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Entry #2

Discussion in 'Q3 2018' started by Xiph0, Sep 24, 2018.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

    Dec 7, 2005
    West Bank
    Better Undead than Dunderhead

    Severus Snape’s lip curled with disdain as he watched the assembled students. Everywhere they were chattering, gossiping, and giggling, soaking up the atmosphere of Slughorn’s precious party. Dunderheads, the lot of them.

    There was the spawn of James Potter in the corner, his appalling hair failing to hide his facial disfigurement. His daffy, bug-eyed date was no doubt prattling about some creature attracted to large gatherings of dunderheads. Loitering nearby was the insufferable know-it-all, her furry head likely hosting said creature. Oh, how he wished he could curse them all.

    They were all plotting his death. He was certain of it. And he had to stand here and humor them, just because he once had a childhood crush on his neighbor. He understood the folly of that now. He had vowed to himself long ago to stamp out both childhoods and crushes wherever he encountered them. They would all thank him later.

    He would not be caught dead at something as dreadful as a ‘Christmas party’ if he did not have such an important mission. It was the most important mission of his career, in fact. Tonight he would finally break free of the oaths that bound him. There would be no more Potters or Weasleys or Longbottoms in his life, no more Dumbledores or Dark Lords.

    His target was still surrounded by a pack of giggling girls. Gryffindors, of course. They were always Gryffindors. The wistful sighs they shot at the man were enough to turn the stomach of a dementor. The man was handsome, he supposed, with his crushed-velvet robes, stylish cravat, and sleek black hair. He would even admit that his target’s pale complexion and entrancing eyes were admirable qualities. That was still no excuse for the fools to fawn over him like a baby unicorn. Hadn’t they ever seen a vampire before?

    He was considering the merits of a well-placed confundus charm when the chits finally began flittering away. Now was the time. His target was alone. He approached subtly, all of his practice at stealth serving its purpose.

    “Master Sanguini,” he intoned.

    “Severus,” the vampire responded cordially. “How are you this fine evening?”

    “I will be better when I can leave this accursed room. May I impose on you for a moment of your time? In private.”

    “But of course. Lead the way.”

    Snape led him away from the party to a nearby classroom. It was abandoned and gloomy, the very reason he had chosen it for the coming conversation. It was imperative that he make a good impression. He seated himself behind an ancient desk and conjured a comfortable chair for his guest, gesturing for him to sit.

    Sanguini sank gracefully into the chair and sipped from a deep red cocktail he had brought from the party. “How may I help you?” he inquired with a smile.

    Snape observed him for a long moment. “I hope I can rely on your discretion in this matter.”

    “Most certainly.”

    “Then I wish to be turned,” he said bluntly. “As soon as possible.” It was best to be candid when dealing with dark creatures, he knew. The fine art of subtlety was often lost on them.

    Sanguini blinked, and then examined Snape’s expressionless demeanor. A sly grin spread across his face until he erupted in full-blown laughter. “Oh, well played, Severus! Well played, indeed. I didn’t realize you had such a wonderful sense of humor!”

    Snape raised an eyebrow. Had the man confused him for a Hufflepuff? A Master of the Dark Arts would never possess something as silly as a sense of humor. Why, the very idea was preposterous. It seemed he would have to educate the vampires on proper decorum after he was admitted to their ranks.

    Sanguini’s grin slowly disappeared as he realized that the Hogwarts professor did not share his mirth. “Wait—you’re serious?”


    Sanguini cleared his throat and settled further into the chair. “My apologies. Might I ask why?”

    “I have many reasons. First and foremost, I wish to escape this castle and the fools within it. I wish to escape Britain entirely, in fact.”

    Sanguini examined his manicure and frowned. “I’m afraid I don’t follow. Can’t you simply leave? Shuffling off your mortal coil seems a rather large step to take.”

    “I have considered the matter thoroughly, I assure you. This is the only way that will remove me from the influence of those who have been abusing my services.”

    He gestured at Snape’s arm. “So you are seeking sanctuary from your Dark Lord?”

    Snape smiled, exposing a mouthful of crooked yellow teeth. “Not at all. If I trade my life for…undeath, this wretched mark will disappear. He will be not able to find me, nor will my other ‘master’ and his collection of misfits.”

    He watched as the vampire nodded slowly, clearly understanding the genius of the plan. He could feel his freedom grow ever closer. There would be no demented plots featuring swords, snitches, and camping trips in his future.

    “I see. I sympathize with your situation, my dear Severus, but this is all rather unusual. There is an application process, you see, and a waiting list with—.”

    Snape interrupted his speech by dropping a thick stack of parchment on the desk. “There is my application. In triplicate. Rest assured that I am prepared to become a valuable member of your society.”

