First of all I love Eloise Midgeon. The first time I read her I didn't remember her in the slightest and thought she was an OC.
I hate that she was bullied in such a way. I hate that teenagers do it so frequently (and bizarrely adults who should know better seem to do it too). All of this hateful speech is rich coming from pug-faced Pansy. I think that Pansy is lashing out because of Draco makes more sense but I hardly think that justifies her actions or her hateful words.
Half way through the chapter I shouted “I SHIP IT” and my dogs had a fight from being startled. I’m not sorry. I SHIP IT SO MUCH.
Maybe now she will build some self confidence! She really, really needs it. I guess everyone can’t be full of confidence though. Flaws like that make characters all the more interesting.
Oh, my. I ADORE this story! Absolutely adore it! I am almost crying right now from reading this and how sweet and sad and adorable it is.
This is one of those times when I'm so overwhelmed by reading something that I hardly know what to say, but I will do my best.
I think the heart of the matter, and the reason that I am nearly lost for words, is how *real* this is. There are so many people who beat themselves up all the time about stupid things or past mistakes. Stories that touch on this theme are often cathartic, at least for me, and this was definitely done well enough to fit that description!
You know what I just remembered? At some point you said you don't like writing fluff. Well, this is fluffy, I'd say, and if this is your writing in your least favorite genre, HOLY BUCKETS, girl, you can write ANYTHING!
Ahem, sorry. Got a bit distracted there. I want to mention the dialogue in this because it's pretty understated, so I think it's easy to overlook, but it's really well done. It all seems so natural. Even though Eloise is a bit awkward at times, it isn't awkward to read - it sounds like a person feeling nervous/shy really might sound. Well done on that!
Justin: What a catch! He is so sweet!
You always throw in the coolest details. She's a chess champion? HOW did you think of that?? It added some texture to her character, and it was so cute that she and Justin played Chess together.
I absolutely LOVE when Justin tells her she's beautiful, and I thought the kiss was very sweetly done. Also, Eloise's "that's nice of you but..." response is so spot on. But then it is SO HAPPY because she feels her own self-worth and sees herself more clearly and aw I JUST LOVE IT! YOU GO, ELOISE!
I try to leave something in the way of CC in most reviews... I suppose the writing here isn't quite as "tight" as I'm used to seeing from you now. Nothing major, just a few typos here and there. That's all I got :P
Author's Response: Hello my dear Challenge Cheerleader!
Yay! This is one of my absolute favorites, so I'm thrilled that you chose to stop by!
I'm ecstatic that you felt this was somewhat cathartic for you. Bullying is such a tough issue to write about and so is self esteem, and I was so worried that this would come across contrived or melodramatic. I'm glad that it didn't.
I actually detest reading/writing fluff because I find it so unrealistic. In this case, I tried to temper the fluff with a bit of the real life issues.
Oh good! Dialogue is always my biggest struggle. I've been told several times that my characters sound "too formal", so I'm glad the dialogue worked here.
He is adorable, isn't he?
I have no idea, but it's sort of a headcannon of mine. I actually wrote 4 chapters for the House Cup collab on Eloise and her chess championship. :D
I'm glad you get it. A few people knocked my choice of having Justin's compliments help her see her worth because women shouldn't base their worth on men. But that wasn't the point I was trying to make. It's more that sometimes hearing something nice about yourself helps you to see your own inner beauty. In this case, it's just a little nudge from Justin that pulls her out of a funk.
I appreciate the CC. You're definitely correct. As I've started writing more, my writing has certainly gotten a bit cleaner. Once I've completed my full 100 challenges, I will be going back through them and cleaning everything up.
Thank you again for all of the kind comments and the cheer!
Hi again! Penny here for review 3/3 of our swap!
So, apparently I've decided to read all the fluff pieces by you that I can find. It's my theme for the day! :D
I saw this and remembered that someone had actually suggested this story a while ago, and I had been really intrigued by the concept. It's actually been on my reading list, but I didn't realize it was one of your stories!
Oh my gosh. This makes me really feel for Eloise. I didn't really notice her in the books, but I see on the wiki page that she was almost never mentioned unless it was as the butt of a joke. But the bullying she's faced is just awful, and you really bring that to light. What a terrible way to have to live, avoiding everyone like that. That just breaks my heart.
Going to accidentally jinx off your nose again?
--I remember that! Only because whenever it was suggested to me I looked up Eloise Midgen. But I never really thought until now how completely horrifying an experience that would be, whether or not they got your nose back on right!
Man, you nailed Pansy. Her lines are perfect. And perfectly awful--honestly she's just the worst. But you really write her well.
YEAH! Call her OUT on that crap, Justin! When people write Hufflepuffs going into knight-in-shining-armor mode my heart just goes ker-thunk. I have a weakness for Hufflepuff boys, but they so rarely are written as the heroes of the story. But when they are... *fans self, bats eyelashes*
Oh, when he gives her that compliment on her chess-playing! My heart!
