Reading Reviews for Not Normal
274 Reviews Found

Review #26, by crestwood {Chapter the Fifth}

25th June 2014:
This is my favorite chapter so far, for sure. I'm a little bias to Scorpius, so I'm really glad we got a full chapter to just have a good conversation between him and Ellie. There may not have been any exciting action or big scenes, but Scorpius is going to ask Rose out and all of the characters are quite dear to me, so I'm very pleased with this chapter :)

Author's Response: I have a soft spot for Scorpius as well, and I just loved writing him as this slightly dorky individual. His and Ellie's relationship is really cute - I see them as sort of brother and sister, and that's a lot of fun to write. I'm so happy that you feel really connected with all these characters already!

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Review #27, by crestwood {Chapter the Fourth}

25th June 2014:
Ellie's power really is a genius plot device. It creates such awkward situations and the three sided argument, in which Albus is in the dark, was beautifully written. Regulus is absolutely hilarious still! I wonder if Albus just foreshadowed finding out about what Ellie can see...I hope so! It'd probably make her feel less crazy to have someone know about it. This is shaping up to be such a clever read!

Author's Response: Her powers make an already awkward person even more awkward. Albus is just so clueless for such a long time, and he kind of feels it, so he's being a bit annoying as a result. And Regulus is fun to write, as always! And with Albus - maybe...

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Review #28, by crestwood {Chapter the Third}

25th June 2014:
I think Ben is my new favorite character. These OCs are all very fleshed out pretty quickly. It's mostly done through dialogue rather than just telling us simply what they're like, which I appreciate. Overall, this is just a really interesting chapter and it's not terribly like anything else I've read on this site, which is always refreshing.

Author's Response: Yay! Ben is one of my favourites as well, and I'm so happy that someone else likes him too! I always feel as if I'm rushing the characterisation, so I'm happy that it doesn't read that way!

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Review #29, by crestwood {Chapter the Second}

25th June 2014:
I've never read a story with Regulus as a character before (dead or not,) but I found him pretty funny here. I wasn't expecting to have another display of Ellie's power so soon. I wonder what Regulus was there for. He almost seemed to just be messing with her. I want to see where you're going to take this because it feels as though something is going to happen soon but I have no idea what. Good writing style so far!

Author's Response: All the stories with Regulus that I have read have had him alive and not funny, so I wanted to write a version of Regulus where he was funny, but unfortunately that meant that he also had to be dead, which is a little sad for poor Regulus. I wanted to introduce her ghost-seeing powers pretty early so that it didn't feel as if they come out of nowhere if they appear for the first time later on. And you're right - Regulus is continuously messing with her. It's part of his charm ;P

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Review #30, by crestwood {Chapter the First}

25th June 2014:
Hey! crestwood here with your requested review :)

So, I like Ellie a lot as an OC. She's wonderfully sarcastic and her ghost power is really interesting. The back story of her dad losing his wife was actually very poignant for being about two people I have yet to really meet fully.

I'd love to see more of the banter between Ellie and Albus, that was my favorite part of the chapter. They are like those two actors in a film that just absolutely light up the screen with their chemistry, except it's all happening in my head. Very promising start!

Author's Response: Heya!

I'm glad that you like Ellie. This story is very much driven by her, since it's written in first person from her point of view; it would be difficult to read if one found her super annoying! And her parents' love story... you learn more about it, so it's great that you already feel this connection with it!

There is more banter to come! It was very annoying to write at times, but it is there! Thanks so much :)

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Review #31, by Lululuna {Chapter the Sixth}

24th June 2014:
Hello! :)

Ahh, this was such a good chapter and so eventful! More than that, though, I think it was written very smoothly and flowed so well without getting trapped in one particular spot. Well done! :)

It's so exciting to see Ellie's ghost-hunting in action, and I'm excited to learn more about Alexia and her ghost boyfriend and how Ellie operates when helping people. It's interesting to see how her talent actually impacts her daily life but also shows her to be a very caring person. I also loved the banter with Ben and how sassy he was, it definitely stood out in the chapter.

You described the secret room and all of that so vividly, I definitely felt like I was there peeking over Ellie's shoulder, getting hot and frustrated with the shelves, and running away from the foreboding feeling of the statues. I wonder if someone was following her, or if perhaps there was a malevolent ghost there in the room with her? The playful actions of the Hogwarts crest on the walls were so cute as well - loved the boop.

Throughout the chapter, Ellie's inner commentary was so refreshing and fun to listen to. I liked so many bits, but a few favourites were when she punched the wall so suddenly, when she found books of all things in the first chamber of the secret room, and when she was embarrased about pretending to do a number two in public. You do a great job of blending in the fun and humour with the more serious parts of the characters, and I really admire that.

Amazing chapter, my dear! :D

Author's Response: I was so happy to write stuff happening plot wise, that I think I went a little crazy with it! I'm very happy to hear that you found it smoothly written, because that was something with which I struggled.

I can't wait to write about Alexia and her ghost boyfriend, because you're right - it's a great way to see Ellie interact with people. She seems to think she's not very good at it, and that should make for a fun few scenes! And yeah, she is caring, although I don't think she quite realises it. And Ben is the best, all the time.

Ah, the mysterious crash and bang! Mysteries abound *giggles maniacally* And I'm glad you liked the boop! Snakes are too serious sometimes - they deserve a little fun every now and again :P

I'm really happy Ellie is still entertaining. She reads as a little... farcical sometimes to me, and I don't want that for her, so I'm very happy indeed with this feedback!

Thanks so much for reading and leaving such a wonderful review as always :D

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Review #32, by Sakura9879 {Chapter the Sixth}

23rd June 2014:
First of all I would like to say that I have waited for this story to be updated since the beginning, and I was even starting to lose hope that it would be finished.

"Lucky for me", I thought, "I find another fantastic author who has issues with updating on a regular basis!"

Despite my frustrations with the updating speed of the story, there is no denying that this was a great chapter! I'm psyched to learn more about the secret gap in the wall, and all the mystery that it brings.

I really liked how this chapter cut straight to the point of what everyone was wondering about. You didn't go three chapters waiting for our main character to work up the courage to explore the gap, you dove right in, which is something else that I have to thank you for.

You also set up the story to further develop the ghost situation part of the plot, Which is definitely something that needs to be maintained.

