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Entry #3

Discussion in 'Q4 2021' started by Xiph0, Jan 19, 2022.

  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    “Welcome Minister” Headmistress McGonagall greeted Kingsley as he and his entourage stepped off the Hogwarts Express. It was the middle of summer, the seventh of July, yet everyone was in their formal robes “Please this way, the carriages await”.

    The short journey was made in stiff silence, only the sounds of summer and the carriages bumping along the road broke the tense silence.

    Approaching the closed gates McGonagall and Kingsley got out and approached, the rest of the group formed behind them “Professor Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts - Order of Merlin Second Class bids the Keep of Keys to open the gates and welcome the Minister of Magic Kingsley Shackelbolt - Order of Merlin Second Class, Grover Newgarden - Senior Unspeakable - Flemmel Society, Claire Freecastle - Head Obliviator, Auror Mavis Whitburn, Auror Graham Burrelsmith and Tiberius Nott to the castle.”

    Hagrid took two long steps to the gates and inserting a massive black wrought iron key into them, turned it noiselessly and threw the gates open. “Welcome to Hogwarts, may you find what you seek”. Hagrid intoned as he stepped back from the gates.

    Over a year on from the Battle of Hogwarts, all of the obvious damage to the Castle and grounds had been repaired. The Italian and French Ministries had sent over some of their finest masons and enchanters to help repair the castle and its fittings. No amount of work and good will however could fully restore what had been taken from them, Flitwick and Firenze had said she was mistaken, but passing through the spot where Colin Creevy had been murdered, she felt the cloying brush of dark magic. Her night-time rounds of the castle no longer brought her the same comfort they once had, there were to many places where one of theirs had fallen. She had even taken to entering the Great Hall by the side entrance rather than walk through the entrance hall.

    She passed into the castle with Kingsley at her side, the only sign of discomfort was a slight increase in her step, as she mounted the stairs up into the castle.

    Statues and Tapestries, both new and old passed by before they reached the corridor on the seventh floor. Professors Flitwick, Sprout and Slughorn awaited them, each sombre, nervous, Horace wiping his forehead with an embroidered hankie.

    They had planned this moment for months, everything from the journey to the castle, to the day of the year had been meticulously laid out. They had half of an equation, and at best, pure guesswork what lay beyond the door that was yet unseen.

    The threat of a student unknowingly, or knowingly, unleashing a room of fiendfire upon of school at any moment was too great of a chance. Despite a year of research, no one knew for sure the spells weaved into making the room, or if the room would still even be there. Would the room contain the fiendfire indefinitely, would it have burnt out once it consumed even the very atoms in the air, would they be facing a magical discharge of cascading failure, held in stasis by the nature of the room, the cursed fire may have been able to tap into the rooms ability to conjure mater to feed itself indefinitely. Hours of endless debate and research had given them nothing.

    Hogsmeade had been evacuated, the castle was deserted aside from those present, even the owlery was empty for the first time in over a thousand years.

    With a final look at the assembled wizards and witches, the Headmistress walked Infront of the empty stretch of wall, the others held their wands at the ready “I wish to enter the room of hidden things”.

    She turned on the spot and strode back “I wish to enter the room of hidden things” it almost felt as if Hogwarts herself was holding her breath, the air felt thicker, heavier, it smelled stale, old.

    Turning once more she strode back again, the shake in her hand impossible to hide, her voice was thick as though she was pushing the words out against their will “I wish to enter the room of hidden things”

    She didn’t have to turn to know a door had appeared, the look of terror and dread on Professors Sprouts face was enough. Steeling herself she turned, a wide wooden door had appeared, banded in iron with a heavy ring on it, it was wide enough for three to pass abreast at once, the room knew who came for it. She held a moment of hope that a wooden door surely meant the fiendfire was gone, but she knew that doors substance didn’t matter so much as the intent of the room.

    With a glance towards Kingsley, she placed her hand on the iron ring, Kingsley, Aurors Mavis and Graham flanking him, stood to her side.

