So... About me. I'm a... college student (defined in Fantastic Humans and Where to Find Them as a strange breed of nocturnal creature drawing life force from the computer... sounds about right).
I am a strong believer in constructive criticism. I'd like to know what you think of my stories, whether you love them or hate them. I want to know what I can improve on in my writing. That's what being in SPEW is about.
First two banners by the amazing Queen Hal, Until The Dawn banner by the wonderfully talented Noldo.
This is the story that actually got me into reading fan fic (well, combined with desperation). I think that says it all.
I decided to look you up and I found this lovely piece of work. I couldn't stop reading and so here I am finishing it at 2:30 am. I think that tells you far better than any soppy words how much I'm enjoying this. I'm still not quite sure about how Ron and Hermione were make up so quickly, though... (sorry I know that is a few chapters back)
Author's Response: Thank-you for stopping by and reviewing! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm afraid updates are few and far between at the moment, but I'll get there. As for Ron and Hermione, I must confess they are merely a means to an end in my writing. I find it hard to delve too deeply into their characters. But I hope that Harry and Ginny ring true for the reader!
Great story, and definitely not too corny. You've kept really true to the characters! About the title, though. "Aetas nam Mutatio" may literally be the words "Time" "for" "Change," but nam doesn't really work like that in Latin, or at least I've never seen it used that way. Obviously most people aren't going to know or care, but the better way to do it in Latin in "Aetas Mutationis." This literally translates as "Time of Change," but it is how the Romans might have conveyed the idea.
Author's Response: Thanks for letting me know, but I think I'll keep the title as it is: I was really going for catchiness rather than huge accuracy. To those who are waiting for chapter 8: I'm so sorry it's taking so long. Having major problems with the site, and it has been in queue for over a month. Hopefully it'll appear soon, fingers crossed!
I was so happy to see another chapter up! Mind you, I wanted to brain Ron there at the end, but I suppose that puts me in the same boat with Hermione and Ginny. Thanks for feeding us another great chapter!
Normally I absolutely hate Hermione/Draco fics, but this one is good. It's funny too. I'll be waiting for the update.
I picked this story because I love the poem by Robert Frost. I don't usually approve of poetry or lyrics at the beginning of chapters or stories, but in this case I'm very glad you included it.
I like the way you've told the story. Interior monologue can be fascinating, and it's slightly unusual to see it from a perspective other than Harry's. It's nice to get a view inside someone else's head. I especially like Hermione, so it was an added bonus to discover something new from her perspective.It did take me a while to figure out that this was definitely from Hermione's perspective. Intellectually it is like her to wonder about things, and it is like her to be loyal about her friends. It's not out of character, but it's not in character either. The speaker does not think anything which is OOC for Hermione, but pretty much everything she thinks could go for many characters. There is nothing that is definitively Hermione. If you take a couple of lines that tell us which characters she cares about most, this interior monologue could come from one of several characters. I can see Luna, in particular, thinking these same thoughts. The characterization is not bad, but there is room for growth. It is not Hermione through and through.
Your use of structure and paragraphing really adds to the tension and dramatic effect. However, it's to the point of being slightly overdone. You should use paragraph breaks and unusually short paragraphs for special moments. They mean more that way. They slow the reader down, making him or her pause and really notice whatever you chose to highlight in this way. They also create a visual emphasis. But when you have many, many one sentence paragraphs it takes away from the effectiveness and from the story. You have the reader going slowly, but no part is remarkably slower than the others, so there is no contrast to create the effect. The visual emphasis is also lost. It's a wonderful technique for creating tension and emphasis, but you shouldn't overuse it.I really liked the tone. It is somber and reflective, and really reaches out to the reader. Your use of short sentences helps to create this sense for the reader. It was great. Also, the way the speaker questions her world is very real. It helps the story hit home for me as a reader. And the repetition of the beginning at the end is perfect. I see a lot of good stories with flat endings. You created a sense of finality and conclusion, which is always important. It makes your readers remember your work ;) Good job, and I look forward to reading more of your stories!
I guess it's a bit unfair of me to leave you a review on the day you leave on vacation, but maybe it'll be an after vacation boost or something when you get back. Anyway, here goes...
