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Please join us in welcoming @Irene to the staff team as a moderator for the Politics forum. Please consider her the first contact for any issues that arise in that section for the foreseeable future. Show her verdicts the same deference you show the current members of staff.

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Complete A Curse of Truth by butalearner - M

Discussion in 'Trash Bin' started by Chadrew, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Chadrew

    Chadrew Second Year

    Jan 10, 2008
    Title: A Curse of Truth
    Author: butalearner
    Rating: M
    Genre: Humor / Drama
    Status: Complete
    Suggested Category: Humor (?)
    Pairings: implied H/HR but nothing explicit
    Summary: An avid fanfiction reader falls into the Harry Potter Universe just before the Triwizard Tournament, and has to come to terms with what he's lost, take advantage of what he's gained, and figure out how to deal with the truths he's hiding.
    Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8586147/1/A-Curse-of-Truth

    This is the first self-insert fic I've ever read, and it turned out to be quite entertaining. The first few chapters are a bit awkward, but it does get better later on. There's lots of humor, banter, flirting, basically light-hearted stuff, and not too much action except towards the end. The protagonist is somewhat Gary Stuish I suppose, but not unbearably so. As the summary implies, he actually retains all knowledge of HP universe (or what he remembers from the books and movies, anyway) and it's pretty interesting to see him compare his knowledge to the world he ends up in.

    The ending is actually my favorite part - it's pretty epic. I could have done without the epilogue though. It seems a bit like a forced happy ending, but maybe that's just me.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  2. NoxedSalvation

    NoxedSalvation Temporarily Banhammered

    Jun 24, 2010
    I started to read this some time ago after Gilding the Son of Lily awoke my interest in competently written HP self inserts.

    To my regret I soon discovered that "A Curse of Truth" doesn't qualify. It's full of cliches, relentless Ron!Bashing (not that I like that bastard much) and the Marty Stue is just too self confident/powerful.

    It gets boring real fast and is not what I want to spend my time on.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  3. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Jun 27, 2006
    High Score:
  4. SJCougfan

    SJCougfan Squib

    Jan 28, 2013
    My main gripes with this fic is how OOC the characters are. I know it's meant to be humorous so some outrageous takes on the characters are to be expected, but the choices that were made weren't even very funny. The cliches and unimaginative jokes pretty much kicked me out of the story.

  5. KingRoger

    KingRoger Second Year

    Jun 16, 2012
    I hadn't read a self-insertion before, so i decided to give this a try. Sadly, I only got to chapter 5 before gave up. The inserted character isn't interesting, the jokes aren't funny, and it feels like he's trying to make himself sound like a really awesome guy in ways that just ooze projection. Despite the boring storyline it was the main protagonist that pushed me away. 2/5
  6. Saot

    Saot Groundskeeper

    May 9, 2011
    I enjoyed it enough to finish reading the story, but it's pretty flawed. Ultimately most of its problems boil down to that it's an entirely unironic self-insert, and making the self-insert be "awesome" trumps all other concerns. If you cut the SI and split the witty lines up between the other characters you'd end up with a decentish work of humor, but you'd also have a completely different story.

  7. melior

    melior Seventh Year

    Oct 25, 2011
    I was kinda dreading this thing showing up here. :)

    This story still contains more words than all of my other fiction combined, and that includes unpublished stuff and original fiction. And it shows, particularly in the beginning. I think it gets better later on and I hope the ending is good, but I realize that's little consolation when you have to slog through so many words to get there.

    As for the specific critique:

    Cliches: The story pretty much starts out as a barely disguised homage to some of my favorite fics, complete with citations at the bottom. So given what I've seen in this forum, I'm not really surprised at this criticism. The plot, such as it is, doesn't really start kicking in until late in the story, except for a tiny bit of foreshadowing. So hopefully there are fewer of them later on. And yeah, the story should have a lot fewer words.

    Ron bashing: I cringed a bit at this when I re-read it later on. Had I planned better (read: at all) I would have made it a theme that the main character has his expectations torn down by a number of different people, and Ron should have been first. As it is, that only really happens explicitly with Ginny (waaay later) and maybe Luna.