I also have a few suggestions if you don't mind my pushiness.
1. I really like the witty banter that occurs with Regulus, and I think that he should be included in the story more.
2. So far, Albus really just annoys me, which I guess is good because it means I have sympathy for Ellie, but it almost makes me want to hex him. Which is an issue because that is decidedly not something I am capable of because a. he is a fictional character and b. I am not a witch.

There are also things that I question because you skimmed over them just a tad. I repeat. Just a tad. They could be insignificant and I am just an ignorant person who was unaware of their woeful insignificance.
1. Who is in the picture that Ellie accidentally knocks off the wall? Is this currently unisexual, mystery IT going to be important?
2. What was the distant crash that Ellie heard at the end? Was it possibly someone who was watching her actions? (although at this point that is a slim to none possibility since no one except her room mates could possibly have noticed that she went missing.
3. Ellie mentions that one of the rollers gave out and that was why the gap appeared. Could it be because someone was in the secret area recently?
4. I question the sanity of the person that decided to turn the secret room into a storage for books. Like, "Oh, there is that huge detailed moving carving of the school crest, and the wall disappears to reveal this awesome scene of what seem to be statues of the four creators, lets just put some boxes with books back here."

Finally, I REALLY hope you update again soon. I know that there is no way to rush a masterpiece, which is what I am expecting every author to think of their work as, but I do still hope that you update in a quicker fashion since you are more than likely out on summer break.

Best of luck with the writing
~Rachel Payne

Author's Response: Ah! I'm sorry! I'm very terrible at updating, and for some reason, this story in particular. Ellie can be difficult to write at times.

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter! I hope it was worth the long wait. And there's so much plot development in this one chapter, it's actually insane - one of the reasons it took me so long to write.

I don't mind your pushiness! Reviews are here for the feedback, and I like all of it!
1. Regulus is a "series regular" so to speak. His appearances will become more frequent - I love writing him.
2. Albus annoys me, too. He's difficult to write, and that frustration shows, I think. I know where he needs to go, but he'll take his time getting there.

There are definitely things I skimmed over because the chapter was getting a wee bit long.
1. Hahaha! That mystery is yet to be revealed!
2. Another mystery yet to be revealed!
3. Maybe... maybe not...
4. It's a library. Books are EXACTLY what one should expect.

Another update should be coming soonish. I live on the other side of the world, so I am most definitely not on summer break, and have been busy for the past month, but an update is definitely on the horizon! Thanks for reading :)

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Review #33, by Blunt pnix {Chapter the Sixth}

23rd June 2014:
I was so excited when I saw you updated. Good chapter! Update soon!

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Review #34, by aurorasoltice {Chapter the Sixth}

23rd June 2014:
Yay for the long aawaited update! Though i just started reading today. The 4 animals sounds like the founders and aw the bop is cute. Thanks for the update! :)

Author's Response: Yay for updates! Thanks for the lovely review :)

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Review #35, by hpfan101 {Chapter the Fifth}

5th May 2014:
Please update! This is one of the best plots I have read in a while and it's also one of your most successfull stories so please update and don't give up also keep up the good work;)

Author's Response: I will update (soonish, I hope)! I have half of chapter 6 written, so it will happen! Thank you for your encouragement and support :)

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Review #36, by Pixileanin {Chapter the Second}

13th April 2014:
"And he was cute. And dead, but who really cared about such trivial things?"

Ack! Cute, dead people in someone's kitchen!! Poor girl! And yeah, teenage males are so annoying!! Get to the point, Reggie! Lovely trick too, having her lie and pretend she's making up a story. Very effective, and it seems to work too.

I love her panic when Mrs. P asks her to sit down. She's so worried about the straight jacket that she can't think straight.

Ginny giving Chris and Ellie watches on their seventeenth birthdays was very, very sweet of her. I'm glad these two have people like that around them to remind them that they're not alone in the world. People who are alone, are... err... lonely. Yeah. That's what I was going for.

I can't wait to see what kind of difficulties... err... I mean, help, Regulus plans to give Ellie in Hogwarts this year. He's definitely not telling her what's going on, and he obviously knows something big is going to happen, so shame on him for being so mysterious. Although, if he were more forthcoming, we wouldn't have such an epic story, would we?

And obviously, it's about time that Ellie told her brother what's going on with her. But she probably won't, because this thing has been going on for so long that she doesn't feel the need to say anything until it's too late... silly teens!

Another wonderful chapter! *keeps prodding with stick*

Author's Response: Hahaha! I don't know what Ellie's problem is. If Regulus Black popped into my kitchen, dead or alive, I'd be pretty excited. Even if he does have an aura of cultivated mystery.

I wanted to show that Ginny really tries to include Chris and Ellie in the family - she's very much her mother's daughter in that sense. Ellie's just very awkward about the entire thing! But you're right. Family is very important.

Regulus is... he's a lot of fun. He's going to make Ellie's life a lot more interesting, for sure!

Ellie just needs to get her act together, all around. She hordes secrets like dragon's treasure.

My updates are terrible, no? Molly is sorely neglected :( On the bright side, there IS a new Sirius/Millie chapter in the queue...

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Review #37, by Twinkleflower {Chapter the Fifth}

8th April 2014:
So I have a confession to make. After reading the first chapter I felt compelled to keep reading and I'm glad I did. I read the next four chapters back to back so forgive me if this review is a bit general about your story rather than this specific chapter.

I feel that your story has started to hit its stride and the writing seem to flow more smoothly. My favourite parts so far have been both appearances of Regulus in your story. He is not how I imagined him at all, but I really like your portrayal of him. Also, your delivery of the dialogue between him and Ellie just feels so... 'real' is the only word I can think to describe it, I hope that made sense.

I do have one criticism, but only one I promise. In one of the earlier chapters it said somewhere that Ellie was taking ten NEWTs I think? This seems like an awful lot to me, as I think about five is normal. So she might take an extra subject or two if she is really brainy, just a suggestion.

I like how you have started to further develop Ellie's relationships between her peers, especially the scene with Scorpious and their mutual hate of plants. I think it was a nice way to end the chapter by having Scorpious reveal his feelings about Rose. I especially liked the final line as it made me chuckle so much. I really like where this story is going and I hope you continue writing.

Author's Response: Aww! I'm so flattered! It's lovely of you to leave a review :)

Yeah, it became easier to write the story as the chapters went on. I think I just became more comfortable with my characters, so that I could worry less about them and more about the plot. Regulus is a favourite of mine to write. It's a lot of fun to write him this way! I wanted to do something a little different with him. I'm glad you enjoy their banter!

