I just stumbled across this, and after reading your Authors Note, thought i'd review. An interesting start to the story, and I loved what you did with James/Lily and Sirius' fangirls.
Formatting - Your formatting needs some work, as there are large inconsistent spaces. Also, at one point, you used dashes/underscores to create your scene break, but at the two other points, you didn't. It's confusing for a reader and slightly messy, but easily fixed. :)
Punctuation and Grammar - A few things caught my eye here...
+ "finish this essay.” Remus said
This should be '"finish this essay," Remus said.' Note the comma as opposed to the full stop. This is because 'Remus said' is a dialogue tag and not an action. If it were '"finish this essay." Remus sighed' then it would have the full stop, as he didn't actually sigh it. Does that make sense? There is a really good thread on the forums that can explain it better than I ever could :P (Go to Writers Resources -> Grammar Guidelines -> Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dialogue. Grammar and Parts of Speech should be helpful for this as well)
Characterisation - As I said before, we don't get to see much of who Jane is, as she doesn't get much of an introduction, other than she is Lily's best friend. Be careful here, as this is quite cliche in Sirius/OC and Remus/OC fics. I'm not saying it is, as I feel even from this, that the plot could be quite good, i'm just saying be careful. I'm interested to see how you might work around it. :)
Sentence Structure - This might fall under punctuation and grammar, but 'beside her, her best friend Lily Evans' really bugged me. 'Her' was written twice, immediately next to each other, which I didn't feel was needed. Also, on sentence structure, I feel commas could have been used a bit more to help the paragraphs flow. Eg. 'and passed it to Sirius. Sirius copied it down and leaned back in his chair.' Here, it could be, "passed it to Sirius, who copied it down and leaned back in his chair." Not only does it stop you from repeating words over and over again, but it creates more of a relaxed tone, which is what your looking for in this scene. That said, in other parts, you went comma crazy! Haha, it's all about finding balance; I know from experience. :S
Pacing and flow - The flow was disrupted by the larges spaces and sentence structure, but other than that, was alright. The pacing however, was a bit off for me. I found it jumped a lot and moved very quickly for such a short chapter. There were a couple of minor things, such as when you change the POV of a character (you start pretty much in Remus' then changer to Sirius' within the same space at the start) then you swap to Jane's and it comes across as slightly confusing at first, but then you get used to it. Last scene, you start the paragraph in well, not present tense as it's from 3rd person, but you know what I mean, and then suddenly it's memories/really past tense. I didn't know what was going on, thinking that the past tense was what he was doing at that moment, but then you swap back to what he was currently doing, and I was very confused :S The dream was a nice touch though. ;) Good job on that one.
Anyway, enough of my ramble-y, spontaneous review. Hope I helped a little, and that you keep up the writing.
Good job, Adele.Author's Response: Hi, thanks so much for taking the time to review!
I didn't notice that one of those lines was a bunch of underscores, I don't know how that happened, but I'll fix that up right away.
You've kind of lost me with the punctuation and grammar stuff, lol. I'll have a look at thread on the forums, because I'm certainly aware that I have lousy grammar, but I've never quite known how to fix it.
In my head I actually have a very good idea of who Jane, and I'm trying very hard to keep her out of that whole world of cliche Mary-Sues.
It's evident from this review that I'll need to go back and do a lot of editing. These sentences are quite awfully written.
Yeah, I'm also very aware about the pacing and flow. The quick changes of POV bother me too. I'll see if I can make all of that easier to understand. It's the same with the memory which, I agree, was rather messily done.
I'll have to do a big overhaul and fix up you problems you've mentioned. Thanks so much for the review. It's been a big help :) Report Review
It's Roots in Water here with your review!
A Sirius/OC! It'll be interesting to see how you've made this idea your own. From what I just read, you have a good basis for a great story- you haven't revealed much but you've already set up the characters for grand romances.
I like how you deepened James' love for Lily beyond the constant pestering her for dates and talking about her with his friends. Through his tears, it became evident just how much he has invested in this and how much he wants Lily to like him. I also think that Remus' role as a comforter was nicely done- it fits in with what we know of him from canon. As well, it will be interesting to see how Jane's knowledge of James' tears will affect Lily's future actions with James- will Jane tell Lily about the depth of James' feelings for her?
As well, I think that you have a solid grasp of the personalities of the various characters (especially on how you want them to be in this story)- Remus is kind, caring and studious, Sirius is fun-loving, James is obsessed with Lily and Peter is there. However I think that you should try to show their characteristics instead of just stating them for the reader (even if it takes a while for it to come across). It looked like you were trying to do this but a few of the sentences were a little too "in your face" about the characters. An example of this would be the sentence "Remus was always happy to help his friends out, for they had stuck by him in his time of need and for that he was forever in their debt"- if you further explained what his time of need was and how they had helped him to get through it, the readers would better understand Remus' character.
