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Thread: May Activities 2009

  1. #1

    May Activities 2009

    This month's featured author is the fabulous and terrific Haylee!

    You can find Haylee's author's page here.

    • 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 May review thread for credit as a review, if you wish.
    • 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.

  2. #2

    May Discussion: Story Commentaries

    This month the topic is story commentaries.

    A story commentary is basically when someone takes a story of some kind and, much like an audio commentary on a DVD, makes comments on various aspects of the story/writing/charactes, etc; There a few key differences between a commentary and something like beta-work or a review. A commentary, for one, is often done on one's own writing than on another's writing. Also, whether a commentary is done on one's own writing or another's writing, it tends to make more personal comments as well as comments that would be considered "irrelevant" in a review or beta-job.

    Some of you may have come across a commentary, some may not have. (I'm attemping to find a link for an example as I type this...) (Okay, so I can't find an example. Anyone who has an example may feel free to post it here.)

    Some basic questions to round the discussion

    • What is your opinion of story commentaries?
    • Have you ever written a story commentary? For your own story or someone else's?
    • If you haven't written one before, would you consider it? Or if you have, would you consider it again?
    • If so, what story/stories would you like to do a commentary on and why?
    • What kind of things do you think should be/do you like to see included in story commentaries?
    • What do you think the benefit of a story commentary is, as far as improving writing and/or reviewing skills?

  3. #3

    May Drabble Challenge

    (All photos taken by Anna/Fantasium, and can be found on her Fotoblogg


    • 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 labeled.
    • This thread is for responses only. If you have a question, PM me.
    • Responses must be posted by May 31st 2009.
    • Please post using this format:

      Title: Frimärken
      Photo #: 1
      Word Count: 450 (This may be approximate)

      Story Text Story Text Story Text Story Text Story Text Story Text Story Text
    • As with all activities within the SPEW forum, this challenge is open only to SPEW members.

  4. #4
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
    Dobby's Sock Addiction Begins
    luinrina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    currently in the Botosphere
    My first attempt at writing second person POV. Oh, and I absolutely love the picture I chose. It's so awesome.

    Title: Left Behind
    Photo #: 2
    Word Count: 681

    It’s been a year. Time has gone by so fast, and you think it has been only yesterday when you last saw her. Her hair hadn’t been the usual bright pink, but a mousy grey. Like the time had been grey. Nothing had been coloured; all had been lifeless. Trist.


    But now, while you wander along the path in the woods, on your morning walk, you see the colours coming back. Green sprouts from the trees, and millions of leafs flower out. You can nearly see the movement with your naked eye. Along the path, small flowers grow and open their blossoms to catch the light. They are dots of violet, red and many other colours, myriads of a rainbow that seemed to have fallen from the sky and been laid to blanket the earth. You realise that truly, slowly, spring is coming back, chasing away the winter and its white and grey colours.

    After all, isn’t life only worth if it’s colourful?

    The wood opens up into a meadow with lone trees standing around. A small hill rises towards the other end and the path you follow winds its way up the hill. You walk it. You feel slightly adventurous, curious to find out what lies beyond. After all, you’ve never been there before.

    But you wish you wouldn’t have to still your curiosity alone. You know she would have loved to go with you. She, and he, too.

    You miss them so much. They’ve been everything to you. Especially he, the reason why you broke up with what you once called home and family. What you called life. He had been your anchor for so many years, and now that he is gone, you feel like you drown. You wonder if you have ever learnt to swim, or if you were just pulled along by that anchor.

    ‘Ted,’ his name slips from your lips, a lone whisper in the early morning breeze that accompanies your path up the hill. A single tear spills out and rolls down your cheek. You don’t touch it but continue on on your way up the hill. The top is close, and you already feel the excitement of success over having climbed it.

    And when you reach it, the top, you see it, the return of the light. Over the trees’ tops, on the far horizon, the sun rises, and its light reaches out, chasing away the last shadows of the night. The feeble warm touches your skin, reassuring you that life is indeed coming back with the return of the spring.

