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Oregonian [Contact]

As my pen name suggests, I'm an American, living in Oregon. I started writing in 2012, just because I had a story (The Baby in the Closet) that I wanted to tell, but since then I have been trying to learn to write better by taking classes at the local college, reading some really useful books on fiction writing, and following their advice. Hopefully it's working!

I like to study history, languages, and science. I try to stretch my writing skills by entering challenges and forcing myself to write to prompts that I would otherwise not write, although Romance, Marauders, and Quidditch are topics I can't write well (so I avoid them). I am a registered nurse and have a daughter and a son.

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Reviews by Oregonian

Shall I Compare Thee to a Winter's Eve by 1000timesingoldenink

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: There are stories everywhere. Some reveal themselves to their characters, but most do not.

One story goes like this: Once upon a time, there were two children, a boy and a girl, who were best friends. The boy had grown up in the cold, and he fell in love with the girl’s bright warmth; he cared more about her than anything in the world. Yet fate rejected them, and one day, without meaning to, the boy shattered their friendship forever. He tried to apologize, but it was too late. He had been swallowed back into bitter iciness, while the girl remained in the light of the sun.

Yet the girl does not know all this. She only knows of the turning point in the story, the hurt the boy has caused her, the reason she would not forgive him.

These are Lily’s words to Severus at the turning point in their story.

(It is also, for no apparent reason, a parody of Shakespeare sonnet.)
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/03/13 Title: Chapter 1: the turning point

A wonderful idea, and well done. One suggestion: in line 4, you want to say "tarriest", not "tarrieth", because the verb ending for the second person singular is -est. The ending -eth is for the third person singular. You have it correctly further on in that line, where you say "thou dost" (instead of "thou doth" which would be a mistake), and in the second line where you say "thou hast" (rather than "thou hath", which would be a mistake).

Author's Response: Thanks for catching that! I don't actually know how to write medieval English; I just winged it, lol. I'm glad you liked the poem!

Forget Me Not by BrokenPromise

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •

Sybil Trelawney and Quirinus Quirrell: the Seer fallen to teaching and her bright young thing. Of course they never meant to fall in love. But they did, and so here is that story.

This is BrokenPromise of Ravenclaw, writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.

Thanks to Sophie (the owl), who looked over some of this for me.

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/06/14 Title: Chapter 1: My Blue-Eyed Boy

Hi, BrokenPromise. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your story about Sybill Trelawney’s early teaching days.

Poor Sybill gets a bum rap in the books by JKR, depicted as a dotty and ineffective person, a figure of fun. Her reputation deserves some rehabilitation, as you have done in this delightful little story, focused on her early years as a teacher, when she was younger, probably prettier and more carefree, a person that a young man might actually come to love.

It is a gentle story, even with its calamitous ending. The lovers are circumspect; the dialogue between Quirinius and Sybill is frank but not florid, and there is a very even pace and tone. I like the way you told the story as a series of vignettes separated by breaks. Each vignette acts like a steppingstone across the landscape of the story, brief but significant, each one propelling the plot forward. Your have a spare, succinct writing style, but using enough detail to flesh out each scene adequately. There are no wasted words here; each sentence pulls its weight and contributes well to the story.

The presence of the letters gives a nice change of narrative style. Because each brief letter comes from a different geographical place, one gets a sense of motion and the passing of time. One looks forward to seeing the letter from Albania, but, ominously, it is not there.

Your ending wraps it up neatly, with no loose ends. You have Sybill say that it was after Quirinius’ death that she fell apart with drink and dottiness, due to the double blow of the loss of her loved one and the horrible circumstances of his death. This is all logical and does not contradict canon.

There were a couple of little points I noticed, neither of them very important. You assume that Quirinius was sorted in 1979, after Sybil had made her prediction at the Hog’s Head Pub about the birth of a boy who would be Voldemort’s downfall. I believe that that prediction, and Sybill’s subsequent employment at Hogwarts, occurred in 1980. The other point was the statement that, during the Sorting, “Andrews, Gillian, had been the first Gryffindor; Zeta, Carys became the last.” I interpreted this to mean that Carys was the last Gryffindor, but later you say that the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaw did not attend their Divination class together, yet Carys is passing around the blue chintz teacups in a class session where Sybill addresses a student as “my dear boy”, and I had assumed that that student was Quirinius. Of course any of these assumptions could be wrong: Carys might not have been a Gryffindor, or Gryffindor and Ravenclaw might have met together for Divination occasionally, or “my dear boy” might not have referred to Quirinius. But none of this matters to the impact of the story.

This is the subtle sort of story that improves with each re-reading. It was enjoyable to see how you managed to bring these two characters together in a plausible way. Nice job.

