadowhunter Chronicles. I know a lot of people don’t read her stuff because they disagree with her behaviour and her past actions. However, I was already invested in TDA by the time I fully looked into it, so I kind of really want to see how it ends? That doesn’t mean I don’t have my criticisms, of course. It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the books in the entire Shadowhunter series and I have to reiterate that I do enjoy them a lot. I think Cassie Clare is a great writer, if a little too heavy on exposition and describing every-little-thing, and her characters really hold up her stories.

    That being said…

    1.       She really needs to learn to let go of her characters.

    I get it. It’s hard to let go of your characters, especially when you’ve poured so much into them. I’ve been there myself actually with the Dormitory 2.6A series because it was so significant to my development as a writer and I had so many ideas about them that didn’t make it into the original story. Writers get attached.

    Regardless, my girl needs to learn to let them go. "Them" meaning the cast of The Mortal Instruments.

    When she wrote TMI, she had a bit of overlap with The Infernal Devices, the biggest being Brother Zachariah (my one true love ❤️), but most of it was quite subtle. A passage here about Magnus remembering “the gas-lit streets of London”, or a mention of a book with a faded note from a Will Herondale there. It was very organic.

    This is not the case with TDA. At every chance she gets, Cassie Clare mentions TMI characters in TDA and quite frankly, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand why Clary, Jace, Alec and so on have such an invested interest in Emma or Julian and the rest of the Blackthorns when they were just some of many children who were left distraught by the Dark War. Actually, I do know why – because Cassie Clare doesn’t know how to let them go. Their contributions to the TDA storyline are so bizarre and out of place. At least Jem has a viable reason to turn up in Lady Midnight – he and Emma are both the last living Carstairs – but Clary? Not so much.

    Like. I don’t understand why she would tell Emma out of all people a secret she can’t reveal to anyone else. Like. A seventeen year old kid. None of it makes sense. It just frustrates me because it bogs down an otherwise really good book.

    2.       Speaking of bogging down… she has so many unnecessary scenes in her books.

    Look, I love TDA. Mostly because of the characters, yes, but I still really enjoyed reading Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows (more so the first). But there’s a reason why each book keeps getting bigger and it’s because she doesn’t cut the unnecessary scenes. You can really tell with LoS because it takes like five chapters for one event in the Seelie Realm to occur and I’m just like,,, pls. We know you can do better.

    It just takes away from the book in the end, I feel? Because it just means that the subplots are going at a pace slower than what I would usually be hooked by since there’s so much to cut through. I don’t understand why her editors aren’t telling her to trim down the unnecessary bits. It’s not even about characterisation because her characterisation is amazing without all of these extras.

    3.       Love triangles.

    I’m not really a fan of love triangles, but Cassie Clare apparently is. Throughout the entire Shadowhunter Chronicles, she has had:

    -          TID: Jem, Will and Tessa (the only love triangle I’ve actually been okay with)

    -          TMI: Simon, Clary and Jace (a v boring and unnecessary one)

    -          TMI: Maia, Simon and Izzy (…just… why)

    -          TDA: Emma, Julian and Mark (I’m really glad this didn’t go the direction I thought she’d take it)

    -          TDA: Kieran, Mark and Christina (probably going to be a polyamorous relationship tbh)

    -          TDA: Kit, Livvy and Ty (again: why. just why.)

    There are probably more that I’ve missed out, but you get the point 😕 I don’t understand why there always needs to be a love triangle, even when the two protagonists have been in love with each other for years (like Emma and Jules). It’s not a very interesting or original way to make their relationship turbulent, especially if you’ve done it so many times within one world.

    4.       She’s… never going to stop

    I’ve decided that I’m probably going to stop reading after QoAD 😕 As in, I won’t be buying new installments because my girl is not finishing with TDA. She has plans to write a trilogy set after TID called The Last Hours and another one set after TDA with the younger Blackthorns called The Wicked Powers.

    And that doesn’t include all of the special releases such as The Bane Chronicles, Ghosts of the Shadow Market or The Tales of Shadowhunter Academy.

    I personally believe that we don’t need to know everything about the world of Shadowhunters. We don’t need to know if and how everything gets resolved with the Clave’s corruption and the dated views of Nephilim society. It’s nice to leave a few things unresolved! I actually really like it!

    Idk everyone, I just feel like a lot of it might be a money grab? Don't get me wrong, I do think Cassie Clare clearly enjoys writing in this world, but I also think she manages to conveniently include a lot of fan favourites in series that should otherwise not feature them and that loyal fans buy them for that. For example, Jem has turned up in TDA and his involvement in GOTSM was really pushed. Will, Tessa and Jem all featured in TOTSA as did the story about Malec adopting a warlock baby. TLH will naturally include Will, Tessa and Jem/Brother Zachariah since the main characters are their children. TWP will probably include Jem and Tessa again. And probably Malec. You see what I mean?

    Sigh.

    Anyways, I know I’ve just ranted for a long time, but I guess I’m just tired of it all? Sometimes, writers just need to learn to let go. I guess that's what I'm trying to say ultimately. Another shining example would be JKR. The HP series doesn't need any more additions imho, we have it all sorted ;) 

  4. hi it's me, in case anyone remembers i'm the one who kept posting blog entries during the summer because i had literally nothing to do and that's how i wormed my way back into the hpft community. i'm back at it again with yet another post that has nothing to do with writing or reading whatsoever. welcome. 

    in my defense i haven't totally disappeared off the face of the planet, i still check on the forums once in a while even though i just lurk, i just mostly scream into the void that's twitter these days.

    but anyways.

    i don't know how many people on the forums listen to kpop but i'm here to discuss it. i'm here to talk about my kings, my BOIS: exo. i've literally been waiting over a year for their comeback, it's been so long since there's been a brand new exo album and brand new songs for me to listen to on repeat for the next two months. y'all, my crops were withering, plague had taken over my farmland, the drought was so hard for me. there's only so many times i can put what u do on repeat okay.

    i was absolutely elated when i heard they were having a comeback, finally the drought was ending, my village was thriving. 

    and i'm kind of disappointed if i'm being honest.

    like in terms of marketing, i know sm did everything right and delivered what the fans asked for and i'm happy, but in terms of music, i'm a little bit disappointed. see, with exo, every album they've come out with has just improved on the last. Exodus improved on XOXO (Call Me Baby was better than Growl). Ex'act improved on Exodus which I didn't even think was possible but they did it (Monster and Lucky One were way better than Call me Baby at least in my non-professional opinion). The War essentially told me that i wasn't allowed to be sad and stressed about my future because we were gonna bop through the summer (Ko Ko Bop was on the same level if not a teeny bit better than Monster/Lucky One but only because it fit the summer vibe of,,,,,everything).

    and while i think don't mess up my tempo is a bop and i already have it on repeat, i don't think the entire album is an improvement on The War. the album was good, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't get me as hyped up as the war does (i'm done capitalizing now that took way too much effort). i just feel disappointed in a sense and maybe that's because i expected another album full of bops similar to what was in the war to push me through the last few months of this semester. personally i'd rank the album somewhere in between exodus and ex'act? and don't mess up my tempo as somewhere around the level of call me baby?

    it should be noted that none of these ratings that i'm giving have been proved to be statistically reliable so if you think don't mess up your tempo was super amazing that's cool.

    and before i leave, can we just take a moment to talk about jongdae's half mullet? like what in gods name was that? mullets in general are disgusting but a half mullet? that's literally a sin and no one should ever do it i can't believe they did him dirty. also if i ever see my boi jongin in a mullet ever again i'm going to scoop out my eyeballs he's had one one too many times enough is enough.

  5. Elena
    Latest Entry

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

  6. Chelts’ Ramblings

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    Recent Entries

    Chelts-rhj
    Latest Entry

    I can not describe exactly how I feel right now. It’s too much. After MONTHS of waiting and worrying and wondering, I know for a fact when I will see my children again. I know that they will be coming home with me. To stay. I understand that this is a temporary matter, and there’s a chance (albeit a small one) that it will not be permanent. 

    I have been a mother for 7 years. I have two children. The younger is 16 months old, and I have missed 5 of those months. I will never get them back. The loss of identity you feel when you e built your whole adult life for your children, only to have them wrongly taken from you is something I can’t justify with the English language. Maybe if I knew every language I would have the words. 

     

    I am whole again gain with this ruling. I will be even more fullfilled when their sleepy heads are resting peacefully in their rooms. 

     

    Thank you thank yoh thank you to to everyone who was able to help me with the fundraiser. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without generous souls like you. 

    This is probably a big mess because I’m on my phone and going really fast, but this is the only community I have to celebrate with and I just wanted to tell everyone

    THE BOYS ARE COMING HOME!!!!!!!   

    Side note- I didn’t even know I had won after the judge gave his ruling. Lawyer speak is so confusing. Lol. My lawyer had to give me the thumbs up before I knew what was going on. 

  7. I'm getting so bad at these... :couch:   Anyway, I'm back!!! :bliss: 

    August has been as great as I expected it to be (even if I wasn't really good to record it here... too busy enjoying it in RL... :P ) and September has seen a lot of Jimmy progress, as well as a very special visit... :wub: But I'll just go with the actual post, now. :D 

     

    AUGUST 2018

    1 - The month of the holidays!!! The day has been intense but that's a good thing because at least I didn't have time to get bored. And it's always nice to work in time with music.

