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Reading Reviews for Two Words
20 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TreacleTart Cold

17th May 2015:
Hi Joey,

I happened to stumble across this and thought it looked really interesting, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Let me first praise the genius of going in reverse chronological order. I thought it worked really well for the purposes of this story. It was short enough that it was easy to follow everything going backwards.

I also thought it was really clever that you used five different narrators and gave them exactly one hundred words each. I imagine that would be tough to do.

I will say that I had a bit of trouble distinguishing who the different voices were supposed to be, mainly I think because everyone sounded very similar. I understand that this is because of the word limits, so I'm not really put off by it. I'm just wondering who the fifth voice is. I got Rose, Draco, Scorpius, and I think the House Elf Carky, but I can't figure out who it is that I'm missing.

I find it horrifying that Draco would murder a pregnant Rose. I mean I know he's a pureblood elitist and ex-Death Eater, but that's still pretty shocking to think that he would think nothing of his grand child. I can definitely understand why Scorpius would kill him after this.

All in all, I'm amazed at what a complete story you've managed to tell in such a short space. It is very stylistically unique and I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like it on here before. Great work!


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Review #2, by Maelody Cold

12th January 2015:
Wow! This one is a powerful one indeed!

So I'll admit I was very excited to get to this story as soon as I saw the Dr. Who characters on the banner. That, and they looked so distraught, I just had to know what was going on!

So, I read this from top to bottom, as expected. And then I read this from bottom to top (as you said it was backwards for added dramatic effect). It reads just fine either way ;). Seriously though, you did an excellent job of writing this backwards. If I hadn't read that this was backwards I would have been just a little confused, but I would have gotten it eventually. But honestly, this was written extremely well!

It infuriates me that Draco would kill his son's wife, let alone the fact that it's Rose Weasley. Immediately my first instinct was to wonder how Hermione and Ron would hear about this and how heartbroken and yet angry they would be. (If you ever write that, let me know!) I was a little disappointed though that Rose didn't have Carky conceal the both of them after finding out she is pregnant. Though that's how the story goes I guess.;)

Poor Scorpius, though! I wonder why he was somewhere else in the first place waiting to hear from her. Were they trying to catch his father? Did they think he would do something like that so they offered her up as bait? Then who wrote to him in the long run? His sadistic father, or Carky? "He's Dead" I guess wouldn't be addressed to his father. Hmm.

Honestly, I surprised that Draco was surprised it was his son who came after him. Though it sounds like Scorpius was so enraged (as he rightfully should be) that he went completely crazy on his father. Hiding in the shadow and torturing his father into an area where he could finally end him there. I think this second paragraph is the strongest of the five and it gave me chills.

So how long did it take between Rose's death and him going after his father for there to "be another murder"? I figured it would have happened almost immediately after one another.

Anyway, I think the whole concept of this story was really cool! Five hundred words exactly, it can be told backwards or forwards, each paragraph is 100 words and in the view of someone else, but it all comes together to make one story! I really like that. It must have been a bit challenging, yeah?

Again, you've done another wonderful job on another wonderful story. I'm quite envious, you know? :D Great job!

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Review #3, by 800 words of heaven Cold

12th January 2015:
Heya! Here for this week's inaugural Hot Seat! I may be back with more reviews if time allows :)

OH MY GOD WHY IS EVERYONE KILLING EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS STORY? I'd love to know your inspiration for this piece! It's fantastically written and I really enjoyed it.

The brief length really works here. It builds tension and mystery effectively, yet you've used your words with thought and care (which really shone through for me) so the story still feels complete.

The first paragraph had me going SERIAL KILLER. So that was pretty exciting for me - I have a weird obsession with Criminal Minds :P The second paragraph had me thinking DRACO HAS PUSHED SOMEONE OVER THE EDGE OMG DID HE DESERVE IT? PROBABLY. The third paragraph had me going IS SOMEONE ELSE DEAD? WOW I THOUGHT THERE WERE ONLY TWO DEATHS IN THIS WHERE DID THE THIRD COME FROM WHO IS DEAD. In the fourth paragraph I went YES. I KNEW IT. IT WAS DRACO'S FAULT. And then the fifth paragraph I was sad. POOR ROSE.

So this story definitely had me excited and engaged! Wonderful stuff!

Author's Response: I've taken so long to answer this, wow. I apologize and will blame it on the influx of HS reviews.

You know, I honestly don't know what my inspiration was for this. It just kind of popped into my head as is.

I seriously chose my words incredibly carefully here because it was my first crack at Microfiction and I wanted to use the words I did have in the most efficient way possible.

I didn't quite write about a serial killer, although I'd like to. (I really don't need any more story ideas than I already have!!) Also, in the third paragraph, when he said 'He's dead' he meant it more in a 'consider him dead' sort of way because he was going to kill him. So, that was about Draco, so yes, only two deaths here :P

Thank you so much for this review!

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Review #4, by Secret Santa Cold

31st December 2014:
Okay, I'm really blown away now. I have read three of your stories, and each one is SO unique and individual! You must have creativity oozing out of you!

I do admit that I had to read this story twice. Once forwards, and once backwards. And I'm not saying that to be a criticism, because it was only have reading it backwards to make sure I had the story right in my head that I really saw your full brilliance here. That was insane that you could write a story that pulled that off, working both ways. And do it all in 500 words, with perfect 100 word paragraphs. WOW!

