Hello again, tydemans. Long time no review. I've read the next two chapters and am posting all my comments here...so away we go :)
I think the start of chapter four is the best writing of the story thus far. Ollivander was exceptionally well written and some of the more formal tone of Victoire's speech patterns seem to have worked themselves out. She's so quick witted without being so smart-mouthed as to be annoying. And I really enjoyed the magical elements you've added and explored. Maybe I'm just a sucker for canon but I miss when stories seem to leave out magic entirely. The French versus British wand lore is really interesting and I'm excited to see where Owen's wand quest leads.
Honestly though, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of content in this chapter. There are a lot of subplots going on (which is great), but I'm having a hard time seeing how things fit together or where we are headed next, particularly with Victoire. I don't know what her journey is yet. Owen has a goal, clearly, but what is Victoire's? She seems to be floating around a bit, which in turns leaves us as the reader floating around too. I think back on the HP books for example. Each one has lots of sub-scenes (Halloween feasts, quidditch matches, exams), but each chapter moves us toward a goal (end of term/confrontation with bad guy). What are we heading towards here? What connects the dots? Even something small could be used as a thread - like the boat. Maybe the evolution of the story would correspond with her completing repairs on the boat. That's just an example, obviously. I'm just trying to think of ways that makes the chapters seem more purposely divided.
Moving on the chapter five...Again, I really like the way you started off this chapter. The letters made for a nice change, a good switch-up in pacing. My only "complaint" would be that Victoire lost a little bit of her maturity in the correspondence. It was a little jarring that she suddenly sounded a bit like a muggle teenager after all her well-worded wit of previous chapters. Still, I liked the idea and the re-inclusion of Sara into the story. Micah is also proving to be a great character add. She has a strong personality but in more of an outspoken, take-charge kind of way. She plays well off of V and I can see her really helping to thicken the action and antics of the story.
As to critique, I'll honestly be disappointed if Victoire gives up her room. First, you took the time to describe it and the burden of moving into it. I feel almost a bit cheated that you may take it away from us so soon. Second, I think it's a great setting. It's small and intimate and full of big windows. It seems a bit quirky, like V, and a place where I can see her retreating to as she faces the challenges of the story yet to come.
Overall, through the first five chapters, I see a lot of great things. You have a great knack for characters. Victoire is wonderfully crafted and each additional character stands well on their own. You also work well within the Potter universe. While your narrative style is very different, you incorporate the magic and the muggle very well. If I had to make one overall suggestion it would be to be more picky in your scene selection. Why is each and every scene important to detail? Why do I need to show V moving in as opposed to simply saying that the event has happened? Keep the story tight and your readers interested by continually pushing them forward.
Please don't let me take another year to review. Keep up the great work!
Author's Response: Hi A_Wiz,
I'm thrilled to have you review some more chapters. Thanks so much for taking the time for it. The Ollivander scene is one of my favorites. I find the Wandlore interesting and am thrilled when other people do too. It plays an important part in the story.
Victoire is definitely floating around, having expected to sail right into Bimas with Teddy after his return, I'm floating too in trying to balance my plotlines. I have a reason for all the moving parts, but having posted past the halfway point, I'm now thinking a pass back through the beginning to smooth things out is a good plan.
Eeek, I'll look at the letters, possibly went too girly in those :0 I'm glad Micah comes across well, she really is a catalyst for things to come. Vic will be staying in the room she has, no worries, and Merlin help Fin, so will Micah.
Coincidently, I'm reading a book on scenes now which is saying pretty much what you've said here. I think I'm going to use the exercise on what I've already written because I haven't looked at the structure on that level too closely. Your comments again have been excellent and very helpful. Thanks for the encouragement and the insight.
~a very appreciative Ty