Hello, Beeezie. I'm here with your requested review. Since there are only two chapters up so far, I will definitely review both. I'll be focusing on what you mentioned as your areas of concern, as well as a few other things I noticed along the way. So off we go...
To start with, I have to say I think the quality of your writing is quite strong. There is a good flow to it. You take you time and develop scenes. Your sentence structure is clear and the words don't feel rushed. I really enjoy a good back-and-forth dialogue section. I think that can be just as important to setting a scene as actual description, which I'll move onto next.
You mentioned you were worried there wasn't enough description. I'd say you were definitely light on description, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to say there wasn't enough. For your purposes, a house is a house in the opening scene. What's important is how Rose feels about being there and the people who are there with her. I might suggest adding a few more physical details about Scorpius' place. You didn't really describe it at all. And though I almost feel like this is cheating to say it since I said the same thing in another review earlier today, but if you pick a few details that are really telling (an expensive piece of furniture suggests the Malfoys are still wealthy, while a hand-me-down sofa says he's making it on his own in the world), it does double-duty: it creates a mental picture and gives the reader a better understanding of your characters. One area where you don't need more description is physical gestures. There weren't too many, but I'd say any more might start to detract from the scene instead of helping to enhance it.
As to starting out too slow, I really don't think so. I think it's actually rare in a world of one-shots to find authors willing to take the time to set up a story so that there is actual payoff when the characters reach the climax. I wouldn't say this was a super punchy opening chapter but you have set up a hint of conflict to come with Rose meeting Scorpius' family. It gives the readers an idea of where we are going. I think this does read like a sequel (and that isn't meant as a negative comment, just a point of interest). I'm not confused as to what's going on but I do feel like I'm coming in a bit in the middle. Not really a problem or something that needs changed, but I do think being a sequel that can influence how "grab your attention" an opening chapter is.
I just have another quick note before I move on to the next chapter. I should preface this by saying that when I seem to be over-picky with the small stuff on a story, it's usually because I actually think the writing is very solid. It's hard to pinpoint an area an author might be able to improve on when the whole chapter is a mess. As I already said, I find your writing to be very clean and easy to read. I do think you could make it even tighter by watching out for too many interruptions in the dialogue. Some of that is the physical gestures I mentioned before. Others are identifying the speaker when it isn't necessary. For example:
Albus rolled his eyes. "Yes," he said dryly. "Yes, I can. Unlike my best friend, I can see how obnoxious you are."
You don't need "he said dryly." We know it's Albus talking because he just rolled his eyes and when you group the sentences together like that, it obviously implies it's the same speaker. I'm also a pretty strong believer in leaving out adverbs to qualify dialogue. Some people disagree but I think that if you really think they are necessary to make the reader understand inflection, than it might be time to take a look at your sentence and see why the meaning isn't clear either on its own or in the broader context. I think in this case Albus' tone was more than implied by the scene as a whole.
I hope this review was helpful. I'm not sure if I'll post the next review tonight or not, but I will get to it very soon. I'll keep description and pace in mind on that chapter too.
Author's Response: Okay. So thank you doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about this review.
I love (love, love) when people are really picky over small things in something I do (either writing or graphics - I was just saying this to Violet Gryffindor on TDA last week, actually), what that indicates to me is that what I have is good to begin with, so for me, that tends to come across as a compliment. (Unless someone is just mean... but that's a different story.)
I also appreciate it because it helps to push me to the next level. It's the little things that help push a good story to a great story, IMO, and when there are little things that I can improve upon, I want to know so I can push myself.
The things you pointed out - the excessive dialogue tags, the adverbs - are small, in one sense of the word, but at the same time, as I was writing chapters 3 and 4 I continually referred back to this and your post on TGS about adverbs, and when I read them over, I see what you mean, and I like the flow of them better (especially in 4 - I'm going to go back to 3 to tighten it up a little, too, and of course the first two).
Thank you so much. This was one of the most helpful reviews I've gotten on the site. (Not that the other reviews aren't helpful, of course! This was just so thorough and I think it pinpointed where my weaknesses as a writer have been perfectly.) ♥