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Entry #1

Discussion in 'Q1 2019' started by Xiph0, Mar 16, 2019.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    He lay with his back to the floor, unfamiliar with the feeling of being knocked down. Something that had not happened since his first years at Hogwarts.


    He knew somehow, that this was no longer the great hall. That there were no crowds, no death eaters, no Nagini. He was alone. Of this, he was certain.


    His mind had always been sharp, but his priorities had not always been in order. So it was almost with an afterthought that Lord Voldemort realized he must be dead.


    But he must exist in some sense? If he were laying on something there must be something upon which to lay upon and a lay-er to do the laying. With this thought, Lord Voldemort become aware of his body. He was small and broken, meager and mean. He was less than a shade and much like the broken babe he’d once been in Little Hangleton. He sat up. Or tried to, but his body rolled. He screamed, but it came out as a cry.


    Lord Voldemort struggled for a breath, it was rasping and shuddering. His small chest ached with the effort of the motion. He flailed his arms, trying to push himself up, but they were thin branches. Useless things, that could have snapped in the wind. As Lord Voldemort become more aware of his existence, pains upon pains made themselves more known to him. His skin was raw and stung as if burned. His head was too big for his body and his feet he could hardly move without rivulets of pain echoing through his broken body.


    He became aware that he could feel emotion and he settled on rage. Harry Potter had done this to him. Then he moved on to confusion. How had Harry Potter done this to him?


    A long time passed, or in this no-space perhaps it was no time at all before Lord Voldemort realized Harry Potter must have been here.


    “It’s your one last chance,” said Harry, “it’s all you’ve got left. . . . I’ve seen what you’ll be otherwise. . . . Be a man . . . try . . . Try for some remorse. . . .”


    Lord Voldemort cursed Harry Potter. It sounded like a baby’s wail.


    A sound reached Lord Voldemort from the distance, but he could not turn his body towards the source. It was the rhythmic echo of footfalls getting closer and closer. Vulnerable as he was, Lord Voldemort could only feel anger at how scared he felt. The footsteps stopped just near his head and Lord Voldemort worried that the being would trample right over him. It was with surprise that he felt his body being lifted. A hand supported his head and he looked up at the face of Severus Snape.


    “Severus,” cried Voldemort, but his ability to speak was a cry.


    Severus Snape looked whole and healthier than he had in life, with none of the pallor Lord Voldemort was used to seeing. He seemed to understand what Lord Voldemort had tried to say because his lips curled in a sneer.


    “The Dark Lord.”


    “Severus, my most faithful,” cry-spoke Lord Voldemort. “You must help me. You who have given more to the cause than any other – you amongst all my followers-“


    “You killed me,” said Snape matter-of-factly. “Nor have I been yours for quite some time.”


    Lord Voldemort’s first instinct was to rage, to deny it, but he said nothing. Had he truly been so thoroughly hoodwinked? He had overestimated himself. Underestimated Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Harry Potter. Was this the power of love that the old fool had talked about. A magic he had placed beneath him but had bested him time and time again. He tried shaking his head.


    “So, I’m truly dead then?” asked-wailed Lord Voldemort.


    “I think not,” said Snape, and Lord Voldemort felt his heart soar. “The dead can move on from this place. You are worse than dead.”


    Lord Voldemort felt his hopes crash into the ground.


    “No, this cannot be. I have taken measures-”


    “All destroyed.”


    Lord Voldemort had never seen a man look so utterly and palpably content. It made him furious.


    “Explain!” screamed Lord Voldemort.


    Severus Snape looked down at Lord Voldemort with pity.


    “You already understand, you were not a stupid man.”


    Lord Voldemort thought for a moment and realized that in death there was clarity. Had he been so arrogant to think that Harry Potter had been hiding and running from him? No, the boy and the mudblood and blood traitor had found out his measures. His most precious of secrets and had destroyed them.


    “How did the boy live?”


    “He was your accidental Horcrux, made from a rebounding killing curse and a piecemeal soul. You tethered him to life doubly so when you took his mother’s blood for your resurrection.”


    There was so much Lord Voldemort did not understand.


    “What is this place, Severus?”


    Severus Snape held Lord Voldemort up, turning his head to their surroundings. The surrounding was not formless but had not yet decided to have form. There was cloud-like vapor in almost-shape with a clear, white solid floor. This was a room, there was a cot and a desk and a large wardrobe. All made of that same cloud-vapor material.


