Your stories are very powerful, in a modest kind of way. You get us attached to your characters, and then something happens that makes that feeling of relationship matter.
I personally, as someone who fancies herself a writer of sorts, really, really identify with Marlene. Down to internally writing her story throughout her day, or obsessing over the order of the words, or being quiet, or trying to substitute writing for real life, I feel that Iíve been there. It makes this more painful, but beautiful, for me because I can imagine reaching for a pen at the last moment of life.
Iím not sure that anything beyond this would be doing the story any justice. Except to say well-done, and itís a wonderful story.
Happy Valentineís Day!
--lilyAuthor's Response: The nice lllb wrote this because she could get into the character so entirely. The smaller, more devious lllb knew it would attract readers because every single member of this site can probably relate in one way or another. But hey, I'm coming clean. Knowing me, I WILL have a pen in hand on my deathbed.
Thank you for such lovely reviews! I've been sitting here forever, responding, and they keep going! I'm so pleased!!! Report Review
I don't have words good enough to describe how impressed I am with this one-shot- even with only the one chapter, Marlene's personality as you have portrayed it came across as clear as day, and it was definitely tangible and believable. I loved the little interjections of her story, and how you ended the fic with it still unfinished and her thoughts still with it. Literally, there is nothing I could possibly criticise about this fic- it was one of the most original I've read :D
-- JessAuthor's Response: Thank you! I strive to get some sort of originality into what I write, and sometimes it comes out better than others. I figured, what better to write about than a wanna-be author? I certainly know the feeling. Report Review
Excuse my fawning fangirl review, but, wow, this was awesome.
Writing a story about writing: you did it very well. The way that Marlene's thoughts jumped from life to story was very realistic (I do that all the time!) and I love how even in times so mundane as breakfast, she was thinking about her story. Oh, wow.
The end was simply heartbreaking. Oh my.
'A thousand untold stories graced my lips, and my hand reached instinctively for a quill to detail the unexplainable event of dying.' - that line was just...wow. Even as she dies, she's got her stories on the brain. Realistic or what?
I wish I could offer you some constructive criticism, but I have none. This was simply fabulous.Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review! My thoughts tend to jump back and forth between reality and fantasy, so to me it was natural for Marlene's to do that as well. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Report Review
Poor Marlene! Oh my goodness. I'm practically speechless right now.
I love the beginning. I love how she corrects herself, no, always proofreading her words. :D The line that sticks out the most to me, though, is "blond McKinnon hair stained the dirt."
I just said the word out loud to get a feel of it. You know, some words are just so graphical and you definitely know how to use them. I remember when you beta'd my collab story, you told me to add more description. Your description here is really amazing and it flows so well! :D
~foundriapenguinAuthor's Response: Thanks so much! One of my favorite things when reading books is the way authors use words in ways that they aren't typically known for. Description isn't my thing at all, so words like the stained example disguise my lack of real description. :P Report Review
I don't even know what to say to explain to you how amazing this story is. I am not joking when I say this is one of the -best- stories I have ever read, period. I don't care if it's fanfiction. It's right up there with the original stuff.
Seriously. I just love the way you incorporated a writer into this, how her story was a mirror image to her emotions and what was going on. This is published quality work.
The only thing were a few missing words here and there, but it was nothing a quit edit wouldn't fix.
I'm totally putting in a word with CherryBear about this story and how it totally deserves to win her challenge. I'm not even sure if she's chosen a winner yet, but good grief. This story deserves it. The beginning was just as powerful as the end.
Into the favorites.
DemAuthor's Response: Really?!? Gosh, this review just made my day. :D Published quality, original stuff... I've never had so many of these compliments in a review before. I can't even remember if I've gotten a single compliment like that before.:D
I believe I wrote this story rather quickly, and it just all came out. I'm not surprised there're words missing here or there. I'm off to check that. Thanks so much for the incredible review!!! I did end up winning the challenge, so if you did put a word for me thank you even more! :D Report Review
Wow. I'm so sorry that it's taken me so long to review this, and I'm not just apologizing to you; I'm apologizing to myself for not reading this incredible piece of writing sooner. This is honestly so breathtaking in how amazing it is. I've seen you around the site and on the forums often, and I've often thought that your stories looked good, but this is the first piece of yours that I've read, and I'm so happy that I did. Seriously, thank you so much for entering this into my challenge. I feel honored.
Before I get to inflating your head even more, I figure I should get the nit-picky criticisms out of the way first:
- in, "Another disadvantage to living with my parents; back to the old attic bedroom", a semicolon seems inappropriate (semicolons are exactly like periods in that they almost always connect complete, independent sentences). I think maybe you were intending a colon instead (which means that one side equals the other).