    Snape could barely resist a smirk. No doubt the creatures would be begging him to run their organization within a fortnight. That was the way of things, after all. Wizarding Britain would collapse without his assistance. Dumbledore would choke on a lemon drop in less than a week. The Dark Lord would kill all of his followers in a fit of rage. Potter would spontaneously combust through sheer Potterness. And he would stun the vampires with his brilliance. That’s exactly how it would happen.

    Sanguini eyed the documents and hesitantly picked them up. “Right, let’s have a look then.”

    Name: Severus Lucille Snape

    Date of Birth: January 9, 1960

    Muggle or Magical? Magical

    Financial Assets: 15,000 galleons; a tastefully-appointed home in Cokeworth; a variety of rare potions ingredients; an impressive collection of human hair

    Relevant Skills: Potions Master, Master of Dark Curses, Master of Mind Arts, Flawless Swooping, Unmitigated Cruelty to Innocents, Flower Arranging (see attached photos)

    Reasons for Seeking Membership: Dunderheads (i.e., Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, everyone under the age of 30)

    The vampire’s eyebrows rose as he read. “Lucille?”

    A spot of color appeared in Snape’s cheeks, the first time such an event had occurred in decades. “My mother was a fan of Lucille Ball, the muggle actress.”

    “Oh! How lovely. She was a delightful woman. Have you seen her performance in Fancy Pants? I think it’s her best work.”

    Snape fidgeted, another event that happened with extraordinary infrequency. “I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure.”

    “Ah. A shame. It’s a fine film. But perhaps redheads are an acquired taste,” he acknowledged with a polite smile.

    Snape’s left eye twitched, but he did not respond.

    Sanguini’s smile faded during the awkward silence. “Yes, well…moving on. You are rather vague on your reasons for seeking admission to our society.”

    “There are some things that I cannot say. I am under a variety of oaths, all of which would be lifted if I were to die, so to speak. Suffice it to say that one of my masters is homicidal and the other is suicidal. I am tasked with protecting two simpletons who cannot be trusted to tie their own shoes. It is a hopeless situation.”

    Sanguini returned the documents to the desk with a frown. “You have to understand, Severus, that we are a very exclusive society. We don’t accept just anyone, especially if they pose a potential danger to us. We do our best to remove ourselves from wizarding affairs.”

    Snape leaned forward. It was time to demonstrate the true depth of his cunning. “I assure you I am discreet. My skills at evading detection are without peer. I have crafted a new identity for myself, ready to be implemented at a moment’s notice.”

    He leaned in even closer, lowering his voice to a whisper. “I shall become…Master Salazar Bloodcauldron.”

    He almost grinned at the dumbfounded look on the vampire’s face. It was indeed an impressive name. He leaned back in his chair, satisfied with the effects of his careful planning. Psychological shock and awe were very effective tools against lesser beings. If there was one thing he had learned from corralling dunderheads for a living, it was that.

    Sanguini cleared his throat. “Er, a bit on the nose, don’t you think?”

    Snape frowned. Was that sarcasm he was detecting from the monster? Surely not. Regardless, he could overlook such insolence if it allowed him to achieve his goal. Soon they would all see what a gift his presence would be to them.

    He stood from the desk, looming over his guest, and began pacing with his hands behind his back. His students always found this pose to be intimidating, and he did not doubt it would work on an immortal dark creature.

    “My new identity is negotiable, I suppose, but I believe it is well-suited, given the extraordinary nature of my skills. My presence would lend unprecedented prestige to your organization.”

    “I…see. To which skills do you refer?”

    He stopped pacing and gave the man his most imperious stare. “My abilities as a potions master are unparalleled. I could create a never-ending supply of blood-replenishing potions. It would revolutionize vampirism!”

    The vampire looked at him oddly. “We already have those. We call them muggles.”

    A spot of color rose again in Snape’s cheeks. “I am also a master of the mind arts. Clearly that makes me an ideal candidate to become a vampire.”

    “Yes, well…as I’m certain you’re aware, you would lose your magic after your rebirth. Vampires have the ability to hypnotize, but we do not practice wizarding mind arts.”

    Snape cursed under his breath and continued pacing. The creature was not groveling quite as much as he had expected. “No matter, no matter. I have prepared for this. I shall soon have a bat animagus form. I am merely weeks away from my breakthrough—and my swooping skills! I am quite well-known for them. Simply ask around.”

    At this proclamation, he drew the edge of his cloak over his mouth and nose, narrowed his eyes, and then twirled away from his seated guest, his cape billowing dramatically behind him.

    “Er, yes. That’s…quite impressive.”

