Hello -- here with your requested review!
Well, as soon as I saw that you'd posted to claim a spot, I got really excited. I keep meaning to head your way, to read a bit more of your work, because the few things of yours I've read have been splendid. And now you've given me the perfect excuse! I so thoroughly enjoyed this story -- your writing, as with everything else I've seen, was lush and poetic, and I felt like I could just wrap myself in it. I love stories like that.
I really felt for Dorcas and Sirius in the course of this, almost being able to achieve their happily-ever-after; and yet, they weren't. Dorcas was tainted by Death, exactly as you said, and I felt a sort of nobility from both of your characters that prevented frankness. Reading this was almost like reading a bit of the authors that Dorcas seems to adore so much, which was incredible, and really made me feel a bit more connected to the story.
I think the flow is lovely. It's jarring, but not in a way that I think needs fixing; if you altered this, I think the story would lose something. I love the abrupt point-of-view transitions, the flipping back and forth of places in time, and I don't think I was every really lost throughout. I would love to see this as an original piece; it would work beautifully for that. Maybe it's just because I was concentrated on it, judging by what you marked out as areas of concern, but I read this through with no troubles!
Only two things I saw:
They are the words of her life, and as he stands on the bridge over the Thames in the same place where he saw her again that short time ago that felt like an age. -- You use 'as he stands' here with nothing to really follow it up, which was a bit confusing. You might add something, or possibly delete the 'as.'
You know, the ones where I would include all of their secrets with special attention paid to the many boys that I should be in love with -- In talking about the diaries, I know Dorcas is referencing those of other girls, but she uses 'I' and 'my' at all places except when saying 'their secrets.' I think it might work a bit better to say 'my secrets,' although I could be reading it wrong.
Thank you for requesting this! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and really, Susan, you are just a tremendous writer. :)
Author's Response: I'm so sorry for having put off responding for this long. This won't sound true, but I had forgotten that I'd gotten you to review this story. *hides* I do, however, really appreciate that you have and that you've not only enjoyed it, but found a few things to fix up. Those constantly elude me, and it makes a big difference to get someone to mention them. I have a horrible way of preferring critique and suggestions to compliments - it's a lot easier to make a correction than it is to accept a compliment. But I'm crazy, and never satisfied with my work, so. yes.
Anyway, on to my proper response, which will hopefully sound somewhat more intelligent than I currently feel. It's fantastic to hear that the story doesn't sound like a mess (which it is in my head, even if I'm emotionally attached to it) - I've been worrying whether it contains too much, whether it be description, narration, or literary references. I felt too much while writing, and often powerful emotions can make the words run wild. It's a great relief to hear the opposite - words like "lush" and "poetic" are music to my ears. That's the kind of feel I wished to achieve, and I'm very glad to have done it.
One interesting thing about writing the pairing was how many times they almost could have gotten together, but each time, something came in the way, often themselves. I've seen it before, and while it's sad, often tragic, it also makes for a better story. That bittersweet flavour of "almost" sticks with the reader longer than the honey-like taste of happily ever after.
I think at the time of writing this, I was re-reading "The Waste Land", had not long before done some work on "Finnegans Wake", and was reading through Virginia Woolf's novels - and you can see the result of all that reading. It's like Frankenstein's monster running rampant in your head, and that feeling entered Dorcas's story. She lets herself live through their words because the world outside is so horrific that her poetic sensibility can't deal with it. Reading "Finnegans Wake" over and over again is her way of working through the trauma of the war (haha, guess who was doing trauma studies that year, too? :P I'm terrible when it comes to letting my university work leak into my stories). But I never expected those authors to come through the story so sharply. To a degree, I tried to mimic the style rather than use lots of quotes because of the three-line rule - so it was a way of letting the authors inspire the story without actually needing to quote them. I'm really pleased to hear that they brought you closer to the story - I really thought they would alienate readers instead, so seeing the opposite is nothing short of awesome. :D
Okay, that's good to hear about the flow. :) I won't change it when I go back to edit this story into an original (at some future point. one day) - I'll just stick to the canon details. My idea is to make it a WWII story about one of the European resistance movements. The similarities between these movements and the Order of the Phoenix is too perfect to miss out on. Thank you for your other suggestions, though - I've worked through those sentences to clarify and complete them a little better.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! It's one I've got a soft spot for, and I really hope that I can do something more with it one day. ^_^