Reading Reviews for Facing Tomorrow
  
38 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngst Peach Taffeta

12th December 2013:
Hi, there! It's been ages since I've checked in on dear Emily and her somewhat-out-of-control life. I've missed her, and you as well. I don't spend time in the common room like I used to.

Anyway, I really liked the session with Heather at the start of the chapter. It was good to see Emily starting to deal with some of her memories from the war. Baby steps, I suppose. I still feel like there are some terrible things that happened to her that she just hasn't dealt with yet. But this was a start, and it felt important. I also liked the parallels you created between the way that Emily chose to protect her parents and the things that Hermione did to prepare for what was coming.

I hope she gets a crup. It would be good for her, I believe. Something to snuggle with and keep the nightmares away.

So Tim hasn't called or written? I'm tempted to write him off as a jerk but something tells me there's more to it than that. At any rate, you kept Emily and Michelle both very true to character in their interaction.

I do hope you're still finding the time to continue writing this! Looking forward to next time!

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Review #2, by UnluckyStar57 Peach Taffeta

16th November 2013:
Hello! I spent my free time yesterday reading this story, and I just wanted to tell you how much I love it!!

Emily is a very well-developed character, and that's not something that every OC in fanfiction can say! I love her personality, and the fact that she has anxiety and depression adds so much to it. After all, the Wizarding World would just go back to normal after the war. It needed time to recuperate, and most of the post-war stories that I've seen haven't taken that into account. I feel bad that Emily has to suffer through mental health issues, but it makes her so much more of an interesting and REAL character. Everyone has problems, even in fanfiction. Thanks for putting reality back into the equation! :)

I really love her relationship with Minerva, as well. The headmistress seems to be slightly motherly, which doesn't seem like a usual thing on the surface. McGonagall has always been a very uptight, strict professor, and that characterization has been taken to the extreme in fanfiction. But she cared so much for Harry, Ron, and Hermione that it is hard to believe that she DIDN'T harbor motherly-ish feelings for them. The fact that she's watching after Emily, making sure that she gets what she needs, is just so wonderful and different. I love it!!!

Timothy Briar is one of my favorite male OCs currently. (I decided that as soon as he started appearing more.) He seems quite honorable, and really nice. I hope that he stays that way, and that he brings Emily all of the happiness that she deserves. He could be very good for her, if only he would show up in the next chapter or two! I think that she's missing him, just a little. ;)

So... Please update very soon if you can!! This is a really awesome story, incredibly original, and just amazingly detailed and well-written all around. I hope that you get nominated for an award or something! :D

~UnluckyStar57

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Review #3, by MargaretLane Peach Taffeta

14th November 2013:
Yay, I'm so pleased to see this up. Well, you know I love this story.

"Well said." should have a full stop after it as the smiling is separate. You don't really smile your words. Same with the comment before "I shrug."

And yikes, that must have been such a hard decision for Emily to make. No wonder she's so traumatised. I know she went through a whole lot more too, but that alone would be pretty stressful.

Oh, I'm looking forward to hearing more about her time on the run.

I like your mention of why she couldn't go abroad, because obviously, it must have been difficult or more Muggleborns would have done so. I actually have it as part of the background for one of my characters that their mother is Muggleborn (this is next generation era and this character would have been about 4 or 5 during the war) and they escaped abroad when things started getting dodgy. It'll probably never come up; I just think this character has enough drama without adding in war trauma. So it was funny to see the issue discussed here.

Wow, Patricia is a real friend. I'm getting a little freaked out that something bad happened to her. The past tense doesn't sound good. Not sure I'd put my life in danger for many people like that.

"Parents'" should have the apostrophe after the "s" as presumably she has two of them.

Love the line "she laughs but I do not join it." There's something wonderfully ominous about it.

And the "attic room" reminds me of Anne Frank.

*sighs with relief* Nobody in Patricia's family was harmed; that's good.

*cracks up at them calling her Mrs. Scrivenshaft* But then, I'm Irish; I know businesses in other countries can be rather more formal. And the twins were called Mr. Weasley and Mr. Weasley. We didn't even call our lecturers by their surnames at college (maybe uni to you), let alone people we work with.

I think it should be "who's so much older than me" and not "whose so much older than me", as the "who's" is short for "who is."

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Review #4, by Jchrissy Memories

29th May 2013:
Hi Bec, here for the Gryffie review exchange! This was a really, really good chapter!

I loved the way you started us out in her classroom. I enjoy watching her teach as well as the details you make up surrounding what she has to teach. I think she does an awesome job with getting things started and balancing being a nice teacher but still strict enough to keep things going.

Her thoughts regarding the Ravenclaw Slytherin class made me giggle. I can't imagine that being an easy class. We know that both Houses can be quite the know it alls, but it was nice to learn that Slytherins have toned it down since Harry's time at school. And, well, hers too I suppose :P!

I was really curious where you were going with the build up of the student liking to transfigure human parts. With the essay I thought it was just a fun detail, then when the teapot came about I figured you had something up your sleeve.

However, I did NOT expect a Cedric flashback :(! That was so sad but really well written. I think keeping the fact that this girl did see horrors alive is so important, and you really places the reminder perfectly here. His body transformed so smoothly that I could feel her pain, and i just wanted to hug her!

The hospital wing scene was also really well done. I liked that her first concern was for her student. The only thing I wasn't crazy about that section is when McGonagall says she doesn't know what happened, because her next sentence shows she does know. It was really heart wrenching, but it wasn't hard to figure out why Emily had broken down, so it was just odd that McGonagall doubted the reasoning she told Emily.

The arrival at home felt just right. Relief, the annoyances of parents, then ending it on such a soft note when her mother says it's lovely to have her back.

All in all a really awesome chapter!

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Review #5, by Jchrissy Purple Pixies

23rd May 2013:
Hi!!!

First of all, as you can tell I was totally selfish and stole you for my review partner for the exchange this month. But this review for the my thread and not the exchange, so yeah. Hi! haha!

Your lesson with the first years was really creative. I love when people work with magic and don’t just ignore such an important part of the HP world. You threaded through enough stuff we know, like the sort of things they learn as first years, but still make it your own and that’s just awesome. Seeing Emily a bit happier than usual was really nice, and I really liked the look into her past as a first year.

She seemed to really enjoy sort of getting to show off, even simple magic, and the sort of pleasure it brought the first years. All in all this was just a very cute way to start out the chapter.

I loved that you had McGonagall going in there to sort of check on Emily. It seemed like she knew that Emily was having a hard time adjusting and wanted to remind her how much they appreciated having her there, and sort of just remind her that she was doing well.

With your questions regarding her, I think you did great with Minerva! She was friendly but not too friendly, seemed to get to her point quickly, said what she wanted to say and that was it. She obviously cares about Emily but you didn’t make it seem overbearing or anything like that.

I was happy to see Michelle come back in, and no, I don’t think it was too short at all! I mean, how much can you really write about a getting drunk in a pub night? First of all, with the drinks you gave her, Emily was and should be feeling fuzzy. So letting the night sort of blend together and go by quickly felt that mood. It would have been nice to maybe have just a bit of reluctance on Emily’s part about going in the first place though. Just because she seems almost depressed lately, and that usually makes it even harder to go out. Maybe when she gets the note she can want to say no but realize that she’d have fun, and just not be quite so quick to jump on the offer but of course end up going.

I think Michelle will be a good reminder throughout of the person Emily used to be, and I’m excited to learn more about their friendship!

Your dialogue (grammatically) has some errors. I’ll point those out incase you want to go back and edit or anything :). but apart from that, it sounds great!

Transfiguration,” She says,
-- lowercase S

“She’s scary,” The girl next to me whispers.
--lowercase T

“Oh Headmistress!  You startled me,” My heart is racing from the sudden shock.
--period instead of comma

taught an exemplary lesson this morning,” She says
--lowercase S

yourself a lot this year,” She continues,
--lowercase S

“I never doubted you would succeed,” McGonagall smiles kindly at me;
--period

“It’s busy tonight,” She comments.
--lowercase S

“To old friends and new beginnings,” She smiles
--lowercase S

if you’re free.” She says.
--comma and lowercase S

free for New Year’s.”  I reply.
--comma

Argus,” We both pull face
--period instead of comma

Awesome chapter, Bec! Can’t wait to come back (very soon) to do some review exchange reviews!

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Review #6, by AHeat Expectations

7th May 2013:
I love this! I am so excited to keep reading :)
Well written and a captivating concept... I am truly hooked.

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Review #7, by MargaretLane Starlight

6th May 2013:
I like the part where she asks McGonagall to stay with her a moment, then feels guilty about keeping her up. There's something realistic about it.

And I'd kind of figured that must be a memory or else in some way symbolic of one, in order to have had such an effect.

I laughed out loud at the comment about Timothy's pub having bar stools and a bar. Those would be a good start all right.

I think the romance fits here, as it shows an indication of Emily coming back to being the person she was before the war and what she could be like again if she recovers. And I say this as somebody who's no great fan of romance.

Oh and there was a mention of Timothy in the last chapter. I don't think he actually appeared but there was some comment about his sister resembling him or something.

I love this story.

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Review #8, by CambAngst Starlight

6th May 2013:
Hi, there!

