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Thread: Quicksilver Quills Category Suggestions

  1. #1
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
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    Quicksilver Quills Category Suggestions

    The recent suggestion regarding a characterisation category in the QSQs has got me thinking about the QSQs in general and whether the current range of categories we have is the best it could be. So I would like general suggestions from you as to what you think of the current categories and whether you believe there are any that should be added, removed or perhaps merged.

    In the 2009 awards there were eighteen categories (which I have listed below for easy reference). Personally, I am wary of adding too many more to the list because there already seems to be rather a lot, particularly when you consider that in some categories there is a distinction made between chaptered and one-shots and both winners and runner-ups are announced, and I worry about the possibility of devaluing the awards, were we to give out too many. There is also the worry that more categories require more judges and could lengthen the process. However, it is possible I am alone in this opinion.

    Please note, this thread is for discussing category changes only - it is not the place to discuss multiple wins, previous winners being eligible again, or the benefits/flaws of the judging process.

    Also, please avoid turning this thread into a lengthy debate. You may post you own personal suggestions in here, but don't take the opportunity to knock other people's suggestions, and similarly do not make a new post simply to say you 'agree' if you have nothing new to say. Suggestions are considered on their merit, not the number of people who post to say they agree/disagree with them, so agreeing/disagreeing posts will simply clutter up the thread.

    Finally, we may not be able to implement every suggestion in this thread for a variety of reasons but we do value your feedback and will consider them in planning for 2010

    Current Category List

    Best General Story
    Best Dark/Angsty Story
    Best Humor Story
    Best Romance - Canon Story
    Best Romance - Non-canon Story
    Best Romance - Other Character Story
    Best Alternate Universe Story
    Best Poetry
    Best Marauders' Era Story
    Best Post-Hogwarts Story
    Best Same-Sex Pairing Story
    Best History/Mystery Story
    Best Beta Reader
    Best Artist
    Best Male Other Character
    Best Female Other Character
    Best Reviewer
    Best Bannermaker

    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.

  2. #2
    Fifth Year Ravenclaw
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    I was just replying to the other thread but I lost my post, so to summarise what I was saying...

    + In terms of a best characterisation category, what I was trying to say in my post in that thread is how we determine major versus minor charcaters in the context of both canon and fanfiction? We were using the examples of Bill and Lily. Take Bill - not a huge character in the books, but definitely a prominent character in fanfiction [or maybe I just hang around too many Bill fangirls, hmm]. And then take a character like Lily - huge in both canon and fanfiction, but the concept of 'Lily Potter' and the knowledge of her characterisation has come to us LARGELY through fanfiction. So, how do we decide what the correct characterisation is of a character like this - from canon or fanfic?

    + Also, how central to the story does a character have to be to earn this award? Main characters are obviously okay, but what about the character who appears for two seconds and utters three beautifully canon words?

    Overall, I still think this is a good idea... just very vague and parameters would definitely have to be set.

    Also,

    + As you know, I'm the SBBC's slave, and having been there for years, I have a pretty good grasp on the discussion of what makes a story work or not. The three major categories that I feel like we refer back to are characterisation, diction, and plot. So if we give a shoutout for characterisation... what about the other two categories?

    Not saying yes or no either way - just hypothesising.

    + I understand not wanting to have a thousand categories, but I was just thinking... there's a category for 'best reviewer' - what about 'best discusser' [in better terms >.>]. I'm not referring to the SBBC when I say this - I just mean the forum as a whole. There are some people who always add wonderfully to the various discussions in the Hospital Wing. I know that that would be very vague and possibly difficult to award, but I was just thinking about the categories, and that's the only thing I could think to add.






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  3. #3
    Inverarity
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    I think there are too many categories, and that adding more risks making the QSQs more of a popularity contest.

    I believe that most winners this year and last year were nominated in multiple categories (including me). Popular stories and authors will almost inevitably be nominated in as many categories as their fans can nominate them.

    I also don't understand, given the difficulties in getting all the QSQs judged, why you'd want to increase the amount of work to be done.

    So, here are my radical suggestions. I don't expect you'll actually follow them, but I'll explain my reasoning, so hopefully you at least understand why I'm skeptical of adding more categories.

    I would actually eliminate the following categories:

    Best Beta Reader -- how can anyone who's not been betaed by the person in question actually judge this, much less compare everyone who was nominated? An award for editing is a fine idea in theory, but honestly, it seems largely based on how enthusiastically authors lavish praise on their betas.

