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Skipper424 [Contact]

Hi. I'm James and I write fan fiction. Sorry, was just practicing for the upcoming MNFF-aholics Anonymous meeting. Please feel free to check out some of my stories.

First Place Winner in the June One-Shot Challenge!
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Reviews by Skipper424

His Withered Soul by Ron x Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: He thought of her every day. Every hour. Every moment.

Draco Malfoy has been inside Azkaban Prison for the past year, only thinking of Pansy Parkinson. He struggles to push her to the back of his mind every time a Dementor glides by, afraid that they will steal that last happy memory he possesses. She’s the only thing that keeps him going, and he has promised to her that he will get out of this place.

Draco Malfoy finds a wand the day of his execution, and chooses to escape instead of die. He must see his love before he perishes. He must produce the perfect Patronus to keep the Dementors away. But will he be able to keep the strength to see his love, one last time?

This was originally written for the June One Shot Challenge. I am Ron x Hermione, answering this challenge for my beloved house of Hufflepuff.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 07/04/07 Title: Chapter 1: His Withered Soul

Hey, Ron x Hermione! I’ve read a couple of things of yours and I have to say that this is one of the better ones. Personally, I don’t like Draco Malfoy much, and like it less when the attempt is made to portray him in a sympathetic fashion. Despite that, I still thought your story was good. I thought your descriptions of Azkaban, while graphic in places – deposits – where very effective. You definitely left me with a sense that the wizard prison is an awful place.

I haven’t read all of your stories, but it seems like you really worked hard on your descriptions in this one when compared against the others. I think it paid off for you, overall. One thing that jumped out at me is the word emaciated. I think you used it like three times in your story. The problem is you don’t run into word often. So, when you do use it, it’s going to stick it readers’ minds. It isn’t as though you thoroughly abused it (like every other paragraph). Still, it seemed like maybe you could be more creative in describing that state, if it even needed to be described again. Sometimes, if you make a powerful enough impression the first time through, I don’t think you need to go back over it. It just sounds repetitive.

Hey, take that with a grain of salt, though. It’s very nit-picky. And, no one is handing me any awards for writing any time soon. It’s just an opinion.

Good look in the contest and keep up the good work!

Author's Response: Um, Skipper, honey? You need to have an award for \'The Curse\'. *hugs* *giggles* Thanks so much for your nitpicks . . . but, wow, you don\'t even know how many times this was sent in and out in and out . . . it went through some major redoing and must have gotten messed up when I went back through and didn\'t remember I had already used things. Thanks so much for your wonderful nitpicks, Lindsey likes them. ~Lindsey :)

A Smile That Explodes by electronicquillster

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 14 Reviews
Summary: You might think you know the story of the Marauders and their peers, but you only know its ending and a few scenes preceeding that.

They went to school amidst Voldemort's first ascent to power, and they were not the only ones around then, either. Herein you will find their story, as well as the story of their friends and peers. It doesn't have a happy ending, though they had such a merry youth.

I repeat, it's not a happy ending, but you already knew that. However, you may find joy in what happened before then... We know they did.

Note: I removed the story after the release of DH and made some drastic changes to chapter one. Chapter two will follow soon...
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 10/18/07 Title: Chapter 1: 1 September 1971

There is a very nice combination of elements here: a catchy banner, a catchy title, and a very catchy opening chapter. One of the most important things an opening chapter can do is engage the reader in someway. Though I would say that the main plot has not yet revealed itself (to me anyway), there is more than enough going on here to keep anyone who picks up this story interested, in particular your characterisation. Simply put, it’s wonderful.

Perhaps the only “complaint” I could make is the fact that your dialogue seems a bit mature to me for eleven year olds. I don’t mean to say the dialogue is not good, because it is very good. It’s just that I always envisioned children talking in far less formal terms, using a lot of slang, speaking in incomplete sentences … things of that nature. When I read the conversations here, I feel like I am seeing seventh years, not first years. Let me give you a couple of examples:

“I was inspecting the other compartments to try to find someone as nervous as me, so I got good at recognizing the look.”

“I’ll warn you right now that I’m probably not going to remember your names. I’m terrible with names,”

It’s just an opinion and I really hope that it is not taken to mean that I thought poorly of your dialogue, because it is the opposite of the truth. It just felt too mature for eleven year olds in a few places, that’s all (please do not hit me).

I like Jane very much as a character so far, and the way she interacts with James, and everyone else. The notion of James having a twin or any other sibling is not something I had thought of before and I really like the way you have presented it. And, James is done very nicely. You do a good job of keeping him “in character” while writing him in a way that doesn’t feel like I’ve read it hundred of times in other stories. So, great job with the Potter twins.

“Naturally.” He cocked his head arrogantly, winking and smiling a goofy smile. “Would you expect anything less? I am a Potter, after all.”

That seems just like James to me.

I’m looking forward to reading more of this story, and your work in general. This is the first story of yours I think I have read, and it is really quite good. I always enjoy stories where the writer does so well making believable characters, and you have done so nicely with that here.

Hermione's Horcrux by Ravensgryff

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 18 Reviews
Summary: Hermione is a strong and capable witch; the brightest witch of her age. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have her own internal struggles, especially when Horcruxes are involved.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 09/20/07 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 1: The Cruciatus Curse

Okay, I have to admit, reading the seventh book several times through, I never, ever thought of Hermione washing Harry and Ron’s dirty underpants until I read this chapter. I laughed out loud at that part. I don’t know why, I don’t think you were necessarily going for humour there. Maybe it was just the notion of me asking any of my friends, male or female, to do something like that and getting a great big ‘do it yourself’ thrown back at me. Either way, you definitely added something to that whole bit about hanging out in the tent all that time that I had not considered before. Loved it, thanks for the laugh, whether you meant it that way or not.

