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WIP What You Leave Behind by Newcomb - T

Discussion in 'The Alternates' started by Celtic Bard, May 22, 2016.

  1. Celtic Bard

    Celtic Bard First Year

    Jan 11, 2016
    High Score:
    Title: What You Leave Behind
    Author: Newcomb
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure/Romance
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: Harry/Fleur
    Summary: The Mirror of Erised is supposed to show your heart's desire - so why does Harry Potter see only vague, blurry darkness? Aberforth is Headmaster, Ariana is alive, Albus is in exile, and Harry must uncover his past if he's to survive his future.
    Link: FanFiction.Net

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story mainly because of its AU setting. One of the main points of divergence in this story is that Ariana did not die in the fight between Albus, Aberforth and Grindelwald.

    Another divergence is that Harry is born a year earlier than in canon and is the same year as in Cho Chang, thus forming a golden trio of sorts with her and Cedric Diggory.

    While it is a well written story, it is not without its flaws as Harry suddenly gets a power boost around his second year. That being said, it does not distract from the story too much.

    I'd rate this story 4.5/5 rounding off to 5/5.
  2. Myrrdin Emrys

    Myrrdin Emrys Disappeared

    Dec 4, 2015
    Somewhere in Asia.
    High Score:
    Wait, wait, wait, this story isn't in the library? The fuck!

    Anyways, not to make this completely irrelevant, the prose is sound, the magical environment and ideas are original, or as original as can be with over 800,000 fics out there, and then there is the fact that the characterization of, well, everyone is absolutely brilliant. Especially Dumbledore's.

    This is not to say that the fic is without flaws, but then what fic is, for example, the change in Harry's power, though explained as reasonably as could be, could be swallowed with a slight suspension of disbelief.

    The grammar and spelling were finely done and so, I'd rate this fic a 4.5/5, rounded to a 5.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  3. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

    Apr 14, 2014
    New Zealand

    I thought this was in here as well, too. So much so that I spent some time searching for its library thread so I could report this one.

    Anyway, amazing fic, 5/5. I'll probably write a full review at some stage.
  4. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

    Nov 16, 2009
    High Score:
    There's a lot of good stuff here. I really like the kids; they're all very convincing without being irritatingly child-like, with the obvious exception of Harry. Luna was spot on. Of the adults, Dumbledore was a stand-out, so great job there. Going back to Harry, for the most part there's a really nice balance between the talented wizard who's five years ahead of the game at least and the young boy finding his place in the world. There's the odd moment where I found myself having to remember he was 12, like his encounter during the Quidditch camp, but basically a great job on that.

    On which note, it's an intriguing world - I like the idea of Dumbledore being kicked out of national power, and additions like Quidditch camp, and the upper years party, expand the setting convincingly without bogging the story down.

    Plot-wise, I'm a little less sure - it's not bad, precisely, but I can't help but feel it's a little rushed. You introduce Harry's memories as a big mystery, and then two chapters later we know the answer. We find out there's more hidden chambers to find, and within a couple of chapters one's been found (if not opened) and another seems (and I might be wrong, there) to be close to being located. I get that the chapters cover a longer time period than the average fanfic chapter, but I could stand to see it fleshed out a little.

  5. Snapdragon

    Snapdragon Banned

    Sep 7, 2014
    After a few chapters I gave up on it. I just couldn't get warm with this Hufflepuff, older, different friends for the sake of being different angle. It just felt too heavy handed.
  6. Peter North

    Peter North Dark Lord

    Jul 10, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I do agree that this fic can be hard to get into. However this is one of the few fics out there that are really well written, and the fact that it's Harry/Fleur is another point in it's favor. I'm quite certain that once the action really starts up in this fic you won't be able to put it down.

    His other fic "The Lesser Sadness" now that's a fic you can really get into.
    Newcomb if your reading this buddy you've got two fics out there that I really want to see updated man.
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  7. FriedIce

    FriedIce Seventh Year

    Jun 9, 2013
    This story is different. It doesn't use the standard canon plots, and its so much better for it.

    Add that to the fact that Newcomb is a highly gifted writer and you might just have my favourite fic in the fandom. If he ever writes a novel I hope he posts about it, I'll pick it up in a heartbeat.

  8. Nerox

    Nerox Professor

    Jan 29, 2012
    I see what everybody did there. Using Newcomb to get him to pay attention and thus writing more chapters. Very cunning.

