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Thread: August Activities 2010

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  1. #1
    jenny b
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    August Activities 2010

    Our featured author for August is Sarah/TheCursedQuill!

    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 August 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.

  2. #2
    jenny b
    Guest

    August Drabble Challenge

    Your challenge: Write a scene featuring your favourite character and least favourite character. There must be some interaction between them.
    No cheating with characters, either! You might have to be creative to get them in the same time/place.

    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 August 31st.
    • 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
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
    Earning Points for Sheer Dumb Luck

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    175
    Title: Midnight Snack
    Word Count: 800 Words (yeah)
    Favourite Character: Aberforth Dumbledore
    Least Favourite Character: Nymphadora Tonks
    Ratings and Warnings: 1-2 Years/ Mild Language


    It had been a long night. He was no counselor. No, he only served drinks and preferred simply getting through his day and locking the till. He had taken in a good haul today, especially considering those kids walked round the village all day. Mops danced round the floor, kicking up the dust. Aberforth admitted that he chose not to clean some days, but patrons hardly focused on small details. After the last patrons finally left, a few cackling hags, the tables cleaned themselves and the chairs rose up in one fluid movement. A little tired, he pulled an old rag out of his back pocket and started washing down the bar.

    He lifted his head when the bell rang, announcing a visitor. “We’re closed, fool, can’t you read?”

    He went back to his work, and the door slammed shut. Nobody left. The visitor strolled over and slammed glass bottles on the wet counter. Aberforth only looked up again when one of the bottles shattered on the floor. A mousy haired thin woman looked up at him and rested her head on her arms. She wore a faded travelling cloak and a bored expression. Regulars poured in all the time. She rarely strolled in here these days, especially since this was her station. Telling the girl off might be an option, but he wasn’t angry with her, and she looked like hell.

    Without waiting for a request, Aberforth reached under the counter and grabbed a Butterbeer and a Firewhisky. “What happened to you, kid?”

    “Nothing.” She sounded morose indeed and didn’t reach for either drink.

    Aberforth knew he only had to wait for an answer. He snatched the other three milk bottles and stashed them behind the beer. Realising he had forgotten one of them, he reached up to grab that one. He snatched it off the countertop and shook it. “Chocolate?”

    The girl shrugged, but a hint of a smile touched her lips. She held her hand out and offered him a napkin. “I went to go see Professor Dumbledore, but he wasn’t there, so I slipped into the kitchen and grabbed something for you.”

    Aberforth scoffed and sniffed it. “Biscuits? Really, kid, how old do you think I am?”

    “Old enough.” Tonks grinned when he nibbled on one of them.

    “This doesn’t mean I like you,” he warned her, waving the biscuit in the air. He rapped the drink gently on the edge of the counter and tossed the bottle cap. Tonks chose the Butterbeer and took a swig. “All right, you’ve got me. What the hell do you want?”

    “I just needed someone to talk to,” she said evasively, tracing the marks on the countertop with her finger. She reached inside her pocket, searching for her pouch.

    “I don’t need your money, girl,” he said, waving her Galleons away. “Course, I don’t know how I feel about being your second best when Mr. Brilliant runs off from school.”

    “Who?” she asked, confused. She sounded close to tears, and Aberforth was not one to deal with waterworks.

    “Nobody. Are you going to tell me what’s going on, miss? What’s with your hair? You actually look like a presentable human, not that I’m complaining, mind you. Well, since you’re saying nothing and wasting my air, we’ll look at the usual topics, shall we?” He fished round for some story that he might have glimpsed in the Daily Prophet. Despite what people thought, he could read. Better than most, in fact, seeing as he read in between the lines. He shook the muck off the rag and started counting his till. “Did you hear about that little kid who … oh, never mind.”

    The tears formed out of nowhere. Thankfully, she took deep breaths in an attempt to control herself and glanced at the painting behind him. He could have said he simply didn’t care about her damn problems. With her strange special talent, technically, she could have anyone she wanted. She was really young, after all, and she shouldn’t settle for the first interesting thing that walked through the door.