Seriously, you are a great author with so much talent and ingenuity! I'm really glad I was able to be your secret santa and find these great stories!

Author's Response: It means so much that you find my stories unique! I love to put a fun spin on things and switch things up between stories.

I actually wrote the story in attempts to get people to read it both forwards and backwards. It makes me so ecstatic to hear that people actually do so!

Thank you so much for your fantastic compliments and for leaving these wonderful reviews, you have made me very happy ♥

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Review #5, by my_voice_rising Cold

23rd November 2014:
Hi there! Here with your requested review.

All in all I think this is a great concept. 100 words, 5 segments, told backwards. Brilliant! The voices are all very cohesive, which really helps with the overall flow, but are maybe *too* similar.

This story was undoubtedly a challenge in many ways, in terms of style, and you've done a great job. If you really want to challenge yourself as a writer, it would be interesting to see how you can give these characters each their own distinct voice in their narrative--otherwise it almost appears to be told through the same person's POV. Another addition that would help with this would be some kind of line break/asterisk to separate each scene. It's explained in your summary but it would really help with readability!

A few other things that may need tweaking: some explanation as to why Draco would go from not being able to kill Dumbledore (even under the threat of death), to willingly killing a member of his own family (albeit by marriage.) The house elf also seems a little displaced, especially so close to the ending. Maybe if Draco had said "I'll get him a House Elf to make it up to him," it would tie Carky into the rest of the story. It would also be a huge insult to Rose, as if she could be replaced by the creature we know the Malfoys have treated so poorly.

Really though--this is a great concept. The ending sentences of the first and second paragraphs in particular are really haunting, and you tell so much with what little words you've allowed yourself.

Thanks for requesting a review. I'm glad I got to read this! Give me a shout if you decide to do any editing ♥

Author's Response: Hi! Sorry I've taken so long to respond to this!

Thank you! And I know the voices are all really too consistent and terse, but otherwise I couldn't possibly have fit this story into 500 words :P

I actually have a really fully developed idea of Draco's motivations here, but if I began to write it into the story, that alone would probably no longer be microfiction, so I had to leave it up to the imagination.

Thank you for the review :D

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Review #6, by moonbaby11 Cold

22nd November 2014:
This was amazing. For something so short, you managed to capture emotions and enthrall the reader in the work. The first sentence certainly draws people in because you want to know who is dead and how it happened and why it happened.

I think it is truly genius that you wrote this in reverse order. I liked the fact that the reader knows the outcome, and now they want to know the backstory of everything. After I finished reading this I want back and read the paragraphs in reverse order and something about it wasn't as engaging as reading it backwards, the way that you wrote it. I am not sure if that was merely because I already knew what was going to happen when I read it a second time or if it was because the format of it being written in reverse chronological order honestly made it a better story, but kudos to you for making something like this work!

You've asked me if there is anything you can do to improve on writing microfiction and, honestly, I don't think there is. This whole piece is amazing. Each paragraph can stand on it's own, as well as come together to make an amazing story, and I feel like you hit the right emotions with your words. There was never a moment where I felt as if your wordcount was limiting you - you certainly used all 500 words perfectly in portraying this moment. You have definitely utilized the format well.

I just want to finish this off by saying that the Pygmy Puff line was so evil that it was almost humorous to me - I loved it! This story was great and if you were ever considering writing microfiction again, I would say go for it!

Author's Response: Hi! I apologize for taking such a long time with this response, life randomly decided to get super busy.

I'm so happy that you thought the reverse chronology not only worked, but improved it from what it would have been normally. I really wanted it to seem like less of a gimmick and more of a device, so I'm glad that worked out in my favor.

Wow, to read that there's nothing I can do to improve this is just awesome. Thank you! I'm so excited that you liked this and the Pygmy Puff line was my favorite :P

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Review #7, by nott theodore Cold

20th November 2014:
Hi Joey! I'm finally here for our swap (I got caught up with a couple of unexpected things at work today and then my internet's decided to play up) - I'm sorry it took me so long!

Okay, this story actually really intrigued me from when you put it up on the archives, and I remember seeing you post a status about it, but I was running short on time so I thought I'd take this chance to read it! I love the Every Word Counts challenge, so the idea of Microfiction is really intriguing as well, especially with the way that you're essentially telling five different stories here but that all fit together to make up something bigger.

Let's just say, I'm really impressed with the sheer amount of detail and action that you managed to include in a story that was only 500 words long, not to mention each 100 word segment of this.

I've never read a story that's written in reverse chronology before, so that was something really new for me. I was really surprised by how much I found myself enjoying it, and I think that a large part of that is because you wrote it so well! From reading this section, I realised that for something to work in reverse chronology, you need an ending (which is the start, confusing) which leaves the reader asking questions so that they go on to read back (forward - it's too late for me to be trying to wrap my brain around this). You completely achieved that. The first section had me asking so many questions that I just had to read on, and then once I'd read it all, I read it in the ordinary chronology and again in reverse, just to get the full impact. I think you managed to choose a fantastic plot for this type of story!

From the very start, I was dying to know who it was that had left the body behind and was trying to distance themselves from the murder that they'd just committed - especially since they seemed to be connected to two deaths recently. I was so intrigued, especially with the way that his boss at work wanted to inform him about what had happened, which made me think that the protagonist was maybe an Auror or something along those lines.

