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Thread: March Activities 2013

  1. #1
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    March Activities 2013

    This has been an interesting topic for me since I started writing fanfiction nearly four years ago. One thing I've noticed in my tenure in the HP fandom is that certain types of stories and certain ships elicit more reviews than some others. I have even seen authors deviate from their preferred genres to write these more high-traffic story types in an effort to build an audience.

    I think, as all of you are authors yourselves, that you probably have a great deal to say about this topic. I would really like a broad range of TQs for this, so dig deep and come up with one you feel strongly about.

    As usual, ask and answer at least one TQ. Returning for more discussion is not only allowed but is encouraged. Here are a couple to get you started:


    When choosing a story to review, do you specifically seek out certain genres, or do you read whatever strikes your fancy?

    Do you read underread/reviewed stories purposefully, or only if the summary is catchy?

    How much of your reading/reviewing time is taken up by more mainstream ships and tropes?




    This activity is due completed in its entirety by March 15th at the end of the day (midnight US Pacific Time/8am GMT).
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  2. #2
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    March Feature: Review a Cotillion Fic

    This new ritual of churning out a plethora of stories in the name of romance has hit MNFF yet again, but as one of the moderators running the activity, I have noticed that some very excellent stories are not getting quite as much love as they deserve. So, naturally, we shall bring them the best kind of love we can, SPEW style.

    Your task, SPEW, is to pick a Great Hall Cotillion story (there are many, so the variety is vast), leave a review, and leave a link here. This review doesn't have to be one for your monthly requirements, but you can do a full review and kill two birds with one stone, so there's no reason not to. Also, I'd like to discuss the finer points of reviewing challenge fics and stories with unconventional pairings.

    As usual, ask and answer one TQ (or more, if you would like). Returning to participate in further discussion (even if you're not using this as your activity credit) is not only permitted, but encouraged. Here are a couple to get you started:


    When you read/review a story that was written for a challenge, do you keep that in mind as you go through the fic? Has that knowledge ever altered how you perceive a story?

    We've all seen stories that the author claimed 'were written in a hurry/in an hour/in some random location when inspiration struck', or something to that effect. Do you notice any pattern affecting the quality of these fics when compared to the amount of time spent on writing them?



    This activity is due to be completed in its entirety by March 15th at the end of the day (midnight US Pacific Time/8am GMT on the 16th) to count towards your monthly requirements.
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  3. #3
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    Do you read underread/reviewed stories purposefully, or only if the summary is catchy?

    If the summary is catchy, mainly, but that is the case for most stories I read. I read the summary first, and if I like it, I'll look at the review count. If the summary doesn't strike my fancy, I won't read it. However, if the summary is good and the story is underread/reviewed, I will start reading it with the sole purpose of reviewing

    How much of your reading/reviewing time is taken up by more mainstream ships and tropes?

    Umm around 80%, to tell the truth. I like Romione, Hinny Tedtoire, Scorose and the other mainstream shops more, since they are rather well established and I squee over most of the well written ones. And while some tropes are already cliche, I do enjoy reading them and seeing how people try to incorporate new ideas into common stuff (some tend to fail drastically but those who manage to do it end up doing it really well). However, I would also read rarepairs and new ideas. In fact, if they are catchy and sound cool, I'll definitely go for it. Jamie's fic about Sir Cadogan and the Fat Lady is still one of my favourites.

    New TQ:

    Have you read a fic that really deviated from your OTP? Did you do this knowingly?

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  4. #4
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    Here's my review for Padfoot11133/Lily's Hungry Shadows

    When you read/review a story that was written for a challenge, do you keep that in mind as you go through the fic? Has that knowledge ever altered how you perceive a story?

    Hmm, it depends, really. Obviously, I knew Lily's story was a Cotillion fic, but I can remember reading a story in SBBC called Your Heart Burned Black, by the lovely Julia. Having clicked on the link, which took me directly to the story without me looking at the summary, I only found out it was a challenge fic afterwards, and I think that actually made me even more impressed with the story itself because I found out how restrictive the challenge guidelines were and how well-written the fic was despite that. So I think it varies, depending on the challenge itself.

    For example, the Cotillion is a pretty simple challenge and the most open one I have come across in GH -- pick any two characters and pair them together. Easy. In that case, therefore, the fact that the story I'm reading is a challenge fic doesn't necessarily make me want to read it more; that's more about my personal preferences, like the pairing, the era, the author and so on.

