For the past two months, judging committees have been working their way through the Quicksilver Quill nominations, deciding which stories represent the best writing produced by MNFF authors over the past 12 months. I am now pleased to say that all committees have come to a decision, and I can announce the 22 stories that have been given awards this year.
I am also excited to reveal this year's winning banner, designed by the very talented, the opaleye. You can see a preview here:
The banners have all been edited with the winner's details and I'll be sending them out in the next hour or so. Please let me know if you notice any spelling errors (they'll all be my fault.)
Okay, enough waffling from me. Just a couple more notes - two categories have joint winners, where the judges simply could not choose between them. Not every category has a chaptered and one-shot winner but most do. Judges will be thanked in a separate post. Here is the list of the 2011 QSQ award winners:
Best General Story: Glass Ginny by WeasleyMom
A realistic portrayal of difficult emotions. I was drawn in, even wishing for more at the end. The depth of emotion suppressed and then unleashed in the story was exceptional. The characterisation is excellent and believable –Ginny’s gradual break-down was incredibly moving and it was handled so well. This was an incredibly emotional and wonderful story.
Best Dark/Angsty Story:
- One-shot: What Lies Behind by C_A_Campbell
The story was incredibly well-written. The author definitely brought Theo alive in my eyes. She gave him a backstory, and made him more three dimensional than he appears in the books. This is one of the best uses of second person I've seen. The characterization was beautiful and kept the story moving from the beginning. At the end I found I had tears in my eyes.
- Chaptered: Lacuna Mentis by hestiajones
I just LOVE the mystery here. The entire time I was reading the fic I was attempting to piece things together, reformulating my theories constantly, and it kept me guessing pretty much up to the end, which was just brilliant. This was quite riveting to read. It captured my imagination, and I couldn't stop reading until I got to the end. The characterisation was excellent - Theo's character is flawed and lonely, confused, depressed and occasionally angry, and he propels the Darkness of the story forward.
Best Humor Story:
- One-Shot: The Seven Potters by Gmariam
In this fic, Gmariam introduces us to the various aspects of Harry's personality in such a way that can be appreciated both as a character analysis and as a parody of other fan fictions where Harry's characterization is based solely on just one of those aspects of his personality. It is a nice change from the Harry we normally see, as well as being very well written and well structured. It was subtly humorous and unlike anything the panel had ever read. Hilarious and creative, this story is definitely deserving of the Best Humor One Shot QSQ.
- Chaptered: Taking Direction by WeasleyMom
Taking Direction is a fresh and hilarious look at book vs. movie canon. This fic shows the differences between the books and movies in a way that makes the book-loving reader snort with laughter rather than the usual reaction of grumbling and ranting. This piece was laugh-out-loud funny in many places, and quite a few judges find themselves eagerly awaiting updates. It was a creative and original idea and leaves the reader wanting more.
Best Canon Romance Story
- One-Shot: How To Wait by WeasleyMom
I believe this might be my favourite story nominated. This truly is a powerful story. Weasley Mom managed to write something about this pair that is so often unstated, and that's that they really understand each other despite the fact that they're pretty different. The characters are very in-character, and the situation is so real, such a normal problem for a couple, but it's something that hurts and I feel like that was portrayed so well here. Throughout the books we see a lot of Hermione and Ron fighting, and I feel like this one-shot really solidified the reason of why they stayed together.
- Chaptered: Because You Came by hestiajones
This fic encompasses one of the main things a good canon romance should have: we know how the ending goes, so it's up to the author to make the journey still intriguing and unique. This story definitely did that. The characterisation of Draco is fabulous. He's not the leather trousered fanfic version, but still the rather selfish, snide and petty boy from Hogwarts and yet we can see that he's growing up. Also, as a miscellaneous character piece - I like how even Goyle, a supporting character, was really fleshed-out and true to what we see in the books.
Best Non-Canon Romance Story
- One-Shot: The Substitute by hestiajones
This piece is written extremely well. The emotion is just so amazing, and the story was fascinating. The plot is fresh, it is creative, and furthermore, it is very well rounded in terms of being well written and believable. The pairing is a bit shocking at first, but it isn't unreasonable, really. It's dealt with well, and the age gap is really reflected in the way they interact.
- Chaptered: In the Ashes by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
This story is raw and it’s intense. The plot moves and the characterisation is complete and really great. Oliver and Katie are really well characterised by the author, and it all feels very natural. In the Ashes is emotionally involving and has well rounded characters. It is very well written and immediately engaging.
Best Same-Sex Pairing Story: It Takes Two To Tango by lucca4
I thought this was a very realistic approach to how two girls who are best friends realise that they are attracted to each other. The problems in their relationship were dealt with very well. The "tango" metaphor was also beautifully written. The author chose missing moments in canon to explore a relationship of sorts between Parvati and Lavender, and made it quite realistic at that too. The author had spot-on characterization of both Lavender and Parvati.
And: Monochrome by Equinox Chick
Carole made an often overused Marauder Era pairing believable with stellar characterisation, solid plot and poetic style. There was so much emotion packed into this piece and you could really feel the sexual tension. She also added a gut-wrenching plot twist that left readers gasping. It has all the awkwardness of two boys who lust/love each other but can't truly act on due to society pressure. The complexity of the teenage 'love triangles' added quite a lot of depth to the story.
