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). ^_^
Sunshine spilled down onto the small grassy spot through a window in the tall trees. She stood a couple of yards back, staring at eleven letters cut into rock. It was beautiful, and yet, to Hermione’s eyes, nowhere near a worthy enough tribute for a life so full of rambunctious joy.
You're not a poser, you're a writer of a lovely story, in a lump-in-your-throat, misty-smile sort of way.
I enjoyed your descriptions, from the vivid sunset to the chair stamped with George's personality. I found it very realistic and touching that Hermione would transition from feeling Fred's loss for others to realizing her own personal sense of loss. There are many levels of friendship, and although she and Fred weren't close, they were still friends. He touched her life and she misses him.
Hermione's realization about grief was moving. The only thing that jarred was the tense switch. The pov is third person, so it should've been "grief was" instead of "grief is."
Another thing I noticed was the dual use of "yard" in the first paragraph. I think if you edited yard to "garden" the first few times, and then changed "stood a couple of yards back" to "metres back" it would remove any possibility of confusion and, as a bonus, read more British. :D
Hermione worrying for Ron and him worrying for her, and the way they both took action was very sweet, as was the ending.
Thank you for ending with a smile. :)
Summary: If Remus hadn't been born, the lives of the people he had entered would be different, correct? He wouldn't have caused them pain, disappointment... and grief. Most of all, he wouldn't have been the cause of why his parents' happiness was suddenly gone.
Of course, it was all just wishful thinking. He was still a werewolf, no matter what he did.
It brought a smile to my face to see you were SPEW's author of the month, both because I like you, :), and since this is your first story you get to be the test case for the proposed "Fic of the Month" in that every SPEW member who participates will review Innocence. You'll be able to tell Jenny if that gives you a broader, more helpful range of productive praise and concrit.
I'm sure I'm echoing previous reviewers, but I think it was brilliant of you to want to show the reason why Remus thought he was "too dangerous." The scene where he's back at Hogwarts, particularly, was strikingly well executed.
He finally got his head straight again, so he took all the time he needed to be cautious of his decisions. He would distance himself away from innocent people; away from innocent lives.
His thoughts were a powerful way to show his current way of coping with what happened and gives a glimpse of the professor he'll become.
As much as I loved the concept that Remus had a tragic reason for his low self-esteem and belief that Tonks and Teddy would be better off without him, though, I have problems with the reason you chose and the way you brought it about.
At the baby shower where Remus gets drunk and forgets to go down to the basement or wherever he's locked up, he's young, and probably not used to drinking, so his forgetting is plausible.
What I find impossible to believe is that his parents would forget, or that they would have a baby shower at their home on the day of the full moon. Like many other parents of a child with a serious medical condition, they've scheduled events and outings around his condition for years. Why would they suddenly become criminally irresponsible?
Another problem is the lack of clarity about what actually happened that night. Did the werewolf physically harm his mother to cause the baby's death, or did she fall trying to get away from him? It would be more believable for me if she'd hurt herself stumbling in fright because a werewolf attack wouldn't be something that could be hushed up. Remus would go to Azkaban. He wouldn't be going back to Hogwarts. Also, her losing the baby from a fall instead of physical assault gives his mother's accusation "You k--killed my baby!" an extra dimension of tragedy because it was really an accident brought on by carelessness and negligence of many people, not just Remus, yet he puts the blame soley on himself and always will.
I think the story would be stronger if you said what age the boys were; that it was summer holiday; Sirius brought over Firewhiskey for the friends to play a drinking game while Remus' parents went to a baby shower at the village hall; opening the front door the sight of Remus, not locked in the basement, frightened his mother into running and a tragic fall she would blame Remus for in a moment of grief . . . but I don't expect you to change a word. I just wanted to give my honest opinion for you to consider and keep in mind for future stories--that I hope you'll post soon.
Thank you for writing an emotionally gripping and thought provoking story!
Summary: For Oliver Wood, Quidditch is everything, or almost, and he has never taken to failure well. So, when the biggest game of his career doesn’t go to plan, it takes someone who cares about more than just his skill on a broom to make him see that there is more to life than Quidditch.
