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The Greatest Ships to Ever Sink | April 9th, 2019

APRIL 8TH, 2019 | THE GREATEST SHIPS TO EVER SINK Welcome to another installment of the Prefects' biweekly blog series! This time, we're looking at some of those ships that people love to, well, love, but also to sink. Read on to see how we rated some classics and some new ones from fandoms outside of Harry Potter! Let us know what other ships you think are great to sink!  Ship Name: Bellamort
Characters Involved: Bellatrix Lestrange x Lord Voldemort
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: With Bellatrix's fangirl-like tendencies for one Dark Lord, it could be foreseen from the beginning that this ship was a bad idea.  Sure, at first Voldemort loved the hero-worship and never-ending amounts of praise, but after a while, Bellatrix's obsessive ways was beginning to wear him out. While the saying might be, "Behind every evil, twisted, sadistic man-like entity is an equally evil, twisted, sadistic woman," the toxic fumes billowing from the relationship were, in fact, flammable. And Bellatrix, like any strong female character would do, lit the match to sink the ship, herself. Nobody denies Bellatrix Lestrange. Not even the Dark Lord. Ship Name: Doctorfez
Characters Involved: The Eleventh Doctor x his Fez
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: People said it couldn't be done, but those people simply weren't working hard enough at imagining it. The Doctor has a special relationship that is unique to each of his companions, and the one with his fez is special like no other. A fez is a particularly difficult hat to care for, but the Doctor ensures it is always well-loved by throwing it through time portals and wearing it in the most inopportune times. Though his human companions may dislike his love affair with the fez, he doesn't let that sway him from his love, and the fez could only hope to say the same if it could talk. This love is one that is limited to the Eleventh Doctor's time, but all broken hearts can be mended quite readily, and he doesn't forget his dear old fez even in the future, often looking back on their time together with fondness.  Ship Name: Emmalatte (TGWDLM - Team Starkid)
Characters Involved: Emma x latte
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) : 
How the Ship Sunk: This ship looked promising as the show was being promoted before its YouTube release, with Emma, the barista, making coffee for multiple other characters in the show. Alas, it was not meant to last what with her coworkers sabotaging her and the latte's relationship by poisoning it! Getting her usual cup of coffee just isn't the same when it's been poisoned with alien goo that infects people and makes them turn into musical monsters. Nevertheless, Emma still loves her lil' latte hottie, and the latte still lovers her lil' cute barista! Perhaps after the musical invasion is over, they can spend some quality time together outside of Hatchetfield!    Ship Name: Drapple
Characters Involved: Draco Malfoy x Apple
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) : 
How the Ship Sunk: Like with any ship, Drapple isn't without it's share of controversies, but this ship was hot and heavy from the get go. But for a ship so steamy and might I say tantalizing, where did it go wrong? Now the main issue for Drapple, is are they truly compatible with one another? One half of this iconic pair is literally a fruit. Now, besides the stigma on cross-species relationships, think of the conflicting lifespans of each individual involved. Must Draco live out his life, and watch his partner wither away in just a short period of time. Or what if he gets hungry, and mistakenly eats his one true love. So while this ship is a ship meant for the ages, it is inevitable for it to avoid the iceberg. And would Draco really move over to make room on that door for his beloved apple? Ship Name: Javerus
Characters Involved: James Potter x Severus Snape
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: While opposites attract, hate and love are two sides of the same coin, and we love those love/hate relationships, these two hotheads are capable of burning down even the strongest of steel-lined cruisers. Whether it's jealousy, pranking gone awry (very awry), show-boating, or just plain being an ass, the pair is sure to set this ship ablaze at some point, which is why we've dubbed this vessel the S.S. Powderkeg! Besides, it won't take long for James and Severus to realize that they're both still hopelessly in love with Lily Evans, anyway. Hate-turned-love is one of those timeless cliches, but this particular ship will by lying along the ocean floor for a long, long time.  Ship Name: Quirrellmort (AVPM - Team Starkid)
Characters Involved: Quirrell x Voldemort
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: All these two wanted to be was best friends attached at the back! They're different as can be, but they know they work well together. Quirrell loves to read books and plotting flowers in his garden, while Voldemort loves snakes and plotting to kill. They spend their evenings tossing and turning because they can't agree on who has to sleep on their tummy. Quirrell feels like its a comedy being bound to Voldemort; Voldy is happy as a squirrel being bound with Mr. Quirrell. And they can agree on at least one thing: they'll lead him to the slaughter and they'll murder Harry Potter! Ship Name: Numberlores
Characters Involved: Number Five x Dolores
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: Some people may not think this ship has a leg stand on, but it’s your typical boy-meets-mannequin-and-falls-in-love affair.  Dolores may come off as fake to some people, but just look at that smile! A little on the quiet side with a penchant for sequins, she makes the perfect companion for Number Five, young or old (or somewhere in between). He may not be on the top of anyone else’s list, but he will always be #1 on hers. This love has the capacity to outlast the apocalypse (as long as plastic really isn’t biodegradable).  Ship Name: Dramione
Characters Involved: Draco Malfoy x Hermione Granger
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) :
How the Ship Sunk: This is a ship that everyone loves to hate or loves to love! Some people just can't see it between the pureblood supremacist and the muggleborn lioness. Others enjoy them because they are the top two students in their year, so who can resist all the opportunity for that antagonistic, academic banter. Furthermore, the heavy use of classic tropes like Head Boy/Head Girl (especially during the supposed Eighth Year), Marriage Laws, Ministryfics, and Veela!Draco. The opportunities are boundless with this couple and perhaps that's why people love to ship it and to sink it. Enemies-to-Lovers with Draco and Hermione is the barest of dips into the murky depths this ship brings. The real question is, do you dare enter these waters with voracious, angsty writers lurking underneath the surface?  Ship Name: Legriel (PrinceGuard)
Characters Involved: Legolas Greenleaf x Tauriel 
Ship Rating (out of 5  ) :   
How the Ship Sunk: It's an adorable tale -- the Prince of the Woodland Realm (Mirkwood) and the Captain of the Elven Guard of the Woodland Realm (Mirkwood), a Sindarin elf and a Wood-elf, beating all odds (and defying King Thranduil's annotated dislike for the ship) and becoming a Middle Earth power couple! The pairing is built on a level of badassery that could have probably conquered any foes, but there are some inherent flaws in the ship designs that don't bode well long-term. While Legolas' interest in her was made clear during the Hobbit movies, it's pretty clear that Tauriel had a love interest of her own -- Kíli, the Dwarf. After the Tauriel x Kíli ship was tragically destroyed (and destroyed all of us with it), it's pretty clear through Tauriel and Thranduil's conversation that Tauriel is going to have a difficult time loving ever again. With the devastating loss of her only love, the romance between she and Legolas just doesn't click. Building a ship on a broken foundation was never a good idea, and it promptly sunk once it left port. Even if it hadn't, Thranduil was waiting on the sidelines to sink that ship himself. Talk about a #dramaship.  Ship Name: Dumbridge (AVPS - Team Starkid)
Characters Involved: Albus Dumbledore x Umbridge
Ship Rating (out of 5 ) : 
How the Ship Sunk: Dumbledore's gaydar just wasn't on the mark with dear ol' Umbridge. Dumbledore treated her to the standard staff welcome body shot down at the Three Broomsticks, thinking he'd found a new romance after Grindelwald left him. This pairing seems okay at first, until the text bombardment begins happening and Dumbledore decides to run and hide from his problems instead of facing them head on. Umbridge finally decides enough is enough and holds an entire song and dance routine letting him know how she feels about the situation! So don't you tell her to go, cause she knows what's up and that he ain't nothin! This ship burned too bright to last, but it was fun while it happened! Ship Name: Lovelawney 
Characters Involved: Xenophilius Lovegood x Sybill Trelawney
Ship Rating (out of 5  ) :   
How the Ship Sunk: This ship is absolutely written in the stars! Hang tight, though, as these characters are sure to get a little wacky. With long, prose-ridden conversations and declarations of love that could make Shakespeare quake, this pairing is almost certain to have a blossoming romance, however strange it may be. This wacky ship will sail smoothly, at first, but it will be the little things that ultimately sink it. Sybill's constant forethought and searching for clues as to what the future will hold (which will always be disaster and death, according to 'the signs') will begin to weigh on Xenophilius. Likewise, Xenophilius' obsession with Blibbering Humdingerps, Wrackspurts, and other creatures that don't exist will begin to creep upon Sybill's every nerve.  A crack here, a splinter there, and soon the whole hull will be riddled with holes until the ship's keel floods with waters and sinks the whole dang thing.    ------------------------------- credits:  contributions: Rumpels, Madi, Kyle, Chelts
graphics: Rumpels
post draft: Madi
 

In the Spotlight | 21st March

Welcome to the March edition of In the Spotlight, where we sit down with those stories and authors and people that were stellar last month! We'd also like to wish you all a happy spring equinox, and for those of you still with the snow, for it to melt soon! In this edition, we're featuring our usual fantastic shenanigans and the recently started Monthly Dilemma. Due to the FROGS happening last month, we declined to hold Story of the Month in February, so that section is absent this month. The FROGS have finished, the winners have been announced, but we're not mentioning them here.  (The staff will have their own blog post for that!) We do have our spring writing challenge called The Prefects' Four of a Kind Challenge going on through April 10th, so please check that out if you haven't yet! With that, let's get down to it!    With such a large and ever-busy cast of staff members, it's usually quite a challenge to select just one of them to receive this award. This month's Order of Merlin recipient, however, was one of our most immediate choices due to her phenomenal work on the archive and in the queue as of late. Our ever-charming Senior Auror @Ineke is most deserving of this award, and here's what she had to say when we asked her a few questions!  What is your favorite memory from being apart of the HP community? I am not so sure if it's a specific memory per say, but I think the whole experience as a whole. The HP community has given me so much in life and it's safe to say that without it, I would definitely not be anywhere near everything I am today. Sure, I am still having hardships in my life, still continue to battle stuff, but without the community, I'd be absolutely lost because I would have basically no support system (aside from family) to fall back on. So I think it's actually more the entire thing than just one memory really. Because the community is just so absolutely amazing and supportive and I gained better friends through it than I would have made in real life, and I could not be more grateful for that. If there’s one thing you could say to our community, what would it be? Continue to be as awesome as you are today, because you are all amazing and brilliant, even if you might have a hard time seeing it yourself. You are absolutely loved, and are appreciated by more people than you will ever know. What is your favorite [forum-appropriate] meme?  ...I have no knowledge of memes, like, at all. I live underneath a stone or am just old. Or a combination of those two. ? What is a ship you dislike, and why should it sink? I think it will have to be Snamione, though I am absolutely no fan of Tom/Hermione and Dramione either. It just doesn't work for me and Hermione just belongs with Ron and nobody else in my opinion. It's just a very hard no for me. But I suppose it's just a matter of taste, really, and even though I can dislike the ship, the stories themselves are often very well written, which makes it enjoyable to read it anyway. What’s your favorite fanfic? It is at the moment (and will come at absolutely no surprise at all to like, anyone), but the Dormitory 2.6a series by @dirigibleplums and the It's Tea Time series by @frombluetored. Which absolutely everyone should read and please do not be intimidated by the length. It is absolutely, 100%, worth it. Though I really need to catch up on @ShadowRose's Complex series and @val's Logarithmic too... What is one of the most enjoyable parts of being an Auror? Seeing such a diverse of fanfics. It's truly a privilege to be one of the firsts to read people's stories, and there are absolute gems on the archive too. Everyone is so talented, that it just is really enjoyable to do. There have been incidents where I have been literally yelling in acceptance e-mails about certain chapters and it's just.. It's great to do. I hope you will be adding stories for a very long time to come ❤️  Tea or coffee? Why? Tea. 100%. I absolutely loathe the taste of coffee, and I had it literally three times in my life at work because otherwise I would have fallen asleep (though my colleagues have taken to calling it milk with coffee bc of the amount of milk and sugar I throw in it and how little coffee I use (bc we have instant coffee)).  Plus tea has all these different flavours (my personal favourites are apple pie tea and caramelised pear tea) so y'know. It's great.   We have two great Head Students to recognize this month, so please give it up for @Rumpelstiltskin and @Noelle Zingarella and how awesome they've been around the site lately!  RUMPELSTILTSKIN'S INTERVIEW What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT? The Resources & Information forum. We are extremely lucky to have members who are interested in and dedicated to making writing resources and information available for all of us to utilize. Moreover, it's awesome to see people utilize and add in their own comments to the different threads, providing even more information or opinions on many of the subjects that we, as writers, come across on a regular basis. While there are already a lot of topics available, it's always exciting to see new content added to this section, whether by adding new topics or by adding comments to preexisting threads. I adore browsing through the different topics, which are always available as a reference tool. I mean, what more could you ask of a section? It's beautiful.  And, of course, the newly resurrected Writing Exercises forum is AMAZING fun.  The weekly prompts have been SO MUCH FUN to play around with and, of course, I've been exploring different styles to help me grow (because growing is good fun, too). I've also had a great time reading what OTHER people have posted in response to the prompts -- there are so many imaginative and unique writer's here -- it's just love.  If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? We, Lawbreaking Citizens -- it's the one I've been working on the most, and so it's the one I've been spending the most time with.  How do you balance writing your fanfic and original fiction pieces? Well...I mean.. what IS balance?  I just write what I'm in the mood for. I'm forever in love with experimenting, so it's exciting for me to switch up genres, formats, or fandoms to try to play with some different writing techniques. What is your favorite piece of Harry Potter memorabilia/merchandise? That I own? This Slytherin Prefect Badge that @RoxiMalfoy got for me for Christmas! ❤️   If your life was a TV show, what would it be called and what would it be about? Ahh, the show title would be called "Rumpel Drinks Coffee" and the show would be just a montage of me doing random ish and drinking coffee. BUT THEN -- PLOT TWIST -- cut to me drinking wine in the bathtub...and then resume drinking coffee through the night until I fall asleep on my laptop.  What’s your dream wizarding career and why? I think I'd like to work with old magical artifacts and such. Like, a cursebreaker would also be cool.    NOELLE'S INTERVIEW What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT? I feel that I am still finding my way around HPFT, but so far I really enjoy the Writer’s Journals. I like having a place to keep track of my own projects and I find it very interesting to read other author’s thoughts about what they are writing. The Quidditch Pitch is a lot of fun too. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? I would have to say my WIP Moonlight. It’s a Snape/OC novel set during the Second Wizarding War. It was the project that got me back into writing and it’s my favorite so far. It’s an action/adventure/romance and a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I didn't realize I could write either witty repartee or action sequences until I started this. What would your Animagus form be if you had one? A red squirrel for sure. I’m a bit of a nervous person and I would totally bound up trees if I could.  Name one canon character you’d like to write about that you’ve never written before. Hmmm…This is a hard question. I am really looking forward to writing Eileen Prince because the tiny bit we have of her story is so tantalizing. She’ll be making an appearance in Moonlight eventually. If you’re asking about characters I’d like to write that I don’t have any plans for yet, that would probably be Hagrid. He’s the character I would choose to have dinner with, if I could only choose one. Explain what you consider to be your secondary House and why. Although I have a great fondness for Slytherins, Ravenclaw is my secondary House. I usually deal with problems by researching on the internet and/or checking out a stack of books from the library. Would you rather have really long legs and really short arms or really short legs and really long arms? Another hard one. I’m going to go with the long legs and short arms. I’ve been short all my life and I’ve always hated it. If my legs were long, I could walk places really quickly and I would be able to get my upper half close enough to anything I needed to grab with my short arms. Also I’d make a great T-Rex at Halloween.   As per usual, the common rooms had a busy, busy month. Not only were the review battles fierce, but the spreading of love during the FROGS and in general was so lovely to see this month, so here's a brief look into where some of that love ended up in each of the Houses! Gryffindor this month had ties for both of its monthly spotlights for its members, so we have a double double feature for you with Leading Lion and Featured Fic! The Leading Lions this month were @TreacleTart and @LadyMarauder, while Featured Fic went to things left unsaid by @poppunkpadfoot and Year of the Snake by @melian.  KAITLIN'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I have always associated myself with Gryffindor (at least as long as HP fandom has existed anyway). I’ve never belonged to any other house and never will. (Although the Puffs hold a big piece of my heart) What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? My favorite thing to do on HPFT is probably compete in the House Cup. It simultaneously drives me mad and ma kes me feel hyper competitive. It’s such a nice feeling bonding with other members over shared insanity. Which magical creature would you like to own as a pet? Hmm...A chupa cabra, I think. I feel like they get a bad rap in legends, but they actually sound pretty cool. Aside from Mexico, what ha s been the most  exciting country you’ve visited this last year?   That’s an impossible question to answer. Every country is exciting and has incredible things to offer! I gues s if forced to choose only one, I’d say Ecuador since I liked it enough to go back a second time a few months later and after 3 months there, I felt like I really knew the country well. But I also absolutely loved Scotland, Colombia, Spain, Canada, Mexico, and Nicaragua as well.   TASHA'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I've been a Gryffindor for as long as I can remember, though I did think for a while it might be Ravenclaw for me. Despite Hufflepuff being known for their friendship qualities, I've always felt the Gryffies are a welcoming bunch and I feel at home with the Lions.  What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? I've been loving taking part in the House Cup challenges, it's really brought out a competitive quality in me I didn't know existed! I also love reviewing for RvG too - the Gryffies are a talented lot. If you could ask any canon character one question, what would it be and who would you ask? Can I cheat and ask the Marauders as a whole? I'm going to anyway... how did you become Animagus? I want to know how that went, who managed it first and just how they kept that leaf in their mouths for a month - a month! It sounds like quite a story. Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses? Well I love horses so I wouldn't want to fight those, so it'd have to be the duck. Though is there a particular reason I'm fighting the duck? I'm not really a fan of them to be honest and a horse sized duck does seem a bit suspicious...   KAYLA'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? Hm, I think as long as I can remember? I've never associated myself with a different house. As a kid I feel like I probably just liked Gryffindor best because Harry, Hermione and Ron were in Gryffindor, but I feel like as I've grown I've really grown into my Gryffindor characteristics. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? I love to participate in the House Cup! ? I love the team spirit and the way that Gryffindor always pulls together so strongly for big events! Also I can get pretty stubborn/competitive and it brings that out in me in a fun way hahaha. Would you rather never eat your favorite food again or only eat your least favorite food? Ohhhh gosh. Uh I guess never eat my favourite food again ? Which canon HP character do you find most challenging to write and why? I mean I'm not really sure because I haven't really tried my hand at 99.9% of them  But honestly I feel like of the characters I do write, I struggle with James a lot? I'm not sure why, I guess the way that I imagine him to be in terms of personality, mannerisms etc. is hard for me to capture in stories.   MELIAN'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? Truth be told, I'm probably actually a Ravenclaw, but I don't identify as such. Pottermore has put me in every House bar Slytherin at different times, and when I do the percentage tests online they tend to put me at about 33% Ravenclaw, 33% Gryffindor, 25% Hufflepuff and 9% Slytherin. (Sometimes I'm more Gryffie and sometimes I'm more Claw, but you get the idea.) So maybe I'm a Gryffinclaw. Either way, ever since I first read the HP books I have always felt like a Lion and, as they say the Sorting Hat takes your preferences into account (I suspect it may have done this with Hermione too!), I'm a Gryffie. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? I'm a writer, first and foremost. The writing for me comes first and the community comes second. This is a little unfortunate when I'm in the midst of a creative drought, like I am now, because it means I kind of drop off the edges of the community. Maybe this is why I like the House Cup - because it enables me to embrace my competitive side and forces me to participate more. But yeah, I'm not much of a fanfic reader these days, I'm a terrible reviewer (in that I never do it), and I have to remind myself to drop by the forums. When I do, I check out the writing challenges, because - as I said above - I'm a writer. Writing is what enables me to participate. Give us an elevator pitch for your favorite fic you’ve ever written! You know what? I'm really, REALLY bad at selling myself. I don't do well at public speaking or job interviews and I'm just not a spruiker. I mean, i could try this, but I'd just do a really bad job and I'm not sure I have time to psych myself up to do it. My favourite fic that I've written is (probably no surprises here) How to tame a Marauder, but honestly I don't think I can pitch it. My brain really doesn't work that way. Sorry. What do you like the most about writing Neville and why? Neville, for me, is eminently relatable. He's not popular (though not unpopular either - there is a middle ground), he struggles with self esteem, and he feels like there are impossible external expectations of him. Now, me, the first two are pretty close to my teenaged years. Not the third so much, but that's another story. But what this means is that in some ways he's a gift to write. Neville would always be underestimated, always overlooked, and that means that he would also be one of the most effective fighters, because no one expects anything of him (aside from Gran, obviously - see my second sentence). No one thinks he can do anything. And when he proves them wrong, when he comes into his own in the seventh book, well that's one of THE most satisfying parts of the whole series. I love how Neville turned out. I love how he looked around and said, "Well, someone has to stand up to these a**holes, and if no one else wants to then I guess I'll have to." He doesn't want to be the figurehead for the rebellion, but he does it anyway, because it has to be done. (SO Gryffie of him! I'm so proud.) So, I'm writing Neville because I really want that journey to be documented, that story to be told. And, as I've said, I don't read much fanfic so I have no idea what other people have tried, but I wanted to give it a go myself. Hence, my Neville story.   Hufflepuff gained a new Prefect this month in @FireCrest, and Kyle has stepped right up to the plate! They've also been very active lately in their common room, welcoming both Kyle to his new position and Lotte back from her brief break. Their Hufflepuff of the Month is @VaguelyCreativeName and their Story of the Month is Sunflowers in December by @Jo Raskoph!   JULIA'S INTERVIEW  How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I've identified as a Hufflepuff for about eight years, and originally, that was mostly because of the sorting hat on pottermore. I think I was a bit surprised at the result at first (I may have fancied myself a Ravenclaw), but I've since realised that Hufflepuff really is the best fit for me because I do very much value the traits associated with it, and I love my house now! What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? Generally lurking But I also like all the little games we've got going on in both the Quidditch Pitch and the Common Room, and I've especially loved the recent House Cup Events with the Menagerie and the Great Collab because I got to know some members from other houses that I hadn't interacted with before! With a lot of Marauders Era content on your author page, what do you enjoy writing about that era the most and why? I love that I can put my own spin on canon characters! We know so little about most of them that I can explore them freely, with very few restrictions. I'm also very fascinated by how the First Wizarding War affected all those characters because I imagine it to be far more brutal, and longer running than the second one, if only because Voldemort stayed hidden for most of the Second War. I also feel like, counter-intuitively, the Marauders were a lot more involved in the war than Harry and the gang were; Harry was mostly still in school and then had his Horcrux mission separate from the rest of the Order, and I feel that his parents' generation, being out of school and just those couple of years older for a lot of the war, would have been far more involved in Order business, missions, and battles, and I love exploring how they were affected psychologically by the constant emotional and physical strain of it all! Choose one song to listen to for the rest of your life- what is it? This question is pretty much the reason it took me so long to answer! I've been ruminating on it for days, and I'm still not sure I've arrived at a definite answer, but I'm very tentatively going to go with Town Called Malice by The Jam.   JO RASKOPH'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I didn't think much about houses originally - when I dreamed about going to Hogwarts as a teenager, it was all about Hogwarts - I don't think I even thought about which house I might fit in.  The first time I knew I belonged in Hufflepuff was when I signed up for the HPFF forums and took the sorting hat quiz - it put me in Hufflepuff and when I thought about it it made a lot of sense. To me, the most important Hufflepuff value is one that's never explicitly discussed in canon. If you read between the lines of "Hufflepuff takes the leftovers" and "Hufflepuff values the hard workers" - what I read into it is that Hufflepuff doesn't do prejudice. Hufflepuff takes everyone in regardless of blood status, gender, income, race, sexuality... and waits to see how they act before making a judgement.  That's my view of Hufflepuff after three years, and ofc it has evolved during that time, but I still feel very at home here. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? Oh, interesting question. I originally signed up because I wanted to write and communicate with others about writing and that's still what I do most. So I try to participate in the writing exercises regularly and end up doing it from time to time. I love the writing resources and story help boards and I love browsing the challenges whenever I want to write but lack inspiration. I've thrown myself head first into the first round of the Great Collab - I found out about it two weeks before it ended and wrote and posted two stories for it. It was my favourite event in a long time - because it is writing related. I loved the thrill and the boost in productivity it gave me and I'm trying to finish some contributions for this round. Recently I've also been lurking on the OF board and planning a longer OF story. What drew you to writing about the career of being an Obliviator and how it affects not only the person being obliviated, but also the person(s) doing the obliviating? This one is Gina/Unwritten Curse's doing. Years ago she posted a challenge where you had to write and tell a story in only dialogue - no descriptions, no dialogue tags, only spoken words. I signed up because I'd been scared of writing dialogue and I wanted to get better. So I thought about what would make a good story to tell in dialogue only and came up with the conversation between an obliviator and their client - a conversation about the things that happened to make obliviating necessary. It was a subject I thought could be gripping even in dialogue only. I had originally planned to write about all sorts of people being obliviated - one each chapter - but then I 'met' Danielle and needed to explore her further.  To return to your question: I think when you think about it, obliviating someone affects two people by default - the caster and the recipient of the spell. And by design, the recipient is not affected by the spell as much as they are being un-affected by the thing they should forget. Their life doesn't change, not that they know. So the only person left to walk away from the encounter changed is the caster of the spell. That's why the story had to be about Angelina and in extension George as much or even more than it was about Danielle.  Would you rather travel to the past or the future? I never thought about time travel much and it doesn't seem very alluring to me. Everyone I love is in the present, so I don't really want to go to a time where they are not. But in concluding that thought: I guess I'd probably enjoy going back in time to meet again someone I loved and had to say goodbye to.   The Snakes have been quite the lively bunch this last month, with lots of posts in the Writing Resources subforum and also within their own common room. They have their review battle going strong and also their writing support thread! Their Slytherin of the Month was the lovely @Rumpelstiltskin and the Story of the Month goes to Nuclear Love by @starbuck.   RUMPELSTILTSKIN'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I think it was in 2013 (ish?) that I started trying to figure out what my House was. I got some scattered results (usually between Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff), and after some self-reflection, realized that I probably most associated with Slytherin. After spending time with others who associated with the house, I kinda figured out pretty quickly that that's where I belonged. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? Lurk in the threads, lurk in the dungeons... Just lurking, in general, is some pretty good fun.  What’s one of your favorite activities/threads in the Slytherin Common Room?  Ooof that's so hard to answer. At the moment, I've been having a really amazing time lurking in the Slytherin Writing Thread. 

You can only answer questions with song lyrics from one band/artist for the rest of your life- who’s is it? Rob Zombie. There's not much left to be said that he already hasn't. So.    KRIS'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? uhm, i've associated myself with slytherin sort of since forever it's funny because both my dad and brother who've read the HP books immediately sorted me into slytherin as well when we talked about houses. so i guess i realised it when i first read HP What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? i really love participating in house cup events! i mean, i also love to hang around the dungeon in the writing workshop and ask for/leave reviews but...i've been a member of staff on TDA for so long - from 2013 (first a staff mod, now an admin) that there's just something wonderful and relaxing about being a regular member on the forums and being able to participate in everything *_* Do you draw inspiration for your writing from your graphics or vice versa? this is actually a tough one because i kind of do both it's a back and forth process for me - like, i can write something and it will inspire a graphic but then i can first make a graphic for a story that's just an idea in my head and when i finish the graphic it's another wave of inspiration and i have to write it. In Nuclear Love, you’ve characterized Astoria as a Gryffindor. What made you decide to make that her House instead of Slytherin and how did that affect her characterization? well, i wanted astoria to be completely different than draco in some things (but similar in others) and i just have this headcanon of her being so different that she just throws him off from what he's used to and intrigues him and...she's reckless and ill tempered and a bit chaotic (even the aurors didn't want her ) and all that has sort of caused the way she is in my story at that point in time - her bravery and charisma (i don't want to spoil too much what her ability to persuade people to do things has done to her) are what made her...a tiny little bit broken. and i really wanted to explore that headcanon. i also love the idea of the greengrass family being neutral and dealing with both sides during both wizarding wars because i have a huge soft spot for morally grey characters *_* and if she were a slytherin, none of this would've been possible because she would've been a lot more level headed, calculating and probably wouldn't end up a mess.   Ravenclaws were busy bees this month with some strong rounds of Harry Potter Hangman and a ridiculous volume of stories being written for the Great Collab. The Blue vs. Bronze Review battle also had a fun spin on it this month with the addition of review responses counting! Their Claw of the Month is @galadriel and the Story of the Month is breaking character. by @dirigibleplums!    NIM'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? i've been in Ravenclaw for as long as i remember, ever since i first read the hp books and subsequently took the Pottermore sorting test and got this house. i could relate to the house traits a lot more a few years ago, especially when i was in college and was really neck-deep in learning everything i could. there was a point when i leaned a lot more towards Slytherin as a house but as i grew, those qualities gave way to more puff-like characteristics. right now, i'd say my secondary house is Hufflepuff but my primary always remains Ravenclaw. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? stalk people?   in all honesty, i do tend to hover around the online user list to see what everyone is doing. there's some sense of comfort i get from it, haha. but apart from that, i love silently binge reading fics (i've read so many without leaving a sign i was even there, oops) and going through people's WJs as well bc i love seeing everyone's headcanons & getting inspired. Where do you find all of your inspiration for the many variable original fiction pieces you’ve written and continue to write? oh gosh, i don't know. a lot of the elements that are in my stories and poetry are kind of taken from my own thoughts about life and things i've experienced so it depends on what i'm feeling and what i'm obsessing about at the time of writing something.   a lot of my inspiration comes from talking to people about things they've gone through, their thoughts on politics and culture, reading the news, and reading stuff that's similar to what i want to write. sometimes it takes a lot of work to get ideas - i spend hours just lying in bed and thinking, which leads to "what if" questions or a sudden spark of inspiration - and sometimes it just clicks, like when i'm reading a random wikipedia article or something, but i don't have any set process for getting inspired.  If you were moving somewhere and were only allowed to take a maximum of 3 books, what would they be and why? this question is way too difficult to answer so i'm going to cheat, mkay?
book one: the lotr trilogy. (i have a three-in-one copy of the series so it counts as a single book, fight me)
book two: howl & other poems by allen ginsberg.
book three: the god of small things by arundhati roy for the "why" part of the question: because these are my favourites, i could never get bored of re-reading them, they're each different genres, and every time i read one of these i get the urge to write something as good.    PLUM'S INTERVIEW How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? I've associated myself with Ravenclaw ever since I was thirteen and stumbled across fanfiction for the first time. When I was younger, I never gave much thought to the houses beyond Gryffindor being the Best (since that was where the Golden Trio were), but Ravenclaw just made sense to me as I grew older. Since then, I've come to heavily identify with Hufflepuff as well (fun fact: I've been sorted into Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff an equal number of times and in my last one, I was a hatstall between the two), but I just identify with Ravenclaw more. I feel like my curiosity to just know things is one of the more defining parts of my personality   What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? Entering challenges and freaking out when my muse flakes out on me! In all honesty, my favourite thing is just interacting with everyone. Whether it's a small note or two in the common room or reading through the various House Cup interactions, I like seeing how warm everything is if that makes sense? Even when I go AWOL for a bit, it really does feel like home ♡ What’s a tip you have for writing such emotive description such as what you have in breaking character.? Um. I actually don't know ? I know a lot of people like listening to a certain type of music because it gets them in the right frame of mind, but I tend to just tune out music whenever I'm in the zone. I'm kind of a visual writer in the sense that I daydream the scene I want to write before I usually write it, especially when it comes to one shots like 'breaking character.' and then let that take over. I'd say my tip is to really feel what you're writing? The reason daydreaming works for me is because I tend to get swept up in it so it really helps me connect with the character I'm writing and what they're feeling. So whether it's music that helps you or something else, I'd say the best way to write emotively is through genuine empathy Marauders or Next Generation? ... Damn it who asked this ?? If you'd asked me this a year ago, I'd say Next Gen in a heartbeat, but... I can't do my babe James dirty like that. I'm sorry, Al - ily but I have to say the Marauders. (Can you hear the sound of my heart breaking to pieces at having to choose?)   And last but not least, it's time for our Monthly Dilemma! Each month we will be asking you a question and you can respond to each question by commenting in the corresponding blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section.  Last month's raffle winner is.... ? @Chemical_Pixie Please contact a Prefect to let us know where you'd like your one (1) free review to go! (If previous winners have not done this yet, please don't hesitate to also contact us!) This month's dilemma: Would you rather have shoes that are too small or pants that are too big? You have until April 15th to answer!  This month's winner will receive one (1) review on a story of your choice.  ------------------------ credits: graphics [headers & dividers]: emma
monthly dilemma question & drawing: chelts
interviewers and couriers: sarah, madi, kyle, rumpels, carrie
layout: madi  
 

