Reviewer: Fantasium
Date: 11/21/06 1:23
Chapter: Making Choices

Hi Ilka! *huggles her SPEW buddy*

Let’s see if I can turn my incoherent notes into a review for you. =)

The first thing that strikes me about this one-shot is unfortunately a formatting thing. I can’t call it an “error”, because it’s not technically wrong, but I think the beginning of your story would look better and read smoother if you had a line or some kind of marker between the initial Author’s Note and the first paragraph. There is a specific html tag for inserting a line, or else you can just put something like “~~~” centred between the things you want to separate. It’s not a big deal, but it makes a good story even better and more pleasant to read.

I really, really like the first paragraph. It has such nice imagery and your words create the perfect mood for the setting. I know already that it was about Minerva since I read the summary, but it struck me that your words could just as well have been about Hermione. I like that, because I think making Minerva subtly similar to Hermione helps your readers relate to her, and not just see her as Professor McGonagall.

Which brings me to my next point – it really made me giggle when I saw her being addressed as “Miss McGonagall”. I’ve read her as “Minerva” in a few fics, but otherwise the “Professor” part is so closely related with her name that anything else makes me look twice. “Miss McGonagall” - *giggle*

Professor Dumbledore, the Head of Gryffindor House was walking towards her, carrying a candle.

- You have a small comma error there. There should be a comma after “House”, since “the Head of Gryffindor House” is a subordinate clause to “Professor Dumbledore”. (I just felt very odd about mentioning that, but I’m sure that you know what to do with the information. ;))

“He’s so sure I will get Os in every subject…”

- Here I would suggest using the words “an Outstanding” instead of just “Os”. I can’t give you a real reason, other than that it sounds better when I read it to myself out loud. But as I said, that’s just a friendly suggestion. ;)

I just have to mention how much I like your interpretation of Dumbledore in this one-shot. To me he is perfectly in character, yet you’ve used his part creatively and he’s not a “stereotype Dumbledore”. Very well done, Ilka!

—that she would get up in the morning and her mother would be there, cooking breakfast while her father read the paper.

- Personally I would put a blank step after that dash (before “that she would” etc), especially since you have one before the dash. Then I want to comment on the rest of the sentence; because I don’t think it quite lives up to the rest of your lovely one-shot. Cooking breakfast and reading the paper seems very stereotype, or cliché even, for someone to connect with their mother and father. It’s not a technical fault, because I can well imagine that Minerva’s parents did precisely that, but I’m not so sure that’s what she would remember. I would make it more detailed, like have Minerva remember the pattern of her mother’s apron, or a special bowl she used, or how the sunlight looked when it fell through the kitchen window and onto her hair. For her father, you could perhaps mention something about his hair, tousled from sleep, or at least that the paper he’s reading is The Daily Prophet. Again, this is not a fault per se, but it differs from the high quality of the rest of the fic to make me notice it.

The ending is very good. You could have had Minerva simply realise that she wanted to do things for herself, without any help from the outside. But her you let her discover friendship and recognition, and it makes your story more powerful. Lovely!

Lastly, I would like to say something about your language. Being a non-native writer of English myself I know how tricky it is, and that makes your story worth so much more than a similar piece written by a born English speaker. You have a very good flow and pace, and your words are captivating. But best of all, by writing and publishing this on MNFF, you make me believe that I can do the same thing, and I’m sure you serve as inspiration for several writers with English as a second language.

Author's Response: Anna! *huggles* Thank you so much for that brilliant review! I changed about everything you pointed out. I hope there's something dividing the Author's Note from the story now, those always mess up my formatting if I write them into the box on MNFF and not into the story box... Dear, you have nothing to be ashamed of, what I have read of your writing so far is superb, so don't you go telling me you need encouragement to submit to MNFF, everybody should be honoured to get the chance to read your stories! *loves*

Reviewer: pandafan81
Date: 09/01/06 21:22
Chapter: Making Choices

Very nicely done Ilka! I really liked Minerva's characterization, I see a young McGonagall in a very similar fashion. Too mature and driven for her own good, but a selfless act surrounds her with friends she didn't know she had. Dumbledore, as always is perfect with sage advice just at the right moment. I can't say I've ever throught about Pringle, but I think his use in the story was well worked. He sounds a lot like Filch, without being his exact replica. I think that sort of job would foster certain similar feeling about the students. But you varied his character enough that he's not Filch's twin. Excellent work all around love!

Author's Response: Thanks Amamnda! *huggles* I'm glad you think Pringle isn't a carbon copy of Filch. I put Filch in first, but then Beth pointed out that he wasn't at Hogwarts yet while Minerva was a student, so I tried to tweak the text a bit to make a similar but slightly different character fit in.

Reviewer: FaunaCaritas
Date: 07/28/06 1:01
Chapter: Making Choices

Not bad! You have me interested... who are the five students and what were they up to?
Keep updating.
Pax.

Author's Response: Sorry, but this is just a one-shot, there won't be any other chapters. And to be completely honest, those five students don't even have names in my head, nor do I know what they did to poor Pringle.

Reviewer: mgle_teacher
Date: 07/27/06 1:36
Chapter: Making Choices

*laughs*
That was funny.
I really thought it amusing that Minerva would stand up to the caretaker like that and cover for five troublemakers. But she is a true Gryffindor isn't she?

On another note, the characterization you do of her is almost like she's a version of Hermione (or actually vice versa).

Good work!

Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for reviewing. I see Minerva and Hermione as very similar characters, but I tried to make Minerva her own person as well. Her whole situation is different from Hermione's. When Hermione came to Hogwarts she didn't have friends, she was always alone, and Hermione certainly studies for herself, not for anyone else. Minerva on the other hand, in this story anyway, used to have friends, then her mother died and her father became really strict on her and she started studying to please him, she wasn't studying for herself anymore. That's the most important difference, Minerva in the end chose her friends over her father, Hermione never had to make that choice.

Reviewer: BrierRose17
Date: 07/26/06 14:15
Chapter: Making Choices

Ilka! Yay, validation! Anyway, I love this one-shot! I think everyone deserves a second chance, and I'm glad you do to (I think). I really feel sympathy for Minerva, which is a wonderful thing because that means you are doing something right. Wonderfully right. : ) For instance, being able to convey loneliness and regret, all in about a thousand words. Which actually, isn't a lot.

10/10 : )

-Megan

Author's Response: Thanks, Megan. *huggles* I firmly believe that everyone should be given a second chance! Also I was wondering why Minerva is so strict, but at the same time seems to have a soft spot for her students and tries to guide them on their way. So I thought, maybe something happened to her, where she needed guidance, during her years at Hogwarts, and that's how this one-shot came to be.

Reviewer: Tufty
Date: 07/26/06 11:35
Chapter: Making Choices

That was an account of proffessor Mc Gonnagoll's youth.I never considered her past before.But what had the 5 trouble makers done to make the caretaker angry?It would have been an even betterstory if you had said.

Author's Response: Thank you for your review. Maybe it would have been better to include it, but Minerva didn't know what they did and to include it would have meant adding another scene after the last one, which I felt would have ruined the effect of the last few sentences. In the end it's not really important what they did, what is important is what Minerva did, and that she was accepted once again because of it.

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