Reading Reviews for Shot in the Dark
22 Reviews Found

Review #1, by broadwaykat Shot in the Dark

19th June 2013:
God - I just really love how you set up the world of your stories.

I have to say that Colin's death was one of the worst that hit me in the last book - and I couldn't say why. I can't even say I particularly liked him as a character. But I think the way you have written him, which feel so terribly right, goes a long way in explaining that.

I love this - I just, I do. It's a brilliant shot from the life of someone else in the battle - and I think it's a testament to exactly how hectic and horrible that night was, and all the other people around it. I couldn't even begin to count and go back and see if the number of photos he takes matches up to forty-eight, but I'm going to assume that it certainly does, and I think that was a hugely ambitious idea you had that you pulled off with such an amazingly simple yet unique framing device - show forty-eight different snap shots from the battle of Hogwarts.

I read this twice through to make sure I got everything, and by the end of the second time through, I just have to say - Colin is perfect. He isn't the annoying 12 year old anymore, but he isn't a stoic warrior who goes down in the battle fighting. He's a teenage boy - and it is so perfect and heartbreaking and in character that it is crazy and made me cry all over again for a background character who I knew died about six years ago.

Some of your lines in this story are wonderful, but if I had to pick one which I think sums up this entire story, the character, even this section of the Harry Potter series, is this: Never had it been so clear to Colin that Dumbledore’s Army had been a ragtag group of enthusiastic, underage wizards, and these were ruthless, fully qualified wizards with far more fighting experience. So MANY times I read alternative stories where Dumbledore's Army or the Order or a group just acts like GODS who can do no wrong and can battle full grown adults or twenty-to-one odds with aplomb. This story makes that so not true and yet so true to the messages that JK was giving us in the original work that there's nothing I can say about this story except that it is utterly brilliant.

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Review #2, by StEpH_M Shot in the Dark

29th October 2012:
This is rather sad, I always wondered how Colin died, cause he wasn't in the final movie you never found out more then the fact that he didn't make it out. It's good to know though that even through his naivety he actually would have done some good in it all. Some of those pictures could have helped to ID death eaters after the war ended; it's a pity he never got to reach Harry like he hoped.

I also liked how he helped out Angelina and her group, how he helped on his way to find Harry and probably without him there would have been a few more people hurt of killed. It was nice to know that he helped a lot before he was killed.

You did a really good job of bringing Colin's part in the final battle to light. And it just makes you wonder how much each of them were able to pull off before they either where killed or the final battle finished, it just goes to show that kids can do just as well as adults if they have the right motivation and ideals.

I have always liked stories set in the final battle and this didn't disappoint. It was really well written and flowed beautifully, it didn't have any unnecessary bits and because it made me feel like I was actually there, it brought tears to my eyes when he found Fred and when Colin died. I do hope someone found his camera.

Very well done, I really love this one-shot.

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Review #3, by Woodrow Rynne Shot in the Dark

25th September 2011:
Aww...this is so heartbreaking! :'( I know most people find Colin's character in HP annoying, but I could always relate to him somehow; his eagerness was just so cute.

You know I've been wanting to read a fic about how Colin died, and I'm so glad I read this, even though it made me sad. Again, I'm in awe how well you can juggle so many genres, yet excel in every one of them. You write minor characters wonderfully; it really is fab to see someone write about underappreciated characters! :)

Your summary was really powerful, it truly drew me in. I couldn't not read this fic after reading the summary! Characterisaion was superb, you really managed to move me with his determination to help Harry, and taking his camera with him till the end.

My stomach was squirming with every click, knowing he was about to die, and I swear i almost cried at the last sentence. Which means, you as a writer succeeded. A really fab piece of work, this! :)

Only one thing that I didn't quite understand was why Wood and the others didn't make him go back, knowing his personality for snooping around. Perhaps, they were too busy? But it did seem a li'l off to me.

But seriously, this one-shot brought back that memory when I cried at the end of DH. All of us would have mourned if Harry had died, but who knows how many other unknown heroes died that night?

Author's Response: Colin definitely would be annoying in real life (and sometimes is on the page too), but as a character he is cute.

This story was sooo hard for me to write! I edited it a bajillion times, it felt like, mainly because the action was super lame (as in, non-existant) at first. I still have some canon inconsistencies (such as Colin being at Hogwarts that year), but I don't have any grand plans to make further edits.

Er, why didn't Wood and the others go back? Good question. Consistency/timeline/canon issues in this story aside, the real answer is because if they had, that would have cut off my story. The answer I'm making up on the spot is that they got too caught up in the fight.

