|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Finally here for your requested review! I apologize for taking so long to get back to you, and hopefully my review is still useful to you. I'd really like to continue reading this story because your introductory chapter puts forward an fascinating plot. The idea of James Potter as a detective is exciting - I've not seen it before, and I'm interested in seeing how you integrate the mystery storyline with the canon history of the Marauders and the First War. There's so much that you can, and it's exciting to consider the possibilities!
One thing I like about this first chapter is how you've described Professor Plum, revealing tidbits of information about his appearance and personality throughout the chapter. It's a wonderful example of showing versus telling, and by the end of the chapter, I feel as though I have a solid grasp of who he was and why someone might want to kill him. The fact that the murder weapon was a pipe, while perfect for the board game, is more curious within the wizarding world, and I look forward to seeing how it figures into the solution. Like James pointed out, all witches and wizards have the ultimate murder weapon in their hands - their wands - so to use something else both makes the case easier and more complicated. It either suggests that the murderer planned this ahead of time, or that it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, a crime of passion.
Another excellent thing about this story are the details you add about James's experience as the one who discovers the crime and has to do something about it. You remember to make James human, having him throw up when he sees the body - and the part that I thought was just brilliant was when James compares Plum to his father, and imagines what it would be like if his father had been the victim instead. It gives the story more emotional impact and reveals a lot about how you're choosing to portray James, how you've given him this imaginative ability to see more than just what's in front of him. It's an ability of the best detectives, and it's only another reason to enjoy your story.
By way of criticism, I can only offer something that's more taste-based than anything, so take this however you'd like. Many of your descriptions are wordy, your syntax taking on this formal style that needs smoothing out. So for instance, look at this sentence: "In fact, it was finding hard to produce even a semi likely motive for the brutal killing of the well known Professor." Who is the subject of this sentence? What does "semi-likely motive" imply as opposed to just "likely motive"? Consider going through, weeding out the unnecessary words, and checking over the sentence structure. There are some great sentences in here, like the one about Chinese whispers, but on the whole, watch that the style doesn't confuse the meaning of your words.
Overall, you've done very well with this first chapter, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next with this story! :D
Author's Response: Hey Susan! I'm sorry for not responding for so long- I've been caught up in the whirlwind that is summer exams :P
That is exactly what I've been told by all of my English teachers since birth- show, don't tell. It's been integrated into my brain so much that I don't think I could ever forget it! If the murder was committed using magic, the case would be normal and there wouldn't be much of a story behind it. Whereas with a muggle method of killing, it does become much more of an enigma which is something that I believe appeals to James' character.
Definitely- James is still in school, he isn't a fully fledged adult yet. He's been sheltered by his parents and he's been sheltered by Hogwarts and with this murder, a cold harsh reality hits him. If he acted normally, he wouldn't be the character I perceive him to be- a character who acts with his heart more so than with his head.
That is a flaw of mine. I know what I want to say, but sometimes I don't know how to say it. It'd be much easier if the reader is in front of me, because then I could use my hands and my body language to get across my message- something that I do a lot. But, they are called readers for a reason, they're not an audience, so I'll definitely look over that.
Thanks so much for the review, and thank you for giving me the plunny too! You should know that it was the Halloween 'A Game of Clue' over at TDA that you and the staff put on that inspired me to write this. For that I am eternally indebted to you. ;)