With the second section, I was wondering who on earth would want to kill Draco Malfoy, since this was clearly after the war. I thought at first - especially with some of the adjectives that you used here, like pitiful, that it could be someone trying to get revenge for the murders that the Death Eaters committed - some kind of vigilante. But then you go and shock me completely with that last word in the paragraph, and that was such a twist - how you manage that only 200 words into the story, I have no idea!

The rest of this story surprised me just as much! First the resolve to kill him - him being Draco Malfoy, as I realised by this point - because of the contents of the letter that Scorpius had just received. It was so interesting, because under normal circumstances we'd know why and not who, but to flip it made me more curious, in a way. And then we see that Draco's killed someone, and then Rose's fear (and the fact that she was pregnant just about broke my heart). I want to know so badly what it was that made Draco kill Rose, especially when she was carrying his grandchild - because of that I can definitely understand Scorpius exacting his revenge on his father a lot more now, and though I can't exactly say it's justified, it's more comprehensible. This story is just leaving me with so many questions - was Draco going mad, or was he so set against having a Weasley in the family that he had to kill Rose to make sure it didn't happen? Or was there something else entirely, something that prompted this horrible event?

And it's only a tiny thing but there's a sort of mirroring here between Rose's death and Lily's death, with the fact that they weren't expecting their killer to arrive and they were both unable to defend themselves. How sad it is that Rose wasn't even able to protect her unborn child, though :(

The word choice in this was just amazing - it flowed so well, especially for reverse chronology, and it definitely felt like every word you used was chosen because of the impact that it had. I've written 500 word stories before and that's difficult enough, so to manage something in 100 word segments is even more impressive!

I want to know more about these characters now - what on earth was happening before this story started, and after, and all the fleshed out bits in between. I think it can only be a good thing that you've left me wanting even more of your writing. You did a fantastic job with this! Thanks for the swap, and I'm sorry again that it's taken me so long to get round to my half of the bargain - I hope this review helps to make up for it a little!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi Sian! It's pretty much been ages since you left this review. It turns out NaNo AND directly post-NaNo are horrible times for review responses. :P

I'm so happy that the premise intrigued you! I think it was the most challenging thing I've ever attempted as a writer. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am that you read it back over from the bottom! That's exactly what I was hoping people would be able to/want to do! I tried to write it in such a way that the story works both ways and each part works on its own as well. I just love that some people went ahead and did that even though I didn't tell them to.

Yes, I imagined him as an Auror because I've always been fascinated by the 'detective who commits the perfect crime' trope and I thought I'd give it a super quick try here.

I was originally going to go for the vigilante angle actually, but then, I couldn't figure out what the twist would be. I wanted it to be a bit more shocking with some kind of reveal. So, I went for a super, super personal revenge story in which not much before or after is explained.

Your questions you have about Draco's motivations are making me really want to write a tie-in to this story. It's completely planned in my head and it's actually kind of a complex chain of events that leads to this story, but either way I'm super happy that I've got you questioning and wondering because that's what you hope for when you leave this much to the imagination!

I threw in the similarities to Lily's death on purpose haha. That's what inspired that entire scene, so it's practically the same thing, in different circumstances.

Thank you so much for this amazing review! You blow my mind every single time we swap :)

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Review #8, by marauderfan Cold

10th November 2014:
Review swap! So glad to check out some of your awesome writing again.

This was a really creative piece and I LOVE that you wrote it in reverse chronological order! Like it builds up all this mystery and each successive paragraph reveals all the back story and fills it out - yet keeps so much more mystery left up to the imagination! Why is this all happening? How is Scorpius (possibly an Auror, given what his boss says to him) going to get away with this? What happens?!?!! But honestly, I like how much is left untold. It makes me wonder a lot, and I like that.

One thing that's really cool about the combination of reverse-timeline narration and your sparse, mysterious style for this piece is the way information is revealed. The way you showed which character is narrating: I step out of the shadows and he sees the last pair of eyes that hed ever behold. His own. -- AAH, SO BRILLIANT.

I love the addition of the house-elf, too - she is a pretty important character in the end, as she is the only witness who knows everything that happened in the end. And oh I love how Rose protects her - clearly her mother raised her right!

Also, I want to gush about the style of the story again since it's just so unique. Five distinct stories - I just read them all over again and they really DO stand alone as separate stories. It's weird because each one on it's own isn't a mystery, but put together they are! HOW DID YOU DO THIS MAGIC? I guess this story is a prime example of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", clearly Aristotle was referring to this story when he said that. :p

So anyway, this is brilliant and I am in awe. Well done.

Author's Response: I am so glad that you liked this! I did leave quite a bit to the imagination, didn't I? I thought the best way to go about a mystery this short was to slowly reveal what happens within a small window of time and not explain what lead to it or what happened after. Awesome that it got you to wonder, that was definitely intended!

I really wanted to use this Microfiction style for all it's worth. I found that the word limit could be seen as a hindrance or as a plot device. I choose to use it to do things a bit differently and I'm so happy that you thought it worked!

The house-elf is a very important character! Her appearance could be seen as characterization for Rose, if you only read that section, but then it's like - OH that's who sent him the letter and she becomes really significant. I wanted a lot of those, like, OH moments because I feel like they give the reverse chronology reason to be utilized other than just like, 'hey look, I wrote this backwards.'

I can't even thank you enough for reading the stories separately and getting all of this out of such a short piece because that's exactly what I intended and it feels amazing to know that people read through and appreciated that stuff!

