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Thread: June Activities 2012

  1. #1
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    June Activities 2012

    These are the times that try fanficcer's souls! The Quicksilver Quill Awards are upon us, and with that comes a mix of giddiness, anticipation, and just a general air of excitement. Or, if you're me, it's a giant rock in the pit of your stomach as you contemplate groups of people doing their utmost to find flaws in your work. Heady stuff.

    However, what we're doing is far more fun than that. I challenge all of you to mosey on over to Fiction Junction and review a QSQ nominee. The only requirements are that you have not reviewed the story before and that, well, you didn't write it. It can be a story you nominated. Also, any stories nominated from the time this thread was posted and when this activity is due are also eligible.

    That's it. No twists, turns, or hoops through which your SPEW Monarch requires you to jump. Just the normal TQs. Ask and answer one for this to count as your activity for the month of June. Here are a couple to get you started:



    QSQs are reserved for the best of the best. Do you have difficulty reviewing things that are on that level of quality? Why or why not?


    Most readers assume something that is nominated for a QSQ is good. Do you go into reviewing a story nominated for one with that frame of mind, or do you review it the same way one would any other fic?


    Do the QSQ awards elicit any special feelings in you as a reader/reviewer? How about as an author?



    This activity is due to be completed by 15th July at 11:59pm US Pacific Time / 16th July at 7:59am British Summer Time.
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  2. #2
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    June Discussion: Uncomfortable themes in fanfic

    One of the hallmarks of the Harry Potter universe is the amount of things that happen between the lines. For instance, if you squint, you can see that Sirius may have had/probably had a drinking problem in Order of the Phoenix, and Merlin knows what happened at Hogwarts while Harry and Company were on their camping trip. In fan fiction, we get a chance to approach themes like these, both in major canon characters/events and ones from our very own imaginations. And, as anyone who has got a trollish-sounding review for one of these things can attest, many of these things make readers uncomfortable. Sometimes, that's the reaction we're going for; other times, it's not.

    However, themes such as there are the meat and potatoes of many fan fiction authors, including many of us here in SPEW. Personally, I feel it's my duty to tell both sides of the story, how that seed of alcoholism sprouted in Sirius or what had to happen for the DA to legitimately fear the Carrows and their brand of discipline or what sort of nerve Peter Pettigrew had to amass in order to willingly amputate not only his own finger, but his whole hand.

    What I would like to see here is a lively -- and respectful -- discussion about varying themes of a dark, squicky, morbid, etc. nature in fanfic here on MNFF and how it impacted you as a reader, an author, and as a person in general. Returning to the discussion is permitted and encouraged. As usual, ask and answer a TQ. Here are a few to get you started.:



    What is the most morally bankrupt occurrence you've encountered in a fanfic?

    Do you have go-to authors when you want to read something that will make you feel dark things?

    What is the most uncomfortable (for you) theme you've ever encountered in a fanfic here on MNFF? Do you still read things by that author?

    Do you believe in shock value as a literary tool? Why or why not?


    This activity is due to be completed by the 15th of July to count as your monthly activity.
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  3. #3
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    I reviewed "Never Feel the Break", by Potterworm, which was nominated in the general category.

    TQ: Most readers assume something that is nominated for a QSQ is good. Do you go into reviewing a story nominated for one with that frame of mind, or do you review it the same way one would any other fic?
    I go into the story expecting it to be good, so while reading I probably come up with more critiques than I would normally. However, I don't think it really impacts how I approach reviewing it. Whether a story is really, really good or sort of good, I still try to give a polite and helpful opinion. I've noticed that a lot of the stuff nominated comes from more established authors, whom I know to some degree. With a more established author, especially one that I know, I'm more willing to give critique because I know how she'll take it. However, in short, just being a QSQ nominee doesn't really change how I review the story.

    New TQ: Do you have a different ratio of criticism to complements in a review for a QSQ nominee vs a story that is equally good but is not a QSQ nominee?

    -Meg

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    I've reviewed two QSQ noms this month, though one was unintentional. They are Safe and Sound by Alex (welshdevondragon) and Quiet In Our Town by Julia (the opaleye).

    QSQs are reserved for the best of the best. Do you have difficulty reviewing things that are on that level of quality? Why or why not? Honestly, I really don't. Because their nommed, like Meg I tend to be a little more critical than other fics. Plus, there are usually a bunch of topics to cover, whether it be a unique format, amazing characterization, or cool symbolism. There is always something to discuss; though it can be intimidating, you should always find something to tell the author, whether it be a crit or just some symbol you found interesting.


    Most readers assume something that is nominated for a QSQ is good. Do you go into reviewing a story nominated for one with that frame of mind, or do you review it the same way one would any other fic?
    I think I kind of covered this in the first question, but I'll say it again. I'm generally a bit more critical, partly because I expect it to be really good, but also because there is always something that can be improved upon. I know I could edit what I write a million times and it still wouldn't be where I wanted it. And, you want to help the author get even better. (but with writers like our SPEW monarch, Alex, Julia, Natalie, Croll, and so many others, it's hard to see how that is possible. )


    Do the QSQ awards elicit any special feelings in you as a reader/reviewer? How about as an author?
    I love the QSQ's. As a reviewer/reader it makes me excited, because sometimes I hadn't heard of the fics, and I can go into reading it knowing it'll be phenomenal. As a writer, I see it as a goal to work towards; maybe in a few years I could be nominated. It's something to keep me going.

