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SIYE Time:23:29 on 17th November 2017

Reviews For Biscuits Deferred

Reviewer: Emlyn Signed Date: 2017.07.09 - 09:51AM Title: Promises

Wonderful story. I truly enjoyed reading. Sparse, concise, yet oh, so rich. Beautifully done.

Author's Response:

Wow! It's been a long while since I last received a review that so accurately encapsulated what I had hoped for in a story. Indeed, as a challenge story, I was faced with the task of writing concisely. I had also decided to try a plot that spanned something equivalent to much of the original HP 7 volume canon, hence the need for sparseness. Thirdly, my goal had been to build the story primarily upon snapshots and introspection, more than active narrative, hence the (hoped for) richness.

With pinpoint comments like those, I knew it likely that you too must do a fair bit of writing. Looks like I have some new reading material lined up ;)

Thank you very much for the kind words!



Reviewer: blstedman Signed Date: 2017.07.05 - 12:24PM Title: Promises

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Excellent Story!!!!

Author's Response:

Honoured to have earned your kind words and exclamation marks, thank you!

The end result of producing a story like Biscuits is what attracts me so much to the SIYE Challenges. I would never have thought of this story without the Challenge having prompted me to step aside from my various projects. Of course I no longer write for the Challenges because I now run them, but there's a bit of regret there, because it was from them that some of my best writing emerged.

Anyway, thank you again for your review



Reviewer: mdauben Signed Date: 2017.06.01 - 02:00PM Title: Promises

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For some reason I missed this story when you first posted it, but I'm glad I've read it now! A really great story and the recent award was well deserved. I hope we see more stories from you in the future.


Author's Response:

My effusive thanks -- kind words mean a great deal coming from you!

Yes, although the first few hundred words of Biscuits still seems a bit awkward, everything beyond that has grown on me to the point where it competes in my mind with Splinters as the story I'm most satisfied with.

More stories from me? Well, I am sitting on early drafts of Trix chapters 15-17, though I'll need more time with them because they're important plot-wise.

I also got a request for a plot-bunny 'splinter' off Splinters that I've sketched a little of and now see as a pretty interesting potential story, with two plot threads occurring in alternate versions of 1998, and a third unfolding in Italy in AD 79, focusing on the three brothers... and one sister... as they verge upon an inevitable confrontation with 'Death'. So frustrating to have something sparking in my mind like distant fireworks; I only wish I knew I had time to write it.

And then there's (time for something completely different) a story of Harry going through his teen years, completely outside of the magical world as a burgeoning grunge music prodigy, baffled by his occasional bursts of overwhelming unharnessed power; mystified by a certain beguiling redhead who skirts the periphery of the cloying groupie crowds, turning his head with her beauty and her very peculiar questions.

Argh -- only wish I could find the time!



Reviewer: TomBombadil Signed Date: 2017.02.07 - 08:08PM Title: Promises

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Very satisfying! I hate how lazily Jo sidelined Ginny in DH! Thank you!

Author's Response:

Yes, I had fun plotting this out -- how to deliver a climax where it was most meaningful for Harry and Ginny to stand together as one. A minor regret perhaps that Voldemort went down in the Forbidden Forest, without all the friends and students to witness, but for some reason I have a bit of an aversion to the 'grand spectacle ending'. In Prevailing Counterpoint, for example, Riddle was brought down on a desolate mountaintop.

Anyway, a thought experiment for how things might have turned out if H&G had been the ones exiled to the Hallow and Horcrux quest, while Hermione and Ron were left to sustain the resistance at Hogwarts. I think there's a nice alternate symmetry there.



Reviewer: TomBombadil Signed Date: 2017.02.07 - 06:45PM Title: Helping Hands

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Hmmm? Seems like a fitting, well-earned conclusion. But aren't there four chapters?

Author's Response:

Ah! Very intentional, in fact. Each of the four chapters is its own mini-story, with a dilemma, leading to crisis, climax and resolution. The magnitude of each builds from chapter to chapter, but I guarantee that breath of satisfaction before each is closed.

