Again, you've thought things through really carefully - the Auror training is exactly right, perfectly described. It also matches their personalities perfectly that Harry and Ron decided not to return to school where as Hermione did. I'm really enjoying this story! Report Review
You're really good at getting into the mindset of the different characters - Ron sounds like Ron, Harry like Harry, etc. Very well done! Report Review
I really like how you have thought such mundane processes through - such as international post, it's very clever! The boomerang was also quite cute! (And rather magical, yes, hah.) Report Review
I really like the concept of mixing magic with muggle - you seem very in-the-know about fashion and company-dynamics. Good first chapter! Report Review
Please continue this story, I'm desperate to read something and every story Ive read so far is unfinished!!! Report Review
Yo, JC! :P
Before I begin my proper review for this chapter, I would just like to say that your take on the horcrux mention during the press conference really made sense to me after you explained your side. And I reckon, you have a good point! I mean, it's like looking something up a reference book, isn't it? It would be a lot harder to look for 'a female deer' than search the meaning of the word 'doe', wouldn't it? Am I making sense? Haha. Anyway, moving on...
I am liking this story the more I read of it, to be honest. There's only three chapters so far, and I know it's a little early to comment about your style of story-telling, but your chapters have different feel to each of them and I like it. You seem to have kept a good flow going from this chapter to the previous one, despite the difference. As you said, there were more dialogues on this one, considering there were more people, and the story is finally starting to unfold. Which brings me to one of your concerns when you posted on my thread. I must agree that for now, there's not much exciting activity for an action/adventure story, but I see no problem in that. You are still on the process of establishing your characters and your plot, and I understand that. Who says adventure stories have to start with the characters running for their lives anyway (or anything like that :P)? As the author, I trust your word that the action will pick up eventually. ^_^
I'm rather fond of the way you wrote that farewell scene between Ron and Hermione. I must admit, in the beginning I was a little bothered with your version of Ron. He seemed a little, I don't know, soft? But then it hit me that this is post-DH and with all the things that the three of them have gone through during their horcrux search, he must've mellowed down. Or maybe I was just underestimating Ron's level of maturity? Now I feel bad. :P But I do like your version of him and Hermione. The two of them were still pretty much IC over all. Especially that part where Hermione corrected Ron on a quote. And of course, the girl in my just couldn't help but smile on that 'I love you' skit. Thank you for adding that! Haha. Leave it to Ronald Weasley to pull a stunt like that. You've captured him well, so good job! And that little can of worms about Hermione's parents not liking Ron was very nifty indeed. It makes the whole situation more realistic, in a sense. About the portkey to Hong Kong though. Did you just hint on something there, or was my imagination just running wild? You didn't elaborate on why did Ron have to catch an early portkey and I thought I'd ask. If you can't answer that question just yet, feel free to ignore this. ^_^
This is probably just me reading too much into stuff as well, but that scene when the Weasley family plus guests were all gathered together to celebrate Harry's birthday was very heart-warming and rather sad for me. Especially when you mention about there's not as much guests as the previous year, and most especially when you wrote about Bill, Percy and George laughing about some joke. It just hit me that Fred wasn't there to share that joke anymore, you know? And you respect your readers that much not to point that out, which, again, I thank you for. Am I over-analyzing? Haha. Sorry of I am. I tend to do that a lot, especially with characters. :P
One of the reasons why I enjoyed reading your story so far is because I wasn't bothered too much of the technical errors like grammars etc. I have a rather sharp eye when it comes to those, because I've made (and is still making :P) the same errors myself, and I learned how to be extra critical over time. And I type my review as I read, so I rarely miss the glaring ones, but you seem to have a good grasp on those, I noticed, so good job. There were a couple of punctuation errors where a comma or a period should've been but there were none, and that's it. And of course, the Harry Potter terms I mentioned to you before. They are not big enough to distract me though, which is always good!
