I'm Jan, I live in the North of England with my lovely family; one husband and two delightful (most of the time) kids.I'm a buyer for a UK retailer, but spend my spare time reading and writing. And then any other spare time I spend online! I'm a moderator here at MNFF and have been known to beta read occasionally!.
I have one novel-length fic up (The Daughter of Light) and am currently working on its sequel, The Severed Souls. It wasn't supposed to be about my OC and Snape, but they ended up taking over! I've also got a few one-shots up and copious amounts of poetry.
Summary: Remus Lupin tolerates mischievous friends and lycanthropy, while the prophetic Ariadne MacDougal negotiates a misguided family, and everyone must deal with the Death Eaters. A rather dark coming-of-age story about the death of innocence and the renewal of hope during Voldemort’s first war.
Part I of The Moon-Cursers. Now updated to be DH-compatible.
Oh, the plot thickens! *Rubs hands in anticipation*
Got her accent now! Maybe you're not intending her to have a Scottish accent but this line... “Mr Lupin, are you not wanting to go indoors?"...came across with a delightful Scottish lilt to it. And I think my concerns about her method of speech in the last chapter were unfounded. Nothing sounded wrong here. Ten out of ten for a superbly IC Snape, I like a good cameo from our favourite greasy git, and I'm hoping to see more of him. The assemblage of Pure-Bloods was quite fascinating. the MacDougals seem to be of the milder, not too fussed about the Pureblood status sort. But they seem to enjoy socialising with their relatives and putting on a good show.
Speaking of which...Holy cooking smells batman! I thought I'd stepped into a Joanne Harris novel. the food and drink was so well handled. I felt I was standing in that kitchen surrounded by it all. Nice to see Cullen Skink appear! One little nitpick -- and the fool that moderated this should have mentioned it ;-) -- is that you need more capitalisation on things like Firewhisky. Some food and drinks are also capitalised, especially if they are trade names like Atholl Brose.
William is fast becoming one of my new favourite OCs. He's a truly delightful character and I love the way he interects with Remus and the way Remus understands him. The image of the children and him at the party was a lovely one.
And why indeed was the young lady kept at home for this party? I have a feeling we will find out. *Gives Remus a huge hug* Poor man. You have highlighted beautifully the problems he must have had getting employment and keeping it. When you look at it, this is a good job for him to have with the open space and the possibility of removing himself from the public... But those poor sheep! *worries about the sheep*
Really enjoying this story. It's intelligently written and full of touches of humour and pathos. Great job so far.
Author's Response: Dear MM, It\'s flattering to think that the beta readers become so absorbed that they don\'t notice my spelling mistakes, but of course you are right about the capitalisation. Never mind, the average non-British reader hasn\'t even heard of half the food and drinks that I served at this party. Yes, those poor sheep indeed. Would you set a wolf right in the centre of your flocks? The MacDougals wouldn\'t if they knew what they were doing! William is just a lamb in human clothing, but Remus is a far more complex persoin than that. The relationship between Ariadne and her parents will be developed in later chapters. However, I must warn you not to expect their behaviour to be always logical. Real humans rarely are. The MacDougals are not consciously prejudiced people (they would never want to hurt Muggles) but they do have difficulty in understanding anyone outside their own narrow sector of society. It has more to do with culture than direct racism ... although the two are so easily confused! Of course Ariadne has a Scottish accent. She is right on the banks of Loch Ness, remember? I\'m afraid I find it shamefully easy to write Snape. I just appeal to my own inner Severus. Thank you for continuing to say such nice things about my story, GhV
Summary: Once upon a time, there was a boy. Now, this might not surprise you, because there have been many boys in the world, all of whom started their lives at 'once upon a time.' However, this boy happened to be very special. One day, this skinny lad received a letter, which he was not allowed to keep. You, however, know all this, and I will not attempt to lump together seven years of events in a few paragraphs. For now, we shall start from a new 'once upon a time', a time where everything finally seemed to be returning to normal after years of chaos and mayhem. It all started one beautiful October afternoon; Harry Potter was sitting on the porch of Hermione Krum's house, having a cup of tea, when a letter arrived. Harry/Susan, Ron/Draco, Viktor/Hermione, Luna/Kingsley, Neville/Padma.
Very snappy opener. You wanted it to bring people up to speed quickly and you achieved exactly that. As a prologue it ticks all the boxes. We now know just what we need to know and can launch straight into the story. I loved the humour, very dry, just how I like it. And the condensed version of Harry's life at Hogwart's is a mini masterpiece. I also liked the seven rules he learned, my favourite being the first! Definately something fishy going on.
