I know I've said it before, but Jami, your writing is improving so much!! I'll get into all the nitty-gritty in a sec, but I just have to say, without question, you did some of your best writing to date in the Belle/Sirius scene. I'm just so full of happy squeees for you right now!!
That out of the way, I'll have to be brief on the rest. My notes on this one are already pushing the character limit :P
You set up the Belle/Sirius confrontation wonderfully. The end of the last chapter left me feeling like Belle was being a bit immature, so focused on how the boyfriend who usually treats her well got caught up in the moment and acted like a bit of a jerk. It felt real and true to character, but it kind of made me want to roll my eyes and tell her not to be such a drama queen. In relationships, you have to let some things slide. But you did a lovely job of humanizing her throughout the chapter and reminding us that she brings a lot of baggage to the table. She's going to be extra sensitive to these sorts of slights, and if Sirius wants to be with her, he's going to have to learn to recognize that.
I thought this line in particular really captured where she was coming from: And it wasn't that she wanted to be upset, it was that she simply couldn't be anything else. Your feelings are your feelings, and sometimes you just have to feel them! As the fight progressed, I had a little trouble pinpointing what was bothering her most. That she needed him more than he needed her? That he blew her off? That he thought she was too fragile to handle the situation? She seemed to have different reasonings at different times, so that might be something to relook at, but you still did a great job at making us feel for her and showing that she has even more depth than we might have thought.
The war wouldn't last forever. Another one of those gut-wrenching lines you like to sneak in on us. In a way, none of them ever really see the war end. All of them are brought down by Voldemort in one form or another. So sad!
Mr. Moody. For some reason, this made me giggle, hearing anything aside from Mad-Eye used before his name.
Okay, getting back to why I thought this scene was some of your best writing: A gust of chilly wind came darting in. Despite the temperature, she continued down the aged steps with Sirius a few paces behind her. The fat, icy drops fell onto the hair she'd spent so long brushing, catching in her lashes and blurring her vision. What a great, smooth transition from one location to the next. Just the perfect amount of description to set the "new" scene. And ...she thought as she stepped aside to let the bodies and brooms go by. Bodies and brooms. What great alliteration!
Forcing myself to move along here... Eek! I'm so sorry if I'm in your head now! I don't even like having myself in my own head most of the time :P Seriously though, the whole scene was very well laid out. You set the scene to establish who was there, but pretty much kept it at that. I thought it worked really well. And I didn't think it was at all "too convenient" that they don't suspect Alrek yet. They are clearly focused on known or suspected DEs, which makes the most sense since there isn't a shortage of suspicious characters lurking about :P
Just a few other quick notes on the scene. I loved the mention of the sleeping potion. It's great that you aren't letting the notion of Lily wanting to be a Healer slide, even without referencing it directly. And I LOVED the mentions of Snape. I know, I know... but the line: Sure, he probably didn't say the curse, but who do you think brewed the potion? So good, Jami!! I love that idea - of him being this creepy boy at school who has not only the inclination but also the ability to poison people without being caught. Not to mention:
Severus did make it clear that the Dark Arts was where he wanted to be, but she knew without a fragment of doubt that he would never let her walk blindly into death.
Come on! Are you trying to kill us here, knowing how what he eventually tells Dumbledore leads directly to her death?!?
Okay, I have to stop now or I won't be able to fit in the typos below. Really, it's such a treat watching you grow as a writer with each passing chapter!
-When James told them what was on his mind, she herself had started thinking only of who it could be and what she'd do to them when she found them. (not wrong, just awkwardly worded)
-Alright alright (Alright, alright)
- ...Alice added as the girls began their walk down the the Great Hall (down to the Great)
-Her feet moved on their own accord... (OF their own accord is the more common phrasing)
-One girl whose name she was wasn't certain of, but recognized the nearly black hair, eyed Sirius as she walked by. (One girl whose name she was wasn't certain of but recognized by the nearly black hair... OR One girl whose name she was wasn't certain of, but who she recognized by the nearly black hair...)
