Hi again Madi!
I'm loving getting the chance to review for you! You deserve it after all the hard work you've put in during this event!
First of all, great job with the plot of this story. I haven't been able to write any OF that I really enjoy lately, but I'm really happy that you have! The concept here is so sweet, and I really love it. It reminds me of bedtime stories my mom would make up when my sisters and I were kids. (We're definitely a family that loves nature and magic and dragons—especially tiny ones!) I would definitely read more of Amary's story if you ever write more in this universe (like your author's note indicated you might!).
The details throughout this story are so nice too. I could absolutely picture the forest at the beginning and Amary's cottage—which sounds amazing, and I absolutely want to live there. I think more descriptions of the inside of the house wouldn't go amiss, but as it is, I can still see the important details. :)
Amary herself seems like such a nice character. I love that she wants to be a vet and help animals. That totally jives with what I know of her character from just this one story. I think she'd be great at it! I hope she gets to pursue that dream.
And finally, special shout out to Eirraphe for being, I assume, absolutely adorable but also thinking he's very fierce. That description fits my cat exactly, and I'm more than happy to imagine that he's a secret tiny dragon in disguise.
Again, wonderful job with this story! I liked it a lot! :D
Hello, Madi! I'm here for the Magical Menagerie ;) !
I love the fairytale feel at the beginning surrounding the half-hidden cottage in the middle of the woods, whose location only gets uncovered by a few hikers, on rare occasions, who happen to have been taking the more roughly-terrained paths. Plus, the idea of aggressive tea-making makes me laugh, and it provides some excellent imagery of a little teal-haired witch demanding that the hikers drink her tea! All of your imagery of the cottage not only makes it feel quaint but further lends to the idea that a witch does, indeed, live out here in the forest.
Speaking of, just about everything of Amaryllis screams witch. The cottage in the woods, the isolation, the familiar, the hair that varies in color... they're all very indicative of what I thought of a traditional witch when I was first told stories about them. Of course, this witch, in particular, is missing the fairy-tale penchant of eating children and, more plainly, being evil, which is a huge breath of fresh air. A lot of aspects of being a witch seem like they'd be rather convenient to have, especially if your tea is getting cold! I do like how you've shown her "tell" as to when she's performing a magical spell (her eyes glowing gold).
I can understand where Myrcella is coming from in wanting to help Amaryllis get a normal job, away from her isolated cottage. However, I can see where Amaryllis's hesitation is, too -- it must feel rather unnerving think of leaving what it seems she's always known (a home surrounded by nature, to traverse a rather unnatural, metallic city). Her interactions must have been few and far between out there in the cottage, so the number of people she'd be dealing with on a regular basis seems incredibly high. However, I do think that veterinarian seems like an amazing job for her, from what I've seen of her so far. I'm curious to know if Amaryllis ever does decide to leave her forest cottage in pursuit of something different.
Fantastic job, Madi!
Hi Madi. Here to leave you a little love!
Gosh, the descriptions of the cottage and the surrounding area are beautiful. And really, all throughout the story. I loved how vividly you painted such a picture, everything was perfectly put.
I gotta say I'm even a little overwhelmed at how natural the story felt. It's so short but I felt so compelled to know more about the characters. I want to know why Amaryllis lives all on her own in the forest, and I want to find out more about her days and her teas.
And Eirraphe! How cute is he? Any story with a lovely dragon is a must-read story, and I want to know more about his bond with Amaryllis.
I wish this was just the introduction to a novel. I feel like I could read this narrative non-stop.
I look forward to enjoy more of your writing soon.
Happy holidays :)
The beginning was very descriptive creating a great visual of the cottage and the surrounding areas. I think you did a great job flushing out Amaryllis. She seems to be an introvert who still enjoys conversing with others but not at the expene of her privacy. You also appear to have set up several plot threads to be followed: the death of her parents and her reaction to it; her unusual pet and his background, the offer of her best friend and future as a vet.
Several questions popped into my head. The metallic city. It seems to be completely opposite in both sustenance and spirit to the forest which leads to the question of why Amaryllis is so uncomfortable with the city. Could it be that she is afraid? Another question was to Myrcella's education. "I'm very thankful for getting out of my PhD program now rather than a few years back when that wasn't illegal to do yet." Why would it be illegal?
