Oh, yay! New update! (Well, newish. It's the first time I'm seeing it, anyway.)
This was a great chapter overall, but I want to mention a couple little mechanical things that felt a bit awkward before getting down to everything that was good about it.
In the beginning, the descriptions of how Brienne's friends are reacting to this very startling news didn't always come off as well as they could have. I felt like you were trying to emphasise how important and dramatic the moment is - which is good - but in the process you ended up describing things in a bit too much detail, which felt out of place in the context of the rest of the story. I also think that you were a bit too careful to give everyone equal face time, which took me away from Brienne's perspective (which is something you're typically very good at getting across).
For example, in dialogue at the very beginning (paragraphs 2-4), I think you could have collapsed things a bit. For one thing, if they all spoke at the same time she probably wouldn't have really understood each distinct sentence, especially given how stunned she was that she'd blurted it out. I think that everyone talking at once probably would have overwhelmed her more, and she might have just caught a little bit of each. She's feeling disoriented right now - leaving the readers initially unsure about how her friends are taking the news would have helped bring us further into her frame of mind.
Alternatively, you could have made it so that they didn't all talk at once. Fred could have said his line, then George could have said his, and you could have left Angelina's out since she says essentially the same thing a little while later. Either choice would have helped draw me into Brienne's frame of mind a bit more.
The same thing was true of the fifth paragraph - if Brienne's head is in her hands, how does she know what they're all doing? Again, I wanted to be drawn into her emotional state, which is something you typically do quite well. Just redirecting the perspective so it's really all about her, like this -
Brienne had her head in her hands. She couldn't believe what she had just blurted out to her friends. She was having a very hard time breathing, and she could feel tears starting to trickle out of her eyes. What on Earth had she been thinking?
She could hear one of her friends get up and begin to pace the room. The other two were silent.
"Brienne, y-you don't have to think that way," Angelina finally said. "It could be a coincidence."
- would have been a bit better, for me.
I also felt like some of the dialogue tags were a little out of place and unnecessary. In the fourth paragraph, I think just having, "George sounds as if he had" would have been sufficient, and a bit later on, I wasn't sure why Fred was literally yelling.
It wasn't bad - it just wasn't quite as strong as I think you're capable of.
Other than that, though, this was a(mother) great chapter. I loved the way you depicted her friends' reaction after that initial bit, especially the bit where George hugs her, and the brief conversation about taking her to see Dumbledore/McGonagall that ended with Fred pointing out that wandering around the castle wasn't the greatest idea was a nice way to contextualise things and remind us what else had happened that night.
I also liked the fact that you didn't let the very important canon occurence slip to the back burner - it was clear that there were other important (and more immediate) things going on, and Brienne definitely seemed to acknowledge that, especially regarding George and Fred. You balanced Brienne's issues with what was happening in canon really well, IMO.
That wasn't really surprising, of course - that's what you've been doing for the entire story, and it's part of what makes Joker such a pleasure to read. You never neglect what was happening in canon, but it's still a fundamentally different story in many ways from the books themselves - it's a balance that I think many authors who write OC-centric fics set in the Hogwarts era really struggle to find, but you continue to impress me with your ability to do so in a way that comes off as seamless and genuine.
This was another terrific chapter. I can't wait for the next one! ♥Author's Response: Hey! Ah, it's so good to read your reviews again xD When I read your name I squeed.
You know, I KNEW when I was writing that that it wasn't quite right xD It just seemed too methodical and, yeah, detailed. Thanks for saying exactly how I could make it better, cause I just couldn't figure it out xD
Yeah, making sure Brienne was having her own crises that wasn't overshadowed or tiny next to the canon things going on, that was important to me.
Thanks for including the word "seamless" in a review, that makes my day :D Thank you!
So I am going through making you more CIs (and reading, obviously, since I want to make them at least somewhat appropriate), and right now I want to hug you for the greenhouse every day comment because that is totally what working with living things can be like. I have a friend who worked with fish and genetic engineering, and she had to go in for about an hour almost every day, no matter what else was going on.
Also, this is a great chapter and I love the fact that you didn't let the "I have a girlfriend" line build and cause drama over the course of several chapters before Molly discovered the truth. That would have probably ended up feeling tiresome. This was totally realistic - who hasn't lied at some point or another about having a significant other out of panic? :P
(This is a terrible review, but I'm hoping the CIs make up for my lack of reviewing/poor review. ♥)Author's Response: Thank you so much for those CIs and the review! You're amazing! And I'm glad you think I captured the greenhouse and her needing to work at least some every day. The way I see it, the world doesn't stop living just because you want a day off.
Yeah, I definitely didn't want that lie to build up, that's why I chose to include Connor in the scene because friends tend to call your lies in front of the person you're lying to. And it definitely wasn't a terrible review because I still enjoyed it. Thanks again! Report Review
Hey, I'm here for our swap! Sorry it's taken me some time - end of semester crush. :( But on the bright side, I'm done!
I wasn't sure whether I wanted to continue with CoB (which I haven't finished yet - I need to put it on my ereader or something and polish it off on my way to and from school/work) or start with Marked, but in the end, curiosity about Draco's character and how you'd choose to portray him won out.
Thus far, at least, I think you managed to capture his voice perfectly. There's just the right amount of privileged derision - e.g., planning to speak to his father about making sure that he gets credit for whatever Umbridge found, or telling Tracey Davis to write Pansy's essay for her, or deciding that he'd just keep Pansy as a mistress because the wife his parents chose for him wouldn't be as fun.
There's also a slightly slimy "nothing can touch me" vibe that's perfect for Draco as we knew him in the books. He reads about his father infiltrating the Ministry, and it doesn't even occur to him to worry. He just assumes that there will be a reason to celebrate. In some ways, it almost feels childlike and innocent - nobody who's actually experienced life expects it to turn out okay all the time.
It's a bit of a stark contrast to Harry, who throughout all the books often seemed to jump to the worst case scenario. I think that Draco as you've portrayed him here - which does seem very consistent with the books - is probably more naive than Harry was in the first book, which makes his comments about Hermione's blood status or his father's possible mistresses come off almost a bit silly to me, because I don't think that he really properly understands what a lot of it means.
One of the things that struck me the most, honestly, was the way Draco made sure to talk to Daphne about the letter. It's so self-important - "obviously everyone's paying attention to me and cares" and unnecessarily sneaky. He just thought he was being clever.
Which, as I said, is perfect. That was always how Draco came across to me in the books, too, and I think you've done a great job with him so far here. :) (Sorry for the lack of CC - I tried, but there's nothing in here that I really wanted to critique!)Author's Response: Hey, there!
First off, apologies for the embarrassing lateness of this response. Busy, busy, busy...
I'm glad you liked Draco's characterization and thought processes. I went back and tried to brush up on the way he's written in GoF and OotP, which turns out to be challenging because he has a lot less dialog in those books than you'd think. But the overarching themes were definitely his arrogance, sense of entitlement and self-importance. He believes very firmly that his family's influence and money will protect them from any sort of repercussions, no matter what kind of nasty business his father gets into. All of that is about to change in a major way, though.
At this point in his life, Draco is still definitely the Anti-Harry. That will change to an extent over the next two years, and I wanted to capture the beginnings of that process.
I'm glad you enjoyed the story! Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
Hey, I'm here to return our swap. :) Sorry it's taken me so long - the end of semester crunch consumed my life. Sigh.
Anyway, I liked this a lot. It's an intriguing start to the story - you're telling us from the start that Morgan isn't going to turn out to be a hero, but at the same time, I did feel like you were successful in humanising her from the start. Having her meet Draco Malfoy was a great choice in that regard - we're all so used to thinking of Draco as a villain, I think, that a lot of people will be drawn to her just because she blew him off.
Bringing Theodore Nott into it is also an interesting choice. I personally find Nott to be really interesting, because we know so little about him and his past. I guess that's true for most of the characters who aren't Gryffindors in Harry's year, but there was something about Nott's characterisation in the books that drew me in, and I think that there are a lot of interesting things you could do with him, especially in the context of a to-be villain who was sorting into Gryffindor.