Thank you so, so much for leaving all these reviews for me. It was very nice if you to do that. I'm sorry it took me so long to respond. I get out of the review-checking habit, and it was such a wonderful surprise to see all these reviews from you! :D

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Review #4, by wingsatmidnight Shot in the Dark

16th August 2011:
Aw, Colin! Taking pictures until the end :(

Every "Click" was really quite - er - cute. I don't know but it made me remember Colin's eager face in the Chamber of Secrets. At first I thought it was annoying - okay it is still a bit - but to know that he risked his own life for a couple of photos...

10/10 :)

Author's Response: Yes, silly Colin! It was really rather foolish of him, wasn't it? Maybe he should have grown out of that eagerness by the age of 16, but for the purpose of the challenge, I had to have him take a final photograph before his death, and I decided to exploit that eagerness. The number of clicks (24) actually corresponds to a roll of film. This story was more heavily planned than any other I've written, just to fit the clicks in (and to work on the action, which I rewrote so many times . . . grrr).

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Review #5, by Pixileanin Shot in the Dark

12th August 2011:
This is almost like a tribute to those journalist photographers in war zones. I liked how you had Colin trip up the Death Eater to help out in the fight. I also liked that Colin wasn't directly involved in the fighting, and that his main focus was picture-taking. I don't know why he was looking for Harry, I can't remember if I'm supposed to. I also liked how you ended this, with the camera film rewinding all by itself. Really nice read!

pixileanin (Gryffindor)

Author's Response: Ugh, this is such a late response! *hides*

No, you're not supposed to remember why Colin is looking for Harry. It's a "fact" I manufactured in order to explain Colin's presence in the school and give him an excuse to focus on taking pictures rather than fighting.

I didn't write this with the intention of making any sort of tribute to war journalists, but I think photojournalism is a very interesting medium. When I was younger, for a while I wanted to be a photojournalist when I grew up. :P

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Review #6, by Drecklin Shot in the Dark

12th August 2011:
Oh, Alo. I'll be quite honest, you did Colin Creevey a lot of justice here. I know I told you this before, but your characterization is just spot on. I always loved the nervous little boy from book two, and his death really hit me hard :( I always wondered how it happened, and this is just such a Colin way to go, which I appreciate greatly as a fan of his. Once again, I have to tell you that your writing is very captivating. Your word choice and just overall writing is fantastic, I really felt like I was there watching Colin move his way along the castle.

Your description was amazing too, which I think goes along with the above statement, but really- there wasn't too much of it and there wasn't too little. It was just right, which I find is always a hard combination get that way.

Overall, this was a really great one shot. You did Colin justice as a character and I really loved reading this! I can't wait to read more by you :)

Forum Name: Drecklin
House: Slytherin

Author's Response: Ah, thank you. It's not quite canon for Colin to have been at school during that year, but oh well. I had a hard time with this story; it went through a lot of re-writes, but there are some things about it that I like now.

With description, sometimes I have to be careful that I don't go overboard, because I tend to ramble and want to describe things minutely or with unnecessary words. It's something I usually pay attention to while writing, but I'm glad to hear you think I've found a balance. :)

It really is sad that Colin died. :( I feel like he was sort of disposable, in a way, but it's also a little like someone's puppy dying (mean as that may sound). I'm glad you think I did him justice. This story is a tribute of sorts to him, since the challenge was set up that way.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #7, by momotwins Shot in the Dark

7th August 2011:
Poor Colin. He's a sad character in the books, I always thought: pathetic, really, and his death was so sad. He was just a kid. I like the way you wrote him as trying to help support Harry - it makes him so naive, because of course everyone will know about this battle whether there's photographic evidence or not, but he's too young to really understand that. I feel so sorry for him, seeing him run through the battle taking pictures of Voldemort's army. It's like he doesn't really get it. Also: good job for making the old-style camera seem realistic, with the 48 shots. Usually when I see a story where a camera is involved, it's clearly written by someone who's never used anything but a digital camera with a few gigabytes of memory, you know?

You did really well with the fight scene. Magical battles are hard to write convincingly, and you wrote it well.

I love how annoyed everyone is with Colin and his camera. I also really liked Peeves's appearance in the story - nice to see him not getting forgotten.

The film rewinding in the camera was an amazingly perfect ending. Beautifully done.

WTM - Ravenclaw

Author's Response: Urgh, I have such mixed feelings about this story. I struggled with writing it, and I know I have some canon details wrong. Some parts seem too contrived to me, but other parts please me. I just can't quite decide how much I like this story.

Colin is a rather pathetic character in the books. His hero-worshipping is ridiculous. He is 17 (or at least 16) when he dies, so you'd think he would have matured a little by then, but not in my story! :P I actually would like to think that Colin was a little more proactive in the Final Battle, but I couldn't figure out how to make him operate both a camera and a wand--and I needed the camera because it was part of the challenge.

I held on to film for a long time. I only switched to digital about a year and a half ago. I thought a real film camera, where you actually have to move the little lever to advance the film would be a decent fit for a magical environment, while digital would have been unrealistic (and wouldn't have pulled off the effect I was going for).