I found only one quibble with the flow and that was in this sentence...
fire-haired boy named Ron, who, despite being rather thick at times and was in occasional need of anger management, was generally kind and loyal,
I would take out the first was because it's making the sentence scan badly.
Enjoyed the punchiness of the prologue and am looking forwarding to seeing Ron and Draco coping with their orphans and generally carping at each other. I also liked the way you introduced the idea of darkness post-Voldemort, without overplaying it; Ron's drinking and Hermione's wound were understated but there.
So, bring on the princess...
Summary: Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Filius Flitwick/Female Canon Character. Posted before DH.
Ah, my lovely story!
This was just so perfect that I loved every word, so, as you can imagine, this will be a gushy little review! The opening set a lovely tone, relief and the sense of a world getting back to normal. I loved Filius setting aside Fred and George's gift, clever man! I enjoyed the characterisation of Filius, it was so accurate. A quiet, unassuming man with a deep underlying sense of fun, and a mounting sense of excitement at the continued presence of the presents. I love the way he tries to puzzle out who it is, and Irma and Filch! Even they get some Christmas cheer. Irma crying over the poor book made me smile.
And even Maeve made a sneaky appearence. That made me smile even wider as I imagined her protecting Severus from Filius' enthusiasm! Everything was so clever and funny that I just grinned my way through the whole story, incuding Filch belting out carols and Minerva hitting the sherry. This was a fabulous, heart-warming story and I couldn't have asked for more, so thank you again -- it was a real Christmas treat!
Author's Response: I\'ve been meaning to respond to all my reviews for the longest time, but this one especially deserved a comment long ago. I\'m just so glad you liked the story, and I appreciate that you took the time to let me know what affected you the most. Thanks, Maeve!
Summary: Long enough to make sense...Short enough for Pig to carry...Long enough to say everything...Short enough for -- maybe send Pig somewhere else and borrow Hermes?
Originally for the February Challenges -- "It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all." A sequel to "Blue Eyes Reflecting."
My dear VV,
My good friend VV,
Ahh, what the heck...You're a genius.
This is what happens when you give someone free rein... I knew it was a good move!
Author's Response: Mask reviewed "Reflecting" and up went the bunny -- what did happen between these boys, anyway? I had a longish drive with nothing else to think about (nothing I could hold in my head, anyway) and Ron started writing. Thanks for the review!
Summary: After a costly defeat of Lord Voldemort, Harry returns to number twelve, Grimmauld Place, where he discovers some disturbing information about Severus Snape's role in the first war with Voldemort.
Wow. Beautifully constructed character piece. This had all the elements of post-HBP angst that I would expect from a final confrontation between Harry and Snape. And both of them so elegantly in character. This is very well written and I look forward to your next piece.
Author's Response: Well, I\'m blushing now. Thank you.
Summary: Hannah reflects on her past, present, and future. Spring challenge, number one. House, Ravenclaw.
This is a lovely little examination of grief and of coming to terms with it. There is such a nice lift at the end that it makes you feel very fuzzy and warm. I particularly loved this line...
I cried for all that is to come and all that has already come to pass, good or bad. Deep inside myself I know deep, deep down it’s going to be all right.
I thought that was really moving and nicely written. Well done!
Author's Response: THank you sooo much, I just thought of some of the thing my friends have been through *not like they compare* and thought of that, though i\'m not quite sure where it came from, but thank you
Rated: [Reviews - ]
Sometimes you get a fic for the challenge and something about it is so perfectly in tune with the idea behind the challenge that it has to win. There was something about Luna's heartfelt optimism in this that I loved. Luna is underrated, and to capture that slightly whimsical attitude she has in the way that you have here is a treat to read. :-) Thank you!
Author's Response: Thanks! I adore Luna- she\'s so much fun to read and even more fun to write. I hope that with the OotP movie coming out maybe Luna will be a little more appreciated once people see her brought to life on screen. Thanks for reviewing!
Summary: A Gryffindor entry for the Spring Challenge, challenge number one. How did Hagrid survive his time in Azkaban during CoS? Read and find out!
Well, now that the contest is done and dusted I can finally leave a review to say how much I enjoyed this piece of writing. It is not often you can get so comprehensively inside a character's head, but you managed this brilliantly. You made Hagrid so human, so much more than the bumbling half-giant we sometimes see. Here you brought to the fore his patience, his ferocious faith in the fact that everything passes, nothing is forever. Which is one of the main reasons it did so well in the challenge. It portrayed perfectly what had been asked, and with such flair. I love your Hagrid, I love your writing, I honestly can't wait to read more from you. Well done!