    4 - Lovely night with friends, Gio's anecdotes which (almost) never tire... Meeting up with the usual suspects and feeling like at home.

    6 - Just got home after a happy hour with the colleagues. Third evening out in a row, something that hasn't happened in... practically ever? Busy day at work, but not too much (much better than get bored, anyway). And tomorrow it's the last day!!!

    7 - Officially on holiday!!! Waking up with an unexpected review, chatting with Renee (knowing that we'll meet in person in a week), getting done small things that had been on my to-do list for ages.

    19 - The most beautiful holiday ever! Extremely happy and grateful for the lovely days spent with Renee (and Anja, Sian and Val, obviously). I already can't wait for the next HPFT meet-up.

    26 - An unexpected postcard in the mail (okay, maybe that was 3 days ago...), planning Richard's arrival and that wonderful feeling of updating Jimmy after ages! Impatient to start the new chapter...

    27 - Nothing is more satisfactory than win a strenuous (and apparently hopeless) fight with technology! And now finally I can sleep in peace...

    31 - The quiet of Friday night (after an intense working week), a review swap, a chat with friends, a laugh at the office and cutlets for dinner. And also August is gone... and what a great month it's been!

     

    SEPTEMBER 2018

    1 - A lovely night with friends, the satisfaction of writing a new chapter (even if a very future one...), an unexpected meeting with someone I hadn't seen in a while, finishing the small missions of the day.

    2 - Productive day, I've finally caught up with my review requests... and I've discovered some very interesting story in the meantime... proud of myself.

    3 - The joy of getting inspired... and who knows, maybe chapter 26 is not so much of a mirage anymore...

    5 - Emma reprimanding Jimmy. Pizza at Chiara's and then watching together To all the boys I've loved before. Cough and a bit of boredom at work aside, a good day.

    9 - When internet suprise you and you find again that girl you had a correspondance with 20 years before... not to say... unanswered review count is finally back to 0???

    12 - Beautiful evening with the Armundine (including gelato, obviously). Tired but happy. And in two days Richard is arriving!

    14 - Cooking for a friend. A walk and a good icecream in company. The weekend finally arrived. Just happy that Richard is here.

    16 - The best part of weddings? Dancing until your legs can't hold you anymore. And I've adored each minute of this weekend with Richard.

    21 - Friday night is always the best moment of the week... especially when you can find some time to relax and read.

    22 - Productive day (at least HPFT-wise) and evening spent dancing with the music of the concert under my house... I'm walking on sunshine!

    26 - Sharing the draft of a new chapter with my preferred betas and finding myself discussing the misteries of languages with Emma. And meanwhile planning the trip to Iceland with Richard...

    29 - Super productive Saturday: I did the laudry and the ironing, cleaned the floors and the kitchen, left reviews, went grocery shopping, went for a bike ride and bought a brand new pair of flamenco shoes! Extremely satisfied of myself!

     

    Credits/translations/explainations:

    Gio is Giordano, one of my Uni friends, who always has some hilarious fact to recount.

    Renee, Anja, Sian and Val I don't think need any introduction. ;) Neither does Emma, I'm quite sure :P 

    Richard is a friend from England who's spent a few days at my place for a common friend's wedding. It is possible that I might like him as more than a friend, but... time will tell, I guess? :$ 
    Chiara is my best friend (yes, we have the same name... :P )

    To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a film directed by Susan Johnson, released by Netflix on August 17, 2018 and based on Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name.

    The Armundine are my colleagues. Actually, not my colleagues but some girls from another consultant society (the word Armundine, which is my invention, comes from the name of their society) who work in the same openspace as my team. I wouldn't say that we are friends, but we do get along nicely and we have gone out a couple of times.

    I'm walking on sunshine is a lyric from Walking on Sunshine, 1983 song written by Kimberley Rew for Katrina and the Waves

     

    And that's all, folks! Love and snowball hugs and see you at the end of October! :)

  8. FawkesyLady
    Latest Entry

    My major work in progress, Time Immemorial (M) has been nominated for a Marauder's Medal for best work in progress through the Shrieking Shack Society group on Facebook. There are so many good stories alongside it, I'm feeling very thankful. I've honestly already won just by being nominated. Anyone interested in checking it out can see the full list of nominations with links where available, or if so inclined anyone can cast a vote. There are some of my favourite Marauder works up there so it is a nice list if you are looking for something to read that's been published or updated this year. 

    I haven't cross-posted TI here yet because frankly it is a monster 56 chapters and running, but it is on ffn and ao3. The gist of the story is that Hermione experiences what is called a dissociative fugue after the Battle of Hogwarts and happens to have a Time Turner on her. She lands, unconscious and without any knowledge of who she is or from where or when. It just so happens that she lands in 1976, and Severus Snape had a particularly bad night as well.  I've rated it M because there's some pretty intense mental stuff going on, and there's some bad words that would fall under hate speech here. There may be sexy times later, but so far not more than smooching. I like my burns reaaaaaal slow. 

    Ta! 

  9. Were I to live in an endless September...

    September has always been my favorite month. It signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall—my favorite season. The weather cools down, leaves start to turn, and there's this transitional feeling in the air that I love more than anything.

    But this September felt somewhat different. It was a busy one for me, and those "transitions" I mentioned felt more monumental than in years past. I finished my stay in Florida—the best summer I've ever had, spent with my grandpa. My fiancé and I found our new apartment. We moved to NYC. My birthday passed. And suddenly...suddenly the world feels so huge and terrifying, all over again.

    I don't know how to describe the feeling I've been having the last week or so, but there's this weight on me right now that I haven't felt in a long time. I've considered myself pretty independent and brave and strong...but now I'm in one of the biggest cities in the world, and I'm job searching, and I'm planning a wedding, and...and I really just want to curl up under my blankets and hide until I feel capable again, which for some reason feels like it's never going to happen.

    The news lately has been bringing my mental health into a bad place. My anxiety is really bad, and my depression has been swinging all over the place. I've been sleeping way too much and balancing on a razor's edge of having a stress-related breakdown, and somehow I'm expected to still be a functioning adult through all of this.

    I promised myself I would write in September. It's the same promise I made to myself in August. And July. And June. And yet...I've basically written nothing for months. It's really discouraging me, and I know I'd feel better if I wrote even one tiny thing...but the motivation just hasn't been there.

    It doesn't help that my to-do list gets longer and longer every day, and I can't seem to keep up with it all.

    My fiancé just left town until Friday, so I'm alone with our kitty-baby in an apartment that doesn't yet feel like home, surrounded by boxes, with the sounds of a unfamiliar city out our window. I just feel like the rug has been torn out from under me, and I'm trying so hard to regain my footing before I come crashing down.

    Wish me luck in October. Maybe as the weather cools off, so will this burning feeling of dread.

    #drama #adulting #hashtags

  10. First off, I want to apologize to all participants of my challenge!  I did not expect to take as long getting your stories read and judged.  Life just swooped in like a hawk taking me off to do things that were not this challenge.  However, I am back I am here and I am super impressed!  Ya'll knocked my socks off with these wonderful stories.  I revisited worlds I traveled to before with some of you and then others took me to new worlds or worlds of your own creation and it was brilliant.  I am so thankful to everyone for participating.  There were 10 entries and 9 participants.  (Someone got eager and took advantage of multiple entries being allowed).  

    The judging for this challenge was no easy task, and I highly recommend that people read these stories they are legit and even if you don't know the world you get enough to appreciate the story for what it is.  So those not familiar with the universe explored in the stories take a chance learn about a new place - you may want to pick up a new book after the fanfic, I know I do!

    For the judging process I had a set number of points that could be earned with a set number of bonus points such as obscure fandom and OF (a bonus point I think everyone got)  I judged on other things such as flow, form, details. and various other things important to the craft of story and the challenge.  Of the entrants 6 out of 10 people met or exceeded the base score of 17.  It made final counts very difficult.  To be honest two people actually tied for 1st place and will both receive 5 review apiece.  I thin thought about just then awarding a 3rd place as many professional competitions do but I could not do that as I would be remiss in not award our 3rd place winner for their fabulous work in meeting the challenge requirements.  So we'll start with 3rd place and work forward to our dual winners.

    3rd Place

    Revenge (M) by @StarFeather

    Kenny wrote a wonderful original fiction about a young person who is being bullied and sets things up wonderfully for what is to come which I suspect will be revenge based on the title.  Anyone who has read anything by Kenny knows that he has a true artists heart and it was a pleasure to read this beautiful piece and feel right along with his character.  I look forward to when you write more!

    As a reward, you get 1 additional review from me.  Please let me know if you want something specific reviewed.

     

    2nd Place

    We, Lawbreaking Citizens (M) by @Rumpelstiltskin

    This is another brilliant original fiction by Rumples that had me gripped from the get go.  The story takes a look at a dystopic future where people take medication to eliminate the human 'diseases' of negative emotions.  The side effect?  You forget the previous day.  Not only does Rumples present an intriguing world but she also presents compelling characters where a beautiful romantic relationship is being softly woven in.  There are already 3 chapters up with more to come.  I can't wait to know what happens next.

