I write a lot of fanfiction. Here's some of it.
Hungry Shadows, Nesting, and All Fall Down all take place within the same universe. Hungry Shadows comes before Nesting, and both should be read before starting All Fall Down.
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Total Word Count of Published Stories as of 7/21/2015: 54697
Carole, I’ve realised that you’ve written over a hundred stories, and I haven’t SPEW reviewed any of them. I think this needs to be rectified, so here goes. I haven’t read anything on Tiresias--or any of the Trelawneys excluding Sybil, really. I was intrigued by the summary, and despite the fact that it’s not quite Halloween anymore, I decided to read.
Mundungus, I think, is a very good character to put in a story all about scams. I’ve never really thought that he and the Trelawneys (because Tiresias does take after Sybil) would tie together, but now that I do, it works incredibly well. And I did like how Tiresias and Sybil are alike in that they both don’t really have the skills that they claim to, but they end up with those skills without meaning to. And I also enjoyed how Tiresias is actually jealous of Sybil, for landing a decent job while he’s still doing sideshow tricks for Muggles. I felt like Tiresias was just being dragged on a bit by Mundungus, since the latter isn’t as good in front of a crowd, and it felt very realistic to wish that he had the life his sister did.
I liked the way that Tiresias led on the woman to believe that he knew things and could communicate with the dead. Of course it would be much easier for wizards to discover information, but the way it was presented in the story--from the biscuit tin to the nicknames--seemed very impressive even to me. If I did have a quibble, it would be to know a bit more as to how they came across this information, but as I’ve said, I think it worked very well the way it is and it’s only my inability to not know something that’s bothering me.
Oh, and the ending was wonderful. I’d been reading through this thinking it would be almost a spoof of a spooky story, and then I got to the last few paragraphs. It took me a few read throughs to really catch what was happening, but once I did, I was both shocked and sad that there wasn’t anything else there.
This is a horrible review, and I apologise profusely, but I really did enjoy the story quite a bit. Good job. :)
Author's Response: OOH, thank you Lily.
Right, I shall deal with the query. They didn't actually find out about the biscuit tin. All Mundungus had done was trawled through death notices and found out who'd died recently. He had a list of Edwards, so there was a high chance one of those people would be at the event. From then on Tiresias was fishing. Psychics are very clever people (I don't believe in them so am very cynical), and he used a few pieces of information that are generic - everyone has a biscuit tin, for instance - and then when she agreed, he elaborated. Also, certain people of a certain age (at that time) were quite likely to keep something in a biscuit tin - money etc. Tiresias has no idea if he's right, but by then he and Mundungus will have moved to the next town. Tiresias is very manipulative. He sees the woman wears a ring and has recently lost weight - therefore, she's probably a widow.
The lines about being remembered like a book are taken from an actual psychic who someone I know visited. Whilst the woman gave her a great deal of comfort, I still think psychics are fakes. - ha!
Tiresias, btw, I made up, and have no idea if Sybil had a brother. The name comes from a Greek Seer, like Sybil and also Cassandra. I figured that Sybil was a fake and so was her brother, but they are incredibly good at reading people.
Thank you very much for the review and I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
Oh, this was sweet, Jess. I was intrigued to read it simply because I’ve never used the words sweet and Jess in the same sentence, but I’m glad I did because I think you pulled it off very well.
I liked the Marauders in this, especially at the beginning. The idea that they would still be joking around with each other even in the midst of the battle seemed very like them. And the banter was lovely. I did like how Peter was the one to put out the fire on the Death Eater--I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but it certainly stuck out to me.
I did notice a couple grammar mistakes--for example:
“How can we possibly have a child in a world like this.”
I think that should have been a question mark. However, none of the mistakes I noticed (that being the most major, but I won’t nitpick any more) detracted from the story in my opinion. To be honest, I think I only noticed them because I’m beta-ing :)
I know I’ve already mentioned that I liked the Marauders but I thought I’d give James a special mention. The dynamics between he and Lily are so, so perfect. I was always a little apprehensive of the fact that James had a child when he was only twenty-one just because I always saw him as the type that wouldn’t want that kind of responsibility--then I wonder why I thought he was in the Order! Anyway, I did think James’ thoughts here about children were just spot-on--first worried that Lily’s actually pregnant, but then near the end as well when he’s joking about Harry.
I think I’m probably overthinking this, but I did like the last few lines--it did seem like a bit of foreshadowing to what would happen in the future, if that makes any sense. Since Harry did defeat Voldemort and he was the bit of new life that James and Lily produced…yes, I do think I’m overthinking this. But I did like it as a last line, even if it seemed a bit too fluffy for you.