    Erm yeah, 5/5 obviously.
  9. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign –§ Prestigious §–

    Apr 22, 2013
    The Holy Moose Empire
    High Score:
    When I saw the thread today, I experienced the obvious "WTF this isn't in the Library?" moment. I wondered what I could say that hasn't already been said that would contribute to establishing that WYLB absolutely deserves to be in the Library.

    You know how it's said that writers borrow from other writers? While I never announced my inspirations from rooftops to the masses of my faithful followers (so like... five of them), I never made a secret of it either. My biggest fic draws pretty heavily from a few of my favorites, including WYLB. Some of the best scenes are the ones where Harry studies magic.
    The Transfigured matryoshka dolls - brilliant.

    The three main characters are well developed. I actually look at them as kind of refined versions of the canon trio, but still stand on their own. I also think that Newcomb managed to progress nicely through the timeline. I never thought the timeskips were too sudden. It's actually a refreshing change of pace from fics with huge wordcounts that cover much less time.

    The last thing I'll say here is that I find Newcomb's style just straight up pleasant to read. There's a good balance of utilitarian language unfolding the plot and some extra description in the scenes that would otherwise come off dry. Just enough meat on the bones.

    Easily 5/5
  10. Eidolonic

    Eidolonic Chief Warlock

    Jul 30, 2007

    It's pretty mediocre, and should probably be switched to [Abandoned] rather than [WIP].

    Please don't ban me. I'm just having some fun at Newcomb's expense, since I'm sure he's following this thread.

    The story is great. It's a type of fresh air that originally had me kind of rolling my eyes at making things different just so they'd be different, but I was drawn into the story and the characters. I love the Harry/Dumbledore interactions in particular.

    The technical writing is superb, of course, some of the best in the fandom. It lets you fully immerse yourself in the story, without the flaws jumping out at you and reminding you that you're reading a piece of fanfiction, with all that entails.

    I'm not sure I can call a work in progress 5/5, ever, but this is close. 4.75, rounded up, or something like that.

    One of the rare WIP's I care about, which given my favor for completed stories is high praise, indeed.
  11. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Unspeakable DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

    Oct 16, 2010
    This should obviously be in the library. Newcomb's a very talented author. The wonder of magic, that feeling that should be engendered in me, the reader, is something that I've only stumbled across in the works of a few authors and Newcomb is one of them. It's what made Harry Potter so special in the first place.

    I imagine there must have been a very great meticulousness in constructing this story because all the major domains are fantastic. Its plot, the characterisations and the settings all work for me.

    I don't know what more to say really, as this is purely a review to justify giving it five stars. If anyone were to stumble onto this thread make it this far and not have already starting reading it, please do.

    It's a classic. 5/5.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  12. James

    James High Inquisitor

    Jan 22, 2015
    I love this, so much.

    The most perfect thing about this fic, I think, is that it threads the line between various extremes of fanfiction, or any literature really, very well. The magic in this is wondrous, but still very whimsical, and it's the single greatest thing about it.

    The themes are great as well - I feel it's even better than original, in that Harry in this is great - mischevious a bit, but without the usual retarded pranking of bad fics, but still a good non-annoying person - who is very focused on self improvement, and quite self centered. And all of this is fantastically balanced with the joyful parts of having friends, three dimensional people with their own personalities and goals.

    And that ties to second great thing about this, the atmosphere. It's awesome. It has joy, it has playfulness, and the dark parts of the world seem that much darker, and more threatening in contrast - which is very similar to original series.

    It seems that fanfiction can't quite capture this duality of harry potter world, and it's either dark and serious and tough for the main character, or comedy. (Or of course, grimdark stuff of Likes of Darth Marrs, or mirthless universe of Mira Mirth's On the way to greatness).

    But WYLB, on the other hand, captures it perfectly. So much so, that I even prefer it to original books.

    That said, this is a fanfiction, and could never be original book - I think it works so well because it enhances the jkr's world without the needless repetition of original books, unlike many other fics, but doesn't paint quite vivid enough image of world by itself.

    As far as ff goes, though, it's great, and it's a solid 5/5.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  13. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

    Sep 28, 2013
    The Evergreen State
    What the heck, I'll weigh in.

    Minor quibble: He doesn't so much "get a power boost" as

    get his true memories returned at the end of first year

    Which, really, is kind of its own flaw, because you've got a pretty striking tonal shift between the mystery genre of first year and then the, hm, what do you even call it, canon+ Voldemort preliminary chess moves of year 2 and on.

