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Review:pennyardelle says:
Hey! Here I am, as promised! So, I read through this, trying to read carefully to decide if it felt ambiguous at all. When I finished, I did think I had a tentative idea of what was going on--it sounded like Florence had allowed someone else to die in order to save someone she cared about, and was finding that she couldn't cope with the guilt of having done so, or something along those lines.

Given the author's note at the end, it seems like this scene will make a lot of sense when it's put in context with future stories. I think that, if you're pleased with the idea of it hinting at the story without giving it away outright, and maybe not being entirely clear at this point, then you don't need to do too much to it. If, however, you would really like it to make sense as a complete stand-alone (or are just looking for things to edit), I'll offer a couple suggestions :)

I think perhaps some of the confusion stems from the fact that there is a lot that comes before the first concrete connection to the HP series. Whenever I read a fan fiction, I think my brain is programmed to seek out the characters/places/events that will anchor the story in a time and place, and with this story, I felt like I didn't get that until "Lily", nearly 500 words in, and then it was another few hundred words before "Gryffindor" and "Slytherin" cropped up. Near the end, you mentioned "Hogwarts". Still, these aren't exactly specific references--Hogwarts, Gryffindor, and Slytherin could be mentioned in any era, by almost any magical character, and we also know of two characters named Lily, who lived in different eras. The fact that this appears to be set in Russia also seemed disorienting without being explained in some way. I think that maybe (especially near the beginning) some more concrete references to the wizarding world, Florence's background, or even just the time period would make this clearer.

My only other suggestion is, perhaps counter-intuitively, to eliminate unnecessary sentences and phrases. The writing is beautiful, and it would be a shame to see any of it go, but I think part of why I felt confused in parts is because you would say something specific, and then do a big (albeit very nicely written) loop around before coming back to the actual plot-proper. In my opinion, you could probably trim out a lot of the dwelling on her suffering--keep the sentences that really pack the hardest punch, but sacrifice anything that's unnecessarily distracting. This piece could probably convey the exact same message in 2,000 words or less.

Anyway, those are the only things I can think that would help. Like I said, though, I think I did walk away with an idea of what had happened to Florence, so maybe you can just live with the occasional ponderous review until all of the backstory is available for people to read. :P It really is lovely writing, though--very nice pacing, flow, and imagery.

Author's Response: Thank you so much Penny for taking the time to read and review this for me! I appreciate your help and comments so much!

I am happy with it simply hinting towards the bigger story that i'm working on as this is a sort of preview to that story. However, there is a part of me that wants to make sure that this can stand alone to an extent, enough that it make sense in the HP world anyway. I like your suggestion about bringing some of those details into the story earlier and setting up maybe why she's in Russia! I think it would definitely help grounding the story so people can feel a bit more related to the character.

I also think i agree with you comment about cutting down on the wording. I noticed with my first big edit how I had a tendency to repeat things, phrases, or emotions. I think it probably very obvious within the first 500 words that Florence is suffering. I don't want it to seem like it's suffering just for the sake of it.

What i want i for people to sort of get from this is the heavy laden guilt and pain that she's going through and see how a mistake can eat away at your soul kind of thing. Which, was the girl that she allowed die, that she even made it possible for them to die because she wanted to bring back her sister. So yes, you got the basics of what i was aiming at anyway. Which is why, at the end, she wanted to be taken because she believed she deserved it and couldn't cope with what she's become.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and thoughtful review :D I'm always up for editing and trying to get a story to a better point and i find this really helpful to me. Although i'm pleased and beyond overwhelmed that you like the actual writing bit of it, i don't want the actual story to be lost in in the language i used. Thanks again Penny for this incredibly helpful review!!


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