Once again, Ravensgryff, you have done a marvellous job bringing to light Hermione’s perspective on the sequence of events in this chapter. I really thought you did a wonderful job with your characterisation. You’ve kept Hermione in character, while bring out things about her – the way she reacts, thoughts in her head – that we did not necessarily know from book seven. I liked how you brought out here frustration with Harry and Ron, her desire to stay focused on her their task, her longing to be with Ron, and how she wonders what might have happened had she just fled, or stayed behind (even though she knows that doing so was really not an option).

The best part, as far as I was concerned, was the torture part. I just thought you did so well bringing that part alive, making your reader feel everything Hermione feels, and see her thoughts. Your descriptions were gripping: Again and again, waves of burning, tearing, squeezing, slashing, pounding riddled Hermione’s slowly dying body. Even the parts that were already dead, her hair and fingernails, screamed in ghostly agony. I don’t know if you can do better with Cruciatus Curse, just wonderful description there, without being too much.

I’m really looking forward to the next chapter … which I just so happen to have (before everyone else!). Great work to this point! Hermione is one of my favourite characters in the HP Series and you are doing an outstanding job with her here!

Author's Response: Thanks so much! As the person responsible for all the laundry in my house, that wasn\'t a far stretch for me to envision at all. :-D Glad you\'re liking the story - I hope the next mini-chapter isn\'t too horrible ;-)

Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 09/13/07 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue: Stirrings of Doubt

I really enjoy the way you portray the range of emotions going on inside of Hermione in this opening chapter/prologue. We knew from the books that she was distraught / devastated when Ron left, but we never really got a peak inside like this. You have done a great job completing the picture here.

In particular, I like how you bring out Hermione’s consciousness of the fact that the Horcrux is amplifying the negativity energy in its wearer. I like how you show that she knows it is affecting her dreams and her ability to think clearly, as well as making Ron more unpleasant as well. What I though was the best, however, is how you made her wonder if the whole situation was just giving her a preview of want Ron was going to be like any time he faced adversity. It is so realistic, I think, for her to think about the situation that way, and wonder what it implied for their future. Great job on that!

I also think you maintained a good balance in regards to her disposition on Harry. I can see a part of her being very upset with him, almost wanting to blame him for what has happened, for their current situation. At the same time, she knows what is really going on, why they are doing it, and why they must endure it. It’s like she has these feelings inside that she can’t help, but still hasn’t lost sight of their purpose, their goal.

In the last sentence of the first paragraph, there is a comma at the end of the last sentence, not a period. Um, I can’t think of any reason that should be there. Other than that, I cannot find anything in here that jumps out at me, crying to be fixed. Wonderful job!

Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by FlightofthePhoenix

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 48 Reviews
Summary: James Sirius Potter is a mischievous little six-year-old and is rather like his grandfather, James Potter, and also his namesake, Sirius Black. When he has an idea, he is determined to fulfil it to the best of his ability. He drags his siblings Albus and Lily as well as his cousins Hugo and Rose Weasley into his plan while a twelve-year-old Teddy Remus Lupin watches on, amused.

Written for the September Challenge by FlightofthePhoenix of Hufflepuff

Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 10/24/07 Title: Chapter 1: James Potter = Mischievous

Hello, FotP! It is nice to see another member of Hufflepuff House entering the contest. I just finished reading your entry and I thought it was quite nice. As long as you don’t mind, I’d like to take a few moments to share a couple thoughts.

First of all, I just love the way you characterize all of the main players in your-story. In particular, I thought your dialogue was nicely done. The intentional misspellings worked very well, “Twuble” and “Nufing” were my favourites, I think. I also really liked how you wrote Teddy, a bit older and smarter, observing this whole devious plan to get the cookies from inside a cupboard.

Now, I hope you don’t mind constructive feedback, because I have some of that too. It doesn’t mean I like your story any less, just observed some things you might be able to alter slightly to make you story even better.

First, the following sentence seemed to be missing a word. I took a guess at what you meant, and underlined the word I added (which is how I read it): His black, messy hair fell down into his six-year-old face, but Teddy watched as he shook it out of the way.

You had another sentence where you used the same word twice. It makes your sentence sound weaker than it could, or repetitious. When Ginny gave the kitchen a look over and left the room to retire to the lounge room, … I would suggest just deleting the first instance of the word room to fix this problem. So, the sentence would read: When Ginny gave the kitchen a look over and left to retire to the lounge room, … It doesn’t feel like you lose anything by dropping it. The sentence retains all of its original meeting … the only thing that is gone is the redundant word choice.

This was a really fun story! I enjoyed reading it. Good luck in the contest!

Author's Response: Thank you very much Skipper424 for the excellent review. And as for constructive feedback, I love it. Thanks for picking up on a few things. I\'ll fix them when I can. Great review! ~Nicole

Blood Will Tell... by Sabby

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 10 Reviews
Summary: The Death Eaters, under Lord Voldemort, authorized the murders of many Muggles and wanted to exterminate Muggle-borns. Hugo Weasley knows that the problem of pure-blood illusions of superiority are still out there and is determined to do something drastic to stop it...

I am Yellow_Rose of Gryffindor writing for the September One-Shot Challenge.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 10/20/07 Title: Chapter 1: Blood Will Tell...

Good work on the story, Sabby! I really enjoyed reading it. One of my favourite things about participating in the challenges is getting to see all the different ideas people come up with for the same prompt. One thing I can certainly say about yours is that it was very unique, and certainly not what I expected when I started reading it. What you have here is very enjoyable, great work!