    Snape inclined his head graciously at the compliment. “Indeed. And I have been acclimating myself to your culture, as it were.”

    He pulled a blood pop from within his robes and unwrapped it. He placed it in his open mouth and trailed it slowly along his tongue, leaving a bright red streak in its wake. Then he shoved it in his mouth with a superior smirk.

    “As you can readily observe, I shall have no trouble adjusting to my new lifestyle.”

    Sanguini opened and then closed his mouth. Snape watched him with satisfaction. He had succeeded in rendering the man speechless.

    The vampire stared at the ceiling for a long moment. “My dear boy, there is more to being a vampire than billowing capes and…blood pops. It is a hallowed art, a noble calling, not to be undertaken lightly. We understand the beauty of the majestic blood that courses through human veins, the delicate dance required to bewitch the minds and ensnare the senses of innocents. We have mastered the art of seduction, so much so that they beg for us to caress their necks. We have no need for…well, the theatrics of wand-waving.”

    Snape thought that sounded rather like a load of pretentious twaddle, but he would suffer the man’s delusions of grandeur if they allowed him to escape the yoke of Potters and Malfoys around his neck. He was accustomed to the nonsensical blathering of his colleagues, and knew when to hold his tongue.

    “Well put,” he said with his most congenial smile. “Well put. I too am a master at the art of seducing young minds, of showing dunderheads the deeper truths they are incapable of grasping. Clearly we are a match made in heaven….or hell, if you prefer,” he added conspiratorially, his smile widening.

    Sanguini returned the faintest of smiles. He glanced at the door and then back to Snape. His hand brushed a piece of non-existent lint from his robes.

    “I shall give your application the most careful consideration. But you must understand, Severus, that being a vampire requires a certain sense of taste, no pun intended. Our society has strict standards to maintain. They can seem quite rigorous to those who are not, shall we say, gifted by nature.”

    “I’m afraid I don’t follow,” Snape replied.

    “Your teeth,” he answered, deliberately exposing his long white fangs. “You would have to do something about your teeth.”

    Snape frowned. “I thought that issue took care of itself.”

    The vampire took a quick look around the room, as if he were expecting something to happen at any moment. “Not your fangs,” he said with a sigh. “Those come with the gift. I mean your teeth. They’re—how shall I put this?—yellow. Have you ever seen a vampire with yellow teeth?”

    Snape’s face went blank. “I shall take your suggestion under advisement,” he answered stiffly. He should have expected such superficiality from a dark creature.

    Sanguini tilted his head, examining him with a critical gaze. “I’m afraid that your hair is problematic as well.”

    “And what precisely is the matter with my hair?” he drawled in a tone that never failed to inspire the fear of death in his students.

    “Er, aside from the fact that it’s stringy, greasy, and disheveled?”

    “Yes,” he replied through gritted teeth.

    “Well…nothing, I suppose. That was meant to be rhetorical, my dear boy.”

    Snape considered the merits of drawing his wand on the impudent beast, but thought better of it. Clearly he was dealing with a foolish underling, the Gregory Goyle of the clan. For the moment he was forced to humor the man’s eccentricities. So long as he played errand boy with his application, it was no matter. His masters would see the wisdom of welcoming him into their midst.

    “I shall give your…opinions…the consideration they deserve.”

    “Excellent! Excellent!” the vampire replied enthusiastically. He rose and began edging toward the door. “Do remember that we have a reputation to uphold. Cleanliness is next to ungodliness, after all. I hope I have given you some things to think on.”

    Snape smiled unctuously as the man moved away from him. “Of course; of course. Don’t forget to take my application with you. I shall be awaiting your approval within, shall we say, two weeks?”

    The acceptance of his application was a foregone conclusion, he knew. He had played the role of gracious host to perfection, radiating charm, skill, and noblesse oblige. As soon as this popinjay delivered his application, he would be free.

    Sanguini stared at the stack of parchment on the desk. “Oh, how forgetful of me. My apologies. Yes. Two weeks. We shall give it our utmost consideration.”

    Snape nodded politely as the vampire collected the stack. Apparently the creature was even more incompetent than he had suspected. He would not be denied his rightful due because of an absent-minded delivery boy. If it was necessary to pander to the fool’s vanity, he would do so.

    “I am glad that we have come to a successful understanding,” he said. “I shall be certain to express to my future peers how…helpful you’ve been. Is there additional proof of my suitability that I should offer, pending your acceptance?”

    Sanguini examined Snape’s sallow face for a long moment. “Proof,” he mused, and then smiled, his fangs glinting in the dim light. “Now that you mention it, there is perhaps one other thing you could do.”