    “This is, as they say,” said Snape, a sneer on his visage. “Your party. Only you know what this place is. It was my greatest ambition to see you dead.”


    Severus Snape set Lord Voldemort’s broken and beaten body down onto the cot and swept away with his robes billowing at his heals.


    “Severus! Severus!” cried Lord Voldemort. “You cannot leave me here! Please, this cannot be real – this has to be a nightmare. All in my head.”


    Snape paused and threw a look over his shoulder.


    “Just because it’s happening in your head doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”


    Severus Snape left Lord Voldemort on his cot in Wool’s Orphanage.
     
  2. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

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    So you say this, and end with the cot. I'd remove this entire first sentence because the important part is the next one following this, which is the realization that he's dead.

    Added for emphasis on the disconnect. I know that you could interpret being on his back as being on the cot, but at the same time, I think you could have glossed over a lot of that and still told the same story.

    Which great hall? If its personal introspection, wouldn't it be better to go with something a bit more coherent, especially someone of Voldemort's caliber. I don't subscribe to the whole "he was insane" interpretation, I would assume he has had his full faculties for ever, and he's experienced something close to death before, so the feeling cannot be too dissimilar, correct?

    More on the whole disconnect with of the man he was. You've failed to capture his voice.

    I see what you did here. but you're telling me that the squawling baby at the train-station is what's crying here, as well as talking? I'd like to see more of Severus confronting him. Voldemort screaming in his head as his infant mouth refuses to make the words he wants to say and then the dawning horror and rage of the fact that he's trapped in an infants body back where it all started, purgatory for however long, and deal with the impact of that.

    You had a good platform to work with here and I feel like you missed the mark in a couple places. This was at least coherent. I was able to follow, but some of your choices don't make sense. For such a short piece this needed to have evolved quickly and told your story in a precision that was lacking here. But, not bad. Thank you for submitting.

    I'll come back and add ratings later.
     
  3. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I really want to read a Voldemort Peggy Sue done well, and this little piece works well as a prologue to that sort of fic, so in that way it's certainly captured my attention. The use of the premise 'death' is fairly on the nose, too.

    But I don't have too much good to say about this, much as I wish otherwise.

    The opening is with a really passive voice which didn't hook me, and Voldemort felt severely OOC. He was weak and wailing and whining and clinging to other people. That's not the Voldemort I remember. He doesn't beg, he demands, even when he has no business making demands of anyone. Although he'd react to dying with fear, Voldemort in crisis lashes out at other people rather than confront his fears and cry. The clarity of death allowing him to overcome his preconceived notions and look back on life clearly is a mechanic I quite like when Pratchett does it - the argument of being free from mortal bodies and the associated hormones and glands and such granting an objective mindset is compelling. But I didn't really feel like it worked particularly well here. It's contrary to Voldemort's usual behaviour by such a wide margin that it doesn't feel like a deliberate choice so much as an oversight. Snape felt a tad OOC as well - him looking down on Voldemort with pity is a rather alien notion.

    I didn't notice any glaring spelling mistakes offhand, but the sentence structure and flow of the writing were fairly poor. This should be an emotionally charged, surreal scene full of rich poetic imagery and evocative description. That was all absent. If I had come across this blindly on another website I'd have thought this was written by the likes of MuggleNet rather than DLP - it has that characteristic bland softening of every actor into one homogenous blob that's so prevalent in fanfiction.
     
  4. H_A_Greene

    H_A_Greene High Inquisitor –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I can't say that I particularly liked this one. The idea certainly has merit to it, this is a concept that could fully capture my attention if it were polished up further and devoted to a more accurate depiction of Voldemort. The writing came across a bit stilted in places, like the overuse of ellipsis when Harry somehow appeared to Voldemort to urge him to repent.

    I get that you wanted to parallel the Dumbledore & Harry scene on the whole with Snape and Voldemort, but this interaction demonstrates where that really comes apart. Voldemort's sudden breakdown and Snape repeating Dumbledore's line falters, I think because it comes about rather more quickly and without the emotional buildup to sustain it. There's no weight behind it, even though there should be from their talk to this point. You were going for that with the whole cry-talked thing, but it just didn't manifest.

