Hello! This is SapphireatDawn from the forum with your review.
I really liked the premise of this. I love Founders Era stuff, and this was very refreshing. I’ve not read many fics featuring Rowena, Helena and the Baron, but this one was different in its portrayal of Rowena. I really loved that she was such a dislikeable character because often, it’s assumed that the Founders must have been really wonderful people. I can still see the powerful, highly gifted witch that prized intelligence in her students, but she is also a product of her era. I really love that you’ve included the not-so-nice parts of the era into this.
However, I would have loved to know more and as it is, I feel I have more questions than answers after finishing this. Why did it matter so much that Rowena get the truth out of her daughter? Why does she want Helena to marry the Baron? Why is it all so important to her? Why does it matter? Also, if you think back to canon, Helena wanted the diadem to make herself more important, more intelligent than her mother. Why is it different here? Is this something she’s convinced herself of over the centuries? If so, why did she feel the need to conceal the truth? And the Baron, I would have liked to have seen more of him. The picture you paint is of a not-very-nice man, but we get no further than looks, and so the overall affect is one of a cliché Bad Person. He’s nasty because of his looks and nothing else. I would have liked to have seen perhaps an interaction between Helena and the Baron. This would also help to highlight exactly why Helena doesn’t want to marry him.
I liked the language that you used. I find that it’s very easy to go completely over the top with dialogue and speech patterns from this era, but you’ve got a nice balance here. It’s formal and adds to the atmosphere of a historical setting, but it’s readable. I don’t have to wade my way though words and phrases that don’t make immediate sense to me. I really liked the way Helena addressed Rowena as ‘my lady’; typical for the era, and also added to the forbidding aura cast by Rowena.
I did find some of your general word choices a little odd, though. These were small things, like, ‘Her mother had never lifted a hand on her before this day’ should be ‘her mother had never lifted a hand to her...’ and ‘words Helena had tried pushing away from her thoughts’. The idea of pushing thoughts away from thoughts is odd. ‘Pushing out of her mind’ or something similar would have been a better phrase.
Also, you sometimes referred to Rowena as ‘Mother’ in the narrative. It’s being told from Helena’s point of view, but not by Helena herself, otherwise it would have been in first person. Therefore, the word ‘Mother’ as you’ve used it doesn’t fit, because it is not the narrator’s mother. Just like in the Harry Potter books, Lily and James are not referred to as Mum and Dad in the narrative, only when Harry, whose parents they are, speaks about them.
I hope this review helps you! I did enjoy reading the story and for me the highlight was the characterisation of Rowena and how different the situation between the characters was to other things I’ve read. Thanks for requesting!Author's Response: To answer your questions about Rowena, it's for her values: she believes in respecting promises and cannot stand the idea of being lied to, especially by her daughter - even though Helena isn't even lying here.
The fact that Helena refers to Rowena as Mother in the narrative is because this is written as an internal narrator. It's basically stream of consciousness centered on Helena - if you have read Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf you should be able to understand what I mean.
I will go and edit, to develop some of the points you mentioned.
Thank you for the review, it was very helpful! Report Review
Hello! This is SapphireatDawn from the forums with your review!
I think that you’ve got a fairly good base to work on, here. You’ve got a good vocabulary and a good grasp on spelling and punctuation, though I did question your word choice at times... things like ‘layers upon layers of clothing’ should be ‘layer upon layer’, using ‘farther’ instead of ‘further’, and sometimes your word choices were a little bland, which leads me onto my next point.
I think you need a little more descriptive emotion in this. Things that connect the reader to the scenery and inspires a little more excitement, for example here:
‘It was blood, and there was a lot of it leading straight into the Forbidden Forest, along with a set of footprints.’
It’s all very blandly stated with phrases like, ‘there was a lot of it’. Try coming up with something a little more interesting than ‘a lot’.
It’s interesting that your main character turns out to be Sirius, because a lot of my notes while reading this say things like, ‘why didn’t she do this’? Until you mentioned his name, I did think the character was female. Sirius appears fairly frequently in canon and has quite a recognisable character, but I couldn’t really connect this character with the one I read about in the books. You make attempts, for example the fact that he follows the blood trail, but it doesn’t really go far enough. Yes, I really can believe that Sirius might want to follow the trail of blood, but your explanation of him just being curious doesn’t go far enough. Perhaps if you mentioned his name earlier in the text, it might lend itself to explanation. This way, you could have mentioned why he was out of the castle (practicing Animagus transformations, perhaps?) and other ties to canon, such as his friends. Where are they at this moment? Will they miss him if he goes off?
So, onto your OC. We don’t really see much of her in this for me to make an informed analysis of her, so really she’s like a blank slate here. What I am a little wary about is the mention of her unusual coloured eyes. Be wary of falling into the Mary-Sue trap here! I have to add at this point about the amount of blood she appears to have lost not really matching up to her state of alert. If someone is bleeding that badly, if it’s enough for someone to notice, not just drops of blood, but that snow is red, they’re going to be in no fit state to make small talk. They’re definitely not going to be able to climb a tree or walk back to the castle unaided. I also think it’s horrifically shallow and insensitive of Sirius to be hitting on her when she’s in such a weakened state, and I do think that his attraction seems to have come out of nowhere. At that point, and in that scenario, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance. It felt very superficial that at a very serious moment that characters start noticing how attractive each other is.
But while I think you do need to work on this, it should be fairly easy to fix and, like I said before, you’ve got a good base for improvement. Work on your word choices and expanding your description and you’ll be improving in next to no time.Author's Response: Thanks so much! Report Review
So, this was written a rather long time ago, but I don’t like reading without leaving a review, so here it is. Apologies if some of my points aren’t really relevant anymore! First off, I love your characterisations. Lily, especially in the first section, was very interesting as I think you showed good and bad things about her personality. I especially liked how she was not at all fussed by becoming Head Girl. It’s not something I’ve ever seen in fanfic before, and while I think it is realistic that she is happy about the title, it’s also realistic that she isn’t, as well as a breath of fresh air. I also liked how guilty she felt about James and how she had treated him; it’s something I’ve only seen a couple of times, but it is a good way to have her re-assess their ‘relationship’ (for want of a better word) and for her to begin to see a different side to James. I think the part about how Lily feels in regard to the Mary and Mulciber incident is incredibly interesting, as, personally, I don’t think it puts Lily in a good light. Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong, but to me it seems as if she’s distancing the event because of her feelings of guilt and not fully facing up to what happened to her friend. I’m sure that she was and is horrified at what happened and very supporting of her friend, but to me, it came across that her feelings might not be as pure and as genuine as they could have been. I think it takes great confidence in the likability of your characters to show them in this sort of light.
