I confess: Writing was coming a bit slow to me tonight. I wrote about 350 words and got so distracted I gave up. But I wanted to read just one more chapter before bed, and so here I am, yawns and all!
This was one of the best first-years-going-to-Hogwarts chapters I can ever remember reading. It seemed very canon, too, and I have no qualms about assuming that this is canon! Not a lot of people can tap into that; it's really awesome to see that you can. I like Fee more and more, the more I read about her, and I like the bond she already has with Alphard (who already seems very much like someone who would leave gold to the likes of Sirius). Again, I'm just floored by the detail you've put into creating the Black family. And I loved your take on the Sorting Hat's song -- I wrote a version myself once, though never used it, and they're tough!
I'm going to guess here that the letters at the end of this chapter, and the previous one, are from Fee's mum? I thought maybe they were from Tom, or Alphard, but of course that doesn't fit here anymore. I guess I'll have to wait and find out. ;)
Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I was so excited about reading on with a fan fiction story. I'm pleased to have caught this one early enough to ride the wave of chapter updates, because I am very determined to make you finish this story -- I already love it! ♥ For a long time now, I've had this feeling that I was becoming too discriminate in my fic tastes. I used to read without prejudice, just because something sounded interesting, and I'm slowly trying to get more into that mode now.
So, long story short -- update very soon, and I'll more than likely pop over during tomorrow's government lecture to continue on! :D Keep up the really great work!Author's Response: I seriously cannot stop screaming internally at all of your awesome comments! I'm swooning over the fact that you think SYP is "one of the best first-years-going-to-Hogwarts chapters I can ever remember reading". Yes, I was theorizing on why Alphard would leave gold to Sirius knowing the consequences, and decided it was because he saw a younger version of himself in his nephew.
The Sorting Hat was so hard to write! I ended up looking up all three songs that were from the books (no wonder JKR wrote 3 instead of 6/7; she must have found them a nightmare!) and blending them, then altering one or two of the words so they'd fit better, as well as adding my own words. To be honest, the song itself took almost as long as the chapter to write. I'm so glad it was successful, because it will be quoted in future chapters. :D
Yes, I'm afraid you'll have to wait. :P
WHAT?! *dies of happiness* ♥ I WILL finish this story, although I wouldn't object to a cheerleader. ;) Report Review
I was so taken by your story on the walls of the Hufflepuff common room -- and your name sounded faintly familiar -- that I popped by your author's page, and what do you know? I'd actually been eyeing this story a couple of days earlier! And I must say that first impressions were right, because already I am enjoying this story very much. :)
I do like Fee already, and am very interested to see where her story's going to take us. I have a mostly-undisclosed interest in Tom Riddle/OC pairings, but have never actually read one, and am hoping very much that you continue this one to completion. She's a very likable character, which isn't easy to do amongst purebloods, like you have here. And while on that subject -- love all the research you've put into the Black family! I always appreciate an author who really does their homework, and I'm very impressed by it. (And I've never noticed those math errors -- oops!) So yes: I'm very much looking forward to reading more about Fee, and her relationships with Tom and Alphard (I hope I smell a love triangle!) in coming chapters.
Your descriptions, once again, were great. I do want to impress on you once more than I seriously think you do have writing talent! Already looking forward to moving on in this story, and I'm hoping you won't keep me waiting too long for updates.
Fantastic work, seriously! ♥ So excited to read more!Author's Response: Ah! Thank you! Yup, I'm working up a new summary for Sheer Abandon to try and entice more people to click on it. ;)
Oh, I have plans for this girl. Although what I have planned for her will probably culminate in several weapon-brandishing readers chasing after me. :P I'm not sure if you've seen my blog on HPFF, but I blogged about Sheer Abandon in it and it's undisputably my baby, so yes: it will be completed. I have the ending perfected in my mind already; it's just the middle that needs writing. :D
Haha, thank you! I wasn't always fussed about slight canon mistakes, but recently I've discovered an overwhelming urge within myself to make sure everything is canon-compliant. And to be honest, I didn't either until I compared them all and wondered why Pollux and Cygnus' YOBs were so close to those of their children. :')
*wafts pleasant triangle-y smell in your direction* As I mentioned on your profile comment, you're awesome and the fourth chapter's being put into the queue tonight. So only a day or two until chapter four! Report Review
DUCK! Review coming your way! :D
No, actually this won't be very long unlike my previous reviews because I'm short on time.
