First off, that's an amazing banner!
I loved your depiction of Susan and I'm so glad she achieved her goals, with how hard she worked and how determined she was. The way you incorporated her experience in the war and showed how she's allowed it to impact her, was a brilliant touch!
I also liked the idea of a simulation trial (it was very suspenseful) as part of the process.
Oh my goodness! I was hoping that the silently moving dragon was a simulation that would test the applicant to see how they would react under pressure.
I'm glad that Susan was able to follow through on what she wanted to do. Especially after seeing how much time and thought she put into it.
Author's Response: It's great to hear that the story was exciting and that you liked the ending. Susan's success was critical for her, not just so that she could get the job, but so that she could prove herself. It was a lovely change to write something inspiring like this.
Thank you for reading and reviewing! :D
ahhh. no. you dont get to write something this good and then leave it. now i care about this character. get busy. :)
Author's Response: Haha, so you'd like more about Susan? It would make for an interesting story, and I wish I had the time to write it!
Thank you for enjoying this story! It means a lot that you came to care for the character within a couple thousand words. :D
This was great! Really enjoyed your character and how you fit all those requirements in!
Author's Response: Thank you very much! I'm glad that you enjoyed it! :D
First thing first I love your banner and I loved your Susan. She’s such an underappreciated character ( and I’m a huge lover of minor characters) and you made her so strong, while I have the idea most people have a more cowardly idea of her so kudos on that. I also liked the plot idea you had Susan trying to become a dragon keeper. Such an fascinating and original idea. I always have the idea that people only put Gryffindors as being able to do that job so nice to see a Hufflepuff finally having such a dangerous job. And congrats on being able to use all the prompts
Author's Response: *blushes* Thank you! She is underappreciated, both in the books and in fanfiction. One would think that, because of her aunt and her family's history with the Order, she would have taken a more prominent position in the final battle, but she wasn't even included in the battle of HBP. I'm glad to have been able to write someone like her!
My idea with her characterization was to write against the Hufflepuff stereotype. There's such a wide variety of Gryffindors and Slytherins, why can't it be the same for Hufflepuff? Her family history, as well as her own at Hogwarts, have given her a dark, bleak outlook on the world, and it's like she throws herself into a dangerous position on purpose, both for its isolation and its way of letting her prove herself.
Anyway, thank you again for this lovely review! It means a lot that you enjoyed the story!
I really enjoyed this story! You did a great job of working all of the prompts into it. Susan Bones is hardly mentioned in the books, and I like your interpretation of her. I'm also always interested to see different authors' interpretations of the wounds left behind by the cruciatus curse. I like that you use the scars to show her resilience.
I did catch one spelling error - New Zealand - but that is not a big deal. Great job overall!
Author's Response: Thank you! It's great that you enjoyed this story and thought that the prompts all fit in well. They were a challenge to include, but that was the fun of this - it's so far out of my realm to write this kind of story that I'm shocked that it turned out so well. :D
I agree that it's interesting to see how different authors interpret the same set of prompts. Many of us Puffs took the dragon training route, too, and yet the results are unique - it's extraordinary how that can happen!
Mistake fixed - thank you for pointing that out. My Dutch side is showing. XD
Here with your review!!
I really like this story! You do such a great job building the angst of the story. Especially when she enteres the room for her test. I felt so anxious for her.
I also really enjoy all the details that you provide about the dragons and all the task itself. I also really like the way you explain the use of dragons blood. It is really clever. You really have a way with words. The vocabulary is so well refined throughout the story.
I have never read a story about Susan before so this was quite a treat. Thank you so much for swaping with me! I look forward to reading more of your writing! =)
I am also going to add this to my favorites!
Author's Response: Thank you for coming by to review! A favourite, too! I wasn't expecting that, and it's wonderful to hear that you liked the story that much. :D
It's funny that, no matter how hard I try, I can't write a story without angst! Even when I start a happy story, it turns out to have some dark or painful twist. But I'm glad that it worked out for the better in this story!
It was tricky to fit in those prompts, particularly the uses for dragon's blood. I was worried maybe I'd forced it too much, breaking up the flow of the story, so it's a relief to hear that it fit in nicely.
Thank you again! I really appreciate hearing from you! :)
Hello there. I really liked this portrayal of Susan, especially her looks vs. the fierce person she was on the inside.
I really liked how you wrote of her scars and how speaking of it would bring back so many memories. :(
I LOVE how you incorporated the elements of the wand and how it was important to the interviewer that the wand would be of use with dragons. It never occured to me that some wands wouldn't be able to do it. Very creative.