I'm so happy that she has one thing that she knows she's good at, something she can draw a tiny bit of confidence from.
Ohhh, that's awful! I totally am with Justin in that moment--it's so horrifying that that's what she thinks about herself. Bullying is just so scarring.
And Justin! Awww! I totally understand why he has trouble believing him at first, after what she's suffered, but he is just so sweet! I'm so glad that she found such a kind person. And I'm so happy that he worked up the courage to talk to her, and that he didn't just try to fill his dance card, so to speak, on Valentine's day, but was willing to be dateless in hopes of having a chance with Eloise.
I LOVE the idea of Eloise beating Ron at chess! Especially since he's always the one in the books making fun of her (Ron was always great comic relief, but Luna nailed it when she said, "He says very funny things sometimes, doesn't he?... But he can be a bit unkind.") He more than deserves it, and I would just love to see that go down. And to see Eloise kind of shyly smiling over her triumph while Ron just sits there, agog.
AND THAT KISS! YESSS!
(also, the second kiss! YESSS!)
I love how it ended with her looking in the mirror and seeing herself in a different way. She really only needed someone to truly be kind to her and to tell her she was worth something. Just, like, once. On the one hand, that's so tragic, that that's all it would have taken (well, maybe that, and to feel like someone could really want her). But on the other hand, it's so heartwarming and encouraging, because after all these years she's finally getting there. And it's totally reasonable, too! People's acne clears. An asymmetrical face can be more interesting and attractive than a symmetrical one. I'm sure that people once made fun of her in part because she was unattractive for a while (but more because she was awkward and too afraid to stand up for herself). Most of us had those "ugly duckling" phases. That's just part of growing up. But we also grow out of it. It's perfectly believable that Eloise would have been quite pretty, but the other girls would have only made fun of her more, and she simply wouldn't have known.
But I love so much that, in the end, she begins to be happy with herself, and to be happy in general. That makes me so happy! Yay for overcoming the bullies!
Yay for Eloise/Justin! Justin/Eloise forever!
CC: It's all tiny, unimportant things--commas and such.
Flush crept up her neck
--it seems like it should be "A flush crept..."
“Back off Parkinson before I make you regret everything you said.”
--“Back off, Parkinson, before I make you regret everything you said.”
--this family's name name is spelled "Bulstrode"
He studied her for a moment noticing how she refused to look at him.
--He studied her for a moment, noticing how she refused to look at him.
Most of the boys in this school seem to think so anyways.
--I think there should be a comma before "anyways".
Justin held Eloise in his arms and said “I hope your...
--there should be a comma after "said"
Her horrible acne had long ago cleared leaving flawless porcelain skin. Her nose was slightly off center, but it made her face look a bit more exotic and her bright green eyes shone with the happiness that she had long ago forgotten.
--there are a couple of commas missing: one before "leaving" and one after "exotic"
With that she turned off the lights and went to bed.
--there ought to be a comma after "that"
This piece is just SUCH cuteness. I love your unusual pairings! You always do such a great job with them. My heart is still all warm and fuzzy. I ship Justin/Eloise so hard! :D
Thanks, as always, for the swap!
Author's Response: Hey Penny!
Wow! Thank you for such a detailed review! I'm always amazed by how much you put into them.
I always felt really sorry for/ and sort of related to Eloise. I think her situation is far more extreme than anything I ever personally went through, but I can't help really sympathizing with her regardless.
I have a love/hate thing with Pansy. I've actually written her in several different stories and I find that I write her differently each time.
Justin seems like a nice enough guy in cannon, particularly once we get past second year. I always imagined that since Hufflepuffs are loyal, kind people, they'd have a very low tolerance for bullying. I figured it would be in his nature to stand up for Eloise.
Eloise is definitely not just a mark on his dance card.
And yes! I'm so glad you liked her beating Ron. You are right in that he bullies her quite a bit, so I felt like it was really satisfying to write a triumph for her.
In my experience, girls can be quite vicious towards other girls...particularly when they see them as a threat. I sort of always imagined Pansy bullying Eloise out of jealousy and spite more than anything.
I think with encouragement and love, Eloise will grow into a much more confident person. I think the inner beauty was always there, she just needed someone to help her see it.
And thanks as always for all of the CC. I will definitely go through and fix it.
Awe, this was very sweet. Pansy was terrible. I'm so glad Draco was cheating on her. LOL!
So many have a low self-esteem, its such a shame that they cannot see how precious they are.
Justin seems awesome. I love his character. And I love his confession.
I like how you gave her something to excel at (chess) and how you incorporated Ron as well. He would brag of his skills, wouldn't he? Haha.
Great job on this little one-shot.
Author's Response: Hi Dark Whisper,
This was one of the very first things that I wrote after joining the forums. It was for the Valentine's Challenge (2015), so I thought I'd give something semi-fluffy a shot. This is by no means my strongest genre, so it was a bit of a struggle.