-But I didn't want be there for what I wanted to do to Regulus (missing a few words)
-I don't know Belle (know, Belle)
-His anger she could handle, she could stay just as angry for probably longer. (comma splice)
-"Okay, well, we'll leave him listed," Lily deciding (decided)
-And they're all seventh years, with more chances to over hear us than any other Slytherins (overhear)
-Lily's turned her head, meeting Sirius's eyes. She'd accepted the way they used to treat her former best friend, though she'd still never let them forget how childish they'd been, at least she'd moved past it. (Lily turned her head... friend, AND though she'd)
- ...Belle said, sitting up straighter in her cocoon of blanket (cocoon of a blanket)
-But I do think we need to keep an eye on where all the Prospects all are (delete 1 all)
-"And this, my friends," James began, his voice full of pride. "Is the Marauder's Map." (of pride, "is the...")
Author's Response: I am so annoyed right now. I had this review about 85% replied to and then accidentally did the two finger swipe on my Mac and made it go 'back.' And when I went forward, the review was gone. RAWR.
Re do! :P
So when I saw this review first I was on a work call and it took all of my self control not to just completely ignore the person on the phone and read your review instead. Those last ten minutes or so of that phone call was brutal knowing I had a Becky review just waiting for me to read.
I can't even tell you how happy it makes me that you see improvement in my writing. I've felt so down on it lately, and reading this review made me feel a zillion times better. I think it's hard to telly our own improvement. I mean, I know I"m getting better in my own head with knowing what to do/what not to do, but you actually being able to see a difference is just a huge deal to me. Thank you :hug:
I'm so happy that this chapter humanized Belle more and sort of justified her more dramatic reaction in last chapter. To be honest, I struggled with what you commented on about not being able to pinpoint what was bothering her the most. I kept changing my mind with what she'd be more upset about and couldn't decide which one to focus on, so I decided to just throw them all in a pot together, haha!
That line about her not wanting to feel that way was one of the few of mine that I actually like. It's pretty rare that I go, 'hey. I really like that.' with my own writing, so knowing that one stood out at you makes me so happy. I think the fact that she's allowing herself to feel all this in the first place is a huge step to her own emotional recovery and stability. But that might just be more in my head than anything else :P
How sad is it that all of them die before they see the war to an end? Remus gets so close to making it through...
You know when we're in those tough situations and sort of just think, 'well, it has to get better eventually.' I can't imagine how many times they said that to one another during the war. And how many times they reassured each other that it will be all over soon. Knowing that never happened just makes me so sad. I want to mark this story AU and say that Voldemort died of a terrible freak lightning bolt strike :P.
I always giggle when I type Mr. Moody too :P. It just seems to proper for him :P
Okay, what I am about to say may sound relatively creepy. Err. I apologize for that. I'm a bit of a reviewer stalker though. Especially if I really like those person's review and have read a story that they've reviewed.
But anyway. I saw you'd reviewed a chapter of Wolf Calling that I read, and in that review you talked about transitions a bit. And it made me want to change mine up a bit to make them quicker but still easy to understand, and yeah. This transition that you pointed out with them going outside, when I wrote it I pretty much put you in my head to try and get it short and sweet but still enough to set a scene. Hehe. Sorry, I know I'm a creepy review stalker.
No! Stay in my head!!! It's so nice with you in here :P
I'm so happy you didn't think that not suspecting Alrek was too convenient! It just didn't feel like it belong here. And I KNEW you'd love the Severus bit!
Both getting the boys more negative opinion and watching Lily defend him was really fun for me. Keeping him... alive I guess... in this story and not making it seem like he's just disappeared is important to me. But I also don't want to make it seem like he's a big part of their every day life or anything.
NO ONE HAS POINTED OUT THE IRONY OF THAT LINE. The line about Severus would never let her walk blindly into death. I'm so happy that you did. You always pick up on everything. You're so awesome *reaches across state lines and hugs Becky.*
Thank you for the typos! Going to edit them in right now! And thank you so, so much for giving me back the confidence I've been lacking the last few weeks ♥