Our Favorite Animals | March 8th, 2019

Our Favorite Animals Welcome to the Prefects' monthly blog post about fun things! This month, we decided to feature some of the Prefects' favorite animals and some information on endangered species and what you can do to help! Read below to learn about the different animals each Prefect loves. ? *It should also be noted the admins were extremely excited about this blog post* EMMA (@facingthenorthwind) The Platypus
beaver otter duck thing Location: east coast of Australia (plus Tasmania) The platypus is truly the epitome of Australia: it's so ridiculous looking that when specimens were taken back to Europe they were believed to be a hoax; and it is one of the few species of venomous mammals. What more could you want out of an animal? As well as having a duck-like bill, a beaver-like tail and otter-like feet, it's also a monotreme, which means it's a mammal that lays eggs and then once those eggs hatch, they carry their young around in a pouch! The only existing monotremes are platypus and three species of echidna, which are all native to Papua New Guinea and Australia.  Platypus can range from 0.7-2.4 kg and males can reach 50cm in length. To Americans, that means: no, think smaller than that, when I saw a taxidermied beaver for the first time I nearly died because I had been imagining them as platypus-sized this whole time. They're semi-aquatic and use their front legs for propulsion and their back legs and tail for steering.  Platypus, echidna and dolphins are the only mammals known to have the ability to electrolocate their prey -- they can identify the electric fields created by muscle contractions to see where their prey is in space. This is especially important for platypus because they close their eyes, ears and nose when they dive, locating prey only with these electroreceptors on their bills!  The good news is that unlike so many native species, platypus are not endangered -- though you're not likely to see one in the wild, either, because they're just so difficult to spot! sources (all links : AA - 15+) Video of baby platypus from Healesville Sanctuary
National Geographic: Platypus
JSTOR: Platypus Are Weirder Than You Think   RUMPELS (@Rumpelstiltskin) The Narwhal
unicorn of the sea Location: Cold Arctic Coastal Regions With the body of a porpoise and the magical, spiral tusk of that would suit a particular magical creature, the Narwhal is certainly a breathtakingly unique creature of the seas. This horn is actually an ivory tusk, growing through the Narwhal's upper lip and can reach up to 8.8 feet (about 2.7 meters) long. This tusk is found primarily on males, though females also can grow a smaller, less prominent version of their own once they've reached an appropriate age for reproduction.  In fact, male Narwhals are actually born with two of these tusks but one generally becomes much more distinguishable over the other.  The purpose of these tusks eluded scientists for years, though they are now beginning to figure out more. A Narwhal's tusk contains millions of sensitive nerve endings and has a hard, dense center. There are many theories surrounding the tusks now, including hunting purposes like sensing chemical concentrations in the water and stunning their prey), sensory purposes (such as detecting water temperatures and salinity), mating, self-protection, dominance establishment, and more. Most likely, it serves a combination of purposes but it's most important to note that these tusks are important to the Narwhal's survival.  Overhunting of these creatures to obtain their tusks has posed issues to their population numbers over the years, as does overhunting with any animal. It is important to note that this overhunting is problematic on a commercial level. While there is hunting done by certain peoples, such as Inuits, generally they are using the animal for survival purposes (such as consuming the top layer of blubber for their source of Vitamin C, which is an extremely important element in the Arctic regions). Illegal poaching or even legal trade (in some countries) of the Narwhal ivory poses the real threat to populations when we start to look at things on a commercial scale.  Environmental changes and being unable to truly track their populations work in tandem with this overhunting to pose a rather uncertain future for these cool creatures.  sources (links to specific articles, all links AA-15+): The Ocean Conservancy
National Geographic
WorldWildLife.org   CHELTS (@Chelts-rhj) Elephants Gentle giants  Location: Sub Saharan Africa and Asia. The largest land mammals on earth may have more beneath their thick hide than you realize. They are highly intelligent, with Asian elephants being domesticated for logging and other industrial uses. They display complex emotions such as jealousy and grief. Recently it has been established that elephants use subsonic communication through the ground, which they pick up with their feet and trunks. This most likely is in order to make up for incredibly poor eyesight. The trunk is an elongated upper lip and nose serving many functions, the most notable of which is its ability to grasp fine objects such as leaves and sticks (useful when you’re an herbivore). Some elephants have even been trained to paint! Elephants also use their tusks (if they have them) for scraping bark off of trees, moving obstacles, and for protection. Usually they will favor one tusk or the other much like humans are left or right handed. The side they prefer will often be shorter than its counterpart as the ivory is worn down. Even so, elephants are often hunted for their tusks, which are essentially large teeth coated in ivory. Elephants are matriarchal, so the alpha in a herd is usually the oldest female of the family. Elephants have the longest gestation of any mammal, land or otherwise, remaining pregnant for a whopping 22 months! It’s no wonder these giants are so protective of their children. When danger is present the heard will gather all calves (baby elephants) in the center in order to deter any would be attackers. If a member of the herd is lost, elephants have been observed going back to the place where they died. Touching nearby objects and spending a few moments before getting back on the trail, wherever it may go. As they say, an elephant never forgets.   SARAH (@adorably cute) Giraffes
long neck, long legs, long everything Location: savannahs and woodlands in Africa The world’s tallest mammal, giraffes use their unique height advantage and 18inch tongues to eat from some of the trees and plants that are out of reach to other animals. One of their favorite foods is the leaves from the acacia tree. Their food also provides them with enough water to not have to drink too often. A good thing, since their tall stature puts them in a vulnerable position to predators when they bend down to drink. Giraffes have bulging eyes that allow for good vision and they can see colors! The giraffe’s long neck can be 6-7ft (1.8-2.1m) in length and contains only seven vertebrae, the exact same number as a human neck. Fully grown giraffes can stand 14-18ft (4.3-5.7m) tall. Their spotted coats are used to camouflage into the savannah and each giraffe has a unique coat. Until 2016, it was thought that there was one species of giraffe, with multiple subspecies. Some scientists have claimed that there are enough genetic differences between populations to distinguish between four different species. Population is currently decreasing, due to hunting, habitat loss, expanding agricultural activities, and ongoing civil unrest in some African nations. As such, giraffes are currently listed as a vulnerable species.  sources (all links AA-15+) encyclopedia britannica
national geographic
african wildlife foundation   ALEXIS (@Alexis Black) Red Fox Sly. Cunning. Elusive woodland creatures. Location: Northern Hemisphere Most often when one thinks of foxes, the image that comes to mind is of the red fox, and for good reason. Other than human beings, the red fox has the largest natural distribution of any land mammal. They’re even in Australia (despite those weird blue bees). Technically, foxes are a member of the Canidae family, which means they are related to dogs and wolves. Yet they have much in common to cats. For instance, they have vertical pupils instead of the rounded pupils that other dogs have. Another similarity is the retractable claws. Those claws allow the Grey foxes in North America to climb trees. Some even sleep on the branches. Female foxes are ‘vixens’ while males are referred to as ‘tods’ or ‘dog foxes, and baby foxes are ‘pups’ or ‘kits’. They live in small families units in underground burrows while raising their young until they’re about seven months of age. But for all that they make great parents, foxes are not pack animals. On the contrary, they are solitary creatures. So you’ll only see a ‘skulk of foxes’ if there are little ones around. Just don’t be surprised if you find anything small missing from your backyard - they’re playful thieves and known to even steal golf balls from golf courses. Tiger Woods has nothing on these guys. If all this makes you want to own your own fox, you can. All you need to do is cough up about $9,000. They’re sweet-tempered and bred to docile towards people from birth. Keep in mind some like digging in the garden while others enjoy marshmallows treats. What you might not be prepared for is the sound they make. No, we’re not talking What Does the Fox Say? Their mating call is more like a haunting screech. It’s particularly memorable if you’re walking around at night. Lastly, in honor of Alopex here’s a tidbit regarding the Alopex Lagopus or Arctic Fox: they don’t shiver until the temperature drops to -70C/-94F. Brrrr! Talk about cold!   MADI (@MadiMalfoy) Norwegian Forest Cats loves climbing and the cold Location: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, France The Norwegian Forest Cat is a domestic breed of cat originating in Northern Europe, and is currently very popular in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and France. This breed is adapted to a very cold climate with a top coat of glossy, long, water-shedding hairs and a woolly undercoat for insulation. It is a big, strong cat, similar to the Maine Coon breed, with long legs, a bushy tail and a sturdy body. The breed is very good at climbing, since they have strong clawsThey are known as the Skogkatt in their native Norway, which directly translates to "forest cat", and are very intelligent, curious cats that do well in both homes and outdoors. This breed was almost lost until after World War II when breeders wanted to make sure it stayed on, and was officially named the official cat of Norway by the late King Olaf. They didn't leave Norway until the 1970s, and are only a very recently recognized international breed because of this late exportation. Norse mythology says that these cats were the favorite of Freya, goddess of love, fertility, and the heart. Vikings often took the ancestors of these cats with them on their ships to keep them clear of rodents and because of their ability to easily adapt to life on the water and easy coat maintenance. Freya also symbolized domesticity and was often portrayed with Norwegian Forest cats playing around her feet. Lovers wanting to marry asked the blessing of Freya and her cats. Because of this custom, many superstitions about weddings and cats began. Some of these superstitions included: girls who value cats will definitely marry; giving newlyweds a black cat as a gift symbolized good luck; Scandinavians believed that feeding a cat well would guarantee sunshine on the day of a wedding. Called Norsk Skogkatts or Skaukatts in their native Norway, these cats were originally thought of as fairy cats. A naturally large breed, Forest cats were said to be so huge that not even the gods could lift them. One tale relates how Thor, the strongest of the gods, lost a contest of strength to Jormungand, who was disguised as a Forest cat. Some of this mythology lingers even today, which is pretty cool! These are some regal looking cats with their thick, long fur, and they know their place is at the top of every household, as it rightfully should be.    KYLE (@FireCrest) Sloths
take things slow, eat a few leaves Location: Central and South America Sloths are tropical mammals that live in Central and South America. Their claws are 3 to 4 inches long and are used to hang onto trees and grab leaves that other animals cannot reach. Their claws make walking around hard, so they spend most of their lives hanging in trees. This and their slow moving helps them avoid predators who may otherwise find them delicious.  There are six species of sloths, either having two-to-three toes. Three toed sloths are about the size of a medium-sized dog, with lengths of about 23 - 27 inches (58 to 68 cm). The two-toed variety however the larger of the two, though they aren't the largest! Back in the good 'ol days there were giant ground sloths that grew to about the size of elephant. Though unfortunately they are now extinct. In the wild sloths can live on average 20 to 30 years, but can live a bit longer in captivity. One such sloth lived all the way up to the age of 43! Sloths are very solitary in behavior. Captive sloths sleep from 15 to 20 hours a day, while wild sloths only get an average of 10. While when thinking of sloths, a lot of people associate with them sleeping while hanging (which they do sometimes), sloths prefer to sleep in a ball in the fork of tropical trees. They typically only leave their tree homes for three reasons: to use the bathroom, establish new territory, and to find a mate. Due to sloths diet and slow metabolism, they only leave their trees once a week to poop in which they use their tails as a spade to dig a whole.  Mating is initiated by the females giving a monotone mating scream, and attracted males will go to her. If more than one male appears though, the two males will hang from their feet and have a go with their sharp claws.  While most sloths aren't endangered, they are at risk due to deforestation like many other tropical wildlife.  sources (links to specific articles, all links AA-15+):
Live Science
BBC - Earth
National Geographic - Kids   CARRIE (@scooterbug8515) The Bat
creature of the night Location: Most places save polar regions and extreme desert Ranging from small to large the bat is the only Mammal who can achieve true flight rather than just gliding like other mammals.  Their wings are comprised of elongated fingers with a membrane stretched between them.  A bat's hand actually resembles a human one.  These creatures of the night play a vital part in our environmental and economic services. Most species of bat eat insects, and a few eat fruit.  The blood-sucking variety that bats are generally known for is only three particular species found in Latin America, they typically drink from cattle and occasionally humans.  They only drink for about 30 minutes and not enough to cause harm to the creature they drink from, the bite itself is the most harmful as it can become infected and diseased. Unfortunately, because of these three species, bats are thought to be vampires and are hunted in Latin America due to fear of the creature.  Many times those that hunt these bats actually bring harm to productive and helpful bats who do not consume blood.  While there are over 1300 species of bat comprising one-quarter of all mammal species, there are twenty-three of these species that are considered critically endangered and another fifty-three that are categorized as endangered. There are several more species that we do not have data to determine if they are threatened or endangered.  Of the species we have studied over one-third of the species are at least considered threatened.  It is not just the bats in Latin America who are struggling.  Bushmeat hunters, guano (bat poop) minters, careless disturbances of bat habitats and a disease known as White-nose Syndrome are contributing to their extinction.   Bats face a very daunting life in all corners of the earth, but they are not a threat, or a problem like many people think them to be.  Please be mindful of bats and know they server more good than ill.  Leave then undisturbed if you can, particularly in the winter months as a disturbance during hibernation can mean their death.  If you wish to do more for the dwindling population of bats, you may want to consider donating to Bat Conservation International. sources (all links : AA - 15+) Bat Conservation International: Threatened
Defenders.org: Bats
National Geographic: Common Vampire Bat   Bees? Bees!!! Supporting Bees Outside of the US One important consideration when you're thinking about the bees is that a lot of guides have US-specific advice, and much of it may be useless or even actively harmful for your native bees/ecosystem! The information below is for Australian bees specifically, but be sure to seek out information relevant to your country's bees.  ? Also, if you're afraid of bees, know that plenty of native bees are stingless, my favourite kind of bee.  And some of them are +blue! [warning for pic of bee] The world is full of so many good things. Bee hotels: many native bees are solitary, so they don't have hives like bees in cartoons (and, I guess, real life). You can buy a bee hotel or make one yourself -- it provides holes for solitary bees to nest in, protection from the rain and also helps bees who have had their native habitat destroyed. (Leaf cutter bees stuff their holes with leaves and it's super cute!!!) Water: we are eternally in drought (blows a kiss to the sky for the farmers) and bees need to drink! However, open water can be a drowning risk, so make a bee bath -- +here are some suggestions for how.  Flowers: both exotic and native flowers will help attract bees. +Here's a great list of some native and exotic flowers to plant, including bottlebrush, flowering gum, grevillia and lavender. For more Australian bee tips, the internet has a wealth of information! I'd recommend +this list as a starting point. ❤️   Supporting Bees Inside the US: America’s honeybees are dying off for many reasons, but there are some ways that you can help! Buy honey and donate to local organizations supporting beekeepers: when colonies die, beekeepers are forced to charger farmers more to pollinate their crops. Plant pollinator-friendly flowers: planting a bee-friendly garden can make it easier for bees to forage through to transfer pollen. It’s recommended to use plants that are native to your area, which can be found +here Set out water: set out a plate of water for a bee bath or a rock with a with spots where rain can gather. Watch the chemicals: try to apply chemicals and pesticides in the yard early in the morning when bees and other pollinators aren’t around   Endangered Species What's happening, and what you can do about it As many of you probably know, scientists have been claiming we're on the brink of the next mass extinction event. An extinction event is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth. Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the diversity and abundance of multicellular organisms. It occurs when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation.What does it mean to be an "endangered" species? Well, it depends on what species you're talking about. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a Red List+ of all the animal species that are currently of "least concern" to "critically endangered". The categories are as follows from least to most concern: Least Concern: no immediate threat to species' survival Near-Threatened: may be considered threatened in the near future Vulnerable: faces a high risk of endangerment in the medium term Endangered: faces a high risk of extinction in the near future Critically Endangered: faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future Extinct in the Wild: captive individuals survive, but there is no free-living, natural population. Extinct: no remaining individuals of the species The most widespread awareness for species conservation for some species that are critically endangered or endangered are those such as the Asiatic Lion, Northern White Rhinoceros, California Condor, Asian Elephant, Bengal Tiger, Bluefin Tuna, and Green Sea Turtles. These are well-known causes, but there are hundreds of plant and insect species also on the verge of extinction! The United States enacted the Endangered Species Act of 1973+ to promote conservation within the United States, and many other countries have similar provisions. Some things you can do are to donate to conservation agencies like the IUCN and talk to your representatives about ending trophy hunting, illegal whaling, and overfishing the oceans. The increasing speed at which the world is losing bees is also quite alarming, as they cross pollinate at least 30% of crops and 90% of wild plants survive. Biodiversity across all species is very important to maintain, and the impact of human life on natural life is profound. Lobbying for conservation efforts wherever you live is a great way of contributing to ensuring that future generations can still see a lion or a tiger or sea turtles in the wild.    Please feel free to discuss your favorite animals in the comments and also your insights on species conservation around the world! Animals are a huge part of our lives and we'd love to know what in particular you all enjoy about them, whether it be your family cat or dog, or you work with animals in your job, or you plain just love 'em all!   -------------------------------- credits contributions: emma, rumpels, alexis, carrie, madi, chelts, kyle, sarah
bees: emma, sarah
endangered species: madi
graphics: emma

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

In the Spotlight | January & February Combo

Welcome to an extra-special edition of In the Spotlight! We'll be taking a look at some of the January and February recognized members and stories, including featured interviews and review columns!  With the FROGS well under-way, we hope you're having an amazing time reading all the phenomenal stories out there! You deserve a break after all that reading, so kick back, relax, and enjoy the show!  In January and February, @Renacerá and @abhorsen. were the recipients of the Order of Merlin Award, respectively, for their displays of awesomeness as staff members to the site.  We have some interviews from the January and February Head Students for you next!  In January, the site recognized @Crimson Quill (Abbi) and @adorably cute (Sarah) as Head Students! They're both incredibly sweet and enthusiastic members of the community!  S A R A H ' S   I N T E R V I E W What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT?  i LOVE the gryffie common room! it's always such a blast hanging out with my fellow lions, no matter what we're doing. there're just this great community in there and i love every one of you!
  If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? right now it's blood in the water. it's the newest story I've started and there's two chapters up so far! it's a next gen fic about James running this organized crime ring with his two partners in crime, Freddy and Charlotte, and them trying to get things back in order after this big huge ordeal happens. i'm super exited about it so far; it's pretty different from anything i've posted so far!
  Which of the following would you prefer to have and why: the ability to teleport to anywhere on planet Earth; the ability to have any kind food/beverages appear in front of you at your will; the ability to never have to sleep again (without feeling tired/in need of sleep)?
this is probably the hardest questioni've ever answered because normally the ability to teleport is my answer to questions like this without any doubt, like no questions asked. but the ability to have any kind of food or beverage appear in front of me at will is IDEAL, so i think i'm definitely going to have to go with that one.

What’s the best way to start the day?
the best way is with a nice, large cup of coffee curled up in bed or on the couch and watching a little bit of tv. on weekdays,i'm partial to a little good morning america, one weekend, i usually start my day off with a comedy on netflix or hulu

What do you think is more important: writing what you know or writing what you’re passionate about? Why?
writing what you're passionate about for sure! honestly,i feel like they line up sometimes, because a lot of times what you're passionate about is what you know-like that's what you read about and what you research and look into. but that's definitely not always the case and you should still write what you're passionate about even if you don't know what you're writing about! it's always fun to learn something new!

Which small animal/creature would you think would be cool to scale up to the size of a horse?
ohh this is tough! is dog too big? i would LOVE a horse sized dog, that would SO FUN TO PET!  if dog is too big, then i'm going to say seahorse because how wild would it be to have a horse sized seahorse ? In February, we saw @Renacerá (Emily) and @starbuck  (Kris) be recognized as Head Students. Both are very active and incredibly helpful people in the community!  E M I L Y ' S   I N T E R V I E W What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT?
Definitely the 'Puff common room! I absolutely love my House and my wonderful Badger Buddies! There's such a great community in the Basement and it never fails to make me smile. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?
Well, this obviously has to be Collateral! So, I haven't been around as much on HPFT lately because I'm completely tied up in editing this story, but I really do love it! Collateral is the new version of a story that I wrote over the span of five years, previously posted on HPFF as Rule Breaker. It's an alternate seventh year story, where the trio returns to Hogwarts. I'd been challenged to take some of the usual Dramione tropes and freshen them up somehow, and I think I achieved that!  So you have Head Girl Hermione taking on a lot of really mysterious things happening in the castle, as well as hunting a murderer and just trying to get through her last year at school. Plus my own take on the Horcrux hunt! And, of course, through the course of this story, she and Draco become friends and have a slow burn romance that takes a very long time to unfold, if readers have the patience to wait for it! I really enjoy the new version of this story that I'm working on. I hope you all do too! What is one of your favorite character flaws to either read or write?
Ooh, this one is hard. I'll focus on what I like towrite, since I'll read just about everything and enjoy it if it's written well. ?  So let's start with my all-time favorite character to explore: our golden girl, Hermione. To start, I think it's important to note that Hermione tends to look perfect from the outside. With that in mind, I've been trying to deepen her as a character in stories I've written lately. I imbue her with a lot of things I personally deal with in my own life. I don't know if I would call them "character flaws" exactly, but I like to explore anxiety and trauma a lot. I think those experiences can really show different sides to people. I'm especially exploring PTSD in my post-war stories right now and that's been very eye-opening. What does plotting look like for you?
A lot of typing, haha. Before I write a chapter or story, I make an outline of the plot points I want to hit and/or the character development that should result. I use lots of bullet points and tiered levels of detail to organize everything in the layout. That way I know where I'm going and can follow along, but I can still switch things up if the story feels like it should go in a different direction. Who is your favorite protagonist and why? (Any fandom.)
Keladry of Mindelan from the Tamora Pierce book series, The Protector of the Small. She's such an incredibly strong, brave, compassionate woman. She's an absolutebad ass but she never loses sight of helping others. She's essentially everything I've ever wanted to be. ? You have to spend 30 days on a desert island -- what would you do to pass the time?
I mean, honestly, I'd probably sleep a lot. ? (Assuming I wouldn't have anything from off the island to occupy my time.) I'd explore and try to get to know my surroundings and then I'd just get comfortable and relax. I'm a pretty anxious person, so I think that just taking a step back and resting would be amazing. Maybe I'd think up story ideas too! K R I S '   I N T E R V I E W   What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT?
hah right now it's the slytherin dungeon - the writing workshop thread i started! i never expected it to become so popular and it's really cool that so many people are eager to participate and help each other with their stories and brainstorming. i don't have anyone IRL that i could talk to about my stories or bounce ideas off of so it's been pretty great, being able to do that with my fellow slytherins! If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?
Nuclear Love. it's adrastoria and i've been itching to write one for literal years but never got around to it until just recently. i was watching the first episode of medici: masters of florence when the first line of the story occurred to me ('It begins with a death, or murder, if you will, as these things usually do.'). from there, the story just unfolded and i couldn't stop writing, staying up late in bed with my laptop (which is something i never did up until then) and writing the story until it became an 8k monster. both astoria and draco are very broken by the war and i really explored astoria's character and the way she was affected by everything that happened during the war in the story. so much that i'm now itching to just write more about her job of all things i would also love to write more about her and draco and i definitely plan to sometime in the near future. they're not perfect, their relationship doesn't really start out healthy and i hope i managed to portray that and the way they develop as characters/people and help each other to pick up the pieces. In your opinion, what makes a good antagonist?
i just recently said something about how for me, grindelwald is a much better antagonist than voldemort. he's charismatic, he has a way with words that he manages to persuade people into his way of thinking - he doesn't have to use force at all. he uses the actions (reactions to his actions) of his opponents to further his own ideas and people drink it up. i can see parallels with the real world in this, where charismatic leaders are able to convince numerous people that their way is the right way - often manipulating the facts, using fake news and so on. so for me, that makes a good antagonist - charisma and ability to manipulate people without having to use force, therefore disabling their opponents in a way. when you can't quite point the finger at someone's evil-doing, it's difficult to convince people that they are, in fact, evil and that they need to be stopped. How do you overcome (or try to overcome) procrastinating writing?
by reading (books and fics)! it may seemas a way to perpetuate procrastinating but i've actually found that reading makes me feel inspired to write How much time do you spend planning out your characters?
that's a difficult question. i kind of start off with an idea of them, spending some time (like days? i think at least) thinking up their background, personality and so on...but then when i write the actual story, the characters keep developing and i keep planning them out. not sure if that makes sense - my brain can get weird at times. You have to spend 30 days on a new (inhabitable) planet -- what would you do to pass the time? 
omg explore what else?!?! i've always dreamed of going on an adventure, ever since i was a kid and read my first book (which was harry potter and the philosopher's stone!) so having so much time to explore a new place.......that would be awesome! We have two wonderful sets of SotM extras to share with you for January and February.  Both stories were wonderful to read and they absolutely deserve the recognition they've been given! Please enjoy these Interviews with the Authors and Review Columns!  The January Story of the Month Winner was @RoxiMalfoy's You Are a Light!  R E V I E W   C O L U M N You Are a Light is a powerful, touching piece that travels down the path of human suffering at its core. Deana explored different types of suffering, from personal issues to things that are far beyond the control of ourselves. Even as each story's type of pain and turmoil is different, it shows that each person's afflictions are important as they take a toll in different ways.  This outlines the importance to remember your fellow human, and know that they, too, may be suffering. It also draws attention to those who seem fine on the outside -- even so much as to help others in their times of need -- and reminds us that they might be suffering as well, and to reach out to them and try to help them as they've helped you. Filled with raw emotion, there are many people who can relate to at least some of the stories, whether on a personal-level or having known someone who has gone through something similar. As such, it is an extremely engaging piece.  I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R What inspires you to write? There are a lot of things that I cannot always put into words in the context of normal conversations, or feelings that I don't necessarily always know how to express, so I've often found that writing gives me an outlet in which to express those words/thoughts/feelings/things that have gone left unsaid. There is something about articulating your thoughts down on paper, and organizing one's ideas into writing. I would definitely have to say that emotion is the biggest thing that inspires my writing overall. I tend to write from a much better place whenever I let my emotions get involved, and the end result usually reflects that as well. I like to write from a personal experience, and use what I know to pour as much feeling into a piece as I can. Writing is therapeutic for me. It's a way to escape. And with writing Love, Not War, for example; it was a way for my young-adult-self to learn how to forgive my own father through Draco and Lucius’ father/son relationship, and all the trials that they have to overcome together. Then again, when writing You Are A Light, it was all extremely personal for me. I met a lot of people, and got to hear so many of their stories on my missions trip, and then coming back home and trying to readjust to “regular life” here in the US after seeing so many of the things that we tend to take for granted here… it weighed pretty heavily on me. Not to mention all of the people I know IRL at home, work, church, online, and acquaintances that I've made recently as well. There have just been so many untold stories from so many amazing people cropping up, and I just couldn't stop thinking about them all. So I opened up my computer one might, and I started to write. I had every intention of working on LNW for NaNo that evening, but before I knew it, this whole other story just poured out of me. What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try? I’ve always been really into the Crime/Mystery Genre, but I know that something like that takes immense planning to get ALL of the details right. I imagine you’d have to have incredible organization to get all the details down pact, and let’s face it: I am anything but organized and planned when it comes to my writing, lol. I have my basic outline of LNW (which has changed several times over the years) and then the rest of the details are kept mostly in my head. I’m way more of a wing-it writer, AND a solid procrastinator, haha!! So Idk if I’d ever have the patience or the skill to write a very believable (or good) crime/mystery fic or not... I sure do enjoy reading the crap out of them tho!!?️‍♀️ Who are some published authors that you look up to? Obviously, I’m a HUGE Tolkien fan, and I've always admired C.S. Lewis. But as to more present-day authors; I really love and respect both Christopher Paolini and Rick Riordan as well.  If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? That would definitely be to write for yourself, and not for the wants or desires of others. ✍️  Don't get me wrong, having lots of readers and a huge following in the fanfic community is awesome!! And it's good to “give the readers what they want” sometimes. But if that's the only reason you're writing for, then you're eventually going to lose your passion and forget what used to drive you, in my opinion... I write what makes ME happy, and I try not to stress so much about what others are going to think about my work. So long as I'M satisfied with the end results, and it has made Deana feel good, then it was all time well spent in my book. Sure, I will obsess on my read-count from time to time, and constantly check for new reviews as often as the next person right after posting a new story and/or chapter update. (I mean, don't we ALL do that? ?  ) But my writing has always been therapeutic to me. And spending all of my time worrying about whether people will like it or not would simply detract from that… So my advice is to try to do whatever makes YOU happy when you write, and I'm sure that you will be way more pleased with the results in the end. ? Where did you draw inspiration for You Are A Light from? There were a lot of things that inspired this story, but perhaps the main/final influential factor overall I'd say was my missions trip to Honduras back in September. I know I haven't had a chance to talk very openly here onsite about it yet (and I really have been meaning to post another blog update about that) but we saw so many things there, and met so many wonderful people. And when I got back home; spending the month of October trying to readjust to “regular, everyday life” after that incredible, life-changing week of witnessing every day miraculous things…. It was, a bit overwhelming, to say the least. So when NaNoWriMo started, and I was meant to be focused on my writing again, it was in that first week that this story was born. Like I said in the first question, I had tried to focus on writing LNW to get ahead for November, but all of the people I had met, and a few other RL situations I had been dealing with too, just kept creeping into the back of my mind. So I started scrolling through the challenges section here on the forums, and that was when I came across the Inspired by Art challenge. Then I started Googling some of the artists that @Chelts-rhj recommended, and as soon as I saw the painting of Magdalen With the Smoking Flame; everything just kind of clicked into place. And once I finally started writing, I could not stop. It felt like I just had to get this story out. I drew inspiration for many of the scenarios in You Are A Light from people that I met in Honduras, close family members, several life-long friends, some online friends, and a few complete and total strangers that I had just met in passing. Two of them were even scenarios from own past, so when I say the story is very personal to me; I mean that in every possible way... I almost didn't share it at all, because it just made me feel so vulnerable after I was done writing it, and I was truly afraid of what people might say or think about it. (Which is rather contradicting to my advice in the last question, I am well aware, lol.) So the fact that this story has been received so positively (getting nom'd for Story OTM, and now even a FROGS Award) is just so mind-blowing to me! Like, seriously, I can't believe it. ?  I am just blown away by the response to this story, and I am just so humbled by you guys, and so glad to see that this story has resonated with so many of you. The fact that it has gotten such positive feedback thus far is truly wonderful, and I just LOVE the unending support and love that this community here holds so freaking much!!!    What message (or messages) were you hoping to convey to your readers with You Are A Light? I think, overall, the underlying theme is that it's important to remember that everyone is suffering in some way or another. The grass is not always greener on the other side, as the expression goes. That family who seems to have the perfect life could be dealing with something so deep, you just never know. We ALL have a story to tell, including those people who seem ‘perfectly fine’ on the outside; the ones who always try to help other people in need. Even if you'd never expect them to be hurting because they “seem to have it all together” - take a second look at the world around you. Life is messy, and hard, and it sucks sometimes - for all people, from all walks of life. But the life of an empath is especially difficult, because they try to take on the pain of others in addition to their own. And it's difficult for them to admit when they're suffering too, because they do not want to be the cause of anyone else's pain or worry… So, if you know anyone like that in your own life, don't forget to be there for them as much as they are there for you. It is imperative that we give unto one another as much as we take, that we help each other out in dark times. That we be the light for the people around us who may need it. ? Then there is also the guilt factor that also comes into play towards the end of the story. I think that I myself was struggling with this a lot when we first came home from Honduras. I think it’s difficult for anybody not to feel guilty (or even a bit sad) about all of the things that we take for granted here in America on a daily basis, the first time after visiting a third world country, and seeing first-hand just how good we’ve actually got it made here. I definitely learned a lesson in humility on that trip, and it certainly made ME realize all of the things that I was taking for granted. But I have now come to the realization that we do not have to feel guilty about the blessings we have been given in our lives. Rather, we should be thankful, and take what we do have, and use that to our advantage to try and bless others. Whether you have a little, or you have been given a lot, you can either keep it all to yourself or you can chose to share it. Personally, I’ve been more on the sharing side lately, and I’ve been feeling WAY better about things. I used to be so selfish and me-focused with just about everything in my life - my time, my belongings, my finances. But meeting Nicole last summer (the homeless lady who lived out of her van that was mentioned in the story), and then getting to see Angie and her family (my sponsored child with One Child Matters) in Honduras, and just seeing first-hand the way that adversity did not overcome ANY of those children (or even the Staff) at the center in Tegucigalpa… It truly did change my entire perspective on everything. ? The February Story of the Month Winner was @Chemical_Pixie 's A Place Not Far From Here!  R E V I E W   C O L U M N A Place Not Far From Here is a thrilling and perplexing story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's told through the eyes of Amelia Fortescue, an original character, as the murder of one James Sirius Potter begins to unravel a much larger, yet just as critical, mystery. As she uncovers more about the Ressurection Stone, a Hallow we're all familiar with, she inadvertently learns more about the enigma her life has become, one clue at a time. The story also calls into question of mental health surrounding trauma and reveals just how tumultuous silence can be.  The characterization is done wonderfully -- Amelia's character has a ton of depth. The story in itself is incredibly interesting and will leave you clicking on the next chapter just as soon as you've finished the one you've read.    I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R What inspires you to write?
Creative power. I’ve recently realized that, for the vast majority of my life, I have utilized some form of creative power as a way to empower myself. From fanfiction to music to painting to knitting to original fiction to poetry to making games, I have used creativity as a way to cope, as a way to change people’s perspectives, as a way to cheekily get around the rules. How do you use your creative power?
  What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try?
Hmm… I think it would be fun to write a super spy story or something of the sort, though my WIPs remain quite extensive, so I think I might have to hold off on that!
Who are some published authors you look up to? Noam Chomskyever articulate; speaks truth to power; develops and defends political activism; his drive to keep his politics, academic pursuits, and personal life as separate as possible: bell hooks: emphasizes the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender; her pedagogy of hope to break free from oppression; her amazing work to further feminist theory Carlos Ruiz Zafón: author of The Shadow of the Wind, which is a novel that reminds me of my love for books and for mysteries (and for Barcelona) Loung Ung: captivating memoir of her childhood in the Pol Pot regime; I met her in high school and have a signed copy of her book, First They Killed My Father; her amazing work as a human rights activist
If you could give one piece two pieces of advice to your fellow writers, what would it they be?
If you had thirty seconds to pitch A Place Not Far From Here to a complete stranger, what would you say?
If you do NOT want to read something that leaves you on the edge of your seat, that casts doubts on what you think is true, that will most likely break your heart, read something else.
What’s your favorite line from A Place Not Far From Here? I wonder if love will ever be enough. Spoiler alert: it won’t be. And yet… Lions Roar, Badgers Dance, Eagles Soar, and Snakes Slither -- here are some interviews.  J A N U A R Y Leading Lion: @adorably cute How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House?
hmm for a few years now! i am most definitely a gryffinclaw and i definitely have a lot of ravenclaw traits as well (gryffie primary ravenclaw secondary for anyone who uses the sorting hat chats system), but i noticed a few years ago that my gryffie ones were the ones i was identifying more strongly with and that i started to value more as i got older.

