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The Unbreakable Curse by Karaley Dargen

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: In 1993, Bill Weasley is working on a tomb in Egypt with a team of Magiarchaeologists and Curse-Breakers. It is a job like any other ... or so it seems, until members of the expedition start dying, and Bill has to race against time to figure out what exactly it is that they awakened in the tomb of Mentuhotep, and how it can be stopped before it reaches him.

The following are characters from JKR’s creations: Bill Weasley, Ragnok, Agatha Chubb (QttA), and the last names of Deverill and Pilliwickle. I don’t own them and never will!

I owe a large debt to Hannah (coolh5000), Carole (EquinoxChick), and Natalie (hestiajones) for their constant encouragement and help at various stages of this story.

Fair Warning: Some of the reviews (naturally) contain spoilers, especially those towards the end. So if you want to be safe, don't read those before you read the story.

This story just WON a 2012 QSQ Award in the General category, as best chaptered story. THANK YOU!!!

m m

So here we are, at last, at our journey’s end,
And it’s time for some sweets; come on, bring a friend!
Simply search for the holiday and the first thing you’ll see
Is a familiar character’s first Halloween.

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 03/18/12 Title: Chapter 11: Storm

Good place to stop: the mystery continues on several fronts and the resolve is not far away. The dialogue is especially welcome. Again, your paragraphs are too long to keep suspense active. Perhaps revising your text to create clean, sharp sentences will help. Good luck

Author's Response: Again, the first long paragraph is Bill reflecting over the events -- since he acts as the detective in this mystery, I find it important that the reader gets some form of insight into his thoughts, so that they can keep track of how his investigation is advancing and form their own ideas. The second long paragraph is the description of Ragnok's tent, which is necessary because I don't like my characters talking in empty spaces. It's also an aspect of the whole magiarchaeology business that I hadn't really explored yet -- the side of the Gringotts goblins -- and feel might interest readers too. Really, I'm only touching on the surface with this description and only providing what's necessary for the scene that the dialogue takes place in.

Also, while I love writing and reading dialogue a lot, I feel like a story can't be made up exclusively of it. It works on occasion, and there was a challenge around here that produced some wonderful examples. However, with a mystery story, I myself need a scene to set the characters and their dialogue in -- and also to serve as a place where clues can be hidden.

The thing is that the story isn't supposed to be one long rising line of continuous suspense. I don't want to give readers a heart attack. Tension here is meant to move in waves. There are parts that are more suspenseful, and then others that are pauses where both the characters and readers can take a breath and organise their thoughts. Here, especially the second part of the chapter is very literally the calm before the storm -- which is very close to the final action, but also always will be a moment of calm where Bill has time to sit down and think.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean about "clean, sharp sentences". Maybe if you could provide an example, I'd be able to work with it in a better way.

Once more, thank you for reading and reviewing. It's good to know that at least some parts of the chapter seem to work for you. The criticism you give might be easier to understand if you gave examples of what you mean, or elaborated.

Dumbledore's Army - Still Flying by Karaley Dargen, muggle girl marauder, minnabird, the opaleye

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Life at Hogwarts is all but cheerful under the Carrows' reign. One of the changes that hurts the students worst, some even worse than torture, is the ban on Quidditch. Dumbledore's Army wouldn't be themselves, though, if they didn't find a way to bring some life back to the castle, even if it only lasts a couple of hours. But can even the best of matches wipe away mistrust and resentment?

This story was written by the Incaff Military Athletic Division for the 2011 Quidditch World Cup on the Beta Boards. It won, too! Our alternate was hestiajones.

Many thanks to the referees, who set this wonderfully inspiring prompt that gave us weeks of drabbling-frenzied fun. The prompt for this match was:

"One Last Match: When Harry was on his extended camping trip, I don’t think his thoughts extended much to Quidditch, but for those at Hogwarts it did. Under the new regime, however, the sport was banned. For the pupils at Hogwarts, this became a focal point of rebellion. They decide to play one last match, an inter-house match, in the spirit of Dumbledore’s Army. The two teams will not be from one house but a mixture."

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 03/24/12 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Loved the concept and storyline. Hate the ending...just doesn't have much resolve. Feels like there should be a third chapter.

Author's Response: Thanks for the review.

