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Review:academica says:
Hi :) I decided to come try out another story of yours for this last holiday swap of ours. Sorry for the delay.

Wow, your characterization is great. I've always found it a challenge to write Draco and his friends, and I admire your ability to dig down to the ugliest depths of his personality in this initial chapter. I think it will make it even harder to establish sympathy for him in the chapters to come, but if you're anything like me, those are the sort of challenges that you enjoy, so I doubt it will be a problem. Pansy was also very good; she definitely reminds me of the desperate, shallow girl from the books, and I can see her remaining that way. Oh, and Snape was great; I can see him storming in, grabbing Draco by the collar, and then leaving as soon as he'd gotten out what needed to be said.

So... scenes with a lot of... erm... flesh, they make me pretty uncomfortable. I haven't really written anything too graphic since I first started. Here, though, I can see why you did it; it was necessary to establish how little Draco really thinks of Pansy and how much she lives to please him. It was a great idea for character development, although I bet it was a challenge in and of itself!

One tiny thing I noticed is that sometimes it seems like you use a period or a comma where a semi-color or dash might be more appropriate. Don't be afraid to play with other punctuation. For example, in the beginning when Draco thinks that Pansy is actually the one reading the Prophet to him--I think a dash would work really well there.

Nice work!


Author's Response: Hi, there! No problem on the timing.

I tried really hard to keep Draco as tight as possible to his characterization in the first five books for the start of this story. At this point, he hasn't had any of the traumatic experiences that will eventually turn him into the more reserved, tormented character we see in HBP and DH. At this point, he's still brash, arrogant, self-centered and really doesn't value other people much at all. It was a bit of a challenge, to be honest. I have a bad habit of slipping into "older, wiser Draco" from CoB.

Snape was enormously fun to write! I just let my imagination run wild with that part and the words just tumbled off the ends of my fingers. I looked up and it was over. ;)

I fretted quite a bit about the amount of... erm... flesh in this. I obviously didn't want the chapter to get rejected, but more than that I didn't want it to seem gratuitous, either. I'm glad it didn't come off like that. Pansy is more of a possession to Draco than a person. A toy that he's unwilling to relinquish.

The sentence structure is sort of a matter of personal preference. I like keeping my sentences shorter because I used to have a really bad tendency toward run-on sentences with lots of clauses. But I take your point.

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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