I was a bit worried about the length because you usually seem to write longer stories, but I did think that you managed to wrap everything up very nicely. I thought the last section could have been slightly longer--you went straight from James and Lily not wanting to have children straight to them having Harry, and I felt like that could have been elaborated on a little bit more. Other than that, though, I liked that you kept it short and focused.
I don’t know what else I could say, really, but I did enjoy this fic a lot--more than I was expecting to, to be completely honest, since I’m not one to dive into the realms of fluff either. It did leave that warm-and-fuzzy feeling that I look for when I do decide to read lighter fics, which is always lovely. Good job, Jess.
Menkes Disease. An odd choice, really. I didn't have to look it up but I think most readers would have to. Either way I think you should describe what it is within the story--it is a bit confusing. It's very briefly described--you only mention once in the entire story what Lily has. It's also very uncommon for children with the disease to live past age 3, and I definitely got the impression that Lily was older than 3 (you do never state her age, which I found odd, but she must be older than 10 if both James and Albus are at Hogwarts)
Also (this is via the Wikipedia article) it's genetically impossible for her to have it. There must be two recessive alleles given to her since it's a sex-linked disease. If both Harry and Ginny gave her a gene for it, it's possible for her to have it, but it's impossible for Harry to have a trait for it. If Harry had even one gene representing Mendes disease, he'd be dominant for the trait (since men have only 1 X chromosome and the disease is carried on the X chromosome) and therefore would also have the disease. I don't think I'm explaining this very well--just know that it's genetically impossible for Lily to have the disorder, and check out Wikipedia for more :D
Guess what I'm learning in biology class? ;)
There are a few other problems but I think the other reviewer got them all. They're mostly canon issues.
I think this story has potential--I just don't think there's enough detail in it yet, and I certainly don't think you researched Menkes disease well enough. It's a weird choice. I'd be much more likely to make up a wizarding disease of some sort--as we've seen in the books, people don't really get Muggle diseases or disorders. That's not to say it can't happen, though. I do at least think it would have a different name.
I think a reread, perhaps a little more research, and a tidying of the canon issues would make this story much better. If you go onto the beta boards and acquire a PI accredited beta (the best of the best, really) they could help you much more than I could :)
I did like Harry in this story. It's very much like him to be kind of distant, not understanding, but still trying to help Lily as best he can. Ginny is the same way--she's shown as a very caring parent in NYL, and it's the same way here. I don't know that they would tell Lily it was her last day, but as a sick child (and I have plenty of experience, hehe) she did seem right.
I don't mean to be cruel or anything--I really thought your writing style was quite nice, I just think the research has a bit to be improved on. I'm a bit of a nut on genetic disorders (my younger sister has several) so I was excited to click on this, but unfortunately it did not really work for me. The writing was lovely--very sad, which I think is what you intended it to be--and the characterisation, especially of Harry and Ginny, was nearly spot-on. I did think it was weird that every single member of the family knew that Lily was going to die that day, but I suppose it's not unheard of.
I'd love to see you write more but I do think that you (a) need to do your research and (b) need to get on the beta boards and get a PI beta. You can find them under the Beta Guild. I'm not one myself, but I have several online friends who are, and what they do to stories is absolutely incredible.
I think this is getting a bit too long, and I think I've said a bit too much about how I'm a genetic disease nerd and know way too much about them. I hope you know that I'm genuinely not trying to tear down your story--I'm just trying to make it as good as possible. That's what reviews are for! :)
Best of luck with writing in the future--I'll be sure to click on it. It's the least you deserve after reading through this monster of a review, hehe.
Hm. I quite honestly don't normally click on these sorts of things-AU is not my cup of tea, especially not totally wild alternate universe AU's-but I am glad I clicked on this. It seems quite nice so far, really. I did notice some typos and some grammar mistakes (i.e. Colin Creevy should be spelled Colin Creevey, and you have a couple run-on sentences) but I think those could be easily fixed by finding a beta over on the beta boards.
Interesting concept, and I thought everyone was characterised quite well--retaining their original character traits while also becoming their own characters. I'll be sure to read on.
Author's Response: sorry about the typos. And thank you for giving it a chance! My biggest fear is messing up the characterization, so thankfully I didn't! stay tuned!
Okay, I’ve never read anything of yours before now, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I clicked on this. I was, I can now say, pleasantly surprised. I haven’t read much of anything on Mrs. Figg, and even less combining Mrs. Figg and Mundungus together.
