This was very interesting. at first I have absolutely no idea what was going on in this story. I could tell she was somewhat deranged from what ever had happened to her but I wasn't she what. I love that you took three different ideas and braided them together. You have Tobias story and what happened to him. Then you have her remembering her nightmares. And lastly, even though it is similar to the last idea you have you thoughts that rush through her head. To me it was three different stories braided together.
I really liked reading this. It was fun to read and challenging. Great job!
MegAuthor's Response: Hi, Meg! I am so incredibly sorry for the late response - please accept my sincerest apologies!
Thank you for reviewing, first off!
It is very difficult to understand what's going on, isn't it? I have to be honest and say I am intentional in that. With something so...literary, if I may be so blunt, I want readers to work for it. I believe my readers are smart and I don't need to spell everything out for them. JK Rowling, Faulkner, Hemingway, they don't do this and neither do I (not that I'm that great, mind you).
And you're right, it really is three different stories intertwined into one. Very perceptive!
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked reading it and liked the challenged. I think we, as readers, love to be appreciated and challenged, even in fanfiction - that's perhaps what I was trying to do.
Thanks so much again! It's much appreciated!
Shelby Report Review
For one, i'm so sorry how long this review has taken for me to do! I feel absolutely ashamed at my tardiness! Especially for a piece like this! I read it quite some time ago actually, just haven't had the time to put my thoughts to words.
Right, so I really enjoyed reading this. It has such a visual effect to it. I don't think there is any issue with your imagery and i think that and your style is what you use best in your writing. I'm always partial to nature so all the imagery of the daffodils or leaves really just gave this a natural, dreamy feel to it that almost made this whole thing feel like a past rememberance of someone else. A pensive memory if you will. To me anyway, i know that wasn't what you had in mind but it just gave me that feeling for some reason.
I think maybe I feel that way because although the writing here is lovely and the style is so different and unique i feel detached from your main character, i don't feel emotion for this piece. So i feel like i was an outsider looking into this really emotional part of this woman's life but knowing nothing about her i didn't feel what she was. Which is a weird place to be in because I think that you meant it to be emotionally driven. It was strange to still feel like a stranger to the character after everything is said and done. I think there is a point that you need to balance your use of language and style and then the actual human story of Eileen. Don't get me wrong, i like the ambiguousness of this and the abstraction. However, bringing it more down to a level where people can connect more to Eileen wouldn't even take much or change that ambiguousness either. It would just be a sentence here or there that may point more towards her and Tobias' relationship perhaps? Anything really that gives us something else to hang on to.
There was also the dialogue bit with the young man, i liked how she imagined it being Tobias and loving him because he was angry, that was a great bit of characterization mind you but then it goes into this younger man and i felt like it didn't fit with the rest of the piece. This could be improved i think in either changing how they say what they say (namely him) or just integrating the dialogue better, as in, have some of your stunning writing around the dialogue which may help the visual and emotional bit during that part and help it seem like it's part of the story. I hope that makes sense.
Honestly though, this was really well done. Your language is absolutely stunning and the way you handle your descriptions is beautiful. What was really cool was how some of the smallest actions, like her picking at the frayed bit of her robe, or falling down the bank was probably some of the most poignant lines that showed me her state of mind.
I liked how she seemed to be at the end of her rope, where she can't seem to distinguish past and present and the general repetition of pastpresent and how she felt so distant from herself at the moment. I'm really glad to have read this because it is a good piece of writing and i hope that my comments before didn't make you feel down because although i said that, how it is now is still a lovely piece of work. It's very haunting and gripping.
I hope you've found my comments helpful and i'm so sorry for the long wait for the review, yet again!Author's Response: Hi darling! Please do not apologize for the delay - it means so much to me that you reviewed at all! (And I would like to apologize profusely for not responding sooner - I'm graduating university in less than a month and have been swamped!)
It's interesting that you get that kind of feeling from that piece - I understand where you're coming from - it feels like this twisted time warp remembrance piece about the past. It's so intertwined between the present and the past that it does seem to give off that kind of vibe, no? I'm really glad that you like my imagery! I could go on for days. I'd love to write like I do here and in my other piece, "Come, Sugar," but it would probably be too much to handle in a novel - it would be too Faulkner and Woolf for current audiences. I have to be honest and say that it has taken me years to cultivate my style and voice - if only it didn't seem so...literary!
I have to admit that, at first, I didn't see where you were coming from about the main character, but now I understand having reread the piece. I've got to learn to find a balance between the style, the imagery, the voice, and the characterization. Stories must be carefully crafted and while I wrote this with the utmost attention and honed it just so, you are definitely right. This piece, unlike "Come, Sugar" has very little connection to the MC which is its downfall. Thank you so much for pointing that out - it's definitely something that I will continue to work on!
Dialogue is one of my weakest points in writing. I'm Southern and my normal speech patterns and the dialect(s) that I hear and speak are different for what should be in fanfiction. It's difficult and something I continue to work on, so thank you!
I do hope you liked it despite the discrepancies concerning the characterization and dialogue. Thank you so much! I really pride myself on my language and style (probably because they're my strong points as a writer! :P). Please don't think you've offended me! No matter how much experience any writer has, they need CC, me included! Your CC will help me grow as a writer and become well-rounded.
Thank you so much again, darling! You're a gem!
