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Reading Reviews for The Crofter and the Snake
  
3 Reviews Found

Review #1, by alicia and anne The Beginning of the Year

27th May 2015:
Hello! I am here finally! Sorry it took me a few hours, but I'm here :D

I really enjoyed the opening to this, how you showed Tracey's reaction to what had happened, how there were fear and tension in everyones faces. It really shows that there's a war going on. I also liked how she noted that there were muggleborns missing. She doesn't seem to be like the other Slytherins that we know, and I really like that, she doesn't seem mean like Pansy or Draco.

Wow, I had never thought of homeschooling students possibly being forced to come into school. They must be terrified and I absolutely love that you included them in this. It's fantastic.

I am intrigued by this Howard Sutton, I hope that you show more of him later on... and we do! Yay!!! :D

I really like how different she is, it's so refreshing to see a Slytherin that Neville and other engage in in the class. Speaking of Neville, I really like how you've drawn on his bravery in this chapter instantly. He really grew up after everything that's happened. But he has to because there's less people around now.

She's so attatched to him already, and he seems like such a likeable character already. I really think that he's my favourite character already, he's so unique and so different from them all. I hope that him and Tracey can talk more without her worrying about the other Slytherins, but we shall see how this wonderful story develops :D

I like that he understands as well what it's like for her and her house. How she needs to keep up appearances.

This was a really fantastic one shot, a lot of information, which is good! I loved knowing what had been happening, and how Howe had gotten to the school. I loved hearing about his background and I love how he's there for Tracey. He's going to be good for her.

Fanstastically written first chapter! I am going to have to keep an eye on this story and read more when I get more free time. :D

I'm so glad that I was able to read this! :D

Author's Response: Thank you so much for looking at this story and telling me which parts of it you did like. It had a problem with a big readership drop-off between chapters one and two, and Katie (at my request) pointed out the ways it needed to be improved, but I am also thankful for the mention of what its strengths were, as I face my summer goal of redoing it. There is plenty more that I can say about these characters to make them come more alive, as Katie suggested.

I know that the "transfer student" (especially American, which Howard thankfully is not) is considered an ancient cliche, but Remus Lupin did mention, in chapter eleven of DH, that the Daily Prophet reported that students formerly taught from home were being required to come to Hogwarts, so I dared to write about them. You can see another glimpse of Howard and the Herbology N.E.W.T. class in my story "Greenhouse Seven" (from Neville's POV), and one of these days I'll write this year from Howard's POV, with material that only he would know.

Because the seven books are written from Harry's POV, the image of Slytherin is what Harry sees: Draco, Crabbe, Goyle, Pansy, Marcus Flint, and so on. The Slytherins who were not such jerks don't figure in the canon story, but there must have been some of them.

You mention, speaking of Tracey Davis, "she's so attached to him already," and I think that during this terrible year, students would become more attached to one another, and Tracey would have thought, "Any port in a storm," even though Howard was from another House.

I hope you enjoyed chapter two (or will enjoy it when you get time to read it); it was something that people rarely write, I think.

Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing!

Vicki


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Review #2, by SunshineDaisies The Beginning of the Year

29th March 2015:
Hi Vicki!

So first off I want to say that I thought this was really interesting. I've never read the Battle of Hogwarts from another perspective, and reading about seventh year from the point of view of a Slytherin was really intriguing. I really enjoyed it!

Here's what I think can help you retain readers.

The first thing I noticed was the length of your chapters! They're definitely on the longer side, which I personally enjoy, but puts others off. Reading on a computer screen tends to hurt your eyes after a while, and shorter chapters makes it a little easier on them. I'd recommend trying to make this two chapters. The break between "You've got me," and "In the weeks that followed," seems like a good place to cut it. I haven't checked the word count though, so if it's heavily skewed I'd try a different place.

The next thing I noticed was that you're a bit off of canon. Draco didn't go to Hogwarts his last year, he had reached full Death Eater status and was at Malfoy Manor with his parents. Defense Against the Dark Arts was also made compulsory for students this year, and this is where Neville says they were made to practice unforgiveables on the younger students. As this was class work, it seems more likely to me that Howe's detention would consist of him being practiced on, rather than practicing the curses himself. DADA is also required for Healers to take. I would double check the wiki to fact check, so to speak.

As for your specific questions, yes, unfortunately very minor characters and ocs are inevitably less attractive to readers. I didn't know who Tracey Davis was, I had to look her up. Unfortunately, that means you'll get less traffic in general.

As far as characterization goes, I'd like a bit more in general. I didn't really get a clear idea of who Tracey and Howe were as people. Usually in shorter stories that's okay, but in this case, it makes their relationship harder to believe and root for. If the reader really knows the character, they'll want them to get together more, and them falling in love will seem more real. Right now they both feel a little generic, so it's hard to get invested. I like to sort of analyze every action my characters take, to see if I can somehow use it to characterize them. It happens more often than you might think! Even something as simple as brushing their teeth can tell you a lot about them. Do they just sort of do the bare minimum? Or do they spend 15 minutes working on it because they need everything to be immaculate?

We also didn't see much in the way of flaws, which makes them seem even more realistic. We see Tracey being rather self-preserving, but nothing of Howe's. Flaws help create a more well rounded, and therefore more believable character. Compelling characters make for compelling stories!