I also like the fact that you made her a Gryffindor, and I'd be interested to see how you pull off the Gryffindor/villain angle. I don't think that enough people really try to portray villains from Houses that aren't Slytherin, and there are a lot of possibilities there, especially if Morgan is acquainted with Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys (which I'm assuming she will be, to some extent).
My only real issue with this chapter was something you acknowledged in your A/N, so it could just be a matter of taste. I did feel like the narrator was laying it on a bit thick throughout the chapter, and in a way that felt a little too dramatic and confusing.
For example: I like intrigue, and the italics at the beginning worked really well for me in general. I think that you did a great job of setting the story up with them and drawing me in.
However, the last paragraph of the italics - starting Just know that I have no regret - didn't really made sense to me, and not in a good way. It shifted the focus back onto the narrator when you hadn't even introduced Morgan yet, which split the focus of the chapter a bit and stopped the chapter from feeling quite as linear and cohesive as it would have, otherwise.
Other than a few issues with that, though, this was a great chapter, and I really enjoyed it. :)Author's Response: Hey :D
Thank you for the wonderful comments. I am glad you like some of my decisions, such as placing Morgan in Gryffindor and involving TheodoreNott.
I also found Theodore intriguing in the books and have been thinking of exploring his character for a while now :). To me, he always seemed to be like Malfoy, equal to him in predjudice and self-entitlement, but lacking the frustration and insecurity that I always found made Malfoy, although relatable, more annoying and pathetic. This made me imagine Nott as intelligent and introverted. He is not one to care about the well-being of others and he is not a hero, but I suspect he has a very rich inner world that is fun to explore. I hope I will be able to do his character some justice later on in this novel ^^
I agree with you that the narrator overdoes the *OoOooOOoo so dramatic* tone at times. I've been thinking about what to do there.Thank you for the specific example you brought, I think that will help me find the right tone by drawing attention away from the narrator. When I wrote that first bit, I hadn't really thought out much of the story (terrible tactic, but I'm the "ah it'll come to me as I write" type, super lazy *sigh*). At first, I actually thought the narrator would have more of a role than she does now, maybe would even turn out to be one of the characters. Opinions have chnaged since then but I never did go back and fix the text accordingly. I will do it and thank you for pointing it out :D
This swap thing is fun :3 Well,thank you again for the helpful review! Cheers! Report Review
Hello, my dear. ♥ I'm here to return our swap.
Your grasp of the English language is amazing, so I hope you'll forgive me if I push you a little further. (I know that this is all stuff you may well have improved upon since writing this chapter, so I'll be brief.)
There were a lot of points where you included dialogue tags or descriptions that I didn't really think were necessary, and actually impeded the flow of the chapter a little. I also think that you should be careful about overusing qualifiers - things like "a moment" and "little" aren't always necessary.
For example, your first line would have sounded a little tighter if it had read, Fred Weasley threw himself on my couch. "So, what's the plan for Friday?" rather than "So, what's the plan for Friday?" Fred Weasley asked as he threw himself on my couch. It's a subtle difference, but it does make the writing come across as more polished.
Similarly, a little further down, rather than have "I had a fight with Jen," he revealed and a small frown appeared on his face for a moment. You don't really need the dialogue tag he revealed - it's clear that it's Fred speaking, and you typically use dialogue tags when either it isn't clear who's speaking or there's something distinctive about how they're speaking. This isn't really either. Instead, I think A small frown appeared on his face. "I had a fight with Jen." would have felt a little more polished.
Again, it's not a huge deal - your writing is perfectly lovely as it is. I just think that there are a few little things you could improve upon here and there to make it amazing. :)
Anyway. Onto the actual content. :P
I definitely believe Gwen's unrequited (?) feelings toward James, and I think you've played the best-friend-in-love thing perfectly, and in a way that's in keeping with the character you established Gwen to be. I could really feel how hurt and upset she was when their friends decided that they wanted a party and James went along with it, and I thought that keeping it in and pretending she wasn't bothered made sense. You don't want to force someone to spend time with you, you want them to want to.
I also like that she did end up blowing him off in the end, even if she felt guilty about it - unrequited love doesn't need to mean that she becomes a complete doormat, and I'm glad that you seen to be avoiding that pitfall.
I think that my major issue thus far is that I like Gwen a lot, but I don't really like James. I'm not quite sure what it is, since I tend to like the overconfident devil-may-care characters, but there's something about James that isn't clicking for me. I don't know, maybe it's just that right now, James is coming across as a bit selfish and thoughtless without a lot of redeeming characteristics. I don't dislike him, I just don't really see what Gwen does in him, and I'm kind of rooting for her to find someone else and get over James rather than for them to get together, if that makes sense. I just don't feel like he deserves her.
That said, this is still in the early part of the story, and it's entirely possible that James will end up becoming far more likable as it progresses. This was not a chapter that I think he was supposed to really shine in.
All in all, this was a really good chapter, and I'm definitely going to have to find the time to r&r more of it! ♥ Report Review
My life has been really, really crazy, but the holiday swap has given me the chance to come back to Joker! (As if I wouldn't anyway.) There are a lot of great authors with swap threads, but Joker is my first initiated swap, because, well, it's Brienne.
I miss the days when I still had five or six chapters of Joker left to read. Oh well. I will have to start rereading it, I guess. (Such a good story.)
I feel like a broken record saying this, but I adore your characterisation.
The paragraph about Brienne liking the fifth year girls' bathroom was absolutely perfect. That's something that a lot of people don't understand, I think - looking good often really is about looking good for yourself, and you don't give two figs what the rest of the world thinks. That's especially true when you're sick (or, at least, it is for me), and the way you linked the two and articulated the sentiment was just perfect.
I also continue to love the way you insert different canon Gryffindors into this and extrapolate about their relationships with each other. I'd never really thought Angelina's relationships with the other Weasleys, but this was perfect: Percy as "deathly dull" and Ron as a "bit annoying" made so much sense in the context of what we know about Angelina and how you've developed her character throughout the story.
Along the same lines, I continue to appreciate the way that you're keeping Brienne removed from a lot of the canon characters outside her year, especially the trio. The mention that she hasn't ever really spoken to Ron, the fact that she still clearly doesn't really know Harry - it works, and it helps keep this feeling realistic.
I'm not entirely sure that she wouldn't even know Hermione's name halfway through the year, since Hermione is pretty well known, especially in the Weasley circle, but you didn't overstate it, and I could certainly believe that in the middle of the night Brienne wouldn't immediately place her, because she's just not that important in Brienne's life. Ditto Malfoy - what does Brienne care about a random Slytherin kid two years below her? That's all especially true since she's only been there for half a year.
You handled the Sirius Black scene perfectly. The twins had an appropriate reaction without veering into being too serious, and the idea that Sirius Black attempting to kill Ron in Gryffindor Tower (well, as far as they know) would have an impact on Brienne, whose mother has been murdered and who has just learned that someone may be trying to kill her makes perfect sense.
I think my favorite line was, "She isn't crying, she's hyperventilating." I'm not sure why that came across as so funny to me, but it definitely did.
I do think that you may have missed a paragraph, though - toward the end, Brienne goes from feeling like she's intruding to falling into an armchair, and I had the impression that they were sitting already. Other than that, though, amazing amazing job.
Sorry this review is rather short and unconstructive. I would be more constructive, it's just that I have nothing bad to say. :PAuthor's Response: Hi! xD Aww, I love it so much when people say how much they love Brienne. I'm so proud of her so when you say that it makes me smiles xD
If I could update this story every day I would, but then it would be over, and I'm not sure I want to give this up yet. It's a good thing I'm writing this until the end of Deathly Hallows! We've got a few years to go.
I didn't want to make it sound like she knows the trio, as I think any kind of acquaintanceship between them would probably be unrealistic. I think it's likely she'd know Ron a little, but not really Harry or Hermione.
I'm glad you think her reactions made sense :) I didn't want her to be like "Ah! My aching heart!" you know, too melodramatic. I'm glad it was balanced.