Shelby Report Review
Hey Shelby! I'm finally here with your review. Sorry I'm running so behind (suprise, suprise), but I'm so glad you requested this review. I love reading your stuff :)
If I were you, I wouldn't worry about description or imagery. Your prose brings out some really striking sensory details, like the ant bites and the broken diamonds of her heart. And you've got some really gorgeous lines in here, as usual. I especially love "prison halo", "through the cosmos and the years and shabby veil", and "each bubbling emotion." I'm going to use the word striking again, because it's the best word I can think of to describe the style of this piece. Even if some parts don't make a lot of sense (which is the point, I'm guessing), the emotion carries through loud and clear. I loved reading it :)
I love the contrast between the paragraphs, the quotes in italics, and the little lines in parentheses. Not only is it just interesting to read, it adds a visual element to the piece that I really enjoyed. However, I almost felt like the parts in parentheses didn't really add much to the story, except just unexpected visual details. Does that make sense? With the quotes, I felt like I was learning more about the characters and that the story was moving. With the parentheses parts, I didn't get anything that I couldn't have gotten from the paragraphs. It kind of seems like they're just there to be there.
With a piece like this, I think the style and the writing itself obviously takes center stage, and characterization is sort of a background element. I felt like you could have inserted any names into this story and it would have fit just as well as Eileen and Tobias. But I'm not saying that as a criticism; I think that ambiguous feel is really cool. Even if you took the names out altogether and just left the characters anonymous, that would be interesting too. It would get our imaginations going even more :)
So overall, I'd say you can call this experiment a success :) I loved reading it! It's so creative, and I had a lot of fun delving into the experimental prose. Awesome job with this! Keep it up :)
--MaggieAuthor's Response: I'm so sorry that it has taken me this long to reply! The last month of a college semester is just so crazy!
I'm really glad that you liked the imagery. I'm always trying to cultivate my voice as a writer and the imagery I use to convey that voice. It's so difficult - so, I'm glad you liked it! ("Prison halo" is one of my favorite phrases!).
You know, they are just sort of there just to be there. I used them in another, slightly older story ("Come, Sugar") - it's a stylistic technique I've been playing around with. Some readers really enjoy it and some don't like it at all. For me, it seems to add another perspective/voice to the story. Maybe I need to reevaluate?
Yes, the writing does take center stage. Some have said that it really takes away from the characters, but the focus isn't really meant to be on them. It is, but it isn't. It's one of those stories where I'm trying to expand the boundaries of my writing by looking into serious literary expression while still within the realm of fanfiction. Very complicated! :P
I do hope you liked the story! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review, Maggie! As always, I appreciate your insightful feedback! :)
Hi there, I'm here from the forums with your requested review. :)
Wow, you really do have a bit of experimental writing in here. It's quite nice. My only criticism in regards to that is that you shift back and forth between two voices, one almost sounds archaic and poetic "echo of my soft, pleading voice," "lurid darkness," etc. In fact I mostly notice it within the first paragraph, except for a few sparse areas throughout the fic ("multitude of screams," "mournful spirit," "heart shatters," etc), perhaps because you hadn't quite found the voice you wanted to achieve yet? The other voice is this lovely, contemporary, more simplistic, abstracted language like "in the rain, I am burned" and "I am so close to the edge, to the daffodil." I'm not sure exactly how you would want to edit this, but I know that the second voice is much more original and really enjoyable to read. :)
"Prison halo" is absolutely stunning. So is "the phantom of your eyes to blur mine" and "grubby baby hands." It's phrasing like this, which many readers have never seen before, that make this story wonderful and at the same time make phrases like "shattering heart" seem archaic and cliched. "Truth walks across my being leaving freckles." Beautiful.
I think your ending is wonderful, but I would even consider taking out the "I love you" because I think the daffodil is a strong enough metaphor for Tobias that we don't need it.
Really stunning work, here. I'm glad you asked me to read!Author's Response: Hello! I'm so sorry for the late response! It's one busy semester! Thank you so much for stopping by to read and review!
Yes, it is very experimental, at least in the fanfiction realm. You know, that's something that I didn't notice. I'm trying to cultivate my unique style and use of language, if you will, and so I tend to blend the "archaic" with the modern. I'm like you and love the second voice, as you call it. It's difficult to make it completely original because as humans we do need a common language (obviously) but common expressions and such in order to connect. I'm trying to work my way out of using those types of expressions.
I'm so glad that you like those phrases and in comparison, "shattering heart" does seem incredibly cliche, doesn't it? I'm really glad you thought those sorts of lines were beautiful though. I honestly have no idea where I get them from - they just sort of arrive on the paper! :D
I would definitely agree with you about taking "I love you" out but I left it in for the sake of the readers. Most readers aren't as perceptive as you and they need that, honestly (most fanfictioners, at least). It's just something so out of the fanfiction zone that it's kind of difficult for them to follow.
Thank you so much for the review! I really appreciate all the honest feedback! :)
Shelby Report Review
Hey, it's me here with your requested review.
So, your language here is pretty much divine, especially your use of imagery - time implodes, the mud soaks through her clothes, and the daffodils are incongruously colourful. Okay, so that doesn't cover half of it, and you know that because you wrote it. But anyway. The single images really stood out in my mind, so well done with them.
I also like your use of repetition and creating compound words; it gives a dreamy feel to the prose, and it shows how removed Eileen is from, well, everything. Although maybe I'm biased because I do those things with language too... erm... but still.