    “What is it with you fools jumping at his call?” Aberforth threw down his rag and turned back to his midnight snack. “For you, I’m sure it’s awful Remus left to go on this ‘mission’, but let’s face it: he has no clue what’s going on. You know why I don’t go to those damn meetings this time around? I need to sleep at night and you…you don’t think he bit that kid, do you?”

    “No.” Tonks stared at the empty bottle and reached for the stronger one. “But he’s never been in something like this…”

    “And he’s Remus,” added Aberforth, starting on a crispy-edged biscuit. “Trust me, girl. He’s made of stronger stuff than you think.”

  4. #4
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
    Unspeakable
    Kill the Spare
    ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Ganking demons
    Posts
    2,036
    Title: Old Spectres
    Word Count: 799
    Author's Note: My real least favourite character is Dobby, but I couldn't stomach writing him for an entire drabble. Therefore, I defaulted to my second least-fave character.

    Harry wasn’t sure that he could go through with it. McGonagall was standing there, waiting for him to follow her into the Headmaster’s office. All he had to do was put one foot in front of the other. Simple, right?

    Wrong.

    This wasn’t just any meeting. He wasn’t even meeting with McGonagall herself. This would be far, far different. He hadn’t laid eyes on Severus Snape for two years, and even though Harry himself had campaigned to get Snape’s portrait in the office with the rest of the Headmasters, he had never once thought about what he might say should their paths cross.

    And that time was there. That day. That moment. Harry could not help but feel the familiar nervousness that he’d felt as a child when he was around Snape. He had never feared the man as Neville had, but he had been immensely aware of the intense dislike that had emanated from the former Potions master.

    But did Snape still hate him, even after everything that happened? Did he still resent him because of who his father was? Furthermore, was this all just a monumental waste of time? These questions broiled in Harry’s mind as he woodenly followed McGonagall up the winding staircase.

    At the entrance, McGonagall stopped and smiled thinly. “I shall leave you to it, then. If you need me, I will be in Greenhouse Four, reviewing Herbology curriculum with Professor Sprout.”

    As Harry nodded and McGonagall’s form disappeared around a bend in the steps, he felt more alone than he had for a while. This was his last chance to back out, but he knew he wouldn’t. Something inside of him reminded him mercilessly that he owed a lot to Snape, and it would behoove him to make sure he didn’t forget it.

    Finally, Harry opened the door, hoping that the portrait frame would be empty and that he could just leave without completing this transaction. He knew that he had no such luck; Snape was staring right at him. It was unnerving, and Harry closed his eyes to it.

    “Come closer, Potter,” Snape drawled. “Hiding won’t work in this room.”

    When Harry opened his eyes, Snape had moved from his own frame to the one right next to Harry, which belonged to someone who Harry didn’t recognise. He started and backed away from his former foe.

    “I told you that hiding wouldn’t work.” Snape’s face was incredulous, which made Harry feel like he was eleven again. “Sit down.”

    Though there was no earthly way that a mere shadow of a man could make him do so, Harry complied nonetheless. He felt a familiar surge of annoyance when Snape’s lip curled in triumph.

    “Still yourself, I see,” Harry said dryly.

    “Still the impertinent little whelp with delusions of glory,” Snape retorted. “Some people are just incapable of being better.”

    Harry glared at Snape, who had returned to his own frame. “You aren’t even talking about me, are you? You’re still bitter about my dad, and every time you look into my eyes, I can see it.”

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “Oh, don’t I?” Years of venom poured out of Harry. “I was there when you died, remember?”

    “Vividly.”

    “Your last action when you were alive were to look into my eyes. You never cared that I was going to die. You knew that I was going to die. You just hated that your last connection to my mother was going with me. You just wanted to pretend for a little while longer that she ever really cared about you.”

    Once the words left his mouth, Harry wanted to take them back. He hadn’t meant to be so cruel, but he couldn’t stop himself. He really did mean the things that he’d said, even if the method of delivery was bad. Snape had spent over a decade trying to keep him safe, and this was the thanks he got.