I agree that too many people have issues with self esteem. I really wanted Eloise to be easy to relate to in that regards. I think by the end, she is able to see a bit more of her own worth though.
Justin always seemed like a nice guy to me in the books. I know he had a moment where he disagreed with Harry, but after that he came around. I thought he might be the right person to start building Eloise up.
I definitely felt like Eloise being a chess champ fit the bill. She strikes me as being quite clever and a bit reserved.
I think Ron would most definitely be a bit of a braggard, where as a shy Eloise might not mention it at all.
I'm happy that you enjoyed this little foray into fluff.
Thank you so much for stopping by to read!
Oh, I really loved this story! It was so nice and refreshing to read about a sincerely NICE character! I was so please with Justin and what he did, and the fact that he really likes Eloise and worked so hard to get her to see that made me smile.
I can totally feel Eloise's pain here. Sometimes it can be so hard to believe that others can see beauty in you, either because bullies convince you otherwise, or you convince yourself. I'm so glad that someone convinced her to see beyond that.
I love that she was good at chess! It was so unexpected, but brilliant! And it was fun to see two people starting off on a relationship in a realistic way - by doing something fun and getting to know each other better.
You have a great way with words. The writing really painted a picture in my head of everything that was happening. I felt the emotions of each character - I was sad and mad when Eloise was being picked on, I felt her fear that this might be too good to be true, and then her elation when she realized it really was real! And I loved Justin's dogged determination.
Thank you for a great story. I like your writing a lot and as soon as school is out and I have a bit more time, I will be back for more.
Author's Response: Hey there!
I'm glad you enjoyed this story. Fluff is not my strongest suit, so this was a bit of a departure from the normal for me.
I think pretty much everyone has felt how Eloise does in this at least a time or two. I just wanted her to be understandable and someone most people could relate with.
I don't know why, but I've always imagined her as being a brilliant chess player.
I'm so glad the emotions came through. I was most anxious about conveying them properly. The reason I have a hard time with fluff is because usually the emotions come across as fake or overly dramatic, so I tried to work really hard to keep them real.
Thank you so much for stopping by to check this out!
I've been wanting to read this one for such a long time! Eloise was always one of those characters that I felt bad for, because every time her name came up, it was because something terrible had happened...in a very typical teenager sense.
This is just adorable. On so many levels! It's a moment where you're reminded that despite Harry's experience at school, everyone else was mostly dealing with your typical teenage problems.
I love the development of Eloise, and her love of Chess, her fear of being bullied, and her nervousness around a cute boy. :D You really did a good job rounding her out as a character!
And Justin - sometimes he's portrayed as such a bad guy because of what he says about Harry in the books, but I like to believe he's a better guy than that. I mean, the stuff he says is in the second books, I think by the time he hit sixth year he was a much more decent fellow.
Now, Justin/Eloise is a new headcannon. Thank you for that! :D
Love your writing Kaitlin!!
Author's Response: Hey Lizzie,
I'm so glad you decided to read this one! Eloise is one of my favorite characters and I've always felt bad for her as well.
You are absolutely right that Eloise's story is a good reminder that not everyone is being dragged through insanity by the war quite yet.
I'm happy to hear that you thought the characterization worked well. It was fun trying to imagine who she would be.
What Justin says to Harry is a moment of fear when he's a young boy. I think it's safe to assume that he grows as a person based on his later actions.
Oh! A new headcannon! I'm excited about that.
Thanks for stopping by to read!
[Here for the Gryffie CTF round 3 *jail break*]
I can say that I feel for Eloise because I've been picked on before (even if for different reasons.) It's a bad feeling of being the butt of everyone's teasing.
It also angers me when those, like Pansy, have the audacity to talk of one's appearance.
It's people like her, that'd I'd go and destroy if I even had the power to.
But anyways, again, reading about Eloise is like reading about myself. Just like her, picked on and are afraid to fend for themselves, so they remain silent.
The type of bullying is scarring. I hate to know many generations of kids like her and I will go through it, and there's no ending cycle to it...
Aw! I'm so happy Justin stood up for her! Thank goodness!
Pansy got exactly what she deserved! Even though Justin helped Eloise, the words of the bully still wounds her.
*Reads the end*
Aww! So sweet! Thanks to Justin for showing her that one she does need to stand up for herself, otherwise, she'll continued to be pick on, no matter how much she does or do not stick out.
And for showing Eloise that she's beautiful regardless what she looks like on the outside.
I have to say before I go that I really liked this. I mean, it's really different from what I read. I always enjoy a good mystery, fantasy, adventure fic, because, but reading this makes me not just open my mind but... it stops me from squaring things I don't like out.
A great fic to read! Thanks so much for writing this!
Author's Response: Hi Alishya,
Being picked on is definitely a terrible feeling that I think most people go through once or twice in their life. In poor Eloise's case, it seems to be more of a chronic issue than a one time deal.
