Hogwarts HR: The Dark Tree, Sequel to Hogwarts Department of Human Resources, Is Now Available on Archive of Our Own

National Novel Writing Month 2022 has come to a close with another completed story! At nearly 60,000 words, Hogwarts HR: The Dark Tree is my longest nanowrimo project to date. The sequel to last year’s project, Hogwarts Department of Human Resources, this story takes place a few months after the first with the focus turned entirely onto the house-elves and their attempts to create the very first house-elf union. I had a great time writing this story, and I hope everyone will have a great time reading it!

https://archiveofourown.org/works/43403598/chapters/109110336

If you enjoy Harry Potter fanfic, or if you enjoyed my previous story, please take a look at Hogwarts HR: The Dark Tree. For now, please enjoy this excerpt – Chapter 6: The Rise of the House-Elves

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The Cruelty of Love: A Review of Godslayers, by Zoe Hana Mikuta

            Modern day storytelling tends to embrace the model of the three-act structure.  Meaning that our stories—whether they be books, movies, or video games—have a beginning, a middle, or an end.  The first act is the establishment.  It introduces characters, their relationships, the setting, and the inciting incident that leads into the plot.  The second act is the rising action, following the characters attempting to learn about or solve the issue set up in the first act.  However, the second act cannot lead to a resolution just quite yet, leading into the third act.  This is the resolution of the plots set up, along with the climax.  The three-act structure is not a narrative structure for a single book, however.  This is the reason why trilogies are so popular in modern fiction, with each book operating as a different act.  However, this structure is not the only narrative structure around.  The duology, or a story told in two books, may be less popular than the trilogy, but can in some ways be more satisfying to read.

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The Linguistics of Empire: A Review of Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution

            The thing about empire is that it is one of the easiest choices for a villain in fiction.  A large, oppressive, overwhelming force for the characters to fight against.  Authoritarian by design, ever expanding, singularly focused on consuming other cultures and nations to feed its own endless hunger.  Just look at Star Wars and its evil Galactic Empire.  Right away, in the opening crawl no less, we know who the villains of the story are.  The reasons for positioning an empire as a villainous force should be obvious when filtered through the lens of history.  Empire have left a long, bloody trail, expanding and collapsing throughout the millennia, from ancient Babylon to Portugal, the last “official” empire to dissolve with the transfer of Macau back to China in 1999.  However, one modern empire rises above them all in terms of lasing cultural influence; the British Empire.

Continue reading “The Linguistics of Empire: A Review of Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution”

Learning To Communicate: A Review of Eclipse the Moon, by Jessie Mihalik

            Just as communication is the key to any healthy relationship, communication is also a key element of any truly enjoyable romance novel.  If the characters involved do not know how to communicate with each other, or part of the plot does not involve them learning, then the romance may seem forced or unbelievable.  So many stories have been brought low by pairing up characters without putting in the work to make their chemistry obvious to the audience.  Part of the fun of a romance story is watching the characters revolve around each other, figuring each other out, learning the telltale outward signs of their emotional states.  In these kinds of plots, miscommunications are believable, and tense, plot hooks.  Without the honest effort to learn, that lack of communication could result in disastrous effects; readers may think the characters stupid, rather than possessing of realistic emotions.

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Throwback Review: Project Nemesis, by Jeremy Robinson

            Kaiju, or giant monsters, refers to more than just the enormous beasts and creatures we see in movies and fiction.  Rather, kaiju has become a genre all its own.  From classics like the Godzilla films to modern blockbusters like Pacific Rim, kaiju have captured audiences’ imaginations for decades.  While we normally consider the original 1954 film, Gojira, to be the first kaiju movie, featuring the original appearance of Godzilla, kaiju fiction actually predates that.  However, Gojira permanently changed the landscape of the genre by using monsters to address human concerns.  Instead of a creature feature or B-movie thriller, 1954’s Gojira was about the horrors of the atomic age and the aftermath of the United State’s nuclear weapons tests.  From then on, the best kaiju stories blended the action with engaging themes, a trend which continues to the modern day.