    But in your heart, you know that those who already lost their lives will never come back, and once again you mourn their loss.

    He was your heart, your love, your husband. And he lies buried in the cold, still winter hard earth.

    She was your soul, your diamond, your daughter. And she lies buried in the cold, still winter hard earth.

    There is nothing left, only sadness.


    You turn around at the sound of your name. It’s the man who ultimately saved you and every life by killing the one who brought the death. He’s the godfather of your daughter’s son.

    And then you remember that there is something left for you, despite your loss. You have a child to care for. He needs your love, and you are determined to give him all the colours in the world to see the beauty of life.

    The greyness has gone. Life has returned. But even after a year, you mourn them, because they have been your life.

    ‘It’s time for the anniversary ceremony.’

    You nod and follow him down the hill again. But before you walk into the wood once more, you turn back and see the sun slowly rising up to the sky. The light touches the meadow, and this picture is burned into your mind forevermore.

    The picture of hope.

    You will never forget the day life and hope returned. As you will never forget that death is inevitable, but still sad for those that are left behind.
    No longer a mod and no longer in charge of any forums.

    author ~*~ BA banner ~*~ giggler
    Banners by Tiffany and Samarie ^

  5. #5
    WOW! I just read luinrina's drabble. Our drabbles are different in many ways, but it is clear we both got a very similar, and somewhat morbid idea when we looked at picture number two.

    I Like yours alot, luinrina! EDIT: That is, I like yours alot, Bine! (Sorry, still working on getting used to names vs. usernames)

    Title: An Auror’s Memorial
    Photo #: 2
    Word Count: 555

    Ten years later, the sun smiles upon these grounds as though nothing had ever happened. Brilliant flowers burn brightly in the blinding light and bare an unnerving resemblance to smatterings of dancing flames that dotted all the bushes and trees from curses missing their mark. Rainstorms have eroded away craters caused by exploding jinxes. The grasses have over-grown the scorch marks and crimson stains left on the ground.

    Only those ignorant of its history would call this place beautiful.

    An old man who had been walking along the path suddenly pauses, looking up at the flowering thicket on either side of him. He recognizes this spot. His knees begin to wobble and he tumbles to the ground. Tears stream down his face as he places his hands in the soil and kneads it with his fingers.

    He has returned here every year since.

    So much in the world has changed since that night, since that last stand. The world has proclaimed victory over darkness, triumph over evil. Yet, here he is a decade later, a bitter man who feels cheated by fate.

    A bird screeches in the distance and his head snaps quickly in that direction. It was all too much like a scream. “No!” he cries as the visions start again.

    Rays of light burst through the canopy of leaves and hit him directly in the face, in the eyes. He raises an arm to shield himself as though an explosion has gone off only feet in front of him. His eyes move wildly about the scene as if he sees things that are not there. He climbs to his feet and begins backing away shaking his head violently.

    “No! No!”

    Then, inside his head, he sees that same horrifying green flash. This time, just as he has rehearsed every year since, he freezes on the spot. It is in vain. He cannot erase the memory, he cannot revise the actions he took that night when he leapt aside, dodging the Killing Curse. Once again, he hears the unmistakable thud that a human body makes when it drops lifelessly to the ground.

    “No!” he screams, now bawling out-loud.

    He sinks his fingers back into the dirt and shovels a handful of it up. He jams his nose into it, tears causing the top layer to change instantly to mud. He can smell it – he can smell him. It is the same smell he recalls from when he was just a baby. The scent is the same as the one he remembers, the one he loved so much, the one he got sinking his nose into his hair after he had bathed him.

    This was the place where he fell, only a few yards away from a monument commemorating the battle. This is the place where he had stood side by side with his son, dueling two Death Eaters. This was the place where he had elected to dodge a curse intended for him, not knowing his son had moved directly behind him. This is the place where he wished to God he would have stood his ground, taking the curse himself.

    Many described this place as a beautiful memorial, a tribute to those who gave their lives here. For him, it is hell, forever a reminder of the one night he wishes he had back.