Justin does stick up for Eloise and I like to think that it helps her build a bit of confidence. I think really Eloise just needs someone who understands her and can help her along. I thought Justin would work well for that.
I'm glad you decided to take a chance on this. I honestly prefer to write dark, horror, mystery, and angst. This is literally the only fluffy type story I have in my collection, but it was for a Valentine's Day Challenge, so I wanted to give something happy a shot!
Thank you for reading and for leaving me such a nice review!
Aww, this was so sweet and heartwarming to read! Neither of these characters get explored much in the original HP series, but I think you did a wonderful job of both of them during this. Justin, in the original books, seems to be quite a nice person, but lacking in real depth of character. Here you created a character who is sweet, caring, loyal... you did it so well. ANd Eloise's character is great as well. I love how she still views herself as how she used to be before Justin points it out to her that she is beautiful. That really helps to create the fluffy mood and makes me squeak in happiness a bit towards the end. Aww, it's just all so adorable! Characterisation is great all the way through - well done!
This was also a lovely idea, plot-wise - I always like to see people exploring characters that we don't hear much from in the original books. I love to read a bit of fluff occasionally, and i think you got it spot-on. I haven't ever read a story with Eloise Midgen in it, I don't think, and it was a really interesting and endearing story to read. Her development from being the girl who sits at the end of the table, removed from everyone else, to the girl who seems to radiate happiness by the end is so lovely to read. I think you did the slow transformation very well, having her want to believe Justin's words in the common room to start with, even if she can't quite bring herself to to begin with. Then, as she gets more comfortable with him, she begins to see that maybe he is right, and she's not ugly, or a loser, and is worth loving and befriending. The plot was original and flowed very well, and it was a treat to read from start to finish. Well done!
Author's Response: Hey there!
You are absolutely correct. Both of these characters are pretty obscure, which is what makes them so much fun to write!
I'm glad that the fluffiness made you squeak with happiness. This was my very first ever attempt at writing fluff. I usually go a much darker route, but since it was for Valentine's Day I wanted to give happily ever after a shot.
I've never read or seen anything with Eloise as a main character either. I'm not really sure what even sparked this idea, but for some reason once I got the prompt it just popped into my head.
Thank you so much for picking this story and for reviewing! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it!
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 ♥
Author's Response: Hi Adi,
I totally get the need to read something a bit lighter. I actually fall into similar habits with reading and writing mostly angsty stuff. This piece here is literally the only really fluffy type story I've ever written.
I know that Justin and Eloise stories are rare and their ship is non-existent, but there was just something that really made me want to write about Eloise. I really hated that in the series she was only ever known as a joke because of her acne.
The self esteem issue was really important to me because as you said, so many women struggle with their image. Because Eloise has been so terribly bullied she is unable to see any worth in herself and I felt like that's something I witnessed in a lot of my friends growing up.
As for Justin, I've never read anything about him either, but in my mind I just imagine him being a nice person. Maybe because my best friend is named Justin? Either way, I figured he's a Hufflepuff for a reason, so I wanted to show him being what Eloise needed.
The plot was interesting for me. It was hared to try and keep it light...and it definitely swerves into the angsty stuff in the beginning, but overall I wanted it to be happy.
I appreciate your cc on the dialogue. Once I get my next short-story for The Trope Challenge finished, I plan to go through all of my existing work and edit, tweak, and adjust based on some of the suggestions I've received.
Thank you so much for such a lovely, detailed review! I always look forward to getting reviews from you! Thanks for being such an awesome teammate!
Hello! Getting around to your review after getting super sidetracked and busy yesterday and today.
I've never seen Eloise as a main character at all and my love for minor characters is no secret, so I'm really, really excited to read this.
This is quickly becoming my headcanon for Eloise--trying as hard as she can to make herself invisible. Pansy was never a very nice person, but in this story she is just horrible. I always dislike those that make fun of other people's supposed flaws. I was always a little uncomfortable with Eloise never being mentioned in canon other than to harp on her acne. It all seems very unfair, especially since, as she says, she doesn't really bother anyone else.
Justin coming to her rescue was pretty awesome. I know what he said wasn't nice either, but Pansy honestly deserved it and it's really difficult to feel bad for her. I know that I would have done the same as him without question. But then, I'm not the paradigm of virtue by any means.
I'm so happy that this turned out to be a happy fic with a nice ending for Eloise. She seems to have enough self-esteem issues without Justin playing some cruel joke on her. That would have been a very bleak ending if he took it all back and went to go laugh at her with his friends or something. And, as a person who likes unhappy endings, I don't think that even I would be able to stomach that one.
This packed a whole lot into few words. Very good depiction of both main characters and such a fresh take on self-esteem and self image. I'm continually impressed by your one-shots. Very awesome job on this one. You're a really talented writer, you know. Thank you for the swap!
Author's Response: Hi there,
Thank you so much for such a lovely, long review!