However, I think Lily in the second section came across as a bit of a harridan. Personally, I think it would have been better to have told the part where she interacts and finally apologises to James from Lily’s point of view, simply so we see the thought processes behind her behaviour. As it is, she’s rather contrasting between the two sections and there seems to be no reasons as to why she continually snaps at James, even though he’s really doing nothing wrong, and I don’t think it puts her in a good light. Seeing her thoughts would explain her behaviour and wouldn’t paint her so negatively. Also, I think you spent a lot of time working up to the apology in Lily’s mind, but in the end, we don’t get to see her do it.
I think you’ve also done a great job with setting up Peter in this story as well, even though there are only a few mentions of him, they are mentions that tell a great deal. I like how it’s Peter who ‘saved’ Mary from Mulciber, and more importantly, that Lily notes that it is Peter ‘of all people’, alluding to the fact that he is not as brilliant as Sirius and James are. I think that Peter is seriously mis-portrayed in a lot of fics, not only because people relegate him to the sidelines. I’ve seen many authors who try to over-compensate and Peter ends up being slightly more brilliant than he should be, but here, you’ve done it well. He’s a Marauder, but not as brilliant.
Lily’s friends, also, are done very well, I think. I like Anna as a name; it’s pretty, but also in keeping with the era. I like how there are mentions of potential storylines for Mary and Anna, Mary with this Ben Thatcher person, and Anna with her siblings. As characters, they’re both interesting and well rounded.
I’ve gone on rather a lot about the characters, but I think in Marauder fics, they are important. I always think that good characters portends a good story and I guess I’ll have to read on to see if I’m right!Author's Response: Hi there! Thank you so much for the review. As I said, I was a bit behind, but I finally got around to replying. Your comments are much appreciated! I suppose there is a part of me that looks back at this story as kind of set--I considered revamping major parts of it at different times, but then I decided it was best to just let it stand. Anyway, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate feedback still!
I'm thrilled to hear you like my characterizations (for the most part, at least). I am a character-driven writer, no doubt about it, so I try to spend a lot of time thinking about their personalities and relationships with each other. I have to say that I am very confident in the likeability of my (well, I say "my", but they're not REALLY mine) characters, but mostly because I think everyone should feel that way. It takes a lot to make a character truly, truly unlikeable, and no one has to work too hard to make readers like a character, I think. Mistakes and flaws just make them more relatable.
So, to focus on the first half of your comments about Lily--I'm glad to hear you liked those parts about her.I think, after being a prefect for two years, Head Girl might not have seemed quite as glamorous, especially because I don't see Lily as being in the mould of a character like Hermione. And as for the situation with Mary and Mulciber, I quite agree that it puts Lily in a bad light, and her guilt about the situation definitely causes her to avoid it. This isn't the last you hear of this issue, either. ;)
I think there's probably some merit in what you're saying about Lily's characterization in the second half. I reread an earlier version of this story, and Lily was quite horrible--I don't know what possessed me to write her like that! Anyway, it could be that some of that wasn't completely erased in editing. On the other hand, I think it's easy for her (in the first half) to resign herself to being nicer to James, and quite another thing for her to actually put it into practice. The fact that Lily doesn't apologize wasn't an oversight, I promise. ;)
I agree with your feelings about Peter, and I'm glad you like my portrayal of him. I see him as being a solid member of the group, even if he is a bit less brilliant than James and Sirius. I'm also happy to hear you like Mary and Anna--as I said, I'm all about the characters, and their relationships with Lily form a good part of later chapters.
I do hope you read on, and, if you do, that you continue enjoying the story! Thank you again for such a thoughtful review! Report Review
Hello again! Oh, poor Albus! I feel very sorry for him here, to think that Roxanne fancies Scorpius. You did quite a good job of showing Albus’ insecurities in that section, though I think you probably could have gone a little further and given us a little more detail about Roxanne’s crush because it sort of jumps from her giggling about Scorpius, to Albus assuming she’s got a major crush on him. I think I would have liked to have seen a little more of his reasoning and how his thoughts came to that conclusion, his internal processes, if you like; it would have given another link to how he’s feeling.
I do stand by what I said in the previous review about you needing sub-plots. I felt that, while I do feel very sorry for Albus’ plight, there is only so many times I can feel sympathetic before I start to get slightly exasperated by his constant dwelling on his crush. You need something to occasionally take us away from that aspect of the story to give the reader a little bit of variety, a little bit of a break from the constant barrage of emotions that Albus is feeling. It’s chapter three now, and Albus is still feeling pretty much the same as he did in the first chapter, except he’s now sort-of-friends. Yes, you’ve thrown a new dilemma into the mix with Roxanne, but it’s still the same sort of thing in all three chapters. You need action to keep the reader’s interest.
One thing that I didn’t like very much was the way you labelled Harry, Ron and James as homophobic. While I can’t speak for James, I do not think that Harry would be in the remotest sense homophobic, considering everything he fought for. Ron I certainly can’t see cracking homophobic jokes. While I agree that they’d probably react in some way and be surprised and maybe a little shocked to discover Albus was gay, I don’t think you can say a person is homophobic because they’d think these things. The inclusion of this, for me, cast a bit of a bad light.
Overall, I do think you’re doing a good job with portraying Albus’ emotions, but I’ recommend that sometimes you give the reader a break from the intensity of themAuthor's Response: Thank you for reviewing this chapter too!
I do see your point about sub-plots. I'll have to think about that and try to include more of that to the story. It's like you said, I've put a lot of effort in Albus's character, but not equally in the rest of them... It's a pity if readers thinks it's too onesided and only focused on Albus.
I don't think Harry, Ron and James are homophobic at all. I think Ron would initially be a bit scared by the idea of it, but I don't think he would really mind. But I don't think that homosexuallity would be a subject brougth up very often, which I think is the reason that Albus, who is very insecure, jumps into conclusions. So, although I'm sure that Harry will be all right with Albus being gay (I know I reveal parts of the plot here... Sorry!), Albus doesn't know that yet.
Thanks for your opinions of the chapter. I'm glad you took your time and helped me! :-) Report Review
Hello again. Thought I’d carry on with this as I had a few spare moments. I liked that this was the chapter we met Helena for the first time; it seemed a very natural progression from the previous chapter and I think had you left the introduction of Helena later, it would have been a bit too late. As a character, I like her very much. I can clearly see the resemblance between the girl you’ve written and the ghost we seen in canon; she’s clearly very intelligent and ambitious and I think her determination to find a husband who will allow her freedom is very fitting. It will be interesting to see the side of her that steals the diadem to come through.