    Snape said nothing in response to Harry’s jibe, as if it had been what he’d expected. That disappointed Harry a little, because he wanted Snape to think that he was a good man, worthy of the protection that had ultimately cost his mother her life. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled.

    “Sorry for what, Potter? Sorry for saying what you really think?” Snape rolled his eyes. “So long as I am afforded the same courtesy, I don’t care.”

    Harry crossed his arms and leant back in his chair. “Let’s have it, then.”

    “You’re arrogant, pretentious, nosy, and dim. Your father was of the same ilk, much to your discredit.”

    With a shake of his head, Harry turned away. It was old hat for him, listening to Snape’s bile. However, his counterpart wasn’t done speaking.

    “But you walked into your death a man, and your mother would have been proud of you.”

    Mouth hanging open, Harry didn’t respond for several seconds. When he did, all he could muster was, “She was.”

    Something released inside of Harry, almost like a Patronus, and most definitely like the feeling he got in the Forest when he went to meet Voldemort. All that pent-up bitterness toward Snape was gone, and every traumatic minute that he had spent inside himself after the War left him. It was that memory of his parents, Sirius, and Remus, walking along with him to meet his fate, like nothing else could touch him then.

    With a renewed sense of calm, Harry sat and chatted with Snape on a variety of subjects far into the night. There was a newfound respect between the two, and though old spectres truly never really die, they do give way here and there if they’re asked to step aside.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.


  5. #5
    TheCursedQuill
    Guest
    Title: A Life Changing Talk
    Word Count: 561
    Favourite Character: Ron Weasley
    Least Favourite Character: Percy Weasley
    Ratings and Warnings: 1-2 Years

    “Come in,” Ron replied to the knock at his door. He looked up to see Percy walk into his attic bedroom.

    “Do you have a moment, Ron?” He asked. No, he really didn’t have a moment, as Percy should clearly have been able to tell since Ron was right in the middle of reading his favourite comic. He let out a small sigh however, and closed his book.

    “Sure. What for?”

    “I wanted to discuss your future,” Percy explained while taking a seat beside Ron on his bed. Ron gave his brother a quizzical look that very subtly said, “Have you gone mad?”

    “You’re going off to Hogwarts this year, and I want to make sure you understand where your priorities should lie. Being away from home for the first time could make someone… irrational. When Fred and George first got there it was near mayhem in the Tower before they realised Professor McGonagall can be just as bad as mum. What I’m saying is, I don’t want to see my little brother go down the drain like they have. Why, look at me, I’m a prefect! And you should strive to be one too…”

    Oh Merlin, why is he doing this to me? Ron thought. It’s not like he wasn’t scared enough as it was going to Hogwarts, but now Percy had to come in and remind him of all of the expectations everyone had from him. Blimey, it was enough to make a boy mad!

    Ron sat there and stared as Percy went on and on about “keeping his mind on his education” and “striving to be brilliant” and “not to get caught up in silly little things such as Quidditch”.

    “Wait a minute, Percy,” Ron interrupted. Percy looked taken aback at his brother’s disruption, but let him continue. “You can’t really believe that Quidditch is silly.”

    “Ronald, you can’t make a living off of Quidditch.”

    “Of course you can! Imagine how wicked it’d be to play with the Chudley Cannons! And Charlie could have done it! We all know how good he was, it was right stupid of him if you ask me to want to be around those fire-breathing things.”

    “Charlie made an excellent decision and I think you could learn from him. You need to put your mind on bigger things, like me! I plan to be become Minister for Magic one day…”

    What does he know? Quidditch is brilliant… and I’ll be brilliant! Ron started to daydream about flying hundreds of metres in the air, surrounded by screaming fans. His dream self waved out to the crowds, his shiny Captains badge glimmering in the autumn sunlight.

    “Ron, are you listening to me?”
    Ron looked at Percy in confusion; he had forgotten he was there!