I think I'll try to get the mental leap from feeling intrusive to feeling overwhelmed with her feelings and collapsing into a chair more clear :) It does seem a bit abrupt, reading it back again :)
Thank you for your lovely review :) Report Review
Hey, I'm here for the holiday swap! :)
This one-shot was a lot of fun - it's a great concept for a story, and I think you did a nice job with it. Ron's character can be very difficult to write, but you pulled it off nicely. I did feel like you exaggerated the strength of his reactions a little bit once or twice, but really, it doesn't take too much imagination to imagine Ron wanting to object just on impulse or blocking out what married people do until his sister gets pregnant!
What I also liked, though, was that he didn't object, and he stopped himself from freaking out when she told him that she was pregnant. Ron can sometimes turn into a bit of a caricature in fanfiction, I think, because it's hard to figure out when to have him react and when to moderate that a little to keep him realistic. You did a great job with that.
The only critique I have is that there were a few points where I felt like Ron's inner voice didn't quite fit him. The first line of the story in particular didn't sound much like Ron - would he really claim the "Bilius" part of his name? Along the same lines, I wasn't sure whether it made sense to include Dean's last name, since, Ginny aside, they always came off as pretty good friends, and "Voldy" definitely seemed out of place, considering how manic Ron was about using "You-Know-Who." There were a few little things like that that seemed off to me.
Other than that, though, this was a fun story, and I really enjoyed reading it. :)Author's Response: Thank you for the lovely review! I'm glad you thought I didn't go too overboard with Ron's character, as it annoys me too when I read some authors doing that. I completely see what you mean about all the little parts in Ron's inner voice. I included the Bilius just because Ron's older now and maybe he wanted to make himself sound more professional. Perhaps Hermione had a good effect on him? haha but Dean's surname and the Voldy part I completely agree with you on. I'll get right on fixing that.
Thanks for the awesome review!
~cb ") Report Review
Yay for the holiday swap! I finally got to finish this. (And, since I'm lame, I didn't leave a review on the last couple chapters, because I wanted to see what happened. Hopefully you can forgive me.)
I was wondering if you'd end with Euan killing himself. For a large part of the story I kind of thought you would, but the last couple chapters had me hoping that maybe he'd get a vaguely okay-ish ending. I'm glad you didn't go that way, though - letting people recover is also a valid choice, of course, but the finality of the way Euan's story ended really worked with the hopelessness that you communicated throughout.
So I was wondering about that. I was not, however, expecting you to finish up with Toby as a teenager. That said, I'm really glad you did - this was a perfect ending. It wasn't cheerful, not really, but there was an element of hope in it that I never got with Euan and that I don't think I should have gotten from Euan.
However, knowing that Toby really has turned out mostly okay took a little bit of the sting out of the rest of the ending, and I think without ending it this way, it would have lacked something. Toby was so much a part of this that without knowing what happened to him, it would have felt a bit unfinished, and I think that leaving a little room for hope is appropriate.
There were a couple little things throughout that I think you could have improved - there were some typos here and there, and during the trial in particular some of the language being used seemed a little off. However, that's pretty minor - what you have here is an excellent, gut wrenching story, and I think it was brilliant from start to finish. Thank you. Report Review
Hey, here to return a review for the holiday swap! :)
Quick side note: I'm not sure you need the "One Month Later" at the beginning. One month after what? I could figure out when it was just from the first paragraph, you know?
This story has a lot of promise, and I really enjoyed reading it. You have a distinct voice that definitely shines through your narration and gives it a genuine and highly entertaining feel. At first, I wasn't sure what whether I liked it, but the slight streak of sarcasm won me over in short order. Great job.
I really liked your characterization of the Dursleys in particular. There wasn't a lot of depth to Vernon, but at the same time, I didn't really feel like there needed to be. Vernon doesn't like magic and is generally hostile to a lot of things, so some impatience and hostility here just felt like the Vernon we knew and put up with from the books.
Petunia had a little more nuance, I think, but not much. Again, though, she's a doting mother who says embarrassing things - that's a perfectly reasonable way to depict her, especially when the focus isn't really on her at all. The one thing that I really didn't like was in the fourth paragraph, where you said that Petunia had cooed over her son to spite Harry. That seemed both unnecessarily petty and very out of Petunia's character to me.
Dudley, on the other hand, had a lot of depth, and I thought that he was very well done. The interest about the magical world and disliking having to share space with his parents and be cooped up all the time was a perfect mix of privilege and curiosity, and I can easily believe him being in that place following the war.
There are only two things that I really would have liked to see more of in your characterization of the Dursleys as a whole, that I think really would have helped push the chapter to the next level.
First, while I liked that your depiction of the Dursleys was consistent with what we saw in the books, I did feel like you could have pushed a little further with it. It sometimes felt - especially with Vernon and Petunia - like it was too close to what JKR wrote and didn't really have your own spin. I would have liked to see a bit more originality there.
Second, I would have liked to see some mention of Harry. It felt like the only points where he was mentioned was in the beginning of the narrative, but he never seemed to enter into the Dursleys' minds at all (aside from Dudley at the very beginning), and the other characters didn't mention him, either. That seemed out of place to me - surely he would be on somebody's mind or get mentioned by someone in some context, especially considering how immensely popular he had to be at that point.
It could have been funny to see Arthur bragging about Ron and Harry, or to see someone go up to the Dursleys in the Ministry and start fawning over them because they're related to Harry, or even just someone saying that they're very sorry and working as quickly as possible because Harry Potter's relatives are of the highest priority. Just, something, you know?
The only other issue I had with this chapter was really more mechanical than anything. There were some little grammatical typos here and there, and the writing just didn't always flow as naturally as I think it could have. It can be hard to find a beta, but I'd recommend looking into it, because I think that this chapter was great and showed a lot of promise.
On the whole, great chapter. :)Author's Response: Hello and thank you for the long review. You have a point about the beginning, I think I can edit that out later as I see what you mean.
I appreciate all your observations and critique and while yes I'm sure I could have mentioned Harry or Ron, I really wanted this chapter to focus on just the Dursleys, particularly Dudley. Also this story was a stretch from what I have written before, and it wasn't easy to step out of my comfort zone lol. I tend to go back and edit here and there and I have a beta though she's been off and on for a bit.
Thanks again for your review and for reading this first chapter :) Report Review
Hey, here to return a review for the holiday swap! :)
I'm really intrigued! This was a great way to start the story, and I feel like you balanced establishing the premise and leaving a lot of questions open really well, which can be hard to do. I'm still left wondering how exactly they lost their memories, how Ron and Hermione have gotten to the points in their lives they are right now, how Ginny and Harry's relationship has been going despite the tension from losing them... I could go on and on.
However, within that, you did give me enough information that I could fill in some of the blanks. Ginny and Harry are clearly having some issues with their relationship, probably in a large part because she's so preoccupied by something he sees as hopeless. Ron seems to be trying to just get on with it (as much as he can, anyway), where Hermione is clearly distracted and disconnected from her life.
Speaking of Hermione, I especially liked the way you depicted her relationship with her fiancé - there was just enough affection that the relationship felt genuine, but I also definitely didn't feel like her heart was completely in it. She's certainly not madly, wildly in love - which I guess is kind of the same problem Ron is having with Chelsea.
I do have a little crit, though - hopefully you don't mind and will not end up regretting swapping with me. :P
First: Your writing style is really crisp and readable, and you definitely pull the reader (or at least, this reader) into the story. However, I do feel like you sometimes go a bit overboard with the adverbs and adjectives when it's either unnecessary or there are better ways to get the sentiment across. For example, in the beginning of the chapter, I felt like you spent more time than you really needed to talking about the owl. A little more detail than "the owl flew to the window" can be a nice touch, but writing out every action can make it drag a little, and there are a few points in the chapter where that happens.
There are also a few points where I feel like you rush things, especially when Ron gets hit by the car. It was just all stated very plainly and without any real narration, and that was especially jarring because your narration in general was really solid. Off the top of my head (and I hope you'll forgive me for how awful this is - I'm a bit tired), something along the lines of, "Ron was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't notice the gravel beneath his feet until it was too late. He heard the screech of the car's brakes and looked up just as it hit him, and everything went black." Does that make sense?
