Hi, it's BB from the forums here for your review. I know you were worried about this piece being cliche, and to be honest I was a little worried in taking it. Usually this is exactly the kind of story I avoid like the plague. It's a typical fan fiction plot line and it's probably been done too many times to count. I know I've personally read and reviewed at least ten like stories before I declared that I'd simply review no more! But I'm glad I took a chance on this one. I think it has promise.
Having said that, there are definitely things you can do to make the reading more tension filled, cleaner -- got some spelling and grammar issues here -- and less cliche, because yes, it is definitely feeling cliche. They're not huge things, and I think you're capable of doing them as a writer. You're a new writer (I can tell using my super writer-senses! hehe j/k) and the best way to become a better writer is to simply keep writing.
First off I'd secure a good beta for this story. By good, I mean experienced beta. Someone who's not only got a great head for spelling and grammar -- because those aspects are so horrible distracting for anyone that you really want to make sure it's not an issue -- but also a beta who's got a head for tension, character development and description, all of which could make this read more interesting.
Secondly, I'd practice writing dialogue, if I were you. Listen to the way people actually speak. Everyday conversations, even about the silliest stuff. A mistake most new writers make is forgetting that book dialogue should be like real dialogue. Real people talk in fragments, use slang, have favorite words and all sorts of gestures, expressions and tones that are unique and special to them. You can actually do a lot of characterization through dialogue, which is why it's important to pay attention to how individual people speak. Also, brush up on the grammar rules for writing dialogue. This will help the reader get deeper into the story, without being distracted by mistakes or misunderstandings.
Thirdly, I'd suggest that you try your hand at some deeper description. Description is like the glue of a story, its what keeps the reader in the world your creating. The best way to start is actually just picturing what the environment of the scene looks like. For example, you could use some description about the train compartments. Tell me what they smell like, look like. How bright or dim are they? Are they spacious or cramped, what colors are there? Even one or two sentences of well placed description makes a huge difference.
I hope this review helped. This story has a long way to go before it's brilliant, but I do absolutely think you can get there. Keep writing, okay?
BBAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for your review! I realy do need this advice. Currently, I'm at chapter twenty two in what I have written and I've gone into a LOT more details. It's almost like my whole writing style has changed from when I started this a month ago:) I think it must be by reading actual fan fiction personally. I know there are many current cliche aspects but I have some ideas to make it extremely original-- or at least more original. I've also started on some other stories (dramione) but they aren't cliche head boy/head girl stories and I think I like that better. I'm not a very good writer when it comes to fan fictions because I personally like writing about my own characters. Honestly, I feel kind of weird getting a review from this part of the story because my writing has changed so much. I also get more into dialouge and characterization in later chapters. Thank you so much for your review!
--dark marked Report Review
Hi, BB here from the forums -- at long last -- with your review :)
So I was a little intimidated by this piece. Nine husbands to go through and I wondered if you could manage to keep my interest. You did though, for the most part. The voice of your protag was very distinctive. I liked that she is powerful, decisive. The repetition of phrases really drives this home, and continues to keep the protag anchored in the story.
If I had one bone to pick, it would be that this whole story is full of telling, versus showing. This is something of an obsession of mine, showing versus telling. What I mean by that is the different between telling the reader that the between telling us that she married an older man, and showing. Description, conversation, gestures and the like are all great means of showing something, but we get bare details, truncated summaries and an almost rushed pace through the story. I understand that in depth development would be the wrong approach for this particular story, but even a few words here and there could really make a difference.
Besides that, I'm impressed with the writing. It was clean, the character voice was very vibrant and the POV choice was really interesting to read from. I'm glad I had a chance to look at this piece :) 7/10
BB Report Review
Miranda, this is a really lovely piece. I was immediately drawn in by the language and the presence of Ginny on the page. I also loved seeing Colin this different way. I love his connection to the camera, and to the girl he see's through it. My favorite line was:"... he looks at her and through her at the same time, only holding the image of her before he takes another. Like water through a sieve."
You achieved something bitter sweet and perfect with this piece. I'm really impressed. I have only one tip that I think may make it complete: remove the last two future bits. It detracts from the perfection of what you achieve between Colin and Ginny, and while it's nice to know how the pictures end up, and to see Ginny's reaction to them, to know that she loved him, we still get that in the main body of the story. You show that they love each other, and not knowing what the picture ends up being called leaves the reader space to to continue to hang out in the story.
I really loved this, great job! 9/10
BBAuthor's Response: Ah, thank you so much I am so thrilled that you liked it. It really means a lot to me, I really appreciate you taking the time to review for me, especially because you did not really warm to my other story. I will most definitely take into account what you said about removing the last two bits, I like them but I most certainly see what you mean about leaving it to the imagination.
Thank you so much again, I cannot begin to tell you how much this review made my day.
-Miranda Report Review
Hi! I know its taken my a while to get to this review but I'm so glad I finally found time!
This story is engaging, and the characters really jump off the page. I like Teddy, this more grown-up cynical side of him is different and makes me curious as to what you might do next. I also like Everleigh. She's got a past but instead of overwhelming the story with back-plot, that past serves to bring up the tension and the reader's interest. I can't wait to see what happens when Everleigh meet's Teddy!