    Best Romance - Canon Story
    Best Romance - Non-canon Story
    Best Romance - Other Character Story
    Best Same-Sex Pairing Story


    Isn't any "Other (OC) character" story by definition also a non-canon story? So we have four different awards for romance. I'd condense these down to one: "Best Romance." Well, I guess I'm in favor of recognizing a separate category for same-sex pairings. But as it stands, we basically have one "best gay story" award, and three "best het story" awards.

    Best Artist
    Best Bannermaker


    These two are largely redundant. Yes, I know some artists don't do banners, and some people might be really good at banners and not so good at drawing, but it still strikes me as just a way to give artists twice as many chances at an award.

    Best Male Other Character
    Best Female Other Character


    Yes, I'd eliminate these. Even though Alexandra Quick won this category. Please don't think this means I don't appreciate my award; I do! I was very pleased that Alexandra won Best Female Other Character. But look at any popular OC-based story, and you'll see that it was usually nominated in both its story category and for "Best Character." Basically, two shots at a QSQ for popular stories.

    Add "Best Male/Female Canon Character" categories, and I'll bet almost every nomination for "Best ____ Story" category will also have the main character nominated for "Best Canon Character," and vice versa.

    Best Reviewer -- I can kind of sort of understand wanting to encourage people to leave long, thoughtful reviews, but as far as I can tell, this is basically an award for being a prolific reviewer who makes authors happy, and it has very little to do with actually writing fan fiction.

  4. #4
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
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    It occured to me that I should probably place a time limit on this so that we would be able to have some time to discuss the suggestions. Therefore, I'll be closing this thread in three week's time on the 10th January - I think that gives everyone plenty of time to suggest what they want

    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.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolh5000

    Current Category List

    Best General Story
    Best Dark/Angsty Story
    Best Humor Story
    Best Romance - Canon Story
    Best Romance - Non-canon Story
    Best Romance - Other Character Story
    Best Alternate Universe Story
    Best Poetry
    Best Marauders' Era Story
    Best Post-Hogwarts Story
    Best Same-Sex Pairing Story
    Best History/Mystery Story
    Best Beta Reader
    Best Artist
    Best Male Other Character
    Best Female Other Character
    Best Reviewer
    Best Bannermaker

    I agree with the need to pare down the number of romance categories. Perhaps have one "Best Romance" and one "Best Same-Sex Pairing", because there are some truly remarkable slash stories out there, but it's a smaller audience. The good ones would almost always go unnoticed in the nominations.

    As for Artist/Bannermaker/Beta Reader awards, I believe that those awards should be voted on/given out by the members of those respective forums, as they know the most about each of the possible nominees. Once the QSQs are announced, simply add them to the winners' list.

    Best M/F Other Character could be eschewed in favor of Best Characterization Canon/OC, which would address the desire for a characterization award without actually adding a new category. Truthfully, does it matter, if a character is well-written and defined, whether that character is a male/female. I don't believe it does, personally.


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  6. #6
    Sixth Year Gryffindor
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    I think that we should keep the QSQ just how it is. I don't think that we should change or get rid of any categories, especially not the romance ones. The romance stories that Inverarity suggested we get rid of and make just one category are completly different because they are about different characters. If we changed the way romance is set up, then we would have to change General.

    The way I am looking at this is with the five main categories. In General and Romance you have sub-categories. If we have just a Romance QSQ, that is just too broad. There are so many romance stories, and if there could only be two winners I don't think it would be fair. There are amazing romance authors here and for only two stories to win, it just seems unfair to me. If we did that to the Romance category, we would need to do it to the General. Make Best Marauders' Era Story, Best Post-Hogwarts Story, Best General, and Best History/Mystery Story all one category. (I didn't include poetry because poetry is something completly different.) Doing that to the General category just doesn't seem right because it is so broad, and neither does changing the Romance category.

    I don't know what the process is for chosing a winner for a QSQ is, or how much work it is, but if it working out okay, why change it?
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  7. #7
    PhoenixAscendant
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    I think maybe we should combine a couple categories, make the QSQ Awards a little more special. These are the ones I believe could be combined.
    1. Best Romance-Non-canon Story and Best Romance-Other Character Story. Basically all OC romances are Non-canon after all. It would pare down the Romance Awards, and that is not a bad thing. There are four at the moment.
    2. Best Artist and Best Bannermaker. All bannermakers are artists. They create art. Whether your art is a banner or not, it is most definitely art, and probably should be classified as such.
    3. Best Female OC and Best Male OC. How much of a difference does gender make?
    Incidentally, there was a thread a bit back about adding a Next-Generation category. Should this be created, in the QSQ's this should definitely be combined with Best Post-Hogwarts. While another category is good, I do not think we need another award.