A fine observation; a great opportunity for me to grin and spin. Thank you!



Reviewer: TomBombadil Signed Date: 2017.02.07 - 05:31PM Title: Night Flights

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Great start! Out of loneliness, a chance with a real friend! Your characters are, well, in character. But normally loquacious Ginny doesn't remain tongue-tied for an eternity. Yes, they have already met on Platform 9-3/4, but this time the meeting comes with expectations of friendship! How long will it take Harry to figure out that it is Ginny, not Ron, that the trunk intended him to meet. Finally, how apropos that his Mum knew the spell to charm parchment to bring Harry and Ginny joy and happiness, when a similarly charmed diary did the opposite for Ginny in CoS!

Author's Response:

How long will it take for Harry to realize? Excellent question, and one that you already know the answer to. I will nonetheless state that, in keeping with the romance genre, the realization can't be instantaneous; it cannot even be as quick as we would like, but within the delay lie the seeds of a reward that means much more if hard-won than if tipped from a silver spoon.

Yes, I'm glad that liked how parchment could be a counterpoint to canon.

Anyway, thank you most kindly for the review; great to have your thoughts on the story!



Reviewer: Aragorn Signed Date: 2016.06.07 - 12:56AM Title: Promises

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Of course...

Author's Response: I assume you mean the inevitability of it all? Too true -- this story kind of ultimately boils down to an exercise in creatively reaching the conclusion that 'had to be'. Anyway, thank you very much for reading and reviewing!



Reviewer: Aragorn Signed Date: 2016.06.07 - 12:37AM Title: Second Kiss

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Yay!

Author's Response: Yes, a bit of happiness in an otherwise harrowing development. Glad you enjoyed it, Gene!



Reviewer: potterfan2008 Signed Date: 2016.05.30 - 07:29PM Title: Promises

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Great ending! Loved the explanation of the title. Loved the story. Good luck!

Author's Response:

What began in a bit of fluff, also ends as such :)

Okay, technically there was also a bit of angst, romance and drama in there too. Anyway, it was a fun little experiment, and I'm immensely grateful for the readership and kind words of illustrious contributors such as yourself!



Reviewer: potterfan2008 Signed Date: 2016.05.30 - 07:16PM Title: Second Kiss

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Very sweet ending! I love how your worked the trunk into the third task - very creative. I love a proactive and protective Madam Pomfrey!

Author's Response:

Rwy'n canu fy mawl i chi, Sharon!

Roughly translated: thank you!

So, in truth it's rather rare for me to attempt Rowling-like bitter-sweetness, but this chapter strays a bit in that direction. Somehow she managed to close off four consecutive books (GoF, OotP, HBP and DH) with stinging bitterness tinged with ephemeral silver linings and *not* drive her millions of fans to despair or rebellion. Ultimately, I pulled some punches that JKR landed squarely (especially wrt Cedric), but for me to have Harry and Ginny pledging themselves to each other in the shadow of Voldemort's resurrection is a bit outside my comfort zone... but I have to admit that the feedback proved immensely heartening. Thank you again!



Reviewer: potterfan2008 Signed Date: 2016.05.30 - 07:06PM Title: Helping Hands

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Amazing! I love the idea of using the Potions' lab to destroy the diary.

Author's Response:

Enthralled by your kind words -- thank you!

I'm most gratified by the response I got for the somewhat prosaic choice of using hard work as a means to bring Harry and Ginny together toward a common goal and more. I admit that I considered it to be a bit of a risk to follow an uplifting first chapter with the prolonged downer, but gladly the potioneering and happier resolution to the diary crisis gave people an opportunity to forgive me. Writing angst is an interesting challenge -- how to find the discipline to constrain characters to the doldrums just long enough to make exultation all the sweeter.

Ah well, challenge is good!



Reviewer: potterfan2008 Signed Date: 2016.05.30 - 06:33PM Title: Night Flights

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Love the beginning. Interesting the way you've gotten about Dobby! Can't wait to read more.