Also, I'm confused about the relationship between magic and non-magical. It's evidence that Myrcella's isn't magical, but it doesn't seem that magic is supposed to be hidden (chemistry and potioneers)
Nice start, Madi. You are laying the groundwork for an intriguing story.
Hi Madi!! Here to spread some holiday cheer and also finally come check this out like I've been meaning to because I love hearing you talk about it on all our skype chats!
First, as another science-y person, I LOVE the idea of a world where magic and science can co-exist. As a more medically based science person, I can't help but think of all the advanements that could be made with having both magic and current scientific discoveries. I loved the little pieces you've dropped in this one-shot about the environmental policy and the PhD program. I think these are really neat aspects that would be fun to explore in your larger universe.
I love how descriptive this piece is. You do a great job of describing the forest and Amaryllis' cottage and make me feel like I could be there (and then, promptly, forget that I was). The cottage and forest both sound lovely and and I want to know about the metallic city now too!
Both of the characters you've introduced us to so far are great! Poor Amaryllis has a rough back story, losing her parents in the last few years! I love that she has a dragon as a familiar! I hope she can achieve her dream and get her vet license! Amaryllis and Myrcella have such a great frienship too!
It's such a fun little world you've started to create here Madi! I love everything you've got going here. Is our girl going to leave her forest cottage for the metallic city? Ahhh it's so fun and lovely and amazing!! I can't wait to hear more about it!
heyyy madi i am finally here (who knew that working two jobs would take up so much time right? :P ) :D
i love the world you've created (or hinted at) in this story and the way you use description paints a very vivid image in my mind of everything that's happening without making the story boring or hard to read which is awesome!
it's fascinating reading about a character with this much contrast - a witch who lives in the forest seems like something out of a fairytale, something that belongs ina historical-type setting but instead, you take that concept and put her close to the 'metallic city' with a fridge and digital clock and all the sense of normalcy regular people would have. i'm dying to know more about amaryllis and the world you've created!
this was a great read and i think your original fiction piece is bound to be awesome :D
Hey Madi! Here for your requested review! This is my first non-HP one here on the Archives, and I'm excited to delve into your OF.
Initial thoughts: forests, tea, and magic are three of my favorite things. I'm instantly intrigued about this story!
Your opening description is beautiful. This forest cottage is a place I would very much like to visit, even if I couldn't remember visiting it afterwards. There is a cerain mysteriousness to this cottage, which opens a lot of questions. How did the cottage come to be? Why is this dweller living alone? Why does she make tea for the travelers? Why can't travelers remember their visits?
These questions drive me, the reader, to continue reading.
Then you spring into action with an actual visitor--except this visitor isn't a lost hiker, and she can clearly remember meeting Amaryllis, since they're friends (is this something you want to clarify in the future? I gather that this is a snippet of a greater work--but more on that later). You show great characterization of the women based on their interactions with one another: giving treats and making tea and sitting down together.
Your dialogue then does take the focus of the piece, but you still layer in enough description that the story continues to flow with your vividly painted images. Your dialogue also opens the avenue to even more questions: potioneer/chemist patents? PhD programs in a world of magic? Vet school? Amaryllis' parents' deaths? You sprinkle in these tidbits of information, setting up a more complex narrative, which seems bigger than the small cottage where this story takes place. And I think this is a strong point of your piece. I get the sense that this is only an introductory snippet of a bigger idea--and how fitting to have the setting in a cottage! I am so interested in this world you've built and where your characters are going to go.
Speaking of characters, I think you do a great job at Amaryllis' and Eirraphe's characterization. The way you show the sassiness of Eirraphe through his interaction with Myrcella and how loyal he is to Amaryllis through his affectionate interactions with her is amazing--I'm reminded of a cat, and I love cats, and so therefore, I can relate my love of cats to this dragon, and I love him. Amaryllis seems to be such a caring person--why else would she make so many people tea? She gives so much--and yet is hesitant to take, like when she turns on Myr's offer to fund her vet school (at least, that's what I assume her offer is). She has pride in wanting to support herself, which is so relatable. But then, at the end, your closing sentence on "maybe one day..." makes me reconsider her pride. Sure, she may have it, but I also sense she may be scared to leave her cottage. After all, this is her safe space, and she has gone through a major loss with the death of her parents. I totally understand the desire to feel safe after such an upheaval. Having your MC have these vulnerabilies makes her likeable and draws the reader further into your tale.