I've gotten good feedback on the last line, and it's something that actually stayed through multiple drafts. It's one part of the story I definitely am pleased with.

Again, thanks for reviewing! :)

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Review #8, by Roots in Water Shot in the Dark

5th August 2011:
This was beautifully written- oh my gosh. Colin was very well characterized. I just loved the way you wrote the final battle through his eyes, through the lens of his camera. It seemed so real- almost as if I was there with him. You wrote the face pace of the battle amazingly well, slowing the pace only for picture-worthy moments.

Colin's determination to prove Harry right, through use of his camera, was so him. He always was Harry's fan, and even in danger he followed after him.

The last sentence is amazing. It brings his death to the forefront- you didn't tell us he died straight out, but it was hinted at.

This is such a wonderful piece, amazingly written. Excellent job!

Roots in Water (Hufflepuff)

Author's Response: Thank you very much! :) I struggled so much with this piece, especially with writing the action. It really pleases me to hear that you thought the pace of the battle seemed suitable.

I have had several favorable comments on the final line of this piece. When I wrote it, I thought it might be a little cheesy . . . which I suppose it is in a way. However, I also wanted it to come across as sad and to hopefully grab the readers in some way . . . or at least leave them with a strong impression. I think sometimes there is a greater impact from knowing what has happened (since Colin's death is canon) without being told baldly.

Again, thanks for your kind remarks!

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Review #9, by DemetersChild Shot in the Dark

12th June 2011:
Oh, wow.

It was hard to read this knowing that Colin was going to die at the end. Death is sad in any situation, but even more so when the victim is young. Colin admired Harry so much. I'm not surprised he went back to fight.

I enjoyed the way you wrote this--going through all of the pictures that Colin took as he was fighting his way through the castle. I'm a bit surprised Wood and the others didn't force him to leave, but I suppose they didn't really have time to look after him.

It was well written and certainly a different perspective on the Final Battle. Well done. :)

Magically Yours,


Author's Response: So sorry for the late response! I haven't updated in nearly a year and a half and don't have any chaptered stories anyway, so I have gotten out of the habit of checking for new reviews.

I'm not surprised that Colin went back to fight either. It does seem to fit his personality, doesn't it? You are correct to say that he "went back," though. That is one canon error I have in this story, that Colin was still at school :

With the pictures, I wanted to have 24, to have it be like a roll of film, so I could have that (slightly cheesy) line at the end about the film winding back.

Anyway, thanks for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)

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Review #10, by FoundriaPenguin Shot in the Dark

26th December 2010:
Hey Alo! Here from the snowball thread.

Oh my gosh...the ending was so poignant! I can genuinely imagine Colin going around, flashing his camera everywhere, trying to get proof of everything that's happening around him. This makes me so sad because Colin is a really good kid, and you bring out that part of his character so well in this one-shot.

I think I inwardly shuddered when Colin found Fred dead in the alcove :( It was interesting to see you write Wood, Alicia, Angelina, etc. fight during the battle since there's not much about what they did in canon nor in fanfic. The line that stuck out to be the most in the story was "Never had it been so clear to Colin that Dumbledore’s Army had been a ragtag group of enthusiastic, underage wizards, and these were ruthless, fully qualified wizards with far more fighting experience." All I could think when I read that was "That is so true." Not all Hogwarts students were great duelers, and I think their true fighting skills are somewhat glorified sometimes.

Great job with this, Alo! A great final battle fic from Colin's POV :)


Author's Response: Hey, foundriapenguin. :) Thank you for reviewing.

Yes, Colin is a really good kid. I think that's an excellent (and succinct) way to describe him. He does have a noble (though rather foolish) goal here.

I had such a hard time writing the action in this story! I read the relevant chapters and took notes on the timeline, because I wanted to make sure I had things happening in the right order. Between events, I managed to squeeze my own. I basically could make up whatever suited me, since as you said, there are no specific canon details.

The skills of the DA members are definitely glorified. I mean, really? A pack of teenagers who are still mastering basic magic up against adults who've been practicing this for years and are willing to cast really nasty spells? It's not really a fair fight. Harry's super lucky he managed to survive as long as he did, that's all I can say! It sure wasn't because of his superior magical skills and knowledge.

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Review #11, by ariellem Shot in the Dark

26th December 2010:
I still can't believe that Rowling killed Colin how could she? I really liked Colin for some reason. I'm glad you decided to show what he was going through I would have never thought or doing that and it was rather good.
This line kept cracking me up for some reason;
“Hi, guys!” he said enthusiastically. “Are you here to help Harry too?”

“Creevey.” Wood nodded, looking less than thrilled.
Anyway I'm going to throw snowballs at Canada have fun :)

Author's Response: Colin is one of those characters who is adorable and annoying at the same time. I don't know how Harry stood him, but as a reader, his loyalty and hero-worshipping is rather amusing and endearing. I can't imagine that someone like Oliver Wood would be especially patient with him, though.