I feel like this story has a distinctively solid forward direction. The setting is unusual -- love the shop -- and the supporting caste well cemented and rounded. I honestly didn't see any glaring bits that made me pause. I just enjoyed the read :) 8/10
BBAuthor's Response: Don't worry about taking time, love. I'm so glad you liked it!
Ooh, thank you! I tried to write Teddy in a way I hadn't written him before ... and I'm glad you thought it was different, as that was my aim. As for Everleigh, I'm so happy you like her. She's one of the most vivid characters I've written in a very long time. When she'll meet Teddy ... haha! And there are yet more characters to be introduced!
Thank you so much! The shop is an amalgam of various different settings that I've been puttering around with (ultimately I just decided to squish them all together and be done with it). Thank you so much for the review! :)
XOXO, Kalina Report Review
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! What a wonderful piece! This is the most lovely, most delicious, most heart warming fluffy slashy short I've read in ages! I came here all geared up for some acerbic and helpful review and all I've got to say it: wow!
But seriously, gushing aside. This was really well written and I'm very much impressed with the amazing amount of characterization you achieved in such a short amount of writing. Details like the tea -- Louis likes honey, Teddy likes sugar -- and the bits about Teddy's changing hair color were really delicate and unobstructed means of creating great presence on the page.
I also love the romance element. I like that Louis is flirty and witty (a lot like Lorelai!) and his silly confidence in that romance in juxtaposition to him downgrading his artistic talent is very engaging. I forgot I was reviewing and ended up just reading for pleasure.
Thank you for coming by my thread. I loved this piece. Feel free to come back again (especially if you've got more slash!). 10/10
BBAuthor's Response: Well, you certainly made my day! Thank you so much. It means a lot that you found their characters to be done well, especially in such a limited amount of "time". Thank you so much for taking your time to review. I will drop back by, I have lots of slash, the rest is all angsty though. I was considering taking these two on a few more one shots, just wasn't sure if they were going to be well accepted, now I do have a bit more confidence in their respect, so I will come back when I get another go at them. :D --Jenna Report Review
Hi Illia, it's Blissbug from the forums here with your review. I'm avoiding homework and what better way to do that than fan fiction?
Right off the bat I noticed that there seems to be a lack of anchoring in the scene. This this is a period piece is so important to make sure your reader feels solidly placed within the time. Word choice, description, language, gestures, clothing, all these things can serve as a means of establishing the right atmosphere for the story.
Another thing I noticed was the way in which I kept getting pulled out of the stories. A lot of the time it was because of repetitive word usage. In the very beginning you use the word 'fight twice' and there are other occurrences where this happens. It breaks up the flow and mangles the reading, so just pay attention to that. Also, there were details that you put a lot of emphasis on that didn't seem to really matter. Like the grapes at the beginning of the meal. Why so much focus on grapes? What does that have to do with the story? How does it help move the plot, anchor the reader or further build tension? Ask yourself these questions when picking and choosing which details to give weight too :)
One last thing is the use of language, which I think we've talked about before with some of your other work. You use a lot of modern lexicon (phrases and terms and words) that are completely inappropriate to the period. A great example is here: "The parents began sucking it down almost immediately." See what I mean? I'll bet you can guess what's wrong with this sentence: 'sucking it down.' That's a really modern way of saying that the parents were drinking a lot. A more period appropriate phrase might be "They were hasty to drink, and indeed they drank often and generously." See the difference?
This all comes down to uh...well, to you being a young writer. Nothing wrong with that but if you're serious about improving your skills, consider reading some material written in the time that you're interested in. Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson are great female authors who did a lot to precisely capture the 19th century. And of course, keep writing. Nothing makes you a better writer than to just keep writing :)
BBAuthor's Response: Thanks for taking the time to review. =)
I understand that. Like I said, I'm not used to writing period pieces, so I honestly didn't know what I was doing. That's a good point. I'll work on it.
Thanks for pointing out my repetitiveness. That's something I don't notice I do. However, I respectfully disagree with your critique of my focus on grapes. I understand your point, but I don't think that scene was unimportant. I was trying to show the differences between their social order. She wanted to eat them with her fingers but was unable. In this way, the scene was important.
I understand your point about using modern language. I'll think about that the next time I try a historical piece.
I'll practice. Thanks for your review. =) Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for your review.
So honestly, I've never read The Shining. I'm a King fan (Drowning Sarah and Hearts In Atlantis are favorites) but The Shining has never interested me. Too dark, too weird, too popular, who knows. But because I'm not even remotely familiar with the plot, the story reads a bit jarring for me. I find the italicized bits extremely distracting and not all together integrated with the story. If this is a means of expressing internal dialogue, than you need to make those connections stronger. If this is a form of intrusive author, you need to make the author's voice more distinctive. If this is a devise used by King -- which I'm guess it is -- then I'd just suggest tightening up those bits more. Make them more clearly connected to the present situation. Don't use them as filler. The severe critique part of me wants to tell you to cut them completely, because they really are distracting.
