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The Dawn of a New Year - Q1 2021 DLP Competition

Discussion in 'Q1 2021' started by Ched, Jan 7, 2021.

?

WHAT YOU WANT?!

Poll closed Jan 12, 2021.
  1. Tom Riddle sorted into Gryffindor

    22.5%
  2. Master and Apprentice (or Mentor and Protege)

    52.5%
  3. Vampire

    15.0%
  4. "The inside of the coffin was rather pleasant. But it was time for me to go."

    5.0%
  5. "Wait, you mean everyone in magical Singapore uses brothels?"

    5.0%
  1. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Hey there @Snowy, I'm glad to see that you're so excited! I'm personally a sucker for Mentor-fics and I would enjoy reading the one that you propose. It's a fun idea, especially if Newt is portrayed as he is in the movies (which is VERY different from Harry's portrayals).

    Let me offer you some thoughts on your idea as someone who wrote their first fanfic in 2003 (it was shit), was reading fanfic a bit before that, and has been involved in the HP fanfiction community for almost 20 years with more than half of that here at DLP.

    There are two ways you can write this, and I don't think you've thought either of them through. Both could work - and work well - but I can see you heading for a cliff that so, so many fanfic authors tumble over.

    The "plot" you created in your head is not really a story plot - it's a setup. Let me outline it a bit more for you.
    Dumbledore hires Newt Scamander to teach at Hogwarts after Hagrid is fired when Malfoy gets hurt in his class. Harry ends up being sent to detention and forced to help Professor Newt with some things. In this, Harry starts talking to Newt and discovers a new passion: magical creatures.

    Newt sees that Harry is a hardworking and promising student, so he decides that he will be teaching Harry extra classes. Dumbledore ends up talking to Newt and admits Harry's role in the war against Voldemort, which could take place in a few years. Newt then tells Dumbledore to let him take young Harry as his pupil and train him. Dumbledore ends up agreeing and says that time out of Britain would be beneficial for Harry.

    Newt calls Harry into his office and tells Harry about the conversation he had with Dumbledore and they both decided it would be a good opportunity for Harry to travel the world honing his skills and training, as they both knew that Voldemort would come back sometime and Harry would need to be ready to the battle.

    Harry sees an opportunity to train and become stronger, and also to stay away from his hateful relatives for a while. So you readily agree.

    Newt tells Harry that the training would take about two years.

    The meat of the story is then here:
    They would travel the world training and already taking the opportunity to meet the wonderful magical creatures.

    In a full length fic everything I put under 'Setup' would be covered in a single chapter - the first chapter - before moving on to the actual story/plot.

    And it's a good setup. Malfoy is hurt and Scamander is hired for reasons. He and Harry hit it off for some reason or another - perhaps Scamander is curious how Harry avoided becoming an Obscurial - and Harry discovers that his 'saving people thing' applies to animals. The war is escalating differently than in canon and Newt decides to take Harry on as an apprentice to get him out of Britain for a bit while teaching him a variety of skills (perhaps including Occlumency).

    That's great. But the cliff I mentioned earlier? It's where I think most stories get abandoned. Because a metric shit-ton of authors will have an amazing idea like this, write it out in a handful of chapters, and then realize that they have NO CLUE what happens after.

    They're going to go explore the world - okay, where? And do what? Which obstacles occur? What do they need to overcome? What's the actual PLOT? Most authors with ideas like this have no clue, so the story gets abandoned as soon as they finish setting it up.

    Don't do that.

    But I mentioned two ways in which you could write this. You could write the entire story as the setup itself and tie it off such that 'leaving with Newt' feels like a conclusion to the story you're telling rather than the start of one.

    @Joe did this with his winning entry in the first of our revitalized competitions - check this out. I thought it was fantastic and - if I remember correctly - I voted for it. He got some pushback from a handful of voters/readers because he ended with the characters setting off on an adventure. But Joe had backstory, and atmosphere, and trials to overcome within this prequel to the adventure that we didn't read (or need, in my opinion, as the story was complete without continuing).

    So why am I bringing that up? Because you could turn your setup into a story of it's own. Start with Newt getting hired and end - conclusively - with them setting out into the wider world. But that's not going to pay off if you don't add some actual plot elements to your story idea.

    Characters need goals and things to overcome or struggle against. Newt and Harry hit it off and go travel the world doesn't include any of that by itself, which is fine for a setup in a larger story, but if you want it to hold its own you need to flesh that out with obstacles.

