Reading Reviews From Member: randomwriter
  
259 Reviews Found

Review #1, by randomwriterUgly Eloise: Chapter 1

22nd March 2015:
Hey there Kaitlin! :) I wanted to leave a review for everyone on the Quidditch team as a way of thanks, and that brought me here. I was going to read one of your newer stories, but I've been reading too much angst, and I'm always writing too much angst, and I wanted to read something light and happy and this seemed to fit the brief.

Honestly, I'm really glad I picked this up to read. You've dealt with some very important themes, and I really like how you haven't gone the conventionally serious route here.

I can't say that I've ever read a story about Eloise, or Justin before, let alone together! And I'm a huuge fan of minor characters and rare pairs, so I was really excited by this. It probably would never have struck me, actually. To ship them, but you know what? It works. I like how even though Eloise is shy and under confident, Justin urges her to come out of her shell. He's so gentle and understanding with her. They're certainly a great fit!

While we're on the matter of characterisation, I think that we can treat both Eloise and Justin as OCs since we don't know much about them. I genuinely felt bad for Eloise here. She must have really poor self esteem, but I don't even blame her there. A lot of girls struggle with their looks and it makes them feel so inadequate that they don't even have the strength in them to stand up for themselves. I feel like you dealt with that aspect very well. Another thing I liked about your portrayal of Eloise was that it was very realistically done. She hears of her inadequacy so often that she has come to believe it herself here, and that's something that happens in real life. I felt so sorry for her and they way she just wanted to be invisible.

As for Justin, I really loved him ♥ If you've read 'Keep Calm and Carry On', you'll know that Justin is characterised as a pompous boy, very much like Ernie, actually. And it had sort of become my headcanon. But reading this was such a refreshing change. I liked how sweet he was here, and it was really nice to see him treat Eloise like an actual person. Just an evening of company and respect helped her so much. I hope you write a sequel to this because I want to see Justin being awkward and sweet with her. I think it'd be smile worthy, and I'm not much good with fluff, so you totally should write it :p Anyway, I can see why Justin is a Hufflepuff. And I'm glad he acted the way he did.

Pansy was ugh. I've always hated her with a burning passion, and over here, it was no less. What an absolutely nasty creature. I don't think anymore needs to be said other than that you nailed her characterisation perfectly.

I liked the plot. Usually, stories that deal with serious issues are very descriptive, angsty and serious. But I like that you chose to make it light and positive. It's effective on a different level. I was a bit worried that Justin might be pranking her at one point, but I was so relieved to see that he wasn't.

This is a very well written piece. I didn't see any errors, and it flowed quite nicely. It was an easy read, and I didn't have to stop to figure something our or because something was unclear. So well done on that! :)

As for CC, I don't really have criticism, but I can attempt at giving you a constructive suggestion. I think you could be a little more descriptive and give us more of a build up. Also, adding more dialogue between Eloise and Justin wouldn't hurt. Just some casual and fun conversation to show us that they'd bonded or something, maybe?

That's about it with the suggestions. I applaud you for tackling such an important theme. It's so relevant in our world where beauty is seemingly unattainable and there are people who still strive to reach unrealistic goals bolstered by media portrayals. In that sense, Elise struggle and Pansy's bullying was just a figment, a small part, that stood to symbolise a whole issue. Well done on that!

Great job with this story, Kaitlin, and I'm glad that I got the chance to read it! It was a pleasure playing Quidditch with you ♥

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Review #2, by randomwriterMerlin! Stupid. What?: Brave

22nd March 2015:
Howdy, Kevin! (See what I did there? ;) I'm reviewing stories of the Gryffindor Quidditch team members as a sort of a thank you for being so awesome, so here I am! :)

Okay, so you've had a Neville/Hannah sitting on your page for this long, and I had no idea about it? Whaaat? I was scrolling through your page, and there's so much I still need to read/review, and I know that I will for all the challenges, so I wanted to pick a story that I didn't already owe you a review for, and I saw this, and I was so surprised that I hadn't known.

So, yes. I love, love, love this pairing so much! And I was so excited about reading it. You didn't let me down. I've been reading a lot of angst lately, and that was sort of bringing my mood down. I'm glad I read this after all that, because it changed everything. It really made me smile. This was so heartwarming and happy.

Before I forget to mention this, I have to tell you how much I loved your explanation of the name behind the Three Broomstick. It's such a small detail, but it really adds to the place and its feel and description, and now it's sort of becoming my headcanon for the place, in a way. Also, given that you had written this for the places challenge, details like this one make sense. Speaking of the places challenge, you did a great job of establishing your setting. It didn't seem too overbearing, but in the end, as I was reading your note, it struck me that it was always there. I like that it plays a subtle, but noticeably important role.

Your characterisation of Hannah and Neville was amazing. Now you already know that I'm sort of on the same page with you about Neville, where he has done a bunch of heroic stuff, but is still shy and nervous about things like talking to girls. Also, I've read a lot of stories where the authors immediately catapult Neville into the higher ranks because of the DA and the war, which I think is slightly unrealistic because despite everything, he still needs to be officially trained. It's whats best for everyone. Also, stationing him in Hogsmeade was clever, as both a plot and characterisation device. It shows that no matter what you've done, you could end up with something mundane for a bit. However, I didn't think Neville would complain too strongly about it. All in all, you did a great job of his characterisation. If you wanted to add something, maybe I'd talk a bit about his love for plants or sneak in a tiny bit of Herbology somewhere (apart from the university), you know :p Another really nice touch was adding the bits about Ginny's advice. It made so much sense, and it was really funny to see Neville concentrating on trying to remember what she'd told him to do. It really strengthened the characterisation. As for Hannah, she's sort of an OC because we know very little about her. And I really like what you've done with her. She seems like a perfect match for Neville because she's a bit more forward about it and seems a little more strong-willed, but at the same time, she isn't too over-bearing in any way.

I liked how you developed their relationship. It's cute to see that he had a crush on her back in school. Since we really didn't see this coming from the series, I really thought that was a nice tie up. It links very well with everything, and is very realistic too, because 1) There's not much of a chance that Neville would have acted on it because he's the nervous type. 2) And more important, there was a war going on. But it's nice to see them rekindle whatever they had over here, and the progression of the nature of their relationship was also nicely handled. This wasn't a long one-shot, but their relationship matured steadily and the pace was just right.

And Romilda Vane! Hahaha! :D she's a complete idiot, but her presence made me laugh a bit, here, and in the books. I suppose it's sort of why she was added, and until someone on the forums takes her up and writes an in depth study on her (because you know, that sort of thing tends to happen), that's how I'll picture her.

Before I forget to mention this, I should also tell you that I love the title of this story. It's a little whimsical, and fun, if that makes sense. And it suited the story with the dialogue and everything.

That last bit (Oh! There he is again!)- Adorable.

I'm glad I read this. It made me smile so much, andflipped my mood 180. Thank you, Kevin ♥ Great job!

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Review #3, by randomwriterThe Wind Beneath Your Wings: The Wind Beneath Your Wings

21st March 2015:
Oh my. Hello Molly! As a bit of a thank you for being such a great Quidditch team, I'm going around reviewing stories written by our team members, and I am beyond glad that I chose to read this. I absolutely loved it!

I think it's interesting that you chose this as your prompt for Diversity. As someone who has read quite a bit about mental disorders (also, I've worked with kids with special needs before), this was of great interest to me. I don't think enough people have the courage to write about this sort of stuff, and you did, so you should definitely give yourself a pat on the back for that.

I like how this is a short and simple story. Nothing flowery or unnecessary about it. It's to the point, and its beauty is its simplicity. I don't know what exactly it is, but something about that, and your writing style made this feel so pure.

I like the voice of this piece so much. I love how it's almost like George is telling Roxanne, but without using second person perspective or pronouns. It's lovely!

As for the characterisation, I think this is a side of George I've never seen or read about before. But I can see it happening, especially because of the Down Syndrome. I can see him getting over-protective and sensitive. I also feel that after Fred's death, he might have become a little less abrasive. Also, I can imagine how this sort of thing might scare him, or how he may sometimes feel as if he isn't equipped to deal with them. But I wish I could somehow reach out to him and tell him that he's doing great at this whole fatherhood thing.

I like how different Angelina and George are in their approaches to this. Clearly, Roxanne's daddy's little girl. But Angelina is so rational and calm, and I'm sure that she shares the same concerns as George but is dealing with them in a different way. I like that they balance each other out. She's good for him and it's nice to see that :) I love that she wanted to give Roxanne a normal childhood and a shot at having the life everybody else gets.

My favourite character, even though she doesn't speak much in this, is Roxanne. I love the exchange about the food trolley and the sandwiches, and how George already knows that she won't eat her sandwich, but makes her promise anyway. I especially like how childlike she is, and how you give the reader all this information in the beginning, and when she finally comes up to George, as readers, we really don't know what to expect, but then this happens, and it's no different from any other child. I think that it was a great, and subtle way of showing how she's no different. It was so beautiful! I love how you described her as well. The part about her likes and dislikes, and I found myself really hoping that she gets to play Quidditch! I also think that speaking about how her magical abilities are no different than others' was a nice touch. I've wondered what sort of effect the magical blood makes in this case. Maybe there are some potions for her to take? I don't know how this works out, but I think it's a very interesting subject.

As for CC, there were some typos (langue for language, for example) and some punctuation errors (shes for she's, for example), but it's nothing a quick read through can't fix.

Before I close this, I also want to emphasise on how everything, from your flow to the language and phrasing that you've used was simple and beautiful in that right. This story triumphed through the subtleties.

That last part certainly got me teary. I love the metaphor there, and the imagery that came with it too. I really hope she manages to break out of her shell and fly! &hearts:

I read this somewhere today, and I think that it was great and very fitting for this.
"The difference between you and him is the extra chromosome.The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little something 'extra'. Extra is good. Embrace it."
This embodied that quote in spirit. Molly, I'd love to see you write a sequel. Or make it a short story collection with different scenes from her life. I know that it may not be possible, but I'm just throwing it out there. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece, and for being a stellar seeker! ♥

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Review #4, by randomwriterHogmanay: Hogmanay

21st March 2015:
Hey there Kenny! :) I'm doing this thing where I leave a review for everyone on our Quidditch team as a sort of a thank you for being such lovely team mates, and I'm here to do one for you :) I chose this particular one-shot as I've heard about Hogmanay and I've always wondered how it is, and how different it is and the likes. It's not something I'm familiar with, so I thought, hey, why not? And so, I'm here.

From your story, I can tell that Hogmanay is a beautiful celebration. It feels so warm and welcoming. I want to go to Scotland for it now. And I also want to go there in general :p But that's another matter altogether. Anyway, I love how you described it. It seems like a lovely thing to witness.

As for your characterisation, I think it was quite interesting to see how they are after the war. I quite liked your take on the trio, though I wish you had put in a few more details. It would have been nice to read about :)

I can some constructive crit, if you don't mind. I don't mean to be harsh. These are just some pointers to help your writing.

Firstly, there were a lot of places where I felt that you were slightly unclear. This mostly happened due to the phrasing. Keeping aside a couple of places, I feel like your choice of words were really good, but the way you'd ordered things and put them forward made things rather confusing. Forgive me if I'm wrong in venturing this guess, but I may say that English may not be your first language? (I'm so sorry if I'm wrong) If I'm not wrong, though, I understand how this can be difficult, and your effort is great! Well done, if that is so. In order to help you out, I suggest you look for a beta. Betas are great. They can edit your work, give you opinion, suggestions... whatever! So, I really suggest that you should look for one :)

Another thing that obstructed the flow a bit was how you were jumping tenses a lot. I think separating your flashbacks with italics or a line break or something could make things clearer for the reader.

