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Review:academica says:
Hi Sama, here for the TGS Review Exchange!

Wow, this is an action-packed first chapter! You've definitely got a unique story idea here, with the catalyst for the main pairing being sort of a necessity based on the social climate. I don't know your characters all that well yet, but it strikes me as very altruistic that Aaliyah and Gabby would be willing to feign relationships in order to keep Charlotte's eye for drama away from everyone else. I have to wonder what kind of suffering Aaliyah will have to endure as Albus's "girlfriend!"

I would caution you to keep a careful rein on this story in order to avoid manufacturing drama. That is, build up some more background about why Charlotte gets to wield such a reign of terror over the school and why she would be intrigued by this pairing, and give us some realistic examples of things that could cause a relationship to be rocky. For example, Aaliyah and Albus might fight in class, or their first kiss might be kind of a big deal, or maybe Aaliyah doesn't get along with all the Potter-Weasleys and relations. (By the way, I do like that your whole ensemble cast isn't composed of Wotters at this point. That's kind of refreshing!) I sense there's something deeper going on with Aaliyah's anxiety from that first section, and hopefully more will be said about that later on.

I liked your description a lot in this chapter; it was like I was watching a teen comedy film. For example, the change in atmosphere depicted when attention shifted to the approaching Charlotte was really well executed and very suspenseful. I did run across a couple places where it seemed like flow was interrupted because you chose to tell us about a particular feeling instead of demonstrating it with dialogue or--even better--behavior. For example, at one point Aaliyah expressed being annoyed with Albus, and I would have preferred to figure that out with a description of her facial expression or stance. There were also points where her thoughts seemed to linger on a bit too long, to the point where it would look like she wasn't part of the conversation anymore if this were a real life event. I tend to work on my dialogue and thought structuring by observing how people do it in real life, and that seems to help, at least for me :)

I didn't see too many technical errors, except for a few places in which you used improper dialogue tags--there's a great tutorial on the forums that can help you master those. They used to be the bane of my existence when I first started writing, which is probably why I notice them quickly now. Once the action got going, the flow of the chapter picked up to a nice pace, and I think you chose an appropriate stopping point for the chapter's end.

All in all, a very nice start!

-Amanda

Author's Response: Hi Amanda!
Sorry for taking so long with your response.
I'll try not to make Aaliyah suffer too much though I'll be tempted to. :P

You are right about the caution though. Charlotte's story will come out. As will Aaliyah's and Albus's. You hit it spot on that Albus and Aaliyah's realtionship will be kind of rocky. I have already planned that Aaliyah doesn't get along with one of his cousins though I won't reveal which one yet.

I'm very glad that you liked the descriptions. Watching teen comedies are fun so it is great that you think that is how came out as.

Thank you for pointing out those things. I'll definitely check out that tutorial. :) And I'll take your advice into mind when I edit this chapter again. All in all, thanks so much for this. This helped me a lot. And getting feedback from someone I admire so much is lovely.

~Sama


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