    I love writing Dumbledore. For whatever reason, I just hear his "voice" really well in my head, and I'm glad that comes through.

    I'd obviously love that, but feel free to hold off until I get a bit further on with the story.

    For reference, I'd say the end of year 3, which will happen in I think two chapters (? don't quote me on that, I'd need to glance at my outline) marks the climax of the first third of the story.

    I'd say that "writing kids as if they're actually kids" is probably the fic's biggest weakness. I've thought about re-writing to try to address this, but the combination of overwhelming reader feedback on this issue being "it's true that they don't come off like kids but I don't want them to" and the fact that in 4-5 chapters this will be less of an issue since Harry will keep aging has kind of put this on the back burner for me.

    This is a really good point. There are definitely some pacing issues. For me, it's a balance issue where you want to keep things ticking along and not get bogged down, but you don't want to have things feel rushed. I think the most glaring issue is whatever chapter covers Christmas->End of term of year 2. Always felt like I was just rushing to get that over with and on to the fun stuff.

    Part of it stems from my distaste for multi-year fics that get endlessly bogged down in the details of year 1/2 when that's the least interesting part of the story, IMO. Still a good point and something to keep in mind going forward.

    You've got a good point there as well. The way this story came about was definitely not elegant or organic. It was more like a Frankenstein plot cobbled together out of like 3-4 things I really wanted to read in a HP fanfic. The thought process was like ->

    1) "Man, Harry/Fleur has so much potential but I hate almost every story that does it. I want to read one where she's not a wilting flower with a cold indifferent mask, or a bunch of Veela nonsense."

    2) "I want to read a good story that fleshes out Cho and Cedric. I always liked them and I felt like canon kind of shoehorned them in to give Harry Important Life Lessons and not be actual real people."

    3) "Hm, if Harry was a little older, that would work well with both 1 and 2."

    4) "Okay but that's not really a plot. Hmm, what's an AU change I've never seen done? Ariana is alive? Yeah, that would probably be cool. Okay so that would change X, Y, and Z..."

    and then it kind of spiraled from there.

    So yeah, in retrospect the story is really a mishmash of like seven different things. To be brutally honest, the only reason I get away with it is that the writing is at a level where the wires aren't super easy to spot. At least to the point where they're not standing out to the reader and being all in your face, if that makes sense.

    I'M AWARE.

    You say that, but wait until you actually read the novel I wrote when I was 21. I can barely stand to skim through it these days. It's legit bad, not just "bad for me." I wrote another one at 25 that's... possibly salvageable.

    That being said, third time's the charm, as they say. But not before I actually finish one of my fanfiction projects.

    Joke's on you, writing all of these responses satisfied my fanfic urge for the day.

    Thanks. This is something I take a lot of pride in, so it means a lot to me that you picked up on it / liked it as well.

    Tangentially, I keep meaning to read your fic, Scott. I haven't read much if any HP fanfic in the last 5 months or so - seems to come in waves for me - but if I did want to pick it up, where's the best place to read it? Is the FFN version the current one?

    now listen here you little shit

    You get me.


    That's like, the #1 dividing black and white line between writing something that works and something that doesn't, if you can get out of your own way enough for things to just flow for the reader. Glad it does that for you. It's hard to define, but you know it when you see it. A lot of Sesc's stuff feels like that to me.

    You'd think so, heh. But yeah - Frankenstein plot. There was a point around chapter 5 or 6 where I kind of realized what I'd gotten myself into and I was looking ahead and realizing that my plan was waaaaay too vague, but thankfully that was about the time I was getting to know Taure and MattSilver on IRC and I was able to really hash out a lot of things and tighten them up, which will pay off later a LOT, I think.

    High praise indeed. Thank you. The duality thing - either too wacky or too bleak - is something that's also frustrated me for a long time with fanfic, and this was a very conscious choice to try to thread the needle in this story, tone-wise, so I'm very glad you picked up on it.

    And yeah, I've always thought of this as kind of canon+ rather than canon-compliant or straight "fanon" AU. I really really really respect JKR as a storyteller and I fell in love with the HP world as a teenager, so this story is really kind of a love letter to the series as a whole but with a very selfish "okay but here's what I've always wanted to see" twist on things.