Also, this is a bit of an issue I had with the characterisation. Harry attempting legilimency on Ginny seemed highly OOC. Firstly, he isn't a legilimens and it's a hard art to master, and we've seen that it's the sort of thing he struggles with. Secondly, I don't think he'd ever violate Ginny's privacy like that.

Apart from these pointers, I have some suggestions for you. I did find it a bit odd that they were going to the McCormack's as they don't seem to have a very obvious connection in the books. Maybe some back story about how they became close? Along with that, some more descriptions (which I think is your strength), and some small details could really add to this story!

I hope this review helps. Great effort, Kenny! And thanks for being such a dedicated team mate :)

Author's Response: How generous you are, Adi. :)

I understand it's hard to keep reading through this story, 'cause, it's a sequeal to my first and second FF. If you didn't read preceding stories, there're lots of spots where you can't understand. I have lots of thoughts in my mind related to Celtic folklore, but my English skill can't catch up with it.

It took much time to enter forums so I've just known recently there're beta readers. However I've tried posting my request, I think the demand of authors far exceeds the supply of beta readers. Most of them seemes to be exhausted by much beta reading.

Sorry for rant. I think it's better to think this way: in my country, it's said craftsmen steal the skill themselves, they're not taught. So to read good stories by other authors will be a key to solve this situation.

Anyway it was a wonderful surprise to get a constructive, profound review from my team mate! :) Kenny


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Review #5, by randomwriterKeeping Vigil: Keeping Vigil

21st March 2015:
Hey Kayla! James/Lily is one of my OTPs (lets disregard the fact that the O there stands for one), and I was so happy to see it on your page. After reading it though, I feel quite far from happy. You've written some great angst here.

I'm on a personal quest to leave reviews for every member of our Quidditch team for doing such a great job, so that brought me here. And I am glad it did. This is an excellent one-shot.

I have too many good things to say about this, but I'm feeling quite lost, emotionally because of the content.

I'll start with the idea, which I believe is quite unique. I've read a few afterlife stories, and this one portrayed the whole concept differently. I think your idea of heaven is quite interesting. To be honest, when I first read about their dwellings being so similar and self-refilling cabinets and the likes, I thought, Oh, it's cute, but very unrealistic.', but then I read on, and I saw what they were going through emotionally, and I realised that it wasn't so Utopic, and not everything was actually going their way. In fact, it seemed like hell. Then I thought of how painful it must be to stay in a place like that and feel so empty, especially because you could see what was happening down on Earth. I feel like I'm going off on a tangent, and that I should stop rambling now. So I will :p

About the emotions, you portrayed them so well. The pain and the love that both pushed them to cope in different ways. I think you wrote this part really well. People always grieve in different ways, and it would be a bit much to hope for them to hold each other from the start and be on the same page, emotionally, from the start. They both needed their time, and you captured that so well. The love was so clear too. The fact that all their energies, even in that state, were focused on him showed us just how much they care.

As for characterisation, I think you were spot on. I've always seen authors write James' and Lily's post-marriage conversations as if all is right with the world and they're so in love and so happy and blah blah blah. While I don't necessarily have a problem with that, I think that they would have their off days and their fights, and times when they don't agree with each other. It's only realistic. And I always feel as if they'f sort their problems out well too. And that's exactly what happened here. I really think you wrote their relationship well. Moving on to them individually, I like how Lily questions James. I think a mother's reaction is very different from that of a father's in these things. Lily is just upset about losing Harry, while James is thinking about how to fix it. Even the smallest mention of Sirius in these kinds of things just gets to me. I love his character, and thinking of how things played out for him is so upsetting. I sort of wrote about his passing once, and I was so sad. Here too, I was just wishing that there was some way in which all of it didn't have to go that way. I hate Peter. My blood actually boils. I won't say more there.

If I were to suggest some CC, I found it odd how there was no mention at all of Remus, and I thought that it was strange because James might have assumed that it'd be Remus if not Sirius. Of course, with him being a werewolf, maybe he can't raise Harry, but some sort of a mention would work, maybe? Also, some description wouldn't hurt. But I live for description, so maybe that's just me :p

Anyway, great job Kayla! ♥ and thanks for being an awesome tram mate!

Author's Response: Omg! Thank you so much for this amazing review, Adi! Reviews for the whole Quidditch team - what a lovely idea!

I'm very glad that you enjoyed this, and liked my characterization of James and Lily - I've never written about them before, so I was a bit nervous about pulling it off! And I totally agree with you about Sirius, and Pettigrew too.

You're right, it is a bit odd that there's no mention of Remus. I'll take a look back over this and see if I can find a place to work him in, because he was obviously a huge part of James' life too.

Again, thank you so much for reading!

-Kayla


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Review #6, by randomwriterHow I Met Your Father: Prologue

21st March 2015:
Hey there Lizzie :) Who doesn't like free reviews, amiright? Well, I'm leaving a review for everyone from the Quidditch team and a bit of a thank you, and I'm here for yours! :)

So, I'm a huuge fan of How I Met Your Mother, and I love, love , love Rose/Scorpius. I write them and read about them obsessively, so it's no surprise that I was drawn to your story.

Now, this chapter was a bit short, and I understand that it was only the prologue, and was meant to be just a sneak-peek, so it makes sense that you didn't overload us with information. That being said, a little bit of description and detail wouldn't hurt ;) Nothing to give away more plot, of course!

I know we're barely into the story, but I'm already looking forward to your take on their relationship. As I mentioned, I absolutely LOVE this pairing, and they seemed so sweet together here, but I'm sure it wasn't always that way, so I'd like to see how they started out and all that ;)

I did see some errors in punctuation and phrasing. In some sentences, I felt that you could have conveyed the same thing better with a different word, but of course, that's my nit-picky side going at it.

I'd like to say that in spite of that, I really thought that this was cute and it certainly caught my eye. It flows really nicely, and it makes the readers want to read on, which is always a good thing. Great job, Lizzie! ♥ And thank you for being a stellar team mate!

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Review #7, by randomwriterlay me down: i. can I lay by your side?

21st March 2015:
OH GOD, Jess. NO. No no no. . I really don't know where to start. Usually, I can ramble. I'm pretty good at it. But you've taken the words right out my me with this one.

When you mentioned that you were writing something so heartbreaking on the forums, I knew I had to read it. I was waiting for it in fact. And I had my own resolution to add to that, which is to leave a review for every member of our Quidditch team for doing such an amazing job! So well, this is my thank you! It's been a great team to work with!

Now I know that the word is just your inspiration, but can just I say that it's beautiful. I've always thought so. And even though you didn't use it directly in your story, you carried its essence through beautifully. This one-shot was so heavy with sorrow and longing. I really felt for Dean.

I love, love, loove your characterisation of Luna and Seamus, and the lovely sort of co-dependent friendship they have. It seems as though they really needed each other to move on from his death. Also, the dialogue, and just how you've written them, the ease of how they operate with each other, their emotions and conversations, I think you did a great job of it all. It made me happy that though they lost so much (because one person can be everything to some people), they still had each other to fall back on. I always picture Dean and Luna being close. I feel as if they would share a close bond, having gone through so much together during the war. So it's nice to see that the nature of their relationship was reflected in this own as well. I'm sure Luna would have gotten closer to Seamus through Dean.

I'm honestly at loss for words. The emotional maturity you displayed here was excellent. I feel like you have a good handle on human emotion. As a psych minor, wow. I loved it. It made me so sad, but I loved it so much. You really made me, as a reader, get stuck in and understand the death of his grief. and to be able to do that in just about 1500 words is commendable.

I'm going to go in order of sections to tell you some things that were going through my head as I was reading this, but before I forget, I must mention that I loved the names of the sections. They were really apt.

The first section: Wow. You get right in there. You don't waste a moment in telling us how broken and distraught Seamus is, and I could already feel the pain.I like how you italicised those couples of lines. It really gives a more intimate feeling, like Seamus is actually talking to Dean. That last part with the funeral was too sad. It was like getting closure, like Seamus having to say that Dean was gone with a sense of finality.And that last sentence of the section was like a punch in the gut. Truly heartbreaking.

The second section: This must have been the hardest section for you to write. The first section was slightly disorienting as we got thrown into that whirlwind of pain without any warning, and this gave more context into the how and the why. I wish it hadn't been that way though. It's certainly must have been harder, with it being so sudden. And you know what makes it worse? I bet they were prepared for this during the war. But after it got over, I'm sure they were so relieved that they had both survived it. I'm sure they were thankful. And I'm sure the edgy anxiety and the possibility of losing the other would have subsided greatly. After that the loss, especially at the hands of death eaters, would have been the hardest blow? Because they already rejoiced about coming out of it alive, if you know what I'm getting at. Also, I like that Seamus is flying, and I love how you've written him here. The numbness, the detached attitude. I think it's a good distraction, but in the end the pain is ever present.

The last section was something else. I spoke about finality and closure in the first part, right? This section was actual acceptance. I love that Luna was with him, and everything was just sort of falling in place. The visual imagery here is simply lovely. So picturesque! And I like how Luna reassures him and comforts him through this as well. She's a constant, isn't she? I loved the last two lines the most! It's nice to see that he's finally ready, but it's also the hardest thing to do. And those lines were gorgeous in this context.

Back on the more general front, I love the flow of this piece. It was very floaty and relaxed, but very, very painful to ready. I hope that makes sense.It was an easy read because the writing was great, but it was difficult on emotional terms. I also loved, in particular, that repeptition (tears heal). It was so very Luna, and I believe it's very true. Your descriptions too were lovely. I think it was instrumental in this piece.

If there's any CC, its that you've mixed up your who/whom in a few places, and that I feel that the second section could have been clearer and a little more explanation might have been nice.

I hope this wasn't too all over the place and weird. I'm still collecting my emotions. Great work, Jess. I loved it! ♥

PS- I hope I'm first. I've been typing for a while.

Author's Response: WHERE TO BEGIN WITH THIS REVIEW?! you went to town on it my word. I /love/ it! ♥

aw, what a kind sentiment! I feel like I will definitely return this favour (I was also thinking of making us graphics for our profiles. I'll probably do that later.). you've been great to work with too! go gryffies!!

I'm glad you liked the use of the word. when I first got given it I was immediately inspired and knew that I wanted to grasp the emotion of it rather than to just use the physical word. I feel as if it's most poignant in the first section than the later ones but, after all, it was a funeral.

so I started writing this seamus/luna friendship and then it hit me I was like 'hang on, are these guys even friends? do they ever talk' and I thought maybe they met through the da or something. THEN I remember dean and the close bond he developed with luna during deathly hallows and I knew that was the way into their friendship. also I feel like the da definitely banded together a lot more in deathly hallows so they probably did actually talk sometimes but yea for sure dean was the catalyst in their beautiful friendship.

HEY HEY this makes me happy because sometimes I feel like in real life I'm not a very emotional person (at least, in terms of grief and loss and those experiences) and I just deal with things on my own in a probably not very healthy way but whatever, that's not the topic of this :p I AM EMOTIONALLY MATURE CHECK ME OUT hah but seriously thank you this is a great compliment and testiment to how far I've come on this site in the past year and a bit.

I'm going to skip over replying to each section individually because I feel like I'm writing an essay of my own here, but with general depth I'm pleased I made you feel all thE FEELS. the second section was definitely the hardest to write yes because I had to find some sort of balance in emotion that I wanted - not the rawness of the first part nor the drowsy relief of the third. as you said though this could really do with some editing so I actually explain what went on a little better. (blame 1am me who barely looked over the word doc before putting it in the queue.)

thank you so much for such a heartfelt, honest review! and thank you for taking the time and the effort to go so in depth even though it wasn't necessary or in any way expected.