Thank you so much for this review, it was so amazing and kind, wow.

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Review #9, by BitterSweetFlames Cold

7th November 2014:
Hi Joey! This would be the first time I'm reading anything you've written but, wow, this fic is brilliant.

It amazes me how well you managed to craft a story with so few words. Maybe people should not be allowed more than 500 words when writing since this was perfectly crafted.

Then, you add the fact that this was written in reverse chronological order. You left me reeling from one paragraph (well, story) to the next. The mystery was exhilarating and the characters were so beautifully portrayed. I knew who Scorpius was and I was so sorry about what happened to Rose and you managed to make me hate Draco so much.

And the Pygmy Puff line? It's so perfect. It's just so despicable and a perfect characterization of the person. Did I mention I hate Draco? I did? Well, I do.

Anyway, thank you for sharing this beautiful story.


Author's Response: Hi Carla!

It makes me so happy to hear that I not only made the length work, but used it to my advantage. The reverse chronology was a completely random idea, but after I had it, I could not shake it. It's awesome to even think about my characterization being good considering the length of this. The Pygmy Puff line is probably one of my more evil moments as a writer haha. I love that people actually mention it when they review this!

Thank you for this wonderful review, your compliments are much appreciated!

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Review #10, by teh tarik Cold

4th November 2014:
Hi Joseph! :)

I came looking for this story after you mentioned having written something in reverse chronological order in my Novel Nest (I'm so sorry that I haven't replied *hides* - I've been busy for so long, and then NaNo happened...), and I just had to read it. I love stories written in reverse chronological order; there are way too few of these types of stories on the archives!

Anyway, this was honestly amazing. For such a short piece, the structure and the style and the mystery all fitted together seamlessly, and I was thoroughly enthralled with the careful revelation of events. Gah, and you managed to characterise Scorpius so well in such little space! As well as Rose and Draco, of course. But probably the most amazing thing of this story is how well it has been crafted to meet the requirements of the Microfiction Challenge. Every paragraph was a mini-story in itself, and yet when put together, each part falls in neatly with the next. I read the whole thing as a single story at first, then I went back and reread each paragraph as a sort of standalone drabble, and gosh, it really works.

Also, I read your response to Roisin's review (I always love reading what other reviewers say, and the author's responses!), and you mentioned that Carky is a reference to Background Noise!?!? Like, thank you!? I'm very honoured that you chose to include a Background Noise reference here; thank you so much! ♥

This was an absolutely fantastic fic, and I hope you're proud of it!

Apologies for the shortness of this review, but I really do have to get back to NaNo-ing. :) Once again, amazing work!


Author's Response: Hi teh!

I was not expecting you to come review this at all! I really enjoy reverse chronological order so much and I'm through the roof that you're writing it for NaNo.

This review makes me so happy! It took a really long time to plan this for it to be only 500 words. I definitely tried to give everyone their own distinct personalities and present a few mysteries and twists. I have so much headcanon for this because my plans are actually much longer than the story.

I'm so glad that you experimented with ways this could be read!! That's exactly what I intended for people to do with this. I wanted them to be standalone stories and be able to be read from bottom to top as well and still keep a bit of the intrigue. It's awesome to see that people actually do this without me actively telling them to or anything.

(I totally read other reviews/responses too!) The Background Noise reference came about because I was writing this shortly after re-reading that story and I literally couldn't think of any House elf name that sounded better than Carky. I dramatically felt like the story would be imperfect if I used any other name, so I slipped in a reference. Also, I adore that story in and of itself so it seemed appropriate to give it a little tip of the hat.

Thank you for this amazing review, such a nice surprise! :D

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Review #11, by monstrosity Cold

18th October 2014:
Bah, humbug!

Sorry, I was just trying out new openings, but I don't think that one was quite up to the mark. Anyway, so apparently I was summoned from the dead to read this story, so I had an inkling that it was one worth reading. I guess I was right.

I must thank you, first, for a mercifully short story. I'm not too good at reading things, one the account of my eyes being in my head and my head...not exactly on my body.

I've always liked stories that are backwards. It reminds me of my head, which is always judged for not being where heads normally are. So what if the entire human population prefers to have it fastened on to their shoulders? I like carrying mine around in my hands, thank you very much. It's nice to see that some people do have a taste for the unconventional.

I do, unfortunately, have two problems with this story, and it pains me to have to point them out. Firstly, the fact that despite tons of people dying in this story, not one of them had their heads chopped off. It's a little disappointing to see that now that magic has come into fashion, people are using all sort of fancy spells to get things done. I know it's much cleaner and quicker, but...WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOOD OLD AXE, EH?


The other problem I have is that there isn't enough pie in this story. This is a question I get all the time:

"But Ned, how am I supposed to mention pie in a story filled with horror and murder?"

The answer is simple: use the power of subtlety. It's a complicated art to master, but surely someone who has the talent to write a story backwards would be able to do it. Let me give you an example using your own story.

"Rose Weasley is in her kitchen, cooking a delicious pie. it is cherry pie, the kind that attracts murderers from the neighboring continent. She can't really blame them, cherry pie does smell like heaven. There comes a thunderous crash from the direction of the front door. She's about to tell the intruder that the pie will be ready in fifteen minutes, when Draco Malfoy steps in. Five minutes later, Rose Weasley has crumbled to the ground and the pie has been left to burn in the oven, the biggest tragedy of all."