- in, "'Harry was spared.' Dad said, 'Itís odd, actually'", the period after 'spared' should actually be a comma, and the comma after 'said' should be a period. I'm rotten at explaining things like this, but if this isn't just an oversight and you don't quite understand then there's a great topic on the HPFF forums that I recommend checking out; it's in the Writer's Resources forum under the Grammar Guidelines subforum and it's called "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dialogue". I know that I found it really helpful, at least. There are a few other instances where the rules explained in that topic (much better than I could explain them) need to be applied: "'I'm crushed, Craig, who wouldn't be?' I finally replied, 'But we've known plenty of people that were murdered'"; "'It's not in my nature to fight back, Craig,' I finally sniffed, 'And for some people, all they can do is what they know'"; "'Of course.' I said, after a momentís hesitation"; "'I'm sorry,' I squeaked, 'It's just kind of hit me'"; "'They were some of the best people I've known.' Caradoc agreed, 'Mankind is worse off without them'"; and "'I've heard that you like to write, from Craig,' Caradoc continued, 'He said you wanted to get published someday'".
- in, "When he go from a timid little boy to a fully grown wizard, of age and everything?", I think you're missing the word 'did' in between 'when' and 'he', although I can't be sure what you were thinking.
- in, "You've got to get your nose out your stories someday and fight back", I think there's supposed to be an 'of' between 'out' and 'your' but, again, I'm making assumptions ;)
- in, "I let that in as I replaced 'sack' with 'moth-eaten trench coat' and added an 'e' to the end of 'breath'", I'm thinking you're missing a 'sink' in between 'let' and 'that'.
- in, "Writing was diving head first into a world with none of your problems in it unless you personally them to be", I can't even wager a guess what you were thinking; all I know is that the second part doesn't read as it should o_O
- in, "I whispered, holding up my wand so that bleak room was washed with light", there should be a 'the' in between 'that' and 'bleak'.
Sorry if this seems at all nit-picky. Those were pretty much the only criticisms I had for you, but I didn't want to leave you a review just with praise in it. On to the good part, now, though.
Since this challenge was all about hooks, I'll start with that: your hook was excellent and absolutely exactly what I was looking for. From the second I read that first sentence, I was drawn into your story - although I have to admit, I do like Marlene's revision of it much better ;) Not only is the hook packed with action, it's pretty much a paradox. A Muggle? With a wand? That makes about as much sense as my Voldemort with a bazooka example! Which is exactly what made me want to keep reading. So, in short: super fantastic job!
One thing that I like about this is how relatable Marlene is. I sound so predictable, but being a writer myself made it so easy to understand where Marlene was coming from. I can only assume that you took some inspiration from your own experiences as a writer to create Marlene's character, because, otherwise, I'm incredibly envious of your ability to understand others emotions/actions/mindsets. I loved how you incorporated Marlene's fiction into her story, and how it ended up sort of parallel-ing what was happening in her own life. What amused me the most about it was how ironic it seemed - how Marlene was writing to escape, but in the end she ended up writing (or mentally planning to write) something vastly similar to real life. Isn't that how it always ends up, though? And I also thought it was a nice touch to have the constant editing, if only because it was so realistic. I could go on and on about how much Marlene jumped off of the computer screen with how real she was, but I think you'd get rather bored of my rambling.
Aside from plot and characterization and everything else that you've accomplished magnificently here (especially the writing - you are amazing with description and style and just pretty much everything!), I absolutely adore the title. I've always been rather rotten at titles, so I have a great deal of appreciation for people who come up with really excellent titles. And I have to say, this is a really excellent title. It's simple but attention-grabbing, but what I love most about it is the double meaning to it; not only is her story interrupted, her life is interrupted. See previous ramble about the parallel between Marlene's life and the story.
I'm fairly certain I'm nearing the 6000 characters maximum, and because I can't imagine cutting anything out of this review, I'm going to stop here. Thank you so much for entering my challenge, and remember to check back after the deadline to see if you've won. This one-shot is amazing.
Cherry BearAuthor's Response: Hey, don't worry about the time it took to review this. I keep on forgetting I joined your challenge, so I wasn't waiting for it or anything. Honestly, one of the best parts of your review was that you've seen me around the site a lot. I strongly believe that being a presence around the site/forums is important in improving your writing. So that was an unintentional compliment, and you had a breath-taking amount of intentional ones too!
Ah, yes, my dialogue punctuation. I don't pretend to be an expert on it, but with your comments I'm on my way. :P I have read that article on the forums but clearly not recently enough... Thanks! And wow, I guess I was typing so fast that I didn't get my thoughts out well enough... I'll add in those words, you were correct about what I missed.
I thought of the hook before the plot, as it was for your challenge. When I thought of it, I suppose I may have been too lazy to think of a real plot to fit it, because I had Marlene right it instead. Although I am pleased with the way this plot turned out.
