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Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 09/11/17 10:35 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
So did this story take place in the 11th Century? It sounded a lot more recent than that. I didn't expect Helga and Rowena. What I liked was that it was timeless. You could've been writing about two women at any point in time.

Name: Purple Dragon (Signed) · Date: 09/30/13 19:36 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Well. That was by far the most interesting Founder story I've read. Really unexpected. Still quite lovely!

Author's Response: I'm responding to this a year too late, but thank you so much for the review! :D I am so glad you enjoyed this story - it definitely was fun to write. I appreciate the kind words.


Name: The_Real_Hermione (Signed) · Date: 04/28/12 2:36 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
I love this, Soraya. You know already that I love second person stories when they're well-written, and you really pulled this one off. It's the perfect length, too, because second person can become waring on the reader, but this is just beautiful. I also love how the characters are nameless until the end (although I figured out who they were) - it really makes the story more about the characters and what they're feeling in these moments, rather than who they've become in a historical sense (I hope that makes sense to you).

The second person also really helps the reader get inside Helga's head, and empathise with her.

I think the dynamic of a secret relationship is really interesting, and that's something that SSP really explores. The reasons why the characters are in this relationship is also interesting (sorry I'm really overusing that word) - because from Helga's perspective, clearly she loves Rowena, but I think Rowena's feelings are more complicated - does she love Helga, but marry a man because of the constraints of society? Is she only with Helga for a physical reason, or to try something new? I'm not sure which it is, you leave it a bit open (in a good way), but I don't think she loves Helga more than anything, because if she did, I think she would be willing to keep up the relationship and not marry someone else, even if it had to be secret forever.

Also I think it's great that you haven't tried to "anitiquitise" this in any way - I've read Founders era before where the author has tried to do that in the dialogue, and it feels very unnatural and isn't usually that accurate - I mean if you look at Chaucer (which is a good 200-300 years later than this), the language is very different to what it is now. Anyway, sorry about that tangent - what I'm trying to say is I'm glad you wrote this as you would write anything else, even though it's set 1000 years ago.

I loved how Helga and Rowena sort of showed the qualities they value in their Houses - Helga is loyal, and she is the one betrayed, Rowena is clever and aware of it, like in another great mind -- though, as you were quick to note, not as great as hers, of course. In my opinion, Helga was probably just as great a witch as Rowena (this could be because I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore though haha... although I am a Ravenclaw on the forums), but it makes sense that neither Helga nor Rowena would see it that way.

I'm not a huge Plath fan, but you used the lines from the poem beautifully and they really added to the story.

Your writing is stunning in this too - especially the times you use repetition (eg She’s marrying a good man, and in time, they will have children together. A good man.) - that really shows how Helga is struggling to come to terms with Rowena's engagement and what it will mean for her.

Well I think I've rambled enough about how amazing this story is now haha.


Author's Response: This is one of my better stories, lolol. I'm glad you liked it. I love second person when it's written well and not cloying, so it's nice to know what you think too. And I know what you mean about the length, too. Originally it was only 700 words, so I just wanted to get it up to the minimum word count for the challenge (1500 words).

And I like being in Helga's head :) Second person was the best choice, only because of the namelessness and the fact that writing third person SSP is a b!tch >.<

I'm not quite sure of Rowena's feelings either, hahahaha. I tried answering Abi's (the review below) questions as best as I could, but I'm kind of confused myself, lol.

I'm rubbish with historical details and so on, hence why I didn't try to make it seem like too historical :) It was me being lazy, really. Also, there isn't any real dialogue for that very reason.

I'm a Slytherin on Pottermore :) I'm glad you liked the qualities of Rowena and Helga -- it was very much meant to be a character study, exploring their personalities.

I love Sylvia Plath, and I'm glad you liked how I used the lines from the poem. And yay to you liking my writing style -- it's different from how I usually write.

You did NOT ramble. Thank you, so, so much, for all the lovely reviews, which I appreciate and have made my day so much.


Name: expecto_patronuts (Signed) · Date: 04/01/12 2:06 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Follow this link quietly if you value your life:


Author's Response: Um, no thanks.

Name: phoenix_tearPatronus (Signed) · Date: 03/18/12 11:27 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Hi Soraya =)

This is the third time I've read this and I'm only just getting round to reviewing it so I apologise for that.

I'll admit I haven't read many SSP and it goes against one of my OTP's, Rowena/Salazar, but this fic is so beautifully written that I'm staring to fall in love with this pairing.

I felt so bad for Helena and I think you did an amazing job in getting the reader to feel like that. I can't make up my mind whether Rowena ever actually loved her or if she just liked being loved.
She looks at her bare feet and takes the briefest of breaths, steeling herself before coldly reminding you of her engagement. No more, after today, she says. She’s marrying a good man, and in time, they will have children together. A good man.
This bit leads me to believe that Rowena actually did feel something for Helga and I kinda feel like she's trying to justify her decision to marry him to herself as well as Helga. She loves Helga but she loves him and she knows that she has to let one of them go. Marrying him is the more conventional thing to do, and because she chose him, she feels that she has to be loyal to him and therefore she can no longer see Helga, and that's why I think she said it coldly.
The iciness in her expression has already melted. And for the first time, you can see regret in her eyes as she wordlessly pleads with you. Don’t say it, her eyes beseech. Again I think this quote shows that Rowena did feel something for Helga.