    We've all seen stories that the author claimed 'were written in a hurry/in an hour/in some random location when inspiration struck', or something to that effect. Do you notice any pattern affecting the quality of these fics when compared to the amount of time spent on writing them?

    Haha. That again varies. But this time, it depends on the author as well as what has been written. For instance, I know for a fact that the last chapter of my Marlene/OC fell down because I wrote it in the space of two or three hours before the deadline. My Sirius/Rosmerta, meanwhile, was written in the space of two days but ate a large portion of my soul and I'm still not convinced it turned out right D: My point is, there's not necessarily a correlation between quality, time taken and effort. I really enjoyed the last minute entries for the Cotillion this year, like Carole's Rita story, which I think she submitted literally a minute before the deadline :P The bottom line is, some people are just really good writing-on-their-feet writers, and others require lots of planning and time and procrastination and editing in order to get something right.

    New TQ: Discuss the pairing in the story you've reviewed and if that affected your decision to read and review the story.

    In my case, it was Scorpius/Lucy, a pairing I have come across once before, I think, by Jess, but one I've never really considered due to my head canon for Scorpius. I think part of the reason I was intrigued by the pairing was because the prerequisite people to pair Scorpius with are Rose, Albus or Lily. The other cousins don't always get a look-in, so I was interested to see where Lily would take the pairing. But also, the subject matter played a big part in me wanting to read the story. Bulimia being something I've always wondered about in Potterverse and also something I wrote about in my own Cotillion story, I really wanted to know how it would be dealt with in this story. As well as that, I wanted to see what role Scorpius would play in that. I certainly wasn't disappointed -- the story was an excellent read, and if you haven't already done so, go and read

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  5. #5
    Ebil Lieutenant Ravenclaw
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    When choosing a story to review, do you specifically seek out certain genres, or do you read whatever strikes your fancy?

    Well, I tend to read stories I like to write, really. I love Marauder Era slash pairings, for example, both to read and write (actually, I basically like James paired with any man in ME except Snape/Peter and I like Sirius paired with, well, everyone, man or woman, barring, again, Snape/Peter), as well as cousin pairings and minor characters. Oh, and Next Gen. I don't think I've ever reviewed an AU or a Humour fic, to my knowledge, and that's because I'm not really into either genre.

    The one thing I will say I actively avoid is poetry, and that is just because I feel out of my depth there and that there isn't as much to discuss, for me, as there would be in prose. That's not to say that I don't love poetry, because I do -- I just can't write non-squeey reviews for them, hehe. (Check out my review for Julia/the opaleye's The Lost Weeks, for example. *flail*) However, it is also true that I don't really write poetry, so that might also be the reason for me not SPEW-reviewing them at all.

    Do you read underread/reviewed stories purposefully, or only if the summary is catchy?

    Yes, definitely. I hate it when I see a story with no reviews, and unfortunately, that's happened quite a bit in the Most Recents, which has made me rather sad I do, of course, bear in mind the summary, too, but stories that have the fewest reviews make it to the top of my TBR list. I'd much rather make that zero a one or two if I could.

    How much of your reading/reviewing time is taken up by more mainstream ships and tropes?

    As I said above, I'm into quite niche areas of fanfiction, and therefore, I'm not as interested in mainstream ships or tropes. I love me some angst, and I don't always enjoy straight romances -- I like for there to be a bit more complication than that, which falls outside of the normal boy meets girl trope. And making a pairing fresh is so much easier when it's a rare one, because often, those tropes won't apply. A classic example is James/Lily, where Lily hates James one minute and is snogging his face off the next, or when James is in love with Lily since first year.

    And while some tropes are already cliche, I do enjoy reading them and seeing how people try to incorporate new ideas into common stuff (some tend to fail drastically but those who manage to do it end up doing it really well).
    What Nadia said is true, but the problem is that I can't get over the attempts that fail drastically, lol, and because of that, I don't really like reading mainstream stuff anymore. However, I would be doing Harry/Ginny a disservice if I said I hated the pairing -- I don't like it as much as I did before, but I still enjoy reading it occasionally. Plus, my most read and most reviewed stories are all mainstream ones. My SSP and cousin pairing stories are definitely less popular, as are my higher-rated stuff.