OK, wow! Your story is getting more and more interesting, and this is one intense chapter :) I'm also going to say that this is the most well-written chapter so far - the flow of the story is smooth; the pacing of the narrative is fast, and there's a really great buildup of tension, which then culminates in that fantastic end scene of Walburga burning Cedrella off the tapestry. And I especially love, love the fact that Septimus Weasley's name was already there :D That was a very nice detail.
We really get to see Walburga's other side - which we'll probably see more of as she gets older. Actually most of the characters are showing their less than pleasant sides, - even Fee - with their pureblood obsessiveness. But I'm glad that you're choosing to portray them this way rather than romanticise aspects of a high-class pureblood society - it definitely feels more realistic. Not a very nice place to be :)
I'm also curious about Cedrella Black; it's interesting that she deliberately holds her wedding on the same day as Walburga's. Perhaps there's a streak of malice in her as well? Will we see the reason to this?
And ah Tom Riddle, still as mysterious as ever. Stayed in the background and out of all that drama the whole time until Fee got injured, huh. Stop being so tall, dark and mysterious, Tom! :D
The only thing I would have to say about this chapter is just to watch your choice of words when describing characters sometimes. Your description, and some adjectives can be rather odd. For example:
"Irma snapped at the newly-graduated wizard as she loomed out of nowhere"
"And when they were met with silence from the emotionally-torn bride"
It's rather odd that the you describe Tom as "newly-graduated" in this scene, because it does seem a little irrelevant to the rest of the chapter that he's well, newly graduated. I mean there are probably heaps more descriptive choices :) And also Walburga as an "emotionally-torn bride" - I think this is a rather clunky description / choice of words, and from your narrative it's already quite apparent that she is distressed and all.
OK, well, this is the end of the review! I've enjoyed this chapter heaps! Glad you requested, although you didn't really have to since I said I was going to read it anyway :D Good luck with writing future chapters, and hugs to you too!!
-tehAuthor's Response: *catches review instead* ;)
This chapter is the best yet?! Thank you! :D (although I'm now terrified about my future chapters being up to par with this one, haha!)
Thank you; I'm glad that you find this story realistic. In chapter four, you'll discover more vulnerable aspects of some characters, especially Walburga. Although the rating will have to be upped to Mature to reflect her emotions accurately. (You'll see why when you read it.)
Yes, we'll see the reason for Cedrella and Septimus' choice to have their wedding on the same day as Walburga and Orion's. :)
Tom may be a charmer, but canon does show that he is obsessed with the Dark Arts. It's quite plausible for him to lurk mysteriously in the background to keep attention off of him and his unsavoury activities. ;)
I'll definitely try and watch my adjectives. With regard to the ones you've highlighted, I wanted to make it clear it was Tom that Irma was speaking to and not any of the other wizards at the reception; and I know Walburga was distressed but I wanted to reflect her "torn-ness" at begging for forgiveness and maintaining her reputation.
*jaw drops onto floor* Does that mean you plan on reviewing even when I don't re-request, because you enjoy this story so much? *squees happily*
Thank you, and hugs to you too! :D
-Katie x Report Review
Hello, Elphaba back again. :)
I was expecting another chapter set at Hogwarts, so I was pleasantly surprised to see you return to Walburga's wedding. I like the way you shift backward and forward in time like this. I think it makes it easier to connect the two time periods.
I think my favorite moment in this chapter is when Wali burns Cedrella's name from the family tree. Besides exposing her tempestuous nature, it provides a nice connection to OotP and also shows how this habit of hers developed.
The one question I have concerns your depiction of Tom Riddle. I've always viewed him as a sociopath. He was obviously very effective at faking empathy and charm in order to win followers, but I've never imagined him as someone who would care whether a "friend" has been physically or emotionally injured. So my question is: Did he fake concern for Fiona when he told Wali that she could have been injured, or have you interpreted Riddle differently?
