Hello, I am Laura, and I have only recently begun to publish fiction on MNFF. However, I have beta-ed a few projects for some wonderful authors on this site.
Here is a link to the story I have written:
I hope to add many more stories to the mix one of these days. I hope you enjoy what I have to contribute.
Here are some of the projects for which I have served as a beta reader. Check them out; each is all quite good in its own right.
On Broken Wings by Fauna Caritas
My Life in Scarlet by Malfoy_Star92
In the Study of Nature by Andromeda_Tonks
Grounds of Twilight by Kehribar
You've done a really nice job of setting up this story. I am definitely interested in finding out how the following chapters will play out.
You have done a particularly nice job with characterization and adhering the canon characterization at that, and you've done so while still holding my interest.
I hope to see in future chapters that you have diverged from the tried and true details pertaining to each character to further develop each one. For instance, I think it would be far more interesting to see Ginny beef up her hex arsenal with more than just a great Bat-Bogey hex.
I also like that in the beginning of the story you created a really tense scene to get things off with a bang. What struck me, though, as really skillful was that you then turned around and balanced out that tension with some stabs at humor. The line about Arthur Weasley and Hermione and the cotton candy gave me a good snicker! I'm really looking forward to more storytelling after the style you've started out with!
Rose was a Weasley. She never gave Scorpius Malfoy a second glance. They were sworn enemies, even though they’d barely even spoken to each other. But sometimes all it takes for love to blossom is a Potions lesson, a few snide remarks and a dropped book.
Two people. Two entirely different worlds that are suddenly intertwined.
This is a great start...I'm definitely hooked! I think that using 'Pride and Prejudice' as the initial link between Rose and Scorpius is a sign of good things to come.
Author's Response: Thank you!
Great job on this! I never was tempted to read a Founders' era fic before, but it was written by you so I knew it had to be well-done. And I was not disappointed in the least.
First of all, you did an excellent job of creating the Old English mood. Portraying the bleakness of the daily life was right on. You also did a really good job of keeping your language consistent. It was not at all hard to follow or awkward.
This part was particularly interesting:
[QUOTE]“Ach, lass,” he smiled, “in thy wee hands lies more than meets the eye. Ye go now and fetch thy herbs and remedies and I’ll get thy horse.” He winked and patted my shoulder. “I’ve known thy secret many a year, little raven. Go on now; the lad will need thee by and by.” I threw my arms about his shaggy old neck and thanked him, and then ran for my remedies as fast as my feet would carry me.[/QUOTE]
You did a nice job with the dialect without going overboard. It was a nice touch that helps orient a reader to the geography without saying specifically, "Well this is where we are and this is how the people here act."
One of the only errors that caught my eye repeatedly was your use of 'then' instead of 'than.'
However, I thought your version of the Founders' story was believable; I only wish you were planning to develop it into a multi-chaptered story. I think there are a lot of plotlines to explore.
Author's Response: Thank you for the detailed and encouraging review. You made me smile.... This story was actually a Christmas surprise \'drabble\' for SquibKitten. It really should have stayed under 500 words (lol) but once I started I just couldn\'t stop. I had to send it in two PMs! *blushes* But she loved it and betaed it for me and asked me to post it. So there it is. I grew rather find of it while I was writing it, and I have never been able to get rid of the Founder\'s bug since. However, as you know, I have OBW in the works right now, so the Founders had to take the backseat. But yes-- this easily could have been a full scale story given more time & attention. [I really wish they would fix the site so we could make paragraphs in our responses. *sigh*] Thank you again, beta-dear! ~Fauna
That was kind of heart-breaking. I did not read the summary before I read the poem, and I like that, even without reading the summary first, I was able to tell that the poem was about Severus. Good characterization!
Viktor had never known, until she came along. Henceforth, every breath that escaped his lips were for her, and her alone.Could he face her, eye to eye? Even the greatest of wizards crumble to pieces when faced by the overpowering force of love, and he was no exception. The challenge was tougher than catching the Golden Snitch or stealing a Chinese Fireball's egg.
Will he succeed, or crumble into pieces like so many others?Winner of the "I Challenge Thee" contest held in the MNFF Beta Boards in September 2008.
Please, may I have some more? :)
I had never been incredibly interested in stories in which Hermione and Krum were the featured couple. This story is the exception to that rule.
You did a good job writing from Victor's POV; you captured the teenage-boy uncertainty really well. Hermione was well-rendered in character. I only wish there was more to this story! I got completely hooked and drawn in and was totally sad to reach the end so quickly!