Author's Response:

First of all, let me begin by thanking you for reading and reviewing, Sharon, and also I must congratulate you on fairly recently joining Mark in the very exclusive Million-Words Club (see: http://www.siye.co.uk/search.php?action= tens&list=wordcauthor in case you weren't aware of the list)

Dobby! It may be strange to say this about a character whom I don't even name by name, but he truly made the whole story. Without the wretched little wrinkle he posed, my plot would either have been completely different... or non-existent.

Believe it or not, sometimes fiction is stranger than fact ;)



Reviewer: pottermania Signed Date: 2016.05.21 - 05:54PM Title: Promises

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Absolutely fantastic. I kept wondering why that title? And its perfect!!!
Beautifully told, wonderfully romantic but so dramatic too!


Author's Response:

Wunderbar! So great to hear that you liked the full package -- thank you very much for reading and reviewing, Joy!

Titles! Yes, I do make an effort to find something obscure but meaningful -- yet another little mystery for the reader to gradually unravel throughout the story. As I mentioned in an earlier review, I did have a debate with myself over a title instead focusing on the ribbon, but I decided to stick with a slightly less obvious one and am totally heartened to find you liking it!

Well, thank you so kindly once again for reading and reviewing, Joy!



Reviewer: pottermania Signed Date: 2016.05.21 - 12:44PM Title: Second Kiss

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Loved it from beginning to end, it had a bit of everything.

And of course the end was the icing on the cake lol!

Author's Response:

Yes, I suspect that you're like some of my other readers in seeing chapter 3 as where the plot really takes off. The first two chapters were necessary foundation, but chapters 3 & 4 were truly where the writing became truly satisfying.

Anyway, wonderful that you enjoyed it!



Reviewer: pottermania Signed Date: 2016.05.21 - 12:02PM Title: Helping Hands

Great team work, with a supporting cast in the trunk 😄

Author's Response:

Looks like the site decided to double you up here, but no matter -- I can always find something to say, right?

So In guess I would like to have thought, canonically, that Ginny could have been a true force to be reckoned with in Harry's presence. OotP really demonstrated how well she complemented Harry in terms of temperment, and DH was (albeit way behind the scenes) a great reinforcement for the notion of her bravery and resourcefulness, but almost never (barring the Department of Mysteries) did she ever get to combine bravery, resourcefulness and complementary temperment into a true collaboration with Harry. So this chapter is really about showing Harry the depths of Ginny's cooperative value. And, of course, the trunk (and scroll-Lily & scroll-James) are also instrumental in achieving this.



Reviewer: pottermania Signed Date: 2016.05.20 - 06:13PM Title: Helping Hands

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Great team work, with a supporting cast in the trunk 😄

Author's Response:

Thank you, Joy! This was the chapter that most explicitly shows the trunk's value to a practical end, although I'd like to believe that indirect evidence of the usefulness pervades through the rest of the story.



Reviewer: ProfessorBinns79 Signed Date: 2016.05.19 - 10:25PM Title: Promises

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I thought the newbie might win the challenge until I saw that you had written another of your incomparably intricate gems! The ribbon, the biscuits, "Who!"...your writing is, if I may say so, Rowlingesque in how it brings back all the little details to wrap the story up in a neat little bow (in this case, quite literally!).

One metaphysical question I'd love to hear your thoughts on: how, exactly, did Ginny arrive at the "in between" to talk to Harry? In canon, I always took Dumbledore's presence to be "real," i.e. that was Dumbledore's actual afterlife self, even though it was "all in Harry's head." Was Ginny really there? Will they both remember it afterwards? What was happening to Ginny's body while they were there? Did she fall too when Harry was hit with Voldemort's curse, possibly due to the connection of their love and "promises?" Did you just take some artistic license, or do you have a different interpretation of it all than I do? Just curious :)

Thanks again for another amazing challenge entry. People's Choice vote well-earned!

Author's Response:

Another thought-provoking communique -- thanks Greg!