♥ ♥ ♥

- jess, xo

p.s. nope, third ;) sorry!


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Review #8, by randomwriterFalling Out: Not About Love

14th March 2015:
Hey Roisin! I stumbled on this accidentally, and I really wanted to read it because I'm a major Scorpius/Rose shipper, and this pairing made me quite curious as it is, I suppose, quite rare. Also, I've heard so much about your writing, and I really wanted to check some of it out for myself. I've read a bit before, but nowhere near enough.

Firstly, I want to tell you that I really enjoy your writing style. It's both compact and fluid at the same time. It flows really nicely, but it is very to the point. I often find that when that happens, the author compromises on description, which wasn't the case with your writing.

I think the song worked really well with the story. I loved how you structured it. It was poetic, to look at, and left me feeling like there was more to come, as if all the lyrics were missing ellipses at the end. Quite interesting, that. It made me want to read more and more and more. I could complain, saying that this was lovely, and I wish it was longer, but I feel as if you've conveyed everything so well, despite how few words you've used, so maybe it's best that this is short. It's like a short burst of, heavy on impact. Anyway, all this is besides the point. What I was going to tell you is that I love the way you've used the song lyrics. It worked in tandem with the story, and each section was almost like a snapshot into what was going to happen next.To add to this, I haven't heard the song. But the words really fit the story, so good job on that!

Your descriptions are lovely. I wish I could write like that. You managed to leave me with a vivid mental image, especially the first bit. I could just see this whole scene playing out in front of my eyes- Draco, withering in front of Rose, who just wants to live. Their relationship was doomed.

I really loved the characterisation here. The contrast between Rose and Draco, two total opposites was really interesting. I like how Rose lives for the thrill, and doesn't really want to be tied down, while Draco is more muted in his views and desires. Without being explicit, you manage to convey to the reader how different they are, and how far apart they are in age and lifestyle. We also understand why it was more exciting for Rose when they were sneaking around than when they went official. It's funny though that Draco, of all people, would want to make his relationship with Rose Weasley public. I suppose life has pushed him about and changed him quite a bit in the years that have passed between the war an this scene here. I've written Draco before, but never like this in his middle aged years- broken and hollow. It's an interesting take on his future.

As for how you've written them here, it's clear that you have a firm handle on how to write relationships. It was so realistic, and I didn't find a single moment out of place, you know? It fits. I especially loved the part where you brought out how Draco twists Rose's own words and uses them against her. It's actually a fairly common reasons for unnecessary fights. The way you wrote them, we got to see two sides of Rose and their relationship as well.

I know I said earlier that this was too short, but that was only because I enjoyed your writing. In terms of this piece, I'd say that ti was just right. I struggle with brevity, and this really left me feeling jealous. Also, you somehow always have the perfect words and phrases. Nothing seemed out of place.

Anyway, great job on this one shot, and I hope to read more of your writing soon! ♥

Author's Response: Ah, hello! Thank you so much for this amazing surprise review :D

I read a story a while back featuring this pairing (I can't remember who it was by, but it was for the rarepair challenge and it's really good). I thought it was such an interesting idea and wanted to try my hand at it. And since this was for the SongFic challenge, I thought it suited "Not About Love" really well. The entire story is based on the the song, and everything that happens is very much an expansion on the lyrics. Originally, the lyrics were subtly nested or adapted into the text itself, but I realized that broke the TOS rules for songfics, so I changed it to be compliant. I'd kind of intended them to read almost as Rose's inner monologue.

I am so insanely flattered by what you said about "compact yet fluid" and that you thought there was enough description! I realized it was a big story to capture within such a finite moment, so I'm really glad it left you wanting more but still feeling like it was complete.

The idea of a "broken and hollow" middle aged Draco is SO interesting to me! Middle-aged Draco might be my new favorite thing to write. I'm also super interested in Snape as a character, but for both of them, it's their kind of messy ambiguity that I love. I do understand the kind of fan attraction to Draco, but at the same time, I have a hard time thinking he has a Heart Of Gold Underneath It All. Or at least, I think he's most interesting when he's flawed ;)

Ooh yes, the twisting words thing was something I picked up in the lyrics, and thought was super apt ("too take information / given at close range / for the... ammunition round"). Or at least, that's how I interpreted the lyrics. I'm super glad it seemed realistic to you! And yeah, it was kind of an economical choice too--this is such a short piece, that I wanted it to work also as a device for expanding on both their characters and showing some of their sources of conflict.

Thank you again so so so so so much! This review has left me grinning like an absolute fool!
xoxo
Roisin


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Review #9, by randomwriterBruises : Bruises

11th March 2015:
Hey Meg! I'm here for our swap. Thank you for the wonderful review you left me last night. I'm sorry for not being able to get to this sooner though. I fell asleep!

Now, onto the review. I think I mentioned this when I read another Sirius/OC story by you before, but I'll say it anyway. I LOVE Sirius Black. He's one of my favourites, which is probably why I don't tend to write him. I'm worried that I'll never get him right. It's clearly something you've mastered though as evidenced by how well you write him.

The first thing that really stood out to me was the tone of this story. There was this ominous ring to it, from start to finish. Even before you mentioned that it was Halloween, and Harry was one, I just knew that something bad was going to happen, and it was going to be big. When you mentioned the date, things became clearer, and I was just waiting for it, and dreading it at the same time. The way you write this, it gets readers into the right head space for this sort of thing, almost as if your tone is a warning. I think it was skillfully done, Meg. Being able to convey the emotion and feel of an entire story by just that one identifier is a great feat.

When I realised what was going to happen in the story, all I really wanted to do was somehow put my hands through the computer screen and shake Emmeline's or Sirius' shoulders and warn them. I wanted to scream, and somehow get them to hear me out. I know it sounds rather silly, but I was so affected by the thought at the moment, really. It's awful to read about all these details, because it makes the whole incident that much harder to swallow.

It was heartbreaking to see how normal everything was. Well, atleast as normal as things could be in such circumstances. And all of them were just laughing and talking, and suddenly, everything was disrupted and lost. It's honestly difficult to stomach this, even though I've known their story for years.

Your writing certainly holds a great degree of power. You've picked the right words and phrases to convey the difficulty of the situation, her sorrow, her love of Sirius and all their friends, her fear, her shock, everything. I honestly love how you've written this.The descriptions were amazing, and the whole gloomy, ominous tone of the story was well executed with all the dark descriptions.

As for characterisation, I think you did a great job of both the main characters, Sirius and Emmeline. I really like how Sirius is caring and gentle, but at the same time quite firm and stubborn. I think it fits him quite well. As for Emmeline, I just felt so sad for her. It was hard to read about all the hurt and pain because it came through so clearly in this story. As for the secondary characters, I know that we don't see too much of them, but the snippets you showed us gave us a clear idea about your control on them. I liked that you wrote the dynamic between all of them so well. The marauders levitating Harry, or Sirius spoiling his godson, and James and Sirius' relationship... all these things were so well written, and believable. And they really did put a smile on my face. I also like that you included Peter (especially given that his participation was so instrumental in this). I don't like him, but his inclusion is important. Speaking of Peter, Sirius' level of care for him was so ...ugh. I felt so bad, but it was realistic and it rand through with Sirius' characterisation. Also, I like that you focused less on their relation and more on the effects and war. While I would never mind a Sirius/OC, this piece did not call for romance, so I'm glad you didn't succumb to it.

If I were to give any CC, it wouldn't be much. Just that you got your who/whom confused in a few places. It isn't a difficult thing to fix. There are some tutorials on the forums which state the difference clearly. Or you could PM me if you need some help. Another thing is that Emmeline calls Moony Lupin. Wouldn't she be on first name terms, given that the group seems to share a pretty close bond? Finally, and do note that this is juts a personal opinion sort of thing. I don't know how Dumbledore would have reacted. I do believe that the Potters' death would have affected him deeply, but for some reason, he just doesn't strike me as the kind who would sob. As I said, this is just my personal opinion. You could disagree. :p
Well, that's about all the CC I have.

The ending nearly killed me, because Sirius :'( SO upsetting. Again, I wanted to somehow tell Emmeline the truth. But her reaction was believable. It's natural for her to go into immediate denial. I'd just suggest elaborating and including more conversation in that scene to make things clearer, and to give way to understand her emotions and reactions more clearly.

The last line, this:
I dont want to say I have emotional scars, because scars never disappear. Scars stay with you forever and I tend to think that Im stronger than that. What Ive had were emotional bruises. Bruises do fade after a while, but while theyre there, they hurt like hell.
Such absolute perfection! ♥ I really loved it.

Great job on this story, Meg. And thanks for the swap. I'm glad I got to read this one, even though it completely broke me!

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Review #10, by randomwriternotes on freefalling.: sunbeams

10th March 2015:
Hello Maia! Forgive me for taking so long with this. Also, thank you for the absolutely amazing review you left me! ^_^ That makes this delay so much worse!

It's funny how you read the Draco/Astoria and I basically picked its anti. It was always going to be this one though. I'm Indian, so seeing Parvati in fic makes me happy. Call is vested interest, maybe. :p

Anyhoo, I ship Draco/Astoria, and Parvati/Seamus on a subconscious level. BUT this fic made me forget all about that! I love how you wrote Parvati and Astoria together. Their relationship was so effortless and natural, and love should be that way. I like how they make each other laugh and lot and how they just seem to fit. It seems like Parvati understands Astoria in ways that Draco hasn't even tried, and that Astoria really needs the levity that Parvati sort of stands for over here. They really are so perfect for each other, and I'm so glad that things worked in their favour. I was rooting for them throughout, and I was worried in between that you'd break my poor heart.

I really enjoyed your characterisation of Parvati in this piece. You know that really long sentence about her and how she just is? Yes, that. It fits so well with JKR's sneak peaks into Parvati, and with my headcanon. I like that she's free and alive. Astoria really needs that. She sounds like she'd be a lot of fun to hang out with, and if Draco is as dull as you make him out to be here, she really needs the kind of freedom to pull her out of the surely approaching depression. In a way, Parvati saved her, you know? As for Astoria's characterisation, I will admit that it isn't my headcanon, but you've won me over here. I don't think any other version of her would fit quite as nicely, if I'm being honest. And her absolute devotion to Scorpius, and the very virtue of motherhood is really sweet to read about. It is literally the glue that holds her life together when Parvati isn't around to liberate her. I felt bad for her though. For a major part of the story, she was the one who was settling for the sake of other people, and I feel that it's unfair for people to live that way, which is why I was overjoyed that you ended this on a positive note.

Another thing I really liked was the tone of this piece. As I've mentioned, I like how it ended on an upbeat note, with things looking up for Astoria and Scorpius. It's nice to see them moving on with life, and I read and write so much angst anyway, that I think I really needed to read something feel-good, if you know what I mean. The flow of this really added to the effectiveness of the tone. It was really... floaty and dreamy in a way? It made their whole relationship so wonderful to read about though. It flows well, this story. I didn't have to stop to make sense of anything, really. It just went about rather naturally.

Your plot was really well thought out. I love how you include snippets from their school days. It sets their relationship up rather nicely, and I really like how there's already a foundation in place before they meet again in Diagon Alley. It's also nice to be able to track their relationship through these defining moments.

