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Thread: February Activities 2011

  1. #1
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    February Activities 2011

    Title: Into the Dawn
    Word Count: 325
    Author's Note: I never realised how dependent I was on relationship dynamics in my writing until I had to write the absence of them. I still think she might have a relationship with her need to prove herself, but I purposely omitted my OC love interest for Jocunda.

    Jocunda Sykes picked up her broom almost reverently. It was the night before the big day — the day she would cross the Atlantic Ocean on a broomstick. No one had ever done it before, and no one thought it could be done, but history’s greatest never stopped and listened to everyone telling them what they couldn’t do.

    And that was what she was aiming for. All her life, she had been told ‘no’. ‘No, you can’t play Quidditch professionally; you’re a woman’. ‘No, we can’t offer you a position in the Department of Magical Games and Sports; you don’t have the ancestral pedigree for such a prestigious career’. But just once, she’d like to take those words of discouragement and stuff them right back into their faces.

    It was with that thought that Jocunda meticulously trimmed every miniscule splinter from the tail of her broom and reverently polished the shaft to a fine lustre. They would all see what she could do, and they would see her and her Shooting Star at their best.



    When Jocunda arrived in Ballycastle, which was to serve as her starting point, the only people there to see her journey begin were a handful of the Bats’ fans, a representative from Shooting Star Brooms Incorporated, and the society reporter from the Prophet. She would’ve laughed if it hadn’t felt like such a slap in the face. They couldn’t even be bothered to send a sports reporter for the day.

    That didn’t leave many other alternatives than to simply mount her broom and take off. Right then was as good a time as any, since no one seemed particularly bothered by the fact that she hadn’t stopped to talk to anyone.

    Prove them wrong, she thought to herself. Let history be made by a poor little Mudblood girl from Leeds. This gave her an extra push in her kickoff, and her broom vaulted into the air and into the fresh dawn.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



    Gorgeous banner by Dinny / Evora.


  2. #2
    jenny b
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    Featured Author for February

    Our featured author for February is Vorona!

    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 November 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.

  3. #3
    jenny b
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    February Discussion: Influences on Your Writing

    This month we're going to talk about people/works that have an influence on how you write - writers learn how to write well through reading, and I know most of us here are avid readers. Do you think you emulate a certain writer's style when writing? When writing fanfiction, does JKR's style influence you more than when you're writing OF (if you do)? Are there other fanfiction writers whose style you admire and would love to try someday?

    Just basic questions to start you off, feel free to answer all of them or none at all.

  4. #4
    jenny b
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    February Drabble Challenge

    Since I'm sure you're all sick of writing sickeningly sweet love stories for our current story exchange, this February we are having nothing like that for our drabble challenge.

    Write a drabble that is character-centric and doesn't focus on love or relationships of any type - romantic, platonic, or sexual.

    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 January 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.

  5. #5
    Vorona
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    I've learned through a lot of my non-fiction writing, that I do have a distinct voice when writing. I think there are times when it is too distinct. Right now, I'm reading a lot of Kim Harrison and certain types of magic cause the magic user's aura to get black added onto it, and her character, Rachel, always refers to this as the "smut" on her aura. It wouldn't bother me, except that all the other characters *also* refer to it as "smut" -- never anything else. It makes the characterization feel weak because the narrative voice is too loud, if that makes sense (i.e. it's Kim Harrison, not Rachel, who is thinking of it as smut, and hasn't really figured out what the various individual characters would call it). I think I do the same thing. I know, for example, that I use the expression "she managed to . . . " way more often than I should. There are probably also other words I overuse when I write.

    This is a tricky way in, but basically, the end result is that no, I don't try to emulate a writer's style, but I do try to emulate characteristics of the characters. I've been told that my Snape is very like to the canon Snape, and I think it comes down to me being able to successfully mimic his voice, rather than through the actions or words he actually does/says (although those probably play a part, as well). The one story that I did write from a more third person, close to Harry, was trying to mimic JKR a little, but that was because it was the same main character and same point of view. Since I write a lot of Snape, and since there aren't any examples of JKR's writing from Snape's point of view, I base it less on her writing style in general, and more on just the bits we have of Snape's actual dialogue and mannerisms.

    Finally, though, I do think I absorb the writers I read, and that when I read a lot of one author, it's likely that my own writing will sound more like that author's than it normally might. That's one of the reasons that I tend not to read as much fiction while I'm writing (although the bigger reason is that if I have time to write, I don't usually have time to read), and if I do, I pick novels that are not similar to what I'm writing. On the other hand, I've found it's great to read similar novels after I've finished the novel because it helps enormously with the revision (when I'm less interested in voice and more interested in what works plot-wise and character-wise).