    New TQ: Do you have a different ratio of criticism to complements in a review for a QSQ nominee vs a story that is equally good but is not a QSQ nominee?
    I generally have the same amount. I usually comment on plot, characterization, symbolism, format, and I usually have one paragraph with some crit in it. Sometimes my other paragraphs have some crit in there, but I mainly just have one paragraph with what I felt was the most important thing to crit on.


    Ellie's TQ: How do you approach reviewing a QSQ fic? Are you worried you'll sound too fangirly, or too nit-picky?

    Ellie
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  5. #5
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    What is the most morally bankrupt occurrence you've encountered in a fanfic?

    Ummmmm. Well, I remember this time an flister (possibly Jess/Gina) linked us to Harry/Scorpius art at LJ. Anyway, that artist said that they were originally going to do Harry/Albus, and that's just... no. It's illegal and wrong on so many levels, and to think that people would get a kick out of drawing/writing such things does make me wince. Of course, it's a free country/world, and it's none of my business what you want to look at on the internet or whatever, but that specific scenario just seems the OOCiest of OOC. Harry would never, ever take advantage of his own child like that. I just can't see it happening.

    Do you have go-to authors when you want to read something that will make you feel dark things?

    Alex/Jess. I know, when I read either of their stories (and the first story I read by both of them were "dark"), that they'll handle any sensitive topics respectfully.

    What is the most uncomfortable (for you) theme you've ever encountered in a fanfic here on MNFF? Do you still read things by that author?

    Um, I might be treading on dangerous grounds here, but threesomes, or even allusions to them (I'm chatting with someone about it now, hence why I remembered) really make me feel kind of uncomfortable. I definitely would still read something by that author, and to be fair, it's not like she didn't give a warning about it or whatever. I just didn't realise it would make me as uncomfortable as it did, to be honest.

    Do you believe in shock value as a literary tool? Why or why not?

    I do think shock value is a literary tool -- the shock of how evil someone can be (in, say, the case of physical/emotional abuse, for example) is often a turning point with the emotions of the characters, etc. But I also am of the opinion that a controversial issue should always be addressed properly and not thrown in there carelessly. Controversial things are controversial for a reason, and if they're not covered sensitively enough, I'll have a problem with it.

    New TQ: What is the most controversial or dark issue that you've written about in fanfic?

    In answer to my own question, at least for the "controversial" bit, it's probably (and predictably) cousin pairings. The truth is, what it boils down to is what you consider incest and what you consider simply an intra-family relationship. For me, it's the latter. For others -- because of religion, because of the country/culture they're raised in, because of laws -- it's the former. And that's absolutely fine with me, but what I don't like is when there's a clear warning that the pairing is potentially squicky (and this goes for other controversial issues too) and someone has to go and say in a review, "But they're cousins" or "That's not right" or whatever. I mean, there's a reason I don't seek out Harry/Albus -- because I don't want to read it. Therefore, I'm not going to search for it, and if I do happen to come across it accidentally, I'll instantly hit the back button.

    Anyway, I may have gone off on a tangent with that one... sorry. D: Oh, but in terms of "dark" subjects, the darkest (and, morally, the murkiest) is definitely in my Merope story, Bruises. I realised after the SBBC discussion last month that the whole thing of Merope force-feeding Tom the potion and then, essentially, forcing him to sleep with him is rape. Tom didn't actually consent to having sex with her -- it was probably the last thing he wanted, given how much he looked down on her, so Merope was actually taking advantage of her magic and having non-consensual sex with him (or dubious consent, at least). Morally, that's really not right, and it was somewhat skated over in canon, the whole thing about Love Potions, which was turned into a bit of a joke, especially when Ron had the potion. I think, in my story, I addressed it more as an issue, and even though it did contradict canon (thanks to canon queen Croll for pointing that out), Tom leaving when he found out that Merope had basically been raping him showed that he was as repulsed by what she did as I'm sure the reader would be if the subject was more thoroughly explored in the books. However, as it's a children's book, that is obviously harder to do, so I get why it wasn't addressed properly. But still.
    Last edited by babewithbrains; 07-09-2012 at 07:11 PM.

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  6. #6
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    What is the most morally bankrupt occurrence you've encountered in a fanfic?

    Once, I was on ff.net looking for Remus/Hermione fics (because even though I’d rather be on MNFF, there are almost no Remus/Hermione fics). I was about halfway through the first chapter when the topic of Fred/George (aka “twincest”) came up. I quickly hit the back button.

    Do you have go-to authors when you want to read something that will make you feel dark things?

    I never actually go and seek out a “dark” fic. They really aren’t my thing. When I read fanfiction, it is usually to read some sort of wonky pairing and see how the author throws the two together.

    What is the most uncomfortable (for you) theme you've ever encountered in a fanfic here on MNFF? Do you still read things by that author?

    I can’t really think of something majorly uncomfortable that I’ve read. I mean, yes, I’ve read controversial fics, but nothing pops out at me and says “Wow, that made me so uncomfortable that I need to never read it again”.

    Do you believe in shock value as a literary tool? Why or why not?

    I think that shock value can be effective when done right, but I think it is often not done well, and then it just doesn’t work at all, but rather feels like a cheap trick in order to get the audience to feel something.

    What is the most controversial or dark issue that you've written about in fanfic?

    Well, I don’t think I’ve really written anything dark, but I have written a student teacher relationship, which I think many people find controversial.

    NEW TQ: Is there any controversial theme that you really enjoy?
    I, for one, will read a well-written student/teacher fic. I also really enjoy jenny b’s [B]A Moment, A Love[/I], which deals with teenage pregnancy.
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