    On that note:

    Some often complain or laugh at their own stories featuring a mainstream ship and getting more attention than perhaps some of their better-written but less populist work. Do you think more reads and reviews could mean in fact a better story, especially if that mainstream ship has a canon basis?

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  6. #6
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    Because I love this topic...


    When choosing a story to review, do you specifically seek out certain genres, or do you read whatever strikes your fancy?
    I usually choose my stories first by genre and then by author. I like rarepairs and canon-compliant non-canon ships for romance reading, and I like D/A and Post-Hogwarts for genfic. I'll look around and see if there is any of that, and if there is, I'll then look at the authors who have work I haven't looked at in whatever genre I feel like reading. If there isn't anything there that strikes my fancy, then I will peruse the summaries and look for something new and perhaps another author whose work I might decide to check out in the future.

    Do you read underread/reviewed stories purposefully, or only if the summary is catchy?
    I don't tend to read/review due to lack thereof. I far prefer something that is interesting to me, because if I find an underread/reviewed story, make myself read it, and find that there's a pretty good reason no one's reviewed it, I'll end up forcing myself to review it or to finish it. That tends to produce reviews that are of lower quality and not quite as cordial.

    How much of your reading/reviewing time is taken up by more mainstream ships and tropes?
    I can easily say that the only time I read mainstream ships, aside from when my closer friends write them, is when I'm modding. Other than that, I would rather be burned alive. Most of you lot don't see what comes out of the queue, but I get more than my fill of, say, James/Lily for a lifetime just venturing into it to sweep. The rest of my reading time (whatever I can manage, these days, outside of challenge reading) is taken up by reading things I *know* I will enjoy.

    Have you read a fic that really deviated from your OTP? Did you do this knowingly?
    I really don't have a strict OTP, per se. I have characters that I love paired off with, well, whoever seemed interesting. Therefore, I don't mind at all if a beloved pairing is split up and both parties are with someone else. As long as it's written well, I'm a happy Claw Mama.

    Some often complain or laugh at their own stories featuring a mainstream ship and getting more attention than perhaps some of their better-written but less populist work. Do you think more reads and reviews could mean in fact a better story, especially if that mainstream ship has a canon basis?
    Ugh. This. I have a hundred stories, and about ten of them feature a popular ship. These ten stories, however, consist of about 1/4 of my one-shot review totals, and about 1/3 of the reads. It wouldn't bother me, except these stories are the ones that I bang out in an hour or so, not ones I spend days upon days crafting and perusing for any tiny error. It does leave me slightly disappointed in the readership at times, but I really shouldn't be so surprised. I mean, people buy and read the Twilight books, so there's usually no accounting for taste.


    New TQ: Compare two of your own stories by popularity (one on the high end of the spectrum and the other on the low end) and by your perception of their quality. What sorts of things do you see in those numbers, or are they just numbers?
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  7. #7
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    Review for Seven: click


    When choosing a story to review, do you specifically seek out certain genres, or do you read whatever strikes your fancy?
    Yes, I tend to start from certain genres and then slowly expand. I generally lurk within the D/A or Next Gen categories of MNFF, but sometimes I'm in the mood for slash or just a wild rarepair. It just depends on the day; some days I have something really specific in mind (I might even search for certain warnings), but other times all I want is (as horrible as it sounds) something, anything good. It's times like those I turn and ask for recommendations, another way I choose what to review.

    Do you read underread/reviewed stories purposefully, or only if the summary is catchy?

    I don't generally search for underreviewed stories, because sometimes (like Jess said) there's a reason for it. I do tend to make sure, however, that there's not *too* many reviews, if that's a good way to say it. I make sure it's a fic I will enjoy and be able to write a polite and constructive review on, but preferably one that could use a good review that doesn't repeat what the others say.



    How much of your reading/reviewing time is taken up by more mainstream ships and tropes?

    Honestly, I don't even know. Some things I think are mainstream actually aren't, and others I think are rare are steadily gaining more popularity. I have nothing against mainstream ships, but sometimes there are aspects that can become almost a constant throughout each fic. A good rarepair now and then is really nice and refreshing, and it's pretty cool to see something once rare become fairly common.

