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Entry #7

Discussion in 'Q2 - April Flash Competition' started by Xiph0, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Yoda Admin

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    Fleamont Potter and the Magic Eight Ball
    I crossed a massive line through my latest idea, ripping the parchment, and kicked back to balance my chair on two legs.

    Two hundred and thirteen iterations so far, nineteen of them worth brewing, and not a one had come close to taming my unruly hair. Or bushy hair or any other type of hair. The only version to do anything at all related to hair had turned Effie’s dry hair into a crow’s nest full of ‘split ends,’ whatever those were.

    I picked up my quill and leaned forward try again. Maybe if I reversed the stirring after adding the bobotuber pus it would—

    A hand slammed down into the middle of my paper. “Fleamont Potter, your Potions grade will be fine and I like your hair as it is.” Effie moved her hand into mine. “Have you even started your other NEWT projects?”

    “Yes.” I rubbed the back of her hand with my thumb as she moved to sit beside me. “I’ve combined Divination, Arithmancy, and Muggle Studies into one so I have time for Potions. I’m close, Effie, I know it.”

    “To the panacea hair potion that will revitalize the Potter fortune?”

    I sighed and pulled my hand back. She held on. “If you’re just going to make fun—“

    “I’m sorry,” Effie said. She squeezed and let go. “I didn’t mean it that way. Tell me about your other project?”

    I hesitated then smiled as my frustrations faded. “I’m using Arithmantic principles to ascertain a viable question to ask, Divination spells to derive the answer to said question, and this,” I pulled out the muggle device from my rucksack, “as the apparatus that makes it all possible.”

    Effie reached out to grab it, glancing at me for permission. Our fingers brushed when she took it and even though we’d just been holding hands I struggled not to blush. Merlin she was cute.

    “They call it a Magic Eight Ball,” I said. “There are five negative answers, five neutral ones, and ten positive. I assigned different levels of probability to each.”

    “It’s telling me the reply is hazy, try again,” Effie said. She shook it. “Outlook not so good?”

    “I haven’t found a question that works yet.” I pulled out my notes. “My lucky number today is 70, and I’ve picked years because lunar cycles or days would be too easy for a NEWT project. I’ve been calculating my lucky number every day then deriving a question. Sooner or later I’ll get one that averages out to a strong positive.”

    “What’s today’s question?”

    “I might not have gotten around to that yet,” I admitted.

    “It’s almost midnight,” Effie said. I squirmed at her tone of voice and tapped my notes to copy the equations to a fresh page. “And does the answer have to be yes?”

    I worked as we spoke, scribbling by calculations by rote. “Negatives aren’t as useful, and making sense of them is past NEWT level. Think of it like this, if I asked if you’d eaten socks for breakfast, getting an answer of ‘no’ wouldn’t be too useful. It’s a ridiculous question in that context, but—“

    “But if the answer was yes,” Effie continued, “then you’ve actually predicted something out of the ordinary.”

    “In reality it’s a bit more complex but that’s how they explained it in third year.” I waved my wand over the page to dry the ink and read today’s question. “Will my heir inherit?”

    I frowned and pulled out Attributes for the Able Arithmancer. Inherit what, exactly? Something of mine? Something esoteric? My heir by blood or knowledge? This looked like a pentagonal number series and I couldn’t remember what that indicated. I added notes to the margins.

    “Very doubtful,” Effie said, holding up the magic eight ball.

    I blew out the breath I’d been holding and laughed. “Well, my descendant will be sad not to obtain the fruits of my labor. That would have been a good question. Professor Nickerbock likes the nuanced ones.”

    Effie’s hand brushed my shoulder as she stood up. “I’m going to bed, don’t stay up too late.” She flicked her wand and repaired the ripped paper with my potions work.

    “Nite,” I said. I stared as she walked away, swearing that she swung her hips and winked as she waltzed up the stairs to the girls dorms.