I have a couple comments I would like to make, if you don’t mind. First, I absolutely love the idea of Hugo turning out the way you have him cast here. I can certainly see Hermione being a very strict parent, against which there could certainly be some level of rebellion, especially if Hugo discovers any of the awful things that happened to her when she was at school during the war. Perhaps there could have been a little more explanation on why Hugo felt so strongly. I mean, you did write some general examples, but I mean, what has happened to him personally that has caused him to feel that way?

In this sentence: He had the distinctive look of a boy who had been told all his life her was superior, and knew it, I think you meant he where I underlined.

I kind of like the idea that the rivalry and bad blood still exists between the houses. I know a lot of people would like to think that all of that would just go away after the second war. But, why would it? After all, it survived the first war and hundreds or years of history. So, why wouldn’t all of continue on nineteen years later? I like that you have kept it.

In all, this was an enjoyable read. Good luck in the contest!

Just Because of a Stupid Baby by Valentinia

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 16 Reviews
Summary: Scorpius was finding it hard to concentrate on potions, and when he heard someone crying he just had to know what the matter was. What he discovered was more than he bargained for, and less than he imagined.

Originally for the September Challenge.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 10/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hello there, Valentinia! I have just finished reading your story and thought it was very enjoyable! I can only imagine the sort of pressure and stress one would be under after learning that she was pregnant, or gotten someone pregnant (in a guy’s case), while still being in school. “I never meant for that to happen.” Yes, that would be the case, without any doubts.

I liked, in the beginning paragraph, how you started to characterize Scorpius, telling us about how he is disregarding some of his father’s advice and making up his own mind. I know this is only a one-shot, but I would have liked to see some more development of his personality. I think some of shows through the way we witness the story through his eyes. However, it leaves the reader hungry for more. I’m not suggesting you turn this one-shot into a novel. I just think you can add some more characterization in a few more paragraphs, that’s all.

And, to echo something another reviewer asked, what house is Scorpius in?

I think you did the dialogue well. It flowed naturally and, to me, didn’t seem forced anywhere. Overall all, you have done a nice job on this story. Good luck in the challenge.

Author's Response: :D Thanks! Yeah, I think I might try to put some more info on Scorpius into this fic... It\'s more Vicky and Ted\'s story, I guess, though. Hmm... In any case, thanks for the review, the praise (*basks*) and the useful advice!

A Pair by electronicquillster

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 15 Reviews
Summary: Sometimes what you want is in front of your eyes before you realize it. Sometimes you realize it before you're ready for it, and just because you realize it, doesn't mean that everyone around you will realize it, too. Victoire Weasley and Teddy Lupin have their insecurities, but they also have the potential to be something great.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/08/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1


In my opinion, anything less would be cheating this story of its due. Before I get into the details, let me just recommend that if you are a person/potential reader browsing through the reviews, looking for a good investment of your time, stop right here and go read it before I give anything away. Yes, it is on the longer side for a one-shot, checking in right around five-thousand words. You will not regret taking in any of it, however. Trust me, not a single word is wasted.

/promoting a story I really enjoyed

Characterization has always been a big thing for me and it is arguably this story’s greatest strength. Right from the start, Mar, you do a wonderful job showing us Teddy and Victoire. Some authors would just tell us about their personalities. You, however, let the reader see it through the several well constructed scenes.

I think you did a nice job leading us through the entire series of emotions for Victoire. It starts with her realization that Teddy might be someone she wants to get to know better, having her feelings grow, a steep drop down the roller coaster of disappoint when she feels like she let him down, and then an ending that I’m sure any fan of a good romance story would find rewarding. In each phase, I think you do such a nice job capturing the reader’s interest and really bringing that person into your story.

By far, my favourite scene is where she lets Teddy down. I think you can just feel the disappointment Victoire experiences. You’ve done so well writing it that I think most readers will be able to relate to that feeling through similar experiences in their own lives. It’s almost as if she stood there and watched the two Slytherins picking on the younger Gryffindor like a deer caught in headlights, and then WHAM, she gets blasted when Teddy arrives and berates her for not stepping in to help. I think this whole scene makes you story! I loved it.

Your dialogue is also very good. Speaking as someone who is not exactly able to weave my words together as nicely as a well rehearsed poet, I identified with they way Teddy would say something, then be concerned that it was not taken the right way, or that he had said the wrong thing.

“You know, half the Ravenclaws don’t study as much as you seem to,” Teddy said, opening his Transfiguration book.

Victoire didn’t say anything.

“Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that you need the extra studying,” he rushed, a streak of red appearing in his hair. “I’m sorry, Victoire. I just meant–”

I really can’t say anything else, other than this story is going to be added to my favourites. I know, I know … not exactly the QSQs. Still, I want you to know I enjoyed it that much! Great job!

Author's Response: Wow to you, James, for such a flattering review. -hugs and blushes- I\'m so glad that your favourite scene was the let-down. That was something I envisioned and thought quite a long time about before I wrote it. I wanted to show how much they cared about each other. I hate the feeling that I\'ve let someone down, that I\'ve not lived up to their expectations, and it hurts even more when it\'s someone so important to me. And, dude, my favorite part about that scene of dialogue that you quoted is that, while Teddy thinks he\'s just insulted Victoire, she thinks he\'s caught on to why she would be in the library so much more than the Ravenclaws. Bwaha. Dialogue is something I hash out in my head over and over until I feel it\'s something I could overhear other people saying. I\'m glad it feels real. Thank you so much for an amazing review!

The Prince's Unshared Tale: Uncut by lucilla_pauie

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 11 Reviews
Summary: Not all scenes Jo writes make it to the final copy. Here, I reveal a snipped snippet of a Prince’s memory, of a kiss and a scarf and another facet of the firm goodness of a friend not forgotten.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: The Prince and his golden princess

Hello, Jo! I enjoyed reading your story and just wanted to drop by with a review for you to tell you what I liked. I really think you managed to capture some of the dynamics of Severus and Lily’s early relationship very well. Lily just seems to be this wonderful person who is very sweet where Severus is, well, Severus. You can just feel how his tormented home life seeps through into his relationship with other people, even though he really doesn’t mean to take it out on Lily.

