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Review:800 words of heaven says:
REVIEW TAG!

It's almost one in the morning here, and I've just stumbled onto an author whose page I should have discovered long ago, and find a new story on one of my favourite pairings, and I find that I am asking myself through a sleepy fog, "Why didn't I find this sooner? Like during the daytime where I could actually put together a review that does this writing justice?"

All gushing (the above paragraph was all gushing, by the way) aside, this is such a fantastic start to a story. I love your writing style. It's clear and concise - just what I need at this ungodly hour - and yet you are not stingy with the description or literary awesomeness (technical term). That opening paragraph had me feeling complete awe and jealousy in turns.

Draco's characterisation is fantastic so far. He's obviously a changed man, but still the same. It's really obvious that you understand him and seem to have a clear idea of where he's headed. I loved that there's these wonderful feelings (for us, not him) of guilt, and pride, and weariness, and haughtiness. So complex. So fun. I'm so looking forward to seeing where you take him.

I also love that your Astoria is so different from the ones that I usually read (and my personal headcanon). She appears so ordinary and antisocial and I'm so excited to see how she grows as a character and what she'll make of poor Draco (I hope there's pain involved for him - in the nicest possible way).

May I ask a question about your choice of tense here? Feel free not to answer. I'm trying to get a better handle on tenses, and I'm curious to know why you've chosen to write this in the present tense. Is it part of your writing style? Was it a choice particular to this story? What does it add to your story in terms of voice and personality? Do you just really like present tense? Sorry for the weird fixation - like I said, no need to answer if you don't want to!

This is such a wonderful beginning and I'm on tenterhooks for the next chapter! I hope to see you soon here!

Author's Response: *attempts to pick jaw off the ground* Okay... okay... I'm trying - and failing, obviously - to find words to explain how much this review actually means to me. After a long day, this is just so wonderful to come home to. I honestly could not thank you enough! I could write a thousand thank you's, but they would not do your review justice at all.
Draco and Astoria are probably my two favourite characters to write. Astoria, because she is versatile, and Draco, because ... I don't really know why, but I have always enjoyed his character, a lot. It makes me insanely happy to hear someone compliment on my understanding of him. It's taken me a while, but I think I finally have nailed down his canon :) As for Astoria ... I have a few different ideas on what she could be, but they always come back to this - normal. So normal, it's almost boring. And I don't know why! Granted, as this story and my others have gone on, Astoria does really come into her own, eventually. The next chapter will be focused on her, so I hope you enjoy that one as well.
Now the questions! I'm actually excited about answering these - no one has really asked me such a unique thing before! Whenever I start to write a story I constantly experiment with the characters, settings and tense (especially) to make sure each one compliments the other. I don't usually write in present tense - actually, I'm almost always a past tense writer. But I do like challenging myself, and present tense, third person is really difficult, as it's not just a simple matter of 'swapping' tense ('took' to 'takes', 'said' to 'says', etc). If you write present tense like that, you get an ugly story that won't flow at all. I find that present tense only really works well if your narrative is character focused, instead of plot focused. Present tense with a character focused story reaches out to readers, as they are experiencing the emotions and dialogue with the characters, as it happens. Whereas past tense lacks that connection, but works really well for recounting a tale or adventure with the characters and plot side-by-side.
For example, there are some things that you can’t describe in past tense, that present accommodates, like: "His forehead is sweating, but he remains eerily calm. He is always calm." The sentence 'He is always calm' could not be addressed so bluntly in past tense. 'He was always calm' creates a time gap for readers - suddenly the characters are completely separate from our world, whether they be dead or in another universe, simply because of the word 'was'. Whereas 'He is always calm' is like opening a new book - why is he? What is he thinking, right now? You're there, and the character is there with you.
I hope that kinda-sorta answered your questions. It was really fun to sit down and think on - I've never thought so deeply as to why I write the way I do. Also, I'm not expert, but I hope it helped you understand tense a little better as well. You should give it a go and play around with tense - present tense is a lot of fun, especially in third person. Challenging, but fun :)
And again, thank you so, so, so very much for this gorgeous review. You'll be my inspiration for the rest of the year, now. I hope you enjoy the next chapter, once I eventually get around to uploading it :P

- Mahalia


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