    “Yeah, of course, I fully agree with you Percy, and I promise to set my mind high and achieve my goals,” Ron lied as he pushed his brother off his bed and out the door. “Thanks for that talk, I think it really changed my life!” And with that, he shut his door.

    Percy was probably gloating to himself thinking Ron was telling the truth. But what did Percy really expect from him? It wasn’t like he’d save the world one day.

    Ron went back to his bed and opened up his comic, still dreaming about becoming a professional Quidditch player.

  6. #6
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
    Filch is a Squib!
    Russia Snow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    I find myself in Wonderland...
    Posts
    517
    Title: Woah, woah, woah that's creepy.
    Word Count: 375
    Favourite Character: Dominique
    Least Favourite Character: Snape
    Ratings and Warnings: 1st-2nd years/None
    A/N: I'm too lazy to get this beta'd.

    “You, missy, are a nasty cheater and I will NOT have you in my school!”

    Dominique looked up, astonished to see a tall, greasy haired man standing in front of her.

    “Who are you? What school? I’m not in school...”

    The man in front of her narrowed his eyes.

    “That’s two weeks detention, Miss Weasley!”

    Dominique’s eyes widened, two weeks detention? For what? From whom? Who was this man standing before her threatening her?

    “Wh... but...”

    “There will be no buts in my classroom! Get out!”

    “I don’t understand!” I’m not IN a classroom!”

    The darkness around Dominique swirled, and solid stone walls formed. She tried to take a step forward and bashed her knee hard against a wooden desk that had materialised in front of her.

    Dominique didn’t understand what was happening, she could have sworn she wasn’t in a classroom, and yet here she was in a dark dungeon room surrounded by desks. As she looked more closely, people appeared behind the desks, shimmering into view. The harder she looked the more people she became aware of.

    The tall man with long, black greasy hair and a hooked nose who stood in front of her, seemed to be getting angrier and angrier. She couldn't for the life of her remember what she had done to deserve being sent out. She assumed this man was her professor, and that she was in potions class, and yet she had no memory of ever having been taught by this man before.

    “INSOLENT GIRL!” The professor suddenly shouted at her. He raised his hand as if to hit her, Dominique flinched, awaiting the heavy blow. But it never came. Instead, the forbidding teacher commenced to poking her, gently in the arm.

    “Why are you poking me?”

    “Because you just yelled “Don’t hit me!” and now the entire potions class thinks you’ve gone loopy that’s why.”

    The harsh voice was morphing into a friendlier, softer voice, though still male. Dominique frowned and the dungeon began to swim around her, only to re-appear seconds later as her eyes flicked open and she sat bolt upright in her seat, nearly causing Jordan to fall off his.

    Dominique’s face reddened as she realised the entire potions class was staring at her.
    I'm dreaming the hardest.

    Thank you Nadia/majestic_ginny! <3
    Being FEARLESS isn't about not having fears, it's about living in spite of them.

  7. #7
    Sixth Year Gryffindor
    Voldemort's on the Back of Your Head, Professor

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Mars
    Posts
    417
    Title: Untitled
    Word Count: 329
    Favourite Character: Regulus
    Least Favourite Character: Narcissa
    Ratings and Warnings: 1st-2nd years/None
    A/N: No time for a beta, as I am past my cerfew writing this. Which is why it is so bad. And I imagines Reg as about 8 or so.




    Regulus sat quietly at the dinner table as his older relatives talked. His family and cousins, Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Andromeda, along with their parents, were over for dinner.

    The adults were speaking vaguely about something, but he paid them no attention; he was too focused on one of his cousins. Narcissa was sipping water from her glass, looking at her empty plate. She, like everyone else, just finished eating. She looked up when her parents stopped talking.

    “Why don’t you five go into the other room,” Regulus’s mum said.

    Sirius stopped playing with his food to look up. “Why?”

    “Because we need to talk.” His father’s voice was beginning to sound strict. He never liked being questioned in public.

    Sirius got up and walked away, not showing any emotion.