    Maybe Harry doesn't really want to go with Newt and leave his friends behind. Maybe going with Newt means going incognito so he won't even be able to write them. Maybe Newt is hesitant to take on responsibility for Harry because Harry is a reckless little shit sometimes who acts completely without thinking, never trusts adults if he isn't given ALL of the information he wants, and is typically unapologetic about it afterwards.

    Maybe Newt really wants Harry to come but Harry doesn't. Maybe Harry really wants to go but Newt doesn't want to take him. Maybe they both want to make this work but there's some external issue interfering with it - maybe Dumbledore hates the idea, maybe the Ministry doesn't want to lose track of Harry, maybe Voldemort is alive again a bit early and is on his motherfucking way.

    Maybe none of that. Maybe it's an introspective tale about Harry accepting his role as the BWL and looking at himself and deciding who he wants to be. Maybe he has to come to terms with some of his own issues and demons before setting out.

    But if you want this to be a standalone story - without actually writing about the adventures they go off and have - you need something a bit more than 'they got along and decided to travel together.'

    Or just write the entire story, adventures included. That would work too.

    Cheers, hope that was interesting / useful for you.

    Feel free to disagree with me here folks - I'm sure someone like @Halt or @Blorcyn or @FitzDizzyspells will come along and provide context from authors who have actually managed to finish longass stories. My longest stuff isn't that long.

    Also, as I told you before when you mentioned Grindelwald, discussing ideas are fine but don't confirm what you are actually writing for the competition or give out enough information that everyone knows which entry will be yours.
     
  2. Inert

    Inert Death Eater

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    Got an outline and just banged out 1800 words. This'll be a ton of fun.
     
  3. haphnepls

    haphnepls Fifth Year

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    I've wanted to write Herpo/Voldemort but sadly that idea got nowhere. Imagine two equally disturbed and deranged wizards who get excited about the most wrong things possible, without a single ounce of empathy between them. It was supposed to be humor/horror as the duo would practice magic that certainly excuses tag horror, but with Mentor/Mentee dynamics that is fully inappropriate because there is the half-dead person they're experimenting upon or so.

    But as I said, I can't write it, but wanted to share the idea nonetheless.

    Oh, and, reading your list, there are plenty of characters that I haven't considered, but I can see their potential now. I can see wild mentorships including Rolanda, Gilderoy, Fred and George, or even someone like Fenrir or Fudge. I'd be happy to see them used at least once.

    I don't care much about Dumbledore, Grindelwald, or Voldemort as mentors because we know that they're brilliant and therefore their teachings will be such too. Sure, it can be written surprisingly well, but I feel like that stories would be bland, already seen to some degree, while the less used ones can show their hidden brilliance in new and surprising ways.

    There are also a lot of characters included (like Alice, Frank, James, Lupin, Snape, Kingsley...) that I think are not very exciting as mentors because of how little I care about them. Others might feel differently, but the ones I've listed are just... You have to invest more words to actually make them interesting outside of their chosen careers, and I don't think it's worth the struggle. But who knows, authors may yet surprise me.

    Also, another approach to the competition: Picking a subject you want to write about and then find the most appropriate/fitting person for a role of a mentor. I'm pretty sure no one will bother with Astronomy, but if someone does, the only realistic choices are centaurs and Sinistra.

    Lol, now that I wrote this, I also want to add that creatures too could make an interesting mentor. Firenze or Bein, Merchieftainess Murcus, rogue goblin willing to disclose some of their secrets, vampire on proper ways of sucking blood etc.
     
  4. HeirGaunt

    HeirGaunt First Year

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    Who were the degenerates that voted for the brothel one? I need to congradulate these people on the unholy amount of cultured they must be.
     
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    @Quentin and @Topgundragster

    (The poll is public and you should be able to click to view who voted for what!)
     
  6. HeirGaunt

    HeirGaunt First Year

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    Huh. Today I learned.
     
  7. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Fuckin' bump!

    I'm excited as hell for these entries and I hope we get some good ones.

    So far nothing I'm ready to write - I've had three half ideas, one of which turned into an actual idea, but it's one that's too long for me to deal with given that I've been too busy to start (or even think about starting).

    Off to brainstorm a shorter one I might actually be able to finish instead. Winter has just been hell on my work schedule.
     