    Snape's purpose here is more-or-less to explain the situation to Voldemort and then to leave him to his despair by the end. I get that, and the need for a secondary character given Voldemort is unable to move under his own duress. It's just something of a one-sided conversation. Voldemort asks/begs/demands, Snape obediently obliges him. I just feel like Snape could have been a bit less forthright in places(see, how did Harry survive), a bit less helpful.

    On the note of Voldemort cry-talking, I wasn't particularly enraptured by that choice. It does make sense given what he became, it shows that he has become even more diminished than he had been, but if Snape can clearly understand him, then is it really all that meaningful?

    In closing, despite my tone here, I do want to thank you for submitting. With more time and a little more effort, I can see this one shining.
     
  5. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    Honestly, the idea has real merit. Voldemort is trapped in some otherworldly limbo, forced to watch those he has hurt move on while he's stuck in some fate worse than death. Like Otters said, this could work as a prologue to a really good fic. He mentioned one where Voldemort is thrown back in time, but a crossover or thrown into an alternate universe are also possibilities.

    Unfortunately, I'm also going to have to echo Otters that this is underwhelming. Voldemort (due to a sudden and permanent out-of-body experience) realizes a bunch of things about how he done fucked up, but due to the lacking descriptions it lacked a lot of impact it could've had. Let's see an example.
    And then you move on. This line is so bare when it could've used a lot more meat on its bones, to not just tell us Voldemort is very much despairing but to show us.
     
  6. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

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    This idea has merit. I like the POV of a conscious Voldemort stuck in limbo within the skinned-baby body.

    Two things I think let it down. The charecterization of both Snape and Voldemort. Voldemort realises his mistakes far too easily and straightforwardly, it has no real emotional impact on him or the audience. In the same vain Snape is far to free and easy with his explations. It is unnatural and a blunt instrument of exposition. As the two major components of your story they lack refinement.

    I think you could have made more of his nightmare state/body. Being helpless and unable to move properly or communica. It works at the beginning but quickly become irrelavent. I would expect more rage from Voldemort.

    I did like the final line and the idea of him being stuck helpless in the orphanage he hated. It's a good idea for Voldemort'' version of Hell. I wish you had tied that back into his charecterization more.
     
  7. ChaosGuy

    ChaosGuy Unspeakable

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    I like the idea this is going for, but I feel it's kind of empty or lacking in something. It's quick though which helps mitigate any amount of emptiness I felt while reading it making it one of the few times I enjoy something being shorter. Also while I enjoy seeing Voldemort reduced to what he was in this story, it felt kind of rushed. That said I didn't mind that Snape was just infodumping here, it felt like he was gloating to Voldemort to me.
     
  8. Stealthy

    Stealthy Groundskeeper

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    Snape is a solid choice for who Voldemort would see in the limbo, but it works better if Voldemort approaches the situation differently. Snape treating Voldemort with scorn and derision is right, but Voldemort sees Snape as a (respected) subordinate and he should act as such. Snape is an instrument of his will; he's somebody to instruct and order not plead or beg. Instead, he's treated as a life raft as you merge Voldemort into the homunculus. Again, a good idea, but it gets in the way of Voldemort acting like Voldemort towards Snape, and so it all feels off.

    This is the big emotional transition we're going for. Rage to helplessness with an undercurrent of fear. Good, but it fails because there is no transition. His rage was never really established or felt, and instead I just saw the helplessness which (lacking justification) was uncharacteristic. It was more like "a fearful man dying who happens to be named Voldemort" than "Lord Voldemort dying". Voldemort needs to break down in front of our eyes for any of this to work.

    Snape repeating Dumbledore's lines was just Snape blatantly repeating Dumbledore's lines. Snape doesn't talk like Dumbledore, so it was never going to work, but it just feels shoehorned rather than anything earned.

    Wool's Orphanage was a nice touch. Good call on that. Prose was fine throughout, the issues were bigger picture.

    Overall, there's some good pieces, but it's missing the right ties to put them together. Flawed but perfectly readable, and a solid "eh, it's decent".
     
  9. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    1) The opening of this piece is quite weak due to the passive voice.

    2) Really not digging any of these speech tags you've used for Voldemort either.

    I get what you're trying to go for with the asked-wailed and cry-spoke, but it just didn't come across well when put down on the page. The use of these speech tags (along with the general tone of Voldemort) is just off. If I removed every mention of Voldemort, I'd never have guessed it was him in this piece. It just reads too uncharacteristic of him.

