I have to say, this is the best piece of fanfiction Iíve read in ages. I love it. Usually, Iím not the biggest fan of second person, I often find it contrived and that it adds an air of melodrama to a fic, but here I liked it. It was engaging rather than obtrusive and at times I forgot it was even there. However, you always run a risk with second person that it can get a bit bogged down with all the narrative, and I did think it fell prey to that particular evil in the middle, but I think that was mainly due to something else which I will discuss later.
I like James as a character. To answer your question, I do think he sounds like a realistic twenty-one year old, and I especially like how you reveal him to us. Itís a gradual introduction and subtle as well, the way you throw hints as to his personality outside what weíre seeing, the fact that heís bad at Quidditch, has had his Apparation licence taken away, it adds to the bigger picture of a decent, well rounded and believable character. Heís a very likable and interesting character.
Technically, your writing was great. I noticed only a few misplaced commas and your sentences on the whole were well structured, however, you do tend to sometimes repeat descriptive words in the same sentence which I felt jarred the flow a little, for example the use of large in this sentence Ď...a man wearing a large-brimmed hat with a large staff in one handí. I feel that using a different word for one of the Ďlargeís would produce a better sounding sentence. The same thing happened in one of the beginning sentences with the word Ďstopí. Here, I understand that youíre using it as an effect, but it hasnít really worked, the execution could have been tightened up a little, I feel. Youíre also guilty of my pet peeve; alright vs all right. Technically, Ďalrightí isnít a word, it should always be separated out as Ďall rightí. But thatís just me being nitpicky.
So, onto my biggest points. Though I generally really liked your style, I thought that at times you were a little overly descriptive, and I think I really noticed this because actually, not much happens in this chapter. Essentially, itís an elaborate description of his day, especially in the second part. There isnít much conflict, much plot compared with the word count aside from Jamesí argument with his family and the appearance of the suspicious guy in the pub. These things did add a very interesting element, but there was a lot of words in between which didnít really add a huge amount to the story. Had your chapter been action packed, I donít think I would have noticed the description as much as I did. Thereís enough plot there to gain my attention, but I wasnít enthralled by what was happening. Whether this is a case of adding more plot or taking away description, I couldnít say as at times I did really enjoy the detail primarily because of the way it was written. Details like the gas and oil lamps were a brilliant touch, so I think it would be a case of both, to be honest; pruning as well as adding.
However, I did really like this and I will certainly be looking out for other chapters. Like I said, this is the best written things in terms of style Iíve seen in a while and so for me, that cancelled out the points above.
Author's Response: Hey there! Thank you! I really enjoy writing second person - I haven't read that much of it, to be honest, so I have no idea what it's usually like - so I'm glad you liked it too!
Thank you! I was a bit worried that perhaps he would seem too much of a troublemaker (in a bad way, you know, not like Fred and George) and that might put people off. Characterisation is also very important to me, so thank you! :D
Ooh, thank you for pointing that out! I got a beta not long after you sent me this review (not because of what you said or anything, in case you think that) and I'm pretty sure she's fixed those problems for me - but I'll definitely remember to look out for things like that in the future. And commas. Alas, they are not my friends. I used to put them everywhere, so thanks for mentioning it - I'll be extra-careful! No! Really? O.o I could have sworn 'alright' was a word... no way... wow. I honestly didn't know that! Thanks! I'm sorry it's your pet peeve and I committed that, but I'm also kinda glad - I would never have found that out otherwise.
Hm... yeah, that was what I was worried about. I always write a lot of description, thinking I don't have enough... thanks for letting me know, though - it's really, really helpful! Particularly for the later chapters - I'll bear that in mind when I write them. I agree with you, though, it's probably a bit of both - take some away, add some more in.
Thank you so so much for this review! It was incredibly helpful (and really honest as well - so lovely!) and just so nice! Thank you! And I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond - I'm not usually this bad, I swear!