This is such a nice start to the story, Ayra. You have stuck to the 'melting heart' theme really nicely.
Some strengths I noticed that you exhibited in this chapter:
1. consistent characterization - So many of them are OCs, but you seem to have planned them out well.
2. good, snappy dialog that goes a long way in supporting your characterization and keeping things interesting between your keys players
One thing that I found a little unsettling as I read this chapter was Edward's use of the word 'doll' when we addressed Renee. It almost seemed too...American. However, I guess if it's a way he tries to form a connection with her then it makes sense he would use it. It was just funny when I was reading because I had a certain picture of Edward in my head as I was reading. As soon as he called her 'doll,' he immediately morphed in Humphrey Bogart in my mind's eye. :)
Can't wait to read on!
This was really well-written. You have a gift for characterization. I had to go back an look at the Black family tree to really orient myself to where Irma's place was in the family history. It seems that you have built her into an entirely believable character based on the little information there is to know about her.
In addition to rendering her character beautifully, you also did an excellent job of imagining the youthful versions of Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa. What I found most interesting about this story was how Irma is such a soft presence in an otherwise cold and mostly-hard family. I like that you supported this sort of character in her by giving her life experiences that would have helped shape her in this way.
I'm glad she was able to establish a sense of self by the end of the story. She had been lost to her grief for so many years, and the ending you provided was a believable one: deep, complex and full of promise for Irma, rather than just conveniently tied of with some 'and she lived out the rest of her days in happiness' cliche.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Narcissa Malfoy wishes for her son to marry, but Draco is not content with her decision. Though, when a young woman enters his life in an unusual way, he finds himself wondering if he feels more than just the need to possess her.
This stories is the prequel to A Christmas to Remember, but can be read alone.
Your skill in writing image-rich description is awe-inspiring. The first full paragraph alone grabbed me with such sensory input that I was immediately pulled into the scene.
I also like the way you use dialogue to characterize. This line is so Draco (and so twenty-something male): ‘I have lived without one for the last twenty years. What has changed that I suddenly cannot live without one anymore?’
I noticed some areas that you could address to strengthen your writing skills.
Some notes about commas:
She knew that I had understood her question perfectly, and that I would question it. (Here, the comma after ‘perfectly ‘ is unnecessary. The ‘and’ is joining a complete sentence with a phrase. You only need the comma if the ‘and’ is joining two complete sentences. )
Surely he had an own opinion on the topic? (Intro words like ‘surely’ ought to be followed by a comma. And I think that substituting ‘his’ for ‘an’ would make the sentence flow just a little bit more smoothly.)
My rumbling stomach steered my thoughts from work to food, and my nose suddenly registered a sweet, yet spicy smell. (In this sentence, the ‘yet spicy’ is an interrupter, so it would be enclosed by commas on both sides: ‘…registered a sweet, yet spicy, smell.’)
The street had nearly vacated, and only a few late shoppers hurried from shop to shop. (Here, ‘vacated’ is being used in the active voice. It should be passive in this sentence because the street can’t actually perform the action ‘to vacate.’ So, the sentence in passive voice would read: ‘The street had nearly been vacated…’)
Their house-elf opened and led me into the drawing room, where the family was gathered. (The use of the word ‘opened’ makes it seem like there is something missing in the sentence. It would flow more smoothly with a substitution like: ‘Their house-elf greeted me and led me…’)
She carried quite some heavy books, (‘Quite’ is a qualifier and should appear closest to the word it is modifying. Here, it is modifying ‘heavy’ to tell the degree of heaviness of the books. Therefore, ‘some’ and ‘quite’ ought to switch places.)
Food for thought:
You use the image of natural forces fighting frequently. For example:
Slowly, the night fought its way into the alley.
Winter had fought its way into the country.
I’m not sure if you’ve done it to reflect Draco’s current conflicted state, but if you have, it’s certainly a masterful way of describing a character without resorting to direct description. I like it. It unites the mood of the piece.
I like the way you use dialogue to characterize. This line is so Draco (and so twenty-something male): ‘I have lived without one for the last twenty years. What has changed that I suddenly cannot live without one anymore?’
Initially, I had been unsure about the shift between Astoria’s and Draco’s points of view. It did work; however, I wonder if the shifts would have seemed more natural if they had occurred more often throughout the piece.
I also liked your use of varied vignettes to demonstrate the growth of their relationship and the changes in Draco. This story is quite well-written, and I enjoyed it a lot!