What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? i love all the events! the collab ones we've been doing recently have been so fun because i've met and talked with a lot of people that i haven't talked with before! but i also love the ones where we're competing as individual houses (typical competitive gryffie right here) because as i've said, i love my gryffies❤️

What was your worst fear as a child?
gahh that's definitely the ocean. not like the shallow part, like i'd go stand anywhere i could reach. the deeper part. like even now, we still don't know so much about it. that's wild. shark week is crazy. tbh it's still kind of terrifying (though i have definitely grown out of my fear of it slightly and will go much farther into than when i was a child).

Name one character (from any fandom, or from something original of your own) that you associate the most with. How do you relate to them?
Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother! She's fun and sarcastic and kind of dorky, but also not afraid to be who she is. She's also not perfect and at least kind of recognizes that? , and basically I relate to everything I've identified above.   Featured Fic: Swipe Right, Swing Left by @ShadowRose How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House?

since i was 15 or so, i think? before pottermore came out i was convinced i was a ravenclaw , but was frequently told i seemed more like a gryffindor (i have a natural tendency to never turn down a challenge and always want to dive into things headfirst). when i first took the "official" sorting test, i stalled between ravenclaw and gryffindor and it let me pick, and for some reason, i decided to go with gryffindor instead. and that was my moment of conversion i guess? i still consider myself a strong ravenclaw secondary, but i'm a gryffindor primary through and through.

What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT?
i spend a lot of time lurking in the online users thread. i like being creepy and seeing what other people are doing. ? and, of course, getting involved in whatever sitewide/CR events are going on at any given time.

What would Amortentia smell like to you?
freshly brewed coffee, a sweater weather candle from bath and body works, and the ocean. and probably a bit of that metallic-y smell of gym equipment, because i've recently come to the realization that i've developed a Type™ and it is slightly douche-y gym bros. ?

If the last book you read suddenly became directly related to what was going to happen in your life, how would you react? Also, please share the book with us!
... this is about to be the least exciting answer ever, because the last book i read is quite literally just called yes we (still) can: politics in the age of obama, twitter, and trump, and given that i already work in politics (and specifically on the digital side of things), i don't think much would actually change?? like, all of that book is basically my reality anyways , lol.    F E B R U A R Y Leading Lion: @Sleepingbagonthesofa Tell us a joke or pun related to your House.
How do you get a Gryffindor to open up? A key ? I'm here all week people...   What is one of your favourite things to do on HPFT?
Lurk in the Online Users Page... Why? I have no idea. I'm nosy and find it weirdly calming  other than that it's easily hang around the Den or the Writers Nest section! 
 If you could ask any author (dead or alive) a single question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
ahhh... So, I had another answer to this but I've started re-reading ASOIAF and I just want to ask George RR Martin what the deal is with a character called Ashara Dayne because her name appears e v e r y w h e r e and apparently for no reason and the show doesn't include her and she seems important but... At this stage I wouldn't even ask how it ends just... Ashara? I NEEDS TO KNOW!  Ron Weasley or nah?
*thinks about the ginger, food loving, sort-of future telling, spider hating, brave, loyal, stubborn and stupid idiot with the emotional range of a teaspoon... the boy who gave us the lines “Percy wouldn’t recognise a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby’s tea cozy.” and the classic "Don't let the muggles get you down."...* Ron Weasley.   Featured Fic: Project Azkaban by @Unwritten Curse Tell us a joke or pun related to your House.
I’m terrible at puns, and I ain’t Lion. 

What is one of your favorite things to do on HPFT?
I love to write with other HPFT’ers—either Rat Races or just a casual writing party. I think that writing can so often feel like a vacuum, so it’s both motivating and exciting to write alongside other writers (even if it is just through a screen). It’s fun to challenge each other to reach our goals and share insights that we gain as we write. It helps to clear out the writer’s block.

How has being a part of a writing community helped improve your writing?
I guess my previous answer works for this question, too! But in addition to motivating each other, I also love the focus on reviewing here at HPFT. Feedback is vital to our improvement as writers, and I’m very grateful for all the reviews I have received that have helped me to hone my craft. 

Who is your favorite HP character and why?
My answer to this question has always been Sirius Black and I think I’m sticking with that answer.  I love his story, that he was raised amidst elitist jerks and yet managed to keep his head on straight. The amount of self-assurance and courage that must have taken is incredible. And then he served years in Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit, yet when he was released his main concern was for Harry’s safety and well-being. Like... what an incredible character. I know he’s fictional and all, but I really admire his strength.    J A N U A R Y Claw of the Month: @Chelts-rhj How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House?
I took the Pottermore quiz when it was still Pottermore beta (oh yeah, I’m OG  lol) and was very surprised to get sorted into Ravenclaw, but the older I get the more I come to understand that’s truly where I belong. In a job interview the president of the company said, “All of your references comment on how smart you are. Why is that?” I replied, “I abhor being ignorant.” And if that’s not Clawsome idk what is. What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT?
CHALLENGES!!!!! And getting comments from Ineke after she validated my thing. And reviews from Madi when I update Stand Tall (this chapter and I have a love hate relationship). Which mythological creature do you hope NEVER exists and why?
Chimera. Because I watched an anime and it scared me for life and I have to stop talking about it now before I remember too much of those episodes. K thanks bye. Who is your favorite villain and why? (Any fandom, or an Original Work of your own.)
UGH!!! I don’t think you realize how difficult it is to choose just one. I mean… goodness. I like my OF novel villains (brothers) because of how they watch out for each other. And I like Moriarty for sure (original and BBC series) because smart is the new sexy and I go goo-goo for an INTJ with questionable morals. But… Batman villains exist. And because Batman villains exist- the Joker is my favorite villain. I love how you never know if the gun in his hand is loaded with confetti and a little sign that says bang or if he’s actually about to kill you. I love how he knows just how to push Batman’s buttons. I love how he seduced Harleen, a competent psychologist. I like 50s joker. I like animated Joker. I like Jack Nicholson Joker. I like heath ledger Joker. Heck, I even like Jerome in Gotham. I just like the Joker. I’m sorry. (Also- the scene in Batman Origins video game where Harley thinks he’s talking about her and he’s really talking about Batman is just perfect and I love it.)
Story of the Month: The Eccentric Education of the Knight Bus by @potionspartner How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House?
I never really thought about it until I logged into Pottermore and then it was just obvious. Although I might make a good Puff, I'm way too cautious to be a lion and get caught at anything even slightly incorrect so Slytherin is out too.  What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT?
It's a toss up between the competitions. (I loved the Halloween mazes) and writing. When the muse strike, very little else takes priority in my life.  What would a dream writing location look like for you?
Super quiet, warm but not too warm, hot cocoa next to me and no matter what position I'm in my muscle don't ache after sitting there so long at the keyboard.  What is the most creative thing you could do with 200 pounds of cheese?
Have a party of course! The guest list would include Speedy, Jerry, Mighty, Mickey and Minnie.   Or perhaps I would become a sculptor and create the Leaning Tower of Cheese-a. F E B R U A R Y Claw of the Month:  @potionspartner Tell us a joke or pun related to your House. From Ravenclawravings:    What is one of your favorite things to do on HPFT?
I loved the Halloween Mazes because they are just big puzzles. Like all puzzles once you map them out, they are quite easy. I also liked the Nifflers because I received my first banners ever! What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I honestly don't have a set goal. I've only been writing fanfiction for about 14 months, so I guess this year's goal is to write better than last year. There are so many amazing writers on HPFT and I'd love to reach their level.   If you could spend an afternoon with one character from any fandom, who would it be and why?
Hmmm. Someone dark and complex, Someone who would make you view the world a different way. Someone who you think you understand until you have an indepth conversation with him/her and you just stand their with your mouth hanging open thinking wow, I actually had a conversation with this person. If you know me, then you probably already know the answer.    Story of the Month: Black Ties by @lovegood27 Tell us a joke or pun related to your House. I can’t think of any good ones off the top of my head at the moment (or maybe it’s because I don’t know any...), so here’s this ancient meme instead: What is one of your favorite things to do on HPFT?
Apart from lurking around doing absolutely nothing, I love taking part in all the different events run throughout the year, whether it’s site-wide or just within my own house. The uniqueness of each event is part of the appeal, but it’s also such a good way of getting to know people who I otherwise would rarely talk to, and discovering amazing stories (Magical Menagerie?). Participating in challenges would probably come as a close second favourite thing to do (it is also a problem because I apparently draw no line between wanting to push my boundaries and going on a challenge-joining spree).  What makes a great antagonist, in your opinion?
I guess that they’re portrayed realistically? I‘m definitely no expert when it comes to writing antagonists but I think it’s important to consider them as a character in their own right, and not have them just have the sole purpose of...being the antagonist of a story. It makes them one dimensional. They should have redeeming qualities, however few, as well as flaws (and then it’s up to the writer to decide on just how significant those flaws will be), and a motivation for their actions so it’s not like they’re just plain ‘evil’ for the sake of contrasting good and bad. Oh, and I always love an antagonist with a tragic backstory lmao.  How do you tackle Writer’s Block?
Um, I don’t really (which might explain a lot). If it’s trouble with finishing a story I’m having, I’ll sometimes just force myself to keep writing, maybe adding on one or two sentences every day until I manage to finish it and then go over it again to refine things. But generally, I’ll just take a break from writing for a bit and come back when I want. Which could be in a couple of hours, or days. Or weeks. With starting a new story, though, I think that there’s always inspiration to be found; I tend to get loads of random little ideas from music, books, RL situations, and I file them away for later when I feel like developing them (even if sometimes that is never). HPFT is also super helpful if I’m ever short on ideas, there’s always loads of prompts and challenges for me to take inspiration from.  J A N U A R Y Snake of the Month: @RoxiMalfoy How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? This is funny, because I actually spent my first seven and a half years of this community (from March 2008 to December 2015) in Gryffindor House. It was not until the second edition of the Pottermore Sorting Hat Quiz launched in January of 2016, and I got sorted into Slytherin for the 2nd time in a row, that I finally embraced it, lol. And even though SEVERAL sorting tests that I had taken over the years had always been pretty evenly split between Gryffindor & Slytherin, when the “official test" from JKR first told me that I was a genuine Snake; I admit that I was one of those people who went through, like, this whole identity crisis thing for like an entire year, lol!! ? But when I look back on that time period of my life now, I just cannot help but to laugh at the whole entire thing. Because, like, now that I have fully embraced it, I realize that I am 100% Slytherin AF, and that Gryffindor is MOST DEFINITELY my secondary house, for sure. ? And I’ll often catch myself saying or doing things sometimes that are SOO Slytherin, it just makes me shake my head and wonder WHY I ever actually thought that I was a real Gryffindor, haha!! (Which is funny, because I live in a house full of nothing but Gryffindors, haha!!) And people IRL always be so surprised to learn that I’m a snake sometimes too. “But you’re not a bad person,” they always tell me, or my personal favorite: “but you’re way too nice to be in Slytherin.” UGH!! *total eyeroll moment*  ? Yes, this is all very true. Thank you. However, I think you have missed a few key factors... (Okay. I am about to be superrr transparent with you all. Please don't judge me, lol!) ? But I am also a VERY determined individual, I am ambitious af; to the point of having to be successful in all of my endeavors, I am loyal only to those who are loyal to me, I look out for me and my own first and foremost, and trust and believe that I will do whatever it takes to get that raise/promotion at my job. I may or may not be slightly selfish/conceited at times, depending on the day and/or occasion, I enjoy the finer things in life (when I can indulge in them), and I also hold some very traditional values and belief systems at the core of my being... So yes. Without a shadow of a doubt, I AM a Slytherin. And I am EXTREMELY PROUD to be so. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.   What is your favorite thing about the Slytherin Common Room here at HPFT? Oh gosh, this one is SO HARD because we have so many awesome things to do in there now, lol!! ? But I’ve been hanging out in there a LOT here lately, and I think, perhaps, my most favorite thing of all in our Common Room right now has got to be the new Spoils of War Arcade [Link is for Snakes only, sorry!!] that Rumpels created. I mean, it’s no secret that I am a massive hoarder, lol!! ?And those little S.o.W. Knights that Alexis and Rumpels have both created for each of our Common Room events & achievements are soooo cuuutee!!!! I simply cannot seem to have enough of them for my profile!! It’s like freaking Pokemon -  I've just gotta collect ‘em ALL, lol!!! And what makes it even better is that you can also redeem those adorbs little guys for cool prizes too (like reviews, WJ Questions, Picspams, Podfics, etc…) So yeah, even though it’s only just started not too long ago, I am totally here for ALL of this right now!! ? Which animal best represents your personality? So, NGL, I went and took a few Animal Personality tests to determine the result of this question, lol! I was initially thinking Cat, as they are so curious about their surroundings, and are adaptive, playful, and cats literally have the most attitude of any animal that I know, lol. But then I realized that it went far deeper than that. One of the tests that I took labeled me as a Bat Personality type, and even tho I hate bats, the comparisons actually made a LOT of sense to me! I knew that I would be some type of flying creature, for sure, and as soon as it mentioned being nocturnal and social, I knew that the Bat personality was 100% me. ? Here is an excerpt from the test results that I got (which you can totally checkout +HERE, if you’re interested in reading all of it): So, I related hardcore to pretty much ALL of this! The full results also described the Bat as being artistic, reflective, unpredictable, and intuitive; all of which are totally me. And it also listed some of the ideal Careers & Hobbies for the Bat as being a musician, writer, artist (all of which I am), and a Social Worker; which was what I originally wanted to go to college for before I ever became a Medical Assistant... So yeah. I thought that this was a super interesting personality test, and the results were rather accurate, to say the least, lol. ? What five items would you put inside a mental health first aid kit? A copy of Turn Your Pain Into Art, by Ariel Bloomer. ? (Seriously, this book has changed my life, y'all!!) ? My iPod classic, with ALL of my favorite music downloaded ? (because yes, I'm still old-school like that, haha!!) - And don't forget the headphones!! ? My personal Journal + pens ??️ (to write down any story ideas, song lyrics, poems, prayers, and to makes lists, or whatever comes to mind if I'm taking some time away to myself for reflection). A Pumpkin Spice/Apple Cinnamon (or other similarly fall scented) Candle, complete with candle warmer ? (because those totally work so much better than an open flame) to help set the mood of my environment.?️ Lots of Cinnamon & Spice hot tea ☕ (with extra sugar, please!) ? Story of the Month: Ghost in the Attic by @juls How long have you associated yourself with the House you’re in now & when did you first realize that you belong in your House? 
Since February of 2007, when my Muggleborn First year was sorted into Slytherin. My HoH was (fortunate for me!) was a good writing friend, so her character was able to show me the GOOD side of Slytherin. I probably would have quit in despair if she hadn't. (This was way before Deathly Hallows, mind you. She basically gave my character the same type of talk as Harry gave Albus.) So I was usually Ravenclaw, cause I like to consider myself 'brainy', but this gave me pause. I've slowly accepted my Slytherin side, merged it with the Ravenclaw one, and consider myself (gasp!) Slytherclaw. It's a pretty awesome way of life! Money, time, and skill aside, what would your dream bedroom look like?
My dream bedroom? It would have to be huge, simply because I'd love to surround (at least on two sides) the room with bookshelves(filled, of course, with books!) . I'd love a nook beneath a recessed window where I can stretch out with a cuppa, a book, a cat (MUST HAVE CATS).  and music.... and a bed with lots of pillows and fluffy blankets to share with the kitties (and the boyfriend!) What has been your favorite character to write, whether OC or canon (any fandom), and why was/were he/she/they your favorite?
I've always loved writing Hermione. She's just so me, so I understand her well. Or - as least I think I do *wink* What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT?
Reading, writing, and reviewing stories. (Kind of the new '3R's', I guess.) Also, hanging out with the other Slytherins. Whether it's to chat, share ideas, or strategize. I think we make a great team. F E B R U A R Y Snake of the Month: @MegGonagall Tell us a joke or pun related to your House. 
I know this is an ooooold one, but it always makes me laugh. This picture: What is one of your favorite things to do on HPFT? 
One of my favorites is the Slytherin Game Room. A lot of our games are super fun, but I love hangman the most, and am (humblebrag) pretty darn good at it.  What character archetype is your favorite and why?
 I loooooove the grey characters, the shapeshifters, the ones who you’re never quite sure who’s side they’re really on, until the very end. One of the many reasons I adore Snape. I love the tension they bring to a scene, and they way they always keep you guessing. I love that they’re flawed, and usually more human than most other characters. They’re complex and just so freaking interesting to read.  If you had to rewrite any character out of the HP series, who would it be and what would you change? I don’t think I would rewrite any of them, to be honest. I think JKR really nailed it with her characters. She gave us a world of not only magic, but also some of the most real and relatable characters I’ve ever read. Even the “good guys” aren’t 100% pure. I mean, Sirius tried to murder Snape when they were teens, Remus is a werewolf, James was a bully, Harry was hot-headed and rash, Ron had no tact  and could be downright cruel at times, Hermione was ruthless and sometimes condescending, Dumbledore was a master manipulator with a less than clean past. I mean, even Voldemort had a sad backstory, that had you feeling sorry for Tom Riddle. None of them were perfect, and they were all beautiful. I really wouldn’t change any of them.  Story of the Month: Like Breadcrumbs by @Rumpelstiltskin Tell us a joke or pun related to your House:
What is one of your favorite things to do on HPFT?
It's a hard time between hanging out in the Resources and Information section (because resources and information, my dudes) and the recently resurrected Writing Exercises subforum (because those writing prompts are awesome). In fact, I've been having a lot of fun with the people who have been participating -- reading their responses to the prompts is awesome! What’s your favorite cliche/trope & why?
There has always been something about the Death of the Mentor trope that really tickles my fancy. I love the idea of having the mentor, to begin with, in order to help guide the MC toward whatever destiny awaits them. However, I do really appreciate the removal of said mentor at a certain time. By forcing the MC to go through this loss and leave them guideless, essentially, also poses a new opportunity for the MC to grow and develop, finally being able to take what they've learned and push forward. Plus, many times it fuels the MC's sense of vengeance or justice as they seek to overthrow the person or persons responsible for the death of that mentor.  What is the most difficult part of writing any story (for you)? The middle bits leading up to climaxes.  It seems that, once I've hit a climax (and it doesn't have to be the main climax), I'm golden to soar through that intense moment and slide on through the resolution. However, once I start climbing back up into another climax, setting things up, stories always feel a bit slow for me, though I try to make those sections as interesting as possible. I also get stuck during these parts when questions start cropping up that I hadn't considered during the outline (ie "what if character did this instead -- how would that affect the pot? is that a feasible route? do I really want to stray from the outline? blah blah!) Hello and welcome to the January/February monthly dilemma! If this is your first time, each month we will be asking you a question and you can respond to each question by commenting in the corresponding blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section. The winner from the December Blog was @Chemical_Pixie! Congratulations, you've won one [1] free review on a story of your choice! Please contact a Prefect to let them know where you'd like it. The same goes for previous winners who have not yet claimed their prizes.   This month's dilemma is: Would you rather live in a place that is permanently Too Humid or Not Humid Enough? You have until March 15th to answer! This month's winner will receive one [1] free review on a story of your choice. ____________________________
credits:
header/dividers -- deni
interviewers -- madi, chelts, deni, sarah, rumpels
monthly dilemma -- emma
blog compilation -- rumpels
 

A Lock of Love

Welcome to this month's love-filled Prefect blog, co-authored by the man who knows (self)-love best, Gilderoy Lockhart! ♥️  We've got some great love story and Gilderoy-featuring story recommendations we'd like to share from members and also from us! Gilderoy was also kind enough to write some love letters for the staff for his contribution besides providing us with his usual charm and witty banter. His personal assistant also magicked up some personalized photographs of GIlderoy for each staff member! @galadriel @Sleepingbagonthesofa @ShadowRose  @toomanycurls   @LadyL8 @PaulaTheProkaryote @Chemical_Pixie @Veritaserum27 @abhorsen. @Unwritten Curse @TidalDragon @Alopex @Ineke Dear Lady Galadriel, Hello my darling creative writing Professor! I do hope later you can teach me some of your skills in crafting such beautiful writing. You have been working so hard lately, especially with having to train our dear students to capture all of those magical creatures last month! (Perhaps my latest quest didn’t turn out as it should have, my sincerest apologies.) I trust I could learn some new wandwork techniques from your capable hands, and everso look forward to it. Shall we rendezvous later this week in the Staff Lounge to discuss the newest writing techniques or the latest editorial in Witch Weekly? I’ll be awaiting your owl for our meeting time, oh lovely and celestial Nim! Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Paula, While I am not sure exactly what a prokaryote is, I do not doubt you are an expert in whatever this field is that I assume is related to Herbology. As you probably know, I am an expert in the field of Charms -- I haven’t won Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award five times in a row for nothing! Perhaps we can combine forces to tackle the media and the publishing office over a nice, candlelit meal in my office next week. I am also ever so keen to expand my knowledge in the hopes it will help me during a future encounter, so I do not doubt your lessons in Herbology would do me extremely well. I await your response by owl! Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Abby, I hear you like poetry, so I’d like to present you with one I’ve written myself. I am, after all, a literary icon, author of multiple best-sellers, and as I hear you are the fabulous new member of the publishing office, it is only fitting that we make our acquaintance early. After all, who would be better than yourself to appreciate such greatness; beautiful poetry for a beautiful soul. Please accept this lovely poem as a token of my gratitude for publishing my next best-seller:
There once was a man from Nantucket
My dear personal assistant tells me this is not the type of poem you will be looking for. I shall get back to you shortly! Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Beth, I wish to ask how you can dare have been departed from me for the time that you were, but how can I ask such a question when you have been matching exceeding beauty with immeasurable brains.  It is impossible to not love an academic and you my love are indeed an academic, a woman after my own heart.  I hope that we can be reunited soon and you can share with me all that you have learned upon which I can write a book about you, the woman of equal looks and brains. Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Branwen, Does the Headmistress wish to see me for my bad behavior in accidentally releasing all of those magical creatures around the school grounds? I’m sure I’ll learn my lesson this time. I know you did a lot of hard work in wrangling those beasts and I only wish to fully appreciate your skills in managing such an enormous task. Shall I conjure thee a comfortable chair and a large mug of tea to lessen the strain of your duties? I must say that many a witch has enjoyed a shoulder massage at my hands, and I will gladly provide you with my services, dearest Branwen, whenever you like. Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Gina, I see no one more worthy of myself than the “Queen of Gryffindor” and as such, I could not help myself from reaching out to you. For the spirit of such a fierce lioness as yourself could only be matched with someone with such accolades as myself. I trust two daring souls such as ourselves could find ourselves quite the unforgettable adventure! I’ll be awaiting your response owl so we can leave with haste! Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Monseuir Kevin, It is with my sincerest regret that such a long period of time has elapsed since my last visit -- surely you understand what a busy man I am, battling banshees and disposing of doxies. To make it up to you, I'm leaving you a signed copy of my autobiography, Magical Me, and several autographed photographs. If you scatter them about your dwelling, it may feel like I've never left at all. It has come to my attention, however, that you have been performing great feats to match my own lately -- crafting FROG category posts and organizing collaborations for the ages... Perhaps we should meet over tea sometime soon and you can elaborate on your adventures. It is vital that nobody knows of our meeting, however. Uh -- you see -- if my masses of fans were to hear of our meeting, they may attempt to intrude upon our conversations.  Contact me to let me know what time of day works best for you! Love,
Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Holly, How lucky for is it that happenstance has brought us together once again? What a duo the pair of us make -- with my extraordinary abilities and perfect hair and your renowned cartography skills, we could spend long hours mapping out the jungles of South America together. You know, I once conquered a particularly nasty band of werewolves hiding out in the Amazon Rainforest... it's a stunning vacation spot, if not for all the bugs and man-eating critters running amok (they don't faze me, of course). Alas, I must be taking my leave rather soon. This world isn't going to protect itself, after all. Don't feel put out, though, for I shall be leaving you with an autograph photograph of myself and a signed copy of Wandering Wayward Werewolves of Brazil as inspiration for that map.   Until next we meet, my dear!  Love,
Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Ineke, How can I compare thee to anything but the force of nature that you are? I know our communication has been spotty as of late, but it only makes the heart grow fonder. Your superb senior management of the publishing office leads me to hope for a private meeting with you to discuss a possible arrangement concerning my latest work. Perhaps you’d enjoy a box of Chocolate Caramel Cauldrons to sweeten the deal as I know those are your favorite! Your publishing record is astounding, and I look forward to our future correspondence regarding Me, Myself, and I...and you. Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Lotte, It cannot be expressed how my heart has longed to hear from you in the past winter months.  I am told that you have recently moved.  Would you dare move again?  If so I would love for you to move closer to me so that I can more readily read you the more romantic passages of my book extolling to all how beautiful and wonderful you are.  You are simply a divine and sweet honey badger, both powerful and kind.  Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Rose, A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but Headmistress shall not be beat! I see you have an infant who needs no help from me in being heard or seen. Would you care to be whisked away for a relaxing spa weekend with me? You are most deserving of this wonderful chance to spend hours listening to my while away the time regaling you with tales of my accomplishments! I await your owl accepting this once-in-a-lifetime holiday with yours truly. Love, Gilderoy Lockhart Dear Lady Taylor, Words cannot espresso how much you mean to me! You’ve been a busy media manager this month, but you’ve still found time to mocha me crazy! In fact, I’m just going to say it. I like you a latte. We were meant to bean. I’ve got the coffeels for you. Such a brewtiful and amazing soul such as yourself deserves nothing but the best, and as the five time winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile, I think we should give this our best shot! Shall we meet in the staff lounge this week to espresso our feelings? I eagerly await your response owl!
  Love, Gilderoy Lockhart    Dear Lady Deni, I hear you don’t like spinach puffs, so in your honor I shall go on a quest to have them removed from this Earth. After all, it is no concern of yours if people have food. You are a beautiful and busy lion, with media to manage, muggles to liaison with, and levers to pull (but best be careful not to pull the wrong one). Perhaps after I have eradicated all of the spinach puffs, we could collaborate on my next bestseller-author and inspiration for Stamping Out Spinach Puffs. I look forward to your correspondence. Love, Gildeory Lockhart
  We asked, and you delivered on some of your favorite ~love~ stories or stories that feature Gilderoy (the man himself!) or both! Without further ado, here are the stories to give you the feel-good romance vibes for this month ? How I Saved the Wizarding World with Hair Potions, by Gilderoy Lockhart by @Stella Blue Orange Cardamom by @ShadowRose Of Bookshelves and Baby Carriers by @poppunkpadfoot Amortentia by @greisful Eyes as Brown as an Enstatite Gem by @MadiMalfoy Rush of Blood by @nott theodore Chai Series by @800 words of heaven How Long? by @crestwood Golden Girl by @Finefrenzy__  The Anne Clarke Chronicle by @MrsDarcy   Moonlight by @Noelle Zingarella  The Woes of Mr Weatherby by @Bunbury  Shards of a Badger's Heart by @Hufflepuffbookworm1990 The Taste of Cherry by @scooterbug8515  Capture Me by @sunshine_locks  Meddling Aphrodite by @greisful That's All by @beyond the rain  Seasons of Love by @galadriel  Disarming Charm by @scooterbug8515                       ____________________ Credits post contributors + recs: Madi, Sarah, Carrie, Rumpels, Emma, Gilderoy Lockhart graphics: Rumpels Story Recs: @starbuck, @PaulaTheProkaryote, @MegGonagall, @Chemical_Pixie

scooterbug8515

scooterbug8515

 

N.I.F.F.L.E.R.s

Welcome to the N.I.F.F.L.E.R.s (the Nicest, Innovative Friends Found Leaving Exceptional Rewards celebration)! We are commemorating what an awesome, loving, altruistic community HPFT is by looking back at the recent gift-giving event, +The Nifflers That Stole Christmas.  During the month of December, you all left an awe-striking grand total of 786 gifts for your fellow Members, Prefects, and Staff!  For your tremendous display of Holiday Selflessness, following are some tokens of appreciation and recognition for all of the love given!  There were four participants who hit every single Wishlist (and at a staggering 48 threads, this was certainly a feat): @MegGonagall,  @ShadowRose,  @starbuck, and @Shadowkat678.  There were also some noteworthy individuals who left a little something for their fellow HPFT'er without having a wishlist of their own: @800 words of heaven, @TidalDragon, @forever_dreaming , @Veritaserum27, @Stardust.Soul , @Alwynse , @lovegood27 , and @Pixileanin.  Plus, each and every person who made at least one other person's day a little brighter with your fearsome awesomeness -- you're all completely exceptional human beings.  Thank You For Being Amazing! For everyone who participated! Whether it was planning this lovely event, making a wishlist, giving gifts, or playing Keep-Away From the Nifflers, we would like you present you all with this Niffler Nabber graphic!   Top Five Gifters! Throughout the event, @MegGonagall left 76 gifts, @ShadowRose left 65, @starbuck left 54, @Shadowkat678 left 53, and @Crimson Quill left 47. For this tremendous display of gift-giving, we'd like to give you all the Top Five Gifters. As a little extra something, please also accept these Niffler Tokens to further remember the event by!                                      Tremendous Acts of Selflessness We'd also like to recognize couple members who have stood out with their altruism. @TreacleTart's Holiday Wishlist was entirely centered around giving to others, without taking herself into account. It was a beautiful display of love and friendship! We'd also like to take a moment to recognize @800 words of heaven who left over 30 gifts without having made a wishlist of her own, asking for nothing in return for their gift-giving. For that, we'd like to recognize you both as the Most Spirited Gifters!     
A Touch of Creativity We'd also like to recognize @PaulaTheProkaryote for leaving some particularly creative and beautiful gifts! 
More Thanks It's without a doubt that HPFT is teeming with members who are kind-hearted, so an extra-special thanks to everyone who participated in the event! You're all amazing people who are truly endowed with the spirit of giving!  Here's hoping that everyone has had a wonderful December and January, and prepared to face the new year in style!    edit: credits: graphics by rumpels

