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Thread: September Activities 2011

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

    I have a special mission for SPEW this month, and it's a bit different than anything we've done before. Actually, it may be radically different. But I think this is one of the best activities I've concocted to date.

    What task do I have for you? I charge you to visit The Three Broomsticks forum and review/comment on THREE drabbles.

    What is this, you say?

    You heard me. Visit TTB and give SPEW quality feedback to three different authors who have posted drabbles in their threads at some point in the past three months. I'm not asking for a SPEW length review by any means, as there truly may not be that much to be said about a drabble, but something in the 200-400 word range would be lovely. I still expect the three standard dimensions of SPEW reviewing — Tone, Organisation, and Reasoning — to be present, but at less length.

    There is a beautiful silver lining for this activity. If you do complete at least three drabble reviews, you may use that as one of your monthly reviews BESIDES your review replacement. Theoretically, you can turn in only one full-length SPEW review for the month, three drabble reviews, one review replacement, and this would count as your monthly activity. These drabble reviews will not be scored by the RAC, but I will be checking to make sure the drabble reviews are of adequate quality.

    Why am I making this a potentially easy month for you? Well, to be honest, this month, with QSQ judging for most of us and school firing back up, it will be maniacally busy. Your benevolent ruler realises that easing up on your workload would be beneficial to everyone.

    But more than that, this is about the authors of The Three Broomsticks. As most of you know, a lot of authors get their start in drabbling, stretching their writing legs in a forum that doesn't reject for OOC or SPaG. It's a great opportunity to get feedback. But so often, drabbles go without comments, and that just won't do. With the recent release of the final Potter film, many new writers have descended upon the fandom's leading fan fic sites, including ours. Hopefully, we can find a way to help them along a bit.

    Of course, there are rules. Besides the regular SPEW rules governing etiquette, proper grammar/spelling, and all that, there are some specific to this activity. While different SPEWers may comment on the same author, they may not comment on the same drabble. A SPEWer may not comment on the same author twice, as the idea is to spread tidings of good cheer and all that throughout the TTB forum.

    If you do choose to participate and wish to use this as a review replacement, please post the required number of links to your drabble reviews in one post in this thread and link that post in the monthly thread. You may reply multiple times to this thread for discussion, but please keep your review links in only one post. And, as usual, please ask and answer one TQ (topic question) for this to count as a monthly activity or a review replacement.

    I'll get started with a TQ:

    What do you find the most challenging about reviewing shorter pieces as compared to longer ones? Are there advantages?
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  2. #2
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    September SPEW Buddies Sign-Ups

    You know the drill. Post in this thread to requisition a SPEW buddy for the month of September. Sign-ups close by the end of the day on the 10th.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  3. #3
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    September Monthly Discussion: Oh, My Muggle!

    We've all seen it and possibly done it — inserting Muggle objects, phrases, and references into Harry Potter fan fiction. My question to you is:

    How much is too much?

    How much different are wizards from Muggles?

    As usual, please ask and answer one topic question (TQ), and multiple discussion posts are heavily encouraged.

    Discuss!
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  4. #4
    Kerichi
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    I enjoy reviewing poems, so it isn't the shorter length I find challenging. I have the suspicion most drabbles aren't revised much before posting. My challenge was to rein in my inner beta. Truthfully, the only advantage of reviewing drabbles is that I (probably) won't be told my reviews are too short. My TQ:

    If you were asked if you'd like a permanent option to replace a regular review with the reviews of three drabbles, would you say yes or no?

    Review of MadEyeMaddie’s drabble No-Show
    Review of mzap’s drabble The Crown of Ravenclaw
    Review of drabble Rose by iMusic17

  5. #5
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    I’m incredibly guilty of this, though have tried to explain it in the text.

    How much is too much?