Your dialogues seem to have the same formula of "dsjd?" he asked and "whw." he answered as before, but you know what? It didn't matter as much to me this time, because I very much enjoyed reading the conversations on this chapter. Probably because I'm familiar with the characters this time. Did you have trouble writing this? If you had, I must say that it wasn't very obvious. But of course, there's always room for improvement, so you can also add descriptions here and there. But really, I see no problem with what I read. Even if you leave the dialogues as they are, I wouldn't mind. ^_^
It looks like the story is finally starting to unfold, now that most of the characters were established. Mr. Weasley's promotion, George staying at The Burrow, Harry and Ron about to begin their Auror training etc. And so far, you've done a good job on your characters and the flow of the story is very smooth. There's more humor on this chapter, too, and that's always good for me! :P I guess by now, it's fairly evident that I have less CC on this chapter than I had on the previous ones, and I hope you'll see that as an improvement on your part, not as me slacking off on giving you a proper review. Hehe. The truth is, I like what this story is going and I'm really interested on what you have in store for us. Based on your posts around the forums, and your responses to my reviews, I can really tell that you've invested a good amount of thought into writing this, and stories from authors like you are the ones I enjoyed reading and reviewing the most. And now I'm very curious why no one has reviewed this story yet, because it really has potential. I have a theory though, but I'll tell you about it via PM. ^_^
That's it for me, JC! If you've posted new chapters and you want me to continue reviewing for you, feel free to re-request on my thread, and I'd be happy to go on. I'll see you around! ^_^Author's Response:
I think both sides of the argument have merit; I'm just going to side with mine because it works for the story (ha). But I do understand what you mean with your doe analogy.
I'm glad you're still enjoying it three chapters in. The first three chapters are each a little different, but I think the rest of the story will be more like this chapter, as far as the style goes. The action does pick up, first a small taste in chapter 5 and then more later.
Ron is a bit subdued here, and part of that may be that he's matured some after everything that's happened. I just wanted Ron's behavior a bit more subdued because he's sad about leaving Hermione, not that he's gone soft. Or maybe he has gone soft, at least where Hermione is concerned. Either way, it is admittedly a "softer, gentler side" of Ron. Okay, as to the 6 AM portkey, when I wrote this I wasn't sure how late you could leave Australia and have it still be the previous day in England, so I looked it up and it was something like Midnight GMT was 8 AM in Sydney so I backed it up a couple of hours to give Ron time to travel. Basically I wanted him to arrive during Harry's party and have it not immediately occur to him that it was still Harry's birthday in England because it was already the next day in Australia. There isn't a valid in story reason why it had to be so early, I just wanted to mention that it was that early in case anyone was as ridiculously detail oriented (like me) to look it up to make sure the Time Zone math worked. But once I mentioned it I thought it would be in character for Ron to complain about getting up so early.
In my first draft of the party section I did mention by name everyone who wasn't there, but it seemed a bit heavy handed. I'm glad you like this version. I also think it works better.
As for the dialogue, I may be a little overly concerned about it. I do see what you mean about it being a bit formulaic, and I have tried to be conscious of it in the chapters I'm still writing. But what worries me more is whether or not what the characters say is in character. I'm glad you've found them to be IC for most of this, but I still worry about it. Writing for Ginny especially has caused me concern; you may have noticed that she's only had two or three lines through the first 3 chapters. She gets to speak more later, but I always find her voice the hardest to find. I don't know why.
I'm really glad you have enjoyed it so much so far. I have thought about this a lot, much to the detriment to my sleeping pattern. But I have also enjoyed it thus far. DH isn't the first book I've read and thought "I want to know more," but it is the first one I've tried to figure out what that "more" is myself. From the thinking the plot over, actually writing and posting it, and now getting a few quality reviews, the whole experience has been great.
I'll tap you to review some more when I get 3 or 4 more posted. Thanks again.
Jim Report Review
Hello again, JC!