It seems like Emily bounced back fairly well from her breakdown. Perhaps a little too well. I felt a worried for her inasmuch as she seemed to put the whole episode behind her fairly quickly without dealing with any of the underlying issues. It's a fairly typical pattern for people suffering from long-term depression and PTSD, I believe, and in that regard you wrote her reaction well.

Between McGonagall, Heather and Madam Pomfrey, I doubt she'll be able to go on pretending that nothing is wrong for very long. That's a good thing, obviously, although Emily might not see it as such right away. I still really love the way that you write McGonagall. She's stern, but very motherly in her own way. If you were thinking in terms of Molly Weasley mothering, you might not even recognize it, but McGonagall is no less concerned and she gets results.

I'm glad that it was apparent even to Emily that she wasn't fooling Heather. I'm sure they're have a lot to talk about at their next session, assuming that Emily is willing to open up and stop pretending that everything is "fine".

Naturally, I felt happy for Emily as she has her romantic breakthrough with Timothy. (Can we also call him Tim now? ;) But I couldn't help feeling a bit sad, as well. At the moment, her "school life" filled with depression and unhappiness seems to be very effectively walled off from her "Hogsmeade life" where she's feeling more and more like her old self again. At some point, I have to imagine that the two are going to start to seep into one another and that's going to be very difficult for Emily to manage if she hasn't started to confront her demons. I think I'll just enjoy things until we get to that point.

Flawless writing in this one! Seriously, there wasn't I think I could think to comment on. Nicely done!

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Review #9, by nott theodore Starlight

6th May 2013:
I get so excited when I see that you've updated with another chapter of this story! This is fast becoming one of my favourite favourites (if that makes sense) of the stories on this site.

I love your characterisation of Emily so much - she just seems so real and believable. It would have been easy to write everything getting better for her once she realised that she had a problem and first went to see Heather, but that would never have happened in real life, so I'm pleased it doesn't here. Dealing with her problems is going to be a long uphill struggle, and she will experience setbacks. Her fear of admitting that in this chapter is so convincing.

I like your explanation for how McGonagall came to find Emily, because that was something I found myself wondering at the end of the last chapter. Even though you only gave us a few lines of description about Bitsy, it fitted exactly with what we know of house elves from the books.

One of the things I find so interesting about this story is the way that Emily acts so differently when she's with people her own age. I wonder if any of her new friends have even realised that she has a problem and is suffering as deeply as she does, although I'm glad that she has told McGonagall about it; she seems like a mentor to Emily and does really care about her.

As I was reading this, I was struck by how the lack of interaction with people her age must have been a huge contributing factor to her problems. Day in, day out, she spends time teaching children who were probably far too young to remember the war, or have experienced any of the same horrors. On the other hand, her colleagues have probably lived through both wars and are a lot better equipped to deal with what they have witnessed. Emily can't have had much company at all when she was on the run, but spending time with people her age seems to help her regain a hint of her former self; she shares grief with them as her generation was the one that was most heavily affected by the war. When she's with her friends they can forget about the war to some extent because they're all trying to move on with their lives.

I don't really think that the romance in this chapter was too much - if you think about it, Emily has spent so long without any of the close relationships she craves that any hint of it is bound to make her a bit giddy (I'm pretty sure the alcohol helped, too!).

I enjoyed the memory, too. They draw a real contrast between the person that Emily was at school before the war - to all intents and purposes, a normal teenage girl, thinking about boys and a leader of sorts amongst her friends - and the person that she is now, suffering from her experiences during the war and to some extent tortured by the fact she isn't the same person anymore. I'd like to see some more of what happened during the time that Emily was on the run in the memories too.

It's going to be interesting to see how you develop things from here, because there are some things that seem to help Emily and I wonder if she'll notice them as well. Obviously there's no quick cure, and like Heather told her, she'll get there eventually.

Even though you haven't provided us with much physical description of Emily, I can see her so clearly in my head, and you've really done an incredible job of making her a real character.

Sian :)

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Review #10, by CambAngst Fairy Floss Hair

29th April 2013:
Hi, Bec!

Wow. Emily goes through some pretty intense highs and lows in this chapter. It seems like she and Heather will have a lot to talk about at their next session. :-/

First off, however, congratulations on creating the most cringe-inducing vision of Madam Puddifoot that I've ever read. No wonder the boys of Hogwarts take their dates there as an absolute last resort. You deserve some sort of literary award for coming up with "permanent-wave-quaffed-within-an-inch-of-its-life". :p Also, what is it about witches and wizards and their ability to eat enormous quantities of food without ever gaining any weight? Now that's magic! Apparently it takes an entire lifetime of gluttony to end up fat, ala Slughorn.

Our little round table is crowded with so many pieces of china crockery that I can barely see the cream coloured lacy tablecloth beneath. A delicate sugar bowl with a rosebud pattern painted on it sits next to a small crystal vase of real roses, which seem to be softly humming. I pour some milk into my coffee from a delicate milk jug and stir it with an antique teaspoon, enjoying the soft tinkling sound it makes as the spoon hits the side of my cup. - That paragraph really stuck out in my mind. You did a fantastic job of building the atmosphere in the tea shop with little details like this.

The anecdote about the box of quills was a nice lead-in to the first in a series of difficult moments that seem to have led Emily to her ultimate breakdown. It started off so innocuous, a really funny mistake of the type that seem to happen with great regularity in the magical world. And then there's the cold splash of reality. George Weasley. Which unavoidably turns her mind to how "Fred and George" has become just "George". Again, I really loved the way that you paced things. You moved gradually from Emily's recollection of the twins to her memories of working with Arthur.

I remember the way Arthur’s eyes would glaze over with sadness when he thought nobody was looking, but I often noticed it because I’d always thought his eyes looked like my own when they did that. - That was a really lovely line, and it said something pretty profound about both of them.

The story about the Hogsmeade visit gave us another really good look at the person Emily used to be. She was so full of life and she was obviously fascinated by everything about the magical world. Then she shares a seat with Cedric -- a bold move for a girl that age, really -- and the feelings kick into overdrive. I really, really hope she gets that back before the story is over. At least some of it, anyway. You definitely have me rooting for her!

The clothes shopping expedition seemed like a brief high on the roller coaster ride of this chapter. Emily actually did something for herself. Something that apparently she hadn't done in a long time. She seemed to feel good about herself for a little while. Maybe she even gave a moment's thought to having her scars -- the physical ones -- looked at. And then there was this line, which I couldn't stop thinking about later: I wrap my arms around her, allowing myself to enjoy for a brief second the comfort of the embrace. I don’t get a lot of hugs these days and the physical contact is like a drug. I don't know what you had in mind with that, but to me it said a lot. She's craving these things. Part of her desperately misses her old life full of hugs and laughs and small indulgences. But something is holding her back.

Nice little detail with the winged boars. It did a good job of segueing into what was coming.

Emily's descent into her breakdown was tough to read. Not that it wasn't written beautifully, because it was. It's just that I could feel the crash coming. A few words here and there made it apparent that things were heading in a bad direction. I could feel things continuing to build until we got to this point: My heart feels like it’s beating too fast and my hands are tingling, though they’re not really shaking, more like vibrating; I just don’t know what’s wrong with me but I try not to think about it, because I’m getting a little bit scared. I think she should have been more scared at this point, but I get where she's coming from. This certainly isn't the first time she's dealt with feeling anxious. I love the physical symptoms you added to this. They did a lot to make it gripping and real.

From there until the end is just heart-breaking. The nightmare about running from snatchers -- I assumed they were snatchers -- was short, but very vivid and tense. Again, the small physical details added so much to it.

Emily's physical state when she wakes up was horrible to imagine. She seems to be in a sort of psychological paralysis. I sort of wonder how McGonagall knew she was in trouble -- elves? -- but no matter how she knows, it's quite fortunate that she does.

So Emily is still blaming herself for everything at the end, it seems. That's even more sad. She and Heather have a lot to talk about...

I only saw two little things in this chapter that might be typos, but I read a lot of it on my phone, so my nit-picking skills weren't as strong as usual:

“It’s a bit kitschy and tacky, but the coffee’s really good.” She adds, stirring in a lump of sugar before taking a sip. -- I think you need a comma after "really good" and the next word should be lower case if it's meant to be a dialog tag.

“Shhh, it ok,” McGonagall’s voice is so soft that it doesn’t even sound like her. -- it's ok. Also, "ok" sounds a bit informal for McGonagall. Maybe "alright" instead?

Overall, this was a brilliant chapter. It was one of those where it doesn't seem like too much is happening at first blush. But the more you stop and think about it, the more you actually see. I love that sort of writing, where the story gets deeper and deeper. Well done!

Author's Response: This review made me blush...literally blush! Readers quoting my own story back to me? Oh that makes me all tingly inside :) And wow...such a long review too! Whoah!

I'm glad you like my take on Puddifoots. I always feel like it gets a raw deal in FanFic because Harry didn't like it so most of the authors present it as this really awful place. But the thing is, I reckon it's probably this nice (albeit oddly decorated) little teahouse with great cakes. I've always believe there would be great cakes. And describing that woman's hair was far too much fun. I could see it in my head and described exactly what I saw!

I'm glad the little Fred/George/Arthur cameo worked alright, I want to slip in little moments with these characters we know because even though the story isn't about them, they are still there in Emily's world and her life. After all, she would have had classes with Fred and George and on some level they could have even been friends.