    “Name it. My skills are more than a match for any task.”

    His smile grew larger. “As you know, my brethren and I are masters of seduction. It is not merely the sacrifice of blood that we seek, but the willing submission of our…donors. If you were to demonstrate your prowess in that capacity, your application might be viewed more favorably.”

    “And how am I to demonstrate such prowess?”

    “Well, not on your students, of course. But I imagine if you were to seduce one of your colleagues—Minerva McGonagall, perhaps—your success would remove any doubt about your suitability as a vampire.”

    “Consider it done,” Snape said with an oily smile.

    Already a plan was forming deep within the recesses of his brilliant mind. No impediment could stop him now that his goal was within reach. He would show these creatures how to play the game. A spot of tea, a compliment about her damnable quidditch team, and Minerva would be like putty in his hands.

    “Splendid!” Sanguini replied. “I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.”

    “Of course. Thank you for your time. We shall meet again soon, I have no doubt,” he said with a bow.

    Sanguini inclined his head and showed himself out. A small smile played on his lips as he returned to Slughorn’s party. He dearly hoped Minerva would forgive him for this. If they were lucky, she would kill the man during his attempt to woo her, saving them the trouble of rejecting his application. His colleagues would impale themselves on stakes before they consented to spend eternity in the presence of Severus Snape.

    He would have to send her a case of his most expensive scotch as penance. Perhaps she would be willing to supply her memory of the episode. Watching that memory with a bottle of fine cabernet and a willing young donor would be a delightful way to spend an evening. Immortality could get rather boring, after all. One had to find amusement where one could.
  2. Typhon

    Typhon Order Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    I feel that humor is one of those things that's especially difficult talk about with regard to fanfiction - if it's done well it certainly elevates a story, and saying humor in fanfiction should be avoided is bad advice. On the other hand, though, it's so subjective - and the jokes tend to be so recycled by virtue of everyone working in roughly the same universe - that unless you're the first to tell a joke or funny story about something in the HP universe, it always feels a little canned.

    And even if the humor is perfect, which is rare, it still needs something else to make it truly memorable. Take Whatever Happened to Bromance, which is super well regarded here. Yes, it's quite funny, but it also shows real skill by virtue of really encapsulating a personality (in McLaggan) and situation (in the party and the first-time stuff) that loads of people have encountered and translating it to a story in a way that rings true despite (or because) it's quite funny. And because DLP is such a sausage fest that we rank a story that is something like 30% pure smut our top fic of all time, but let's focus on the first bit here. :p

    Where I'm going with all of this is that I feel you probably did yourself a disservice going with a humor fic that was a little obvious for the competition. There were a couple of bits that made me snort, like
    but on the whole I felt that the humor in the meat of the story (the private conversation between Snape and Sanguini) was pretty one note and predictable.

    It wasn't at all a technical issue - on a quality of writing level, the story was quite solid imo - but just a matter of the way that your idea and the prompt go together is a bit predictable and rote. That wouldn't be a big deal with most genres of fanfiction, as quite often execution trumps originality, but in humor I think a certain level of originality is necessary unfortunately.
  3. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

    Aug 31, 2011
    Cyber City Oedo
    High Score:
    Snape being a vampire is nothing new, but vampirism being a kind of Freemasons, a secret society with application forms and presumably their own handshakes, is an interesting spin. I quite liked that bit. It's a good idea for a contest entry.

    I also quite liked the way this started. Snape's remarks on childhood were pretty funny. From thereon out it kind of degraded because like @Typhon said the same joke repeated a couple of times: Snape not getting Sanguini's remarks on why he won't be accepted.

    Technically the story is pretty excellent. I couldn't really spot many issues with regards to word choice (except for the usage of "dunderheads"), grammar or awkwardness. The pacing wasn't amazing but given the direction you chose to take it in I don't really think you could've done much better.
  4. Otters

    Otters Groundskeeper ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Jun 8, 2010
    High Score:
    This is a fun concept - playing the idea of Snape as a vampire so straight that it comes out the other side. Snape's lack of awareness and social graces being his downfall in this matter, just as it was in every aspect of his own life, was amusing to see.

    There were some fantastic lines in here - Snape's collection of human hair (red, floating in a jar, no doubt), muggles as an endless supply of blood-replenishing potions, swooping. Sanguini's speech on the beauty of vampirism was a good callback to Snape's speech on potions in PS. It did begin to get a little stale when the same joke was being battered around over and over, getting progressively worse each time, although I would say that the only time it fell completely flat was the female middle name. C'mon, man, that joke has been done to death and it wasn't that funny to begin with.