    (Please note I only judged the 1st 2 chapters as I did with all entries)  As a reward you get 3 reviews, please let me know if you have a specific story/stories you want me to focus on.

    1st Place

    Seven Deaths (M) by 
    @Unwritten Curse & I have a Dream by @potionspartner

    I can't imagine two more dynamically different stories winning 1st place.  Seven Deaths is a a fan fiction for Scythe and it is a book I very much want to look into if the fiction is anything to go by.  This is a story set in a future where people are now immortal and to keep balance in the world there are those trained to be Scythe's to glean people from the world.  It is an accepted practice and the deaths caused this way are minimal compared to how it was in the time of mortality.  Love is forbidden for a Scythe and yet this story explores the forbidden romance between two of them and what that entails. 

    Conversely, I have a Dream is a whole other creature.  I would summarize this particular tale but to do so will rob any reader the joy of discovering the unique twist this story provided.  This is almost original fiction but at the same time lightly references some fandoms.  Honestly upon reading this story you'll know what I'm talking about and how the story cannot be summarized but indeed in comparison to  Seven Deaths it is completely light hearted and maybe even a bit comedic.

    As a reward you both get 5 reviews each.  Please let me know if there is a specific story or stories you would like me to focus on.

    Congrats again to all winners.  Also fabulous work to everyone else.  Ya'll made this judging process fun and difficult and did an awesome job too.


     

  11. MadiMalfoy
    Latest Entry

    By MadiMalfoy,

    Dune by Frank Herbert
    Science Fiction | T | 4.8 stars

    One of the first books I read this summer was Dune by Frank Herbert. Yes, I know, it was published back in 1965 but it's gotten popular again (I just happened to find it in Half-Price Books and picked it up and thought it sounded cool.) I literally could barely put this book down for longer than the time it took to eat meals and do required activities this summer, it was just that much of a page-turner that kept me up at night. This book has actually stood the test of time extremely well. The novel takes place in a foreign universe with very different planets but still has the echoes of modern-day capitalism throughout mixed with medieval titles like "Lord" and "Lady" because of the feudal setup of this futuristic world. 

    The book opens on Duke Leto Atreides of House Atreides being suspected as a threat to the emperor because he has favor with a majority of the other Great Houses, and is therefore sent to the desert planet Arrakis, which is controlled by their feuding rivals House Harkonnen. Arrakis is also the only planet that naturally produces the mind-enhancing spice, melange, which fuels higher-order thinking in all those that consume it. Arrakis is also home to sandworms and the native folk called Fremen, whom Leto quickly allies himself with. 

    There is a larger plot for Leto's son, Paul Atreides, whose mother, Lady Jessica, subscribes to the Bene Gesserit way. They wished to produce a male Bene Gesserit who could see the future in time and space, called the Kwisatz Haderach, whom Lady Jessica believes Paul can become. 

    As the stakes get ever higher for the Atreides family as the Harkonnens continue attempting to end their feud by ending the Atreides' lives, Paul has to make some significant decisions that could potentially affect the future of the entire planet of Arrakis. 

    Taking away the "new world" aspect, Dune is a pure science fiction novel done extremely well and it has also aged very well in the 53 years since its first publication in 1965. While Frank Herbert clearly wants you to feel for the Atreides family and the Fremen, it's hard not to have empathy and understanding for where the Harkonnen family is coming from, along with some of the plot twists that occur throughout the novel. 

    The only detractor that I found with this story is that it sometimes got hard to follow with the Arrakis-specific terminology because of reading too quickly and not fully understanding the meanings of various words. Also, there could possibly have been a bit more exposition in setting up this entirely new world system because it's something brand new to all of us readers. 

    A big bonus is that Frank wrote 5 more books for this series, so Paul's story doesn't end at the end of Dune, but is continued on in several following books. At the end of the day, this is such a great, fairly quick read and there's so much potential to be had with the rest of the books in the series, so I'd highly recommend this book to any science fiction lover. 

  12. The Blog of Curses

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    Recent Entries

    Welcome to my first blog ever at HPFT! :cheers:

    I am excited to announce the winners of The Cultural Diversity Challenge, in which participants had to write about a cultural experience that was foreign to them. Each of my participants did a phenomenal job honoring various cultures and I certainly learned a lot from their efforts. Thank you and congratulations to the winners!

     

    In third place, with a beautiful depiction of Nordic culture...

    cd3.png.553b4a86fed7f40d9c3676f101f798b4.png

    Albus Potter's Trip to the Nordic Magical World by @StarFeather

    Please PM me for two additional reviews on whatever stories you choose!

     

    In second place, with a thought-provoking look into Deaf culture...

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    Sound of Silence by @Chelts-rhj

    Please PM me for four additional reviews on whatever stories you choose!
     

    In first place, with a moving exploration of Indian culture...

    cd1.png.9a71b5c89b43e632a0f4f6cbe42a78e6.png

    Dum Vivimus Vivamus (M) by @sunshine_locks

    Please PM me for six additional reviews on whatever stories you choose!

     

    Thank you again to all participants! I enjoyed reading and reviewing your stories, and I highly recommend all of them!
    Feel free to use your awards graphics wherever you choose, just make sure to rehost them and credit me. :)

  13. The Roller Coaster called Life

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    Hello folks!

    This is my first ever blog post and I've a lot to say, so I really hope that you'd find it in yourselves to read to the end of this. If not, still drop me a comment and say Hi, I'd feel really welcome.

    So, starting off my blog with a post containing my introduction, giving some information about my life and what do I hope to do here on the site.

    Who Am I?

    Please call me Maggie. I officially joined this site on June 10, 2016. That's more than two years ago!! Forgive me but I found it in me to come say hello to you amazing people only now.. 😪

    Well, if you haven't already guessed by my joining date, I was really active on HPFF (Are we allowed to mention it here? 😋). I do remember many of the names here (I've been snooping around a bit), had forged some great bonds with many of you folks and I'm no stranger to this community. I was active in the forum events, used to participate in challenges and continually gave life to my plunnies and even delved into graphics during my brief stint on HPFF previously.

    I hope 😅 some of you would be able to recognize me if I were to mention my old username/pen-name. But, I just feel like I need a fresh start here on HPFT, hence the new name. I hope I'll be able to make friends here again. I'm no troublemaker, I promise!! 😁

    The Sabbatical

    If you're wondering where was I during the last two years or even if you're not, please read on. 😋

    The short version is, real life took over.

    The long version is, I graduated university, got a job, moved out of my parents' home to a new city, built a new life, struggled with bosses and assignments, slogged in many late night hours for work and finally, finally got my due in terms of recognition from my management. Old friends grew distant, people changed, met awesome people, made some great new friends, even had a crush which I eventually outgrew!! 😋😋 WHew!!!! It doesn't seem as long and challenging here, but believe me, I've been through a hell of a roller-coaster ride!

    I could never distance myself from the HP fandom though. I continued on reading Jily (my one and only OTP) here and on tumblr and just kept making up stories in my head which I still hope to write one day. I even tried participating in one of the house cup events (it was the reviewing event, snowball event I think 🤔) but just had to leave in the middle because real life took over once again. Apologies to my fellow teammates.. 😢

    Why Come Back?

    Because.. I just feel like it? 

    I'm in a very happy place in life right now. I've got my dream job which I would be hopefully starting very soon and things are looking up for a while now. And all this happiness and positivism, which I feel around me nowadays, has inspired me again to come back here. 

    Blah.. Blah.. Blah..

    Some other things about me, if anyone's interested..

    • I'd soon be moving countries, but that's OK because it's for a job I've wanted for a long time.
    • I'm into other fandoms as well, so we can talk about these as well:
      • GOT
      • The Handmaid's Tale -- I'm crazyyyyyy about this one
      • Stranger Things
      • Marvel Universe
      • Arrowverse
    • Did I say that I'm a software engineer?
    • I love singing. One of my hobbies is to sing and record those songs. I'm not a terrible singer, I promise.. 😉
    • Also, I'm a Gryffie!! :gryffindor: A special shout out to any fellow Gryffindors reading this post 🤗
    • I love writing character sketches and about magical objects. Actually, I'm planning on writing a magical object series soon!!

     

    Did you read through all of this? Thanks a lot! Please drop me a note below! 

