[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

> SNH,
> ...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
> say.
> 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, 
> you
> 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 
> person
> 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 
> people,
> places, objects, organizations, et cetera that are derived from the source
> canon.  The Harry Potter fandom tends to be especially bad at this; I 
> can't
> 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 
> it
> 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, 
> and
> 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, 
> shout,
> 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 
> the
> 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 
> "Palpatine"
> and you have the exact same story.  You wouldn't even need to change the
> disclaimer!
> 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. 
> Show
> 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 
> place
> rather than a curse, it needs to be capitalized.  Verb tenses past or
> present
> 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 
> switched
> 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 
> past
> tense.  In my opinion, past tense tends to sound less awkward and a bit 
> more
> natural, but it is up to you to choose which you prefer.
> In conclusion, I honestly would like to see you improve your writing 
> skills;
> 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. 
> I'm
> sure people will be much more disposed towards giving you constructive
> criticism than flames if you can demonstrate that you do care about your
> stories.
> Well, that's just my two cents.  As I said, feel free to discard this 
> advice
> if you don't want it.
> ~Chaeotica

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