And you've done that thing with the brackets that I've always wanted to! They were the most beautiful parts of this one-shot for me, just tiny little pockets of real, disjointed thoughts. I'm impressed by how you've managed to use them without it feeling forced or gimmicky.
The story of Tobias in italics was very laconic - which is a good thing. Most of the time, when authors choose to use that kind of technique, it basically eats the rest of the story so that the flow doesn't even exist anymore, but you've thankfully avoided that.
I think there is definitely something to improve on here, though, since you've fallen into the trap that a lot of the time happens when your language gets unconventional: it's pretty much impossible to connect with your narrator on a more simplistic emotional level. I mean, I know I'm supposed to feel some deep emotion through reading this one-shot, but it just isn't happening for me at all.
(I'm being harsh on you because if your language is this amazing, your characterisation can almost certainly be better. Call it tough love.)
Anyway, I do think you've done a good job with experimentation, and you may see me around to see how your writing's going in the future. Well done. :)Author's Response: Hello my dear! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! :)
I'm really glad that they stood out to you! I really try to convey these sorts of images to my readers. I want to leave an impact with these images. We read so much descriptions, but do we ever really remember it? Probably not unless it's different, so that's what I try to do!
Ah, a writer after my own heart! I love to play with language - it's one of the joys of the versatility of English - there are so many possibilities!
I'm so glad that you liked them! It's something that I've started to use recently, but just in this oneshot and another one. They seem to represent (among many things) what the characters can't explicitly say or what the descriptions can't really convey. I find it hard to put into words what exactly the brackets are! :P I'm so glad you liked those!
Yes, I had to be super careful with Tobias's story. I didn't want to toe the line, you know?
I definitely think you caught something that others haven't. I mean, I can't make everything perfect in a story, but perhaps I did neglect my characterization. I was so focused on the language, I let my characters wane a bit. Normally I don't do that - juggling these sorts of things are difficult! Thank you for pointing that out!
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I really appreciate it! :) Report Review
Hi there! I am finally here with your review! I am sorry it has taken me much longer than anticipated.
I really enjoyed this even if it was an experiement. The way that the story unfolds is in such a delcate manner and you feel the characters pain as the story ends. I really thought that you did an amazing job with description. It wasn't subtle, it wasn't over done, it was just the perfect amount to take your mind there and build this vivid picture in your mind. This helped tie in the imagery as well.
As for reader reaction...I felt Wow. This was such a different way of writing and the vocabulary and way that the story flowed really brought out the emotions of the character. I am assuming that these characters are Snape's parents and please correct me if I am wrong. You hit all of my senses with this story.
I will admit that I had to read it a couple of times to make sure that I fully understood. This is just me though and isn't anything that takes away from your story. I just wanted to be sure before I reviewed.
Anyways, keep up the awesome writing! I love that you like to take risks and chances with your stories. They always provide something different each time. :)
-SR17Author's Response: Hello darling! Thank you so much for reviewing! You're such a lovely reviewer and I always appreciate your feedback! And please don't worry about the delay, I'm a patient woman! :)
I'm so glad that you liked it! Thank you - I'm really happy you picked up on the fact that this isn't subtle, but it doesn't beat the idea of the story to death, you know? I wanted to get it out there and let it stand for itself.
Wow is a great reaction! I like that reaction! I'm so happy you liked my vocabulary - I was actually told a few times that it was too elevated, but I think it fit well! Yes, they're Snape's parents - I do love them - they're my OTP!
Most people tell me that they have to read this a few times - I'm actually glad you took the time to read it more than once - maybe that means it was pretty good? :P
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that you like that I take risks! It's so lovely to know I've got such wonderful reviewers like you! :)
Shelby Report Review
Hello Shelby! I'm finally here with your requested review. I really appreciate your patience with this!
I really liked the style of this very unconventional piece. It's like Come, Sugar in that I don't feel that I understood every nook and crevice of it and I also don't feel like I really needed to do that. I liked the way Eileen experienced the first part of the piece from really inside her body, feeling the muck and cold and the edges of her ragged clothes. I liked how you gave us a glimpse into her most bizarre thoughts in the parentheses, too.
I thought the theme of desperation I saw here was excellent, and I felt like your descriptions amplified that. My favorite line was the one here: The rains leak down the sagging wall in the kitchen, hitting the bottom of the pail. You get at the simple, underloved nature of the Snape household without hitting the reader over the head with it all.
Characterization was a shining point, I think. I really find the Snape family interesting, but I have never found the courage to tackle Eileen and Tobias for myself. (Of course, I still feel nervous writing Severus, and he's quite familiar to me.) I liked that the themes here diverged from the typical story of Eileen being a victim to Tobias. There was probably a period of love in there somewhere, and I see it here in all its bleakness. It's not too sunny to still be their story, though, you know what I mean? You've struck this really lovely balance (and now I kind of want to try).
You're probably going to get a wide variety of reactions to this story. Whenever I write something "experimental," as you've termed it, I usually get a few people who love it and a few people who lament the lack of a concrete plot and direction. To me, though, one-shots were made for this sort of disjointed creative moment. Very well done! :)
I hope this review is helpful!
-AmandaAuthor's Response: Hello Amanda! Thank you so much for reviewing! Please don't worry about any sort of delay - I'm a very patient woman!