I like the memory in this story, it's such a carefree, happy one and I got to resurrect the next-gen fluff writer in me to compose it :) I also wanted to show how strong Emily is. In her adolescence it came across as a leader among friends who was brave enough to share her seat with a boy in the pub when she was only in third year, and now that she's older it's evident in the way she's holding her life together, trying to get help and dealing with her grief from the war.

The end of this chapter was tricky to write. I wanted it to go from this gradual, odd feelings of sadness at the start to this rapid descent that picked up incredible speed until she crash-lands at the bottom. The reason she comments that she only a 'little bit scared' is because she doesn't really know what's going on and she's still trying to justify it in her mind. For all she knows, she's just a bit tired or had too much coffee or got food poisoning or something. Deep down she knows something is off, but it's almost like she doesn't want to acknowledge it because that will make it real.

With the whole nightmare/breakdown incident, I wanted the reader to feel a little uncomfortable to get into the reality of what's happening. The anxiety and fear is so overwhelming that Emily has no control over its influence on her for a while. It's frightening and maybe a little disturbing, but it's real, and as difficult as it can be to read and write, I wanted to give it a shot.

Thanks for pointing out the errors, I think you're right about McGonagall saying 'alright' instead of 'ok'. Ok doesn't really sound like her, does it?

Once again, this review was just amazing, it made me smile and blush and just feel all round fuzzy inside :) Thank you so much!


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Review #11, by MargaretLane Fairy Floss Hair

28th April 2013:
*cracks up at the the old witch who never gets cross yelling at her* You've given a pretty good impression of Mrs. Spenser in a matter of words.

And yeah, mixing things up with Weasleys Wizard Wheezes products wouldn't end well.

I've a feeling Emily and Timothy will end up together.

And that really gives an insight into Emily's condition, that she can't even laugh at a funny story, even when she can see it as funny.

I hated clothes shops as a teen. Still not too bothered with them now. When I was at college and my mum would give me money for clothes, I'd have to force myself to go clothes shopping before heading to the bookshops.

Aw, *sympathises with Hufflepuff not having many victories* And of course, that underlines why Cedric is such a heroic figure to his house.

Hmm, I wonder what's caused the scars and if they are relevant. They definitely could be.

In a way, it doesn't seem quite right for Hogwarts to be completely mended, as if the Final Battle never happened. I guess people are happy not to be reminded, but it still seems almost like pretending nothing has changed and in the future, it'll be a pity not to have any physical records of history (yeah, guess what I teach, I guess). In Dublin, you can still see the bullet holes from the Rising in the G.P.O. and even if they could be removed, I think it'd be a pity to do so. They're a reminder of what happened.

Hmm, I've a feeling that dream is significant, but I can't imagine how.

I like the way Emily's problems don't just get solved when she realises she has a problem and starts to see a Healer. So often, psychological issues in stories get solved quickly and then pretty much forgotten about, so I like the fact that this story shows the struggle Emily is having.

Can't wait to read what happens next.

Author's Response: Ok, your comment about Emily and Timothy made me laugh because...well...is he even mentioned in this chapter? I don't think he is! lol :)

I've always loved bookshops too, but I definitely loved clothes shopping as a teenager, and as uni student (even though I had no money). It's a bit boring these days though, but I thought it would be a nice girly, bonding thing for Emily and Michelle.

The scars are from her time on the run, I'm not sure if they'll come up as something more relevant yet. Certainly they're not supposed to be a big mystery or anything. I mean she spent a year on the run, living in the wilderness - there's going to be physical evidence of that.

I thought your comments about Hogwarts being rebuilt were very interesting. I guess I'd never thought of it that way, but then again I think that being a school, especially one where many of the students were actually present for the beginnings of the battle, they'd want it to feel as normal and safe as possible. I mean it's not so much a piece of history at this point as it is a very recent traumatic event. I don't mention it here and I'm not sure if it will come up in other chapters, but I have always imagined that there would be several monuments/plaques/memorials etc around the school. Possibly something that lists those that died during the battle, something that recognises the Great Hall as the place where Voldemort was defeated and so on. I definitely think they'd want to remember what had happened, but in a 'tidier' way that's less traumatic for the students.

My whole aim in this story is to write Emily psychological problems as realistically as possible. This chapter was all about showing how things can get better and then suddenly come crashing back down around you. In the next chapter I go into Emily's response to that a little bit too. I wanted to stray from the 'tidy' path, Emily won't be able to overcome this on her own, she won't be 'saved' by one person who miraculously understands her and every problem she's facing, and in the end she will probably always be a little scarred by it all. That's reality and I hope I can bring that through and do it justice.

Thanks so much for the review, your thoughts are always appreciated and I look forward to reading them. :)


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Review #12, by nott theodore Fairy Floss Hair

27th April 2013:
I'm sitting here trying to think of something to write that isn't full of an excessive amount of exclamations right now, but it's proving difficult. Please bear with me as I try to write a coherent review...

Seriously, I am so impressed with this chapter! I don't know how you manage it, but you make everything seem like it's getting a lot better and more positive for Emily and then BAM! You bring her right back down again and it feels like we've regressed completely. I feel so sorry for her, but it's also such an accurate portrayal of what depression can be like. There are so many ups and downs and that makes it even harder to deal with.

I really loved the opening scenes of this chapter when Emily and Michelle are in Madam Puddifoot's. The idea of two friends going there to try all the cakes is really amusing. I really am so glad that Emily has Michelle as a friend to spend time with doing 'normal' things. At the same time, there's a massive problem with the fact that Michelle knows nothing about her depression. Not that Emily should necessarily have to tell her, but the fact that Emily doesn't really have any friends who she's spoken to about her troubles. Michelle obviously suffered during the war as well, but she has Anthony, whereas poor Emily has been struggling with it all on her own for years.

The glimpses back into Emily's past are really interesting, and I think they're really important to help us understand more about Emily's character and what she has been through. They also draw a stark contrast between what she used to be like and the person she is now. The tiny snippets you include that reference her experiences during the war are almost infuriating with how curious they make me!

I adore your characterisation of McGonagall. She's a strong woman and a strict teacher, but a fiercely loyal and caring person as well. Most headteachers would want to get rid of a teacher like Emily if they knew about their problems, but I don't think she's like that.

There's one tiny mistake I noticed. You missed a speech mark when Michelle was asking Emily to come for dinner, but that's nothing major!

It makes me sad to hear that this story isn't getting a lot of reads, because it's different to what you normally write but also original compared to a lot of what I've read on this site. I hope you update soon!

nott theodore :)

Author's Response: I love your reviews, you are always so sweet to me :)

I'm glad you liked the chapter, I was a bit worried that it would be too much of a contrast for people with the sweet girls day out followed by an awful nightmare that causes a violent panic attack, and then to end on that note! I really wanted the reader to feel it, but I thought it might freak some people out.

Most people write Puddifoot's as this awful place because Harry hated it, but I reckon if the coffee's good then I'll go just about anywhere. Plus the service is probably really good :P Emily is very private and the only reason she tells Heather as much as she does is because the whole healer thing makes her feel safe. I think she's also afraid to tell any of this to Michelle because she likes the feeling of having a girlfriend to just hang out with. It makes her feel normal again and she's scared of jeopardising that.

Oh I'm so glad the memories are coming across properly! The way you described them is exactly why I put them in. I'm trying to create two different version of Emily, to show the impact the depression and anxiety and stress has had on her. Plus, it's just fun to write them :)

I am so in love with McGonagall. I mean I already was from the moment I started reading the books, but since I've been delving into her character for this novel, I've just grown to adore her that much more. She's so amazing and I love writing her.

I'm kind of sad I don't get a lot of reads for this because I feel like it's so much better than my next-gen stuff which gets about four or five times the amount of reads as this story. But on the other hand, I love the reviews I get for this story, they're really in-depth and well thought out and are so encouraging, I get so excited when I see a new review :) I definitely prefer quality to quantity!

Thanks again for your review, I look forward to your thoughts every time! :)


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Review #13, by CambAngst The Cackling Stump

25th April 2013:
Here I am, Bec. I'm reviewing the last chapter. The last chapter, I say! I believe it's obvious what needs to be done here. :)

Poor Emily! I really felt her pain when she was trying to get over her nerves and face her first class after returning from her extended holiday break. You didn't rush your way through the narrative, which I thought was nice. It really allowed the tension to build and let the reader feel some of the crushing anxiety. Anticipation of a difficult thing is almost always worse than the thing, itself.

Aww! Newitt seems like exactly the thing that she needed at that moment. Seeing him happy and healthy and glad that she was back must have done wonders for Emily's state of mind. He seems like a really good kid, you know, for a Slythern. ;)

McGonagall is still coming across really well in your story. She's doing exactly what I'd expect her to do under the circumstances: she's keeping a close eye on Emily, but she's not being pushy or demanding anything. She's just asking the right questions and letting Emily work through her own problems. I'm looking forward to the Animagi lecture. I'm not sure exactly what you're playing at with McGonagall's question to Emily, but somehow I think the ability to change into an animal might relieve some of her anxiety issues. Maybe I'm just over-thinking that.