Strong writing again in this chapter, and the story still intrigues. :)Author's Response: Thank you! Yup, I was thinking that for vast expanses of time, such as the seven years between their first day and the wedding, it would be better to have new chapters in between. Future chapters have line breaks in between, but those separate a few hours or even a couple of days at the most, so hopefully the time periods won't get too confusing. :)
Ooooh, thank you! Yes, I was thinking of that; obviously Sirius and Alphard's "betrayals" (running away and giving gold) would have provoked Walburga to blast them off of the tapestry. However, I'm sure I read in OOTP that her habit started before then, so I was curious as to when and why that started, and while I was considering that, a plot bunny ran past me brandishing this scenario. :P
I understand your point of view, and I completely agree about his effectiveness at charming people. However, I'm afraid I can't answer your question without exposing a plot spoiler. If you'd really like to know, feel free to PM me and I'll tell you through PM. :)
Thank you! I'm glad the story still intrigues! :D I'm just hoping that it won't become too intriguing to the point that it gets tedious. You will let me know if that happens, won't you? :)
Thanks again for reviewing, Elphaba! *hugs* Report Review
Hellooo! I'm back again with your review :D
Sorry this has taken such a long time :(
So! Who's writing all these letters at the end? Is it...Fiona's not-dead mother? They add a nice touch of intrigue to the end of the chapter (and at the end of the first chapter, too). I think this is a very nice stylistic feature, and I am quite curious as to where these letters are - has Fiona read them or are they pieces of information given to the reader only? So far these letters are rather disembodied and mysterious; I suppose this is the effect you're trying to achieve.
As for the whole chapter itself, I think it's very interesting that you've gone back in time and broken up the linearity of the narrative; it's something that always excites me - nonlinear narratives and parallel stories :) It's interesting that you open the chapter with Dumbledore's POV - it does make me wonder if he will play a significant role in future chapters. But I think you used his POV well to establish the setting of the new school, as well as to introduce the four children through his eyes. He does give a rather long speech to the first-years though, at the entrance to the Great Hall. It is a little inconsistent with the rest of the surrounding text, which is comprised of mostly light dialogue exchanges and moderately-detailed narrative. I would suggest breaking this speech up; also, the part about misbehaviours and House Points and all - I imagine these are the things that will be talked about in the Great Hall itself, in front of all the students, probably after the feast? In the first Harry Potter book McGonagall doesn't give such a long speech to the first years before their Sorting, and usually it's during the headmaster's welcome-back speech when these sorts of topics are addressed.
I would have liked to see you write that scene in the Hogwarts Express, where Alphard, Walburga, Fee and Tom meet and become friends; Alphard referred briefly to this in the first chapter, and I am a little surprised that you chose not to show this scene. (Or perhaps you are going to show it later, from a different POV - maybe Tom's?) I would like to see the origins of their friendship, and their impressions of each other; first meetings between important characters can always have a great impact on characterisation (and maybe plot) if done well.
I like the Sorting scene as well :D Loved Fee's reply about wanting to be the Minister of Magic! I was wondering, though, if an eleven-year-old would realistically say things like: "I thought you were supposed to announce which House I'm in, not psycho-analyze a dead woman's actions?" and "Death is the only excuse I'll accept for why she's never tried to find me all those years.". The latter phrase sounded extremely formal, and not generally something eleven-year-old Fee would say, judging by your characterisation of her so far. And I'm not sure many children would know about psychoanalysis, or what the word even means. It can be quite tricky to accurately represent a child's thoughts and inner world because of limitations of knowledge. However, I do like the last few lines before the letter. The 'best friends' bit is more accurate a representation of a child character and child's behaviour.
As for the character of Fee, I'm slowly getting to know the details of her life a little better. So far I've got that she's American, her mother died when she was young, and she was raised by Muggles (police sent her? must be something interesting about that death...). I like how you reveal these little details one at a time, so there isn't any giant infodump, which can sometimes happen when writers unload whole chunks of backstory instead of letting the narrative unfold at its own pace. That being said, I do think that you reveal character background information a little too abruptly, and perhaps a little too casually. The bit where Fee says, "I'm American; my mother died when I was five, so the police sent me to live with Muggles." is kind of sudden. There wasn't any narrative buildup to this revelation; it was just a single line containing some surprising information, but to which none of the other characters reacted with any surprise. Except to comment on her American accent. Do think on how the characters interact with, and respond to each other.
And ah, Abraxas! He sounds like a right ol' Malfoy, doesn't he?! All pale and sneering and haughty...and afraid of spiders too :D He should definitely pop by in future chapters! And there should be an acromantula somewhere...
Alright, my brain's a bit woozy right now. I hope what I've just typed up does make sense and will be helpful. I'm very interested in how this story will turn out (and how you will flesh out the character of Tom Riddle) and I'm going to come back and read the next chapter! Great work and good luck with writing the future chapters!
