Hello Debra, here with your requested review :)
I think you did a nice job of characterizing Fred in this story. At first I was going to say that I wish you had made George more prominent in the beginning when he looked down and tried to communicate with his grieving family, but I like the tactic of making George his source of strength when confronting his own pride. I hope you'll continue to utilize the strong bond between the twins as you continue this story and Fred faces more of the deadly sins. I also wanted to applaud you for being willing to go with a somewhat unconventional characterization for Fred. I often see him being portrayed as a jokester even after death, and I find that I appreciate more serious portrayals more because they seem to be rarer. It makes sense that it would be hard for even Fred to compose himself enough in this moment to react with a coherent sense of humor. I did feel like his reactions were normal; I got a real sense of desperation and disbelief from his attempts to contact his family and his begging of the spectre to somehow bring him back to life. I also liked his discomfort at seeing his disembodied form. I guess what I'm getting at is that Fred seems to like to have control of the situation so he can bring out the humor in it, and he clearly flounders here where he doesn't have control or his beloved twin.
I also think you did a good job with the description. With this kind of story, imagery is important because your character is entering a new, dream-like world with no recognizable landmarks. At times it did feel a bit heavy, and I occasionally felt the urge to skip a few lines ahead so as to return to the action and see what Fred was doing. A reviewer of my own recently left me a great tip that might come in handy here--when you're in the middle of an action sequence, it's okay to pare down the imagery so as to avoid distracting the reader. I'm still working on learning to use imagery judiciously, so I understand how difficult it can be!
Something else that stood out to me here was the dialogue. I think at times your phrasing was a little more formal that I would have expected, given the use of Fred as a main character. It might be good to go back and see if you can use the formality of your language to distinguish the spectre's speech and the more dream-like scenes from the moments that are focused more directly on Fred. One way to do this is to re-read the chapter and test the flow. I find that dialogue sounds most natural when you try to match how you hear other people speaking.
I noticed a few places, too, where you have some typos, so you may want to go back and check this again when you go to add another chapter. Speaking of which, I definitely think this should be continued. Considering your plot setup, I actually think it ends a bit awkwardly when treated as a stand-alone story; more than that, you've got an intriguing idea and I think it would be a great short story (or possibly more than that).
Very nice work! I hope this review is helpful :)
Author's Response: Amanda I can't possibly tell you how much it means to me to hear your thoughts. You are one of the authors on HPFF I look up to, so you can imagine the magnitude of my squeal when I discovered this amazing review early in the morning :)
You know, I thought about doing that. Making George more prominent in the beginning, I mean. But as I was pondering this idea, I thought about the ending and about what Fred would have to do to get himself out of the predicament he was going to be in, and I felt George fitted best at the end of the piece, being Fred's escape rope. I simply couldn't think of anyone better to snap him out of it. Not when they had been SO close.
To be perfectly honest, I haven't read that many stories about Fred, but I have to agree that the few that I have, portrayed him in the same humorous disposition. However, I imagined that this would not be the best moment to write him like that. I felt that as funny and light-hearted as Fred was, he would feel shock, pain and fright when he would suddenly discover himself in the position he is in, when the last he remembered was joking with Percy, well alive. I felt it would be a more realistic reaction. There is a big chance that we will see glimpses of his well known humour later in the story, but not that often. His overall feeling will be of confusion because he will be experiencing a wide variety of emotions as he is put to the test with the other sins.
That's an incredible tip! I will be sure to use it from now on. Yes, balancing imagery can be a difficult job because I feel this urge to let the reader know what's going on through my character's mind and what he's feeling, even when they're in the middle of an action packed scene. Now you mention it, I can see how it would become distracting and would only make the reading unnecessarily heavier.
I will definitely go back and re-read the story and work on the dialogue. Actually, I'm very thankful for pointing this out because it's something I hadn't noticed I did. I set out to do what you suggested, make Fred speak more informally and the spectre's speech more conventional, but I must not have noticed when it drifted off in the wrong direction *blush*
It will be continued. When I will edit the story I will make it a WIP and continue working on it. I really want to explore it further, see how far will Fred be taken and how will he cope with everything.
Once again, Amanda, this was more than I could have asked for. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed review, especially since I mentioned this was due to be longer than a one shot. I truly appreciate it :)