The session with Heather was really well done, the best part of the chapter, I thought. As Emily's facade crumbles in response to Heather's question about whether she enjoys her work, I thought your pacing was fantastic. You just let it happen very gradually and very naturally. And once Emily really starts to be honest, Heather just stays out of her way and lets her own thoughts drive the direction of the conversation. But at exactly the right moment, she jumps back in to help direct Emily toward one of the real sources of her depression and anxiety.

You mentioned that you left teaching to pursue a different dream, and I wonder whether you ever struggled with internalizing the successes and failures of your students the way that Emily does. Or perhaps knew somebody who did. It's only natural to take pride in your work, but when your "product" is the education of a human mind, I guess you have to be very careful about how you define success and failure. Heather made some good steps toward helping Emily to understand that, but I suppose it's going to be a much longer process before she fully accepts it.

A pet? Hmmnn... interesting idea! Not at all sure where you're going with that, but I'm wondering whether it will tie in with the Animagus idea.

Yay, Timothy's back! And he seems to be as witty and charming as we remember him from the party where Emily was smashed. He really brings out the social side of her, which seems like a very good thing. And I love the name of his new pub. I would definitely frequent a place like that.

I can't think of a thing to recommend with this chapter. It was a solid step forward in developing your plot and your lead character and it seems as though you spun a few small plot threads that could have legs. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with them!

Author's Response: There's a new chapter up :)

I was really happy with the opening of this chapter, I wanted to show that anticipation and also have thins not turn out as bad as Emily thought they would. Anxiety has a way of making things seem so much worse than they really are.

I'm glad you're still liking McGonagall. I hadn't thought about the whole being an animal equals less anxiety thing, it's not really the direction I was heading, but it's an interesting thought! I think McGonagall just sees it as something for Emily to focus on and something she believe the younger woman is capable of. I suppose it's also a vote of confidence in Emily that McGonagall thinks she has the ability to become an animagus.

lol...I read back through that last chapter and I think you're interpreting things differently to me because Emily was definitely not 'smashed' at that party! :P I love the name of the pub too, I thought it sounded like something a wizard or witch would name their pub :)

Thanks for another great review, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the next chapter :)


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Review #14, by nott theodore The Cackling Stump

23rd April 2013:
I have a confession to make; I actually read this when it was updated but I didn't have time to leave a review, so I'm coming back now that I have a bit of time :)

It must have been a massive facing for Emily to start teaching again after the incident before Christmas, and I thought you portrayed that really well. Especially with the way she was reminding herself of everything she was going to teach each class and talking herself through the day as a way of reassuring herself she could cope with it.

Andrew Newitt is fast becoming one of my favourite characters in this story. He's one of those kids that the teacher knows they should really tell off more but they're too likeable and they're making the teacher laugh too much...a loveable rogue sort of character. It's quite sweet that he was concerned about Emily and that he felt guilty for being the cause of her reaction.

One thing I really enjoy about this story is seeing a slightly different side to McGonagall's character. In the books she doesn't often slip out of the strict teacher persona that she uses with the pupils, but here it's almost like she's mentoring Emily, especially since they both teach the same subject. I quite like her idea of Emily becoming an animagus, and I'd be really interested to know what her animal for was! I also like your password for her office.

I noticed one mistake when Emily goes to visit the healer - you call her Helen Jensen at one point instead of Heather. But the discussion that they had about how much is Emily's responsibility as far as her pupils are concerned is really interesting. I know teachers feel a lot of responsibility towards their pupils, and often are blamed for bad results. But I think that it's important for Emily to realise that she can't take on responsibility for everything all the time, or always feel like it is her fault when someone in her care does something wrong. I like the idea of Emily getting herself a pet!

Ah, and Tim returns again! The pub name 'The Cackling Stump' really made me laugh. I think it's going to be really good for Emily to have someone paying attention to her as a person outside of her role as a teacher, and I really enjoy the insight that we get into Emily's past. It shows a real contrast between what she used to be like and the person she is after the war, and really emphasises how low she has come to be.

I'm looking forward to the next chapter already!

nott theodore :)

Author's Response: I didn't want to downplay how difficult Emily's return to work would be, but at the same time I didn't want to blow it out of proportion and have it be this huge deal either, so it was a bit of challenge to get the start of this chapter right.

I love Andrew...and he's a fictitious character of my own creating! lol! I realised that if Emily is ever going to believe in herself as a teacher, she needs to have a connection with at least one student - and Andrew is such a fun way to do that :)

It's been a challenge to write McGonagall in this setting, but I'm learning so much about her so it's worth it :) She sees a lot of herself in Emily and that's given her this soft spot for her. I think she also senses how much Emily is struggling and empathises. I'm not 100% sure where this animagus thing is going yet, I thought I knew but now I'm having some new ideas about where to go with it.

I called her Helen? Ha! how funny :P I'll go in and fix that, thanks for spotting it :) I think Emily's feelings of inadequacy as a teacher are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her problems but they've got to start somewhere :) I also think it's important that Heather was honest with Emily and told her the blunt truth - that she won't be happy if she's always blaming herself for everything. That's a theme that will be carried on through the rest of the story...hopefully.

Yep, Tim is back! :) I also have a soft sport for Tim, he's going to be a good distraction for Emily ;) I won't give too much away though :P

Thanks for yet another fabulous review...you spoil me! :D


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Review #15, by CambAngst Midnight

21st April 2013:
Hello, again!

I loved the family Christmas. The whole thing was so warm and wonderful and just all-around recognizable and normal. You did a great job of making the whole series of events feel familiar and easy to relate to. I remember visiting my family during the holidays after college, when I had a "real" life far away from where I grew up. A few of my cousins were starting to have kids and it always felt a bit strange being the unmarried uncle from far away. Emily's experience really resonated with me.

You named the dog Astro! I had to do a double-take on that one. I ruv roo, Reorge!

Claire was a nice addition to the story. When a character decides to embark on the path to recovery, I think two things always make the decision seem more realistic. First is a catalyzing event. We saw that in the last chapter. Second is a mostly impartial third party to give the character a shove in the right direction. It's just one of those things that seem to happen in life. It was nice to see Emily opening up and being honest with Claire -- and honest with herself, possibly for the first time -- about what she's been going through. Honesty is always the first step.

I thought you did a brilliant job with Heather, from beginning to end. I have read one or two other fics where characters see a Healer who specializes in mental health. More often than not, the Healer is portrayed as being sort of an eccentric or even a mystic in some cases. There's always this new age, other-worldly quality to them. Sort of like a mix between Dumbledore and Trelawney. I much prefer what you've done with Heather. Her approach was so much more measured and realistic. She didn't diagnose Emily on the spot based on first impressions. She didn't have any clever tricks to get Emily to instantly divulge some huge, traumatic event from her past. She just asked basic questions and listened closely. For some reason, I really liked the fact that she took a lot of notes. It was a very down-to-earth, reassuring detail. Aside from that, she's sympathetic, but not doting, and she's straightforward without being harsh. She's a very well-rounded, realistic character.

Emily's reactions were also really good. She was somewhat guarded at first, not wanting to seem like too much of a mess in front of the Healer. But at the same time, there's a reason that she's there. She wants to get better, so she doesn't allow pride or fear to get in the way of answering the Healer's questions. And she doesn't have some off-the-deep-end reaction to Heather's conclusion that she's suffering from depression. It seemed like a relief to find out that her suffering is real, that she isn't just over-reacting to the same sort of problems that everybody has.

Poor Emily, holding up the wall at the party. I've definitely been in that position a few times, myself, but it seems like it's a lot harder on her. She really used to be a social person, so it's saddening to see her reduced to such a wallflower. Not many people would have had the social confidence to look back on a past relationship with an older, very desirable boy like Cedric Diggory and sort of brush it off as no big deal. I thought that said a lot about the person Emily once was.

Ooh! Is that a romantic interest I see developing? I'm not really the world's best when it comes to critiquing romance plots. I know what I like and what I don't, and at this very early stage of the game I like the dynamic between Emily and Timothy. He has a quiet sort of confidence about him, and he brought out a flash of something similar in her. For just a moment, she felt like her old self, and that was really nice to see.

The only thing I saw in this chapter that struck me as a little strange was the situation with the alcohol. Alcohol and depression are a volatile mix, so I was sort of surprised to see her down what sounded like really strong drinks and then be in a better mindset. Every person handles alcohol differently, so it's probably not a big deal, but I do remember thinking it was sort of risky.

I saw one measly little typo, as well:

“It’s alright Emily, we don’t need to go in to it now,” She says and automatically let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding. -- "She" shouldn't be capitalized, since it's a dialog tag.

Just when I was feeling bummed about being out of chapter to read, you posted another! Be back soon!

Author's Response: Wow! What a review! :) Where do I start to respond?

I could have spent so much more time on the family Christmas but I knew it wasn't really necessary so I reigned myself in. But it was hard because it was so nice writing the family scenes. I love the idea that with everything else going on, Emily has this normal, loving, unaffected by war, muggle family. Just adds to the theme of duality she's developed in her life.

Astro! Oh my goodness, I had this entire back story about Astro, that involved anecdotes about how Emily and Owen loved watching the Jetsons when they were kids and when Astro was a puppy they would pretend that they were in the future. And there was something in there about Emily making comparisons between the futuristic technology of the Jetsons and magic when she first went to Hogwarts. But I ended up leaving most of that out of the story because it wasn't really relevant to the rest of the plot.

