I've been getting impatient for another dose of this excellent story, so I did something I should have done long ago. I just sat down and read through the whole story again. Amazing what I recognized, what I had overlooked or not connected, what clearer threads are seen when I wasn't staggering through the chapters after several weeks delay for each one. I'm not even getting the quill story straight yet, just evolving a much better image of marrissa's life and the nature of her school and the community of students and teachers. I missed that wand master was the snotty blond's family. I love that marrissa has a special and amazing "bird thing" that's clearly going to surprise us. ( Will she ride the great Condor??) I didn't grasp the implications of the wand in the case that WANTS her, in spite of Tio's prejudiced dismissal of the street girl, a wand made by an apprentice native....This is a much better story and a more fulsome treat when taken as a whole again. JKR alluded to what powerful insights one could gather from a person's boggart and their patronus. One more revalation coming, I take it. Clearly this is no short story. Believe me, I would pay for this in a bookstore. Shall we start negotiating with Rowling?? Excellent , excellent work. Dr. Preecs
Author's Response: I so much appreciate your continued reading (and reading again) of the story, despite its slow arrival. It's good to know reviewers are seeing the little threads within the storyline and I hope I can bring them all together properly soon. Though I cannot provide a bookstore version of course, there is a printable book formatted file of the first ten chapters (with charming illustrations by another reader, OliveOil_Med) which you can find here ( http://www.box.net/shared/gb6eolifkt ) if you like. When Marissa's story is complete, I will provide the entire book in this form.
A beautiful, creative, and touching chapter, as always. I particularly like that we're starting to see more character development in Marissa (and to a lesser extent, her friends). The thought about using a love potion on parents was a rare moment of vulnerability, and really sad. It's nice that she's constantly thinking of her boys. I really wonder what will happen when she returns to visit them, though.
I knew what Celestia was up to immediately, and tried to guess what Marissa's Boggart would turn out to be. That was a very appropriate one. I wonder if they will start calling her "The girl who is afraid of nothing."
Must be awfully frustrating for her not to be able to do magic. I hope she's able to make her wand work soon! But obviously, birds think she's magical. I get the feeling that Asuoby has a significant part to play in this story...
Author's Response: Marissa's Boggart allowed me to show a part of her that she doesn't show to anyone, or maybe even admit to herself. Although all the other parts of the chapter were outlined long ago, the Boggart scene only came into being as I wrote the chapter. Isn't it interesting what pops up when you let your story ferment a while? Asuoby will have a meaningful place in Marissa's experience at Witness Stone, as do other feathered friends. It's a bird thing.
Wow, I get the first review of the chapter! Another great touch to the story, and I hope you have another one coming up soon.
Now we get to see a real theme of family in this part of the story. Will we ever learn about where Marissa came from? Or will she come to see the world as her family, the way Harry Potter has? She seems to have created her own family as a child, much like he did.
And I just realized this: birds like Marissa, ad she is in MACAW house! How did I not see this before.
And what will Marissa do when her letter gets returned because there was no one to send it to.
Author's Response: Questions, questions. I suppose the story should start answering some of them soon. But don't be too sure about Marissa's letter. As some others have remarked before, Mr. Palito may be more than he appears. Then again, maybe he's not...
Wow! This chapter is so original! With the flying train and the kids flying down to the rainforest was wonderful. I can just imagine it. This is one of the more creative 'other school' stories on the site.
But, oh, the man who was so nice to Marissa was caught by the Dementors! Marissa will be so sad. I don't know what she will do now! Poor, poor, girl, hasn't she had enough tragity in her life?
But I love this story. And don't think I don't know that comment in my last review was a crack at my writer's ADD!
Author's Response: Uh... you may be reading the chapters backwards. Just thought I should let you know. And you really should drop the ADD label and picture yourself as a Renaissance woman who has so many talents (writing, drawing, videos, who knows what else) that they simply cannot be contained. Of course, there is no medication for that...
I love this story so much, and yet I have left only one review. Well, I intend to fix that right now!
It's so exciting to finally see Marissa starting her classes. I can't wait to see what kind of student she is. And I also have a feeling she will be just find with her 'charity wand'.
But what will she do when her first break comes? I can't imagine her teachers would even think of letting her roam the streets by herself for several days. Although, with the people we hae been introduced to in this chapter, who can say? What what will her boys think when she tells them she can't use her wonderful new powers to get them food and keep them warm?
This is just a suspicion of mine, but I almost feel like Marissa isn't really a Muggleborn. Ever since we first saw her in the first chapter, I have felt this way. And I don't suppose you're going to tell me either.
Oh well, I feel pretty comfortable in the prediction that Marissa has something to do with the fall in wizarding births. But you won't tell us that either, right?
Author's Response: Well of course I'm going to tell you! By about chapter eighteen, I think :). I will say that Marissa really IS a Muggle-born. But how that affects the rest of the story, who knows? Thanks for the review and I hope to have the next chapter up soon (after all, I'm only writing one story).