Author's Response: Hi Vicki, I’m very grateful for this old review. I really pleased that you enjoyed the story. The year of the prophecy has always puzzled me. I assumed she gave it in around March 79, then started teaching in September of the same year. It worked for the purposes of the story – it made Quirrell old enough to be a young teacher when Harry arrived. As for the Carys issue, I did not make it clear enough that this is in an earlier year. Finally, the letter from Albania was received – Quirinus kept his promise and wrote every day, so Sybil has hundreds of letters and postcards (in my mind they’re tied with ribbon by month) – I chose the 4 letters I wrote to show Quirrell’s passion for learning about other people, which is also what made him a good Muggle Studies teacher. As for poor Trelawney, well, I’m glad you feel I have contributed towards her character’s rehabilitation, as you say. To be honest, writing this pairing remains one of my proudest achievements on this website. I always cite it as one of my OTPs, no matter the looks I get from my friends! Thank you again for your most splendid review, and my humble apologies for taking so so long to reply to it.

Act Two by HalfASlug

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Draco is determined for today to be just another day and for everything else around him to play no part in second rate production that is his life. As the first act closes in a dramatic fashion that has the unlucky protagonist questioning everything and nothing, the second begins.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/29/14 Title: Chapter 1: one-shot

Hi, H.S. This is Vicki from Slytherin House again. I always enjoy reading your missing moments, as you already know, because they are so skillfully written and fit so neatly into canon.

My initial reaction to this story was that I liked the first half, in which Draco is alone on the balcony reflecting on his recent past, better than the second half, because the first half is such a comprehensive analysis of the the emotions and reactions that Draco must have been experiencing at that moment: a lifetime of angers, fears, negative outlooks on life (looking down on people cannot be as enjoyable as appreciating them), negative experiences (bullying people cannot be as enjoyable as having friends), frightening real-life nightmares, disappointments, isolation, abandonment, resentment… You explore this lifetime of bottled-up hurts and wrongs in fascinating detail, even to the gallows humor of the golden casket with the mirror inside the lid.

There are significant hints in a few phrases: “…the vacuum of emotion..” and “It didn’t affect him…” Draco tells himself that he feels nothing and doesn’t care, when it is painfully obvious that he feels a lot and does care, not in grief for a loving father whom he lost a few days ago, but in grief for an entire loving childhood that he lost on the day he was born. You have him think of his father as “The man who had been dead to him for years…” Twenty-one years, by my count. In this, he is like Harry, who also grew up without a loving father. To Draco, his father was like the walking dead, not present in any sense that matters.

And still, as he reviews his father’s sins and shortcomings, you show hints that Draco blames himself as well: “Who the hell cared that little about [their father] that they could spend his funeral counting the panes of glass…” “…no progress had been made…” in building himself back up, and “Just how fucked up was he anyway?” These are not the thoughts of someone who doesn’t care.

At first reading, the half of the story featuring Astoria was less attractive to me. Her speech seemed affected, but to try to understand what you were doing here I re-read this section, skipping all the narrative and just focusing on her statements, and some points began to stand out, particularly “…he is both pleased and horrified to discover that his father’s death hasn’t affected him?…But doesn’t that make him as cold and unfeeling as his father was?” My take-away message here is that how we are raised will affect how we think and behave for the rest of our lives, and I saw an unexpected parallel with my own story, The Baby In The Closet, about how Harry was affected by his own upbringing. (Don’t know if you have read that or not.) I’m not sure Astoria was thinking about anything like that; she was just having fun freaking Draco out.

It was not clear to me how Astoria could pinpoint so accurately what Draco’s state of mind was”a lucky guess?”or why she accosted him out on the balcony. Why does she want to tease, torment, tantalize him? And why, in the end, does he seem to be attracted to her? Because she is the one person for whom he does not have to play a false role? It is for me a pretty ambiguous ending.

I enjoyed this story, and writing a review for it forced me to think more deeply about it instead of just skimming over it and on to the next. Thanks for writing.

The Fourth Crimson Sky by HoneyLake

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: James was vaguely aware that the sky outside his window produced a bright crimson. He could have thought of blood. He could have thought of the fate right before him. His last thought, at the end, was of Lily's smile.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/03/13 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue: At The End

Nicely done, gracefully written. The sentences flow smoothly and the details are just right. Not too much or too little introspection.

A Chance Encounter by dreamsnape

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: In this brief sequel to "Snape's Interlude", Snape and Winifred run into each other two and a half years after their break-up. Snape thinks it would be a bad idea to meet with her privately, but the temptation is great. He hopes that, whatever happens, it won't be something they'll regret.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/25/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Linda. This is Vicki from Slytherin House, commenting on A Chance Encounter, the second story of your trilogy.

At first, this part of the tale of Snape and Winifred seemed like a story just about sex, and I wasn’t sure what the purpose of this story was. Of course one should read the first part, Snape’s Interlude, and the final part, Winifred’s Dream, in order to understand this one, its references and implications. When one has done so, the function of this episode becomes clearer, even though this story does not have a lot of what we would consider “plot”. Its purpose seems to be to show that Winifred still harbored a desire to re-connect with Snape and a hope that they could have a future together, despite his insistence that it must be over between them, and to show Snape as affected by her but still resolute, and therefore the stronger of the two.