However, I didn’t like Rowena as much. I thought she came across as overly society-conscious and far too obsessed with finding her daughter a husband for me to connect her to the Founder who prized learning above all else. I don’t think it’s too unbelievable for her to have wanted her daughter to marry well, but I think the problem is that we don’t see any other side of her in this chapter. I’m sure there’s more to her character and that it might be revealed later, but in this introduction I think it would have been nice to see more of the side of Rowena that founded Hogwarts.
I also think that this chapter progressed rather slowly compared to the others. In all honesty, not much happens, and while I did like the introduction of Helena in the beginning and the arrival of the letter from Salazar at the end, the parts in between felt a little like filler for me. I think because of this I also noticed the sort of language you used a lot more, which also slowed the chapter down for me. I don’t know whether it’s your usual style, or whether you’re trying to enhance the historical aura, but your language was rather flowery and description heavy at times. The result is that you take a lot longer than you should to convey a simple message, such as, ‘...taking his daughter gently about the shoulders and pulling her against his portly belly’ instead of just saying he pulled her into a hug. Things like this weighed the story down for me and made my progression through the chapter much slower. Again, I don’t know if I’m noticing this because of the lack of action.
However, these things aside, I am enjoying the story. The intriguing ending, and especially Helena’s thoughts about Venn, have made me definitely want to continue reading. Thanks for writing this!Author's Response: Hello again!
I'm glad you liked getting to know Helena and felt like my timing was right in introducing her and her family. It's great that you feel like my Helena resonates with the girl from canon, both in corporeal and ghostly form, and that you can appreciate what I've done with her character so far. Obviously, I'm planning for more complexities to reveal themselves as the story progresses.
Well, like you said, this is only your first time meeting her. I felt like if I wrote her as being all about the books, it would be a little too cliche, and that it would fit more in with the time period if I had her care a decent amount about her daughter finding a suitable husband. I do think I could play up the academic parts of her personality a little more, though, and I'll keep that in mind for the future. You certainly haven't seen the last of her.
Your other comments here are interesting, because you're the first person to say that the chapter seemed to go too slowly for you. With my older style of writing, I had a tendency to progress through the action a little too quickly, and with my two current novels, I've been determined to slow down the pacing and really take my time introducing characters and events. I'm sorry that you felt like it was filler, but I wanted to give Helena the same extended introduction that I offered for Venn. As for the imagery and wording, I'm afraid that's just my way of writing, and again, most other reviewers seem to enjoy it. If it's not your cup of tea, I'm afraid my work just may not be something you'd enjoy. On the other hand, the action will be picking up from this point, so you may like it if you do choose to continue.
Thanks for another lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
You’ve got some interesting developments going on here, but I think overall, it’s moving rather quickly, and that is detracting from my enjoyment of the story. Another reviewer pointed out that you often jump forward in time, the example she gives is when he decides to go to Hogsmeade, and I do have to agree, and apply her point to the story in general. This chapter is only just shy of two thousand words, and yet you cover many months in which the situation between Albus and Scorpius progresses from never having spoken to being fairly good friends.
Simply, I don’t think you’ve got enough here to paint a believable picture of the development in their relationship. I think that you need to add a few more scenes here and there so that the sole focus of the story (or these chapters so far) isn’t Albus’ longing for Scorpius, which I found to be a little repetitive at times. You could add in a few sub-plots; perhaps Rose is having trouble in her relationship, or Lily or one of Albus’ cousins is failing at lessons and needs help. Then you’ve got time for the relationship between Scorpius and Albus to develop, for there to be a few more little looks, perhaps a couple of words exchanged here and there, for Albus to more gradually realise that perhaps Scorpius could feel the same way.
I think this story does have potential and that you are a competent writer; there were only a few mistakes I saw and your sentences are coherent and structured rather well. You make a good attempt at characterisation, and I can clearly see the differences and faults in each character which adds to the story as a whole. So overall, I do think you perhaps need to think about fleshing your story out more, but what you have here isn’t bad.Author's Response: Thank you for your review! I appreciate that you give me your honest opinions and cc. It's good that you point out which aspects of the chapter I need to improve.
I will consider your thoughts of this when I continue to work on my writing. Thanks for helping me! :-) Report Review
Aaah, I was wondering if Salazar would be the Baron’s uncle; you mentioned the locket adorned with an S in the last chapter. I like the fact that he is; it’s giving the Baron interesting ties to other canon characters and adds a bit more to his history, which I am loving at the moment. I’ve honestly never thought about the Baron outside his forbidding, ghostly form we see in the books, so to read about him in this sort of way is very, very interesting.
I also like the way the story is progressing, the mention of Helena Ravenclaw has spiced things up for me a little and kept my interest once more, and I like the picture you’re painting of Venn as someone who isn’t interested in marriage, but rather more focused on his inheritance. Edeline and Salazar are also interesting characters as well; Salazar because we know about him from the books, so he is inherently going to draw attention, and Edeline because she feels like a realistic character for the age, but whom also could have further parts to play.
Again, it was well written, and your imagery and detail were fantastic, from the peasants working in the fields (incidentally, if they lived in the castle, they would actually get to eat the grain they were harvesting) to the descriptions of the food in the hall. You have painted a historical picture very well, especially in the way that they speak. It was very realistic, but there were some small historical mistakes. First of all, there were no dukes or duchesses in England until the fourteenth century when Edward III created the Black Prince Duke of Cornwall. Secondly, no peaches in England until they were brought over from the Americas in the seventeenth century, and lastly of my little nitpicks, there would be no ballroom in a castle. All the entertainment would take place in the hall, which is also where everyone except the lord and his immediate family would have slept.
Something else that I noticed, was the lack of Hogwarts being mentioned. At times, I was actually unsure whether or not Venn was actually a wizard as magic isn’t at all mentioned, except for the presence of house-elves. I felt it would have been better, perhaps, to include a mention or two just to keep the ties in there and remind the reader that these people are still wizards.
But overall, I am really enjoying this. You tell a good story.Author's Response: Hello again!
I'm glad that you enjoyed my characterization of Venn. I did think it would be neat to tie him to Salazar, since he was eventually chosen as the Ghost of Slytherin House and I feel like you would have to figure prominently in Slytherin's mind for that to be the case. It's great that you like getting to see a different side of him and that you like the supporting characters as well. I hope you feel the same way about the Ravenclaws if you read further.
As for your comments regarding historical accuracy, I feel like I've addressed them sufficiently in the last review, so I won't mention them again. You make a good point about Hogwarts, but I was trying to go in a little bit of a different direction here, since it seems like almost every story on the archive concerns Hogwarts in one way or another. It's definitely going to come up more in the next few chapters and as the story progresses, since it would be silly to leave it out of a Founders story entirely, but the two main characters have aged out of Hogwarts and I don't feel like it would be the forefront of the story for them. I do think it would be nice to make more mentions of magic in the story, though, and I'll keep that in mind as I write.