As for Tracey specifically, I'd like to see a bit more about why she was placed in Slytherin. We see her being worried about self-preservation, but not much else that would lead the sorting hat to place her there. Having her have similar traits to her housemates, but vastly different values makes the piece more interesting.

While I'm talking about characters, I did read ahead to the next chapter, and I think you should look at Blaise and Nott. Nott's father was a known Death Eater, so it feels more likely to me that he'd sneak back and join Voldemort. Blaise seemed pretty close to Draco and that group, so he might also share those values.

I also think mentioning Mandy in this chapter, even in passing would be something to consider.

I think you're biggest problem is probably in the plot. This chapter seems to lag a bit, because there isn't much going on besides the relationship developing. That's important, of course, but I think you can add a bit to make the story more exciting. Maybe try a scene if DADA where they're meant to be learning dark magic. Show Neville being punished for rebelling. Show the Gryffindor students disappearing one by one into the Room of Requirement. (This is sort of the real reason I recommended you cut the chapter into two parts.)

I think I'd also like to see a bit more emotion from Tracey regarding Howe. More explanation of her feelings as they develop, and some mentions of butterflies in her stomach, or a racing heart, or any of that sort of cheesy stuff that makes you giggle a little.

Leaving this chapter on a more dramatic note or a cliff hanger will probably also make people want to stick around. :)

I hope that was helpful! This is a really interesting story and I enjoyed reading it!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! This is exactly what I wanted! You have given me so much to work on. Of course this means that the whole story will have to be rewritten, but I will get around to it (if not instantly) because I value these characters and their story, inadequate as they are right now.

I wrote this story for a romance challenge at another site, where all the entries were one-shots, but I had to split it into two chapters because it went over the 10,000-word limit for a single chapter. I guess the lesson learned is that it is hard to be successful writing a one-shot about unknown characters because there's just not enough space to get to know them well, so this tale needs to be a longer story with more development.

I have printed off your very kind analysis and will keep it by my elbow as reference while I write my new, improved version of The Crofter And The Snake, incorporating all these wonderful suggestions.

Thanks again.

Vicki

P.S. Also thanks for answering my review request so quickly. That was faster than I had hoped for.


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Review #3, by toomanycurls The Beginning of the Year

25th March 2015:
Hi Vicki,

I've always been interested in reading a story about school during DH. I like the POV you're doing. Tracey's perspective in this is very interesting as a Slytherin who is also not all into the pureblood mania. It makes sense that not all Slytherins are crazy purebloods. Her observations hit me so hard throughout the chapter about having so many students gone from each house. I'm also sad for the first years who had to learn about Hogwarts through this reimagined nightmare.

Tracey is able to empathize quite well with the new students, especially Howard. I imagine Hogwarts would have seemed odd for a 7th year student but it's too bad he didn't know the previous weird Hogwarts.

I appreciate Tracey's pull between being kind to Howard and not getting on the wrong side of the Slytherins. I think Tracey is a bit too hard on herself when it comes to smalltalk with a new person, especially when a slightly more realistic conversaton would be so dangerous. I'm a bit interested in their project for Herbology. I enjoy the way you describe classes, it's paced well and doesn't drag on either.

Oh poor Howe, trying to figure out interhouse weirdness. I'm glad Tracey could explain it in a way that wasn't horribly awkward. Ernie will make an annoying but likely helpful partner. Howe is a very likeable guy. I can't help but imagine that his friendship with muggles will make this year extremely difficult.

The muggle studies class sounds as horrible as I've imagined it would be. If it's disturbing for Tracey to sit through the indoctrination, I can't imagine how it is for someone like Howard.

I feel like I"m getting redundant but I love the conversation between Tracey and Howe - while Tracey is certainly not like the other purebloods but she does have a touch of judgemental thinking with Howard's desire to be a crofter. I'm happy they'll keep meeting before class.

I get Howe's desire to stay out of the Dumbledore's Army but it doesn't seem like he's completely uninolved with his request to Tracey for information about upcoming stuff she hears about.

oh no - I didn't think the essay would go well but I'm so nervous about the Carrows coming down on either of them. Pansy and Millicent are horrible (which isn't a surprise). It certainly seems like Tracey has more feelings for Howe than she is admitting. I'm so very impressed with the way Howe got out of hurting the students and getting them out of detention.

I'm really enjoying this story so far! Thank you for swapping with me.

-Rose

Author's Response: Hi, Rose,

Thanks for reviewing so promptly, and I'm glad you chose this story because it is one of my more unloved stories (I say that because it has the highest fall-off in reads between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of any of my stories, although I don't know why). But I like it.

It arose from a Missing Moments (Hogwarts in 1997-1998) class that I took on another website, during which I focused on writing about the "transfer students" in the exercises for that class, and the final exam for that class was my story "Greenhouse Seven", which contains more description of the four students' project for Herbology, if you are curious about it.

This present story, inspired by "Greenhouse Seven", was written for a love story challenge, but I rarely write love stories, and if I do, I like to present a lot of action that would show each character's moral qualities, to establish why each person is worthy of being loved (other than being drop-dead handsome or beautiful). All your observations about this plot are right on track. I also enjoy reading stories about school during DH, some of which make the place sound more terrible than I wrote it, but, Dumbledore's Army aside, there must have been a fair number of students who just tried to keep their heads down and avoid drawing attention to themselves, getting through the year in a self-preservation mode.

I hope you will enjoy the second chapter also. It is something that I have never seen written before. Let me know. I really appreciate this review. Thanks very much.

Vicki


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