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Thread: June Activities 2009

  1. #11
    jenny b
    My gosh, I haven't seen a discussion topic this popular in a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    How important is recieving reviews, compared to writing reviews, to improving as a writer?
    Personally, I think writing reviews helps me improve as a writer a lot more than receiving them does. Getting well thought-out SPEW review is just lovely, of course, and they still help a lot - like Cassie pointed out, they help you to recognise your flaws. Without all the detailed critiques from fellow SPEW members, I never would have realised my weak points and in turn worked on improving them. Betas can help with this a little, but it's the feedback from your reader that is the most important, in my opinion. Also, reviews are brilliant for my muse - it's so much easier to write if I know that there are people out there who enjoy it.

    Writing reviews has made a bigger impact on my writing, though. I've improved so much since I first joined SPEW, and I think the main reason is from my constant reading and reviewing of fanfic (mainly by other SPEWers ). Over time, I've learnt what works and what doesn't work, and how to improve on certain things, and how to characterise and fit things into the Potterverse - all from analysing fics and being able to see how to improve things. (I don't think that sentence makes much sense, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    Do you think that as SPEWers, our first priority is to one another, or to other non-SPEW members? Why?
    Honestly, I think our first priority should be to non-SPEW members. I pretty much agree with Cass completely. In SPEW, we're all pretty decent writers (I'm yet to see an exception), which is most likely a result of writing/receiving so many reviews. Outside of SPEW, though, there are a lot more people whose writing could improve with some good critique and feedback. Also, most SPEWers have received a heap of brilliant reviews already - but there are a lot of people out there who may never have received more than one-liners, and I kind of feel like it's our duty to make sure they get their fair share of feedback.

    Of course, I'm entirely hypocritical, because I can't remember the last time I reviewed a non-SPEWer. >.>

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna
    Do you think that there should be this requirement should be reinstated? (Ex: Of 3 reviews, one should be for a SPEW member; Of 4 reviews, two should be for a SPEW member) Why or why not?
    No. Most people tend to have one or more reviews for fellow SPEW members anyway, and like I said above, I think we're more obliged to review writers who aren't in SPEW. That's not to say that you can't review a SPEWer - and like Mere pointed out, there's always plenty of opportunities to review fellow members. I don't think we should be told who to review - we're not here to force reviews out, after all. We're here to help people, and those people can be whoever we feel wants/needs it.

    /my two cents.

  2. #12
    Title: A Most Curious Walk
    Word Count: 509

    I apologize for the chocolate orgy - I really wanted some when I was writing this.

    It was a gorgeous spring day at Hogwarts: sun, a few clouds, a light breeze. A perfect day to avoid homework and wander the grounds, which was precisely what half of the student body was doing.

    Vincent Crabbe hung back from his side-by-side march with Goyle and pulled a slightly mushy chocolate bar from his pocket as they lumbered after Draco Malfoy who . He’d been looking forward to that chocolate for a whole two hours now and there was no way that Goyle was going to get a piece.

    Crabbe took his first bite of the soft, melt-y chocolate. Bliss.

    A few steps in front of him, Goyle sniffed the air and grunted, “I smell chocolate.”

    Crabbe stuffed the half-eaten bar back into his pocket and did his best to look innocent, but a smear of chocolate on his upper lip gave him away.

    A bout of shoving, pushing, and grunting ensued as Goyle did his best to snatch the chocolate from Crabbe. Eventually Malfoy, who had remained several steps ahead, heard the muffled commotion and turned around.

    “Daddy wouldn’t want you to fight like this.”

    Both Crabbe and Goyle unconsciously straightened their spines and glanced anywhere but at Malfoy.

    “Has a Wrackspurt got your tongue?” Malfoy peered up at the both of them and continued, “I thought I felt one brush past me.” He started to flap his arms around his head, as though he was swatting flies.

    “Uh…no,” Goyle grunted.

    “Oh good,” Malfoy replied. “It’s funny, actually, Daddy was just saying the other day how the Ministry is actually still active in the Rotfang Conspiracy and is making candy cheaper these days to encourage it.”

