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Oregonian [Contact]

I'm an American, have been married for "a long time", and have a son and a daughter, so to me the characters are like sons and daughters. I like to study history and science, and I usually don't write (or talk) unless I have something to say, so I tend to be serious. I try to stretch my writing skills by entering challenges and forcing myself to write to prompts that I would otherwise not write, such as romance or vigorous action, and am surprised to discover that it can be done.

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Stories by Oregonian [40]
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Reviews by Oregonian

The Fourth Crimson Sky by HoneyLake

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 2 Reviews
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 • 2 Reviews
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 • 2 Reviews

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 • 2 Reviews
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 • 3 Reviews
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 • 4 Reviews
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 • 4 Reviews
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 • 2 Reviews 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 • 6 Reviews
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 • 3 Reviews
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 • 2 Reviews
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 • 3 Reviews
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 • 3 Reviews
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 • 2 Reviews

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 • 1 Reviews
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 • 8 Reviews
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 • 4 Reviews
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!

I Would Be Good For You by HPAlison

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 3 Reviews
Summary: Remus Lupin is a man haunted by loss and self-hatred. Nymphadora Tonks is a burst of energy but also a young woman looking for more out of life. The story of how they met and fell in love.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/25/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

i, Alison. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your story about the events of Remus’ life after the Triwizard Tournament. Yours is a story that I like very much. It starts off with a “bang” (truly, no pun intended) and goes galloping forward in the missing-moments tale of an exciting point in the Harry Potter saga.

I like your first-person-Remus point of view. Although this first chapter is mostly action, we see enough of Remus’ inner thoughts to comprehend his character better. He is not a depressed, hopeless, angsty, or self-negating person, as he is sometimes portrayed, but rather a strong, resolute (although hungry) person who is up to the task before him.

Sirius is also depicted well in character”impulsive, a loose cannon. You show this when you write that he wanted to rush off in the middle of the night to inform other people and was restrained by Remus only with some effort, and that in his dog persona he succumbed to the temptation to chase Mrs. Figg’s cat. I wonder if he had ADHD.

You tie the story neatly to canon with references sprinkled here and there to established points of canon, and you vary the serious mood with bits of humor, such as the line “Things had to be bad for someone to want to be closer to a werewolf.” That shows a sensibility on your part for how life must have been for Remus.

Your writing shows a good balance of dialogue, action, and brief reflections or “asides” on the implications of some words and actions. In some stories the author includes so many asides that it is hard to pick out the storyline, but you have avoided this fault, including just enough asides to give the story some flavor. This chapter also has an obvious story arc composed of elements that drive the plot forward; not all authors do this, and their stories risk being boring.

Your sentences flow smoothly, with good variety in sentence structure and good word choices. They are pretty much free of editorial bobbles that can distract our attention momentarily. In fact, there’s not really anything I don’t like about your story.

For a long time I chose not to read stories in the romance categories because I assumed in my prejudice that they would all be soppy or mushy or fluffy, but happily, in my recent troll through the romance fics, I have been proved wrong. There are many romance-labeled stories, like yours, that have a lot of merit and are well worth reading. I would like to see you finish this one. True, we already know how it turns out in the end, but the process of arriving there, like Arabella’s backstory, is sufficiently thin in the canon that it affords great scope for us authors to fill in all the missing details. I’m sure that others have tried to write these scenes, but perhaps not more successfully than you. Good job.

All This Waiting For The Sky To Fall by Dawnie

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 6 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary: They found her body - broken, bleeding, face filled with signs of pain and fear, and the Death Eaters had clearly enjoyed what they were doing - amidst the rubble of a ruined book store.

During the first war against Voldemort, people fight and die and life for James and Lily goes on.

A tragedy in five parts.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 07/12/14 Title: Chapter 5: And I'm Still Here

Hi, Dawn. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I was looking through the titles published during the last year, seeking particularly good stories to nominate for the 2014 Quicksilver Quill Awards, and so I read your Marauder-era story about the four Marauders and Lily, and I was struck by what a wonderful story it was.

