I'm an avid reader turned fanfiction writer who aims to one day be paid for original stories, but for now is satisfied with the invaluable reward of reviews (and three Quicksilver Quill awards). ^_^
ETA: Like Bilbo, I was There and Back Again (There being out in the non-fanfiction-world) a Writer's Tale filled with adventure, battles, and a return to the Shire of MNFF.
Summary: Before she became a Death Eater, Bellatrix Black was young, bored, and went slumming places no other pureblood would go. What she found and who she met was kept secret. Until now.
I see Helena Bonham Carter when I read your story, so I can imagine her doing just about anything. :D
I've said it before, heh, but I really enjoy Bella's snarky comments. The "insipid" one makes me think even though she'd deny it Bella is a tad jealous of Cissy. It makes her more human, easier to relate to than when she's blasting rats, :D. Her observations of the patrons at Angel's Crossing were amusing, too. She's so arrogant, thinking if she speaks to Gabe he'll change his policy of giving meals away.
You have to worry for Jason and Wanbli because you're the writer, and less callous than readers who look forward to them suffering for our amusement, LOL.
I'm not a perfectionist, I just want you to polish your story to make it shiny and attractive to readers. :)
I think everyone who read your first chapter note answered, "Yes!"
Wopila tanka for always wanting to work on your story and for not minding my suggestions! Beta-ing lends itself to heavy concrit without much constructive praise to lighten it, so I hope you know how much I enjoy Bella's characterization (you've put the 'fun' in dysfunctional) and the Lakota culture that adds a unique touch to the story. :)
Since the story's so well-edited, ^_~, I read this chapter with an eye for characterization, and what really struck me was how much Bella resembles a rebellious teenager. Her huge sighs, the way she widens her eyes innocently to hide her wild antics and imaginings. Her jealousy and pranks.
I think it's the Victorian-like tradition pure-bloods have of keeping daughters living at home with no job until they marry a wizard who meets their requirements of wealth, blood purity, and political views.
So here's this woman with arrested development and mental issues attracted to a man who's her polar opposite. While it might not make for a happily ever after, it will never be boring!
Author's Response: I must admit, I'm very pleased with the editing. It looks like someone did a lot of work on that. You know how first drafts can be:D I think you've hit the nail on the head with your description of Bella's character. She's the oldest daughter in an old pure-blood family. They probably appear to have money but really don't. But, after all, it's appearances that count. As a pure-blood she hasn't been out in the world very much. She's a rebellious sort and wants to be independent. I think she started out wanting to "play" with her Muggle artist, in a way to spite her family, but their relationship seems to be getting more serious. I worry about that nice young artist. I'm afraid she's going to break his heart. I'm not sure how committed Bella can be. I could be wrong, I hope I'm wrong. I have Chapter 6 waiting to be validated and a Christmas story. I'd appreciate your comments:D so be on the lookout for them. Be sure to have a Happy Christmas. See you next time.
Gabe not wanting to talk about what happened and blaming himself rings very true to life. Sarcasm is a defense mechanism, and a good choice to offset exposition, heehee.
Thanks for the explanations at the end of the chapter. That's interesting, about Wanbli's name, and that if you call your friend kola, it better be a guy . . . or a manly woman? :D
I noticed a few dialogue formatting errors that slipped through, commas used when it should be periods because--even though dialogue follows--the character isn't saying it, he's doing an action and then speaking.
Eleven paragraphs down, you have: Jason smiled patiently, and sixteen paragraphs down from that Gabe nodded somberly, and three paragraphs further “That’s where you’re wrong, kola. For our best friend we’re doing this up right.” Jason said from the back seat.
Something else I just noticed was a lot of grinning and smiling going on. Different ways to show amusement are hard to think of, I know, but they might make the times you have characters smile or grin more meaningful.
I'm not trying to beta via review, heh, I only want to help, and I appreciate all the research you did to get your facts right.
I'm looking forward to reading about the ceremony. :)
When had it become her responsibility to marry money and refill the dwindling family coffers? This was the 1970s for gods' sake.
Hehheh Bella saying "This is the 1970s" like so many other rebellious girls must have done. How old is she, exactly? That's something that would be good to work into the story to give readers a clearer picture of her.