I love the opening of the second chapter. It's very vivid, and perfectly fitting with Azkaban. It makes sense that Sirius would dream about the worst moments in his life, and you certainly chose one of the worst! In the second line of the second paragraph you should have occurred, not accured. But as you often remind me, I knew what you were talking about. There's also the issue of tense in the sentence For a solitary moment he thought that he was merely going to check up on an old friend... You used had forgotten in the previous sentence, so it should be had thought here. Okay, okay, enough of my nit-picking... at least on spelling and verb tense.He'd had the best sleep that night in 12 years. Somehow this line didn't fit for me. You've spent several paragraphs creating this beautiful dark mood and doing a very good job of showing and not telling. Here we get an abrupt change both in mood and in story telling. The mood change is good, you need to have some to make a good story. And there's nothing inherently wrong with having a sentence or two of telling sprinkled throughout your story. In fact, it's probably necessary. But to pull off both changes at once you need to make sure that the sentence itself flows very well. As you have it, the word order is slightly awkward. Perhaps you could change it to He had slept better that night than he had in twelve years. or something along those lines. It is of course your story, so only you can decide.
Okay, okay, that really IS enough of my nit-picking. Nit-picky comments aside, I really like this story. You've got a lot of potential here. I have to agree with your other reviewers about the narrative; it works very powerfully in this story. Some of your prose is really lovely: Should he move swiftly or stealthily? Dart past them or sneak? I know you're writing a new story, and I can't wait to see it ;)
I'm not sure which is harder for me: finding something critical to write about this piece, or writing a review for you. Yet here I am doing both…
It's beautiful, to put it simply. Beyond the writing, it's the humanity of the emotions that really shines through. The phrases at the end of each vignette worked really well. I must admit that I got caught up in retranslating the Latin, but they brought the piece together despite my self-inflicted distraction.Each vignette is beautiful on its own. Seamus' disbelief, Neville's mercy, Ginny's futility. Yet they all share the same hope and the same despair. Together they are far more powerful than any of them alone. I think it's the emotional progression between them that makes the story so powerful. First there is Seamus, who “never thought” it would come to this. Then Arthur, no longer able to wait. Next Remus, who wonders why he is there, wonders if there is anything left. Snape, sorry for the second and last time, and the students who would rather be anywhere than there. Neville's bit may be my favorite; rage overcome by love. Luna, beyond hope, and finally Ginny, beyond despair. Each one follows from the one before it, yet each tells its own story.
My favorite thing is how you show the sky in each segment. I love how the night sky is reflected by the mood of the onlooker. It's beautifully symbolic, but not in a hit you over the head sort of way.It's difficult to find anything to criticize, but here I go. The section with Terry and the other students didn't quite work for me. I see why it has to be there, and the end of it (from But they knew that when their eyes opened) is both lovely and essential to the story. I think the first three paragraphs could use some tightening; they make up the bulk of the vignette and in my mind they pull the scene off balance. But that's only my opinion.
Really though, this is a beautiful story. I can't tell you how glad I am that I stumbled across it.*Realizes that she's submitting a review for something written by Seren and skitters away quickly to go hide in a dark corner*
Patience may be a virtue, but I'm still sorely lacking in it. This is good. Please update!
Hands down, the best thing about this story is your descriptions of the scenery. I rarely see it in fan fic, but you make me feel like I'm there in the room, both in the library and in the secret room. You've done an excellent job of making Mafalda quite the little horror-will she be in Slytherin as was originally intended? I can't wait to find out. She's almost too good at pushing Ron's buttons to be an eleven year old, but you do it in such a way that it's completely believable.
I like how you set up the window right at the beginning, but I wish you'd made it slightly clearer that Hermione recognized it. The dragon toy was beautiful- your description seemed so real! I'm wondering if there's anything more to it; it was after all in Andromeda's box.You've done a good job with Ron and Hermione-- quite a few fics have them getting all mushy and completely out of character. Mafalda is a great plot device for bringing them together! Ron's anxiety for Hermione was very real; I was amused that it was only concern for her safety that made Ron follow her down (and even then he had to be in dire need of escape!).