    I did genuinely laugh out loud at the "human hair" line, and I love the notion that Snape is being denied entry to the elite vampire club as a result of not brushing his teeth. The bureaucratic process of application reminded me of the dry paper-pushing undead in Glen Duncan & Terry Pratchett's novels, which I've always enjoyed as the unseen flipside to sexed up media vampires.

    The writing was fairly polished, but ultimately hampered by the lack of substance. This isn't a story, it's a joke. The author could have accomplished twice as much if it had been half the length.
  5. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    May 27, 2010
    I dislike this a lot. It's trying way too had to be funny, but really only has the one joke (i.e. Snape not getting Sanguinus being rhetorical). It was funny the first time, but it didn't have much to offer beyond that and so quickly soured on me when it becomes clear the story has nothing more to offer.

    The writing itself is technically good. No major complaints from me on that end, but a story is more than just good technical writing, it needs narrative weight, it needs stakes, it needs character motivations. To a degree, you have some of those things, but they all seem to play second fiddle to the joke.

    There were parts of this I did like thought. Vampires being a secret organization was a cool thought. The implications that vampires aren't necessarily magically gifted with some of their common powers (hypnosis, attracting mortals, grace) but rather being selected for those traits is nifty and one I don't think I've seen before. The idea of an application process made me smile, a nice juxtaposition between the sexiness and mystique of vampires in their own mythology and the dreariness/mundaneness of office life we are all too familiar with.

    Some of the descriptions were great too. They were evocative, without coming across pretentious.

    Ultimately, I think I would have liked this story if it were a lot shorter. Dragging the joke on too long hurt it more than it helped, and just exposes its lack of substance more whereas a shorter piece might have camouflaged such weaknesses instead of highlighting and in fact overshadowing almost every other aspect of this piece.
  6. Jeram

    Jeram Elder of Zion ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Jun 27, 2006
    High Score:
    You know, this is fine. "Cute" is the word I kept thinking of. Obviously Snape is deliriously out of character (the idea he'd give up magic to be a vampire is ludicrous), but the descriptions had a Snape-like quality I enjoyed. There's really only one joke here, but I guess my real issue is that I don't really see the point. Sanguini has almost less characterization that Daphne Greengrass, and I don't think he's meant to be this dashing figure. Part of the other issue I have is that I like for these sorts of silly short asides to really have a killer ending or punchline.

    Of course, that's quite difficult, something I've certainly struggled with. So on the plus side, the way the inner monologue is described feels close to Snape in many ways, even if the actual thoughts make no sense -- I don't consider that to be necessarily negative, as this is assuredly a silly (in intention) story. It's a decent little story, and I think any longer, it'd feel far too drawn out.
  7. James

    James Unspeakable

    Jan 22, 2015
    This has been written without reading others’ posts in the thread, to escape the bandwagon, so it might repeat what has been said already.

    I enjoyed this story, even if it won’t become a part of my “fics to get back to” list. It’s both too short and too long; and its conclusion is relatively obvious from the tone of first few paragraphs. There were few moments that were made well, and I enjoyed them, and I’ll get to them in “Others” section.

    Plot & Pacing - 2/5

    This is basically a two-scene joke, so there shouldn’t be really pacing issues, except possibly taking a bit too long to get to the point. However, there is no real plot to speak of, so major downgrading for that.

    Characters - 3/5

    Severus’ delusion was both good and bad — bad, because it was a bit too much. For all his faults, Snape was an intelligent man, and genuine sketch (a la Monty Python) would probably capture that as well; as it is, it was eerily reminiscent of manipulative!Dumbles stories—where the main character is not only twisted a bit, but also dumbed down quite a lot.

    It was also good, because my favourite moment of the story was the vamp’s introduction to Vampires, and how Snape derided it. This is the sort of blindness to his own faults I would believe, and it resonated with me.

    Prompt use - 3/5

    It’s about vampires. It isn’t the top story ever, but vampires are a major reason for this story happening.

    Other - 3/5

    1 point for completing something, with a real beginning and end. 1 point is for the best parts, the references to canon—the potions introduction speech, the reason why Snape reminds people a vampire (“I’ve begun acting like one”), and these other nice points. The third point is especially for the potion introduction speech variation, which was for me the high point of this story.

    Total: 11/20
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  8. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer DLP Supporter

    Feb 22, 2008
    High Score:
    From the perspective of this as a piece of prose, it is objectively well written. I wasn't aware of any mistakes and while it didn't contain any specific narrative flair, the storytelling was good. You communicated to the audience precisely what you needed to at any given time to enact your vision. The concept and plot were certainly original and I actually, honestly, enjoyed the cleverness of Snape's plan to foil the unbreakable vow. Furthermore, this fits perfectly into the prompt. All solid points in your favour.