I'm glad you found some amusement in this overall darker piece. I think Colin's mindset here does provide an interesting contrast to the battle.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #12, by maskedmuggle Shot in the Dark

25th December 2010:
Wow. This is such a well written story, very well developed! I thought the idea of Colin Creevey going around the battle with his camera was very realistic, and I loved how you portrayed that in the fic, by writing Click each time. It was very effective.

I love how it's so detailed, and I love how you included Oliver/Katie/Angelina, Michael, the mystery man, acromantulas, the giants, etc. It made it more real, as did Colin discovering Fred Weasley and Lavender Brown. Mentioning Trelawney's crystal balls and Sprout's tentacula also made it more canon.

Colin was characterised very well, but I thought he would have been more shocked at Fred's body. He seemed very careless, taking pictures in the middle of the battle, but I guess he was still young. The way he died was fitting, though how 'one of the Death Eaters detached himself from the group' seems a bit unfeasible. Would the Death Eater really have bothered? I guess battle is about taking chances though.

A really great story! Very well written, a compelling and an enjoyable read :)

Author's Response: Hi maskedmuggle. Thanks for the review. :)

Urgh, this story actually has a lot of issues. For one, as a Muggleborn, Colin shouldn't even be at school, so there's a mistake right there. When I first posted this, I was not happy with it at all, though time has tempered my opinion, and I rather like it now.

That said, I know there are issues, and I think it's a fair criticism that Colin should have been more affected by finding Fred's body. My only defense is that I wanted Colin to be single-minded in his mission to document the battle and find Harry, so he could have been shoving aside the horror to deal with later.

One big problem I had in writing this story was that it was unrealistic for Colin to be completely apart from the action, but he had to be detached enough to document it. This overall problem is possibly part of what you're picking up on with his death (is it obvious I couldn't figure out how to kill him? haha).

To address the rest of your comments . . . I actually took notes on the battle chapters and tried to include little things. That was mainly to help me work out the timeline and come up with things for Colin to photograph, but I think it does lend authenticity and detail to the story. :)

The clicks were very important as well. The idea of Colin taking 24 pictures and the final line were two of the things that remaind constant in all my drafts.

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Review #13, by orderofthephoenix Shot in the Dark

24th December 2010:
Wow! This is such a moving, powerful piece about Colin's last moments. Nearly had me in tears! That last line was very powerful and really hit home.

Although Colin's mission was to find Harry, the safety of his camera was most important to him and I think that really shows what Colin is about.

Happy Holidays :)
Sophia x

Author's Response: Thank you! I have had such positive feedback about the final line, which makes me very happy. That line just came to me, and I built the story around it. Through numerous drafts, that line stayed the same. It's always nice when readers also respond to something that sounds good in your own head!

Colin is a little immature, and he's completely unprepared for what battle is like--which is no surprise. He is naive here, but I think it's also part of his enthusiasm that he displays around Harry all the time.

Thanks for reviewing. Happy holidays to you too. :)

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Review #14, by kaileena_sands Shot in the Dark

24th December 2010:
Wow, I shouldn't have chosen this story. I mean, it's Christmas and I am almost in tears. Anyways, that was absolutely fantastic! I never paid much attention to Colin's death and he was such a young and brave boy. :((( I fail.

You've described everything brilliantly - even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I was at the edge of my seat because of all the action going on! And the end, that's probably the strongest part. Your ending sentence - "The camera whirred as the film automatically rewound, but there was no one to hear it or change the film." just finished me. I don't know what stroke of genius hit you when you thought of it, but I want some.

Poor Colin. :( I am glad you gave us insights into his final moments. Excellent work!

Happy Holidays,

Author's Response: Well, Colin was a rather minor character, and I think other deaths such as Fred's and Dobby's eclipsed his. They did in my mind, anyway.

I actually built this story around that final line. It just popped into my head. This story went through numerous drafts (mainly because I struggled with writing action), but the last line remained the same throughout all the drafts. I also knew I wanted to have 24 pictures, as well as Colin finding Fred.

I'm pleased you felt a bit of apprehension while reading. It is difficult to write a story that everyone knows the ending to. Fortunately, since the precise details of Colin's death are unknown, there's still a bit of mystery to work with.

Thanks for the review. Happy holidays to you as well. :D

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Review #15, by justonemorefic Shot in the Dark

24th December 2010:
Oh right in, I love your description and style. "A teeming river of students surged through the corridors" and all that emphasis on forty-eight. I get this little thrill as he dodges in and out of places, but there's still this kind of wonderment where he doesn't realize how dangerous it really was: "He rather felt like he was in a spy novel."

Action sequences are so difficult but you do them well. I'd like a little bit more fast-pacedness but that's just me.