There were a couple of sentences that confused me or bothered me. Hermione says[i] “If there was something bad, what do you think it would be? Lord Voldemort? I doubt he hides behind bookshelves.”[/i] I would expect Ron to react to Hermione saying Voldemort's name, but he doesn't. It hasn't been all that long since OotP, and during the book he was still really bothered by it (though he was slowly making progress towards accustoming himself to it).In Ted's letter to Andromeda, he says [i] We've known that for so long, but now they've become consuming, and I'm slowly sinking in my loss of sovereignty, and in my own home![/i] I was confused here on two counts. For one thing, what do you mean by “they've become consuming?” It doesn't make sense to me. Also, I'm confused about this loss of sovereignty-- what sovereignty? And how is he slowly sinking in it? This was one of the only sentences in all of chapter 5 which I had to read more than once. I had to read it three times.
All in all, this is solidly written and you've planted quite a few mysteries to be solved in future chapters (and mind you resolve them, too). Your tone is light without being fluffy and you use just the right amount of humor for this kind of fic. In general I hope that you tighten it up some and make the story feel more urgent, but on a nit-picky (little looser) level I don't have too much to criticize.
Author's Response: *does another happy dance* Hey HermioneDancr! First of all...fabulous review =). Secondly, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I really wanted to emphasize imagery on this story because it was more a set of pictures when it came to me. Reading back over it, I actually did notice that bit about Voldemort, but didn't know what was so off about it. Boy, someone's head is the clouds...lol. It just didn't click at that second, but now I see where you're coming from. I'm going to hop off and make the corrections you suggested. Thank you so much for taking time out for my story, HermioneDancr! I appreciate it so much! =)
This is a great story, and really well paced. The way you keep the tension up chapter after chapter is awesome. Keep it up (and please update soon)!
Author's Response: Oh, thank you!
I like your story quite a bit. Your sense of plot in particular is very good, and you have a good sense of humor. You're also extremely good at writing Luna. I love how you write her. She says the most random and oblivious things! She's both funny and in canon.
However, you really need to work on pacing. The scene with Ron and the spider was funny, but it went on for too long. We have a 6,000+ word chapter that covers nothing but the trip on the Hogwarts Express. Your story is well thought out and well written, but you need to learn how to cut it down. You diminish both the suspense and the urgency of the story when you add too many extaneous details. Yes, you need some or your story will come off flat. That's not your problem right now. You're a good writer, but your story would be infinitely better if you could cut it down a bit.You have a lot of potential here in this story and I'm really enjoying it. Keep it up, I'll be watching for an update.
I threatened to review this, and since it's gotten through the queue I am here to fulfill my threat. Well, that's a rather dark view on it. Think of how you will.
First of all, I love the idea that Ollivander is an identity passed on by the magic of the shop. It fits perfectly with the strange notice on the door (which confuses Harry during Philosopher's Stone).There were a few places where your punctuation and phrasing broke the flow of the story for me. For the most part you managed to create an ethereal tone, well suited to Mr. Ollivander. But then every once and a while I came upon a misplaced comma or slightly awkward phrasing and I was not hearing Ollivander anymore.
The first of these places is several paragraphs down. The fact that you are reading this letter means that you are capable of performing the office, how that works is I confess, one question of many that I never managed to find the answer to. "How that works" should be the start of a new sentence. At the moment it's a bit of a run-on. I think it would make more sense if you had The fact that you are reading this letter means that you are capable of performing the office. How this works is, I confess, one question of many that I never managed to find the answer to. I changed that to this because I think it sounds better (totally opinion, I know), and "I confess" should really be bracketed in commas in proper English grammar.A bit later, you have The same will happen with your personality; since you are reading this document, then you are not likely to be the most extroverted of people, but you will find this trait increases... Personally I think "to your personality" would be better than "with your personality," but like everything else it's only my opinion. What really bugs me is the "then." Since ..., then ... doesn't make much sense to me. I think the sentence works better if you remove the then.
Sometimes I yearn to ask them, what a wizard can do without his wand? Dear Emperor Won-Won, what on earth is that comma doing in the middle of that sentence? It makes perfect sense without the comma, and no sense whatever with. Please take it out. I beg you.In the third paragraph down from the last one I commented upon, you use the word 'negative.' Besides being a rather empty word devoid of connotation, it doesn't seem to fit Ollivander's character. You've both stated and shown in several places that Ollivander does not see the world in terms of black and white, good and evil. I don't think he would see things as 'positive' or 'negative.' He might call the perspective he was giving on his job 'one-sided' or 'narrow,' but I don't think he'd call it 'negative.' It seems out of place with the character you have so lovingly created.