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

2018 Year End Wrap Up | January 7th, 2019

It's a bird! It's a plane! ... It's HPFT's Super Duper Year in Review!   It is officially 2019 and your prefects would like to present The 2018 Super Duper Year in Review! The past year has been a big one for all of us over here at HPFT and we'd like to take a look back at some of our biggest moments here on the forums and the archives. We've had a great year on the archives with a lot of incredible stories, many wonderful events on the forums, and some super fun stats to highlight, so prepare yourselves for a wild ride, because it's been one incredible year! First up: the Archives!   In 2018, the Archives saw a huge influx of new stories. Most of these stories were added during the months of March and April, in what has been dubbed "The Great Transfer".  The Transfer consisted of 1046 validations, of which 789 chapters were validated in April alone. There was a total of 2906 validations this year total, meaning "The Great Transfer" was approximately one-third of the total validated this year! This was all accomplished by a very small team of dedicated Aurors, with the help of the Admins, who gave up their time to read everyone's work and help grow the site to what it is now. We owe them a huge gratitude for all of their voluntary efforts! We look forward to seeing what magic they will continue to bring in 2019.      Sometimes finishing something can feel pretty super-human -- especially when it comes to completed novels! We'd like to give it up for the following individuals who took on such a great feat in the year 2018! You all truly are heroic! (Note: for the purpose of this collection, we chose stories marked as completed in 2018 on the HPFT archives that were greater than 25,000 words.)  We would like to present you with this little "I Completed a Novel in 2018" token graphic as a momento of your great achievement:
Congratulations! Icarus by @Stella Blue Raising a Hero by  @Tantrum  Home by @adorably cute An Inspector Calls by @PendleWizard The Rise of the A.W.L. by @Margaret Complicated by  @ShadowRose The Art of Surviving by  @esmeraude The Shenanigans of Lily Luna Potter by @greisful A Rollercoaster Called Life by @missclaire17 The Harder They Fall by  @victoria_anne Tess Covenshire & the Highcross Scandal by @KJ Cartmell Curiosity Is Not a Sin by Beeezie / @abhorsen. Ignite by Slide / @Wolfgirl Rabbit Heart by  @Pixileanin Even the Best Laid Plans by @potionspartner The Beasts Within by @Bardic Magic A New Life For Hermione - Version 1 by @Elena Liam Wren and the Dragon Wand by @KJ Cartmell A Little Bit of Hope by @CharmHazel  An Open Secret by @CharmHazel Keep Away by @Mistress Put Your Curse in Reverse by @frombluetored Delilah's Black Book of Poems by @Dark Whisper Have No Fear by Bardic Magic @Bardic Magic Put Your Guns Away, It's Tea Time by @frombluetored A New Normal by @CharmHazel Chicks Before Broomsticks by @banshee Rainfall [M] by @Leo Chasing Life, Seeking Love, Keeping Hope by @Bardic Magic Seek and Chase by @BellaLestrange87 Albus Potter and Slytherin's Office by  @Phoenix Potioneer Behind the Curtain by Cassius / @Cassius Alcindor The Joker and Her by @Illuminate The Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship by @sapphicsunrise     Another type of super-heroics can be found in those who have a great sense of altruism. We would like to recognize the Top Five Reviewers of 2018, who left an extraordinarily long list of reviews to their fellow HPFT'ers, effectively spreading love and good-faith across our wonderful community!  @Stella Blue, @just.a.willow.tree, @Felpata_Lupin, @nott theodore, and @victoria_anne have all shown their true identities as superhumans (and who are quite possibly radioactively powered or have been bitten by some sort of reading spider in order to leave so many wonderful, loving reviews).  These heroes of written feedback have certainly vanquished the archnemesis, brevity  .  We'd also like to take a moment to recognize that of the five top reviewers, FOUR members hailed from Hufflepuff. These SuperPuffs are truly living up to Hufflepuff expectations, all in the name of love. There was a valiant attempt from the Puffs to get a monopoly on these spots (and during the year they achieved it for a time), but Sian held firm! Congratulations and thank you, Super-Reviewers!        January: The Second Annual FROGS awards took place in January! The top three winners in each of the 15 categories were presented with a chocolate frog card! A summary of the 2018 FROGS Award winners can be found HERE+ The Queue became unlimited, allowing for authors to post as many chapters at a time as they wanted to on the HPFT archives. We had a THREE-WAY TIE for First Place in the FROGS “Best Reviewer” Category; with @just.a.willow.tree, @Stella Blue, and @Felpata_Lupin - and this will forever be remembered as one of "the most Hufflepuff things ever"! (called as such by Maggie/Levana.) ?? February: We had 26 Participants in our 2018 Secret Cupid event, making up for a total of 13 matches. Participants spent the month of February spreading love to their secret-admirers, and several members went above and beyond for their partners. ? Our #1 Gifter for the month was @TidalDragon, the #2 Gifter was @just.a.willow.tree, and our two most creative Secret Cupids were @WriteYourHeartOut and @Ignatia.  Slytherin House brought back their Common Room Newsletter: The Silver Quill, after it had been on hiatus since October of 2016, and @RoxiMalfoy broke the emoji limit here on the forums, lol! (Fun Fact: There USED to be a limit of ONLY 75 emojis allowed in a single post.) ? The SQ Newsletter is now published on a quarterly basis (every 3 months) in the Slytherin Common Room.  Hufflepuff Staff/Prefect/Newsletter crew ( @Felpata_Lupin, @dreamgazer220, @LadyL8, and @Renacerá at the time) teamed up to leave every Badger on the HPFT archives a review under the secret reviewer name "Be My Badger"  March: Staff hosted the Spring Writing Event of 2018: Fic Feud!! During this event, participants in the competition were assigned a partner,  whom they had to write a 2-4 chaptered story with. Each match-up then had 4 elements chosen for them per each chapter. To make thing even more interesting, they were also able to sabotage another team by either assigning or blocking certain elements. There were 12 participants altogether, for a total of 6 collaborative stories written… 
And the Winners of our 2018 HPFT Fic Feud were: @pookha & @Levana, with their story: A Rescue in Space and Time. - Their assigned elements were: Chapter 1: Space Opera [theme], Humor [genre], Person of Color [inclusivity], and “It sounded like a good idea at the time.” [sentence] Chapter 2: Time-Travel [theme], Angst [genre], Anxiety [inclusivity], and “All great failures start with one spectacularly bad idea.” [sentence] Our Fic Feud runners-up were @Rumpelstiltskin & @victoria_anne, with their story: Mask of Truth. - Their assigned elements were as follows: Chapter 1: Fluff [genre], Angst [genre], Infidelity [theme], “I didn’t realize you actually had feelings. I’m going to have to reset my entire mental image of you.” [sentence] Chapter 2: Parody [genre], Dark/Horror [genre], Star-Crossed Romance [theme], “That’s all well and good, but I’m pretty sure she’s dead.” [sentence] April: Gryffindor House also gained several active new members during this time-frame, and made a HUGE comeback in both their Common Room and the House Cup from there-on-out ( @PaulaTheProkaryote has even now dubbed this happening as “The Great Gryffindor Revival of 2018”) ? ? May: In the spring, each of the four Common Rooms hosted their Annual Awards, giving all kinds or recognition to the amazing authors that can be found throughout our site! You can check out wrap-ups of each of the Common Room Awards here: Hufflepuff Gryffindor Ravenclaw Slytherin Slytherin livestream can be found HERE+  Gryffindor livestream can be found HERE+ Hufflepuff prepared for their CR awards with two review events: Badger Reveal and Badger Bingo, which saw 'Puffs teaming up to leave hundreds of reviews for each other @toomanycurls created the Review Transfer Tool; making it possible for members to save reviews from other sites back onto their stories, that might have otherwise been lost. HPFT spread to the wide-world of Facebook!! You can like our Facebook page +HERE, if you haven’t done so already - and don’t worry, it is set up as a private/closed community page, and the ML Team takes the security of our members here very seriously. Due to the nature of this platform, we do not use anyone’s real names or tag people in ANY posts on Facebook at all. ? The Muggle Liaison Team posted the very first Featured Fics Blog(s) as a way to create new custom content for the site’s social media outlets each month, and promote all of our wonderful stories that are featured here on the HPFT Archives!! June: The Graphics Talk section was added to the site, making it possible for members to request graphics, make new graphics, and offer pre-made graphics to members for use on both the forums & archives!! ? The Prefects hosted their summer writing challenge, entitled the Prefects' Celebration Challenge. There were 12 phenomenal entries, and the full results can be found HERE+ Ravenclaw House revamped their newsletter "The Ivory Tower" according to members' answers to a poll and now have an established monthly posting! July: House Cup Finale happened, and every single house worked SO HARD to make all of their fabulous newspapers happen!!! Here are a few highlights from the event: All 138 of the incorrect guesses that Gryffindor House made for @teh tarik's Spinner’s End riddle, and the way that @Chemical_Pixie (who was still a rather new member at that time) really jumped in to help rally her house together. ❤️  The fact that Slytherin was the house to submit one of the most challenging puzzles/riddles in the first place; even trumping Tanya’s crazy Black Sabbath one - and then just about everyone on the other team's thought that it had to have come from Ravenclaw House too, lol. ? @potionspartner jumping into the heat of things and sneaking up late to stay online to help Ravenclaw House with all the various tasks that they had to do - talk about dedication!! And the fact that both @galadriel  or @hecate had NEVER MADE PICSPAMS BEFORE, and they totally NAILED every single one of the ones that they made for the Ravenclaw paper!!! ?  @starbuck and her stealth-ninja-finding-skillz when it came down to the scavenger hunts.   Hufflepuff and their AMAZING layout, and all of the BEAUTIFUL, sparkly designs that @just.a.willow.tree used. @Dojh167, @MuggleMaybe, @Phoenix Potioneer's Founder's comics, and literally everything that was 'punny about that paper of theirs was just SO GOLDEN!  ? @Dojh167 made absolutely insane spreadsheets for basically every HC event Camp NaNoWriMo had a lot of participants -- many of whom reached or exceeded their goals for the month! August: All the houses eagerly anticipated the results of the House Cup Finale and final point tallying for the 2017-2018 House Cup! Ravenclaw House won the House Cup Finale! ? ? Hufflepuff House won the House Cup overall! ? ? House Pride Shoutout from @Renacerá: "Hufflepuff won the House Cup! We could not be more proud to be this year's HC Champions! Every 'Puff involved worked so hard (as we're known to do!) and really turned up for every event. We had a great time participating, and winning is just the icing on the cake (which we'll grab from the kitchens by our common room)!" Gryffindor brought back their Story and Member of the Month Awards! The two brand new prefects stepped up to bring back the Featured Fic and Leading Lion awards int he Gryffindor Common Room September: The Prefects opened the 2018-2019 House Cup Season with The Hogwarts Express event! Slytherin House WON the event, leading to their first time taking first place in a major site-wide House Cup activity ? Slytherin House saw an amazing increase in membership this month, and thus the #SlytherinSquad was formed!! (As dubbed so by Deni, lol!) ? Gryffindor House brought back their newsletter "Printed with Pride" after a long hiatus with great new content to keep the lions in the loop on the goings on about the Den each month. October: We had our very first Choose-Your-Own-Adventure event!!! All throughout the month of October, houses we tasked with finding their way through three CYOA Mazes that were designed by our Staff-Team, and then given various tasks to complete at the end of each maze. If you missed the event, or would like to they your way through the mazes again, they can all be found below... But BEWARE and enter at your own risk!! ☠️ Halloween Maze Adventure #1: The Dungeon by @toomanycurls Halloween Maze Adventure #2: The Little Hangleton Graveyard by @Alopex Halloween Maze Adventure #3: The Cave by @Renacerá Ravenclaw's @potionspartner made +this incredible map of the mazes!  Gryffindor begins their Common Room reviewing game, RvG and all staff are wildly impressed with the sheer number of reviews left on Gryffie stories in the first month of the game. November: NaNoWriMo was one of HPFT's most successful seasons this year! Whether you were a Rebel a full-on Nano’er, the Crazies Cafe was in full swing all month long, and we had something in there for everyone. We had aTON of engagement from the writing community on our SM pages this month - especially Twitter. And it was a lot of fun to see what everyone’s projects were and learn more about their NaNo novels along the way. ✍️ Prefect's Fall Writing Challenge - The [Insert Name Here] Challenge had 11 fantastic entries for their autumn/fall, myths & legends, and spooky prompts.  Full results can be found HERE+ December: The Muggle Liaisons opened the brand new Audio Talk section of the site, bringing Podfics back to HPFT via streaming on the brand new Wireless Wizarding Network tumblr page! Members can now request to have their stories read for the WWN - or offer their voices to be a Fic Reader for themselves - in this exciting new addition to the site! ?️ In addition to Podfics, our very own @PaulaTheProkaryote also introduced her first Podcast Series: Fantastic Myths and Where to Find Them as well! We brought back the Holiday Wishlists event via the Niffler’s That Stole Christmas, and 48 members signed up to help us come together and spread Holiday cheer throughout the month of December as we rounded up the missing shiny gifts that were stolen by those pesky Nifflers. ? We went out of 2018 with a BANG on our Social Media pages! The Harry Potter Screenshot to see who you’ll be under the Mistletoe with GIF reached over 1,100 views on our Facebook page. And the customized Your 2019 YA Novel quizlet has now reached over 17,000 notes on the HPFT tumblr! ? Gryffindor has broken its own record of RvG reviews each month since starting the game and shows no sign of slowing down #breakthespreadsheet     Because we all know, with great power comes great responsibility, we would like to recognize all the hardworking members of staff who have absolutely gone above and beyond to help continue to grow our fun and fantastic community! It is because of them that we have such a magnificent site with all manner of exciting events because when there's work to be done, this amazing team is here to save the day!  Thank you, HPFT Super Duper Staff!  Sidekicks usually don't get as much recognition as the heroes when, really, they're heroes in their own right. So, if the Staff of HPFT are Superheroes, then surely the Prefects are their heroic sidekicks! We'd like to recognize all Prefects who have taken a part in assisting Staff in 2018, helping in growing and maintaining the site! 

Of course, there are also so many of heroes who make up the heart of this community: the members. Without the member's avid support of the site, there would be no HPFT. It is because of all of you that we are all here, being amazing superbeings together! Thank you, super members, for being absolutely amazing!       Upcoming Events As we look back and celebrate the fantastic year that has passed, we would also like a moment to take a moment to shout out the New Year (hey, 2019 -- how the heck are you?) and look at a few upcoming events and activities that are sure to rock our world! In the near future, the community is looking at a revival of the +Writing Exercises subforum, with some fun revamping as done by a few Staffers and Prefects who decided to take the task under their wing! The first prompt can be found here! A huge shoutout to @galadriel, @Sleepingbagonthesofa, and @Chelts-rhj and @PaulaTheProkaryote for their hard work in prepping and getting this project off the ground! Also, according to the +HC Schedule, we're also anticipating the annual reviewing event to prepare for the F.R.O.G.s (the yearly site awards) will be taking place this month! While we don't know what the staff has in store for us yet, they did leave us all a teaser in the +January Bulletin and even gave away that this year's pre-F.R.O.G.s event is called The Magical Menagerie! Keep your eyes peeled -- we're sure to have a zoo of a time.   We are also excited to continue working on the +Great Collab of 2018-2019 as we move into the new year! This event is sure to put our time-management, creativity, teamwork, and resourcefulness skills to the test as we work together and against one another to write all the words!    A Final Thank You Firstly, we would like to thank everyone who has managed to make it to the bottom of what can only be described as a magnitude of gratitude. With a little bit of attitude! As a final note from us Prefects, all we can really say once again is thank you. This has been such a huge year for us! Prefects have come and gone, each one bringing something unique and wonderful to the job. We could not be what we are today without all of their hard work and dedication. This year we ran our opener event, which was the first Prefect run event and was an absolute joy to be a part of - from creation from execution. Each of our writing challenges throughout the year has seen a huge level of participation, and we could not be happier with the feedback we have gotten. To see everyone get so involved and excited for what we bring makes all the work entirely worth it.  If you'd like to join us on the Prefect team (or join our lovely staff), please put in an application! This month's applications are open until the 10th! Come join us in all our shenanigans- we know the staff would love to see your apps! 2019 is set to be another *super* year. We can't wait - bring it on!  _________________________ credits: graphics:
[headers and dividers]: emma
[staff awards and house awards]: deni
[prefect awards | top 5 reviewer awards | completed novel graphic ]: rumpels
If you'd like to post your graphics to your page, please rehost and credit the appropriate artist! post complied by: madi, rumpels, deni, sarah, emma   extra special thanks to @Renacerá, @RoxiMalfoy, @PaulaTheProkaryote, and @Ineke for their submissions and information!

adorably cute

adorably cute

 