Wonderful addition, excellent imagery. I would have thought this could be divided up into smaller sections/chapters but ultimately I just want to read the story. It would help my sense of the situation to understand if Marrissa really is "smelly". I mean, she was "raised" in the most desparate of situations, maybe these things aren't obvious to her. Or perhaps she is wonderfully clean and disaplined but only subject to predjudice and presumption. Learning "hygiene" could make for some delightful story lines if its the former situation. Well done, again in any case. Dr. Preecs
Author's Response: Thank you for returning to Marissa's story after our long delay, and also for your comment on the 'smelly' sentences. Probably my writing did not make it clear enough, but this is only her antagonist's way of demeaning Marissa for where she comes from. She is as clean as the other children (she did always use that alley faucet as best as one could) and has enjoyed her new opportunity to use real bathing facilities. A few lines at the start of the next chapter will note this. I had considered dividing this into two chapters, but did not find a place I felt comfortable parting her first day of classes in halves. The imagery you so graciously complimented sometimes defeats my aim for briefer chapters, but with Witness Stone now for the most part fully described, the story itself will proceed faster.
I liked the description of the classes -- it made the chapter long and full of exposition, but Witness Stone is so different from Hogwarts, it's wonderful to see how much thought you have put into describing each class.
The last few chapters have mostly been about introducing us to Marissa's world, and the cast of characters, so it's nice to see the story getting back to the main plot. The wizarding world clearly has no shortage of prejudices to overcome, even after the fall of Voldemort.
I like that you are including friends and foes from each house, rather than having a "good" house and a "bad house." The distinguishing characteristics of each house are starting to be more clear, whereas in previous chapters I could never remember what the differences between them were, other than arbitrary mascots.
Marissa is still my favorite character, of course. She still has that delightful combination of street-smart toughness and childlike innocence. It's nice that she's starting to develop bonds of friendship, albeit slowly and cautiously. She's tough and brave (she'd totally be a Gryffindor at Hogwarts), but she's got a lot of weaknesses as well.
I'm seeing much smoother writing, too. You have a marvelous way of capturing Marissa's unsophisticated way of thinking. The only sentence that really bugged me this time was "...she added it to her mind’s list of best things to learn." I know Marissa probably doesn't know the term "mental list," but here it reads like an awkwardly constructed phrase, not like Marissa's thoughts.
Author's Response: Thank you as always for the comments. My biggest concern with my last few chapters is whether they are proceeding too slowly, but I just couldn't find anything I wanted to skip or cut out. The pace of the story will pick up now to get past the one chapter equals one day it has been so far. Thanks for pointing out the sticky phrase. I do try to write her thoughts in simple words. Would 'she kept it in her head' rather than 'she added it to her mind's list' sound more Marissa-like?
very nice, excellent imagery. So, is saci a poltergeist or something else? I really did enjoy the duck milk/snipe hunt event, and appreciated the justice of the ending. How is marissa going to keep herself away from her street family as her power and abiliity to help them grows. The guilt issue is only going to grow. But anyway, wonderful story, excelllent, excellent work. Dr. Preecs
Author's Response: Thank you for your continued reading and I apologize for the long wait on the story (this chapter sat in line twice to be approved). Saci is a magical being from Brazilian folklore, an elf-like creature blamed for anything that is lost or goes wrong. He appreciates a helpful light, as he never has his own matches. Though this story won't delve any deeper into his origin, he would seem to have some poltegeist tendencies.
I really like Saci! And your houses are great -- they aren't like Hogwarts houses at all, but their divisions and traditions still make sense.
It looks like Marissa is making friends with those who are ignored and dismissed, and she's staying strong despite her trials. I'm glad not everyone is cruel to her. This story is still brilliantly creative, and I can't wait to see what classes are like at Witness Stone.
Author's Response: Thank you for your constant reviews. I really appreciate your comments every chapter. I've seen your excellent writing critiques in the beta forums. If you ever feel like pointing out errors and negatives in any chapter for my benefit, you have my open invitation.
You need to quit your job, abandon your family, leave school, and dedicate your life to finishing this wonderful story. Beautiful imagery and an intriguing story but I'm not very patient. Excellent work.....Dr Preecs
Author's Response: Well that would be one way to get it written faster. Encouraging words from loyal reviewers are good motivation too. Thanks for your continued following of Marissa's story.
Ahhhhh that was made of WOW! Why did it have to end? Hun, you've created the most magnificent school. It exceeded all my already high expectations. It's brilliantly original, though you've kept certain things (like Houses) to connect us to the source material. This is a masterful chapter... I also really enjoyed the history of the school. I can tell you've put a lot of thought into the back story, and it shows in every paragraph. It doesn't seem like you have any weaknesses really - even your characterizations are incredibly strong. I find myself wanting to know more about every character you present. I'm interested to see how your sorting goes... are the house leaders really picking their firsties? That's intense! Rather like being picked for a sports team in grade school and getting picked last... poor Marissa, I hope she gets a break pretty soon!