    She pulled the door towards her, flinging it open, the moment the door was open a sliver the world exploded into noise. Screaming, tearing, shrieking, pain, the very air itself was screaming in agony.

    Kingsley and the Aurors had slashed their wands across themselves the moment McGonagall had set her hand on the door. They were to counter the terrible malevolent force of the cursed flame. To force a beachhead into the room and pit themselves against the inferno.

    Auror Graham spit as he strode in with Kingsley, the air itself tasted foul, every sense was assaulted both physically and mentally, the spell had a will, and its will was to destroy and consume. It almost relished the destruction of life, its internal will torn between savouring the pain and destruction it inflicted and wanting to spread as far and fast as possible.

    The headmistresses felt a hand on her shoulder, Claire Freecastle, herself, Horace and Nott, they were to pit themselves against the spell. To tear it apart from within, rob it of its malevolent will and reduce it to elemental fire, to be quenched with but a thought. The others were to protect the castle, and if need be, seal the door if they failed.

    They entered the room, a dome of black flooring before them a few meters wide was all Kingsley had managed to claim back from the corrupt flame.

    The fire had, for a moment almost seemed to die down, as if the collective might and will of the assembled had quelled it, the fire was pushed back another metre, then another.

    The sound was still almost unbearable, a pressure pushing in from all sides, a pain that was more than merely physical, the scream of every being that had ever been brushed by fire through out history had been collected and was assaulting them.

    Kingsley knew the moment the others had pit themselves against the flame, the body of fire they had forced back doubled in brightness and ferocity in a fraction of second, and then again, and again, and again. The fire indignant that any would dare rob it of its right to consume.

    He staggered back, hitting the unmistakable mass of Horace who held a steading hand out for him. The feedback on his counter spell was like nails down a chalkboard, the resonance bringing bile to his mouth, and suddenly it grew again, pushing in against him from the side. Within the audible assault he thought he could hear Grahams howl of pain, the sound taken up by the cursed flame and slammed into him over and over, taunting, mocking.

    He was being forced to his knees before he felt the pressure let up, he could feel Horace drop his attack on the flame and pick up the defence, halting the collapse of the beachhead at the last moment.

    Nott and Claire held the offence, hardly a step past the threshold they had cast their minds against cursed flame. Claire could sense McGonagall’s own assault, using the will of the castle and its defence along with her own rigid will to break the spell, she could tell it wouldn’t work. The fire was not to be taken apart by careful consideration, by structured analysis and deconstruction, it was chaos incarnate.

    She cast about for Notts attack, he was feeding its own will back on it, fanning the fire literally and metaphorically, stripping away what tiny control the fire had on itself and turning it into pure unending rage.

    Grinning she took a step forward, her wand dancing in front of her, sweeping up, across, down, she moved forward again as the flames suddenly seemed to retreat. She was a matador with a red cape and the fire with her bull, she teased it, duked it, baited it, and turned it back upon itself. As it retreated it grew whiter than white hot, a star come to earth.

    Grinning, eyes alight, she twirled her wand in her hand and ripped it back to her breast. The fire collapsing into simple fire, the headmistress undoing the last remnant of the fire.
     
  2. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    A lot of New characters for such a short story. A toss up between only staying canon and fleshing it out. Seems like it needed to be longer to flesh them out.

    [\spoiler{
     
  3. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    The way I see it, you've got two problems.

    First is that your technical writing could use improvement. This is clear from the first sentence of your story:
    Gramatically speaking this should be, at the very least:
    Even then, though, it doesn't scan very well. It lacks oomph.

    I can find flaws in basically every sentence. You repeat words, which just results in odd cadences as the reader's rhythm is broken. You do odd things with punctuation: look up the rules for how punctuation works with regards to dialogue. Your characters all talk the same, with your Hagrid being the weirdest example. For a story about fiendfyre, you even got its spelling wrong. Your prose, especially when it comes to them combating the fiendfyre, is utterly purple.