I read your reviews for this story, and have to dispute a couple of terms you used in replies. The first is "meaningless fluff." In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means what you think it means. :)
The story absolutely has direction and purpose. Oliver's taken a bitter loss to heart, and Katie comforting him, not just with tender kisses and the promise of taking him to bed (although those are undoubtedly cheering), but with a reality check--losing the cup wasn't a one-man accomplishment--and a much needed reminder that she's there for him and he's not facing the future alone.
The other term you used that I have to challenge is "a light write." I don't believe you wrote this lightly. You took the emotions inspired by England's defeat and crafted a story with excellent descriptions and drama that was more real for being understated. Oliver trashing the changing room in a rage or yelling and flailing about would have been OOC. I think you stayed true to his characterization in the books and made Katie's character someone readers could identify with...someone like themselves.
What little concrit I have to give is for dialogue tags that retell what a character's speech has just told readers.
“Tough!” she said bluntly; “No,” she corrected him; “Don’t be ridiculous!” Katie chided him; “No, they won’t,” Katie objected; “You just aren’t going to leave me in peace, are you?” Oliver demanded; “They could wait a little longer…” he suggested.
You used "corrected" several times, and each time, the dialogue shows she's correcting him without the need of you restating it. I've done (and do!) this too, which is why I notice it, and why I winced guiltily when I read that it's like elbowing someone after telling a joke and saying, "Get it? Get it?"
I got it, and I hope you "get" that I enjoyed your story and found it meaninful and well-crafted.
Summary: A Remus/Tonks poem, set during Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.
I love Remus and Tonks, so I was immediately drawn to your poem. :) My favorite imagery was "the shelter of second chances". It reveals her depression in thinking it's too late because it's already raining (regrets? tears?) and she's already wet.
"Incoherence" in the second stanza really sets the tone. It isn't that Tonks is speaking nonsense, it's that she can't clearly express herself. The images that come to her mind are disjointed.
The use of "cranial" in the fourth stanza is an alliterative but odd choice. It suggests skeletal figures, maybe watchers beyond the veil, but the end of the stanza refers to Remus with the following lines Tonks' plea.
Words wrap around my body in a twisted, grotesque internal lullaby reads awkwardly, just a little too long. Words wrap my body in a twisted internal lullaby would have conveyed the thought more fluidly.
I like the questions interspersed through the poem. The last one, though, I'm not sure is needed. It comes across as a little self-pitying, and takes away from the simple, and effective
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. :)
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
Summary: It didn't seem fair to Seamus Finnigan that, whilst his friends were dead or damaged by their their seventh year at school and the Battle, so many Slytherins just got to carry on with their lives.
His efforts to redress that balance though got him in over his head in something far darker than he'd anticipated.
for the love of Helga's bosom
I chuckled at that, it was a well placed humorous touch to lighten the tension. You fulfilled your "plotty with a bit of drama" aim admirably, making it easy to believe the Auror and MLE offices would have to deal with vigilantism after the war. Seamus talking to Dean was poignant, and while Pansy isn't a likable character in the books, you show her in a better light. At the end, are you hinting at a possible Seamus/Pansy romance in the future, a prior Seamus/Lavender romance, or both? Is that the reason for the "full circle" last line?
I do have a question about the flashback. The story seems to be third person limited, Seamus' pov, but the flashback slips from his pov to Hannah's--or is the entire flashback omniscient narrator?
In the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta H.M.S. Pinafore, a silly captain sings, "Never mind the why and wherefore," which is the opposite of writers. We want to know the why and wherefore. That doesn't mean people will always tell us, but I choose to live in hope. ^_~
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, Paige.
I think with that line, I've spent a little too much time chatting to Jess!
Damn it! I thought I'd successfully curbed my muse's impulse to always head towards ships and succeeded in writing gen, but clearly some hints of where my muse wanted to go slipped in. If I'd not been writing this as a gift and so let my muse have free rein, there would have been a failing relationship between Lavender and Seamus, being torn apart by Seamus' choices, and Seamus and Pansy would have probably spent the night snowed in in hay barn.
Hmmm, I'll have to have another look at the point of view and see what's going on there.
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!