    His little speech was greeted with customary blank stares from both Crabbe and Goyle. Crabbe reached into his pocket and pulled out the contested half of the candy bar. He held it out towards Malfoy in his thick fingers and said, “Did you want it?”

    “Oh, no thank you,” Malfoy said kindly. “Daddy and I don’t really want to further that particular conspiracy.”

    The three of them continued to walk in silence. Every once in a while, Malfoy would point out something in the surrounding scenery and explain why it was a new conspiracy from the Ministry or evidence of a magical creature that neither Crabbe nor Goyle had ever heard of. To their credit, though, they never had paid attention in Care of Magical Creatures and assumed that he was merely helping them study.

    At one point, Crabbe asked, “Wait, what’s a Crumple Horned Snorkack?”

    Malfoy responded eagerly, “Oh, Daddy and I are going on an expedition this summer to find some. We’re going to publish some of the first photographs ever taken of them.”

    His question unanswered, Crabbe nodded in agreement.

    “Well,” Malfoy ventured. “I think we should get back inside. Daddy said he was going to send the newest issue of the Quibbler for me to look over.”

    Crabbe and Goyle followed Malfoy back to the castle, scratching their heads at the oddest walk they had ever taken.

  3. #13
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
    Seeking Keys
    inspirations's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    in a book <33
    Here's your review, Mere And some questions:

    What is your favourite genre to write? I noticed you've dabbled in quite a few, but there doesn't seem to be a dominant one.

    Is there anything you'd like to trial in fanfic writing that you haven't already? A pairing, maybe, or a different theme?

    What inspires you to write?


  4. #14
    Third Year Hufflepuff
    Hut-on-the-Rock, The Sea

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Title: Snape the Prat
    Word Count: 452
    Author's Note: That's Snape acting like fifth year James Potter sr. No offense to the characters, of course. Fans of either of them are not to take this sirius-ly.

    Snape the Prat

    The class is getting very rowdy. It is Potions, but still people are talking. Mainly because the professor hasn’t arrived yet though the class was supposed to be started ten minutes back.

    Another two minutes and I hear the sound of footsteps. The professor finally enters the class and the room becomes quiet at once.

    ‘Hello, students! And how are you all this morning?’ Snape greets and smiles widely at us.

    Wait. Snape and small talk. Snape and smiles. What happened to the sneers and glares?

    Professor Snape now casually sits on the edge of his desk.

    The class stares at him, shocked at his weird behaviour.

    ‘You know, I’m disappointed. I come ten minutes later and still see no jokes about but people just talking. Tsk, tsk. You all clearly need to get some lessons on pranking.’ He pauses now; a crease appears on his forehead.

    Is this a joke? Has someone else used the Polyjuice Potion and changed into the Professor? Is he under the Imperius Curse?

    ‘Yes, we will skip Potions for today. Instead, I’ll relate to you some of the finest pranks ever carried out by me. Then maybe you all will stop being so poor spirited and I’ll be able to see some real fun.’

    This speech does not result in cheers from the students. Nobody grins for not having to study Potions. Everyone’s too amazed to react.

    Snape now notices the silence too. He stands up. ‘What? Why are you guys looking at me like that?’ He walks behind the desk, opens the drawer and takes out a mirror.

    Snape keeps a mirror in the class room?

    He looks at his reflection in it. The crooked nose, sallow skin, black eyes which are shining with mischief and greasy black hair which he...

    Oh dear Merlin! Did he just ruffle his hair? Did he just put those fingers in the oily hair and try to mess it up? His hair is now... everywhere, not brushed back as usual. And looking very, well... unique could be one way to describe it. But not in a good way, of course.

    ‘I seem perfectly good looking,’ Snape says as he reverts his eyes from the mirror to us. ‘I bet you people are astonished to see someone as handsome as me.’

    The class continues to gape at him in wonder. The professor musses his hair again and then we hear some noise.