    3) Could have removed the spaces between these paragraphs given it's still Voldemort thinking / speaking.

    Overall, a piece this short really lives or dies on how well you sell Voldemort as a character, and it didn't quite work here. All we really saw was the helplessness, nothing of the rage, or pride, or hate that makes Voldemort Voldemort. Even in death, with the uncertainty of it all, I don't quite buy that he'd react this...pathetically.

    What emotion you did end up showing from Voldemort was too sparse to really be impactful. It needed more meat to it to work - the skeleton of an idea is there, it just couldn't hold up its own weight.

    There's definitely merit in the idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Focus more on Voldemort's internal feelings and really slicing into the nuance of that.
     
  10. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Haven't read everyone else's comments yet - I always try to write most of my review without 'peeking' and risking some bias creeping in.

    I liked this. I want to take a moment to emphasize how much I would personally like to see more stories this length. This story clocks in at right under 1000 words and that is perfect for the story you set out to tell.

    A story which deals with Death, well done on that also.

    This line was powerful:
    Coming as early as it did, and phrased as it was, it hit me how surreal this entire set-up is. Because Voldemort certainly never intended to die and likely didn't believe it could happen any longer.

    So those are the good parts, and there's three very clear ones for me listed above.

    The critical part of this review centers on the fact that it feels... amateurish? Something about the prose feels like a first draft, which this very well may have been.

    The pacing was good in the sense that things never got boring, but not as good in the fact that you spent a lot of time telling us (as readers) things we already knew. I realize that Voldemort might not have known but most of the conversation between Severus and Voldemort wherein Severus is explaining things to him just didn't work for me.

    I think you knew that too, since you did have Severus tell him that he wasn't stupid when he was alive and he could surely figure some of it out.

    Clean this up using comments here and stick it in WbA after the contest is over, do another round of edits, and you'll have a fine little oneshot on your hands. I don't think it will take that much effort to make this solid, but right now the writing itself is rough, even if the concept isn't.
     
  11. Newcomb

    Newcomb Minister of Magic

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    This is a good line.

    Too many words to convey this idea. We get it, he's a frail little homunculus.

    Overall, kinda mixed on this. Essentially what we've got here is a "Voldemort realizing how badly he's fucked up" short piece. Snape got in a couple good lines, but once we got into the "meat" of it, there just wasn't enough depth for me to feel any real schadenfreude at Voldemort's situation and dawning understanding.

    IMO, he needed more arrogance and malevolence to make the contrast of the "yep, I'm fucked" realization hit harder.

    There's a decent framework for an idea here, but the execution felt like too little butter spread over too much bread.

    A piece this short you need to absolutely nail the writing - completely gripping, no wasted motion. This didn't quite get there.
     
  12. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    You know this wasn't bad. The concept, of course, is not original, but it has a little spin on it that I haven't seen before, that of Snape meeting Riddle after death. There is quite a bit about their interactions that I like, but also times where I feel Snape is far too kind with his explanations and even his phrasing. Consider your last line, where Snape indicates he wanted to see Riddle dead, yet he isn't precisely by Snape's own words. A bit of a unbalanced thematic throughline there.

    There were sentences that were halfway to being truly evocative, such as "The surrounding was not formless but had not yet decided to have form."

    That's the sort of doublespeak line that's aching to be cool, and I liked it for what you were trying to do. I also felt a lot of the inner monologue felt fairly true to life, with the one exception being "In death there was clarity" - I don't buy that he would give in so easily.

    Also "Lord Voldemort felt his heart soar" doesn't work either. Too heroic a term.

    So what doesn't work? The whole baby/infant angle and description, which is ultimately discarded and thus feels pointless in many ways - is he a baby (and thus cannot speak) or a baby-mutant? "Cry-spoke" doesn't mean anything legitimate, as crying in this context implies a lack of words instead of "in addition to".

    What would I change? I think the characterization and dialogue needs to be tightened and honed in on more carefully. Use a different method of communication - for example we know Voldemort is a Legilimens, right? Avoids that whole awkward phrasing, as his mind (if not body) are still under his control. And add a bit more "oomph" to that final line.

    Hope this helps!
     
