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!]
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"
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"
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"
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"
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?
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"
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
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.