Author's Response: Whew, what a wonderful review! I\'m blushing, but enjoying it. I worked very hard at showing what was going on in his mind. There were several possible ways to do it, and I think I tried all of them before I was done. I\'m glad to know that in the end I made the right choice. In Kidnapped, David Balfour says of Alan Breck Stewart that his flaws were all on his face. I think it\'s that way with Hagrid. He bumbles, he\'s a horrible cook, he adores these horrendous monsters, and yet, here is someone who CAN adore Fluffy and Norbert and the Blast Ended Screwts. To the Blast-ednde Screwt in me, this is a very endearing quality. The question is, do I dare to ever post anything again, and run the risk of disappointing...
Summary: Written for the One-Shot Owl Challenge for Hufflepuff House.
I hate my name. Evangeline was once a proud and beautiful name, but I am no longer, “A bringer of good news”. I wish they would change my name. Maybe Deirdra, which means, “sorrowful wanderer,” would be a good choice. Laraine and Lola both mean sorrowful, those would certainly do. Or maybe Dolores, which means, “Lady of Sorrows,” yes, I certainly am a lady of sorrows.
Well, an owl of sorrows anyway.
I love a beautiful and unusual name, and so I was quite intrigued when I saw the title of this was Evangeline; I wasn’t disappointed! It’s always a wonderful thing to come across a new and well-written idea, and this was extremely well written. You succeeded in making the reader empathise completely with the owl and look at Cedric in a new light. For those first few lines I really thought Evangeline was human, and this feeling continued, although you did such a good job of keeping her owlish points of reference in there. Most of us know the feeling of our pets understanding us better than some humans, and I think you got this across well in the short-lived relationship that Cedric had with his owl. It’s a compliment to your writing style that in such a short one shot you can achieve so many different levels and touch on several themes.
I’m going to fling in a batch of concrit here; it’s nothing serious, just a few things I think could be tidied up.
The only thing that runs throughout is repetition. Nothing major, but in a few places it interferes slightly with the narrative. The first instance is in the first paragraph with sorrow. I know you are trying to establish a theme very early on, and in a short piece I know it’s best to take the direct route. I just felt that maybe a synonym could have been used at least once. The constant repeat of sorrow set the tone, but it also sounded a little clunky.
The other two places that I noticed it were:
Rarely did I have a day off bringing news and advice between the two. Occasionally I would have a few days off and would happily nap in the Owlery.
Day off and days off – I think that could be reworded.
I puffed my feathers proudly under the scrutiny. My tan feathers glowed in the torchlight and I clicked my beak to show him that I was attentive. Mr. Diggory approved.
I think the first feathers could be removed and Evangeline could perhaps just ‘puff myself up proudly’.
I have a Britpick for you. We wouldn’t say keep. We would say shopkeeper. This in no way detracts from the narrative, but in the interests of authenticity I thought I should point it out. :-)
Past time should probably be pastime.
“Let’s see, I have a Pacific Screech owl, he’s rare in this area, very fine. I also have an Eagle owl, both of whom are very sturdy birds. But if you want the best, I’d recommend her,” the keep gestured towards my cage as he stood back, as if revealing a famous artist’s newest
You have a nitpicky dialogue error there at the end. (Did I mention I was the queen of nitpickiness??)
My favorite past time was exchanging gossip and discussing the latest articles from the Daily Prophet Filch used to line our roosts.
Okay, this was the only line that I though really needed reworking for clarity’s sake. Daily Prophet needs to be italicised… but you need a that between Prophet and Filch and a with after roosts. It makes the line sound much better. (By this point Amanda is now stabbing me with a pen and wishing I had never rejoined SPEW – I did say I was going to get the concrit out of the way first!)
My final thing is the sentence in which Amos Diggory is brandishing ‘a’ letter. I think you need to clarify that’s it’s ‘the’ letter, otherwise it could be any old letter. And that’s it! I have no more concrit.
So, what did I love; I loved your realistic dialogue and would have liked to see more… I’ll read more of your stories to get another fix! It was natural and flowed well. I really liked the small references that you dropped in which gave more dimension to the story, like the mention of the weather and the length of time the journey would take. I think things like this are important to a story because it adds realism. I found the fact that they looked up an owl’s name in a baby name book amusing and it brought a smile to my face, even though the whole story is quite a sad one. It’s always nice to see a light note enter a heartbreaking tale.