Birthday Girl by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: For Angelina Weasley birthdays were something she'd rather forget. But then George takes her at her word and decides to watch a Quidditch game with Lee instead of spending time with her. So what's a witch to do? She could spend her evening crouched over the accounts ... or perhaps she could crash her favourite haunt and see what transpires.

Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling, but I think she'd understand that marriage doesn't mean your life ends with that ring on your finger.

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 03/24/12 Title: Chapter 1: Birthday Girl

Very nice..just the right balance of near-middle-age maudlin that rings true for those of us found caught in its grasp and the stability of a solid work-in-progress relationship. Good job. I do so enjoy your creative flair and command of story-telling.

Author's Response: Thank you very much. This was rather a self-insertion fic to begin with because I was writing when I'd discovered I wasn't going to have anyone with me on my birthday, but the story took an upturn when my birthday did, too. Sadly I didn't meet Oliver, or even go out - ha - but did get champagne and food.

Thanks again for reviewing ~Carole~

The Ring of Urobara by Osgard

Rated: Professors •
Summary: Potter. Weasley. Malfoy. Black. Seven years after the Battle of Hogwarts, a new threat has emerged that will cross distant lands and centuries in this thinking person's canon fantasy. A dark, ensemble page-turner filled with action, suspense, and mystery.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 06/27/12 Title: Chapter 7: The Wolfhaus

Your descriptive writing is impressive; however, the paragraphs are much too long. I felt frustrated at times. Crisp dialogue is preferable, with supportive text. Move your readers through the action...don't weigh them down with lengthy text.

Author's Response: Thank you for your comments. As a psychologically and philosophically-driven work, I'm afraid this story may not be your cup of tea if you, as your post suggests, prefer a dialogue and action-driven text. There will be upcoming chapters with almost no dialogue at all. My tastes tend to be far less modern and action-packed than your average Hollywood ADHD blockbuster, and this will undoubtedly mark a difference in my take on the wonderful mythos Rowling has created for us.

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 08/20/12 Title: Chapter 13: Weasley

Very nice twist...I had not expected Hermione at all.
This story is complicated and a bit thick to read and follow. Your use of detail is quite good, but also overwhelming at times. Be careful not to lose your reader along the way...

The Runaway by Alice Mac

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger, and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself. - Thich Nhat Hanh

He has been running for as long as he can remember - then again, that isn't saying much.

Her job is to get him to stop - which is easier said than done. But it is him and her - it was never going to be easy.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 08/30/12 Title: Chapter 8: Chapter 7

The entire psychological balancing act is sometimes overwhelming and I commend you for the clarity of storyline! You are creating a rather interesting aura of tension in the unraveling of Malfoy's life at Hogwarts: Hermione's POV is wonderfully rich! Keep up the good work.

Author's Response: Yeah, it's quite difficult staying true to the character of Draco Malfoy while making him actively nicer at the same time. What I'm going for is a sort of Malfoy without the inbuilt prejudice - but, of course, he's wrestling with his own mind, trying to retrieve memories that he can't get a handle on. I hope I'm doing a competent job at expressing that! Thank you so much for reviews, I really enjoy hearing what I'm doing right and wrong. I hope you continue to enjoy the story :) ~ Alice

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 12/06/12 Title: Chapter 12: Chapter 11

You've certainly pulled the knot tighter...the strands of Granger and Malfoy melding more and more! As much as I do enjoy the details and tension, at some point you need to reveal more of the background story that creates the situation. Be it the capture of the Lestranges, a Parkinson confession...whatever. As long as the chapters are being posted infrequently, the story will get heavier and the readers will become frustrated! Plan your action carefully!!!

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 09/14/12 Title: Chapter 9: Chapter 8

The opening section at the party was a bit confusing given the amount of lapsed time since the last installment. Bringing some sort of closure to the HG/RW relationship was a good transition, though. The dialogue with PP/TN/BZ was quite amusing: taking them down "memory lane" via the Non-Disclosure?? Brilliant. The use of "MudBlood Granger?" Not so much. Theodore Nott's apparant leadership role? Interesting, considering Blaise Zabini's prior status in Slytherin House. I hope you post the next chapter more quickly: you've left your readers dangling with the very last paragraph!!! Good job!

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 06/27/12 Title: Chapter 4: Chapter 3

I enjoyed this chapter; an opportunity to lay foundations for future dialogue and to support both Harry's and Ron's positions in the story. Keep the chapters coming!

Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter - it's mostly about her trying to get through to him and him exhibiting his stubbornness which is a trait found in both Malfoy and Wyvern. Obviously he'll have to speak eventually, but I wanted to show that it's not going to be as easy as all that for the two of them. You'll come to see more of the differences in Ron and Harry's attitudes in later chapters. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story! Thanks again for the review ~ Alice

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 06/11/12 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 1

You have set up the story very well. The terse interaction between Hermione and Robards is quite palatable. I sense several layers of meaning in the multitude of reactions at the Ministry: with Harry and Ron, Seamus, and especially the Auror Director. As for Malfoy...nicely done! I look forward to watching the storyline unfold.

Author's Response: I'm glad you thought that the interaction between Hermione and Robards was well done - they're both quite logical people and in my mind, Robards is rather like Moody in terms of strictness, only with out the 'Mad' aspect! Their reactions will be explored more fully in subsequent chapters, I promise :) Thanks for reviewing ~ Alice

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 10/28/12 Title: Chapter 11: Chapter 10

Progress with Malfoy's memories through his dreams? Nicely done.
As detailed a story this is, I hope you do not lose sight of the intersecting plotlines you've started that include Parkinson, Zabini, and Nott. I like the blossoming relationship between Leo and Hermione. Now that you are resettled, may the chapters continue to flow!!!!

Author's Response: I'm glad you like that aspect of it - it will feature again, only not in the next chapter as there are other key things I want to focus on. Don't worry, you will definitely be seeing Parkinson, Zabini and Nott again - I enjoy writing them too much, for a start. Their part will come a little later in the story, however. I'm sensing this story is going to be a pretty long one! The next chapter is being beta'd, so hopefully it'll be up soon. Thanks so much for you review! ~ Alice

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 06/13/12 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter 2

The story you are unraveling should not be handled lightly. Be very guarded as you take on the confrontations between Hermione and Draco: they are the nucleus of character development. The underlying cause of Draco's current identity issue should not be trite. Please consider the many facets of being Malfoy-turned-Wyvern and give us substance in your plotline! Good luck!

Author's Response: I hope that it will be clear in subsequent chapters that I'm not going to handle their situation lightly - even as Hermione begins to believe that Malfoy is telling the truth, it's going to take a lot for her to separate them and allow her to think of Wyvern without a degree of bias. The underlying issue for Draco's condition wont become apparent until later in the story, but in getting to that point, there will of course be much exploration of Malfoy-turned-Wyvern, both in their similarities and their differences. I hope you're not disappointed with the direction of the rest of the story! Thanks for the review ~ Alice

Seven Simple Years by HalfASlug

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The story of Ron and Hermione through a series of missing moments. Who said love was simple?
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 01/17/13 Title: Chapter 18: Nineteen Minutes Later

This is a fairly ambitious undertaking, one you have accomplished well. I like the idea of "filling in the missing moments" and following canon to boot! Good job. The scene with Ron and Mr. Weasley in chapter 17 is my favorite.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing! This was only meant to be one chapter when I started so I really had no idea how ambitious an undertaking it was to be honest. With that scene I wanted to show that Arthur would have been just as upset as Molly - it seems like that is forgotten in some fics - as well as giving Ron a bit of a boost. I'm glad you liked that part and the rest and thank you so much for taking the time to review :)

Safe and Sound by welshdevondragon

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
“They locked me up. Told me you weren’t real, told me I’d imagined you, told me you were no better than a voice in my head.”

am real. And if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t let you wake up.”

The Ravenclaw boy and the mad, quiet Slytherin girl.

Inspired by the Taylor Swift and Civil Wars song Safe and Sound.

This is a slightly belated birthday present for the wonderful Jess/ToBeOrNotToBeGryffindor. She is someone I feel very lucky to call a friend, and hope she has a fantastic year.

Nominated for the 2012 Best Non-Canon Romance and Best Dark/Angsty Quicksilver Quills.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 08/13/12 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

To have taken so much care to set up Terry's dilemma, then not to resolve the plot is somewhat anti-climatic, isn't it? He and Tracey are in the Owlry...above, but not exempt, from the flying curses. When Terry covered Tracey's eyes, I expected to read how the stones exploded, the floor collapsed, and last thoughts of free-falling into eternity together...something dramatic. Your ending does not satisfy the angst of your characterizations. Sadly, a missed opportunity.