And the reason I'm so on you about being distracted is because you're a good writer. King is a master writer, and if you're using him as a means of creative expression, emulation, you're on the right track. You can learn a lot from his work because his writing is brilliant. I'm not just talking good story, I'm talking about a deep down to the bones understanding of HOW writing works. King's got it and you do well to learn from him. Add that to what reads like natural talent, and I'm impressed. But, having said that (don't cringe, I promise I'm not about to crush you), I would caution not to be afraid of your own creativity. I see it, definitely in the use of Piers as a character (loved that, never read a single thing with Dudley's old pal, brilliant). And is that old Voldy's wand you OC's got a hold of? Also a great concept. But this whole Shining thing? I dunno, I feel like you could carry this story off without having to use the King plot as your guide map. It's something to consider.
On tiny little twitchy notes, you need spacing after each new thought, piece of dialogue and paragraph. Also, don't leave your italicized portions hanging out on their own, bring them along with the scene they belong too: they'll be less random and disjointed that way.
Over all not a bad read. I hope this review was helpful :) 7/10
BB Report Review
Hi Carl, I'm so glad to have gotten here at last, I've been looking forward to this read.
I have to say that I'm impressed. Really impressed. Your specific points were about characterization, showing versus telling and...flow. Or was it plot development? Blast, now I can't remember. I'll just address both and hope that works :)
Despite the fact that I keep seeing Doctor Who as I read (damn you David Tennant!) I really enjoyed your characterization. Not once did I question it, because it felt natural, authentic and completely unforced. I did for a brief moment wonder about how talented Barty was (he performed a whole gambit of very difficult spells, which makes me wonder one, where did he learn them, and two, would he be that naturally gifted and curious as to dedicate himself to their mastery). But then that seemed to fall into line rather nicely, so it wasn't an issue, just a curiousity.
The only place where I saw showing versus telling was in Barty's duel with Moody. I would have definitely liked more description -- even a few monosyllabic words would have worked -- but I worry that more description would have killed the pace, which would definitely be regretful. Even in this case of showing versus telling though, it still seems to work. A touch more description would be lovely, but isn't strickly necessary.
Lastly, flow and plot development. I liked the flow, even the jump in years at the very end was excellent handled. As a reader I moved right into it very naturally, and the pace of the day dominant through the writing was subtle but effective. The plot also seems to be deceptively simple, but you handled the undercurrents very well. You had a clear unwavering sense of direction and as a reader I never onced questioned that.
Over all this was a really delicious read and I'm glad you requested in my thread. Feel free to come back! 9/10
BBAuthor's Response: Wow! What a very kind review. I had started feeling unsure about the piece because it had been posted for a while and had no reviews.
I always thought that Barty Jr. was a genius and also very self-motivated in the way a lot of sociopaths are. While he has a friend, he would also betray that friend if it benefitted him.
I'm so happy that I got the characterisations right. I always worry about that. I'd never written Moody or Umbridge before and I was concerned (I write Snape poorly, so I didn't know if I could pull off Umbridge).
I see what you mean in the duel and I'm not sure how to correct it. I might go back and take a look at that when I'm done with my next chapter.
I must admit that I have a weakness for vignette type stories and the coda at the end falls into that, but I thought it was necessary for closure of the story.
Glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for the kind review. Report Review
Hi, BB here from the forums with a review :)
The concept for this story is great. I'd love to get a hold of your kind of plot bunnies because this offers so much potenial. I can't say that I read many Charlie fics -- though he's such a fun character, I don't know why not --but I think it's interesting pairing him with an OC. I would caution you though about character authenticy where your OC is concerned. I know she's supposed to be a bookish 26 year old who works for her father, doesn't get out much and has grown up in a conservative household, but honestly she really just reads as a nervous teenage who works for her father. While I do like that she tries so hard to please him, and I think you're doing a good job with putting her outside her comfort zone, make sure that she reads the age she's supposed to be. I'm 25 myself, and so I can honestly tell you that this woman doesn't at all read like a woman. She lacks the maturity -- probably because you yourself is not a 26 year old, ignore me if you are -- and that is so blatantly obvious that it distracts from the story.
Another detail that distracts from the story (and really you don't want that because this is definitely an interesting story) are the mistakes you're making with punctuation. A lot of them are where you have dialogue, and you're missing commas or periods, or your capitalization is off with your dialogue tags -- the he said/she said bits right after or before a spoken piece of dialogue. A good beta can help you clean these little mistakes up, which would allow your reader to really focus fully on the story.
I hope this review was helpful. Good luck with the writing!
BBAuthor's Response: It really was helpful, thank you so much!
No, you were right in your assumption, I am nineteen, and I enjoy writing Addiah but I can really understand that she comes across as well, a little immature. I will definitely try to change that.
I am terrible with punctuation and grammar and I do have a beta but obviously we are both missing a lot. I will for sure go over it. Thanks so much for all your help, I will definitely take into account everything you said.
Thanks again! Report Review
Hi Lia, BB from the forums here with your review.
I have to say firstly that I'm really impressed with your characterization of Bellatrix. I've read my fair share of Bellatrix stories, but this one oddly enough, rings the most true. I especially liked her as a young girl. You captured something kind of indefinable, but whatever it is, it's spot on.
I also liked the flash-back sequences. I think you handled that well, the time was clear and happily unconfusing -- I always expect disaster when other writers use flashbacks, call me paranoid. You had a very clear handle on events and how they unfolded, and canon-wise it was beautiful. Well done.
