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One Year in Mirkwood  by daw the minstrel 38 Review(s)
Eirinn LeighReviewed Chapter: 15 on 7/17/2016
I greatly enjoyed your tale and have just a few things else to say:
On Eillian's death :: what is the point of prophetic dreams if they enable one to do nothing to change their contents? Do not change what you wrote!
On the epilogue :: I would have liked to see Legolas's dream of the dwarf huddled in the boat played out simultaneous with his recollection of that year in his youth.
Overall :: You may someday become a better writer but it is doubtful that you could become a better storyteller. Excellent, excellent. Suspense, pacing, handling multiple story lines with clarity and bringing them together so naturally to climax simultaneously. Bravo.

Author Reply: Eirinn Leigh--

Thank you so much for this review and for you kind words on the story.

As it happens, I've just been wondering about whether I want to use prophetic dreams in something else I'm writing. My main feeling about them is similar to yours. If you can't use them as a warning that lets you change the future for the better, what's their use? They'd just be terrible things to have.

I appreciate you taking the time to tell me you enjoyed this.


Asms2Reviewed Chapter: 15 on 4/8/2016
Great story! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Seeing the height of Thranduil’s rage was neat to read. The way he was described as he set out to go get Legolas…I pity anyone on the other side of that wrath! Well written.

I enjoyed reading about the training exercises that you thought up. The novices mock battles with a defense and attackers were fun. And the masters’ coaching/protectiveness of the novices is neat. I like reading about the training elements, and the advice that the masters give out.

Of coarse all the family love is awesome and adorable. Thranduil’s paternal instinct, and all 3 brothers’ relationship with each other...I just love it!

Author Reply: Asms2--

Thanks so much for the review. I wrote this story a while ago now, and I'm always thrilled to find out someone still reads and enjoys it.

As I recall, I found some of the training exercises at an online site for fantasy writers that's since been removed. As you will have no doubt noticed, some of the masters are easier to be around than others.

My beta reader always said my stories were about family. When I started writing them, I knew I was going to have to differentiate between Legolas's two brothers, and I wasn't sure how, but it turned out to be a pleasure to do.

Anyway, thank you again.


endorearwenReviewed Chapter: 15 on 9/2/2013
Hi Daw! I keep trying to figure out how I can just add my response to your response at the end of the original review like you've done - but dang if I can figure that one out!! Frustrated...

Anyway, thank you for both the mentoring advice and the Aragorn story (which I will read as soon as I've finished typing this response to you!)

You initial reply proved very valuable to me! I had totally forgotten about the Appendices and the wonderful time line they provided (amongst other things). Having my memory refreshed on that one helped me overcome a hurdle I've been charging for some time now! :-)

You spoke about the characters revealing themselves and growing as the plot sets them into new situations. I wish I could figure out how to make that happen for my stories. Generally speaking, my characters 'talk' to me in 'scenes' (if that makes any sense to you...) Sometimes I haven't the foggiest notion of how these bits of dialogue and scenes all fit together, although eventually the 'bridges' between the scenes seem to just come to me as well. So the idea of 'controlling' my characters' developments is an appealing one. Do you have any words of wisdom to share about how you accomplish that? Do you actually decide in advance how you want the character to change and then write the setting that will enable that to happen or is it the other way around?

Look forward to hearing from you again!

Author Reply: I don't think there's any way to do what you want using the review function, but if you keep clicking on my name, I think you eventually get an email form for me. You could try that.

I find I have to fumble around for a while and see how characters and events interact. It's totally normal to have to keep going back over things and changing what you want to do.

endorearwenReviewed Chapter: 15 on 9/1/2013
Oh my goodness, Daw! Sorry, but this is going to be a long one... I was on pins and needles most of the way through this story!! I was haunted by a dreadful suspicion that you were working up to killing Eilian off! I don¡¦t think I could have forgiven that... But the plot was so well presented that I never felt truly certain of exactly whose death was foreshadowed in the dreams. Time after time, a sinking feeling reared in my stomach when I read about Alfirin and Ithilden - and that poor baby struggling to join them. I tried to reassure myself that you certainly wouldn¡¦t take Thranduil¡¦s grandson from him (not after his beautiful longing to hold an elfling¡¦s hand again...) But I was always anxious that neither Alfirin or Ithilden were completely safe from being sent to the Halls of Mandos. Then Legolas was ensnared by the Easterlings and I had to work really hard at convincing myself that his death was quite simply impossible! When you sent Thranduil out with the search party, I was stunned that you might have been thinking of killing him off! :-O Wicked of you to do that to your readers, Daw!! However, I¡¦m very glad that, in the end, they were only dreams and nothing more - phew! (Honestly, could you really have killed Eilian off as originally intended???....)