Ellie is an over-achiever. That being said, I have struggled with how to portray her academic load, and what it says about her as a character. I've made a note about it so that I'll be sure to address it in a later chapter (hopefully the next).

I'm happy you liked that inclusion of ScoRose! I loved writing it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing :)

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Review #38, by LavenderBlue {Chapter the Fifth}

5th April 2014:
Part deux!

I LOVE the "I see dead people" concept. It's packed with plot potential (say that three times fast!), and I can already see you planting some seeds now that I imagine will come to fruition later in the story. However, it really bugs me that no one else knows about Ellie's secret. Not even her own twin brother? Not even after twelve years of them living together?! In all other aspects of their life, Ellie and Chris seem quite open and close, and it struck me as unbelievable that Chris wouldn't catch on to the fact that his twin sister sees and interacts with ghosts at least once a month. I don't know if Chris' ignorance is vital to your current outlined plot, but I think that pulling him into the loop would not just make things more believable but also add a lot of good dialogue and relational development material. That doesn't mean that everyone has to know Ellie's secret, of course; I can see a lot of madness going down if someone like Albus figured it out on his own, for example. And madness is always fun. :] But I do wonder why Ellie feels the need to keep her ability a secret? What is her reasoning? I think it's important that you address this early on in the story. I mean, Ellie is a witch, and she sees "normal" ghosts along with everyone else on a day-to-day basis at Hogwarts. So what makes her so afraid to tell anyone else? I'm curious to know, and I think that better understanding Ellie's frame of mind about her secret-keeping will help your reader make better sense of her actions.

You've got an intriguing build-up here so far, but I think pace could do with some streamlining. You've already opened up some good plot lines. Why is Regulus hanging about? What is going on with that mysterious wall in the Restricted Section? How is the obvz sexual tension between Albus and Ellie going to develop? Fantastic opening questions. But then the plot seems to fall flat and meander when it should be escalating. Let's see some action! This doesn't necessarily have to be a ginormous plot overhaul. Much of it can be addressed by simply tightening your prose. The prose itself is gorgeous, but there tend to be times--especially in your dialogue--where things get repetitive. Take Ellie's conversations with both Regulus and Albus in Chapter 4. There's a lot of back and forth filler dialogue that doesn't need to be there. A lot of "My what?"s and "Who?"s and "Did I hear you right?"s that can be cut and tightened into a more compact interaction. Even simple changes like these can quicken the pace. As for Chapter 5, I'm a diehard Scorose fan, so of course this chapter made me smile. It's all written very well, and it's an adorable side story. But it's still a side story, and even in filler chapters, there should be SOMETHING that propels the story forward. Much as I love Scorose, I was impatient to get around them and find out what's really going on with Regulus and the mysterious wall and Ellie's abilities. Just be sure that you always accompany your filler with some plot pushing. Otherwise, it becomes much easier for the reader to lose interest.

Lastly, two completely subjective suggestions. Personally, I find Ellie's invocations of varying historical figures to be distracting. Don't get me wrong. I snorted out loud at "Holy mother of Pride and Prejudice," but the tone struck me as a little off. Would Ellie really say something like that? Or be referencing Kepler and Galileo that way? Maybe so! But it just struck me as odd and cumbersome. Secondly, in Chapter 3, I really wanted to hear the full contents of the Sorting Hat's song. Since Ellie makes such a point of first eavesdropping and then talking to Ben about the "sinister" nature of the Sorting Hat, it made me wish that I, as the reader, had the opportunity to hear the song for myself. So mayhaps consider using your poetic flourish to add one?

Overall, I think you've got a GREAT start here. I genuinely like and empathize with Ellie, and I'm curious to see just where all this mystery is leading! I hope my suggestions have been helpful and perhaps, in some way, started the creative gears whirring again. But seriously, I do hope that, 'cos I would love to read more of Ellie's story. :] Thanks for giving me the chance to read and review!

Author's Response: Her secret... yeah. I know I need to explain why she's so weird about it. It makes sense that she hides what she is from her friends and doesn't go around advertising the fact that she sees dead people that other people can't. Her keeping it secret from Chris is actually a super important "plot device" (for lack of a better phrase) between her and her twin. They're close in all aspects, except this really huge thing. There's definitely more story to tell there. And Albus... yeah. If Albus found out... there's more planned there too ;)

Ugh. That dialogue in chapter four. I think about half of it can be cut out. I had a lot of trouble writing it, and I think that shows because of just how repetitive it is. And chapter five was a lot longer - more ACTUAL story than just adorable ScoRose stuff, but it wasn't fitting into the chapter flow overall so I had to sadly cut it out. I'll definitely keep your comment about including something about the plot in filler chapters in mind for future ones (I'm sure there will be future filler chapters).

I should probably explain somewhere why she goes around using random historical figures as expletives. She's a huge astronomy nut, ergo all the Keplers and Galileos. Hmm... Ideas abound for new conversation ice-breakers...

I totally chickened out on the Sorting Hat song. I can't rhyme. It's the reason why I didn't write it. It's left this giant hole in the plot of my story and made it overall weaker but it just a terrifying prospect. One day, I shall work up the courage to attempt writing a Sorting Hat song. One day...

Thanks so much for your lovely reviews. I've written like a bajillion notes in my drafts based on the feedback you've given me. It's been incredibly helpful! And sorry once again for the delayed reply.

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Review #39, by LavenderBlue {Chapter the Fifth}

5th April 2014:
Hellooo! LavenderBlue here with your requested review. Since I've gone over the 6000 word mark, I'm leaving Part I of the review here and will sign out so I can leave Part II immediately after.

It's been a treat to read your first five chapters, and I think you've got a fantastic thing going here. You mentioned that you've lost your mojo and would prefer me to hit hard, so that's just what I'll attempt to do! But before I get to the con crit, I think it only fitting that I gush about all the good stuff.

First off, you've got an excellent command of language. Not only is your prose free of grammatical and syntax-related hang ups, it's cleverly worded and scintillating with active verbs and colorful descriptions. That makes for a crazy enjoyable read. There were countless passages that left me smiling, or that I re-read just for the fun of it. You also do a good job of keeping the tone consistent throughout. Ellie has a recognizable and empathetic voice, which is vital for any first person POV.