I did find the additional characters of Rab and Barty a bit flat though. I think it's probably due to the shorter length and so a lack of writing space to flush out their characters, but even so it kind of distracted me from the writing. I will commend you for trying to characterize Barty through dialogue, just be careful it doesn't come off as cliche. I also liked the characterization of Rab as a child, it was neat seeing him that way since I've only delt with his character as an old. But once again, don't be afraid to spice things up with some originality. You don't have to use stereotypical concepts (like a two year old who speaks in broken sentences) to convey certain character traits.
I hope this review was helpful. Thanks for coming by my thread. 7/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hey Blissbug!
I'm glad you're impressed with Bellatrix here. I was rather worried about writing her but I also don't believe that she was always utterly insane either. As Rodolphus recounted the changes he witnessed, I think hers was rather prominent in his mind. I'm thrilled you liked Bella as a child as well...she was a rebel then but without a cause.
Hmm. Looking at it now, it really was all about Bella and not so much his brother and Barty. If I had to include those two then this story, as you said, would have been much much longer.
I do get what you're saying about how Rabastan was conveyed, or rather the way his character was introduced.
About the flashback sequences, thank you! I rather thought they were well done myself =]
You gave some very helpful points and I really do appreciate your input. I think I will stop by your thread again :)
Thank you so much for your time!
Hi, BB from the forums here with your review.
I have to commend you on tackling such a character. That's a really brave thing to do, and writing outside your comfort zone is never easy. I'm really impressed that your wrote this one shot, and despite it's really short length, I think you achieved a lot. You managed to convey how arrogant Voldemort is, which couldn't have been easy.
I do have a couple of points though that might help make this seem more...realistic, lend it weight. Your word choice is the first thing that comes to mind. For instance, Voldemort uses the word 'twerp' which -- in my mind -- is far outside of his natural characterization that it completely threw me off. Remember that Tom Riddle was well educated and exceedingly haughty. His vocabulary would reflect that. Words like 'insolent,' 'worthless' and 'base' are probably the sorts of ways Voldemort would insult Harry. But he definitely wouldn't call him a 'twerp.' After all, he's talking about his arch enemy, not his 12 year old brother ;)
Secondly, I wouldn't think that Voldemort would even bother recalling the many people he's killed as means of 'pepping' himself up. As if to say, "I've killed this many people, I'm the baddest of them all!" It seems to me that the people Voldemort has killed are so below him, he wouldn't take notice at all, the way someone probably not use their ability to kill ant as a bragging point in trying to make themselves sound scary or mean.
Lastly, I'd recommend exploring some of your surroundings. I want detail! Detail gives the story room to move around in, and you've got so much to work with here. The Great Hall, all those people watching, all that emotion in the room. Use all five of the senses to explore the surroundings. What does it sound like, smell like, look like. How does his wand feel in his hand, what does he taste on his tongue, hear with his ears... These sorts of details will engage the reader and make the telling more realistic.
Overall this isn't a bad beginning and I'm really impressed by your bravery. I'm glad I dropped by, and I hope my review is helpful. 6/10
BBAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for the well-thought out review. (: Word choice was a big concern of mine when I was writing this (I'm not sure if I put it as a point, but that's neither here nor there), and I suppose 'twerp' completely fled my notice. (: Thank you for pointing that out!
You make an interesting point, about him being like that, and the ant analogy. I thought of it more as a "Harry is nothing, like X and Y", but I can see where you would get the other impression.
Haha, detail is my downfall. xD I'll definitely take your advice and try to show it more, thank you for mentioning it!
Thanks again for such a great (in terms of CC, I mean) review. (:
-Jasmine Report Review
Hi TY, I'm here for another review. I haven't gotten my promise to project review this story and I'm so glad you're willing to let me continue -- even if I'm horribly slow at it!
I forgot what a wonderful story this is. I got so sucked into the writing I often forgot to look for things to critique. The characters are effortlessly done, the setting is love -- though one is want for a bit more descriptions -- and the plot is moving along perfectly. Your writing is easy going, easy to read and easy to fall in love with.
I did find a couple of grammar issues that a good beta could fix (all having to do with dialogue tags) but they were minor and didn't pull me out of the story.
I'm impressed with how you juggle so many characters on the page. It's great because they've all got their places and they just shine right out, but they're not over done or underdone. I wish I could get the same effect in my writing, I really do!
This was another great chapter -- and a wonderful suspense filled ending -- and I can't wait to find another quiet moment to come back. 8/10!
BBAuthor's Response: Hi BB!
Thanks so much for the lovely review! You always make my day.
I have found a new beta :) and I'm quite excited to have her help. She actually has this chapter in hand (or I guess I should say email) to help me catch all those things I've missed.
I have taken your feedback on descriptions to heart, but at the moment, that's more evident in the current chapters I'm writing. I am going to work in revisions of these earlier chapters as I move along, though. No doubt about that - so these reviews are golden.
Thanks again. You're an angel!
~Ty Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for your review!
This is an interesting concept for a story, Rose as a widow. I'd never considered her after she grew up, so I was interested in reading this :)
You have a tense issue right here: "She would live as she always had. As she always will." It should be: 'As she always would,' since you're working with past tense and 'will' is present ;)
What I really loved was the dialogue between Rose and her late-husband. I worried that you'd have a hard time capturing the emotional reality of being a widow, but through the dialogue you do so much! You characterize, you foreshadow and you lend weight to the atmosphere of the story. I am really impressed in the way you've done all that, you're definitely growing as a writer.