Your writing? I've mentioned this loads of times, and I really don't think I can do justice to your talents in words, really. Your work is beautiful, and somehow you always know to articulate, what to say to convey and deliver your story so well. You always pick the perfect words and phrases, and your writing is so beautifully descriptive. I love it! Your ability to take minor characters and weave such lovely stories about their lives and personalities makes me jealous, and leaves me in awe. Each time you write something, be in about Pince, Pomfrey or Astoria and Parvati, I always feel as though there cannot be any other way but for the one you've written. Clearly, your ability is beyond words.

Speaking of knowing just what to say, that bit about the windowsill garden and yellow walls was just perfect! I love how you tied the two bits together. It shows her journey and how far she's come, even if it is mainly in emotional terms. It shows how she manages to bridge the gap between her dreams and reality. It may be a small wish, but it is a desire none-the-less. And it's nice to see how it fell in place for her.

Another great story by you, Maia ♥ Thanks for swapping with me, and sorry about how long it has taken me to return the favour!

Author's Response: hi love! wow, this is such an incredible review - no worries at all about the wait, i often take longer myself tbh, and this is by far lovely enough to make up for it! ♥

honestly i've never thought about shipping Astoria with anyone but Draco before this, but i asked people for random pairing suggestions on the forums and this is what was suggested! i mostly headcanon things from a teenage-scorpius era so the only context i had considered Astoria in before this was as Scorpius's mother, Draco's wife, and even thought she's both those things here it was incredibly strange to try and feel her out as a character in her own right, if that makes sense. i don't think the astoria i've written here is really my headcanon for her, but it was certainly fun to explore this version! i'm really glad you liked it and that it not being your regular ship for these two didn't get in the way!

i had so much fun characterising Parvati here, especially through the lens of Astoria who is so besotted with her, and i'm really glad you think it fits with JKs version of her! my favourite thing to do (in case you haven't noticed lolol) is to take minor characters and delve deeper into their personalities, why they are the way they are, etc. in a way we know less about Parvati than we do about many of the other minor characters i've written about so I tried to keep as in-line with what little we know as i could. but i was certain there was more to her than in canon, which is what i really tried to explore here

oh wow you are WAY too kind about my writing ♥ ♥ ♥ honestly i've just had no other hobbies but writing for nearing ten years which is the only reason i think i've managed to develop any semblance of a writing style, but i still get massively nervous about people reading my stuff and compliments like this always make my week ♥ thank you so much

i am so glad you enjoyed this! thanks for the totally awesome swap, you're the best ♥

~Maia


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Review #11, by randomwriterL'optimisme: Silence

7th March 2015:
Laura! I'm so sorry about the delay, and that too, after the wonderful review you left me! I had this half typed out the other day, when chrome just crashed on my laptop, and I was sort of demotivated. I did not forget, though. And I'll make it up to you.

As for this, oh gosh. Where do I start? This has been on my list for a long, long time, but I regret not having read this sooner. You deserve all the praise you've gotten for this. It's just one of the most beautiful things I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and I'm only in chapter one!

Your opening section was so lovely. It was so insightful. I just read that one section over and over again, and each time I did, I found something new at marvel at. It was simple, in terms of observation, but it was true. Every word was so very true. It really got me thinking, and I'm still thinking about that. I'm sure it's something I'll come back to in the future. Not just for that bit, of course. The whole chapter was great, but that part, in particular, stayed with me.

The rest of your chapter was no less, in all honesty. And I'm finding it difficult to go with this review, because words cannot do justice to how amazing it is.

But anyway, Albus/Gellert is a pairing I love, thanks to teh's story. But it is also not a pairing I read often. You made me fall in love with them even more. I found myself questioning why I haven't been more into them, really. I love how you wrote Albus' love for Gellert. It was so raw, but so pure. The descriptions of how they spent their mornings, lying in each other's arms, those stolen moments, the passion, it all came through so well. I really enjoyed it. At the same time, it made me so upset, that a love as beautiful as theirs is doomed to burn. If not for Ariana's death, maybe their future would have been different, but alas.

Another thing that really stood out was your characterisation of Albus Dumbledore (and everyone else in whatever capacity you wrote them). He's one of the characters that really scare me. I'm always worried that I'll mess something up. But you wrote him perfectly. It's important to note that at that age, he hasn't seen the enough of the world or gathered enough wisdom to be the way we see him in the books. And you nailed it. I can see your version of Dumbledore growing up to be the one we are familiar with. His speech pattern is spot on, his reflective tone is indicative of it, and his ideas are believably his-like I can see him thinking that way (if that makes sense. Forgive me, it's quite late here :p).

The battle scene was so well done. Another thing I'm apprehensive about writing, apart from Dumbledore, is a battle scene., But you handles it so well. It wasn't too rushed or chaotic, and it wasn't slow and unnecessarily dragged out. I think you did a great job of delivering the intensity of the situation, especially in terms of how you gave us great clarity into Dumbledore's mindset at that point. He really isn't thinking straight. He's trying to reason it out. But he hasn't comprehended a possibility where things go out of control and backfire, like they did. His grief for Ariana was evident. His shock, even more so. Also, I've never felt as if he would have cried at her death, but I've always believed tht it affected him deeply. So whatever you've said really resonated with my headcanon over there.

Your writing flows so well. There's this certain quality to it that makes it flow like poetry, almost. It speaks volumes about your talent. The word choices are perfect, the phrasing just makes me want to scream out at wonder and joy and just... of god, I can't tell you how amazing this was.

I also really love the voice. First person, and written as if Albus is talking to Gellert. I LOVE this style of writing, and I really think it suit the piece. You've managed to bring out a lot of his emotions through his dialogue through this style... the tenderness, the fondness, tones of regret. It's just beautiful.

Your descriptions, as usual, are amazing. You've blown my mind with your writing here. Everything is so vivid. I could feel the summer heat, or the intensity of battle. I loved how you included loads of details in this. I can't fault you anywhere, Laura. This was so great! As I mentioned, I really loved the flow of this piece. It was easy to read. The descriptions helped move it along, and it sort of just.. sailed smoothly? If that makes sense. (Again, it's late. Forgive me :p)

(And I'm rushing through this because I don't have too many characters left, oops. Sorry about this!)

I'm going to take you back to your own story for a second, Laura. Silence holds a great deal of power, yes. But on this medium, words hold all the power. Thank you for showing me that, for reminding me about the sort of hold words can have over you. I was in a trance while I was reading this. It's so gorgeous. I'm glad that there's a lot left for me to read. I loved this. I'm favouriting it. It's so lovely, and unique and I've really been fighting a losing battle from the moment I started writing this review because words, as powerful as they may be, can't do justice here. I hope I have managed to convery how much I loved this, and what a great writer I think you are. As you told me, I will tell you: If I miss out on something you've put up, I'm really going to be missing out.

Thanks for doing this swap, Laura. There is so much more I wish I could say, but space is limited. Basically, you've done a lot of things right, and I loved it! Great job ♥

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Review #12, by randomwriterTicking Away Seconds: Bittersweet Kisses

3rd March 2015:
Hello Kaitlin. I'm here for our swap :)

Okay, first things first. I don't usually read anything non-canon. So I can't say that I've read enough of this pairing to comment from a knowledgeable standpoint. Still, the beauty of this was such that even though it was Snily, it didn't violate canon, which for me, is perfectly okay :p

Anyway, on to the actual review. I was a little surprised with your choices. When I saw the prompts you'd choices, I was nearly sure that you'd write a James/Lily or a Sirius centric goofy, humourous story. I didn't expect angst. That was a surprise. That being said, I adore angst and I really, really enjoyed this one. It really came through, in terms of emotions.

I'll start off with your opening section. I thought the descriptions were amazing. They were very visual, and I almost felt like I was there with Lily. When you described her emotions, it only enhanced your descriptive power because it made things more realistic. I was really impressed with that because it worked really well, and was extremely spot-on.

Then, there's the rest of it. You kept up the descriptions throughout, which was great. You also brought out a good, strong balance between dialogue and descriptions. It wasn't too heavy in terms on either of them. It's something I struggle with now and then, so it was lovely to see how well you'd managed it.

As for the plot, I love that you picked a sort-of missing moment from the series. I love reading those. We only see the series through Harry's point of view, so there are a lot of things that get missed out, or don't get explained in full. I think they make for great stories in fanfiction.

As for the details of their conversation, a part of me was just screaming, 'NO JAMES IS NOT A PRAT.' I ship James/Lily so hard, but I know that their story still needs to unwind at this stage, so well, I guess it's alright that she thinks he's a prat :p

Personally, I feel like you have a strong hold on Lily and a good understanding of her character. It came through well in your story. Her speech, and the way she acted and thought was spot on. Kudos to you on that!

Also, I'm a huge fan of the first person point of view, combined with present tense, so this is definitely my jam. I think you didn't a good job of using both styles. It also works well in this story where you're inciting angst in the reader.

Another thing that really worked in your story was the flow. I like the level of detail and how you've gone through the whole thing, part by part. It was very well-written. It read well, and didn't seem choppy at all.

I have very little criticism (in true sense of the word) to offer to you because it was all so well done. But I did notice that you did miss a couple of commas. Nothing major. Just my nit-picky self noticing things that can be ignored. It doesn't take anything away from your story. It's only one or two places.

Another thing that stood out for me was Snape's characterisation. While he was spot on initially, I felt a slight discord from his canon characterisation as the story progressed. He was quite assertive, and I personally don't think that side of him really comes out in front of Lily. Also, I don't think he would have chosen his path before she chose hers, but that may perhaps be a personal perspective.

Another thing, and this really isn't criticism, just something that struck me on the back of my mind, is that first kisses are quite significant, and this probably would have shown up in his memories. But then again, they're personal and he probably wasn't too proud for acting that way. Which is an argument for why it didn't show up. (Okay, this was clearly just an observation).

All this aside, I really enjoyed your story, and I hope to read more of your work soon. Great job, Kaitlin ♥

Author's Response: Hi there!

Thank you so much for swapping with me and for leaving such a wonderful review! Geez...mine looks minuscule in comparison.

I'm so happy that you gave this a shot, even though Snily is not your usual. They aren't exactly my normal either, which is why I didn't want the pairing to be successful. :) I had to bite my tongue on that, so I wouldn't give it away.

I'm excited to hear that the dialogue and descriptions were balanced. I usually am good with either one or the other, but struggle to find an even mix of both.

Also, I'm glad that my choices surprised you! I wanted them to be surprising! I figured that most of the entries for this challenge would be happy since it's supposed to be Valentine's Day. I wanted to go in the opposite direction and show that unrequited love can be just as moving.

Missing moments are some of my favorites to write because I get the chance to imagine other aspects of the world that I might not have previously thought about.

I am jumping for joy that the first person, present tense worked. I've only written first person one other time, so I'm relatively new to it. My biggest concern for the story is that it would be believable. I'm glad you thought it was. :)

This was my very first time writing either Lily or Snape, so I was a bit nervous about the characterization. You made an astute observation about Snape's development being a bit out of his normal character. I think what I wanted to get at towards the end was that he's realizing Lily isn't slipping away. She's already gone. It's then that the desperation sets in and the forwardness comes out as a last ditch effort to mend the chasm between them.

In regards to Snape's memories, I would like to think that everyone has something that they hold personal and private. Snape gives Harry several memories of Lily, but not every single memory of every single moment. I think this would be one that he wouldn't divulge because it is so painful (due to loss), embarassing (due to his reaction), and dear (due to it being his only kiss from Lily).

Thank you again for leaving me such a detailed review! I have some things to think over now. :)


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Review #13, by randomwriterOne Dark Night Of Pain: The Howl

21st February 2015:
Hi Rennycake :) I don't have much time, and I really wanted to review something today. So I was looking for a short story. Then I remembered that you're new on the forums, and that it'd probably be nice to help around.