See what I mean? It's as easy as pie.

Anyway, this was a fairly interesting story and while I don't agree with the main character for killing his dad over the death of his wife ( I mean, if it was over pie, then that would be perfectly understandable) revenge certainly does have a beauty to it.

Happy Halloween!
Ned the Headless Horseman

Author's Response: I've gotten so behind in my responses, I apologize, Ned.

Haha! A taste for the unconventional, I do have. Hmm, I'll have to consider that for my future stories.. "More axes" Love it.

And now, as for the pie, I can do nothing but laugh incredibly hard, clutching my stomach while rolling all over the floor. Thank you for this review. It makes my day every time I read it Ned, it really does.

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Review #12, by lindslo2012 Cold

15th October 2014:

This was just an amazing piece. So much story in just five hundred words... I could never have done that.
So, Scorpius killed his own father. Well, I guess I don't particularly blame him especially after reading that Draco was trying to kill Rose, if I understood that right when he said "blood traitor of a wife?" that was Draco?
I also enjoyed all the detail you put in this as well, everything was very vivid, as if I was there.
I got chills when reading that the woman was pregnant, how very horrible that this was happening to her.
The only paragraph that confused me was the third paragraph. Who was the one who received the letter?
And Rose, good ol' Rose, like a previous reviewer said, she reminds me of Hermione when she tells her house-elf to hide, how awesome. I can tell just from the paragraph that she is smart and probably knows just about as much as her mother too.
This was an awesome story, thank you for coming to request for my review and I hope you request for more in the future! :)


Author's Response: Hi Lindsey,

First of all, I apologize for the late response. Life has been a bit hectic lately!

Yes, Scorpius killed his own father and that was Draco that killed Rose. Thank you for the compliment about the details! I was hoping I could give a good sense of atmosphere in this story, even with the length.

In the third paragraph, it was Scorpius who received the letter. And it was sent by the house elf that Rose told to hide. That way, the purpose of the elf is two-fold. To draw that comparison to Hermione and to be an eye witness to the murder, informing Scorpius of what happened and causing him to go after Draco.

I'm glad you liked the story! Thank you so much for the review :)

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Review #13, by casual_chaos Cold

15th October 2014:
Hello Joey!

I have so many things to say about this, and it's only a 500 word story! I'm sure my review will be longer than the story itself! But I guess that's the point of micro fiction. :)

First of all, I honestly enjoyed this. You asked if the structure was effective and I can assure you that it was. The plot doesn't become completely clear until the very end (or beginning?) which is a great device to keep the reader interested. And because the order is reversed, the reader wants to read it backwards, to see how the story works in its correct order. And because it is composed of five self-contained stories, the reader wants to read each one at random, to see how they work for themselves. It's safe to say I have read this more than 15 times already. :D So, yes, I think you nailed it!

Does it work as a piece of micro fiction? I have been discussing this with myself ever since I read Two Words a few days ago. Reading each part separately, I could easily extract the main theme, the main characters and the feelings that inspired their actions (revenge, fear, hatred, despair). In that sense, each of the five stories did work as a piece of micro fiction.

Now, what I find puzzling is the fact that once I read the entire piece, it became difficult to view each of the stories as self-contained. Because although they all work perfectly well on their own, each one is somehow under the influence of all of the additional information you have given us in the four remaining stories. For instance, the second story was very gripping, especially the part when Draco asks: ''Son?''. However, once I knew that Draco has killed Rose, who was pregnant with Scorpius' child, which has made Scorpius kill his own father, I could no longer treat the second story as a stand-alone. I knew the motif behind the murder and so the second story became much more complex. In conclusion: each story works well as an example of micro fiction, but due to the way the human brain works, the whole story works well as a piece of micro fiction only on the first reading. This is actually an interesting issue, from a psychological point of view. At least I think it is. :D What are your thoughts on this?

As for the stories on their own, I think you were very successful with each one. You managed to tell so much in only a hundred words, I'm honestly amazed. The Pygmy Puff remark was incredibly effective, as was Rose's command to the house elf. There was a lot of 'showing, not telling' in this story and I congratulate you on this! You also asked if the plot was sufficiently gripping: yes, yes and yes! I have nothing to add, it just really was. :)

I haven't said anything about the writing! It was marvelous, honestly. The sentences were very polished but still purposeful, which is very important when using this style. My favourite quote: 'The sound of nothing reverberates through the night.' It's such a wonderful sentence. :)

All in all, this was an extremely interesting and enjoyable read and I wish you luck with the challenge! Thank you for your request! :)


P.S. Since I'm here, I have to say how much I like your Community signature and icon. Troy and Abed are the best! :)

Author's Response: I've taken forever to answer this because NaNo planning and then NaNo and real life and everything in between. But, I'm here to give this the response it deserves.

I'm so excited that you read it from bottom to top and each one on their own!!! That was 100% my intention for this story. I wanted it to be able to exist in many different forms almost. I just wanted to play around with structure here and Microfiction is a really good outlet for experimentation.

I find that so interesting. It's kind of like - the first time it can stand alone, but after that, you can't *un*read it or *un*know the facts behind it. That's something that I haven't thought about at all, but the fact that you're commenting about something totally new and unintended is really cool and makes me feel like I wrote something actually complex and like..worthwhile.

I have been working on my "showing" so it's awesome to hear that I've finally gotten the hang of that! I took forever trying to write short, to the point sentences that didn't read like a children's book haha.