Thanks so much for another lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
I really liked this. I love Founders Era fics, but haven’t read one centring on Helena and the Baron before, so I’m very intrigued. This chapter was a great one to start off with. It captured my attention and curiosity, and while in reality, not much happened, you set the scene and gave little hints of characterisation and the story to come. Your use of imagery is excellent, as is the detail you pepper around, such as the wedding dress (which I also thought was a good way to introduce us to Helena’s character without her actually appearing).
What I really liked about this chapter was the realisation that the Baron is a ghost. I admit that I was puzzled before this came to light because Helena and the Baron wouldn’t actually have spoken the form of English that the inscription on the mirror is written in, and so the mirror couldn’t have been around while they were living. But other than explaining a few things, it was also very well executed. It throws a whole different light over what the reader has just read and it’s such an incredibly sad, short little sentence. Very heart-wrenching and an excellent way of doing it.
I had a few little nitpicks, and they really are that. First of all, they didn’t have war medals, such as we know them, in the tenth or eleventh century, nor did they have the military ranks we know today. Their ranks followed the patterns of their nobility, with Feudalism being in use after the Conquest (though this could well be set before). Also, would ghosts really be much use in decorating the Great Hall? They aren’t corporeal and so would not be able to hold any decorations.
On a not-quite-so-nitpicky note, I did find the sentence, ‘It was a testament to his boredom that he had ventured to visit the mirror so many times,’ to be contrasting what come later. To me, he’s clearly there to see Helena again, and I got the impression that he knows that, so why would his boredom be a factor? Unless he’s in denial about how he feels, of course, but I felt that his reactions to what he saw; the want to touch her image and his distress at knowing that he ended up killing her, makes me think that he isn’t in denial.
But that didn’t at all spoil from the enjoyment I got from reading this. A great story.Author's Response: Hello! It was very kind of you to come by and "randomly" check out this story, and I'm sorry that my response has taken a little while.
I'm very pleased that the imagery caught your attention, and that you felt drawn in even by such a short prologue. I imagine that the mirror will return as a theme at the end of the story, just because I really liked using it and the readers have responded so well to it.
You won't see this until you get to chapter two, but while I tried to be as historically accurate as I could be, I'm not a history student and make no claims of perfection. If you have resources from which you draw these facts, I'd love to know about them, because I search around while writing these chapters and yet I didn't find anything about what you've pointed out. However, I hope you can at least appreciate that I made an effort.
As for the ghosts, I realize that they're not corporeal, but I don't see why they wouldn't be asked to help. For instance, Nearly Headless Nick wanted to be part of the Headless Hunt, and you would need to be able to hold the reins to ride a horse, right? I'm sure there's something they could do to help out, since it would be a lot to do and the faculty need all the help that they can get.
Hmm, I see what you mean about that sentence. He's not really in denial about how he feels at this point, so maybe boredom isn't the right word, but I did want to convey that he had gone to visit the mirror a lot because he had nothing else to occupy his time. I might have to go back and take a second look at that later if someone else mentions it.
Thanks so much for your very thorough review! :)
-Amanda Report Review
Hi there : )
I thought this was a very interesting one-shot. The emotion running through the piece was incredibly raw and I liked that. I thought at the beginning especially, the emotive language you used in describing the state of Lily in contrast to what she had been was very well done. Ginny’s thought processes seemed very natural throughout, almost as if she’s started the grieving process already, but then comes the end, and the dreadful event itself and the grieving will begin in earnest. I also like how Ginny stays strong at the end. Her daughter has just died, but she still tells herself to be strong for her granddaughter, and I thought that was quite in-keeping with her character.
There were sentences, though, that sort of lost the effect for me, usually because of repetition of the same word in close proximity. I always feel that things like this jar the flow of the sentence and can sound a little bland, for example the repetition of ‘body’ in the first sentence, and also the use of ‘huge’ in the sentence that begins, ‘her dainty little steps...’. There were also a few sentences that didn’t feel quite complete, like this one,
The shine, long vanished from her beautiful sparkling brown eyes, leaving them obsolete.
These things can usually be fixed either by a beta going over your work or else giving the piece a thorough read-over yourself. But overall, I thought it was a very sad, very emotive piece. Thanks for sharing!Author's Response: Hey thank you for the review.
I liked the raw emotion within this because I felt it helped the story come across more. The contrast to me was one of the most difficult things to write because it really showed the differences and how much she's deteriorated.
Most authors will agree that Ginny is a very hard character to write because she always seems so strong so I tried to portray that.
Some of those sentences were needed and I think that the repetition worked there. I do have a beta and we've been through it so I think what's left does work but thank you for pointing it out Report Review
Hi there, this is SapphireatDawn from the forums with your review. I’m so sorry it’s so shockingly late.
I love anything Lily and James, and while this was perhaps a tad too fluffy for me, I still liked how bittersweet the ending was. I want to cry out to them just to run! Run away now! However, I do have to tell you that Lils was seventies posh slang for breasts, so I can’t see Lily being too happy at being called that. But that is something I would never in a million years expect you to know.
I also thought that at times, your dialogue was a little expositionary and therefore rather forced an unnatural. For example when you mention the parents. While I actually really like the idea of a loveless marriage between James’ parents (a different way of explaining why he was so loved as a child), I didn’t feel that it needed to be mentioned, the same with Lily’s friends. It felt like you were trying to give a bit of background, which I understand, especially in the case of the parents as Lily is clearly worrying about it, but doing so in dialogue I don’t think worked very well. It would have been better, perhaps, to have told the story from the perspective of one of the characters, who can then think about their parents. It would feel a lot more natural.
But I thought that Lily’s concerns and worries were natural. I didn’t really understand why you were referring to the war as ‘upcoming’ because they’re pretty much in the middle of it now. Several members of the Order of the Phoenix have died, and we hear a lot in the books about the murders, disappearances and fear that was around when the first war was on. The war that ended with the deaths of Lily and James. But back to my original point. I thought that the way Lily was worrying about raising a family was very well done, and I also liked James’ attempts to reassure her. I imagine either one or both of them would be feeling like this fairly often. Very well done.
On the characterisation side of things, I think you did a good job there as well. I think the idea of James still being rather bewildered at the fact he’s a father is believable; they are only twenty one and having been such an un-serious person in school, I think at times he might, perhaps not struggle with the idea, but be shocked, perhaps, at the fact that he’s a dad. One thing I would say, though, is at the beginning you say this,
‘...or did you inherit your mother’s brains?’
Throughout the series, it’s actually James we hear about with the reams of talent and intelligence. McGonagall refers to him either as one of the brightest she’s ever taught, or one of the brightest in the year (can’t remember which), so it’s not just Lily with the brains. I just thought I’d mention this as I come across it quite a lot in fics.