You did a good job letting thoughts and actions portray Bella as much as the descriptions. I wonder how long she can keep her nightly outings a secret.
To be honest, Bellatrix pre-Voldemort and Lestrange is someone I can't empathise with yet, but I'm interested to see where you go with this story, and what you'll do with the hint of mental illness portrayed through racing thoughts.
I'm so glad they chose Helena Bonham Carter to be Bellatrix in the movies because she's my mental image for the character now and I can absolutely see her drinking, flirting, and gloating that she's manipulated everything to her satisfaction.
Gabe is confident with mean drunks, not so confident with a woman like Bella. I like him more for that. And it's always a plus when a guy wears leather and smells good too. ;)
I did notice while rereading that there’s no time/day context when the pov shifts from Bella and “Gabe took the dogs for a run and came . . . .” Is it happening at night? It would be good to know to help picture the scene. Also, the term “smudged”, while explained before, might be hard for readers to immediately recall. If you put “That night, when Gabe performed the smudging ceremony” I think it would jog memories, or at least give a clearer mental image.
Near the end, Bella dancing in the dark is an unexpected image. It made me relate to her more, and made me hum Bruce Springsteen. :)
The world will never have enough stories, so I'm glad you went from contemplating writing to doing it.
In this chapter, I enjoyed the glimpse into Gabe's life and how he and Bella are both fascinated and wanting to know each other better without the other being aware of it.
You know how I am about repetition, wanting to pluck it out like one of Stephen King's "pernicious dandelion" adverbs, :D. I couldn't help but notice that in the third to last paragraph the line about the dogs lying on the floor is repeating what you showed earlier.I'm looking forward to the When Gabe Met Bella moment, and thanks for the thanks, although only your desire (and bum glue) will get the story written. :)
I think you made the comment once that I don't review because I've already read the chapter. Since I found out that you've become the most prolific reviewer on MNFF, I decided I had to give back some of the review love. So here goes!
When I'm in beta mode, I'm looking for things like missing commas before conjunctions that link independent clauses, or repetition of words or phrases. I probably forget to tell you that I enjoy Bella's one liners like "Cissy, does Lucius know heâ€™s going to be a daddy and not a husband?" :D
From the first chapter of this story, you've created your own unique slant on Bellatrix's characterization. She's a young, aristocratic hedonist, and anyone who disagrees with her is going to be told to eff off. I can't say I like her, but she is interesting. Her romance with Gabe would be unequivocally OOC if you hadn't set the story before she became a Voldemort worshipping Death Eater. You've given yourself wiggle room by making this a story of how she changed from being the bad girl of the Ancient and Noble House of Black who would shag anyone she fancied into the woman with one single focus: Voldemort.
You've had a lot of fun with Bella and Gabe's romantic ups and downs. She's always outrageous and not considering others, and I think he's getting tired of pretending she doesn't have a drinking problem.
Since this is chapter 22, I hate to suggest that the fluffy romantic fun should be over, but from a simple reader's viewpoint, it's time her owls came home to roost. Lucius is suspicious. You've set up how much Bella has to lose. I know it's hard to take that step toward her becoming a Muggle-hating ruthless killer, but it needs to be done.
I'll look forward to it.
Author's Response: I am so unused to having a review that I forgot to respond.:D I kind of enjoy coming up with Bella's one-liners. Bella isn't a good girl gone bad. She's a bad girl who went worse, if that's even proper English. I can see her problems starting out with her hedonistic behavior and then getting out of control. She couldn't say no to the bottle and went down the wrong path to the point where she couldn't turn back. As Tool says in the song Sober, "I will find the center in you. I will chew it up and leave. I will work to elevate you just enough to bring you down." With the next chapter events will turn very dark and then darker still until we see Bella as we know her from canon. Gabe has seen what alcohol can do to a person and he's starting to worry about Bella. As always, a partner's drinking is a very difficult topic to deal with. Bella is going to fall very far but will she drag Gabe with her? Will he survive this relationship alive?
To most lycanthropes, it is a curse. To one, he relishes it and the power it gives him. Who is this one?
See Fenrir Greyback and his transformation from man to beast.