    Hopefully I'll be able to have a longer journey here this time!! 😁😁

  14. First of all, I do apologize that this update is coming in so late. I really did mean to post my monthly trip update in August, but as I’m sure many of you know, things got a little crazy around here with the wrapping up of our annual House Cup Tournament last month, lol!  So here I am now, better late than never, to provide you all with what will likely be my LAST Missions Trip update before the actually trip itself happens…🇭🇳 That being said, here is what's been happening over the past month since my last update:


     

    1. I am so incredibly happy to report that I sold 15 t-shirts during our fundraiser for that. And then, with a few last minute unexpected donations from some people at work, I received the LAST bit of funding that I needed to meet the August goal of $400.00 - meaning that my trip was FULLY FUNDED on time!!! :yay: I met all of my deadlines, and now our flights have all been confirmed and we officially have our plane tickets!! Honestly, I am still completely baffled by the fact that I somehow managed to raise $1,700 dollars in 3 months time. But I honestly could NOT have done it without all of the amazing and overwhelming support of all m family and friends!!! 💕 

     

    2. As mentioned in my +Last Update, I am going to be teaching VBS to the 12-17 year old teens in Honduras, and we will have 90 minutes to present a lesson, craft, and an activity to the kids. I was put in charge of the craft and the activity, so I’ve been very busy this past month researching team building exercises and learning how to make Paracord bracelets, lol. Thankfully though, it’s all coming together though, and my partner and I are finally starting to feel as though we have our lesson down-pact. We’re getting together on Friday to go shopping for our final supplies for the activity, so this is like really it, y’all!! 💙 

     

    3. I also had the opportunity to get together with our trip leader Sam’s dad, who plays the guitar (and is also the only other musician in our group, lol) and practice our songs for the trip as well. Roger has, admittedly, never played his guitar in front of people before. He’s always just done it for fun, so our jam session was super fun!! Both of us are stoked to lead worship for the people at the center in Honduras now, and we have six songs prepared. I even learned how to sing a few lines of some of the songs in Spanish!! (“You Make Me Brave” and “How He Loves Us”) 🎼
     

    4. In an unexpected turn of events, we discovered that the center we’re serving will be having a “Teen Day” - not just for the kids who attend the One Child Matters center, but for all of the teenagers in the community there to come to as well. Our Team Leader and our Pastor are going to be leading the lesson on this, and they’re doing this whole thing on Identity. Sam has some really cool ideas for the activity involved with it that I’m pretty excited about… But, at the end of it, she asked ME if I wouldn’t mind sharing my personal testimony on teen suicide with the kids. I said no at first, because I am NOT a public speaker, and I was/am very afraid to talk about those intimate parts of my life with anybody. But then, the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that this may very well be the reason that I was sent on this trip. So I called her back, and I agreed to do that too. Putting myself in such a vulnerable position has certainly NOT been an easy thing to do, but I know I’m making the right call. (And if anybody is interested in hearing the story, DM me some time and we’ll talk.) I’m trying to learn how to be more open about it. Who knows. Maybe after the trip, I’ll post the whole thing on one of those anonymous Blog sites for everyone to read. But for now… baby steps, lol. 😅

     

    5. I have my final doctor’s appointment tomorrow to take care of any/all preventative measures that need to be addressed with my Family Doctor prior to leaving the Country. I have also contacted my phone service provider to setup a service and data coverage while I am our of the Country. (Verizon has a really nice Travel Plan option that I would recommend for anyone who has them and may be traveling.) 😉  So at least I know I won't be totally cutoff from the outside world while I'm over there. My cell phone WILL work at all times, should I need to make use of it... And that is it!!! ALL of my prep-work will FINALLY be complete!!! Every bit of paperwork is done, and all of the money has been turned in now. It is a done-deal at this point. We have officially reached the point of no return, lol!! 😱


     

    To say that I have been a nervous wreck over the past few weeks would be an understatement. Tensions have definitely been running high, and my stress levels have been TO THE MAX as I was frantically trying to balance ALL of my responsibilities in life - at work for the doctor, at work for the respite kids, at church for my band, at church for the missions trip, here on the site, and at home too. 😥 So many things/people were vying for my attention, and I know I’ve been a bit all over the place recently as I struggled to stay afloat and get EVERYTHING done that needed to be completed. It has definitely been an exhausting process, and it has taken a lot of patience to not give up. And I'll admit that having to write my life story, and relive some of the things I went through in my youth have put me in a very vulnerable place, emotionally, over the past few weeks as well too... So if I haven’t seemed like myself, or if I haven’t been around as much since the finale ended, know that I am fine. I’m still here, lol! I’ve just been internalizing a LOT of things lately, and as the trip gets closer, I have to start mentally preparing myself for it. I DO feel as though I am refocused now though, and even though I went through that high anxiety period, I am not about to let that stop me from going on this trip now!! 👍
     

    Even as I make this blog post, it is 3:50am on Tuesday the 11th of September. Which means that, in exactly TEN DAYS from NOW, I will be on my way to the airport. Our flight leaves at 6:15am on Thursday, September 20th. So, naturally, we have to be there at the ungodly hour of 4:00am, lol!!! 😆 My suitcase is already packed for the most part. I’ve gotten all of my clothes ready, and I’ve prepared Angie’s bookbag full of gifts. It’s so full now that I officially cannot fit anything else in it, lol!! (TBH, I probly never should have added in those last three Disney Princess dolls, haha!!) I honestly cannot wait to meet her. I am so excited to see this little girl, that it just makes everything I’ve gone through to get to this point so worth it… 💗

     

    So there you have it, folks!!! My Honduras Missions Trip is 10 days away, and even though I am now fully funded, even though we do have a solid itinerary and all of our lessons are all planned out now, even though most of my things are packed and so many other things are all falling into place now, and even though I am VERY excited to meet my Sponsored little girl… I may be slightly panicking a just a little, lol!! 😬  TEN DAYS!?!? Are you kidding me?? It feels like we JUST started talking and planning this whole thing yesterday, lol!!! 😂 And now I will be leaving in less than 2 week's time, OMGGG!!!!!

     

    Needless to say, in my next Blog update, I will be so very excited to share all of my trip experiences with you guys!! Because, nerves or no nerves, I AM going on this trip, lol!! 😋 And yet again, I cannot THANK YOU ALL enough for standing by me, and being so loving/supportive/encouraging throughout this entire process!!! Literally, I don't think I could have gotten this far without the community of HPFT!!!  :wub:  I love all of you guys so much!!!!   :hug:

     

    🧡 ~ Deana 

     

  15. like a pendulum swings

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    A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Narrative OF Challenge! All of your entries were so amazing and I am completely hooked onto each of your original universes - each of them was so unique and well-written that I had a really hard time judging them. xD 

     

    Entry 1:  When Daddy gets Home (M) by Margaret

    [Warnings: contains derogative language and child abuse]

    Margaret has written a powerful and heartbreaking story about a dysfunctional family, building up a strong background for her protagonist through her one-shot. My emotions were a wreck after reading this. 

     

    Entry 2: Save the Eggs ! (T) by StarFeather

    Kenny spins a wonderfully rhythmic story around little elves and their way of life. He connects his fantasy world with the human world and touches upon environmental issues through a very unique PoV. 

     

    Entry 3: The Forest Cottage by MadiMalfoy

    This beautiful one-shot revolves around a forest-dwelling witch who loves making tea for unsuspecting travellers. Madi's world combines magic and science, and is a beautiful piece of story-telling that filled me with warmth.

     

    Entry 4: The Bone Troll by victoria_anne

    Another fantastic entry which filled me a mixture of emotions that I honestly didn't expect when I started reading it. The piece contains great descriptions and a strong build-up to the main event as Bianca's protagonist ventures into a forest in search of a mysterious creature.

     

    Entry 5: Quarter  (M) by LunaStellaCat

    Jenn describes bittersweet, nostalgic moments through her protagonist, Jacqueline, and touches upon the themes of growing up, empty nest, family dynamics, and illness in her wonderful fic. 

     

    I strongly recommend that everyone reads these, they're all so good! 

     

    And now, the winners! 

     

    First Place: @Margaret

    Congratulations! You get three additional reviews on stories of your choice, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic. :D

    margaret.png.caa607d13e7decb2bf9b4880aa7ca477.png

     

    Second Place: @victoria_anne

    Great work with your entry! You get two additional reviews on stories of your choice, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic! 

    347439578_victoriaanne.png.5c2167cad029d467e8d644f193d58282.png

     

    Third Place: @MadiMalfoy

    Congratulations Madi! You get one additional review, a link to your entry on my signature, and this award graphic. :)

    madi.png.e0e4f6f9f9d7679f6cc65db728405494.png

     

     

    @StarFeather and @LunaStellaCat I was impressed with both your entries and will be adding a link to both of them in my signature as well! 

    Congratulations everyone! Please PM me and let me know which fics you'd like reviewed. And if you're using your award graphic, please remember to credit. :)

     

     

  16. MadiMalfoy
    Latest Entry

    Hi everyone! 👋

    I just thought I'd make a blog post about some big things that are happening in my life because it's about to get crazy for me in RL! :twothumbsup:

    So first things first:   I moved halfway across the United States from Iowa (Midwest) to California (West Coast) for graduate school! I'll be going for my PhD in chemistry -- specifically, looking at atmospheric chemistry in the environment (think smog, forest fire smoke, air pollution, etc) and hopefully will be doing a mixture of laboratory and field research once I'm in a group. This also means I'm far away from the majority of my family and my long-term boyfriend, so I'll be pretty down these next couple weeks as things start happening for school (training and the like), so love and hugs would be greatly appreciated ♥️ (Don't worry too much though, I do have an aunt & uncle and their oldest daughter/husband nearby so I'm not totally alone) As a heads up, I will likely be pretty quiet on here towards the end of this month into the first chunk of October as I get settled into classes and such, but I'll do my best to answer PMs and reviews and the like. 

    Also, I've started my first venture into Original Fiction at the prodding of @Theia with a character vignette for her Narrative OF Challenge. I'm in the very early stages of planning a novel, the very early ideas of which can be found in my Writer's Journal and I will hopefully be better planning things with Scrivener once I download that (free trial). 