Best Alternate Universe Story
- One-Shot: Going Against Salazar’s Grain by hestiajones
I think this fic is amazing and despite its short length, there is a lot in there. It left me quite in awe. One, the writing is impeccable, and two, the way in which the premise is explored really makes sense. Natalie peels back Albus’s traits slowly and carefully until we finally get to see his Sorting. AU is notorious for its poor characterisation and yet this fic proves it is possible to explore an AU premise and keep the character in a recognisable state. I just think this is so wonderfully done.
- Chaptered: Halfway to Infinity by Eponine
The world building is amazing, and the characters are real and relatable to me. Lottie is a great main character in that I want to root for her, but I shake my head at her behaviour quite often. I really connected with the characters even though Lottie isn't always a very likeable person. She is flawed and human. I love that. The plot was very clever and obviously planned out in so much detail. I loved all the twists and turns, and sudden cliff-hangers. Halfway to Infinity is a really excellent example of how good Alternate Universe can be.
Best Poetry: The Lady Hufflepuff by minnabird:
This poem both retains the influence of the poem which it mirrors, yet works in its own right. The rhyme and rhythm is effortless, the story epic and tragic. It's a brilliant ode to Hufflepuff house as well as a clever, beautiful piece of writing.
And: The Lost Weeks by the opaleye:
This poem is an amazing work of art. The language and imagery are gorgeous, the story beautiful and emotional. The challenging sestina form flows wonderfully and leaves the reader with the feeling of having read something both difficult yet simple, deep and moving.
Best Marauders' Era Story:
- One-Shot: Whatever Happened to Saturday Night by Simply Being
I love the fast pace of it all, the drunkenness of it and how the Marauders are portrayed. This fic is so unique and manages in under a thousand words to capture so many emotions. Saturday Night is a great tribute to the end of the Hogwarts era, the time when the Marauders were the kings of their world. This fic is so different from any other ME fic I've read. It captures the spirit of the Marauders so well and makes you feel off balance just like the characters would in a time that is so uncertain. The tone makes so much sense considering the age of the Marauders.
The Marauder judging committee would also like to give a special mention to Doubt by lucca4. They had a tough time picking between the two, and really wanted this fic to be given recognition for its unique structure and excellent characterisation.
- Chaptered: Juggling by Equinox Chick
This is a beautifully written story and it manages to fit so well with canon. Carole has done a lovely job with the group dynamic as usual. It's a brilliant story both in terms of plot and the characters. The Marauders are spot on, and it's also interesting to see their dynamic from a different perspective. Dita is a wonderful character, really different from your typical Marauder OC. I liked how the tone of the piece changes throughout as the characters and the world around them changes, first starting off childlike and gradually getting darker. Carole wrote a believable and loveable OC and almost made me wish that James had run away with Dita. As a diehard James/Lily fan, that's the best compliment I could give.
Best Post-Hogwarts Story
- One-Shot: All the Time in the World by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
I really love how this story was built. Everything tied up wonderfully, and I loved the ending as well. It’s very realistic. The characterisation is perfect. I could see the Harry from the books in this adult version, and his character was very well developed by the author. The emotion of this fic was very real, and I found it completely heart-breaking. I thought it was well-paced and was completely drawn in from beginning to end.
- Chaptered: In the Ashes by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
The characterisation in this fic is very good and really makes the story. The dynamic between the pair of them feels real. There are various elements to this fic that give it a nice feel of balance: at times it is heartwrenching and yet at others it's very lighthearted and amusing; there's romance but also the intrigues and backstabbing of the world of professional quidditch. It's a story with a little bit of everything, but it doesn't feel fragmented for that. The world building is excellent and though this may seem like a romance fic at times, it definitely has a place in the Post-Hogwarts category.
Best Next Generation Story:
- One-Shot: The Bookshop Owner's Gift by h_vic
This is a very refreshing take on Rose/Scorpius. As the nominator said, this pairing has almost become a cliché yet Hannah has avoided that and written something completely original. The Bookshop Owner's gift was just magical and the characterisation was excellent. It was almost as much about the romance between books and readers as that between Rose and Scorpius. That said, the romance aspect of it was very masterfully woven in. It was quite realistic, and also very sweet.
- Chaptered: High by Equinox Chick
Carole certainly weaves an excellent story that fits into canon, her characterizations are wonderful and her plot lines intriguing. Carole does a really excellent job of characterizing these characters. We hardly know them from canon, apart from who their parents are, but they seem like really logical extrapolations of what those characters' children would be like. The way she has weaved multiple character arcs and plotlines is brilliant - there is so much in this fic and it is written so vividly that it feels real.
Best Original Character:
- Chaptered: Dita from Juggling by Equinox Chick
Though we never even learn her last name, Dita is such a rich and fulfilled character. So much of her feelings and passions and ways of thinking are artfully woven into a relatively short story. As a Muggle, she adds an interesting view to the world of magic, and her relationship with James provides a fascinating contrast between Lily and Snape's friendship. This character also adds a different-than-usual take on what had changed the James Potter from Snape’s Worst Memory to the man who Lily fell in love with and married.