    In the end, though, I try to have a fairly transparent, or at least transformative, style or voice, with highly unique character voices. I want to be able to write a lot of different types of story, and I feel that if my personal style or voice became too distinct, it would be harder to do that. Similarly, I don't see any need to emulate another writer's voice. That's their voice. I'm terribly envious of Patricia McKillip, but I don't really want to write like her. I used to, but not anymore.

  6. #6
    h_vic
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    Review for Damage Control.

    Hmm, I'm feeling a bit uninspired with questions; I'll pop back later with some.

  7. #7
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
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    Hmm…interesting topic. I’m not quite sure what influences me when I write, which is why I was drawn to this discussion, to give me a chance to think about it. I’m not altogether sure that I really have a style as such. I tend to just write without giving it a great deal of thought. Probably someone reading my writing would be a lot better at telling me my style than I can.

    I don’t write OF so my experiences are very much limited to HP fanfic. I don’t try and emulate JKR exactly, but since all the fanfic I’ve written is very much rooted in canon, often focusing on missing moments, or attempting to elaborate on single lines from a book, then I suppose it’s only natural that I am influenced by her voice and probably try to follow a similar. Often one of the highest compliments I see given to fanfic authors is that a story reads as if JKR herself wrote it, or that it should be canon, so obviously in terms of fanfic, being able to write in a similar style is a good skill that will earn you recognition, though I think it’s important to keep hold of your own voice and your own writing style, something which a lot of fanfic writers do very well.

    This is a tricky way in, but basically, the end result is that no, I don't try to emulate a writer's style, but I do try to emulate characteristics of the characters.
    Ooh, I love that distinction. And I think I would probably say something similar. I don’t try and ‘be’ JKR when I’m writing, but I do try and voice her characters in the same way. Characterisation is one of the hardest things to get right in fanfic and unless you really know and understand JKR’s writing style then it’s nearly impossible to truly voice her characters.

    Do you think you emulate a certain writer's style when writing
    It’s not something I would do consciously but I know that I have a habit of picking up speech patterns from other people and I wouldn't be surprised if I pick up writing patterns as well. I sometimes think my style is quite boring, and gets bogged down in narrative rather than action, something I have to be quite careful to avoid now when I write.

    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.

  8. #8
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    My review for "The Logic Problem."

    Questions:

    Is Snape an easy character for you to write? Why?

    Your characterization of Snape was really impressive. Do you have a certain technique for writing him?

    The premises for your stories vary greatly. What inspires you to begin writing a fic?

    Thank you to Hokey for the beautiful banner. And thank you to everyone who nominated and judged --I'm so grateful to you <3.

  9. #9
    Kerichi
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    Title: Lily Go Round
    Word Count: 614
    A/N: Since I’ve been writing Lily in my Scorpius/Rose stories, I’ve wanted to give her the chance to take centre stage. I have to wait until I complete my WIP to give Lily the longer, complex story she deserves, but until I can concentrate on finishing Lily Go Lightly, I’m glad I had the excuse to write Lily Go Round.


    Lily had been home less than a day and already she was bored and restless. She’d slept until noon, eaten strawberry crepes in bed, taken a bubble bath, and then leisurely painted her nails. As she waited for the rainbow-hued Fire Crab varnish to dry, the thought of a summer spent lazing around and hanging out with friends didn’t appeal the way it had when she’d grimly slogged through end of term exams.

    She wanted to do something—something bold like Rose, who ran off with Scorpius Malfoy someplace wildly romantic. Lily didn’t envy Rose her boyfriend. She wasn’t ready for a true love, together forever kind of relationship. It was her cousin’s determination she envied, the boldness to do what made her happy despite what anyone else might say.

    Could Lily be that bold?

    In the storage drawer beneath the ebony framed mirror of her French dressing table was a business card representing a man and a question she couldn’t get out of her mind: Have you ever considered modelling?

    She hadn’t, until Easter holiday, when shopping in Diagon Alley. Lily went into Siren’s Secrets to try a new perfume of berry-sweetness with sophisticated floral scents and to browse through the spring items in the Hot Pink collection. While she was trying to decide between a solid pink bra and one with pink zebra stripes, a black suited sales associate approached to tell her a company executive would like to speak with her in the manager’s office.

    ~

    The executive was Blaise Zabini. Tall, dark, and elegant in business robes, he introduced himself and said he’d seen her through the shop window. “Customers with red hair don’t usually gravitate to pink. Why did you?”

    “I can wear anything.”

    Blaise smiled, and Lily could see why he stayed on the Witch Weekly Most Eligible Bachelor list every year even though he was as old as her dad. “I believe you,” he said. “Have you ever considered modelling?”

