Hello there Sam! I'm finally here reviewing for the Improvement challenge. Sorry about the wait! Turns out there were a lot of people interested in the challenge (who could have predicted that?). Also, got to say, it's sort of weird to be reviewing your writing in like a critiquey way after lots of non-requested reviews and betaing. I'm sure that was a valuable and interesting part of the review for you (shut up, Helen, and get on with it).
Oh, one thing - there was a word missing here the better (chance) the guy had of spending the night but that's not a big deal.
Okay, so, improvement. Ack. This is hard (I really haven't got my critic brain on right now) erm... sorry, I'm being so unhelpful here. FOCUS DAMN IT.
There were a few seconds that were a bit awkward and got fairly long pretty quickly. One that stood out to me was... He knew it was all down to jealousy, he'd never hated Jess for any reason, but Skander Dolohov had been his in Hogwarts and, despite the time apart, he still rather liked the idea of being the only person to get to the supposedly unattainable and unbreakable man at his side. there were just so many clauses in this and, because it was so closely linked to the sentence before, I just completely lost what you were trying to say. And given it was quite a short chapter I thought there were a few instances when the sentences could have been cleaner and easier to read. So, just go back over it and read it out loud (it always helps when you do that, because it puts you in a position where it's like someone could be listening and then you pick up the mistakes easier) and you should be able to clear those up easy - you know how to write, clearly, just a few little mistakes.
One of the other things was the length. Now, your writing lends itself towards fairly short chapters (when I say short I'm comparing it to my writing, but the fact is my chapters are just really long - so I don't mean that as an insult or anything), but this one felt short to me.
That is good in a way, because it means that people want to read more but I also think you could have done more to drag me by the shoulders and pull me into the story. You're really good at omitting information - for example, I have absolutely no idea why Hugo is, at current, going by 'Matt' or why Skander is going along with it and that's enough for me to want to read onwards... but, at the same time, I'd love so more descriptions about certain things.
I really enjoyed the descriptions at the beginning of the chapter and I'd love to see that feed through to late parts of the chapters - particularly with Hugo's emotions. Nothing is quite so gripping as characters and you've got great stuff in regards to this - because Hugo and Skander both have this air about them which is exciting and interesting, but I'd really like to get closer to Hugo and know what he was feeling.
Conflicting emotions about seeing Skander? Surprise? Worry that Skander is about to rat him out about not being called Mat? I'd just love more internal dialogue and more meat to the chapter. You ended it in a really great place and you started it in a great place, too, I just wanted more in the middle to sink my teeth into.
This is looking like another great start to a story though, Sam, so sorry there isn't much more for me to offer! Thanks for entering my challenge and I'm hoping I'll get to read the next chapter of this at some point soon :)
Author's Response: Hey, Helen. I know I said I was going to respond the other day, but I had to go out. It was boring. Then I came home and forgot. :O
I know my chapters are usually short in length (but getting longer. Scary, in a good way :P), but this is supposed to be short, it's a prologue of sorts. Omission is key to this chapter. You'll know... more in the next one. Which will include why Skander didn't rat him out. Well, sort of. ;)
The conflicting emotions, I can go back to, yeah. And I'll go back to the paragraph you highlighted in the review.
Thank you, Helen, so much. I agree, it's odd getting a critiquey review after non-requests and beta (speaking of betaing, I will have that chapter for you soon), but it's so helpful and I really appreciate it. I'm glad I signed up for this challenge.