    Without explanation of how the wizard/ witch has heard of it, too much. In a discussion in the Library Neil/ Northumbrian mentioned he read a story about Ginny listening to Justin Bieber. Apart from the fact Ginny would be in her twenties when he first started and therefore probably see through him, that was just wrong.

    But an OC of mine likes Muggle music, because I have Ted Tonks liking it and she knew him whilst she grew up, as well as then dating a half-blood who had a Muggle parent interested in music.

    Lucy Carter-Malfoy is a Muggle/ Squib. If the Malfoys hadn’t abandoned her, then she probably would not have read The Tempest, Hedda Gabler and the other books I talk about (I think there are more...) or listened to The Doors or Nick Drake and how could I have written Bryter Later etc without that?

    Another problem is that MNFF is a global website and I’m sure that most of my jokes and references are very British references, although even some of those not everyone British seems to get. Like in a story I’m writing I reference Coutts’ bank. I hadn’t heard of Coutts bank until a few years ago when someone I babysat for gave me a cheque from them and when my mum saw it she told me that you had to have ‘real’ money to have an account there.

    I am also trying to write a story set in the 1950s at the moment, and am worried that Muggle phrases don’t fit. I’m using the tenuous excuse that Muggle words came from wizarding vocab/ phrases- since wizards do seem to be ahead of Muggles re- sexism/ racism (of colour I mean rather than heritage).

    That may be tenuous. I also have a character quote an Arctic Monkeys song before that song was actually written--actually two cases. In one I am tenuously asserting that Alex Turner happened to be in the same bar at the same time my character mentions it and he stole it for his own usage, and the other Alex Turner was in the same bar when two lesbians told the story of how they met and stole the chat up line used. Bah, it makes sense in my head.

    How much different are wizards from Muggles?


    Just reading the Pottermore update on McGonagall via hp wiki (I couldn’t help myself!) I saw that they’d quoted her as saying about the Dursleys (this is not a spolier, unless you haven’t read PS which I’m assuming we all have) “They really are the worst kind of Muggles, aren’t they?” which might be going a bit far, is still kind of true as in their is a small mindedness about them that is just infuriating.

    They are still people. Well, Petunia and Vernon aren’t people, but they are a vision of a very specific and possibly very British type of suburbia that makes me want to run and scream on the blissfully few occasions I’ve come into contact with it. If they were too different then we would not like the Harry Potter books. It’s because they create this alternative world realistically as well as grounding it in realistic and sympathetic characters that makes them such good books.

    I think this does go for all fantasy- as long as the psychological truth is real, the writer can have as many dragons and monsters as he/ she wants.

    So here’s my TQ:

    When you read a ‘Muggle’ reference that you don’t recognise, does it spoil your enjoyment of the story? What factors affect whether it will or won’t spoil the story?

    That’s all!
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  6. #6
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    What do you find the most challenging about reviewing shorter pieces as compared to longer ones? Are there advantages?

    I think the thing that is by far the most challenging is the length of the drabble -- 100 words as opposed to, say, 500 words, the usual limit. I noticed that I didn't have quite as much to say while reviewing 100-word drabbles simply because there isn't as much to comment on.

    The only advantage, I think, to reviewing drabbles instead of oneshots is that sometimes, oneshots can be quite long, and there is so much to comment on that you don't know where to begin. I have found reviewing 9000+ word oneshots more challenging, especially because there is so much going on in the story that you want to comment on everything, and it's sometimes difficult for me to stay concise.

    If you were asked if you'd like a permanent option to replace a regular review with the reviews of three drabbles, would you say yes or no?

    You know, this is what was on my mind too, Paige. I actually would love to have this as a review replacement, as in, how it is this month.

    My TQ:

    Is nitpicking (in terms of grammar) more or less acceptable while reviewing a drabble than in a normal review? Bearing in mind that the TTB forum isn't exactly modded for SPaG as oneshots/chaptereds are?

    In answer to my own question, I think as long as your whole review doesn't comprise of grammar/spelling corrections, it should be okay, because you kind of expect stories on the archives to have acceptable SPaG anyway.