My last nit-pick is really more a matter of taste than anything else. In the last paragraph of the letter, you have I imagine so, I can’t think of a reason why they’d have stopped, but it’s been so long since I talked to anyone, and I am so very tired, so very, very tired. To heighten the sense of slowing down and drawing to a close, I might break this up just a little. Maybe I imagine so, I can’t think of a reason why they’d have stopped, but it’s been so long since I talked to anyone, and I am so very tired. So very, very tired. It's not a big change, but I think it adds something to the sense of completion.All my snarky little comments aside, I do really like this. I love the premise. I love the execution (In the words of Marie Antoinette, "Execution is everything"). I love the way you chose to write it; the letter format and the continued use of 'you' come off very well. I love the characters you chose to write and the originality with which you write them. So please, Tom, keep it up.
I'm glad I finally got around to reading my lovely beta's L/J! It's also good to know that my beta is such a good writer herself! I've already told you this, but I want it on the public record: that cliffie there is evil. I want to know though, is there any evidence to support the Head Boy and Girl living separately? It does work nicely though. And what was the significance of Sirius's tea set? Okay, okay, I know I'm just taking advantage of having the tables turned...
Author's Response: Mwahaha! Evil cliffhangers are my spe-ci-al-i-ty! (Sorry, Star Wars taking over. Dark Side... no...) I rather like the idea of Lily having to live so close to James - and it also makes for more interaction, which my story needs. ;) And Sirius' tea set: fun. That was it. I wanted to write a more lighthearted part of my chapter to relieve readers of the angst in the first part. And, I suppose, to prepare them for the next part. You know... the evil cliffie. :D
Oooh! Good story. I too discovered it only today. Please update!
Author's Response: thank you!
This is getting interesting! Please update!
Author's Response: Chapter 4 is in queue right now. Thanks for reading!
Well, I figure it's time I reviewed for you, Joshito. First of all, I have to say that I was very impressed both by the idea of the story and by your wonderful storytelling. You really do have a wonderful way with the wording. It's slightly peculiar in a very delightful way, and it helps bring the story together.
Okay… on to being my nitpicky self. For the most part your grammar and sentence structure is good, but were a few things that didn't work. First of all, you have He was whispering something, but he was whispering so softly, that I could not hear him. Are you sure Tom didn't write that sentence? Your comma use is …creative to say the least. Either remove the second comma (after softly) or remove the 'that' in that I could not hear him. You can't have both.I saw him, as he up the marble staircase, chatting happily with Ron and Hermione. As he ran up? Walked up? There is no verb in the main clause of this sentence. It does need one, unfortunately. ;) And while I can guess what you mean from the context, it doesn't make sense without a verb.
The sections about Hermione and Ron don't quite work for me. It's the balance of it. As it stands, the majority of the story is focused on Susan's impression of Harry's experience at Hogwarts. The sections on Hermione and Ron seem like an afterthought. I would recommend you either take them out altogether and make the story solely about Susan and Harry or expand them so that they are as detailed as Harry's and balance each other out. Okay, okay, that's asking you to do a lot of work, I know. I don't necessarily expect you to do it. But expanding those sections would, in my opinion, make the story much stronger.:: huggles Joshito :: Despite all my criticism, this really is quite a good story and I like it very much. Enough that I would/will most certainly rec. it to other people. You've done a great job creating a character for Susan; you have made her into an empathetic observer who pays attention to and things about the people she watches. You've managed to do it entirely through what she thinks about the trio-a real exercise in showing instead of telling! Good job, Josh!
Great story! Please update again soon!
Author's Response: Thanks! Right now I update each time a new chappie is validated, though I can't promise it will always be that way...
I was kind of confused as to why you had Remus and Peter look in on the train, but I suppose you had your reasons. Still, you have another great chapter here. I'll be waiting for an update!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! As to the Remus and Peter thing...no real reason, just an interruption...
Great new chapter! This is one of my favorite fics. Going back to the last chapter though, it bothered me the way Harry was able to put quiddtich aside. If you can work it in, I'd like to hear more of why he did it. Harry isn't Hermione, and quidditch is his favorite thing. "I have too much else to do" just doesn't sound like Harry. Oh, and is the watch going to come back?