    Gary Stu: No argument there. Just for fun, in an author's note I pseudo-hand-wave his impeccable record of likability away by insisting that he simply wouldn't recount the situations where a conversation went wrong for him (in the story he doesn't really talk to a lot of people, after all), and as an imperfect narrator, he has inserted himself into more of a leadership role than he should have.

    In reality, it's just me diving headfirst into what the author of Gilding the Son of Lily called an exercise in vanity to satisfy my own desire to read an OC self-insert story in the Potterverse. I back off some of this later on when I apparently decide I want the story to turn serious, but not much. After all, who wants to insert themselves into a story where they suck at the fun stuff? I suppose there is probably a delicate balance in there, but I don't have the skill to pull it off.

    Not funny: Well, sorry about that. After browsing around in the library and other review threads, I think maybe my taste in humor generally doesn't align very well with the DLP community. That bodes ill for this thread, because until the end, the humor is the main reason to read the story. The best news I have for you on this front is that my recent stuff doesn't have much of it. Oh well.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback, all.
  8. Nauro

    Nauro Headmaster

    Oct 20, 2011
    It's something.

    I have read this story in one sitting, and I am still not sure as to what my opinion on it is exactly. It is frustratingly stupid, the protagonist behaves like he has Felix Felicis instead of blood.
    His every line is based on trying to be witty and flirty, and it comes off incredibly annoying. I mean yeah, making fun of people you are talking with is fun, but it is not the best way towards becoming friends, it's more of a something that develops as the friendship grows. Of course, there can be exceptions, but not everyone should react so well to him. It's like he knows what will work and spends time polishing his remarks - I remember only one place where he didn't have fast and witty-ish responses, and that was just before the ball, where he saw the girls dressed up for the first time. The time with meeting Fleur doesn't count, because he recovered too fast.
    He shamelessly flirts with every girl in any given room, and it is never met with anything more than playful hate. I mean, yeah, I see it if he was Howard Wolowitz - trying to do it and failing, but now he's such a Casanova that it hurts. You don't fucking compliment four women in the room at the same time and get away with it in such a way that all of them can't help but swoon over you.
    Did I mention that everyone can't help but like him very fast, or the Felix Felicis bloodstream?

    He also get's away with a lot of familiarity, hugging, and flirtatious light kissing, and what is annoying, even though he is kinda trying to pair up Hermione and Harry, throughout all the story he is the one to steal her first kiss and generally keep on getting in the way of anything.
    And his excuse - 'I cannot have a long term relationship anyway, so I can do whatever I want.'

    Why the fuck did this have to a be an OC harem fic, where Harry gets no one until the very end?

    His only valid excuse for everything is
    Going with his promise to not be there after all - and he dies to save Hermione.
    and even then
    he turns out to wake up alive, back in his usual home, not sure if everything happened, until he gets a letter from unidentified sender that might as well be from Hermione Potter

    The good things are relatively small - the plan for the endspiel comes together not exactly perfectly, and the plan isn't completely stupid.
    Although he kinda cheats Harry out of the third task by physically restraining him, making him unable to compete - if that is enough to break the Goblet's set law, Harry might as well have gotten lost his magic on top of everything.

    The abilities. Where do I even start with this?
    I kinda realize that giving a SI abilities to cast magic after training relatively makes sense - although that very moment makes it into a simple OC, inspired by some of your qualities. I have ranted on SI's enough, but I"ll simply reiterate this - why not write about a character from modern day real world, that knows a lot (or little) about Harry Potter world, and when he comes to the HP world, he is essentially a squib - he knows about magic, and the places he has to go looking to find it, but he's still a muggle.
    Trying to figure out everything, and getting involved in everything could potentially be interesting, because his knowledge is actually worth incredible amount.
    (I kinda see someone like Taure staying entirely out of the events, but spending all his time researching magic and writing heavy theory tomes on magical theory, for the fun of it.)
    It would present a challenge and a lot of other things, but of course, if you mention that it is SI anywhere, it becomes considerably worse that very second.