You've also introduced some engaging characters. I mean, c'mon, Dead Regulus Black? I squealed when you introduced him. Character development is where some concern and con crit kicks in, though. Let's start with Ellie. Like I mentioned before, you have a solid command of her tone and POV. She's clever and snarky, but not so snarky that she ceases to be a likeable character. However, I did notice a tendency to "over talk" in her narrative. Ellie often explains the behavior/traits of herself and others more than necessary. For example, she TELLS us multiple times that she doesn't make friends easily and that she worries that she's too antisocial. But the best way to communicate that effectively is to SHOW how Ellie acts around others. And honestly, from these first five chapters, Ellie seems to have a healthy and varied amount of friendships with Rose, Amy, Ben, Scorpius, and Chris. My suggestions would be to either make Ellie ACT in a way that's more stand-offish or antisocial or to cut the characteristic altogether. From what I can see, she acts like a perfect normal teenage girl (aside from the fact that she sees ghosts :]) who isn't any more awkward around others than the typical teenage girl. I'd either make Ellie all-out socially awkward, or cut that part of her personality. But in any event, SHOW that awkwardness through her behavior and her dialogue, don't have Ellie tell us about it.

The only other detail of Ellie's characterization that I had trouble with was that she claims to have gotten 12 Os on her OWLs--something not even Hermione achieved. Dude. That is brilliance of insane proportions. It's clear that Ellie is intelligent, but this detail rubbed me the wrong way. You don't want to make your heroine so effortlessly fantastic at something that it's unbelievable or annoying. And again, it's clear through her word choices and behavior that Ellie is smart. You don't need her to tell the reader that, or it comes across as arrogance--and I don't think you were aiming for that. Just a thought!

I'm a little concerned that Regulus and Albus are reading too similarly to each other. Both are snarky, both are smart, both are handsome, and both enjoy giving Ellie a hard time. There isn't a clear distinction that sets the two apart other than the fact that Regulus is, you know, dead. I also had a few moments of disbelief about Regulus' character. I realize that he's had more than 40 years to evolve and become better acquainted with the modern world, but right now he strikes me as just a little too--fresh? He was born and raised in a bigoted, pureblooded, Dark Arts palooza of a family, and it strikes me as a little odd that that's not reflected at all in his behavior--even in just a small, residual way. He was a well-bred aristocrat, and unlike Sirius, he was the golden boy in his family who did everything like he was supposed to up until the last minute. So it strikes me as a bit odd that he would converse with Ellie--a halfblood--in such an easy, taunting, colloquial way. In other words, he reads much more like I imagine the ghost of Sirius than the ghost of Regulus. Of course, some of this just boils down my perception of Regulus, but a change or two in this realm might help differentiate him from Albus.

It's still early in the game for me to really pinpoint personality and development for Ben, Chris, Scorpius, or Amy. However, I do really like your characterization of Rose so far. Her concern over the timetables--and Scorpius' concern for her--was adorable. And it reminded me very much of her mother. :] Then again, you give Rose some decidedly un-Hermione traits, like her tendency to be a sap about love and her belief in the Sight and Divination. I'm looking forward to seeing Rose develop even more as a secondary!

Author's Response: I'm so sorry it's taken me a few days to reply to your wonderful reviews! They were too awesome for me to handle for a while, but now I have a little time to spend on a reply that is even remotely adequate.

I'm blushing so hard right now. Thank you so much for that! I really do adore language and linguistics and I try to translate the things I've learnt from that to improve my writing and craft a better tale. I'm a bit of a grammar nazi, so spelling and grammar mistakes are the bane of my existence. I owe a lot to my beta as well, who has seriously curbed my undying love for commas!

I'm so happy you find Ellie and company engaging! I find that if I can't relate to the main character, I can't really enjoy or read the story. I tried really hard to make Ellie relateable and likeable, despite how kooky she can be from time to time. Thank you for criticisms on her "over-observance". I want to craft well-rounded characters, and since the story is in first person, Ellie comes off as someone who is super aware of everyone and everything - which she obviously isn't otherwise her brain would overload!

I've really struggled with Ellie's intelligence and her academics. I want to show her as this quiet over-achiever, and that's why she takes a bajillion classes and really pushes herself. I'm not sure yet if I want to change those aspects of the story yet, or write a little further and see if I can validate the reasons her academic load is a little over the top. I kind of based her achieving something even Hermione couldn't because I remembered somewhere that Percy passed with 12 OWLs. I should double-check that...

Regulus and Albus being too similar? THAT IS ONE OF MY BIGGEST FEARS. I think it's one of the reasons why Albus is so difficult to write. I'm hoping that as the story progresses, they begin to differentiate. I have very different kinds of relationships with Ellie in mind for these two, and hopefully it works out that we don't have two Regulus clones walking around (not that I would mind, really. It's not like I have a crush on a character of my own devising *whistles*). Now that you have also noticed this thing (I AM NOT ALONE) I shall keep a conscious eye on it. And Regulus... is supposed to be a bit of a conundrum. I do hope to explain his idiosyncracies as his character arc and relationship with Ellie progresses.

I love writing Rose so different from Hermione! She's high-strung in a different way and that's a lot of fun to write. And her and Scorpius... I, the author, squee over them sometimes. It's actually pathetic.

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Review #40, by Twinkleflower {Chapter the First}

5th April 2014:
I was not too sure what to expect from the story summary but it must have been effective because I was certainly intrigued by your premise. I must commend you on your choice of main character, as I personally think original characters are the hardest to write. You have done a really good job setting up the character of Ellie. She has several qualities that make her perhaps more interesting than your average OC, such as being a twin, can see dead people, is a neighbour of the Potters. I think there is a fine line with creating realistic OCs but I think you have managed it. Some of your plot lines are not 'new' ideas but I didn't mind that. I am quite interested in seeing where you take the storyline from here and I am hoping you are going to put your own spin on it. Overall I really enjoyed reading the first chapter: it is an easy read, your character is very likeable, and I think it has a lot of potential.

Author's Response: Hello!

I'm glad you like Ellie! I find it harder to write canon characters because I'm afraid to change things about them and then they end up being not canon.

My greatest worry with Ellie is making her too Mary Sue, so I'm so happy that she doesn't seem that way to you, but she's still interesting.

A lot of my plot points aren't new ideas! I'm so impressed that you stuck through despite that!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! You have me feeling all warm and squishy inside :)

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Review #41, by SeverusLove {Chapter the Second}

29th March 2014:
Hey again, Howhe!