Oh Fred ;A; so sad.

I really appreciate how you repeat his search for Harry and his search for truth now. Like a small quest amongst the big story. All he cares about is that the camera's fine.

Ah! That last line. This is officially my canon Creevey! Lovely, every last bit!

Author's Response: Hi justonemorefic. Thanks for reviewing! :)

I'm glad you liked the description. I have a tendency to go a little over the top sometimes. I really wanted to convey the urgency of the evacuation, though, and I was picturing a river of humanity in my mind.

Yes, Colin is a little immature in my portrayal of him. He's very idealistic, but not completely realistic in his view of the world. When interacting with Harry, he seems to be brimming with unlimited enthusiasm and energy, and I wanted to capture that here. I think his single-minded focus on finding Harry allowed him to avoid thinking about the danger even as it intruded on him more and more.

Ugh, action. I'm not surprised that you found the action slow, because my first draft had no action at all! I knew it wasn't realistic for Colin to avoid conflict until the last bit, so I had to do a lot of revising. I have to credit JacksonRobles for kind of kicking me into gear and assuring me I could write action. I'm pleased you thought the action turned out all right despite the slow pace.

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Review #16, by Reyes91 Shot in the Dark

5th September 2010:
Hello, Alopex. Reyes here to review for you.

I must say that I'm really happy that you directed me to this story of yours as I don't think I would have easily found it.

Now, the story alone was amazing. You caught the intensity of the battle perfectly, especially through the POV of someone as young as Colin. The "click" that you put in added to the story, so much so that I could nearly hear it after reading it a few times.

Also, you were concerned about the action aspect of the story. As a lover of action-based stories, this held the right amount. I mean, I would have loved to see far more explosions and death and people getting completely messed up (I'm a typical dude, if you couldn't tell lol). However, knowing this story was from Colin's POV, adding that much more intense action would have destroyed this story. Colin wasn't one of the primary fighters, so it made sense to not have him see the gritty action that took place. It'd be different if you were writing about Neville, but you're writing about someone who had one purpose in mind (take pictures) and would only pull out his wand as long as he had the upper hand first. Colin never seemed like a fighter, so the amount of action you had fit. He took enough snapshots of the various things he saw to add in the necessary action, which hightened the suspense of the story. I really liked it.

The ending still managed to surprise me somehow even though I knew he was going to die. It was just for the fact that he almost reached his goal (Harry) and ended up dying. It sucked that he couldn't fully get what he wanted. And his reasonings for going back into the castle were a little off, but what more could you expect from someone who cared about Harry so much from the moment he heard about him (a Muggleborn no less) and always backed him no matter what? Even if all of the proof was resting in front of him, Colin would still want to capture something more permanent than someone's memory of the battle, and pictures are the best things.

I really enjoyed this one-shot about Colin's death. You led up to his ultimate fate wonderfully while giving the reader so much evidence that he didn't belong there and should have stuck with one of the older students. With him seeing the creatures Voldemort had and nearly getting caught by that other Death Eater, it should have opened his eyes but it proved how young and slightly clueless to the amount of danger he was in.

Excellent work.


Author's Response: Hey Reyes, thanks for the review. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. :-) Thanks also for your feedback on the action. I hadn't planned to request further reviews for this story, but when I saw you were an action-lover, I just had to ask.

Getting the action in here was a process, that's for sure. In my first draft, Colin basically wandered around completely unscathed until he was killed, and I was like, wait a minute, that can't be right. Even if he's running around looking for Harry, rather than standing and defending one spot, he's going to encounter some fighting.

Another reason that I couldn't have Colin engage in much direct combat was because he was taking pictures. It's hard to hold a camera and fire off spells at the same time. There's also the additional distraction of trying to compose shots and having your sight blocked when you're looking through the viewfinder. That's why people kept telling Colin to ditch the camera, but as you said, he was rather clueless.

The Battle of Hogwarts was the first true fighting experience for most of the students. Sure, the DA picked up some handy skills, but in the end, a club like that can't truly prepare someone for battle. The possibility of being hurt or killed remains rather abstract until you actually face it. That's one reason I wanted Colin to discover Fred's body.

I guess it was mean of me, but I did want Colin to glimpse Harry before he died. Also, he made it through the entrance hall, where some really intense fighting was taking place. I think at that point, both Colin and the readers are taking a tiny sigh of relief that he's still OK, but obviously, that doesn't last long. I didn't want a big, dramatic death scene, in part because I wanted there to be this shock of, "Wait a second? Did he just die?"

Thanks again for the review!

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Review #17, by theelderwand Shot in the Dark

22nd August 2010:
I recalled you mentioning this story when you were kind enough to review "The Gift," the story I did about Collin's death in the collab. I'm really glad I read it.