In the Spotlight | December 25th

Welcome to the December edition of In the Spotlight, where we take a look at those awesome people and stories that have hit home runs this month. We'd also like to wish you all the happiest of holidays! In this edition, we will be featuring not one -- but four fantastic Order of Merlin Recipients: the Muggle Liason Team. We've also brought the winner of the Prefect's Autumn Challenge out to play in this edition, too, featuring their winning entry as well as interviewing the author. Of course, there will be the usual shenanigans included as well. We hope that you're all enjoying The Nifflers That Stole Christmas holiday gifting event that has been going on -- we know that we Prefects have been having a blast!   As we move forward into a new year of HPFT madness, we sincerely hope that you all keep on keeping on.❤️  
  With so many amazing staffers around, it is sometimes difficult to pick just one of them to be handed an Order of Merlin. So, this month, the Prefects decided that a single featured person would have been impossible, so we opted for four, instead. The Muggle Liaison Team here at HPFT does so much to keep our sitewide and house-specific social media up and running, bringing us new and fun content every single day. Thanks to their hard work, not only does the site get advertised across Social Media platforms, but our hard-working and dedicated members' stories do, too! Thanks so much for all your dedication, Muggle Liaisons ( @PaulaTheProkaryote, @RoxiMalfoy, @victoria_anne, and @ShadowRose)!   P A U L A ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is your favourite memory from being apart of the HP community? My favourite memory is when I went to see PoA at the midnight showing and the fire alarm went off in the middle of it and a bunch of witches and wizards were filing out looking absolutely goofy in a parking lot full of muggles. It made me so happy and it's such a distinct memory for me.    What is your favourite SM platform and why? Least favourite? My favourite is definitely Tumblr. Tumblr has its faults, but overall the community there is thriving in any fandom you can think of and there’s so much original content being generated there. I can get lost scrolling my dash for hours. My least favourite is Instagram. Until they can send samples of the food I’m looking at, it doesn’t really do much for me. From a Muggle Liaison
standpoint they also aren’t super helpful with linking so it’s the one I struggle with the most.   What has been your favourite part of being an Muggle Liaison? Really just finding new ways to reach out to members and bring content to their fingertips. We spend a lot of time finding ways to promote their stories and site events and it’s really cool to see when that pays off.   What is your favourite [forum-appropriate] meme? All my memes are forum appropriate! What are you talking about? ? Can I use my own meme? I did a change my mind meme that makes me laugh every time I see it:    What is a ship you dislike, and why should it sink? I'm of the belief that I'll never sink anyone's ship, but I'm not a fan of Lily/Severus. A lot of his behavior is problematic to me in a way that I can't really justify/redeem. I'm really into healthy relationships with good communication and boundaries and it's hard to find a Snily that portrays that. That's not to say I don't enjoy him paired with others, just not Lily. Especially since Jily is my OTP.  What’s a stereotypical Midwestern thing you do? So I picked up the phrase "ope" ironically when it was a big meme a few months ago and it stuck. Now I say it 24/7. I'm embarrassed that this is who I've become.  If one song could sum up how you feel at this moment, what would it be? It's definitely because I just saw them at a show the other night, but "Blur" by Seaway is definitely my song of the moment. Sometimes it feels like time is slipping away before I notice! Especially deadlines! ?   D E A N A ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is your favourite memory from being apart of the HP community? In my state, there is a Harry Potter fangroup, and they have events called “Harry Huddles” hosted at various locations all year-round. I’ve been a member of this group for going on 5 years now, and one of my absolute favorite events is, coincidentally, coming up next weekend!!! The annual “Weasley Sweater Christmas Party” is hosted every year at the end of December, and everyone wears an HP-themed sweater and brings an HP-themed gift for the white elephant gift exchange. Last year was probably my favorite/most memorable year ever though, because it was the first year that I actually made/got to wear my own homemade “Weasley sweater” with my initial on it, and I stole this awesome “Lumos” lamp from someone in the gift game, haha!! (Seriously though, ALL the Slytherins in our group are crazy- ruthless when it comes to the three-steals rule in that game, lol!!) It’s AWESOME though, and I am super excited for this year’s party!! ??   What is your favourite SM platform and why? Least favourite? Recently, my favorite has become Twitter; which is saying something considering that I used to be on Facebook, like, ALL the time, lol! I love how interactive Twitter has become, and it's so easy to share things there. I also like how easy it is to keep in contact with people on Twitter, and keep up with your notifications via their mobile abbreviations interface. It's SOO easy to switch between accounts on Twitter as well, which is the most convenient thing of all from an ML standpoint. I hate having to sign in and out constantly (I'm looking at you, Tumblr) whenever you need to change to a different account to post something… The only thing that would make Twitter even better is an adding an edit button. Cuz, like, I hate having to delete entire posts over typos. ? The SM platform I'm probably the the least fan of right now is Snapchat. It took me the longest time to even get the hang of using it, and now that I am more familiar with it, I still just didn't get what all the hype is all about? You can't save anything on there, and everything you post is deleted after 24 hours, which seems entirely pointless in my opinion. ?‍♀️ The Bitmojis are cool and are super fun to play with,  and sometimes they have fun photo filters. But otherwise, I have no use for Snapchat, really. I guess maybe that just means I'm not a chatty person IRL, or my life really just isn't that interesting, lol!   What has been your favourite part of being a Muggle Liaison? Honestly, I think my favorite part of all of this is how joining the Staff/ML Team has kind of made me have to talk to people, lol. I know I’ve said this before so it’s not a big secret by now; but I used to be somewhat of a lurker on these here forums, lol. I was certainly NOT a talker at all, and I mostly used to just kept to myself. Granted, I am still awkward as all get out sometimes; but anymore, I feel as though I’ve most definitely come out of that “shy/quiet” shell quite a bit. I have made so many friends here at HPFT; some of which I know will be long-lasting. And it's all because I decided to step out of my comfort zone and dive in head-first, getting involved in this amazing community full of so many wonderful people!! ? Being on the ML Team, (and also the Slytherin CR Team, even) and working so closely with others on a daily basis; communicating and sharing ideas to get various projects done, and then seeing the fulfillment of such ideas come to life… It's difficult to describe the feelings that come along with those things, but I truly do love every single person on the team SO MUCH!! It's a labor of love, and we're all extremely passionate about what we do for the site. And when you share that passion with like-minded people, it's hard NOT to get super-close. So yeah... I am very grateful that doing this job has made me talk to people, because otherwise, IDK if I'd even have HALF of the AMAZING friends that I do now!!!    What is your favourite [forum-appropriate] meme? Because I'm pretty sure that everyone here knows by now what a night-owl I am, I thought this one seemed pretty fitting, lmao!!! ?? And because it was SOOO HARD to pick just ONE, and it is also Christmas time, I just had to include this one as well, lol!!! ? These are honestly both so freaking ME, it's hilarious, haha!!!     What is a ship you dislike, and why should it sink? I know a lot of people are going to probably throw things at me for this one *cough*Madi*cough* - But, like, I just absolutely can NOT get behind the Dramione ship. AT ALL. They are just two completely different people from two completely different worlds, and Hermione hated him all throughout the books. And not without good reason either. He was quite the little shit to ALL of  them, and I just feel as though someone with Hermione Granger’s intelligence and potential would not resort to settling down with someone like Draco Malfoy - no matter HOW MUCH he “changed” after the War. - And I say that with the utmost amount of love and respect for my boy, lol! ? But there was a reason he ended up with someone like Astoria Greengrass in cannon. Honestly, if I absolutely HAD to ship Hermione with anybody other than Ron, I’d be more apt to get behind seeing her with Harry than I would with Draco. Even though I myself know how she feels when it comes to having one of those guy friends who are more brotherly-close, and nothing in the way of romance is EVER going to happen with them. (Clearly I am not a Harrmione shipper either, haha!) ? But I just do not support Hermione Granger with Draco Malfoy. I’ve read some pretty good fics about the two of them together over the years, but no one has been able to change my mind yet, lol. It’s just NOT a Ship that I can get behind. Like, at all. Sorry y’all. ?   What is your favourite part about writing your Draco/OC novel? One of my favorite things about writing this story (i.e. my mission in life) is getting the reader to change their perspective on the Malfoy Family. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do sometimes; especially with a character as hated and flawed, and one who has as many skeletons in their closet as Lucius Malfoy does. But it can (and has) been done, lol! One of my absolute FAVORITE moments so far was this summer, when Eva read through the Novel, and she started out the story hating Lucius’ character with he was first introduced - which is exactly what I want people to think, btw. ?  Draco hates his father, so therefore the reader should despise this man as well. He’s a vicious, low-life, murderous, Death Eater… But then you learn that there’s more to the story that even Draco doesn’t know about yet, and that Lucius Malfoy may actually have a heart after all… and you start to feel bad for him, and you find yourself rooting for these two men (Draco & Lucius) to both get their shit together, lol. ? But anyways, when @just.a.willow.tree read through the Novel, I’ll never forget her first reaction to Lucius when he comes into the story in Chapter 14. In her initial review, Eva had said the following: And I remember reading this review for the first time and screaming - because THIS is the whole entire POINT of the entire TITLE of the whole Novel, lol!!! ? It’s about choosing LOVE instead of War; which is ultimately what ends up separating Draco from his father in the end... And I wasn’t even upset at all that someone out there was complaining about Lucius - no. This literally MADE MY WHOLE ENTIRE DAY, lol!!!! ---> Fast Forward a bit, and then we get to Chapter 18, where my #WritingGoals as a fanfic author were officially completed, haha!! ? Because, in her follow-up review to this one, Eva was then quoted saying the following: In this very same chapter (18), @adorably cute also recently left me a review. And even though it started off as an all-caps-screamo-review (due to all of the shocking revelations that were made in the chapter, I can assure you, lol!) the END of her review said the following about Lucius Malfoy: Both Sarah and Eva’s opinions of Lucius were changed at this point of the story, which is honestly what I live for in writing this fic. Not to mention, I was also recently informed by @Rumpelstiltskin that LNW-Draco is one of the only Draco Malfoys that she can stand to read - because she typically despises him as a character. And that, to me, is progress, lol.  But, honestly, it is the little things like this that are my personal favorite parts about writing this Draco/OC Novel!! I have always felt like Draco (and therefore, by extension, his family) were all just misunderstood/too harshly judged in cannon, and I’ve found myself questioning their true intentions/motives far too often. I was constantly curious about what would have happened if certain roles had been revered - or better yet, what if Draco HAD taken Dumbledore up on his protection offer at the end of book 6? (That was my biggest question of all.) And so... Love, Not War has become my passion-project/in-depth attempt at answering that particular question; along with exploring so many other things about these characters as well. And I absolutely love getting the opportunity to change other people’s perspectives of this typically hated family along the way!! (Even if only for the duration of this ONE fanfiction story, lol!) ??   If you owned a boat, what would you name it? I’m really torn between the “S.S. Ariel” ?️ - both because the Little Mermaid is one of my absolute favorite Disney Princesses, and Ariel Bloomer (AKA: my faceclaim for my MC Roxi) is the name of the lead singer from one of my FAVORITE bands of all time: Icon For Hire!!? And then the other boat name that I really like is the “Ship Happens” ⛵ - because A) it’s just funny as hell, and because B) you can’t help but to laugh when you hear it. Also, this is just the story of my life if we're being honest. I mean, let’s just be totally real here, lol!! ??   T A Y L O R ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is your favourite memory from being a part of the HP community? my forever favourite hp memory is when the last book came out, and i remember waiting in line to get the book at midnight, and everyone was decked out in hp gear and there was just this energy and everyone was so excited and it was contagious. and y'all, i pulled the first all-nighter of my life finishing that book, and my parents woke up the next morning to find me full-on sobbing over the final battle.   What is your favourite SM platform and why? Least favourite? for completely non-hpft reasons, i really, really love instagram? i do a lot of things for the #aesthetic, so that platform is really quite perfect for that lol. i also love twitter for hpft stuff, because i feel like that's where i get to do the most interacting with other members of the community. least favourite is facebook, because most of the people i went to high school are all having kids now, which is really terrifying for me to think about because at this point in my life i feel like i've only just nailed down the whole 'keeping myself alive' part of things, and i was definitely one of the more responsible people at my high school, so the fact that those people are now responsible for entire other humans is scary.   What has been your favourite part of being a Muggle Liaison? getting to work with such a bomb-ass team. also i really love people's reactions to their featured fic picspams bc it just makes me so happy every time that someone tells me they like something i made.    What is your favourite [forum-appropriate] meme? this is from one of my character pinterest boards, and it gets me every time.   What is a ship you dislike, and why should it sink? is it bad that i have a shit ton of potential answers for this?? there's just a lot of ships i'm not a big fan of, tbh. but like, i think the main one i'm going to go with is snily (snape/lily), because a) james and lily are perfect, b) i feel like their relationship dynamic is a bit obsessive on snape's side which is not at all a healthy foundation for a relationship, and c) controversial opinion time, i don't like snape and don't think he deserves her after all of the things he did, both in his death eater phase and his double-agent phase. (that being said, i have no problem with people loving snape as a character - we've all got our own interpretations and opinions of characters and this just happens to be mine. if you're a die-hard snily shipper, then by all means, freaking go for it. one of the cool things about the hp fandom being so big is that there's room for a whole range of different opinions, which is super awesome. also, why did my answer to this question just turn into a speech about intra-fandom tolerance? this was not the question? lol.)   What is one thing you can’t believe your parents tricked you into believing as a child? not necessarily something they 'tricked me into,' but i came to the realization that santa wasn't real at like 7? and when i confronted my parents about this (on easter of all days), their response was 'santa claus is a metaphor.' and as a small child i had a weirdly large vocabulary but didn't fully understand definitions of things, so i somehow got confused between metaphor and metaphysical. i spent the next 2 or 3 years believing that santa claus just..... existed in an alternate reality?? idk.   If you were sent 100 years into the past what would you say to prove that you were from the future? i'm just going to retell the entire shitshow that was the 2016 american election cycle because all of it together is so incredible bizarre that you absolutely cannot make that shit up.
      We have two amazing Head Students to recognize this month -- @Sleepingbagonthesofa and @greisful! Please give it up for these two amazing people, for rocking it out on HPFT and making all our time here that much more memorable!   D E N I ' S   I N T E R V I E W What is your favourite place to visit on HPFT? The Writer's Nests! I just love being nosy and seeing what everyone else is getting up to. Writers Journals especially, I love stopping in and having a read whenever I've got a chance!  If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? I was going to go with another story but it always comes back to this one. Yaxley (M), a labour of love, my baby, my constant nightmare. Having started this nearly a year ago I feel like the story is definitely hitting it's stride now. It's a Marauders Era enemies to friends to lovers story about Sirius Black and an occasionally dramatic, always morally grey OC called Cassiel Yaxley. Where I am right now things are starting up so I've been having a lot of fun  weaving in different elements of the plot and seeing some of the reactions. Think drama, thestrals, duels, heap loads of angst and a little bit of romance thrown in.  What is your favourite part about writing Sirius Black in your novel Yaxley? I generally just enjoy writing characters who are a bit of a twat. One of the funnest things about writing him in Yaxley is that the main character, the person who's perspective we get on the story does. not. like. Sirius (at least at first...). Because of that I get to take the normal way he's portrayed and turn all the bad aspects up to a ten and watch it play out! In general he's just such a fun character to write.  From your profile about me page, it’s clear you love The Emperor’s New Groove. When did you first see this movie and why did it resonate with you so much? Me? Love... Groove? No idea what gave you that impression. What's not to love? It's clever, the characters are amazing, the villain incredible and it has some of the best one-liners. I don't remember when I first saw the movie, we had it on video when I was younger so I must have been really wee the first time. It has always been my favourite film. Nothing else has ever really come close. There must be something about it, maybe some character in particular, that appealed to the four year old me who either wanted to be a mad scientist or an empress... What is the most “useless” talent you have? Hmmm... The most useless? This is when I realise that most of my talents could be classes as utterly useless... I can rap the whole of Alphabet Aerobics. I've never found a use for that but it's just a thing that I once spent far too much time learning how to do. I live for the day when the only solution to a problem is someone singing that song... that's my time to shine! What is your favourite childhood memory? This is more a collection of memories, when I was younger we always got pretty heavy snow around our house. It became a  tradition for me and my siblings to climb up the nearest mountain, split off into teams and race back to the house on sledges. There were always accidents, tears (one year we straight up lost a sledge and still don't know what happened to it) but at the end of the day there was always a cup of hot chocolate and a good laugh when we got home. Besides, the girl's team always won!   G R E I S F U L ' S   I N T E R V I E W What is your favourite place to visit on HPFT? This might sound really dumb but I love visiting the Earworm thread or the 50 Books Challenge thread just to see what people are listening to or how many books they've read or what books people are reading. I usually disappear for like weeks at a time so I don't check the forums often but when I do, that's where I go. If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? One story of mine that I get super excited to talk about is actually one that isn't up on any fanfic websites and one that I haven't even started writing it's just an idea with snippets here and there but I love it so much and I'm so excited to eventually write it one day. It's called Thick as Thieves and it was heavily inspired by Ally Carter but like the magical version of her art thieves series. I'm just so pumped for it. Essentially James Potter gets sucked into some thievery shenanigans, like Oceans 8, 11, 12, 13 but not nearly as clever. You’ve managed to publish 34 stories on the HPFT archives in just over 18 months. How do you do it without getting burnt out? It's time to tell you all the truth but most of the stuff that I've "published" on HPFT are actually old stories for the most part, I was just slowly migrating all of my things over to the archives but if you look at stuff that's actually brand new, there's not much of it. Now that I've outed myself as a fraud, I guess I can't really answer how I keep from burning out. What has been a site activity you’ve enjoyed participating in recently? I haven't really been active on the forums for the past few months since school started up and, I'm not gonna lie, I'm not very active when it comes to sitewide activities because I've participated before and I know how time-consuming they can be and I don't have enough time to devote to participating (I barely have time to shower I'm not gonna lie). BUT. I do participate in the Ravenclaw review battle usually and I love doing it, it's a lot of fun and it just motivates me to leave as many reviews as possible. I just love watching peoples review count go up so I try and sprinkle them on stories as much as I can. If you could only keep five (5) of your current possessions, which would they be and why? My phone, I'm going to count all 200 novels that I own as one possession, my salicylic acid, my witch hazel, all of the 80 something pens in my pencil case. What do you want your tombstone to say? I think about this a lot and it's usually something my friends say about me but I can never remember them but let me see if I can visit dig something up. I think my favourite thing I've been told "Your nose could bite people's head off" so maybe that just for the giggles.     This month, we saw @ShadowRose's fantabulous Jily Orange Cardamom [M] take the December Site-Wide Story of the Month. As such, we have prepared a review column to feature this fluffy AU and have prepared some interview questions for the ever-so-talented Taylor!   R E V I E W   C O L U M N There is something to be said about how adorable coffee shop AUs can be, and Taylor really hit that nail on the head with Orange Cardamom. We are all-too-familiar with the canonical romance of James Potter and Lily Evans, and we're all well aware of the tragic turn that fate had in store for them. But what if we were to look at their story from the beginning, in a story with a Muggle spin, in a time where the future might not seem to loom so ominously over their heads? Orange Cardamom is an alternate universe piece, featuring James Potter and Sirius Black, owners of Padfoot & Prongs Coffee Co. and, of course, a potential new barista -- Lily Evans. Lily's specialty, the orange cardamom latte, might win her more than just a position at James and Sirius' buisness. In fact, having work beside the new barista might be more than James can handle.  This story is the epitome of sweet, fun, and fluffy, and weaves a beautiful Jily origin story. Of course, no Jily would be complete without the antics of Sirius Black on the side, and the dynamic duoism of James and Sirius are certainly brought to life in this. A definite must-read for those of you perusing something wonderfully happy and light. 
  I N T E R V I E W    W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R What inspires you to write? i feel like i get a lot of inspiration from music and song lyrics, because i'll just hear a line and my brain will run with it. so much of the novel i'm currently writing is based on snippets from songs, and i can actually point out scenes that were directly inspired by certain songs/lyrics. i also, get a lot of inspiration from things that happen in real life, and it only takes a little tweaking to turn them into a story or a moment in a story. and half the time, those aren't even intentional - there's a scene in one of my jily AUs that's literally almost directly a retelling of something that happened to me in real life, and honestly i didn't even realize the similarity until i was mid-edit and was like, 'oh god that's why this sounds so familiar.' What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try?  there's only one bed!! what ever will we do?? guess we'll just have to ~* share it *~ Published authors you look up to? sooo i don't actually read a lot of published fiction. most of the published books i read are nonfiction (and mostly political stuff because that's my line of work anyways) so honestly like.... Michelle Obama? does that count? If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? stop being so hard on yourself!! i know this is horribly cliché, but especially when you're writing things for free on the internet (and not as like, a paid author), the only person you should really be writing for is yourself. if other people like what you're writing, great!! if they don't, screw 'em. you're writing for free and you should be doing it because you love it and not because you're trying to please anyone else. (easier said than done, i know.) the one exception to this: if you're writing a kissing scene, please please please never use the phrase "their tongues battled for dominance." i have no idea who invented that one but it's the literal worst and it makes me aggressively cringe every time i read it anywhere. If you could witness any historical event, which would it be and why? (Note: You’re only allowed to view the event, not interact with it in any other way.) the 1963 march on washington. i would've just loved to feel the energy of those crowds and to hear the famous 'i have a dream' speech in person. or like, maybe the first time someone managed to create a corgi. Please create your own Hogwarts House and list some of the traits and qualities found there. this hogwarts house of mine doesn't have a name because i can't think of a good one, but our colours are black and gold (because they go with everything, duh), and the common room is full of super trendy minimalistic black and white decor and a bunch of coffee machines (did i just.... turn my apartment into a common room?  yes, yes i did. let it happen.) our primary trait is being able to bullshit our way out of absolutely everything, with some extra splashes of a constant internal desire to overachieve at all times and an entirely inappropriate sense of humour. we throw great parties.     The Common Rooms were as busy as always this month, spreading some love by nominating and voting for their respective Story of the Month and Member of the Month winners! We are happy to share a glimpse of the Common Room winnings with you all (as well as some fun interviews with December's winners), so that we may all celebrate together!     Gryffindor House has spent an unimaginable amount of love and energy in their RvG Review battles, but that doesn't mean they didn't have time to choose some of their Housemates to stand in the spotlight. Gryffindor's Featured Fic was A Woman's Place [M] by @Chemical_Pixie and @Alwynse represented their House with taking the title of Leading Lion. Congratulations!   A B B Y ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is the most Gryffindor thing that you do/quality that you have? Jumping in head first, in a blaze of fire and fury. I’ve moved to two countries, not knowing anyone nor the language. Played Settlers of Catan with some of the smartest people I know--and won. Auditioned for things last minute and have gotten roles. Wandered into parts of a castle that… were technically off limits. Swam in an icy river while it was snowing. Currently, I resigned from my job without having another one lined up (but now I have an offer, post-resignation, so it’s all kinda sorta good). So… next, I’m apparently jumping into a new career field! What is your favourite thing you hold in your House? Why? The Sword of Gryffindor: slaying murderous beasts, destroying Dark objects, and protecting friends circa the tenth century.  How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? I’m not a woodchuck, so I wouldn’t know. And I’d rather the wood be left as trees so I could have another forest to explore!  If you could only eat one meal from now on, what would it be and why? Brunch. From waffles to avocado toast to breakfast burritos, the possibilities are endless. Need I even mention tea? No, this answer isn’t cheating. This answer appreciates a vast array of worthy entrees which fit into one meal.   A U B R E Y ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is the most Gryffindor thing that you do/quality that you have? This fight/flight mechanism that will leap to someone's aid without a second thought. Bravely and sometimes stupidly, on the borderline of panic.  What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? Currently, the RvG Gryffindor Reviewing Competition. We Gryffies can get pretty competitive! What is the most non-Gryffindor trait you have?  I love, love, love learning. I am always reading a book or listening to an audio course. Usually history or socio-cultural topics.  What is one life skill you'd like to learn and why? Just one? Oh man... how about I develop the skill of being a car mechanic that is fluent in Classic Mayan and Old Norse? I'd like to know about how a car works so I wouldn't feel like such a blonde bimbo when I walk into the car shop. And that's exactly what I am -- I'm blonde and I don't know anything about cars. It irks me that I meet that stereotype so well. The lipstick and heels probably don't help though, haha. As for the Classic Mayan and Old Norse, well, why wouldn't someone want to be fluent in those languages?!     Hufflepuff had a fantastic NaNo by the sounds of things! Great job Hufflepuff! That didn't stop them from nominating their Housemates and spreading that monthly love around, though.  @Felpata_Lupin's Francis made for a swim-tastic Story of the Month and @WriteYourHeartOut made for a well-deserved 'Puff of the Month!   C H I A R A ' S   I N T E R V I E W What is the most Hufflepuff thing that you do/quality that you have? The most Hufflepuff-y thing that I do? Does "enjoying sleeping in too much" count?  Jokes aside, I think my main Puff characteristic is that I always believe in people and their good intentions (to the point where it gets naive). I will always give the benefit of the doubt and there is almost no limit to the second, third, tenth chances I can give. That, and I love warm and comfty things. And cuddles. What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I really, really love to write for the Newsletter, especially the interviews. I have a lot of fun thinking up questions for my fellow Puffs and even more fun reading their replies.  Also, it's nice to feel involved in the behind the scenes stuff a little bit and have the chance to contribute to the site in some small way.  What is one job/career that you would NOT like to have? I would never, ever want to be a doctor! I have a bit of a bad relationship with medicine and hospitals and all that... it scares me too much... I do esteem deeply people who choose that career, I think it's noble and generous, but it's really not for me... For what are you most grateful for right now? My HPFT fam! I've formed some of the most deep friendships within the community, I've met so many wonderful people (both through the internet and in person) who've been by my side in some really hard times during the last few years and I couldn't be more grateful for it. Not to mention the lovely trips around Europe. I just can't imagine my life without HPFT now!   !   T A N Y A ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is the most Hufflepuff thing that you do/quality that you have? Maybe... being a bit too kind sometimes? Putting other people's happiness and needs before my own? I don't know! haha What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? We have this one topic called The Description Game which is basically just one giant compliment to anyone who posts in it and it's pretty much the most Hufflepuff thread you could possibly imagine. It's so lovely. What is the very first career (that you can remember) that you dreamed of becoming as a kid? Same one I dream of having now: a Broadway performer. I was in jr. high, sitting in the auditorium, watching the high school's production of 42nd Street, and I remember thinking to myself as I watched, "I want to do that." Please list three [3] positive adjectives to describe yourself :). 1. Understanding
2. Trustworthy
3. Creative     While Slytherin House may have cancelled November, they've wasted no time in settling in for the long winter ahead. In fact, Slytherin has chosen @Diogenissa's spooky Hallow Fences [M] won, with a plot as chilling as the December we're facing, and @Finefrenzy__ was chosen as Snake of the Month for all of their dedication to the House.    R H I ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is the most Slytherin thing that you do/quality that you have? The Slytherin trait I probably identify with most would be self-preservation. While fortunately it isn't something I have to use very often, when I go into 'crisis mode' I am always looking out for number one. Whether it is for a loved one, or myself, I am a strategist and always calculating several steps ahead. I like to have an exit plan to any situation that makes me unhappy or uncomfortable. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the upcoming New Year? A personal aspiration for me in 2019 is to work on my health and return to full-time work since fracturing my spine in July 2018. What is a plunny that you have but haven’t found the time to write, yet? I have two plunnies bouncing around my head at the moment. The first is a Oliver Wood/Lavender Brown recovery fic, and the second is a OF that follows a young assassin called Yesult.  What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? I love the camaraderie in the Snakepit. We are all here for to support each other. A reflection of that makes the EvS Review Battle my favourite activity that we do here in the Pit. I love to see snaked supporting other snakes     Ravenclaw has been settling into the winter spirit in the best way possible -- around the hearth with some hot cocoa. They also had a super-stellar NaNo and gained themselves a new 'Clawsome Prefect! Meanwhile, they've also been celebrating their House just as much as everyone else! @ReillyJade's Slytherin Secrets [M] took the spotlight as their Story of the Month, and @MadiMalfoy took on the title of 'Claw of the Month. 
J A D E ' S   I N T E R V I E W
  What is the most Ravenclaw thing that you do/quality that you have?  My head is always in the clouds! I'm constantly daydreaming, whether it's about writing, weekend plans, etc. And because of this, I'm always getting sidetracked from what I should actually be doing... such as answering these questions, for instance.  Lol. I've always been pegged as a procrastinator, but I'm not actively avoiding things. I just spend far too much time in la la land!  What is your favourite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why?  I absolutely adore the Blue vs. Bronze reviewing challenge! I don't get to participate in it as often as I would like (see Question 1, haha), but it's always fun to do. I love getting the opportunity to read and review the work of my fellow 'Claws. What has been the most challenging part of writing this novel so far?  Following the trend, the biggest challenge has simply been time, or lack thereof. A large chunk of the problem is that adulthood is stupid and busy, meaning that I don't have nearly as much free time as I'd like. And even when I do have that time, sometimes the motivation to actually write isn't there, or I want to experiment with other ideas I have. So, yeah... I just wish I had more time to work on it, along with the proper focus and attention necessary to do it right.  Do you have the rest of your novel planned out or are you more of a “panster” with writing?  There have been a few stories where I've just said "let's see where this goes," but for the most part, I'm a planner. I typically don't have elaborate notes or anything; in most cases, I'll just have the stories planned out in my head. Slytherin Secrets, though, is a bit of an anomaly for me. I have a chapter-by-chapter outline with detailed notes. But, it's worth noting that this outline only exists because I wrote it five or so years ago while I was bored in class. Lol. As you can see, my head-in-the-clouds problem has been around for quite some time!    M A D I ' S   I N T E R V I E W   What is the most Ravenclaw thing that you do/quality that you have? Hmm....this is kind of a tough one. It's probably my perfectionism -- I have to do things perfect quite a lot of the time, but I'm (slowly) learning to not worry about it so much and just get things done acceptably. I also love to read and learn new things like all the time, so very Ravenclaw.  What is your favorite activity/event/thing you hold in your House? Why? Definitely gotta be the various game threads we've got going on! Rebus Puzzles, "Think Pink", 20 Questions are so much fun and they can really make you think! They're very Ravenclaw games to play, but they remind me a lot of the extra credit questions I'd have on exams in high school so they are just a nice way to build our knowledge, problem solving skills, and just have fun when we're not doing the Blue vs. Bronze Review Battle! If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with all the extra time? Oooh this is a dangerous question.....if I didn't have to sleep and had those 6-8 hours available to me, I would probably just be so much more productive. I'd read more scientific papers to stay up to date on my field, get my homework & grading done sooner, and also actually make it to the gym! Basically just get my life more together Which Harry Potter spell/charm/curse would you most like to be able to cast? I would LOVE to be able to cast the Undetectable Extension Charm! Not only would traveling be so much easier, but also I would be able to have more things with me at the same time without killing my back and shoulders from the weight!     Our Autumn Prefect Challenge, the [Insert Name Here] Challenge, came to a close this month as we revealed the winners in our December 7th Blog Post.  While we received an insane number of amazing entries, we each filled out our ruberics and let the numbers do the work. We were very enthusiastic to see that @TreacleTart's entry Aguardiente took first place! We are proud to present the Prefect Challenge Winner's Featured Section to you all!, and please help us extend a hearty Congratulations to Kaitlin once again!      R E V I E W   C O L U M N Aguardiente is a fantastic nod to an old Ecuadorian myth, brought to life by Kaitlin's wonderful storytelling. The legend of Guagua auca goes something like this, though the story seems to vary here and there: the Guagua auca is said to be a demon created from the soul of an unbaptized child. It mimics an infant's cry, which lures unsuspecting people who believe that there is a troubled, possibly abandoned infant somewhere nearby.  Kaitlin's story gives subtle cues to Ecuadorian culture as we follow a man named Javiar, who has perhaps had a bit too much to drink. With liquid courage, however, oftentimes comes grave mistakes -- even so much so as to not heed the warnings that could very well save someone. But does Javiar heed those same warnings of the demonic Guagua auca? You'll have to give it a read to find out.  The legends itself is creepy, but Kaitlin really brings the spookiness to life in Aguardiente.  Your anxiety will peak as you plead with Javiar to listen, praying that he doesn't hear and follow the spine-chilling sound of a babe's cry in the night. The descriptions in this make for some beautiful imagery and when they turned unnerving -- it was masterful.  This is a definite must-read for anyone who likes a good Dark/Horror fic or is really into myths and legends!    I N T E R V I E W    W I T H    T H E    A U T H O R   What inspired you to write about the myth of the Guagua cua?  I just got back from a 14-month world trip and I've been struggling with how to blend my experiences traveling into my writing. I've also been frustrated with how little representation there is for Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa in all types of writing. When I saw the Prefect's Challenge, I thought that might be a chance to explore the oral history of one of the places I had an opportunity to visit. I wrote about Ecuador because I spent three months there and really fell head over heels for it. Quito, in particular, is such a beautiful place and I really enjoy descriptive writing, so setting the story there allowed me to really try and build the image of the city in words. What was the most difficult part about writing this story?  The most difficult part of writing a story about any culture that is not my own is being accurate and being sensitive. I want to bring more diversity to fanfiction and just writing in general, but I don't want to do it in a way that speaks over people from that region or whitewashes their culture. Looking back, if there was anything you could change about the story, what would it be and why? I would've spent a bit more time on the description of the city. Quito is a stunning place to visit. It's in a huge valley surrounded by five volcanoes. The skyline sprawls for miles and miles. In the center of the city, you have the Basilica De Voto Nacional, which rivals The Notre Dame in Paris and adds a beautiful focal point. At night, the view is even more spectacular as the city is all lit up. I hoped that the little bit of description I included might encourage people to visit Ecuador or even just look up photos and information. Had I had a bigger word count, I definitely would've gone a lot deeper into that. If you were to choose a second myth to have written instead, which would it have been and why? Ah. That's always hard for me. I actually had a list of like twenty myths/legends from quite a few different countries and I kept going back and forth over which to write. I considered stories from Mexico like La Llorona, El Cucuy, and La Chupacabra, but I'm already writing a whole novella focused on Mexico and have a one-shot about El Cucuy. I also considered writing about the haunting of El Muro De Las Lagrimas (The Wall of Tears), which is an actual place in The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. It was a penal colony where prisoners were forced to build a pointless wall in an inhospitable climate. Many of them were unjustly sent to the penal colony and most of them died there. In day, you can visit the rui ns of this wall which are the only reminder of the atrocity that happened there. Lots of locals believe the area is haunted by restless spirits. current     If you aren't already aware, this is our recent blog addition -- the Monthly Dilemma! Each month we will be asking you a question and you can respond to each question by commenting in the corresponding blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section. Last month's raffle winner was @LadyMarauder! Please contact a Prefect to let us know where you would like your one [1] review to go (same for previous winners, ofc, if you haven't already done so)! 
  This month's dilemma is: what is the worst way to travel long distances? You have until January 15th to answer! This month's winner will receive one [1] free review on a story of your choice.   _________________ credits:
graphics [headers & dividers] -- deni
monthly dilemma question -- chelts | monthly dilemma drawing -- emma
interviewers and courriers -- deni, madi, sarah, rumpels
review columns/picspam -- rumpels | prefect reviews -- sarah
layout -- rumpels        

Sleepingbagonthesofa

Sleepingbagonthesofa

 

Prefects Fall Writing Challenge Results | December 7th, 2018

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

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

In the Spotlight | November 23rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleepingbagonthesofa

Sleepingbagonthesofa

 

NaNo Helpline

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

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

In the Spotlight | October 22nd

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

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

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

ShadowRose

ShadowRose

 

World Spooktacular | October 7th, 2018

Welcome to the spookiest Prefect Blog around!  This month, we are honoring the scary season by taking a look at the way some parts of the world celebrate in October. We also have prepared some rather frightening legends from multiple cultures, and left you all with a list of recommended stories on our very own archives to set the horror mood! We hope you're all having a fabulous October! As a special note, the Prefect's Fall Quarter Writing Challenge, the "[Insert Challenge Name Here] Challenge", has been posted. You can find it +here for more spook-tastic details! 
Throughout the world, everyone is bringing in the new season in their own spectacular way! In order to celebrate along with them, we would like to present a few fun October Festivities from around the globe!  This is Not Art (Newcastle, Australia) In Australia, October hosts an event dubbed "This is Not Art," which has been an annual gathering of artists (both emerging and experienced) that has been happening since circa 1998! It is a gathering for sharing ideas, experimenting, and meeting like-minded individuals (who might even become a future partner for collaborating on their artistic endeavours). Thousands of people attend this festival each year, which is made up of approximately 150 smaller events. It welcomes all artists, performers, writers, thinkers, theatre-makers, dancers, and tech-heads to come together for a fun-tastic and creative weekend!  Lake of Stars (Mangochi, Malawi) Over in East Africa, you will find the country of Malawi and, with it, the Lake of Stars Music Festival! This music festival goes a lot deeper than merely gathering people together for some good times (though it does that, too). In its very core, it also serves to and focuses on influencing the growth of the local economy. Due to the tourist attraction to the small country for the festival, and through ticket sales and volunteer activity to things like flood relief programs, the Lake of Stars Festival helps improve life for the locals and they put on a fantastic show while they're at it!  Concurs de Castells (Tarragona, Spain) This Spanish event is all about one thing: human towers. Concurs de Castells is an annual competition in which over 40 teams compete to create the most complex and tallest human towers. This event dates all the way back to the 18th century and is still enjoyed by over 6,000 average spectators each year. In a display of Catalan culture, complete with parades, music, and street performances, the event mainly focuses on this competition that creates towers on an average of nine stories high! The teams have five rounds to build their best towers, and a points distribution system helps determine the winners! Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Have you ever been to a Balloon Festival before? If you have, you're familiar with the many crafters gathered to sell balloon-related goods (among other handmade goods), live band performances, and the main event, watching the many colorful and unique hot air balloons take to the sky. In Albuquerque, this festival surpasses any Balloon Festival you've ever seen by leaps and bounds. Crowds gather to watch over 750 beautifully whimsical hot air balloons rise into the blue skies. Besides watching the balloons, the event also offers filmmaking contests, balloon riding services, AfterGlow fireworks, and balloon races. Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal Canada) Filmmakers and film-lovers alike gather to this 44-year-old festival to experience the spirit of good company, revelry, and fun. This 11-day festival brings people together from around to experience over 300 films, conferences, art installations, cocktail parties, performances, and transmedia projects. It has an emphasis on "the new" and acts as a showcase for all cinema types. They try to keep on top of things as the world (and its technology and media) changes from year-to-year, and encourage the latest trends as well as bringing in fresh ideas and features.  The  Festival du Nouveau Cinéma remains determined to expand the horizons of Montreal audiences by showing them original ways of presenting and experiencing film.  Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) This electronic music platform and club festival is the leading and largest, worldwide! By the light of day, this conference is the ultimate business and inspiration platform for the global electronic music industry. It focuses on providing music professionals, aspiring DJs, and musicians the latest in technological, human, and business resources. By the dark of night, this festival provides access to the entire whole spectrum of electronic subgenres, with over 2,500 artists performing in 140 of Amsterdam's music and nightlife spaces. In 2017, the festival brought 395,000 visitors from over 90 countries, which makes it the world's biggest club festival. Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt, Germany) This isn't just your average book fair. Frankfurt's 70-year-old event hosts 7,000 exhibitors from 100 countries and nearly 300,000 annual visitors. For book fans from all over the world and international publishers media, it is all about printed and digital content and the relevant topics for the coming year. The book fair is the most important international marketplace for content, as well as a key trendsetter for society and a major cultural festival.  The first three days are for business and industry only, but the public is invited to attend the last two days.  These final days are filled with book signings, readings and the perusal thousands of new and exciting titles.
Jewish Festivities in October This year, only two Jewish holidays falls in October -- Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret. However, they're the last of a whole series of interconnected festivals and approximately every second year, the majority of them do fall in October, so we're going to cover all of them. Strap in.  They're kicked off by Rosh Hashana, which never falls in October, but it's the Jewish New Year. None of the following holidays are spooky in any way, unless you count the inherent threat of death on Yom Kippur (check out the +extremely metal list of ways you can die that we recite) and the threat of wasps on Sukkot if you decorate your sukkah with fruit. Wasps are terrifying. Yom Kippur -- lit. "Day of Atonement", this is... well, exactly what it says on the tin. Ten days after Rosh Hashana, you fast (no water or food) for 25 hours, and you're basically asleep or praying, so it's pretty easy to avoid food when you're sitting in a synagogue with hundreds of other people who are also hungry and thirsty. You also wear all white and since you're not meant to wear leather shoes, the shoe choices can be... interesting. You atone communally for all the sins you've committed against God, but the sins you've committed against other people you need to make amends yourself -- God can't do anything about those. There's the idea that God decides whether you're going to die in the coming year on Yom Kippur, but it's just a metaphor, honestly. Sukkot -- Just five days after you're done praying for an entire day without food or water, you have to start eating your meals in a little tent-type thing you rig up in your backyard called a sukkah (sukkot is the plural). It's got to have three walls and a roof made of palm fronds where the fronds cast more shade than there is sunlight BUT you can also see the stars at night. It's a complicated business. Once you've satisfied all eleventy billion rules however, you get to just enjoy it for a whole week! It symbolises the temporary dwellings that the Jewish people lived in when there were in the desert for forty years after they left Egypt. You also wave a bundle of plants and an etrog, which is like a very large and expensive lemon that doesn't taste very nice. I don't know what it's like in the northern hemisphere, but October is perfect weather down here in Australia for chilling outside, it's delightful.   Shmini Atzeret -- I had to google this one, I'm not going to lie. I knew it existed, but I didn't really know what it was. Shmini means 'eighth' and 'azteret' shares a root with the word for 'halt, stop'. It's the day after Sukkot ends, and it's a day when we just take an extra day to enjoy God's company, really. It's like when you have a friend stay with you for a few days and you really like their company so you're like "aw, why not just stay an extra day". Also, this is the day you start praying for rain. Simchat Torah -- This one is the most joyful by far. Every year Jews read the whole Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and on Simchat Torah, we get to the end. BUT because we love the Torah so much, we get really excited and then immediately read the beginning again, starting the cycle anew. There is lots of dancing, some drinking, more dancing while holding heavy Torah scrolls, and general merriment.  And then, finally, we get to rest all the way until Chanukah! We have survived another holiday season, Halleluyah.    Día de Los Muertos
by @TreacleTart Across the world, the end of October brings Halloween. Houses are decorated with lights and spooky creatures and kids run around in costumes in search of sweet treats. It’s a great holiday, but not the main reason that I look forward to the close of the month. Instead, I anxiously await the first of November because that’s when Día de los Muertos begins. Día de los Muertos translates literally to The Day of the Dead and is a celebration that honors ancestors with food, drink, music, and family celebrations. It is a tradition that originally comes from Mexico, however, it’s growing popularity has led to celebrations in other Latinx countries and in the Southwestern United States.  Like much of Mexican culture, Día de Los Muertos is rooted deeply in Aztec culture. In the 16th century when the Spaniards invaded, they tried to stop the Aztecs from celebrating believing the holiday to be sacrilegious. Their efforts had little effect. Eventually the holiday was shifted from summer when it was originally celebrated to November where it coincided with All Saints Day.  One might think that a holiday celebrating the dead would be somber, but Día de Los Muertos is actually very lively and happy. Each family builds an altar in their home which carries photos of all their loved ones who have passed on. Altars are traditionally decorated with bright orange marigolds. Ofrendas (offerings) of favorite foods and drinks are left out for hungry spirits. Shots of tequila or beers are also not uncommon.  Families also visit the cemeteries and decorate grave sites leaving similar offerings. Trails of marigold petals can often be found leading to the altars as a sort of pathway for the spirits. Massive displays of candles are also often found at the cemetery entry where people can light them in prayer for an ancestor. In the cities, impromptu parades called calendas spring up. Bands with trumpets, trombones, drums, and tubas lead processions of dancing people through the city, pausing periodically to play a song here or there. These often go on for hours and can get quite rowdy as the crowd size increases. Face painting is another common tradition. Ladies and men alike paint their faces to look like calaveras (sugar skulls). It’s common for women to braid flowers into their hair and dress in bright dresses. Finally, Pan De Muerto (Bread of the dead) is baked and eaten. The exact origins of the bread are unknown, but it is said to be a symbolic stand in for a idol’s sacrifice. The round shape of the bread represents the body, the cross and round decorations on the top represent the skull and bones, and the red sugar is said to represent the blood. The bread itself has a light cinnamon flavor and is usually enjoyed at breakfast with coffee. All in all, Día de Los Muertos is easily my favorite fall holiday. It has the fun elements of Halloween with a deep significance and rich cultural roots. Between the altars, breads, foods, and parties, it’s easy to see why it’s growing so quickly in popularity.
    Commercialization of Halloween in the US In the United States, the epitome of what "melting pot" culture refers to is the holiday of Halloween. It's a blending of pagan and religious beliefs, rituals, and traditions from all people living in America. Halloween is recognized nationally on October 31st, also known as All Hallow's Eve to precede All Hallows Day or All Saints Day on November 1st. Jack-O-Lanterns derive from the carved vegetable lanterns that Celts would make during Samhain to light the way for good spirits while a bonfire was meant to keep away evil ones. For many children in the US, carving their own Jack-O-Lantern is a rite of childhood and there are national pumpkin carving contests where artists create beautiful works of art in pumpkins ranging from the size of your hand to one thousand (1,000) pound behemoth pumpkins. In the 1800's is when the large influx of immigrants from Europe changed the way Halloween was celebrated into the more modern version that happens today. They brought over many games synonymous with this time of the year such as bobbing for apples, telling ghost stories, and general mischief and pranks that sometimes turned into vandalism and crime. Something else that began to become a widespread activity around Halloween was children dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door for more lighthearted fun. This was the early version of "Trick-or-Treat" that kids still do today. It has been called both "Beggar's Night" and "Trick-or-Treat Night," and it often does not fall on the actual day of Halloween, as cities and towns typically schedule it sometime during the week of Halloween instead. Children dress up in costumes (and sometimes so do the parents!) and go door-to-door telling jokes and getting candy and snacks in return for a few hours the night of the event.  This commercialization and handing of candy out to kids means that US candy companies jumped on the potential profits to be made during this holiday. Many companies release specially shaped or designed packaging such as adding pumpkins, bats, and skeletons and the colors to purples, blacks, and oranges. Decorating companies also leapt at the chance for profit as well, creating all sorts of Halloween-themed decorations from glittery foam pumpkins to giant inflatable ghosts to put in the front yard. There are often contests in neighborhoods for best decorated home and (unofficial) best house to give out candy -- this often is the house that handed out king-size candy bars every year.   With this decorating intensity, another thing that happens during Halloween-time in the US is the idea of Haunted Houses. These are often run by local municipalities, companies, or even on the grounds of theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland. The main objective of these places are to scare the living daylights out of everyone who passes through, including small children and parents. Some places even require waivers due to a possibility of being hurt and to allow the actors inside to be able to touch you as part of their act to scare you more. Often times there is a small charge to get in, as it helps pay for the decorating of the place and cost to run electricity and other things while the Haunted House is in operation. Sometimes though, places will simply ask for a donation of any amount to get in, or if the Haunted House is being put on to support a local food bank or similar community center, they will ask for canned food or other types of donations. No matter the cost of entry though, the main object of Haunted Houses is simply to scare those who pass through and to give them a good show while they are there. While the holiday of Halloween stems from a wonderful mixing of religious and cultural traditions that used to center around the end of harvest season and a way to celebrate before the start of November, today it has become a much more gaudy, silly, and also scary holiday for those who live in the US. Trick-or-Treating is still fun as adults for many people, and Haunted Houses may be an annual family and friends event for others. No matter how we celebrate Halloween in the US, it's a fun holiday filled with delicious candy and fun decorations for all to enjoy.  The Best Month of the Year For me, October brings with it a number of wonderful things. First, it's the cooler weather -- a nice relief from the hot summer. With the cooler weather, of course, comes the annual changing of the leaves! The trees trade their once lush green to a vibrant display of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Even after they shed their colorful cloaks, it only means more fun (by way of raking them up into a pile and jumping into them, of course).   It feels almost as if those fast and carefree days of summer slow into a tranquil and more reliable tempo. Plus, pumpkin and apple-flavored everything hits the shelves in mass quantities, which are always exceptionally fun to explore.  And the decorations go up! Much like with the winter holidays, colorful lights line the streets. Except these lights are brightly golden, green, red, and cheerful. These lights come in ghoulish arrangements, and where a snowman might be in a few months, a life-sized mechanical werewolf can be seen. People string cobwebs, hang skeletons, place pumpkins, and create replicas of cemeteries, where you might find a hand of a zombie plunging through the earth to snatch an unexpecting passerby.  It's the time of year where people actively seek to frighten themselves (and others). Scary movies are featured (like the new Halloween movie releasing this month).  The lines for Haunted Houses are incredibly long but so worth the wait, as you enter your own personal horror flick, waiting to be chased by a masked man in a chainsaw or jump-scared by a witch hiding behind a door. Some people even create miniature Haunted Hallways for the kiddos to traverse while out trick-or-treating -- for only the bravest will be able to pass through and earn themselves a full-sized candy bar!  But it's not only the frights that can attract people to this month. Around here, it's also Harvest Season. Fruits and vegetables are reaching full size and ample ripeness. The reddest of apples, the most golden gourds, and the juiciest tomatoes are all ready to be picked. This is truly when the Farmer's Markets thrive, offering a vast rainbow of colors and shapes to the population.  Hayrides and corn mazes are in season, too. If you've never been to a corn maze, it's a fun little adventure that I highly recommend. It's even more fun when you go at dusk, knowing that you'll be stuck in there well after-dark and things feel slightly more spooky than they do during the daytime.  People throw parties and dress in costumes! You haven't lived until you've eaten meatloaf and sausage links meant to replicate human organs  . So go ahead and embrace your weirdo, spooky self this month (I know I will be), as it's the only month that it's really publicly acceptable to do so ❤️. Most of all, this month brings will it all kinds of nostalgic activities with my family. From trick-or-treating (which I now get to do with my daughter), to Cupcake Wars (coming soon!), to group-decorating, parties, apple-picking, pumpkin-picking, potato-picking, and canning/jaring/baking all the things I've grown in my garden, October truly is my favorite month.  Spooky Myths and Legends From Around the Globe Halloween has always been notorious for its myths and legends, but frightening tales are not always season-exclusive! Here are some favorite tales from around the world! As a fair warning, make sure to read these with all the lights on and your favorite plushies to keep you safe -- it's about to get spooky in here!  The Blood Countess [Hungary] This tale is interwoven with early myths of vampirism, about a Hungarian Noblewoman named Countess Erzsébet Báthory de Ecsed (also known as the Blood Countess). To cut a long and twisted story short, the Countess was known (and convicted) for murdering females to bath in their blood, believing that this was the answer to eternal youth. The Countess was convicted of around 80 murders, but testimonies and eyewitness accounts have boosted numbers into the 600s, and apparently, attendants of her estate estimated that between 100 and 200 bodies were removed from the premises at the time of her conviction.    La Llorona (The Weeping Woman] [Mexico] Legend has it that La Llorona is the spiritual remains of a mother who was accused of drowning her children in the local river. Her ghost haunts rivers and creeks alike [specifically the Sante Fe and offshoots of the River], searching for children to drag into the watery depths. Recipient of the title, The Weeping Woman, she is always reported to be in a grievous state of crying when spotted. Children are warned not to venture out after dark, in fear that La Lorona will catch them. While some tales say that she will only take children, others claim that she will take pretty much anyone. It's probably best, however, to steer clear of a weeping woman in white if you're ever out near the Santa Fe after dark.    Gjenganger [Scandinavia] The gjenganger is a particular type of spirit that has an actual physical entity about it -- it is completely corporeal. As is said for most unhappy ghosts, it is said to be the spiritual remains of someone who has some unfinished business in their life and often were met with a violent end. Gjenganger seem to target the family and friends of the deceased person and can inflict actual damage (even kill) as they have a physical 'body' and can interact on the physical plane. However, a gjenganger will not brutally attack anyone. Instead, they spread pestilence and plague by "pinching" their victims, which causes a necrosis that will slowly kill the person infected. This pinch is known as dødningeknip or the dead man's pinch. Like other mythological entities, holy symbols seem to ward them off, and there are also precautions in place that can be done to prevent a loved one from rising as a gjenganger. To mean, they seem to be some cross of spirit, zombie, and vampire, which is pretty cool (and absolutely terrifying).   The Man-Eating Tree [Madagascar] A German explorer and botanist by the name of Karl Leche wrote a letter in 1874 (which soon went on to be published in journals and newspapers), detailing his discovery of a man-eating tree. Of course, to a botanist, this was an astounding discovery. The tree was described as having a thick, bulging trunk (shaped similarly to a pineapple), and had huge three-foot-wide leaves covered in tiny hooks. With a sweet and tempting nectar in the plant's center and protruding tendrils that stood taller than a full-grown man, the plant was a spectacle of curiosity. Tale has it that Leche bore witness as one of the locals drank from the nectar, who was then captured by the tendrils and the giant leaves closed around them. Leche wrote that after 10 days, the tree unfurled its leaves once more, and where was once a person then lay a skeleton -- just bone. While the tree's existence or the validity of Leche's letter have neither been proven or disproven, if you're ever out wandering the jungles of Madagascar and happen upon a giant, frightening plant, it's probably best not to drink from it. Which would you prefer to tango with -- the Man-Eating Tree or the Whomping Willow?   The Girl in the Bathroom [Japan] Nope, she's not named Myrtle, though she does like to haunt the girl's bathroom of one particular Japanese school. Legend has it that if you go to the third stall of the third floor's girl's bathroom and knock three times while reciting the girl's name (Hanako) when you open the door, she'll be there. I've found two versions of what happens at this point. The first is that you'll be grabbed by one of her bloodied hands, and the second is that she appears in the form of a giant lizard, which will eat you. Either way, it's probably best not to do it (especially if there's a chance you're going to be devoured by a lizard). And, apparently, she's not the only ghost known to haunt public bathrooms in Japan!    What are some of your favorite myths and urban legends? We'd love to know! 
In the spirit of the season, we would like to present some of our favorite Dark/Horror Fic Recs (with some tasty treats for the authors)!   Rinse and Repeat [Mature] by  @VaguelyCreativeName Project Azkaban [Mature] by @Unwritten Curse Sisyphus [Mature] by @ShadowRose China Doll [Mature] by @forever_dreaming Antebellum [Mature] by @Aphoride Beyond the Veil and into the River of Death [Mature] by @pookha The Brother's Three [Mature] by @Chelts-rhj Crouching Parasite, Deathly Agenda [Mature] by @AbraxanUnicorn Out of the Shadows [Mature] by @dirigibleplums Hate [M] by @abhorsen. Non-Omnis Moriar - Not All of Me Shall Die [Mature] by @Celtic_Dreamer7 Joy [Mature] by @scooterbug8515 Misconstrued [Mature] by @Diogenissa All Hallow's Eve by @MadiMalfoy                  OooooOOOooOOOoooo! That's a wrap, folks! We would like to give a huge shoutout to @TreacleTart for providing us with the Dias de Los Muertos piece as well as those lovely pictures!  We hope you have a wonderful and safe month, full of excitement, love, and spooks! >3  _________________________ credits: articles:
Jewish Festivities in October - Emma
Dias de Los Muertos with Photos - Kaitlin
Commercialization of Halloween in the US - Madi
Spooky Myths | Worldwide Festivities | Fic Recs - Rumpels Header/Divider | Layout
Fic Rec Graphics - Rumpels