All in all, though, great start, and I really enjoyed reading it! :) Report Review
Hey! Back again. :)
There were a lot of little details in this that I really liked and that made the story rich and vibrant to me. I loved the mentions of her family members in the beginning - you worked them in in a way that felt realistic and natural, and through a short mention of the last time they were all at the Burrow you gave me a good sense of Molly's place in her extended family. Later, when she's at dinner, I also felt like her thoughts about James and Fred as well as her conversation with Louis helped expand on what was already mentioned in the library.
Your portrayal of Molly from the start was also quite strong. You didn't make the narrative so overpowering that I felt like you were hitting me over the head with it, but there were a lot of subtle little comments that went a long way. Little things like how she has practise and discipline in abundance, how she'd prefer to be anonymous sometimes, how she's not interested in the family meetings (which, incidentally, are a neat idea), how she tries not to read when she walks because she tends to walk into people... you've really painted a thorough picture of who Molly is as a person.
I also like the fact that you haven't just leapt headfirst into the plot. I like the fact that you have taken the time to just develop Molly as a character, especially since from the prologue it seems like it's going to be a fairly character-driven plot.
There was really only one issue I saw in the chapter.
While I liked second person in the prologue, the fact that you seem to be sticking with it for the rest of the story gives me pause. In some ways, I do like it - it keeps a removed, eerie kind of feeling that I think works well with Molly's character and with the subject matter - but in others, I think that it's a bit awkward. Some of your descriptions in particular don't really flow naturally (especially around the scene in the Great Hall), and I think it's in part because they're being told in second person.
I'm going to assume that you chose second person for a reason, especially since, as I said, I think it probably will work well with the overarching plot, so maybe there's a way you can rephrase your descriptions to make them work better for the pov you're using. As it is, I feel like you're just writing the way one normally would, and just switched "she" or "I" to "you." Because "you" is a different perspective, I don't think it really works as well as it could.
What would someone talking to Molly - who is fixated on Molly - be paying attention to? What would they be saying? As you talk about Louis - saying that his voice told her he was grinning, that he rolled his eyes, etc - why does this person care? Personalise it. You're doing a great job of characterising Molly, but I think the narrator should have some sort of character, too. Otherwise, what's the point?
That aside, though, this was another great chapter, and I really enjoyed it. :) Report Review
Hey! Sorry it's taken me so long - life got away from me. Ugh.
This was a great prologue. The prose was haunting and beautiful, and I thought that this was an excellent introduction to both the story and Molly herself. As a lit freak myself (which is oh-so-uncommon on HPFF, I know), the description of the library and Molly's feelings about books immediately pulled me in.
There were a few things stuck out to me as being a little awkward, though. As I said, the prose is lovely, but there were occasional mechanical things that felt a little awkward. For example, you capitalised "library" throughout the chapter, and I didn't really understand why - it's not a proper noun anymore than "dormitory" or "classroom" are. If it had a name (like the Forbidden Forest or the Great Hall), it would be capitalised, but as is, it just seemed unnecessary.
You also didn't always use dashes correctly - when you use two, it indicates an aside, and the part of the sentence before the first dash and the part after the second should fit together. In the third paragraph, Your exams are in just under five months, but you don't feel like it doesn't make sense. I think the second dash should be a comma.
I was also a little confused at the idea of Muggle books being in the Hogwarts library and especially the idea that Madam Pince is especially familiar with them. I always got the sense that most wizards know very little about Muggles or Muggle lit - I can see some books being included by Dumbledore or McGonagall, but not so many and to the extent that they'd be seen as "worn romances."
Okay. Those minor little things aside (sorry - you know me, I have to point them out. It's like a compulsion), this was amazing. I'm so intrigued and glad that this is for review swap so I have an excuse to read on, rather than adding it to my ever-growing "to read" list.
I think the thing that impressed me the most about this was how perfect it is as a prologue. For me, a prologue is supposed to reveal just enough to give you a sense of the world while still leaving many questions unanswered, so that you come back for more. The use of second person, the undercurrent of eeriness throughout the chapter, the few paragraphs about "she" - I just cannot praise this highly enough. I want to know where "there" is, and I want to know who "she" is, and I want to know what's going to happen to the girl and Molly. It's perfect.
As well, other than the couple minor issues I pointed out with the prose, this is beautifully written. There's a disconnected, slightly confusing sense to it, which IMO is a really good thing, because I feel like you're doing a great job of getting the reader into Molly's state of mind.
I'm glad that we were matched up. I think I'm going to enjoy this a lot. Report Review
Hey, here for Review Tag. :)
This is a story that I think has a lot of promise. You've set the stage for an interesting backstory with the banshees (either the apparent banshee uprising itself or just Carmen's obsession with that sort of thing - either would provide an interesting backstory), and Carmen herself seems like a really fun character to play around with. Right now she comes across to me as kind of like a hyperactive Luna Lovegood, which definitely opens up a wide range of possibilities.
However, there were a few areas that I thought you could have improved upon to take this story from 'promising' to 'great' (because I really think that it could be the latter, which a little bit of work).
First, I want to touch on the mechanics. You've got the basics down, but there were a few little things that you tripped up on. They're not a huge deal, but for me, at least, mechanical mistakes can really take away from what would otherwise be a very good story, so I thought I'd point them out.
There was a typo in the very first sentence, when Carmen says, "How can you ignore the signs?" the first quotation mark is at the bottom of the sentence rather than the top. Additionally, you didn't always use dialogue tags correctly. In case you don't know the term (a lot of people don't), "dialogue tag" just refers to the words that follow dialogue and indicate who is speaking. Some examples would be Carmen yelled, she mumbled, etc. You correctly end sentences when a dialogue tag immediately follows with a comma, and you are also correct in not capitalizing the tag.
However, you bump into problems in that you treat a lot of things as dialogue tags when they aren't. For example, in the fourth paragraph, she shoved a glistening… etc should have started with a capital letter, not a lowercase, because it's not directly related to the dialogue that came before it. There were several of instances of this (including Rose Weasley smirked - smirking isn't a dialogue tag), and I think it's worth going through to clean it up.
I also want to address your descriptions. Aside from those couple things I pointed out, your grammar is good, which makes this readable and enjoyable. You also do have a lot of great descriptions - Carmen yelling at the back of the girls, the boy inching toward the staircase, Carmen wondering why no one was coming down the stairs when they usually did at this time… there were a lot of fun descriptions that gave me a good idea of what was going on.
Where I think you struggled a little was consistency. For example, you described both Rose's and Carmen's appearances in a fair amount of detail. That's not a bad thing, and the descriptions themselves were good. However, given that you didn't really describe anything else in such minute detail made those stick out. If you included a little more about their surroundings, rather than just the people in them, I think that the chapter would be much stronger.
As I said, these really aren't that big a deal on their own, but they do add up, especially the consistency issue that I mentioned. I do think that they're worth cleaning up, and they may be part of the reason this story doesn't have the reviews/favourites that, frankly, I think it deserves. You have a great concept here, and Carmen as a character is shaping up to be original and entertaining, as is Rose. And don't worry - I am going to talk about the content. (I didn't actually mean to spend that much time on mechanics - sorry, I'm a bit obsessed).
Honestly, the things I talked about above really were the major weaknesses I saw in the fic. Everything else was great, and I don't understand it doesn't have more of a following, even with the things I've mentioned.
In next-gen fics, there are often a lot of cliches and stereotypes that people fall into. I didn't see any in here, which caught my interest and made me want to come back for more. Carmen's character is imaginative and shows a lot of creativity on your part. Describing Carmen as an old hag with nice eyes and setting it up so readers know right off the bat that she's a little left of center was a nice introduction to the character, and judging from the story summary and the tone thus far, I think that it was also a nice introduction to the story as a whole.
The same is true of Rose. I have never read a Rose like this, and I've read a lot of Roses. When you can take such a popular next-gen character and make her your own like this, you're definitely doing something right. Additionally, when Rose appears and you give the description of her, that definitely reinforced the tone of the story that Carmen had already set for me. This wasn't just going to be one rather eccentric character surrounded by patient but ultimately fairly normal friends - the cast of this is definitely shaping up to all be eccentric in their own special ways. If Carmen and Rose are any indication, it also seems like they'll each be very much their own character, rather than just fitting one easy mold.