First let me say that the structure of the piece is well planned, one chapter focused on each of the five principals, but with the others playing supporting roles in each chapter, and well-conceived original characters providing depth and interest. I like that you have all the chapters occurring within the same general time frame, but without the stricture of having them all occur on the same day, which would have limited what you could do for maximum effectiveness. And by starting with James (and Lily) and ending with Lily (and James), you tie the two ends of the story together so neatly. I’m sure you did this purposely, and it works very well, giving a story arc to what is basically a non-plotty story. (I say “non-plotty” because, although things happen, nothing is resolved.)

Your depiction of each of your characters in his or her own chapter shows multiple sides of that character’s personality; no one is flat or has a one-note image. Sirius, for example, shows great restraint while watching the Death Eaters torture the Muggle girl, in contrast to his often impulsive and devil-may-care behavior. He acts the goofball when he is brought drunk to James’ and Lily’s house but is deadly serious when thinking about the tortured Muggle girl. And I loved your line by Sirius: I promise not to let your child ride my motorbike until he is at least a year old.” His usual flippancy, which is, unbeknownst to all, darkly ominous…

Peter is probably the most difficult of all these five characters to write, but you have created a good exploration into his thoughts, feelings, and motivation. I like your development of his thoughts as he overhears Cynthia’s words; ”It is easy to overlook him, I guess.” and begins ”…wishing someone would explain why the other three Marauders were friends with him.” He seems to vacillate between being glad to be part of the group and feeling like a total outsider, between being proud of his ability to understand people well and his anguish at not being able to be larger-than-life, like Sirius or James. A question that has always haunted us readers is Why? Why did Peter go over to Lord Voldemort’s side? What was he looking for, that he wasn’t getting from his friends? What could Lord Voldemort offer that would tempt him so badly? There is a clue in your line: “He had to stop doing this, had to stop finding the negative in everything anyone said or did.” He has a bit of insight but not enough to stop him from making the biggest mistake of his life.

Remus appears to be more consistent; non-confrontational, long-enduring, frequently badgered by his friends to be something he’s not. In all his interactions, with Mrs. Rubrum, Moody, Sirius, Cynthia, James, nothing goes well but he never becomes riled, never gives up. He has a perspective that none of the others do.

You have created an interesting dynamic between James and Lily. Of the two, James is the more well-rounded character, torn in several directions by competing interests. Lily, on the other hand, is uniformly negative, to the point of being remarkably unlikable, almost unstable. Her expressed emotion is anger 100% of the time, with her hapless husband as the target. I find myself trying to reconcile this melted-down Lily with the more stable, loving (even though the war is still going on) Lily who wrote the letter to Sirius thanking him for the little broomstick gift to Harry on his first birthday. James must be a saint, to say “I would still take miserable and painful with you than not have you in my life at all.” But if it had continued indefinitely, he would have changed his mind.

Although much of this story is introspective and reflective, it is not too much so, as some stories are. It holds onto a firm balance between the action of here-and-now and the insight into why the characters are doing what they do. The writing is graceful and fluid, the word choices are apt, and the editing is refreshingly clean.

I think that these times and these events have been written about so much that it is a challenge to come up with fresh perspectives on them, and it is certainly a challenge to be successful in writing about a time span in which nothing seems to become resolved, no one is making any progress, and yet our attention is captured nevertheless. I enjoyed reading your story, and it certainly deserves to be included among the QSQ nominees.

Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I'm glad you liked the story despite its depressing nature and the fact that nothing ever gets resolved. I did have a lot of fun writing it, and trying to get into the minds of each character, and show how war can steadily destroy people. Peter was particularly challenging to write, and I agree that trying to understand why he switched sides during the war is something a lot of readers struggle with. So I was trying to make some sense of that.

Musings by 1000timesingoldenink

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 3 Reviews
Summary: Luna ought to be working on her History of Magic essay, but instead she’s scribbling a poem in the margin of her paper, contemplating the definition of reality.

Nominated for a 2013 QSQ.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/05/13 Title: Chapter 1: musings

The way the words are arranged on the page is a major contributor to the effectiveness of this piece. The same sentiments arranged in long lines forming a plain rectangle would have much less sparkle!

Author's Response: Glad you liked it. I wanted to break up the thoughts, be unconventional; plain, block verses would have been too ordinary for a poem like this.