|Review:||teh tarik says:|
Hello! After you wrote me such a lovely review I thought I'd drop by and read some of your writing :)
First of all, the title of your story is so simple yet fascinating! Lungs! So many things can be implied from the title...air, breathing space, anatomy. It also ties in nicely with Helene's smoking habit, introduced in the very first sentence. There's some neat irony in that Helene smokes heavily yet wants to be a Healer more than anything.
In terms of characterisation, Helene is quite complex, which is great. She isn't the average ambitious student; there's a touch of malice and mystery to her. But it is this paragraph about her that intrigues me most:
Helene’s small childish face had clouded with obvious disappointment. She had been hoping for a second pony or her own House Elf to boss around who could take the place of Clauthilde’s strictness. All the same her greedy child’s fingers, which had never seen a dirty dish or a weed to be pulled, tore through the expensive blue and gold wrappings. Inside the box was the watch that, to this day, Helene had never taken off once.
You've referred to a sense of 'childishness' and "child's greed" in Helene, which is rather different from her usual rebellious intelligence. It makes me wonder if there's also that shade of privileged spoilt teenager to her character. Anyway, your characterisation is layered and intricate, and your character carefully constructed through the detailed descriptions, and I'm interested to see how this develops over the course of the story :)
I do agree with the other reviewers that there's too much background info rather than story. There is rather too much "telling" instead of "showing".
For example, this line:
Helene never initiated anything so outward as James Potter and Sirius Black's public humiliations of Severus Snape, but she was markedly cruel.
Instead of telling the reader directly that she's "markedly cruel", perhaps you could show us via example? You could write a small scene detailing one of Helene's acts of cruelty (e.g. maybe she trips some first year up or something...sorry bad example but you know!!) and embed it into your narration. This will inform your readers about character background and traits through an interesting way. Also, it will make your character more believable and natural.
Your prose has little exquisite descriptions here and there, e.g. "bluish crescent moons stained the tissue-thin flesh". So lovely! I hope you could include more of these details in the future chapters.
OK, I think that's it for this review. Hope I've been helpful and not too harsh or discouraging or anything.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so very much for such a thoughtful review! So nice of you to do so.
I really do plan on going back and adding some dialogue to this chapter; I have a hard time remembering that the general public is probably not as enthralled by my OC's back-story as I am ;)
And Helene is definitely going to be a complex--maybe almost too much! XD I really wish I could explain everything in the first chapter, but I don't want to give it away. In the most basic of descriptions, she is cold and cruel because that is how her mother treated her, and also she is spoiled because her mother made up for her absence by giving her material objects. But her mother still expected a lot from her, which is why she had a governess. Helene's obsession with academic perfection in order to obtain a healing career is entirely her own, though, which will come in to play later :)
Thank you so much for your helpful words. When you said that I have been "telling, not showing" you struck a chord with me because your words reminded me of my favorite Creative Writing professor in college and the suggestions he would give us. So thanks for putting it into perspective!
And I really do have a habit of describing visual images to a ridiculous extent, so expect more of the "bluish crescent moons" and "tissue-thin flesh." ;D
Thank you again so much for such a thoughtful review, it's greatly appreciated!