Mrs. Figg, in that respect, was incredible. We only see her in the books as a bit of an oddity, if you will, and it was nice to see her having conversations with actual people--and her cats ;) Mundungus was also great. I was a bit nervous to see his first line of dialogue because it seemed like he was going to have way too heavy of an accent during the entire fic, but I wiped my brow when I realised that he was just really drunk! It seemed very in character for Mundungus to just crash with Mrs. Figg for a couple days and think nothing of it, and it also seemed right for Mrs. Figg to outwardly complain but really appreciate it.
Honestly, I’ve never really felt for Mrs. Figg along the fact that she can’t do magic. Really, when I think about it, it’s quite sad, but she always seemed very accepting of that fact which made it seem slightly less important. But, especially in that last line, I did feel for Mrs. Figg, and I think it’s quite an achievement to make me feel sorry for a character who’s always been in my peripheral vision.
I liked the way that you moved the story along. I’ve read a few too many fics that act like narrative is not important and dialogue is the only way to keep a story moving, but I think you were incredibly descriptive--especially within such a short fic--while at the same time keeping me intrigued.
I noticed a couple spelling and grammar issues--‘alright’ being my first pet peeve--but I do think it could be classified as slang in this instance, so I’ll let it slide. I did notice the canon error but as you did say not to mention it, I won’t--although I will say that you must have been saving this one for a long time!
I liked the ending as well. I say that because I absolutely loved the way that Mundungus left Mrs. Figg a present but promised that it was honestly bought. I think that Arabella’s main qualm with Mundungus was that he was a sneak thief--especially here, in this instance, where she’s struggling for every penny. So it was nice to see Mundungus proving otherwise, even just for one gift.
Overall, this was a lovely holiday fic. I need to check out more of your writing.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for this thoughtful review! I am glad the surprise was pleasant. I have not posted in a number of years, so unless people go looking for certain kinds of fics mine don't just pop up. I kept holding off on this one to post it near the holiday, and then forgetting and it would be January... I actually wrote it before DH came out, so yes, I hung on to it a very very long time! The narrative/dialog balance is a very difficult one sometimes - I do a lot of re-writing, once I have figured out what exactly is happening in a story, although I wrote this so long ago I can't recall exactly how this one went for me. Many of the peripheral characters fascinate me - and some who are not really peripheral, but who we only know in particular contexts as well. Dung, for example - for all that he's a thief, he's not particularly good at making money at it, as far as we can see. And Mrs. Figg - was there ever a Mr. Figg, or was she "Mrs." because that's what you call a respectable older woman, or because the Dursleys wouldn't have left Harry with her if she'd been single, rather than a Widow? How did Hagrid survive his stint in Azkaban? How did Arthur Weasley, father figure extraordinaire, marry Molly, the Mother-goddess of the Potterverse? Snape didn't want to have to kill Dumbledore - aside from arguing with the Headmaster, what did he do, or try to do, about it? These are things dealt with in some of my better fics, I think. The balance between narrative, dialog, etc can be very difficult and some of my things have faced extensive re-writing. Even when I feel I've done pretty well, a fresh eye often shows me where it could be better. Thank you very very much for the extensive and thoughtful review - I do hope I will be fortunate enough to have your read and comment on other of my stories.
Quite honestly, I am overwhelmed by science/technological things like this. They have never struck me as interesting and probably never will.
Yet I enjoyed this, very much. Perhaps it's the idea of science being incorporated into the wizarding world, perhaps it's your writing, which draws me in. I did think the parentheses were a bit much--perhaps hiring a beta would help--but overall, your writing style is wonderful.
I did think that the huge chunks of dialogue were a bit odd. Perhaps if you cut them up into pieces: the characters aren't robots. They have to take breaths sometimes ;) I often feel like stories like these try to be too informative, to cram all the information into one section. This did not feel like that. You provided enough information for me to understand but did not overdo it.
I'll make sure to read on.
PS: You have submitted into the wrong category! If you click on 'Edit Story' in your settings, a list of categories should come up. You want to click on the General SUBCATEGORY: you've submitted it into the main category, which isn't allowed! D:
Author's Response: As you can probably see, someone else said he had no idea what was going on! It's a fine line between comprehensibility and info dumping. I'm not sure what you're referring to, but some of that is just the way NASA people talk; if you've ever looked at transcripts of what was said on Apollo 11 et cetera there is a lot of highly dense, technical, semi-robotic speech, interspersed with occasional jokes e.g. the service module thing, which refers to the cause of the Apollo 13 failure. I deliberately didn't explain that in order to a) avoid info dumping and b) make the readers feel the same way as Cho and Hermione, who don't get the reference. Re: Postscript: I'll try to do that.
I know you don't use MNFF much anymore, but I wanted to let you know my thoughts on this, because I noticed that somebody featured it and I really like it.
