SIYE Time:7:34 on 20th June 2018

Reviews For Biscuits Deferred

Reviewer: Ronald8472 Signed Date: 2018.01.09 - 11:47PM Title: Promises


I really liked this one.

Author's Response:

Thank you, Ronald!

This story is likely the best I've written on this site -- the combination of being pretty well polished, being reasonably novel, and hitting the right emotive notes for HG shippers. Not sure if I'll hit the right combination again with a story, but it was nice to have had things gel once.

In any case, I appreciate you letting me know!

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!

Reviewer: LysCsuri Signed Date: 2016.05.17 - 01:26PM Title: Promises


Amazingly ambitious to try to cover six years worth of a Harry Potter alternate universe in just four chapters, but I love the way you did it, with just this small sampling of scenes, a bit of flashback, and little comments here and there that say a lot more than they seem. Brilliant!

I do like it done as this small collection of key scenes, as opposed to skimming. The details in these scenes seem to smoothly bridge you ever everything that you've missed.

Author's Response:

Heh, yes, well I can certainly say that this story will surely cover more canon years than any new ones I'm likely to attempt. In retrospect, it seemed like something to try -- something that runs so diametrically counter my normal instinct (a la Splinters or The Prevailing Counterpoint) of sustaining a day by day drama. Anyway, it was fun and seemed to work out well; if I ever do it again, it might be for post-Hogwarts.

Anyway, I'm very glad that you enjoyed it, Lys! Thank you very much for reading and reviewing!

Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2016.05.17 - 06:29AM Title: Promises


This was a brilliant end to a brilliant tale.
I'd to smile about the statement that the power the dark Lord knows not is the power of a really stubborn girlfriend.

Your version of the limbo was very heart warming and a lot more personal than the canon version. I was very pleased that you've included my most favourite slogan about the two of them, TOGETHER, and even added a special symbol to describe their togetherness, the ribbon that tied the two of them together right from the beginning. And finally the things that makes live worth living, the biscuits, i.e. to live for those who make the biscuits for you, those who care for you. This was magic with words.

Oh, and before I forget, I'm glad that Fred made it this time.

Author's Response:

Ha, yes, I have to admit that I experimented with a few different lines before coming up with the 'stubborn' one. I was looking for something that fit with the story's theme, that was not cliche and was largely, but not completely, noncanonical :)

And also yes, this was a story with a fair bit of symbolism and the ribbon and biscuits were definitely at the fore. I generally prefer to not overburden a story with symbolism but a) I have an aversion to loose ends and inadvertent red herrings, and b) I believe that a lot of readers enjoy the 'gotcha' experience of psychoanalysing a writer's devices. Some readers love it so much that they come up with analogies that are far more brilliant than I would ever have come up with!

Fred lives! Yes, I only ever killed him off in one story, but even in that one (Tijdvelt Twist) I gave him a big compensatory post-mortem role.

Finally, I'm most gratified that you enjoyed a limbo experience led by someone a bit more warming and personal than Dumbledore, as an extension to the story's 'togetherness' theme.

Thank you for accompanying me on another story, Martin!

Reviewer: zeta_one Signed Date: 2016.05.16 - 11:08AM Title: Promises


Excellent story!

Thank you for sharing!

Author's Response:

You're very welcome, zeta_one!

Devising stories for challenges is something that actually feels more like 'sharing' than generic writing projects, in the sense that the site advertises notions that it (and by extension the readership) would like to see, which is great way for authours to calibrate their efforts to more readers. It's always great, in turn, to hear from new readers//reviewers that one might not have reached in writing the same old schtik.

Anyway, thank you very much for the encouragement!

Reviewer: lunagranger Signed Date: 2016.05.15 - 09:57PM Title: Promises


A very good little story. A nice turn to have Harry having a glimpse of the future he could have.

Author's Response:

Another Monday brightened by a note from LunaGranger!

So yes, if there is a cliche theme to this story, it is that things come to those who wait -- Harry's parents' last gift; the biscuits; the happy family of his own -- all deferred and all treasured. The strong secondary theme, of course, would be those resources that helped him to reach those treasures -- the trunk, the triumph over canonical challenges, and (certainly not least) his own personal shining light of support. Which is obviously Ginny.