    Anyway yeah. I'm never ever ever ever going to say this will be updated on X or Y date, but I am (slowly) actively working on it. I'm really gratified to know it'll have an audience when/if I ever do kick it back into gear.
  14. Gene

    Gene Third Year

    Jan 11, 2014
    You could stand to doubly emphasize that Cho and Cedric aren't peripherals to Harry; you've got a good thing going with Cedric's hero complex in relation to him being a sidekick, and building on that (perhaps even giving him a plot arc where exploration and experience in hogwarts are of greater import?) would serve the story well. I don't mean something dumb like "I'm jealous so I'm going to passive-aggressively antagonize you forever", but it would be nice if he actually talked to Harry about this at some point. It feels like it should be more important than it actually is thus far, I guess.

    The same goes for Cho: I don't like to put it like this, as it's probably a bit too harsh, but she feels a bit generic. At some point in the future, you should consider addressing things like her dreams and the motivations for them (as in, her hoped-for goals, not "sleeping vision" stuff). Cedric had the luxury of an entire set of scenes depicting him and his interests, and it might be a good idea to do something similar for Cho at some point.

    This is a fairly small problem, if that, but I at least think it would be helpful.
  15. thejabber27

    thejabber27 Sixth Year

    Jan 4, 2012
    While there are many things I like about this fic, there are a few things that are holding me back from loving it.

    In the first chapter, I feel like skipping over all of the 10 years where he was supposedly at the Dursley's was a big misstep as how it played in later to the mystery. A short scene maybe showing the monotone life that Harry thought he had with a few things that were "off" and on a reread show that it fit with the answer of the mystery along with a short bit on Vernon dropping him off with a bit of the same attitude that he picked him up with at the end of the year would have been a master stroke in my mind.

    I both like and dislike how you've portrayed Cho and Cedric, they're well fleshed out characters but it's hard to see them so close to harry from the get go. Part of the reason Ron and Hermione were both good friends and good foils to each other was because they were forced together by proximity, they'd butt heads and such because that's what happens when you live with people. It forged an odd bond between them with harry as the focal point. But Cho and Cedric just have quiddich and Harry at the beginning, sure Harry drags them along with mystery and adventure but it doesn't feel like they should have gelled as well as they have just on those things. We see Cho with other girls but I can only remember Cedric be with Harry/Cho or mentioning he was with the quiddich team, never really seeing his school life outside of those two lenses. It ends up feeling slightly forced and slightly like you used the wrong glue, they stick together, it holds, but it feels like there was a better choice for it. Tying that back to Harry, would he be a strong enough focal point for them to form the strong friendship they had towards the beginning? No I don't really think so because there's too many things separating them from having interactions with each other. You add in some (Cedric buying the brooms) but it still feels kind of shaky for me.

    I'm still reserving judgement on the founders rooms, it could go really well or really bad.

    That's all I can really remember having issues with.

    So I'm giving this a 4/5, solid writing, plot, characters, with just a few things holding it back from being truly great.
  16. Anarchy

    Anarchy Totally Sirius DLP Supporter

    Dec 12, 2009
    I found this story really hard to get into, and I'm not just saying that to go against the grain. Honestly, the first half just feels like filler. The whole memory concealment bit, then using a wardrobe as a portal or whatever to another place, the whole setup felt extremely arbitrary to me and I couldn't get any enjoyment out of it. And considering that whole setup was the first third of the published chapters, it makes it hard to give an honest rating.
  17. neongreenbeast

    neongreenbeast Squib

    Jan 5, 2015
    I really like this fic. But then, I like every half-decent Harry/Fleur work.
    But what sets this one apart is the depth given to characters who weren't given too much importance in canon like Cho, Cedric and Elphias Doge.
    Dumbledore, of course, is brilliant.
    Harry's interactions with Fleur seem a bit forced though, especially his awkwardness.
    Definitely worth a read. 5/5
  18. abcdefg

    abcdefg Squib

    Nov 3, 2014
    Stockholm, Sweden
    thejabber27 One thing I think helps with the second point is the mutual crush/infatuation between Cho and Cedric; of course, we don't know when exactly it started, so maybe it was irrelevant in the beginning. So they'd have that reason to want to be with Harry, since he's the glue between them as you put it.

    Plus while they act very mature, they're still 12 years old or so; it's pretty easy to make friends at that age, just look at Ron and Harry in canon.
  19. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

    Dec 6, 2010
    I went and gave this fic a shot.

    Nice job, I guess. Good way to kill an afternoon, the plot caught my interest, the magic bits were pretty cool, and I'll be following updates to this. That said...