I can't make up my mind about what I think of Rowena. Some of me dislikes her for hurting Helga as much as she did but some of me feels bad for her because I feel like she feels she has to do the conventional thing and marry him rather than show the world that she loves Helga. I think she does love her future husband, which is why she feels she can't keep seeing Helga now she is engaged.

This truly is a wonderful piece of writing. I think the way you've written the characters is so realistic that the reader feels something towards them and that's something you don't always find in fanfiction. Well done on the great piece =)


Author's Response: Hello, Abi!

I noticed you mentioned in SBBC that you've read this, and I was very flattered and pleased that you decided to review it too. I'm really happy with the reception this story's got, especially because, closer to the deadline, I was actually about to throw in the towel, so it's nice to know that you liked it :)

I'm so glad you liked the pairing. I'll admit that I've never really cared much for Founders Era, full stop, until I wrote this story, and then the only pairing I could think of was Rowelga, so it's nice to know that, despite this being an anti-OTP of yours, you still enjoyed it.

Hmmm, I'm not entirely sure Rowena really knew what love was, to be honest with you. Helga did; she was in love with Rowena, for sure, but I don't think Rowena loved Helga, or her husband-to-be. Rowena's relationship with Helga, in my opinion, was mostly physical, though I suppose there was something else there too. You've made me think about that for the first time, lol.

Marrying is definitely the more conventional thing to do, and it's also the only alternative because back in the days, there was no way she could have been in a relationship with another witch. But, as I said, I doubt that Rowena was truly in love with Helga. She felt *something*, but she probably didn't define it, or didn't want to define it, as love.

Once again, I really appreciate your review, Abi, and I'm very glad you enjoyed it. I hope to see more reviews from you soon!


Name: iLuna17 (Signed) · Date: 03/17/12 22:05 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Hey, Soraya. :)

I'm very, very, sorry this has taken so long, and probably isn't very SPEW-worthy, but I'm finally reviewing your fic.

I really love the idea of the story. How it's a story of goodbye, and not too fluffy. :) You used the poem and theme extremely well, and it provided a great background for the story. I thought it fight the theme perfectly, so amazing job!

I also love how you never downright say Helga or Rowena's names until the end. The piece has a sense of mystery behind it, even though you can infer who they are, it again adds to the piece.

I honestly don't see anything it. At the beginning I thought it was Helga/Salazar or some other combination of male/female, but somehow I'm glad it isn't. (though I'm not a *huge* fan of same-sex yet) And again, it adds to the whole whole "goodbye, and it isn't right, and it isn't a happily ever after" that I love. It's not picture-perfect, and I really like how you show that. Not just in this, but in your other pieces, especially in the Highway of Regret. I read that, and I loved it.

Anways, I should digress. Another thing I love is the endings to your pieces. They're always so simple, but magical. The last line of this was stunning (Even after she has wounded you so, you simply surrender to her touch, albeit with the knowledge that it is your last time together.)

I'm sorry if this has been too fan-girlish, but I honestly couldn't find anything noteworthy to constructfully criticize you on.

Thanks for being an amazing SPEW buddy!


Author's Response: Hi Ellie :)

I'm so glad you liked this. Yes, it's a story of goodbye, but I do think it's rather plotless compared to some of my other stories, so I'm glad you think otherwise. This actually started off as a piece of coursework for GCSE English -- we had to take a poem and turn it into a story, or a newspaper article, or some other medium. I got ten out of ten for it, which is nice, too :)

To be honest, I have Deathlex to thank about not mentioning Rowena or Helga's names until later on. Originally, both Rowena and Helga's names appeared in the summary, but Deathlex said it would work better by beginning ambiguously and then finding out. She was clearly right, which is one of the many reasons that I heart her and that she's an excellent beta. :D I see what you mean re pairings, but if you do get into SSP, trust me when I say it's addictive, lol.

And you've read The Highway of Regret? I didn't know that... that story is definitely my least reviewed, and I'm not too fond of it, but I will agree with you re the ending of it (mostly because it ends with Loulily, lol). I had no idea you've read any of my work, Ellie, so if you ever have the time, do drop by and review -- though this is me just being review-hungry, hehe.

I'm so glad you liked the ending of it, too. I struggled with that; I originally added another paragraph, but Deathlex said it worked fine without it, so I'm happy you thought so too. And thank you. I don't always end things happily, but I tend to leave endings open so you can judge for yourself what will happen with a pairing. I'm so flattered that you think they're magical -- I shall take that as a very high compliment.

Thank you for reviewing, and I hope to see more reviews from you soon!