Claire was also going to be a bigger part of the story, but her being a muggle and not knowing about Emily's magical abilities just made it too complicated. So she is just a person to push Emily in the right direction, but I think it still works. I think it also worked to have her confide in someone completely removed from all of her problems because she knows she will get an objective view.

McGonagall is probably the only character who gives me more grief than Heather. I really wanted Heather to be real and genuine and someone you could believe that Emily would trust. I felt that it was best to base her on a muggle psychologist because I developed my own headcanon about healing being quite far behind medicine in terms of mental illness and the magical healing therapy practises being influenced by muggle psychology (feel free to ask if you want the detailed idea I came up with). So to me it made sense that Heather would be modelling her techniques on a muggle psychologist, which is where the whole talking/listening/note-taking concept comes in. I, too, have read some 'interesting' interpretations of therapists or counsellors in fanfic and they always seem to come across as negative or slightly crazy characters who don't understand the poor, complex main characters. I didn't want that, I wanted Emily to benefit from the help of her healer, because in reality, psychologists/therapists/psychiatrists/counsellors actually do help a lot of people with rather serious problems.

Emily really was a different person, and it's funny, because in my head I see her as two complete people: who she was and who she is now (actually 3, now that I've planned out the ending I see her as who she will be too!), but because I'm trying to reveal her old self slowly, I forget that you guys are only catching snippets of her old life. She really was a different person. Although Cedric wasn't really an 'older' boy because they were in the same year at Hogwarts. Timothy was a year older though.

Speaking of Timothy, this isn't really a romance story, but I am planning to include a little romance because I think that's just a natural part of life, plus it always adds a nice dimension to the story and gives Emily something else to try and deal with :P

The alcohol issue is an interesting one, and whilst it can have a seriously adverse effect on people suffering from mental illness, it does vary from person to person. There are also a lot of other factors that impact on mood and temperament even within people suffering from mental illness. There are plenty of people suffering from anxiety and depression disorders who are able to tolerate alcohol just fine. That being said, I wouldn't say the alcohol is what put Emily in a better frame of mind, her interaction with Timothy is what affected her mood.

Thanks for pointing out the typo...I seem to have made that mistake a lot lately, not sure where I've picked that habit up from :(

Thanks again for the amazing review, I love hearing your thoughts! :)


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Review #16, by MargaretLane The Cackling Stump

21st April 2013:
*grins* My favourite classes tend to be 1st years (Hogwarts' 2nd years) and 6th years (Hogwarts' 7th years). 6th years tend to be easy, because they are focussed on their exams and do a lot of the work themselves, so at least you don't usually have to stand over them.

Love Emily's comments on the various groups. They fit so well with my own experiences. 7th years being punctual would be expected.

I hadn't thought about the fact Andrew might feel guilty for having upset her so much by being an idiot. Really like him actually. He's just the kind of kid you know you SHOULD give out to, but you can't, 'cause you're too busy trying not to laugh.

And again, Emily's comments about her responsibility to get students good grades reminds me a lot of discussions I've heard among teachers. I know people who feel like she does - that it's their responsibility completely and that they should be able to make every single student take an interest in their subject and perform to their best. So this seems totally realistic to me (and I guess that's hardly surprising considering your were a teacher), especially considering Emily's state of mind. And a teacher DOES have some responsibility, because as Emily says, she should intervene if a student is becoming disengaged, but as Heather says, no matter what she does, there'll always be some students who, for whatever reason, DON'T succeed.

I love the insights into what Emily was like as a teenager and how different a person she seemed to the person she is now. And I can totally imagine that happening at a boarding school

Author's Response: Yes, I figured if you're a seventh year doing N.E.W.T level transfiguration, then you're not there to slack off, you actually want to do well. And we pick up from canon that the sixth and seventh year classes are pretty intense, so I think the student's would be pretty focussed at those year levels.

Andrew is someone very special. He wasn't a planned character, but just appeared in my head one day while I was writing and he is going to inadvertently have a little bit of a role in Emily's recovery. He's sort of a combination of a few student's I've had over the years :) I also think the way Emily treats him shows more about her character as a teacher than she realises. She totally doesn't get it when McGonagall says "He thinks very highly of you".

The conversation that Emily has with Heather about her responsibilities as a teacher may be based somewhat on my own feelings as a teacher. That sense of responsibility that is so strong it's ridiculous, where you think you're to blame if something goes wrong - even if it's out of your control! I don't know why, but I love the bit in this where she's going on and on about the jobs that require a Transfiguration N.E.W.T. It's like she's researched it all just to torture herself! It took me ages to work out what Heather's response to this revelation was going to be because I wanted it to be truthful and realistic, but also something that didn't change Emily's whole perception straight away. It just gives her something to think about.

Yeah, I thought a bit more insight into Emily would be good at this point. I also wanted to show that, like Michelle and as a link to her old life, Tim is able to draw Emily's former self out a little bit. He reminds her what it was like to be happy and carefree.

Thanks for another fabulous review, I really love and appreciate all your thoughts :)

Bec


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Review #17, by Jchrissy Old Friends and Scented Quills

20th April 2013:
Hi darling! Yay here for chapter two!


I really liked the pace you set this chapter. I think you did an awesome job giving us a natural chance to get to know Emily more. Being in Hogsmeade was a creative way to bring up the war again and what her life is like now that she’s free, and was done so in a way that didn’t make it feel like it didn’t belong in the story.

You address a few really powerful things in this chapter that helped build Emily’s character. We learn more about what the war was like for her, but at the same time we also learn she isn’t one to let it kill her. Sure, she gets those twinges and there are plenty of memories that hurt. Too much happened for her not to be tainted, but she also isn’t living in some sort of terrible darkness. She dealt with a lot and understands other people dealt with more, and is just stuck at this cross roads of what to do with herself. It’s clear that she needs more but doesn’t know just what yet.

One comment about the beginning I have is the first small section felt a big unnecessarily choppy. I loved getting the bit about what it feels like from the eyes of a teacher, but I think you could fit it more smoothly into the next section. Just doing something small like:

Oh yeah, Hogwarts Professor... it’s a charmed life. On that thought, I stretch my arms above my head to work out the kinks caused by three hours of sitting and grading.

The transition into Hogsmeade was perfect! Perfect. It was quick enough that we didn’t get bored on the walk over but didn’t go too quickly to feel unnatural. The thoughts she had regarding Hogsmeade made me feel so warm and fuzzy. Just knowing that she can still see beauty in a place that most witches and wizards consider a part of everyday life makes me happy. The comment regarding feeling like she was standing in a Christmas postcard created a really lovely picture.

Meeting her old Hogwarts friend felt ver appropriate. It brought a new side of Emily, or Em, out that we hadn’t seen yet. I liked the subtle reminder that no one really wants to address the war. I also liked getting to see how other people think of Emily. Obviously Michelle liked and misses her enough to come up and say hi. We’ve all been in the situation where we are in the store or something and see the sort of friend that we don’t want to talk to. You know, you cover your face then walk quickly away. But Michelle didn’t do that so she actually wanted to talk to her, and then to watch Emily act much happier than she’s seemed lately was very sweet.

I enjoyed the first chapter, but I *really* loved this one. The rhythm was good and it flowed easily, a very pleasant read!

Just a few grammatical things:
“It’s Michelle,” She adds helpfully. “Michelle Briar.”
--The ‘S’ in she should be lowercase.

“But that’s amazing!” She says...
--The S in she should be lowercase as well.

“Oh, well I live here now too,” She replies...
--The S in she should be lowercase.

As well as in these ones:
“Thanks,” She smiles, her cheeks glowing
“We’re looking at developing a new range just for the Hogwarts kids,” She explains.

Awesome chapter, lovely!

♥ Jami

Author's Response: Yay! :) I've been looking forward to this review.

I'm glad the chapter flows well, I though it was important to have a fair bit of action with Emily out of the school because, as much as she feels trapped there by work, she is an adult and unlike the students, she can come and go as she pleases in her free time.

This whole piece is about Emily and my intention is to gradually build her character over time, giving the reader a little bit more insight each chapter. But at the same time, Emily is trying to piece herself back together because she's lost sight of who she is, so it's like the reader and character are learning about her together. My point here is that I'm happy you said that you felt Emily's character developed well in this chapter, I must be on the right track :)

I have to agree with you about the first part of this chapter, I was never completely happy with the way it flowed. I like your suggestion though, that looks like it might really help. I'll go back and look at it when I get the chance. Thanks for the idea :)

I'm happy the transition worked well, I really wanted to make Hogsmeade a good place for her, and I think that even after being a witch for 14 years, it would hold a lot of charm for her. It's also somewhere that holds a lot of good memories, so it makes her feel safe and comfortable. The Christmas card comment is my own personal thought from looking at pictures/seeing Hogsmeade in the movies :)

Yes, very true about bumping in to old friends! I think Emily herself is a little shocked that Michelle wants to be friends with her - it shows how different she is from who she used to be. But Michelle sees Emily as the girl she know at Hogwarts and treats her accordingly, which is the end will be very good for Emily. I also think how Emily sees herself is very different to how others see her. She's been through a lot and during the war spent a lot of time with her own thoughts as she does now as well. As result, she'd got a sort of skewed perception of what she's like and capable of so there's this tension between her perception and everyone elses. That's where a lot of Emily's problems lie.