Author's Response: Thank you for the positive review, Haley. Marissa's actual arrival at school was kind of a turning point chapter in my story and I'm glad you think it came out well. I especially appreicate the comment on the history, as it was a section that gave me problems. The speech by the librarian (or tour guide narration as I called it when writing) was originally four times as wordy before I edited it to what I hoped was a proper size. The next chapter is titled 'Choosing More Teams Than Two', so yes they really are!
i like how you descrbe the school and how it was founded and why it was. well done, keep up the updates.
Author's Response: Thank you for that comment. I tried to fill in the backstory of the school without slowing down the story too much. I hope I struck a good balance. Chapter 8 is coming soon.
Witness Stone school is beautiful and magical, rivaling Hogwarts in grandeur, and I love how well you incorporate all the elements of Brazilian culture, both native and European. Saci is a hilarious Peeves counterpart. You really do a great job of introducing non-European magic while still keeping it in the style of Harry Potter. And all those creative, original touches! I love Re-piranhas!
The writing in this chapter seemed a bit more polished than previous ones too. I think you're getting better and better, and I can't wait to see which house Marissa winds up in. It looks like Witness Stone doesn't sort by aptitude or temperament, so I wonder what characteristics each house has.
Author's Response: Thank you for the many compliments. I did make an effort to correct the grammar, trim some endless sentences and keep the Witness Stone background concise. Re-piranha are among a few magical creatures of Amazonia that Newt Scamander might have overlooked. Saci may have more mischief in store.
This was a truly amazing chapter. I loved seeing Marissa interact with all the other children, and I too, couldn't get enough of your train! But my favorite part was the children dropping through the sky over the rainforest. That was such stunning imagery! In fact, it was this picture that inspired me for the banner.
... which is finished and now posted in my thread in the BA forums! I do hope you like it! Tomorrow, I'll PM you on the Forums with how to paste it in your Bio. I'd do it tonight, but the site is acting up.
Author's Response: My falling first years! It's so cool to see a scene from your own story captured by an artist. Thank you so much. The next chapter should be up soon and I hope you enjoy Marissa's landing.
The entire trip was marvelous, from the flying trains to the school in the rain forest. You really capture the magic of Rowling's universe in the same vibrant way she does. While your writing could stand to be polished a bit in a few places, I think in general you're doing a first-rate job with this story, and you definitely have the potential to be a really good writer.
I like the mix of kids you've introduced Marissa to, some nice and some mean, just like when Harry Potter came to Hogwarts. And I'm glad her swallows came with her.
Author's Response: Witness Stone's train flies because I thought Wizards would never chop down all those beautiful trees to lay down a railway and deforest the land the way we Muggles do. They've always been rather evironmentally conscious, protecting golden snidgets and dragons and such. So they created a less damaging mode of mass transit for the children. Thanks for your constant feedback.
Well, this is going to be painful. Waiting for such a richly formed story is a serious test of patience. So we are right about Sr. Palito. I'm sorry to hear about "welfare wands" and blonds that seem to be regularly cast in evil roles but still this is very well developed. Thanks for excellent work. I just wish it flowed faster. Dr Preecs
Author's Response: I promise I'm not making any more of the bad characters blondes, and maybe the sisters won't permanently have an evil role. Thank you for your criticism and I think the next few chapters will move at a faster pace with a little smaller word count.
This is a perfect blend of the magical world and the gritty one Marissa lives in. The idea that Dementors would infest the slums, and children would just accept them as a part of life there, makes so much sense. It's sad but believable.
Marissa is a very believable character too, the way she tries to deny her emotions, because she needs to be strong and not show weakness to survive. Her pride in her new shoes was a perfect touch.
It's too bad she had to take a cheap wand that doesn't suit her, but obviously there's another one waiting for her eventually...
Author's Response: We'll have to wait and see what her cheap wand can do...
i really really like it. good job!
Oh my! This has been the most delightful chapter yet! You have such original imagery... I LOVE the Wizarding Market, the changing stores, and the Samba studio entrance. We knew from the start that Marissa is special... but it's becoming even more apparent that we haven't seen nothin' yet. I'm already itching to make a banner for this...
Author's Response: Why, thank you. I would love a banner (and I see from the forums that you are the very best for the job). Should I provide suggestions or just let you surprise me? I'm glad you are enjoying Marissa's story.
I just read all four chapters, and you've got me hooked. While you do have a lot of grammatical errors, your vivid descriptions of Marissa's life more than make up for it! I can't wait to see where you go with this story. Please keep writing!
Author's Response: Thanks for your review and for forgiving any poor sentence structure that slips through (I confess to a grammatical errorry writing style).