I'm glad you were excited to read about Eloise. I think we're in agreeance that she got treated quite badly in the books. I hated that all we ever knew about her was that she had terrible acne and an off center nose. Those descriptions always caused me to imagine a nice, shy girl who is horribly bullied.
I've always imagined Justin just sort of being a nice, friendly person. I just imagine him being exactly what a person like Eloise needs. He has her back when Pansy is rude, but he also is just there to sit with her and chill.
This had to be a happy ending! It was written for Valentine's Day. I agree with what you said about the idea of a joke being a a bit too bleak.
Thank you so much for your compliments. Your words really mean a lot.
I saw you wrote a story about students in my house, so I decided to have a peek. That was so sweet of Justin to stand up for her like that. That's when I take great pride in my house! That was so sweet of Justin, and it was adorable that it turned out that they both had a crush on each other.
I loved the part at the end where Eloise realizes that her acne is actually long gone; contrary to what Pansy was saying. So sweet!
Author's Response: Hello Helga!
Thank you so much for stopping by to leave me a review! I'm glad you liked my story about Eloise and Justin. Of course since the are Hufflepuffs, they are naturally kind, friendly people.
The ending was so important to me. I really wanted Eloise to see her beauty, not just on the outside, but on the inside too!
Thank you again for reading and reviewing!
That was so incredibly sweet!
I'm such a sucker for cute, romantic, one-shots and this one definitely filled me up with all the mushy feels I love. I thought you did such a great job at portraying Eloise and Justin. Eloise being bullied and struggling with not being conventionally attractive felt very real to me. It's something that a lot of girls deal with and it's not a great feeling so I'm really glad that you showed that feeling like that can be overcome! It was important for Eloise to not only be told that she's beautiful but for her to feel that way too.
And I thought she definitely did by the end of the story. Your story was fluffy but definitely not overly so because it felt like something that could and does happen to quite a few people. Being bullied is a huge issue so it's not farfetched at all that Pansy would bully Eloise and that Justin would step in for her. Speaking of Pansy though, I'm glad that Justin managed to step in and show her that she was just being a hypocrite.
Oh, Justin. I really did like him! We don't know much about him, but I can definitely see why he's a Hufflepuff. He's so loyal and kind and caring! I'm glad that he pushed on to try and talk to Eloise even though she was very shy. Their character dynamic was lovely. They're similar to one another, but also different. Eloise is hesitant and Justin pushes her to realize her potential. I think that's what makes them so great for one another and why I could see them being together!
The flow of this story was wonderful. Everything seemed to build on itself. You set the first scene up well, making Eloise's struggles clear and introducing Justin. I felt very sympathetic towards Eloise and that was good because I think that might have been the point. I could see that she wasn't weak though, even if others thought she might be. She was just trying to avoid trouble but I could also see where Justin was coming from. I'm really glad that he was able to get through to her.
You could tell that she was still a little doubtful but she was also hopeful and that was important. It's not easy for someone who has been bullied and has had one mindset for so many years to suddenly change their opinion because of something one person says but I liked that she started to trust him and see things from his perspective. It showed hope and that was amazing!
This was just a lovely, adorable story. I'm really glad that I got to read it. You're a great writer and I love your work. ^.^
Author's Response: Hi Marissa!
Gosh, you leave such lovely, detailed reviews. I really appreciate that!
Your comments on this story make me so happy. I really wanted Eloise to be relatable to most women (or I guess just people in general) because really who hasn't been bullied at one point or another? The reason I picked Eloise is because in the HP series all we ever learn of her is that she has horrible acne and a crooked nose which she accidentally jinxed off...so I just tried to create my story around those details.
Justin always struck me as a nice, likable sort of guy, so I thought he would be a good match for Eloise. I like how he sort of brings her out of her shell.
As for her transformation, Justin's kinds word definitely help her to realize that she isn't what Pansy says she is. I like to think it starts a journey inside of her to truly realize who she is.
Thank you again for your review!
I have never read an Eloise Midgen story before, so I'm quite excited to read this, especially knowing that it's a valentines day story.
Poor Eloise, she must have such a low self-esteem now.I wish that she didn't feel the need to use a curse to get rid of her acne, I figured that there would be some potion or spell that would have helped her before she would have had to resort to that method. :(
Pansy is such a meanie!! I can't say the word I really want to say, but we can imagine. She's such a one of those words! I would have defended you Eloise! I'm so glad that Justin did defend her though! Hahaha Draco was snogging Millicent! Haha in your face Pansy! How does that feel?
I am so thankful for Justin being there! I'm so glad that he's realised her discomfort at being around people and how shy she is, and how he's willing to still try to help her with it. He's a good man!
Wow! I love the small piece of information about her and her father being so good at chess! Such a lovely piece of knowledge. :D
Aw Justin!! *blushes at the words he said to Eloise* I'm so glad that he said that! And I hope that he's telling the truth because Eloise needed to hear that. I hope that it makes her get more courage to stand up to people and give her the confidence boost she needs!