Argh, all those capital S's!!! That is such a stupid habit I have and I don't even know where it came from! Thanks for pointing those out, I'll go back and fix them.

I'm glad you like the chapter, I really appreciate all your thoughts and comments. I'll put in a request for chapter 3 soon :)

Bec


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Review #18, by CambAngst Memories

17th April 2013:
Hello, again!

I learnt pretty quickly that unless you want to be summoning the Bloody Baron every five seconds, it’s best to humour Peeves as much as you can.

One of the things I love most about this story is how you manage to capture that "Hogwarts feel" from the first three books, before the plot turned darker and became less focused on the trio's school experience. You are awesome at pulling in fun little canon details and creating very natural feeling classroom moments. I especially liked your Peeves and the way that Emily deals with him. No matter how insecure she feels about her teaching skills, it seems pretty obvious to me that she knows the ins and outs of being a Hogwarts teacher pretty well.

Once again, you did a really clever job of showing how the magical elements of Emily's life are balanced against her muggle heritage and family. Her parents seem about as normal as the parents of a young woman can be. They worry about the same sorts of things, make the same sort of "eye roll" comments and generally dote over her the way that any empty-nesters would over their youngest child. Her father reminded me of the way that Hermione's dad is usually written where Ron is concerned, doubting her ability to use simple muggle gadgets. Although it seems that unlike Ron, Emily is actually capable. Lastly, the fact that her brother was once jealous of her was another little detail that helped to make the picture feel complete and realistic.

The Slytherin boy in her class, Newitt, really helped to show how some things have changed and others have not in the years since the war. I can't imagine any of Harry's Slytherin contemporaries being so friendly with a mudb... err, muggle-born, even if she was a teacher. Their little running joke about the silly examples he slips into his essays was a really nice detail. There's a genuine sort of connection there. Again, I don't think Emily is nearly so bad of a teacher as she thinks she is. However, Newitt is also headstrong and too confident in his abilities. So there are definitely still Slytherin traits in Slytherin House.

Emily's flashback to Cedric Diggory's death was chilling. You wrote it really well, and the fact that you gave me so much time to get immersed in Emily's character before it happens made the impact that much stronger. I don't know whether you've ever been around someone suffering from post traumatic stress, but the physical and psychological symptoms you described -- the way she loses herself in her memories, the devastation, the way her body just sort of collapses -- all sounded very realistic.

When you brought her around in the Hospital Wing, I thought you did a good job of easing us into the scene. Putting Emily in a confused state and letting her work things out for herself was a great way to emphasize the way her episode left her feeling.

You wrote another great McGonagall scene in the Hospital Wing. She wasn't gushy or mothering or overly upset, but she makes her concern apparent in other ways. She's also very patient, letting Emily explain things at her own pace.

“Well it’s been a few years, but I have been known to teach the odd Transfiguration class myself, you know.” McGonagall raises an eyebrow and I can’t help but smile. -- I loved that line. You write her dry sense of humor so well!

As silly as it might sound, this passage stuck out in my head: She pushes the table closer to the bed so that I can reach it. I lay my legs flat again and pull the table so that the top of it stretches across my lap. To me, the fact that you remembered that her knees were pulled up to her chest and you took the minimal time needed to point out the needed change shows just how good your attention to detail is.

In the last section, I liked the way that you used a lot of small facets of Emily's journey home to keep filling in the picture of her emotional state. The way she avoids everyone on her way out of the castle suggested to me that she's having a hard time dealing with her problems.

I'll keep heaping on the praise about small details, because I love them! You took the fairly mundane act of apparating to her parents' home and turned it into something I really enjoyed reading. Her thoughts on the distance balancing out against the familiarity of her destination shows how much thought you put into things. And I liked the way that she picks a safe place like the tool shed instead of just popping out of nowhere into the middle of the street or scaring her parents half to death by popping into the living room. You think these things through so well!

The banter with her parents felt so warm and loving and natural. All the small things, like her father's hug and the smells of her mother's cooking, really added to that sense of welcoming and familiarity. Her mother found a new facet of her appearance to comment on, which was amusing. But in the end, she's home, and that's all that matters.

Just so this review gives you a little more value than shameless gushing, I'll point out a couple of things I saw:

“It was like I was there again, at the triwizard tournament.” - I think Triwizard Tournament should be capitalized.

“Thankyou Minerva,” is all I can say. - Thank you.

One other thing I noticed near the beginning of the chapter is that you have several really long sentences. This one stuck out in my mind because the whole paragraph was one long one: They take a little longer than usual to stop talking and turn their focus to me, but since they were just out in the corridor being serenaded by our resident delinquent poltergeist, and it’s only a few days until holidays, I can understand their restlessness.

Overall, your writing was great! I had no problems getting immersed in the flow of the chapter and it was all really vivid in my mind. I really love this story!

Author's Response: Wow, this review gave me such a boost! Thank you so much for everything you said :)

That "Hogwarts Feel" is one of my favourite things about the whole Harry Potter series. I really think it's a huge part of what makes the books so successful, that fantasy world that Hogwarts is. I am crazy about Peeves and I'm pretty sure he's made an appearance somewhere in every single FanFic I've written. He's just incredibly fun to write and adds a real element of whimsy to Hogwarts. I think that being so young, Emily still finds Peeves to be amusing as well as annoying which is part of the reason that she takes such a clever approach towards him.

I thought a lot about Emily's parents, because I wanted them to be as real and as normal as possible. Her relationship with them is a loving yet has that regular level of dysfunction. Her parents don't mean to be overbearing but, well, they're parents :) I think they also feel the gap that magic put between them and their daughter more than Emily realises, but they want to support her because they know deep down that she could never give up magic. I also wanted her to have a good relationship with her brother, but I think it's pretty likely that when one child in a multi-child family has magical powers, there are going to be envy issues.

Andrew Newitt was this gift from the muses. In my plan I'd originally just written that there was an accident in the classroom and a student got hurt but then when I started writing, Andrew just came out of nowhere and I'm thinking he might play a bit of a bigger role in Emily's story.

I'm glad you thought the whole cedric-memory-breakdown thing worked well, I was so worried that it would come across as over the top or unrealistic. One of my good friends actually suffered from PTSD so I'm using some of the things she's told me about her experience but I'm also taking ideas from research I've done and my own assumptions so I'm hoping it all comes together.

*Phew* McGonagall is still working. Good. I'm a bit worried with some future chapters that are coming up with her in them but we'll see how that goes.

Ok, the detail thing. I'm actually really touched that you complimented me on it because I'd always thought of it as me being super neurotic. Even when I'm a reading a book, my imagination sucks up every single detail, like I'll be reading a book and someone will sit down, and then later they'll be standing and I'll freak out and think "When did they stand up!?!?" And I'll have to go back and find where it's written that they stood up. Yeah...just a tad neurotic. So I tend to be pretty picky about details, I think they're important because they're what make a story seem effortless. The apparating thing bothered me so much I posted a topic about it in the help wanted section on the forums! I was checking out maps and everything to see how far Hogwarts would be from Swansea!

Thanks for pointing out those mistakes, I must have been a lazy editor the day I posted this because they're such silly mistakes too. I'll go in and fix them. I'll also keep an eye on sentence structure, I know I can get a bit carried away sometimes when I'm writing. I also have a semi-colon obsession :P

Thanks again for the awesome review, I'm glad you're enjoying the story!


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Review #19, by Maelody Midnight

15th April 2013:
Alright, sorry I didn't leave reviews on the first four chapters, but I'm a bit story busy here! lol

SURPRISE! This is a treat to you because, even though you may not know it, you're the one who got me to thinking about joining HPPC and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself over there and the new friends I've been making. SO, in my own special way of thanking you, I decided to pick one of your stories and read/review it! Ding ding ding ding! This one was the lucky winner! :D

I like the take you have on the teacher. I think I read in your 'About Me' (yes, because I'm THAT creepy...) that you used to be a teacher, so I think it's really cool that you go back and reflect that upon this story. I think it's really cool because I'm also going through a phase where I'm going to school to become a teacher, but I just really don't think I want to be a teacher anymore, so I'm finding it VERY easy to relate with Emily! :D

A quick side note, I LOVE Gennifer Goodwin (I think that's how you spell her first name) For your character! She honestly fits and I do believe I would have imagined her as Emily even if she weren't in your banner. She is such a lovely fit and I can imagine her so easily!

Anyway, I like how you flow in this story. It doesn't drag on by explaining detail after detail in a current situation, but goes back in flashbacks or mentions the past in a quick way that makes it easy to understand and follow. I also like that her past crush is there for her New Year's "kiss". It makes me hope that he can help her remember who she once was as a young girl who is now a young woman.

Personally, I think a little more happened with Ceddy and her than we are lead to believe. She is really having some serious PTSD about the whole thing, and unless their friendship was just THAT close, I can't help but think maybe there really WAS a secret relationship going on for a large or small amount of time.

Anyway, I just thought I'd pop by to let you know you have another reader who really enjoys the story you have created so far and I plan on reading the rest of what you come up with! It's beautifully written and very fun to read. Great job and I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Ah! Thank you so much for the review! I was so excited to see this :) I'm glad you're enjoying HPPC too!