Thank you so much for the review and I'm sorry I took so long to respond! Also, that's so awesome that you watch Community! It's my favorite show and I measure all people against Troy and Abed's example

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Review #14, by kenpo Cold

6th October 2014:

What? I've never read something like this on this site. I'm so interested in the MicroFiction challenge, this is sort of making me want to try my hand at it... but... probably not...

OKAY BUT THIS WAS BRILLIANT. I can't believe you made them all 100 words. And then the way the timeline works! I read this about ten times before coming to write this review, because I just wanted to read it forwards and back and sideways and upsidedown.

I think my favorite one was the second. I loved that you managed to have a twist at the end of a 100 word story!! How did you do that?! Also the fourth one. Because comparing her to a Pygmy Puff is just atrocious.

Also, were Pygmy Puffs always around, or did Fred and George breed and develop them? If they were developed by Fred and George, that also adds another level of complexity, because he's referencing something created not only by her family, but by blood traitors, and... complex.

I have to say that the third was probably my least favorite if I look at them as individual stories, but once I put them together it might actually be my favorite. I'm not really sure why, so... make of that what you'd like.

I don't think I've read anything else of yours... have I? When I get the chance, I'll have to go give your page a peek, if anything is halfway as good as this I know I'll enjoy myself!

What a fantastic story!


Author's Response: Hi Georgia!

I like to write things that are different and kind of stretch my imagination. The MicroFiction challenge is perfect for that! But, I warn, it's not as easy to shorten everything as you'd think.

I'm SO happy that you re-read it in different directions!! I wrote it with just that in mind actually! I wanted the story to work, even without the backwards timeline.
I'm really glad that the stories stood on their own enough that you can choose favorites between them! I was worried that I'd all feel too homogeneous.

Pygmy Puffs are miniature Puffskeins that Fred and George bred themselves and I ultimately settled upon them because it shows that he kind of saw her and the baby as less than human. Pets, almost. Like, the tradeoff was between one pet made by a blood traitor and another. Really twisted way of thinking, obviously, but in this story Draco spent extended time in Azkaban and that has not done wonders for his mental health. But, that's just my headcanon, I suppose.

The third is the least gripping in and of itself, but it does tie it all together, no matter which direction you read it. Which is why the title is derivative of that part and why you might like it so much. But, of course, just speculation.

I don't think you have! It'd be awesome if you looked at some of my other work! wow, that's so awesome of you! I can't say that everything is as high concept as this, but I do make an effort to be unique in my work for the most part.

Thank you so much for this! I really love surprise reviews :)

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Review #15, by Roisin Cold

6th October 2014:

I wanted to hold off on looking at entries until they were all in, but got really anxious and couldn't stop myself. ANYway, HOW DID YOU DO THIS!

I can't believe you managed exactly 500 words, in 100 word chunks. You are brilliant!

And the reverse chronology was such a brilliant touch! I rewatched Memento a couple of days ago (because I hadn't seen it since it first came out and I was a child)--HOW DID YOU KNOW TO WRITE SOMETHING THAT SUITED MY FRAME OF MIND SO WELL!

"the last pair of eyes that hed ever behold. His own."--! so good!

And just technical execution-wise, your every decision worked so amazingly. That it was so short, I was able to read it over and over, read it in backwards(/forwards) order, really drink it all up. And using so few words, you managed a really dense story, that gave the reader the space to unpack it.

But then it was also so exciting and gripping from the beginning.

I just can't believe you managed so many revelations in such a short space!



Author's Response: I'll preface this review a little bit here and just explain, like, how amazing this is for me. You are literally my favorite writer on the site. I have had extended conversations consisting of analyzing Year Five on several different levels and I'm convinced that there are no flaws in your writing. The quality is above most of the novels sitting on my bookshelf right now. If you were to one day publish a novel, I'm going to pay for all of the spare money I have for multiple copies. One for me and one to give to as many people as possible, to probably make their lives better. Anyway, the point is, your compliments mean like 100x more and totally validate my spending so much time writing.

I literally don't know how I did this. I just know that I saw your challenge and just knew that I was going to write a murder mystery. And then - for some reason time had to move backwards.

Memento just happens to be one of my favorite films and I realized that this was going to be kind of like it, so then I got the idea that instead of us thinking that the main character is looking for the killer and then finding out that he was the killer all along, maybe I should make it known that he's the killer and what we slowly find out be who he is killing and why. I had this weird feeling that you'd appreciate the effect and I guess I was totally right!

I was originally going to leave it at that and have the reader infer that I meant that his son had the same eyes as him, but idk I liked the verbal confirmation too.

I'm SO glad that you read it bottom to top after you finished!! That was my intention actually. The brevity of it all makes it easy and I spend a long time making sure that the story wouldn't fall flat if not for the reverse chronology effect.

I wanted to surprise the reader over and over here. That was definitely one of my main goals. I didn't want any moment to *not* feel tense. I did leave a lot to the imagination, like you have infer that Carky is the one who sent the letter, as I had no time to explain that. And speaking of that - the name Carky itself is actually a Background Noise reference that I think you can appreciate!

Thank you so much for this review. I'm going to be re-reading this one quite often.

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Review #16, by Unicorn_Charm Cold

5th October 2014:
Hi there!! Here for our swap! :)

Wow. Once again, you just completely amaze me with your stupendous skill. The opening line was just so striking and gripping. It set the tone for the entire story, even though it was 5 separate stories. It was just so dark and I almost felt the room grow cold while reading it.

