Hey Amanda! :) Had a spare twenty minutes or so (I've overrun a bit, but ah well) in between revision, so I nabbed the chance to finish this.
It's weird, because I've always thought of you before this as writing more dramatic, angsty, Snape-related type fics and this just completely throws that out of the window. You're a lot more versatile, and you can do everything you've tried just as well. I'm kinda jealous, tbh :P
But yes, onto this... I love Darcy. I'm always sceptical about OCs, because so many of them tend to be so similar to one another and I've seen a lot of borderline Mary Sues, but I love that Darcy's genuinely awkward at times, has definite opinions (like when she doesn't like Rose to begin with), develops her opinions as they story goes along instead of just switching them immediately and has sort of real-life problems which most people probably face. It's nice - it's very real, which I love. Also, I loved the nod to the canon information, with her grandmother and the mention of Dirk Cresswell. It was such a neat way to tie it in and such a sweet scene to see, even if it was a little heartbreaking.
One thing I have to mention quickly is that I love how you managed to do a story about fashion and that whole industry without it just being a list of products and a continual discussion of clothes. You really focused on the plot, which is kinda impressive to me.
Albus was so sweet! Again, he was kinda awkward and so real in the way that he didn't really know what he wanted to do. I know a whole bunch of people who don't really know what they want to do with their lives - I knew people who didn't even know what they wanted to do at uni three months before they had to apply! It's nice to see a character who doesn't have a life-time goal in terms of a job (I love the mention of travelling!) and also nice to see a James Potter II who isn't a Quidditch superstar/Auror :)
I'm so impressed that even though this is so short all of your characters are so well-developed and thought out. All of them. From Lorcan to Madam Maxime, they're all wonderful. Even the little characters who only get a brief mention, like the interns, have personality and I love it. Of course, I didn't really expect anything less because this is /you/ and you're always brilliant at characterisation, but it's in ten chapters and that's impressive.
Mysterious Scorpius at the end... and a cheeky dose of Scorpius/Dominique... :P I like how you ended Darcy and Albus' story and the story of the cover, without completely finished the story of the individual characters, if that makes sense. It's like we know that there's more to go with them, but we're at a place we can leave them... gah, I don't think I'm making any sense, sorry :P
I've loved this so much. There's so many brilliantly emotive moments in it - like when Albus misunderstands their whole dinner date and Darcy leans against the door - and so many good lines (I love the last line; it made me laugh out loud). It was such a lovely thing to read, totally different to what I normally read and I really, really enjoyed it :)
Thank you for writing this! :)
Author's Response: Hi Aph! Pleased to hear from you again!
I do write a lot of angst and dark fics because those are the sort of emotions I'm exposed to every day and that's where I think my strength is. This was a little experiment to see if I could write fluff and still keep it interesting and not cliche. Thanks for the compliment!
Like a lot of my characters, especially OCs, I based Darcy on myself and people I know a lot. I wanted her to feel human and complex and not be just another zany, adorably awkward girl. She deals with stuff on a daily basis, both minor hassles and deeper difficulties, and as you mentioned, it takes time for her to form and change her opinions.
I was so, so worried readers would get totally bored with a story about fashion beyond the first chapter. I tried to keep it central to the plot but not the only thing going on here.
You know that I love little more than changing up cliched versions of characters and making them my own. Albus and James, as well as all the other next gens, were no exception. I felt like they could easily stray into the territory of being too awkward (and thus not really likeable) or into that of being too confident (and thus unapproachable). Instead, I tried to give them--well, Albus, really--moments of each, to make them more like real people.
I sort of modeled the ending like the 'epilogue' in a classic romantic comedy. It gives you a light little glimpse of the future without weaving a whole new story in a few scenes. It's sort of up to the reader to decide for themselves where things should go from here.
I'm actually really proud of this story and the positive reception it has received, and your comments mean a lot to me because you're obviously brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to follow this and leave such lovely reviews :)