Moving on... Miriwen in love with Eilian - DAH! Who didn¡¦t see that one coming? I do think Eilian was more responsible than he was willing to admit - he¡¦s an experienced flirter after all, he knows how easy it is to charm an impressionable and naive young lady... At the very least, I think he should have curtailed his natural impulses if only because he knew his baby brother had strong feelings for her. (I didn¡¦t see Falah winning her over though in the end - nice one!) For an instant, I was mortified that maybe you were going to write Eilian as reciprocating Miriwin¡¦s affections. At least you spared Legolas from that! Still, oh dear...

I do harbor a mild disappointment that the grandchild was a boy. I understand why a boy made sense. After all, the Woodland Realm needs as many warriors as it can get but still, I would like to have seen Thranduil¡¦s interaction with a little girl, this man whose world is composed entirely of men! Don¡¦t you think he¡¦d be ¡¥softer¡¦, almost ¡¥vulnerable¡¦ Thranduil with a little girl wrapped tightly around his heart? Then again, maybe he would be even worse! Let¡¦s face it, he¡¦s more than overprotective of his boys - and their warriors!!

My favourite scene - the evening Thranduil, Legolas and Eilian talked all night about Lorellin. Thranduil bears her loss so stoically that he appears almost unaware of how much his children need to remember her. Legolas in particular has lost out on so much. His father is the only one who can help to heal it by letting Legolas know her as he and Eilian and Ithilden did. I thought this scene was very touching and it still brings tears that you let him release those tender feelings and allowed his sons to help him bear his ongoing, and usually private, sorrow. I would like to have read more about each of the memories Thranduil chose to share that night. It would have helped me to better know ¡¥Lorellin¡¦ the character too.

I am totally impressed by the way you write about warrior training! How did you ever come to understand the intricacies of the skills that would have been taught to novice warriors? The descriptions and explanations of the learning Legolas was being put through were brilliant!

As always, Daw, I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Is there any chance you would be willing to provide me with some mentoring about how to plot out a story? This is something I have never done before and, because your writing style appeals so much to me, I know I would benefit enormously from receiving your guidance... In any event, this one was a page-turner, Daw, and I was up really late last night because I couldn¡¦t stop reading! ƒº

BTW - Absolutely LOVED the humbling of Tinar! :-D

Author Reply: I also can't believe I was going to kill Eilian. I must have been out of my mind. Thank Eru I came to my senses in time. My beta never did believe I'd do it.

Poor Legolas with Miri. She wasn't right for him for the long term, and they both needed to grow up some. But adolescent heart break is just terrible. We've all been through it, so we all know. And that's an occasion on which Legolas missed his mother most even though he doesn't know it.

I found a site (since disappeared) that described warrior training and I totally love research. I get carried away really easily.

Mentor you on plotting? I'm willing to help though I don't know how much help I'd be. The first thing I'd say about plot is that it's the weakest part of most fanfic. People write fanfic because they love the characters but they don't know what to do with them. The writer has to MAKE PLOT HAPPEN. You read novels. You know what plot looks like. Don't be shy about putting one of those plots in your story. Is it romance, war, learning some needed lesson, a combination? Pick and feel free to invent.

Here's what I usually did. Any story I wrote was anchored in time in Tolkien's cycle and then further anchored by time of year and Legolas's age and so development. I used the Tale of Years in the appendix to ROTK for Tolkien's overall history. It sometimes gave me plot ideas because I could see potential in events it described. For instance, when I wrote "Good Neighbors," I saw mention in the Tale of Years of the Sons of Elrond fighting in some battle south of Mirkwood so I used their presence.

I then fiddled around for a week or more writing an account of what would happen. It was just prose saying this happens, so then that happens, and therefore that happens. As I worked with that, a theme often emerged, connecting events and maybe Legolas's growth. Like when I wrote "Good Neighbors," I was wondering about relations between elves and men. What did elves owe to men? Anything? I usually had to change early events to set up later ones.

Once I had that overall description written, I started writing chapter 1. I liked a chapter to be between 2500 and 5000 words. When I got around 4000, I started looking for an exciting place to end the chapter so no one would have to read online too long. The first few times, I wrote the whole story before I posted any of it because I wanted to be sure I could finish and wouldn't leave readers hanging. My natural story length seems to be about 50K words, give or take. So not too long. I figured I could always write another story. A plot needs a certain compactness so the reader can see how the pieces relate.

One of the best pieces of advice on plot I've read since then is that plot and character are two sides of the same coin. Character reveals itself in plot, and a plot happens the way it does because the character takes actions that fit. The plot needs this character to happen the way it does. The character needs this plot to change and grow in necessary ways.

Does that help? I always like talking about this stuff.