I really enjoyed writing Marlene because I wanted to write a little about how I sometimes feels about writing. I've never talked to a living, breathing person about how much I love it, so this story was just another way of trying to explain it. And if someone who didn't like writing had written this, I too would be extremely jealous of their ability to understand other people's emotions. :D
One thing I AM jealous of is people who constantly come up with great titles! It is no talent of mine, this one is the exception rather than the rule.
Well, thank you for that extremely helpful (and a bit head-inflating, as you said, but that's not necessarily a bad thing) review! It was wonderfully detailed and just... wonderful. And thanks for the challenge, as well. :D Report Review
This is so sad!! But I really really liked it. 10/10Author's Response: Thank you. :) Report Review
Great start. I love everything from the first line to the last line. Really, this is amazing.
The only critique that I can conjure is that I don't feel like you gave enough detail to Marlene's parents telling her about the Potters's deaths. I felt like you could have set the scene a little more by showing the floo call, or you could have shown the worn expressions of Marlene's parents sooner, when they are telling her about the deaths. This is, of course, what I felt when I was reading it, and maybe I missed some greater significance in the lack of detail of that part to the one-shot.
I know you wanted me to tell you what I thought about the story alongside Marlene's story. Here's some stuff I picked up from reading this:
I like how Marlene lives at home with her parents, who still evidently have substantial control over her. The part where she has to wait for her parents go to bed really highlights, to me, Marlene's lack of independence or control over her life. She's twenty-one and she still has a bed time. Also, it made me wonder whether or not Marlene had the ability to ever become independent.
Marlene is so attached to her writing world and characters that she cannot gain her own sense of self or independence. Consequently, her parents, the war, and her writing own her life. She is disconnected from reality. Her end is tragic and a result of this disconnect.
In my opinion, that's a deep meaning for a one-shot! I mean that in a good way. I don't read many one-shots have a fully completed and explored concept.
I don't think that I fully understand the connection between what Marlene was writing and Marlene's life. I did, however, pick up the sense that Marlene feels like she's not in control of her life. She is tied up, she doesn't have her wand, Perry is dead/dying. At the end, does Marlene's character kill her attacker? I thought that was a neat twist. What I interpreted out of that was while Marlene was killing her fake attacker, the real life Death Eater was killing her.
This one-shot is fantastic. I love Marlene's character. The start instantly pulls the reader in with Marlene's narrative. Excellent! This is definitely going on my favorites. 10/10.
AetherAuthor's Response: Thank you for the absolutely incredible review. Not only did you comment on the physical aspects of the story, but you took a crack at the meaning, something I can't even quite put into words. So many, many thanks.
The reason I didn't make the Potters' death a bigger scene was that I didn't want it to be that important to the story. The death was one more thing for Marlene to ponder and write about, and a way to get her to headquarters, where I'd planned for her to die, and, frankly, the Potters' death was convenient to the timeline I was imagining, for the ages of various characters and such. So I'm not planning on describing the Floo call or anything like that, but I'm always for improving my description, and adding more of it.
I definitely wanted to show Marlene's writing as being a way of escape; her slow, controlled life is a big part of that. I also wanted to make sure the reader knew she was never entirely there; a piece of her mind was always in her stories. I was surprised you picked out that her death was a result of the of the disconnect; I didn't quite intend that, at least in the sense that she was too distracted to fight back. But I did try and show how she never quite had a hope for a life.
Marlene's writing wasn't a coded version of her own life, but I did try to let it play off her life, and show that she was winning in her mind even if she lost in reality. Thank you once again for the wonderful review! Report Review
You wanted to know about the first line, hears the others I had.
How can a muggle have a wand?
Are they even a muggle?
How do they even know what to do with it?
How did they get it?
Who left there wand laying around?
These are the kinds of question that would have had me as a reader keep reading, just the though of not knowing how a muggle knows how to use a wand.
There was one thing that bugged me I just dont see a parent calling Lupin Moody. I dont know, its just I think that wizards just wouldnt to that its like you Grandma calling you a nick name that is one that is used outside of the family.
I do like how she is writing a story though out and even she knows when the end is to come.
LouiseAuthor's Response: Thanks! Those questions are exactly the kind I wanted to inspire when I wrote that first line. It's for the Hooking First Challenge, after all, and after looking at a few example I found that my favorite opening lines are ones that embraced the improbable.
I think you're right about Moody; I'll go and check back in the books, but I think most adults who know him well (except Dumbledore) call him Mad-Eye. But if that was the most glaring mistake you found, then I think I can be very proud of this! :) Report Review
Excellent writing. I loved that last line: it's very, very clever, and as powerful as it is intelligent.
xEAuthor's Response: Thanks! The line just came to me as I was wrapping up the story, and after a bit of tweaking it became the ending sentence. I think it does a good job of summing up most of main components of the story. Report Review
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