I also thought that you paced this well. The story summary gives me the impression that there are going to be six main characters, and I love the fact that you didn't try to squeeze them all into this first chapter. That would have ended up taking away from the two characters you did introduce, which are - as I mentioned - quite strong. Introducing main characters chapter by chapter is something that a lot of people don't have the patience to do, but you did it.
… when you signed up for tag, you probably weren't figuring that you'd be getting a novel. Hopefully it came off as helpful, rather than annoying! If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, and good luck on the story - I hope you don't get discouraged, because I really do think that it has so much promise.Author's Response: Wow! This was amazing.'Annoying', are you kidding me? It is to get such helpful reviews that I came to this site in the first place!
In all honesty, I was this close to abandoning the story. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that your review turned everything around :)
One of the reasons I've been having a hard time with this fic is that I simply can't figure out a fitting style for it. I suppose the consistency you mentioned is just one side effect of this. I will do my best to work on making the story more presentable, possibly even with the help of a beta (Would you be willing to be to that, btw? ^^)
I am overjoyed that you liked the characters so far! I purposefully avoided any stereotype I could simply because I always thought it was strange how often Harry and co.'s children are portrayed as normal,undamaged adolescents. I hope to show them from a different perspective, focusing on how these teenagers must deal with the highest of expectations while remaining true to their own needs and desires. Likey, each will go about this in their own, highly disfunctional way ;). They are children of war, after all. This is often forgotten, and I think that leaves some unexplored potential, to say the least. A society after a war is never the same, and the pressure to establish a new world order falls on the new generation. If that doesn't make one a bit,uh,eccentric I don't know what would :P
Once again, thank you so much for your review, please know that it single-handedly saved this story! I'm sorry for taking so long to answer, but, you know,life. I hope to see you back soon :D
So I intended to read 5-6 chapters of this because it was nominated for a category I'm judging for TGS. ... that kind of didn't happen. (Obviously, as I've worked my way up to chapter 20.)
I'm too busy to leave you a real review, but I will do my very best to leave you some halfway decent reviews on other chapters when I get a moment to breath. I just wanted to say that I felt a huge wave of relief go through me when Tonks eliminated James and made Lily promise she wouldn't enter again. I love, love, love James, and if he'd died I would have been so upset. :(
This is an amazing story. I absolutely love it.Author's Response: Holy cow, you read a lot of this! I'm very flattered. :) Thank you so much for reading so much for the TGS category you're judging in. I love James, too, and I think that a lot of readers of this story would hate it even more if he died than if Lily had died. He's been so selfless in the afterlife, and he grounds her, and he's been the patient one who is willing to wait for Harry to come and see him rather than vice versa.
Thank you for reading and reviewing! I'm so happy that you enjoyed it. Report Review
Here for Gryffie tag. :)
I really liked the way you started this story. You gave me a good sense of what kind of world Marianne is living in right from the start, and you worked it into the narrative beautifully. The comparison Marianne draws between her classmates saying it and Slytherin saying it indicated, at least to me, that she faces a fair amount of prejudice from her peers - including, from what you said about Louisa and Malane, other Gryffindors) It also indicated that, however cowardly she's feeling right now, she does have a thick skin in most situations. Both of those fit the time period well, IMO.
Additionally, I really liked the way you segued into a brief backstory after you'd already introduced the readers to Marianne. If you'd started with that, I would have appreciated the prose (which is really lovely), but I don't know that I would have felt a connection to her character. As is, I was intrigued and drawn into her story, and I love the way you crafted her background.
The way you described her parents' profession and how she felt about it was absolutely lovely, and I found your description of how she discovers that she is a witch to be perfectly believable. I do think you could have included a tiny bit more detail about why it took her parents a week to agree - were they concerned about the magic end of it? Religion? Her leaving home so early? A little more information on that would have helped to flesh it out a little more, though as I said, it was very good already.
However, while I did like it overall, I felt like there were a few parts that were a bit unrealistic.
First off, I didn't love the way you have Slytherin call her a Mudblood - I like the fact that he did and I liked her reaction, but it just felt a bit too contrived for me - that's exactly the sort of thing you'd expect the stereotypical villain to say, but it didn't really seem to fit the situation. If Marianne is practising human transfiguration, she must have been taught quite a lot already, and she is a fifth year; if that's the case, and if a simple mistake is enough to have Slytherin toss that word out, wouldn't she have heard it before? If he'd made some comment along the lines of, "Oh, so you really are a Mudblood after all," or something along those lines, it would have worked, but as it is, I would have liked to see a little more subtlety.
Similarly, while I liked the fact that you really did depict a wizarding world that was much more hostile to muggleborns than Harry's is, again, I wish you'd used a little more subtlety. The fact that Slytherin is the only prejudiced Head seemed a little simplistic to me - none of the others have any bias at all? I also would have liked to see more variety in the kinds of prejudice Marianne is describing - not all prejudice is that obvious. Off-handed comments or condescending attitudes without the person being overtly excluded and ridiculed. Yo
Finally, a few of the names didn't really seem to fit the time period. I could be wrong, but Erica and Michaela in particular just seem out of place, as did Marianne having a middle name. Again, this isn't my area of expertise, so I could very well be mistaken - it just stuck out as odd to me.
I also noticed a few small typos and grammatical errors - nothing big, mostly misplaced commas, and in your A/N at the beginning of the chapter you wrote "your" when I think you meant "you." It's not a huge deal and didn't really take away from the piece, but I think that it's worth looking over one more time. :)
On the whole, though, this was a great opening chapter, and I'll check back for chapter 2! :)Author's Response: Hi :)
I'm glad you liked it. I'm really trying to figure out how to write founders right now, so it's great to hear what you have to say.
I see what you mean about the situation with Slytherin. I'll have to think about it and see if I can work it out a little better.
Hmm, I guess you're right on that too. The thing is, he's not really the only one who is prejudiced. But because it's from Marriane's POV, you just haven't seen the other founders' bias. It actually should become clearer in the next chapter. I'll see if I maybe can figure out a way to hint at it a little in this chapter.
Thanks for the tips about the names :)
I really appreciate your review! Thanks so much :) Report Review
I don't really have time to leave a proper review, but I'm not sure when I'm going to have the time to leave a decent review, so I'm going to leave a paltry one now so it doesn't slip my mind.
I've fallen in love with The Ivory Child (I'm judging the Dark/Horror category), and I just had to come over to check out a few of your other Horror fics. I loved this, too - it was so delightfully creepy, and I absolutely think that you were successful! I loved the way you characterised the Founders - you took all of them and gave them distinct and complex characters. I felt like you did a great job with Slytherin in particular; I liked that you made him twisted in a way that didn't really have anything to do with blood status. I feel like his character is often simplified, but you did something really interesting with it that IMO fits with what we know about him from canon. Amazing job.
I'm sorry this is such a terrible review. I just wanted you to know how much I liked this. Report Review
Hey! You requested this review from me awhile ago, but I fail at keeping up with my queue. Sorry, but I am here now. :)
You mentioned one of your concerns being grammatical mistakes, so I'm going to open with that.
There's a typo in the chapter summary - I'm assuming wepon should be weapon. You also don't really need the ellipsis - an ellipsis should indicate that you're leaving something out, but that seemed like a full sentence to me.
First paragraph, second sentence: not being able to fight would sound better as unable to fight. It can get confusing when you're combining several different descriptions into a single sentence, but an easy way to judge whether something's grammatically correct or not is to pair each part with the beginning of the sentence to see how it sounds. For example, this would read, There was no princess, not being able to fight. That doesn't really work. There was no princess, unable to fight, on the other hand, does.
First paragraph, fourth sentence: like parents would do that anyway seemed a little out of place to me. For one thing, there are parents who would do that, especially in fairy tales, and for another, it's not like Harry or Ginny haven't seen enough of human nature to know that. It also felt like a rather abrupt deviation from the overall tone of the piece - it's kind of mystical in the beginning, and that just felt like an awkward aside. It would work in some narratives, but I don't love the way it works here.