    Second, this story is an action scene. That's not actually a problem, but where's the plot? The characters learn nothing about themselves, nothing about the world, no meaningful change is affected. It is simply the story of a few teachers, Aurors, and others, essentially doing some handyman work.

    2/5.
     
  4. haphnepls

    haphnepls Seventh Year

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    To be blunt, the best thing I liked about this is the idea of fiendfyre rampaging forever after. I really wish you spelled it right, alas...

    There is many characters and yet zero chemistry between them, of any sort. I realize they might be strangers on the same mission, but they all barely acknowoldge each others in their words and that never happens. The whole dialogue comes off as unbelievable.

    The plot's action scene, I feel, should've been aborted to make space for the resolution of the idea. The action doesn't add anything to the story as it is, and I feel there were better approaches to deal with it. Make it personal somehow, make it matter... That's why you mostly want to pick familiar characters for a flash instead of bunch of randos.

    In short, everything is too impersonal except a little snipped from Minerva about Colin. You could and should do better. There is a potential to the idea.
     
  5. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

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    The concept is doing a lot of heavy lifting here, but to be fair, I think it's actually a really cool concept; I hadn't ever really considered what would have happened to the fiendfyre storm once the battle was over, although given that we know from the epilogue and Cursed Child that Hogwarts continues to exist, I suppose it's obvious that it was solved one way or the other. Anyway, I really like the idea.

    The execution, however, is a little flawed. I could pick it apart quite extensively, but the main thing that stood out to me was the third paragraph, which has a distinct air of padding out the wordcount - we've all been there, albeit usually in essays rather than prose, but as much as I appreciate a touch of ceremony, it feels a bit out of place in context to what they're going to Hogwarts for. I'm also a bit unsure why some of them are there. Kingsley, fair enough, former Auror. The other Aurors, yeah, OK. The Unspeakable? Sure, I can buy that...the Obliviator though? Professor Sprout? Most importantly though, it's not really clear how they end up succeeding. They're struggling, struggling...and then McGonagall wins.

    I'm going to guess that this was written in the extension period, perhaps? A lot of this might have been caught on a thorough editing pass.

    Anyway...all that said, I do find myself circling back to my original point. For all the technical flaws, I could be prepared to overlook that side of things because of the fairly inspired concept.
     
  6. Mr. Mixed Bag

    Mr. Mixed Bag Seventh Year

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    I like the idea. You found a nice, juicy little patch of canon that could be expanded on and sunk your teeth into it. Regretfully, can't say the same about the execution.

    Firstly, you really lay on the authorial voice exposition dump in the first portion. You have a whole bunch of characters walking together in silence while you talk, essentially, over them all. It would be a lot smoother and more interesting to read if you had them talk to each other and gave the context that way. Have Kingsly ask Minerva if there have been any traces of bits of the flame escaping, have one of the aurors comment on how nicely fixed up Hogwarts looks and Minerva mention the foreign aid, or any other of the many ways you could do this. But as is doesn't work, not if you want any sort of engagement.

    This is only worsened by some very - and I hope this doesn't come off as brusque - but lackluster writing. You need to take a long look at how you're constructing sentences. Many of them run too long with too many commas, some don't have commas where they need them, and others just include a lot of redundancies or extraneous descriptions. Try thinking of what you want to say with each sentence, and then make sure you say only that. List form sentences that, well sort of run with a lot of commas, and compound a variety of ideas, which you seem very fond of, do have their place, but only in moderation. Have a drink with your period key and get to know it a little better, you'll both have a blast I swear.

    The action scene left me very disoriented, though I can't quite pinpoint why. Mostly I think because of the prose issues listed in the paragraph above, and how those issues make seamless switching between so many characters virtually impossible.

    Final Verdict: It felt like a slog to finish, which really isn't a good thing for flash. Good idea, wasn't fun in practice.

    Double up of approach is a simple no-no. Because it's a joint action (both Minerva and Kingsley doing it) you should split the dialogue into a separate paragraph and attribute whose saying.