    I'm also going to be trying to update SOMETHING every couple of weeks so I can get my WIPs done and hit that complete button something other than a one-shot finally! This includes finishing Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls and also (hopefully) Love Makes Me (M) by the end of the year. Something else on my docket is re-writing an old Jily one-shot from HPFF and various other projects including (but not limited to) further expansions in my The Triwizard Effect Series and also just some Harry/Hermione BFF things that I want to write now that I've completed my rewatch of all eight films this weekend. 

    I have also greatly enjoyed being welcomed to the Prefect team at the beginning of July and I hope to do Ravenclaw (and by extension, all of you) proud. If anyone ever has questions about the site, archive, or just life questions in general, please don't hesitate to send me a PM, my inbox is always open ❤️ My first ever time participating in the House Cup Finale was also hugely exciting and I am so proud of Ravenclaw for all of the work and wonderful effort we put into our newspaper 💙 🧡

    Even though I'm not/didn't do writing/posting at the rate that I would have liked this summer, I'm still very proud of my entry for the Prefect's Celebration Challenge and the progress I've made so far for Love Makes Me and Faith, Trust, and Crystal Balls. Be on the lookout for new chapters and postings from me soon along with updates about how grad school is going over on my Twitter account (M). 

    That's all for now, folks! I'll check in soon with an update on how grad school is going in October! :waving:

  17. BloggerMaybe

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    As you may know if you've looked at the bullet journal thread in the Great Hall, I am absolutely obsessed with bullet journaling. 😍 It's an addiction. I have a problem.  😍😍

     

    Since it's almost a new month, I spent some time tonight setting up my bullet journal spread for September. Part of this monthly ritual includes choosing a quote to inspire me for the next thirty days. I decided I wanted a place to record and share all the quotes I've used so far, so here they are!

    1169041718_Bulletjournalquotes1.thumb.png.207f7209115f6c251bf5babc9db59cdf.png

    In case you can't read my hand writing or the image isn't working, here they are written out

    January
    "Excellence is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

    February
    "You've been criticizing yourself for years. Try approving of yourself and see what happens." -Louise Hay

    March
    Bloom dangerously. -Rupi Kaur (paraphrase)

    April
    "Bloom beautifully / dangerously / loudly / bloom softly / however you need / just bloom." -Rupi Kaur (I really love this poem, hence the repeat)

    May
    "They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." -Andy Warhol

    June
    "With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" -Oscar Wilde

    July
    "Just like moons and like suns / With the certainty of tides / Just like hopes springing high / Still I'll rise." - Maya Angelou <3333 #queen

    August
    "Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure."  (source uncertain)

    September
    "Remember that failure is an event, not a person." -Zig Ziglar

     

    My favorite designs are April and August, but I really love the quote from February.

    If you have any favorite quotes you'd like to share, I am always looking for new ones! 

  18. A Poetical Mood Challenge Results

     

    Challenge Details: This isn't just a poetry challenge -- it comes with a twist! I want you to bring a BIG MOOD into your poem. It can be any mood -- frustrated, enraged, excited, elated, somber, madness, mysterious, romantic... anything, anything, anything! You can combine moods if you want. The most important thing is that I don't want you to tell me the mood -- I want you to make me FEEL the mood. Be creative with your mood and give me an experience. For example, make me feel the first pumpkin spice latte of autumn, or waking up on Christmas morning, or the starkness in a funeral, or the fear in a slasher film, or whatever you're doing. This is a go big or go home kind of challenge. Move me! Scare me! Make me cry! Make me laugh! Enrapture me. It's a tall order, I know.

    Please use poetic elements in your writing to enhance the poem and the reader's [my] emotional experience. If this sounds difficult, it's really not -- you'll probably use at least that many without meaning to.

    You're more than welcome to write in any poetical form you wish! However, I'm going to add yet another spin on this challenge with bonus points (because this Rumpel surely does love bonus points). Try experimenting with a poetical form that you've never tried out before. +Here is a list of some forms if you need some examples -- I've actually recently tried out Ae Freislighe, which was beautiful, challenging, and so much fun. Let me know when you drop off your poem if you've experimented and I'll at +3 bonus points to your final score. [You DO NOT have to stick to a poetical form, strictly -- use one as a guideline, instead, if you'd prefer. ]

     

    The Entries:

    I received some phenomenal entries, making it [as always] quite difficult to grade the rubrics. 

    Year of the Cat by @StarFeather 
    Seasons of Love by @Theia
    Rage, I Rage by @Pixileanin
    My Sweet Little Boy by @Chelts-rhj
    Warfare by @Chelts-rhj

     

    The Judging:

    I used a slightly different rubric than the ones I've previously used since poetry is such a personal experience. 

    25% Objective: how well you met the challenge requirements

    15% Poetic Elements: use of poetic elements [3+ to enhance the reader's emotions]

    25% Cohesiveness: unity of lines/stanzas that connect to the topic of the poem -- does the whole poem fit together? are the lines/stanzas straying from your topic? did everything make sense?

    30% Creativity: uniqueness -- was there distinct creative artistic effort put into your poem? HAVE FUN -- EXPERIMENT -- LOSE YOURSELF IN YOUR POETRY

    5% Word Choice: rhythm and flow of language that presented the purpose in an interesting and natural way

     

    The Prizes:

    I will review ALL entries.

    Third Place: prize graphic, one additional review, a place in my Story Challenge Winners in my profile

    Second Place: prize graphic, two additional reviews, a place in my Story Challenge Winners in my profile, a PicSpam of your poem

    First Place: prize graphic, four additional reviews, a place in my Story Challenge Winners in my profile, a PicSpam of your poem, [at least] three WJ Questions, a link to your story in my signature for a month [or whenever/if I remember to take it down], eternal glory


    Please note that for those of you who have not yet received your entry review [which should be all of you], it is coming over the next couple weeks. I apologize for not getting them done prior to the winners' announcement, but I wanted to have the judging results out by the end of August. 

     

    The Winners


    Third Place:

    thirdRage.png.b20d7628bbdf63ceb00b8342631d5d11.png

    Rage, I Rage by @Pixileanin

    Pix wrote a really fun and imaginative Cywydd Llosgyrnog poem about a demigod who frees his imprisonment under the sea via creating volcanoes.

     

    Second Place:

    secondWarfare.png.c212ab8621a2bd982c259d9063da9991.png

    Warfare by @Chelts-rhj

    Chelts used a stylistic approach by using Contrapuntal Poem, which is told through the eyes of a soldier. 
    It gave me chills.

     

    First Place:

    1960687711_firstSeasonsofLove.png.d70427c326735120c500fef23289770d.png

    Seasons of Love by @Theia

    Nim used haiku to express love through four seasons. The effects were moving. 

     

    All winners: Please contact me to let me know where you would like your reviews! Congratulations!

    -------------------------------------------------------

    awards by Rumpelstiltskin

  19.  

    • It's nice to not feel like a complete failure
    • Don't get ahead of yourself kid, you're still a bit of a letdown - but at least now you're a bit more proactive.
    • My family are actually more interested and willing to be involved in my life. 
    • I'm excited about volunteering and getting to leave the house 
    • But I need to do more things
    • Keep BuSy 
    • Maybe I should throw in some book reviews in this new blog over at wordpress
    • AHAHAHA maybe you should read more books before you make suggestions like that
    • But I also wanna keep blogging 
    • I want to be an inspiration but not like a "i want to be like bex" - more like, now I can avoid every mistake bex made
    • I've made SO MANY mistakes 
    • Im gonna make a lot more too - and I think that's important 
    • I've never got anything right first time....except my drivers theory test - I did good in that 
    • I've done resits and messed up auditions and made friends with people who HATED me when they first met me
    • I don't blame them and have NO IDEA what changed their minds 
    • But yeah, I'm not a lucky person or someone who gets it right first time - and I want to show that in my blog....maybe 
    • Also I wanna talk about fun things to do at halloween and christmas bc why not???
    • I wasn't excited for october weather
    • But now that it's almost here I can dig it
    • I dont have the money to buy nice candles and bath bombs like I used to
    • But I prefer reading books when it's cold????
    • Is that just me??? Probably! 
    • Not excited for christmas - how am i going to pay for presents??!? 
    • I'm a thrifty gal actually I'm not that worried 
    • Not only that but I've never been big on christmas presents, I appreciate them but I don't need them 
    • ...actually I'm not really big on birthday presents either
    • I prefer being able to treat myself and other people. I don't like being spoiled. It feels weird to me. 
    • However i am currently accepting donations to the bank of bex
    • No just kidding i need an actual job first
    • OH and 
    • I'm thinking of sharing videos now
    • Of me 
    • And my voice
    • Using my voice in a musical sense
    • In a theatrical, jazzy kinda style 
    • I'm still not sure
    • I've set up an instagram account for it just in case because I've been thinking about it for years 
    • Will I do anything with it???? 
    • WHO KNOWS
    • I should make "who knows" my catchphrase bc everything is so uncertain these days 
    • Oh well 😂😂😂😂 

     

    I hope you've enjoyed another installment to the Inner Monologue Saga!! 

  20. Seizing the Dawn (Or Not)

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    Right, so first things first: characterization is tricky. It’s tricky when you're writing something completely original, and it’s arguably even trickier when writing something based off of someone else’s work, i.e. fanfiction, because then there are standards. 