I first came up with this idea about 18 months ago when I was still teaching and I wrote half of the first chapter and then abandoned it until recently and decided on a slightly different direction. But Its definitely an advantage having that 'inside knowledge' about teaching to help make Emily's experiences more realistic. The hardest part is to make it real without making it boring! lol :P

Ginnifer Goodwin is almost exactly how I imagine Emily in my head. I reckon she must have been floating around in my subconscious or something (I love her as an actress) because I had this image of Emily and then a few weeks ago I was watching one of her movies and I was just like "Oh my stars...it's her!" And the banner is just gorgeous, it's so perfect for the story.

In keeping with the whole 'realism' concept, I'm planning on Emily's journey to recovery to involve various people and events. Originally, Timothy was going to be the one to swoop in and save her but then I decided that idea was stupid, so he's been downgraded to just a piece of the puzzle, but he's definitely going to become a part of Emily's life :)

I don't want to give too much away, but Cedric is more of a symbol in Emily's life than anything else. His death was the first trauma Emily experienced which is part of the reason why it affects her so much. But they also had a pretty close bond too, which is why it was such a trauma in the first place.

Thanks again for the review, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. I'll try to have a new chapter up soon :)


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Review #20, by MargaretLane Midnight

14th April 2013:
Could be a little more difficult than Claire realises for Emily to see a counsellor. *laughs* I wonder if there are wizarding counsellors. Considering what seems to happen in that world, you'd think they'd need them.

You wrote the conversation between Claire and Emily really well. Very emotive.

And you gave the answer for this story in practically the next sentence. Hmm, wonder how much this'll help Emily and what we'll learn about her.

I think blood status could be important in a lot of cases in the era this takes place in. Like Muggleborns may well have different issues from the war than purebloods. And halfbloods may have different issues again, due to the pressure there may have been on them to disavow Muggle or Muggleborn relatives. I think halfbloods would be particularly likely to have guilt issues if their Muggleborn parent was arrested or murdered. Not that all psychological issues are necessarily going to be war related and not all of those that are would be related to the person's blood status, but I can still see why a Healer specialising in emotional and psychological problems would want to know that. And it's not only things to do with the war it'd affect either.

Really like the flashback to Emily's youth. It really gives an impression of how much she's changed as a result of the war.

Author's Response: The whole 'wizard therapist' thing was something I grappled with for a long long long time! There's nothing about it in canon so I had to start from scratch and the small about we know about healing and magical medical care. I've seen the whole Hogwarts counsellor thing done so badly and I wanted this to work, so after a lot of thinking, I came up with Heather. Here's the head-canon I came up with in regads to this issue: I think that after the first wizarding war, there would have been a great need for grief counselling etc and a greater demand for things like calming draughts. Out of this, some healers would have begun exploring the need for psychological care in the magical community in greater depth, several of them looking to muggle practices for ideas and procedures. By the time of the second wizarding war this would have still been quite new and uncommon in the wizarding world, but the end of the war and the rather traumatic battle would have led to a sudden need in psychological care and certain healers would have decided to step up and meet the challenge. I really fell in love with the idea that magical folk were significantly behind muggles in this area of medicine...a bit of poetic irony :)

Claire was originally going to be a bigger character in this story, but it wasn't really working so she's just become this close cousin thing. But she still serves a good purpose :)

The blood status thing fascinates me and I'm so excited about exploring it in this story. JKR really only focussed on the aspects of blood status (particularly what it's like to be muggle born) that were relevant to the story she was telling, but I think there's so much more there. I actually think being a muggle born would be incredibly difficult and yet amazingly rewarding. Having access to both worlds so readily would be a real double edged sword.

I'm glad you liked the memory, I want the memories to flow in and out easily, like they would naturally. I hope that came across.

Thanks so much for another great review! :)


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Review #21, by CambAngst Purple Pixies

13th April 2013:
Hello, again!

I really, really love what you did with the First Year lessons in this. I can see Emily's point perfectly. There can't be anything quite like the excitement and awe of young kids who totally new to the subject, some of whom (muggle-borns) are seeing complicated magic for the first time in their lives. The way that you wrote the kids was perfect. Their eagerness to please and earnest competitiveness were brilliant touches. Emily obviously connects with them very well.

Again, I thought you did a really good job with McGonagall. Even when she's trying hard to be nice to Emily and supportive, she's still so intimidating. I liked the fact that she seems genuinely concerned about Emily, that was very much like her. Also the measured words of encouragement. I hope we get to see more of the two of them interacting. I imagine McGonagall would have a lot of advice as to how Emily could better connect with her older students.

Finally, I enjoyed the way that I could sort of feel Emily's hair coming down as she enjoyed an evening at the Three Broomsticks with her friend Michelle. Drinks aside, I thought the company really had an impact on her. Spending all of your time in the company of children will definitely wear an adult down over the long run. I see this with my wife every day when I come home from work. ;) You need to interact with other people your own age or your social skills start to degrade and you'll quickly find yourself in quite a rut.

Suggestions? I think I would have liked to see Emily and Michelle talk a bit more about their respective lives, and especially about Emily's. I assume that a part of Michelle's role in this story is to help Emily come to grips with her own need for companionship. More of that may be planned for future chapters, but this one felt a bit slow on the character development front.

I'm going to just stop commenting on your writing, OK? If I don't say anything, just assume that it was brilliant! :)

Back soon for chapter 4!

Author's Response: Yeah, that lesson with the first years was really easy to write. I imagine the majority of the first years, and especially the muggle-borns, would be super-enthusiastic about their classes at Hogwarts. And I thought it was important for Emily to have the reprieve as well, because it demonstrates that she is not only good at teaching, but deep down she actually enjoys sharing her talents with these kids.

I think there's so much of McGonagall we don't see and after reading about her back story on Pottermore, I think there must be this kind, motherly side to her that rarely gets seen. She wants to be a mentor for Emily the way that Dumbledore was a mentor for her and helped her through her own suffering.

I definitely agree about the whole spending time with people your own age thing. The fact that she's become so reclusive has contributed to her change in personality. She's forgotten how much fun it is to be young and Michelle is starting to remind her of that. I really appreciate your thoughts on Emily and Michelle sharing more about their lives and I'll definitely take that in to account, although how I envision Michelle is this link to Emily's former personality rather than the person who draws the real issues out. I want Emily's journey to recovery to be a team effort of sorts, there won't be one person who magically saves her from everything, but rather a tapestry of influences help Emily to look at things differently and find happiness again. I see Michelle as the one who encourages that young teenage girl in Emily, the one who takes her out dancing and shopping and makes her giggle. Michelle isn't trying to 'save' Emily, she's just befriending the girl she remembers Emily to be and that will hopefully draw aspects of that girl out of Emily. On it's own it does sound a little superficial, but when it's hand in hand with the other people that will step forward to help Emily, Michelle actually becomes a vital part of Emily's healing. I hope that makes sense. But you're right, I could review some of the character development with Michelle - I don't want her to become a one dimensional character on page because she's quite vivid in my mind. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Thanks again for reviewing, I'm planning to write another review for you once I've replied to mine so you'll be seeing me again soon :)


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Review #22, by nott theodore Midnight

12th April 2013:
This was such a good chapter to read! I feel like this could really be the beginning of a recovery for Emily - obviously it will be a long and difficult process, and there is no instant cure for depression or Post Traumatic Stress, but I hope that she does begin to realise that she isn't alone in suffering this way and that she can get better.

One of the things I was interested to see from the last chapter was how Emily behaved in a different environment and interacted with her family. I really enjoyed seeing the difference in her character at the beginning of this chapter. Her brother's children seemed really cute, but it was almost as if being with her family - people that didn't know anything about her world - helped her to forget the terror she'd experienced because of being introduced to the world of magic. I can understand why it couldn't truly leave her, though, and I thought the fact that she managed to talk to Claire and admit that something was wrong was a big step forward for Emily.

You managed to write the effects of depression really well. When Emily asks 'What I'm feeling has a name?' it's actually heart-breaking, because it is so true of what people feel. I'm glad that she didn't spill everything out in this first meeting with the Healer, though, but at the same time we begin to see her admit what she feels. Clearly what she experienced during the war is something that still affects her deeply and I'm interested to know what she witnessed and experienced as a muggle born.

I thought you wrote the flashback really well. Quite often they seem awkward and can affect the flow of the story, but this fitted in perfectly and gave us an insight into the sort of person Emily was before Cedric's death, which is something we've heard about so far but not yet seen. It was nice to get a glimpse of what her relationship was with Cedric and I also liked the little details you included, such as the scowling redhead, who I'm presuming is Ginny Weasley.

This chapter definitely feels like a step forward for Emily as she's done the hardest thing: admit she has a problem. It's also interesting that she's noticed that there are two versions of her personality; pre- and post-Cedric. I'm intrigued by Timothy Briar, as well, and I'm guessing that he'll also be in the plot in the future. I think it will be important for her to spend time with other people her age who have experienced the war and the terror that she's lived through.

Since the return to Hogwarts is probably next, I'm feeling intrigued and slightly apprehensive about it. I hope that she doesn't deteriorate too much when she's back teaching, but also interested to see if anything changes when she gets back. I'll look forward to the next chapter!

nott theodore :)

Author's Response: Well they say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, and the incident in the classroom has made it blindingly obvious to Emily that's she's got a bit of a problem. I was a bit nervous about putting real 'muggle' names on her conditions, but I felt it was the best way to go.