    Unfortunately, as humour, this fails for two reasons.

    a) You have one joke, which is repeated ad nauseam throughout the piece and b) There never appears to be a punchline to that joke.

    a would be fine if it were a good joke, but it isn't, because of b. And I'm going to attempt to do a very foolhardy thing and explain why this joke doesn't work:

    The premise of this joke in that Severus Snape isn't socially aware enough to understand that he's being gently let down. There is a problem here, I feel, in that this is not true of Snape's character. A joke like this has a higher chance of landing if the setup makes sense in context and conforms to our expectations, and this one doesn't.

    This in itself wouldn't be a huge problem, if there was a good punchline. But there actually doesn't seem to be one. Here is the structure of this joke:

    1. Sanguini tries to explain to Snape in polite terms that he's not interested in his membership.
    2. Snape misinterprets this in the most obviously possible way.
    3. ???
    4. Comedy.

    Perhaps the misinterpretation is supposed to be the punchline? But it's far too predictable to be actually funny. Perhaps the McGonagall thing is supposed to be the capstone, but it doesn't logically follow the rest of the joke and we already know that Sanguini is stringing him along by this point. It isn't a surprise.

    I'm going to do a shitty thing and compare your story to Whatever Happened to Bromance? which is, actually, remarkably similar to your structure. Not only does it occupy the same space canonically. but it also follows a very similar structure and is, primarily, the same joke told over and over. The things it does well however, are that the repetitive joke telling is inherently funny word play and that the situation is much more believable. It's then all capped with the punchline that lo and behold, to our amazement, somehow Cormac's advice has worked.

    I honestly think that the joke in this would have altogether been better if we hadn't realised that Sanguini was stringing Snape along, and the reveal came right at the end.

    In the whole, while the intention and execution were interesting, the whole piece hinged on a joke that wasn't very funny, which is unfortunate, because there are so many other good things going for this piece. I'm not going to give you an absolutely arbitrary score, but I hope that this was useful criticism and I'm more than happy to expound on any of these points if you feel I breezed by something.

    Thanks for entering :)
  9. Zombie

    Zombie Black Philip Moderator DLP Supporter

    Apr 28, 2007
    There's something to this. I think. Its better than 1 at the delivery of humor, but it still fell short of telling a story. This could have been much shorter and had the same impact. I'm not going to beat a dead horse and regurgitate what others have said. I wasn't pleased with this in the end because while the concept was there, it failed to inspire anything in me.

    As with Number 1. This wasn't Snape. Even if I was to suspend my belief of your character, I would say that I can't find it in me to rationalize the scenario you have set up. I did like that you mentioned Sanguini, because from my recollection of canon, they're the only vampire we're introduced to. The aspect of humor in this would have worked better, if like I said in my post on #1 if the humor felt more natural. It was very fabricated, and I think if you have to explain why a joke is funny like you've done here, then the joke isn't funny. If that makes sense.

    Overall, you did a good job in writing it. I have to give everyone credit that produced something for the competition. You sit there and say, oh I can write better than this. But at the same time, sitting down and doing it is another thing entirely.

    Thanks for submitting.
  10. TheLazyReader

    TheLazyReader Groundskeeper

    Feb 9, 2018
    This was alright as a short crack fic. Snape's character was exaggerated for humour purposes, and it played on the assumptions he believes in his superiority and is arrogant about his skills. The vampire exclusive society was interesting, but the execution of it in servitude of the joke fell flat. I was expecting something of Brazil, as in Snape's application might actually be acceptable, but the sheer amount of bureaucracy involved would have buried him. The McGonagall punchline (if it really was that) didn't quite fit, and the POV change to Sanguine for him to explain the joke was unnecessary.

    There were some great lines in it though. For example:
    This one could have the second sentence swapped simply with "Snape didn't respond," or "Snape smiled thinly," and it would have been funnier.

    All in all, it was alright. Not great, but not bad either.

    Plot & Pacing - 3/5
    Characters - 2/5
    Prompt use - 5/5

    Other - 2/5
  11. Dicra

    Dicra Groundskeeper

    Nov 12, 2014
    I've had a proper review written for this one, but I'm not going to publish it, because, after 10 reviews done by people who know more about writing than me, I'm pretty sure I can't add anything worthwhile in terms of technical criticism.

    That said, reactions and emotions also tell you a lot about whether people are going to be interested in what you wrote, about what people are looking for. So, instead of writing an in-depth-analysis, I'm gonna reread this chapter and try and capture my immediate reaction to what I've just read.