Not sure if you've ever seen "We Were Soldiers," but one of the main characters in that movie is a combat photographer. Although he partakes in the fighting at one point, he feels his primary responsibility is to document the battle that rages around him. He's no soldier, but he does fight to protect himself. I found a very comfortable parallell between that character and Collin - it worked.

I liked Collin's take on his role, that he needed proof of Voldy's return - not really well thought out given the circumstances and the fact that hundreds of people would see Riddle that night in the flesh, but still very Collin and very in character.

As to your writing, it was, as usual, tight, succinct and gramatical. Your descriptiveness was excellent, and I must say you write a pretty darn good battle scene. I thought this passage was exceptional:

"All across the grounds, small fires burned. Hooded figures, their macabre masks weirdly lit by the fires, were pitted against bare-faced fighters in miniature battles and duels that raged and surged over the lawns. The fighting looked to be particularly fierce to the north and along the edge of the Forbidden Forest."

I liked the punctuated "click" throughout this. But your ending, Alo, your ending had a distinct emotional pull that made me tear up:

"The camera whirred as the film automatically rewound, but there was no one to hear it or change the film."

Bravo, Alo. Bravo!


Author's Response: Nope, I've never seen that movie (are you surprised?). Actually, Colin's motivation for returning is probably the weakest part of the story. Most reviewers have pointed it out. In fact, since writing this, I have come to realize that Colin probably wasn't at school anyway, due to the Muggleborn Registration Committee. He was likely in hiding during his sixth year. Therefore, this story isn't totally canon, I suppose.

I have a love/hate relationship of sorts with this story. On the one hand, I like the writing and the story. On the other hand, I'm not sure it works best with Colin. But who else to use, since the "clicks" are so important? *sigh* I meant to do extensive editing to this, but I didn't know where to go with it, so I've just left it.

I take pleasure in crafting sentences. Not that all of my sentences are well-thought-out, of course. However, I love words, and sometimes I just sit there silently rolling different words around on my tongue, trying to come up with something that pleases me (even if it is rather wordy sometimes!).

Thanks for your comment on the battle stuff. I had a hard time with that. My first draft had no action at all--highly implausible. In desperation, I finally asked JacksonRobles how he does it, and he just told me I'd be fine and to plan it out! Lol.

That final line was one of the first things that cemented in my mind regarding this story. I had it in mind before I even began writing. Through the numerous drafts, it was basically the only thing that remained the same. I'm glad it came across as sad, since it was meant to. I didn't want a big, dramatic death scene . . . I wanted a more subtle snuffing out, if that makes sense.

Thanks for reviewing, Eldy! I appreciate it. :-)

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Review #18, by marblecity Shot in the Dark

20th August 2010:
This was really good and descriptive with a sense of beat. I really liked this.

Author's Response: Thank you very much. :-)

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Review #19, by MichaelTurpin Shot in the Dark

12th March 2010:
This was definetely a great story. Really, honestly, totally great.
By the time Colin found Fred, I could almost hear the sound everytime there was another "Click". The duel between the Quidditchteam and the Deatheaters was one of the best action scenes I ever read on HPFF. Nothing too fancy, just simply realistic. Fortunately, I had totally forgotten that Colin was to die in this fight, and so the ending came as a surprise, too. The ending, by the way, was just perfect.

If you can still use tips on how to improve your writing, here are some suggestions.
First of all, what I noticed is that your text is very structured. Not a bad thing in general, but your style of putting one small scene, a moment of danger, an encounter, into one paragraph of 3-5 lines might raise the feeling of monotony if you write long stories like this. If you include long inner monologues taking turns with breathtaking neverending action-scenes, your story will make an even better read.

Which leads me to the next topic: While your story somehow makes good reading even without it, it might become absolutely FANTASTIC if there was some visible or even almost invisible change happening to Colin in the course of the plot.

Finally, there is something I just don't get:
What is Collin thinking? If the war is won, Voldemort will be no more and there will be no need for prove. If the war is lost, even his photos won't convince the Daily Prophet to rebel against the regime. The fact that Voldemort is back was widely spread during Harry's sixth year, this together with the fact that there has been put a ban on You-know-who's name should serve as prove enough.

This does by no way crush your story. Colin (or me) probably made a mistake here, and it would be your task to describe how it came to this.
Is he, maybe, too afraid to really fight with all he's got, using the camera as an excuse to observe the fighting instead of participating? Does he want to create something that will help people remember him in case he died? Is he just a crazy photo-maniac searching for the most shocking pictures the world offers? Or something else?

The last thing I found:
In your story, the Acromantulas seem to have joined Voldemort's side; you don't actually say it, but this is just the impression your words give.

Rating: 9/10
I think you have good chances to win the competition you entered. Your story catches the reader, and your writing-style is close to perfect. Minor deductions for the points mentioned above.

Author's Response: Thank you for the fabulous review. You have been extremely helpful.