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

In the Spotlight | September 2018

Welcome to the September Issue of In the Spotlight!  We've prepared your usual goodies such as some extras with the September Sitewide Story of the Month winner, an all-exclusive interview with this Month's staff member who received an Order of Merlin, as well as an interview with our most recent Head Students. This month we're also bringing you even more extras with the Summer Quarter's Prefect Challenge winner!  September is a bustling month -- it's back to school here on the Forums as well as some of you in real life! So take some time to yourself, kick back, and enjoy. Abby ( @Chemical_Pixie ) has even prepared some...poetry for your entertainment purposes. Finally, we have prepared a SPECIAL SURPRIZE for you all at the end of this Blog Post! Be sure to check it out! We hope you've been kicking off this Hogwart's season the right way (with lots of writing)! 
  As seen in the September News Bulletin, the one and only Lotte ( @LadyL8 ) was chosen by the Prefects to receive an Order of Merlin. She was kind enough to provide us with some responses to interview questions, despite her life being quite busy and hectic at the moment. Thanks so much, Lotte!  How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community? I joined the Harry Potter fanfiction community back in 2010, so about 8 years ago. I was still in middle school back then and had just finished reading all the Harry Potter books for the first time. I was watching some Harry Potter videos on youtube, found a fanfic trailer and got really interested. I started reading fanfics, then writing and eventually I joined some forums. And well, I loved the community so much that 8 years later I'm still here   What is your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes? There are lot of things I love about working behind-the-scenes, but my favourite part is probably being able to give back to a community that has given me a lot over the years. I found the Harry Potter community at a time in my life when things weren't going all that well for me, and the community really helped me feel better. So for me, my favourite part about being a staffer is probably being able to help run a site that could help others like the community helped me. And also, I love teamwork. I work much better in teams than on my own and the staff team is just the best!   Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write? I'll enjoy just about anything as long as it's well-written, but I've always loved stories about minor characters. There are so many interesting minor characters in the Harry Potter books, and I honestly think you could write a good story about just about any one of them. And I really love it when authors take the little facts they have about the character and incorporate them into the story, but then they also add lots of interesting new information. So yeah, I think that's probably my favourite type of fanfiction   What is your OTP? That's a tough question. I don't know. The first pairing I fell in love with in the Harry Potter books was Harry/Ginny, so I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them. I'm also a big James/Lily fan, so it's probably one of those two pairings  What’s your favorite story from mythology and why? My favourite mythology story is definitely the myth of Icarus and Daedalus from greek mythology. The moral of the story is really good and I can relate to it a lot. And being from Norway, I'm also a big fan of norse mythology, and my favourite story from norse mythology is probably the story of the creation of Thor's hammer. I'm not really sure why. I just love Loki in this story     We are proud to present some interviews with one of our two Head Students for September, Abby ( @Chemical_Pixie ), who allowed us to pick brains!  Abby's Interview
Why did you pick the House you are in? III.
My heart holds pride for daring Gryffindor,
My veins bleed loudly in crimson and gold.
Adventures linger on a distant shore,
Online, nearby: exploration so bold.
In competition, I may lose my head,
So watch your back, my friend, I play to win
No passionate arguments go unsaid,
In games or life, my roar comes from within.
I live with a lion’s ferocity,
In the hopes of pleasing Godric the brave.
I face new things with curiosity,
And I’ll take my loyalty to the grave.
I stand for what I believe in: what nerve!
For a betterpurpose I hope to serve.
If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? To the current and potential readers of A Place Not Far From Here: I would tell you not to believe everything you hear, but you’re going to believe what you want, anyway. For those of you who are curious enough, yes, I dated James Potter while at Hogwarts. And no, I didn’t have a clue of what was to come of him. The signs might have been there, but that’s for me to decide. Oh, you’re wondering about The Cause? They might be worse than the Ministry but perhaps not half as corrupt. Though, I am not so sure anymore… If you’re trying to get me to tell you about the Hallows, stop if you know what’s good for you. And why am I doing this? Do you even need to ask? Signed with all due respect, Amelia Fortescue.
What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years? Why? “Does the US have equitable education and universal healthcare yet?” Let’s start actualizing our humanity, people!
What TV Channel doesn’t exist but really should? Why? Something without ads
And with book adaptations:
One chapter per slot. Because ads hold us hostage;
Not interested in
Your flashy products. But the art should speak
Fromfirst frame to close
Storytelling comes to life.
What is the best single day (or group of days) on the calendar? Why? For this one, let’s turn to our relationship with the sun: the solstices and equinoxes, for we’re in balance and in transition, a cyclic change as time marches onwards in an ever revolving pattern, bringing forth life and death and hope. What’s the best thing that happened to you this month (or last month)? There was once a lonely soprano
Who auditioned for a guy and piano
Lim’ricks have dirty hearts
So think of muddy carts
And in a new choir the girl began-o!
  This month's story of the month was That's All [M] by Bex ( @beyond the rain )! We have written a review column about this lovely piece, [and we've managed to score an interview with the author][pending Bexy's answers]. Enjoy!  R E V I E W  C O L U M N

Reading Bex's That's All has been a sweet, rewarding journey thus far.  Her use of nonlinear time progression creates an excellent hook when diving into the Prologue, and it just gets better from there. The main character Clara Leavitt, an original character, is perfectly unique, easily relatable, and entirely likable. Having faced difficulties in being a Muggleborn Slytherin while at Hogwarts -- and with the world in shards during the First Wizarding War -- Clara chose to estrange herself from the Wizarding World and pursued a career as a nurse in the Muggle world. Save from communication with her best friend Severus Snape, she had essentially isolated herself from magic all-together until she became reunited with Remus Lupin. They formed a friendship based on need and kindness,  which progressed in a beautifully frustrating slow-burn into a relationship. The nature of their relationship is so natural and so sweet. They create this organic banter, complete with flirting, that is downright hysterical. In each review, I keep using the term "domestic" to describe them because the two have this classic chemistry that is evident even from when they were just friends. They're symbolic of what I envision growing old with someone would look like, and it's incredibly sweet. The two help one another heal and move forward on a number of different levels, which is a difficult thing to do in the aftermath of the first war.  Sweet and slow romance, beautiful characterization, hilarious moments...you really can't ask for more if you want something to fill you to the brim with fluff. I highly recommend this fic, so if you haven't read it -- go do that right now. You'll thank me later. I'm so happy to see this receive a well-deserved spot in the Story of the Month archives! 
Bex's Interview What inspires you to write? Small things. Sometimes I'll read a sentence, or see the way a person acts (in real life or in a film) and my imagination runs with it. There are certain parts of history, the conflicts of that era, the music and even the fashion just really inspires me. I'm also a huge sucker for picspams and aesthetics. The colours and compositions of pretty graphics just give me ideas and before I know it a world's created in my head.

What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try? Fake dating! Or when two friends book two hotel rooms and of course there's only one and it's a double bed. I love seeing characters squirm and battle with their emotions!

Published authors you look up to? Oh wow, this is a tough one. I think J K Rowling - yes she's a controversial figure, but she created one of the biggest, and in my opinion one of the most well known, worlds...all in her head! There's so much detail and it's such a warm place, I have to admire her for that. Right now I'm loving the Bronte sisters too. I actually started by reading a book by the lesser known sister, Anne, and while her structure is more of the time (I read a sentence that was a page and a half long. It was crazy.) she was so forward thinking. She wrote even though her two sisters refused to have her work published, she wrote about feminism and even challenged religion and the middle class way of life...I think that's really cool! Now I've started reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and I've somehow managed to avoid finding out what this very famous book is about for years and it's crazy how much I relate to Jane. In reality the two of us don't have that much in common but Charlotte Bronte has this style that makes you feel like you've known all of her characters for years and I find myself nodding along or just generally reacting to things that happen loudly. It's the effect her writing has on me! 
If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? Write for yourself and at your own pace. I know there's a lot of "write everyday even if it's just 100 words" - I haven't written anything in three weeks and I feel great. I'm not stressed about my writing and I'm not worried that people will lose interest in my works. It's lovely to have feedback, but don't write something for other people. Write because you love what you're doing and because it makes you happy.
  What does your planning/outlining method look like? Does it vary from story-to-story? hahahaha. haha. ha well. That's All specifically has about six different documents full of plans, and two books full. Originally I started out by planning using a timeline. It was very informal it had lots of question marks, lots of swearing, and lots of gaps. From chapter two I had to come back and rewrite most of that timeline, and colour code it based on what chapter it was, whose POV it would be in, and how certain I was that this particular part would stay in the book etc. I branched out because the timeline was far too vague and it never stays the same. I also have lots of endings planned depending on what sort of character deaths we're looking at. Those are mostly like drafts, the writing isn't very descriptive it's just very step by step. The books are a different. I'm not sure if this is because I love acting and think dialogue is the most important part of any book/script/whatever you're writing, but the books are full of quotes. Or the quotes are prompts and then I have an entire conversation written out like a script with nothing descriptive. The conversation ends up changing but it's like a starting point or a guideline to just get me motivated. So this is an example of my script plans (this is a possible scene for a chapter that's like...10 years away from where That's All is right now, it'll probably change so it's safe enough for me to share it with you!  
  "That greasy git went to your wedding?!" "He's Clara's closest friend, Pads. I could hardly say no." "Did he at least wash his hair for the big day?" "I wasn't getting married to admire Severus Snape's hair." "Bet you weren't admiring her hair either." *remus rolls eyes rather than rising to SB's bait* "she's sucked the life out of you, trust me - I'd know" **is it too soon for Azkaban jokes idk
  If you couldn’t pair Remus with Claire (blasphemy, I know), which other character would you ship Claire with and why? I honestly have no idea. Clara needs someone who's patient like Remus, someone who would support all her endeavours and that is so non-judgemental that he wouldn't berate her when she does let her guard down and starts acting silly. She was almost paired with Severus, but at the time I loved ss/hg for me to fully consider any other pairing that involved him. In the long run I think it was for the best...they'd have killed each other. Maybe Chandler from friends? Or Joey. I can't see her with anyone else from the HP fandom at least.
  We recently wrapped up our Summer Quarter's Prefect Challenge and announced winners! We have another review column for the lovely winning story below. Nicole ( @teh tarik ), the author of the first place entry To Boil Telephone Porridge | 煲電話粥 [M] has given us a short interview as well, despite having to struggle to type with a broken finger!  R E V I E W  C O L U M N
To Boil Telephone Porridge, an Original Fiction piece, is one of the best short stories I've read in a while. It showcases what societal and personal issues the LGBTQ+ community faces in Malaysia, personified through the main character Daniel and what repercussions he has faced from his family. Not only does this story explore the previously mention cultural aspects, but also puts emphasis on entirely real fears of coming out and the effects it can have.  Nicole's writing is beautiful and the story fits together smoothly, despite leaving the reader wondering, "What happened?" as the story kicks off. Since there is a bit of a mystery to it, which makes this even more fantastic to read, I won't give away the "What happened?" portion of the fic. However, I will say that when Kwai Sim receives a phone call from Daniel, her son, after ten years of not hearing from him, the readers are left with a sense of mystery and wonderment, especially after the opening scene of Daniel's childhood, when everything seemed simple -- like a childhood should be. Though, with implications of Daniel's sexuality and his possible attraction to his best friend, Aizzit, the readers are left with a vague idea as to what had happened between Daniel and his parents. I love how this story also explores Kwai SIm's perspective. It's clear that she loves her son and misses him desperately. She tries to make amends the best way she knows how, but favorite meals are not always the solution to everything as she quickly discovers. There's a moral here about being able to grow and adapt, which is shown through a magnificent ongoing allegory of Kwai Sim and using a mobile phone instead of her old landline. There is an emphasis on how important that ability to change is, especially when it's for the ones you love -- to let go of your old ways and move forward. I can't promise a lot of fluff or a brightly happy resolution, but the note of quite hope that To Boil Telephone Porridge ends on is absolutely genius. I highly recommend this one-shot. 
Nicole's Interview If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? There are lots of valid writing advice out there given by writers better and more prolific than me.  Not everything you hear will be useful. But I do believe that you need to find your process when it comes to writing. Find out the best way to get those words going. Get those words out, no matter how slow and painful it is. And if you're already struggling, make sure you don't delete anything. Later you can always come back and fix - and it's easier to work on existing material, at least for me.
  What does your planning/outlining method look like? Does it vary from story-to-story? It varies.  I guess I'm not a very orderly writer, so I really do have to plan, otherwise I'm just going to abandon stuff left right and centre *shoves my drafts folder out of sight*  If I have an idea for a fic, I'll just vomit out everything onto a page without structure - snippets of dialogue, sketches of scenes, details of setting, bits of imagery etc., interesting words - then I'll put them in bullet point. Then I'll start writing. USUALLY. I DON'T FOLLOW MY OWN PROCESS MOST TIMES. 
What inspired you to write an LGBTQ+ fic based out of Malaysia, specifically? I was born in and grew up in Malaysia. Still Malaysian, with close ties to Malaysia, and I still speak the language, even though I don't live there now.  Malaysia comes to me naturally as the place to set my stories in. And also because I follow the LGBTQ+ situation and news in Malaysia. A little bit of context about Malaysia, in current times: this year has been historic for the country, because for the first time since independence from British colonial rule, Malaysians have voted out the old corrupt government, without bloodshed (we have a history of race riots and violence). We have a new government, and everyone I knew was overjoyed, posting non-stop about a New Malaysia, etc. I was one of those with so much hope for the change. Unfortunately in the months following the new government coming to power, there has been a constant sequence of LGBTQ+ controversies, where the community has been persecuted in various ways. We've had politicians openly opposing LGBTQ+, there's been a public caning of a lesbian couple, there's been vicious attacks on the trans community because people 'just felt like it', and the social attitudes toward LGBTQ+ has been so homophobic and vicious and I don't even know. I wrote this story because I've been following LGBTQ+ news in Malaysia for a long time (way before this backlash), and because I'm quietly devastated by everything that's been happening.
What was the most difficult part of writing To Boil Telephone Porridge? I wrote from my own internal experiences, and of my family. I've never actually said this out to anyone on this community, but I am many shades of queer in terms of gender and orientation and have known this since I was thirteen, but never really bothered to acknowledge (homophobic family and all).  I wrote an earlier version of TBTP last year, and that was an incredibly personal one, and the main character was pretty much me. That was too personal to post anywhere. So when I wrote TBTP, I reworked some of my original ideas from that story into this, and distanced myself as much as I could from these characters. Took myself out of the story. But it was still difficult to write, because I had to confront a whole lot of truths about myself. This nearly never got posted, and after writing and re-writing, I finally got sick of it, threw it out into the internet and said to my story, I'm done with you. I'm just done. You've caused me enough pain so begone. So there. But to answer your question in a more direct way - the personal elements of it was the hardest. It required a lot of courage on my part to get through, and to reread. 
 What was your favorite part of To Boil Telephone Porridge? So I'm Malaysian and I speak like a Malaysian - and I definitely enjoyed having my characters use Manglish (Malaysian English) to communicate. That means odd grammar, English mingled with words from other languages, lots of suffixes etc. It felt good to write Manglish, you know? Just like some writers can effortlessly write slangs or use references from different communities or cultures, so I can do the same with Manglish.
 Is there anything you wish you could change about the fic now and, if so, what is it? Oh dear - if I reread this story, I'll want to change everything about it. >.< I definitely wanted to explore a lot more about Daniel and Aizzat's imperfect and at times somewhat desolate relationship. But the story was already getting too long, and the focus always had to be on Daniel and Kwai Sim. I guess the other thing I would change is my adherence to the stupid structure of the whole thing! I actually borrowed the structure of this story (and some phrases as well) from one of my fics - a Star Wars fic lol. I regularly cannibalise parts of my fanfic to put into my OF. The structure was very restrictive, but I guess it worked for a long distance relationship.
  This month, we are debuting a brand new feature of In the Spotlight! Each month, we will be asking you all a question! You can answer the question by responding to that specific blog post. Anyone who comments in the blog post with an answer to the question is put into a randomized raffle to win a little prize. You will have until the 15th of the following month to answer the question to be entered into the raffle. Winners will be announced in that month's Monthly Dilemma section. This month's dilemma: If you had to be half animal/half human, which animal would you pick -- and which half? You have until October 15th to answer!  This month's raffle prize winner will receive a free review on a story of your choice! ~*~ That concludes September's In the Spotlight! Beginning in October, we will begin featuring extras from each House's monthly Common Room Awards! Also be sure to keep your eye out for the Autumn Quarter Prefect Writing Challenge, soon to be announced. We hope you're surviving the Train Ride to Hogwarts (studying by way of Hangman can be tricky, but don't worry -- we have more study options coming your way) as well as enjoying making some new friends. We'll see you again soon for our monthly potpourri Blog Post in a few weeks! ________________________________________________________________ credits
headers and dividers - @facingthenorthwind
  interviewers - @Sleepingbagonthesofa, @Nix , @ShadowRose, @Rumpelstiltskin
review columns | picspams | layout - @Rumpelstiltskin
prefect reviews -  @MadiMalfoy , @Nix  

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

House Cup Wrap Up | September 7th, 2018

We Prefects are proud to present the T.O.A.D.s (otherwise known as the Totally Outstanding Awards, Dudes!), your totally (un)official awards...dudes. In the aftermath of the Finale, while recovering from the intensity and trying to regain our sanity, one lovely Prefect brought up the idea to present awards to those Housemates and Staff Members that stood out to us during those trying times. Please note that these "awards" are NOT affiliated with the Staff or Officially House Cup business, and they are not worth points or anything like that. They are just a way to show appreciation and spread some love! If you'd like to use your awards, please rehost and credit the appropriate artist. 
  Ravenclaw
 @Aphoride @dirigibleplums @Downbelow @facingthenorthwind @FawkesyLady @forever_dreaming @greisful @hecate @MadiMalfoy @Margaret @potionspartner @Theia Your winners of the House Cup Finale 2018, Ravenclaw managed to find TWO wild cards. Their statistics were as follows: 89 reviews
12,466 words
27 graphics
16 writing tasks
12 puzzles solved To @forever_dreaming for her outstanding reviewing support during Quadpot, we award:
The Hermione Granger Award for a Little Light Reading!
award by emma To @Theia for her amazing Graphicking, we award:
The Luna Lovegood Award for Finding the Beauty in Everything
award by emma   Gryffindor 
@Chemical_Pixie @melian @nott theodore @TreacleTart @poppunkpadfoot @ShadowRose @adorably cute @Sleepingbagonthesofa @Crimson Quill @Deeds @StarFeather @Lady Ausra Gryffindor absolutely smashed their Quodpot matches AND put up top-notch writing, winning several placings in the individual tasks! Their statistics were as follows: 184 reviews
7,994 words
15 graphics
12 writing tasks
12 puzzles solved To @Chemical_Pixie for her conquering of the dreaded Snape Riddle, we award:
The Severus Snape Award for Impossible Riddle-Solving!
award by taylor To @TreacleTart for her phenomenal reviewing skills during Quadpot, we award:
The Hermione Granger Award for a Little Light Reading!
award by emma   Slytherin
@beyond the rain @Rumpelstiltskin @starbuck @teh tarik @MalfoysAngel @Nix Slytherin was small but mighty in this House Cup Finale, managing to pull together a spectacular paper that's absolutely gorgeous. Also, I'm pretty sure the riddles made everyone cry. 45 reviews
6,922 words
23 graphics
12 writing tasks
12 puzzles solved To @starbuck for her excellence in everything and brilliant imagination, we award:
The Basilisk Award for Being Slytherin's Superstar!
award by rumpel To @teh tarik for her incredible riddle-solving abilites, we award:
The Tom Riddle Award for the Mastering of Riddles!
award by rumpel   Hufflepuff @just.a.willow.tree @danicasyer @sunshinedaisieswindmills @Dojh167 @MuggleMaybe @dreamgazer220 @Phoenix Potioneer @Stella Blue @VaguelyCreativeName @ShazaLupin @WriteYourHeartOut Your 2017-2018 House Cup Champions, Hufflepuff was a terrifying force to be reckoned with. Their frankly unbelievable statistics were as follows: 215 reviews
9,733 words
22 graphics
13 writing tasks
12 puzzles solved To @Dojh167 for her criminal mastermind and finding skills, we award:
The Hufflepuff Award for Being an Exceptionally Good Finder!
AND
The Voldemort Award for Being an Evil Genius!
(This is because we couldn't choose which to give you, Sam.)
award by rumpel
award by rumpel To @just.a.willow.tree for making the graphics and going absolutely above and beyond for the whole event, we award: The James Potter Award For Being Awesome Since Birth!
award by taylor Staff To @Ineke for putting up with the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaws, we award:
The David Tennant Award for Excellent GIF Use!
award by emma To @Alopex for answering approximately three billion questions and handling all of us, we award:
The Arabella Figg Award for Herding Cats!
AND
The Minerva McGonagall Award for Having the Patience of a Saint!
award by rumpel
award by rumpel To @TidalDragon for being a Genius Mastermind (and the Kevin), we award:
The Albus Dumbledore Award for Knowing What's Going on Even When Nobody Else Does!
award by taylor To @RoxiMalfoy for being the best morale booster, we award:
The Colin Creevey Award for Motivation!
award by rumpel   That wraps up the T.O.A.D Awards and our 2017/2018 House Cup!  Congratulations to our winners, to all of the wonderful members who contributed and, of course, to the Staff. Together we've written over 36,000 words, 605 reviews and pulled together four wonderful papers. Your Prefects are incredibly proud of you! We hope you've all found some time to relax and recharge but don't get too comfortable... The House Cup kicks off in just over a week and this time, we're running the show.   And trust us, there will be no riddles. 