    My review for Northumbrian/Neil's drabble collection, Centuries.

    My review for WeasleyMom/Lori's The Press and Pull of Home.

    My review for welshdevondragon/Alex's Restless Nights.

    ~Soraya~
    Last edited by babewithbrains; 09-14-2011 at 05:51 PM.

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  7. #7
    Simply Being
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    What do you find the most challenging about reviewing shorter pieces as compared to longer ones? Are there advantages?

    Obviously shorter length gives you less to comment on, whereas a full one-shot or a chaptered fic gives you lots of material to pick apart. However, I can see one advantage. For instance, when reviewing one-shots and especially chaptered fics it can be easy to repeat yourself over again. Sometimes I have trouble leaving thorough reviews for chaptered fics because I still find the same strengths and weaknesses. For example, “Your characterization continues to be strong while your description is distracting” over and over again. Whereas with shorter pieces, because they’re short they don’t repeat themselves as much.

    If you were asked if you'd like a permanent option to replace a regular review with the reviews of three drabbles, would you say yes or no?

    I would say yes. I don’t know if I would use it every month, but what could it hurt to have the option? It might also be more helpful to the writers of the drabbles. If you review a one-shot, the piece has already been written and submitted so the errors will probably remain there (unless the author goes back and edits it based on a review). In the drabble stage, the author can correct their writing before it goes up on MNFF.

    Is nitpicking (in terms of grammar) more or less acceptable while reviewing a drabble than in a normal review? Bearing in mind that the TTB forum isn't exactly modded for SPaG as oneshots/chaptereds are?

    It depends on how much you focus on nitpicking versus good critical analysis. First, I don’t think a review should ever consist mostly on nitpicking. Nitpicking is typically easily fixed (especially with the use of a Beta) so it isn’t as helpful to the writer. When I was commenting on the drabbles I mentioned one or two little nitpicks, but I don’t think that they were the bulk of the review.

    My TQ: When you comment on a drabble, do you respond to the author's response to your review?

    My Drabble Reviews:

    Remembrance by Indigo Mouse
    Not Quite and Names by Psijupiter
    Chrysalis by the opaleye

  8. #8
    Fourth Year Gryffindor
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    What do you find the most challenging about reviewing shorter pieces as compared to longer ones? Are there advantages?

    Actually, I don't find the length of the story challenging at all. I've reviewed poems with paragraphs longer than those full one-shots. As long as there is enough substance to go with, I don't have any problem at all!

    If you were asked if you'd like a permanent option to replace a regular review with the reviews of three drabbles, would you say yes or no?

    Yes, definitely. I think it's a great idea to count reviews for drabbles as worthy as becoming a Review Replacement. There's almost as much effort to reading stories and writing feedback for it. And besides, it makes the drabble authors dab in the limelight. Not to mention it's a great motivator for the SPEWers. Or maybe that's just me.

    Is nitpicking (in terms of grammar) more or less acceptable while reviewing a drabble than in a normal review? Bearing in mind that the TTB forum isn't exactly modded for SPaG as oneshots/chaptereds are?

    I agree with Danielle here. Not all drabbles are beta-ed, and the point of the review shouldn't be focusing on nitpicking so it's not that big of a deal because it can be fastidiously fixed by a beta. But I say that little nitpicks here or there would be acceptable because sometimes, even betas miss somethings.

    When you comment on a drabble, do you respond to the author's response to your review?

    If they have anything to counter and needed more reasons as to why I said some things, then yes. Other than that, I don't comment back because I fear the mod's wrath for spamming.

    TQ: zWhat do you think of the quality of the writing of the drabbles compared to validated one-shots in the archives? Is it any less or not?

    Reviews:

    Sorting/A Life of Lies by gwendalynne
    Dear Hermione by WeasleyMom
    A Party for Dobby by mzap

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