So...I've forced myself to sit and focus and pried my mind open to the words that hath flowed from thy fingers. Hopefully, this review would prove more helpful than that of the previous one.

This chapter was definitely an improvement from the first chapter. It didn't seem as disjointed and flowed nicely, the pace consistent throughout.

The tone of the chapter was light and I managed to plough through the whole block of texts (which, by the way, was just the right amount in length) easily, some portions of narration offering small, inadvertent smiles.

I'm a canon fanatic, if it isn't already blatant, so having Regulus pop in for the ride was like a breath of fresh air and I had to spend his first few lines with general fangirling squees with his Whovian status and outdated modern expressions.

Ginny, I didn't seem to find anything wrong with. She's grown and I guess her maternal instincts has kicked into full-action. It would be nice to see some of her old fire shine through, but then again, this story being centered on Ellie, I understand that there wouldn't be much opportunities to squeeze that in.

Your use of descriptions was amusing and some sentence structures were brill - [My brother is a dude of few words, and many expressions.] - easily being my favourite and most vivid line.

There is one portion, however, that bothers me. [I'd have him know that I'd passed my OWLs with twelve Outstandings - not even Hermione Granger, brightest witch of her age, had managed that.] -- This line sort of just stuck out in an odd angle and reeked of 'Mary Sue-ishness' when I first went over it.Even Hermione had needed the timeturner, something Minerva went through a great deal of process to acquire, to cope with too many subjects, and Hermione was a great deal stressed in doing so, and easily a perfectionist. But then again, this isn't entirely impossible so it can be easily remedied with a decent explanation or expansion as to how she managed this, provided maybe in future chapters.

The plot is progressing nicely with a touch of mystery that gives readers curiousity and it was overall an entertaining read, I find myself looking forward to what you have planned for future chapters...which I'm to go about reading now.

~ Sevvy

Author's Response: The last review WAS helpful! That might not have been apparent because it took me so long to reply, but it was definitely helpful!

I liked writing this chapter more than the first too, so that might be why the quality of the writing improved. Or the time gap. Or because it's only in the kitchen.

I'm glad that some places made you smile! I try to be funny sometimes, and I wonder if I'm actually good at it... but smiling is good :)

Regulus is one of my favourite characters to write of all time. I'd like to include him in every single chapter in every single scene because he's just so wonderful and fun to write and because he's a Whovian and that makes anyone like instantly ten times more awesome. I'm obviously a fan girl for one of my own characters. That is not a good thing.

We'll probably get to see Ginny later on in the story, so I'm making a note about it so I remember!

Your kind words about my description make me want to cry with happiness. That is how much they mean to me. Like, seriously.

Ellie's intelligence... yeah. I don't know what to do with it, really. I want to show her as this quiet over-achiever, and I guess that's something I'll have to be careful writing in later chapters because you're right in saying that if it's done sloppily it comes off as very Mary Sue. Although, I remember reading that Percy had twelve OWLs, so I think I'll have to keep in mind how I build that part of her life.

Thanks so much for reading and taking all this time to write these wonderful reviews! I know I come off as a little weird, but I my appreciation is genuine and heartfelt! Thanks once again!

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Review #42, by SeverusLove {Chapter the First}

29th March 2014:
Hey there, Howhe!

I'm almost certain I've visited every corner of every page, but I can't seem to find your name - or, at least, the name you go by. Since 800 Words of Heaven, albeit a pretty penname, seems too long a title to address you as, I've been left with the challenging task of assigning you one. Kudos if you manage to find out the origin of the name I ended up with. :P

Anyway, first of all, I'd like to relay my gratitude to you for being the first person to take notice of and respond to my review thread over in the forums. Really, thank you. Apologies for the bit of a wait; OCs and Next Gen are two categories I'm not entirely confident I can do justice to in a review, but I'mma just pick this apart according to my honesty and hope that in doing so, you might find something helpful.

It is a rather sad event when a writer has lost his or her 'mojo' for a story, I can definitely relate with that, so I sincerely hope you manage to find it again somehow. Think of all the waiting fans~! ;)

Anyway, *rubs hands together* here goes nothing...

The summary, I'll admit, is indeed attention-grabbing. However, it does have a sort of 'cliche' vibe about it. You know, the story norm, where a normal boy is special because suddenly, he is plucked out of a normal life and chosen by mysterious old and wise people to be the hero in saving the world from impending doom. Well, that, at least, is what I garnered from it the first time I read it.

I do appreciate, however, the unique dubbing of your chapter titles as '{Chapter the First}', '{Chapter the Second}', and so on. Albeit small, I find it unique which gives the story bonus points in terms of appeal.

I also like the consistency of the chapter summaries in relation to the overall story summary and the story title, listing out the different reasons as to the ways 'you know your life ain't normal'. It was as entertaining as the 'You know you're a [insertanythinghere] when...' similarly written lists you often stumble across in the internet. When I read the first chapter's summary, it doubled my interest as I wondered 'Dead people? What does this mean? What's her take on this?' Originally, I'd assumed it was Albus who was the voice of the chapter summary as I'd assumed he was the main character in this story and I wondered what sort of twist this was hinting at, but when I started reading, I realised it was actually the voice of an OC which, despite being slightly disappointing, definitely made a lot more sense.

Perhaps it was because of bias, therefore you are all too welcome to ignore this next bit, but the first five starting lines, like the summary, I found to be a style too often used and a tad forced to be captivating. It sounded like the starting lines of a movie so some may find it interesting, though movies can often be too predictable regardless. It may be important because it is in the first few lines of a story that you capture or miss the reader's interest to persist on.

I decided to endure; the incident with the old woman and her twin not sensing the presence of the stranger managed to feed me a little interest to go on, especially when said mysterious lady turned out to be Ellie's great-grandmother. The description [Somehow, I knew she was dead. Or at least, I comprehended she wasn't quite like me.] and [with about as much haughtiness a five-year-old in her nightie could muster.] were easily the most vivid for me - small beautiful word compilations that managed to keep my attention along with the whole first interaction between great-grandmother and great-granddaughter.

Her grandmother's explanation of the ghosts was a tad confusing because as I understand, those that are stuck to life are the same sort that becomes the same kind as the Hogwarts ghosts that stays with the living. I get what you're trying to say, though you might want to expand a bit more on that, or at least fiddle a bit with the choice of words to clearly distinguish both types from each other as separate.