    Y’all know what I’m talking about: when you’re trying so hard to write in a certain scenario or ship, that things just spiral out of control until the characters you know and love are unrecognizable like the glorious tirefire that’s My Immortal. Take Draco/Hermione, for example. In canon, these two despise each other: Draco calls Hermione Mudblood, she hexes him, he becomes a Death Eater, she fights the Dark Lord, and so on and so forth. Hermione eventually marries Ron Weasley, and has Hugo and Rose. Draco gets together with Astoria Greengrass, and has little Scorpius. Scorpius marries Rose.

    Dang it. Let's try it again—

    Albus marries Scorpius.

    😬 Must... focus... away.... from.... ships.

    Everyone lives happily ever aftermore or less. There! Canon's finished, heroes and villains get their ending, the next generation begins, blah, blah, blah. Everything's cut and dry for the most part (Seriously, some of the fan theories I've seen are both awesome and terrifying. Leave my childhood alone!)

    But then this is where the fangirls and fanboys come in. Maybe you don't agree with a decision Ms. Rowling made in one of the books. Maybe you want to know what happened if Harry hadn't gone ahead and cursed Malfoy in Half-Blood Prince. Maybe you just think Neville and Harry would look adorable together (Which...yeah. You're not wrong there. Artists, I salute you so much). Maybe you think Lavender Brown got a bad rap. But no matter your ships, or your what-if scenarios, choosing characterization over getting right to the good stuff is what makes them believable. Unfortunately the reverse is something that can plague me some other authors who totally aren't named Ausra. Nope, not at all. :whistling:

    Anyway. That one's a blog post for another day, seeing as it involves flashbacks, Mary Sues, and deciding that accepting dares from eleven-year-old versions of your friends is a good idea (Spoiler alert: It's a terrible idea). Back to the main point:

    Let's take Draco Malfoy/Hermione Granger, for a rather famous example.

    While I normally neither read nor write Dramione, I have seen a few of the many well-received and excellently written fics featuring the couple. And they are good. But, what makes those particular stories so well-written, and consequently widely enjoyed, isn’t the trope-y fluff and angst put in for readers to enjoy, even for the ones like me who don't normally ship it, is that tricky thing we call characterization.

    The thing is, most of the time, you don’t want to seerunning with the Dramione exampleis the erstwhile Miss Granger and Mister Malfoy immediately making lovey-dovey eyes at each other, and proclaiming eternal love at first sight when they meet, because that would make absolutely no sense (Most of the time). In their canon circumstances, when they first meet, Hermione is a know-it-all Muggle-born too stubborn for her own good, while Draco is busy falling in line with his parents' espoused values as a pure-blood racist loudmouth.

    Don't look at me like that. You know it's true.

    For a good story that doesn’t leave us wondering if we even just read about Draco Lucius “Foul Evil Little Cockroach” Malfoy and Hermione Jean “Filthy Mudblood” Granger, and not just some OCs with their names, these two have to work past the issues they have both with each other and themselves. For example, Malfoy would probably have to accept his father's ideals were utter poisonous drivel if he ever wanted to stand a chance asking Hermione out on a date, and probably throw in some serious groveling and a pardon signed by the Minister of Magic as well, depending where he is in the canon timeline. Additionally, if you run with canon, he would probably have to fight his family at some point (Which would make excellent angst) and is something that would be cause for significant conflict. Does he care for Hermione enough to stand against from his parents, his family, to fight against what he's been taught to revere for most of his life? Does he even want to try, or just convert her to his side?

    As for Hermione, it would be a case of overcoming old biases and bad blood. She would have to accept the possibility that one of her oldest enemies and school rivals has fundamentally changed. Most likely, she would also struggle to accept that the world isn't all black and white in this instancehe may still not be aligned with her morals. Does she care enough to possibly stand against Harry and Ron—her oldest friends, and who have proven on multiple occasions to loathe Draco Malfoy—as well as be essentially responsible for separating him from the people he's loved all his life? Or, is she being seduced by the idea of the Dark Arts as well as the idea of the blond Slytherin in question?

    All of these are great character questions you see authors asking when writing them together. And this isn't even without diverging from canon even further. What if Hermione was born to magical parents, and was simply raised by dentists, or if Malfoy was born a Squib? How would this affect their dynamic?

    Characters are so much fun to mess with. 😇

    Anyway, the point is, characterization is hard in fanfiction, because there are certain standards you have to adhere to. For example, Hermione Granger is a studious bookworm, James T. Kirk is a charming flirt, Anakin Skywalker is a reckless tactician, et cetera. There are certain things you simply cannot deviate from without having your story labeled immediately as out of character, not without excellent in-story reasons. Hermione can’t suddenly become obsessed with her looks and hate studying for no reason, Jim can’t suddenly find human interaction repulsive and become an introvert just because he woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and Anakin can’t suddenly become this great cautious thinker out of the blue. That’s what Obi-Wan is for.

    Unless, of course, you change something vital about their backstory. They could be raised by someone else, never be introduced to a vital event in their past, change an aspect of their integral abilities, change their species, even, or you could gender-flip.

    The last can be both easy and difficult for many reasons in the Harry Potter 'verse. For the latter it can be because of many—let’s call them precedents—precedents to found on the Internet are either essentially Harry with the necessary girl parts and some horrific variant on Harriet for a name (Boring), or it’s poorly written smut with no care for personality (Don’t get me started). Rarely, there is Transgender Harry, but that’s a whole other can of worms, much rarer, and very interesting, with different things to keep in mind. All of them very easy lazy trends to fall behind.

    But, there is another option, that fewer writers take: They re-work the character from the ground up—or at least, partially from the ground up. It’s a large task to do it completely, and to be honest, whoever is capable of doing it has my complete and utter respect. I am not one of them, believe me. More of it was retroactive where I'm concerned.

    But back to the point: gender-flipping our beloved main protagonist, or any Harry Potter character, can also be one of the easiest things in the world, when you take into account two things: one, you have seven books, eight movies, an entire website, and assorted material to work off of for personality, and two—and this is unique to Harry—he is something of a blank slate, in some respects.

    Think about it. What do you know about Harry the person? Not his parents, or life events, or why Tom Marvolo Riddle wanted him dead. Think about his favorite color, hobbies, worst memories of Dudley, what he did with Ron and Hermione on a day-to-day basis when they just hung out, not attempting to solve the latest mystery plaguing the school. Was he a dog person or a cat person? Did he have a favorite professional Quidditch team? Any personal pet peeves? Was he a caffeine addict? Any embarrassing incidents or inside jokes with his classmates not directly related to the DADA teacher trying to kill him? What made Harry James Potter unique from every other student in the school as a person?

    I would bet a lot of Galleons that no one outside Miss Rowling herself could definitively answer all of the questions posited above. Sure, we know plenty of personality traits, his extracurriculars, values, plenty about who his loved ones are, but the everyday stuff—things you would know about your best friend, more or less—is in somewhat limited supply in canon, for a lot of good reasons. This, however, does leave many, many, doors open for fanfic writers.

    Because the lack of those idiosyncrasies, the stuff sometimes not given to Harry in favor of something else needed to advance the overall plot? That’s our bread and butter, where those drabbles and one-shots and plot bunnies that go bump in the night come from. (And the memes. We can never forget the memes.)

    So, what do we do, with this empty space of detail about our favorite characters? What writers have done since time immemorial.

    Make stuff up. Sort of.

    Reverse-engineering would probably be a better term for it. You take what you know what you know about the character, and the people around them, create a working theory (My science teachers would be so proud of me), and then you start making stuff up. This can cut both ways, of course, and send a character on a one-way ride into OOC territory, but it's by and large what many authors due successfully, and often with fantastic results. To take a slightly boring, linguistically nerdy example: determining the name of a Female!Harry Potter, going all the way back to the genderbending idea. For starters, you can take the normal mainstays—Harriet, Hariah, Hari, Hariel—out, as it’s unlikely that people named Lily and James, and who named their son Harry, not Hadrian or Henry or Harrison, would name their daughter something like that. Also, most of them are really overused.

    Instead, there are several routes you can take. The most popular outside the H-names tend to be a flower name similar to Lily and Petunia (Rose, Dahlia, Marigold, Poppy, etc), a royal name in the same vein of James or Harry, a nickname for Henry (Wilhelmina, Josephine, Victoria, etc), or a name appropriate for a babe born during a war (Hope, Nadia, Faith, Constance, etc). You’re more likely to have a free reign on middle names, be it Lily, James, Euphemia (Harry’s canon grandmother), Dorea (She was considered Harry’s grandmother until revealed otherwise), or anything else.

    Besides the name, there are many more examples of characterization in creating a Female!Harry, but the main thing is to make a unique character that will keep the reader interested in a new character arc while still recognizable when compared to the original, the reactions of the people around the protagonist is an excellent place to start. As far as personality traits go, we know, or can infer, a lot about the supporting cast and how they might react. To begin with, it is most likely that if Petunia had found a niece who more resembled her sister than her hated brother-in-law that she would have either treated her more nicely, or far more strictly than Harry ever was. Vernon could potentially go either way, while Dudley will follow the lead of one of his parents, most likely. Professor McGonagall could show up instead of Hagrid to meet the child of her departed friends, with Sirius Black in Azkaban and Remus Lupin MIA.