I really like some of the description you use in the story. A few of my favourites are He had not aged yet, but his eyes looked familiar to Harry: they were the same brooding eyes the adult Snape wore, Snape hungrily stared back for about a couple of seconds before looking away, and His mother leaned in, engulfed Snape in a golden, warm mink hug and kissed him on the cheek. In the way you describe things, you don’t seem to waste many words while getting the message across. This is opposite of how I do it … I through filibuster-style paragraphs, jam-packed full enough description so that the reader is beaten into submitting to the point. I just think it’s great to see it done the other way so effectively.

I also like how you have Petunia calling to Lily in the background and how it just serves to agitate the whole situation. It adds tension and keeps it from being a flowery scene that it might turn into otherwise.

The idea you had for the gift was nice too, a four leaf clover. I liked how worked in what Snape thought was the significance of its colour along with the green scarf. In all, this was a very good fic. Great job, and much luck in the contest!

Author's Response: Oh, James, thank you so much for this SPEW review! *grins*

I don\'t know, you try writing without sleep, I bet your sentences will come out a little terse, too. Caffeine is to blame. *another grin*

The four-leaf clover, oh thank you so much. I was the first to submit to this challenge, and while your stories came in, I was chanting, \'How lame, how lame, a leaf!\'. But now, I\'m reassured a little. Thank you, hon. And same to you! ~Jo

Ink Stains by bluemoon13

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 11 Reviews
Summary: The joys of the holidays are in the air. As many children wonder what is under their Christmas tree, there is only one thought on Severus' mind. Willshe like it?

Written by bluemoon13 of Hufflepuff for the November One-Shot Challenge.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/15/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Very nice story, bluemoon13! I enjoyed reading it. I bounced into the most recent section and saw your story. At the time, I saw that you hadn’t gotten a review yet and thought a fellow member of Hufflepuff could use a review. I see, however, someone already beat me to the first review punch. Blast!

Hands down, my favourite parts are the end and the memory of the bullies. In the case of the memory, I can totally see that scene going down the way it. It reminded me, at least a little bit, of the scene where she tells James and Sirius to back off of Severus at School. As for the end, I just like the way you have Severus so uncertain about himself. His eyes were fixed on the white ground. He could only nod.

In this sentence, there was no doubt in Severus’ mind that this could be anything less than perfect, because that was the only way to capture her image.. I am wondering if you meant to say … that this couldn’t be anything less than perfect …. I’ve read it through a couple times here and it seems to make more sense that way. Feel free to kick me if I read it wrong, especially after I said I read it a few times.

I also thought you could have added a little more detail in places to add some impact. For example, in the bully scene, what if when she yelled at them, some unintentional magic occurred, giving the bullies good reason to be scared. I mean, I think the scene still works … but what if when she yelled at them her voice was amplified so loud the bullies thought they were standing right in front of a loud speaker at a concert on full blast. Or … what if a small boulder exploded into small pieces when she scolded them. I guess, being a former bully myself (kidding), the scene would be even better if we saw exactly why they were so scared of her.

Great story and good luck in the contest!

Only One Lily by Valentinia

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: Severus has saved for such a long time to buy her something worthy. But it seems he was never meant to give it to her. Then again, perhaps it's better that way. Maybe, in his story, there's meant to be only one Lily.

Originally for the September Challenge.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/21/07 Title: Chapter 1: Only One Lily

I really enjoyed reading this story, particularly the first half. I think you did such a wonderful job in your characterization of young Severus. You’ve got a couple things in there that just seem so like the Snape we know. In particular, I like how he hid the money in the little hole outside and how he was so fascinated by the antique shop that no one else went into. The part that I like the most, however, was the big bag of money. It just shows how calculating and disciplined a person he was, even at that age, to save everything for so long for a specific purpose.

I also really liked how you wrote the interaction between Snape and his father. It really seems to be right on to me and really makes your reader see one reason why Severus might dislike Muggles so much. I’m much older than ten and if I had saved every dime I made for that long to buy something so special, for such a special person to me, I would be very upset as well if something like that happened. Very nice job writing a feeling that I thought was tangible.

I like how you wrote Snape in the last part too, where he gives Lily the bouquet of weeds and is ashamed of them, but unable to run away from her kindness. You do a nice job mixing in the residual anger he feels toward his father for ruining a gift, a day he planned for so long. The only thing I wondered is whether he would be able to go through with it, or would he just shy away because he thinks it so unworthy. Just a thought I had as I read. Still, it didn’t take away from the whole.

This is a very nice story! Good job and good luck in the challenge.

Author's Response: :) You\'ve officially made my day! Thanks for the detailed review! I\'m really glad you enjoyed my characterization of Severus! *smile*

When Darkness Meets Light by Hypatia

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 10 Reviews
Summary: Severus dwells on a Christmas past, bitter over how fate snatched away his only love. However, Christmas is a time for miracles, and Severus discovers some gifts keep on giving.
Originally submitted to the November One-Shot Challenge: Young Love.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: When Darkness Meets Light

Being that I entered the one-shot challenge this month as well, I always like to bounce around the other entries and check out the competition. **cough** I mean, see what others have come up with in response the same prompt. I can say this much about your fic: if I were judging, this story would definitely be one of the finalists! I thought this was a simply marvellous story!

The main thing I loved about it was the way you did the interaction between Petunia, Lily, and Severus, especially Petunia! As I was reading, I just thought to myself ‘wow, she’s got Tuney down perfectly!’ Just the overall nastiness and rudeness she expresses towards Severus, all the while Lily is defending him.