Until then :)Author's Response: *looks at review* OHMYGOD IT'S THAT LONG?! *runs away in fright*
Okay, I've had some sleep and therefore I should be able to type up a satisfactory response. :D It's not a problem that it's taken some time; considering the length of the review, it's definitely worth the wait!
I don't want to spoil a massive part of the plot by revealing the letters' author this early in the story, however Fee has read them. You'll soon discover that they're written regularly, but the letters are also supplied for the reader's benefit, which is why you might see two or three letters during the same day if that day spans over two or three chapters.
Thank you! I felt that JKR had already expressed what a first-year student would feel like witnessing Hogwarts for the first time, so I decided to portray the scene in question from the Dumbledore's viewpoint. It also helps to establish details of the quartet from a adult's perspective, as some of those details such as Fee's initial objection to attending Hogwarts would be omitted from the Hogwarts Express flashback (yes, there will be one!) due to the fact she might be afraid of becoming ostracized from her new friends.
With regard to Dumbledore's speech, I checked PS to find out what McGonagall told the students when Harry first started and she did include explanations of the House Points, et cetera. Perhaps it seems longer in comparison because of the phrases and words I used, although it would be fair to say that McGonagall tends to be as brief as possible and Dumbledore is a different person and would therefore have an alternative version of the introductory speech.
I have to admit I do find it tricky to depict childrens' emotions and phrasing, (and yet I insist on torturing myself with it in SA and TGND, haha!) but Fee's knowledge of psychoanalysis will be explained in future chapters, with a brief mention on how in chapter four. Cookies if you notice it! ;) In addition, I tend to view eleven-year-old Fee (and to be honest, Tom too) as children, but with moments where they seem older than they are. (Take for example Fee's conversation with the Sorting Hat and Tom's unspeakable crimes against two children in the orphanage.)
Might I point out that Fee does have a conversation with the Sorting Hat previous to the conversation with the Slytherins that briefly mentions her mother? In addition, her Muggle upbringing is insinuated by the fact Dumbledore visited her over the summer, "just like with Tom". That said, I may need to make that clearer so the reader can pick it up more easily. Furthermore, I felt that the Slytherins had made their disdain of Muggles clear when Tom revealed his orphanage upbringing, so I didn't want to become repetitive. Plus, I've always viewed the Slytherins as having selective memories. Take for example Lucius in COS sneering at Draco for being beaten by Hermione. He "glosses over" the fact that there are other students who beat Draco (I assume so anyway, although as there's no mention of him being in Hermione's league he must at the very least been beaten by one or two Ravenclaws in some subjects) and focusing on Hermione's accomplishments because she's Muggle-born. Therefore, the Slytherins would "gloss over" Fee and Tom's upbringings (we know they did, because Tom was vastly respected) and ignore them; denial is a very human reaction.
Haha! Definitely! How else would Lucius and Draco have got their haughty personalities?! He will definitely be popping up in the future (hence the tidbits of information provided about him, to flesh out his character) although I'm uncertain as to when. And I swear you read my mind about the acromantula! Can I point out that according to my timeline, Abraxas is a year older than the quartet and therefore is in sixth-year when Tom opens the Chamber of Secrets and frames Hagrid and Aragog for the crime? *whistles innocently* ;)
Thank you so much for your reviews! I look forward to seeing the next one! *hugs* Report Review
Ah! Bloody letter at the end! I despise cliffhangers because I can react so wildly at times ^.^
Hm. I'm having a bit of trouble thinking seeing as I'm terribly sick, so I'm sorry if I ramble.
The only thing that I would really strongly suggest is more imagery! You did better this timethan the first chapter, adding bits about the hair and eyes and whatnot but I'd really like to see more! It's definitely a good thing to have and I think it would really bring the story to life! And I'm afraid I'm going to keep pestering you until I see some more of it;) I'm definitely one of those critical reviews that sometimes just won't shut up...
I liked the characterization a lot! (I really, really, really, really want to know more about Tom and I'm curious as to how you're going to portray your take on him!) And Fee is proving an interesting character! She definitely has my attention!
The only thing that seemed a bit off to me was when she said something along the lines of 'not physco-analyzing a dead woman's actions'... My sister is about to trun 11 here in a few months, seeming irrelevant, but I highly, highly doubt an eleven year old would say something about physco-analyzing actions... I spend way more time around eleven year olds than I should and I would never in a million years hear that come out of one their mouths. And to be fair, they're not dim children! They're rather bright and I still don't believe that would come from an eleven year old. Yes, I'm nitpicking but still.