    But I’ll stop from jumping down that particularly rabbit hole, since this is where different interpretations of canon and different choices of the author, all with their own validity, come into play. Perhaps our Female Harry has flipped looks, with her mother’s hair but her father’s eyes, or she still retains the looks of Canon Harry. Maybe she's the spitting image of one of her parents. Or, you choose to interpret the Dursleys’ treatment of Harry as far worse than any specific incident mentioned in canon, and she is consequently treated horribly, either of which would have lasting repercussions on her personality when she boards the Hogwarts Express for the first time. What repercussions, you ask? That's up to whoever's writing the story.

    Thirdly (But most assuredly not lastly), there is the matter of the prophecy. Once again, there are several options here: you could have Neville become the Chosen One and the Boy-Who-Lived; or, not necessarily the Boy-Who-Lived, depending on how you want the story to go. Lily and James were both actively fighting against Voldemort, defying him three times. They would be considerable targets for the Death Eaters, even worthy of attention from the Dark Lord himself. Lily’s protection of Harry could possibly prove unique. Or she could be trading how-to-protect-your-child-and-defeat-Dark-Lords tips with Alice Longbottom. Maybe it's someone else entirely! (C'mon, I need a Padma and Parvati are the Twins-Who-Lived story. It'd be epic.)

    Or you could just change the pronouns of the prophecy, and keep things the same. I might over-complicate things sometimes. Possibly. Probably. I beg the Fifth?

    Writing is hard sometimes, Internet friends. Though, I’m reliably informed it gets easier, and it does have so many awesome moments (Seriously, has anyone else ever had that moment where you're writing something, and you come up with this great twist or plot point, and you start cackling at your own brilliance? It's one of the best feelings ever).

    Apparently, it’s also a good thing when the voices in your head talk to you and sound like your characters, and much saner than just having your muse shriek at you all day.

    I have my doubts. 🤔

    However, I will admit it is far more organized—everyone tends to take turns. I imagine it's the only time in Voldemort's life he's ever willingly waited in line.

     

    "I like the notion of making stuff up or letting your imagination go away with you."

    -Stevie Jackson

     

    Note: This blog post was spawned via reading some posts on the Character Name Help and OC Name Inspiration threads on HPFT, as well as several posts in the Ship Talk part of HPFT, as well as Professor Tolkien, may his royal linguistic geniusness rest in peace.

     

     

  21. A Monstrous Betrayal

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    Reading HP fan-fiction is a fairly hazardous pursuit for me since my favourite types of stories ('Canon Rewrite' and 'Peggy Sue') are also the most likely to include gratuitous bashing on my favourite character. Even the 'exclude' feature on AO3 only goes so far.

    Here's an example. I was reading a really nice 'what if' story, wherein Lily ended up with Severus. It was going quite well and I felt safe since the summary had specifically stated that there would be no character bashing. Lo and behold, however, my enjoyment was brought to an abrupt end when the author decided to dedicate an entire chapter to an intervention, or some such, where all of the adult main characters berated Dumbledore. Two things seemed particularly egregious; Snape referred to Dumbledore as "worse than Tom Riddle" (yes the self-same mass murdering lunatic) and Elphias Doge was revealed to have been a false friend (leaving the old man friendless and alone).

    A few months later, I encountered a story in which Fawkes himself abandoned Dumbledore, and there appears to be no shortage of these sorts of stories. I don't go out of my way to read them and I don't begrudge people for writing them (apart from when they pretend they aren't) since fan-fiction often serves a cathartic purpose which character bashing is an efficient, if crude, vessel for.

    So, for some cathartic release of my own (because, goodness knows, I can't get actually create something to channel my emotions into), I thought I'd make a catalogue of things these stories have in common that make Dumbledore look worse than even the least charitable interpretation of actual text could:

    1. The Will. These stories invariably include reference to a will specifying Harry's placement with someone other than the Dursleys. That's fair enough, of course, but the most likely candidates are indisposed so it typically includes an almost comically long list of people with increasingly tenuous connections to the Potters or, more bizarrely, explicit instructions not to place him with the Dursleys. Dumbledore ignores the will, of course, because he's evil.
    2. The Magical Core. Another one, though less common, is the idea that every witch/wizard has an innate source of power which is stronger or weaker as the case may be. I can see the appeal, since is makes the writing easier if characters can just make things happen without practice. As it happens, Harry has a very powerful magical core which could lead to him performing wandless magic before he can tie his shoes. Dumbledore decided to bind Harry's magical core, however, because he's evil.
    3. The Anti-Horcrux. If Dumbledore had bothered to look it up, he'd have discovered that the procedure to harmlessly remove a horcrux from a living host is quite simple. He didn't bother, however, because he's evil.

    These three represent the sliding scale of Evil Dumbledore. The first sets up a far more manipulative Dumbledore who is constantly abusing his power to keep Harry away from the wonderful and loving family desperately trying to adopt him and raise him to be the next William Gladstone by the time he's thirteen.

    The second sets up a far more sinister Dumbledore who is actively harming Harry to maintain his own grip on power and the third depicts the quintessential Evil Dumbledore who is hellbent on an entirely needless blood sacrifice.

    I find it very strange that these authors can't stick to the canonical list of grievances (leaving him on the doorstep in the middle of the night, keeping secrets and so on) and always include invented crimes which the reader is presumably meant to be incensed over. But what's the point? If you don't like Dumbledore then surely your characters can rake him over the coals for the things in the actual book that made you dislike him rather than for things you made him do.

  22. chronica

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    so i've been thinking about writing one of these blogs for a wee while, and while i'm sure hpft is not the most prominent of platforms to post advice like this i'm sure there are a few people in this community who are due to start tertiary study soon - so this post is for you. im gonna try and keep it as universal as i can, though i am more familiar with the UK-style university model because i'm from new zealand and colonialism is a thing. 

    for those of you who don't know me - hi, i'm lisa. i've just completed a masters degree and am a tutor (read: TA if you're in the US) for a 100-level medieval history course this semester. this is my eighth year at uni. i like to think i've picked up a few things.

    PART ONE: MAKING FRIENDS

    • always remember: everyone is in the same boat in first year
      • this is amplified by about ten times if you're in a hall/dorms/campus accommodation in your first year because everyone else has left home too and they don't know anyone, except maybe a couple of school acquaintances who they're gonna realise they don't have much in common with anymore
      • i was a deeply uncool kid in high school but i ended up with surplus friends in first year because everyone's on the Friend Market. i picked up some weirdos in first year, kids. weirdos
    • making friends in your classes is always a good idea because a) you already have this thing in common; b) you have someone who you can ask for notes if you're away, or help with an assignment; c) complaining about the class is a sure-fire way to connect on an emotional level with other people
      • your tutorials/labs are a good starting point for making friends because they're smaller classes than your lectures and, if your tutor is anything like me, they will help you along by putting you in groups
        • this technique this semester alone has, by my own estimation, resulted in at least half a dozen group chats. i believe many share memes
      • there will be at least one person in your lectures/classes who has cool fandom stickers on their laptop. this is your in to talk to them. put stickers on your own laptop
      • mature students are usually really interesting people with great stories. befriend them. you may find they take you under their wing and impart their wisdom. friendship lottery
    •  clubs. join clubs on campus that relate to your interests
      • galaxy brain: if you're nervous about showing up to their events without really knowing anyone, volunteer early to be on the leadership team/executive of the club. this gives you a) a smaller group of people to get to know; b) a purpose to work towards so you're not stuck making small talk; c) cameraderie. working together with people on something you all care about is the ultimate adult friendship hack
      • clubs look good on your CV and show you're getting something more out of your time at college/uni than just your degree. also they can lead to some interesting opportunities

    PART TWO: PRACTICAL TIPS

    • backpack. satchels look cool and all but you can't fit all your shit in them and they will destroy your back
      • you may want to cultivate an Aesthetic on campus and while this is encouraged, cool little satchels are only practical if you live on campus and can go home to grab stuff on a regular basis
        • also if your laptop is really tiny or you've gone analogue for your note taking. bold move
    • Dropbox/Onedrive/whatever cloud storage system your institution has a subscription to
      • Keep everything on the cloud and back up to a flash drive or external on a regular basis - especially if you're working on a major assignment
    • As soon as you get your university email account, set up email forwarding to the account you check/have synced to your phone, or set it up directly using the app on your phone. For most institutions this would be Outlook
    • Don't buy food on campus it's a trap
      • do as i say, not as i do
    • follow your institution's social media accounts
      • this is often where they post important updates
      • follow the relevant meme pages as well
      • join the buy/sell or textbook exchange FB groups
    • find the following places on campus:
      • the nicest bathrooms or, if there are no nice bathrooms, the ones with the graffiti that best aligns with your political affiliation
      • the 24 hour study spaces. all-nighters will probably happen
      • your favourite spot in the library
        • the area/floor of your library where the books relevant to your majors can be found
      • an all-weather lunch spot
      • the best coffee place, if you drink coffee

    PART THREE: ASSIGNMENTS

    • read the course outline/syllabus
      • r e a d. i t.
      • find out the basics like deadline (including time!), where you submit (inc. online or hard copy, etc), word/page count, presentation requirements, referencing style, how much of your grade it's worth, and the penalties applied for late submission, going under/over word count, or anything else
    • you can write an essay overnight but you can't research one overnight
    • if there's a suggested reading list for an essay/assignment, read the things. cite them. they're recommended for a reason
    • get a friend to proofread before you submit
    • read your feedback!!
      • seriously it takes so long to write