You are quite correct that Colin's motivation for taking pictures is the weakest point in the story. I was really stretching for a reason to have him taking pictures instead of dueling, but the explanation is definitely weak.

Fortunately, I now have some ideas for ways I may be able to change it. I had considered all the suggestions you brought up, but obviously didn't use them. However, with your advice about inner monologues, I think I can pull off the first one, about Colin trying to avoid the fight.

I never did get into Colin's mind properly, did I? It seems obvious now that it's been pointed out. And . . . well, I won't bore you with the possibilities that are jumping around in my mind right now. I'm having an ah-hah! moment.

This is actually the longest piece I've ever written, although I do have plans for a longer story eventually (I'm not as dedicated a writer as many on this site are). I'm glad you pointed out the way I write scenes, with one paragraph of an event and then another, etc. I regularly critique people for having a formulaic feeling to their writing, but I hadn't noticed it in my own. I see what you mean, though. It's definitely something I want to pay attention to in the future.

The Acromantulas DID join Voldemort's side, as near as I can figure from DH (I read the battle chapters several times and took a lot of notes when writing this one-shot). I'm sure, though, that they weren't being too picky about distinguishing between Death Eaters and Harry's supporters.

I'm quite flattered by your praise of the Death Eater vs. Quidditch Team duel, especially as I struggled mightily to write an action sequence (this story had no action in its first incarnation). I myself have read better, but the comments I've received so far have definitely boosted my confidence in my ability to write action scenes.

I never expected to surprise anyone with the ending, but I'm very happy to hear you thought the ending came off well. I worried the final line might seem a bit cheesy, but I very much wanted to include it.

Thank you again!

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Review #20, by Jackson Robles Shot in the Dark

8th March 2010:
Awww. Poor Colin. I think this is the first of your writing I've read of yours Apop. And I get to smugly tell you to practice what you preach. Bit wordy from time to time aren't you?

Nahh, just messing with you (kind of). Okay. I'll focus on what you ask for first off. The action. Well, it's not exactly like there are set amounts of necessary action you need to have. And honestly I wasn't really focusing on the action. I was more enticed by what was happening. I didn't notice that this paragraph was 'fighting' and the next was 'moving', but more than anything read.

You do the whole thing with a masterful hand. Sure there are minor hiccups, but you make this completely believable that it happened within canon. It runs parallel the last few chapters in DH cleanly.

Honestly I was slightly like 'what?' with Colin trying to prove to the world Voldemort was back. But he's impulsive, so I can get it.

You have ONE singular spacing issue and I liked how you managed to pull out 24 pictures. I really, really want to see them all. I think it would be awesome.

And you know why that is? Because YOU made it awesome (there's your gratuitous cheesy line). Seriously though, for a one shot, I think this had me really enthralled with anticipation. "What's gonna happen? Who're we going to see? How's he going to die?"

I thought for a moment a giant might step on him. And no, it didn't cripple me emotionally at all, but you did him poetic justice with that final line (I'm not one for emotions, unless it's Stan by Eminem. That song actually made me cry. Not blubbering mind you, but I FELT Stan's pain, you know?)

Anyways, I think that about covers my thoughts on this. Cool, by the way, that Terry and Michael took down a Acromaticula. Overall grand. Bit wordy in the beginning. That's all the critique I can offer you. Maybe swap around a little bit of the narration sentences too---some paragraphs read awkwardly, but that's all.

I loved it.


Author's Response: Hey, JR, thanks for taking me on! Ha, originally when I decided to request from you, I intended to write that you finally had your chance to get even with me, but I forgot all about it last night.

Anyhoo. Yep, I'm wordy too. You should see my first drafts. *quickly hides them* When I edit this (it needs it), I'll definitely look to make the whole thing sound more approachable.

I'm especially glad you thought I pulled the action off ok, because you're the one who gave me the tip that enabled me to do it! Finding the balance between Colin doing and Colin watching was tough for me.

Yeah, Colin trying to prove to the world that Voldemort is back is kinda weak. I needed a reason for him to be taking pictures instead of dueling, and that was the best I could come up with.

I'll fix that spacing issue when I edit this story, which I plan to do eventually. Thanks for pointing it out.

Did you get the 24 pictures on your own, or did I tell you about that? I can't remember.

I didn't expect to have anyone bawling over this, but I am glad to hear you felt drawn in and that you empathized with Colin. (And, no, I know nothing about Stan, as you very well know!)

Thanks, JR! You are grand!

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Review #21, by HarrietHopkirk Shot in the Dark

22nd February 2010:
Hello! It's Hattie here with your review.

The beginning is very powerful. You use a very wide range of vocabulary, and it fits in with the story and doesn't seem out of place.