    I stretched and felt energy rush back into me. Effie always had that effect on me, made me feel like Merlin himself. I grinned and tossed the magic eight ball into the air.

    When I caught it, it said “Yes.”

    I sat down. Stared at the repaired notes in front of me. I ripped up the parchment again and shook the ball. “70 years from now will my heir inherit?”

    “Very doubtful,” it said.

    Reparo.” My Potions notes flew back together.

    “Will my heir inherit?”

    “Without a doubt.”

    I grabbed my quill.

    --------------------------------

    Seventy years later…

    Harry James Potter gasped. Inside were mounds of gold coins. Columns of silver. Heaps of little bronze Knuts.

    “All yours,” smiled Hagrid.

    All Harry’s — it was incredible.
     
  2. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    This is pretty good, even if it's somewhat unclear how the process actually works. Because of that, there doesn't really seem to be a climax - did he actually get it to answer his questions correctly? We know he got the Sleekeazy to work in the end but the story ends on him maybe figuring out this other project, which is an end without a real emotional climax.

    Minor canon quibble: by the time of Fleamont the family was already wealthy. Revitalizing the fortune doesn't really seem the best motivator, as such. But the story still works just fine without it. Lame title, though.

    A decent short little story undercut by the absence of a real ending. 3/5.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2020
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    ~848 words
     
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    Cute little story that appears to take place 70 years ago, making canon the 70 years later bit. Looks like this one is all about Fleamont figuring out the recipe for his sleek-eazy potion while still a student at Hogwarts? I’m guessing that ‘Effie’ is short for Euphemia (Fleamont’s wife according to JKR).

    I like the scene, though I’m not sure if it’s set in a common room or the library or somewhere else entirely. Some of it isn’t clear – you had another 150 words to play with, might have been worth fleshing out a bit. How does this magic work? Is Fleamont excited at the end because he figured out how to make his potion work or because of his other project? Are you implying that he would never have gotten the potion to work if he hadn’t used a magic eight ball?

    It feels a bit like you got 80% through with the story then ran out of time and submitted it before finishing. The ending even gets more sparse in terms of description, like you didn't have time to add it, and that hurts the story.

    But I like it. It’s fun and simple compared to some of the heavier entries this time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
  5. bking4

    bking4 Second Year ⭐⭐

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    I like this story a lot. It’s cute, deals with characters we don’t normally get to see, and shows a cool way of how Fleamont worked at/fell upon the formula for his potion. I like the ending, nice little end cap that shows how the past affects the future.

    The byplay between Effie and Fleamont is sweet, and very in character for a teenage boy crushing on a girl. Short, sweet, and to the point.

    5/5 – I enjoyed it.
     
  6. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Minister of Magic DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I'm afraid I don't have terribly much to say about this one. It was clever, pleasant and good.
    This is what I like about the competitions, the unexpected. There'll be rough guesses about where a prompt may be taken. And then there'll be completely out of the left field. I'd never have guessed a Fleamont Potter story. Further, I admire how cleverly you've made the prompt the obstacle for, and the reason of, the story. I think it's the only story that's done this in this round, and it's very much appreciated by myself.

    I admire how, in such a brief, uncomplicated setting, you're able to show a nice (soft but there) conflict between his passion and desire, and his duty, and you synergise them well to create a reward. This story lives by its characterisations, it's short and too pleasant to do otherwise, and of the two characters Effie is the stronger. His attraction and her believable human qualities come through clearly. It's very well done.

    I both criticise and enjoy your exposition. It's a bit too much and a bit straight forward in the actual dialogue by Fleamont. However, that said, it's that best type of magical explanation in that it makes no sense, but it feels like it almost makes sense. Like we're missing just one key detail and can just about see the shape of it. I like that.

    Short, perhaps a little clunky. But a nice feel.

    Well done. This'll be one of my votes, I suspect.
     