This tritina was written for the Department of Mysteries Challenge in the Poetry Anyone forum of the Beta Boards. By some miracle, it won first place. (love you, Jules)
This poem was also nominated for a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Poem
I only throw rotten veg in the rubbish bin, so I'm glad to toss you a flower of praise--a Chinese bellflower, blue or white (your choice) that blooms in Autumn and can be eaten in salads. :)
I read the beginning note after the poem, so "a tritina" answers my question about structure choice.
I found the imagery striking. You captured the essence of Greyback and showed why he loved being a werewolf.
I do have questions about a few word choices. In the first stanza, "soft glow" is a bit of a stock phrase and doesn't quite fit with the bending, twisting, seething that came before. That could have been an opportunity to use an unusual description, like cold beauty.
The third stanza describes the fear of prey as "a monument", but that's off, because a monument is a structure, a building, gravestone, etc. Tribute would convey your meaning without giving anyone the mental image of prey carrying around statues in Fenrir's likeness (okay, that's just me).
Thank you for sharing your poem!
Well hello! I haven't seen you forever, so what a lovely surprise. :D
I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. I still am completely dumbfounded that it won the contest for which it was written, because, like you, I see these flaws but can't be bothered to go back and fix them, honestly. Nonetheless, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I've enjoyed your visit, as well.
Take care, and hopefully the pup isn't chewing on any more plastic. >.<
Hi, Jess, I read your reply, and I know how you feel, you've moved on to another writing project, but if you would consider taking a few seconds of time to edit one word, to change "monument" to "tribute" I'd be a grateful reader.
Your poem won because it evokes a visceral reaction, and if you'd edit, it would keep the emotional tension strong throughout instead of breaking near the end with a misused word.
I would've been happy with the single word change, but you added an extra dollop of awesome with "wanton". It suits so much better and links to "lusting" in the third stanza.
I feel like singing Phantom of the Opera:
Bravi, bravi, bravissimi!
I suppose I could see more things I didn't like now that I haven't looked at it for a month or so. It's easier to edit that way. Half the times, with my poetry, I mean to do that anyway but never remember. Thanks for the prod in the right direction, dear.
Summary: Bella spends a sleepless night because of disturbing dreams. Has she really seen her future?
Happy Holidays to you! I think this story shows Bella's headstrong, unrepentant personality and how she never had a moral compass. The implied frustration of her visitors is shared by most readers, I think. Even though we know all "Scrooges" don't redeem themselves, we can't help wishing they would.
I think your beta did an brilliant job overall, ho ho ho, but I did notice something that slipped through: dialogue tags that restate what the dialogue just implied.
“Don’t you carry warmth with you? It’s too damn cold out here and I forgot my wrap,” Bella complained.
What they say conveys how they say it, so the "complained", etc, isn't needed.
A stylistic choice I wondered about is the use of "responded" instead of "replied."I don't see responded used in dialogue tags in novels much, it's more of an action, responded to a letter, or call (or a call for help). Is there a reason you like to use it instead of replied? It's not wrong, just unusual, and I'm curious. =^_^=
Summary: This is a "Potter Parody" of the musical masterpiece, "Eleanor Rigby" - originally written by Paul McCartney and performed by the Beatles. It takes you on a musical journey from the opening chapters of Philosopher's Stone to the Epilogue in Deathly Hallows.
I'm a Beatles fan and enjoyed your use of their song to create your poem. The first two stanzas are the strongest, the melding of song and HP storyline are delightfully well done. "Waits at the mail slot" made me grin.
The sudden shift from Chosen One to nineteen years later, though, made the poem feel like the equivalent of reading the first HP book and then skipping all the rest and reading the epilogue. If you could have found a way to summarize it wouldn't have been so abrupt. Maybe something like: Seven years later, Voldemort's defeated, good guys have finally won, He has a godson, Harry J. Potter, Marries Ginny and has children he sends off to school, So young and new . . . .
I'm not suggesting you change a thing, I just couldn't resist joining the fun as well as making comments for you to consider . . . and hopefully appreciate. ;)
For someone who 'missed the screaming', Argus Filch was in his element the day the Carrows set foot into Hogwarts. Who knew that his kindred spirit had been walking the halls of the school for years already?
And it wasn't even Mrs Norris.