There is a notable contrast between Snape’s almost instantaneous crumbling of resistance when he unexpectedly encounters Winifred in Diagon Alley and his rock-like insistence at the end that their feelings for each other cannot be paramount over his “important situation”. I loved the way you conveyed the idea that, emotionally, Snape did want this liaison, by having him say “I don’t think I should be seen with you,” and, moments later, “I have a room there for tonight” before he could stop himself. You have made it plain that she wants it too, “coaxing” him, countering his “it wouldn’t be wise” with “we don’t always have to do what’s wise.” Total end of resistance! Conquered with barely a shot fired! But in the morning Snape gets ahold of himself, and you show this transition well in the two contrasting lines: “He looked back at her, then at the floor, shifting his weight from one foot to the other as he sighed heavily and said…” and moments later “A few seconds passed in silence, then he faced her again; his dark eyes met her gaze steadily, and he said coolly…”

Snape seems a little out of character in that he is shown as having, in his later years, a tender, loving side with at least a little openness. We do not see him depicted this way as an adult in the seven books, but it is a favorite premise of authors, perhaps because we sympathize with Snape and see him as a tragic character, despite his unjustified bullying of Harry and the Gryffindors. So there exist many stories which give him a happier outcome: a wife or sweetheart, a child, even a longer life. We authors and readers are to be forgiven for wanting this; his was a tragic tale.

Your writing style is graceful and fluid, without awkwardness or choppiness in sentences. You provide good details of little actions and surroundings, that make the scenes and events easy to visualize. The only thing that gave me pause, other than the spelling of Beauxbatons, was the initial premise that Snape was in Diagon Alley just to hang around and keep his eyes and ears open for any significant information. That seemed a little improbable, although of course Dumbledore can make any assignments he wants.

As part of the trilogy, this is an enjoyable little story in that it informs us a bit more about their relationship, but, as you indicated by saying that initially you planned that they should never meet again, it’s not crucial to the story as a whole. Thank you for writing!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your detailed review. I found it very helpful, and I was glad to know that your impressions of the story were so close to what I had intended. You are right when you note that so many authors--myself included--want to see Snape with a happier outcome, but as long as we stick to canon, his story always has to end tragically. That's why the next story I'm planning is going to be an AU.

Agony Aunts by BrokenPromise

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •

Albus Dumbledore sees it as an opportunity to help his students. Severus Snape sees it as an opportunity for a free drink. What could possibly go wrong?

An early birthday present for a great friend over on the boards, Sophie, otherwise known as the owl. Have a great time!

Substance Abuse added for Snape possibly getting drunk.

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/07/13 Title: Chapter 1: Agony Aunts

This story is so improbable, so wildly off the wall, it's a hoot. I can't imagine for a minute that the rather stuffy professors of Hogwarts would publish such a magazine, and I can't imagine for a second that Snape would consent to participate, not for any type of provocation. This utterly out-of-character behavior contributes to the humor as much as the actual words of the answers to the questions. I am reminded of the image of Snape the Boggart dressed in Neville's grandmother's clothes. Loved it.

Author's Response: Haha, I'm glad you liked it. The teachers would, of course, never publish such a magazine, especially not Snape! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

Shouting Kiss by GreenEyesLoveNeverDies

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: How Ginny feels as she kisses Harry before Bill and Fleur's wedding.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/15/14 Title: Chapter 1: Shouting Kiss

This is Vicki from Slytherin House, commenting on your poem that you posted last year about Ginny’s and Harry’s encounter right before he left on his yearlong Horcrux search.

I re-read the scene in Deathy Hallows, where Ginny invites Harry into her room but he is nervous, ill at ease, and making pointless small talk. Either he doesn’t get it or else doesn’t know what to do. So, poetically, you have Ginny think “you say nothing to me,” meaning “you say nothing that has any value,” because their last private moments together should be used to say something valuable.

But Ginny is determined that she will not allow him to fail to understand why she has brought him, in that moment, into her room, and what she wants them to do. So she will Scream and Roar, if necessary. She refuses to squander the opportunity to express what must be expressed and to seal the relationship between herself and Harry.

Thus she says she will not be stifled, muted, or quiet, and “You will [whether you want to or not; you have no choice in the matter] listen to my shouting kiss.”

The use of the adjective”shouting” to describe the kiss is a clever one. Of course the kiss is not making actual noise like a literal shout, but it is making a statement that cannot be overlooked, ignored, or mistaken. The three-line repetition of “I will be heard” with increasing capitalization is an effective way to depict Ginny’s determination.

One line I didn’t fathom is “til my voice can only bear silence.” Maybe this is a reference to the upcoming time when he will be gone?

This idea is very neatly expressed in a space of only a few words. There must have been a lot more going on in Ginny’s head than we ever glimpsed in the seven books. I hope that in your busy schedule you will find time to write a bit more poetry.