She was very cunning and rather genius to outsmart the dragon rather than fight it. I'm sure she would've received extra points for that considering they are keepers, not slayers.
Awesome job, Violet. Congrats on being the Hufflepuff House chosen story.
Author's Response: Thank you, and congrats to you too, for having your story chosen for Slytherin! It's wonderful that you've come by to review the entries. :D
Writing Susan in that way, in a very non-Hufflepuff way, was a bit of a risk, as I wasn't sure how readers would react, but it's been great to see how much they like her. I really wanted to show the contrast between a person's appearance and their personalities because it's something I come across all the time, both in terms of people totally blowing one's first impressions out of the water, and also in how much some people judge others simply by appearances. It was good to be able to explore it in more detail than I normally do in my other stories. :)
Haha, is it awful to admit that I included the details of her wand without thinking much about it? At the time, I needed some way of making it fit without it sounding too forced. *hides* But looking back, my off-the-cuff decision does make sense. XD I don't think that Charms would work very well on dragons - they don't sound strong enough to be effective on a giant magical beast, whereas Transfiguration could come in useful for a larger variety of things. I'm glad, though, that something as small as that added creativity to the story. :D
You're right - tricking rather than attacking the dragon is what got Susan the job in the end. The candidate before her got injured, I assume, because he tried to attack, and of course, the dragon got the better of him. Susan uses her wits, but she also uses her heart - she doesn't want to hurt the dragon. She's too curious about it... and I think she sympathizes with it too.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing! ^_^
Hi Violet! Great job on your entry! I loved that you showed Susan trying to become a dragon keeper, and I thought she came off as being really resilient and strong in this chapter.
I really liked the description of her near the start of the chapter, with the contrast between her physical appearance and then the inner strength we see throughout the rest of the chapter. I also thought the moment where Dedalus sees her scars, and it brings up memories of the past for her, was particularly poignant.
Author's Response: Thank you, Penny! I'm really glad that you enjoyed this, particularly the portrayal of Susan. I wanted her to be a very strong character, assured of herself, but still wanting to prove to others that she, tiny and Hufflepuff, was still worth betting on. She's not like other characters I've written before, so it means that much more to hear that she turned out well. :D
I've only read a few entries, but of all of them, yours seems the most... story-like, if that makes sense? I've been reading sweeping stories with jumpy timelines, examinations of the champion's character in multiple scenes and special extended metaphors and all that. But this seems the most like a short story, with a linear plot and clear narrative, which was refreshing for me. I couldn't have applied the prompt to an idea so seemingly simple because a story isn't a story for me until I overthink it like whoa, but I'm really glad you did something like this for Susan (trying as hard as possible not to mix up Susans in my head, hehe).
It's not simple at all, though, which is what makes it actually spectacular. It's all a metaphor! There is no dragon! (I was going to say 'kudos for the incorporation of the dragon/blood uses/breeds, which again all seem simple/obvious on first glance but that isn't the case'... and I think I should say it anyway because the kudos are well-deserved). Your Susan (... Susan's Susan lol) is so beautiful, so strong, and the memory of Alecto Carrow and that awful year of Hogwarts (I really wish we'd had a glimpse into what that was like in canon) is threaded into who she is now, and it's just... again, beautiful. Her fight with her dragon also worked really well -- it's so hard to get action scenes to work, let alone with dragons, of all things, and the idea that this dragon is everything Susan went through wasn't spoon-fed to the reader. It's still there, though, just under the surface, and I love that you don't spell it out.
So basically: I thought this was lovely. It was a straightforward narrative, which was something of a cunning path to take with the challenge, I think, and it worked really nicely. No especially frilly frills, nothing that didn't need to be there -- this was just a well thought out, deceptively simple story, and another great read from you, as always :)
Author's Response: It figures that the one time I try to write a "normal" sort of story, everyone else does fancy stylistic things. But hey, I like to be different, and writing this way actually proved to be more of a challenge. God forbid I should write a linear plot with more metaphors than a sentence can hold, but I agree that this style better suits Susan (not me-Susan but Susan Bones) as a Hufflepuff. She's practical and realistic, and while she's got the bitterness many of my characters do, she expresses it in her own way, which made her interesting to write.