I'm so glad that you liked the style! I know it's sort of experimental, especially when it comes to fanfiction. Thank you for saying that - a lot of my readers think that they need to know every single thing about the story. It's so nice to have such a perceptive and, well, understanding reader!
I had hoped that the themes would shine through in the description, since that's the primary method of getting them across, rather than dialogue. That line isn't one that is often commented on, but I'm so glad you liked it (it is definitely one of my favorites!).
Thank you so much for that! Tobias & Eileen Snape are my OTP, for sure. I've always felt that we get such a limiting perspective from Severus and that just isn't fair to them. I mean, she was a pureblood marrying a Muggle, so there had to have been love somewhere, you know? Oh please, do try an Eileen/Tobias and let me know when it's up - I'm basically one of the only writers who explores their relationship and I'd like to see other takes!
It's so good to see someone else who understands that some of the reviewers on anything experimental get their panties in a wad - you want to say, "Don't you understand?! It's literary and artsy and unconventional. It's supposed to be a beautiful statement of blah blah etc etc!" Haha, at least, I get like that.
Thank you so much for your review, Amanda! You leave great reviews and I appreciate it so much! :) Report Review
Hello, this is CalypsoJenna (finally) here with your requested review!
Woah- I had to read this through a couple of time to get my head round it! It was certainly very unconventional, but engaging nonetheless.
I really enjoyed your use of language- there were some gorgeous turns of phrase in this piece- I loved the "huffing whispers of Muggle motorcars" and "it takes all of my weakness to keep from slipping under."
I found the whole tone of this piece very dreamy and remote, and this was helped by the motion between the normal words, italics and parentheses- the way you switched between them seemed to echo the instability of the protagonist's mind. I loved the effect of the repeated words too. They worked very well and didn't upset the flow at all.
Another thing I enjoyed in this story was the imagery, and the way you maintained themes like the river, the mud, the daffodils and the sense of time passing throughout the whole piece.
I liked your playing with the ideas of past and present near the beginning- I felt like time played an important part in this piece of writing, with the way the narrative changed around.
And then the title. I loved the title. It was so sweet and open, it seemed to fit in with the water imagery, and it really made me curious about the story, so well done for that as well!
-BethanyAuthor's Response: Hi darling! Thank you so much for the review! And please, don't ever worry about any delay where I'm concerned - I'm a very patient woman!
Haha, yes, 'woah' is a good way to describe this, isn't it? It's definitely very unconventional and different for fanfiction!
I'm so glad you liked the language - it's something that I pride myself on because I think that it's something that I accomplish fairly well. Oh my, you're the first to mention the "huffing whispers of Muggle motorcars" - that's one of my personal favorites and I'm so glad you liked it!
I'm glad you thought it all sort of complimented the story. I did try to make it very cohesive and flowing and interwoven, you know? Oh yes, the repetition is pretty good (I think) - it is something that almost all my readers comment on and seem to like!
I'm a huge advocate of evocative, emotional imagery, so I'm happy you enjoyed it! I would say that imagery and description are my specialty!
You're the first to comment on my title, thank you! I wanted something perfect and as you said, it works well with the water imagery.
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I really appreciate it! :) Report Review
Hello!. I'm here to fill your review request. You said in your request that you were open to all sorts of feedback, including critique, so I'm going to try and cover as much as I can here, and hopefully some of it will be helpful to you. I should say upfront that this sort of style of writing (stream of consciousness/abstract-ish style) isn't something I write personally, or read a lot of, so much of what follows is going to be off the cuff/gut reaction sort of comments since I don't have a lot to compare it to.
First, I really appreciate on a lot of levels that you tried something new here. I think that alone is a win. There has to be a certain level of comfort and awareness of your own writing to be able to see outside the box. You really have to know your own writing voice to be able to set it aside for something totally different.
I really enjoyed your repeated references to distorted time. For a woman who's clearly detached from reality, both obsessed with what has passed and hyper-aware of certain features of her present, it makes a lot of sense that time has become an abstract concept for her, that she is neither stuck in the past, nor truly living in the present. So what does it matter to her if it's been a day, a week or a century since Tobias died, or he gave her those flowers, or when she arrived on the riverbank? The use of the words pastpresent and presentpast were incredibly effective at highlighting this disconnect, as were those few brief lines of italicized dialogue.
I also really liked the way you threaded the daffodils throughout the whole piece. They are the subject of the very first line yet I love how we don't know that until the very end. They are what she desired most and now come to represent all that she has lost. I'm not sure exactly what the flowers represent in your mind (greed? hubris? narcissism?), but I love the weight it adds to the piece.
You said in your request you wanted me to be totally honest, so I will say that there were some other things that didn't really work for me here. I think the main issue for me was that while the words sound appealing, they didn't connect with me on an emotional level. I felt a little like I was *supposed* to feel deeply moved because of the carefully crafted sentences instead of because I connected with what was happening on a human level. It got to the point for me where there were so many unusual phrases that it actually got in the way of what on its own was quite sad and moving. An old woman on a riverbank alone, pining over a lost love and the flowers she once wanted more than anything else is moving. I didn't feel like it needed all the other bells and whistles. It's like wearing plaid and stripes and polka dots all at once. Each piece can be beautiful on its own but altogether, it's too much for the eye and detracts from how powerful each piece is. It's not that I couldn't follow the story or appreciate that this isn't an A to B to C plot point kind of piece. And I would never be so arrogant as to think that just because I didn't connect to it, it is therefore not moving. I just wanted to be honest in saying that I think less would have been more for me here.