Today I Do Not Want To Be... by Nagini Riddle

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: A series of poems involving Harry Potter subjects wishing that they could be something else...

Written for the Today I Do Not Want To Be A challenge in the PA.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/15/13 Title: Chapter 2: ...Ginny

I like this poem. It certainly makes sense that Ginny would wish to be anyone else, at this point in her life. Her previous problems (being the youngest, wearing hand-me-downs) were nothing compared to the incomprehensible disaster she found herself caught up in. This poem certainly deserves a review :)

Author's Response: *bows* Thank you for your gracious review! :) I certainly thought of Ginny when I saw the challenge, and I wanted to capture her young and naive mind in my poem, while still relaying the dangers around her. I'm very happy that you liked the poem. Keep reading!

Assist by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Everyone's having a hard time after the war. Percy Weasley thought he was doing a better job pretending he was fine, but Susan Bones can see right through him.

She, on the other hand, is totally fine. She's not pretending at all.

This is Cinderella Angelina of Hufflepuff writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.

(Yes, 2013. Laugh with me. Or at me. I'm not picky.)
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/20/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Cinderella. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I see by your list of titles on your author’s page that you have been contributing to this forum from the very beginning and are still here. So congratulations on your loyalty and long tenure.

This chapter is a very promising start to whatever your story will turn out to be. It is only through fics such as yours that we get a mental picture of what Percy was doing at the Ministry during those final years, because in the seven books he is a pretty one-dimensional character. In stories such as yours we can get a glimpse of his soul.

You have begun to draw a perceptive picture of this poor fellow, inviting us to have sympathy with him, drained both physically and emotionally from the stress, danger and loss of the past few years. Other post-battle fics focus on Ron, George, Ginny, Arthur, and Molly Weasley, and sometimes Bill, but Percy and Charlie tend to get ignored, and I am glad that you are addressing this imbalance of attention.

You present an interesting contrast between Percy and Susan; she is calm, unruffled, and briskly efficient, while he is exhausted and overwhelmed, although too proud to admit it. I ask myself what, beyond their individual personalities, accounts for this difference? They have both lost family members, but he spent the last few years at the Ministry while she was still in school; as bad as Hogwarts was during the last few years, perhaps being in the Ministry was worse.

There is some introspection by Percy in your story, but not so much as to be oppressing (as you see in some fics), and a good balance of dialogue and action. He’s tossed her out of the office twice; I presume he will not do so again. She has given him a bottle of Dreamless Sleep potion, which he refuses to use, so we have yet to see how she is going to assist him. Not just by filing his backlog of papers, I’m sure.

I like your writing style. There is a vivid vocabulary, with many action verbs, and the net effect is a brisk pace and an easy visualization of the events. And you have a wonderful closing line. Miss Bones filed on, apparently unperturbed. This is an open-ended sentence if ever there was one. It fairly invites us to sweep on into the next chapter.

I hope that there will be a next chapter. This story has a lot of promise, and poor Percy certainly deserves to be treated sympathetically after all he’s been through. Good start.

How I Met Your Mother by Dawnie

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: James decides it is time to tell Harry the story of how he and Lily met and fell in love. Unfortunately, his recollection of their initial meeting and subsequent interactions seems to be quite different from Lily's.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/18/14 Title: Chapter 1: How I Met Your Mother

Hi, Dawn. This is Vicki from Slytherin House, commenting on your story. It’s probably a sign of a good story if many different people can get many different messages from it.

What struck me immediately about your story was Lily’s initial behavior because it seemed to be a different characterization than the way she is often portrayed. She is full of accusatory statements: “Do I look like a damsel in distress?’ and “So you felt it was necessary to lie to our son,” and “Do you really find me that boring?” And this wasn’t all a teasing joke on her part; she really was angry, and she chose to interpret everything about James’s “innocent story” in the most negative way possible.

You show her attitude clearly with words and phrases like “wasn’t happy,” “disapproval,” “sharply”, “eyes narrowing,” “sarcastically”, and “the irritation.” And the clincher is “Lily had long mastered the ability to put reproach into any statement.” I tell myself that she is only twenty years old at this time and doesn’t realize how hurtful words can erode a relationship like slowly dripping acid, until the day finally comes when James decides it all just isn’t worth it any more. I want to reach into the story and shake her by the shoulders, saying “Don’t you see what you are doing?” We know that Lily and James were both dead a year after this story takes place, but I wonder, had they survived, whether their marriage would have survived. In the end, there can be wounds that kisses don’t cure.

I was more attracted by the second half of your story, where Lily stops being snarky and the two of them reminisce about their checkered dating history. You have a lively list of amusing dating disasters; I imagine you had fun thinking them up. And the end of the story has a clever twist, where you have Lily conceding that Harry’s made-up story is not more outlandish than what really happened.