I did feel like the characterization of the family was a little on the nose, bit to cliche. You depend on while known stereotypes for characters (like George and his ear jokes) instead of exploring them yourself. I know that you probably don't want to spend a huge amount of time in the first chapter getting to know the supporting caste, but if you as the writer just wave them off with a few passe' descriptions, that reads through in Rose too, which makes her unrealistic. I want to know these people through her eyes, which means you're gonna have to get creative and dig around in her head. If you do this you'll find that you character is fuller, and so will your story be.
Overall, an interesting concept and the dialogue is brilliant. 7/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hey BB! Thanks so much for this review! As always, you are such a help! I'm glad you like this better than A Certain Lady :) I really hoped you would.
Dialogue has always been a strong point of mine I suppose and I've always relied on them more for characterization than direct description. I prefer letting the reader read between the lines, make their own conclusions, instead of spoon feeding them everything I have in my head.
In terms of my characterization of the Weasley family, well, in my defense I wanted the reader to experience something familiar in the first chapters because further down the story, the Weasley family is going to go towards my own characterization, especially with Fleur, Audrey, Percy, etc. Hopefully you shall see it come the next chapters :)
Once again, thank you so much for your review! Very helpful indeed! Report Review
This review is long over due. I mean, seriously long over due. And I hope you won't hold my tardiness against me ;) In your request you told me that something bugged you about this piece but you couldn't figure out what. I'm writing this before reading, so I can let you know that I'll be looking for whatever is 'off' and hopefully my critique -- and review -- is still applicable :)
Okay, so first thing is, I had to ignore the long lyrics to get to the story. I've never liked song-fic's, so I hope you won't find my exclusion of them insulting, hehe.
Here's what I see: this lacks depth. It does. You might think you can't get depth with a little over 800 words, but you can. And I think this story can as well. This last bit (
“I love you,” I whispered against his lips.
“Don’t,” he replied, unbuttoning his shirt. I pushed it off his shoulders, feeling his muscles contract as my ice cold fingertips passed over them, smoothing his soft skin down.) was brilliant and felt like the whole heart of the story.
This isn't about a round-peg loving a square-hole. This is about two people -- Sirius and your nameless OC -- playing at love. They want to be in love, they want it enough to come back to each other after having ripped each other to shreds. But neither one of them have the energy to lie any more, and that's the only thing that will keep this relationship going, a joined agreement to pretend. You need to explore what happens when they stop pretending, when the want of love isn't enough. This story actually begins where you end it, and that's the problem.
I hope you find this helpful. I love Sirius, he's my true HP bad boy and so to see him done well in writing thrills me. This piece could be brilliant, you just haven't written it where it needs to go yet.
BBAuthor's Response: Thank you -- and I forgive you! I'll try to make ammends as quickly as it's possible =)
xE Report Review
So I have owed you a review for a long time and here I am. I remember this story, having started the chapter you indicated but having been interrupted while review :)~ I'm glad to be back, the details are so rich, the pace -- while a bit slow -- suits the tonality and I think this story has a kind of weight others around here don't.
You've got a lot of characters here and I'm impressed that you handle them well. You focus very cleanly on the main characters, but let other side characters give perspective and weight. I also appreciate that you let dialogue do a lot of characterization!
As I said before, your details are rich. You definitely capture a real atmosphere here, though I have to admit, the heavy Romantic period sort of environment gets a little long winded. I do think it's completely appropriate, but I'd caution you about over-doing it.
I love the internal dialogue, we get such a strong sense of character and situation. You have an excellent bead on your OC and that's impressive.
Overall this is a really weighty chapter with a lot going on but you handle it well and you dedication to your character's authenticity is great!
BBAuthor's Response: Hi! Im so glad that you came around this review! I havent been in here for a long time (why does nobody tell you that university is the most painful experience you can ever have??) but your review was the best welkome back present ever.
Im glad to see that the story has made an impact. I was going for the darker side, but I neve intended to overdo it. I know that i tend to get a little too much in my descreiptions and that made me a little weary, but at least Im relieved that it didnt make you pull your hair out os something cruel like that ;P
When i wrote tis, i really wanted to get out the character of Dorcas, so everything was kind of arranged around that. Later i found myself trying to flesh out the other character for themselves - but it always kind of came down to her.
Im really really flatered that you felt the dialogue had a point. When i started writing here I was told (with good cause) that my dialogue was a bit stiff, so you can only imagine my happiness at knowing that I've improved in that direction.
Thank you very much for coming back to this and for the lovely words. C: Report Review
Hi Ty. You were right, this is definitely a lot for one chapter but in a strange way, it works. I do think some cutting would benifit this chapter and mostly I'm thinking of the first part, the past-scene with Teddy and the journal. Even if you hadn't combined the chapters I would still recommend cutting that part out. It's no neccessary, and the purpose it serves --to explain Teddy's absence -- can be achieved through internal dialogue and author narration.
