Hi, sophie! Sorry for taking a bit to get to this, but I was away last week. Without further ado, here is your June review swap review:
I love Bill and Fleur as a pairing, so I really loved the whole premise of your story. There was a wonderfuly undertone of affection and mutual appreciation that ran through it, a testament to the depth and strength of the bond that these two shared. From their first meeting, you captured that funny sort of awkwardness that two people who are completely, hopelessly smitten with one another often share.
Your Fleur was a study in contrasting emotions and intense highs and lows, which I though was a really good characterization for her. Right off the bat, you set her up as a very complex young woman who's still struggling a bit to figure out who she wants to be:
This was a respectable job, and she wanted it to prove to her mother and father that she could be able, she could have a job for what she was like on the inside, not on the outside.
Fleur had mastered the art of walking in high heels when she was eleven. She was still indignant to taking it off her CV.
A desire to be taken seriously as a capable, intelligent adult, but offset with a bit of girlish vanity. A wonderful Fleur Delacour.
Bill, for his part, has some interesting contrasts of his own. There's more than a bit of cockiness and self-assurance in his character. The Head Boy, the curse breaker, the guy who's confident enough to show up late to a date with the gorgeous girl from France. But around her, he becomes awkward and seemingly more than a little shy. Something about the twist in his personality when she apparates them away from the wedding really cemented the effect, I thought. Overall, a great job with him, too.
I think my biggest suggestion revolves around pace and structure. You selected, I think, six distinct eras of their relationship in this story. (First meeting/first date, proposal, wedding, finding out they were pregnant, married with young children and growing old together) All except the first one and the last one felt pretty rushed to me, and there were even some things about the first and last ones that I would have loved to see you draw out more. It's a lot of subject matter to try to cover in less than 5,000 words. When you delve deeper into a scene, like in the first section, you do such a wonderful job with the imagery and details. I would have liked to see you bring that same depth and breadth to all six sections. This would make an awesome short story collection, I think.
OK, let's go through it section by section:
-- First meeting/first date -- This was definitely my favorite section, owing to the length and the detail you put into it. There were only two things that I found off-putting. One, your sentence/paragraph structure was very odd. Lots of one-sentence paragraphs. If you meant for it to be that way, I would suggest double-spacing your paragraphs for readability's sake, but I think it would read a lot smoother if you combined a lot of the short sentences into paragraphs. Second thing was the use of cars. I always had the impression that the fact that Arthur Weasley owned a car -- albeit an enchanted one -- made him even more of an oddity among wizards than he already was. So the cars bugged me, probably more than they should have.
I thought that switching to the busboy's PoV was a brilliant touch, by the way.
Two typos: slipping a fat gnrled finger under the envelope fold - gnarled; listenign to an interview wih the new minister for magic on the radio - listening.
-- Proposal -- I love the way that this shows Fleur's volatile, hot-and-cold temperament and the way that she knocks Bill right out of his self-assured, Head Boy mentality. Even the way she accepts his proposal was a great touch. The main thing I wanted for this section was a longer, better set-up. There was a lot of reading between the lines involved to figure out the particulars of this scene, and the marriage proposal sort of comes out of nowhere as it's written. For me, it would have been better if you'd made it clear up front that they had been dating for a while at this point. I also think you need to translate your French phrases in an Author's Note or inline. Non-English phrases without a translation are against the rules.
Three typos: Now she was slipping through her fingers - his fingers; Though Bill wasn't a veyr superstitious person - very;
They'd been together for one a half years now - one and a half.
-- Wedding -- Another really good section that just needs a bit more, I though. I would have loved to read more of Fleur's conflicting emotions in the moments just before and after she apparates them away. It must have been so difficult for her, leaving so many friends and loved ones behind.
-- We're pregnant -- This section probably felt the most rushed. This is the mother of all emotional moments for a young couple.
-- Young children -- The kids were really adorable in this section, especially little Louis. I loved the tip of the hat to George and the mischief he manages to cause, even when he's not around. The only thing I noticed is that Victoire is too young (9, I believe) to have a wand. She wouldn't be able to use it, even if she did.
-- Growing old -- This was a beautiful section. I wouldn't really change a thing.
I hope this didn't come off as overly negative. Unfortunately, I only get so many words and I wanted to try to help as much as I could. You have a lot of really awesome ideas in here and I guess the main thing I was thinking was more, More, MORE!
Author's Response: This review is so so helpful - thank you so much for such a long and detailed review! It really helped me improve it!
I love Bill/Fleur as a pairing too! I tried to match their personalties as much as possible, to make them more of a realistic couple, so I'm pleased you thought I did that okay! Yay! Haha, I did try to make Fleur like that - in my mind she tries to make herself look something, and is something else actually. Awh, thank you! I did try quite hard to match her up to the one in the book and portray her as best as I could!
Good ideas -- thanks for the typos, by the way, I find it really helpful when people point them out to me because my document often misses words out on spell check :/ That and a combination of just plain laziness and missing out the errors! So thank you!
I've also translated the lines! Thanks, I did forget to do that. And I can agree with all of that - I did completely rush the pregnancy one!
I'm glad you liked the old section at the end - I thought I might have over done, as it was quite cheesy!
Hahah, this is an awesome review! You're awesome for taking the time to write all of this for me! Thanks Dan, for such a helpful review :)