However, overall, I thought this was a sweet yet very sad little one-shot. Nice job.Author's Response: Hi!
Is it really? Oh god, I shall fix that and you're right - I had no idea :P Yeah, dialogue isn't my strong point but I'm working on it, thanks :)
Good point about the war - I may change that one day if I ever remember (I have a terrible memory)
Thank you for such a detailed and amazing review! I'll take everything you said into consideration when I edit it :D
Jas Report Review
Hi there, this is SapphireatDawn from the forums with your review. I’m so sorry it’s so shockingly late.
I did quite like this. To be honest, your characterisation of Slytherin doesn’t go against Rowling’s at all. We only hear the bad things about Slytherin and I don’t think it’s an unbelievable idea to have him fall in love with someone, in fact, I’ve seen several stories that feature this pairing. Also, you’ve got Margaret noting that he’s a foreboding man and that people are scared of him, which I think sufficiently links him to the figure we hear about in the series. It doesn’t feel odd at all.
I think at times the era sort of slipped away from you, which I don’t blame you for at all. I think for most people, the sort of society they would have lived in is incredibly incomprehensible. The name Margaret wouldn’t have been common for anyone other than royalty or nobility who had connections to the continent. This all takes place before the Norman Conquest, and the Anglo-Saxons or the Danes are on the throne, so it’s more likely that the original students of Hogwarts had Anglo-Saxon names. There were also a few phrases, such as ‘or so help me-‘ that were a little too modern. These things are very nitpicky though, and I don’t blame you for ignoring me completely here.
One thing I would say about this story, though, is that the ending is fairly abrupt. The words you use at the beginning sort of gives the idea that there’s going to be conflict and scandal in the fic, and that doesn’t happen. Salazar and Helga just have a bit of a kiss in the rain, so it felt a little anti-climatic.
However, this was a very sweet little story, and I liked the use of a Hogwarts student telling the story. It’s not something I’ve seen before and I felt it added an interesting perspective to things. Report Review
Hi there, this is sapphireatdawn off the forums with the review you requested. I’m so sorry it’s taken so long. I think you’re a very competent writer. No spelling or grammatical mistakes leaped out at me, and your sentences were well structured and engaging.
I quite like the picture you’ve painted of Albus, even though at times you did a lot more telling than you did showing, which sort of slowed down the pace for me. I like how you show him in contrast to James and Lily, and also the idea that he has of his father being brave and almost all-knowing. I thought that was a very realistic way of showing how a child of a famous person might see them.
I also liked how you dealt with Albus’ homosexuality, again, having it naturally come upon him rather than there being a shock realisation was a nice change, though I did get the feeling that it was perhaps a little too convenient, like you’d put that in there to avoid having to deal with the big realisation. There’s no talk of Albus’ previous crushes which mainly made me feel this.
I did enjoy this, however, I don’t think very much happened in the actual story itself. It was all Albus thinking about Scorpius and very little action. Even at the match in the end, it’s still an internal monologue from Albus. I felt it bogged down the fic a little and was at times repetitive. Having some action to wake Albus from his daydreaming and force him to think about something else would have made it a little less monotonous.
But I do think you’re a very competent writer, and this was an interesting beginning that set out Albus’ thoughts and feelings towards Scorpius, I just think perhaps you concentrated a little too much on them.Author's Response: Thank you for your review! I'm glad to get some cc! I have been editing and rewriting this fic forever, but I'm not finished yet... I think you've got a point about showing in stead of telling. I will consider that, and maybe change it a bit. The first chapter is somehow the most important one, so maybe I should rewrite part of it.
Yeah, I have to admit that it was rather convenient to find an excuse to skip all that "oh no, what if I'm gay..." thoughts. ;-) But it is also how I think it would be to Albus, since he is so in touch with his emotions.
I promise, there will be more action later on in the story. It is not all about his daydreaming.
I really appreciate your review! I like that you pointed out both things you liked and things that could be better. Thanks! :-) Report Review
Hi there, this is SapphireatDawn from the forums with your review! I quite liked this. The main thing that I liked was Lily. There are so many clichés in Marauder Era, and I really hate it when Lily is characterised as a James hater from day one, and another thing I hate is how James and Lily reach a resolution so quickly after the Snape’s Worst Memory incident. I really liked how, first of all, you said, ‘snapped at him like never before...’ because a lot of fics have Lily shouting at James like that every day. I also liked how Lily feels some remorse for how she has been treating James. I’ve not come across that sort of thing before, and so to have it as the focus of your fic was a great approach and also good characterisation of Lily. Lastly, I liked that despite feeling guilty at how she’s treated him, she still doesn’t want to go out with him. It was a very refreshing and much more believable take on things. Good job there.
So, onto your writing itself. I did notice a few trip ups on the British side of things, one was that Lily called her mother ‘Mom’, rather than ‘Mum’. We Brits never use ‘Mom’. The second, and I really don’t blame you for not knowing this, is that Lil or Lils was seventies posh slang for a woman’s breasts. I can’t imagine Lily permitting anyone to shorten her name in that way! But yeah, that one’s very obscure. Grammatically, there were a few mistakes with commas, one place where you didn’t capitalise the word Lily (though that was probably a typo), and also in regards to dialogue punctuation, in the beginning, there’s this,
‘She shook her head lifelessly and said in a weak voice, “no it's not.”’
Here, the ‘no’ should be capitalised because it’s the start of the sentence that Lily speaks, so it should read,
‘No it’s not.’
Also, with your dialogue I noticed in the beginning that you spliced it rather a lot, i.e you chopped it in half, like this,
‘“Why,” she continued slowly, “is it always like that?”’
I think that while doing this is fine in certain places, and for emphasis, using it one line after another makes the dialogue harder to read in context, because it’s being split up with something completely different in the middle. I found that several times I had to go back and read the line again so I could remember what was being said.
I also think that you could improve your writing by setting the scene a little more and using a little more description and detail. In the beginning, we’re launched right into the middle of the action and it’s a little disconcerting that there’s no real introduction to the story, no setting of the scene. It could have benefitted from a little description of where the girls were, what they were doing, for example, sitting on Mary’s bed in their dormitory. We learn later, because you mention Lily going back to her bed, that they are in the dormitory, but it would have been nice to place us there right from the start so that while I’m reading this, I can picture the characters. Telling a story is all about building a picture with words, and so you need to have a setting.