As for your summary, I really liked it. I think that it's very intriguing and I was certainly interested by it! From what we know of Sirius' past, he never got along well with his family and so love of any kind would be new, wonderful and difficult for him. But the question "Is love ever enough?" indicates that he is suffering and perhaps that something even worse will occur in the near future- something that his girlfriend won't be able to help him out with.
All in all, I think that you're off to a good start with this story! You've created a good basis for the characters- now's the time to flesh them out. It'll be interesting to see how Jane and Sirius fit together as a couple (if Jane is indeed the person Sirius will be paired with), especially since Sirius currently doesn't seem to like Jane. Thanks for requesting and I hope that my comments are helpful!Author's Response: Hey, thanks for taking the time to rfeview. Thanks for your comments of my characterization, yay for me :) and you brought up a very interesting idea there. Will Jane tell Lily about James' crying. To tell you the truth, I hadn't considered that. But that a really good idea. I mean, if I were in Jane's position, I probably would bring it up with my friend.
I never really liked this sentence much,
"Remus was always happy to help his friends out, for they had stuck by him in his time of need and for that he was forever in their debt"
It feels a little forced to me, so I'll try to find a way to reword that and make it a little more detailed.
With the summery, that's exactly what i was aiming for. I'm glad you understood what I meant with
'Sirius Black has gone too long without'.
It's not saying that it's been a long time since Sirius loved a girl or anything along those lines. It's saying, Sirius hasn't really been loved much in his life, will this affect his own ability to love? The question of 'Is love ever enough?' does foreshadow upon the fact that there certainly is a lot of trauma coming in Sirius' future. It is the war, after all, and love may be the strongest force there is, but it doesn't stop Wizarding Wars. Oh wait, yes it does. Lol.
I've built upon my characters more in the following chapters. I'm just most concerned about Chapter One, because it gives a rather shallow view of the characters and for that matter, the plot. So thanks so much for your time and thoughts, it's been very helpful :) Report Review
Hey, I'm here with your review!
This chapter was pretty well done. I thought it nicely summarized every main character in the story without giving too much away, which was good. Also, I thought Remus was especially well done. You really captured his self-hatred.
On the other hand, James crying in an empty classroom didn't really hit home for me. I see where you're coming from with that, but you've got to remember that although James is completely in love with Lily at this point, he's still a sixteen year-old boy. And being a sixteen year-old boy, it is seems highly unlikely that he'd start sobbing simply. Depressed or upset, yes, but full-out crying, no.
I think it's interesting that you've already sort of hinted at the fact that Sirius will fancy Jane in the future (which I'm assuming he will). I'll have to see where you go with that. Sometimes, when authors introduce the main relationship too soon, it sort of ruins the surprise and suspense of a story. This is because they tend to begin the relationship within the first few chapters because they're so eager to get it going. Suspense is one of the key elements to a story that keeps a reader, well, reading. Watch out for that, but so far, I think you've done pretty well with it
About your story summary, the semi-colon after love should be a colon. It makes me seem like some kind of punctuation nut, but it was bugging me, haha.
There was a lot going on in this chapter, but I think it went pretty smoothly. I feel as if some transitions between Sirius and Jane POV were a bit confusing, though. Make sure you mark the changes with lines or squiggles (~) or the like, just so the reader knows it's from a different perspective.
I really loved Sirius's dream in the end. It gave just the right amount of mystery (with the woman) but also tied in his future death nicely. Well done!
By the way, I love your banner- just thought I'd let you know, haha.
It was a nice start to the story.
classicblack from the forumsAuthor's Response: Hi! Yes, James crying wasn't quite believable to me either, so I definitely think I'll edit that, and change his emotion a bit.
I agree with you on the rushing into the romantic relationship to fast. I mean, you generally don't wake up one day and realize you're in love with the person who sits in front of you in Charms class.
However, this story is about what happens to Sirius AFTER he's found love. So, not to give anything away, the story will primarily be about Sirius and Jane after they fall in love, but I certainly do agree that it's important to show how they got to that point, and clearly given that Sirius finds Jane a little boring, there will be a bit of a road to get to that place.
I'm terrible at punctuation. I'm not too bad at spelling (mainly because of Spell Check), but punctuation was never my forte, so I'll fix that summery up. I'll also go back and fix the chapter formatting, including adding lines or something for the change of POV.
Aww, thanks. Yeah, I enjoyed writing that dream sequence. There's a lot of meaningful dreams in the Harry Potter books, so I thought I'd incorporate that here. I'm never sure about any of my banners, so I'm glad you like it :)
Thanks SO MUCH for your help, it means a lot.
Mmkay, hello there! This is DarkRose from the forums, here with your review. We'll go over your concerns first, then I'll throw in anything else that I thought of. Mmkay? Let's go!