Author's Response: The ending is intentionally left open. I do know exactly what happens immediately afterwards, but I wanted the possibility of Terry and Tracey surviving, however slight, to be there. The purpose of the story was not to show what happens during the battle, but to show the events that led to a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw being there in the first place. Also, personally, I feel annoyed if a story conforms to my expectations. If I guess that something will happen, and then it does, I feel deeply dissatisfied as a reader, and therefore I try to make it surprising. Ithink the image of two people trapped on the edge of death is dramatic enough in itself, without me having to resolve it for you. It also serves the purpose of satisfying those who wish to believe they lived happily ever after, and people like yourself, who think that they were both dramatically killed. So I do not see this story as a missed opportunity, but just one that does not meet what you expected it to do. Alex

His and Hers by Acacia Carter

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: In a perfect world, Neville and Hannah's wedding would go off without a hitch. This is not a perfect world.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 04/09/14 Title: Chapter 1: One-Shot

LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS STORY!!!!!!!! You captured the day perfectly. My hat is tipped to you!

Uncommon Friends by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: When Draco Malfoy walked into a shop one night looking for help, he found the last person he would have expected: Neville Longbottom. To Neville's surprise, Draco accepted his help. But neither anticipated that one chance meeting would be the beginning of a friendship that would last until the very end.

Winner, Quicksilver Quill Award for Best Post-Hogwarts story
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 06/14/12 Title: Chapter 2: Part Two

This is a lovely story. Thank you for writing it!

Badges by Acacia Carter

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: It is the beginning of seventh year, and Neville has had just about enough of Amycus Carrow.

This is Acacia Carter of Hufflepuff writing for the first third of the Character Triathalon, for the "missing moment" prompt.

Many thanks to Jess for the lightning-fast beta.

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 08/20/12 Title: Chapter 1: One-Shot

LOVE IT!!!!!!!! Wonderful backstory/addition to Book 7. You captured the ugliness of Hogwarts under the Carrows' influence. Good job!

Quiet In Our Town by the opaleye

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story

The earth is taking back what it’s lost. There are new terrors to battle now.

The end of the world comes not from the hand of Lord Voldemort, but an incurable disease. When Britain falls, those that are left must keep on running.

And never stop.

Winner of the 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award for Best Alternate Universe!

Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 07/02/12 Title: Chapter 1: Today we heard that someone left this earth.

Very interesing read! I like the way you used a reversed timeline. Wish you could have told us why Malfoy Manor was protected, though.

Author's Response: Thanks! Hm... I like to leave some details unanswered ;)

An Appreciation for Still Life by epiphany212

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: For Dean Thomas, success in art is simply serendipity. Beginner's luck and raw talent have brought him from doodles in Professor Binns' class to his first gallery opening. With the promises of critical acclaim and financial success shining brightly upon his professional horizon, Dean must face the only person who understands completely what this moment means to him.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 08/12/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

While the middle section was a triffle thick and sometimes heavy to read, you eventually brought this reader to a satisfactory ending. I, too, have experienced the identity-crushing reality of a biological father who turned his back on a select few in the family, when I was age 43, no less! The ensuing triumphs and personal satisfactions in my life are not tainted by this selfish man's actions: on the contrary, my children and grandchildren are spared the criticisms of a bigoted, narrow-minded patriarch and we live life to the fullest.
Good job for you!!!!

Author's Response: I'm glad the emotions/characterizations rang true for you. I'll keep revising the prose on this piece in an attempt to find a balance between thick/unwieldy narrative and keeping the reader spinning in circles for a bit, which is what I want to do, at least until closer to the ending. Thank you very much for the feedback; this was very helpful for me. :)

A Recovery in Moments by HermitKnut

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Seventh year is over; Voldemort defeated. But the saviour of the Wizarding World is far from the happily ever after he was promised. A set of eight short ficlets, R/Hr and H/G. Mini-sequel to All for All, an AU seventh year fic, so it's DH-disregarded. You do not need to have read All for All to understand this fic.
Reviewer: baby54boomer Signed
Date: 09/18/12 Title: Chapter 3: In the Attic

Had I not double-checked to see what other stories you had written, I would have missed this delightful, insightful piece.
Looking forward to reading the sequel installments.

Author's Response: Then I am very glad that you double checked! Thanks very much for your review, I'm very pleased that you enjoyed it!