Overall, well done, Madi! You should be proud of what you've accomplished in this piece. Don't give up on this; I'm so curious to see where this goes!
Hey Madi! Here to review your fic for my challenge!
First off, I'm so proud of you for deciding to jump into OF and begin building your universe! And I am super excited to see read more about it after this one-shot!
I love how there's a fairytale-esque tone throughout this piece, starting from the very first line! The mention of a "metallic city" in the very beginning caught my attention immediately and built up my curiosity about the universe. Your description of the cottage was so lovely and it had an ethereal air to it, the details building up the mood of the setting so perfectly. Reading about the sycamore trees and the puffing chimney immediately filled me with warm, fuzzy feels, and it led on wonderfully to the description of the forest witch herself.
Amaryllis is SUCH a pretty name and the way you've described her paints a gorgeous, vivid picture of what she looks like and the sort of welcoming, kind person that she is. I love that she makes tea for travellers and they feel better afterwards, that's just so beautiful and warm and fills me with so much happiness. <3 And you also brought in a cute little dragon as her familiar!! I am sold on this story 100%.
The way you introduce the fact that science is also a part of this world is seamlessly done. I love that you brought it in through a bit of conversation - it fit in incredibly well with the flow of the piece and didn't seem out of place one bit! And that's amazing because combining fantasy and real-world concepts is tricky and sometimes can seem jarring if the elements aren't properly placed within the story but you've done a great job of it! The way Amaryllis and Myrcella (gosh, another pretty name, I love it) talk about the environment policy guy and the stolen creations is so natural and flows effortlessly, blending really well with the mystical nature of the setting. I also think the line "Could you cast a protective charm for me, though?" was a great choice of dialogue - it's such a simple line and just a normal part of their conversation but introduces the concept of spell magic to the reader and that's brilliant!
The only bit of crit I have is a change in your tenses - you start the piece off in past tense, and then switch into present tense a little into the fic. This line is where the transition happens - "The occupant of the cottage was someone often referred to as a forest witch, but her friends simply know her as Amaryllis." I didn't notice it till my third read-through though, it kind of just fits in and flows along with the piece. xD
Overall, this was a fantastic one-shot and I'm so happy I got to read it! I think you've added the right amount of detail to build up your character's personality in a well-rounded manner but also let us get a glimpse into her inhibitions, building up the mystery and anticipation for what comes next. I can't wait to read more about her and this world you've created, and I'm looking forward to knowing how she reacts to the metallic city if she does decide to go and work there!
Thank you for your entry, lovely! I should have the results up soon. :)
Hello Mads, my girl!
The first thing I wanted to comment on was your beautiful descriptions, and then I remembered that that was the point of the challenge, so well done you :D This story is my perfect aesthetic, I love it so much. The forest witch and her dragon. (Dragon yaaaass) I espeically love how it's a modern-day kind of world, but still tucked away in a magic forest. If this is a taste of the novel you were telling me about, then I'm all the more excited to read that :D I think you did a wonderful job with this, and good luck in the challenge! x
Hello Bianca! <3
Aw shucks, you make me blush! This took me much longer to write than it should have, partially because I was extremely nervous about sharing my (very-unformed) OF world with anyone, but Nim's persistence sits before you in this one-shot! Haha I knew you'd love the dragon :P He's getting his own little one-shot shortly so be on the lookout for that because it's all about him! I really wanted to show that there *is* a divide between the metallic, modern-day (what is modern-day here? TBD) and the woods and the little cottage in which Amaryllis lives as a little woodland creature veterinarian with magical abilities. I'm definitely considering coming back to Amaryllis as my potential MC now that I've written this, but I've also gotta give Mrycella her day in the sun too, just to confirm who I want to lead the novel. But anywho enough rambling! I'm so so happy you liked this piece -- sharing my OF was definitely not something I had in the cards for a few more years, but I'm happy that it's now out there and has gotten positive feedback in it's very early stages such as yours <3
Thanks for the review, dear! :)
I have to read this. I'm trying to read most of the Narrative OF challenge stories anyway and this sounds interesting.