“I think it’s cruel to make an animal fat just so that it will like you,” added Petunia.

That was just one of my favourite parts! It was so mean, and poor Severus isn’t doing anything at all. She’s just all over him about it.

I also really liked the whole thing you did about him having the potion all made and ready to go for her. How he tested it on himself to make sure it was safe and that it had the effect he wanted. He has it all planned and then his mother finds it and wrecks the whole thing, leaving him with nothing to give her. I also liked the replacement gift you came up with. I thought it that it was a great idea: turning his favourite Christmas ornament into a little necklace charm.

The ending, however, was probably the best part. When he gets he gift back and finds out that it was found on her body when she died. That part was what really sewed the whole thing up for me. Lily hadn’t hated him, per se, she hated the darker path he had chosen for his life … one she simply could not follow him down.

Great job … that’s all I can say. I can certainly see this entry winning. Either way, great work and I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your work in the future!

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much for your thoughtful review, and best of luck to you in the challenge as well! :)

The Dark Arches by Insecurity

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: Lily is the southern lass who is unaccustomed to the industrial north. Severus is the fiercely independent and scruffy local. They have one thing in common: they can both do magic! This one, defining factor forges the strangest friendship and leads to mutual affection. Together, they face problems from their parents and the local bullies, in order to discover the power of magic together.

I owe thanks to several, wonderfully helpful people. Firstly, Erika/VV for beta'ing my story. Secondly, to Gary for finding Holbeck and pointing me to several very useful sites for research. Thirdly, to Jan for the dialect advice. Fourthly, to Beth and Alice for their help with dialect and mannerisms. I may have been born in Sheffield, but this project has made me realise just how Midlands I am!

Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/29/07 Title: Chapter 1: One Shot

At first, I was not sure if I liked your dialogue here, and how much attention you had paid to the actual dialect. That didn’t mean I thought less of it, however. It only meant it deviated from the way I thought of the characters previously. As I really got into your story, however, I came to appreciate how much more likely it was for Lily and Severus to speak that way as a product of the environment in which they both lived. It the end, I thought it was just a fascinating aspect of your characterisation. I found myself feeling somewhat jealous of your ability to capture that so well. Being from the US, no matter how hard I try to sever any blatant ‘Americanisms’ from my dialogue, I find that it always manages to sneak in somehow (if not by word choice, by speech pattern). To me, your dialogue in this story was just on a higher level that I could probably never touch. I loved it and admired it very much!

I also enjoyed how you portrayed Severus, and how he has the natural ‘lean’ towards darker magic. Snape has shown this tendency, I think, throughout the HP series. Despite his infatuation with the so called ‘Dark Arts’, he always ends up doing the right thing, the ‘good’ thing eventually. You can see the beginnings of this trait well represented in this story.

The spell you had Severus use on Skinner and his crony. The way you described it was well done. I felt like I could see exactly how that particular spell work. It had a wonderful, creepy, and darker feel to it that kind of goes along with what you said in your notes at the end – how you wanted to show Snape’s knowledge of dark spells. Severus opened up a tiny window in his mind, where he locked up all his anger and bad thoughts for the world he lived in. Then he opened them again, and let all the contempt gush out through his black stare.

In turn, it led to the potion Severus made for Lily that cured her headache. He felt badly about being the one responsible, so made something for her to set her right. Again, I felt like this again shows the way Snape ends up doing the right thing in the end. Again, I liked the way you described the magical affects of the potion. It was almost as if I could feel what would happen had I drank it myself.

I have no idea about the outcome of this month’s challenge. I have read almost all of the entries and can think of three of four stories that one could make a good argument for selection as the winner. This story is definitely one of them. The attention to detail here and particularly the job you did characterising young Severus just made this a fascinating read. Me, going back to what I said initially, would name it no less than a finalist based on the wonderful job you did with the dialogue alone.

Great work and good luck!

Author's Response: Arwwww. Thank you! You know, reading this during a break from a HUGE bout of homework really cheered me up. My aim for this one-shot was to write something \'very Northern\' because I\'ve always entertained the idea of Severus coming from the north of England. I was sort of praying when I submitted it that the Americans would understand! I\'m glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I felt the need to explore Snape\'s \'darker\' nature -- even unintentional things he does that show his leniancy towards the Dark Arts, such as killing the beetle. There\'s a reason this \'owtsider\' was Sorted into Slytherin, after all. As for the competition, it\'s going to be an interesting one! I wish you the best of luck as well! Best Wishes, Laur xx

I Tied my Heart to the Tail of a Kite by Gin_Drinka

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 14 Reviews
Summary: She wanted to go somewhere new; he gave her a world. She wanted someone who would understand; he was her best friend. She wanted to lift her feet off the ground, if only for a while...

He gave her wings. And with them he gave her his heart.

Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/30/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

You know something, I’ve been doing these one-shot challenges regularly for a while now and this has to be one of the strongest fields I have seen yet. Before reading this piece, I already had read at least three stories that I thought I could easily make arguments for as the winner. I’m going to have to add this one to the list. This was just wonderful to read. Picking a winner is going to be so difficult this time around, because no matter who wins, several stories here are certainly deserving.

There is a very poetic feeling to your writing and it drew me in right from the opening few paragraphs. You just paint this wonderful picture of the way Severus sees Lily, and do it so nicely.
His most precious secret he buried under the first folds of his heart and even so it found a way to peek through everything he did: her smile was his sunlight. I thought this was a really incredible line – just the way it sounded to me.

The symbolic use of the kite in this story great too. The way Severus is chasing after it all the time because it is so wonderful, so beautiful to him … but it is just out of reach. The scene where they were sitting there with the kite when it was almost broken in two, I just loved how you made the weather reflect the mood. I liked the way the Lily was just wishing her kite was fixed and that the she could make the rain stain away.