    Somebody has fallen on the floor. I walk forwards to see who it is. The professor comes too. ‘Has he fainted because of how amazing I look?’ Snape asks as he looks at the body on the floor. It is a boy.

    Harry Potter has just gone unconscious.
    - Afifa
    - Write - Beta - Drabble - Duel - Help -

    Awesome avvie by Minna/minnabird.

  5. #15
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
    Sirius Black Entered Gryffindor Tower
    coolh5000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Wonderful England!
    How important is recieving reviews, compared to writing reviews, important to improving as a writer?

    Receiving good thorough reviews can really help improve writing. I find they point out mistakes I don't notice even on my closest reading of a chapter and help me improve the way I write. For example, I have a recent fic which includes a brief mention of McGonagall, and I hadn't really thought about her as I wrote, but then in several reviews people pointed out that her characterisation was quite weak/needed more thought and this made me realise that no matter how small or insignificant an element of a story may seem to me when writing, the readers will always pick up on it and this helps me to improve as it makes me think and plan my stories even more carefully.

    Equally one-liner reviews can help in inspiring me to write and to let me know that people are enjoying my fics. They don't necessarily help me directly to improve as a writer but they do occasionally help to unblock my muse and that can help me to improve.

    As for writing reviews, I think they can also really help me to improve as a writer. Writing a review involves a really close reading of a fic and seeing how other writers do things, like characterisation can help improve my own writing. I also find personally, I get more satisfaction out of writing a review and reading the author's reply than I do out of reading a review of my own, not to say that I do not love receiving reviews!

    Do you think that as SPEWers, our first priority is to one another, or to other non-SPEW members? Why?

    I don't think we should have a priority as such because I believe there should be a freedom to choose what it is to review and to get to read/review stories you enjoy, no matter whether they were written by SPEWers or non-SPEWers - after all, SPEW is for fun - it is not a 'duty' or responsibility. However I often feel that non-SPEWers benefit more from SPEW reviews. As someone has already pointed out, often you will go to a SPEWer's author page and find that every story has at least one, and usually several SPEW reviews and in this case, I often find myself conscious of not wanting to repeat the words of others, because I don't think it is helpful to the author. In contrast to this, there are many many authors who have never received reviews of more than a couple of lines and I feel that it is these authors who really and truly appreciate receiving even just one SPEW review that gives them so proper, decent feedback. I know that before I was a SPEWer I would have *died* to have received a SPEW review - but to me SPEW always seemed to be quite an 'elite' club whose reviews were only received by its members or by those well-known, popular authors. Now I am a SPEW member, sometimes I feel almost 'spoiled' to have received so many lovely reviews (though I do still love to get them) and think maybe there should be more branching out to review those more obscure authors that don't always get recognition.

    But ultimately, I think reviewing should always be enjoyable. I think if SPEWers find non-SPEW stories that they enjoy, then they should always make an effort to review these stories but similarly if they find enjoyable stories by by a SPEW members, then they should review those.

    Do you think that there should be this requirement should be reinstated? (Ex: Of 3 reviews, one should be for a SPEW member; Of 4 reviews, two should be for a SPEW member) Why or why not?

    Most definitely not - as I said above, I think there should be complete freedom to review what you want and what you enjoy, rather than feeling a duty to review particular authors. In some ways I think there should be greater encouragement to review non-SPEWers rather than SPEWers, but ultimately I don't think there should be any requirement or obligation to review anyone in particular.

    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.

  6. #16
    Title: Untitled
    Word Count: 300

    Dumbledore paced around his study, calculating his steps so that he was walking a perfect circle every time. The concentration it took to keep his footsteps landing in the same place every time helped him clear his head; sort through his thoughts so that he could see what he needed to see more clearly. There was so much to think about….

    And yet as usual, his thinking was interrupted by a knock at his door. He sighed in frustration but realized that it was most likely Harry, here for his appointment. He opened the door and beckoned Harry in. Before the boy had even sat down, Dumbledore stopped him. "We're going, Harry, no need for pleasantries."

