Hello there! Its AC here to review for the improvement challenge. Sorry it's taken awhile, there's been quite a lot of interest and the number of reviews I've got to write is quite intimidating.
More so though, this is the review I was least looking forward to (that's actually a compliment, but I'll explain in a sec). When I was thinking about starting the challenge I was talking about how I was worried someone might enter and I wouldn't have anything constructive to say, then Naida reassured me that 'there's always something' and added 'unless someone amazing like Violet Gryfindor enters' and then you happened to be, what, the third entrant? So, yeah, I'm going to stretch my abilities of giving criticism a bit here, because really I'm a big fan and it's likely I won't have much that's very helpful to say at all because you're great :)
Okay, so, structurally I really like all the flashbacks and it was really lovely to see the little pieces of the Teddy/Rose relationship. Coming in as someone who hasn't read the prequel to this, it definitely makes perfect sense and the whole thing is really clear and lovely.
Okay, the only thing I can comment on so far is more of stylistic thing. You have a tendency to include a lot of details. For the main part, it's really lovely and it makes me feel like part of the actual story, but I think it has a tendency for overkill at certain points. Things like the colour scheme of the building and such... I mean, personally I don't tend to visualise in that level of detail when I'm imagining things, so the fact that fact that sign matches the building just, well, it doesn't add anything to me, as a reader (I'm really clutching at straws here; I love it all).
Other details really do add things - such as the dragons almost representing Rose and Rose's reluctance to except that, but some are just a tad unnecessary perhaps.
Also, as a matter of time, it seemed like Rose opening the shop and Rose closing the shop ocurred really quite close together in terms of time. I know she closed the shop early, but to me it felt like the shop had only been open for an hour max and that seems like a really short time for the shop to be open, considering this is Rose's livelihood.
As a side point the bit about Dom being short for Domestic goddess has to be one of my favourite lines ever - different to my Dom head canon, but I loved it. Love a bit of word play and, well, there were some really great funny lines in this that were wonderful :)
I really like the characterisation of all these characters, too, it's nice and realistic to have the whole family dynamics of people comparing Victoire and Rose. And James bringing the whole Quidditch team.
So, i guess the only things I can think of to see is that there are quite a few sentences with lots of subordination that got really looonnng. I got lost a bit in the middle of the first sentence, trying to work it out in my brain - I'm entirely sure that's partially because I've got a holiday-brain (oh, the joys of having nothing to do at all for three months) but I think you possibly could have made it a little clearer by splitting it up into more than just the one sentence. Then, an excess of details.
Basically, your love of writing and words is like oozing through the page and it's lovely and wonderful and it really makes me smile, but sometimes it makes things slightly more difficult for the reader (like the longer sentences) or, with all the excess details, you provide more than a reader necessarily wants. So, yeah, the only bit of improvement I can really offer to you is keep the reader in mind more?
Honestly, though, the whole thing is lovely and I really enjoyed it and could read novels worth of it but, well, improvement is the name of the challenge after all.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings and thanks for joining the challenge! :)
Author's Response: *rolls up sleeves* Okay, I'm ready for this now! :P My apologies for having put it off for so long, but now that I've got all the other things I'm doing on course, I'm ready to re-approach this story - it's been haggling me in the back of my head these last couple of days, but I won't move forward with my ideas until going carefully over your analysis. Ah, the problems of having too many WIPs! They're all "alive" in my head, but I can only focus on one at a time, it seems.
It's the kind of story that I know you're much better at doing than me, which is why I leapt at the opportunity to snag a review from you. My specialty is dark and gloomy, but I want to try and make this style work too - it's a more realistic type of fiction, with the characters just living, not being thrown into mysteries or other sensational situations.
*blushes* I'd love to find out who this Violet Gryfindor is! It's fantastic to hear such compliments from you - you're famous and talented, one of the authors on the site I look at and think "one day... that'll be me". It means a lot that you enjoyed this story - it's the kind of inspirational boost I need to get cracking on pushing this story out of these introductory chapters. :D
Haha, over describing things is a bad habit. It works in some cases, but I do overuse it. I'll go through these chapters and pare them down - it should help with the overall flow, and helpfully means that I don't have to make the chapters as long. ;) Pacing is always a challenge, so I'll definitely be more careful as I work on the third chapter (and those which come after). Even without looking at the story, I know the parts you mean. XD Long sentences will be the death of me, I swear!
That inconsistency with Rose and the shop is an accident - it comes with writing in short spurts without keeping track of what's going on. Thank you for pointing that out - I'll find a way to fix it, either by removing the "opening the shop" part or by including some description about the time passing by. It could very well be that Rose's thoughts make time pass, but I still have to work on making that clear.
So that I don't go over the allowed length for responses, I'll cut it off here, though I could go on for longer, I'm sure. Thank you again for your help! It's wonderful to get this kind of feedback - it's just what I need because, otherwise, I go off on terrible tangents and lose track of... well... everything.
So what I'll do first is fix up these chapters, then I'll move on from there into the third chapter. I have to stop worrying about the length, and more about moving the plot and character developments forward - that should help me with the pace. I really appreciate hearing from you! This idea for a challenge is incredible! ^_^