    Not as concise as it should be, we know implicitly where he's inserting the key. You should also either have a comma after inserting, or have it as inserted (I'd choose the latter personally, but both valid).

    Here's what I was saying. This is two sentences at least, likely three, all crammed into one. One example of a way to streamline it (though by no means the only) would be:

    "No amount of work and goodwill however could fully restore what had been taken from them. Flitwick and Firenze said she was mistaken, but when passing through the spot Colin Creevy had been murdered she always felt the cloying brush of dark magic."

    A little bit of concision, goodwill is one word, breaks up the sentence, removes a now-extraneous comma.

    This just seems weird? Like why would the trip to the castle take overmuch planning? And it isn't smooth, day of the year is less specific than the trip, and so should then be listed first if anything. Example of something better:

    "They had planned for this moment for months. Everything from the day of the year to exactly who would be present had been meticulously laid out."

    Just... -> . <- (I. e. break this sentence up)

    Repetitive.

    This is a really damn good line. I've been laying on the criticism pretty heavily, but I love this sentence. Wish there were more like it, because its top-quality.

    Just get rid of the last bit, yeah? This is really close to being a great line. Ending it on door implies that they may have to allow their comrades to die, and that implication then hangs heavy in the air. Spelling it out is both unnecessary and waters down this affect.

    There're more instances of these sorts of things, but I think these are enough examples to get across what I'm trying to.
     
  7. FitzDizzyspells

    FitzDizzyspells Seventh Year DLP Supporter ⭐⭐⭐

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    I would recommend that this author find a beta who could walk them through some writing basics, such as how to format dialogue, how to pick a point of view, and how to structure sentences.
    This should be formatted: "Welcome to Hogwarts. May you find what you seek," Hagrid intoned as he stepped back from the gates.

    However, the bigger issue is that Hagrid doesn't sound anything like Hagrid in this story. In fact, none of the dialogue in this story sounds anything like the characters we know and love.

    I would also recommend that this author tell this story consistently from McGonagall's point of view. This story is guilty of "head hopping," which means the reader has to keep track of whose thoughts and emotions are being experienced. While most of the story is from McGonagall's point of view, we later jump into Kingsley's head (when he "knew" and "thought") and then Claire's (when she "could sense").

    The unclear POV meant that I was very confused about who the "she" was in the last three paragraphs of the story. While an eventual reference to "the headmistress" finally clarifies it, the fact that "Claire could sense McGonagall’s own assault" implies that part of the scene was through Claire's eyes.

    I did like the magic at the end of this story, and at times the author did paint some cool, vivid pictures. However, the magical concepts were pretty vague, so the ideas themselves couldn't elevate the bad writing.

    Overall I have to give this story a 1/5, but I think that collaborating with a beta could improve this author's future writing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
  8. Niez

    Niez Seventh Year ⭐⭐

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    I can't add much to the last two reviews; they both have it spot on as far as I'm concerned. I will say that I liked the idea in theory though, so clearly your heart is in the right place, if your hand still needs a bit more practice.
     
  9. LucyInTheSkye

    LucyInTheSkye Competition Winner CHAMPION ⭐⭐

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    I like the idea and part of your cast of characters. You've got too many, especially as there's several OCs. I kept expecting Claire to be the main character, she seemed important at first but now I'm not really sure who was meant to be the mc here.

    In canon, the Ministry is often portrayed as very incompetent, so it feels a bit jarring to see them come to Hogwarts to solve an issue. I suppose that's part of the new bright future, but it still feels strange to read (might be my biases though).

    I think you could have had one OC meeting a couple of familiar characters, or just stuck to McGonagall and Hagrid and Kingsley. Some backstory to the OC would have been nice too, someone who we're given a bit of backstory to at some point, maybe they know McGonagall from before, or maybe they fought at the Battle of Hogwarts and reminisce as they walk up to the castle? Something like that.

    More clarity in the fight sequence would have been nice, and I think you need to have another look at how Hagrid speaks and what title he uses for himself when he and Harry first meet.
     
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