The pace, progression of plot, and the tone of the story was consistent and comprehensive. The flow was a bit disjointed jumping from past to present and the use of part participle to past tense verbs, but they are minor things at most and could still be understood.

The length proved just right. It is a writer's skill to be able to show, instead of tell the reader, a character's perspective and I loved how you used experiences to put emphasis on your description, like the section with death and how Ellie only just started to comprehend it with her lamb-chops and going vegetarian.

As for characterisation, it is difficult to judge Original Characters and Next Generation Characters as they have little to no basis that I can compare them with. You have pretty much free reign with these characters and it is an interesting twist how you made Rose Weasley so interested in Divination and Albus Potter much more playful and more of a flirt than I'd imagined him to be...

Contrary to what you might think, I did enjoy the overall story in general. It was an entertaining enough of a read and there exists a small curiousity as to where you're planning to go with the story plot and the development of the characters' personalities.

I will be reading and reviewing the next chapter when I can; feel free to PM me over the forums for any clarifications concerning this review or even just to talk. :')

I'll be PMing you what few spelling/grammar issues I'd nitpicked over the forums along with those from the following chapters I will be reviewing.

Keep Writing, yeah?
~ Sevvy

Author's Response: You couldn't find my name because I haven't actually posted one out there other than 800 words of heaven. It's amazing that you went to the effort to find one though! That's so cool of you. I really should find something however, but I kinda like being referred to as 800... On a side note, I figured out the secret behind your name for me! It's an acronym of my pen name spelt backward - very clever! I might actually adopt it...

No worries about the request! I'm just a keen bean when it comes to new review threads! I also completely understand about not feeling comfortable for whatever reason with a certain aspect of a story. I don't read a lot of stuff out there because of personal preferences. I think it's amazing that you've decided to spend your valuable time on this despite your preference! Thank you :)

I struggled with the "normal" aspect of the story. Ellie nor her situation is particularly ordinary, and me dubbing it so seems like false advertising almost. You're right in saying that it is a sort of "sales gimmick" - that's probably why it comes off as cliche, actually.

I'm glad you like the chapter titles! I'm terrible at coming up with chapter titles, so just numbering them seemed like a good idea. I included the curly brackets because I think they look cool.

The chapter summaries and opening lines definitely stem for my love of lists. This was the second WIP I started, and coming from a story where there isn't much structure, I really tried very hard for some sort of consistency here.

I get what you mean with the style at the beginning. I was still trying to get used to a new style for a new story, and it comes across as a little stilted in those opening lines! The style is probably influenced by film, or one of those voice-overs. Definitely something to add to the edit list in my drafts!

I'm glad that the flashback garnered some interest! Again, it's a ploy borrowed from film and television, and the translation doesn't always work well, especially if it's a first attempt, like mine! My Achilles Heel is description, so I am incredibly flattered that you found it to be engaging.

I think the "ghost" gift will definitely need to be explained in more detail as the story progresses. Perhaps an example of her exercising her gift will be an apt way to address some of the outstanding issues.

THE FLOW KILLS ME IN THIS STORY. I have no idea why. Okay, I have some idea why (one should update their stories more often if they don't want to forget what happens) but thanks for pointing that out. I've made a note about your suggestion with the verb tenses, so that I'll keep a closer eye on them as I write.

I added about 1500 words to the edit which I reposted. I was worried that I'd pushed the chapter for too long. A long first chapter can be a real no-go for many readers. I'm glad that you feel that it worked at the length it is.

Much of the characterisation of Next Gen characters is based on fanon, and I understand how they can be difficult to judge. Albus is definitely portrayed as being less out-there as I've painted him here, but we'll see how well that sits with him over the course of the story, I suppose. I really dislike writing him since he gives me so much grief!

Thanks so much for this fantabulously awesome review! I really appreciate all the feedback, and I'm obviously happy that you enjoyed it!

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Review #43, by Pixileanin {Chapter the First}

27th March 2014:
You know how you go to read a story, and then you're immediately swept away into this other world, and you don't even remember how you got there? That was what reading this first chapter was like. Pure delight!

Aww! Ellie's talk with her great gran was so sweet! I just loved the way you captured her five year old self and the patient, nurturing aura of the older woman. And the way that Ellie gets scared that her twin can't do the same thing as her, for once, was so touching. It really brought home how unique she was, and that her gift was not to be shared. Poor thing!

The whole thing with certain body parts freezing off... haha! That was so funny, I just don't know what else to say about it.

Okay, so the most important thing about this story so far is Ellie's CAKE SENSE! How fantastic is that?? That is so awesome, I think I want cake right now! I love how Ellie puts all of Cassandra's predictions into light of her own life. Uh oh, the love thing doesn't sound too promising. I'm sure Ellie's not looking forward to that at all. And now I want cake. And more of this story. I guess I found something to occupy myself with while you're slaving away on that "other" story that I'm waiting on.. *prods with stick*

So very delightful!! And flowy!!! I am jealous of your epic flow!

Author's Response: *dies of flattery overload*

*cannot stand up because of inflated head*

*must be rushed to hospital to decrease size of ego*

That is a summary of my emotions right now.

Writing a young child was really difficult. I don't really have much experience with children that young and I still wanted to include Ellie's precociousness. I'm so happy you think I did a good job!

That was an add in the most recent edit! I'm glad you liked it. I was a little concerned that Ellie was thinking of any of Albus' body parts considering how much she doesn't like him...

We all know this story is really about Ellie's cake sense. Spoilers, but it's how she's going to save the day. She's basically going to go up to the adverse situation and woo them with their favourite piece of cake. That is how this story is going down. The Founders are just a ploy to generate interest. And Ellie is definitely not looking forward to the love entering her life!

Thanks so much for this lovely review!

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Review #44, by Veritaserum27 {Chapter the First}

23rd March 2014:

I'm here for review tag. This is my very first one, so bear with me. So, I must admit, that I wasn't sure I wanted to read a chapter over 5,000 words, but it was so worth it!

I think you've nicely set up the first chapter for this story. The characters all have their own personality traits (and flaws). Albus being the pompous son of 'the chosen one' is a nice touch. Albus is usally portrayed as a cunning Slytherin, who is unsure of himself - but not here. He knows who he is and makes no apologies - loved it!