    DLP Story Competition Entry #2

    The beginning I was indifferent to, but it felt like Snape, so that’s a plus. The „stamp childhood and crushes out of them“ line was brilliant – from now onwards, you have my full attention, and you capitalized on it by telling me about Snape’s plan, but not yet filling in any details. Still, what little you tell already makes me feel a bit doubtful about the direction you’re taking this in. Snape running away doesn’t quite seem to fit. As this seems to be a humour story, I’m going to believe you for now – you earned that with the childhood-line.

    Snape wanting to be turned is no real surprise, but the build-up was alright. Sanguini’s reaction was alright, afterwards, we turn to the explanations.

    An application process for being a vampire? That’s quite intriguing.

    In general, the humour in this up ‘till now is one I enjoy very much. Nice details like „Snape fidgeted, another event that happened with extraordinary infrequency“ make this work as a whole. Even though I wasn’t fond of the „Lucille“ joke.

    Snape’s reasoning for his request to be turned is quite funny, too.

    Having read a bit further, I think „Salazar Bloodcauldron“ is the turning point of this. After that, Snape is just thick, there are only glimpses left of his former dark humour („Gregory Goyle of the clan“ was nice), and he doesn’t get the most obvious statements. It’s not funny, because it doesn’t surprise me. I just have to read about a person that acts stupid from that person’s point of view. It’s more frustrating than rewarding.

    I liked Sanguini's description of the vampire's life though, seemed very fitting. But still, the humour is gone, there's only one joke that gets punched in my face, again, and again, and again.

    In the end, you have the idea to have Snape seduce McGonagall. That’s so surreal it might even work for crack. I almost want to say „why didn’t you write about that“, but on the other hand, I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it, because it’d more or less result in the same joke. Stylistically, it was nice to read, but there wasn’t that much creativity in here aside from a few good lines in the beginning.

    I think, if this had been my prompt, I’d have tried to make it a sequence of punchlines, with both of them being rhetorical equals. I enjoy reading verbal sparrings.
  12. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Chief Warlock DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

    Oct 16, 2010
    So I've not read the other reviews to be as objective as possible.


    Snape ain't right, dawg.

    I get that he's a boarding house master in some reclusive British boarding school but dunderhead and popinjay should not be words of first recourse for him. He's a child of the sixties, who grew up in an abusive home environment and has participated in horrendous crimes under Voldemort. He's spiteful and clever and bitter. As much as he hates the world, mostly he hates himself. And he's from Leeds isn't he? Not sure. Even if that last bits not true, even if he's Received Pronunciation all day every day, he shouldn't be like this.

    And he's your POV character. It's the most damning part of this submission.
    The man's a spy, a master of the mind arts you say, and he can't read a room.

    When the scene opens and he's surveying the students and pontificating on why he's a dickhead and it's to help them avoid crushes and childhood. Well it's obviously meant to be comical and it's just as regrettably not.

    I can keep going, but it's beating a dead horse. Snape's characterisation here has missed the mark, missed the entire target. Likely in the service of comedy, but it's not funny.

    The thing is, until the end, Sanguini is great. He's described as charismatic and then in his lines is genuinely affable and charismatic. He hints at a deeper vampiric culture that is elitist and popular, without waxing on.

    Sanguini works perfectly. His half of the punchline is better, because the climax and the punchline is actually quite good and humorous. Snape's too ugly and creepy to be a vampire. Big laugh, drum, success.

    The problem is, Snape's physical characteristics don't need his internal monologue to be moronic for this gag to work. You've set yourself back for no gain.

    Onto the technical.

    Surely this should be 'yes, exactly' cus it sounds like he is looking for sanctuary. I imagine this is a victim of the editing process but it is unfortunately jarring.

    The opening paragraphs are particularly egregious. Here is one example of many. Even though its third person, you use too much editorial language. 'Snape considered', Snape 'thought better of it'. Shorthand that makes it easier for you to explain why things are happening without bothering to actually have to show us. It's fine when you're transitioning to scenes or describing things that aren't of importance in a larger story. For a one shot submission to a contest you should be doing better.

    You should be writing things like, 'Snape's fingers came to tap lightly against the handle of his wand, but even as Sanguini's eyes flickered to Snape's side the vampire remained relaxed against the desk, his smile as wide and as easy as ever'.

    And it happens a lot. Here, what does the with disdain actually add? 'Severus Snape's lip curled as he watched the assembled students', is better. And this is your first sentence. Yes it contains important information. We get who it is, what he's doing, roughly where he must be in a likely canon setting, and what he's feeling. But none of it is expressed well. Your first sentence should be your best sentence. It should be the one you thought of halfway through your story, when you'd written tons and you think, 'this is great. This is going to start everything off to get us here, no problem. People are going to want to read this'.