In my mind, given the quality of BigFatMaybe's story, I'd think that the best scenario would be an equitable split across the categories... although I'd hardly be so presumptuous as to suggest how to divvy them up :)

It's great to read that you, Arnel, and various other reviewers all enjoyed the symbolism -- especially the ribbon! In truth, the title could have warranted a mention of that ribbon but oh well -- the one provided is sufficiently silly and obfuscatory.

Finally, the metaphysics of it all... If I remember correctly, the canonical Dumbledore in King's Cross was artfully evasive regarding the question of whether he was 'real'. I don't have a copy of DH handy as I write this, but I seem to recall Dumbledore having implied that he was as real as Harry needed him to be. This is true for the comparably evasive Companion Ginny in the dream. Rather than render a rigid opinion on this, I am going to paint two alternate, plausible scenarios:

  • Ginny does indeed fall that same instant as Harry goes down, and she too has an intensely moving dream involving Harry... which may (due to the slightly different existential issues they each need to resolve) involve somewhat different imagery than what I described in the story, or
  • Ginny remains conscious and does not directly experience Harry's near-death vignette, but rather spends that timeless moment projecting across the glade a powerful force of love, compassion and hope, thus influencing Harry's equaminity as he sorts through his options.

Please feel free to take whichever most stirs your soul, or make up your own!

Great review -- thank you again!



Reviewer: Arnel Signed Date: 2016.05.19 - 09:05PM Title: Promises

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I am so glad I waited to review until I knew the outcome of this story! It's as good at the end as it is at the beginning. What caught my attention and made giggle like a schoolgirl was Harry's conversation with Hedwig. Who could have thought a simple word—"Who"—could have so many meanings and connotation! When you brought her back in this last chapter I just knew that eventually all would be well in the end. There's something about faithful Hedwig that just inspires faith that Harry will be loved in some capacity by someone just as Hedwig loves him. Oh... now that I think about it, that head-tilt that makes Ginny smile so is definitely inspired by Hedwig and her "Who!"

Now for the trunk... James and Lily couldn't have given Harry a better present. While it took him a while to understand how to use it with whom, once he understood Lily's first poem and the careful placement of pairs of things, she and Molly were right that all it took was time and a bit of emotion to make sure Harry and Ginny became the special friend they each needed so desperately. I'm very glad Harry chose Ginny to share his special place with because I agree with all of his thoughts about Ron and Hermione's attitudes towards the trunk's use. While you hint that Harry at least told Hermione about the trunk, inviting Ginny inside made so much more sense because she understood its value to a lonely person.

The canon scenes you chose to change are rendered extremely well. I love how James and Lily patiently guide the children in making the special potion to get rid of the diary; there couldn't be better teachers than Lily... and she puts Snape to shame! I think the teacher in me applauds her reinforcing the steps and safety precautions as well as James' warning that the diary might not go quietly into oblivion. It seems that by the time the Triwizard Tournament comes around James and Lily have given Harry and Ginny enough knowledge that when push comes to shove, not only does Harry know how to protect himself in the graveyard, Ginny, more importantly, knows what to do to help Madam Pomfrey.

My last thought is that piece of ribbon... I smiled every time Harry needed to use it without knowing whose it was. I'm glad it helped Harry decide that life was worth living when all was said and done.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was sad to see it end. Well done... and good luck with the Challenge.

Author's Response:

Many many things to comment upon here -- that's definitely a good thing!

Let's begin with Hedwig -- a tremendously fortunate character to have had at my disposal! The one thing that threw me for a loop as I read the challenge specs was, OMG, this story begins at almost the exact moment I started Fuddle Fog! Harry shut in a room by his idiot relatives -- how to avoid producing an obvious retread? The answer, luckily stumbled upon, lay in finding a distinct character who could illuminate and distinguish Harry's persona. That certainly wasn't destined to be Dobby this time, so who did that leave? A wise (and thoroughly devoted) owl of course. I'd already decided that Harry in this story would be more canonical than in Fuddle Fog and, in that sense, Hedwig was the ideal foil to elaborate the Harry I was looking for -- a kindly boy yet occasionally a bit thick; downtrodden yet determined. In any case, it was so very gratifying that readers enjoyed my choice for such a key secondary character!

