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Thread: March Activities 2010

  1. #1
    jenny b
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    March Activities 2010

    Following on from our February discussion, this month we will be talking about who you review, and whether or not you prefer to review friends or strangers.

    So who do you prefer to review, and why?

    Does the fact that you know the person you're reviewing affect your criticism?


    Do you tend to be less professional when reviewing friends, or do you maintain your SPEWly professionalism no matter who it is?


    And because that's all the questions I can think of feel free to add more or go off on tangets.

  2. #2
    jenny b
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    March Drabble Challenge

    Take a canon character and write a drabble that takes place when they are an elderly person. They can be reflecting on their life, playing with their grandchildren, anything. They just have to be old.

    Rules/Guidelines:

    • Drabble can be between 250-800 words.
    • Content should not be any higher than a 3rd-5th Years rating.
    • All content that would require a warning on the MNFF Archive should be labelled appropriately.
    • This thread is for responses only. If you have a question, PM me.
    • Responses must be posted by March 31st, 2010.
    • Please post using this format:

      Title:
      Word Count:
    • As with all activities within the SPEW forum, this challenge is open only to SPEW members.

  3. #3
    jenny b
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    March Featured Author

    Our featured author for March is the amazing Spire/inspirations!

    Her author’s page can be found here.

    Remember:
    • You must review the featured author for it to count as your monthly activity requirement.
    • Post the link to your review here - you may also post it in the March review thread for credit as a review.
    • Questions in this thread are not part of the monthly requirement, but they are greatly encouraged. Also, they must have something to do with the subject of writing.

  4. #4
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    *waves hello to Spire*

    I read Prongs quite some time ago, but it's one of those few, rare pieces that stick with me and make me smile when I think about it.

    What I want to ask is this (in a very, very roundabout way): the descriptions in this fic were raw, vivid and powerful to me as a reader. It was like the story came to life in my brain. I was wondering if you personally consider the power of imagery one of your strengths as a writer? If so, which other fics of yours do you think your imagery really shines through in them?


    My measly review (written before my reviews didn't suck... my bad ). I will read at least one more of your stories and review properly, after which I shall return.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  5. #5
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    So who do you prefer to review, and why?
    I prefer to review people I don't know at all or very little. It gives me more license for honesty rather than sugar-coating. Plus, if it's particularly horrid, I can just choose not to review at all or not even finish reading it. Friends tend to ask whether you've gotten around to reading something, whereas a stranger would not know the difference.

    Does the fact that you know the person you're reviewing affect your criticism?
    Definitely. If a friend wrote something that was complete crap (at least to me), I'll review, but instead of pointing out what I didn't like, I'll just say what I did like in the review and AIM chat with them with suggestions to improve. That way, they can tell me to sod off in private as compared to public.

    Do you tend to be less professional when reviewing friends, or do you maintain your SPEWly professionalism no matter who it is?
    I don't think I have 'SPEWly professionalism' yet, but I do tend to be more informal when reviewing friends. They already know I'm an oddball, so there's no need to hide the weirdness. With authors I review a lot, I tend to reference their other fics and compare styles and so forth, but for authors I don't read a lot, I don't do that.



    TQ: In your reviews, if you know the author's real name, do you refer to her/him by that name or by her/his username?

    Yes, I know it's sort of a dumb question, but I wonder about what others do. I, personally, will use an author's real name, just as long as it's not privileged information. I know some people don't want their RL name to be known by anyone that hasn't been inducted into some circle of trust. It promotes better reviewer/author camaraderie, plus that person tends to be more receptive to criticism when (s)he feels that you understand and know her/him, as compared to some stranger.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  6. #6
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    Title: Why
    Word Count: 796
    Rating/Warnings: 1st/2nd Years – Implied Violence and Character Death
    Author’s Note: This is based upon the events of my chaptered fic, The Vindication of James Potter. It isn’t necessary to read it, as important events will be briefly outlined for your benefit. This will probably end up a one-shot in the near future. This was betaed by the amazing Natalie/hestiajones. Bless Ali/psijupiter for allowing me to pick her brain for Britishisms.