AH HE KISSED HER AND I'M SO HAPPY AND AHH!!! YES!!!
I loved the ending to this, how she got her happy ending and was able to finally see how beautiful she really was!
Author's Response: Hello alicia and anne!
I haven't read any Eloise Midgen stories either, which made her an absolute to write! The only thing I remember about her from the series was her accidentally cursing off her nose because she was trying to get rid of acne. I agree that you would think there would be some type of potion available to help her, but according to the series she got desperate and tried to handle it on her own.
Pansy is most definitely the word that you implied without saying. :) I loved the idea of Draco being kind of a playboy and Pansy getting the worst of it since she's so malicious.
Justin is another character who I find to be underused, so I thought he would be perfect for this one. He is a good man...sweet, kind, patient, etc. Now if only I could find a real life Justin. LOL
Eloise is totally a wizard chess pro. After all the years of practicing with her father, she is by far the best in the school!
The ending of this was really about Eloise's own transformation. Justin helps her to it, but she has to take a really hard look at how she perceives herself and change.
Once again, thank you for your lovely reviews! They always brighten my day. :)
Here for our review swap! Aww, this was so incredibly sweet, I'm just bursting with mushy goodness over it. I really love missing moment stories from the books - especially with secondary characters and I'm now going to be shipping Eloise/Justin. Will you be writing a sequel to this? I can see lots of scenarios with this cute Hufflepuff couple in them.
One thing that really stood out was the way you accurately portrayed the angst of a teenage girl. I'm not sure there is a girl in the developed world that sees herself for how amazing and beautiful she really is - we are all "Eloise" deep down. I could feel all of her anguish and self-hate. I think my favorite part was that Eloise realized that she was special because of her own talents in chess, not because a boy suddenly took interest (although that helped a bit - haha).
You got Pansy's horrible bitterness spot on here. Ugh - I wanted to punch her and I'm so glad Justin gave her what she had coming.
Your editing was nearly flawless and I only caught one sentence that sounded a tiny bit off - here:
When I was a child, he would sit at the kitchen table with me and we would play game after.
I'm not sure if you meant "game after game" or if it is a dialect that I'm not familiar with. If so, I'm sorry for mentioning. Either way, it's not a big deal.
Thanks so much for doing a review swap - I really loved reading this!
Author's Response: Hey Beth,
Thanks so much for swapping with me!
I'm so happy that you enjoyed the story. Fluff is not my normal genre of choice, so I was a bit nervous writing this one.
I probably will leave this as a one-shot because I'm not sure I could do justice to this pairing if it were any longer.
I'm glad that the angst came off well. Self-perception in young women is a really important issue to me, so I really wanted to show that it was her own ideas of herself that were holding her down. As you said, most women struggle with seeing their own beauty, so I thought she was the perfect candidate to represent that.
Pansy is remarkably bitter in this, but not without reason. She seems to me to be the type of person who lashes out when injured. In this case, Draco cheating on her with Millicent is what causes this feeling in her.
The sentence you pointed out was indeed a typo and will be fixed on edit. Thanks for catching that. :)
Again, thanks for the swap!
FireOpalQueen reporting for your requested review! : P
Aaaw, what a sweet little story! It was definitely a worthwhile read, and made me feel for a minor character who was treated a bit insensibly by Canon. : )
Two minor formatting/grammar things; there are huge empty gaps around your line break-thingy that look a bit weird? And also when Eloise talks about playing chess with her dad you wrote ‘we would play game after.’ instead of ‘game after game.’
I think you stay firmly on the side of fluffy-but-not-syrupy, except for possibly the line ‘Her horrible acne had long ago cleared leaving flawless porcelain skin.’ It is a little too perfect, maybe – you might get a stronger statement if she still has some acne or at least some scars left, but that no one is perfect and that she could see past it for the first time or something like that. : )
Also I’m not sure you want to send the message that you can get over being bullied just by standing up for yourself? Especially as you handle the issue so well except for a few things like having Justin say ‘You know, you only get bullied because you don’t stand up for yourself. They all do it because you make yourself an easy target.’ Eloise standing up for herself with her newfound self-assurance will probably be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that the bullying was her own fault because she made herself an easy target, you know?
Other than those minor things, the story flows really well, and the chess thing was so sweet (without being syrupy!). Good on Justin for being brave enough to approach and stand up for the girl he has a crush on! And good on Eloise for being a chess prodigy, haha!
Lastly, I want to tell you that I fell absolutely in love with the line ‘Eloise shook her head as if she had just walked through cobwebs.’ – so poetic and at the same time it paints a really vivid picture! : )
Author's Response: Hi FireOpalQueen,
Thanks for taking the time out to review this story.
Ahh...grammar issues. I try to weed those all out when I submit the chapter, but obviously a few have escaped me. Thank you for pointing them out. I will go through and fix them both.