I feel like this isn't my best review. I'm better at commenting on the mechanics of a story than the emotion behind it. This is why I'll always be better at writing research papers than stories, I suppose. Still, it was definitely a nice treat to read something different and original. Your exercise in writing something new gave me the wonderful opportunity to read and review something new. I'm interested now in what other types of stories you've written and how this differs.
Thanks for the review request. Sorry I wasn't able to offer more concrete feedback.Author's Response: Hello darling! Thank you so much for reviewing! I totally understand - SOC style, even poetic styles in general, aren't always a reader's cup of tea. Since I know this isn't something you read often or like, thank you again for reviewing!
Thank you for that! If I'm totally honest, I don't know if I am completely comfortable with my voice as a writer, but I felt that this was necessary. Does that make sense? I felt that I /needed/ to write this - perhaps it's another avenue in finding my natural voice.
I'm really glad you liked that! I was worried that readers wouldn't pick up on the distortion of time - it's not something you often see outside of the literary sphere. I was trying to channel my inner Faulkner (his Light in August is what got me to thinking about the distortion of time and construction of the past and present as one). I do hope you liked the italicized parts - it's sort of becoming my signature (my other newest story, "Come, Sugar" uses this sort of technique).
Ah, the daffodils! If I'm honest, that's a part of me in the story - daffodils are my /favorite/ flowers and I use them in basically everything. Maybe it's how I connect to the text without putting my whole self into it! :P As for what they represent to me, I'd like to keep that on the downlow - I know that's crazy, but I'm a HUGE advocate of writing a story that gives the readers a chance to interpret it in any way they see fit based on their perceptions, past experiences, emotional outlook, etc. I don't like giving my readers everything - make 'em work for it, I say - so as to my view of the daffodils, well, let's say they represent, in equal parts, love, hubris, grief, emotional turmoil, beauty, and death.
You know, the old me (as writer) would have been incredibly worried by that. I understand. For many, this kind of story isn't what works - it's too flowery and flashy - I'm only sorry that you didn't connect with this on most levels. I do try to reach most readers in some form or fashion. I do thank you for being honest with me - it's definitely something that I will consider as I continue to write. Your comments give me pause; I must consider further refining my technique and putting the most into a story without adorning it with so many bells and whistles.
Please don't worry! I think this was a fabulous review. I understand reading and reviewing this took you way out of your comfort zone, so thank you for taking the time to review my story.
Thank you so much! I really do appreciate it! :)
It's Roots in Water here with your review!
This was certainly a very interesting piece that gave a very different- and refreshing- look into the relationship between Eileen and Tobias. Often people write Tobias off as a drunken, awful man... But you gave their relationship a slightly different spin here. It was still broken, still wretched, but there was still love there.
I found the writing style very interesting and thought that it worked so beautifully with the story. It took me a second read-through to more completely understand the multiple story lines (and there still might be things I miss...) and the second read-through made me appreciate the story all the more. The way you coupled Tobias' death with her own fifty years later along with her continuing despair and obsession with him made her thought process so much more interesting and understandable.
The manner in which you wrote her mindset contributed greatly to the broken feel of the story. I loved the repetition of the words, the manner in which she had to struggle to piece together her thoughts. Eileen was definitely in another world by this point in her life, lost to the realities of the current one. Your manner of writing complimented the story and the plot line worked well with the style of writing.
Your description/imagery worked well with the story as well. The amount you gave fit the style of the piece-- much more and it would have weighed it down and solidified her state of mind too much.
All in all, I think that you did a great job with this piece. I loved what you did with the style and I didn't find it too difficult to understand. Thanks for requesting and I hope that my review is helpful!Author's Response: Hi darling! Thank you so much for reviewing! :)
Yes, it is very different isn't it? Not the normal story on the fanfiction scene, that's for sure. I'm really glad you thought my take was refreshing. I do hate to limit myself in writing and telling a story based on the biased recollections of a characters, especially one such as Snape.
Thank you so much! I'm so happy you found it interesting! I did imagine that those who read this would have to do so more than once - I didn't intend for it to be easy, that's for sure. Thank you - I'm glad that second read helped solidify the story for you! :)
I'm over the moon! Such lovely comments! The repetition is very important, so I'm glad you liked that! It was a technique I employed so that I could emphasis certain things without overloading the readers with tons of purple prose and unnecessary description. Yes, you're definitely right - Eileen was in a totally different reality - she's so disconnected, it's kind of crazy (and I wrote it!).
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I really appreciate it! :) Report Review
Hello there, i'm kelsey (kjp) from the Harrypotterfanfiction forums with your requested review :D (sorry I took so long to get to you- my life is so hectic at the minute)
Anyway on with the review- Your story has great style, its brilliant. You've put so much thought into the writing that it amazes me, you make every word count and make it having meaning.
I couldn't really tell you what the on-shot is about. I could tel it was about a man names Tobias... but other than that I really had no idea (Perhaps its me not paying attention) but it is something that perhaps you should make clearer to you readers.
You asked about imagery and you did send that across well with detail that came in every word you wrote.
Your story is good and i'd probably recommend it to someone else but i think you need to sort out making it more clear.