I thought you did a very nice job with the dialogue and interaction between Severus and Lily too. Dialogue is hard enough to make believable as it is, much less with ten-year-olds. I thought you did a very nice job with it.

“Nobody controls the rain, Lily,” he told her laughingly.

“I wish I could. I’d order it to keep well away,” she said wistfully.

“Then the plants would die,” he reminded her practically.

She sighed again, finally standing up. “You’re right. You’re always right. I think we’d better go. Maybe we can find something fun to do inside.”

What can I say? You have done a really nice job on this story and I think, along with about four others, that this story has a shot to win. Yes – it’s that good! Good luck in the challenge!

Author's Response: Wow! What a wonderful, shiny review! Thanks very much, I rarely get reviews like this. I loved using a kite in this. I thought it was so fitting. And I\'m glad you liked their dialogue, I was wondering if it really sounded like ten year olds. I tend to make kids sound older, \'cause all of the little kids I know act like they are older than me...;P Thanks again. And good luck to you too!

Contemplation of the Wolfish Mind by BertieBotsBeans741

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 10 Reviews
Summary: Imagine the pure agony that must be endured in a transformation. Can you capture the fear? How can you possibly put into words the magnitude of anxiety one would feel? Remus Lupin knows it all too well.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 05/08/09 Title: Chapter 1: Torment

There are a myriad of Marauder stories out there, particularly ones featuring Remus Lupin. An avid fan of this genre of Harry Potter Fan Fiction would expect this to equate to paradise – except for the fact that so many of them are poorly written. It’s as though there is a gigantic MWPP cookie-cutting machine that continues to cough out cloned work, leaving readers rolling their eyes at the sight of yet another batch.

A possible theory I have to explain this phenomenon is the concrete knowledge we have about the fates of James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter gleaned from the books. Authors do not have a tremendous amount of room to create events and readers always have an upper hand on suspense. They know how things are going to turn out in the end.

In such a situation, it is my opinion that the success of a story then hinges on areas like characterization, imagery, and uniqueness of style. Though it is very brief, checking in at just over one-thousand words, the outstanding profile of Remus Lupin, the account of his horrible transformations, and the insight on his relationship with his best friends cause this one-shot to shine above others in this category.

Let me begin by examining your characterization of the canon character Remus Lupin. Accuracy here is critical to the success of a fan fiction. Throughout this entire story, you supply several bits of clear evidence that you deeply understand his character. I see a high level of consistency with the J.K. Rowling original, a mark missed by many others. In the next two paragraphs, I would like to look at two examples that make my point clearly.

What perturbed him was that his three best mates seemed to enjoy the idea of being expelled.The striking thing about this passage is how well it captures the conflict between the guarded approach to life of Remus and the reckless, adventure-hungry attitudes of James and Sirius. The Lupin in the books would never promote actions that could lead his friends into a dangerous situation. On the contrary, it would annoy him. He would give much higher preference to any plan that saw them sitting safely in the Gryffindor Common Room. Yet so often he lost out to the will of his friends, leaving him to wonder if what they were doing was right.

Remus wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he inflicted the pain he felt upon someone else. Beginning as soon as he appeared in the books, Lupin repeatedly took actions out selflessness or self-pity. For example, he resigned from Hogwarts when the secret that he was a Werewolf leaked out. He didn’t want to create a difficult situation that would negatively affect the quality of education at the school. He also hesitated at the prospect of becoming romantically involved with Tonks, fearing what could become of it. In both cases, the arguments could be made that he acted in the best interests of others, but that he also did so because he was afraid of the consequences of the alternative.

These are both excellent examples of accurate characterization of a canon character. Another area in which you excelled here was imagery. Your descriptions, though short and to the point, were very effective.

The sun kissed the horizon goodbye as the moon slowly rose, taking its place. A sunset is an ordinary, everyday happening – something most readers experience on a daily basis. There are certainly several clichéd ways to describe a sunset, often involving something about how the sky was on fire or red like blood. The idea of a goodbye kiss was a wonderfully fresh way to put it, catching the imagination of the readers, drawing them in.

The descriptions in this story are not overly verbose, a pitfall that often consumes many writers (I don’t know, like me). There is often a tendency by some to pry open a thesaurus and dump as much flowery language in to a scene as it is believed readers will stomach. That is not the case here. Your description is concise, but effective, leaving readers with a very clearly painted picture.

If I were to give you any notes in the area of constructive criticism, it is with the continuous use of the proper name Remus. There are several of instances where you could have used he or him. To exaggerate the effect greatly, not doing so makes the story sound or read like, ‘Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus.’ To improve this, perhaps avoid using the characters proper name more than once every one or two paragraphs unless there is no way to avoid it. For example, if there are more than one male characters involved in the scene, it is possible that using he or him could result in confusion. Careful wording sequences can eliminate the problem even under those circumstances, however. My thought is that it just gives your story to much unintentional repetition by using the proper name so many times.

In conclusion, this is a wonderful, short fan fiction containing a fantastic look at Remus Lupin and a chilling account of his transformations. I think any fan of this character or the Marauders in general are not likely to be disappointed.

A Christmas Miracle by Sly Severus

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 12 Reviews
Summary: Andromeda spends her first Christmas with Teddy, which is also her first Christmas without her husband and daughter.

This is a Winter Snows entry by Sly Severus of Slytherin for a Reflecting Christmas.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/24/08 Title: Chapter 1: A Christmas Miracle

Happy Holidays, Sly! I just finished reading your entry into the Winter Snows challenge and I enjoyed it very much. It got me thinking about a lot of things, what it’s like to go through the Holidays for the first time after losing loved ones. It just wouldn’t be the same, something you really bring out in Andromeda’s character here.