This is a very impressive first story to put up. The idea and writing are unique and extremely interesting. You should be proud of yourself for starting off on such a strong point!

I like that you used Arianna's struggles as a dive board to get into the actual meat of the story. Even though the story wasn't about Arianna, relating her pain to her mother's was a clever plot device on your part.

I think you have some excellent visual imagery going on here. The flashback was excellent in that regard. Not only did you focus on her surroundings, but you also managed to pay equal importance to her emotional reactions as well. That, for me, was a really nice balance. Writers without much experience sometimes end up with one-dimensional descriptions. But the fact that you considered it from all angles was really nice :)

I'm also impressed with how much you managed to do in so less. Just over 600 words is nothing! I've never been particularly succinct with my writing, so it manages to really strike me when someone writes something powerful in very few words. It takes me a lot of restraint when I attempt that.

So, well. You have a lot of great things going on here, but there is some room for improvement. So here's some CC for you!

Firstly, I found some grammatical errors, and some punctuation errors as well. So here, for example:
She felt her daughters pain
You've said daughters, where it should be daughter's.

Secondly, your phrases are quite repetitive. You might want to avoid that, as it tends to mess the flow up a little. Again, an example:
She stayed at home with Kendra and never left home. Here, the word home being repeated twice gives an odd sort of construction to the sentence. Maybe you could combine the two halves of the sentence. Or you could use just one of those parts. In any case, I'd consider rewording it.

Thirdly, and I feel that this may be the main issue, your flashback, as lovely as it is, flits back and forth between the present and the past. You'd do better if you could ensure that the tense remains the same, preferably past in this case. The transition makes this confusing, and again, the flow is sort of obstructed. It's distracting to the reader.

Apart from the CC, I have a suggestion. You could elaborate on what pushed Kendra to run so much in the woods. Had she already seen the werewolf? Was she running from some other horror? It's not 100% necessary, but an explanation would give us more clarity.

Good job on your first story :) I hope this helped. Have a good day!

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Review #14, by randomwriterThe Department of Spectral Affairs: Darkness

12th February 2015:
Hello :) I'm here from review tag. I saw you put up a status saying that this was written, and I immediately seized the chance to snag you.

I've been reading so much of your work off late, and I'm really impressed. Of course, I've been reading your work for ages now. But with each new story that you post, I can definitely trace an improvement in quality, which is fantastic! Never stop writing.

Another thing I must commend you on is the kind of stories you write. The ideas you have are so delightfully unique! I love that you aren't afraid to write different sorts of stories. I can't say that I've read something longer than a one-shot about Regulus before, and especially not one that is set in the after-life, after his so-called betrayal. So kudos for trying this!

I have read Not Normal, but I think that this starts off on a very different note. Your writing is often heavily reliant on humour, romance and fluff. But this is slightly angsty, and the introductory parts gave me chills. So it's definitely very different.

Your writing here is lovely! The description, how you write about his slow descent into the great beyond, is so well done. I could... feel things, physically. And I think that writing of that sort is difficult to achieve, so great job on that!

I'm interested, in terms of plot, to see where you're going to take this. I also want to know who he was hoping to find. I might figure that out when I get back to Not Normal though.

This piece was short, but beautiful. It wasn't choppy. The flow was very natural. And your phrasing and word choices were well suited for this piece.

I liked a lot of lines, but here are a couple that absolutely stood out.
Bitterness and regret: old friends now, although youre barely twenty-one.- This was so poignant- a little angsty, and gave me something to think about. You also feel so bad for Regulus, but it makes you appreciate him more as a character because it remind you of what he did to get there.

The distance between you and your body yawns into a chasm. The distance between you and your earthly life is already a distant shore on the dark side of a choppy sea.- Oh my god. This is so beautiful and sad, and just... argh! Gorgeous.

As for CC, this really isn't much, but I felt as if there was a word missing here:
It billows your hair, presses your skin, invades your nostrils. Maybe presses against your skin?

Anyway, that's barely anything. Good job on this, friend! Can't wait for more ♥

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Review #15, by randomwriterJust for this moment: See how bright we shine

15th January 2015:
Hello! I'm here for the gift-it challenge. I know I'm quite late, and I'm sorry about that. Life got a bit crazy.

Now, onto the review. I'm sorry if this is short and hasty. There's a quite a bit on my plate, so forgive me for that.

I'll be honest with you and tell you that I don't normally read Wolfstar stories. The few that I have tried were awkward and the writer didn't really know how to deal with the intimacy without making it come off as clumsy. You, on the other hand, managed a really sweet take on them. I like how it wasn't all about the intimacy. You gave a great deal of attention to their emotions and to the circumstances under which they were, which made this much better.

I really like the moment you chose to write about. It was, I think, one of their most powerful moments, given all that has happened. I always imagined it to be really intense because it isn't easy to forgive someone for something like this, just as it is hard to ask for forgiveness for the same.

What stuck to me the most was how well you wrote them. I can definitely see Remus kicking himself about it over and over again, and I can see Sirius getting mad, but also being tired of everything that has happened. He'd probably want to keep his remaining friend(s) [SOB] close to him.

The story itself was packed with feels. Subtle reminders of them and their past really touched me (like how Sirius kept track of the full moons for Remus' sake). Their conversation was both light and serious, probably just like their relationship at that point. I think you've managed to accomplish a difficult task, and you not only did it, you also did it well. You've written them in a very beautiful and tender manner.

As for CC, I can only give you small pointers, but I think you've done a pretty good job overall. I think you could make Sirius a little more witty here and there. Not a big necessity, but it would make him more Sirius :p If that makes sense. I' also shows snatches of his anger in his speech, but also mention how that was in the past, and how he's no longer angry because Remus just believed what everyone else did.

Overall, you've written them very well, and I'm glad you entered our challenge. Wolfstar may not be my pairing of choice, but your interpretation of them make me smile and hit me in the feels,all at once. Thank you, and sorry this is coming to you so late!

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Review #16, by randomwriterEvent Three - All Quiet on the Post-War Front: heavy bones

13th January 2015:
Special delivery for teh tarik!

Hello hello hello! You were promised reviews, so here's #1! I'll drop by now and then, I promise. I couldn't stay away if I tried anyway ♥

Okay, so as usual your writing has left me nearly speechless, and I find myself wondering how exactly to tell you how amazing you are!

This started off on a very intense note. The death was violent, but quick. It left its mark though. The rest of the opening section was written so perfectly. You captured the helplessness and loss so well, the numbness and stagnancy... it's all there.

The nest part was just as perfect. I love how you chose to write about Dean and Hannah. Even though they both suffered greatly at the hands of war, their stories are often overlooked. I also really like that you didn't push in a romantic angle where there wasn't one. I hope this serves as a tentative beginning to a life long friendship.

You captured all the emotions in this so well. I already mentioned how you were spot on in the opening section. Moving forward, you really managed to somehow convey how comfortable Hannah was at the bar, how she seemed to have this sense of fitting in, and all the responsibilities that fit in with her new role. Dean too was superbly written. I think you got his anger down well. I completely get why he feels that way though. Who wouldn't? In a sense, he too is helpless as he is unable to do anything about the judgement. He feels as if he was robbed off justice, and that came through really well. And the ending ♥ I see Hannah curbed his reckless Gryffindor instincts with her calmer, practical Hufflepuff side. I think that they complement each other very well. I would love to see a story focusing friendship on their friendship from you :p You'd nail it! So, yes, where was I?

Much emotions. Such feels. Wow.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. :p But it's true that this is emotion loaded, and that's a huge achievement to do in so few words without actually explicitly discussing their emotions in the story itsef. Just another reminder of what a great writer you are!

As for the descriptions, I don't even have to say anything to you, teh. I think you are aware of how I just associate amazing descriptions with you and your writing. Somehow, you manage to get just the right words and phrases. You most certainly have a gift for this. Everything was so vivid and visceral. I'm always in awe after reading something by you.

As for things like flow, they usually don't seem to warrant special praise on their own, but I kind of have to tell you that you are amazing in those aspects as well.

teh, you are an absolutely stunning writer, and you never fail to impress me. Whether it's the longest one-shot in the history of one-shots, or something short and neat like this one, your writing always, always makes an impact.

I'm sorry that this review really isn't much though. I'm sort of busy, but I wanted to find some time for this, which is probably why it's short and messy and confused.

Anyway, minor characters &heart;
your writing &hearts,
One Dimension and Salazar Slocombe ♥ ♥ ♥ WIN. HAHAHA.

You're the best ^_^ I will be back.

P.S- Don't think I missed your post on the 'previews' thread :p

Author's Response: as;dlk;alsfkjhkjasd

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ADI ♥ ♥ ♥

How do I even begin to thank you...all your words, your compliments, I don't deserve them STAHP

*hugs*

Thank you! Again and again!!

Thanks for choosing to read this collection of mine! They're not my best work because they were all written in a hurry for last year's house cup, but I still am proud of these stories because of the characters; I like how they've turned out.

LOVE the way you analyse Hannah and Dean. There's meant to be no romance in this fic, though others may interpret otherwise. :P But yeah, I kinda see Dean and Hannah as having a life-long friendship and I just love the idea of them being mates and all. From the books they don't seem like the kind of people who would find much interest in each other, but there's the war, which changes so many things, even alliances and relationships between people. I feel that the war also breaks down old barriers between people, at least during the recovery stages.

Awww, it really makes me feel all warm and flattered that you felt so much in this short piece. Thank you! Honestly, your compliments always make me so happy. ❤

And what do you mean this review isn't much? It's a pretty darned long review, and it's longer than most thigns I leave these days. Thank you for taking the time to read, for all your kind words, for being a generally awesome person, Adi.

Minor characters FTW!

And ONE DIMENSION AND SAL SLOCOMBE. ♥ ♥

YOU DA BEST ADI.



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Review #17, by randomwriterAlbus Potter and the Sapphire of Slytherin: Wally

23rd December 2014:
Hello! So having read Chapter One quite some time ago, all I needed to do was skim through it to remember the premise of this story. I will maintain that it is an intriguing note to lay your base on.

Forgive me if this review comes across as short or unhelpful. I'm just trying to get it underway before I nod off to sleep. Also, I will include some CC in the review. Please don't take it as me being too harsh. I just tend to get a little nit-picky, and I am only looking for ways in which your story could be better :)

So as I said, you've set up a pretty good foundation for your story, and you've wasted no time in introducing your characters. That being said, I think it wouldn't hurt to spend a bit more time in giving the readers some details about them. Just knowing who they are, and that they are important to the story doesn't suffice. It's also important to know about the characters personalities, back stories and yes, even their looks, so that we, as readers, can have a better idea about them.

If I may go back to the beginning for a minute, let me start with McGonagall's speech. You gave us a lot of important hints there, but the speech pattern was unlike McGonagall's and it was also a bit hurried in nature. If I were you, I'd start with the general introduction and adopt a more subtle approach alluding to the fact that there lurks something dangerous. Also, I think it would be highly unlikely for McGonagall to give out so much information to the students, and to debase Slytherin so easily. I'd suggest making the hints more subtle and reworking the structure of the speech. Another small (sorry for being nit-picky here) detail is that apparation lessons are for people aged sixteen and over, if I'm not wrong. This was the operational rule during Harry's time.