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

The Prefect's Celebration Challenge Results | September 2nd, 2018

Starting in June 2018, you were all given the task to honor the many celebrations taking place that month by competing in writing some stories to commemorate a special occasion.We are here today to announce the results of the challenge! 
   For this particular challenge, there were three different prompts for you to choose from. You could write about: vacation: can include a trip or a staycation a “meet the family” situation which includes any kind of families or relationships a topic relating to Pride Month: coming out, first kiss, the first time a character realized they were queer, etc.
  You could write about one (1) of these prompts or combine two (2) of them or even all three (3)! While you were only required to write about one, we will be offering extra reviews for those that attempted multiple prompts in one story but this did not factor into the judging of the entry. You will still receive the reviews even if you do not place in the challenge. We had several amazing entries for this challenge: you make me feel good by @facingthenorthwind
Antebellum [Mature] by @Aphoride
Slow Love by @TheGoldenKneazle
Weasley Family Dinner Shenanigans [Mature] by @adorably cute
Good Things Come in Twos by @MadiMalfoy
heaven taking the place of something evil [Mature] by @dirigibleplums
Somewhere in Between by @ShadowRose
Constellations [Mature] by @ssslytherinnn
The Outset by @Renacerá
passionfruit [Mature] by @poppunkpadfoot
To Boil Telephone Porridge [Mature] by @teh tarik
Locked in a Broom Closet [Mature] by @Nix   But only three could win! Third Place heaven taking the place of something evil [Mature] by dirigibleplums! Prizes: two additional reviews on a story of your choice   Second Place Antebellum [Mature] by Aphoride! prizes: three additional reviews on a story/stories of your choice, a picspam of your story   First Place To Boil Telephone Porridge | 煲電話粥 [Mature] by teh tarik! prizes: five additional reviews on a story/stories of your choice, a picspam of your story, and a feature in the September edition of the Prefect's In the Spotlight blog.   Congratulations to all winners! Please contact @Rumpelstiltskin for your review portion of your prizes. Thank you! Special Note: Each entry will still receive its review, plus any bonus reviews awarded soon. Apologies for the delay! Here is the list of bonus reviews awarded to entrants. To claim your bonus reviews, please contact Rumpelstiltskin and let her know which story(ies) you would like your reviews on. If you believe to be missing a bonus (or any bonuses awarded to you are incorrect), please contact Rumpelstiltskin  

Thanks! Bonus Reviews by Member (not including entry reviews or placement prize reviews):  facingthenorthwind: 2 extra reviews
Aphoride: 2 extra reviews
The Golden Kneezle: 1 extra review
MadiMalfoy: 1 extra review
ShadowRose: 2 extra reviews
ssslytherin: 1 extra review
poppunkpadfoot: 2 extra reviews
teh tarik: 2 extra reviews ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- graphics [header and awards]: @Rumpelstiltskin
voting and discussion: @dreamgazer220, @just.a.willow.tree, @forever_dreaming, @Rumpelstiltskin
post write-up: @Rumpelstiltskin

secretdreamer

secretdreamer

 

In the Spotlight | 31 August, 2018

We are happy to present the August edition of In the Spotlight! We will be interviewing the Head Students of the month, the winner of the Order of Merlin for August, and providing a review column for the Story of the Month. This month, we are including a special section to commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment in the United States in 1920 and Women's Equality Day (August 26th).    Our well-deserving Head Student's for the month of August, @adorably cute and @Theia, provided their responses to a few of our interview-type questions. Enjoy! adorably cute/Sarah's interview: Why did you pick the House you are in? So, I've always at least partially identified as a Gryffindor (which is what Pottermore sorted me into), though I would say I have a lot of Ravenclaw traits as well and when I was younger, it was a lot harder for me to choose! The older I get, I definitely identify more with and have maybe started to value those Gryffindor traits more, so it's not really a difficult decision any more! If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? Definitely Home! It's really, uh, spiraled from its original concept but I'm really happy with the way it's turned out. It's about a girl finding herself, family, friends, and love, after transferring to Hogwarts when she has to move in with her Dad. I just really love what this story has become, I love all the characters and their relationships, I even (now) love these darn Quidditch statistics I made up for this thing! If you could only read one book (or fanfic) again for the rest of your life, what would it be? Is it cheating to pick Harry Potter? Do I have to pick one? If so, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If it is cheating to pick one of them, then maybe The Great Gatsby. What is your favorite HP Era and why? To write, it's definitely Next Gen. I love how much freedom there is with it so you can pretty much do whatever you want with it! To read, it's a toss up between Next Gen and Marauders. probably for a similar reason. I love seeing the worlds people build (because even with the Marauders era, there's still so much we don't know) and how everyone characterizes different characters! Do you have a method of story plotting that you’d like to share? HA! Ok, so my method for story plotting is so basic and terrible, it's like

Chapter 10 gang goes to bar plot point y plot point z, etc, etc and then underneath those bullets I will sometimes have pieces of dialogue that I've thought of that I want to add in. But since this outline is SO BASIC, I frequently end up adding more dialogue/information than I thought was going to be in a chapter and accidentally end up with two chapters instead of one. You get to ask one HP character (alive or dead) three questions. What are those questions? Ahh this was a tough one! But I think I'd like to ask James Potter (the first): 1) how they actually created the Marauder's Map and all of the details about its creation
2) what their best prank was
3) how he finally got Lily to agree to go out with him   Theia/Nim's interview: Why did you pick the House you are in? I was initially sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore, and I could relate to the qualities associated with the house, so that's how I made my first decision to be in it. But moving forward, I realised I have a mix of some Slytherin and Hufflepuff qualities as well, and I did shift to Slytherin for a brief period of time a few years ago. However, I chose to be back in Ravenclaw because I've made some of the best friends, amazing memories, and received a LOT of support from people in this house, and it will always feel a lot more like home than any other.  If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why? Self-promotion is not my thing - the self-doubt is so real and I get unsure about everything I write. Buuut I do have a fic that I'm working on (which isn't on HPFT yet) that I'm super excited about. It's an Albus Potter- centric fic in which he's a thrill-seeking asexual curse breaker in his mid-twenties. It's an exploration of an impulsive personality, familial tension, and the stigma around being ace packed into an action/adventure plotline. It's a lot bigger than any other stories I've planned out and I'm psyched to complete it and put it up!  What is your favorite memory involving one of your eight cats? Do you know how HARD it is to answer this? I have eight cats, and they all hold a very dear place in my heart. I can't pick out just one favourite memory but I think my life changed when each of them came into my life. They were all rescues/adoptions and were in dire need of some love and care. Looking at them growing up into healthy, well-adjusted cats has got to be the best part of this lifestyle (and it makes all the medical bills and poop-cleaning worth it :P)  Describe your favorite tattoo (either one that you have, have done, or have seen). Again, a super difficult question to answer! The one I've done also happens to be the one I have - I have a little cat face just above my right ankle which I tattooed on myself. It was the first one I've ever done and I'm super proud of it even if it's not the best technically. In terms of one I have that's tattooed by someone else, I'd go with the Tardis on my upper arm - it has the cleanest lines I've ever seen, has settled so beautifully, and depicts my love for the fandom as well as a deeper meaning - that we're all bigger on the inside and we have the power to move through time and space, affecting the world around us through our actions.  I'm also taking this opportunity to highlight some of my favourite artists across the world:  Dmitriy Samohin - based in Ukraine, does AMAZING colour-realism. Victor Portugal - artist in Krakow, Poland, who specialises in dark-themed realistic pieces John Monteiro - artist in Brazil, delicate linework and illustrative custom tattoos  Megan Jean Morris - Nevada based, does brilliant colour-realism (yay for women artists!!)  Eva krbdk - Turkey, and her style is absolutely rad. She takes realistic landscapes/portraits and packs them into tiny geometric shapes.  I can keep going on and on (and if anyone wants more recommendations, feel free to PM) but these are a few who deserve some shout-outs. They're also pretty expensive since they're so accomplished and have many years of experience, but if you get the chance to get tattooed by them you absolutely must do so!  If you have any one piece of writing advice to give to others, what would it be? I think everyone reaches a point where it seems like they're "not good enough" or "not getting ideas" or just feeling the pressure of delivering something amazing. But I think we all need to remember why we started writing in the first place and stick to it. Let yourself have fun with what you're doing, without giving too much importance to how it's turning out - the first draft is meant to be messy and filled with holes but once it's complete, your story is DONE and it's such an overwhelming feeling. You can always edit it later on and polish it up, but don't stop yourself before you've finished writing it! (this is something I remind myself of every day as well) If you could pick one, with all of the benefits and none of the downsides, which would it be and why: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, the Cloak of Invisibility? The Elder Wand, especially if its without the downsides. I'd love to be able to perform powerful magic that can help people all over the world. (and myself of course haha :P)    The Staffer awarded the August order of Merlin -- the lovely @PaulaTheProkaryote -- has provided some responses to a small interview as well.  PaulaTheProkaryote/Paula's interview: How long have you been a part of the Harry Potter fanfiction community? I've been around for as long as I can remember! I used to hang out on Quizilla reading Drarry and day dreaming about being the perfect Mary Sue to really change Draco.  What's your favorite part about working behind-the-scenes? I love watching the way that each house tackles events so differently. Hufflepuffs are legendary for their spreadsheets and organization. Ravenclaws are so, so creative in everything they do. Gryffindors roll up on pure enthusiasm and dominate. Slytherins are crazy efficient and not afraid to delegate jobs. It's just amazing how each house has their own problem-solving style.  Favorite type of fanfiction to read/write? Fluffy happily ever afters. I can read angst all the way to the end, but I really need that happily ever after or else I'm mopey for weeks. Oh, and AUs. I have an obsessions with AUs.  What's your OTP? My tried and true OTP is Jily. I love so many other pairings, but I really love the portrayal of each of the characters and their growth together.  What is your favorite non-HP fandom? For actual content I love the Raven Boys the most, but as far as non-HP fandom community I'd have to say Star Wars. There's so much love and support there. I've met some of the most wonderful people through it.  Have video games ever inspired any of your writing? If  so, explain. Or do you generally keep those two interests separate (and why)? I try to keep them separate to the best of my abilities, but I do have an Elder Scrolls inspired Founders fic sitting in a google doc that I might publish one day. Each founder is from a different province in Tamriel (the world the game is set in). An orc Helga Hufflepuff is pretty awesome tbh.  Can you tell us more about your interest in insects and your collection? I signed up last minute for an entomology course a few years ago because a professor I adore needed a few more students to actually host the class. We spent hours wandering parks collecting specimens and we had class dinners where we'd set up light traps. I loved it so much I kept up the hobby! I have several hundred insects that have been mounted and even more in jars to be mounted. My favorite specimen I have is a "trash bug" or lacewing larvae. It collects debris on it's back to sneak into aphid colonies and feast. They're super cool and it was a neat find.   Emma provided a wonderful review column for @esmeraude's featured Story of the Month fic, ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) [Mature]. Ministry Memorandums (From the Mysteries) was one of the first fics I read on HPFT and I fell in love with it instantly. The concept is genius -- Isobel is hardly the first person to write an epistolary fic, of course, but the level of detail she puts into the condition of the letters, the mood of the owls and the provenance of the attached items really elevates the fic to something special. That, and the rapid decline from very professional sounding missives to all-caps swearing is a delight. The fic is mostly OCs, but even though there's no prior knowledge to rely on, everyone has really excellent characterisation just from things like how they write their memos or what condition they arrive in. It's pitch perfect British bureaucracy-themed absurdity, full of things not being people's department, accidentally forwarded memos and owls vindictively defecating on things. It is also surprisingly heart-warming, considering all that. If you're looking for a hilarious fic that really effectively utilises the HP universe to tell a story that could only happen in a Harry Potter fic, be sure to check out this one! Also, where can I donate to the communal fund to send Juniper Blye on an extremely peaceful seaside holiday?   Measuring 'feminism' or 'progress' by women's suffrage is inherently a Western-centric and flawed view, as many communities had women in positions of power and leadership and they had full voices in the community until Europeans came and imposed restrictive gender roles on them. We also frequently speak of 'women's suffrage' when we mean 'white women's suffrage', as voting rights were denied to women of colour for far longer. All that said, the 26th of August was Women's Equality Day in the United States in commemoration of the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution that gave white women the right to vote. As such, here are some facts about women's suffrage! (The gaps in some of these facts are due to information not being readily available; please comment if you know something more!) The Kingdom of Hawai'i gave men and women equal voting rights in its very first constitution in 1840, although the voting rights of both men and women were curtailed by an 1852 amendment. Aotearoa New Zealand was the first still-existing country to give (some) women the right to vote: in 1893, both Pākehā (white) and Māori women gained that right. However, as voting rights were tied to citizenship, Chinese New Zealanders were unable to become citizens or vote until 1951. Australia gave white women and Māori women the right to vote in 1902, but Asian, Indian and Pacific Islander women had to wait until 1925, and Indigenous Australian women until 1962. In the first Finnish election with female suffrage (1907), they elected 19 women to parliament. Every European country except France allowed women to vote in at least some municipal elections by 1943; France finally followed suit in 1944. In Switzerland, women did not have the right to vote in federal elections until 1971. The last Swedish canton (state) to give women the vote at a local level was Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1991. -------------------------------------- graphics [header and dividers]: emma | interview gathering: madi, emma, deni, and taylor | review column: emma | women's suffrage facts: emma | sotm reviews: nix and rumpel | layout: rumpel

facingthenorthwind

facingthenorthwind

 

Common Room Awards: Hufflepuff Edition | August 5th, 2018

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of the Common Room Awards! This post will feature the annual Hufflepuff house awards, also known as the Golden Chalices.  
For this series, each winner not only has the opportunity to be featured in this blog, but they also got to participate in a short Q&A about their story. Enjoy! *** The 2018 Golden Chalice Awards

***
Best Light Fic Nominees: Footsteps in the Forest by @Dojh167
ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) (M) by @esmeraude
Afternoon Tea by @Renacerá
Runner-Up: Footsteps in the Forest by @Dojh167
WINNER: ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) (M) by @esmeraude Question: The epistolary format in “ministry memorandums” is absolutely brilliant! How did you plan and keep track of all the different humorous plot threads running through this one-shot, especially with this unconventional format? Answer: Er... I didn’t? I wrote ministry memorandums (from the mysteries) during NaNo 2016(?) because I was working on the first in a series of fics featuring Susan Bones as an Unspeakable, and I was struggling with the prose in the first fic because I was still figuring out who my characters were, so I decided to write a “short” piece featuring Blye’s very different perspective on Susan’s first day of work. The beginning — Blye’s issues with Edalbert Goffrey and Susan’s lack of ID or uniform — were planned because they’re mentioned in Only Human (which remains unposted) and I ended up having so much fun writing it that I just included random events as I wrote. I think I managed to write it all in one or two sittings? I know one thing that helped me with keeping everything on track was making notes at the bottom of my doc for what events needed to happen next (since poor Blye was dealing with several things at once) and kind of focusing on one thing at a time, for example so that makes it easier for the reader imo. I actually had ministry memorandums lurking in my gdocs for maybe a year? ish? because I was nervous about posting it, so the response that I’ve received is phenomenal and I really appreciate all the love I’ve received on this one-shot.
Best Dark Fic Nominees: Hope by @Jo Raskoph
five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Runner-Up (TIE): Hope by @Jo Raskoph
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree Question: What was the inspiration behind the four lives Astoria was going to save? If you can tell us without spoiling anything, how did you decide on the fifth? Answer: First I picked which five characters I wanted Astoria to save. And I can’t really explain how I chose the characters besides the fact that I found them to be really interesting (except for Michael Corner in the first life, who was mostly someone we were all aware of but unfamiliar with). Like there’s a special place in my heart for each of the four characters that came after Michael Corner, so I just tried to fit them all in. And then the way that Astoria saved them followed; a lot of the methods are kind of tied to the personalities of the characters that she saved. The fifth one…I just went for a story I’ve heard countless times over in testimonies from war survivors. And it’s also present in, unfortunately, the everyday lives of some people. So sorry for the vagueness haha, I’m trying my best not to be spoiler-y.


Most Addicting Story

Nominees: Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
The Seer (M) by @Phoenix_Flames
The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
WINNER: The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: There’s so much happening in “The Harder They Fall”, and it definitely makes for an action-packed read. What’s the one thing you would tell writers who want to keep their readers intrigued enough to hit the ‘next chapter’ button? Answer: The chapter should always end with a question, with a cliffhanger! As long as readers want to know what happens next, they'll keep clicking to the next chapter. I think it's important to keep raising the stakes and introducing conflict in each chapter, too.
Most Inclusive Story Nominees: Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Icarus (M) by @Stella Blue
Runner-Up: When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
WINNER: Icarus (M) by @Stella Blue Question: Diversity in fics is always, always a good thing. What’s one thing you would recommend to people who are including representation in their fics, especially for cultures/sexualities/genders/etc. other than their own? Answer: Well, the one thing I'd most recommend is YES, INCLUDE IT.  The world needs those stories. As for how to write someone different from yourself, just get into your character's shoes for a little while and try to see the world through their eyes - diversity of course isn't just a box to check off, people's backgrounds and experiences shape them into who they are.  So my main suggestion is simply to listen to/read things by people who've lived the experiences you're trying to write about; do research, as you would for writing anything.
Best Dialogue Nominees: The Prince and the Pirate by @banshee
All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin
lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Unapologetic by @victoria_anne
Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut
Runner-Up: The Prince and the Pirate by @banshee
WINNER: All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin Question: You have so many characters in “All the truth about Jimmy Portman”! How do you manage to keep all their characters and voices so distinct from one another, especially regarding dialogue? Answer: Oh, wow... do I manage it? Sometimes I really feel like all my characters are all basically the same and their voices just mix up and blend together... so it's a relief if they feel distinct and recognizable, thank you! I don't really think I have a method...? I think my writing in general consists of putting my characters in a certain situation and see how they behave, like it is a biology experiment, if that makes sense. Having that approach, dialogue generally comes quite easy to me, it's the first thing that forms in my head before I try to put it into writing. This is also why I'm not equally good at description and plotting, I guess... For the Jimmy cast specifically... well... for canon characters I just try to imit what JK did (this applies to Ron, Hermione, the twins, Draco, the teachers...). The Marauders come relatively easy, too, since I've written them so much that they feel like real people to me by now. I think the biggest struggle are Jimmy and Neville (technically, they are canon characters too, but so different from their canon equivalent that they are basically OCs...) They have very similar temperaments and they just snap most of the time so sometimes I'm not sure I'm doing very well with their characterization... but I do love those two troublemakers... (Dunno if I actually replied to your question or just rambled uselessly... my apologies... )
Best Description Nominees: The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by @esmeraude
spring barges in by @Jo Raskoph
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe


Runner-Up: spring barges in by @Jo Raskoph
  WINNER: The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by @esmeraude Question: The writing style in “The Firework-Maker’s Daughter” seems effortlessly beautiful. Is it difficult to switch between styles such as the epistolary “ministry memorandums” and the beautiful prose in this one? How do you manage to write such breathtaking descriptions? Answer: Aww, thank you!!   I wouldn’t say it’s difficult for me personally, because since quite early on as an author I’ve tried to be as versatile as I can possibly be. Also, every time I write, I hear my English high school teacher’s voice in my head shrieking, “Expand! Expand! Expand!”, because high school Isobel wrote in short, succinct sentences and skipped a lot of descriptions, so I guess I have to credit her? She was my favourite teacher in high school, and she encouraged us to include adjectives, consider what an impartial reader would think (because we as authors have a little TV in our heads playing out scenes and our readers don’t) and remember to describe the character’s surroundings. With TFMD, I wanted Roxanne to be the main role in the story, but because there was a word limit in the challenge I originally wrote it for, I decided to write from the other characters’ perspectives in order to show more of Roxanne and her actions. With ministry memorandums, I was limited in description because of the epistolary style, so I included attachments and “arrived in [condition]” and went overboard with those. (The one with the cursed book is my favourite, ngl.  ) One of my top tips, however, is to read more! I know this sounds slightly hypocritical coming from someone who is woefully behind on her “Fanfic To Read List” but it honestly helps. I have novels that were inspired by Aphoride and dirigibleplums, and I remember a couple of years ago, before I “met” nott theodore, I read her fic The Nightingale’s Lament and her descriptions for Vicky’s grief just blew me away, and considering how Sian used Vicky’s physical surroundings to connect to her grief about Colin’s death taught me a lot about describing angsty emotions. (To be completely honest, with the quality of writing in the HPFT community, I could just... list everyone on HPFT and it would be true?) I’ve found that reading inspiring writing can in turn inspire you, which helps with writing something out of your comfort zone, iyswim? Thank you so much for such interesting questions, they were so much fun to answer (and surprisingly hard? I take my hat off to whoever came up with those questions!) and particular thanks go to the Hufflepuffs who nominated and voted for my fics. I love and appreciate you all. 
Best Original Fiction Nominees: What is life by @Felpata_Lupin
across the great expanse by @just.a.willow.tree
The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe
From by @Stella Blue
Runner-Up: What is life by @Felpata_Lupin
WINNER: The Maidens and the Tower (M) by @MuggleMaybe Question: Based on the summary, this story is based off of ‘Maid Maleen’ from the Brothers’ Grimm. What drew you to choose that fairytale? Are you going to be putting any twists on the original tale? Answer: I was inspired to write The Maidens and the Tower because of the Fairytale Challenge. I knew I wanted something different, something that hadn’t been famously Disneyfied. When I looked through my Grimms collection, Maid Maleen caught my eye because it’s pretty complex, and also because the main character refuses an arranged marriage. Pretty feminist compared to most fairytales! There are many twists! The setting is arguably the most dramatic change. The Maidens and the Tower is set on the American prairie during pioneer times, and I’ve altered the scenarios to fit that. Also, the romance is f/f, which causes some significant plot changes Thank you so much to everyone who supports this story!!! ❤️ 
Best One-Shot Nominees: five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
you again by @just.a.willow.tree
First Lit, Last Burning (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Goodbye, Love, Goodbye (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Ninety-Two Seconds in Catatonia (M) by @MuggleMaybe
All or Nothing by @Stella Blue
Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut
Runner-Up: Goodbye, Love, Goodbye (M) by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: Waltz by @WriteYourHeartOut Question: Your take on Scorose is so unique and refreshing, and it’s no wonder that this one-shot has received so much love since it was written! What was the inspiration behind “Waltz” that made you write it in the first place? Answer: Thank you so much! ^.^ The inspiration for Waltz came from a Staff prompt around Christmas time a few years ago. There was around 25 days to get submissions in, and I actually spent the first 20 working on a completely different story, but I kept getting stuck and finally had to admit to myself that I wasn't going to finish that one on time, so I had to hop plots right at the end, and this story is just what popped out instead. The biggest inspiration behind it was wanting to take the "stuck under the mistletoe" trope and put a new twist on it. I have to admit, I've seen a lot of stories use mistletoe in a way that keeps you forever trapped until you kiss, no exceptions, and it always just made me feel a little uncomfortable, that forced version of things, so I thought I'd make the option to not kiss a seemingly harmless consequence: a glitter bomb. From there, I just wanted to play with someone who would not see a glitter bomb as harmless at all, and that's how Rose developed. I felt that her struggles reminded me of Hermione, so her daughter made sense as the choice. Scorpius' character came from someone I thought would be very sweetly matched with my version of Rose.
Best Multi-Chap Nominees: When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
The Skull Beneath the Skin (M) by @esmeraude
All the truth about Jimmy Portman (M) by @Felpata_Lupin
Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
WINNER: The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: “The Harder They Fall” is such a well-planned story! Do you have any advice for planning novels with multiple threads and plotlines? Answer: Thank you so much! I think if you have a complex plot with multiple threads, it's important to plan ahead, and to be aware that new ideas will appear as you write. Everything must tie into the main story, too!
  Best Original Character Nominees: Hollie Finnegan in Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Josephine Adaire in Lying Josephine (M) by @WriteYourHeartOut Runner-Up: Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
WINNER: Josephine Adaire in Lying Josephine (M) by @WriteYourHeartOut Question: Josephine is such beautiful OC. Tell us about her creation, and how her personality and characterization came to be! Answer: Ah, thank you! Josephine first came to be when I was pretty new to the fanfic world and was really only reading these very popular stories, all of which seemed to star the same female OC (aka Mary Sue's). I decided I wanted to try writing a novel-length fanfic with a female OC of my own, and my inspiration was really just to make her as unlike the ones I'd kept running into as possible. Because of the structure of Lying Josephine, information about her background is very slowly released, but she does have a lot of reasons for how she became who she is. When I decided to make her such a quiet character, I just wanted to find deeper roots behind it. And I really did just want her to be... honestly quite average in about every way. Like, that she did poorly in school, she's not exactly quick-witted or funny, she's easily overlooked and forgotten, she isn't brave, she has very few talents, and she is deeply flawed. She will know the right thing to do and still choose the selfish thing. She's honestly a Hufflepuff in the way that other Houses sometimes snobbishly label all Hufflepuff's to be: a leftover, who didn't fit elsewhere. But somehow - I hope, at least - her kind of overall lack of interesting and intriguing traits made her a character you want to follow and root for. She surprises herself along the way, and in turn, surprises us. She finds herself in a situation where she keeps telling herself she's doing it for the good of other people, but it's really for her, no matter what she tries to convince herself of, and regardless of the fact that it may help them too, the driving force is herself. And the situation she's in causes her to discover and face who she truly is.   Best Depiction of a Major Canon Character Nominees: Lily Evans in untrue, untrue (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
George Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Lily Evans in Beyond Repair by @MuggleMaybe
Hermione Granger in Life As We Know It (M) by @Slytherinchica08
Luna Lovegood in How to Catch a Snorkack by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Lily Evans in untrue, untrue (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
  WINNER: George Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana Question: As we all know, you adore the Weasley twins. Was it difficult to write George in his state of grieving? Was his characterization a struggle, or was it second nature for you? Answer: Yes and no? If that makes sense. On a basic level, I didn't find it particularly difficult to write George in a state of grieving - I've always found angst a lot easier to write than happy fluff. And of course I love to make my favorite characters sad. The thing that I struggled with the most was trying to accurately portray the feelings that George would have. I've killed of characters before, but in the past I've always stopped the fic at their death. This was the first time I was actually writing the emotional trauma that would occur. The whole time I was writing this I was flipping back and forth between, "am I going over the top?" and "am I not intense enough?" I also struggled with deciding how fast George would come to terms with Fred's death. Originally I had thought I would have George come to terms with Fred's death by the end of the fic, but that didn't seem natural to me (and also since the Wiki says that George never truly got over his twin's death ). Considering it was Fred that died, I realized that 5000 words probably wasn't long enough for George to get over it. So I threw together a last minute ending that was a "nope, i'm not fine but I might be in the future."
  Best Depiction of a Minor Canon Character Nominees: Dean Thomas in Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
Justin Finch-Fletchley in Goodbye, Jus by @Felpata_Lupin
Hannah Abbott in Hope by @Jo Raskoph
Astoria Greengrass in five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Astoria Greengrass in lazy days (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
Stan Shunpike in I Believe You by @Leo
Anthony Goldstein in First Lit, Last Burning (M) by @MuggleMaybe
Runner-Up: Astoria Greengrass in five lives (M) by @just.a.willow.tree
WINNER: Justin Finch-Fletchley in Goodbye, Jus by @Felpata_Lupin Question: Justin Finch-Fletchley was written so beautifully! Could you tell us some of your headcanons about him, and why you wrote him as loving mathematics? Answer: I will be honest, I've never thought about Justin's character much... the only reason I wrote him is because he came up as a prompt for @dreamgazer220's "The Say Goodbye Challenge". But I do love him now! I honestly projected a lot in defining his personality and put a lot of myself into him. He is quiet and shy, values friendship a lot and wants what's best for everyone, even if that means stepping aside and sacrificing his own happiness (basically, a true Hufflepuff). He's also the kind of person who overthinks too much and acts too little (which again is something we have in common and, coincidentally, a friend and ex colleague of mine sustains it's a very Mathematician trait... ) His love for Mathematics mirrors my love for Mathematics (let's be honest, Maths are fascinating!) but I think for Justin Maths is mainly his way to keep contact with reality and make it make sense. Maths have precise rules that are fixed and can't be changed and Justin needs that sort of certainty, because life and emotions are just so unpredictable.
Best Character Arc/Development Nominees: Seamus Finnegan in Nights Like These (M) by @banshee
Hannah Abbott in When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
Regulus Black in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne
Runner-Up: Hannah Abbott in When I Go Out With You (M) by @Dojh167
  WINNER: Finn Blishwick in The Harder They Fall (M) by @victoria_anne Question: One of the most satisfying things to read is a good character growth, and your OC, Finn Blishwick, certainly has that! How did you plot his development from “Hero” to the end of “The Harder They Fall”? Were there any struggles in the process? Answer: I really enjoy writing characters who go through a major change throughout the novel, so these kinds of characters come quite naturally to me. I took his most prominent flaw (arrogance) and came up with ways to turn someone like him into a more humble, kind person, and wrote them into the story. The biggest struggle I had was that the change didn't happen quickly or easily, or completely changed him into someone else. Particularly after the midpoint, I was really poking my beta for approval!
  Best Friendship Nominees: Hollie Finnegan and Alec Williams in Chicks Before Broomsticks (M) by @banshee
Emmeline, Edgar, Lily, and Severus in Seven years later by @Felpata_Lupin
George and Ron Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana
Regulus Black and Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
  Runner-Up: Regulus Black and Summer Phillips in When Summer Fades (M) by @Stella Blue
  WINNER: George and Ron Weasley in Then Time Stood Still (M) by @Levana Question: A good sibling relationship is always a fun and fulfilling read. Why did you choose to focus on the friendship/siblinghood between Ron and George for “Then Time Stood Still”? Answer: As we all know, I'm the resident Weasley Twin Queen but my Over The Top Love extends to the entire Weasley family in general. Before joining HPFT I was getting a little annoyed with (what felt like) constantly seeing Weasley Bashing and specifically Ron Bashing fics on AO3. So, when I was writing this fic I wanted to draw attention to a character that I felt was underappreciated by parts of the fandom. The line, "people didn't usually give him enough credit, but Ron cared deeply for his older brothers." was actually a low-key jab at Ron Bashing fics. I actually originally entertained the idea of using Percy - someone else who the fandom loves to hate - but after thinking about it I really liked the possible dynamic between the Twins and Ron. The Twins are often characterized as goofy and not always the most caring of older brothers, so I wanted to play with the idea that Ron would skip going to Percy with his problems and go to the Twins. On top of that, I liked the idea of the tables then being turned - with the older brother leaning on the younger brother for support. With that I wanted to show the maturity that Ron has. And of course I just love Ron.
Best Reviewer Nominees:
@Felpata_Lupin
@just.a.willow.tree
@Stella Blue
@victoria_anne
Runner-Up: @Stella Blue
WINNER: @just.a.willow.tree Question: Your reviews are always such a joy to receive - they’re so thoughtful with a lot of encouragement and details from the story/chapter. Can you tell us a little about your review process, and if you have any advice for those wanting to leave more helpful reviews? Answer: Eep, thank you! I’m so happy that my reviews give joy, but I honestly have little to no process while writing them haha. I usually just read the chapter through and then spend a page in my review doc gushing, rambling, and/or offering many thoughts (most of which are probably neither helpful nor relevant). My general tip is (and sometimes I forget to do this because I’m too busy reacting to all the characters and the storylines *sobs*): always leave at least one compliment. It’s always well-deserved and it’ll definitely make the author happy! Mostly, while I review, I try to touch on all the major events of the chapter, and then if I ever stumble across a particularly brilliant or beautiful line, I quote it. However, I forget events/lines so easily, and I always find that I’ve neglected to mention certain things, so sometimes for multi-chaps I’ll just continue saying things I forgot previously, in a review for the next chapter haha. But just show your love for the story, and I’m sure your review will be appreciated.  ❤️ *** And that's a wrap on our House Awards segment! Congratulations to all of our nominees, runner ups, and winners across all houses! It's definitely an accomplishment to be proud of 
We hope you enjoyed this series on our blog, and keep an eye out right here for future posts!