Summary: your current summary says, "Love; the strongest force there is. Sirius Black has gone too long without. How far will he be willing to go for love, when he finally finds it? And is love ever enough?" which isn't bad at all. There are a couple of issues with punctuation, though. So, I would actually change it up a bit and put, "Love is the strongest force there is, and Sirius Black has gone too long without it. When he finally finds it, how far will he be willing to go for love? And is love ever enough?" It's the same summary, just switched up a bit. If you really just want a completely new summary, you should check out the "Summary Help" thread on the forums in the "Help Needed" section. :]
Characterization: well, we've really got five characters that show up in this chapter. Remus is good. He's smart, friendly, etc. Predictable, but well-written. Then we have James...who is crying over Lily. Literally. I'm not sure how I felt about that scene. I don't know if James would really CRY over her, let alone sob. He loves her and is upset that she doesn't feel the same way, yes, but I don't know if he's THAT dramatic. Then we've got Lily who isn't really mentioned, but has this predictable reaction towards James and hates that he likes her. Solid, cliche, but it works. And the other characters! The "important" ones: Sirius and Jane. Well, Sirius is pretty predictable and makes a lot of sense. He's the playboy, the one who thinks he can get any girl he wants, but he DOESN'T want Jane, which is obviously an important plot-point. There was one line that DID seem out of character though, when Sirius was thinking something about: "but never would Sirius want someone so dull. Even with her beauty." That last part is just...feminine. Guys don't think like that. And, on to Jane: I don't know how I feel about her yet. We always have to be wary of Mary-Sue land when writing OCs, and I don't know whether Jane has escaped that yet. She's sarcastic and thoughtful, clumsy and clever...just lots of contradictions. We'll see where it goes. :]
Plot: well, I don't really know where the plot is going yet, but it doesn't seem too bad. Sirius/OC stories can get very, VERY cliche though, if you let them. Be careful not to just make everything predictable. It will get boring. :]
Okay, now for some comments of my own. Spelling-wise, you were fine...but let's talk grammar. And let's talk about two words in specific: comma happy. You put in so many unnecessary commas! :o Maybe a beta-reader would help you to get rid of some of those. They're quite distracting. And, sort of related, your story is very spread-out formatting-wise. There are large gaps between each paragraph. Maybe making those gaps smaller will make the story easier to read. :] Just some advice.
Now, the other thing I have to mention is pacing. This story seems to be moving very quickly. There was so much happening in such a short amount of space. You DID have some descriptions, which attempted to slow things down, but it was so fast I was almost lost as to what was happening. You could easily draw out each of the scenes in this chapter (or even break it into several chapters and elongate them) in order to slow things down and give each part enough time for readers to understand its importance. Just another thought. :]
Overall, I think you did a good job. Keep up the good work throughout the story and you'll be fine.
--EmilyAuthor's Response: Wow, this is one HUGE review. I love it :)
Yes, I wasn't really sure about the flow of the summery, but your updated version is a really big improvement, so if you don't mind, I may just steal that.
I agree with you about my grammer. I haven't quite grasped the concept of commas, so I tend to use them freely. It's always either commas or full stops : I'm also aware of my formatting problem. I had it all formatted perfectly in Microsoft Word, but when I pasted it to HPFF it all messed up and I tried to fix it, but it wouldn't let me publish the chapter because the gaps weren't big enough. I'll go back and try to reformat it in a moment, because I definitely agree that it makes it harder to read.
I've written quite a few chapters already, but I've always been particularly concerned about the flow of Chapter One, because it does move along very quickly, I'll consider the idea of breaking the chapter into more than one, thanks!
I agree on the James crying thing, I'll try to work around that and make it more realistic. The 'Even with her beauty' thing; very true. I'll have a think about rewriting that. And once you read a few more chapters, Jane actually has a fair bit of depth to her character, I personally really like her, but I see what you mean about Mary-Sue, and I'm trying my best to pull her away from that. I'll work on trying to make her less Mary-Sue-esque during this first chapter, because I think that's where most of that Mary-Sue-esque is present.
I'll try to stay far away from cliche Sirius/OC, because I hate badly written cliche and I hate Mary-Sues.
Thank-you so much for your review. You've picked up on the same issues as I had when I was writing this chapter, and it's helpful to know what the reader is thinking when they read the chapter, so thank-you!
I am a big fan of Lily and James, and I think that this story could well become one of my favourites. Please update as soon as possible, because I want to know what happens next.Author's Response: Aaaww, thanks so much! I'll have to incorporate a bit more James/Lily just for you :)
I love James and Lily too. If I didn't adore Lily so much, my imagination would be wild with daydreams of James/Me, but I guess I'll just have to settle for little old Sirius Black. Thanks again for taking the time to review, it means a lot to me, it really does!
I'll put Chapter Two up in a few days time, hopefully. So stay tuned! Report Review
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