    Anyway - the main character here is exactly opposite of that - why? - because he has wand-less powers, that are "balanced" by the virtue of him not being able to cast them too long, or too powerful spells. That get's fixed when after half a year he is making difficult Runic patters and builds up a better resistance to fatigue.

    Why did you need that, when you could have done exactly the same with less powers?

    Also, the only challenge for the character, throughout all of the story was money. He had none - having to borrow things at first, until he worked a little part-time for McGonagall and other professors. That put an interesting spin on things for about two chapters or so, until he quickly proved that getting rich easy - because working for teachers nets you a galleon per hour.

    Anyway, the only thing I am even debating the mark, is the whole absurdity of the story. It is so absurd, that it is hilarious. I mean - remember the time where Harry drank Felix Felicis and started doing crazy things? Imagine if a character always was under the effect of Felix Felicis - that's the result you get. And if I got tired of it nearing the epilogue, it still cracked my smile after especially outrageous scenes, that the characters were stunned to witness, but with time, they started expecting this sort of behavior from Will all the time, and their outrageness-o-meter was set lower.
    The Malfoy family impression was something that a five year would find funny, but for some reason my inner child couldn't stop laughing at it. The omake was too much of the nonsense, though - and too much of a thing becomes not funny.
    William talking with Moony and Padfoot in disguise was probably the best scene out of everything. Even with that horrible pun.

    Oh yeah, and the idea to write the epilogue from the first person POV using all of the characters he had contact with got stale around the middle - it was emotional, yes,
    but the most emotion came from the letters and not reading the very same inner grief spun a bit differently.

    Thus, grudgingly, I present you with the final mark - 2.5/5, that I, once again, very grudgingly upgrade to 3/5.
    Why upgrade up? Because the story is written coherently and flows without the grammar mistakes getting in the way. Because there is a plot behind all that goofiness, and because it gets resolved in a rather unexpected ways.
    Replace the OC with Harry, that is dozed with Felix Felicis under influence of some random plot device, and you'd have a true 3/5 story, that I wouldn't be ashamed of rating thusly.

    I should have probably taken point from runes, but at least you know your runes as much as Rowling - took names and meanings from the same source ;D, and I liked Bungle in a Jungle anyways.

    p.s. Melior, you owe me a quarter of a Life Debt for that rounding up.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  9. IdSayWhyNot

    IdSayWhyNot Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

    Jun 10, 2010
    "Prat! I love you, author. I'm male but" -blushes- "I wanna hug you anyway. Hope that's not too weird?" -laugh and hugs; sniffles a bit- "Prat! She has ice-blue eyes. All women are beautiful. Ron has some problems and eats a lot. The prat."

    If something else happened, I missed it.

    2/5 because it has an ending and some sort of plot.
  10. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Jun 27, 2006
    High Score:
    Well, the good news is that I think your newest story is much improved and I may even rec it here if it stays at a consistent level of quality.
  11. melior

    melior Seventh Year

    Oct 25, 2011
    Only a quarter? Take a half since I don't know how to give your post a thumbs up. I laughed at that first bit.

    I retconned your third spoiler in the epilogue using Dumbledore when somebody pointed that out to me in a review. :facepalm Unfortunately that's about the only one of your points for which I have an excuse. Well, that and the entire plan for the story was to write an OCSI story in the Potterverse, because I wanted to read one even though I knew most people don't care for them. Scratching an itch, and all that.

    Amusingly, you forgot the part where the nearest male bystander shuffles uncomfortably because the main character doesn't act as said bystander thinks a male should.

    I very distinctly remember that the main character's behavior jumped the shark in Chapter 10, and finally by the time I'd written that ridiculous omake in Chapter 12 that Nauro mentioned, I stopped and wrote a crack!oneshot to get it out of my system. Unfortunately I didn't go back and try to fix it like I should have (as this was my first long fic I was terrified I'd lose momentum if I tried), but instead I sort of smoothed out the sudden change and ran with it, and later on I retconned his behavior by claiming he adopted Luna's personality. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only DLP member I know of that reviewed my story as I posted it gave up shortly after that.

    Anyway, I'm glad you made it to the end despite the repetition.

    Thanks! I would be further along if it wasn't for the DLP contest. No promises on the consistency, though.