Your sentences are fluid, with good word choices and variations in sentence structure to provide variety. There is not a lot of description, but not much is needed; the story all takes place in a baby’s nursery and consists chiefly of conversation, with a modicum of action (baby grabbing someone’s hair) and a little bit of internal reflection. Internal reflection can be overdone, so it is nice to see a story that relies on what the outside observer can observe: words and actions. From these we are to deduce the nature of the events.

You say in your bio that you don’t write fluff; maybe this story is about as fluffy as you get, but with hints of a darker undercurrent. That’s why I say that different people can get different messages from it. Nice job.

Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I always love getting feedback. I wasn't intentionally writing Lily to be quite as acidic as you are interpreting (she is supposed to be teasing in a couple of those places, though not all of them), though I did try to get some "darkness" into the story. For some reason I always assumed that Lily had a harshness to her that occasionally flared up when she was stressed or upset, and since they were in the middle of a war, I figured she would be upset a lot and it would occasionally slip out in her interactions with James and her friends. And I think she also kind of knew how she was acting, and would try to stop it, which is why her temper ebbs throughout the story. And yes, this is my version of fluff.

Dear Children by minnabird

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The poet laments the fate of too many Squibs.

Nominated for Best Poem in the 2013 Quicksilver Quill Awards

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/15/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I like this poem very much. I like the fact that it is in a sonnet form, which imposes a discipline of lines, meter, and rhyme. The words are all used precisely and plainly, so that every phrase is clear and understandable. The subject is refreshingly unhackneyed; occasionally one reads something about the general fate of Squibs, but not very often.
The poem invites one to speculate about what other fates may have been open to Squibs and their families, other than to hide the child like a shameful family secret, or, even worse, do away with the child altogether, and what percentage of families with Squibs actually availed themselves of these other possibilities. Then one starts to speculate about the relative lack of connectedness between the Magical and Muggle worlds, and the failure of families to see their other options. I could go on and on (but I won't) about the various lines of imagination that this poem opens up. Lots of plot bunnies here.

Dear Neville by TeamCedric

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Neville's mail. From book 2.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/24/13 Title: Chapter 1: OneShot

Congratulations on your first fic published on this website. It is fun to read, and fits well into the character of Neville's situation, trying to live up to people's expectations of him. It is realistic that, as a member of an old wizarding family, he would have a large extended family, and his personality as a child would invite people to give him plenty of advice as to what he should do (probably in many situations, not just in the selection of classes). And yet none of them has perceived what he really wants to do, as hinted in the final lines of the last letter. The fact that Neville was, in the end, able to withstand all this advice and make his own decisions is an indication of the inner strength which eventually became apparent to everyone.
Your writing is graceful, and the letters are varied enough in style to hint at the personalities of their writers. I'll bet you had fun writing this.

Author's Response: Thank you! It's really quite an honor to get a piece on Mugglenet its very self, which I've been on as a fan for years. I'm only just beginning to appreciate the hero-ness of Neville, despite his background, which of course is what JK wants.

Winifred's Dream by dreamsnape

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: In this final sequel to Snape's Interlude, Winifred dreams of her former lover soon after learning of his death. As they talk, she has the chance to finally tell him something he never knew.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/19/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Linda. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I wasn’t sure at first that I was going to like this story, fearing that it might be trite, but as it went along I liked it better and better. I think that we readers eventually develop a lot of sympathy for Snape and view his life as a sort of tragedy, and we want Snape to have some happiness in his life, so there are all sorts of stories of Snape in relationships with people who love him and also stories in which Snape has a child.

The white-robed Snape we see in this fic is just a dream, a product of Winifred’s thoughts, so we do not have to be overly concerned with whether or not he is “in character”; he is what Winifred wants him to be. So perhaps what he is telling her is really stuff she already knows, but her mind puts the words into Severus’s mouth, which makes the ideas more acceptable to her.

I loved the way that Winifred described Sophie to Snape in the dream, a combination of an accurate description of a lovely child and the revealing of a mother’s affection and pride. Hopefully all we mothers feel that way about our children! And in the final section of your story you show us that that pride is not misplaced; Sophie is both perceptive and kind.

Both sections of the story that flank the dream section were very pleasant to read because they were gentle and low-key, but genuine. No over-the-top drama or histrionics, just the calm lives of mature people who try to stay on an even keel, even through stormy weather. Her children aren’t bratty, her husband isn’t jealous, no one shouts or accuses…

I like your writing style too; it’s simple and straightforward, not striving to be stylish or affected. A simple, basic story about the eternal tragedy of death, loss, and endurance calls for an unembellished style. Adding in more details would not have contributed anything to the impact of the story.

Thank you for writing this lovely little story. I like to imagine the conversation between Winifred and Sophie that occurs right after the final line.

Author's Response: Thank you for such a lovely detailed review. I'm glad to know that your perceptions of the story were pretty much the same as what I intended.

Lucky by The owl

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Andromeda Black could tell that it wasn't a lucky day for the Wimbourne Wasps, but she would never have guessed that her own luck would be changed so greatly by one Quidditch match.