I would also recommend some re-writes on the dialogue portions in the later part of the chapter. There are just a few sentences that are awkward; they lack a ring of reality to it. The best dialogue is the kind people would actually speak, so keep that in mind when confronting word choice. For example, you wrote: "Call me Grant, please. And, although I can’t say it has always been my pleasure as it usually involves some damage to Victoire, I can always say it’s been interesting.” He turned to Victoire, “Happy Graduation. You did it!” A rewrite might look like: "Grant, please. Ignoring the usual damage to Victoire, it’s always been interesting.” He turned to Victoire, “Happy Graduation. You did it!” People usually speak in fragments, short choppy sentences. What they say is often augmented by a physical gesture -- waving the hand, a grin, dropping the shoulders, shifting the face away -- so those kinds of details can also make dialogue more realistic.
Again I find myself wanting for detail, even though you do have it here. It just seems to me though that you're drawing attention to the wrong sorts of detials but I'm thinking that's just my own reading/writing style coming through. Still, for a setting as interesting as the Black Lake you do seem to miss a lot of opportunities to create a world we readers aren't very familair with. I really want to get into Vic's body -- sensation details -- for as much as we're in her head. You do a lot of showing, I want more telling. Does that make sense?
Ehh, anyway, it was a pleasure coming back for another chapter. Hopefully I can return again before too long. Got questions you know where to find me ;)
BBAuthor's Response: Hi BB,
I played around with this chapter some and hadn't really worked out what I need to do to it. Your suggestions are great, and they are inspiring me to go back to it for another attempt.
Giving up the flashback would be a tough choice for me. I actually put it as much to give some glimpse of Teddy as to explain his absence. I fear he is going to be vastly unsympathetic in the following chapters without some picture of him prior to his departure. Hmmm, I'm thinking now of how else I can do that.
I completely understand what you are saying about the dialogue. Its a great point. As for the detail, I approach everything as show don't tell which means that, as in many things, I have quite possibly taken it too far. Moderation is the key, right? I shall work on that.
Thanks again for the phenomenal comments.
~Ty Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for a review. I must say, the sheer length of writing here is really impressive. It's very clear from the start that you had a powerful sense of story and direction in writing this. I also liked the POV choice, that was an interesting pick and served to really propell the story forward.
If I had one tiny nit-picky thing to point it, it's the use of British slang. Are you an American? I tend to think so because the language definitely feels forced at times. I imagine this changed as you got more comfortable writing in a particular voice, but just here in this first chapter the use of various terms and slang was actually more distracting then interesting. As an American it can be hard to naturally fall into the kind of cadence and language choice of the British: watching British tv shows or movies produced by the British really helps. Just a tip.
Over all I was impressed by this first chapter. Good job. 8/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hi BB,
Yeah I had a real hard time with the Brit in this chapter, in fact I pretty much abandoned it after this chapter-fear not.
I am glad you like Serahn, he's a nasty little curse isn;t he.
AK Report Review
Hi Tydemans! I'm thrilled to tell you that I enjoyed reading this chapter so much I actually forgot to look for things to critique! This was such a pleasant, easy and fun read I feel remiss in my reviewer duties because I think I really only have praise for you. But here, let's try for something more seriously than "Oh my god, loved it!"
The first thing that caught me was the clarity and believability of your character voice. I've read more Victoiore fan fiction than I care to mention -- I keep telling people I'm not a fan but they don't listen -- but this is by far the most solidly plausible version I've encountered. You create in this small chapter a character with real weight, real connection and real voice. Good on you!
I also love the tid-bits of information you hook us with. Vict's 'condition' -- can't wait to figure out what that is -- and her attitude towards her family reputation and popularity, her worries about her future, her insecurities, all this serves to really make me excited about reading the next chapter.
If I wanted anything more, it would be detail. You carry so much characterization with dialogue and internal thought but I'd caution not to forget where we are and how it too, effects the characters. It feels like you're taking a really original approach to a well known character and I'd love to see that same writing applied to the environment and other sensory details.
Obviously I loved this chapter and I can't wait to read more. I might even consider making this story a 'project' review if you're interested and not to picky about me having a crazy school schedule that will make my reviewing sporadic. Hit up my thread, let me know :)
BBAuthor's Response: You'd consider making this a project review? I don't think I can say yes fast enough. I am definitely interested. I would absolutely love that and I am not fussed at all about waiting when real life takes priority.
Thank you for the the encouragement and for the helpful feedback! I'm actually quite inspired now :)
~ Ty with a great big grin Report Review
Hi there, Blissbug here for your review. First thing I noticed were just a few minor misspellings; a good beta can help you clean those up and honestly I'd recommend one. There's a couple of reasons why. While I certainly loved the rather starched tones of your first POV -- a good choice of voice, by the way, as a means of introduction to the story -- there are places where the reading just tends to drag a bit. What you need is detail to spice things up, add a little tension, distract for the archaic dialect (which I actually like, not easy to write that!) and breath some life into this painfully formal setting. A beta can help you pin-point those places where a little scene description (for example, tell is what kind of dancing these people are doing, what sorts of fabrics they're wearing, does Luc smell particularly good and so on) will keep the reader's interest.
I do find this story interesting despite how far removed it seems from Hogwarts and a more current setting. Historical writing is difficult but I admire writers willing to take it on. I think you've got a really strong plot here, characters that should develop nicely and a sold story arch. I'd just recommend making things a bit more lively. Maybe it's just my personal taste, but I found the setting to be drab, and the many places where you missed a chance at description and tension building were distracting.
