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Thread: September Activities 2012

  1. #1
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    September Activities 2012

    I have a special mission for SPEW this month, and it's a bit different than what we normally do. We've done it once before, and since it did well last time, I think we'll do it again.

    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 upswing in newbies to MNFF, many new writers have descended upon the fandom's leading fanfic 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?



    This activity is due to be completed by October 15th.
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  2. #2
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    September Feature: Review a 007 fic

    Challenge fics are born on the field of battle, and from them, some of the most incredible works on this site are born. Today, however, we will be honouring a specific challenge, one conducted right here in SPEW: 007.

    Now that the grind of 007 has passed, some interesting stories have emerged from it, including from our two champions, Maple and Ellie. I would like you all to pick one of these stories and review it. They don't HAVE to be SPEW-length reviews, but quality, thoughtful reviews are a must. Though the story must be posted on the archives, the participant did NOT have to complete the entire challenge.

    Discussion rules still apply, so please ask and answer a TQ in this thread for this to count for your monthly activity. I'll give you a couple to get started:

    How do you think working with a prompt changes the approach of an author to a story?

    How big a part do you think prompt inclusion should play in reviewing a challenge fic?




    This activity is due to be completed by October 15th.
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  3. #3
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    Link to review: here

    How do you think working with a prompt changes the approach of an author to a story?
    I think including a prompt can be so useful in adding variety to an author's writing. It makes them frame it a whole different way - even if only on a subconscious level. When I choose to follow a prompt, for example, it's always in the back of my mind, there's always something I'm working towards. That permeates my writing and makes it feel different to the way I normally plan and structure things. I think the best thing about using a prompt is that it challenges the author to adapt, to move out of their comfort zone and think out of the box. No one wants to write the obvious, what someone will expect to read when they see the prompt; and therefore you push yourself to think of original approaches.

    I suppose occasionally it could be seen as limiting, if an idea really comes to life on its own and the prompt no longer holds much significance, but then it's fun to try and weave it in more subtly: another great exercise to improve writing. Perhaps we should treat established themes of our other stories like prompts - if we know there's a theme we want to include in a fic, then we should try to build it in as we would a prompt. Perhaps that will strengthen the structure of the fic and have a more powerful effect on the reader.

    How do you incorporate a prompt into your fic?

    Do you prefer writing with prompts or without?



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  4. #4
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    The three drabbles I've reviewed: Minna, Jamie & Kara

    What do you find the most challenging about reviewing shorter pieces as compared to longer ones? Are there advantages?
    It varies from drabble to drabble. Sometimes, it means I struggle to find enough meaningful points to make in the review. However, that can go the other way, because for drabbles I have a lot to say about, it can mean that it's just easier to fit it all into one review without it becoming way too long. If that makes sense...

    To explain further, I struggle to review chaptered stories as a whole because there's usually far too much that I want to say. Either I don't have time to write it all out coherently, or I know that the review will end up longer than the author might want to read. I'd have to go through and review individual chapters here and there. Reviewing one shots is usually easier because I can include more of the points I'd like to raise.

    I suppose that means that I have to be a bit choosier about the drabbles that I review. If I can't find one that contains a lot of stuff I want to comment on, then I'll struggle to review it well, I suppose. I do quite like being able to include everything I want to say, though, instead of cutting some things out.

    New TQ: Do you find that you have to leave out things you'd like to say in reviews for longer stories? Has that been a problem for you at all in your drabble reviews?
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  5. #5
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    Do you prefer writing with prompts or without?

    I think I definitely prefer working with prompt, because it gives me much more things to work with. I usually don't have much creativity when it comes to making up plots out of thin air; instead, I'm actually better at making up different scenes in my head that hardly have any purpose. If I have a prompt then it helps give a backbone to my stories. I can think up things related to that prompt and then finally add in some of my previously thought out scenes, so that together they make up a story.

    Prompts also, I think, challenges an author. I especially find those challenges where you chose a character and the prompts are given (like SPEW 007 and the gauntlet) because that helps a writer increase their flexibility and encourages them to write believable scenes, even though there is a chance that the prompt might not go with their chosen character. I like that challenge . There is a chance that the thing might go drastically wrong -- and that is why the author has to work extra hard so it does not.