Evangeline’s musings on death are so sad; she has a very realistic view of what happens after the funeral when people go back to their lives and leave the wound still there. I found your mention of her dispensing funeral announcements, and then the contrast she makes with what she would have been doing had Cedric survived very poignant indeed. It was that that really made us realise that here was a life lost; a life that could have been lived. You managed this very, very well.
Her thoughts on the general fate of owls brought to mind that of house-elves and added to the picture that wizards really don’t seem to regard the creatures that serve them with much respect. The fact that Cedric was prepared to treat her almost as one of the family is in contrast to the attitudes of, say, Ron with his owl and the old family owl. This is another interesting theme you wove into this story and shows the quality of this, that you can pack in so much and still remain focussed on what is really going on; Evangeline’s uncertainty and her grief.
Cedric’s mum’s reaction was a very real one. I can imagine the pain she must have seen every time she saw Evangeline. Not only is the owl a reminder of her son, she is a reminder of the glory that once was. It’s a double whammy for the poor woman, and again, you get that across subtly and well. The last line is a powerful one and one that stays with the reader. I wonder what will happen to her. Will she live out the rest of her days in that back room? Will she be sold on or sent back to Eeylops? If it wouldn’t spoil the poignancy of this one-shot, I would ask for a sequel… but sometimes things are better left as they are, and this is a perfect piece of poignancy that leaves us where we should be. Thank you.
Author's Response: SQUEEEEE! And I will NOT be stabbing such a wonderful reviewer!!! I don\'t know how I\'ll ever match the compliment! Thank you for the nitpicks, I enjoy good concrit, it makes me a better writer. I\'m so glad you picked up on just how sad Evangeline\'s fate really is. As being my only OC (so far) I ponder her continued existance sometimes, and I just don\'t know what\'s in store for her. I wish her all the best, but like all the best characters, you never really know where they are going to take you. As for her name, I did in fact go through baby naming resources to find a name that fit what I wanted the story to tell. As it so happened I came across the gem \"Evangeline\" and the peices just fell into place! Oh gosh! *blush* I\'m just so happy you liked it! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
Summary: Harry receives some solid advice from a friend on the eve of the Yule Ball.
This poem was written by Gmariam of Ravenclaw for the December Challenge. It is for the third prompt, a parody of a Christmas Carol.
I adore this! Everything about it is right. It's very faithful to the original and the rhyme scheme works beautifully - it's as if the original words echo in your head as you read the newer version.
The blending of canon with the original is so well done, and I adore Hagrid as the one doling out advice on girls and dancing. He might be a great big oaf to some, but he's also full of wisdom - some good, some not so good. *giggles* The vision of him sailing above Hogwarts with Harry on Buckbeak is a lovely Christmassy one.
I also loved the nod to the beta forums, that was great fun and well worked in. Apart from those lines, my other favourites would have to be...
Harry returned to the castle with stealth,
Making sure he wasn’t seen, since he valued his health.
Imagines stalking Potions Master waiting to do him some damage... and...
Their robes were all gathered and hanging with care,
In hopes that the house-elves soon would be there.
... because I love the image, the fact that it could only be Hogwarts and the fact that it could also have come straight from the original.
No real concrit apart from maybe one line... As the brooms through a Quidditch match through the air fly, I felt you could have lost the first the and somehow replaced the first through. maybe something as simple as "As brooms in a Quidditch match through the air fly." It alters the metre slightly but doesn't sound quite so clunky. I would need to find the same line in the original to compare the exact metre. Other than that - faultless. As always, a pleasure, and great fun, to read.
Author's Response: *dies* Jan, oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful review. Wow - my second SPEW review, yay!! I am so glad you enjoyed this piece - and I\'m glad you let me use this poem for the challenge! I\'m so happy a certified poet found it lived up to the original, although mine turned out quite a bit longer. I really enjoyed writing it, thanks for a lovely prompt (as usual). You are absolutely right about that awkward line, I can\'t believe I missed that. I noticed it as soon as you quoted it. Thank you for the suggestion, I will touch it up soon. Thanks for all you do around here and for being such a lovely HoH. And another huge THANK YOU for such a wonderful review, it really made my day to wake up to such kind words. *turnip hug* ~Gina :)
Summary: The line that probably best describes the legacy that the Weasley twins left behind after their Great Escape, during Umbridge’s brief rein at Hogwarts. Their legend lasted years afterwards ... but eventually, the only permanent physical reminder was the roped off corner of one corridor, containing a small part of swamp. The mystery of its origins is merely smiled at reminiscently by teachers, and the students can do nothing but spread rumours of how it came to be. When little Janey Weasley starts life at Hogwarts, the mystery is still unsolved. On a whim, and desperate for recognition, she writes home to her father, asking how it came to be. When Ron replies with the true story, a chain of events begins that might just be the making of the next true Hogwarts mischief legend ...