    The whole thing didn't feel particularly sophisticated, just about on a level with canon. I don't know whether that warrants minuses, depending on whether the proper standard of judgment is relatively to expectations for a typical Harry Potter fanfic or relatively to arbitrarily demanding preferences, but I'm just throwing it out there.

    The prose was meh, workable though not awe-inspiring (although I suppose my bias shows here, I have a preference for the florid).

    The characterization was good in the case of Harry, but the other characters felt more like cardboard cutouts. Oddly enough, it's rare when I like Harry's characterization in particular, above that of other characters, as he often feels like he doesn't have a distinctive voice in many fics, but here it's the other way around. It's Harry who feels individualized, while Cho and Cedric sound rather generic. Malfoy's such a caricature lacking in self-awareness that I could not believe the things coming out of his mouth. Daphne reads like a sociopath who fakes her way through normal interaction. I still don't get what the deal is with her or whether it'll be cleared up in the following chapters, but this reads like her distinguishing trait that's drawn Harry's attention -- sociopathy. Sirius and Remus read like every other instance of Sirius and Remus out there. Well, at least you folks are consistent in characterization. Oh, and I liked Aberforth. (No surprise there, I generally do.)

    I'm not generally a fan of training-regimen fics. Here you have many talented men pouring their best efforts into leveling-up a very young (!) kid and, while anybody who's been reading Harry Potter and HP fanfiction knows why that is, the in-universe reason for this looks, for now, tenuous at best, and I'm not very sure about the literary reason, either. For now it just seems purposed to give Harry a leg up in schoolwork, and have characters comment on that.

    The humour was generally well-done. And very prevalent, too, though I suppose that comes with the territory when you're writing about a bunch of kids. That does a lot to define the emotional tone of the story. There are some moments which I feel could have used a stronger, more dramatic emotional load, but maybe that's a preference thing, too.

    The thing with Harry in recent chapters, where he's begun to let his guard down when talking about his "secret life", spilling the beans left and right without even bothering to be very paranoid about who could be listening, like in the beginning... I do hope that it comes back later to bite him in the ass. Damn, kid, you don't know that your info is safe by sharing it like that, or even dropping hints with that "mistranslation" of the number 50 to French.

    The involvement with Fleur seemed to come out of nowhere. Literally out of a random flying lesson in New Zealand (IIRC). Shippers gonna ship, but still. In any sort of Harry/Fleur pairing, one needs to make a very good argument for what Fleur sees in Harry, given that, well, he's a scrawny wee thing and she's a fabulous part-Veela who could have literally any man who's not, like, married to a full-Veela. Yeah, okay, at this stage they exchange letters about wands and French. But I bet there are a lot of guys out there wanting to write to Fleur about wands and French. The pairing, the very interaction entails some suspension of disbelief.

    Oh, and I'm reaaalllly squinting my eyes here at "Lily's" diary. Not sure what's up with that, but anyway, nice touch.
    Liked the magic bits, like I said. Particularly how the magic feels to Harry from the inside. That depiction of
    the non-disclosure agreement made to the Ministry regarding Legilimency, as walking on an ice lake that begins to crack with every attempt at saying something,
    came off as really poignant. I'm not super enthusiastic about the usual magical-dueling-as-gunfights depiction of it, and in particular I like my Dark Arts to be creepier and more elusive than that, but you did well relatively to the usual expectations. Loved the magical theory part about symbols as Platonic forms or somesuch in the magical realm, with an existence in themselves.

    3.5/5, will be awaiting future chapters to know what to round that off to.

    Sorry I'm not abroad the hype train, think of me as that grouchy jury in music contests that gives everyone poor grades. It's not personal, it's just my schtick.
  20. Amythyr

    Amythyr Squib

    Sep 23, 2015
    Forgotten Realms
    The story is not that bad, but it is not that good either.

    I do like the characterizations of Dumbledore,Luna and Hermione in this story. On the other hand, I don't like the portrayal Cedric much.(And Cho is almost an afterthought in the story)

    It is also good to see a story where Order of the Phoenix is not reactive.

    One thing that bothered me is that After breaking out from Azkaban, Sirius didn't visit Harry for ~5 years.

    Also, I don't like that Harry is revealing his secrets to everyone he meets.Harry is too mature in some scenes but in other scenes, I am noticing that you are trying to remedy that.

    But despite these flaws, this was an enjoyable read.

    I will probably rate it 3.5/5
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