Moving ahead to the next scene, I really like that you've introduced Peeves here. He's so often forgotten, and I'm so guilty of that myself, but you wrote him so well, even though it was only a brief appearance. I would love to see him come back again :) As for the prefect's welcome, I think you could make it a bit friendlier and more welcoming. The first years are usually a little timid and lost, and it wouldn't hurt to show them that Hogwarts is, indeed, their home. The bit about the passwords was good, and so was the part about steering clear of Filch's way. However, you could have added a bit more about the rules like curfew, etc. Also, you don't get a detention for going late to breakfast. You just don't get food after a while :p and I'm guessing that you'd have to hop down to the kitchens, if you found the time, for a quick bite. I also don't think you should have that part where the prefect says that he can't remember stuff off the top of his mind. He's a prefect for a reason right! :p It's likely that he may have forgotten something, but he'd probably not declare it so openly.

The Common Room was described really well :) I could feel the warmth and glow spreading just from your words, so you've done a lovely job of capturing its feel. But the trophies? Well, for one, there's a trophy room, which I suppose exists to hold trophies. It would be rather redundant if the trophies were kept in the Common Rooms. :p Secondly, the trophy was won by both Harry and Cedric, so it wouldn't belong to just Gryffindor. Thirdly, even if it were to be that room, shouldn't it be behind a glass casing or something? I doubt anyone and everyone passing by would be able to pick it and hold it. Sorry, I know these are minor details, but they could really make your story more polished, and the reader does tend to notice, so I thought it may be worth a mention.
However, you did write that part about Harry well. I understand that he wouldn't want to talk about the tournament and is unlikely to have told his children about it so directly,especially at such a young age.

As for the bit in the dormitories with Wally, the House Elf, I think that Albus was too quick to shout, and that his shouting was unwarranted. I don't understand why he was so concerned all of a sudden and why he never took Wally's words into account. In all that, I almost forgot that Wally's presence on his bed was rather odd. I wonder what he's doing there. Hmm. In addition to that, I don't know if it's likely that Scorpius already knows about the Room of Requirement and has made a trip to it on day one. Seems slightly unbelievable.

Or maybe Scorpius was flying? :p
Also, it's very, very rare that a player gets into the Quidditch team on his first year. So maybe this time, they're both spectators.

Anyway, you've raised a lot of questions in my mind, and I can't help but think that there are a lot of loose ends. No bother though! This is a novel, and I'm sure that all will be cleared up in the end. Good job on Chapter Two! :) I do believe it requires some polishing and editing, but it has got a pretty cool plotline (at one point, I even caught myself wondering if Albus is the villain! :p) Lets see what happens. Keep up the good work :)

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Review #18, by randomwriterThe Thing With Feathers: It sings the tune without the words

23rd December 2014:
Hello Sathya! This has obviously been on my list, considering that it was written for my challenge, but I'm sorry it has taken me this long to get here, despite that. Real life has been pretty hectic, off late, and I'm glad that the Christmas Dash brought me here :)

I think it's odd that I haven't read anything by you before this. The thought had never struck me until now, actually. And after reading this piece, I can see that I've missed out on a lot!

I think that the idea behind this story was really unique. I was certainly impressed by the way you used hope as a villain! Personifying hope was one thing, but making it a villain is on different level altogether! I;m glad you didn't resort to portraying it as some sort of noble, self-sacrificial feeling. I like the bitter, cruel edge you lent to it. It was a fresh perspective, and I'd never thought of things that way, so it was interesting to read this.

I was, as I always am, impressed by your shot at brevity here. I have never succeeded in completing the Every Word Counts Challenge, because I find it so difficult to be bound by such a small word limit. Your attempt at battling the challenge is impressive and I think you've done a great job. At no point did I feel as if the words were strained or forced. But having said that, your word choice did impress me. Everything fit so well and it really gave me a very complete picture.

You kept the suspense alive till the very end. I actually thought that the villain was Voldemort and that Lily, or maybe even James, was the narrator, but that went against the villainous thoughts that were going through the narrator's mind. Anyway, I can tell that this concept might stick with me for a while. I'm still marveling at how amazing it is :) As for the idea of portraying Hope as a villain, I think it's apt in the sense that Hope tends to have a stronghold on our minds and actions, often enough of a stronghold to trump logic.

Also, being a fan of this whole concept of microfiction, I can say that you've done a great job! :) It probably isn't the most tradition piece I've read (but who am I to judge?), but I enjoyed every word of it!

As for the abstraction, I think you did a good job maintaining it till the end. The one thing that did strike me, however, were how those very specific instances of Harry's life came into play. I think the way you portrayed him in his teenage years could use some more abstraction to fit with the piece. Also, mentions of Cupid as a baby in diapers and all, just broke the flow a tiny bit because it didn't seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the story.

I really like how you've described everything here. I can picture Death as a raven (Sorry, I'm a huge Poe fan!), and Hope as a Sparrow or something small. I would like to think of Hope as a Dove, but since Hope is the villain here, I highly doubt you want me to picture Hope as a Dove. Anyway, getting back to point, I really like your descriptions here. The language you've used, as I've mentioned, was really clever in setting the tone and transporting the reader to the setting.

I'm sorry for the rushed and confused nature of this review. I will definitely be visiting your AP more often after this :) Good work, Sathya!

EDIT: I'm sorry. I'm too lazy to completely revamp this, but for some reason my apostrophes are showing up with the addition of back-slashes. I'm sorry about that :S

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Review #19, by randomwriterAfter the storm: After the storm

15th December 2014:
Hey, what's up? I was searching for something to read, and this showed up when I clicked on 'Random Story'.

I was worried that something may be up with this Mallory character from the start. Glad to see that it wasn't my mind conjuring up far fetched theories. I can't believe she set Sirius, the Potters and the entire Order up like that! I hope it comes back up to haunt her sometime because it was truly despicable. What hit me was how she believed that she deserved to be with Sirius right up till the end! I was also upset when Peter didn't stand up to her when she coaxed him over to the dark side. I really hope something comes up and ruins her life. She truly messed everything up for the Marauders, who I love so much!

Anyway, a little rough around the edges, but not a bad story to have up! Maybe you'd want to clean it up a bit, with regards to punctuation and grammar? That apart, good job and keep it up :)

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Review #20, by randomwriterPost-War-Problems - Event 3: Post-War-Problems - Event 3

7th November 2014:
Hey there :) You said it was weird having no unanswered reviews, and I thought I'd come by and fix that ;) But I am sorry. This is going to be short and not as detailed as usual, because I'm hoping to add to my NaNo goal after this.

I finished reading this story and went to check the forums, when I saw your PM and thought that it was a funny coincidence that you should have thanked me (in such a sweet manner) for an earlier review when I was in the process of leaving you one :p

First off, I really didn't know what to expect when I clicked on this. There was no AU tag, and I saw that it featured Dobby and was set in the post Hogwarts era, which led my over imaginative mind to believe that the story might surround Harry reminiscing his good moments with Dobby. I think I believed that it may be angsty. You completely surprised me though. It was lovely to read this. It was funny and comical, bordering on parody-esque in some parts. The tone was perfect for a story of this sort.

I also liked how this flowed. It was an extremely quick and easy read, and it didn't feel like the story was being dragged on or rushed in any manner. However, I have a suggestion. One thing that could improve the flow to some extent is your word choices. While in most cases, you've done well, there are places (like, I think you've used the word' warrior'), where you could have used other words instead.

As for the characterisation, I thought Dobby was excellent. Perhaps a bit too quirky, but that's forgivable for a piece like this. It added a whimsical element that suited the plot. As for Harry, I think the dialogue sounded unlike him once or twice, but that apart, you wrote him well too.

I know that this must have been written in a hurry as it was for the House Cup. But I did find some issues with the dialogue tags and punctuation that are easily fixable. Maybe if you gave it another read now, you'd be able to take care of them :)

I really like that you gave Dobby such an important task. It does seem unlikely that Harry would not want to do such an important task himself, or that he doesn't want a say in this, but that's just me being way too nitpicky, and you should totally ignore that, because what you wrote says something more. It shows us just how much Harry is willing to trust Dobby, and that really is great to see because it isn't a friendship we see written too often despite the fact that they did have a caring and trusting relationship. Okay, that is a long and weird sentence, but I'm not going to bother to correct anything in this NaNo addled state of mine. You did justify Harry's choice well though. I suspect that the Prophet would certainly get a whiff of it and report it before he'd even get the chance to go to Ginny.

One suggestion I do have is to flesh things out and add in some more description. It's a minor thing, but I think it would really engage the reader more. Not too much, just a little will do the trick too :)

While this piece really made me smile and laugh (Dobby and the hats and the sandals ♥), it also made me feel sad that Dobby didn't make it. He was a lovely character, wasn't he?

Sorry again, for how short and unhelpful this is, and thank you for writing such a sweet and fun story for me to read :)

Author's Response: Hi!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it! :P I actually laughed when I saw you said that this was short and unhelpful, that is 100% not that case! :D

Haha, that is fate? :P

I probably should put an AU tag on it, I can't think why I didn't but I will change it soon hopefully. I usually feel more comfortable reading angst so it's pretty rare that I write something else, but I just wasn't in that mind set when I was writing this.

Thanks for all your pointers, as you said this was written in a hurry and it defiantly shows when reading. At some stage I will go through and attempt to tidy it up a bit! :D

I brought Dobby back from the dead so I decided that Harry wouldn't want to choose his ring. ;) I take your point though, in any 'serious' piece I wouldn't have written that because it doesn't make to much sense.

Dobby and Fred. Should never have died.

Thanks for all your helpful pointers I will defiantly need them when editing this.

:)



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Review #21, by randomwriterYou Are Part of Everything : Dear Prudence

29th October 2014:
Hello Meg :) I'm here for the Gryffie review swap. Sorry, I'm quite late. I've just been pretty busy recently and I haven't gotten enough time to sit down and review this.

Anyway, on to the review. I'm a huge fan of the Beatles, and I love John Green, so I was quite excited when I got paired with you for this. On top of that, I'm a HUGE fan of Sirius. Yes, he isn't portrayed in the best light here, but I do have a huge crush on him still, I think. Oh dear. Anyway, with regard to this one-shot in particular, I didn't like him, but I like how you've written him and I guess that was the intention.

I think you wrote the polar opposites thing well. Prudence, as the quiet, shy, naive girl and Sirius as the archetype heart breaker. Poor Prudence :( She seemed so invested in their relationship. I do think that you could have added a little more interaction in the beginning though. Even for someone like Prudence, who is gullible in these matters and has been observing Sirius for a while, I think, it takes a little more persuasion. It was a little too soon, I feel. Maybe you could have just built it up. Not slowly or anything, but maybe a conversation or two in the beginning before this would have worked in your favour.

One thing I absolutely loved about this piece was how emotionally evocative it was. Her pain was almost palpable and her broken heart just gave me so many feels :( Sirius was a real jerk here. I felt pretty bad for Prudence because she was just a sweet, nice girl minding her own business before he came and mucked things up for her. She didn't bring it on herself. I do feel like she should have seen the warning signs that were quite obvious in retrospect, but poor Prudence was enamoured, naturally and it really seems like she couldn't help herself from falling.

