[FFML] [Harry Potter] How He Defeated Dark Voldemort
Sexy Neko Hibiki
nekohibiki at comcast.net
Fri Aug 29 14:15:11 PDT 2008
I blame all my errors on the sake.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chaeotica" <chaeotica at gmail.com>
To: "The Fanfiction Mailing List" <ffml at chez-vrolet.net>
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 3:59 PM
Subject: Re: [FFML] [Harry Potter] How He Defeated Dark Voldemort
> ...Alright. I've been meaning to review one of your stories for a while,
> now. I suppose this one is as good a start as any.
> Firstly, do you want to improve as a writer? If so, I think some of my
> advice might be helpful. If not... well, feel free to discard whatever I
> On with the criticism.
> The first problem I noticed - being something of a grammar freak - is the
> fact that you neglected to use any commas in your story. Unfortunately,
> need commas when you have dialogue. For example, the following line:
>> Dumbledoor says "I knew it. How did it work Harry?"
> should look more like:
>> Dumbledore says, "I knew it. How did it work, Harry?"
> Note that there is one comma separating the speaker's action from what he
> spoke and another comma separating his question from the name of the
> he was directing his statement towards. These are both necessary, though
> sometimes overlooked.
> The second problem is the fact that you consistently misspelled
> "Dumbledore". Please, if you respect your source material at all, please
> take the time to ensure that you are correctly spelling any names of
> places, objects, organizations, et cetera that are derived from the source
> canon. The Harry Potter fandom tends to be especially bad at this; I
> count the number of times I've read a story where the wizards were being
> taught by Professor "MacGonogal" at "Hogwart's". It's very annoying, and
> shows a lack of care.
> The third problem I noticed is that all your dialogue is in "He said, she
> said" format. There are many words out there that can indicate speech,
> a fair number of them are more descriptive than "says" or "said".
> Additionally, you don't have to explicitly state that the person was
> speaking. For example:
>> Harry says "I made him watch..."
> could become:
>> Harry smirks. "I made him watch..."
> The second version still indicates that Harry was the speaker, and has the
> added bonus of describing some of the scene. If you prefer to be more
> explicit, words you can use instead of "say" include: muse, whisper,
> shriek, question, state, exclaim, etc. A thesaurus would probably be of
> considerable assistance; just be sure not to go overboard.
> The fourth problem is a fairly large one: the entire fic is nothing but
> dialogue. There is no description whatsoever. Where are Harry and
> Dumbledore? When does this fic take place in the time line? What were
> characters doing besides talking? Background is necessary! Even if the
> entire story is about two people talking, there must be some sort of
> description to invest the reader in what is going on, to provide some sort
> of a frame of reference. The way it is now, you could replace the names
> "Harry", "Dumbledore", and "Voldemort" with "Luke", "Leia", and
> and you have the exact same story. You wouldn't even need to change the
> The fifth problem is closely related to the fourth. This story is very...
> bare-bones. It's really just a basic skeleton of a story right now. Flesh
> it out some. Add descriptions, actions, background, characterization.
> us what is happening.
> The last two problems are grammatical in nature.
> The sixth problem involves proper nouns. Proper nouns - names of people,
> places, etc. - need to be capitalized. Since you're using "Hell" as a
> rather than a curse, it needs to be capitalized. Verb tenses past or
> The seventh problem involves verb tenses. Regardless of what tense you
> start writing in, you need to keep your story's action in that tense
> throughout. You started in past tense in your first sentence, then
> to present for the rest of the story. Pick one of the two and stick with
> it. Generally speaking, fiction authors tend to write their stories in
> tense. In my opinion, past tense tends to sound less awkward and a bit
> natural, but it is up to you to choose which you prefer.
> In conclusion, I honestly would like to see you improve your writing
> some of your stories have had potential. I think you should take the time
> to read other stories and consider what makes them good or bad, then apply
> the "good" concepts to your own writing. If you do this, your writing
> should improve greatly as you practice. Also be sure to take the time to
> read your own writing before you post it. If you read it and get the
> feeling that it isn't very good, rework it until you think it is good.
> sure people will be much more disposed towards giving you constructive
> criticism than flames if you can demonstrate that you do care about your
> Well, that's just my two cents. As I said, feel free to discard this
> if you don't want it.
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