Haha, it's the simple story that is anything but - I hadn't noticed that, but now that you mention those things... *brain explodes* Talk about overthinking a story. I wish I'd been able to go into more detail about the Carrows' regime and its effect on Susan - there is a whole novel there waiting to be written - but I'm really glad to hear that just those brief glimpses were enough to give Susan more depth, revealing the roots of her strength and determination. It's equally wonderful to hear that the action scene was effective. They are difficult to write, I agree! I had this idea of making Susan see Alecto's face and hear her voice in the dragon's as a way to strike more terror into her, but that probably would have been overdoing things. It's still there between the lines because it was such a strong idea in my mind as I wrote this, and I'm glad that it still showed through somehow. :)
Thank you so much for this, Gubby! Your reviews are accompanied by an angelic choir in my head, they're that amazing to receive. And this one, for a story that I really didn't have much confidence in (confidence isn't even the right word - I just didn't have enough time to properly think everything through), has brought up the self-esteem and made me look at this story with a much kinder pair of eyes.
Anything I read from you is always of a certain high quality, and this is no exception. (Also: beautiful banner!) I really, really enjoyed this - I haven't gone through the Hufflepuff submissions yet, but I thought the plot was really interesting and quite original, especially with your take on it. I thought it was great that you focused on the interview, rather than her being on the job.
I didn't really spot anything that needs changing, but:
- "Now, please tell me some practical uses of dragon’s blood."
I thought that was really quite abrupt. I think I personally would have preferred maybe an extra sentence just before to have the flow of transition between walking in the room and starting the interview/interrogation.
- "with shaking hand" Should be either with a shaking hand, or with shaking hands
- The "Dormius Profundis!" spell was a little intriguing to me - what exactly does it do? It felt like a spell that solved all her problems, and if it manages to make the dragon collapse, why would she even consider using the conjunctivitus curse before?
Honestly though, other than that this was a really well-written piece. Characterisation wise, I loved your Susan - she's strong and intelligent even if she doesn't look it, and all her actions and dialogue in this gave me such a good sense of her character. I LOVED the plot! I absolutely loved that surprise test at the end - it seems perfectly plausible and I really liked how Susan got through that (the eggs and using "nature's maternal intuition" was so clever!). I loved her realisation of how no attack was necessary and that she just needed to get to the door!
Gah, everything you write tells a wonderful story and I really enjoyed this! You incorporated in all the plots really well. Amazing writing! :)
Author's Response: *blushes* Thank you very much! I really appreciate that you took the time to check this story over for me, and to also hear compliments from you makes this review even sweeter to the ear. ^_^
It's funny because, now that I think back, I never considered having her already on the job - the idea was always for an interview. Maybe I just have them on the brain because a lot of friends are working through that process, but now that you've mentioned it, this makes the story a little more unique, which is always a lovely thing to discover. Putting Susan through an interview also made it easier to see the hurdles she had to leap. The first impressions the interviewers have of Susan aren't particularly favourable, so she had more to prove. And that was what I wanted the focus of the story to be - the way she was forced to prove her worth, not only to them, but perhaps more importantly, to herself.
I've made the changes you pointed out - thank you for those! I did mean for the question to sound abrupt so that it would catch Susan off-guard and make the interview seem more challenging, but I added a little more narration there to clear things up. :) As for that spell, I made it up because there's no actual sleeping spell incantation in the books. In Latin it literally means "profound sleep", and while it probably doesn't exist, it helped me make use of all the prompts. XD
It's fabulous to hear that you enjoyed this story! Thank you again for your help. :D
I've been slowly reading through the task one entries and was really tickled by this one shot. It really was lovely. I loved the idea of a job interview, and how mental of a process it was -- I suppose you have to be tough minded to face fire breathing dragons every day!! I loved that for the most part, Susan's mentality was very much in the here and now... except for a small passage about the Carrows (which I felt was brilliantly executed and well placed within the context of this one shot) susan was very focused on the task at hand. I was very intrigued as her though process unfolded with the chinese fireball and so, so glad when she made it to the door. And, Charlie Weasley!!! Gah, I love him... I'd ship he and susan any day of the week. I'm actually surprised that I haven't seen him in more of the task entries.
All in all, this was a fabulous little one-shot!! Good luck to Hufflepuff house!
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Melissa! I'm glad that readers are being so kind to this story - it's certainly not the kind of story that I'm used to writing these days, and I was having a lot of trouble convincing myself that it was any good.
Haha, it would be quite a job to work with dragons, probably like working in the service industry. :P It's not a very Hufflepuff-like job, but Susan is resilient, and she really wants to prove herself, not to anyone else so much as to herself - she's disappointed by her behaviour during the war, believing that she should have done more, and taking on this job falls somewhere between punishment and ambition.
Yay! I'm glad that you would ship Susan and Charlie too. It would be fun to expand on that relationship to see where it could go. :D He's a wonderful character to write - I haven't done so in ages, though.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! It always means a lot to hear from you. ^_^