  6. #6
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
    Sirius Black Entered Gryffindor Tower
    coolh5000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Wonderful England!
    I've had this written for days but for some reason never got around to posting it...

    Title: Coming Home
    Photo #: 1
    Word Count: 800 <--

    An owl came sweeping through the window and Ginny jumped up to untie the letter from its leg. She spotted the familiar handwriting and her heart leapt; as she hoped, it was from Harry.

    She studied the envelope carefully before she opened it. Most people would not even hesitate to glance at the envelope before ripping it open to find the letter inside. But Ginny could learn so much from the envelope. It could sometimes tell her more about her husband than his brief letters could.

    First she looked at the writing. On this one, the address had been scrawled quickly across it, the words almost joining in to one another, the T’s in ‘Potter’ not quite crossed. She knew that meant that whenever he had been writing this, he had just been catching a brief minute in between duties to let his wife know that he was okay. Sometimes, the letters would be addressed in a neat, swirly writing. These were the times when she knew he had had more time to spend on the letter, and that he had spent time brooding over her and thinking about her as he wrote out the address, giving each letter individual attention. Those letters were the ones she usually looked forward to receiving most. It was when reading that particular type of letter that she felt closest to him, even though he was so far away.

    The second thing she noticed was the stamp. He was often based in Muggle areas, and avoiding unwanted attention was vital, meaning that he sent his letters the Muggle way, affixing a stamp and posting them into a post-box. At some point along the way, the letters were intercepted by wizards who worked within the postal system and were responsible for finding all wizarding mail and forwarding it using the preferred owl method.

    Every time one of Harry’s letters arrived, Ginny would carefully tear off the corner which held the stamp and add it to the pile she was collecting in the kitchen drawer. Each stamp gave her some tiny clue as to the places Harry had been and the things he was experiencing. They had come from all over the world and she sometimes wondered why he was travelling so much. Though she could not reply to his letters and ask him as she did not know where to address them to. This stamp, however, surprised her as it was British. The recognisable figure of the Queen stared up at her from the red background. This could mean only one thing – Harry was back in the country.

    No longer content with studying just the outside of the envelope, she tore it open and pulled out the letter within.

    Dear, Ginny,

    I am coming home. Our field training is over and I am able to return. I will be back within the next couple of days though I do not know exactly when.

    Sorry this letter is brief, but soon I will be home with you and we can talk for as long as we want about everything I have missed.

    I love you, Ginny and cannot wait to be back with you.


    Ginny thought she might burst with excitement. He was coming home! The unit of training Harry had been carrying out was one of the most important in finally qualifying to become and Auror and it counted towards the final exams they would be sitting in just a couple of months time. However, it was also one of the hardest, requiring the trainees to spend three months away from home, with minimal contact with their loved ones. Harry had told her that this was the part of the course with the highest drop-out rate, with people finding themselves unable to stay apart from their families. She had made him promise that he would not do so – she told him she would not be the reason for him ruining his dream and if they had to be apart for three months then so be it!

    And so, somehow, they had managed it. She had been lonely in their home without him and frequently spent nights sleeping at The Burrow, though she did not want her mum to get the idea of her moving back home. However, she had been busy with Harpies training and spent the evenings socialising with her team mates or ex-Hogwarts friends. She had missed him, but she had not sat around moping without him.

    She picked up the envelope from the table and tore of the corner which had the stamp attached. She then took it and added it to the drawer. She smiled in spite of herself. This would be the last time she did this. Because soon he would be with her. He was finally coming home.

    Adrian won a QSQ! Thanks to Minnabird for the beautiful banner. Click on it to read Stolen Magic - the story of the second wizarding war through a very different character's eyes.

  7. #7
    My review!

    On to the questioning!

    I've noticed that you seem to be fond of Draco. Which to you prefer to read and write: Draco/Hermione, Draco/Astoria, or Draco/Someone else? Or, perhaps, do you prefer to write one pairing and read another?

    I noticed that you had some poetry on your Author's Page. Is there anything in particular that inspires you to write poetry rather than prose?