  7. Gaius

    Gaius Fourth Year

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    this is great! I think you have succeeded in creating a fun story and mood with multiple moving parts—Fleamont & Effie, potions vs. his other subjects. the connection between the eight ball and Sleakeazy didn’t seem very smooth at first but you wrapped it up by the end. Also, I was doubtful about first person but you did a good job with it.
     
  8. WierdFoodStuff

    WierdFoodStuff Sixth Year

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    >“To the panacea hair potion that will revitalize the Potter fortune?”
    I sighed and pulled my hand back. She held on. “If you’re just going to make fun—“

    I love this exchange, specially the "She held on", subtle but showcases in so little words their relationship and the setting.
    Plus it's relatable, always a bonus.
    I do like the idea of divining the question and the magic ball as a tool/focus.
    It adds a certain charm to the story.
    Maybe I'm thick but I didn't understand the end even after reading it a couple times, why would ripping the pages have any effect?


    Overall a strong 3, maybe a light 4.
     
  9. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

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    The magical theory is sort of confusing. Not the outcome, but how the lucky number stuff works. The characterizations feel a bit heavy-handed, particularly the moments when he's appreciating Effie. As a whole, I did like this story. It feels complete. The idea is fun and innovative, and it's clear you put thought into it. And contrary to some of the other reviewers, I think the ending is perfectly fine. Not more has to be said and it fits.
     
  10. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    My favorite entry by far. The setting is quite sparse (blank room syndrome), but beyond that I really liked the dialogue and interactions between Effie and Fleamont.

    The idea behind the project is fun, if a bit confusing what was going on in the end (right before Harry inherits his vault). But the ending was spot on for me

    5/5
     
  11. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    So, this was my story!

    It actually wasn't finished. You can see that the prose and description tapered off near the end, and that's because I submitted this at 11:59 on a midnight deadline. I didn't even have time to proofread it, only the first quarter or so was beta-read (and I didn't get to incorporate their advice), and no time for a spellcheck at the end.

    But I liked how it turned out.

    Originally the 'prophecy' portion was going to be that his grandson would marry a Veela, and it was going to help him discover a 'full body beautifier' potion rather than a hair gel. Then I was going to write an ending scene with Harry/Fleur.

    But that got out of hand. Would have been a lot trickier to set up and explain and portray in the allotted word count, so I made it fit into canon instead (or tried to). Fleamont was trying to create his hair potion but it wasn't working. He had crossed out the notes that held the actual key to the formula, and if not for Effie repairing them and his project telling him that it would lead to his heir inheriting, he might not have discovered it.

    I don't consider anything JKR added 'after' the books to be canon. So I don't care if I got Fleamont right or not - I pick and choose bits of pieces of the extra stuff she's written and then twist it to what I want.

    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY that ending scene? That's lifted directly from PS/SS. I promise I did not use "smiled" as a speech tag. Blame JKR for that one.

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone! I might dump this into WbA later if I edit in all your amazingly useful comments.

    Feedback like this is a prize all its own.
     
  12. WierdFoodStuff

    WierdFoodStuff Sixth Year

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    What's the thought process behind that?
     
  13. Gaius

    Gaius Fourth Year

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    When Fleamont asks the 8 ball whether his heir will inherit, the question depends on the status of his notes bc. Sleakeazy will make him rich if he invents it. When they are ripped the negative answer suggests that Harry will not inherit bc. Fleamont will not figure out his potion, but with the positive response the only difference is the reparo, so Fleamont knows he’s onto something with his hair care potion. He tests this idea by ripping and repairing the notes and asking the 8 ball, which confirms to him he’s on the right track.

    I liked this detail, Ched, bc. it drew two seemingly different fields of magic and pursuits together. Your use of canon to help us read the Fleamont scene was very clever too.
     
  14. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    What he said.

    But making it more clear was something I would have tried to do with my extra 150 words. It relies a bit too much on people knowing who Fleamont was and what he invented than I'd like. I do feel that it's a shortcoming of this story that it wasn't a bit more clear.
     
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