  8. #8
    DracoGurlFurever
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    I disagree with the idea of eliminating the Best Beta Reader category mainly because I think Inverarity's suggestions are mostly about how the category is judged rather than what the category is actually trying to measure - I think we both would agree that beta readers are very important to fanfiction in general because they help to set a standard for Mugglenet as a whole, and I'd hate to see people who work "behind the scene," so to speak, of almost every award-winning story go completely unrecognized in an award-giving process that currently gives fourteen other awards to authors and three others for fanfiction-related work.

    That being said (and I know we're not supposed to be talking about the judging process itself here, so I'll keep this short and only talk about the part that I believe relates most to whether or not to keep the category), I think it makes more sense to judge the Beta Reader category a little bit differently rather than eliminate it altogether. From what I could see on the comments that were made public, awards were generally based on the "recommendation from the beta'ee" and "looking at their beta thread," both of which I think are great starting points, but I can see why Inverarity would feel like it was "largely based on how enthusiastically authors lavish praise on their betas." In that case, it does seem like the category should be eliminated, but I would rather see the judging process for it changed (I'm not sure if judges this year asked for this, but why not let authors who recommended betas send the judges a sample of their corrected work, for example?) because I think the category is very important...

    ...Not that I'm biased, of course! Anyway, just a few of my thoughts.

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  9. #9
    Fifth Year Hufflepuff
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    I don't think the artist category should be completely done away with; I think they, too, deserve to be recognized, because their skills are amazing. I could see combining the two, because, yes, I agree that bannermaking IS an art - it's graphic art.

    As for the romances - I think the concept of Canon and Non-Canon should be kept, because writing a believable Non-Canon romance is different than writing a Canon one. However, the OC Romance category is, as it has been said, basically a Non-Canon romance anyway. Same-Sex should stay, because writing a same-sex story and making it work is, again, different than writing a het one.

    Best Male/Female could also be condensed. A best character is a best character, and I don't necessarily think gender should matter. Also, there seem to be a LOT more female characters than male characters anyway.

    I'm unsure about Beta Reader and Reviewer. I mean ... I used to be in SPEW, so I'm not saying that reviews don't matter - but I have to COMPLETELY disagree with Inverarity's point about it having nothing to do with writing fanfiction. We've discussed this topic in SPEW before, and being in SPEW, and the SBBC for that matter, has definitely improved my writing. Being able to point out the good and bad points in a fic that you're reading helps you recognize them in your own writing. Also, a GOOD reviewer isn't necessarily the ones that 'make the author happy' - being a good reviewer means being able to give good criticism as well which, while not necessarily 'pleasing' the author, can still be effective.

    A Beta, in the same respect, often does a lot for a writer and their fic. Some betas work really hard, and being a good beta is not always easy.

    But on the other hand ... I also feel like the QSQ should be centered around writers and stories, which would mean getting rid of Beta Reader, Reviewer, Bannermaker, and Artist. Plus, I think no matter how you do it, it's just kind of hard to judge what makes a 'good' beta. In any case, if you were to ask me which categories I would get rid of, those would be my choices.

    And, I still think the characterization award is a good one to consider, even if you didn't split it into major and minor.
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  10. #10
    Amortentia x
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    I guess I'm biased, but personally speaking, I think the Best Beta Reader should be kept - but perhaps approached slightly differently.

    In regards to choosing the 'Best _ Story', while I imagine the judges certainly take the recommendations into account, they're not going to base their decision wholly on what the recommendations say. They're going to read the story as well, aren't they? That way, it can't only be seen as a popularity contest; they'll take the gushing praise into account, but for themselves see which is truly the best story of the category, based on the material in front of them.

    Well, should that not apply to the Beta Reader category as well?

    When it comes to the judging of this particular category, from what I've gathered, it's based on the recommendations, the thread and the stories that have been Beta-ed. However, you don't see exactly what improvements/advice the Beta has contributed to the story. You don't really see the Beta in action - doing what should prove them deserving of the award. I agree that as well as all of the current procedures involved in the process of judging, the Beta should submit a piece they have Beta-ed with their notes and corrections, with the permission of the author, of course.

    Beta-ing, I feel, is an imperative part of writing. I imagine that the majority of winners in the 'Best _ Story' had a hard-working Beta working behind the scenes - someone who deserves to be recognised, really. I know myself that my writing has improved since I began Beta-ing and listened to the advice of other Betas. Renowned writers have had diligent editors on hand, so why should Betas not be recognised for their work in this writing community?

    I was incredibly grateful to receive the award this year and have my hard work recognised, and I'd hate for other amazing Betas to lose that chance.

    /my two knuts.



    *I know I did mention the process of judging, but I just wanted to prove my point *


    ~Emma~

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