  8. #8
    Title: What She Misses Most
    Photo #: 1
    Word Count: 290

    Sometimes, Hermione can't quite help the feeling of desolation she gets when she gets a letter by owl. She stares at the envelope or scroll, blank except for her name and approximate location, and wonders if this is really right.

    Where is that speck of colour sitting on the top right corner? Where is the image of the Queen, or whomever is on it at the moment, and where is the postmark? Mostly, though, she just misses the stamps.

    She has never been a collector of things, stamps included. It is not in her nature to hoard items - save books, perhaps. But she has always found a certain fascination with the bright splotch of color on an otherwise bare envelope. It seems almost sacrilege to receive an envelope without it, and even after all these years, she simply cannot wrap her brilliant mind around the concept that for all the innovations of the Wizarding World, they live in a world without stamps.

    She never tells anyone, of course. She knows that they would think it frightfully odd if she were to suddenly start spouting off about something as trivial as Muggle stamps when she has so many other things to worry about - rebuilding the world, S.P.E.W., keeping Ron from making himself into too much of a prat...

    But still, she finds that she does miss them. That there is something incomplete about an envelope with no stamp, almost as though the thing were sent not quite finished. A half-job, one that pains her on a strange level even as she acknowledges the absurdity of it.

    Over the years, she will come to lose the pang of the blank, not-quite-finished-envelopes, but she will never completely give up missing stamps.

  9. #9
    Oh dear. My reviews tend to be more like commentaries than helpful critiques, don't they? Have been noticing it for some time.

    Perhaps because the stories I pick to review triggers praise and gushing rather than a critique. *grins at the word 'irrelevant'* Sometimes, none of the comments are irrelevant, though. At least for me. I don't know about the ones I made. I do tend to ramble in those.

    When I first began reading fan fiction, I only made reviews for the good stories. That was my perception of it. If it's good, review it, give the author their due. If it has many reviews, it must be good, having triggered reaction from that many readers. And these reviews are commentaries, aren't they. Not critiques. Only when I received and read SPEW reviews did I see the light.

    My favorite SPEW reviews begin like commentaries before getting down to business toward the middle, and then gracefully swings back to being commentaries in the end. It leaves a sweet aftertaste.

    I have no one to comment on my work for (While I'm writing/revising it, I'm already commenting on each new sentence/element in my head). Oh, in respond to reviews, yes. I would also call the reviews I receive commentaries, even if very short, unenlightening ones. I love them just as much as my SPEW reviews. They give me the perspective of the reader and I'm constantly surprised at and pleased with what they notice even though I have written a certain scene for a certain detail to be on spotlight and have been expecting it to be noticed!

    I write book reviews for a book mag, you ladies remember, although 'review' couldn't be the word for it because how could you review the Classics and Contemporary Classics? Perhaps this influences the manner I review, or rather, comment. In those books, you couldn't critique at all: the exposition and heavy description we discourage now have been necessary then because people had nothing much to do to kill time besides read, and travel wasn't easy, and the pages-long sentimentalities have been de rigeur then just as it isn't now. Flowery language was the norm... I can comment on how I wanted to skip those passages, but I also can't help but highlight the book's many merits, mentioning my feelings on them, and even speculating on the author's, too.

    Although the author is long dead and will therefore take no pleasure or displeasure in my gushing, the reader is enthused then to revisit the book. Which is the goal of my column (Retro: Books to Revisit).

    During my hiatus, I've received several goodly reviews both from SPEW, and other readers who only squeed or begged me to write more, sometimes quoting a line and saying they laughed/cried/tore something because of it.

    Without fail, these reviews made me revisit my story, seeing it in the eye of the commenter. If it weren't for those pesky BR tag thingies, I'd have done several edits already. Like a comprehensive critique, commentaries do improve writing, too, in that they make the author reread their work, and thus see things-- to relish, to recreate, to revise.

  10. #10
    ms. leading
    My review for A Hopeful Arrangement


    A lot of your fics involve members of the Malfoy family, whom I consider to be some of the 'darker' characters. Do you find that you have to work hard at their characterisation, or does writing them come naturally to you?

    - Cassie

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