I am in no way saying that there are not good reviewers or that reviewing has no validity.
re: beta reading
This year we will accept a sample from each beta nominated. This will make judging the category easier, not harder. Believe me, it was hard to figure out how the category should be judged and there was talk of requesting pieces, but the organization never came together. Rest assured, next year will be different.
Beta reading is a worthy award and should stay, as betas put in immense amounts of work into a story and the best betas work with the authors to make the piece even better.
Maybe I'll be the odd one out here, but personally, I think we should keep the Best Reviewer award (and Best Artist and Bannermaker, even though everyone seems focused on the reviewing) because I think the QSQs should be focused on the boards as a whole, rather than just writing. Sure, I get that they're fanfiction awards, but I think that tends to leave out the valued MNFF members who do not value their writing as much as they value their artwork/ability to leave good reviews. It seems kind of unfair to have these awards solely for the writers, and thus leaving the bannermakers/artists/reviewers unrecognised. After all, MNFF is a community of many talents, not just writing. I understand why people think that having a wider variety of categories makes an individual award less exclusive, but you can hardly compare the award for Best Romance with the award for Best Bannermaker. They're completely different things.
I don't even understand why SPEW has come up at all. SPEW is not an award or an honour - it is a group for people who want to help authors through leaving good reviews. And we don't "only accept the best". We accept people who are dedicated to leaving quality reviews, and people who want to improve on their reviewing skills to be more help for authors. If you think that it's some kind of elitist club, then you are sorely misunderstood. Hannah already clarified that it is not always a SPEWer who wins this particular QSQ - because obviously, there are plenty of reviewers out there who have no desire to be a part of SPEW and they deserve recognition also.Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
/my two cents.
I haven't read all the postings in detail. This is just my take on QSQ. I've been a judge and a recipient, so I'm looking at it from both sides.
First of all, what is the motivation behind QSQ? Encourage people to write, review, beta and produce art? Or to recognize outstanding examples of the same? The two motivations are different, but they have some overlap. If we want recognition then diluting the QSQ by having 18 categories with both winners and runners-up is counter productive. Exclusivity always increases the value of an award. If we think people are motivated to try new things and write better works, the maybe more categories makes sense. I like the idea of encouraging people to write more mystery and history stories by making them their own categories, but I am skeptical that anyone writes a story with the QSQ in mind.
Personally I would continue to have both "Best Story" and "Best Character" awards because they are quite different skills. Stories with great plots may not be blessed with great characterization and vise versa (I'm thinking of Issac Asimov here - great stories, cardboard characterization). I also think that one shots should only be separated out in the General Story category, not in all of them.
I'm a little leery of saying this, but if only two stories are nominated for a category, I think that category should be rolled into another one.
So with that in mind, this would be my take:
Best General Story (Chaptered and One-Shot)
Best Humor Story
Best Romance combine Canon Story, Non-canon Story, Other Character Story, Same-Sex Pairing Story
Best Other Era Combine Marauders' Era Story, Post-Hogwarts Story, History
Best Mystery Story
Best Beta Reader
Best Artist combine with Bannermaking - they are both art, just different media
Best Male Other Character
Best Female Other Character
On combining Artist and Bannermaking (because they're all I have time to comment on): I'm so, so not for that. (See, 'so, so' to stress that... because I've drank a lot of coffee and my vocabulary has run off with sanity.) I'd also like to note that I've just scanned over the suggestion -- pardon me if I'm repeating points already made.
As a bannermaker of several years, and a scribbling-every-now-and-then artist since I could hold a crayon, I can say that there is five worlds of difference between the two categories. To know how to draw you have to know anatomy, to produce a realistic looking 'shell'. Then you have to know the inns and outs of shading, to provide natural shadows. Then knowing how to place facial features, and clothing, and that's just on people. Interior and exterior of buildings; landscapes, and flora, and animals (and JKR's creatures and animals). I don't have to know a gosh darned thing about ANY of that to use it in a banner.
Just as artists don't have to know about how excluding all of your midtones in a banner can throw off the overall appeal, and they don't have to know that red, blue and yellow are not the primary colors on a computer screen; red, blue and green are, because light is affected differently on a computer than it is naturally (thank you Hatusu ). They don't have to know five billion different methods of blending, or what layer modes are. I could go on forever, but I won't, because I've already embarked into ramble land.
My point here is that these two categories are not the same, not at all. The skills, the knowledge, the practice -- there are very, very, very few things that overlap into one another (color theory is the only one I can think of). You can't compare a pineapple and a banana (apples and oranges are boring ) because the way in which they grow is just as different as the final product.
Most importantly, I find honoring our artists and honoring our bannermakers to be very important, and each group should have their fair chance by being compared to their respective peers, and not to a banana.
-returning to lurky lurkdom now-