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Review:CambAngst says:
Hi, there! I saw your status update and thought I'd take a look.

I have to say, this must have been a really difficult challenge. Some of these words are so obscure and specific that fitting them into any sort of narrative flow seems well nigh impossible. Overall, you did a good job with it, though. And you managed to actually write a story that was interesting and relevant. In my experience, challenge entries are hit-or-miss that way. Sometimes people tailor their work so closely to the specifics of the challenge that they forget to actually tell a story. You picked an interesting and very important moment in canon and really did it justice.

I really liked the sense of mystery that you built up in this. In the beginning, I had an idea of what the "evil spirit" that possessed the Albanian town was all about, but I was a pretty long way into the story before I realized that the traveler was Quirrel. You built him up very gradually, dribbling out bits and pieces of information instead of just dumping it on me near the beginning. That make the story a lot more engaging.

Your descriptions of the town, the inn and the barmaid were all vivid and easy to visualize. You definitely managed to take a couple of the challenge words and turn them to your advantage.

The dialog between the traveler and the barmaid was nicely done. You did a good job of gradually revealing how her sarcasm and testiness were mostly a front to hide her pain and despair. Telling a good story is all about pacing, and in every respect you paced this story brilliantly.

I have a couple of constructive criticisms to offer. One can be fixed easily. The spacing of your paragraphs was inconsistent, and it left me wondering in some places whether there was an implied break in the narrative that I was missing. There was also these two paragraphs that had no spacing at all:

She poured the golden liquid into a glass and set it down in front of him with a dull thud. “What brings you to this godforsaken place?”
“I’ve heard rumors.”

The effect was that it was hard to figure out which character spoke the second line.

The other thing that may or may not be fixable is that a couple of the challenge words sounded really awkward in context. "Caveat" and "beleaguered" are the two that immediately come to mind.

Overall, I think you did a good job with this. It was neat to see Quirrel arrogantly bumbling toward his fate. Good luck in the challenge!

Author's Response: Thank you for answering my cry for help! :)
I really wasn't too sure that this story was very good or not... It really felt like I was bumbling around on the page a bit, to be honest...

But I'm so glad that you saw things in it that interested you and that you enjoyed! I seem to have a penchant for not revealing all of a character until the end of a chapter, but I felt like it worked for this story. Quirrel's meeting with Voldemort seems to be very underexplored, and though I didn't get to the fateful event, I wanted the build-up to be suspenseful and ominous.

Agggh, the formatting! I always mess it up, without fail. I'm still a bit of a rookie, and no matter what I try the first time, I never do it right. When I find the time (IF!!) I shall go right in and fix it up. :)

As for the awkward words... I do see a need to go in there and edit, edit, edit!! I think some of those words can be reworked so that they won't sound so odd.

Thank you so much for reviewing!


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