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Review:charlottetrips says:
Hi! Char from the Forums here with your requested review. I’m going to comment as I go along except for like the middle when I just get into the chapter and stop commenting :P But I will give you a summary at the end of the review and hopefully address the points you brought up in your “Areas of Concern.”

Mary patted down her flying hair and walked slowly through the platform of students just as a wayward Hufflepuff scarf blew up and hit in her in face. - I appreciate this line as well as the paragraph that it was in, mainly because you’re focusing on giving me, the reader, a sense of the environment, getting into the details so that I can get into the story more. (It worked, just so you know.)

So I did catch the bit of foreshadowing about further elucidation on Mary’s relationship with particular Slytherin boys (and if there is no such allusion, then just leave me to my assumptions). However, I became confused at the next sentence: They let it slide like they allowed it to slide again as they settled beside Florence who was about halfway down the Great Hall. - maybe because “slide” is used twice in the same sentence?

Alright, so let’s address a few points:

You’re right, the chapter is a bit slow. I understand that it’s a set-up for the whole short story and not every story can begin with some sort of magic duel or something. Also, this is the “beginning of the school year” type of story and, really, there’s only so many ways you can write them. Witness JKR’s own approach at having her kids start their new year at Hogwarts, they’re always different as there’s only so many times one can read about the train ride and the Opening Feast.

With that in mind, you did rather well in keeping it somewhat different. Specifically with the interactions of the four girls. Florence totally comes off as bossy and really outgoing. Mafalda comes off as “the smart one” but also with a bit of a “smart-mouth” at the same time. Lily, not too much of a handle on her as we see her so little, but that comment by Florence was interesting, as if she’s jealous or got something against Lily.

Now Mary: she’s a bit of a tough one to get a grip on for me. I think it’s mainly because you describe her as so much of an introvert and I personally can’t connect with that. You did well on describing her inner thoughts but for some reason, there was a lot of inner analyzing that kind of just made Mary more obvious rather than describing just how she felt and leaving us to make the connections. My caution would be on not completely pigeon holing her in that respect.

Like I mentioned earlier, your attention to detail is very nicely done. It’s one of the things that saved this “going back to Hogwarts” chapter from being entirely alike to others.

Maybe more foreshadowing could be done with the above in the Mary in a trancelike state after being pushed. I have no idea if that’s what’s to come in the coming chapters of this story but if it is supposed to be, you could draw a little more attention to it. Or not. You could just hook the reader in with the next chapter or so!

I did not mean to come off as harsh so please forgive me! If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.

xChar

Author's Response: Hey Char!

Thank you so much for stopping by and critiquing this! It wasn't too harsh by any means and I appreciate what you've had to say and agree with a lot of it. You've just highlighted almost all the things i was unsure of myself.

I agree this is a too slow beginning for a story and it's been bothering me for a while. I think i'm going to change it a little to foreshadow an event more strongly that I was going to have happen in a few chapters so that it's more clear that something is going to happen. I may change when the even is going to happen to and make it in the second chapter, we shall see.

About your comment on Mary. She's hard for me to connect to as well but she's the timid, introvert person she is right now for a reason that will come about later. I've written her very intentionally to be like this at the moment and i'm afraid as much as i'd like to change her I can't at the moment. I will tone down the obviousness of her character though and make it more subtle so it doesn't seem like you're getting slapped in the face with who she is! That's not fun for anyone! :)

Florence's comment about Lily does mean something, i think a little of both of what you've said about it. I've never seen Lily as a saint, especially not at Hogwarts and i find it a lot more interesting if she becomes who she did in a gradual way rather than she was always just a really good person. She's going to have a lot of personal growth at some point so she can be the person who sacrifices herself.

Thank you so much for your comments! They were really helpful! First chapters are really important and i'm rubbish at them so it was good to get some feedback.

-zayne :)


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