But overall, I can see you’ve got potential. It was a good story, and I loved the originality you gave to Lily and the situation You’ll only improve by writing more, and I hope that I’ve been able to help!Author's Response: Hi! Thank you for coming and reviewing :D
I'm so glad you like the Lily here. The general approach of the story is the same as many other: Lily hating James at first but later fall in love, but I tried to write it with my interpretation. She's basically a nice and kind person from what I get in the book. She didn't like James, yes, but it didn't mean that she always treated him the way we saw her did in OoTP. I see her exploding in Snape's Worst Memory as the turning point. She's been holding the urge to get really mad at him for too long, and that incident just set her off. And of course she felt bad later, just as a basically nice person would feel... though, yes, it didn't mean she suddenly like the boy. I don't think her feelings changed that rapidly. She's quite stubborn about her dislike after all. I hope that made sense, and I'm glad that you thought it's refreshing and more believable.
Ah.. I know mom should be mum in British. I guess I let my attention slip on that one. And Lil is a slang for what? O my.. I really didn't know... :( I feel so embarrassed right now.. I'll change it for sure +_+
So the no in "no it's not." should be capitalized? I thought it shouldn't because it was still part of the previous sentence. I read the dialogue tutorial on the forum, and I'll read it again to make sure. Thanks for pointing it out.
And ok.. I'll reduce the number of spliced dialogue. Sorry about that :D
I haven't been writing story much, and still trying to figure out many things, and I was trying to do new things in this particular piece (the proportion of spliced dialogues, and the beginning which begins with a dialogue instead of description)... and I'm so glad to get a feedback on that. I will readjust the beginning. I'll put in more description and maybe reduce the dialogue.
Thank you... you're very right. I learn new things as I write more and more.
Your review is very helpful.
Thanks a lot! :D Report Review
Hi there, it’s SapphireatDawn from the forums with your review! Apologies on the lateness. I thought this was a very interesting and powerful one-shot, the type I simply love to read. I loved the dream sequence at the beginning, it felt natural, felt like a dream and the metaphor of shadowy Ted taking Dora was great. Very well executed. However, the dream at the end felt a little out of place. Whereas the first one fit smoothly into the story, as it was a progression from Andromeda asleep to waking up in the morning, the second one felt abrupt and almost tacked onto the end. There was no progression as there was in the first and so it felt strange. I thought you could have made it a smoother transition by perhaps showing more of Andromeda’s day, maybe she returns to the house and in the evening looks at some old photograph albums, which would foreshadow the dream a little bit more. This is not to say I didn’t like the end dream sequence, I thought it was very touching, I just think that structurally, it was a little out of place.
Your writing itself was good, I thought. It was engaging and well thought out. I’d like to have a look at some of your other stuff to see how it compares because I think you’d be able to tell a good story. However, at times I think you put a little too many descriptive words into your narrative which sort of detracted from what you were actually trying to say, for example ‘the warm floorboards’, ‘fluffy blue dressing gown’ and ‘rubber wellingtons’. Adjectives are best used sparingly because adding them in everywhere can lead to purple prose, and as I’ve said, detract from the story you’re trying to tell.
Overall, I liked this very much. It’s an interesting take on Andromeda and a very poignant, emotional one shot that was a pleasure to read.Author's Response: Thank you for the feedback!
I'm glad you felt the dream sequence was realistic- well, at least as realistic as a dream can be!
I've been wondering what to do about the final section, so thank you for the advice on that. I think I will add a linking paragraph, Andromeda returning from the station and sitting down alone etc.
I take your point about the adjectives; purple prose in fanfic is one of my own pet peeves! I've had a good look at the new one-shot I'm waiting to be validated and have cut down on the adjectives. Guilty as charged!
I just had the second chapter of a new short story validated, if you want to read more of my stuff - I know I have only a small collection at the moment!
Thank you so much for your review, it's really great to get some feedback and I'm very glad that you enjoyed my writing. Report Review
Hi there! Here’s the review you requested, I’m so sorry it’s stupidly late. So anyway... I have to admit that I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, or that you would be as good an author as you are, and that is because I think your summary is a little weak. There’s a lot of expressive punctuation in it, which to me made it seem like the writing would be a little immature. I couldn’t have been more wrong, so I think perhaps that is something you should edit a little.
Right. The story. First of all, I love the way you write. It’s a very humorous style, quite witty, and I really liked that. I think it added a great little dimension to the idea of the dodgy dealer, making them seem not quite so bad as the title of ‘dodgy dealer’ suggests. I think it also hinted at a great story to come with many more funny moments and made me really want to read on.
However, I do think your dialogue generally was not as strong as your narrative paragraphs. I think the cause of this is that you don’t combine your dialogue with the narrative, with your character’s actions and observations. I think that if you threw a few of your narrative lines in amongst the dialogue, it would be much better, much more enjoyable to read and produce a better flow to the story.
So, the plot itself. One thing that made me frown a little was the fact that Cillian was selling unicorn’s blood at ten Galleons a vial. In HBP, Slughorn says that he could sell unicorn hair at ten Galleons a strand. The blood is going to be much, much harder to get hold of. I also question the likelihood of people actually selling it anyway, considering the idea of killing a unicorn is apparently a major taboo (from what Firenze says in the first book). I’d suggest that if it’s not important to the plot, substitute it for something else, perhaps unicorn hair. I also find it a little odd that Lily, the Minister’s daughter, wants to go and stay with people she’s just met, people, moreover, who frequent Knockturn Alley. True, the characters don’t seem all that dangerous, but there is no way that Lily could know that. I get the idea is kinda important to the story, though, so I see why you have included it, I just personally don’t think it was the best way to do it.
As to your question about the characters. I think they’re very interesting. I said above that they don’t fit the stereotypical skulker-down-Knockturn-Alley and I like that. The humour as well adds something to Cillian’s characterisation. They’re likable, which adds a bit of conflict because they’re obviously not the most moral of people. I’m interested in where the story is going, mainly because of the characters, to be honest. I want to see what happens to them, and if they’re the ones who kidnap Lily, how that comes about and how they deal with it.
So, overall, I really enjoyed the story and your style of writing. I'm interested as to what happens and how the story develops and will be keeping an eye out for updates. Feel free to re-request a review for further chapters!Author's Response: Oh, don't worry, you are not late at all! You obviously give very in-depth reviews, so it's more than understandable that it would take a few days to get through them.
Hmm, I guess I can see how the summary may come off a little silly or something, but this story is a little silly, so I guess it's not really something I'm overly concerned with. I guess I don't really understand your comment about expressive punctuation, though, because I only used one exclamation point in it, which doesn't seem very excessive. Regardless, I'm glad that you have taken the time to give me all of this critique with the review.
I'm glad you like the way I write! Definitely one of the biggest points of the story is that just because they're making their money off of something illegal doesn't mean that they're bad people. They're pretty fun, really.
