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Review:Aphoride says:
Hey there, it's me again - I'm so so sorry for the late response to this. There's not much of an excuse for it, other than that a hundred and one things came up in RL and made it almost impossible for me to find time to do anything much, including this site.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this chapter! I like how you're steadily building up the mystery with the stolen wand, her not necessarily knowing who did it, the other characters involved. The way the other characters, particularly the Headmaster, react to things is really lifelike and pretty sensible - it makes them seem realistic, which I always love. Also, I love how you've added in more background characters. After being at school for even two weeks, she'll have started learning the names of other people in her year, even if it's just surnames. It gives the story a little more depth, I think.

Merissa is still a brilliant character, and I love how you've made her bad at the piano. It's such a great change from other OC characters, who are often good at music, if it's mentioned they play at all, and I like the addition of a music class at Hogwarts, as well. It kinda explains all the unused classrooms, I guess! I also like how she's a bit hesitant about accusing Margaret of anything, and how she giggles at the idea of 'state secrets' being written in her letter from home, and things. You're dealing with the cultural differences really well. I'm actually pretty curious to see how Merissa is when she goes home - how she copes with not being able to do magic, not necessarily being believed by her siblings or parents, being forced back into her old life. It's an interesting thing ;)

The one big thing I would say you could improve on is flow. You have a lot of short sentences which could be linked together, and you start a lot of sentences in the same paragraph with the same word, as well as starting sentences with words like 'but' and 'and', which you shouldn't do. With the sentences starting 'but' or 'and', you can easily link them to the sentence before. For example, you wrote: 'Though she was expecting her mother would soon decide it was past time for her to learn how to embroider. But she could put that worry off until the summer when she was home.', which would be better as: 'though she was expecting her mother would soon decide it was past time for her to learn how to embroider, but she could put that worry off until the summer when she was home', and then it flows better - it's less broken. A lot of sentence structure and phrasing, like with things starting with the same word/'and'/'but' can be sorted fairly easily. If you read over your work paragraph-by-paragraph before publishing, you'll notice it and start to pick up on it, I'm sure. Equally, if you pm me, I'm happy to go through an already published chapter and highlight things where the flow is choppy and help you with it over pms or something, just to explain it a bit more if you want.

The spells are pretty awesome and I like how you've had her start with some fairly simple ones. The letters to and from home are lovely, and I love how her mother is getting interesting in what she's doing at school, does she want her room redecorated - she seems much warmer than Merissa's father, who only cares about results and grades.

One more thing, and this is mostly something for the future: try not to jump around scene so often. You switch from lesson to lesson really quickly. I would describe one in detail - for example, History of Magic - and then switch to lunch and perhaps have her talking to her friends about the other lessons? That way, there's a bit more dialogue, since this is fairly narration-heavy, and it's not so much like a list of what she's done.

That being said, your characterisation is great, your story is going nicely, the plot is ticking along well, I like the background characters and her friends, and your invented spells are awesome! I do really like this - the idea is so original, it's something I've never seen before. I hope that helped - even just a bit! - and please continue! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Thank you very much!

The missing wand is a small piece of a bigger plot. :)

I'm actually having fun writing about Merissa being so bad at music. :) I know it takes so much practice in order to be good.

I will go over the chapters and work on the sentence structure more. Thank you for being patient with me while I learn to improve this.

I like your suggestion concerning the lessons. It was starting to feel like I was going through a list in each chapter. Thank you! I'll change it up more than a little bit!

I think it will be interesting once she goes home for the summer break and deals with being in Muggle surroundings as well as how her family members deal with her.

Thank you very much for reading and reviewing!

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