Second paragraph, first sentence: the use of but in this sentence felt awkward to me. But is generally used to contradict or contrast something with something else; there's no conflict between a girl being like a dragon/turning into a flame and burning down his world. If you wanted to emphasise the bit about her being a tiny flame but still powerful enough to burn down his world, I think it could use a bit of rephrasing.
Third paragraph, third sentence: I'm not quite sure what just the kind you wouldn't expect to be one means. (I'm assuming that except should be expect.) Was he the kind of person you wouldn't expect to be a warrior, or just a particular type of warrior? It's a little awkward, and I'd suggest you rephrase it.
Fourth paragraph, first sentence: There should be a comma before though. I'd probably change the comma after it to a colon or a dash, but that's less of a big deal.
There are a lot of other instances of misused commas, but I'm running out of space, so I'm going to stop there. Be careful with your comma usage; you sometimes omit them where they're necessary or use them where a different method of punctuation would fit better. I saw that you've already had this beta-ed, but I'd suggest asking around to see if there's anyone who's particularly good with commas who can point out the problems.
In more general terms:
Be careful with your tenses. You switch around between past and present several times in the opening paragraph, stay with past for a bit, and then switch back to present at the end. I'm not sure if it was an intentional stylistic choice or not, but whatever the reason, it didn't work for me.
I'd also recommend trying to use a little more variety in your descriptions. In the fifth paragraph, you use around her legs, around her arms, and around her hair in quick succession. At the end of the paragraph, you do the same thing with the word fast. Sometimes repetition is good, but it needs to be used in moderation or the description just ends up feeling flat. For example, rather than reusing around three times, you could have said, Fire was blazing around her legs, twining around her arms, licking at the edges of her hair. Okay, that's not the greatest example - I'm a bit tired - but do you see what I mean?
Your characterisation was good - I'm not sure that canon Ginny and Harry were quite what I thought of when I read this, but I think you have some room to play with it, and I like the idea of them joking around about sword fighting as an escape from life in general. I certainly didn't feel like this was opposed to the canon portrayals of them, and for Ginny in particular, once I stopped to think about it, I thought this complimented what we saw of her in canon nicely. (I did, however, think that Harry walking her home to the Burrow didn't quite fit with canon - wouldn't she just apparate there? I doubt he lives in the middle of nowhere.)
Along those lines, I do really like the concept. You mentioned being worried about the idea because you sometimes think that you have a great idea, but it ends up not working out well. I think that this is an absolutely lovely idea. It's imaginative and it's fun, and I really enjoyed reading it. It's a sweet little look at them, which is something I think that you do quite well in general.
So, great concept. The execution, however, could use a little work. It's not that I don't like it - as I said, I do. I just feel like your descriptions were sometimes overly vague and confusing during the fairytale-type part of the story and just not detailed enough at all at the end, which felt like it was mostly dialogue.
There was one thing that stuck out the most to me as I was reading: you talked a lot about fire throughout the fic, but you never really went into any detail about it - you just basically seemed to use "flame" and "fire" a lot. Since fire is such an expressive thing and kind of lends itself to creative use in a description, I'd have liked to see a little more of that. The language you used was sometimes flowery, but I didn't feel like there was enough in the way of compelling description backing it up and really making the piece stick out.
And I've run out of space. I hope you found this helpful, and I'm sorry again about the delay!Author's Response: Wow.
Um...thank you. Seriously, how do you have time to write your own stories? You put so much effort and time (not that I am complaining or that you shouldn't) but wow, you really work hard, and even if you didn't like the story that much, you at least put a lot of effort into this review, and for that I thank you.
Well onto replying.
grammatical mistakes shall always be my problem, and without my beta I would be lost, and I thank you again for spending your time going through all of them, and I agree with you, they're a lot of things that could sound better, it's just sometimes I need someone other than me to point it out...Does that make any sense?
This was actually really good: Don't put yourself down, this example was amazing: (Fire was blazing around her legs, twining around her arms, licking at the edges of her hair) For somebody that is tired you write like a pro.
Thank you for all the help, I think I will work on it a bit more, and maybe go back and fix some of the things, because this one-shot is the kind I really just got into, and I want to do well.
Thank, thank, thanks so very much, and I am really, really happy that you liked the idea of it, and I am so happy that you spent all this time helping me on this, thank you very much!
Ellie Report Review
Hey, this is Beeezie, (finally) here with your review! :)
As if I could not love this story more, you had to toss Peter Pan into the mix as well. Hamlet + Peter Pan + HP? There is nothing better. (I would have sworn that there was no way to really make that work before reading this, but I clearly would have been wrong.)
A couple really minor mechanical things:
In Scene I, in the first paragraph, Sirius is in awe of their magic because it saved him from "certain torture." That came off feeling a little odd to me - I mean, it was pretty clear that the men were planning to kill Sirius, so why wouldn't he just say that?
Similarly, a little later on in the scene, there's a mention of Sirius "huffing quietly" but keeping his mouth shut. It just felt a little awkward as a description.
That aside, though, this was another great chapter. I love your characterisation of the Marauders - from the very beginning, I felt like you gave each boy his own distinct personality, and I also felt like that personality stayed true to canon. I've said this before, I'm sure, but that's one of the things I really love about this story - it's the very best of what AU is for me. You've truly taken the characters and transplanted them into a weird, Hamlet-meets-Peter-Pan type world, and it's just absolutely brilliant.
James was perfect, IMO. There was an edge to him that I liked. He wasn't nasty or malicious, exactly, but he definitely had a rough streak. He's clearly capable of compassion, whatever he says to Remus - by the end, he's defending Sirius when Peter advocates killing him - but it took awhile to get there. He did leave Sirius outside all night with no socks. I guess I ended up getting the feeling that he was capable of loyalty and friendship, but that he was less inclined to be sympathetic. If that makes sense. At any rate, I thought that your portrayal of James was terrific - I can easily imagine a James that didn't grow up in relative luxury and doting parents turning out this way.
I also really liked your portrayal of Peter. He was a little more tentative and cautious than James or Remus, and I loved the mention of his nose twitching - it absolutely put me in mind of a rat, which is perfect for Peter. I also liked that you gave him a little more of a villainous streak than I often see in young Peter - I feel like he's often just shown as being a little pathetic, but you clearly gave him a nasty edge without making him a terrible person. It's a thin line to walk, especially given some of the cliches surrounding Peter - but you walked it well.
I found what you did with Remus to be very interesting as well. He's definitely one of the Marauders we get to know best in the books - probably even the best, since Sirius was really only around for two books. Despite this, I always felt that he was also the Marauder whose past was the biggest mystery - nobody really talked about Remus as a child or a teenager, so IMO, writers can take him in a lot of different directions without being "wrong." I liked the direction you took - Remus was more sympathetic and compassionate than the other two boys, but not to such an extent that it was unrealistic.
The way you portrayed the boys' interactions was also excellent. It came across as quite realistic to me - the constant teasing fit their age, and I liked that Sirius eventually recognised that the teasing wasn't actually a bad thing. I did think that you could have included a bit more about his thought process as he got to that point, though - given how isolated I imagine he's been growing up, I would have liked to see how he shifted his perspective. I think that you did an excellent job depicting his adjustment to the Marauders' world from his own in general - it was just that one little bit that I thought could have used a little something extra.
I was torn about whether I wanted to see more about why the Marauders accepted him fairly quickly. In some ways, I thought that the fact that you didn't go into a lot of detail fit Sirius and his frame of mind - I don't get the feeling that he's really thinking analytically right now. At the same time, I did feel like I would have liked to see more hints of where the shift came from, especially from Peter. I suspect you get into that more in later chapters, at any rate, but I just would have liked to see a little more of it here.
The interactions between the boys did make up the majority of the chapter, but I do want to mention scenes II and IV as well. Their inclusion really helped the chapter fit together - they were both short, but they helped keep part of the focus of the story on the murder and the succession, which stopped me from getting completely swept up in Sirius's part of the story. For me, that was a good thing - it kept the overarching plot from being swept away by Sirius's situation.