**One-Shot, Post Hogwarts** Now available as AudioFiction Episode #95!
Now this is a humour fic that is funny without hitting you over the head with a humour bat. It's subtle and witty and very nicely written. You haven't gone for the obvious jokes or used out of character characters to make it funny. You have relied on well-constructed narrative and the existing character of the people we already know and love.
I like the use of speculation over something that we all know the origin of... and it will have the reader reminiscing about the scene where Fred and George made the swamp. It connects very nicely to canon and expands on it. The way Fred and George converse is nicely represented without overdoing it, and they play off the other characters really well.
I particularly liked McGonagall and this line...
It was the First Years you had to watch, because they had so much time to improve.
How ominous is that!
This is a lovely example of a good humour fic well done. I'd like to offer some concrit, but I can't. This is just great as it is.
Author's Response: Wow ... That\'s one of the best reviews I\'ve ever had (especially as it\'s from a respected mod ...) I\'m so happy now, thank you! I admit, I was a little worried about whether it was much good, but hey! For THAT kind of review, from a MOD, well ... *over the moon*
Summary: Eileen Snape decorates the Christmas tree, and Tobias Snape looks on.
Substance abuse is minor, but just in case...
This was originally written for the Winter Challenge prompt number five, Oh Christmas Tree, and it won first place!
I loved this story. It was so full of that Christmas spark and yet so depressingly tense. You've managed to portray the mental state of a wife suffering beneath her husband's violent temper very well, and I think the reader will have every sympathy with her. We know next to nothing about either of the Snapes, but what you have portrayed is totally convincing, from the gruff, brutish attitude of Tobias, with his determination to get a promotion before the child is born (I wonder why that is - does he want to appear more of a man for his child, or do they need the money?) to his reckless, drunken carolling with no thought for his wife's feelings.
The ornaments you used were well-thought through, right down to the ugly company bauble that Tobias brings home - and with that I think we get more of a sense of the man. He knows it's ugly, what a shame he can't see that his marriage has become ugly too. I also like Eileen's blind faith that her child will make things better. It seems to be something that women really do believe; a child will turn a monstrous husband into a good one. In one way I am glad she has that hope and in another way I wish I could scream at her to get out now while she can.
This was a fabulous challenge entry, filling the criteria perfectly, and it had a great feel to it. You wrote with such honesty and comapssion about your characters that it was a real treat to read. I'd like to offer you some concrit, but I really can't. This was one of those rare, perfect little stories. It will stand out for me for a good while. Thank you!
Author's Response: Wow. I\'m totally flattered, and really have no idea how to respond to such a lovely review. Perhaps later I shall come up with something more intelligent, but for now: thank you! I\'m so glad you liked this, and I really enjoyed writing it, much more than I thought. It was interesting trying to hit the right balance for Tobias -- he may not be the best person in the world, but he is still human. I struggled with his characterization a bit, but surprisingly found Eileen very easy to write. Again, thank you so much, and I hope I didn\'t ramble senselessly too much. :)
Summary: When Greyback had first established the Underground, he had not anticipated the place to become so primitive and instinctual. He understood the wolves’ needs to fulfill their bodily functions and drives, but his need to infect was stronger.
Oh my! I’m still shuddering. As a character piece this was superb. We know Greyback is pure malice, but this added so much dark meat to what we’ve learned from canon. The sign of a really good piece of writing is that it imprints images upon your mind; this has imprinted several on mine. It is interesting to see Lupin from Greyback’s perspective. You’ve made Lupin self-assured when speaking of ideals and plans, but unsure of himself with the females – the dropping of the soap was a clever detail - and I think this sits perfectly with the Lupin we know and love.