I definitely like the story's concept. Obviously not Colin's death, that's perfectly heart wrenching, but more his desire to still prove himself to Harry (thus showing that he still hero worships him etc). I think that is wonderful characterisation. He is also so optimistic in the face of danger (Merlin that sounded so cheesy, but it's true ;)). The way he is taking the photos simply to make sure that Harry won't be proved wrong again shows great loyalty that I think Colin would definitely possess, so well done. :)

I think that you got the ratio between Colin being an observer and a participant completely spot on. For example, the encounter with Hatchet-Face and the Gryffindor Quidditch team was choreographed perfectly. Having him hiding meant that he could serve as an observer, but also having stunning Death Eaters made him a participant. The timing of the actions also makes a good deal of difference, but it definitely worked here.

I also like the way you incorporate lots of different characters into the story - the Quidditch team, Michael Corner, Fred (*weep silently*) etc.

You asked me to comment on action, and whether there is too much and the beginning compared to the end. I think you did pretty good, seeing as this was your first time writing action. The action was written well, with a good ratio of dialogue and description.

The last line is completely heartbreaking. *Sob*.

Overall, a great story for a first-time action writer. Well done.

Author's Response: I'm so glad the last line impacted you! This story I had to start over a couple of times, and between all the drafts, while there were several events that stayed the same, the only line that stayed the same was the final one. I was worried it was a bit cheesy and clumsy, but when I picture it happening in my head, I like it.

Thanks for commenting on my vocabulary! I don't think I used anything too unusual in this story, but I do make an effort to vary my word choice. I love words, and my younger sister thinks I'm a total geek because I'm always running to the dictionary.

The ending of this story is a foregone conclusion that surprises no one, and I didn't want to just drift along until I reached it. Therefore, while writing, I found it necessary to mentally focus in on Colin's motives. Colin always came across as one of those annoyingly bright and enthusiastic people. At the same time, he believed in Harry, and he died in battle. That, I think, shows a more serious side to him. I had to reconcile the two sides, and I wanted to do so respectfully.

I'm very relieved to hear that the action later in the story didn't seem like a let-down to you after the fight with Hatchet-Face. I have to thank Jackson Robles for helping me get over the action hump. (His advice? Plan it out. Guess I should have thought of that myself, lol.)

I am so pleased to hear that the different elements of this story seemed in balance to you. I struggled with this one so much, so I've been quite uncertain about it. All the lousy drafts are still lurking in my mind, but I'm pleased with the final outcome. Again, thank you for reviewing. :)

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Review #22, by Pookha Shot in the Dark

16th February 2010:
Wow! Easily the best of the stories for my challenge and a wonderful stand-alone story. You capture Colin's essence very well. We see the side of him that wants to document and know what's going on and the side of him that wants to expose the DEs to support Harry. He's very much like the small dog in the cartoons that's always bugging the bulldog that he idolizes. It's idolatry out of love.

I was particularly moved by the way he discovered and recovered Fred's body so it wouldn't be discovered by anyone else. You also captured me with the other minor characters all playing a supporting part and being worried about Colin, but also supportive him; he made his choice to stay and they understand that, even if they don't fully understand his reasoning.

As far as I can tell, you do a wonderful job staying canon with it as well. Your writing is beautiful, impeccable and perfectly descriptive. I truly believe you are one of the best writers on the site; don't doubt your talent.

Looking at this another way, it's a large action scene that you wrote without the action being repetitive or boring; something that's harder to do than most people take credit for.

As you know I enjoy your work immensely and now I must go and write for your 'Four Seasons' challenge.

Author's Response: Thank you very much, Pookha. As you know, I enjoy your work as well. :-D

I am so pleased you found the action in this piece to come off all right. I've never written an action sequence before, and I struggled immensely! The biggest problem was having Colin near the action but enough apart from it to document it. In my initial draft, Colin didn't cast a single spell, did not speak to a single person, and did not even have a spell cast at him until his death. I completely scrapped that version and started over--more than once.

I have to credit Jackson Robles for giving me the impetus to finish this . . . I asked him how he writes action, and he said something like, "You'll be fine. Just plan it out." I already knew what pictures I wanted Colin to take, but after re-reading the battle scene a few times and taking notes, I had a much better idea of the timeline and feeling of the battle, and everything fell into place.

There were two things consistent among my numerous drafts: the idea of Colin taking 24 pictures and Colin finding Fred. I just fed off the emotion JKR created already. I used minor canon characters for a few reasons. One, it's easy. Two, Colin's photographs take on greater significance if the readers are familiar with their subjects. Three, viewing Colin through the lens of other characters (pun intended) gives greater depth and understanding to his character.

I'm pleased Colin's characterization came off convincingly, as I struggled with it also. For the purpose of this story, he had to have a more serious agenda, consistent with having died in battle, yet it's impossible to ignore the "small dog" side of him.

I've practically written another one-shot in response, so I'll be quiet now. Thank you again for reviewing (and issuing the challenge--it was truly a challenge for me and very inspiring!) and for all your lovely compliments.

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