This is The owl of Hufflepuff writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/19/14 Title: Chapter 1: Lucky

Hi, Sophie. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I have come across this little story which you posted almost a year ago, and I would like to comment on it.

First of all, I must say that you are a bit of a tease for failing to tell us how Ludo Bagman’s father managed to hoodwink Andromeda’s mother about the true cause of her bruised ribs. But that little point is a clue to Ludo’s character”he expects Daddy to solve his problems.

I interpret this story, in general, as simply an example of Andromeda kicking over the traces. We know that ultimately she ignored her family’s wishes by marrying Ted Tonks, and here we see the early signs of that rebellion. She is doing what her family would think of as “going slumming” by attending Quidditch matches and hooking up with, of all things, a professional Quidditch player.

You do not indicate in your story how long this relationship lasted, but it could not have been for long. What was Ludo’s appeal to her? His lovely smile, his being the antithesis of her family’s values, his being a glamorous Quidditch star. And his liabilities? She had him pegged as “not the fastest broom in the shed”, and he was slow to realize that she needed to maintain the fiction of being with Rabastan; if they continued the relationship, he would have blown her cover sooner or later and caused a blowup with her family. She was willing to do that, later in her life, for someone with the qualities of Ted Tonks, but not for a lightweight like Ludo Bagman. In Goblet of Fire we see a much older Ludo, still giving the impression of an overgrown schoolboy.

I presume, given Andromeda’s fling with Ludo in his deserted kitchen, that she hadn’t met Ted Tonks yet, but she probably would do so pretty soon, if she was to fall in love with Ted before leaving Hogwarts, so that is another reason to assume that this affair with Ludo was just a flash in the pan.

This depiction of Andromeda matches well with the character we know later, independent-minded, straightforward, willing to take risks. But I’m not sure why she considers herself lucky to have stumbled arose him, since she knows that this relationship has no future. Perhaps she is just using him for the purpose of “trying out” what it is like to be in a romantic relationship.

Your story is well written and moves along at a lively pace, with enough introspection to allow us to see what Andromeda is thinking and how her curiosity about the unknown is impelling her along this course. Andromeda in her later years is depicted as mature and responsible; who would have guessed the secrets of her teenage years? I enjoyed this story. Good job.

In Dreams by minnabird

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Rowena discovers the grounds of what will be Hogwarts and is surprised to recognize it.

Nominated for Best Poem in the 2013 Quicksilver Quill Awards

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/03/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This poem reflects not only the startling (and sometimes unsettling) suddenness of "deja vu", but also the joy of unexpected fulfillment of a dear wish. Just a tiny moment in time, but nicely and clearly outlined.

Lost by dmbw7052

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Does Mrs. Granger remember Hermione in any way? Is there a subconscious memory in the back of her mind?
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/17/14 Title: Chapter 1: Lost

Hi, Georgia,

This is Vicki from your House of Slytherin. I was intrigued to read the first poem you posted on this website, to see how it was. And I was not disappointed.

This poem engenders sympathy in the mind of the reader for Mrs. Granger. Apparently she is not 100% happy in Australia, despite Hermione’s best intentions, because she still has a faint memory of her previous life. There was something very important; she can’t remember what it was, but she knows it was there. Perhaps the bond between a mother and her child is the strongest there is, so that even memory charm that obliterates every other memory cannot entirely eradicate that one. I wonder, did Mr. Granger also have the nagging feeling that there was something important that he should remember?

Comments on structure: there is some repetition of ideas, “But what it was, I cannot recall” and “What it is, I am not sure,” that provide a sort of chanting refrain.

The two longer lines, “A part of my life is missing,” and “They say that what you lose comes back some day,” provide variety, visual and verbal, among all the short lines. It is good to break up the construction that way, to avoid the possibility of monotony.

There is a forward flow in the poem. The first verse shows that Mrs. Granger’s mind is very vague, “Something is missing.” In the second verse she gets a little more specific; the missing thing is “a part of my life.”

By the third verse her mindset has changed; it is more positive and emphatic. “I want…” and “I will…” and the conviction “It will come back, I know it will.”

I would say that you were quite successful as a first-time poetic contributor to this site. I always enjoy reading things about moments or events that we know happened in the Potter world but which were never explored because they are outside of the mainstream of the story. We know that Mr. and Mrs. Granger went to Australia, and we know they came back again, but what happened to them while they were there? Good job. I liked it.

Author's Response: Hey Vicki, Seeing as this was the first poem i ever wrote, it holds a rather dear place in my heart. So I'm very glad you liked it. I've always thought that even though any memory of Hermione was erased from Mrs. Granger's mind, she couldn't never truly forget her daughter. Hmm, I never thought about Mr. Granger. I do think he would have felt somewhat the same, but perhaps less strongly? After all, a mother and daughter do have a special bond. Yes, missing moments from the books are always interesting to read about. They are by far, one of my favorite topics to write about. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. -Georgia

Stay Beautiful by Theloonyhermione

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •

If what you are is a daydream

I'll never get to hold, at least you'll know

You're beautiful, every little piece, love

Don't you know, you're really gonna be someone

Ask anyone

Stay beautiful. *

Hermione is very ill, and not ready to die. If it's the last thing she does, she is going to give her new granddaughter good luck for the future.