Scorpius' thoughts of his father, before he killed him, were powerful. It was such a different take on him, to think of Draco as "pathetic" and "a coward." I can almost feel Draco's shock at seeing his own son seconds away from killing him.

There was something very Voldemort-ish about Draco's thoughts before killing Rose. The way he laughed at her not having her wand, it was very reminiscent of Voldy's thoughts about James before he killed him, which made it that much more chilling. And how callous he was saying he would buy his son a Pigmy-Puff. How incredibly cruel.

Rose was horribly brave here. She reminded me so much of her mother, protecting the house elf like that. I can definitely see her mother doing the same. I still can't believe Draco killed a pregnant woman, regardless of how he felt about her. Not only did be murder Rose, but he killed his future grandchild.

This was brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant. The reverse order format was ingenious. It really gave the whole thing a very foreboding vibe. It was really unsettling, but I loved it. Well done on this! You're truly a remarkable writer!

Thank you for sharing and doing the swap!! ♥

xoxo Meg

Author's Response: Hi Meg!

I'm really happy that the first line was striking! I wanted to kind of come out swinging here because obviously I don't have that much room to build things up. It was kind of a now or never situation.

It's a good thing Scorpius' thoughts before killing Draco were as hateful as they were supposed to be. I didn't want there to be any confusion about the level of animosity there.
You made the connection between Rose/Lily and Draco/Voldemort!! I really wanted the unprepared, without a wand thing to sink in and draw parallels. So perfect that you understand what I was doing there.

And same with the parallels to Hermione with the house elf! I couldn't explicitly state everything I wanted to here, so I put a whole lot in subtext. Draco was rather deranged here wasn't he? I've actually got a normal length one-shot planned explaining his motives behind this terrible murder that hopefully will explain his actions. They'll still be horrible though.

I'm so glad the reverse order had the desired effect!! Thank you so much for this review, it was lovely.

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Review #17, by Veritaserum27 Cold

1st October 2014:
Hi Joey - here for our review swap!

This was intense and amazing and darkly beautiful all at the same time. It reminded me distinctly of the movie "Momento" where the entire movie is played in reverse scene order because the main character has short term memory loss. I got the same feeling watching that as reading your amazing story. I was trying to figure it all out. At the same time, the brilliance of writing it backwards heightened the panic for the reader to just feel a desperate need to know what is going on! Ahh - you've done it!

Let's just comment on your genius of writing five exactly one hundred word long stories! I've written a five hundred word piece, but this is way beyond anything I've ever read on this site. I read the entire piece as written, then backwards, then forwards, then backwards again because I'm just blown away by how perfect it all fit together.

The only part I can comment on - and I'm not sure if you did this intentionally or not - is the second sentence. Did you mean vacate instead of vacant? Because I've heard the phrase vacate the premises but never the other way around.

It also took me another read-through to realize the significance of the title and how two words can completely shift your entire world and everything that ever meant anything to you. Yet again, your gift at subtlety and depth of meaning really hit home in this piece. I also love the fact that the "Two Words" are precisely in the middle of the piece - any way you read it :)

I think you've done a brilliant job with both challenges - and, don't forget, you can also post this in the Every Word Counts Challenge because the entire story is 500 words!

I'm so glad I did this review swap with you - thanks for sharing this awesome story!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hi Beth!

I'm so SO happy that you liked this so much. Momento is one of my favorite movies ever and I realized that this would be a lot like it. I almost didn't write this backwards because of that, but then I thought about it and I noticed I had used the same tactic, but in a different way. Rather than use the backward time device to mask the fact that the main character is the murderer, I made that quite clear from the very beginning and used it to make it unknown *why* the main character is the murderer. It's so awesome that it worked well in your opinion!

I'm really really glad that you read this forwards and backwards!! That was my intent from the beginning. I wanted it to hold up to being read in both directions and not lose anything.

I've taken so long to respond to this that I've already edited it out, but no, vacant was not purposely used. My eyes just skipped right over it in every edit this went through somehow. I was reading vacate every time because I totally expected it to be there haha.

You not only understand what I was saying with the title, but figured out that it being in the middle, no matter which way you look at it is super important. I'm actually so impressed because you've cracked open a lot of my metaphorical nonsense that I throw into things for unknown reasons.

Thank you so much for this review! This made me so happy!

- Joey

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Review #18, by mymischiefmanaged Cold

1st October 2014:
Oh my goodness Joey...yet again, finding it hard to put into words how wonderful this one-shot is. You're so good at writing flash fiction! I'm so so impressed, really.

Okay, first fic first. It's all round amazing. The opening line is really striking, and you manage to create some incredible visual descriptions in just a few words. It's horrifying and ambiguous and intriguing all at once and I love it.

And now the second story. Oo, this one was horrible. Really horrible. The idea of Scorpius (I assume this is Scorpius) truly seeing his father as 'pathetic' is quite distressing and has a huge impact. It makes me think back to Lucius. I'm pretty sure 'pathetic' would be the quality he'd want to see least in his son. And then 'pitiful'. Again, you give such striking images without any excess words and it's incredibly affectionate.

Number three. Hmm, not sure what to make of this one. I don't think it's as interesting as the others as a standalone story, but then it's still very readable and extremely well written. Love love love the phrase 'amplified by my anticipation'.