  8. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene Professor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I keep meaning to do this but work has my hours all over the place and I'm tired as hell when I get off oof. And after my other concept burned out due to the way I feel about it I'm having a tough time settling on another.
     
  9. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    I'm really into mentor fics and I want to share a short fic that @Jeram wrote for me for a story exchange (I never finished my story for Xantam, sorry mate, I still have it half done somewhere!).

    It's good stuff. Here it is - Aberforth is a mentor for Harry in The Aberforth Alternative. Roughly 10k words so right on the money for a competition like this.
     
  10. Aureus

    Aureus Muggle

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    I'm a very new member of DLP, and I was wondering whether I could join this competition, or is it a "known members only" kind of thing. I think the prompt is interesting, but I haven't got much experience writing fanfiction. If I do enter this competition, it probably won't be to win or anything like that, just to get feedback on my writing. I know that the expected 50 - 17,500 words, but I don't know how my story would be received if they're only like 500-1000 words. I don't have much free time at the moment, so that's probably all I could muster. I've read some entries for this competition and from what I've gathered most of them are quite long. I do have some ideas on what my story could be, but I'm having a bit of trouble with the plot. How in the world do I make a mentorship fic interesting?

    Also, I know we're supposed to stay anonymous and such for our stories, but I'm curious - for those of you enterring this competition, are your stories Harry-centric? I know DLP prefers Harry centric stories, but I feel there's more interesting stories to be told about other characters. I certainly don't want to write yet another Harry and Dumbledore/Voldemort/Grindelwald mentorship fic.

    Also, does anyone have any recommendation for quality mentorship fics? I need inspiration.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  11. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    1000% you can enter. And 1000% anything between the 50 and 17.5k words is fine, though if there is now only one entry of 1000 words length I’ll guess it was you. Although, to be fair, maybe I could write a 1000 word long story too, and you’d be covered.

    Do your best, but yeah, it’s a good way to learn and to get some feedback. Personally, if I write a story, I suspect it won’t be Harry led, but I suspect it’s likely we will see multiple stories where Harry mentors or is mentored. The winner though will be hard to guess, and we get non-Harry stories winning as often as Harry stories.
     
  12. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    @Aureus Welcome! Yea please enter. Make sure you read the rules about where to send it and pm me with questions.

    I tried to offer some brainstorming ideas above if they help. You can also use 1-2 beta readers / people to help you brainstorm in detail. I suggest trying out our discord for chat. Feel free to hit me up if you want to brainstorm.

    Flash fiction (1k words or so) is fine. I expect most will be long (and many of them too long despite being under 17.5k). If I’m able to enter this time I’ll probably have a short one too as I’ve been too swamped with work until now to start.

    I personally anticipate about half to two-thirds to be Harry centric. I will not be surprised if 1/3 aren’t.

    You will get good feedback but it may be blunt. Be ready with a thick skin but it’s really worth it.
     
  13. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Voting ---

    3 points to Entry #3
    2 points to Entry #2
     
  14. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    3 points to Entry #4.
    1 point to Entry #2.
    1 point to Entry #3.
     
  15. haphnepls

    haphnepls Fifth Year

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    2 points #4
    3 points #3
    I'd rather split them equally between the two but I don't want to complicate so here we go.
     
  16. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    3 points to entry 3.
    1 to entry 4.
    1 to entry 2.

    Thanks to all who submitted.
     
  17. Red

    Red Professor DLP Supporter

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    In Order:

    1. Entry 3 (4 points)
    2. Entry 4 (1 point)
    3. Entry 2
    4. Entry 1

    Thanks for the entries, folks.
     
  18. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

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    1. Entry 4 3
    2. Entry 2 2
    3. Entry 1
    4. Entry 3
     
  19. happyg

    happyg First Year

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    Entry 4 - 2 points
    Entry 3 - 2 points
    Entry 2 - 1 point

    Nice work all!
    Hg
     
  20. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    upload_2021-4-1_17-34-15.png

    CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, ENTRY #3 - "Standing Up" by Shouldabeenadog!
    We also have a runner-up this time in Entry #4 - "Cornish Pasties"

    I'll update the thread and the announcement page today/tomorrow - if you won let me know if you'd like to stay anonymous or get your name plastered on your piece!

    Thanks to everyone who reviewed as well - really appreciate that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
    Red