I really liked how you did Andromeda’s happy memory of her ‘bad’ sisters. I thought it was interesting to see Bellatrix bewitching a tree to sing Christmas carols. It’s not something we would expect. It shows us that maybe, in their innocent youth, Bellatix and Narcissa were not always ‘evil’. It hammers home the point that Christmas was once a happy time for Andromeda, if only briefly.

I also liked your portrayal of Harry and Ginny. I thought it was very interesting to see a look at them, post-war. In particular, I like how Harry brought the Muggle decorations into the home, and Ginny was in the kitchen cooking a wonderful Holiday feast, just like her mother would.

You also did a very nice job with baby Teddy. I especially like how you noted the constant changing of his hair color, which seemed in my opinion like it somewhat reflected his mood. I’m assuming you did that intentionally, anyway. Babies also do seem memorized by Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Something you captured very well here. You also did a great job portraying how Teddy picked up on the mood of the people / surroundings. We have a lot of babies in our family and they definitely pick up on things, even when the adults are trying to conceal the mood.

I would like to make a few additional comments on things I noticed. In paragraph fifteen, in this sentence, It was surprising survived as many Black Family Christmases as she had, I think you probably meant to have the word she between surprising and survived. I hope I am not reading that one wrong.

Second, I had to laugh when I read this sentence: The other was no more her family than the president of the United States. I’m not sure you were trying to make a political dig there, but I sure read it that way. Still, I got a good laugh out of it.

Finally, the only real criticism I have is that at times you seem to belabor the point about how miserable Andromeda is during the story. A perfect example of this would be the four paragraphs. After reading the first three, as a reader, I felt like fairly clear on the subject of Andromeda’s misery. Then, in the next paragraph you wrote: The floor felt like ice, but she didn’t bother to warm it. Her feet might as well be as cold as her heart. I know you did that for effect, but I just wonder if it was overkill.

In places, your story seems to come back to this point over and over again. Instead of telling us how miserable she was, maybe you could have shown it more. You did it at times, like when she didn’t want to get out of bed. I would have liked to see more things like that. Like maybe looking out the window and seeing another cold, dreary day instead of a wonderful winter wonderland like she did as child. Does that make any sense? It’s just an opinion, take from it whatever you like.

Overall, I thought it was a great story. I suspected you were going to bring Narcissa into it in the end, and I really liked how you did it. It wasn’t like she opened the door and they just had one of those great-big-forget-everything-that-has-happened hugs. It was a small step that left a warm feeling in Andromeda’s heart, hope for something better in the future. To me that was just a very real, wonderful ending. Great job on your story, and good luck in the challenge!

Author's Response: Wow. Are you a member of SPEW? If not, you should consider joining. You're review was wonderful.

Thanks so much for everything you said. I appreciate both the comments and critique.

Thanks again, and have a happy holiday.

The Death Eater's Christmas Song by Sly Severus

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 9 Reviews
Summary: The Christmas Song, Voldy style!

An entry for Winter Snows, Extra Credit by Sly Severus of Slytherin.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 11/26/08 Title: Chapter 1: The Death Eater's Christmas Song

Well done, Sly! I’ll have to admit to a couple chuckles while reading this Christmas parody. I think my favorite part was:

They know that Voldy’s on his way.
He’s loaded lots of hexes and curses on his sleigh.

Good luck in the challenge!

Author's Response: Thanks. I love writing these. This year I ended up writing two. I just couldn't stop myself. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed my silliness.

The Golden Gnome by mudbloodproud

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: Christmas without Fred could never be the same. Even after ten years, Arthur Weasley felt the loss of his son as much as he had the first Christmas without him.

Could Fred’s namesake and a garden gnome help Arthur to learn to like Christmas again?

I should say there is a touch of mild violence and abuse to a garden gnome in this story. But it is all for a greater good.

Also, the spelling errors in Roxanne's speech are deliberate. She is only three after all.

I am mudbloodproud of Hufflepuff and this is my entry for the Winter Snows challenge, prompt two, Reflecting Christmas
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 12/02/08 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

As of 12/2, I have read all of the entries in the Winter Snows challenge except one. I have to say, mudbloodproud, this is probably my favorite entry so far. There was an awful lot to like here and not too much to criticize. Let me get to some of the details.

As one of your other reviewers has already touch on, I loved this line: There were ten children whom he never got to meet; ten children who only knew stories of him; ten Christmases without a golden painted gnome on the top of the tree.. If the reader has any background in the HP series, I think it would be very hard for he or she to read that passage and not be moved. Well done.

Another part that I really enjoyed was when Arthur was reflecting about past Christmases with the twins. You talked about the twins getting into everything and Fred and George causing all sorts of havoc when they learned they could do magic. I think what could have made this part even better is the use of detailed images from the past. By just adding a single paragraph, you could talk about how Arthur remembers the twins opening everyone’s gifts one morning to find their own, or causing all the Christmas tree decorations to fly around the room. Does that make any sense? Something fun and crazy that really shows us the havoc they caused, that really shows how Arthur remembers them.

I really like the part where Fred asks his Arthur why they named him after Uncle Fred when thinking about him just makes everyone sad. I think it illustrates very well how a young child can misunderstand complicated emotions sometimes, causing adults to have to go back and try to explain it all to them.

Beyond the addition of concrete images that I mentioned above, I don’t have much else to critique you on without resorting to the highest level of nitpicking. Even then, I don’t think I’d be able to find too much to say. Though I’m no master mechanic when it comes to grammar, I didn’t find any glaring mistakes in that department, so you and your beta have done a great job in that regard as well. I think this is a brilliant piece of writing here and it probably has a excellent chance to score you some points in the challenge! Great job!