  13. Raigan123

    Raigan123 Banned

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    It's short. There's not a lot of introspection even though I would have liked to read about Voldemort’s thoughts, rather than his emotions, since he's so emotionally stunted in canon. It didn’t feel like Voldemort to me though. His intellect should dominate his being no matter how shredded his soul is, in my opinion.

    I like the idea of this, especially Snape coming to see Voldemorts sorry state.

    The final two lines are very poignant, the best part of the fic, I think.

    I noticed some mistakes, which didn’t bother me much. What bothered me most was the cry-spoke and asked-wailed. The few times it’s used really stand out in a short fic like this. Why not just describe how his voice sounds and leave it at that.

    Another thing that bothered me was how pathetic Voldemort seems. It’s as if he has no pride from the beginning and becomes more pathetic the longer the fic goes on.

    Overall I think the idea is good, but the execution is somewhat lacking. I hope I got my thoughts across well. Thank you.
     
  14. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    So, on the positive side, it's a solid concept. One that probably isn't actually that original, if I went looking around, but not one that I've seen done before, so well done there. Also, it's a clear engagement with the actual prompt, which is a bonus. Technically, I quite like it - the prose is clear, coherent, with a couple of nice turns of phrase.

    On the other hand, I didn't really feel that this had much actual substance to it. I'm tempted to attribute that to it being fairly brief, but actually I'm not sure that it being much longer would really have helped, unless you did an extensive review of all the reasons Voldemort ended up in that state or something along those lines. Perhaps another five hundred words or so to get under the characters skin a little more would be helpful. On which note, Voldemort didn't feel an awful lot like Voldemort. Snape was kind of better, but at the same time, quite a bit of his dialogue is recycled from Dumbledore's in the canon version of this scene, so...

    On a specific note, "his robes billowing at his heals" - should be heels.

    All in all, there's a decent idea and start here, which with a bit of polish could improve substantially.
     
  15. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    After reading this, I came away feeling neutral. I thought it was because the concept wasn't particularly impressive, but with some further thought, I realized that that was not true. It's because the person Voldemort is speaking with is Snape. In canon, Voldemort doesn't personally care for Snape (or anyone) really all that much, but in this story, he's forced to give Snape some regard because he's the only one with answers. It's an interesting theme, but falls short because everything Snape is saying is stuff we already know. Anything he could possibly say is well-worn track. We know how Snape feels. There's nothing new here.

    I don't think it should've been Snape who Voldemort sees in limbo. If anything, Dumbledore would've been more impactful. Or even someone like Merope/Salazar Slytherin/his muggle father. You mention that death has a way of making people see things clearly. It would be very interesting to see what someone like Marvolo Gaunt has to say about what his grandson had become.

    My favorite bit of this story is when Snape says “Just because it’s happening in your head doesn’t mean it isn’t real.” Which is, of course, what Dumbledore (or "Dumbledore") says to Harry in limbo. It makes me wonder if you've given this line more weight than it originally has in canon. It makes me wonder who or what these visions of Snape and Dumbledore really are. However it's ultimately unsatisfying because there's not enough worldbuilding threads for me to connect and theorize on.

    This is the first line which felt jarringly un-Voldemort. There's other OOC moments, but this is a serious offender.
     
  16. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    When it comes to oneshots, I'm not a fan of very short fiction (even though I wrote one myself), but if I do read one, I prefer that it have some sort of a story. It's hard to say there was a sequence of events here, it's more of an introspection, sort of an epilogue for canon Voldemort. Where Harry was rewarded with a glimpse of The Next Great Adventure, Voldemort is punished, sentenced to a personalized purgatory--at least that's what I took away from it.

    A figure from his life haunting him in death is a classic idea, but I think little is done with it here. You open with a bit about realization that Voldemort is dead, and it takes him a while. I think you could have cut that out and dedicated all of the wordcount to the introspective exchange that follows. Though to be frank, I didn't find much in the conversation either. Voldemort is in a state of confusion and despair, and I think it's a waste of the character. For how hard he fought death in life, he seems completely defeated here from the outset, which misses an opportunity for some interesting conflict imo.

    If the intention was to amplify the feeling of hopelessness and isolation, I think that also falls kinda flat here, and then it ends rather abruptly. Feels like the real story was just going to begin there, Voldemort being locked into his afterlife prison in a place he hated, and you could take the narrative in a dozen interesting directions here. I give you props for technical competence, but the content didn't wow me.
     
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