First of all, thank you very much for responding fast on my review for the first chapter. And no, it didn't sound sleep derived at all. I rather enjoyed reading it actually. ^_^
I must say I like this chapter better. There's more narration in it and I adore how you laid out the story of what happened right after the Battle of Hogwarts. And I do find you take on some of the events very interesting indeed. I had this impression that you've really given the things that happened in here a lot of thought, and that's always good! That part about the owls having an elaborate postal system when they travel across continents was a good idea. I've never really thought of that before. Same with how owls find places that were Unplottable. I found myself wondering about it, after you pointed it out. My point is, you made me think more about things like that, so thank you and kudos for doing that!
Thank you for including Kreacher on this, as he was one of my favorite characters. Speaking of characters, you characterizations of Molly, Arthur, Ron and Hermione were spot on. We've never really seen a lot about them in this chapter, just snippets of conversations and letters and Harry's recollections, but in those moments, they were pretty much IC. And LOL on the boomerang thing. Haha. So Ron. And that slight about Kingsley using Harry as a Ministry mascot in good faith was brilliant. I don't think many people will agree with me on that, but I do think that's really possible, you know? While I always regard Kingsley as a decent character overall, he must have his own misgivings. Taking over a corrupt government was not an easy job and he was bound to make some blunders too. On a side note, that 4th to the last paragraph could really use some pronoun love. You wrote the name 'Kingsley' way too much on that one. Just my opinion. ^_^
I've read your PM and you mentioned that this chapter is your baby. Well that explains why I really enjoyed this. Nothing beats an idea that's vivid and formed in you mind and you did mention that all you had to do was to write this. Unfortunately, that also meant that there were a couple of typos here that resulted to that. I understand that sometimes, when ideas get a little overwhelming to be jotted down, writing/typing them correctly becomes the least of the concern. The typos were really few though, not enough to distract me, so don't worry. Just some things like Dailey Prophet, where instead of were, though instead of thought - nothing like a good thorough editing could not fix. And again, some Potter terms like Muggles and The Burrow which should always, always be capitalized. ^_^
Well, you hadn't beaten the letter to England, but hopefully you've found her parents by now. --> This line was a little confusing. Was Harry still referring to Hermione? The POV shifted in this one sentence, I think. Did you mean: Well, she hadn't beaten the letter to England, but hopefully she found her parents by now. Yes?
That part about the press conference bothered me a bit. You mentioned that they didn't tell about the horcruxes BUT they explained that Voldemort tied his life to five objects? That's as good as telling the world about horcruxes, don't you think so? I'm sure people well aware of the Dark Arts know about horcruxes, albeit those people being rather few, and giving that information out would even give them more reason to try making horcruxes for themselves; afterall, it was already proven that it can be done more than once. An unlikely theory perhaps, but I thought I'd tell you anyway. :P
As I said, I really enjoyed reading this. There's not much dialogue but it really works well considering that the chapter only featured Harry. And I love Harry on this one. You gave him an interesting voice and I enjoyed reading about him. That's it for now. I'll see you in chapter three! ^_^Author's Response: My Sinister Miss X,
I'm happy to respond quickly; it seems like the least I can do for so thorough a review.
I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter so much, and I'm also very happy you liked my take on things. There are a few points where I can see the influence of other after the battle fanfics I've read, but I think that's all there is, an influence. Most of it I believe is my own original thought on the topic, although with the number of stories on this site I'm sure some overlap is inevitable. As for the owls, I think I share a curiosity of how things work with Arthur Weasley. Perhaps that's why I like his character so much.