About your characterisation, I think I've already made it clear that you wrote the shy-girl-confident-guy trope well. Individually, Prudence is an OC, so I can't comment on your take on her from the perspective of canon, but I can say that she is a very interesting OC to write. Very sweet and she seemed really sensible and strong willed in the beginning, but we saw how all that changed when Sirius worked his charm on her. I love how you named her Prudence. Clever use of the song given to you ;) As for Sirius, I think we all expect him to get the girl in the end. That's how most writers work with him, so it was definitely refreshing to see a fresh take on him in his younger days. Careless, immature, selfish, but confident. He's also very aware of the kind of effect he has on people. While I've seen this Sirius often, he usually softens up by the end, and the fact that your Sirius didn't was an interesting twist. Like so: 'Here's the story of the girl who didn't get Sirius in the end. Didn't expect that, did you?' It's nice to see you experimenting with a harsher, more callous Sirius. I may not like him, but I am appreciative of how you've tackled him in his youth. However, while I applaud you for this, I also think it was all a bit much in the end? Or maybe that's just me feeling sad for Prudence? :(

I don't think you worry about your writing or flow at all :) It was a quick and easy read and it flowed smoothly.

As for some constructive crit, I mentioned how you can build it up earlier. How you make her fall for him in a more fleshed out manner. I think I'll add to that by saying that all the conversations can be fleshed out a little more. Even the one where he asks her out, give them a little more to converse about? Also add little details here and there to draw in the reader further. Also, the last bit was a little abrupt. Maybe you could round it up slightly?

Oh kay, so that aside, I have a little bit of a suggestion about your formatting of the quotes you were given. The asterisks are rather distracting. I think it would be easier on the reader if you just italicised the lines or bolded them and then mentioned their source in the A/N. Maybe it's just me though :p You don't have to take the suggestion.

As for the quotes themselves, they were incorporated really well into this. As I mentioned, I really like that you named her Prudence. It's very clever of you! I think that the way Siruius spoke them out, it was almost as if he was serenading her. Just one thought though (and I seem to be saying this too much, sorry :p), just space the dialogues with the lyrics out a bit? It's just an idea. I think it would help the conversation between them flow better if they spoke about other things as well. That aside, you've used both your given quotes well. I love how you incorporated it in the end as well. That was an extremely clever play on words. Oh, and before I forget, great job keeping his identity a secret till the end. It built up the suspense :p

To sum up, good writing and characterisation :) Just a few things here and there that you could enhance to polish this one shot up! Good job, Meg :) I look forward to reading more of your work, and I'm glad I got paired with you this month.

Author's Response: Hey there!

Alright, so it's officially been a month since you've left this amazing review. It's probably about time I've answered it haha.

First thing I want to say is, thank you! This review was just amazing. I have never taken so long to answer a review before, and it is because this just left me speechless and filled with gratitude. I am just in awe of the time you took to leave this. It was so detailed and just lovely! So again, thank you! ♥

Me too! I grew up with the Beatles. I don't think I really had a choice in becoming a fan haha. But, I'm totally alright with that. :D John Green is just amazing. His work is incredible, and he seems so down to earth and just funny. I watch his web series thing, MentalFloss, every week. :)

I really wanted to show a darker side of Sirius. He is romanticized so often - I'm guilty of it myself - so I wanted to show the other side of his womanizing ways. I still love Sirius, though! ;) I'm really happy to hear that he was not well-liked in this. With how much people love him, I knew that was going to be hard to accomplish, so I'm really happy I did.

Prudence is essentially me. I've been through this when I was younger (not quite as horrible of an ending, but pretty bad). I've read this over a few times since I've received this review, and I agree with you. I could definitely add a little bit more dialogue in here just to really show how hard she was falling and how badly he was manipulating her.

He usually does get the girl at the end. Almost always. But you usually hear of the girls that he dated or a week, or whatever short amount of time, before he ends up with *the* girl. I wanted this story to be about one of the many before the one. I always imagined that he was rather harsh with the girls he dated for some reason. I don't know why, I can just see it that way. Or maybe it was just because I pretty much based Prudence off of myself and used one of my rougher break-ups as inspiration for this. My own personal bitterness definitely played a major role in this story. I fell hard and fast, so Prudence fell hard and fast. Sometimes a handsome face and pretty words can cause us to do irrational things, I think.

Aww thank you for that! ♥ I'm still kind of getting used to writing again after a long time, so I'm thrilled that it flowed well. :D

I just want to tell you how much I appreciate all of the CC. This story is really, really personal to me, so I want it to be the best it possibly can be. I absolutely can see what you mean and will be going back to edit this and add a bit more detail to it.

I meant to take them out after the challenges were over and completely forgot about it. That is on my "to-do" list for this story haha. :D

I didn't use a beta for this story, so I completely rely on and thrive on reviews. I have taken every bit of this to heart (in a good way!) and will be going back to edit this and take your advice. I know I've said it a bunch already, but thank you so much!

I'm thrilled that you liked it! I've never written anything like this before. I was hoping that keeping Sirius a - somewhat - secret, until the end, would be a good idea. :)

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this review!! It totally blew my mind and I appreciate everything! I'm so happy I was paired with you last month, too!! ♥

xoxo Meg



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Review #22, by randomwriterLast Day of My Life: One

20th October 2014:
Sam ♥ I haven't started judging the entries yet, but I couldn't resist. I just HAD to review now and I have no complaints about reading it again while properly judging ;) I've already read it twice! James/Lily, I LOVE. And Romance and Angst are my two favourite genres. To top that off, I've been on such a James/Lily kick lately. I caved and read The Art of Surviving on Friday and I've been searching for new stories featuring them to read all weekend. I was beyond overjoyed when I saw this. Thank you so much for writing it. You are the sweetest! I'm kind of lost for words, so either I will be completely blank now or I'll keep gushing and it'll be an incoherent mess of words. Whichever way it goes, I'm sorry about this garbled review :p

This story captured how I see James and Lily during the war perfectly. You wrote them so well! I'm really afraid of writing about them myself because I'm so worried I won't get them right and I worship canon. I love how you handled it and their relationship is amazing. Even though the war is raging, it doesn't stop them from having their own little moments in between. They're so sweet together :) And James ♥ He is so perfect! The flowers and cooking and everything was really thoughtful of him. I know he said that he doesn't do healing in the beginning, but I can't think of a nicer way to heal after something so traumatic.

I also really liked his 'moment' with Harry. His love for him and how protective he is came off strongly. I think it's both heartbreaking and sweet, reading about such things. I just want to reach into the screen and grab James' shoulders and tell him EVERYTHING that happens because when I read about all these little moments, I just want them to be a small, happy family. I don't want James and Lily to die, and I don't want Harry to never know how amazing his parents were :( I mean, he gets a good sense of it throughout his life, but first hand experience is something else.

I like how you didn't undermine the war even though you wrote about something sweet. One thing that irks me no end is when authors completely disregard the fact that there is a war and that James and Lily are in the centre of it. You balanced it very well and I got the sense of seriousness, and a touch of frustration, but I like how that doesn't confine James' sweet, romantic and playful side in any way. It's what I've always thought.

It was nice to read this in James' voice. I like reading things from the first person (and male) POV and we always see everything through Lily's eyes anyway. The part where he apologised to Harry for the hair and the glasses (if only he knew), made me laugh. It was also a nice touch of familiarity for the reader.

As for the flow, it was such an easy read. I loved it! Despite having an element of angst, it wasn't overbearing in the sense that I had to stop and process or anything. It was all very smooth :)

I spotted a typo (on my second read, so it detracts nothing anyway). You'd said 'had back' for 'head back'. I do things like this regularly :p

And... gosh, I'm still quite overwhelmed. This gave me feels! Aaah, Sam. I love it. It came at such a perfect time as well, because I've read so much angst surrounding them over the past couple of days. I really needed something sweet. This missing moment is so fantastic. I still can't believe you wrote this for me! It's so thoughtful of you to actually take some time off to not only do this, but also do it so well. This story is made for me and it's written so well and I just can't stop smiling and gushing, which makes me feel like this review doesn't make too much sense. I'm sorry about that :p

Anyway, great writing. James and Lily are perfect and this story made me feel happy, but sad all at once and I loved it! The bittersweet note to it was lovely. I love stories like that! Thank you so much for writing this for me (I don't think I can say it enough). It made my day. I finished writing a paper today and this was an absolute treat to read after that! You are so lovely :) *showers with hugs and chocolates*

Once again, thank you ♥

All of the love
Adi

Author's Response: Wow, Adi!

Oh, my God! I almost caved and wrote you Scorpius/Rose because I love James/Lily so much that I was afraid I wouldn't do them justice. But I had this idea and I had to try and it turned out pretty well and I'm just so glad you like it. I was on edge the entire time, scared they weren't right. Me being crazy, I always am when it comes to canon. :P

I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I just have to live in a little bubble, where James and Lily live and they're a family and everything is good and it's canon.

The war is something I just couldn't forget and that's not even when you factor in the plot for this. It gets to me, too, when people do that. I have a few pet peeves and most of them are for things that I just don't see happening in canon. So I tried really hard to find a balance and I'm glad it came through.

I love and will always write - when I can - male PoV. This time, I chose James because it works so well with the song that inspired it. But even if that hadn't been the case, I think I still would have chosen James. I have two Marauder era plans on my iPad and both of those are James as well (well, one is James and Lily and one is James and Regulus). The little details, I loved putting those in. Something to bring Harry's character in.

I'm so happy that you loved it. I just had to give you a present and that it made you smile makes me smile.

I'll fix the typo. Thank you for pointing it out. :)

Sam.


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Review #23, by randomwriterComplicated: In Which Christmas Is Not The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

11th October 2014:
Hello Emma! I'm a huge fan of next Gen stories and I know that a lot of them seem repetitive, but I really can't resist a well written one with good dialogue!

First of all, I must congratulate you picking something different. The opening chapters of such stories are full of teenage first world problems, and the protagonist is almost always obsessed with James or Al. I think that it's interesting that you dived straight in. It's interesting to see this from the POV of someone who doesn't belong to an already well establish family (Malfoys, Weasleys). There's so much potential in this, and I really enjoyed how you opened it. Also, I once had an idea for writing a story where Pansy tries to set her daughter up with Scorpius, so I'm stoked you wrote something similar-ish (except in my story idea, the girl was an annoying mini-Pansy).

Olivia is funny and she seems confident and self assured, which is always nice to see because I know I don't have to be wary of her turning into a pile of goo the second an attractive boy enters the fray. Her internal monologue is refreshing to read and I just overall liked her. So far, at least. Lets see what you do with her :)

I've seen a lot of nextgens where the character complains about a horrible family and an awful lot of drama when the family is loving, even if they are a tad crazy, and I expected that from this. Except, it was different. There was actually drama and her emotions were warranted, not just pointless rambling and whinging for the sake of it.

I love your portrayal of the canon characters. First of all, this family tie is very original. I've never seen it, with Oliver and Katie being related to Pansy at the end of it. poor Oliver, I can't believe he has tolerate her, given his attitude towards non-Gryffindors and Slytherins, in particular. I'm not Pansy's biggest fan, but I felt a touch of pity for her by the end of it. Katie is just so... nice, and that's it. All she wants is for there to be some merriment and general appreciation, I suppose. You've written all of them perfectly, especially Pansy and Oliver. the argument between them was an excellent touch. I love that you didn't disregard canon. That was a nice tie-in. Also, Oliver still holding it against Draco makes it very believable. Honestly though, I'm not Pansy's biggest fan, but your portrayal was really accurate.

I also enjoyed reading about Olivia's relationship with Jason. She says she hates him, but I think she just hates all that he represents to her. She doesn't like his family, and probably the fact that she sense that her own family is broken or dysfunctional, while his isn't is probably fueling her need to hate him. I may be wrong, but I believe that will change over the course of the story :p Let's see if I'm quite the Seer. I also love the way you mentioned that he was so into Quidditch that he fails to notice all the attention he gets. That's very Oliver of him! Like this, a lot of your details were in the subtleties and that was fantastic!