    This perspective shift was confusing. And took me a minute to figure out what was happening, jarring me out of the narrative.

    To be clear though, ignoring the above, this is generally well written, with clean prose. There's little drag, speech works well, and grammar and spelling are good. Sanguini is as great as Snape is terrible. The issues are larger issues. The small and most important things are perfect.

    I'll read the other reviews now and edit in the numbers in a short while.
    Edit: I also liked the use of his application in the narrative, as otters commented on. Adding a 'non-fiction' component with some weird details was good and read well, adding some diversity into the prose and did get some cheap laughs out of me.

    Plot & Pacing - 3/5

    So firmly middle of the road. I feel like the main punchline was that Snape was too ugly for Vampires, where their charismatic and attractive nature is practiced not supernatural.

    Snape not being able to pick up on the rejection, his views and the reason for those views on the others at the party were padding, not the joke, to me. Which is interesting when compared to the other reviewers above. I felt they were mini jokes and strands of attempted humour while you got to the big one. To set the scene, so to speak. However, you could've gotten to that joke quicker and better without that, without damaging your main character or diminishing Sanguini. I think there's a lot of truth in what James said in that this seems almost like something you might read if someone was bashing Snape. He's dumbed down and his behaviours aren't particularly true to his canon self.

    Characters - 2/5

    Sanguini's great. He's not what I imagined when I read HBP (some creepy nosferatu fucker) but more the dandy from what we do in the shadows. He hints at a world that I'd enjoy seeing more of, and for the little he says he allows you to imagine a great deal. That said, post punchline his Minerva comments come across a little juvenile. And I've talked about Snape enough.

    Prompt use - 4/5

    The vampire in the canon setting. This isn't some AU attempt. It's not vampwank, and it's an interesting look at how it might fit into the hogwarts world and how death and reanimation may present a benefit to some wizards, while at the same time you can easily see why Voldemort, a charismatic young man, wouldn't pursue this road to immortality.

    Other - 2/5

    It suffers for the perspective of the POV, and for the fact the one funny joke takes a little too long in getting there.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  13. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    There was the spawn of James Potter in the corner, his appalling hair failing to hide his facial disfigurement.

    ROFL - I really hope that in this story Harry doesn't actually have a facial disfigurement because that means I can assume Snape meant this to be because he looks like James. Cracked me up, despite all the similar jokes I've heard in fanfic, that... really amused me.

    They were all plotting his death. He was certain of it. And he had to stand here and humor them, just because he once had a childhood crush on his neighbor. He understood the folly of that now. He had vowed to himself long ago to stamp out both childhoods and crushes wherever he encountered them. They would all thank him later.

    Snape... wants to stamp out childhoods and crushes because his turned out poorly? And he's... doing this because he wants to make sure others don't have to endure the pain he did? Doesn't sound like Snape, hah.

    Oooh, Sanguini. I'd hoped at least one story would take advantage of his presence at Slughorn's party.

    Snape interrupted his speech by dropping a thick stack of parchment on the desk. “There is my application. In triplicate. Rest assured that I am prepared to become a valuable member of your society.”

    Loved that part. Also a fan of the reason why Snape wants this - he's just so done with both Albus and Voldemort and his life in general, and this would... basically let him side-step all of it.

    Lucille? LMAO.

    I like that you've put thought into the societal aspects, like how Sanguini wants to stay out of wizarding affairs and having Snape suddenly become a member of their society might bring them unwanted attention.

    As for the ending... I was amused by how Sanguini is hoping Minerva will just kill him and save him the trouble of declining his application.


    Snape just seems a little over-the-top silly in this, so much so that I found it slightly off-putting. The phrasing that is used in his POV does that more than anything else, I think. The stamping out of crushes, the chits flittering away, how a master of the dark arts would never possess something as silly as a sense of humor, etc. On the other hand a lot of the humor did hit and make me grin, such as Snape's desire to be Master Salazar Bloodcauldron or the concept of all the paperwork involved, etc.

    But for the most part it felt like... it felt like Snape himself was written in a 'crack' type manner but inserted into a story that wasn't actually crack.

    I loved how you wrote Sanguini on the other hand. He seemed to view Snape much as I did in this story.

    I quite enjoyed the concept as well. Snape wants to be free of all the irritants and obligations in his life, and conveniently the lore in this story allows that to happen if he becomes a vampire. So naturally he pursues that, and as a reader I can understand how his character would enjoy no longer dealing with Dumbledore, Voldemort, Potter, Malfoy, or teaching brats in general.

    But Snape's characterization just put me off a bit too much, even though I liked the concept and the other primary character (Sanguini).
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