    PART FOUR: ASKING FOR HELP

    • if in doubt, ask
    • disability support
      • most institutions should have something like this
      • this is where you arrange accommodations/support for any physical or mental health issues you have that might affect your studies
      • ours send out confidential learning support plans to the teaching staff of the courses you're enrolled in
      • support can range from having reader-writers for exams, extra time/a quiet room for exams, a note-taker, flexibility with assignment deadlines, permission to record lectures, etc
    • academic writing workshops/skills centres
      • again, most institutions should have something like this
      • these focus on teaching technical skills like grammar, spelling, how to structure an essay, etc
      • this is a good option if you don't need help with course content but aren't confident with writing
    • tutors/TAs
      • if you have one, these are your first point of contact for everything related to your course
      • i encourage all my students to discuss essay plans with me
        • take your tutors up on this offer, even if you think you're fine
        • they can offer you feedback at an early stage, recommend readings, and make sure you're on the right track
      • tutors are typically postgraduate students (Masters or PhD)
        • this means you'd usually be on first name basis with them
    • contacting lecturers/professors
      • your lecturer/professor is your first point of contact if you don't have a tutor/TA
      • as a general rule they are happy to help and particularly to explain course content but they are Very Busy People
      • when you email lecturers/professors, use their correct titles. if in doubt, check their staff page
        • even if it's normal to be on a first-name basis with your lecturer (eg in Australia/NZ) it's best to use Dr/Professor [X] the first time you contact them by email
        • In the US 'Professor' is a generally used title for academic teaching staff, whether or not they have a PhD
        • In the UK system 'Professor' is the highest academic rank and it is incorrect to use it unless they've reached that rank
          • If in doubt use Dr
        • n. b. there is a whole Thing with people not recognising or using the titles of academic women so if you have a female lecturer/professor make sure you address her using her professional title unless she tells you not to. 

     

     

  23. 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. :P

    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 Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

     

    Primary (the “why”)

    At first glance, Buffy looks like a bit of a Hufflepuff primary. From sortinghatchats:

    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.

    Buffy doesn’t always have the luxury of putting individuals first - she’s often grappling with an impending apocalypse - but each person she’s too late to save takes its toll on her, and you can see that as it weighs down on her throughout the seasons. She also does end up finding a community-of-sorts in the Scoobies, which is a vital (if occasionally contentious) part of her life and survival throughout the series.

    Ultimately, though, Hufflepuff isn’t quite right. Buffy isn’t “loyal before she’s right” - when she thinks that she’s right, she’s willing to tear down everything and everyone that gets in the way, regardless of her attachment to them. And, apart from that very small group of friends, Buffy often seems actively uncomfortable with the concept of being part of a broader community - she rebels against the Council on multiple occasions, she doesn’t last long in the Initiative, and while she takes on the potentials in season seven, she’s clearly not particularly comfortable with that aspect of it. Buffy can train them; she can’t bond with them.

    That’s because Buffy is, at her core, a Gryffindor primary. From sortinghatchats again:

    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.

    Her decisions are guided by what her gut says is right and wrong. Her moral compass evolves over time - there are decisions she makes earlier in the series that are clearly very different from decisions she’d make later on - but it’s always her guiding force - and no matter what trauma she faces, it tends to remain steady, and no matter how much she loves someone, it doesn’t override her sense of right and wrong.

     She’s devastated about killing Angel at the end of season two and struggles with it throughout the third season, but she never regrets it. She’s haunted by it because it hurt her, not because she questions that it was the right thing to do. In ‘Sleeper’ in season 7, she says: “I killed Angel. Do you even remember that? I would've given up everything I had to be with - I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life and I put a sword through his heart because I had to.”

    In ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’ (also season 7), she refuses to give ground when Giles and Wood want to kill Spike, to the extent that she was far more concerned about Spike’s well-being than Wood’s. There are a lot of layers to Buffy’s relationship with Spike, but ultimately, I take her at her word: she believes that keeping Spike around is the right thing to do. Now he has a soul, and she’s willing to forgive him because she thinks that now he has the capacity to move past his selfishness.

    If there’s one thing that Buffy struggles to forgive, it’s selfishness. She’s more angry at Giles for leaving her in season six than she was with him for poisoning her in season three, and she can’t live with herself when she feels like she’s being selfish. In season one’s ‘Prophecy Girl,’ she briefly quits when she hears that she’s prophecized to die - but she clearly feels guilty about it, and when she talks to Willow after the murders on the school campus, she changes her mind. She’s sixteen, and she willingly walks to her death.

    She’s got a reputation as being fairly straight-laced, but I think a lot of that is about not wanting to be selfish - and on the occasions where she’s not sure what right and wrong are, she tends to collapse into despair, even (especially?) when she’s the only one aware of her lapse. In season 5’s ‘The Weight of the World,’ she short-circuits into an endless loop when Dawn is taken by Glory because she’d had one moment of wishing that the fight with Glory was over and Dawn was dead, because she was so overwhelmed and so tired. For Buffy, this lapse into selfishness was overwhelming and self-defining. Even her depression in season six ties into this - part of it is clearly being yanked out of heaven, but I think that part of it is that she’s grappling with the consequences of doing something that she comes to see as selfish. She robbed the world of a slayer and comes back to a hellish nightmare because she couldn’t deal with losing her sister. She felt like she was doing the right thing in the moment - but she’s less convinced of that when she comes back, and it’s really only after she finds her purpose again that she gets back to herself.

    And, while her depression in season 6 exists independent of Spike and is a major contributing factor in their relationship in the first place, she’s also wrecked with guilt about their relationship - and it’s not a coincidence that her depression starts to alleviate shortly after she ends things with him, despite ‘Seeing Red,’ Tara being murdered, and Willow turning evil, committing murder, and trying to destroy the world. In ‘Dead Things,’ she beats him bloody and tells him, “There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!” (She was clearly talking to herself as much as him, but it pretty clearly applied to both of them.) When she ends it with him in ‘As You Were,’ though, what she says is very different - and seems much closer to the truth. “I can't love you. I'm just ... being weak, and selfish... and it's killing me.” While part of her self-loathing is that she thinks that having sex with Spike is wrong because he doesn’t have a soul, part of it is that she’s using him - and that’s wrong.

    Buffy is all about right and wrong. She’s a Gryffindor primary through and through.

     

    Secondary (the “how”)

    Buffy is a Gryffindor seconary too. From sortinghatchats again:

    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.

     While she’s certainly resourceful, she’s also all about addressing her problem in the most straightforward way possible. In season 2’s ‘When She Was Bad,’ Giles buries the Master in consecrated earth; when Buffy has nightmares about the Master coming back, she takes a sledgehammer to his bones. When Lily/Anne comes to her because Ricky is missing in Season 3’s ‘Anne,’ Buffy breaks into the offices to find information and even comments that she

    “sucks at undercover.” In season 4’s ‘Something Blue,’ she tells Willow while they’re patrolling, “part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting.”

    Her friends can see this tendency, too. Early on, it takes the form of jokes - in season 2’s ‘Inca Mummy Girl,’ Buffy protests that she doesn’t “always use violence!” Xander’s response? “The important thing is you believe that.” The implications start to get darker as the series progresses, though, including in season 6’s ‘Grave,’ when Willow is about to destroy the world. She sinks Buffy and Dawn into the earth and conjures monsters for Buffy to fight, because she thinks that Buffy “should go out fighting.” Willow’s speaking from experience here, too - Buffy’s devastated to the point of catatonia in ‘The Weight of the World’ because she feels that her moment of selfishness killed her sister - and because she was sure that Glory would beat her. If Buffy doesn’t see a way to address the problem head on, she shuts down.

    On the rare occasions that she tries to dissemble or change her tone, she does a poor job of it - it doesn’t come naturally, and more importantly, it feels wrong. Buffy is at her best when she’s attacking everything the world throws at her, not trying to hide who she is because her classmates or family can’t know the truth.

    She’s also a born leader. That’s not just a Slayer thing - characters throughout the series explicitly remark on how unusual it is to have a Slayer with such a big group of people who both know her secret and actively support her. While some of them do either have or develop connections to that world independently of her, most of them join the Scoobies because they want to, not because they have to.

    And, while her relationships with both Angel and Spike range from a little warped to downright toxic depending on the season, that tendency is true of them as well; she pulls Angel out of the depression he’d been in since getting his soul back, and love for her causes an unsouled Spike to turn his back on his sire after more than a century of devotion, not break under torture to protect her sister, and ultimately even seek out a way to win his soul back. Buffy inspires people without really meaning to, and they’ll follow her into hell because of it - literally, in the case of Spike, Faith, and the potentials.

     

    Summary

    Buffy is a Gryffindor primary who will do what’s right even when she knows that it will destroy her afterward, and she uses her Gryffindor secondary to face the problems head-on and to lead a consistent core group of people through fire and back.

  24. Crimson Quill

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    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

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    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

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    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

    hh9N6Rk.png.b9788c1960b243e13d9cc50537c823cb.png

    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!

     

  25. Slide Headfirst

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    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.

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