I like your suggestion about her skin. You're right. I don't want it to be perfect. I want her to be human.
As for the bullying, I definitely am not saying that the bullying is her fault. Clearly, she is a victim and I think that shows. What I was trying to convey was that having some confidence and being a bit more assertive could help. I will give it a good hard re-read and see if there is any way for me to rephrase that.
I'm glad you enjoyed the story. That line about the cobwebs was one of my favorites too. :)
Hello! I wasn't sure if you had a particular story you wanted me to review so I picked the first one that caught my eye.
Eloise is definitely a sweet and shy person. I think that is what makes her likable and very relatable. I can definitely connect to her in some ways like trying to avoid attention.
I''m really glad Justin came and stopped Pansy from bullying Eloise any further just because if Pansy kept going on with her mean comments I would have grown to absolutely hate her. Right now, I don't agree with what Pansy is doing but I also feel sorry for her since that's how she deals with hurt.
Ah, Eloise is a chess champion! And Justin and her even play a couple games. I'm actually quite horrible at chess but I think it is a unique quality you gave her.
When she told Justin how she saw herself I felt quite sad. I hate that she only sees the bad in herself but I think everyone tends to do that. Also, just like her, I would have thought that it was a joke when Justin told her he liked her. But it wasn't a joke, and they can live happily ever after, yay!
My favorite scene was hands down the last one. It's a hopeful ending with her finally seeing herself in the mirror and thinking 'hey, I'm not that bad' which, in my opinion, everyone has to realize.
Anyway, great story! I had a lovely time reading it. The storyline was sweet and the characters are well developed even with so few words! I'm glad we got to do this review swap.
Author's Response: Hi Navyfail,
This story was my most recent, so this works perfectly.
I'm so glad that you picked up on the fact that Pansy is wounded as well and using Eloise to vent that. Everyone always assumes that Pansy is just mean for the sake of being mean, but I always like to give her a bit of motive for her actions.
Eloise is indeed a chess champion! I am horrible at chess, so I quite admire her skill. I thought that would be a natural way for her to warm up to Justin, since she's actually proud of her ability.
Getting down to Eloise's perception of herself was the most important part of the story in my mind. I really wanted to drive home her insecurities and how they were affected by the bullying. In the end, I wanted to give her some hope because loving ones self is so important.
Thanks for swapping with me!
Hi there again! And thank you for requesting! I must admit I'm not terribly familiar with her character as there isn't much that has been written about her, but I guess that's sometimes an advantage! So much you can work with then really, and I can see here you've made her your own and given her a real personality!
The first thing that did stick out to me however, was the phrase "She sped up her steps" - Nothing necessarily wrong with it, I think it just jolted the incredible flow that you had created previously.
Pansy in this is incredibly cannon, which is nice to see, and to see her without Draco for once! Though I would add that you do transfer from Eloise POV to Pansy and back again. It may be better to stick with just one at a time.
Though I did like this other side to Justin, standing up for someone and showing a much bolder side to him. However, you did state that everyone treated her badly, but of course, Justin doesn't so maybe a slight word change there would be advisable. I would also say that the second time Justin is mentioned, you probably don't need to include his second name again, but that's probably just personal preference :)
It was nice to see a reference to Ron in there, a lot of canon stories that are about other characters don't always do this, but realistically, everyone would know about Ron's chess habits from their first year!
You're also very in-depth about her feelings and fears, which is nice to be rather than just a string of dialogue.
Where your concerns are, I would say that not, it's not too much, just the right amount of fluffyness for me, a little bit of romance, a little playfullness, but not overly sweet. I think perhaps the only thing I could say would be missing is the reason for Pansy's cruelty.
Overall, thank you once again for providing a new story that I would not have normally chosen to read! It was a pleasure to review!
Author's Response: Hi again!
Thank you for giving this story a chance even though it isn't your usual cup of tea.
Eloise is a very unused character due to her very minor appearance in the book, but every mention of her is about how ugly she is. I figured that someone who got teased and bullied that much was bound to be complicated.
I did really try to keep Pansy similar to canon in this one because after all the story isn't really about her, but I did enjoy breaking her away from Draco. Everyone story that I've seen with her seems to revolve around her longing for him like she isn't her own person, so I really try to break from that whenever I use her.
As for your comment about "everyone treating her badly" up until that point everyone had. Justin was the first person to ever step up and change that. I will go back and edit out the repeat of his last name though because I usually try not to repeat full names over and over.
Finally, I'm thrilled that you didn't think it was overly done. I don't mind fluffy, but I don't want it to be syrupy sweet.
Thanks as always for taking out the time to read this!
Hey, Kaitlin! Here for our swap :)
Awww, this is too cute! Not that I read a lot of Hogwarts-era stories, but I've never seen one that has Eloise as the main character. I honestly only vaguely remember her from the books, so it's so cool that you used her as the main character! (I don't know if you were assigned her for the challenge, but either way, I still really like it!)