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Metamorphosis: A Review of Wrath Goddess Sing, by Maya Deane

            We all know the story of the Iliad, the ancient Greek poem detailing the story of Achilles during the time of the decade long Trojan War.  Helen, the queen of Sparta and the most beautify woman in the world, was taken to Troy by Paris, sparking a conflict between the Achaeans and the Trojans that would see many heroes dead by the finale.  Considered to have been written down for the first time in the 8th century BCE, commonly attributed to the legendary author known as Homer, whom the Odyssey is also attributed.  In truth, the story is likely much older than his written version, and would have had any different versions in accordance with the oral tradition of storytelling.  The Iliad has the remarkable distinction of being truly timeless, with it still being commonly read today and even taught in classes around the world.  This ever-lasting appeal has also led to constant re-imaginings and appropriations of the story, characters, and themes.  From feminist translations to complete overhauls, every storyteller has their own idea on what makes the story of Achilles great. 

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The Old Ways: A Review of Never the Wind, by Francesco Dimitri

            Few stories are more timeless than the coming-of-age tale, a genre which never ceases to be popular in the public consciousness.  These stories tend to feature younger characters, either pre-teens or teenagers, and follow them as they learn life lessons and mature throughout the course of the story.  It is not so much about becoming an adult by the end of the story as it is stories about the changes we all experience when we are younger.  There comes a time in everyone’s life when they gain a certain understanding about the world, commonly referred to as the loss of innocence. Children learning that their parents are not infallible, or teenagers learning that the world is vastly more complicated than they ever believed.  Many times, coming-of-age tales show the main character developing their personality and becoming their own person, outside of the projections of their parents.  While these stories may feature young characters, they are not normally considered YA fiction, as the target audience tends to be adults rather than other teenagers.  There is an element of nostalgia in reading a coming-of-age story, and thinking back to when you were the age of the characters.

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The Gauntlet: A Review of Tear Down the Throne, by Jennifer Estep

            Romance is one of the oldest genres in the literary world, and remains one of the largest areas of publication, with multitudes of readers and books being published every year.  Romance is one of those genres that can be combined with so many others, resulting in some extremely creative and unique styles of writing.  While many books include romance, to call a book a romance is something completely different.  There may be a plot, but the main tension is a result of the story revolves around the love lives of the main characters.  By blending romance with a setting theme, such as fantasy, authors can create some fun combinations, brainstorming new romantic traditions and customs for their characters to engage with.  There is also something inherently romantic about using a fantasy setting, especially one with real world influences throughout history.  The idea of star-crossed lovers is extraordinarily popular, and what easier way to set that up than by pairing royalty from two enemy kingdoms?

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Inheritance: A Review of Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor, by Xiran Jay Zhao

            Aside from genre, fiction can be separated into categories based on the age group of the target audience. YA, or young adult, is one of the most well-known, as that classification encompasses some of the most popular books and series within the last few decades.  The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, The Hunger Games, and more cemented themselves into the public consciousness, attracting readers well outside of their target.  Less well known is the classification of stories aimed at slightly younger readers, such as preteens, known as middle grade fiction.  Middle grade stories tend to have a different writing style than their YA cousins, although the plots may share commonalities.  However, while they definitely aim for a younger audience than YA fiction or books meant for adults, middle grade fiction does not underestimate its readers.  Rather, the best middle grade writers understand that children are far more intelligent and emotionally aware than adults would assume.

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Perseverance: A Review of Destiny of the Dead, by Kel Kade

            Apocalyptic fiction can be a tricky story format to get right, and it usually falls into two broad categories.  Post-apocalypse stories are actually very common, for a variety of reasons, where the apocalypse has already happened and we spend our time following characters surviving or rebuilding after the fact.  The tone of these can range wildly, from hopeless in the face of a terrible world, or hopeful as rebuilding is underway.  Conversely, there are also stop-the-apocalypse stories, where the heroes of the story work to avoid the end of the world, either preventing or reversing the oncoming apocalypse.  Much rarer are stories where the apocalypse seems inevitable, but has not happened yet.  Where readers, and sometimes even the characters, know that the end of the world is going to happen, but the characters struggle anyways.  Conventional wisdom tells us that if a character wants something enough, then the audience will want them to achieve it.  But how does a story avoid disappointing readers when it seems like the protagonists will not get what they want?

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