8/10 from me :D
- kjpAuthor's Response: Hello! Thank you for reviewing.
I'm glad you like my style. Yes, I like to make every word count - I'm not really into tons and tons of words - concise, I always say.
I understand your confusion (perhaps looks at JChrissy and Violet Gryfindor's reviews for their interpretation). The thing about my writing is that I don't give readers the answers. You've got to figure it out on your own from what I've provided in the story - it's there, all the information you need to understand the story and make your own assumptions. The thing about my writing is that I leave it open so that readers can basically interpret it any way they want.
Thanks for your review! :) Report Review
I think this is a really interesting experimentation with writing that you did here. While it certainly wasn't the easiest piece I've ever read as far as understanding, I also didn't ever find myself completely lost with no idea of where you were going with it.
I really enjoyed the parts of this piece that were in italics; they seemed to me to convey the most meaning, though I don't doubt that was intentional.
The ending was really quite sad, but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it! The emotion that came across when I read the ending was really strong, which can be difficult to achieve in a shorter one shot, especially one where you are experimenting with style, so kudos to you for that accomplishment.
Your descriptions were beautiful throughout the piece, really emphasized by the minimal dialogue. It was easy for me to envision what the story was trying to convey.
~CassieAuthor's Response: Hello Cassie! (may I call you that?) Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.
I'm so glad you weren't /completely/ lost. I've been a bit worried that readers won't grasp what's going on. It's not exactly the easiest read in the world, but I think it has its merits! :D
It seems that the parts in italics in all of my stories are a reader favorite. I think I use them and put so much into the parts in italics because the italics themselves lend gravity and meaning to the words.
Thank you so much for that! I always do try to go for a strong endings, especially since I only do oneshots.
Thank you so much for the lovely review! I really do appreciate it! :)
Shelby Report Review
okay, i don't even know where to start from. Just like in 'Once We Were Kings', this is another deliciously dark piece of literary work. like, where do you get your ideas from? and the repetitions, they are so lyrical, so poetic in an eerie sort of way, it was like listening to a broken record but never wanting to stop.
never once imagined anything like this and yet you put it on the table with flair and attitude. i have to say that from your request when you mentioned that it's unconventional, i was instantly curious as to why it is so.
your portrayal of the snapes is unique, it is the polar opposite of what canon hints, but somehow, it works. because who knows, severus' point of view could have been biased from his memories.
anyway, this is a lovely story, there is nothing negative i can say about it, you always deliver. so, spot on.
cartoonheartAuthor's Response: Hi darling! :) Thank you so much for reviewing!
Mind blown? I'll take that as a compliment! :P It is so incredibly dark, isn't it? You know, I don't know where I get these ideas from. They just come to me ready to be written - it's a bit odd! I love that you describe the repetitions as being like a broken record - that's definitely what I was going for!
You know, I don't know how I imagine anything like this either - it's this weird surreal writer thing or something! Flair and attitude? Haha, I love that, thank you!
I'm so glad you picked up on that! We see a horrid marriage from Snape's POV, but that is a rather limiting and biased view of their relationship. We really don't know exactly what happened in their relationship and I try to show that every time I write them!
Thank you so much for the absolutely lovely review! I do hope you enjoyed and I appreciate the wonderful feedback! :)
Shelby Report Review
Hey Shelby! It's Molly from TGS, here with your requested review.
I must say, I was not expecting this when you left that request in my thread. When you said "unconventional and experimental", I got a little worried that I wouldn't really know how to review that, but it was all for nothing as this was nothing short of wonderful.
I really love that there are three different points of time are woven seamlessly through this - it really is the pastpresent and the presentpast, another little thing I quite liked about this one-shot. Personally I think you handled this style better than Faulkner, but I've never been a very big fan of his. You, however, you are great!
While the descriptions are all very beautiful and fitting, I think my favorite part about this story is the relationship between Eileen and Tobias. So often you see it portrayed as a hateful, loveless marriage, which I contribute to the very limited POV we see from Snape, but here you've done something very different with it. They loved each other or, at the very least she loved him and she was obviously devastated by his loss, something that struck a chord with me. It added so much more depth to this piece.
I'd offer constructive criticisms if I had any, but alas I don't! This was really truly wonderful, Shelby. You should be very proud of yourself.
- MollyAuthor's Response: Hello Molly! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!
I've felt the need to preface my requests with "unconventional and experimental" because of some of the responses for Come, Sugar - if that was a bit unconventional, this is very different from most fanfiction. Wonderful? Oh, wow, thank you! :)
I was a bit worried that the points of time were too jagged and didn't flow well, but I'm glad you thought so! Better than Faulkner? Oh, what a wonderful compliment - thank you! -blushes-
Yes, Snape's rather limiting view of his parents marriage always made me kind of sad. I like to think that he remembered the parts of their relationship that were rocky, rather than the loving and caring relationship. She was a pureblood marrying a Muggle, so there was obviously some love there, you know? They're my OTP, I believe, and that's why I love to portray them as having a loving relationship.
Thank you so much for your fabulous review! I do really appreciate it! :) Report Review
Ahh, Faulkner! I knew it reminded me of something, those repetitions like a warped record wobbling on an old gramophone. I thought that they added an interesting rhythm to the story, as though her mind kept getting caught on a knot, having to repeat before it could complete the thought. It fits how I saw the story as three threads braided together, but every so often, one is knotted. The stylistic complexity of this one-shot goes beyond what you've done before - the result is beautiful, very lyrical with vivid imagery.