I also loved your description of the music room. I could totally see all those instruments lying around (along with the dangerous wires!)

The end really got me - I am also a skeptic when it comes to the "supernatural" and the old woman wasn't saying anything too impressive - up until that point. (I think I actually gasped)

However, I think my most *favorite* part of the entire chapter was Elli's "cake sense." I literally laughed out loud! I'm hoping that skill comes in handy in later chapters.

Thanks for the story!


Author's Response: I'm surprised that you chose to start with a 5000 word chapter as well! Not exactly a smart move to begin my story with such a high word count!

I'm glad all the different personalities come through and they don't all sound the same. Biggest fear, I kid you not. I loved writing Albus this way! He's a royal pain to write most of the time but the readers seem to love him so it's all worth it!

That music room description... I want a room like that. I don't even really like playing music, but that would be my dream music room.

The old lady is a bit of an enigma, isn't she? She throws poor Ellie off as well!

And Ellie's cake sense will definitely reappear!

Lovely to hear from you!

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Review #45, by ShadowRose {Chapter the Fifth}

14th March 2014:
Hi, I'm back again for the last chapter (so far)!

I totally connect with Ellie's desire for a perfect and regular morning routine. I'm completely thrown off when I do things in the wrong order, so I totally know where she's coming from. As usual, her narration is perfectly dry and witty (which is so funny, because she's so much better with comebacks in her head than she is verbally, but then again, who isn't?). It cracks me up how much she and Scorpius hate Herbology, because it creates such funny narration throughout that whole scene. And her last line of the chapter is just perfect - I was giggling like an idiot in my empty hotel room when the room service person knocked, so I'm sure she thinks I'm as crazy as Al thinks Ellie is. :P

Ahh, there was a ton of ScoRose in this chapter! They're so cute in the morning when Rose is freaking out and he manages to calm her down so easily - you'd think they had been together for ages! It cracks me up that Rose didn't even notice Ellie sitting across from her because she was so caught up in Scorpius. And aww yay, Scorpius is going to ask out Rose! I can't imagine that she wouldn't say yes, given her behaviour that morning - they're so great together! And wow, look at Elle, giving relationship advice! It's actually all really good advice too, so maybe she should apply it to her own life? Haha, she's so much better with theoretical relationships than actual ones.

Overall, another really great chapter! I really hope you post the next chapter soon - I'd love to read and review it!

-ShadowRose (Taylor)

(Blackout Battle review 8/20 for opposite house)

Author's Response: My morning is totally dependent on how well I execute my morning routine. It really sets the way you look on your day! Her comebacks are great - she'd have like zero friends though if she said everything that went through her head. People would think her either crazy or rude or both - but let's be real, who isn't crazy and rude in their heads?

ScoRose... Everyone knows they're meant to be in this story... Except them, of course. It's sort of adorable, the way they're just so dense! The thing about Ellie's advice is that it's always great - except she never practises what she preaches. It makes for an interesting sort of dichotomy. She's way better with people in her head, for sure!

Thanks so much for this lovely set of reviews!

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Review #46, by ShadowRose {Chapter the Fourth}

14th March 2014:
Hello, I'm back again!

Oh gosh, this was such an entertaining chapter. I love Ellie, as usual, and I relate to her so much in this chapter. I'm always spending time by myself, despite my friends' efforts to do something. I love the library, so I see why Ellie likes to spend her free time there. And I love that she got a blank slip signed - what a clever girl!

Oh dear, and then Regulus shows up again! I really like him - he's witty and sarcastic and definitely enjoys bugging Ellie whenever possible. His comments throughout this whole chapter had me giggling like crazy - Sexual Tension Saga was probably the funniest thing I've read all day. And then he goes into Victorian language and I just love him so much because he's so hilarious and makes a pretty darn good ghost. Gosh, he just MAKES this scene.

And Al... his behavior's certainly interesting here. He seems a bit pushy, particularly for someone who claims to dislike Ellie, but I guess he could just be being nosy for the sake of being nosy. It's kinda funny that he keeps trying to figure out what he's doing, just to make her squirm. And he's really interested in this boyfriend... hmmm, I wonder why? ;)

This was such a hilarious and entertaining chapter - great job with it, it kept me laughing the whole time!

-ShadowRose (Taylor)

(Blackout Battle review 7/20 for opposite house)

Author's Response: I totally understand where you're coming from! Sometimes you just want to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. And libraries are basically the best places on earth, except for maybe museums and planetariums.

I love writing Regulus. He's the first ghost that really gets under Ellie's skin and just doesn't want to leave her alone, which is oddly adorable in its own way. He basically makes any scene he decides to grace!

Gosh! Albus is just a really nosy person in this chapter. It's so weird writing him this way, trying to hide his need to know about other people's lives behind his cool, suave facade!

Thanks for the review!

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Review #47, by ShadowRose {Chapter the Third}

14th March 2014:
Hello! I figured I'd finally come back and review these later chapters for Blackout Bingo! I really like that you start all these chapters with the same phrase - it really ties the whole thing together and it's a really unique element of this story.

I love Ellie's behaviour in the morning - mostly because I'm the exact same way. If you talk to me before I've had my coffee, it's not going to be a pretty situation. Not to mention she has to deal with three shirtless boys sitting in her kitchen. Actually, I just really love Ellie in general. Her commentary is perfect and she always has a snarky thing to say for any situation. Oh gosh, and when she snaps at Potter, I was positively dying - I've totally said the exact same thing before to someone who insinuated I had a small vocabulary. High five to Ellie!

The little story about her old crush on James because he "saved her life" was adorable, and I loved tier little brief interaction with him - it was just awkward enough to be funny yet natural at the same time.

I like her friends so far - Ben seems really cool and funny, and I can wait to get to know him better as the story progresses. And yikes, what's this about the Sorting Hat and something sinister? That Hat's always more insightful than it lets on, so that's definitely not a good sign. I wonder what sinister things are going on - I guess I'll have to keep reading to find out!

I really enjoyed this chapter, so now I'm on to the next one!

-ShadowRose (Taylor)

(Blackout Battle review 3/20 for opposite house)

Author's Response: I just love how people love the opening phrases! Often they're one of the hardest things to write in the chapter, so it's so great that people appreciate what is literally one sentence out of a bajillion in each chapter.

I'm glad you still like Ellie! She hasn't really started being annoying yet though, so that might have something to do with it! She gets on my nerves sometimes because she just refuses to be written! So. Frustrating. LET ME WRITE YOU.