    Harry looked startled. "We're… going, Sir?"

    "Yes, we needn't waste time with talking while Voldemort is out there, no doubt torturing some poor soul! We must move quickly, Harry, now come along, take my arm."

    "But Sir," Harry said, confused. "Aren't you going to tell me where we're going? Why we're going… what importance it has. Isn't there anything I should know beforehand?"

    Dumbledore found Harry's sparkling green eyes and felt a rush of pride wash through him. So bold and yet so logical when need be; so ready to do whatever it took. And yet so foolish as to think that time could be wasted when there was a task at hand to be done now.

    "Harry, there is a time for talking and there is a time for action. Right now it is the latter and we really must be going."

    Harry, confused but unwilling to disagree, took Dumbledore's arm and held on tightly. As they begun to spin through the uncomfortable black space he couldn't help but to think to himself that he might have rubbed off on his Headmaster.
    These words are going to make this post amount to fifty words.

  7. #17
    Fifth Year Hufflepuff
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors
    fg_weasley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Fargo Rock City.
    Here's your review, dear! [hugs]

    Which is your favorite pairing to write? To read?

    Of all your stories, which are you most proud of? Is that fic your favorite as well, or would you chose a different one? Which is your least favorite fic?

    What part of writing do you enjoy most?

    "Through literacy you can begin to see the universe.
    Through music you can reach anybody.
    Between the two there is you, unstoppable."

    --grace slick
    avvie: julia/the_opaleye

  8. #18
    Review HERE! =)

    Are there any songs in particular that you find inspiring when writing?

    *squishes Mere*

  9. #19
    My review for Mere's loveliness.


    1. What character do you find the most difficult to write? Why?
    2. What draws you to the Marauders?
    3. What do you think your writing strengths and weaknesses are?



  10. #20
    Title: Adventures in Muggle Land
    Word Count: 384

    The product of some very last-minute-ness. >.> Kingsley Shacklebolt acting like Arthur Weasley.

    Kingsley Shacklebolt’s current assignment had him positively bouncing with excitement. Working in the office of the Muggle Prime Minister? It was like Christmas come early.

    All of the contraptions Muggles had come up with to substitute for magic were just brilliant. On his first day, Kingsley spent a good twenty minutes examining something called a stapler, which fastened together pieces of paper (not parchment – he had noted that earlier). And then there were such inventions as scissors and hole punchers! Really, an office was the wonderland of Muggle everyday life. Kingsley was beside himself.

    He had to be careful, though, because he was supposed to be blending in as a Muggle. This thrilled Kingsley to no end, but his eagerness to study every small thing did mean he was a bit of an office oddball. However, he did get his work done very efficiently (as fascinating as staplers were, sometimes magic was just better).

    One Tuesday, Kingsley was training his documents to color-code themselves when the Prime Minister entered the office. Hurriedly pushing the papers aside, Kingsley turned his attention to the Minister, who was handing out instructions as he passed by desks.

    “Shacklebolt, I need you to draft a press release about this horrid weather. Tell them our top scientists are looking into it, and – what’s that?” He stopped walking and pointed at a quivering object on Kingsley’s desk.

    “Oh, that,” said Kingsley, picking it up. “It’s a paperweight.”

    The Prime Minister eyed it suspiciously. “Why is it vibrating?”

    “Because,” Kingsley began happily, “because you can program it to vibrate in accordance to a deadline.” The Prime Minister stared at him. “That way, you’re efficient and on-time,” he finished, holding out the shivering orb so the Prime Minister could see it more closely.

    “Right,” said the Prime Minister, with an air of appeasing a small child. “Well, if you could just work on that press release…” He trailed off, still slightly confused by Kingsley’s general presence, and then continued on to his private office.

    Kingsley watched his boss go, and then he settled back into his chair (which had been magically cushioned – how did the Muggles get on with such uncomfortable seating?). He took out a sheet of paper, picked up his pen, and set to work on the press release.

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