I can see how the dialogue doesn't always come off as strong as the narrative. Narrative has always been a stronger point for me; I've always found it easier to capture a wide range of emotions with it.
You know, the currency conversions have always been a bit tricky for me. I did try to find the information regarding what you pointed out about Slughorn, but I couldn't find it online and I don't have the books with me at college, so I had no way of looking it up in there. And yeah, killing a unicorn is definitely taboo, but it is the black market, and you don't necessarily have to kill the unicorn to get some blood from it. In the context of the story, it's definitely a rare item, though. It's not something these people would come across very often, even in their line of work. And they don't get it direct from the source, so to speak. In regards to Lily, well, she doesn't have a whole lot of common sense. Yes, these people are strangers to her, but it doesn't bother her. She's not much for thinking things through - at all. She's definitely an impulsive character and because of these things, she wouldn't really see an issue with her idea. She's risky.
I'm glad you like the characters. They're a lot of fun to write. And yeah, I definitely didn't want them to be stereotypical of what people think criminals like them to be. They're unique in that sense. The explanation of the 'kidnapping' happens in the next chapter, which I think is where the excitement really starts to build.
I'm really pleased that you enjoyed the story and the characters. This was quite the review and I really appreciate it. Thanks! Report Review
Hi there, here’s your review as requested. Sorry it’s ridiculously late. I think this story had a very interesting premise. I liked all the action that was going on but I felt that it all went past a little quickly. The story was over before it even began, and I thought that it was a shame, given everything that is going on. I think that you need to add a bit more description, a bit more detail which would slow the story down and also add to characterisation if you delved into your character’s emotions a little more. The reason I say this is because I didn’t really see Remus in your character. We know he’s usually a pretty level-headed guy, in Snape’s Worst Memory, he’s the one who stays sitting on the ground, he doesn’t jump up to join in the offensive and I would have liked to have seen a little more in this on why he acted the way he did. I don’t think it’s unbelievable, considering that it’s Greyback, but I would have liked to see a little more of his thought processes so I could really get inside his head and see why he was thinking as he was. Emotional connectivity is important in a story.
On the grammatical side of things, you shouldn’t use multiple punctuation, like ?! Either it’s a question, in which you should use the question mark, or an exclamation, in which you should use an exclamation mark. I’ll show you why:
‘“Fun?” I replied angrily. “Fun!? You call that fun?’
The exclamation mark here after your question mark is not necessary. We know Remus is angry because firstly, you say so, secondly, the situation he’s in and thirdly because you repeat the word fun. The reader knows he will be shouting the word in disbelief, so you do not need to emphasise it with an exclamation mark. Also, back to grammar, you should always write out numbers below one hundred in your text, so,
‘“12,” Peter started counting off the werewolves.’
‘“Twelve,” Peter started counting off the werewolves.’
Another thing, I didn’t quite understand the ending. Did Remus see into the future, and now it was happening again, and knew that him acting the way he did would put his friends in danger, would act differently? Or was it just foreshadowing and Remus could do nothing about it? I don’t know if you left this deliberately ambiguous, but I felt it would have made a less confusing ending if you had hinted at what was going to happen.
So, all in all, I think you have a story here with a lot of potential. I think it needs a little work in order to slow down the pace of the story, but I do think the idea is a very good one.Author's Response: Hmm... Thanks for reviewing and sorry for the late reply! Anyways I understand what you mean about slowing it down, which has always been a problem of mine, but... I don't think it is in this story to be honest. Sorry you thought it was a little fast paced, and that my characterization was off a bit.
Grammar is not my forte so thank you for pointing that out! I'll fix it in an edit later on. :)
The ending was made like that on purpose, it's not so much confusing as it is thought provoking no? It's hinted already in the story, but it's vague on purpose.
Thanks for the review again! Even if I don't really agree with it :P Thanks :)
Personally, I think it’s a huge risk writing Harry, especially in the first person, because we know him so well from the books, I don’t think I’d ever be able to write him as completely as Rowling does, so I take my hat off to you for bravery! Unfortunately, I did think you slipped up on a couple of occasions, but really, I am incredibly nitpicky when it comes to Harry characterisation and I confess to not reading much written from his PoV, Hogwarts era or Next Gen. What I think I found the hardest to digest here was that Harry sounded rather immature at times. He sounded more like a teenager, with his constant refusal to answer the question and frequent longing for a drink, rather than a mature man in his mid twenties with a successful career and three children. Had you set it when he was younger and still fresh from his long struggle with Voldemort, it might have sounded more apt than it does now, a decade or so later.
Which brings me onto another point. While I like the structure of the story, having the questions and then Harry’s memories, I do feel that it was a little implausible in the set up of it. I personally find it unbelievable that the wizarding community are still scared and want to know what happened ten years later. A decade is a very long time and a lot of things can happen. As I said above, I think it would have been a better idea to set it earlier, not only for characterisation purposes, but so the scenario is more believable. However, then you wouldn’t have as many adorable moments between Harry and Ginny to fall back on, which is the main point of the story. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to have Harry either find an article where he’d been asked those questions, or think about one where he refused to answer, and think about how he would answer those questions now
Don’t get disheartened by all this, I do think that in the right circumstances that this could be a lovely little fic, it’s light-hearted, fluffy, sweet and funny at times (I also love that Romilda is the reporter! A very apt career for her!).Author's Response: In so ways yes, I agree with you, writing Harry is really hard, and it's hard for me too, I always find myself wondering is this right for him. I think in many ways that works for me though gives me challenge.
I'm going to this out right. I agree with you, you are right, and I was actually planning on setting it in an earlier time before, but then my hands go the best of me and soon Romilda was asking about his kids and such.
I'm also there is a 3% chance that I'm going to go back and re-edit it, because while I want my work to be the best and for people to enjoy every second of it, I'm just happy in a lot of ways were it is right now.
I have to say though, I loved your review, and I thank you for taking the time to review it.
Lizzie Report Review
This was interesting, but it sort of divided me. On the one hand, you did really well establishing such a dark mood and at times, I loved your description, for example the line ‘the dark, dank feeling that cloaked the room like mildew, grew like death’ is wonderful and so emotive. Lines like this really set the scene for me. However, I felt that often, the dark mood was spoiled by what your character was thinking, like thinking about the pumpkin pasties when she’s in that sort of situation, or about her friend asking for an autograph just before she’s going to kill someone. It felt immature and frivolous at such an important time, and didn’t felt too light hearted to be realistic. Sure, people would think about their friends and families at such times, and later on, when the character was about to kill the man, you did it very realistically, but those examples I’ve given really felt out of place.