    “No.” She wasn’t ultra thin and tall.

    He handed her his card. “You’d be perfect to represent our Hot Pink line.”

    Pictures of her in knickers splashed across magazines and shop walls? Her parents would have kittens, and she didn’t even want to imagine what the rest of the family would say. “Because I’m Lily Potter?” she asked. It wouldn’t be the first time someone was more interested in who she was related to rather than in her as a person. Photographers sold her picture to the newspapers on a regular basis and the captions always read “Harry Potter’s daughter”.

    “No, and I’d drop the ‘Potter’. It lacks style. We’d promote you as Lily Luna.”

    That did have a lovely ring to it.

    Blaise said, “Think it over. I don’t need a decision right away, and we’d have to schedule shoots around your holidays, of course.” He shook her hand and his gaze fell on the item she’d carried with her. “Excellent choice,” he said.

    ~

    Lily took off her robe and gazed at her reflection in the dressing table mirror. The pink zebra striped bra supported her curves and looked amazing next to her creamy skin. If other women agreed and went out and bought zebra striped bras of their own, would that be so awful? And if she made loads of Galleons, enough to be independent and do what she wanted despite what anyone else might say, would that make her a horrible, ungrateful daughter?

    She pulled the drawer open and took out the business card. Whether or not anyone considered it an “excellent” choice, she was of age and it was her choice to make. Hers alone. Lily Potter.

    Her reflection grinned.

    Lily Luna.






















  10. #10
    Vorona
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    Is Snape an easy character for you to write? Why?

    Snape is an amazingly easy character for me to write. I'm not really sure why. I guess I can just see myself in his situation: people are always misunderstanding me. They don't think I'm evil, per se (although one group of "friends" did), but they just don't get me. And I also have a penchant for speaking for the guilty or the accused. I tend to play Devil's Advocate a lot, even if it really is the devil I'm defending.

    Your characterization of Snape was really impressive. Do you have a certain technique for writing him?

    Thank you! The only technique I really have is that I pay attention to his dialogue and actions. And I try to get inside his head, to figure out what he's really thinking of a given situation. I've been wrong: at the end of HBP, I was *convinced* that he was too intelligent to have ever truly been a member of the Death Eaters for very long -- too intelligent and too prideful. Even now, I (*blasphemy!*) think my Snape is more realistic than Rowling's, because he just seems to have had much better reasons for leaving them than a girl he liked who shunned him for his worst enemy. It's not that I'm cynical about love, really, it's just more that I thought he was better than that and didn't *need* love to get himself out. It could be a nice bonus, but not the sole determination of his actions. Anyway, I spend a lot of time just thinking about him: what he thinks, how he acts, what his motivations are, why he's a teacher, why he's such a jerk sometimes, and so on. I look beneath the surface, and then what comes out on the page springs from that.

    The premises for your stories vary greatly. What inspires you to begin writing a fic?

    Well, when I first heard of fan fiction, I assumed that the only fanfiction I'd ever write would be basically original fiction with Rowling's rules. I thought that could be a lot of fun. But then, I was thinking about Snape, and I had this essay all written out when it suddenly occurred to me that the essay would actually work much better as a story, where I could actually *show* the readers what I meant, rather than just talking about it. I also get inspired by what I see are injustices in the book. Like the thought of being ordered to kill the only person who's ever stood by him BY that same person: that's powerful, raw, emotional stuff right there. Or Percy -- I think Percy has a really bad rap in the series. I really dislike how Rowling makes all the "unlikeable" characters also end up being, if not completely evil, at least partially evil. You can have Percy's admiration for order and rules without becoming a Ministry toady, and I was disappointed to learn that my thought of him playing the "Ministry game" for Dumbledore proved to be false. Basically, I tend to get inspired by theories or events that I feel I need to address somehow. Just like my first story, a lot of my stories are illustrations of essay ideas I've had. You reviewed "The Logic Problem" -- the point of that story was to show that 1) Hermione might have had other reasons for wanting Harry to avoid the Prince book: in the past, she hasn't had any problems using dangerous or unfamiliar spells herself, so it seemed a little out of character to me (although I can see the other side of it, too), and that 2) Snape is very acidic but he's not always unfair or a bad teacher. We know that Hermione has top marks in all her classes -- if she was getting Ds and Ts in Potions, we'd know about it. So, he must be giving her her due, even if he's unfair to Harry. He's mean and nasty in his *comments*, but apparently not in his actual grades (except in the case of Harry, and probably Malfoy -- on the other end of the fairness scale). So, again, they're often vehicles for arguments.

    Thanks for the questions!

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