I wish you the best of luck here though! Thanks for coming by my thread! 6/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hello Blissburg! Thank you so much for this wonderful and constructive review! It has been very helpful indeed!
I agree with you, I fully need a beta! I am completely hopeless without one, and I am sorry that you found the story very dry. I was only hoping to emulate the style of writing back then and I can see why it would seem unappealing to a lot of readers. I guess that's the problem with adapting old styles to modern fiction. One must know the line between being respectful and dated. It is certainly something I can work on!
Again, thanks so much for your review, and if I may, I will definitely ask for another one :) Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums, here at last for your review. So, to be honest, this story needs a good beta. It has great potential, really good bones. You have a wonderful distintive character voice, a very clear vision for the piece and a nice sense of pacing. But... There are numerous gramatical issues that are very distracting, your dialogue tends to ramble a bit -- you say a lot in order to get a small point across, know what I mean? -- and the story lacks a certain...weight. It's very...fluffy. And hey, maybe you meant it to be fluffy, is so please do ignore my rant, otherwise, pay attention.
A story like this -- when dealing with a common issue like crazy families, even in Potter world -- needs to have something that makes it different from the eight other stories out there just like it. You do partly achieve this, because your character voice is fantastic (you've got a great sense who this person is, how she fits into the scene and how the world around her reacts to her being there). You also have an interesting hook, the birth, which makes the reader curious. I would just remind you though, that if you bring a level of reality to these people -- say, Molly and James for example -- and really explore their characters, instead of relying on stereo-type character forms, this story isn't just gonna be interesting. It will be amazing.
Over all not bad. Grab a beta for the grammar stuff and next story, remember that characters are people too ;) 7/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hi BlissBug
Lol, I'm halfway through reading one of your fanfictions at the minute.
I know all about the grammar mistakes and I've already got a Beta who's agreed to sort out all of the mistakes.
I totally understand waht you mean about certain characters and elements of the story being unrealistic, i was incredibly hyper when I wrote this but I will definitley look at changing everything you've pointed out as I know that characterization is an extremely important part of a fanfiction.
I really appreciate you taking the time to do this, I realize how busy it can get over christmas.
Thankyou for the constructive critisism, I will definitley take into account everything you have said.
JaneTwilight Report Review
Hi Rainbow, Blissbug from the forums for you long awaited review. I have to admit, I usually feel a little trepidation when I venture into Post-Hogwarts or Generation stories, but this really impressed me. Maybe it's because I'm a huge Leather Weapon fan, or perhaps it's because I'm currently re-reading Goblet of Fire. For whatever reason, I'm deeply impressed at your source of inspiration and the way you meld it to a Hogwart's setting!
I also love the voices of these two boys, you really capture them well! They're vibrant and funny and serious and real. You have a lot of animation in their tone, their responces and comments, that's not always easy to achieve but you do a great job.
I'm also really interested in this concept of going to Japan, I love it. What a great exotic setting, you're gonna have fun there and I'm looking forward to reading more, so do come back by my thread ;)
I don't have any critique except to say that I would like a little more detail. The pace of this story seems quick, but you might consider slowing it down just a tad, exploring some of the sensory details around you, revealing some of the environmental details, character details... You get my drift.
This was well written and I really enjoyed it! 8/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hi there, thanks very much for the review!!
I've gotten so many comments saying that I need to improve on my disriptions, it's impossible to ignore them any longer. I've gone back through my other chapters and added some internal stuff to it so hopefully it'll be okay.
Otherwise, I'm really glad you enjoyed this and I hope you review in the future. :) Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for your review.
So what I noticed first was the tone of language you use. It's extremely modern, distractingly modern, even at times, yes, painfully modern. Words like 'awesomeness' and 'frigg'n' and 'totaly' just done fit the time period your story takes place in (canon wise we're talking the mid-seventies here). It's extremely important, that in order to hook your reader and keep them interested that you maintain authenticity to the environment, atmosphere and signatures of the time period. Just like today, the 1970's had a distinctive vernacular, a lot of colloquialisms that marked the decade. I would sincerely recommend some research on you part. Get into the groove sister, jive with the flow, get hip to the message ;)
I do really like the first person POV from all your MC's, though I caution you to make sure that your James have distinctions in his 'voice' (basically the way he thinks, acts and interacts with what's going on around him) that make him a guy, because he sounded rather like Petunia several times. Besides that, I think you've caught a real youthfulness in all characters and you're doing a good job of building tension with it.
I loved the bit at the end, with Petunia and James. What a shock for me, to see an attraction between them, but it was definitely intriguing, a new track on something of a well used fan girl plot type. I didn't want the moment to end and yet I definitely wanted to see what came next. Good job.
Overall not a bad read. I do see you setting up ways to change these well known characters, I wish you the best of luck with it and this nifty plot idea. 7/10
BBAuthor's Response: Hey thanks for reviewing!
Wow I totally see what you mean about the language! *whacks head for being such a dunce* I am definately going to fix that up! Thanks so much for pointing that out!
:] Yes I believe it is a shock for all to see the Petunia/James storyline building! Thank you for the compliment! And thank you so much for taking the time to do this review!