On the whole, this was really another excellent chapter. Please feel free to rerequest when I have free spots, and I'm sorry it took me so long! Report Review
Hey! I've been meaning to read this story for awhile, and the House Cup has not given me an excuse. (I saw that your name was the most recent in that thread and I was like, "MINE MUST HURRY." ... I am occasionally strange.)
I definitely wasn't disappointed, which means I'm going to have to find my way back here at some point in the near future.
The premise of the chapter - the Baron seeking out the mirror so frequently - was great. I can really imagine him just wasting away in front of it, even with his already being dead - Harry was starting to get obsessed by it in PS, but what you showed here is I think what Dumbledore was warning him about. The Baron had... well, almost a hunger for the mirror and what it showed, and while he's not wasting away there while he could be living his life, it does symbolise part of why he remained as a ghost rather than continuing on. It's a bit of a different situation than what Dumbledore talked about to Harry, but only in the details, IMO - the sentiment is the same.
Using the mirror in such a prominent role here helped to really convey his regret and longing, of course, but I also felt like it showcased a lot of other conflicting emotions that he clearly has regarding Helena. It seemed like he still had... well, almost a sense of bewilderment, I guess, for her running off. In some ways, it seems like he still doesn't really understand it. Amongst all of those emotions, the one thing I didn't really feel like I saw was anger from him. Maybe I was just missing it, but assuming I wasn't, that's a really interesting choice on your part, and it's one that really helped spark my curiosity.
Honestly, you did a beautiful job of depicting the Baron in a way that made him sympathetic without ignoring his pretty major crime of killing Helena, and you've left me eager to read on!Author's Response: Hey Branwen! Thanks for stopping by!
Not strange. Lovely. I'm flattered :)
I think I did reflect on Dumbledore's words a little in writing this prologue. I'm glad you could appreciate the parallel between his warning and the despair that the Baron feels here. I tried to put myself in his shoes and really depict how painful it would feel to have to spend your days tiptoeing around a woman you desperately want but can never have, all within the confines of a castle full of students. There are certainly many ways to depict the Bloody Baron/Grey Lady story, and I chose a more tragic route because I thought it would be interesting to explore.
I do think bewilderment is a good way to describe the way he acts in this chapter; in my mind, it would make sense for a pureblood Slytherin to be a little arrogant and have trouble grasping the concept of a noblewoman saying "no" to him. Hopefully it's not too stereotypical or cliche :) I think you're right about the lack of anger, too; this is really a moment of sadness and loss, but I would be surprised if anger doesn't enter into it later.
I'm happy to hear that you felt like I balanced sympathy for the character and adherence to canon well here, and I do hope you return later on. I'd love to hear what you think of my Baron, my Helena, and how I've begun to tell the story of their tragic love.
Thanks for this wonderful review, Branwen :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hey, here to review your challenge entry! :)
I liked the way you interpreted the prompt. Your take on the Bloody Baron in particular was really interesting - I'm not sure I've ever read a story that depicts him as a child, and I've certainly never read something that really tries to get at his relationship with Helena while they were both still children.
However, there were a few points that I found a little confusing.
First, while I did understand their ages by the end, I was a bit confused in the beginning. If you'd mentioned how old she was early on when she was thinking about how she felt about the castle - maybe be depicting her thinking about how things might change when she started classes the next year, or something along those lines - it would have made much more sense to me. More of those little details scattered throughout the story in general would have helped alleviate the confusion I felt in other places, and I think it would have made the story stand out more.
My other issue was with the way you depicted her relationship with the Baron. I thought you did a nice job later on (though I did feel that you were perhaps attributing a bit more romantic complexity to the Baron's feelings than really fit his age), but initially, I was a little confused - why would a twelve year old decide to wander to a different part of the castle to visit a ten year old in her bedroom? Why was her room so easily accessible? (Presumably, anyway - I doubt the twelve year old could have handled much of an obstacle.) It was just a little confusing to me.
On the whole, though, this was a fun story, and I think you did a nice job with it. :)Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review Beeezie :)
I'm currently editing this story, you know, working on the confusing points so it's a great help that you pointed out these spots. The age thing is fixed :)
Oh wait I thought I said that Rowena sent Will to deliver a message... Oh yeah I did't say where her room is and all that. Thanks a lot for pointing that out I'll fix it right away.
I love it when I'm pointed in the right direction :) So thank you so much.
*Hugs* Report Review
Hey, here to review your challenge entry!
Huh. This was a really, really interesting story, and I'd love to see where you take it. I'm not completely sure it fulfills the letter of what your prompt was, but I honestly don't really care - it's a creative take on that line between the muggle world and the wizarding one, and that's really what I was trying to get at.
Okay. I'm still sitting here trying (and failing) to get over this chapter. I mean, it's short, but you just brought up so many questions for me, and the ways in which Lily and James might have interacted with the muggle population during the period they were hiding out for had honestly never really occurred to me. When I first finished this chapter, I thought, "But but the charm how could Jane have even seen?!"
Then I started thinking about it, and I realised that while they were obviously careful about who they told, someone needed to know, and who better than Muggles? They're obviously not going to go kill Lily and James themselves (well, not for the reason Voldemort did), and they wouldn't be able to tell anyone else.
I would have liked to have seen a little more about how the charm has affected Jane or how she knew them - not much, just a little hint or two (kind of along the lines of the comment about the parents of trick-or-treaters all going as witches and wizards). Other than that, though, this was a really thought-provoking prologue, and I can't wait to read chapter 2!Author's Response: Hey hey. :)
I'm glad you like it. ^_^ I had a really good think about the prompt you gave me, but rewrote my first chapter four times before I was happy with it. It ended up becoming my first chapter while I uploaded this as the prologue.
I'm glad that you've got unanswered questions, and hopefully they'll be answered throughout the story. It won't be overly long. Probably a three or four-shot.
Anyway, I'm so glad that you liked this, particularly as it was inspired by your prompt, and I hope you like chapter two next as much.
- Adele. ^_^ Report Review
Hey! I'm here to review your challenge submission - sorry about the slight delay. :)
You had a really interesting take on the prompt. I know that you were a bit worried about it being too far away from the challenge, but I didn't think it was at all - it was an original take on what a Healer might have to deal with and overcome in their job. That's a good thing, not a bad thing. ;)
I liked the concept a lot - being a Healer when someone you love is seriously injured would be hard, but when someone you love is permanently incapacitated like Albus is, it would be even worse. You really communicated Lily's difficulty and anguish over the situation, and it was absolutely heartbreaking.
The only significant weakness I saw in this was that sometimes, I had a hard time following what exactly was going on. A little more detail and description in your narrative would have helped me a lot. As it was, the flashbacks sometimes felt a bit awkward, because you weren't immediately connecting it to her feelings - I could see how the conversation between her and Albus about her fight with James could apply, for example, but you didn't really provide any transition - it was just hanging there. Just a few sentences linking it with what was going on would have made the story flow more smoothly. (Ditto the other flashbacks.)
On the whole, though, this was a really nice entry. :) Thanks for entering, and I'll have the results up soon!Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review and this wonderful challenge!
This was my first challenge submission and it was super fun. I also learned a lot which is great so thank you thank you thank you!
I'm glad that the concept wasn't too far away from the challenge :) I also understand what you mean about the flashbacks. They are a bit too disconnected and I'll try to fix that. Your advice on that was really helpful.
Thanks again! Report Review
Finally back. Sorry it took me so long. :(
I am continuing to really enjoy this story. You've done an amazing job characterising Angelina and the other girls, and I just can't speak highly enough about that. I like what you've done with Alicia especially - not because I like her the best of all of them, but because I think that this is a really interesting, imaginative take on a character who's present through several of the books but who we never really get to know.
I love what you've done with Angelina, too, but I do feel like we got to know her a bit better. We don't see any of Alicia's personality, really, and you've taken her and made her into a realistic, somewhat silly teenage girl. (Which I also feel is sadly missing from fanfiction - there are very few silly teenage girls who have any substance and aren't just obnoxious. Alicia isn't obnoxious - she's infectious and fun.) The "feigned reluctance" in particular was a nice touch.