Kreacher is great, isn't he? I wish I could work him in more. Perhaps a one-shot for him once this is done. He reminds me a lot of another favorite character of mine, Preserved Killick, from the Jack Aubrey novels. Perhaps Kreacher is just the quintessential English steward. I'm glad you liked the characterizations and am even more glad you felt them come through even though those characters where only there in snippets. I of course keep them in snippets as I wanted the whole chapter to have something of a stream of conscious feel. I see what you mean about 'Kingsley,' though I'm not sure how to tackle that. What I see rereading it now with that in mind is that there aren't really that many more opportunities for pronouns in that paragraph as it seems each sentence has a new subject. Perhaps the paragraph just needs to be broken up first.
You're right about the sentence "Well, you hadn't beaten the letter to England, but hopefully you've found her parents by now." But I think it's a formatting error, not error with the POV change. The problem is the previous sentence shouldn't have been italicized, but since it was it also appears to be part of Harry's thoughts which makes the POV switch seem so strange. Either way I'll make a note to look at it further.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with you on the press release, although your points are well made. I think it comes down to a question of how widely known horcruxes are. I'm taking the position that they are as extremely obscure as the books say, not more widely known about as the books seem to show (after all Dumbledore and Regulus both guessed correctly they were being used and Slughorn seemed to know quite a lot on the subject as well). But since JKR wrote that it was an obscure bit of Dark Magic I'm proceeding under the idea that not many wizards have heard about them and thus would not come up with the idea to use that particular bit of magic themselves with so little information. It's perhaps a bit thin, but I'm running with it. In reality I wanted a way for Harry to give as much public credit to Ron, Hermione, and the others but at the same I don't think they'd spell out how to do it for others to try.
I hope you enjoy chapter 3 as much. It's a more Ron-centric chapter and has more dialogue. Some of it meaningful, some of it not.
Hello, Jim Curtin!
Can I call you JC? Awesome! Haha. First of all, thank you for dropping by my review thread and I hope you are well. ^_^
Ha! You are my first mystery/action/adventure story! And I must say, you really caught my attention with your premise for this. Very interesting indeed. And I rather like the character Tony Babcock, which seem to be the protagonist for this story, correct? He's one of those seemingly ordinary characters that had a lot of things to hide, you know? He seemed well-oriented with his job - which didn't sound very dignified, btw ^_^ - and I don't know, he seemed good with compartmentalizing emotions and stuff. Am I making sense? Sorry. I always have this habit of analyzing OC's and I just can't help it sometimes. :P My point is, I'm curious about him, which is good! And I like your style of narration as well. Very smooth, so far.
Let's move on to the critique, shall we? Grammar and punctuation-wise, I saw no glaring errors. And you seem very consistent with your verb tenses, so well done! But some of the Harry Potter terms were written incorrectly, so you might want to check on those. JKR always wrote words like Muggle/s and Muggle-borns with a capital 'M'. I know this seems trivial and extremely nitpicky, but it's just one of those things I feel very particular about. No offense. ^_^
Your descriptions, in general, were not that bad. The only problem I had with it was the lack of consistency. There were parts of this story, for example your first paragraph, that just had a little too much words, whilst the others, like the dialogues, could really use some descriptive love, you know? Your first paragraph bothered me a little. Always remember that the first few lines of your story is just as important as the story itself. You want to pull your readers in with your intro, yes? While your descriptions are satisfactory, I must say that too much details ruined the start for me a little. A blow-by-blow account on what the characters were wearing is not really recommended, not unless it is necessary to the plot or it reveals an important thing about the characters, which, in this case, it didn't. Okay, so maybe the Italian suit contrasting the American accent was nifty, but the remaining ones were just unnecessary. Honestly, I didn't even know the difference between 'vent cut' or 'British cut' suits, so I had to look them up, which distracted me from the story. Not many people would do the same, it's just me, :P because I can't review properly when I don't know what I was reading about. To be honest, you could've just settled with the colors and the opening lines would be just as strong. Your descriptions were good, sometimes vivid, but there's a better place for them other than tailored suits. Which brings us to one of your concerns: the dialogues.
