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Name: OliveOil_Med (Signed) · Date: 01/02/09 17:30 · For: Chapter 1 - The Tale of the Quill
Not wanting to see people be hurt and believeing stealing is wrong and American middleclass values? That's not what the terrorists and the Soviets said!

Marissa is a street child; she eats out of the garbages, begs for coins, and owns one outfits, but that does not automatically make her an amoral criminal. The whole point of this story is a good kid who's heart is pure trying to rise above her circumstance. If she did not have this good side to her, who would see her as a hero? There would be no hope for her, so why read about her?

Besides, as far as the 'values', remember she does go to church about once a week and she speaks to the nuns. As a former Catholic schoolgirl, I can personally attest to how convincing they can be.

And I know a lot of people want to know happened when Marissa was in the village for Carnival. Perhapes you could make it a side story; a one-shot.

Name: zergonipal (Signed) · Date: 01/02/09 14:53 · For: Chapter 2 - The Streets of Sao Paulo
Hmmm. I'm only two chapters in, and I'll give it a few more, but Marissa - and the other street kids - are ringing false to me. Why are they letting a girl tell them what to do? Why does Marissa seem to have the attitudes and morals of a comfortably middle-class american? And how could she ever be naive enough to say "Stop hurting him, he didn't do anything to you!"

But the premise of the story is intriguing. I hope to leave some more positive reviews in later chapters.

Author's Response: Thank you for your comments, and its quite alright to not leave a 'more positive' review. I value anyone's criticism and impression of the story. Now how can I address the parts you question? Why do they let Marissa tell them what to do? Basically, the idea is that the boys have found by experience that she can get them out of trouble. If someone has helped me out of danger before, I will probably follow their lead when I'm in danger again, and begin to respect their advice in other ways. I believe most people act that way. Attitudes and morals of middle-class American? It seems you mean I should portray Marissa with no morals because she is poor. She should steal and be uncaring about hurting other people because of her situation. Yet often the poor can display strong morals. Take for example the civil rights marchers of the 1960's who fought for equality and justice. They were not comfortably middle-class Americans. How can she be naive? Well, first of all she is a child. Despite a little street smarts, that is the nature of children. And all children have an innate believe that they should not have something bad done to them if they have not done something bad. Perhaps in her stubborn naivete, Marissa has simply refused to learn that the real world works otherwise. Thank you for your comments and I hope to hear from you again.

Name: Kantaka (Signed) · Date: 12/20/08 14:51 · For: Chapter 11 - The Care of Tragical Creatures
Geee... Poot Asouby passed.. at least he had a long flight in the forest before that. But I'm afraid Marissa will be totalled. Hope the poor gir doesn't believe it's her faul... And she finds a new friend still featherless macaw friend... who apparently is as fiesty as old Asouby was.

BTW, lovely detail that of the guano gathering. It's a noble tradition and seems like a hell of a field trip. Very educational, too!

Constance's vision is more and more intriguing, especially after that encounter in the train and now it seems to match Marissa's 'inexistent' Boggart. I really hope she would open up at least to Merrythought.

I have a halfmind that stupid wand is what's keeping Marissa from doing proper magic, because she certainly is overflowing with it! Perhaps it's also that in such a protecter place her powers don't snap. After all, the times she did those amazing things either her friends of her were in danger...

On a side note, I've begun noticing the very funny and suitable last names you gave to your professors. I mean Esquecido is rather ironical for someone who should rememer dates, names, places and such. Then Guerra and Estalafala... hehehe! Lovely!!

Author's Response: Always nice to have a new reviewer. I'm glad you're enjoying Marissa's story and also noticed the character names. Of course only if you know the Portuguese translation do you see how blatant they are. J.K. Rowling was quite creative with her names, so I try to carry on the tradition. Strangely enough it wasn't until some time after choosing another professor's name that I found out what a 'merrythought' was, and how it could also be somewhat symbolic to the story.

Name: OliveOil_Med (Signed) · Date: 12/19/08 14:16 · For: Chapter 1 - The Tale of the Quill
Another beautiful chapter! This story is becoming so captivating that I can't sit still until the next chapter comes out. It's actually a little sad to think that it's eventually going to end. But we can always pester you into writing more stories about Marissa. You know we will.

I wonder why you didn't go into detail about the Indian village. You have a surprise coming as far as that goes, don't you? Okay, I'll play along.