Author Reply: I thought about this a little more. My earliest story "See the Stars" is more or less a mystery because that's what I was reading at the time. Think about some of your favorite books. Could you adapt the plot to fit ME?

Here's a story with a strong plot by meckinock:

It's an Aragorn story and you'll see she fits it into a time of his life when it could have happened and the characters behave in a way that's consistent with what Tolkien tells us. But this is totally her made up plot. It's a situation in which Aragorn is seized and escapes. And it's a great read.

moonshineReviewed Chapter: 15 on 9/26/2011
I swear your fanfics will never become old for me. Every once in a while I come back and read one, and they still are as wonderful as the first time I read them. I hope you are doing well, and know that I still treasure your characters and stories as much as always.


Author Reply: Bless you, moonshine. This came at exactly the right moment to cheer me up about my writing. I love fanfic readers, especially the ones on SoA. They're so kind and smart. If these stories still give you pleasure, then I'm deeply rewarded.

MomL111Reviewed Chapter: 15 on 3/29/2010
Have read your stories in the past, but I have never left a review. Just took the time recently to reread several of the stories, and I was reminded what a gifted writer you are. You bring all your characters to life. I especially enjoy the stories showing the relationship between the brothers.

Have not seen a new story in a while. Was wondering if you had plans to return to writing more of your wonderful stories. Thanks again for sharing your stories.

Author Reply: Hey, MomL--

Thanks for the review and the kind words.

I haven't been writing fanfic lately, mostly because I'm spending my energy on original fiction. I have an agent, but so far she's had no luck selling my novels to publishers.

So once in a while, I get the urge to write fanfic again if only to have someone read what I write. But I also feel like I've said most of what I have to say about Thranduil's family, at least for the moment.

We'll see, I guess. Fanfic readers are very rewarding.


AnnarielReviewed Chapter: 15 on 8/29/2007
Were you kill Eilian? OMG I'm soooo glad you didn't.

The Thranduil's fury was awesome and understandable, and Legolas y Nitha were very valiant. And poor Ithilden was clueless about the war, but he had a important mission too ;)

I don't finish to read all stories yet, but I would like to know if you continue writing stories about this wonderful universe you has created, and if you plan arrive to Valinor, if it's thereby, Will we turn to see Turgon back?? *puppy eyes*

Sorry if I dont review often but english isn't my native language ;P

greetings Mirkwood minstrel


Author Reply: Were you kill Eilian? OMG I'm soooo glad you didn't.

Me too! I can't believe I ever considered it.

As it happens, I did write about Turgon's return in Valinor. It's in a story called "With the Help of a Friend." On this site, Bodkin has also written about my characters in Valinor. She did it as present for me. The story is called "In the West."

English may not be your native language, but you say things that matter to me. :-)

sofiaReviewed Chapter: 15 on 7/17/2006
I'm in the middle of rereading your stories (which I consider brilliant, by the way) and I had just finished this one last night.
I do have a question though: Where is Maltanaur? I have two theories as to where he is.
1) you came up with his character after you wrote this story.
2) Maltanaur is indeed there all along, but simply not mentioned.

Also, I think you should know that your Ithilden and Eilian have hooked me in indefinitely. Now whenever I read a story and it concerns Legolas and his family, I automatically think of your OCs. If the Legolas in another story has siblings I will think to myself 'no, that just doesn't seem believable.' and if Legolas in another story has no siblings at all I think 'thats wrong, he does!' You've developed these OCs so well that I believe that they actually existed and are not characters you made up. So congrats to you! Because for as long as I read Legolas stories I will always picture Ithilden and Eilian as his brothers and no one else.
Now on that note I must beg of you to not kill either of them off! I was reading the author note at the end of the last chapter and it mentioned that you had originally planned to kill Eilian off. I had totally forgotten about that, but I have to say please don't!

Author Reply: Hi, Sofia. I'm so glad you're enjoying these stories.

Maltanaur was there from the first story I wrote ("See the Stars"), so I'm thinking he's around, just not mentioned. I suppose once I got Eilian in the Home Guard, I didn't think he needed a guard as much. Silly me!

I have no plans to kill off Legolas's brothers! Eru forbid. I was out of my mind to even consider it.

pipinheartReviewed Chapter: 15 on 10/8/2005
I loved little Nitha she is sweet. Legolas is getting older and will soon be a warrior. Eilian finally will be on his way back south to what he loves...

Author Reply: Nitha was fun to create. She's so full of energy. And Legolas is growing up. It's a good thing Thranduil has a grandchild to dote on now. Thank you for all these reviews, Pipinheart.

pipinheartReviewed Chapter: 14 on 10/8/2005
Legolas is recovering, but thinks still bother him. He is learning and will indeed one day be a good captain, as his teachers believes...

Author Reply: Legolas has grown a lot in this year, I think.

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