I wouldn't call them 'lifeless' - as you said in your request. But they could use some improvement. More or less, in this chapter, they seemed a little repetitive to me - like they were written with a formula of "hsh?" he asked and "wpk." he answered. This is where your skills with description will come in handy. It's always nice to add some touches like, what the character was doing - was he chewing gum? was he looking elsewhere? was he scratching his head? etc. - AND how the character was delivering the lines. You seemed to have done both, and kudos for doing so, but I am suggesting to add a little more. On a positive note, I'm impressed with your word choices. You have substituted the word 'said' with a variety of interesting alternatives that lessen the repetitive nature of the dialogues. Thank you for doing that and good job! ^_^
Considering that this is only the first chapter, I can't comment that much on the plot. But the premise to this, as I said is very interesting. This is not my first time reading a fic written by a male member of HPFF, but I like your story so far. The whole mystery genre really fascinated me and while the action/adventure part wasn't as prominent in this chapter, which is totally understandable - we don't want to rush the readers, do we? - I must say that you managed to keep me intrigued by what could this three people be up to. For some reason, this story reminds me of some of the novels I read from Mario Puzo, if you're familiar with the author (Does The Godfather ring any bell? ^_^), with the whole Mafia-ish, secret organization theme. And I love those kinds of novels, so I'm definitely interested with how this story will turn out. You said that this is your first attempt with creative writing, yes? I must say this, but not too bad for your first try! *pats back* ^_^
That's it for this chapter! I'll see you on the next, yeah? ^_^Author's Response: Hello back xtinjsc,
You can call me JC if I can call you Miss X. Thanks for doing the review, it's the first one I've ever gotten.
I'm glad you liked Tony, I do myself, but I'm now afraid you're going to be dissappointed because you won't see him again for quite some time. He's not actually a main character. The problem is that this isn't really a proper first chapter, it really should be a prolog, but I didn't see a prolog option when I posted this, so it became chapter 1. Perhaps I should warn people of that. The rest of the novella follows from Harry and friends POV. This was really just meant to provide a clue that there was something sinister going on.
Muggles I have no problem fixing. I've never noticed that, but I don't have a problem going back for those.
That first paragraph is simultaneously the love and bane of my life. I admit I never quite got the flow right, but I love the scene. Maybe it's just because I can see it so clearly in my head. I also had to look up the vents on the different types of suits. What I was trying to impart was that these three men seem to be generic, interchangable business men to an outside observer. Only a trivial matter like the cut of their suit separates them until you get to know who they are. Perhaps it's time to take another stab at that first paragraph. At the time I posted it I didn't feel I could make it any better, but maybe now I could. Maybe make it two paragraphs so it doesn't seem so dense or make it a much smaller paragraph and mix in the details better with the dialog. I'll have to think about it.
Speaking of dialog, it's killing me. I've finished the first 6 chapters now (just waiting on validation) and sometimes it comes naturally and other times it's like pulling teeth. Although I am glad you appreciated that I didn't use said every time. That's something that bothers me so I definitely tried to avoid it.
I find your Mario Puzo comment interesting. I've never actually read anything by him (although I have of course seen the movies). Now that I think about it though, I could have gone in that direction had I stuck with these three characters instead of switching to Harry in the next chapter. What might have been?
Actually I think my most immediate influence on this story is Tom Clancy. I was rereading one of his earlier (cough-good-cough) novels just before I started this. But I decided not to use his POV shift every few paragraphs style. I do it every chapter instead.
I'm glad you like the premise. I'm not sure how much of a true myster this is going to be. It's more of a Columbo mystery where you already know who the bag guy is you just don't know how he'll get caught rather than an Agatha Christy mystery where the killer isn't revealed until the last page. I've already revealed that there is a nefarious plot going on involving this American company. It really just remains to be seen how Harry will catch them.
Thanks again for the review. While I'm sure part of every author hopes for and craves complete adoration, good constructive criticism is so much more valuable.
Jim Report Review
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