The most important thing here, for me anyway, was the uncompromising detail when we see Greyback pursuing his prey. His thought processes are also vital to gaining some understanding of his character. You’ve given us much to think about. His age and his unwillingness to be seen degrading himself in the way the younger ones makes me wonder if he is afraid of looking in public. Even pure evil must have concerns about looking weak in public, especially in this sort of animalistic society. The scene with the women bathing was extremely erotic and also disturbing because of the circumstances. You’ve combined animal instincts with some human qualities well here… and throughout the piece. There’s such a huge element of Greyback having seen and done everything that it is easy to see why he is so dismissive of Remus and his new ideas. The very thought of Greyback and his followers ‘listening’ to the good side is almost laughable if it weren’t so depressing.
Considering this is a short one-shot, you have packed so much food for thought into it regarding your subject that it is applause worthy. His lust for the young, the innocent and pure is completely chilling; it’s the ultimate evil, to go after children and young women, and so you have Greyback fulfilling a role almost as terrifying as Voldemort. I’m looking forward to reading any companion pieces to this and to seeing how you develop this dark, deep character further.
I have the obligatory nitpicks for you. ;-) (This is the time to stop reading and do something more interesting 8giggles*)
Vodka doesn’t need a capital, but the Daily Prophet does need italicising.
“those neutral and opposite this man’s side,” I can’t decide why this sounds off. I think it’s because I feel opposite should read as opposed, but that would require alteration to the sentence. “with a couple large rocks” You need an of between couple and large. “Looking ‘round once more, he noted a couple other werewolves” I think that would be better just as around and you need an of between couple and other. I’m wondering if the missing ofs are some kind of Americanism. “finding long ago that he much rather be pleasing” I got a bit confused with this sentence and the way it fitted to the previous one. I think some clarification is needed, because this is a really powerful scene. “When Greyback had first established the Underground, he had not anticipated the place to become so primitive and instinctual.” I think instead of to, would would be better. ” He couldn’t help but to let a” You could lose the to here. ”long ago that he much rather be pleasing” You need a would between he and much. ” but had somewhat calmed down when she began to massage his shoulders in a manner that clearly said to Greyback that was wished to mate with him.” The was looks like it should be she.
Sorry, I did warn you to stop reading. They’re terribly boring nitpicks and nothing really to do with the excellent composition of this story. Fascinating stuff, Kay; really, really well done.
Summary: We all know the story of how James matured for Lily. Ever wonder why? Who would have thought that everything could change in a single day-with an unexpected romance, and a little bit of snow.
Written for Beth for the Secret SPEW 2.
What a lovely little story! You have a very good writing style; it flows extremely well and there wasn't a sentence that sounded wrong. That doesn't sound like much, but to have a whole chapter flow without jarring is an achievement. I found James to be completely believeable, exactly how I imagined him. You walked the fine line between making him slightly too arrogant - I thought his thoughts about Remus' gift, though harsh, were probably spot on - and making him vulnerable. There were no hysterics, no loud, in-your-face behaviour from him. It was so nice to see him portrayed in thoughtful mood.
Even though this is a short one-shot, you built a nice amount of plot into it to keep the reader involved yet didn't neglect the characterisation, which I thought was the most important thing. I enjoyed Emmeline's character too, I thought she gave him some solid advice, and the decision to give her the ear rings was very fitting. I think this asked a lot more questions than it answered and would like to have seen maybe one or two more chapers. But then, we always want more of a good thing. ;-)
My only bit of con-crit is that you need to place spaces before and after dashes. If you don't, you read words as being hyphenated. Here's a prime example of where that can get confusing:
honestly–don’t think I haven’t noticed that fan-club of yours–so…why
See how the hyphenated words get lost with the dashes?
So, yes, that's all the concrit I have for you! This was a nice snapshot of a story very well told. :-)
Author's Response: =D THANK YOU, dearest Jan! I can\'t tell you how much I appreciate this! And, hee. Those flowy sentences? Thank Kate. She pwns. And I agree with what you said about the dashes - I do it like so now, but at the time that I wrote this, I used dashes--like so, and I completely see what you mean. Thanks SO much for the brilliant review! *squish*
Summary: We don't know anything about Harry's ancestors, but this poem paints one picture of what could have happened. Journey back to one fateful night on a cold moor in Scotland, not too far from Hogwarts...
This ballad was written for the January Ballad Challenge and received first place!
I could try to write a constructive review for this, but I would fail abysmally, because I just love it. As a ballad, it succeeds on every count; as a challenge entry, it met all the criteria so perfectly. Every sentence, bar one (we'll come to that in a moment), is perfect. It has exactly the right rhythmn and flow that I had hoped to see in this challenge and I think you have recreated a period ballad perfectly.