Anyway, I'm glad that you enjoyed the story, Silvia!

Reviewer: MollyandArthur Signed Date: 2016.05.14 - 07:31PM Title: Promises


Oh, such a great chapter! I realize that you did not really leave us hanging, but I am so eager for the next chapter. Harry's dream vision of Ginny in the past making biscuits for Harry with Molly at the Burrow, and in the future Ginny with their daughter making biscuits in their own home was brilliant. I am also relieved that Harry and Ginny managed to stabilize Fred with a potion and that the snake was already destroyed. This is a lovely story!

Author's Response:

Oh good -- it's gratifying to hear that those all went over well. This was intended, not quite as a light-hearted story, but as a 'good-hearted' one. There is pain and angst, but once again (as with Cedric) the non-seminal collateral damage is avoided so that we can build our heroes, rather then tear down and rebuild.

And yes -- biscuits, which moved both you and RighT3rantZ, worked out pretty well, didn't they? As with 'Fuddle Fog', I once again seem to have been able to pull together a credible story despite having given it a rather goofy title :) I'm not quite in Brennus's league in terms of creative titles, but at least I've broken out of the rut I began with in labeling ever story as "The blah something blah".

Oh and a continuation does seem to be a popular request. Shall indeed consider it!

Thank you very much for the reading, reviewing, and ever-stable moral compass, MollyandArthur!

Reviewer: Dad Signed Date: 2016.05.14 - 07:28PM Title: Promises


One of the best.

Author's Response:

Wow -- thank you Dad!

There's a bit of an irony at play because the story largely came out of nowhere -- never would have emerged but for the challenge, but once it began to flow it was rather difficult to remember that it really was a challenge story (and need to be configured as such). Anyway, whether exercise or story-telling, it was fun to write.

Reviewer: zorica Signed Date: 2016.05.14 - 07:23PM Title: Promises


Great story and very well written as usual.

Author's Response:

Thank you most sincerely, Adelinda! Always wonderful to hear from you!

Reviewer: RighT3rantZ Signed Date: 2016.05.14 - 04:08PM Title: Promises


Wow, so much magic sprinkled goodness in them biscuits. Your conjuring hearth produced a Natural consistency, and the golden coloring ensures a tasty treat for Siye to Eat. Thumbs up, I don't think this story needs any addendums IMHO.

Ginny and the possessed Diary, words that scrolled and controlled her perception, while still young and naive. ToM projected false fragmented scarcity, we know his fate. You gave Harry the ability to see a potential future with a Ginny trifecta. Much better than the King's Cross story of JKR cannon...far too much Roman Catholic imagery for my tastes.

RED and green scarf....fine "ol 4 I saw. Which might be right. I put my two sense in. Mostly for fun, because....why knot?

Each character retelling is wholly unique. The depth of each character beyond any one eyed point of view by itself. Your character POV for this short I find to contain very little interference, for what it is worth. A say a boon abundance could be the cause. A lot of interest has come to light today, we all probably need to digest these biscuits, I think I will chew mine. Koo Koo Kachoo! ;)

Author's Response:

Why knot a red and green scarf? A puntastically punctilious propunsal, my esteemed friend!

Great that you like the characters! In this story, my aim was to produce personalities that were recognisable, but circumstantially guided a step or two from pure canon.

Yes, while I think that Rowling's King's Cross imagery is very powerful, I find some aspects of it to be a little puzzling, including (as you say) how surprising it was to see Catholic symbolism in a series that JKR otherwise kept largely free of Christian spiritualism. I also kind of wondered whether Dumbledore was the best choice for a St. Julian type of moral arbiter. These was never anything jarringly wrong with it -- I think my reticence is more as an editor than a reader, supposing that if an authour is going to elaborate a thematic climax, there would be a compelling drive to make it really consistent with the key past themes.

Thank you very much for all the helpful feedback! I will respond to your separate e-mail later today.

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