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Thread: January Activities 2011

  1. #1
    jenny b

    January Activities 2011

    Our featured author for January is Mere/MerryD!

    Her author’s page can be found 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 January 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

    January Discussion: New Year's Resolutions!

    Because I am at a loss to think of a constructive discussion this month, I thought I'd give you something easy. It doesn't have to have anything to do with the subject of writing unless you have writing resolutions, so just go with it!

    What are your New Year's Resolutions for 2011?

  3. #3
    jenny b

    January Drabble Challenge

    Your drabble must involve baking or cooking of some sort.


    • 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 January 31st.
    • Please post using this format:
      Word Count:
    • As with all activities within the SPEW forum, this challenge is open only to SPEW members.

  4. #4
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
    Kill the Spare
    ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Forever and always in rarepair hell
    Title: Er... don't have one.
    Word Count: 678
    Author's Note: This one sort of got away from me, so I just cut it off about halfway through what I wrote in the vague hope that it has some semblance of an ending.

    With an exhausted sigh, Hannah blew a stray lock of hair from her face as she ploughed through the fifth of endless batches of bread in her near future. The next day was the first of August, which was the busiest business day of the year at the Leaky Cauldron because of its proximity to Hogwarts letters being sent out. Since it would’ve been unfeasible to try to bake enough bread for the day in the morning, she was putting in the extra hours the night before so she could worry about food prep in the morning.

    It was nights like this one that made Hannah wonder what sort of insanity had prompted her to spend every last Knut of her inheritance on this pub, when more often than not she barely made enough to keep the place running and in good repair. Case in point of this was the fact that, had she been able to afford to have one of her staff stay over a few hours, she probably would’ve been done with all of this already.

    Instead, though, she had Tom at the bar, which was far too busy for one person to handle alone, whilst she baked twice her own weight in loaves of bread. And since she hadn’t quite perfected the charm to make the dough rise just right with the charmed yeast, she had to make do with letting it rise on its own, which took nearly an hour per batch. That meant that every time she finished mixing a batch, a previous batch had to be formed into loaves, all while she desperately tried to remember to pull out the bread already in the ovens before it overcooked.

    After what seemed like hours, Hannah’s eyes drifted toward the clock. Half past ten. She’d been at it for over five hours, and she was hardly over two-thirds the way done. The mere thought of it made her stomach churn in a most unpleasant way, especially the knowledge that she had to be back by eight in the morning, if not earlier, to make sure she had enough of everything in stock for the busy day.

    The cooking timer sounded, which signalled that her third to last batch was done baking. With a flick of her wand, she opened the oven door and Levitated the pans one by one to the counter to cool. But as the last of them landed and the new batch made its way in, Hannah’s eyes strayed down to her hands.

    Her nails used to be meticulously cared for and at least adorned by a bit of varnish, but since she’d started working in the kitchen, they’d become plain and nearly all broken. The skin on the pads of her fingers was wrinkled from repeated hand washing, and every tiny crevice was caked with flour and bits of dough.

    When had she become so disgusting? That’s what she was — in her own opinion, at any rate. She was wearing her hair in an unflattering pony tail, which was bound up in a hair net, and her work uniform was a dull, uninspired grey, which she chose because it looked less dirty if she got something on herself while she was working.

    She dared to catch a look at her reflection in the mirror above the hand-washing sink and hardly recognised herself. There were angry smears of purple under her eyes, which told quite a tale of how often she slept well, and the hair that managed to escape her utilitarian coif was welded to her face by sweat, and there were damp patches under her arms and her breasts where she’d perspired in the sauna-like heat of the kitchen. All of this made her wonder how she could possibly have been twenty-two and not forty. She literally looked twice her age.

    The very thought that her life at the Cauldron had only just begun made her forget about the great troughs of dough waiting to be kneaded in favour of sitting on the floor to cry.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws

    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.
    I'm no longer active, but my inbox is always open. I'd love to hear from you!

  5. #5
    I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions. I invaribly end up breaking them and then feel extremely guilty about it.

    This year, though, I can't seem to let go of some "possible" New Year's Resolutions that have entered my brain. I've decided that my problem in the past was that my resolutions were too specific--"I'm going to write a page a day"--or too vague--"I'm going to exercise more this year".

    So, for these niggling thoughts that are begging to be turned into resolutions, I'm going to try to strike a happy balance between too direct and not direct enough, in the hope that I might actually keep them this year.

    <strike>The again, breaking New Year's Resolutions is kind of a tradition in itself . . .</strke>

    Without further ado--

    Mere's New Year's Resolutions 2011

    • Write more
    • Make a point of spending more time with my family
    • Make a point of letting my friends know how much I care about them
    • Read more
    • how do I articulate this last one? I guess what it just boils down to is . . . live more. Feel more, enjoy more, try everything, don't judge.


  6. #6
    Hermoine Jean Granger

    Featured Category [January 2011] - Humour

    More information on The Category Patrolling Project can be found here.

    This month's featured category is "Humour." Link to category.

    A request: When you post the summary, could you please post it in italics instead of in quotes? The reason for the request is that when I try to copy/paste your posts to this thread (I basically click on the 'quote' button and take all the content), the summary doesn't show up as it is in quotes. The thing is, I then have to copy/paste individual summaries and match them up with the links and other information, which leaves a lot of space for error/mismatch of summaries. I'd be grateful if you post the summaries in italics instead, which will work easier for me.