*Song lyrics are the inspiration to this story, Stay Beautiful by the lovely Taylor Swift, which is also where the title came from.

And though this is a d/a fic, don't expect it to be very dark. I only chose this category because I felt that was the only place it really belonged.

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/11/14 Title: Chapter 1: Stay Beautiful

Hi, Emma. This is a beautiful piece, nicely written. All of us readers are remiss in not mentioning what a lovely story this is.

You have written a completely believable train of thought. It sounds just like Hermione, literate and precise, but not flowery or overwrought.

I like your descriptions, the little details about Hermione’s surroundings in the hospital and her physical state. The concepts are developed fully, each thought well-expanded without being repetitious. For a contemplative piece, the pace is good; the story does not drag. It has its own gentle plot, a limited plot, to be sure, for a brief story illuminating a brief moment in Hermione’s life.

You are right in saying that it’s not really dark/angsty. You have written a Hermione who has achieved peace and acceptance of the end of her life. She is not upset about going, or railing against death. She wishes she could read a little more; even though the Healers say “no hope”, she won’t fully believe it until she has read the books herself. So like her. She doesn’t worry about her family; she feels confident that Rose married a good man and will be able to care for Jasmine well.

She lets go of the idea of needing to speak some memorable “famous last words”. It’s a good way to convey that she realizes that some things will be left undone, and that it is okay not to be perfect.

In your story, Ron is a vague, pale face in a faraway corner of the room. Hugo is in her thoughts, but he doesn’t seem to be physically present. I was surprised that she interacts only with Rose and Jasmine, but not with Ron. Even though she was so sick and weak, maybe Ron and Hugo didn’t realize that she would die exactly at that moment and did not realize that it was their last chance to speak with her.

A smile was her last act of her life. I liked that. A fitting and un-angsty way for a life to end, as they all must.

Some readers might wonder about her illness, what it is, how long she has been sick, and so on, but those facts are totally unimportant and would have detracted from the focus of the story. We accept the situation as it is.

It makes me happy to see how your writing skill gets steadily better as the months and years go by. This little story is a gem. Good job.


Red and Black by Sariana

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: A tragic accident changes Hermione Weasley's life forever. A ghost from her past teaches her about grief and healing. (This story is about Severus and Hermione post-Epilogue. The circumstances of his survival are addressed in subsequent chapters.)
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08/31/13 Title: Chapter 1: What Have I Done?

Hi, Sariana. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. After reading the first two chapters of your fic, I wanted to let you know that I think it is well done, beta or no beta. You have a very smooth writing style. The sentences are well constructed and flow well, with good word choices.

The story moves forward at a good pace, not dragging, even though it's just a conversation between two people in a hospital room. There is a good combination of dialogue, which impels the plot (the little we can see of it, so far), and inner thoughts, which give both background and explanation. And of course we readers are hooked by curiosity about what Snape has been doing for the past 20 years and what has caused his striking change of demeanor.

You have kept Hermione in the character we now, still concerned, even distressed, about her relationship with her parents as she struggles to keep a foot in each world. But you have shown us a radically different Snape,now about 58 years old, and we wonder what kind of wisdom he has gained in his later years.

I look forward to reading further chapters of this story to see where it goes. There seems to be enough imagination here to suggest more than just a routine romance. Keep it coming!

Author's Response: Wow, thank you for the lovely review! You've really nailed it, what I was trying to convey, that is. I actually have the next two chapters written (and posted elsewhere), but I've been really, really busy IRL, and chapter 5 is kind of stalled. I will get 3 and 4 posted here soon, though. Severus Snape is a fascinating character to me, and I spend a lot of time trying to analyze his motivations. There's a fairly simple--and mundane--explanation for the change in his demeanor, but it took him a while to get there. The next chapter gets everyone out of the hospital so the story can advance, but it is chapter 4 that has some revelations--about Hermione. ;-) I hope you won't be disappointed that this story is not a romance in the, well, romantic sense of the word. It is more a character analysis of two people who discover they really need each other, but not necessarily in the way they might expect.

To Harry by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: On the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, Minerva McGonagall worries about the fate of the boy who saved them all.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/31/13 Title: Chapter 1: To Harry

Hi Gina. I will play the Devil's Advocate and say that while it's possible that Harry would have reacted in this way, I think the odds are against it. Throughout the seven books he showed the quality of resilience (I imagined him identifying with the definition of the "resilient child"). We all collect psychological scars as we progress through life (survivors of major wars, natural disasters, the Holocaust, etc) but they generally don't progress the the point of serious PTSD (hallmarks: obsessive repetitive thoughts/flashbacks; hypervigilence; emotional numbness; avoidance of persons/sites/events associated with the original trauma), and mild PTSD, which is not that uncommon in the population, wears off after a couple of years, though of course our prior experiences are always a part of the definition of who we are. I believe that the majority of people who go through the fire manage to be functional afterwards. What makes your fic plausible is the element of self-medication substance abuse, always bad when it happens. Alcohol, medications or substances (and charms, in the wizarding world) are used to help us cope or get through some difficult patch, and pretty soon the "cure" has become a disease of its own, often worse than the original condition it was taken for. Given that this could happen to anyone (since no one intends to become strung out), we can believe that it could happen to Harry also.