Yes, a trunk for two -- I'm glad to have a consensus with you on that! In canon, Harry always struck me as having something approaching the orphan's attitude toward personal possessions. He is not ungenerous per se, but has a more refined value system than many young people in that he is reluctant to risk something of value in the hands of anyone who might not use it properly. For example, nobody ever got to ride the Firebolt, and the invisibility cape and Marauder's Map were shared exceptionally selectively. So, in fact, the notion that this trunk is intended to be shared is initially a bit distressing to him, but ultimately his parents' intent was bang on -- it is only with the perfect choice of partner that this gift's value truly multiplies.

And speaking of parents, you are absolutely right in seeing this as a story where parents are all in the best light. James is a bit brash (the personality transferred into the scroll is, after all, that of a young man in his early twenties) but he is a dedicated father and a seasoned hero in his own right and is thus a real asset. In pairing with Lily, they are ideal mentors to a pair of young people who augment Marauder mettle with a bit of Lily's common sense. I regret not having had the space to give to Arthur, but I'm immensely pleased with how Molly was received. In canon, I think her reticence toward Ginny's interests in Harry was likely tempered with a bit of insecurity over whether Harry would see Ginny for who she truly was... but in this AU, Molly is implicitly given the chance to recognise the subtle non-verbal clues of a Harry who actually *did* get some quality face-to-face time with Ginny. Thus, Molly is able (with the magic of motherly intuition) to sense some real dynamics and be confident that Harry is not intentionally overlooking her daughter.

Then, just as you so rightly point out, there is the fruition of parental mentoring. This is a key theme tucked away in there -- both Harry and Ginny are given just the right additional nudges along the way to make their path, if not outright 'smooth', at least a fair bit less tortuous. I really wanted to show this subtly, and took a bit of a risk. In each chapter, I wrote both Harry and Ginny with strategically evolving personalities -- the same way one might observe, say, in a member of extended family one only saw every few years. I call this a risk because a reader could take a whack at the story and say that the characterisations are inconsistent but, happily, nobody has. And the fact that you expressly observe exactly what I had hoped is immensely gratifying.

A 'teacher' you say? That explains the insightful reviews! It's always fun when readers take a different tack on a story than I had originally intended, but it's impossible to beat the gratification of when a reader truly 'gets' it. Thanks Arnel!



Reviewer: dannbard Signed Date: 2016.05.19 - 06:26AM Title: Promises

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Oh? This time I get to leave a review amidst a bunch of normal ones :)

I could say things that other reviewers have already said about this being a great story, and touching, etc., but may be what I'd like to say is how much I (and hopefully others) appreciate the effort that it must take in putting together something like this! To read a challenge, come up with an innovative story idea, spin it into a tale that meets the challenge, make sure it fits under the word count while making sure it has a nice flow and doesn't short sell the plot, then edit it to make it sound so nice with few or no typos. How much time does that take? 40-50 hours? More? And we get this for free?

Anyway, I'm grateful to you and to the other dedicated, hard working writers on the site. Thanks!

Author's Response:

Well thank you for some unconventional words of kindness, Dann!

Well, I'd rather not do the calculations on precisely how much time I invested on this story over the six weeks between challenge call and deadline. Uh yes... best not to go there. But I do consider myself to be 'paid' for it. The best pay is either with encouraging feedback, with detailed constructive criticism or with mirror interpretations (i.e., seeing interpretations and messages through a reader's eyes is great fun), but any sort of feedback is worth something -- even getting kicked down with the occasional unarticulated low rating is worth a bit.

But it's hard to beat having someone tell you they 'value' your work! The site would be well served if you said things like that to other authours whose work you enjoy!



Reviewer: carolyn jinn Signed Date: 2016.05.19 - 12:50AM Title: Promises

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Very good story. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Author's Response:

Mais Merveilleux! Thank you so very kindly for following the story through and letting me know your thoughts, Carolyn!




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