    Harry watched contently as his six-year-old grandson raced around the room on a toy broomstick. Alex had inherited the flying genes from the Potter/Weasley side of his family, and it was obvious that the boy would eventually be on the Quidditch team of whichever House was lucky enough to have him.

    Once Alex had tired of flying, he landed quite gracefully at Harry’s feet. The child clambered onto the sofa next to his grandfather, eyes desperately seeking approval. Harry couldn’t help but grin at the messy mop of reddish-brown hair and the eyes that mirrored Lily’s.

    “Granddad, did you see me?”

    Ruffling Alex’s hair, Harry chuckled. “I sure did, my boy! You’ll make the House team someday.” Semi-seriously, he added, “Mark my words.”

    Earnestly, Alex said, “Yes, sir.” With that, the boy helped himself to the tray of biscuits, and all was quiet, but comfortably so, for a good ten minutes. That was when Alex had managed to shake Harry to the core with a simple question.

    “Where was Mum when I was a baby? Uncle Al said that she was away, but he didn’t tell me where she was.”

    How was Harry supposed to answer that question? How could he tell his grandson that his mother had been in Azkaban for killing a man in a fit of madness? Worse still, how could he justify it without condoning murder? Not once, in his sixty-four years on this Earth, had he felt like running and hiding as he did at that moment.

    “Well, I don’t know how to answer that,” he said honestly.

    “Why?” Alex didn’t understand why his Granddad would not answer such an unassuming question.

    “I don’t know that, either.” Harry felt himself sink deeper and deeper into a hole with his evasions, but could he, in good conscience, actually give Alex what he wanted? An ache formed behind his eyes. Removing his glasses, he rubbed the bridge of his nose to massage away the discomfort, but to no avail. Alex was still waiting.

    There was no way around it. The boy had to find out sometime, and it was better that he learned of his mother’s stint in Azkaban from family. “Alex, I—first, let me make something clear.

    “Killing people is very, very wrong. Hurting them is wrong, too, but killing is even more wrong than that. Do you understand?” Harry needed to be sure before he said anything more.

    Alex nodded, so Harry continued. “Before you were born, a bad man… hurt your mum, and that made her sick for a little while.” He drew the line at explaining temporary insanity to a child. “While your mum was, er, sick, she killed the bad man.” There, Harry thought with relief. I said it.

    “But Granddad, hurting people is wrong! Why did Mum do that?” To Alex’s credit, he displayed an appropriate level of shock and dismay at the thought of his mother being a murderess.

    However, Harry knew that he couldn’t allow his daughter to take all the blame for this. “It is, but sometimes, someone does something so bad that they shouldn’t live around other people. That’s why we have jails and prisons.”

    Alex said grimly, “And Mum went to prison.”

    Harry nodded. “Yes, she did. Killing the bad man is still awful, even though he deserved to go to prison and never come out.” Taking a fortifying breath, Harry pushed on. “That’s why she only spent a year in prison instead of a long time; the Ministry understood why she did it.”

    Alex hung his head. “But that means that Mum’s just as terrible as the bad man, but nobody else thinks so!”

    Oh, bollocks! Harry swore to himself. Could I possibly screw this up worse? Not only had he embarked on an uncomfortable explanation, he may have compromised his daughter’s relationship with her son. He removed his glasses and leaned his head back, staring at the ceiling with no idea of how to proceed.

    Finally, Harry knew he had to say something to defend Lily. “It’s a little different, Alex, but you wouldn’t understand it right now. Maybe when you’re older.”

    That statement was met with a deathly silence. For over an hour, neither talked nor looked at the other, the silence this time vastly more uncomfortable than the previous one.

    The impasse between them was interrupted by the sound of the door opening. Lily sailed into the room, but her airy smile was squelched by the dark looks of both her father and her son. First, she asked Alex, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

    When Alex didn’t answer, she put her hand on his arm, but he jerked himself away from her roughly. As Harry saw this from the corner of his eye, he thought to himself, What have I done?
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  7. #7
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
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    Ooh, I vaguely remember this topic coming up in the babble!