This was brilliant, as I expected! Just remember to add some imagery in! There was lots of oppurtunity in this chapter and I'm definitely going to hold your nose to the grindstone on this one;)
EverAuthor's Response: EVER! You're back! *squee*
Haha, the letters are so hard to write though. So while you hate the cliffhangers, I'm just happy they're good enough to provoke feeling about them, if that makes sense? ;)
Aww, I hope that you get better soon! Being sick really sucks! Don't worry though, I ramble far too much and I don't have the excuse of being sick haha!
Might I point out that chapters two and three had already been validated by the time I got your review in chapter one, but I promise you'll see more imagery in chapter four onwards; I'm really trying to fit more description in!
If I told you now how I'm portraying him, it'd be a plot spoiler. However, I promise you that chapter six had me cackling my head off in a very Bellatrix-esque way and it's a Tom chapter. That's all I'm saying for now. ;)
I love that you think that my OC is interesting; I'm trying to show as many sides of her as possible to the extent that I described her as an onion this morning... :')
I can't remember what used to come out of my mouth when I was eleven haha; I remember that I did know about Psychology though as my friend was a sixth-former and she was doing Psychology A-Level. A possible reason for Fee's knowledge of that word will be revealed in chapter four. I'll even give you cookies if you mention what it is when you review that! ;)
Thank you! I'm definitely working on the imagery, but as I said, chapter four is when you'll see changes. And don't worry about the nitpicking, I nitpick so much about grammar it should be illegal. :P
Thank you!! *hugs*
-Katie xx Report Review
I'm here!:D so...harsh and honest? I can do that, but as a disclaimer I don't say any of this to be means, at all. Ever. Promise.
So I like the plot a lot, I think it has a lot of possibility for a really good story. I'm excited to see what you do with this, seeing as this chapter captured my attention.
For the most part, the imagery was pretty solid! If you could just add a tiny bit more about how the characters themselves look, I think that would do a lot.
I love, love, love Tom riddle and all of the potential he has to play in this story! I can tell you already this is going to be a story that Ill be checking in to read more!:)
Fr characterization, I think Orion and Walburga were solidly characterized. But, I'm absolutely dying to know more about Fiona! We have a bit do what she's like, but I really want to know more! You did an excellent job capturing my attention with this opening chapter!
I also want to know more about Aphard! I almost want to see a show down, if you will, between him and Tom! I really, really want to see more of Tom and Fiona's relationship, to whatever extent it may be!
The flow was pretty good! There was no jumps or skips that were terrible so you smoothed out the seams pretty well!
You're done very well on making sure I come back for more;)
I very much enjoyed the opening and closing sentence, I know this seems a bit minor but it really is important, so good job!
I applaud you for such an interesting story, I absolutely cannot wait to read more! I do enjoy these stories, especially in such a beautiful style as this!
Oh, yes! I love your style of writing! It's very elegant and smooth! It fits the story perfectly while also seeming effortless on your part! Even though its probably achieved with much difficulty!
Okay, so for constructive criticism we've got: more imagery, more characterization of certain characters, and that's it!
Good job, I'm looking forward to reading more!
EverAuthor's Response: Hi Ever!
Thank you so much for your review! Don't worry, nothing in your review is mean! :)
Thank you! To be honest, the plot bunnies in this fanfic have been very kind to me so far! I'm happy that this chapter captured your attention, and I hope that further chapters will continue to do so!
I didn't want to detract from the story by spending too much time on character description, but considering how many reviewers have pointed this out, I think I may try and see if I can fit one or two more lines of description in for each character. In my defence though, Mark Twain wrote an entire book about Huck Finn without describing his physical appearance... ;)
Thank you, I'm trying to keep Tom involved as much as possible while reflecting the fact that he's very much interesting in creating Horcruxes and conquering the world. I don't want to turn him into the male equivalent of a social butterfly when the books say he's incapable of love due to being conceived under a love potion. Although it's entirely possible that Dumbledore was wrong and he did fall in love; you'll have to wait and see. :P
I'm glad to hear that you felt that Walburga and Orion were solidly characterized. I feel that Fee is ambiguous; while some people are certain of themselves and form their own personality, others are influenced by change in their lives and I see her as falling into the latter group.
Hehe! There may be a showdown, but there may not be. Alphard will be included in further chapters, as will Tom. We also see a Tom-Fee moment in chapter six.