Their dialogue is stunning, the word order always spot on. Getting good dialogue in prose is hard enough, but to see it put within a ballad structure so well made me a very happy woman when I read this! And if we set the structure aside, the plot is wonderful. I love the idea of Charlus and his daughter; it was unexpected and delightful. It weaves the Potters nicely into the fabric of Hogwarts history. The characerisation of them both is well done; Gryffindor is very gallant and wise and Grace is lovely. I'd like to see her in a story.
We'll do the one slightly mis-stepped sentence first:
She smiled then, smile of relief,
I don't know, but that comma in the middle breaks the flow because the hard sound of then coupled with the break creates a jump in the rythmn. Not that I could tell you how to fix it, because that's a tough line. It's the only place where I thought imporvement could have been made. Oh, and here:
She turned her eyes up toward him
I would either lose the up or lose the o in toward and replace it was an apostrophe.
So, considering the length of the ballad, with those two things being the only small glitches, I think this is as near perfect as we're going to get!
And my favourite lines:
Across a barren Scottish moor
beneath the cold trees’ pall
we find the story of a lass,
the girl who started all.
I LOVE the imagery here; the trees' pall in particular was a fantastic image. And the last line is relatively brave because most would have been tempted by an 'it' between started and all, which would, of coure, have killed the metre.
“Suspected it? I did, but thought
for sure it was not true.
I’m glad, but in a quandary,
I know not what to do.”
This is just a perfect example of the great dialogue and the way you ordered the words. It reads so well that the ballad gallops past, as ballads should do.
I'm reading a lot of Alexander Pope at the moment, and this makes me as happy as some of his work, just because it's a lovely example of what it is and it works on every level. This was a deserved first place; you have a great way with words. I'm hoping to see more from you in other challenges. Well done! :-)
Author's Response: WOW! I don\'t even know where to begin. This is, by far, the finest review I\'ve ever received. To be mentioned in the same sentence as Alexander Pope!!! There\'s not too much more I could wish for on a Friday morning. I study medieval history, so I\'ve read a ballad or two in my day, which probably helped with the meter. That, and an obsessive attention to get it right. My roommates probably thought I was crazy sitting at my desk tapping my fingers as I read the poem: duh-DUH duh-DUH duh-DUH. But it was such good mind-exercise to say, \"No, that doesn\'t work. Let\'s try it another way.\" As for the kinks, yeah, those are rough. The problem was that I\'m from the American Midwest, so I say \"smile\" in one syllable, whereas some say it in two. Same with \"toward.\" I hadn\'t even thought of writing t\'ward instead! That would have been great. Never having written poetry before (especially not in an \"older\" style), I was a little wary of poetic abbreviations. i.e. I had to look up the difference between e\'er and ere! :) But thanks for pointing those lines out. The two stanzas you mentioned are some of my favorites, too. I knew I wanted to call Grace \"the girl who started (it) all,\" so I ran through the entire alphabet in my head thinking of words that rhymed. \"had a ball?\" No. \"Took the call?\" Certainly not. When I hit on \"pall,\" I knew I had it. I wanted the moor to be eerie and mystical. Grace is lost and alone, and the landscape reflects her mental state. And then Gallant Gryffindor comes in to save the day. Hooray! The \"suspected it?\" stanza was difficult. I initially had it ending with \"... did not suspect it,\" but that was totally wrong for the meter. So I sat and I stared and I finally found a way to reorganize it. I\'m very pleased with how it turned out. I\'m also glad that you appreciate the subject matter. I wanted the ballad to be truly in the style of old, which meant taking it way back to the year 1000 or so. Troubled ladies and gallant lads and all that sort. I think the biggest compliment you paid me in this wonderful review is that you like Grace and that you\'d like to see her in a story. I am of exactly the same mind. As I was writing, I had this whole spinoff planned in my head. Uh-oh. But would I write it all in ballad form? Should I write it at all? These are the questions that keep me up at night. :) But I, too, love the idea that the Potters were there from the beginning. I wouldn\'t be surprised at all to find out that Harry is related to Gryffindor. Hmm... perhaps through Grace? Man, now I *really* want to write it! I\'ve said this before, but I\'ll say it again: thank you so much for putting on these challenges. I\'ve never entered any before, but I\'m having so much fun! My poor primary story is suffering but my mind has never been so active. School? What school! I\'m going to go write a ballad... This was perhaps more than you wanted in a response, but I was just so thrilled by this review. You certainly made my day. :-)
Author's Response: Wow, apologies for the giant block of text. I forgot to format it, I suppose... But the sentiment remains!