    Andromeda and Narcissa both stood up, not caring about being excluded from the conversation. But Regulus looked at his parents, and Bella at hers, both wondering what they were talking about. She was the first to say something.

    “Can I stay?”

    Although she was older, he knew that she wouldn’t be allowed to. Her parents wouldn’t let her. One look from her father told her that, and she left the room. Sensing that he was about to get in trouble, Regulus quickly left also.

    He heard a door shut up stairs, and he knew that Sirius was in his room. There was no point in trying to talk to him.

    His cousins would be in the only place left – the parlor. But only Narcissa was there.

    “Hello.” The chair she was on was too big for her small body.

    “Hi.” Regulus never liked talking to his cousin; she was never interesting to talk to.

    Instead of speaking again, she craned her neck to see who was walking toward them.

    It was Bellatrix.

    “Move, Cissy.” Bella always liked having the best seat, and her sister was sitting in it.

    Regulus smiled. “So, Bella, how’s everything been?”

    “Just fine, Reggie, just fine.”
    ily Andi, Lise, Ronnie, and Becca.

    Banner by Bine/Luinrina. Lise/Annalise made my fun-to-look-at avvie. I've been ghosted!

  8. #8
    jenny b
    Guest

    August Discussion: Review Your Own Fic

    This was suggested to me by Jess, and I thought it was a fantastic idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    I was thinking about my own work and how I feel about it the other day when that meme was circulating around LJ, telling us whose style our writing resembles. That gave me the idea for a monthly activity: reviewing one of our own fics. Sure we probably shouldn't post them on the archives as proper reviews, but it will give us all a chance to look at our work objectively and not with that 'argh, I wrote this and it sucks, no matter what anyone says'.

    Personally, I have a lot of trouble accepting my work as 'good' or 'above average' or anything but 'well, so and so could have done it better'. I think many others probably see their own work the same way. Perhaps this could be a healthy exercise in seeing the good in our own work, plus give us a reason to tell a SPEWer (even ourselves) job well done.
    Pretty simple; just choose one of your own fics and write a review for it.

    (I promise next month we'll go back to actual discussions instead of the random reviewing activites that these have become.)

  9. #9
    h_vic
    Guest
    Review for A Fitting Memorial

    I think this is one of the better stories that I have written, both in terms of characterisation and plot, partly because I stepped out of my comfort zone with both and was a little adventurous.

    I tend to rather neglect plot a lot of the time – a lot of what I write probably falls more into the categories of introspective character studies or snapshots, neither of which require a great deal of plot, but I think I wound a lot more plot into this fic. I also do think that in some ways the device I used of telling the story through the pockets in time of the once a year memorial worked well and allowed me to span a number of years quite easily, which was what I intended with it. The pitfall of that, however, is that I think the start of some of the scenes does perhaps read a little too much like a summary of the past year, and perhaps I could have woven the relevant information a little more subtly through the scene. I think perhaps there is a similarly unfortunate summary/list feel to the recount in the first scene of who is in the pub, and again perhaps there was a more elegant way I might have handled that.

    In Michael Corner and Lisa Turpin, I choose two characters with little or no canon guidance as too their characters, which is often a harder choice to make them feel believable and most of all to get the reader to care about them and what happens to them. I hope I succeed at least partially in that.

    I'm quite proud of Michael's characterisation, because I really wanted him to be acting like a selfish idiot so that the reader wants to shake him, but at the same time I wanted to show the root of his behaviour in how messed up he is and create a certain amount of sympathy for him, and I think perhaps I did get some at least of the emotional complexity and ambivalence of both him and his situation across.

    Lisa's characterisation, I think, I didn't do such a good job with, because I'm not sure much of her character shines through at all. I'm a little concerned that she comes across as more a character-as-plot-device than a well-developed character in her own right, because I'm not sure I ever really show who she is rather than just the role she plays in the fic. I think the story might benefit from better development of her character.

    There are a couple of repeating ideas through the fic like the frequent refrain that Lisa was Terry's girl, which I rather like and I think keep the fairly disparate scenes tied together.