Thank you! In a way, when writing this fanfic, I visualize the scenes to unfold like a TV show- one scene, cut to other people, cut to later in the day, etc. I have trouble with writing moments like travelling from one place to the other to connect scenes, so I tend to avoid that weakness. Which is technically bending the rules, but meh. :P
I'm trying to keep the closing sentences as interesting as possible, so I'm glad you liked the opening and closing sentences! I agree with you; it seems minor but it has a major impact. :)
*happily bows down to applause*
Thank you! Some segments are difficult to write, while others flow easily. It depends on the characters, setting etc. I'm so glad that it's perfect for the story! :D
I'm looking forward to seeing your next review too!
-Katie xx Report Review
Hello :) teh tarik here from the forums with your requested review!
I love a good old family drama, so I'm really glad that you've asked me to review this story :) I'm glad you chose to write about the Black family; there's a lot of potential material about their long-running and controversial bloodlines and traditions (inbreeding, house elf decapitation etc.).
Your opening line : Walburga Black had never in her entire life witnessed such activity at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place., is immediately alluring, and provides a very strong start to the story. The sentence structure is simple, lucid and effective, and I think you made a good choice to start the story right in the middle of the action (in media res) instead of bogging down the narrative and the reader with too many set-up details. This may not seem much, but I've read far too many stories on the archive which begin with very heavy descriptions of the weather, or of the deep, dark emotional states of characters. So it was quite lovely to read an opening paragraph like yours - descriptive, but light in tone, and as I mentioned earlier, in the thick of the action.
What I did have reservations about, however, was how you started the story with Walburga's POV, instead of Fiona's - I think Fiona's role as the protagonist along with her characterisation would have been stronger if you'd begun with her voice / viewpoint. But then again, Rowling herself began the Harry Potter series with Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number 4 Privet Drive...etc. Sorry I might be rambling a little but anyway...
As for Fiona's characterisation, so far I have the impression that she is the strong, independent woman type, but with a romantic streak, as shown in her long speech in the beginning about weddings. It will be really interesting to see how the relationship between her and Tom Riddle formed, and how she responds to Alphard's attractions to her. This first chapter hasn't revealed a lot about her; I would suggest you pay close attention to detail on her characterisation. Think of her body language, of what she might be doing while speaking, of how she interacts with other characters and her setting. You might want to include a physical description about her, though this isn't always necessary. I enjoyed the part where you showed her through Alphard's eyes at the wedding scene; Alphard's POV was a nice variation in the narrative.
A particularly well-written moment was when Kreacher Apparated into the room, and Fiona's response to it.
Don't ever turn up without warning like that again, at least when I am present. You may Apparate first, then speak, but never do both at the same time or you will surely frighten somebody to death.
It was a little unexpected, but I think it did provide a very different angle to Fiona's characterisation, a darker side, and of course, there was the clear sense of that wizarding pure blood superiority present in her imperious tone. More moments like these will improve characterisation and ensure the development of well-rounded, believable characters.
Plot-wise, I think your story has a lot of potential - there's intrigue and the possibility of plenty of drama, which would be very apt, given the rigid, traditional nature of the Black family. It's interesting that Walburga has a drinking problem; I would love to read on about how this came about and why :)
Another thing which I hope you can work on in future chapters is background and setting. The first part of the chapter was set in 12, Grimmauld Place. However, I'm not sure where the wedding is at (a church? a registry office? another mansion?), or where the bridal carriage was headed to. I had to go through this chapter a couple of times but I still don't have much idea. While you don't necessarily have to go into a lot of detail describing locations and everything, sometimes a brief couple of sentences on setting / background to orientate the reader a little would be immensely helpful, and would provide a convincing backdrop to your story. Also, the way you evoke a setting can help establish the tone and mood of the story, which is crucial to reader engagement with your writing.
Finally, there are some recurrent dialogue punctuation errors.
"I'm perfectly able to put a tie on myself, Orion, but it's not as easy when you're trying to put it on someone else." Alphard grumbled.
"Miss Phoenix seems to be managing quite successfully." Orion reprimanded his younger relative while Fee fixed his tie for him.
If you have a dialogue tag, before you close the quote, there should be a comma, and not a full stop. If there isn't a dialogue tag, then go ahead and use a full stop. (A dialogue tag, would be the 'he said' or 'she said' part of a sentence).
In the case of the above example, "Orion reprimanded" and "Alphard grumbled" are dialogue tags. So, the correct version of the sentences would be:
"I'm perfectly able...someone else," Alphard grumbled.