Four. This one's maybe even more horrible than the first two. The pygmy puff line is just horrendous, and so clever. I wonder if it might be slightly more effective to talk about 'the man' rather than 'a man'? Just to make it sound more direct, and to be consistent with 'the frightened pregnant woman'. The mention of 'considering the notion of remorse' highlights how horrible this section of the story is, and you've once again dealt with really difficult topics incredibly well.

And then number five. Ah. I don't know what to say. I just. :(

Rose's looking out for the house elf is a lovely reference to her mother, the normality of the Daily Prophet article is upsetting, the fact she's got wards up for protection adds to the ominous atmosphere perfectly, and then your crazily horrible reveal of Draco is just.wow. Again. It's amazing but I kind of hate it because it's horrible but also I love it because it's so well written.

I'm really glad to have read this. You just get better and better every time you write :)

Much love,

Emma xx

Author's Response: I am so happy that you reviewed all of the parts as separate stories!! I was worried that they would all just kind of seem homogeneous and ultimately not effective. I am blown away by this review.

Really glad the first part worked so well! As for the second, it is Scorpius in this story! I decided that it would be dramatic not to actually name him throughout this. The third story was almost supposed to be, like, the eye of the storm. I wanted a really tense chapter in which nothing too shocking happens in the middle to tie the story together. It exists to establish my 'Two Words' motif and enable a similar emotional up and down read backwards or forwards. Oh, and to explain how he finds out what happened to Rose.

I stuck my pygmy puff line in there because I wanted to highlight how lowly he thinks of her and also because of the irony of her uncles having bred them. You catch all of my favorite lines!

Her looking out for her house elf was certainly a nod to Hermione. You've gotten basically everything I was trying to express here. Thank for this review! You're awesome!

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Review #19, by pointless_proclamations Cold

1st October 2014:

What in the world is this?!

I love, love, love the effect of this backwards story-telling. It's quite innovative! I could read it back and forth and back again without disrupting the flow.

Is there really no end to your genius stories? This is positively mind-bending. I am awed.

What a wonderful surprise story for Deana!

I can tell you thought over every single word with extreme care. It's evident that you were very careful in your revealing of each character. Length regardless, Draco, Scoripus, and Rose are quite complexly characterised. The way you've written each of their actions speaks volumes. You have packed an incredible amount of intensity with each word. It was absolutely thrilling. This is a very precisely written piece. It felt unrestricted despite the preciseness of its length. Nothing seemed out of place.

I am tentatively describing this story of yours as a dynamic equilibrium: in which the rate of the story going forward is equal to the rate of the story going backward. Despite it having chronology, it could most definitely be read both directions at the same time.

As always, I have questions (none of which have to do with conservation of mass): who was that owl from? Carky? Where did that piece of parchment Scorpius wrote on go? Was that his admission to the murder of his father? What happens to him afterwards? Does his boss find out? Does he go to Azkaban? How do you keep achieving the seemingly impossible?

Author's Response: Emilie,

It's taken me so long to work through these reviews. I broke my rule many times over and have been slacking.

I left yours for last because I really wanted to just let this stuff bounce around my head before I gave you an answer.

I'm so happy that you liked the backwards effect. I meant for this to be read in both directions and it seems as though most people have done just that!

I certainly hope there is no end to them!

The Gift-it challenge has been wonderful for surprising some people who deserve it! Although, none of them are getting an entire novel like SOMEBODY :)

I can't even address how perfect these compliments are. I really did watch over each word with such close care. The things you are saying are confirming that my efforts were not for nothing. I wanted the centermost part to give the story that bit of parallelism and it's very aptly described as a dynamic equilibrium. Both ways slow down at precisely the same spot to purposely add to that. I want it to be very clear that this story can be read in either direction because that's half of the charm.

That owl was from Carky! And he sent his letter to his boss. He didn't sign his name. Thus, it was revealed that Rose was killed and then his boss receives that letter. Soon after Draco turns up dead. It's assumed that the writer of that letter did the crime. And now it looks like someone is attacking Scorpius' family. And who'd suspect him of that? Scorpius goes free. The search for Rose and his father's killer goes on for a long time, but obviously Scorpius find them. As, one is dead and the other is him. I'm not sure why I have all of this in my head, but that's my version of events.

Thank you for this amazing review!

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Review #20, by maryhead Cold

1st October 2014:
How come that no matter the word count, you always manage to send chills down my spine? I am awfully late with every single review I should write, and technically right now I should follow an incredibly strict schedule to catch up with all the delayed work... But the other stories will have to wait, I'm afraid. I just HAD to review this!

I am also afraid this won't be a very long comment, because even if I try, I can't find the right adjective to describe this one-shot. Original, inventive, artistic, visual, witty, psychedelic, dark, cruel, cold, crude...I am left speechless by how 500 words can combine and create something so incredibly beautiful, something I have never read before, and that my mind would have never thought of even in a thousand years.

I am speechless. But really, I shouldn't be. Everything you write is gold.

I just hope I can give this work justice by being the first reviewer. ;)


Author's Response: AH this review is perfect!! How does one respond? Thank you thank you thank you. I'm so happy that you liked this and thought it was original, inventive, artistic and all of those other adjectives. I am so happy I was able to pull this off. I thought it might be too high concept and overambitious and that no one would like it you made me so happy with this review I can't even deal with this. THANK YOU!

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