The content is equally fascinating because you alter the common (mostly headcanon, only hinted at in the books) perception of Eileen and Tobias's relationship as negative, wholly abusive and repellent, an ugly pureblood witch marrying a muggle who came to hate her magic. But here, it's different, she loves him almost because of his scowl and sharpness, yearning for it even after it's gone. There's enough wiggle room in canon for this to fit - Snape's point of view is limited (and limiting), and we never see enough of his mother to ever guess at her own perspective of her marriage.
The part that I'm still thinking through is the whole thing about the daffodil. It's the thing that she desires most, and she doesn't lose that desire with the knowledge that it effectively killed Tobias. That flower is her narcissism (can I generalize and say that it makes her appropriately pureblood :P), and she literally becomes Narcissus when she also falls into the water - but I like your twist on it, that it's the flower, and not her own reflection, that attracts her. Her love is for the flower, but why? Not that you need to answer that - it's the kind of thing crazy people like me run off and write essays about. I like the ambiguity and open-endedness of it.
This is the kind of story that gets published. It's like a perfect little package of literary candy. You've totally outdone yourself with this story - it's more refined and complex than "Come, Sugar". You push your style and technique further here, and the result is breathtaking! There is so much more I could write about, especially about the descriptions (it's a wonderfully tactile story filled with dirt and textured, earthy things) and the narrative voice, but then I'll go on forever. Amazing work with this story - it's definitely find a home on my favourites list. ^_^Author's Response: Hi darling! I keep coming back to your review over and over again because I'm just so astounded.
Yes, Faulkner! I've definitely come to appreciate that old nutcase! :P You know, that is a fabulous analogy for this - like an old gramophone. We definitely do that, I believe - let something run through our heads over and over until we can get past it and finish the thought (at least, I do!). Thank you - I don't even know how to respond, I'm so over the moon!
Oh yes, I like to alter canon/headcanon when it comes to Eileen & Tobias. As you mentioned, Severus's point of view can be limiting. We honestly have no idea what happened in their relationship because perhaps what he remembers are only those rough patches in the relationship, you know? Every time I write Eileen & Tobias, I want to give them something more, give them depth and meaning, not cruelty - Severus was a very pessimistic character, so I think his memories should be taken with a grain of salt. I'm really glad you picked up on the fact that she loves him for his sharp nature. I think that many of us may know someone in our lives with that sharp nature, but we love them anyway.
Ahh, the daffodil. I did throw a bit of myself into it, if I'm being honest. Daffodils are my favorite flowers (I'm Southern, so we call them johnnyquils). Random fact! Back to the daffodil! Why does she love the flower? I don't think I should even attempt to answer it because I don't really know myself and I wrote the piece! It just sort of flowed out of my subconsciousness onto the paper. She desires Tobias and the daffodil after fifty years - it's an odd, yet I think relatable thing. It's human nature.
Susan, I just don't even know! That's one of the biggest compliments I could ever receive! You're too kind, I think! I've gotten into the stage where I do want to push my boundaries further and further every time, and I'm so glad that it worked! Thank you so much! I've been on cloud 9 all week! Thank you! :) Report Review
Hey! I saw your status update about your new story, so I came over to read and review. I don't think you have to worry about the style of this piece; even though it is somewhat different, it's very well written.
I had a feeling as I was reading that there was some manipulation of time going on between the italicized and normal sections of text, so that came across at least to a certain extent without even reading your note at the end. The imagery and word choice was really great, too. I particularly liked the repetition of sounds in the line, "The water is frigid, rigid with indignation at my violation." I also liked the word combinations, especially "pastpresent". The way it connected with the structuring of time in the story--the fact that the past and present are side by side here, not only in format but also in Eileen's mind--and the rhythm of it were perfect.
Here's the only real suggestion I have (but honestly, it's a great piece of writing): the dialogue kind of stuck out to me as I was reading; something about it doesn't seem to fit right with the style, in my mind. I'm not necessarily sure you need the dialogue at all, in fact, but part of me would have liked to see a conversation that was little more lyrical/metaphorical (if that makes sense), just because of the nature of the rest of the piece.
Anyway, great writing! Writing like this is so inspiring and useful to writers like me who struggle with description; it shows how easily the right words can create a vivid picture in a reader's head.Author's Response: Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by - I really appreciate it! I'm glad you thought it was well-written. I worry about just about everything when it comes to my writing and style is definitely one of them.
I've just edited the story and taken out that last author's note - another reviewer told me not to baby my readers, per se. Thank you - I always try to make sure that my diction and imagery really coincide to create a nice flow. Oh, I'm glad you pointed out that particular sentence! It's one of my favorites! I'm glad you liked the "pastpresent" and time manipulation. I really didn't know how that would come across in the story and if it would be confusing or not.
You know, I never considered that, actually. I suppose that I've been so conditioned to write "natural, everyday" kind of dialogue that I didn't think to change it up in this particular piece. I'm definitely going to see what I can do about that!
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I do so appreciate it and hope you enjoyed the read! :) Report Review
I'm SO MAD AT YOU for putting the ending AN! Mainly because I wanted to gloat about figuring out what each styling difference signified, I'm still going to gloat anyone.