Being a muggle born means that her family is like a completely separate universe to the rest of her life, and since most of her problems are to do with the magical world, she naturally feels a sense of relaxation when she is among her muggle family. In a way, it's almost like she can go back to being a muggle, completely ignorant of the war and the pain and suffereing it left in its wake, at least for a little while.

you know that line "What I'm feeling has a name?" was one that I deliberated over for so long. I kept putting it in and taking out only to put it back in. I wondered if it was a little too ignorant to be realistic, but since this story is set in 2003 and Emily was raised in the wizarding world since the age of 11, I thought it would work that she had no idea about the forms of mental illness. The sessions with Heather are going to be really important, but they're also probably the hardest to write. I'm paranoid that Heather is going to come off as this pathetic "and how does that make you feel?" counsellor type, which I don't want at all.

Oh I'm glad you liked the memory. I'm actually planning to include them in most chapters, but I want them to flow really easily, like memories often do. There's a lot of layers to Emily, so I wanted different ways for those layers to be revealed. It's also a good way to show how different Emily used to be, which in turn demonstrates the severity of her depression. This memory is one I really like too - and yes! I'm so excited you picked up on the little Ginny cameo. I just threw that in for a bit of fun :)

Timothy is definitely going to be part of future chapters, but I won't give too much away :)

Thanks for another fantastic review, I really love reading all of your thoughts. Thanks again! :)


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Review #23, by CambAngst Old Friends and Scented Quills

11th April 2013:
Funny, how old friends can snap us out of the doldrums of adult life for a little while, isn't it?

You definitely continued to add depth and substance to Emily in this chapter. Aside from major-league feelings of inadequacy, she also seems to be turning into a bit of a recluse. It isn't an easy thing to do inside of a castle filled with around a hundred people, the majority of whom have a built-in incentive to kiss up to you, but she's pulling it off pretty well.

Certain aspects of teaching seem to be universal, regardless of whether you're in a magical school. I suppose there's no easy or quick way to mark essays, even with magic. I'd never really thought about it before, but for someone who teaches a subject that's required for all students and nearly all years like Transfiguration, that must amount to a huge amount of homework to grade. When do these people sleep?

But I digress. Having Emily reminisce about going to Hogsmeade as a student was a great way to introduce some more back story and character development without it feeling forced. And I think that getting her out of the castle for a while helped your narration out. A change of scenery is always good when you want a character to be pensive. You've obviously put a lot of thought into what it means to be a muggle-born wizard or witch. Her fascination with Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade reminded me of the wonder that Harry always felt when he visited these places in the first few books, before things started to turn bad.

I thought the character Michelle was a great foil to help Emily continue to draw out her feelings about her life. Michelle seems to have a lot of things in her life that make Emily uneasy, possibly even a bit jealous although she isn't eager to admit that to herself. At the same time, Michelle also expressed a lot of admiration for Emily and her achievements in life. It seemed like Emily came away from the conversation feeling like her life might not be quite as bad as she's been thinking, but that there are obviously things that she's missed out on because of the need to hide during the war and her work/life balance since the end of it.

Once again, I thought your writing was fantastic. I couldn't find a single typo or grammatical problem. You really have a knack for writing with a nice, smooth, regular flow that's easy to follow and immerse myself in.

Great chapter! Back again soon...

Author's Response: lol...I love your comment about 'major-league feelings of inadequacy' I think that sums up Emily's feelings about her teaching abilities pretty well! And Emily is definitely hiding from the people around her, partially because she doesn't want to think or talk about work too much, partially because it's exhausting and partially because she just wants to run away and hide. When she's around other people, she also has to put this mask on, the mask of a person who is fine and happy and that takes a lot out of her, so it's easier to avoid people sometimes.

Teaching is a challenge, and for Emily, who is so depressed, it just becomes this huge unclimbable mountain she can't get past. The saddest thing is that deep down, Emily does actually enjoy teaching Transfiguration.

I'm glad you picked up on the muggle-born thing, I think there are a lot of aspects about being muggle born that are glossed over in JKR's books, not in the sense that she wrote it badly, but in the sense that there were a lot of things that just weren't pertinent to the story she was telling. And I want to explore a lot of those 'gaps' with Emily's story. One thing JKR did brilliantly, was describe the wonder of seeing the magical world for the first time as a muggle-born witch or wizard, and I was hoping to capture that similar feeling with Emily's memories.

There's definitely a bit of envy with Emily and Michelle, although not really enough to cause a rift between the characters, it's more like there's just enough to make Emily feel a little bit more depressed. Michelle is someone who suffered through the war but as a pure-blood who was able to be relatively sheltered during the war, she hasn't suffered the trauma that Emily has. She is a lot like Emily used to be and that's working to Emily's advantage because Michelle is something of a catalyst to lure the old Emily out into the light.

Thank you again for the great chapter, I really appreciate all of your thoughts. Thanks again! :)


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Review #24, by soapman333 Old Friends and Scented Quills

11th April 2013:
Geez, I cannot express enough how much of a relief it is to read a work like this. I'm used to reviewing stories about teen angst and love triangles, but this is much more comfortable for me to read.

Oh the effects of war. What always intrigued me about the Hogwarts War was that it was so close to home for most witches and wizards. You can't just pick up and live your life normally after something that catastrophic! You depict this well, Bec :D

Ha, I love how Em's friends are getting married around her. It's strange growing up, people tend to get married while in their twenties, amIright? Her awkwardness towards this subject also cracks me up. Perfect, just perfect.

I should put CCs in, but I really don't have any. Perhaps re-read through it for the little grammatical stuff that every author experiences in their stories (seriously, my own story is over-flowing with grammatical errors. I'm too lazy to fix most of them).

Em is certainly quite the intriguing character! I'm excited to see how this all progresses :D

Author's Response: It's a little closer to home isn't it? Well I mean it's about a woman, but you know what I mean.

I am trying really hard to show the effects of the war on everyone. I always have a list of my characters with details like physical appearance, family connections, birthday, age etc but with this story I also have blood status, how old they were and where they were during the war, what impact it has had on them since, family members that died etc. I found a character the other day seemed to be unaffected and I freaked out! lol...I think I've fixed it now though :)

The marriage thing totally has nothing to do with my own personal opinions on people getting married young. No connection whatsoever. :P But seeing as though there is a conversation in HBP about this exact issue (people marrying young and quickly during the war) I figured it was a pretty good link with canon.

Ugh, I always find grammatical errors after I've posted the chapter...drives me crazy! And then you spot it and you're like "how did I miss that?"

Thanks again for another lovely review, you're far too nice to me :)


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Review #25, by soapman333 Expectations

11th April 2013:
Woah, intense! Ha, so I'm the worst review-threader ever. I forgot I had people waiting for me to review their stories :P

Anywho, I love this story. In fact, I'm adding it to my favourites. Seriously, this is one grown-up work. Nobody ever thinks about how life would be like if you didn't actually like what you were doing as a career. Plus, you depicted the war and aftermath in a short and precise manner. Just brilliant!

Is this the work that you're putting in present tense? Geez, I just adore present tense. It's like you're there, with the narrator as he/she goes about what they will. In fact, I'm glad your story is in present tense, because my common "suggestion" for most of the stories I read is to put it in present tense. It's just more exciting to read that way.

So, good job (I feel silly saying this, because you're a million times more talented a writer than me)!

As for your main character, she's believable in every way. I'm relieved because the last story I reviewed, the main was very much a Mary Sue. It was like she was a robot or something. Not the most thrilling person to read about.

Right, so I think my favourite part about her past is the fact that she was friends with Cedric. Silly for me to say, but it made me smile, because that is so unique. This story is just brimming with potential and uniqueness, I'm so excited to read the next chapter!

Okay, I promise I can properly articulate my thoughts. I'll do a better job on the next chapter :D Awesome start, and the tone of the piece is a bit darker, but I don't think it's too overwhelming. Bravo!

Author's Response: Heh, don't worry...this was my first review request, so I had no idea how long I should expect to wait for the review!

I actually really appreciate you calling this piece 'grown up'. I am trying to be more mature with this piece, but it's apparently quite hard to write a mature story when you're not a very mature person! But yes, I agree...the not loving your job thing is such a common problem and yet so many people in fanfics are in their dream job, so hopefully it adds some fresh complications to the mix.

Present tense is interesting to write...sometimes if I'm not focussed when I'm writing, I'll suddenly realised I've written four paragraphs in past tense and I'll have to go back and fix them. I think it works for this particular story though, I wanted the reader to be right there in Emily's brain with her.

Thank goodness you don't think Emily's a Mary-Sue. well I figured she wasn't because she's pretty messed up and all, but it's good to get objective affirmation :)

The Cedric thing is something I am really excited about, because I could practically write a whole novel on their friendship from all the backstory I've created for them. I also thought it might be a good opportunity to try and write the girl/guy friendship in a more realistic way than I've seen in a lot of fics. And one where they're not actually secretly in love with each other (like my next gen gems! :P).

"you're a million times more talented a writer than me" You, sir, flatter me with your lies! :P But thank you for the compliment :) And thanks for the review, I was so excited to hear your thoughts on this!


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