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In the Spotlight | January & February Combo

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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! 

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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. 

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We have some interviews from the January and February Head Students for you next! 

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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 question
i'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 😂

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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! xD 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 to
write, 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 absolute
bad 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 a
drastoria 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 :P 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 seem
as 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?
:hmm: 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!

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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! 

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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!!!  :wub: 

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. 💞

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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?

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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…

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Lions Roar, Badgers Dance, Eagles Soar, and Snakes Slither -- here are some interviews. 

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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. 

 

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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:

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 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...:ninjavanish:), so here’s this ancient meme instead:

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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. 

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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.  :slytherin:

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?

  1. A copy of Turn Your Pain Into Art, by Ariel Bloomer. 📖 (Seriously, this book has changed my life, y'all!!) 💗
  2. 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!! 🎧
  3. 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).
  4. 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.🕯️
  5. 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:

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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:

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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!)

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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

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Oregonian

Posted

Oh, no question about it.  I'd rather live where it's not humid enough.  Adding water is easy, but taking away water is difficult.

What's wrong with humidity: 

Sweat doesn't evaporate, so you are dripping wet but you can't cool off, and sleeping at night is almost impossible.  You end up imprisoned inside buildings that are air-conditioned and dehumidified.

Everything organic gets moldy and rots.  Leather goods (shoes, purses, belts, binoculars cases, etc.) need to be specially treated with grease and hermetically stored during the most humid half of the year, or they will be covered with mold (according to my daughter who lived 17 years in tropical Africa).

Books, rot, fabrics rot, you name it...

Wet things, such as towels, take forever to dry.  Meanwhile, microorganisms are growing on them.

Those silica gel packets are like gold.  Without them, moisture gets into your cameras, binoculars, and electronics.  Fungus grows over the lenses.  Yuck!

The air even feels too thick to breathe.

Dry is good.  Sweat evaporates, you can sleep easily, wet fabrics dry out, stuff doesn't get moldy, you don't suddenly discover that your valuable stuff has been ruined by moisture.

Thus speaks the child born in the Mojave Desert, who loves the dry, hot air, the blue sky, the tan hills, the widely spaced vegetation, the broad vistas...

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Renacerá

Posted

Wonderful blog, Prefects! I was so happy to be interviewed by you all, and I love getting the chance to get to know you! Since we don't have any 'Puff prefects at the moment, you can always reach out to me or to @LadyL8 if you'd like the names of our Hufflepuff of the Month and Story of the Month winners! :)

 

As for the question on humidity...definitely somewhere that's "not humid enough"! I can always use lotion if I'm feeling dry, and I hate feeling like I'm swimming when I walk outside. My grandpa lives in Florida, and every time I go to see him it takes a solid three days to be able to leave the house without feeling like I'm drowning in air. xD  Also...humidity usually means more bugs. And I do not like bugs. 🚫

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starbuck

Posted (edited)

i really love reading the interviews you guys do every issue :bliss: it's such a great way to find out more about people and about their stories ^_^

as for the dilemma....my skin is dry as it is and i'm basically already a vampire (sun allergy is so much fun. not) but.........i absolutely loathe humidity and mosquitoes and i dread the summer because it's hot and humid where i live :I so definitely not humid enough for me 

Edited by starbuck
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MuggleMaybe

Posted (edited)

I always love learning more about all the amazing people here! Great interviews! Also, the headers are beautiful, @Sleepingbagonthesofa :wub:
 

Quote

 

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 absolute 
bad ass but she never loses sight of helping others. She's essentially everything I've ever wanted to be.

 

AHHHHH @Renacerá! Did I know this? I love Kel so much and Tortall is my number one fandom after HP! We must talk about this ASAP!!! 

 

 

Edited by MuggleMaybe
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Dojh167

Posted

This is great. Congratulations everyone! I miss seeing the featured Hufflepuffs here. They got recognized in our house newsletter with interviews and review columns but I hope they're back to getting recognition among the site as a whole soon

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Chemical_Pixie

Posted

Another fantastic blog spot, prefects! I quote enjoyed the double features of everything! @Sleepingbagonthesofa, that's a great joke! Best one I've heard in ages. Genius! :P  @Unwritten Curse No one's accusing you of Lion. ;)❤️ 

Congrats to all the winners the past two months. So well deserved! We're a talented bunch! ❤️ 

 

Re: the humidity dilemma. Bring on the lack of humidity. I got my coconut oil. My chapstick. My winter coat (because I'd rather be in a tundra than a hot desert, ahaha). ;) 

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Rumpelstiltskin

Posted

12 hours ago, Dojh167 said:

This is great. Congratulations everyone! I miss seeing the featured Hufflepuffs here. They got recognized in our house newsletter with interviews and review columns but I hope they're back to getting recognition among the site as a whole soon

We hope so, too! We love having all the Houses represented as much as possible! ❤️ 

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ShadowRose

Posted

loved this issue! and @Sleepingbagonthesofa i especially love that both of our answers to 'favourite thing to do on the site' was to creep on what other people are doing. :ninjavanish: 

definitely going with the majority here and saying not enough humidity is way better. i grew up doing long-distance running in an area where the (completely accurate) tagline was 'heat, hills, and humidity' and i have enough memories of literally dripping so much sweat that i couldn't see where i was going to know that i would happily take dry heat over anything like that.

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Sleepingbagonthesofa

Posted

@ShadowRose sounds about right that it would be us 😂 

prefects this was another amazing issue! Thank you for all the hard work you put into these blogs ❤️

I would always go with less humidity, I love travelling to hot places with desert and the kind of dry wind you get in countries like that! Humidity is just this sweaty nightmare to me! 

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