You did not give yourself enough credit with this piece. It's so gorgeous in such an emotionally messed up way. I feel like she's not even half with us in the present laying on the muddy bank that Tobias died in so many years ago, but she's cognizant enough to feel how bad it still *hurts* and her need to get those flowers, despite her trudging through the water on a day we learned through the stranger is cold, she must get the things Tobias died to try and retrieve for her.
I adore how even through this tragic story you carried across their loving relationship, unless he killed himself in that river as opposed to it being an accident, which (with you) is always a possibility - but the fact he's trudging through it to get her those flowers makes me believe that's probably not what happened.
Okay, I clearly love the story line to this, now I'm going to focus on the more important aspect. The writing style! Woot!
Your combined usage of pastpresent .. I really loved that. It brought that feeling of the both being combined, she never left that past and it's still part of her today and despite the changing of years, despite the fact that everyone says 'it feels just like yesterday' yesterday is what killed her and it's still killing her, she can't get away from how badly it hurts, her past *still* is the present. I don't know if that's what you intended with that styling or if I'm just going off on my own little tangets, but regardless you still made me think/feel/invest in your story with that. I found myself wondering if you'd split those two by the end, give her a past and present, but I also knew you wouldn't because she's been in this much pain for so long, and nothing will take that pain away except doing exactly what he did - struggling (and losing) to get those flowers. Though her death is much more of an emotional one, and letting the flowers take her the same way they took Tobias just finally ended the breath to a soul that had long ago faded.
I loved the parenthesis, they felt like a very aware morbidity. The 'present' section is a concoction of confused feelings and the continuation of this absolute grievance eating her, but the parenthesis are so terrifyingly clear that it just breaks my heart.
I always love repetition, for some reason I feel like it hits those very important thoughts/words/feelings so much harder, and this exemplified my thoughts on that. It just built up that 'floating through a lost time' sort of feeling and I especially liked the urgent feel when you used it to portray the amounts of time *she* felt lost to with the *fifty fifty hundred thousand years.*
And the flower, when she first spots it and thinks of it being a piece of history, at first I just thought it was because that flower may have been there for ages, but I should have known better, that you wouldn't have pointed someone out so significantly if it's 'history' wasn't significant. I LOVED learning at the end that the flower was the complete reason her history is just a pastpresent.
Okay, this review might be an unintelligible ramble, if that's the case I apologize. And I know you told me to CC you, but I just can't. There's nothing about this that needs it. If I thought I was supposed to be reading a conventional sort of tale about a man that died and the woman who lost her soul, and eventually life, mourning him - I could CC you. But this is in no way meant to be conventional, and your plays with metaphors, similes, styles, repetitions, it all works so well and is done beautifully. You've tried something new, you've created something that takes a lot of work to understand but that's because it *should* take that much work to completely get the essence for. I think it's good you put the AN at the beginning so people are aware that this is something new and a play with styles because that way if they don't want to take the time and effort to try and experience such a mind blowing one shot, they can stop. But you did put that AN so anyone reading from that point on should understand that they'll really have to pay attention and be prepared for it, because your style was so intoxicating and easy to fall into once I let myself.'
If you couldn't tell, I loved this.Author's Response: You are so amazing, I don't even know what to say! I'm most likely going to take that AN out - I'm giving too much, you know? Got to let everyone figure it out for themselves!
Really? Oh, I'm always so worried to give myself /any/ credit because it might end up being the worst thing ever written or something! You're such a perceptive reviewer, I just can't handle it. You totally saw how even though she's there, she's not really present. Yes! Exactly - she just has to get those flowers. Those flowers are what she wanted in the past, what killed her chance of a happy future, and what she now wants in the present.
See, I've always loved them, always. I just really feel that at one point they had a loving relationship, so I'm so glad you picked up on that. Yes, perhaps he killed himself, and perhaps he simply died trying to make Eileen happy. As you know, it's all up to the reader's interpretation.
I absolutely love your perspective on this, I really do! I'm so glad you picked up on the significance of that combination words - you hit the nail on the head - her past still is in the present, you're very right! Gosh, I'm so excited right now! I never considered giving her a past and a present, but that's an interesting concept. What if I had? How would she have felt at the end? Hmm, interesting. Yes, yes - it's a recreation, almost, of the scene from fifty years ago. She needs to get those flowers as Tobias did - perhaps it was the only way that she could die, the only way that she could reconcile her feelings.
I love that you recognized the clarity of the parenthesis - just as you said, they're a contrast between the the confusing present, and this underlying subconscious or whatever you take them to be!
As you can tell, I absolutely /adore/ repetition. I feel like in much smaller works like this one, it is sometimes imperative to set up the mood or tone using repetition - it solidifies for the reader those emotions.
"I LOVED learning at the end that the flower was the complete reason her history is just a pastpresent." - I think this just pretty much the best thing ever. You've really given me exactly what I wanted to hear - your interpretation is wonderful! The flower is just one of the symbols in the piece that really elicits, I think, the enormity of what I was going for.
No CC? I can't even believe that - one of the highest compliments I have received! Thank you! I'm glad you were so honest with me - I know that you would tell me if there was anything I needed to work on, so thank you for that. Yes, I really felt the first AN was necessary. I didn't want someone diving in without understanding that this piece is completely unconventional in fanfiction.
Thank you so, so much! I can't tell you how much I truly appreciate your wonderful feedback and willingness to read and review! :) Report Review
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