    Have you read a fic that really deviated from your OTP? Did you do this knowingly?
    Most of my ships aren't really OTPs, but I have read some that really deviated from my ideas, like Ted/Victoire for example. I don't really have a strong opinion for it, and now my increasing support of Leddy has lead it to become a great deviation, but I still love reading a good one. I'm really flexible with ships, to be honest. Merlin knows I've shipped Al/whoknows


    New TQ: Compare two of your own stories by popularity (one on the high end of the spectrum and the other on the low end) and by your perception of their quality. What sorts of things do you see in those numbers, or are they just numbers?
    Sadly, my earliest work is at the highest end of the spectrum. A year or so ago (or was it more) I wrote something called 'All That's Left', and it has eight reviews and over nine hundred views, yet one of the pieces I'm actually proud of (Yellow Knit Hat) has three reviews and a little over two hundred views. One is so much better than the others, but as my work increasingly gets darker and heavier, less people read and review. I get that, but it still makes me sad, because I know I have an infinity to go before my writing is great, the infinity is much smaller than it was when I wrote All That's Left.

    New TQ: What makes you completely opposed to a ship? Is there any way to change your mind?
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  8. #8
    Ebil Lieutenant Ravenclaw
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    Compare two of your own stories by popularity (one on the high end of the spectrum and the other on the low end) and by your perception of their quality. What sorts of things do you see in those numbers, or are they just numbers?

    Lulz. Okay, let's see. One story on the highest end of the spectrum would be my horrible, fluffy, cringe-worthy Harry/Ginny story, A Different Kind of Magic, which was my first ever story on MNFF and by far one of the worst (LOL). It has 7508 reads, 27 reviews and 19 people favourited it. This was written in 2009 and posted here mid-2010, so when I was about thirteen/fourteen at the most. I therefore see several things in those numbers: firstly, madness that anyone could actually enjoy the story when it was the biggest pile of crap ever, but secondly, back in 2010, the fandom was far more active than it is now, so getting that many reviews over the years isn't that surprising, for me. Furthermore, the pairing is Harry/Ginny, so naturally it will get more reviews than something I've written more recently (I'll get onto that in a second), and the rating is 3rd-5th years, which again means more of a readership. What I see in those numbers, then, is something that does make some semblance of sense, in spite of its awful quality. The fandom is shrinking, which explains the lack of reviews/reads for my latest stuff.

    Then if we look at One More Night, my Professors rated smutty Albus/Rose/Scorpius angsty love triangle thing, it's only got six reviews and 279 reads for three chapters. That's a huge difference, especially bearing in mind the fact that A Different Kind of Magic was only one chapter and One More Night is roughly three times the word count of A Different Kind of Magic. But again, that makes sense -- it was written during a time when fandom is continually shrinking, and it's also highly rated, meaning fewer reads because you have to be logged in to read Profs-rated stuff. Besides which, it features a cousin pairing, something I've warned about at the beginning, so that also explains the discrepancy in reads/reviews since I know not everyone is into that.

    However, interestingly, the reviews for A Different Kind of Magic are mostly one-liners (though there are some lovely rather in-depth ones too), and I'm sure there are a couple of duplicates, while I have a SPEW review for One More Night (<3333 Pooja for that ) and a pretty much complete lack of one-liners. That's not to say I don't appreciate one-liners, because I do -- it's just that I find it interesting that those who do read my better-quality stuff tend to leave more insightful reviews.

    What makes you completely opposed to a ship? Is there any way to change your mind?

    Canon, usually. I don't think I could ever read a Dramione, for instance, because I just can't see it in Hermione and Draco's canon characterisation for them to be, well, together. Harmony, on the other hand, I was persuaded over when I read Jess and Julia's fics -- I would list them but I think I would go on forever, hehe, and I've done enough fic-dropping as it is already -- because of the excellent writing. So really, what changes my mind is excellent writing.

    Also, it depends on if I've ever considered the pairing before. For instance, going back to Dramione, I've considered it due to how huge it is in the fandom, but I've never been convinced of it. James/Sirius and James/Remus, meanwhile, until a while ago, I hadn't considered either pairing at all, and therefore, when I did come across a delightful James/Remus on LJ and a gorgeous James/Sirius written by Gina, I was totally convinced of it, so now, I have stories including both pairings in the works because I love them so much

    New TQ: Have you ever withheld a review? Why did you do this?