"Miss Phoenix...successfully," Orion reprimanded etc.
Also, I know the Blacks are formal and traditional and all, but I wonder if Orion would refer to Fiona as Miss Phoenix? After all, she isn't much younger than him and you wouldn't really refer to your peers as Miss or Master, even if you're not the closest of friends with them.
OK, to sum up, I enjoyed reading your chapter - it's a good solid beginning and it has plenty of potential to become a great story if you do pay attention to detail. The plot sounds interesting and the characters are engaging. I hope this review hasn't been too harsh or anything, and that it will be of some help to you. Good luck with the rest of the writing and feel free to re-request at my thread :D
-tehAuthor's Response: *squees*
Thank you for the absolutely enormous review!! XD *runs off to re-request*
Thank you for all the compliments! XD I especially like the comparision with JKR, haha.
I see what you mean, but what I had in mind was to introduce my unknown OC through a canon character who readers would recognize, because there's a lot to discover about Fee. I didn't want to have to say to the reader, "this is my OC, here's her POV", because for me as a reader, when I encounter an OC I know nothing about, I occasionally feel detached. If I wanted to write in Fee's POV, I would've felt compelled to provide a backstory, which means giving away half my plot... In addition, while Fee is the protagonist, the people surrounding her will inevitably influence her life, so I intend to tell the story from some other POVs too.
I'll keep an eye on the characterisation, although part of it is due to the mystery of Fee as a person- you'll see in the next chapter that little is known about her real history. I appreciate that while the physical description I provided in the chapter is sparse, in my defence Mark Twain wrote an entire book without actually describing Huckleberry Finn's physical features. ;)
Thank you, I particularly like that segment myself. It was all down to the fact that I was writing the chapter and I started thinking that Fee was starting to turn into a Mary Sue, so I wrote that scene to display her cattier side and at the same time, highlight a flaw.
The idea of Walburga's drinking problem came to me while I was researching the Blacks to ensure canon-compliance and came across a theory that Walburga's insanity in the portrait was down to a drinking problem. This led me to consider why and when this started, and the consequences it would have. You have the when, and the why will come... eventually.
I'm taking notes about the setting description, and I will work on that. With regard to the wedding venue, JKR didn't provide much to describe how formal wedding ceremonies in families like the Blacks' would have been conducted. I didn't want to detract from the story by creating a whole special wizarding ceremony in an unknown location and then explaining it all so the reader understood, so I kind of... faded it? In my defence: Mark Twain. Again. (I didn't intend for that to rhyme!)
About the grammatical errors, I noticed those AFTER posting chapters one and two despite several re-reads. While chapter three and onwards should have the correct grammar now, I decided not to torture the validators by resubmitting for the sake of a couple of commas; however, when I resubmit this chapter and the next to include chapter images, I will take the opportunity to correct the dialogue. ;)
I appreciate that Orion isn't much older than Fee, but if you consider that he was a seventh-year when she was a first-year, it's highly unlikely they would have socialized together until Fee was in her mid-teens, at least. Furthermore, Fee doesn't always have the opportunity to socialize within the pure-blood society (you'll see why in chapter two) so up until now, the only exchanges they've had could be classified as "small talk". Obviously, with Orion's marriage to Walburga, this could change.
The review wasn't too harsh, and it was needed! I will do my best to take into account everything you've commented upon! Thank you again for this review! And out of curiosity, did it end up 6,000 characters which caused you to shorten your penname at the end? :P Report Review
So sorry for taking so long to do this review. I really apologise.
Interesting opening, your descriptions are fantastic. I personally find it a bit difficult to follow a story that I'm not familiar with the characters so I wouldn't tend to read this type of story.
The characters are very believable, you put across the Slytherins very well. I think the dialogue is a bit sort of stinted if you know what I mean? Maybe think it out a bit more and make it a bit more believable. It's very proper and I know why you're doing that and it is portraying the purebloods very well but maybe make it a bit more casual.
The storyline is very good and certainly very interesting. This chapter would make a reader want to read more. I also enjoy your style.
Sorry I can't find much else to criticise, I hope some of this helps. Sorry again for the wait!Author's Response: Thank you! Most of the characters in this fic are either OCs or canon characters which were briefly mentioned in the HP books which I like, as it gives me plenty of wriggle room. :P
I know what you mean; that was my intention actually as they're in a formal setting; as the story progresses and the characters are in personal settings (for example, with friends) then their dialogue and attitudes will change. After all, this is the creme de la crop of pureblood society so my interpretation is that to the exterior world, they're refined but behind closed doors, they really aren't.