Little did you know you tempted fate by saying you could write any pairing! I don't know if you cursed profusely when you received your prompt or just said, "Why did I get stuck with the weird one?" but I appreciate the thought and craft you put into the story.
Argus and Irma are very well matched. Both think no one understands how hard their jobs are and torture is fitting punishment for student wrongdoers. The implied similarities in the personalities of their pets, too, was very well done.
“My dog, Mr Corbie — he’s a toy poodle — can sniff out any library book. He can even tell which books belong in the Restricted Section and which ones are in the General Section.”
I could imagine him barking at students who dog-ear pages. :D
The missing portraits highlighted what was happening at the school and Irma and Argus's approval of it, and I approve of dark humor, heh, so I grinned through the tea and punishment scene. I've tried PG Tips, but I don't think I'd be able to tell the brand from Twinings or any other black tea. Our callous couple must have animal-like senses of smell in common, too. ;)
I still think "dead pissed off" isn't a phrase Argus would use, even if he picked it up from students or watching Monty Python back in the seventies. It is punny, and although our odd couple didn't pick up on the humour, I did.
Thanks for the amusing and thought provoking gift of a fic! ^_^
I will admit, I was rather hoping I wouldn't have to write a brain-shredding ship like Filch/Pince. I wouldn't even read a fic featuring them, so I never thought I would have to write one. That being said, it wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be. It would be easier than writing Umbridge/Yaxley or something equally horrible, at any rate.
I have always thought of tea/coffee as something similar to beer in the way that everyone has particular tastes. To the indiscriminate tongue, Brand A and Brand B taste the same, but to the dedicated drinker of said brand, the differences are marked. For instance, I can drink most any major brand of cola and tell the difference between them without the benefit of knowing which is which. I just wanted that extra connection point between them, and commiserating over a beverage was the next step, I suppose.
And about 'dead pissed off', as you noted in your review on LJ, 'pissed' means drunk, and he'd definitely not that. It just seemed like a a good idea at the time, I suppose, lol. I'm not sure what else I could or would have used there. No doubt there is some ultra British-y phrase I could've used, but even my mastermind Brit picker couldn't think of anything else as an alternative. So there you have it. I really just wanted to give him a bit of untold background, since putting 'dead' in front of nearly everything is a marked Gloucester thing.
Thank you for the review, and I'm glad you liked your gift fic. It was interesting to write. :D
This Christmas season, Hermione isn't fussed with gifts or wrapping paper. A drunken snog has forced her to rethink her feelings for Draco as she makes the ultimate decision between her mind and her heart.
It's after Christmas, but your story definitely brought back some of the sparkle. :)
Present tense brings a sense of things happening as the reader reads, and I think you handled it extremely well. I do wish you'd worked in how Ron died, just briefly, in passing. Not only would it have made it more real and easier to connect emotionally with Hermione's loss, but not having any explanation is a distraction from the story, making the reader (at least this one) think, "Ron's dead? How? Cancer? Accident? Line of Duty for the Auror Office?" etc. etc. . . .
You did a nice job showing how guilty Harry makes her feel about Draco. I question her shutting the door with a bang, though. Especially an italicized one. She's so restrained, "Hermione pretends not to hear him as she brushes past" would be fine on its own.
The asterisks showing the change of scene along with the lack of transition or italics to show it was a dream was disorienting. I didn't know if it was a day in the future or a dream until Draco's image shimmered.
At the end, when she shows up at his house, while the scene itself is touching and romantic, Draco's initial reaction doesn't make sense. All she's said is she doesn't blame him for being a bit angry. Why, after he's softening over her wavering tone and coming close, would he say, "So this is it, then?" like he thinks she's come over to his house on Christmas morning to tell him she's "backing out after one snog."
I do like the touch of humor with Hermione coughing over the ash when she arrived, and the way seeing Draco in his pyjamas makes her realize it's Christmas morning was a great way to show she'd lost track of time.
Thanks for sharing the story!
Summary: A Remembrance poem Is about the war against the Dark Lord and how we should remember all the lives that were lost whether they were good or evil.
Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling. I doubt anyone is surprised by that.
There's a simplicity and directness to your poem that, while I can't imagine Hermione writing it, I can imagine a younger Hogwarts student penning the lines with the earnestness and solemnity of a bedtime prayer, saying "We must remember the dead every night before bed.