    I think my favourite scenes are probably the second one and third ones (9 May 1999 and 9 May 2000), because they are emotionally messy, and the reader really gets to see how screwed up Michael and Lisa are (because the state of Michael, and Lisa's absence, in the first scene could be put down to grief and shock in the immediate aftermath, but here the world is moving on and they are still stuck in something so self-destructive). I think perhaps too those are the scenes with the strongest characterisation of Lisa and a firm setting in terms of time and place (I like the details of the London setting and the reference to the millennium to make everything feel a little more real). Those scenes also contain a couple of my favourite lines:

    But there were no words, so Michael viewed it as silence, because surely to a Ravenclaw, words were all that mattered after all.

    and,

    There was weight in the words the way that there'd never been between them. There'd been so few words between them really, because they were Ravenclaws and words meant something, and this had to mean nothing. She was Terry's girl after all.

    I was proud of this concept about words and how they mattered, because I though it was a nice nod to keeping the pair of them identifiably Ravenclaw and not just any old character, and I though it was a rather interesting idea that I might be tempted to develop more at some stage.
    *50characterspamdance*

  10. #10
    Sixth Year Hufflepuff
    Seeking Keys
    inspirations's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    in a book <33
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    A review for the first chapter of Weakness, with references to others chapters despite them not being up yet

    Out of all the fics I’ve kept up on my author’s page, this is perhaps my least favourite, and the one I’m proudest of at the same time. I love it, because it’s the first story I have that’s surpasses 10,000 words. At the same time, however much I edit this one, I think I’ll always be disappointed with it.

    Second person is one of my favourite voices to write in, so naturally I wanted to have a go at something longer in that tone. I’m still not sure that was a good decision, but it would take too long to comb through and change it all now. As much as I love second person, I do think it’s a little too much in this story – too many ‘yous’. I’ve tried to moderate them, and to a degree succeeded, but for me it’s still more repetitive and detached than I’d like.

    Saying that, though, I do like the opening scene in this story, and I do like the second-person perspective represented there. It gives me more of a sense of the Dark Lord through Bella’s eyes, while at the same time I could have fun describing his majestic-ness and getting a fairly good balance on those ‘yous’. In fact, I do like the way I’ve characterised Voldemort, though I accept that my interpretation is probably not to everyone’s taste. Particularly the way he talks – I’m not sure I ever wrote a scene with Voldemort before this one, and it was a nice challenge trying to capture a snapshot of him.

    Another thing, again in regards to characterisation, I like is the house-elf/Bellatrix dynamic. The way the elf reacts around her was meant to convey a shadow of the fear that she conjures in people years later, and I like the way it works out, especially combined with Bella’s dismissive attitude. However, I’m not so keen on the rest of the chapter. It makes me sad, because I do think I’m good at the beginnings of stories, but not the bit that comes next.

    The Rodolphus part is maybe a little too stunted in places. Like where the conversation dries up, I don’t think I should’ve included that detail looking back. It would flow so much more smoothly if I’d just left that bit out – for one thing, because the detail seems kind of unnecessary, and as said in one the reviews slightly OOC for Bella. However, I wouldn’t change this scene too much, because the Rodolphus-Bellatrix relationship is necessary for later scenes, and I don’t think I’ve done too bad a job introducing it here.

    However, the Narcissa/Bellatrix part at the end I can’t help cringing at slightly. I wanted to include the Lucius/Narcissa subplot because the Blacks would approve of such a marriage, and I wanted to show there could be a love match. Based on the Malfoys’ behaviour in book 7 I do believe their love is very genuine. I’m not sure whether Narcissa would’ve been so frank with Bellatrix, though, who would perhaps be quick to ridicule... Maybe it would be better to have cut this scene out, but it is the only inclusion of the sister’s dynamics, really, and the only real discussion of Lucius between them. Since I don’t want to drop the subplot because of what it represents to me, I think there needs to be some representation of the sister’s characters because of it. And this is what this scene does, even if I could’ve done a better job of it.

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