Also, what is with Pansy giving her all those products? Eugh! Her father seems more nonchalant about everything in general. Also, it;s obvious that he didn't expect anyone to be fussed about the affair. Personally, I think Pansy was crying for because he cheater on her and not because he cheated, if that makes sense to you.

I'm a major ScoRose fan, so I might be secretly rooting for a Scorpius/Cassie break up (too soon?). But I won't moan if I end up liking Cassie :p

Overall, I really liked your characterisation, if you can't tell already. And your plot seems to be headed in a rather interesting direction. I'm curious to see what happens.

As for your pacing and flow, I don't think there's any issue. It was paced well and it was quite easy to read because of the flow. I know that the introductory chapters tend to come off as being very expository, in a forced way too. They end up reading like bio-datas and that's not very good. But yours wasn;t like that at all. You managed to ease the reader into the details and it really kept my interest. It was nice to find out little tidbits of information without it feeling like an absolute overload.

As for dialogue, I really don't need to say anything. I mean, you won a Dobby, for Merlin's sake! Congratulations on that, by the way and I am thankful that it has led me to your story.

I think I'll wind up now! This was a really nice read and I'll looking forward to finding some more free time so that I can get back to this soon! Great work :)

Author's Response: Hello!

Wow, thanks so much for such a lovely and thoughtful review! Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I really appreciate the time you've put into giving me such wonderful feedback.

There are aspects of this chapter I think I'll probably come back and edit, but I'm so glad you liked the things you've mentioned. I'm a little bit in love with most of these characters at this point so it's always lovely to hear that readers are enjoying them.

Writing the canon parents is really interesting. Katie, Oliver and Pansy weren't big enough parts in the books to have clear characteristics associated with them, so I can still have a bit of fun making up what they're like, but I definitely want them to believably be the same people they were in JK's work, so it's great to hear you thought that was successful.

And Jason! Yep, you're probably right, but Ollie's got a while left before she'll figure it out for herself. He's a lovely character to write anyway.

Thank you so much for such a wonderfully kind review! I'm really, really happy to hear that you're enjoying reading so far.

Much love,

Emma xx


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Review #24, by randomwriterOutside: Prison

27th September 2014:
Hi hi hi Kevin! Happy (belated) birthday :D Here's a small gift because I'm a generous soul (or so I'll say, for today) :p Doing a quick one because it's quite late and I have tons of work to do.

I know how much you hate the first person POV, and you might know how much I love it. I hope you've converted by now. It's so effective, and it's also a great way to establish your main character. Once again, you've done a great job of wielding this POV, and I hope you write more stories from the first person point of view.

Anyway, moving onto this. I think it's a great missing moment from the series. Obviously taking over the ministry is a huge deal, and you've handled it quite well. Your writing is, as usual, very clear and crisp and I love how well it flows. It's very easy to read and it goes smoothly. At no point did I feel like it was heavy or choppy. It reads well.

Your choice of Lucius Malfoy for the narrator was interesting. I've never actually come across one written from his POV before, so I applaud you for being bold enough to pick him. As for writing him, you've done a great job! The speech patters and the thoughts were so in character and even his emotions, really. Lucius had lost so much after falling from grace, Voldemort's eyes, and his reaction to that has been captured particularly well. The resentment in his tone, and the last couple of paragraphs, where he realises that in the grand scheme of things, they are all mere pawns, doing Voldemort's bidding, were written very well. I think they helped establish his character further. To add to this, the contempt he harboured for the other death eaters was a nice touch. It made his character more believable. Great job! You asked about Voldemort? I think his speech is perfect and there's this cold and arrogant feel around him that you've captured well. For me, Draco could have been slightly better established. For most part, you did well. I just thought that some subtle tweaks here and there could certainly add to what you've created. For example, I like that you've written about his reactions in a childlike fashion, that is appropriate for his age. How about adding to that? Like when he asks his father about Voldemort's return, initially I was wondering why he was so excited. Then when you added in that line about things being better like before it made sense. That's what matters to him. Maybe you could also add in a line about how Harry was going to go down or something there? I'm sure those thoughts were in Draco's mind. Or some detail about him smirking in the photo alongside the minister. Anyway, these are small touches. For most part, characterisation of all the characters was pretty well handled.

I did spot some typos:
There had been a time when the fear my word struck into their hearts was second only to that caused by the Dark Lord himself. It should read 'hearts', not 'heart's'.

Surrounded by bloodthirsty fools who had served the Dark Lord for far less time and far less effectively but now stood above him, the photographs mocked me. Above him? Shouldn't it say above me? This confused me slightly.

Nodding curtly, she sat primly in the chair next to mine, once again keeping Draco at a distance. I think you meant to say that she was keeping him close? This sentence reads as if she left a considerable distance between them.

These are only minor errors, of course. They detract nothing from how well-crafted this story is. Good job, Kevin. And seriously, do write in the first person POV some more! :)

Author's Response: Howdy Adi! Thank you so much! And even more so for taking time out of what sounds like some real craziness to do it.

First, I must put this myth to bed once and for all! I do NOT hate first-person! Just before HPFF I basically never wrote in first-person (though I've since remembered that Apogee was actually NOT the first time - I wrote an OF short story in college that was first-person). Anyway, all this rambling is to say that I actually do write in it quite a bit now! Just not for my longer stuff.

On to your splendid review! Thank you very much for leaving a review on this lonely story. I cranked it out under immense time pressure for a challenge that never ended up getting results because I think there were only two entries :p Thus the typos. It's a poor excuse, but thank you for pointing them out. The last one actually...UGH...just bad writing. The thought I meant to express was that Narcissa was keeping Draco constantly close to her but once again at a distance from Lucius...but I can see that as written it is wrong.

I'm really glad you thought Lucius and Voldemort were characterized well though. As for Draco...those are really good tips. I tend to have blinders about Draco (trying to ignore all things him for the most part) because I actually DO hate him.

What all this secondary set of rambling is meant to say is thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, detailed review on this lonely, rogue little story buried on my AP. I really appreciate the feedback and the gifting spirit behind it! You are awesome!


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Review #25, by randomwriterAvalanche: 1

26th September 2014:
Hello! I am FINALLY here for our swap, and I cannot tell you how sorry I am that it took me this long to get here. I knew that I needed to give this story, and this review some time, and I have just been ridiculously busy. I am so, so sorry.

Now onto your story. Woah. I am in a daze. The quality of the writing, combined with the complexity of the plot has left me speechless, and trust me, I almost always have something to say. I don't even know where to start, really.

I guess I'll go with what struck me hardest. For me, even when you step away from from the plot and the characters for a second and just look at this whole piece and what it conveys, it says a lot about war and morality. I'm not a complete stranger to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and your mention has made me re-evaluate the wizarding war using his philosophy. Of course, it isn't as easy as that, but don't be surprised if I write my own war time story inspired by this! (No promises though!) Anyway, I've strayed. What I originally meant to say was that I love your take on war, and I'm really impressed by the way you've manage to show the reader how it affects different people. Being able to see both the 'good' side and the 'bad' side from the POV of the same character makes it even more interesting and gives us a deeper insight into it. I also enjoyed how you've shown us that it's not all black and white.

Next, I want to take my metaphorical hat off to you for writing the opening part so well. Action sequences are so difficult to write, because there's always far too much going on and it can get a bit confusing at times. I thought you handled it extremely well. Your lines are so striking that they just drew me in and got me into the mood of this fic.

I want to go through this review without discussing characterisation at all, but I simply can't and I am afraid that I have far too much to say on the matter and will end up rambling. Sorry about that! James and Sirius ♥ were absolutely spot on. Brilliant characterisation there. I want to give you a huge hug for how well you've written them. They're my absolute favourites, and I love it when they've been characterised well. Yaxley was interesting. I've never read stories focusing on him and I thought you did a pretty good job there. As for Peter, boy. Where do I start? Okay, so Peter is one of those characters I will always blame, always hate and never forgive. Your interpretation of him may not be something I agree with, but I will say this with absolutely honesty, that it was the best chracterisation of him I've read yet. The best. I love his internal monologue, and the conflict that arises from his own thoughts. I found him a tad too noble and righteous for canon, but bah. This was too good. He was also a lot more forward than I would expect, some of these things would require a great deal of courage, but I won't complain. As I said, I don't agree with how you've written him at all levels, and I have some questions as to why he came back as one of Voldemort's most loyal followers after this if his intentions were so noble, and if indeed he felt guilt, but all this aside, I truly, truly enjoyed reading about him. His thoughts on war and the way he breaks down everything was so interesting and it made me almost consider that some aspects of this may certainly have been how it went down really. I felt a horde of emotions for him through the course of this, but in the end, when he realises what he has caused, it just broke me a little. Reading though this was difficult in terms of emotions, because you took me on such a ride (and I was acutely aware of how James and Lily might die at the end of it). I think ti takes great skill to write emotional transitions so well. You are very talented!

So, stellar characterisation, stand-out plot, what about the writing? I cannot fault you one bit. It was superb. Your word choices were so apt, the way you set the mood was perfect and the whole thing flowed so smoothly. Such things have a tendency to get heavy for the reader, but this piece didn't. Your writing complemented the story very well.

As for the dialogue, there are so many memorable quotes from this. If I were to quote things back, I would certainly run out of space here. However, the part where you called this a civil war, that one, it stood out for me. I thought that was very interesting.

Overall, great job! I'd certainly recommend this to anyone looking for a fic about Peter or the war. I really enjoyed the whole story, and I think it would be impossible to fault you. The only thing, as I mentioned is a conflict of opinions, and I can't say you're wrong or anything. Still, Peter's characterisation was amazing and fresh, and this whole story was incredibly unique. Keep up the good work. I should read more of your work sometime, because you're an excellent writer :) ♥

Adi

Author's Response: No worries! I'd rather wait on a big old review like this one than get something rushed and obligatory! And I get being busy, I do. So don't sweat it.

Considering The Art of War's focus on victory through avoiding direct conflict and the uses of deception, it's true, as a text it would probably be very applicable to the way Wizarding Wars work. I also envisioned that as a very stressful form of warfare (not that there's a low-stress form, but shadow wars would be additionally nerve-wracking) and that took its toll on everyone.

I have a good bit of practice in writing action sequences, so I'm glad to hear it's paid off. I found the essence is to just... keep it simple and rely otherwise on atmosphere. So thank you for your kind words, it's something I try especially hard to get Right (especially as an opening sequence).

James and Sirius were particular joys to write; I've not delved in the Marauder's era before, so they were complete unknowns to me but really stole the show. I admit, Yaxley was originally a non-specific OC Death Knight, but when I thought I'd tie it further into canon, he was a natural option and everything became sharper when I edited him in.

Peter - oddly I wouldn't see him as noble even in this story. Even his original intentions were in some ways very cowardly, because at no point does he address the fact that saving the lives of 'soldiers' is sacrificing the wellbeing of Muggles and Muggleborns. The ideology of the war never factors into his decision. So while he is assertive and makes active choices which lead to his downfall; while he acts with some physical courage, he is still morally cowardly even from the get-go. And as he went further down the path, more was that moral cowardice tested, and in the end he was found wanting. So while I wanted him to come to his decisions from a place which wasn't *just* weakness, I do think in this story he is weak and selfish even in the beginning. But besides, we do all have the differing opinions, and I can entirely see your point that he comes across as more heroic than he does in canon. I'd just envision him as being a lot more worn down by the time he shows up in canon, but I do suspect JK would have him as a bit of a weak-willed weasel in the past, too. And differing interpretations make the world of fanfic go around!

Anyway, thank you TREMENDOUSLY for your kind words, this has been a great review and I'm truly stoked by it. Cheers!


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