It's nice to know that Mr. Palito is still alive. He's a wizard, isn't he? Is that why he taught Marissa how to read; because he knew she was a witch all along and he was trying to get her ready for Witness Stone. Maybe, if you write more stories, he will be the one to teach Marissa the Patronus Charm to keep the Dementors away from the street children. And it will be a macaw, won't it?

But I really need to stop asking questions in my reviews.

But her poor little birdy friend died! Oh, I always hate stories where the dog (or other meaningful animal companion) dies! That doesn't mean I'm going to stop reading of course!

I'm also working on your chapter art for chapter 11 and it should be up soon. I can't wait for chapter 12!

Author's Response: Maybe in losing one birdy friend she has found another. And what would Marissa's Patronus be? Of course no student knows that as a first-year, but we'll see what her future holds at the end of this story. You can't wait for chapter 12 and I can't wait for my chapter 11 artwork! Now who would I bet finishes first?

Name: captburke (Signed) · Date: 12/19/08 0:26 · For: Chapter 11 - The Care of Tragical Creatures
Definitely worth the wait.

Author's Response: Thank you for your review and your patience. I'll try to make next chapter's wait a little shorter.

Name: Inverarity (Signed) · Date: 12/18/08 17:45 · For: Chapter 11 - The Care of Tragical Creatures

Hah, I was right -- Marissa is the "girl who fears nothing"! I love how headstrong and yet compassionate she is. And I laughed at "Petrippitus ToadAlice."

There are always so many details in your long chapters that I don't feel I can do them justice just picking a few things to comment on. Marissa's continued frustration with wand-work, contrasted with her unique affinity for birds, promises to make her quite an unusual witch. I'm sure she'll learn to use a wand eventually, perhaps after finding that one that wanted her so much.

Somehow I don't see Cecilia's redecorating plans ending well.

While this chapter was another one with a lot of color and character interactions, there was just enough to remind us of the main plot thread you've been hinting at, like Constanca's ominous vision.

I thought the time Marissa spent in the Jaguars' village was kind of rushed. It was really a pretty significant trip for her, and deserved more description. But this chapter was pretty long already.

Poor Asuoby, and poor Marissa. I'm sure Marissa has seen death before, but this may be the first time she's lost someone she really cared about.

This is my favorite story on MNFF. I always know when I get an update notice that there will be another long, beautiful chapter full of magical and touching moments.

Author's Response: I'm glad the details are appreciated, and of course leave it to you to pick up the little foreshadowings so easily. I thought the village was rushed too (a victim of bloated chapter syndrome), but Marissa will be recalling some things she learned there in future chapters. Thank you for all the comments.

Name: alaskadad (Signed) · Date: 11/26/08 2:40 · For: Chapter 1 - The Tale of the Quill
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.

Name: Inverarity (Signed) · Date: 11/13/08 18:48 · For: Chapter 10 - Proper Girls and Smelly Girls

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.

Name: OliveOil_Med (Signed) · Date: 11/12/08 23:04 · For: Chapter 10 - Proper Girls and Smelly Girls
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...

Name: OliveOil_Med (Signed) · Date: 10/24/08 19:22 · For: Chapter 6 - The Journey to the Rainforest
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...

Name: OliveOil_Med (Signed) · Date: 10/22/08 23:47 · For: Chapter 9 - Feathers and Broomsticks
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).

Name: alaskadad (Signed) · Date: 10/20/08 0:36 · For: Chapter 9 - Feathers and Broomsticks
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.

Name: Inverarity (Signed) · Date: 10/15/08 18:02 · For: Chapter 9 - Feathers and Broomsticks

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?

Name: alaskadad (Signed) · Date: 09/06/08 0:08 · For: Chapter 8 - Choosing More Teams Than Two
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.

Name: Inverarity (Signed) · Date: 09/04/08 12:16 · For: Chapter 8 - Choosing More Teams Than Two

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.

Name: alaskadad (Signed) · Date: 08/10/08 3:16 · For: Chapter 7 - Witness Stone
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.

Name: QueenHal (Signed) · Date: 08/08/08 3:27 · For: Chapter 7 - Witness Stone
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!

Name: bigtimer (Signed) · Date: 08/07/08 21:33 · For: Chapter 7 - Witness Stone
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.

Name: Inverarity (Signed) · Date: 08/07/08 11:15 · For: Chapter 7 - Witness Stone

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.

Name: QueenHal (Signed) · Date: 07/22/08 4:02 · For: Chapter 1 - The Tale of the Quill
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.

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