This is just too cute. The whole exchange between her and Justin was perfect. He was exactly as I imagined him: that guy who everyone likes but is just a genuinely nice person. He and Eloise work perfectly together with the way you've characterized him!
Such an adorable one-shot, I love it! Thank you so much for doing the swaps!
Author's Response: Hey Claire,
Thanks for swapping with me again!
So the only thing I remember about Eloise from the HP books was how everyone made fun of her acne and off center nose. I actually was not assigned her character. For some reason, she just popped into my head and it all started flowing from there.
I'm happy that Justin was as you imagined him. In the books, I also imagined him to be just a nice, likable guy, so I expanded on that a bit.
Thanks again for taking the time out to do these reviews!
I wanted to just start by saying it's so nice to come across a story that tackles the issue of bullying so nicely. I like that it was presented realistically and dealt with by someone who stood up and decided not to be a bystander. I think that's such an important message. I'm a teacher, and I find that people find it easier to be mean to each other than nice sometimes. They put each other down, even their own friends without realizing it. It's something I'm passionate about helping to stop.
As for the actual story, I loved your writing and your characterization of Justin, Eloise, and Pansy. Pansy had the perfect love-to-hate cattiness, Justin was valiant, and Eloise brought an emotional depth that was heartbreaking. It was wonderful. Thanks for writing!
Author's Response: Hi Amanda,
Thank you so much for swapping reviews with me!
I'm happy to hear that you liked how I handled the issues of bullying. In every story that I write, I try to address an important issue. This one followed bullying/self esteem. I imagine that working as a teacher gives you a front row seat to how nasty children can be.
I'm thrilled that you liked my characterization of the different characters. It's always fun to take a minor character and build a world around them.
Thanks again for the review!
I love the ugly swan story you have here. At first Eloise reminded me a bit of Moaning Myrtle as she felt outcast, ridiculed by Slytherin, and quite lonely. At first I thought Justin was just being kind to her but I'm glad this was a surprise with him truly interested in her.
Pansy was quite horrible to Eloise, I'd love to know why she set her sights on a quiet Hufflepuff. It was very surprising that Draco and Millicent were caught snogging - I've never seen them paired together.
Justin and Eloise's scene in their common room was adorable. I like that she has some point of pride in her life. I was happy that Eloise started to see the best in herself towards the end but it would be nice to see that come from herself instead of Justin's approval. I'd be interested to read more about her and how the new found confidence changes her relationships.
Author's Response: Hi Rose,
Thank you for your review! This was really a challenge for me because fluff is absolutely not my normal genre. I liked the idea of ugly swans as well and Eloise is set up nicely for a transformation of sorts. I agree that ideally her transformation would come from within, but I've found in life that often times people can't see the best in themselves.
Pansy was horrible to Eloise. As for why she did it, I think it was just simply because Eloise was the first person Pansy spotted who she knew wouldn't fight back.
Draco and Millicent was an interesting one. To me, it would seem that Millicent is just a passing fling, but who knows. Maybe I'll have to explore that one in a story. :)
Thank you so much for taking the time to review this! I appreciate the feedback. And good luck on the Valentine's Challenge!
Aw what a beautiful one-shot, you managed to show us her character growth in just a few words, I love how in the end she saw herself for what she truly was and not what she thought she looked liked. :) I've struggled with self-esteem issues so that really meant a lot.
And Justin, he was so sweet, I loved him, I actually might ship the two after reading this :)
Author's Response: Hi Daliha,
Thank you so much for the lovely review. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you were able to relate with Eloise. When I was writing her character, that was exactly what I was aiming for. Most women struggle with self esteem issues at some point or another and I wanted her to represent that struggle.
I'm also excited that you liked the pairing. Eloise was one of my favorite minor characters in the book, so I've been dying to use her in a fanfic.
Thanks again for reviewing!
Ellie here for our review swap =)
This story was so sweet and lovely. I was particularly amused by Malfoy and Bulstrode being together. I really liked the way you had Justin being so sweet to Eloise and the way you had her really see herself there at the end. It's always nice to read and Ugling Duckling turns Beautiful swan story and this one just might be the sweetest I've ever read.
There was one little issue where you accidentally wrote that she "shook her head, yes" when you meant nodded, but other than that this story is positively delightful and so fluffy that I think I may have cavities now lol.
Keep up the great work. It's nice to see you expanding your writing horizons.
xx - Ellie (wolfgirl)
Author's Response: Hi Ellie,
Thanks for taking the time to review this. I have to tell you I was terribly nervous about writing this as romance and fluff are not my strongest suit, so it really makes me happy that you liked it.
Originally, this started as a really depressing story, but I always write darker stuff. Since it was for The Valentine's Challenge, I thought it was a good time to breakaway and try something different.
Thanks for catching my typo. I need to get better at sifting that stuff out. I just get so excited when ideas hit that I type incessantly.
Thanks again for the review!