    Post with these details, please:

    PHP Code:
    [B]Name of the Story(with link):[/B
    B]Word Count:[/B]
    B]Warnings(if any):[/B]
    B]Number of chapters(if chaptered. If it is a one-shotthis can be skipped):[/B
    B]Last updated on(applicable only to WIPs):[/B]

  7. #7
    Hermoine Jean Granger
    Like Mere, I generally don't make New Year Resolutions. This has nothing to do with the fact that I feel guilty about breaking them, but has got a lot to do with the fact that I'm just not the kind of person who plans long-term nitty-gritties. I can only micro-manage my short-term goals, and "short-term" generally is no more than three days.

    I'm going to give this a try, though. Let's see, maybe I'll learn to work with long-term goals.

    New Year Resolutions 2011

    a) Start learning a musical instrument. I've wanted to learn an instrument for ages now.
    b) Debate more frequently and work at making my cases more airtight. (Er, to those wondering - I'm a university level debater.)
    c) Read more fiction and review said fiction.
    d) Workout regularly rather than whenever I feel like it.
    e) Eat regularly and try not to binge on chocolate and ice-cream(or chocolate ice-cream).
    f) Update my journal more regularly.
    g) I don't know how to word this right - be... more accepting of other people's opinions? That comes closest, I think.

  8. #8
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
    Kill the Spare
    ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Forever and always in rarepair hell
    Name of the Story: Dead Wands, Wand Shops and Magical Phrasebooks
    Author: Sainyn Swiftfoot
    Rating: 1st/2nd Years
    Word Count: 1412
    Warnings(if any): None
    Summary: Marty Pyttin's wand is broken. It does not work as well as it used to. It does not please him any more. He takes it down to Ollivander's-- who, unfortunately, is dead, decased, ceased to be, and has left his rather incapable assistant, Ollivander Jr. in charge of Britain's best wand shop.

    A mash-up, mix-up and rip-up, er, off of the legendary Monty Python sketches Hungarian Phrasebook, Cheese Shop and Dead Parrot, set in the wizarding world. Irrevocably silly.

    Name of the Story: A Canticle for Bellatrix
    Author: LA Moody
    Rating: 3rd/5th Years
    Word Count: 12720
    Warnings(if any): Alternate Universe, DH Spoilers, Mental Disorders, Mild Profanity, Substance Abuse
    Number of chapters: 3 -- Complete
    A Dark Comedy in Three Acts

    After being hit squarely in the chest by Molly Weasley at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bellatrix Lestrange wakes up lost and bewildered. A victim of the little-understood Beb!tched Curse, she is transported through space and time to the ultimate gated community in a sunny climate. The people around her seem to possess an uncanny knowledge of the world she left behind, but none of them can work magic. Worst of all, she herself seems to be turning into a Squib. As she struggles to find her place among the very people she most despises, Bella slowly realizes that a land which reveres the magical world learns to work it own brand of magic.

    Come join Bella in her voyage of self-discovery and social commentary. The Muggle world may never be the same.

    Name of the Story: Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide to Teaching
    Author: red haired mom
    Rating: 1st/2nd Years
    Word Count: 2631
    Warnings(if any): None
    Summary: Not having any experience teaching, Gilderoy Lockhart was only worried about looking good for his students during class. Making sure they bought all of his books, he had put all of them on the booklist for his class.

    Join in the laughter, as Gilderoy tackles his hardest mission to date… teaching children how to defend themselves.

    Name of the Story: Head and Shoulders of Newt
    Author: ruas
    Rating: 1st/2nd Years
    Word Count: 1117
    Warnings(if any): None
    Summary: Peter Pettigrew has an idea to improve Severus Snape's chances with the girls from 'nonexistent' to 'possible' and solve a long standing problem at the same time. Will it work? Marauders' Era, one shot.

    Name of the Story: The Grim Truth
    Author: CoolCatElly
    Rating: 3rd/5th Years
    Word Count: 2171
    Warnings(if any): Mild Profanity, Substance Abuse
    Number of chapters: 1
    Last updated on: 17 Nov 2010
    Summary: * “My – my Uncle Bilius saw [a grim] and - and he died twenty-four hours later.”
    Bilius Weasley was famous for his raucous parties and scandalous dance moves. His sudden and tragic death was a discussion point for generations of Weasleys, being one of the few wizards to ever have seen the ominous death omen, the Grim, shortly before his death.
    And yet...
    Sometimes things aren’t really the way they seem. Sometimes a small secret can spiral out of control until there’s really nothing left to do but confess – or run.
    This is the story of what really happened to Bilius Weasley.

    *From Page 85 of the UK edition of Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws

    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.
    I'm no longer active, but my inbox is always open. I'd love to hear from you!

  9. #9
    Review for The Breaking Point.

    And now for some questions:

    Which of your stories are you proudest of and why?
    I noticed that a lot of your writing seems to centre around more minor characters and pairings, what draws you to those?
    Is there a particular element of writing (characterisation, plot, style, themes etc) that you find yourself exploring most often in your writing?
    Where do you draw your inspiration from?
    Do you have any particular writing goals?

  10. #10
    Review - also for The Breaking Point (honestly, I just picked the one with the fewest reviews! I didn't realize one of them was Hannah's!)

    I have a few questions, too:

    1. I was really impressed with your voice and tone in The Breaking Point. I haven't read the other stories. Is that your natural voice or do you vary the voice with each story?

    2. Also, as I mentioned in the review, I tend to prefer internal conflict to external conflict. Do you as well, or do you like them equally? Which is easier to write?

    3. How did you come up with your characterisation of Regulus?

    4. Do you write original fiction? If so, is your process for original fiction different from your process for fan fiction? Does fan fiction ever inspire your original fiction or vice versa (if you write original fiction)?

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