***

Credits:
interviews composed by @dreamgazer220 and @just.a.willow.tree
header done by @just.a.willow.tree

secretdreamer

secretdreamer

 

Common Room Awards: Gryffindor Edition | July 29th, 2018

We are proud to present the third installment of the Prefect's mini-series on the Common Room Awards. This week we are featuring The Pride of Gryffindor Awards (or POGs). In addition to being featured, each winner has had the opportunity to answer a question or two in a miniature Q&A session! Enjoy!   Best Action/Adventure   Nominees: 1. Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by  @Pixileanin
2. Project Azkaban (M) by  @Unwritten Curse
3. Year of the Snake (M) by @melian   Winner: Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin!       Best Angst   Nominees: 1. Golden Girl (M) by  @Crimson Quill 2. Parisian Scars (M) by @CrimsonQuill 3. Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl 4. silence. death. (M) by @ poppunkpadfoot 5. Thin (M) by @ ShadowRose   Winner: TIE: Silence Cuts Loudest Through the Chaos (M) by @1917farmgirl TIE: silence. death. (M) by @poppunkpadfoot   Question for 1917farmgirl: What was the most difficult part of portraying the dynamic of Arthur and Merlin’s relationship? Answer: I usually don't have too much trouble with their relationship, as it's my favorite part of the show and writing the characters.  I think for this particular story, two things come to mind. Very early in the story, Merlin and Arthur are rather at odds with each other.  That was hard to write - these two boys on the outs with each other. I'm glad it didn't last long. And later in the fic, Merlin loses his ability to speak.  And it's been a bit of a challenge to find ways for these two to communicate.   Question for poppunkpadfoot: What sort of steps did you have to take to write a story relating AIDS in the LGBTQ community to the HP-verse? Answer: I guess my steps were basically: (1) Double-check timeline (2) Write. First I had to quickly sort out how exactly the timeline of the AIDS crisis related to the timeline of HP-verse and the First Wizarding War (which led to me abandoning my plans to write about Sirius and switching over to Remus instead :P) - obviously I knew there was some amount of overlap but I needed to make sure the specifics worked out. Then I quickly double-checked how the timeline and trajectory in the UK compared to in the US, which is more my area of expertise. And after that I just... wrote, I guess. The whole story flowed very naturally. Even the creation of OCs (Tracy and Oliver) just kind of happened as I went.
I should mention though that I've researched HIV/AIDS in the past, chose my current college program with the aim of going into HIV/AIDS advocacy as a career, and am starting a placement in September with an HIV/AIDS and Hep C outreach and advocacy organization. So while I'm very, VERY far from an expert, I did have enough background knowledge to just sit down and write without a whole bunch of pre-writing steps.   Best First Wizarding War   Nominees: 1. Behind the Curtain by @Cassius Alcindor 2. The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse   Winner: The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: How did you go about handling both Amelia and Fabian’s grief and translating it into the form of a relationship? Answer: I guess I'll answer the latter question first--about how I translated their grief into a relationship. Let me start by saying that I have personally experienced the loss of a loved one, and it's an incredibly isolating experience. It's hard to feel heard when you're surrounded by people who don't know grief. When you are with someone else who is grieving, especially someone who is grieving the same life as you, the connection is inexplicable. It feels like coming home. It's magnetic. And for these two, it translated into romantic chemistry--well, sexual tension, at the very least. But despite them both grieving Edgar, they are grieving in different ways, as we all do. Amelia is very much retreating inward and blocking out the rest of the world while Fabian is both literally and figuratively shouting his way through grief.   Best Friendship/Family   Nominees: 1. Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather 2. Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by @nott theodore   Winner: TIE: Harry and Lily Luna Potter - Family in My Little Princess by @StarFeather TIE: Leanne and Jonathan (OC) - Family and Leanne, Jonathan, and Katie Bell - Friendship in Dear Katie (M) by nott theodore   Question for StarFeather: The father/daughter dynamic between Harry and Lily is adorable -- what inspired you to write about them? Answer: Just an image of Harry and his daughter popped up in my mind after I made up my mind to participate in Abbie's story challenge. And I feel my child growing up every day, so most of the plot was inspired by the fact.   Question for nott theodore: How did you handle establishing/showcasing the plot using epistolary format? Was it more difficult than it would have been if you had used a more traditional writing style? Answer: I was quite lucky in this story, in that it's a retelling of my story Opals and Fire, which explores Katie's time in St. Mungo's - or rather, what she's experiencing when she's lying in hospital.  I'd already (loosely) crafted the characters of Leanne (who admittedly is a very minor character from the books) and Jonathan for that story, so finding their voices was slightly easier than it might have been otherwise.  I didn't find the epistolary format much more difficult than traditional prose, although I had to be careful not to ramble on too much (which I do when I write letters myself) so that I could keep moving the plot along. It's definitely something I'd like to explore writing again.   Best LGBTQA+   Nominees: 1. And Again (M) by @nott theodore 2. Pro Libertate by @TidalDragon   Winner: And Again (M) by @nott theodore   Questions for Winner: What inspired you to structure the story this way, with the number of times Dom tells people about her sexual preferences? Answer: I think this story partly stemmed from reading a couple of books which have LGBTQA+ main characters, and also from conversations with friends.  When you identify as anything other than straight or cisgender, you don't just get one coming out moment, and I felt like a lot of coming out stories tend to focus on the first time it happens, so I wanted to explore the reality of having to come out time and again, and all the different reactions that there might be to that.   Best Minor Character (HP)   Nominees: 1. Amelia Bones in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse 2. Apollyon Pringle in What lies beneath by @melian 3. Fabian Prewett in The Possibility of After (M) by @Unwritten Curse 4. Fenrir Greyback in Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by @Pixileanin 5. The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by @CrimsonQuill   Winner: The Dumbledores in Prisoner (M) by CrimsonQuill   Best Non-HP Story   Nominees: 1. Leftovers (M) by 1917farmgirl (CSI) 2. Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin) 3. Tragedy (M) by LooneyLizzie(OF)   Winner: TIE: Some Things Are Meant to Be (M) by 1917farmgirl (Merlin) TIE: Tragedy (M) by @LooneyLizzie (OF)   Question for 1917farmgirl: What inspired you to write a Merlin AU piece? What was your favorite single moment or line in this piece? Answer: Writing AU in the Merlin fandom is pretty much a given.  EVERYONE does it. So it wasn't really a huge decision to chose to write this story.  It just kinda...happened. It was interesting to write the characters in a modern instead of medieval setting, however.

I put a lot of my heart into this story, so there are quite a few places in it that I'm proud of and moments I like.  I think my two favorite parts right off the top of my head, are when Merlin admits to Arthur he has nowhere to go. And when Arthur realizes this homeless boy who just lost everything, gave him his ONLY possessions to pay for a night of shelter.
  Best Novel   Nominees: 1. Home (M) by  adorably cute 2. Ignite (M) by Slide   Winner: Ignite (M) by @Slide   Best One-Shot   Nominees: 1. Becoming a Longbottom by  Deeds 2. Letter to the Lost (M) by CrimsonQuill 3. Live and Be Well (M) by  Pen2Paper 4. silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot 5. Thin (M) by ShadowRose 6. Thrill by nott theodore   Winner: silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot   Question for Winner: What was your favorite part about writing Remus Lupin. What was your least favorite? Answer:  Remus comes fairly easily to me at this point, so that was good - I didn't have to think too hard about characterization or anything. I was kind of amazed how well his wartime experiences and his characterization ended up aligning with the story that I wanted to tell. He really was the best choice for the story, and I'm actually really glad that Sirius didn't work out!
I wouldn't say this was my "least favourite" part of writing Remus, but I'd say the biggest challenge was drawing connections between Remus's experiences in the war/his feelings about those experiences and his experiences in the LGBTQ+ community/with HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously staying VERY far away from drawing connections between lycanthropy and HIV/AIDS, because I hate that allegory with a passion. It was less that I was like "oh no, I might accidentally use that allegory" and more that I wanted to make sure nothing could be misconstrued as using that allegory. But yeah, that was a bit of a challenge.   Best Original Character   Nominees: 1. Amie Bell in Amie Bell. Squib, Barista Auror. (M) by @Sleepingbagonthesofa 2. Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute 3. Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa   Winner: TIE: Carson Wood in Home (M) by @adorably cute TIE: Cassiel Yaxley in Yaxley (M) by @sleepingbagonthesofa   Question for adorably cute: What inspired Carson Wood’s characterization? Answer: Ahh, first I am blown away about this PoG and honored to share the win with Deni (sleepingbagonasofa)! Thanks everyone! A lot of Carson’s characterization comes from personal experiences- like, her sass comes easily to me because I’m a lot like that myself! And then some of the characterization just comes from where she is in life. She’s a 17 year old who’s at a point in her life where she doesn’t know what she wants to do and is trying to make the most of things before she has to become a real person with a real job. So between all that, and the way I built her childhood growing up between her two parents, she just came together into this sassy, stubborn, kind of awkward human who likes Quidditch and numbers!   Question for sleepingbagonthesofa: What was the most difficult part about writing your OC, Cassiel Yaxley? Answer: Writing Cassiel, or Cass, was surprisingly easy at first. In a lot of ways she's similar to me- overdramatic, grumpy, stubborn and some good things too (hopefully)- although her personality is exaggerated quite a bit. The most difficult thing about writing her has started to appear as the story has gone on, whenever I want her to do something unpleasant (or just anything she wouldn't want to do) yet plot-driving aaand she wont. The words will not appear. I end up going of in a completely different direction and it makes sticking to the plot almost impossible. Having said that, characters that become that real are one of my favourite things about writing, even when I end up staring at a blank screen for hours. My stubborn little baby has taken on a life of her own!   Also, it was such a shock to be nominated for a POG in the first place and incredible to win alongside Sarah! Thank you so much everyone!

  Best Portrayal of a Gryffindor   Nominees: 1. Bill Weasley in The Fox by @StarFeather 2. James Potter (I) in Live and Be Well (M) by @Pen2Paper 3. Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian   Winner: Neville Longbottom in Year of the snake (M) by @melian   Question for Winner: What inspired you to write about Neville during this time period? What was your most difficult scene to write? Answer:  I write the stories that I want to read. This is particularly the case with novels – How to tame a Marauder was a direct result of me not being able to find a canon-compliant Marauders novel that showed the characters the way that I saw them, for example. For Year of the Snake, well I just really wanted to know what Neville’s experiences from that year were like, and how he got to the point he did where he just shrugged off evidence of torture as an everyday occurrence. Unlike when I was reading stuff for HTM, though, I didn’t actually look at what else was out there for this story. I just decided to write one myself.

I will say though that it’s been a much harder process. Part of that is because I naturally write romance, and this is most definitely NOT a romantic story. But I suspect that part of it is also that I’m not drawn to the year of Deathly Hallows as much as I am the Marauder era. I want to write Neville’s story because I think he deserves to be written (I won’t say by me because that sounds really egotistical, but hey, I’m better at writing than I am most other things), but it really is a horrible story. I’m writing about children being tortured and kidnapped and forced to do really terrible things to each other in order to survive, and it’s not pleasant. (Most difficult scenes, right there.) So that might have something to do with my struggles here. In any case, this is taking MUCH longer to write than it should, and than I thought it would.   Best Quote   Nominees: 1. "Sometimes I think I'd give up the Egyptian silk for some genuine interest in my life." from Complicated (M) by ShadowRose 2. " 'It's not the power inside the bike we have to worry about,' Sirius said, looking straight at Peter. 'It's the people we give it to.' " fromThrillseekers: Marauders with Machines by Pixileanin 3. "...because death seemed to linger around the The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten CurseBoneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from 4. "Dad and Alicia have three other kids in addition to me, their part-time-turned-full-time child." from Home (M) by adorably cute 5. " 'Remus are you gay?' You were expecting a denial, or confusion. What you weren't expecting is for him to blink slowly and say, 'Only at the full moon.' " from perilune by poppunkpadfoot 6. "The full moon that month was almost a relief. The wolf doesn't care about Oliver - the wolf doesn't care about anybody. For one night, he can stop [expletive] thinking, stop feeling anything besides the physical pain as he tears himself apart.   The next morning, he waits longer than he should to treat his wounds. He lies there on the floor and stares at the blood oozing out of his body, pooling on the floor, and he wonders idly if, after everything, it will be his own blood that kills him." from silence. death. (M) by poppunkpadfoot   Winner:"...because death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree." from The Possibility of After (M) by Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: What impact does this quote have on your character and/or plot in this piece? Answer: This quote ("death seemed to linger around the Boneses and she couldn't bear the thought of carving another hole in her family tree") reflects Amelia's perception of her place in her family now that it has been so ravaged by death. Her parents and eldest brother (along with his wife and children) have all died as a result of the war, and now it's just her brother, Michael; his wife; and herself that remain. She senses acutely, now, her duty to her brother and her duty to survive. In the chapter wherein this quote appears, Amelia has just had a fainting spell out of nowhere, and she won't let herself dwell on it because the possibilities are too scary. So she shrugs it off as a minor annoyance versus letting her thoughts spiral. It's kind of ironic, as well, because her fainting spell is connected with the theme of the story and is quite literally the opposite of what she fears (i.e. adding to the family rather than subtracting from it).   Best Post-War   Nominees: 1. After Destiny (M) by cambangst 2. Amie Bell. Squid, Barista, Auror. (M) by sleepingonthesofa 3. Fix You by TidalDragon   Winner: After Destiny (M) by @CambAngst   Question for Winner: What was the moment you struggled the most with this story? What was your favorite moment? Answer: It's hard to pick a single moment. The biggest struggle throughout the story has been to hit the right balance in portraying characters who have been forced to be mature beyond their years in some respects while not losing sight of the fact that they're only 17 years old, or 16 in Ginny's case. Harry is the prime example. He's had to make choices that led -- unavoidably -- to people being hurt and killed. At the same time, he's baffled when it comes to managing his day-to-day life and especially his relationship with Ginny. There's a temptation to treat these characters as super-human because of what they've survived and accomplished. But the reality is that they're only human and they're only beginning to come to terms with their experiences.   Best Worldbuilding   Nominees: 1. Jigsaw (M) by nott theodore 2. Lucky Strike by TidalDragon 3. Not Fade Away (M) by Slide 4. Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse   Winner: Project Azkaban (M) by Unwritten Curse   Question for Winner: What inspired you to write Project Azkaban? Did you intend for it to be so dark when you first began writing it or did that happen naturally due to the content? Answer: The inspiration was twofold. I had a nagging question regarding Azkaban prison post-Voldemort, seeing as the guards of Azkaban (the dementors) had joined the Dark Side. They presumably could not be trusted to guard the evildoers of the wizarding world any longer, so I wondered... what's next? Project Azkaban or Azkaban 2.0 was my solution to that problem. Then, in the midst of my dreaming up what this new prison would look like, I had a dream that I was inside the prison and broke free. The prison break entailed a lot of deadly obstacles that felt kind of like a puzzle and I was at the mercy of my comrades to help me survive *cough cough*. As far as the piece being so dark... well, that was intentional. It has a lot to do with the construction of the prison and that's all I will say.    Most Addictive Story   Nominees: 1. Breathe (M) by @poppunkpadfoot 2. Complicated (M) by @ShadowRose 3. Home (M) by @adorably cute   Winner: Complicated (M) by ShadowRose   Question for Winner: What was your motive for purposefully making the characters ‘unlikeable’ at first? Answer: Ok, so when I started writing Complicated, I knew it was going to be a James/OC romance but I wanted it to be more than that too, you know? So in addition to being a romance, it’s designed to show how this one girl - the main character Abby - is shaped by the experiences of her seventh year and how they serve to turn her into a more mature and generally kinder person. So she starts off as this stuck-up Queen Bee character because there’s just so much room for character growth there. I think I’d also just finished binge-watching Gossip Girl when I started writing this story, so that may have also been a contributing factor. And as for James, he himself isn’t exactly unlikable; he’s only made unlikable through the narrator’s voice. The story is told from Abby’s first-person POV, and she doesnt like him, so the reader only hears about his worst traits at the start of the story because they’re the only things Abby notices.
  Most Original Story   Nominees: 1. Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin 2. Golden Girl (M) by Crimson Quill 3. Sentience by  TreacleTart 4. That Post is a Keeper by Pixileanin 5. The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore   Winner: TIE: Coffee and Curse-Breakers (M) by Pixileanin TIE: The Northern Tales (M) by nott theodore   Question for nott theodore: What did your draw inspiration from to weave these awesome, imaginative tales? Answer: For the two tales I've written so far, I wanted to create a magical backstory/legend to places that are pretty well-known and already have associations with magic.  I've written stories like that before, picking out an historical event and shaping it into the Harry Potter world, but this was fun because I used the magical world - creatures and legends - included in the books to write the stories, more than anything.  There are a couple more I'd like to write based on local legends from the North of England, but I think the places themselves were probably the biggest inspiration.   Most Versatile Author   Winner: @melian   Question for Winner: Is writing different types of pieces a challenge for you or does it come naturally? What’s the most difficult story you’ve written? Answer: Oh, it’s a challenge. But a one-shot doesn’t have to be very long and really, it doesn’t even really have to have a story. Drabbles even less so. So long as you convey a mood and show a scene, then that’s all that really matters. You’re showing a snapshot of something that people can extrapolate further themselves if they want to, but that’s their job, not mine. The thing is, I like to challenge myself. I’ve managed to make Ron/Pansy and Draco/Luna both fit canon (both written for challenges) and I even managed a Dramione, which for someone who pretty much ONLY writes canon was definitely a stretch. Again, not sure it’s any good, but I wrote it. 

Hardest story I’ve written? I’ve already touched on Year of the Snake being a struggle for me, but I will also say that I fought with a number of others. People in Gryffindor will tell you I can write very quickly when I need to (if it’s a one-shot, of course!!! Like I said before, I often don’t really need to tell a proper story then) but that doesn’t mean what comes out is any good. Breathe was difficult, probably because it was from the point of view of a Mandrake and I have no idea what their thought processes might be, or if they even have them. Twelve Years I struggled with, because while I had the idea in my head it just wasn’t coming out on the page for me. Though, the fact I was writing it on a plane probably didn’t help. The Arthur Weasley story in The Battle of Hogwarts (Paladin) was also one that I wrestled with for quite a while before it started to come together.   Best Artist   Winner: @Poppunkpadfoot   Question for Winner: Do you have any advice for aspiring  graphic artists? Answer: Yes! Definitely do seek out and accept critique - it will be really helpful for improving your art! However, I have sometimes noticed there's a tendency to actually be over-critical of new artists, and that it can become really discouraging really fast. So I would say to be careful not to define yourself or your art by the critique you receive. Practice looking at each piece you make, even when it has flaws that you can see, and saying "here is what I like about this piece, here's what I'm proud of about this piece, and here's what I learned or applied from recent learning while making this piece". Also, make friends with other newbie artists and be supportive of each other! IMO, that's about as important as seeking out critique.   Best Moment   Winner: The Record-Setting CTF Win vs. Ravenclaw   Question: Do you have anything to say about Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw in a record-setting CTF round? Answers: poppunkpadfoot: It was such a great moment! We were all extremely nervous to face Ravenclaw because they'd basically been sweeping everyone they went up against; if I recall correctly, we were basically unanimous in being most worried about that match. I think we were kind of expecting to get our butts kicked, ahaha. When we were told we'd found the flag, we really could not believe it. We were all so excited and completely freaking out. It was such an awesome team spirit moment! It was definitely a highlight of the House Cup and it really bolstered our team's confidence for the rest of CTF.
I also think it's pretty much hilarious that this won Best Moment, because it was up against Gryffindor literally winning the whole House Cup. Like, you'd think that would've been a shoe-in, but no, the CTF win won by a landslide. Which I think is SO Gryffindor ?
(Also... we love you, Claws! ❤️)   StarFeather: Lions are the earnest participants at House Cup, especially :Gryffindor: for CTF, the event was invented by our king lion, Kevin. Who could ignore it? We had to win for Kevin and our house, Gryffindor. So I tried doing what I could at that moment.   nott theodore: Only that I still don't think I've recovered properly from that month of CTF!  Every house seemed to really have it together when we were playing them, with their formidable spreadsheets and well-planned attack, and we... were very Gryffindor, and didn't.  It was only in the final round against Ravenclaw (which we'd all been dreading) that we managed any semblance of a plan, and to actually get a win that quickly, after they'd won our first game with some incredible magic and skill (I think they got our flag in a 100+ chapter story after 3 chapters, maybe?), was a pretty amazing feeling.   melian: That was amazing, wasn’t it? I admit we did have a plan of attack, and the stars aligned in our favour in that we found the Flag author almost immediately, thanks in no small part to Ysh and her magnificent spreadsheet. But I won’t say too much in case it gives our strategy away. I felt kind of bad for Ravenclaw because they were doing SUCH a good job with their other Flag battles, but it was also incredibly satisfying when things worked out like they did.     Huge congratulations to all Lions who were nominated and who won! Next week we will be taking a look at the Hufflepuff House awards.  Header by Eva ❤️

Sleepingbagonthesofa

Sleepingbagonthesofa

 

In the Spotlight | July 21, 2018

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

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

just.a.willow.tree

just.a.willow.tree

 

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

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

Runner-Up: 
When Dahlias Bloom (M) - @dirigibleplums

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

MadiMalfoy

MadiMalfoy

 

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

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

Runner-Up:
After Life [M] by @MegGonagall

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

Runner-Up:
Scars from Tomorrow by @Nix

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

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

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

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

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

Runner-Up:
TIE!
Love in Three Acts [M] by @toomanycurls AND Problems by @800 words of heaven

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

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

Runner-Up:
Intemptesta Nox[M] by @Alexis Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin

 

In the Spotlight — June 21, 2018

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

forever_dreaming

forever_dreaming

 

Queer and Proud - June 7, 2018

Everyone, it's Pride Month!   This month, the prefects wanted to celebrate as many stories (written by both published authors and writers from our very own archives!) featuring queer characters as possible. These stories should really be featured all year, but we figured Pride Month was a good time to list our favorites. We also wanted to try something slightly different this month, where we asked queer members of HPFT to write their own personal stories, and we want to thank you guys so, so much for submitting them.  If you still want to write a piece for our blog post, just PM @just.a.willow.tree and we can always edit it into the post! Also, quick shoutout to HPFT, because today's HPFT's birthday!  This community has been amazing, and a huge thank you to all the staffers who make it happen. <3 Without further ado, here are our recs (featuring commentary from the prefect that rec'd them)! All stories are listed alphabetically by title.   There are so many amazing, amazing books out there about queer characters, and since we're a writing community, we thought we'd share these first.  This barely scratches the surface of LGBTQA+ stories, but it's definitely a good starting point. And these books are all amazing and meaningful, we can't recommend them enough! (All book links are to Goodreads, so the M rating isn't necessarily for the book but for the comments within the Goodreads sections.)
A Boy Worth Knowing (M) by Jennifer Cosgrove
(rec'd by Claire) This is the absolute cutest progression of a relationship I have ever read. I love that Nate’s attraction to James is never played as the reason he’s isolated himself and their relationship is built on a genuine friendship that would make anyone happy.
The Abyss Surrounds Us (M) by Emily Skrutskie
(rec'd by Claire) Sea monsters and lesbian pirates. Do I need to say much more?? (Though if I’m being honest, the queer storyline is extremely secondary to the sea monster and pirates storyline but both are still amazing).
Autoboyography (M) by Christina Lauren
(rec'd by Claire) Have you ever changed the name of a character halfway through a book and just thought “I’ll just do a find and replace later, it’ll be fine”? Reading this book might make you think twice about that And not only that, but Lauren weaves together so many different issues seamless and will have you rooting for ___ from the very beginning.
  History is All You Left Me (M) by Adam Silvera
(rec'd by Claire) Not only is this book an emotional rollercoaster, it is also a masterclass in narrative structure. The story is told non-linearly through two different time periods and will have you begging for more from the first page.
  If I Was Your Girl (M) by Meredith Russo
(rec'd by Claire) Listen, this book grabs you right in the heart and refuses to let go. I read this almost six months ago and it still hits me just as hard as it did then. All of the characters are so raw and real and I promise that you will fall in love with all of them...well, almost all (Just a heads up that this book does deal with some very serious topics and themes so be aware if you do choose to read it.)
Leah on the Offbeat (M) by Becky Albertalli
(rec'd by Claire) I say this with the utmost love and respect--this is the fanfiction sequel of your dreams. Leah is just as amazingly perfect as she is in Simon and where else can you get a mainstream book with a fat bi protagonist??? Also, no spoilers but...road trip AU of my dreams.
Let's Talk About Love (M) by Claire Kann
(rec'd by Claire) I can honestly say that I have never read a book with an ace protagonist, much less a black bi ace protagonist. While I’m not necessarily recommending this for the writing, as someone on the ace spectrum it is a breath of fresh air to read a book and be able to say “yes, I know what that feels like.”
More Happy Than Not (M) by Adam Silvera
(rec'd by Claire) Do you like sci-fi? Do you like plot twists? Do you like crying non-stop for days because Adam Silvera ripped your heart out yet again? Then this is the book for you! I can’t recommend this highly enough. Adam is a genius when it comes to building up tension and foreshadowing and you will be gasping out loud when you come to the big reveal!
Openly Straight (M) by Bill Konigsberg
(rec'd by Claire) I’ll be honest, I was hesitant about this book when I first picked it up, but I ended up loving it dearly! It’s a super interesting take on the coming out story and though I wanted to smack Rafe upside the head a few times, his story and Ben’s are ones that carry a lot of weight.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (M) by Becky Albertalli
(rec'd by Claire) I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said a million times before. Please please please go read it.
They Both Die at the End (M) by Adam Silvera
(rec'd by Claire) Like all of Adam’s books, this will have you ugly crying in bed at 3am because you just can’t put it down. He weaves together so many narratives that will have you gasping in awe as you realize how they all fit in.   Our very own authors are so talented, so how could we not rec as many as we could? Since a lot of you have read the more well-known fics with queer characters already, we aimed to show you our favorites that you may not have yet read.  
  Abby Freaking Suso by clairevergreen/@clevernotbrilliant [Simon]
(rec'd by Rumpels) A story about slowly progressing desire and self-realization, Abby Freaking Suso is wonderfully sarcastic and all-around charming. Leah’s characterization is handled in such a brilliant way and I love how slowly the relationship changed over time to become absolutely everything. 
Dreams of Glass (M) by @nott theodore [HP]
(rec'd by Rumpels) Like all of Sian’s work, this is beautifully written (and I mean stunning, I have no idea how to write imagery quite like this). I’ve always been a sucker for Gellert/Albus but this one had me shook. The amount of feelings evoked from this piece is incredible and I highly, highly, highly recommend this. 
Eyes Like Skies by @FireOpal [HP]
(rec'd by Eva) Dominique, in this story, speaks to her love Imogen, and everything about this just reads as a beautiful, poetic love letter. It feels so personal, and really, that’s such an amazing thing to accomplish in writing fic.
Half Dead by @facingthenorthwind [HP]
(rec'd by Rumpels) This is the sequel to two certainties, which if you haven’t read that emotional rollercoaster, you definitely should, (see also: My poor, poor heart, the Sequel.) It’s a wonderful continuation of two certainties and I can’t imagine a way to possibly make this writing better. On top of being extremely well-written, it’s so much fun to read and I absolutely ADORED it. Careful though, it’ll continue to break your heart in the best way.
in the dawn, we shall enter the splendid cities. (M) by @Aphoride [Les Mis]
(rec'd by Eva) As we all know, Laura is a complete goddess at descriptions. The beauty with which she paints each individual scene, and the development of the relationship between Grantaire and Enjolras, is just absolutely breathtaking. This is not a romance in the typical sense, but it is well, well, well worth a read.
Life Reflected in Death (M) by M C Crocker/@scooterbug8515 [HP]
(rec'd by Rumpels) Insta-headcanon material. This does some wonderful character exploration on Regulus Black in the most brutally devastating way. It reveals much more about Regulus than I typically see explored and shows how much things like his sexuality have impacted him in his life.
Lingering by @banshee [Simon]
(rec'd by Eva) So I’m not including a summary here because if you haven’t yet read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you’re going to get spoiled. So, go and read Simon, and then come back to this fic, because it’s like Julie pulled these characters straight from the book. They’re adorable and so relatable, and their dialogue is everything.
Peppermint (M) by @sapphicsunrise [HP]
(rec'd by Eva) This Ginny/Luna one-shot is short and adorable. Every second is filled with something that can warm your heart (including a hilarious appearance from the most canon non-canon duo, Seamus and Dean), and just watching Ginny and Luna drifting closer together will make your day.
Something (M) by @Chelts-rhj [HP]
(rec'd by Rumpels) Let’s be honest, when am I not impressed by this author’s writing? Something is a beautifully written piece about Dominique Weasley and a woman she positively adores. It tackles the heavy topic of eating disorders and the struggle Dominique faces while watching that woman struggle. Everything about this is handled so well and I cannot get over how deeply this piece moved me. 
Stolen Away (M) by @MegGonagall [HP]
(rec'd by Eva) What I absolutely adore about this fic is how it’s told from fugitive Sirius Black’s perspective. He remembers the joy and emotion from his past with Remus, and it’s that longing that really makes this fic so good. Meg did an amazing job with this!
Unstoppable by @sihaya [HP]
(rec'd by Eva) Short and sweet, this one-shot shows a short moment in the lives of Albus and Scorpius as they deliberate coming out to their families, and there’s just so much hope and honesty in these 740 words that you can’t help but feel touched.
Until the End of the World by @Stella Blue [Legend of Korra]
(rec'd by Eva) Fans of Legend of Korra, this is just for you. (However, I read this even though I’ve never watched the series, and I still loved it.) Every moment of this fic is pure fluff and happy, magical goodness, and you will be rewarded with depictions of a gorgeous world and a gorgeous couple.
  Your Way of Living (M) by @Dojh167 [HP]
(rec'd by Eva) If you’ve ever read Sam’s beautiful When I Go Out With You, you will love this short one-shot that details Susan’s moments where she first embraces herself as a poly person. (It features Luna, too!) And even if you haven’t read WIGOWY, you should read this one-shot anyway. It’s such a beautiful, eye-opening look at polyamory.   And of course there are other stories that we want to recommend that may not fall under books or fics! Check, Please! (M for language) [comic]
(rec'd by Eva) Eric Bittle is guaranteed to brighten up your day, with his abundant usage of Southern colloquialisms and his adorable obsession with baking, as he navigates being on a men’s hockey team (despite being scared to death of…bumping into other people). This story, while not perfect, is heartwarming and honest and true, with bright and beautiful graphics, and you will not regret reading this! (I binged this all at 3 a.m., if that accounts for anything. )
Fallout Series [video games]
(rec'd by Rumpels) Many video games have been increasingly adding LGBTQA+ characters and integrating player-led romances. Games in the Fallout series, a series of post-apocalyptic action role-playing games, have always been leading the way with this inclusivity.  Fallout (1997) was one of the first major releases to feature same-sex marriage in a video game. As far as player-led romances go, the Fallout series have always left sexuality choices open to the players preference. And while there are a lot of stories to be told as there are many different character outcomes based on player interaction, let me just tell you one of my most recent. In Fallout 4, one of the companions available to your character (to travel with you) is a spunky, stubborn, and fabulous NPC character named Piper. NPCs nerby will either like or dislike your decisions based on the decisions you make throughout the game, and you build a rapport with these characters. Long-story-short, my [female] game character winds up in some sort of relationship with this character. The only problem is that if I choose a different companion at this point, Piper extremely dislikes that which puts me in a predicament when it comes to finishing side-quests that require other companions.    We wanted to end this blog post with your personal stories.  Thank you so, so much to everyone who sent one in, it means a lot to us! And quick reminder that if you still want to write a piece, you can. <3
@facingthenorthwind
@just.a.willow.tree
@MalfoysAngel
@MuggleMaybe
@scooterbug8515 --- That's it for today's post! We hope you enjoyed reading through it, and that perhaps you'll even pick up one of the rec'd stories or two.  We just want you guys to know that you are loved, and that you are safe here, and that you're all amazing. Keep being you, guys. We're going to sign off for now! Thank you for reading. <3 - The Prefects recs by clevernotbrilliant, just.a.willow.tree, Rumpelstiltskin
personal stories by just.a.willow.tree, MalfoysAngel, MuggleMaybe, scooterbug8515
graphics by just.a.willow.tree

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just.a.willow.tree

 

In the Spotlight - May 21, 2018

Hello, HPFTers! Welcome to another edition of In the Spotlight, a monthly post in the Prefect Blog that features interviews with the winners of special awards and a review column for the Story of the Month.  This month, in addition to the interviews with the Order of Merlin winners, the prefects are happy to present interviews with the two Head Students winners and the author of May's Story of the Month! (Because this month's post is rather long, definitely feel free to minimize each quote box once you're done reading. ) We hope you enjoy!     Today we're featuring @RoxiMalfoy, the winner of the Order of Merlin last month, and @Ineke, who is this month's winner! Both are extremely well-deserving of their awards, and so hopefully you'll get to know them a little better through these interviews. RoxiMalfoy Ineke   These interviews with the Head Students are a new feature!  We gave the two Head Students, @facingthenorthwind and @Nix, different sets of questions (though there are two questions that are the same in both), and without further ado, here they are! facingthenorthwind Nix Stand Tall
by @Chelts-rhj R E V I E W   C O L U M N Finding a story that features a character with a disability is a rare occurrence for me but I most generally find them to be both insightfully and engagingly rewarding. Stand Tall does not dissatisfy this preconception as we follow the quirky, sassy main character, Alba Williamson, through her journey at Hogwarts as she faces her typical life alongside a daily struggle with Cerebral Palsy. To add to the fantastic work creating the loveable, witty Alba whose sense of humor has consistently knocked me out of my chair [and other on-point characterization as well, because let’s not forget the absolute stunning job Chelts did with characters like James Sirius Potter, Chandra and Ben Honeypucker], the interactions between the characters make them shine so much brighter. Some cleverly crafted dialogue and brassy narrative makes the interplay between the already fascinating characters of this piece especially noteworthy. That’s not to say that this WIP is all fun and games. Beneath the surface of all the hilarity remains the hardships Alba must face, only agitated further by her struggle with her disability. There are downright disheartening moments where the Cerebral Palsy seems to be getting the better of her and, with bated breath, we wait to see how she’ll fight to pull herself up again. Anxiously, we read on, hoping that Alba will pull through as she always has.  To top it off, her disability isn’t the only thing she has to look out for. Being a teenage witch comes with some heavy baggage of its own, especially in the wake of the return of the Triwizard Tournament.  Stand Tall was simple to become swept up in and carried away from one chapter to the next. If you’re looking for a story to instantly fall in love with, this is definitely the story for you. I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R --- This wraps up the new edition of In the Spotlight! Please comment below and let us know what you think of the new additions, and if there's anything you might like to see from this blog. If you have questions you might like to ask future Order of Merlin, Head Student, or Story of the Month winners, feel free to post them below!  We really hope you enjoyed this issue, and we'll see you in a couple weeks for our special Pride Month post.   - The Prefects interviews compiled by dreamgazer220, forever_dreaming, just.a.willow.tree, Rumpelstiltskin, Slytherinchica08
review column by Rumpelstiltskin
graphics by just.a.willow.tree

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