I like the reference to the metallic city. It sort of gives an impression of it and the way you have talked about people wanting to escape it adds to that impression.
Oooh, this information about the tea seems mysterious. In a way, it reminds me of a Roald Dahl story, "The Landlady." And coincidentally, I wrote the beginning of a story for the fairy tale challenge a while back that included a cottage in the woods, seeing as the story was based on Hansel and Gretel. I really must get back to that. This seems rather different from either of those though as the hikers are clearly able to leave the cottage immediately afterwards. So I wonder what the intent behind inviting them in and insisting they drink tea is.
LOVE the description of the dragon.
Hi Margaret! :)
Thanks for stopping by with your lovely review! I really wanted to sort of create this vibe of fairy-tale-ish-but-not-really so I was quite particular with what kind of descriptive words I used to describe both the city and the woods. I'm happy that came across well! I think for Amaryllis, inviting hikers and other travelers in for tea is rather a simple affair. She just wants some social interaction with people, and also to hear some of the news of the day from the city or other places beyond the woods. The tea holds no ill intentions or poisons or anything, but she does put a simple memory charm on it so that they tend to forget her and her cottage after it's out of sight merely for her own protection, along with little Eirraphe's protection as well. I'm happy you liked Eirraphe's description! He's getting his own character vignette shortly so hopefully you'll check that out and see if you still like him! :P
Thanks for the review :)
As #1 on the Recents page and the story (I think) I saw you post a status about wanting feedback on a day or two (2) ago, I thought I'd stop here to leave a review!
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the story. The tone at the beginning was great. It carried that...fairy-tale-reader-ish "and that's just the way it was" vibe that they often lead with. And then you carried on from there to weave this very interesting, if simple story about who these characters were. Given that a major goal of the piece (judging from you A/N) was to flesh them out for future use in a mighty universe of your own creation, I think that was very much mission accomplished.
I did think that, though not exactly the same, some of the tone from the beginning carried into the story itself. In my mind it created consistency for sure, but there was a sort of dissonance between what I expected. It may be because I regarded the beginning as sort of like a fairy tale and had my own expectations. It may also have been the sentence/paragraph length that established something of a sharp pattern. But my lone workshop contribution would be that I'd like to see a version of the story with a a more...undulating quality in terms of length and tone in the later paragraphs after the introduction of Amaryllis.
I will close with saying another thing I loved, as simple as it came across, was the way that the hikers (and others) regard Amyrillis as a tad odd - at the very least for her isolation. Sound like a weird thing to like? Wait! There's more! I liked it in conjunction with her thoughts of them and where they live - also somewhat mysterious to her hailing from what she calls the "metallic city" (which I'm imagining is just, you know, a modern city - though please don't slay me if I'm totally seeing that wrong). Anyway it was a cool symmetry through contrast IMO. I also like the names!
For now, I shall await more tales of the inhabitants of the Metallic City MSA! Thanks for sharing this - and for being brave enough to put your OF on the archive!
Howdy Kevin! :)
Ugh, you know just how to make me smile with your compliments! Nim literally told me to sign up and write this dang piece already, so this piece is very much my *very* first foray into original fiction, and I'm honestly just so blessed at how well received it's been! This was almost my first major attempt at focusing on narration (hence entering the challenge) so it was a fun way of challenging myself to not only start something entirely new but also work on improving one area of my writing that I tend to let get away from me.
I'm happy you thought it felt "fairy-tale-ish" at the beginning because that is exactly what I was going for! I wanted to not only introduce Amaryllis, but also the world in which she lives without giving too much away, so I'm glad you think I accomplished that mission. :) I agree with the length -- it was more a matter of timing for me that I just wanted to get it done and submitted before the deadline, so I didn't write as much as I probably could have without a looming deadline. I think if I would have extended past her visitation with Myrcella (thank you for liking the names!!) then there would be a bit more continuity and less abruptness between the first and second portion of the fic.
Thank you for the kind and constructive words -- I'll definitely be keeping them in mind for future vignettes & (hopefully) the novel! :)