Summary: I can imagine what you would look like
after being kissed, your burning hair
halo-soft around your face, your lips
half parted, flaming, full...
A train to Nowhere. A cherry red umbrella. A brief brushing. One last chance. An acid green light. What could have been.
These are poems featuring Lily Evans and Severus Snape, told in the tragic hero's point of view.
Your poetry is simply stunning. Word choice is spot on and conveys everything with such precision. There is a good seam of emotion running throughout but it's tempered nicely by your use of imagery. I love seeing such an accomplished poet submit to MNFF and I look forward to seeing more of your work. You are a natural.
Author's Response: Thank you! I\'m glad you liked it...my poetry is a little different than what you usually seem to find here on MNFF, so I wasn\'t sure anyone would go for it.
Summary: Molly Weasley lost two boys in the first war. She doesn't think she can bear to lose another.
This is such a beautiful piece of writing. Everything about it is so poised and the characterisation is so detailed and delicate. You managed to make the writing feel as fragile as the lives of Molly's children and I think that complements the subject matter perfectly. It's rare to see the use of brackets employed this well. A very moving piece of writing. :-)
Summary: A mother grieves the loss of her son in the surroundings where she first learned her only child was dead - the place of the final task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
Goodness, that was powerful. It's raw and dreadful and completely encapsulates the depths of grief. I though the way you switched tenses was a good contrast betweem the present and the past - a nice juxtaposition. And of course I completely understand from your PM how this relates to other things and it makes it all the more poignant and sad. I particularly thought this was very emotive:
She allowed herself to experience fully once again the searing, excruciating torture of loss - loss that left her breathless and shaking, speechless from its intensity.
I think we can all identify with that desperate place that Mrs Diggory finds herself in.
You have a wonderful way with words, Andrea - but, of course, I knew that from Ravenclaw. It's good to see you're filling up your author page.
Author's Response: Jan~ Thank you so much for being the first to review my heart-wrenching story! However did you find it? *laughs* Yes, by switching the tenses I tried to show that Mrs.Diggory didn\'t just go there to remember the day Cedric died, she went there to relive it - which is a far more devastating experience to deliberately open one\'s self up to. Thank you for spotlighting that one particular line. The more I read it, the more amazed I am at how those who can identify with it are able to function in a more-or-less normal manner. It has to be tamped down below the surface, or we couldn\'t do it. Unlike Mrs.Diggory, to deliberately dig it all up again is a strength I\'m not sure I possess at this time, though, like her, I do see my own personal pilgrimages in the future. Say, once a year, about this time? Now it seems too frighteningly large a task to contemplate, but I will at least open myself to the possibility. Yes, I\'m slowly but surely beginning to fill up that author\'s page. I love writing and it was an absolute wrench to push aside the story I had been carefully crafting for my DADA final and submit this instead, but sometimes the story you *want* to write is not the story you *should* write. This story I wrote in several hours is infinitely more dark and angsty than the story I had spent weeks trying to carve into a D/A tale that satisfied me. So thank you again for your kind, encouraging words - both here and in your PMs. I appreciate them so very much. *hugs and squishes* ~Andrea
Summary: Remus Lupin writes a poem for his son Teddy.
DH Spoilers obviously
Don't be shocked that this got accepted! It's quite lovely and tragic and displays Remus' sense of right and wrong to perfection. You did a great job.
Author's Response: Oh wow! Thank you so much =) I\'m glad you think that I displayed Remus\' s sense of right and wrong, good, I was (as stated before) a little worried he was OOC. Thank you so much for reviewing- it really means a lot to me. =)
wake up, australia
Monica Wilkins begins a letter to someone that doesn't exist with an invisible war on the television.
I'll admit that I am not a fan of disjointed verse. I like it ordered into metre and fluffed up with punctuation, however... I really loved this. I re-read it several times and your word choice and repetition is quite haunting. It made me think of Heroes and the horrid blankness of having your memory wiped that Claire's mother has to endure (blank looks from everyone who hasn@t seen Heroes). You did a great job of conveying that deadness while letting the reader know what it is that has been lost.
Author's Response: Aw, thankees. I have some trouble with \'normal\' poetry (*cough-I\'mprettyterrible-cough*), so I find that free verse fits me. I tried to get those hidden meanings in there little things. Like, how the \'invisible\' war is on T.V.- that was meant as a way of saying that it isn\'t real to her or touching them. Thank you so much! -Stubby