    And beside, prompts are fun. If I see a challenge and I like the prompt, I'm gonna go for it it, because it gives me a chance to write

    Do prompts give you ideas, or do you incorporate previous plot bunnies and twist them enough to fit?

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  6. #6
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    Drabble reviews:

    Fenella, Jamie and Minna

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

    Certainly there are advantages -- a shorter piece allows a greater scope of analysis to show through in your review if you have less material to work with than, say, a 9k one-shot. Reviewing a drabble forces my mind, at least, to focus on fewer words, which can often be more effective than only picking a few in a longer text.

    Hoewever, it is also true that shorter pieces are more challenging because of the low word count, and there's not always something to say.

    New TQ: Do fewer words in your reviews yield better results, or is it really about the content?

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  7. #7
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    Drabble reviews: Megan, Nora and Natasha

    Do fewer words in your reviews yield better results, or is it really about the content?

    I find that I leave longer reviews but I think shorter ones would make sense too. Basically, I find that when someone reviews my fisc, I like them discussing points, picking out things they like and telling me why they liked it and asking me questions about my characters, so I do the same when I leave reviews. I keep a few points in mind that I want to comment upon, and present them to the author as I review.

    But then, now that I come to think of it, maybe some authors do not prefer very long reviews. Maybe they get tired of reading it, or bored, because they probably know what I'm saying anyway. So yes, it's not about content. It's about quality. Sometimes, a really short review can make someone's month, and a long review can just bore them out. It differs from person to person, I guess.

    My TQ: How do you review longer pieces? Do you take notes as you read the story, and expand upon them, review the story part-by part, or do you have another technique of doing that?
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  8. #8
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    Reviews: Emma Nora Gina

    I've just noticed that Pooja and I reviewed the same drabble of Nora's. I did see that this is not allowed, but as I commented on the drabble thread first and Pooja commented here first, I'm not sure who, if anyone, is at fault. If necessary, I'd be happy to write a (probably lesser quality) new review for someone else. She had already written hers and sent it to her mentor before you posted yours. You didn't know this, and she didn't know you were going to review the same one. C'est la vie. I will allow it.

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

    I do think that there are advantages and disadvantages to both short and long pieces. Like Soraya said, shorter pieces do give you a smaller amount of text to analyse, which can be both beneficial to you and the author because you can focus on the entire piece, not just a single part. However, there can easily be much less to say to the author when you're reviewing a drabble, either because there's less crit or because there's simply not anything else to analyse.

    New TQ: Do you notice that there's a difference between the way that you review drabbles and the way that you review full-length pieces?

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  9. #9
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    How do you think working with a prompt changes the approach of an author to a story?
    I think that the hardest part is knowing that the prompt has to be in there, but you don’t want it to be overly obvious. I think that this can either restrict an author or really get the creative juices going. I know when I did my 007 fics, there were some (like Editorial) that felt so confining, but others that gave me the chance to write a story I’ve wanted to for awhile, which I guess leads to the next question:
    Do prompts give you ideas, or do you incorporate previous plot bunnies and twist them enough to fit?
    I think that it depends on the prompt. I remember last summer, we did the banner challenge, and while I never finished it, the Dear Diary banner gave me an idea and a word document with half a story. Someday, I’ll finish it, but I would have never had the idea had I not seen the banner. Lost in the Stars was a bunny I had from an SBBC thing, I think, that finally had the chance to be written because I could fit it into a prompt.
    NEW TQ: Prompts can be given in many forms: words, pictures, or songs. Which do you find the easiest to use?
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  10. #10
    Ebil Minion Ravenclaw
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    Drabble reviews: Sophie, Nora, and Nagini

    Do you notice that there's a difference between the way that you review drabbles and the way that you review full-length pieces?

    Sort of. The process is the same (I comment and then weave those comments together somehow), but somehow my drabble reviews seem to cover more and are of better quality. I think that I feel less pressure to cover everything in a drabble because there is less there. And it helps me an awful lot.

    New TQ: Do you find that drabbles always have enough content to review?
    Last edited by BrokenPromise; 10-16-2012 at 07:41 AM.
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