Thank you for all your lovely comments! I will definitely keep an eye on the dialogue though to be sure I don't fall into the habit of writing stilted dialogue when they're in a casual setting! ;) Report Review
Hi, Elphaba again. :)
Okay, so this chapter has me asking a lot of questions. Are the mysterious letters from Fiona's mother? The letters have me intrigued so far. Also, if Fiona's mother is American, then why is she attending Hogwarts -- were they living in England when she disappeared? And what happened to her father? Since her background seems to be part of the mystery, I assume it will be gradually explained as the story unfolds, but right now I'm just confused as to where she grew up.
I appreciate that you pieced together bits of the sorting hat's songs from different years and mixed them with some lines of your own, the hat does seem to like to improvise. I also like Fiona's sassy conversation with the hat. :)
I would like to read more about Fiona's thoughts and feelings about Hogwarts (for instance, what went through her mind when Dumbledore asked if there were any questions?), and also see more of her conversations with Tom and Alphard. I'm very curious to see how her relationships with them and Walburga develop.
Abraxas seems very Malfoyesque and that made me chuckle. :)
I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here -- I'll keep an eye out for that third chapter. ;)Author's Response: The author of the mysterious letters will be revealed in due course, that's all I can say.
As far as Fee knows, she and her mother were visiting England when her mother disappeared, but the Muggle authorities weren't able to locate any relatives in the States. Her father is a plot spoiler. Your assumption is correct; Fee's background will be unfolded as the story progresses.
Your questions are reasonable, and I'll try and work in mentions of her upbringing in chapter four. Chapters five, six and seven will include her relationship with Alphard, Walburga and Tom respectively; at least that's the plan.
The Sorting Hat's song will be quoted in later chapters, which is why I felt the need to include it now. I wasn't quite happy with the conversation with the Hat, but I'm glad you like it! :D
I will include a chapter that has Fee reminiscing about her Hogwarts days, but right now I'm just trying to create a story setting and introduce all the OCs first. :)
Of course Abraxas would be Malfoyesque, he IS a Malfoy after all ;)
I'm really happy that you're looking forward to more! Thank you so much for reviewing, Elphaba! XD Report Review
Hi, Elphaba here with your requested review. Sorry to have kept you waiting!
First of all, I think it's really cool that you decided to dig into the story of Sirius's parents and took the time to research his family tree! :)
I like that you are taking the time to develop the characters, giving them complex emotions and motives, instead of depicting them as one-sidedly hateful bigots.
I like your writing style, too, it's a little like Harry Potter meets Jane Austen.
Fiona seems interesting, and I'm curious to learn more about her and how she fits into the story. With her red hair and green eyes I can't help but be reminded of Lily...
I really didn't find anything to criticize in this chapter; I didn't catch any grammar or spelling boo-boos.
In regards to the birth dates for Pollux and Cygnus, it's possible that they were married off as soon as they were capable of producing children -- maybe inbreeding resulted in few available males of marriageable age -- but I think your adjustment to their birth dates is fine (and also avoids squicky violations of terms).
I thoroughly enjoyed this first chapter, and am moving on the the second one! :)Author's Response: *squees happily* Thank you for the review!
I've never written Slytherins before, so I was quite concerned about going the route of "all Slytherins are evil" and wanted to do the opposite. I'm really glad you agree! There will be some characters in the future who may come across as one-sidedly hateful bigots, but their emotions and motives will take more time to unfold- it's unlikely a Slytherin will wake up and suddenly love Muggle-borns when they've hated them their entire lives and vice versa...
Harry Potter meets Jane Austen? I'm not actually sure what to say on that to be quite honest, but you did say you liked it so I'm just going to take it as a compliment ;)
I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to grammar and spelling, I've been dubbed "the grammar police" by my best friend, but I was worried about plot, characterization etc. I'm insanely proud of myself that you haven't found anything to criticize! XD
Your suggestion is a perfectly valid one, but yes, it does avoid violations of terms. In addition, JKR has admitted herself that maths isn't her strong point, so maybe she cited the date of births without realizing the age difference was 13 years.
I'm glad that you enjoyed this chapter, I look forward to reading the review for the second chapter and the third is currently in the queue *hint hint* ;) Report Review
Terms of Service
categories & genres
short story collection