The lines "All creatures have done their parts, though many have broken hearts" was touching and evoked the sacrifices made throughout the books. I agree Voldemort won't be missed, and if you edit the last word, you'll have "hiss" instead of "his." :)
Summary: An elderly woman observing young Severus Snape.
Severus is one of my favorite characters, so I was naturally drawn toward your poem. It's interesting that you've written it from the perspective of an elderly woman, and I think it was a good choice because it's believable that a curious old person would notice and remember so much detail. I wish the poem had revealed a little more about her, but you did an excellent job of working bits about her life into the poem in a natural way, when she thought about the boy staying longer by the river, when she had no particular place to be, and the little girl reminding her of her girls.
Telling a story is the only "rule" of narrative poetry, but just for fun I looked for other elements. There's repetition of words, colors especially, and phrases like "big, old books" that help the poem flow, and a varying but definite rhythm throughout.
Although the repeated use of the color green helped with the flow of the poem, you used a lot of other colors that, as well as creating simple instead of vivid images, highlighted that poem relies primarily on sight. Even the glee illuminated the area. Severus' voice being spiteful is the only nuanced description of sound, and there are no smells or textures which could have set the scene at a specific instead of generic riverbank. The poem is based on an old woman’s observance of Severus, so the lack of other sense impressions isn’t a big detraction; it’s just something you might want to keep in mind for future poems.
Thank you for sharing this one. :)
Summary: He is haunted by the thoughts of green.Written for the Apples and Oranges challenge at Poetry Anyone.
I'm the curious type, :D, so I had to go look up the challenge this poem was inspired by. I found: This poem is to be based on a non-canon pairing that seems incomprehensible to you, but you must portray them in a flattering light. Convince the reader that these two belong together.
I can't say I think you put your mystery couple in a flattering light or that at the end of the poem I thought belonged together. It seems a poem of obsession with undertones of denial (removing green from his room, the cold nod) and self-hatred (the scream, waking nightmares, the refusal to act on his feelings: "all he can do" and "But never has it).
If I had to guess, I'd say this is an AU Draco in denial about his feelings for Harry poem. With the trial and grudging thanks (and the green sheets/green eyes/things he would have to disown it definitely has that vibe.
Since I don't read slash (if I'm right about the pairing), I'm glad you didn't spell out who your angsty protagonist is and who he's obsessing over. The poem has an interesting rhythm and picking through the poetic clues (or reading clues into the words if I'm wrong, heh) was a nice challenge.
Summary: I knew I shouldn't like him. I knew nothing could come of it. I mean, I am Lily Evans's best friend. But, damn, when he smiles, the butterflies in stomach go crazy.
I really enjoyed your take on that prompt. It’s easy to understand Mary’s intense self-consciousness and pain over her perceived flaws and unrequited feelings. In the beginning I was tempted to argue that if Mary’s fat was hanging off her face she would have more than a “hint” of a double chin, but on second read the passage struck me as an illustration of body dysmorphic disorder, and there seem to be hints of it throughout the story and especially the way she describes herself at the end. She blames Sirius’ annoyance at having to move to make room on her bum when not even a skinny girl would squeeze into a small space without him having to slide over.
Her fixation on her pimple, while good for plot points, heh, made me wonder if she had no wizard anti-zit cream or concealer that worked better than a charm, or if it was dysmorphic syndrome rearing its ugly head (pun intended) again.
You did a brilliant job at conveying the intensity of Mary’s crush on James. The physical reactions are something every girl can remember experiencing. She does come across as creepy sometimes, so it was good that you had her acknowledge that in her thoughts.
In the fourth paragraph, I think “wreaking” should be reeking, exuding like a smell, not expressing malice or inflicting punishment. While you can wrack or rack your brain thinking about something like proper word choice, wreak and reek aren’t interchangeable in the same way.
Overall, while I felt sorry for Mary, your story left me with a foreboding about what would happen—in a pleasant way. I couldn’t help speculating that after they leave Hogwarts Mary kidnaps James and ties him to the bed in a remote cabin like the guy in the Stephen King film Misery. Lily will save him, of course, but before she does Mary is definitely going to break his ankles with a sledgehammer. :D