Author's Response: Thank you very much for your lovely words. I will pass your kind words on to my beta. Lately, it seems I have been writing quite a bit of Fred. I have an entry into the Home for Christmas prompt, too. I am waiting validation on the first chapter now. The other ones are ready to go. Since you enjoyed this one, I know you will enjoy that one also.

I also would like to thank you for planting a plot bunny in my head. I have a great idea for another Christmas story.

Thank you again for your review.

Happy Christmas, Kingsley by Sly Severus

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 17 Reviews
Summary: Christmas is fast approaching and the Ministry of Magic is planning a ball, much to the annoyance of Kingsley Shacklebolt. But as the ball grows nearer, he begins to realize what he really wants. He also realizes what he has to do to get it.

An entry for Winter Snows – Melting a Winter Heart by Sly Severus of Slytherin.
Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 12/03/08 Title: Chapter 1: Kingsley’s Lament

Wow, Sly, every time I turn around, there’s something in the Most Recent section from you. I had only started looking at the first chapter in this story yesterday. I came back to it today to write a review to find not one, but two more chapters. You can’t make it things easy for a slow reader such as me, can you? I’ll have you know that I intended to hold that against you in my final evaluation… (Kidding).

Overall, I really enjoy the premise for your story. Sometimes guys are funny that way. Tell us to go fight a dragon, and we’ll tell you that it’s no problem and rush right off with our swords drawn. Tell us to talk to a female (especially one we have feelings for), many of us cringe, buckle at the knees, and whine about how she might bite. In your characterization of Kinglsey, I think that you really have done a nice job capturing that. You even have Kingsley himself noting as much.

Harry and Ron do a great job pestering Kingsley about the ball and asking this dream girl of his to it. It’s kind of funny to admit, but I’ve been part of conversations that paralleled the ones in your story. The dialogue is just very believable to me. It seems natural and flows well. I think the dialogue is probably the strong point of your story so far.

I had mixed feelings about the scene in Chapter Two where Kingsley follows Bellatrix, Elysia, and the Lestrange brothers and witnesses them setting that house where the squib lives on fire. Part of me can see where Kingsley would have acted exactly as he did in your story because he liked Elysia. So, it’s not as though I mean to say I found it implausible. No, what I was wondering is if Kingsley would be too righteous and be totally put-off when he saw her go along with what they did. Perhaps Elysia explains herself to him in the future …

And, wow, does Kingsley lay it on thick! He sends her a bouquet of rose every day until he tells them to stop! I’m guessing she is beaten into submission under an avalanche of roses, finally agreeing to go with him to the ball. Either that or she ends up filing a formal complaint against him with the Ministry. I cannot wait to see how that turns out.

Very enjoyable story so far. Keep up the good work. And, by gosh, pace yourself! I can only read so much fan fiction at a once (*smile*).

Author's Response: Whoa. Thanks for the super long review. I really appreciate it.

As for the quick updates, this story has ten chapters and needs to be posted by the tenth, so I can't poke too much. Besides, it's all written and edited, so it's just a matter of posting.

I've actually had a lot of fun showing a weaker side of Kingsley. He always seems so sensible and level-headed. I like playing with a more human side of him.

I had some trouble with his actions the night of the fire. I wanted to offence to be vaguely minor, something that he could overlook. No one was home. The house wasn't damaged. Had someone been hurt the story might've been entirely different. But later on, Kingsley does show a major lack of judgment because of Elysia, but he is only human, after all.

Again, thank you for the review. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story, which probably will be updated again tonight. :p

Full Moon by inspirations

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 5 Reviews
He's just a boy.

A boy doesn't deserve this. A boy doesn't deserve this fate.

Remus Lupin is a werewolf.

Reviewer: Skipper424 Signed
Date: 05/15/09 Title: Chapter 1: Full Moon

I seem to be on something of a Remus Lupin roll lately. Doing so completely unintentionally, this is like the third story on MNFF about the character I have read in a row. I mostly bounce around the various categories and just pick fics at random.

The thing that really gripped me when reading this was not so much Remus’ situation, but the absolute horror it must have been for his parents. The thought of locking a child in a cellar for his own good while he looks at his parents pleading, “Why?” It tears at my insides. I cannot imagine it. Even from the point of view of Remus, you manage to capture that harrowing predicament marvelously.

I also liked the unclear nature of Remus’ recollection of the attack. Many times, you hear accounts of victims who have the misfortune of having something like that happen to them that are foggy at best. It either happens so fast that they hardly realized what happened, which I can completely envision in the case of a werewolf attack, or the experience is so horrible that the victim’s mind blacks out many of the details. Great job on this part of your story as well.

When I came across this sentence, I wondered if it needed to be reworded a little bit: before, you weren’t a little bit hungry, but now the pain has stopped, all you want is food. I have read it several times over now and I still find the wondering a bit unclear. You weren’t a little bit hungry before, but now you’re starving – do we need the word even in there after weren’t. Or, perhaps you could say you weren’t the slightest bit hungry before.... Take a look at that one when you have a moment and see what you think.

A previous reviewer mentioned a canon issue with Fenrir Greyback. I would suggest correcting this by simply taking his name out altogether. In my opinion, the paragraph is every bit as effective only mentioning a werewolf. Truthfully, I don’t think the reader knowing it was Fenrir adds anything. Besides, nine out of ten of your readers will know who it is anyway. Omitting it just seems to be an easy fix for anyone wanting to beat the canon drum.

Good job on this first installment of SPEW 007. I’ll be looking forward to see more from you.

Author's Response: Thanks, James! :) I'm pleased you like it, and I can see how that line can be confusing. When I get a moment, I will change it, and the Fenrir Greyback thing, too. >.> Why didn't I think of that? Lol. But yeah. Thank you! xx