-end rant-

Ben is a boss - more on him later on in the story. Everyone should be more like Ben! And the Sorting Hat is sinister on the best of days - it's downright creepy when it's a plot device!

Thanks for reading!

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Review #48, by long_live_luna_bellatrix {Chapter the First}

11th March 2014:
Hi there,

Before I talk about your writing (that is what reviews are for, I guess), I wanted to let you know that I found your comment on my blog (the one about getting back into the groove of writing) really helpful. The bit about reviews in particular. Most people offered helpful-- but not novel-- advice, whereas the idea of leaving reviews was something I'd never considered. As soon as I read that, I knew it was going to work. So I decided to do my best to leave at least one review a day everyday until I find my groove again-- hopefully even after that. And I figured there was no better person to begin with than the one who had the idea in the first place. So thank you, very much. And onto your story.

This story's summary caught my eye immediately. And once I began reading, I was excited to see the action began right off the bat, along with a plausible history. After all, it does take a significant sense of creativity to make seeing ghosts sound odd in an HP fan fic. Your summary, plus the cool background information about people who are "stuck," did a great job of pulling me in.

You gave Ellie a nice, solid history, and I feel like I know her pretty well. I now know about her parents, her brother, her friends, some of her likes, some of her dislikes, and a vulnerable part of her (having trouble opening up... talk about relatable), and it didn't feel forced at all. The one thing that made me a little nervous (that's the wrong word, but it's the best I can come up with) (sorry for all the parentheses, I promise I usually don't use them this much!) was her relationship with Albus Potter. The quiet, nervous, funny girl meets gorgeous and arrogant best-friend-of-brother, hates him, but will eventually fall in love with him? (Jumping to conclusions about the psychic's prediction, here) It can be done, but it's been done a lot. There are interesting directions in which it can go, and tired directions. I'd just be wary of the two of them, if I were writing this-- but I'm sure you have it under control.

I'm still really interested to see what the Founders ask Ellie to do, and I'd like to get to know her more. I'll swing by again soon. Once again, thank you so much for your advice! Review #1 is done, and I'm already beginning to feel better, writing-wise.


Author's Response: I'm so glad you found my advice worthwile! I'm really happy that you already feel like it's going to work out for you. Getting your groove back is the most amazing feeling :) And wowee! A review a day! Good luck! Break all the legs!

I'm so happy that you enjoyed the beginning! I feel like this story is taking a really long time to get to what I call the beginning of the "actual plot", but that's probably because I know where I want to take this story, and also because I'm a super slow writer.

I'm always really worried about people's initial reactions to Ellie. I don't want her coming off as an unlikeable "Mary Sue", although that's often how she views herself. I'm so happy that you found her well-balanced, and most of all, relateable - I usually don't reaad stories where I can't connect to the main character, especially if the story is in first person.

I really get what you mean about Albus. I have the same sort of feeling in the pit of my stomach about him. I don't want their relationship to go in the direction that everyone (including myself) expects it to go, going off what I've written in the first chapter. I find him incredibly difficult to write, and I think some of that... anxiety(?) translates into my writing. I really want to make him more complex than he appears - one of the reasons why I chose Albus as the Potter "love interest" rather than James who is more often portrayed in this way. We'll see where his character goes.

One review down! The road to getting your mojo back has had an incredibly solid start! I sincerely wish you the best of luck and shall stay up-to-date with all new developments - blog posts, writing updates (when they happen in their own good time), status updates... I'm obviously not coming off as stalkerish :P But seriously, I really appreciate this review!

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Review #49, by TidalDragon {Chapter the Fourth}

9th March 2014:
Here we got some more depth about Ellie's anti-social behavior and a little more about her character in the first portion of the chapter. Most importantly, we got the discovery of the gap in the wall behind the restricted section, which (perhaps crucially?) coincided with the reappearance of the ghost of Regulus Black. That material seemed necessary and that it advanced the story.

Unfortunately it seemed like advancing the plot stopped to an extent with the reappearance of Albus Potter. If Albus and Ellie are going to be an item, I definitely understand having him appear here and having a little back-and-forth. However, the banter between two people who don't like one another seemed to drag on a bit, especially where Albus kept pressing her about who she was talking to. It felt repetitive like some of the early Regulus content from Chapter 2 and again emphasized that little progress was being made, which is bound to make a reader feel like the chapter or scene is dragging.

Pace Detail: 4 of 4

Author's Response: THAT GAP IN THE WALL IS LITERALLY THE FIRST CONCRETE PLOT POINT SO FAR. VERY CRUCIAL. Can you tell how excited I get over finally revealing plot points?

Albus' appearance was also a little necessary. It served to show how she interacts with people who aren't exactly her friends, and also to show that Albus is one nosy bloke who can't help but stick his neck in where it doesn't belong. But most importantly, I wrote him here for the most selfish reason of all: for myself. As a writer, I find him difficult to write, so to challenge myself, I included him here, perhaps a little unnecessarily.

Thanks once again for all the fantabulous reviews. I'm not sure if it comes across in my responses but I really do appreciate them :)

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Review #50, by TidalDragon {Chapter the Third}

9th March 2014:
Shorter follow-up feedback on a shorter chapter here. You did a good job setting up Ellie's friendship with Ben and establishing his personality through their interactions. You also nicely foreshadowed more serious events to come with the commentary about the Sorting Hat song (though I wanted to see all the words if it's going to be important).

The only thing I noticed with pacing here was that it seemed to start a bit slow. Mostly, I thought that was due to the running section. I'm not sure what compelled you to have Ellie explain why she runs, but I didn't feel like it added much to a character who is already going to be heavily developed since she's telling the story and is the main character. Also, based on the background you had already given, I didn't think you needed to explain the presence of both Muggle and wizard papers with parentheticals (though that is just me nitpicking).

Pace Detail: 3 of 4

Author's Response: I chickened out on writing the Sorting Hat song. I can't rhyme to save my life. But maybe someday... I'm glad you liked the foreshadowing though! Reminds people (namely me) that I still have a plot!

I chose to include the running section partly to begin to reveal something about Ellie's personality which isn't quite evident yet, and partly to hint at the kind of relationship she has with her father. It is far more complex than it seemed in the first chapter, and this was just a hint. Perhaps I should look into making that more obvious... plot ideas abound.

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