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  9. #9
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    My review for One More Night by xxbabewithbrainsxx

    When you read/review a story that was written for a challenge, do you keep that in mind as you go through the fic? Has that knowledge ever altered how you perceive a story?

    Like Soraya says, this depends. Some challenges, like the Cotillion aren't restrictive, so it doesn't matter very much as to whether the story is for a challenge or not. But some other challenges can be restrictive with regard to prompt, and it's interesting to see how the author still manages to weave in a story despite these restrictions. Often, like Soraya says, finding out the restrictions in a prompt and then reading a story that still manages to remain excellent increases my respect for the author. But that doesn't mean that stories written for the Cotillion don't affect my respect for the author. Often, I see people claiming ships that seem impossible, and yet writing excellent stories.

    We've all seen stories that the author claimed 'were written in a hurry/in an hour/in some random location when inspiration struck', or something to that effect. Do you notice any pattern affecting the quality of these fics when compared to the amount of time spent on writing them?

    This depends on whether the author was inspired, or was in a hurry. Stories that were written because of inspiration are always good. It makes a huge difference, I guess, because even when I write routinely, there are days when I'm inspired, and other days when I'm uninspired, but still egging myself on to write something. The second category of writing produces very mediocre fics from my side. I have a few fics that I wrote in quite a hurry, or finished in a few hours, that I actually like, and others, that I've written over years, and dislike very much.

    Well, what I'm trying to say is -- the amount of inspiration really makes a difference in writing. Writing for the sake of it may or may not produce results like writing while being inspired.

    Discuss the pairing in the story you've reviewed and if that affected your decision to read and review the story.

    Soraya has written about Albus and Rose, and I have read the companion fic as well. It intrigued me, and I wanted to read further about this pairing, which was why I chose to read this story. It contains two ships, actually, Scorpius/Rose and Albus/Rose, both of which are very interesting to read. I am primarily a Scorpius/Rose supporter, but I'm not very adamant about sticking to this, and I like to read these two with other people as well. As for the fact that it's a cousin pairing, I really don't have any problems reading about cousin romance, and this fact definitely didn't stop me from going ahead and reading Soraya's story. I think it was a wonderfully constructed fic, though, and am very happy to have read it.

    New TQ: Have you ever had a plot-bunny that seemed perfect for a challenge just until you noticed a restriction? Did you meander around the restriction, or did you just leave the plot-bunny for later?
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  10. #10
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    When you read/review a story that was written for a challenge, do you keep that in mind as you go through the fic? Has that knowledge ever altered how you perceive a story?
    I may comment in the review about something about the challenge, but I still expect the same out of a challenge fic than I will out of a regular fic. There are times where the story feels very forced or boring because the challenge restrictions, and I'm not really the kind to give people a break because of it, if that makes sense. So basically, it doesn't really change how I look at a story.

    We've all seen stories that the author claimed 'were written in a hurry/in an hour/in some random location when inspiration struck', or something to that effect. Do you notice any pattern affecting the quality of these fics when compared to the amount of time spent on writing them?

    I agree with Soraya on this one - I don't really think that there is a real correlation. Some people need to take a lot of time, others can just whip things up in like, five minutes flat. If inspiration just strikes you and you write it in an hour and it's good, so be it. Personally, I tend to write chunks quickly, but I then have a beta rip it apart, so while it might be written quickly, I spend a lot of time editing it. I think that a lot of time, the amount of revising it makes a big difference. Even if we look at music, Haydn wrote hundreds of symphonies, and most, if not all, are of high quality, even if they were written in a short time span. In the end, I think it depends on the author and the inspiration.

    Discuss the pairing in the story you've reviewed and if that affected your decision to read and review the story.
    Like Soraya, I was interested in reading an eating disorder fic, as it's something that I've been trying to write myself in Lily. Lily/Louis is a pairing that Soraya is pretty much famous for writing, and it's a pairing that I've fooled around with myself, and I like seeing how Soraya works it, because it's so different than how I do. Of all the Cotillion fics, this one grabbed my eye and said, yes, this is the one to review, due to the subject matter and the fact that it is, like, Soraya's pairing.

    NEW TQ: In the Cotillion, we see a lot of really crazy pairings. Does the pairing effect how you review? For example, would you review a Romione different than you would, say, a Ron and McGonagall pairing?
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