~~Chelsea Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for your review -- and a break from NaNo writing ;)
So I'm very much impressed by the maturity of your writing. Honey, you can write and you can write well, which is always such a lovely thing to come across, especially when dealing with this genre. The way you've set up the story is deeply interesting and I'm desperately curious for the next chapter. I deman that you come back to my thread and request again;)
I find your characterization of Minvera refreshing. She is distinctive and canon at the same time, a very difficult combination to get right. I loved how intelligent she was, and yet how girlish, sweetly young.
I also loved your dialogue, it was authentic (to the period of time and the natural cadence of people speaking to each other) and engaging.
I do think that this chapter is a bit long and that there are place, specifically with Minerva's side of the story, that could be cut to shorten the chapter. While I think you handled all your details well and with a good instinct for how they might drive the story, there are places where they feel a bit like filler. I would recommend having a beta go through with an eye geared specific for that, as well as yourself. I'd then check to see where you and the beta match and cut those bits.
Overall a highly interesting read that was extremely well written. I'm enthralled ;) 9/10
BBAuthor's Response: Enthralled? Thankyou so much! I'm sorry it took me forever to reply, I have been MIA for a bit with life.
I love that you liked it and I will most certainly rerequest! I'm looking into getting a beta to fix up a few things atm, this chapter does need pruning after I had to mush all the letters with the original chapter.It's good to know what works and what didn't, this is an ideal review =)
Good luck with NaNo, and thankyou for your review! Report Review
Hi, BB from the forums here for your review.
So it's interesting that you say how short this prologue is, because I actually found it to be rather packed for so little words! There's a lot going on here, and you do a lot of hinting at a very complicated back story. I'm interested though, you manage to capture my curiousity and that's always a good thing.
I definitely like the action sequence, though I do find some of your details rather lacking. Because you stated in my review thread that this was an intense chapter, and then again in your author note, I was definitely expecting something much more...dark. Scary. Possible gore-ish. While I think you've certainly got a good sense of tension in this, I do think that you actually don't get dark enough to really warrent the hype. I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but this prologue is definitely an example of tame writing.
Now, if you're really aiming for something dark and scary (and I'm not sure that you are) I can recommend some techniques. First I'd say focus in on your details -- this will be helpful for all your writing in fact. Remember that when you're exploring a details, its always a good idea to do it with one or more of the five sense. For example, you do have a lot of blood but it doesn't make any impact because you don't explore what all that blood means for the character, and how it effects her. I mean, what does smell like? What does it feel like? Is your character use to blood, or does she shy away from it?
Secondly I'd recommend slowing down this prologue just a little. For as much as what happens here, we get very little impact. You don't allow the reader any time to absorb the circumstances, or explore the surroundings. Slow down, give us more details, don't be afraid to get a little messy on the page.
Thirdly I'd recommend some emotional authenticity here (and possibly throughout the rest of the story). What I mean by that is to give us some reality as to how this girl is feeling. Again, everything is so rushed that the fact that your character is afriad, or tired or determined just kind flies right by the reader. By pausing to really delve into how the character is feeling at a pivital moment will draw your reader in, build the tension and mystery and create of some of that intense atmosphere you're hoping for.
Overall not a bad read. I hope this review helps. 5/10
BBAuthor's Response: Thanks for reviewing!
Okay, I understand. I was just worried that some people would be all 'ewww blood' like my friends were >_> sorry.
And yes, it is rushed, but I wanted to make it that way, almost forcing the reader to slow down... perhaps I failed??? =O
It is lacking in detail about the girl, mostly because I wanted her to be mysterious. >_> another fail? (lol)
Thanks so much for reviewing! I always love that constructive critisism!!
-AKABARA Report Review
Hi girls. I've taken a break from NaNo writing to treat myself and jaunt over to your co-write. I must say that I'm deeply impressed by this. The style is lovely and melodic, the word usage shows a lot of artistic maturity and I was sad to reach the end of it because it was so good.
Gabby, I know you asked about controdictive characterization, but I didn't find any of that. James and Sirius are two distinctive people, alive and vibrant on the page and the melding of writing styles here really serves to heighten the lovely individuality of both charactres.
I also really appreciated the subtleness of your slash. A lot of slash stories -- be they Maurders or not -- tend to be heavy handed with the sexuality but that's not really needed and your story proves why: a good story is in the details, the sweetness and pain one can create from the smallest of gestures, the simplistic of expressions. You use so many well placed details that the relationship is achingly beautiful and instinctively believable.
I really enjoyed this, I'm so glad I came by. Good job girls! 10/10!
BBAuthor's Response: Hiya, sorry it's taken so long for me to reply. I haven't been on HPFF in a long time. But I'm so glad to have a great review to come back to. Wow, artistic maturity and melodic and instinctively believable...you're giving us too much credit, LOL. Thanks so much, though, I'm really happy that you liked it.
After reading a few slash stories here I see what you mean by heavy handed sexuality. I think Gabby can write both heavy or not heavy, but I usually find the real literary value in romance in things other than sex. James and Sirius had such close friendship, for example, that they loved each other first. Anyway, we agreed that this pair just begs for subtleness. ;)
Thanks again for the review!!!
-Aly- Report Review
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