Your prose is, as always, graceful and articulate. Thanks for writing. Vicki :)

Author's Response: First of all, thank you so much for reading this and leaving such a lovely review! I really appreciate your thoughts. One thing I enjoy so much about writing fanfiction is exploring the possibilities inherent in the characters and the story JKR has given us and making them plausible. Now, both the possibility of something actually happening in JKR's Potterverse and the plausibility of how it's presented are entirely subjective things, but it's a fun challenge to try and write something that you as an author might not necessarily believe happens in the context of what JKR may or may not have intended. Which is a convoluted way of saying - yes, I agree with you, that Harry probably would not have struggled so terribly much after the war, for the very reasons you cite: the incredible resilience demonstrated over the course of seven books. Yet at the same time, given his tragic history, his difficult years at Hogwarts, and the horrific events of the war, you almost have to wonder sometimes how he *doesn't* crack at some point. So I was really trying to go for a balance here. I don't see Harry going insane, or dark and murderous, or turning into a lecherous drunk, all of which you'll probably find out there somewhere. But could he have not had some sort of reaction? Could he really have just joined the Ministry, become Head Auror, married Ginny and had three kids and lived happily ever after? I do think he'd need to deal with the trauma at some point. So this seemed possible to me, that Harry would struggle in some manner in the years after the war, and then I set out to make it plausible, by not taking it too far and having him struggle with his trauma through work and addiction. So - I'm glad you found it plausible, perhaps even possible. And I'm blushing at the compliments to the prose. Thank you so much for reading this and leaving such a thoughtful and thought provoking review! ~Gina :)

Hopeful Wishes by by_the_sea

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: "You have no say in what I do, Draco," she stated, a tinge of red appearing on her cheeks.

"Oh, love," he murmured, leaning down so her brown eyes were leveled with his, "I beg to differ."
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/22/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Annie,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I see that you have been a member for a couple of years, so congratulations on becoming a contributing author also.

Your fic has a catchy beginning because of how the words are arranged on the page, giving a slow and tentative feel that probably matches Draco’s mood, and because of the step-by-step analysis of the signs of Hermione’s stages of anger. This is different from the usual plunge into the body of the narrative. It also establishes Draco as an analytical guy. Too bad he hasn’t analyzed what he’s doing wrong.

The story itself has a catchy beginning also”Hermione is dramatically leaving Draco because he has done something (we are curious as to what it is) to shatter her trust. At the end of the chapter Hermione drops the bombshell. “Draco, you’ve got a baby on the way!” Who is the prospective mother”some other woman? He insists that talking will fix this situation, but how? You have started with a bang and leave us with a cliffhanger. How could we not want to know what happens next?

Your writing is lively. You use active words to indicate Hermione’s mood: slam, thud, strewn, roughly stuffed, grabbed. We can already envision the look on her face, even before it all finally registers with Draco. Similarly, you portray Draco’s frame of mind through images that we can see: crossing his arms (a power move) and blocking the doorway (an aggressive gesture). But this is a bluff that he can’t keep up, and you indicate this by having him change his demeanor rapidly, first blocking the doorway and trying to be master of the situation, then reduced to begging. “Wait! Can’t we just talk? Please!” Without your having to say so, his behavior reveals that he knows he’s wrong.

There is not a lot of scenic description in your story, but I like the brief description of the kitchen; it is a clue to the whole apartment”small, basic, shabby”and opens questions in the reader’s mind. Why are they living here? Why is this the best that they can afford?

A couple of style suggestions. Your story is composed, in many places, from a series of short sentences. Sometimes for style, we want short sentences. But sometimes they can be combined to give a more fluid sweep of narrative. Here’s an example: “She didn’t answer. Instead, she walked toward the closet and got out a suitcase, laying it on the bed.” It could be combined like this: “Instead of answering, she walked toward the closet and got out a suitcase, laying it on the bed.” I’m not saying that this version is necessarily better, it’s just an alternative that we can consider.

The second suggestion is that you have some inconsistencies in verb tenses, where your sentences toggle between present tense and past tense. Not seeing a credit line for a beta reader, I wondered if you had had a second set of eyes to notice something like that. It would be an easy fix to edit in.

This chapter is short, but you have packed a lot of information into it, and it sets the scene well for whatever will come next. It has been the better part of a year since this chapter was posted, but I hope you haven’t abandoned this story. We readers have “Hopeful Wishes” too, that you will finish it up!