You know the issues that I struggle with. And I have to say that this is handled beautifully. It gave me chills, honestly, because I relate so so so much to it. Bulimia is a disorder of shame, I think, much more than anorexia. It's like you want to have an eating disorder but you can't even manage to do that right. And I really felt that come across in this.
I do have a crit, though, and it's something that I struggle with in my own stories and in my real life. I think that in my Hungry Shadows series, I tend to have somebody else save the girl with the eating disorder. And that's not really how it works, is it? You have to save yourself. It's easy to say that you recover because he loves you or because she wants you to, but at the end of the day, it's because of you.
I feel as if here, it's because of Louis. And I'm not saying that he can't help AT ALL. But...as someone who has struggled with the reality of an eating disorder, when someone says "Don't do this to yourself," my immediate thought is "WOW YOU THINK I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF THAT????" Louis isn't the end-all-be-all to Lily's recovery. (ha ha) It's all up to Lily, in the end, and I desperately hope that she manages it.
I do this in my own fics, as well - I basically romanticized the whole Scorpius-saved-her thing. And that's not what happens, really. You do it yourself. It is the hardest thing you ever do, and you come out so much stronger. Lily deserves that strength!!
That said, I LOVE Louis here. He is the epitome of I-don't-understand-but-I-really-want-to and I love it. I don't know if this is intentional or no, but when he says things like "not everyone likes skinny girls," I'm like, YEAH, I KNOW, BUT I DO. He's genuine and sweet and I loveeeee him. You can feel how much he cares about Lily - it's tangible.
Lily, too, is very believable. As another Lily who struggles with eating issues - ha ha I've already made this joke - I loved the way she thought. I loved the description of the binge-purge. It was so real. I think it's hard because I always want to round the edges of it, almost - keep it from seeming as bad as it is. But I think it's necessary to show how much it fucking SUCKS. And I think this fic pulled it off very nicely.
The end made me smile. I don't agree with it - I don't agree with the idea that people should recover so that boys like them. But the last sentence really gave me the warm fuzzies. I know how it feels to talk to someone with an ED and want it to be right so badly, because at the end of the day, you have no idea what to say.
This is a long review that's mostly just me going on and on about my personal issues, but I'm sad that you don't write HP fic anymore, because this is lovely and I want to read more.
This is beautifully written and very very sad (until the end!) Fred's death has always been horribly sad for me because it was one of the few that I never really saw coming (although i should have - ONE of the Weasleys had to die! I was just hoping it wouldn't be one of the twins.) and because it must have been so awful on the family. And i think that's what you've captured very well here - the effect on what happened to the rest of the family. I'm impressed by this mostly because it's second person and very Ron-centric, yet I DID feel like I knew what happened to the rest of the Weasleys as well.
Back to that it's beautifully written - which it WAS - I am a sucker for poetic prose (mostly because it's all I'm capable of writing) and this was lovely. Lines like "You want to escape from the grip of your own thoughts, but even the wood of the stairs is fighting. Everything is fighting, trying to worm inside and burrow deep into every step you take. " EEE. I want to steal them for myself!!!
I was thinking that the ending was going to be awfully awfully sad - which i wouldn't have minded tbh (but then I live for d/a!!!!) But when I did read the ending I enjoyed it a lot. You managed to, in very few words, capture the way that the family DID move on from Fred's death, more specifically Ron. That's very hard to do without making the story almost TOO happy - which you definitely didn't do. The ending is not a...thing. I think I enjoyed it more than I would have a downer ending (which you will not get from me often, so be proud of this!!!)
I think Hermione was especially wonderful. It's so VERY her to refuse Ron's company on a trip to Australia and then come back with just a "Hi" and expect him to welcome her with open arms - and it's so very Ron for him to do so!
Very well done. I need to read more of your stuff.
Author's Response: Well, it would have been too easy if she hadn't killed Fred right? :P
You can have lines like those if that means I could have some nice dialogue or anything clear and concise. I keep running back to adjectives for comfort! I'm glad you enjoyed the ending, even though I still think I do have to eventually write something that is a 100% downer just to branch out a bit. Maybe it just wasn't this one? I'm even happier that you liked my characterizations, since that's the one thing I try my damnedest to get right. It doesn't always turn out that way, so I'm glad it did this time.
Never before have I read something with such variety in language, such gently told prose. This is truly a masterpiece.
Author's Response: -bows- I'm thrilled everyone appreciates my mad writing skills :)
Hi hello i'm sorry I didn't see this untill now!! This is so sweet and fluffy but also kind of heartbreaking at the end because you know that they'll not meet again. sigh.
I really enjoyed this and am sad I missed it until now. Thank you so much for writing it!!