    When I first joined SPEW and this question came up, I think I would've replied that I tried to strike even each month -- meaning, maybe a couple of SPEWlings or people I know around the boards and one stranger. Honestly, it's a rarity I review somebody I don't know from the boards nowadays. Generally, I review SPEWers or else somebody who has a good story-writing rep on the boards. Since I read less and less fanfic these days, I can't be bothered with searching out a fic to read -- a fic that I may well abandon half-way through. I read stories by authors I know are good, by authors I know appreciate the time I've took to review their story. And as a lot of the people I know write lots of one-shots [which I by far prefer to review] this method works well for me.

    You know, when I first started out reviewing I was very careful about how I worded things and criticisms. Actually, I still am. But where I might've worried about offending someone before, now I know how to word things in a manner that just won't offend [I think so, anyway ]. I know some people just can't take a little criticism, but one of my objectives in being a part of SPEW is to deliver constructive criticism. I don't criticise just because. I always try to at least explain why I think something.

    Anyway, now I've meandered some I'll get to the point. No, I don't think my concrit changes all that much from friend to stranger. Maybe with a stranger I'm slightly more reserved because I don't know how they respond to concrit. But all the people I know and review, well... I know they're mature enough to take what is effectively my opinion and not bite my head off for daring to doubt an aspect of their story, or whatever. Maybe they won't agree with my opinion -- that's fine. In addition, most of the people I review I've reviewed more than once and they know my reviewing style. They know I'm not trying to be mean if I point something out. I'd hope that's clear to everyone I review, but maybe not. I strive to be professional and polite, to explain and try to offer suggestions if I can. In a review to somebody I know, yes, it is a little more personal as I'll call them by their name, and I might reference other fics/styles they've explored -- but I still try to keep a professional kind of tone. I think that works best when delivering concrit, etc. It just makes you seem like you know what you're talking about more, IMO.

  8. #8
    jenny b
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    My review for Escape

    First off, I totally agree with Jess' comment about your imagery.

    What is your favourite type of fic to write? Favourite pairing, favourite style, etc.

    Also, what do you think is the most difficult thing to do when writing? Anything from writing a summary to getting your characterisation right.

  9. #9
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
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    -hugs Jess and Jen for their lovely reviews-

    First -- thanks for the compliments on my imagery. Actually, no, I'd never really thought of imagery as one of my strengths. I love picking and choosing suitable words/phrases, though, so maybe I should be... Off the top of my head, I'd say Illusions, Twilit Woods and maybe Finding the Magic for imagery? I'm not sure, though, it's been a while since I've read my stories back.

    Favourite sort of fic to write... it depends on my mood a lot of the time. Although, I love love love the second person point of view, though I'm not the best at it, LOL. I guess I write so much in the pov because I want it to be like some of the absolutely amazing second person povs I've read. I quite like writing in the present tense. Probably because it kind of goes hand in hand with second person, but I have wrote a few first persons in present tense and enjoyed it. One of my favourite characters to write is Bellatrix, though I need to polish my characterisation of her a bit, I think. In fact, in general, I like to write the 'baddies' as such. I love all those fics from the Death Eater side of things. In addition to all this, I like emotions -- something I'm trying to work on -- and I love a couple of sentences to describe settings. Not too much though; I find that description drags a bit in big clumps. And I love weather to reflect mood and stuff. <3

    Characterisation is definitely something I struggle with. I just don't think about it enough. I'm getting better though, I think/hope.

    Thanks, guys! -squishes-

  10. #10
    dory_the_fishie
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    My Review for Illusions

    I completely agree with Jess and Jen about your imagery, of course. I loved it in Illusions.

    Questions!

    Do you tend to read the same types of fics that you write? What are some of your favorite fics that you've read, and why?

    And, what are your favorite fics that you've written? You have a rather prolific author's page!

    Are there any characters you would never touch?

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