I also loved the way you depicted the ball. The banter (and general interaction) between Fred and Angelina came across to me as friendly, not flirty, which I think is what you intended. George, on the other hand, definitely came across as a little awkward. As a reader, I think I would have picked up on it even if I didn't know the premise, but I can also see how Angelina might not immediately see that.
Her realisation that it might have been her was also handled well; initially, I was disappointed that you didn't really show her emotional reaction to it, but once I thought about it a bit, I decided that I actually really liked that - you've shown enough of her at this point that I could kind of read between the lines. You didn't need to say it. In some ways, if you had gone into it just then, it would have distracted from the story and felt a little cheap.
So I liked all of those things. Honestly, though, the way you depicted the between all of the characters was probably what drew me in the most. It was dynamic and subtly different depending on the people involved, which really brought the scene and the characters to life. I loved the comment about Harry in particular - it showed a real familiarity and tied in what we saw of the Ball in GoF without going overboard.
A few pieces of crit:
There was a point early in the chapter - just after Angelina and Lora have finished their exam and are heading back to the Common Room - that felt a little awkward to me. I've been trying to identify exactly what doesn't work for me, and while I'm not sure that I've got all of it, I think I have enough to maybe explain it a bit.
Part of the problem for me were some of the little errors, usually regarding punctuation. "We wouldn't love her if she wasn't so fickle" should have ended with a perod, not a comma, as should have "Obviously" at the start of the following paragraph. Similarly, there were points throughout that exchange between the classroom and the Common Room that felt like they were either run-ons or didn't have enough commas. I'd read through it one more time to polish that up.
I also felt like there wasn't enough description around your dialogue in the right places. For example, in the paragraph starting, "Obviously," Angelina followed her, you really didn't include any information about how Angelina was feeling or how she was delivering her line. That was true of both girls through most of that conversation. I could guess at how they were talking, since I, too, was once a sixteen year old girl, but you didn't really show it, and I wish you had.
Just spending a little more time on how they were talking and interacting would have helped give the story depth. It's not that it didn't make sense this way - it just fell a bit flat for me. That's especially true compared it to the scene in their dormitory that immediately follows, which does feel animated.
Does that make any sense?
It also felt to me that not enough time passed for Alicia to have gone for a walk and been kissed by Eddie. If you'd said that Lora had to gather up all her things and not made the conversation with Angelina continuous, that would have made more sense. As is, though, it seems like Alicia was about five minutes behind them, which doesn't leave much time for anything.
Those little things aside, though, I absolutely loved this chapter. Sorry it took me so long to find my way back, and thank you for writing it. It's lovely.Author's Response: Hey!! It's wonderful to see you back.
In writing this, it was really important to me to try and capture a believable teenager-y atmosphere complete with silliness and a realism. I have had a lot of fun crafting personalities and lives for canon characters that we know so little about. I'm very glad you enjoy Alicia!! She's a very one to write.
Annd thank you so, so much for the crit!! Chapters 2 and 4 were the first two I ever wrote of this story and I think I was very keen on getting used to the cast and such. I'll be sure to go back and sure up some of the details and have a second look at the grammatical errors.
Thank you, again!
Melissa Report Review
You requested this review awhile ago, but between RL and holiday, I haven't had the time to fill the request until now. I was going to finish it up during the review competition, but then you were appointed our Champion, so I figured I'd wait until the task was over.
At any rate: here is your review. In the future, please shy away from "general review" or "general feedback" when requesting from me. ;) I just like knowing what exactly the person is concerned about, you know? You did include specifics as well, though, so I forgive you. :P
I think that this is a really promising first chapter. You did a nice job setting the mood with your description; putting Andromeda aside (for a moment), you spent a lot of time on the actual setting, especially early on, and I think it paid off. I had a clear picture of the scene in my mind as I read the first paragraph, and I could understand why it had the effect on her that it did. You creeped me out, and I was glad that she was running for the door!
I also really got a sense of Andromeda's emotional state throughout the chapter. Obviously part of that is because you explicitly outlined what her emotional state is (crying, insomnia, etc), but part of it was just what you conveyed from how you described her actions and thought processes. That helped the character really come to life for me, which I liked.
However, all of that said, there were some things I think you could improve on.
The first thing I want to mention - and this is really more a matter of personal taste than anything else - is the length of your paragraphs. It's not wrong to have longer paragraphs, of course, but I think that breaking them up more would allow you to put more emphasis on specific things. That was especially true in the last paragraph; the last sentence would have stood out and been much more dramatic if you'd made it its own sentence, but as is, it just felt like an add-on to her getting water - which isn't the sentiment I think you were going for, though I could be wrong.
Additionally, as I mentioned, I like the first paragraph, and I feel like it's very effective in pulling the reader (or at least, this reader) into the story. However, there were a few points where I felt like your word choice or phrasing was a bit awkward. Drawing attention to her eyes and lips was good, but I wish you'd done it in a slightly different way. If the streetlight was dim, how did it provide enough light to show the colour of her eyes or lips with the vividness that you're describing? I also wished that you'd pushed a little further and given more information about what she was wearing. That generally doesn't really matter much to me, but here it was relevant because you were talking about how cold it was and how that was affecting her. A little more detail there would have really made the paragraph pop (so to speak).
Honestly, I think you could have used a little more detail, anyway. You had a fair amount of it, but I felt a little lost about what exactly is going on with Andromeda, and a few hints would have been nice. It's the difference for me between intrigue and confusion - there wasn't any hint that I saw (though maybe I missed it) about what exactly was bothering her so much, and I felt like you needed that. It didn't have to be much - just a mention of feeling abandoned or seeing a picture on the wall that made her cry or freaking out because the door squeaking brought back a memory… something, you know?
On the whole, though, this was a nice first chapter. I'm sorry again for the delay, and I hope I was helpful! :) Report Review
I read this chapter awhile ago, and I kept meaning to come back and review it, but I just haven't been able to find the time. However, once the second challenge was announced, this story popped into my head, and I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity. :)
I'm continuing to love this story. Your prose was - as always - beautiful. I don't even like coffee, really, but I was drawn into your description in the first few paragraphs in particular even more so than usual. I can almost smell the coffee, and I suddenly really want to be there, typing away to do my part in the House Cup. :P It sounds absolutely lovely.
I also feel like you're continuing to show the barista's character in small, subtle ways. I'm not sure I'd say that you're developing it, exactly, because that isn't really the point of this (or at least, it doesn't seem that way to me), but you're also not just rehashing the same things over and over again. The story doesn't feel stale; I love the way you mentioned the teenage boy who's just started working there and the girl's reaction to him, both because it helped really bring the story and the barista to life and because it helped to segue into Molly again.
Hmm. I guess one way to put it might be that you're developing the story more than the barista? That's the way it's coming off to me, anyway, and I think it fits the story well.
The way you've developing Molly and the young man's relationship is perfect. I feel invested in it. The barista is as well, and maybe part of my being invested is just because he is, but I think that the bigger reason is that you've crafted a story in which there are subtle little things that I can't always even identify that make the characters feel dynamic and alive. You've drawn me into the barista's pov with your writing, so much so that I feel what he feels - that's difficult to do, and not surprisingly, you've done it beautifully.
I loved this chapter. Thank you.Author's Response: That is so sweet that you thought of this story for the challenge. There are hundreds of stories out there and the fact that you thought of this means a lot. So thank you!
Want to hear a little secret? I'm not a huge coffee fan, either. I love the smell, I like going in coffee shops and there is just this warmth about them that I cannot describe. I have tried my best to encapsulate that here and the fact that you actually wanted to be there and that you could almost smell the coffee is just... wow. I wanted readers of this to really get a feel for the coffee shop and to actually hear someone say that they have is such a huge compliment. You have n oidea.
I'm glad you liked the young boy and young girl! If you squint, the young girl is actually mentioned very briefly in one of the earlier chapters. I'm not sure that I am developing the story more than the barista, I just liked having a tiny subplot developing in the background. I think that it will help me later on in a later chapter, but honestly? I just liked the little story between them. I'm glad you did, too!
That second last paragraph of yours - I don't know what to say in response to that. So I won't say anything.
Don't thank me! Thank YOU for leaving such a thoughtful review. It means so much.
Joop. Report Review
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