Name: goldensnidget92 (Signed) · Date: 03/04/12 22:33 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Just thought I'd review yours, as you gave me a lovely review :)

I want to say that the narrative voice was PERFECT for this particular story. I don't think I've ever read a successful second person narrative (at least, not one I can remember), so yours has changed that! I just got the sense that it was very dream-like: you know how in dreams you often embody other people? Well here, embodying Helga makes the story feel like it's a dream.

I think that goes very well with the content, because it's all about stolen moments, and "midnight", and perhaps even wondering whether what happens between the two of them is real or not. And that was a very clever thing to do!

Can I also say that I love the Sylvia Plath quote in the summary - I absolutely love her poems, so I appreciated the reference!!

Author's Response: Hello, Helena! Oh, I'm so glad you reviewed this. At first, I wasn't sure it worked, but my beta (Alex) said it was one of her favourites of hers, so I felt a bit better after that. I'm really happy you thought the second person narrative worked. I was really, really apprehensive about that too, though I've read quite a few second person stories that have been very successful -- if you're interested, may I point you in the direction of Memoirs of a Death Eater's Daughter if you want to read an excellent story written in the second person? (And, for that matter, anything else by Alex/welshdevondragon :D) I agree it was rather dreamlike, but I didn't think of it like that to begin with. Looking back on it, I see what you mean. Haha, what happened *was* real; only it never happened again after their last time together, so that is kind of why there's a dreaminess to it, you know? I love Sylvia Plath as well! Aaahh, we should really talk more, lol. Cinderella is definitely my favourite of hers, along with Mad Girl's Love Song (I think it's called that...). Anyway, I'm really pleased you liked this. This story (along with my Katie/Leanne story, Flicker and Fail) has been rather underloved in terms of reviews (although I did get a lovely one for my Katie/Leanne anyway), so it's nice to see it getting another. Thank you, and I'll see you around on the boards! ~Soraya~

Name: hestiajones (Signed) · Date: 03/02/12 18:59 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
Ohhhh! D: Why are you so mean to Helga, you Ravenclaw? I swear this is a conspiracy! No matter, I am going to write ELEVEN ENTRIES in this challenge so that I can outscore you eagles.


Oh wait.

Hehe! Kidding. Well, no, actually I am not kidding but I know you're laughing :D

Okay, on to the serious stuff.

This was a short but really effective tale. I don't think it needed to be longer, because reflective pieces work better in compact form. And you've used the words really, really well. Helga's bitterness chewed them up basically, and I was miffed at Rowena the whole time.

Also, can I just say the roles fit the characters? Helga is the one betrayed; she is also the loyal one. Rowena seems to think that love and sexual attraction is something, and a logical match with a good man, another.

What I liked most, however, was the wonderful ending! It was so sad and yet so hot ha ha. That is a bizarre combo. D: But come on, how can I deny the hotness here:

You can't stop yourself from kissing her back, from tasting that hot, sweet need on her tongue, from easing her robes off her, from showering her face and body, her hair and her lips with kisses and kisses and more kisses.

Well done, Soraya! :D I loved it very much!

Author's Response: Well, no, actually I am not kidding but I know you're laughing :D

You're right, Natalie. I was just laughing out loud :D

Thank youuuuu so much for the lovely review. Normally, I'm not a big fan of short fics, but I honestly didn't feel like I could write much more :-/ Also, the fact that this was written for my English coursework (the creative writing bit) and started off as 700 words did kind of make it difficult to add too much. So I'm really glad you think the shortness worked.

Rowena is, of course, the founder of my house, and I therefore respect her lotsly. I suppose if you look at it from her point of view, she felt the need to get married and have kids, be the normal, conventional thing, if only because she had an extraordinary amount of intelligence, so the one normal thing she could cling to is marriage, really.

I'm so pleased you liked the ending :D And you thought it was hot? Coming from such a hot person, I take that as a very high compliment.

Name: Equinox Chick (Signed) · Date: 03/01/12 22:14 · For: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock
This is really rather sweet and sad and lovely, Soraya. I don;t read much Founders fiction, or second person, but as you know, I do like femmeslash. The forbidden nature of this relationship is so well played out here, where marrying was important for dynastic reasons - even for witches.

She looks at her bare feet and takes the briefest of breaths, steeling herself before coldly reminding you of her engagement. No more, after today, she says. She’s marrying a good man, and in time, they will have children together. A good man.

So sad. She wants the best for her, but she wants her, too.

Author's Response: Ooooooh, Carole, thank you so much :) I'll be completely honest with you -- this story almost killed me because of the era it was set in. It's my fault, obviously, for picking such a complicated pairing, lol. And as for doing it in second person, well, I actually don't know why I picked it, except I found it hard to get into Helga's head, so I couldn't use first person, and there was no way I could do third person because third person SSP is a b!tch to write sometimes.

Anyway, I'm so glad you liked it. And yeah, I think marriage was really important back in the days (and still is now in places). Thank youuu for saving me as you always do, Carole, and don't worry at all about the review being cut off.


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