I was also wondering how the character came to be in the situation in the first place. I think there ought to have been some background to what was happening rather than throwing the reader into the middle of the action because I found it confusing, and also I was sceptical. Sceptical about the chances of those sorts of things actually happening to your character because there’s nothing there to tell me why someone would be in that situation. Along the same vein, a little more detail about who your character is would have been good as well, just so I had something to go on; her age, her situation, whether she was still at school or not. Perhaps things like this come up in later chapters, but it would have been nice to have a couple of hints here.
Overall, I thought this was interesting, and you certainly have a gift for description, but I think you need to work how your character’s thoughts and actions impact on your writing and the mood you’ve created.Author's Response: Hi, first off, thank you for coming by and giving me your honest opinion. I really appreciate your concerns and thoughts.
I understand some of your concerns about disrupting the flow and it had been something I thought about after it had been written and worried that people might be annoyed at it. But the more i thought about it the more i felt like it fit with my character and how she relates to life. I don't know if you've ever been in a really serious situation and had the most inappropriate thought cross your mind? That's sort of what's happening here. I haven't gotten much flak for it so I've left it all in.
Anyway, I also find that it's easy to write a scene that's super dark and super intense emotionally but it just seems really typical. I didn't start it out with this in mind but it sort of came that i wanted to try and balance out a few different feelings at once.
Anyway, about the confusion, it's hard doing it the way i'm doing it since it's in reverse chronologic order. So we start the story knowing the answer but not the question. Which isn't what our minds are used to, we want to know what leads to this moment first, we want that background info, but back to one of your other points at the beginning of the review, in this moment, will she actually be thinking about her age? Or thinking about going to school? That seems, to me, extraneous thoughts for something like this. I started writing this to see if I could explore in those moments when your life is about to change what things will flash before you mind in that moment. We'll be finding out a lot of the things you asked as she starts remembering back onto her life in later chapters. I actually like the ambiguity here. I don't necessarily think that a whole bunch of background information is needed in the first chapter. It really annoys me sometime when the author just shoots out a lot of info at you in the first chapter and forgets to put in the plot because i'm not going to keep reading if there is just a bunch of stuff about the character that isn't important to the immanent moment. I may be wrong with that thought though.
Again though, i do really appreciate your comments and opinion and you have given me something to think about. :D I hope you haven't taken my comments back harshly or anything i'm just trying to explain where i'm coming from with this as well. Thanks for stopping by! ;D
I have to say, this is the best piece of fanfiction I’ve read in ages. I love it. Usually, I’m not the biggest fan of second person, I often find it contrived and that it adds an air of melodrama to a fic, but here I liked it. It was engaging rather than obtrusive and at times I forgot it was even there. However, you always run a risk with second person that it can get a bit bogged down with all the narrative, and I did think it fell prey to that particular evil in the middle, but I think that was mainly due to something else which I will discuss later.
I like James as a character. To answer your question, I do think he sounds like a realistic twenty-one year old, and I especially like how you reveal him to us. It’s a gradual introduction and subtle as well, the way you throw hints as to his personality outside what we’re seeing, the fact that he’s bad at Quidditch, has had his Apparation licence taken away, it adds to the bigger picture of a decent, well rounded and believable character. He’s a very likable and interesting character.
Technically, your writing was great. I noticed only a few misplaced commas and your sentences on the whole were well structured, however, you do tend to sometimes repeat descriptive words in the same sentence which I felt jarred the flow a little, for example the use of large in this sentence ‘...a man wearing a large-brimmed hat with a large staff in one hand’. I feel that using a different word for one of the ‘large’s would produce a better sounding sentence. The same thing happened in one of the beginning sentences with the word ‘stop’. Here, I understand that you’re using it as an effect, but it hasn’t really worked, the execution could have been tightened up a little, I feel. You’re also guilty of my pet peeve; alright vs all right. Technically, ‘alright’ isn’t a word, it should always be separated out as ‘all right’. But that’s just me being nitpicky.
So, onto my biggest points. Though I generally really liked your style, I thought that at times you were a little overly descriptive, and I think I really noticed this because actually, not much happens in this chapter. Essentially, it’s an elaborate description of his day, especially in the second part. There isn’t much conflict, much plot compared with the word count aside from James’ argument with his family and the appearance of the suspicious guy in the pub. These things did add a very interesting element, but there was a lot of words in between which didn’t really add a huge amount to the story. Had your chapter been action packed, I don’t think I would have noticed the description as much as I did. There’s enough plot there to gain my attention, but I wasn’t enthralled by what was happening. Whether this is a case of adding more plot or taking away description, I couldn’t say as at times I did really enjoy the detail primarily because of the way it was written. Details like the gas and oil lamps were a brilliant touch, so I think it would be a case of both, to be honest; pruning as well as adding.
However, I did really like this and I will certainly be looking out for other chapters. Like I said, this is the best written things in terms of style I’ve seen in a while and so for me, that cancelled out the points above.Author's Response: Hey there! Thank you! I really enjoy writing second person - I haven't read that much of it, to be honest, so I have no idea what it's usually like - so I'm glad you liked it too!
Thank you! I was a bit worried that perhaps he would seem too much of a troublemaker (in a bad way, you know, not like Fred and George) and that might put people off. Characterisation is also very important to me, so thank you! :D
Ooh, thank you for pointing that out! I got a beta not long after you sent me this review (not because of what you said or anything, in case you think that) and I'm pretty sure she's fixed those problems for me - but I'll definitely remember to look out for things like that in the future. And commas. Alas, they are not my friends. I used to put them everywhere, so thanks for mentioning it - I'll be extra-careful! No! Really? O.o I could have sworn 'alright' was a word... no way... wow. I honestly didn't know that! Thanks! I'm sorry it's your pet peeve and I committed that, but I'm also kinda glad - I would never have found that out otherwise.
Hm... yeah, that was what I was worried about. I always write a lot of description, thinking I don't have enough... thanks for letting me know, though - it's really, really helpful! Particularly for the later chapters - I'll bear that in mind when I write them. I agree with you, though, it's probably a bit of both - take some away, add some more in.
Thank you so so much for this review! It was incredibly helpful (and really honest as well - so lovely!) and just so nice! Thank you! And I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond - I'm not usually this bad, I swear!
Aph xx Report Review
This was quite short and sweet. Luna and Neville is a pairing I can see happening, but think that it needs a little work to make believable as in the books, Neville is rather baffled by Luna’s eccentricities and I would have liked to see a little more of exactly why he liked her contrary to his initial appraisal of her oddities. Remember, Neville does not want to sit with Luna when we first meet her and so it would have been nice if we’d had a gradual development, or an insight into the development here.
Characterisation wise, I think you did a good job with Neville. I’ve never attempted him personally, but I think you’ve got his awkwardness and also his boldness at accepting Luna’s offer down well. The one character I would question, though, is Harry. I honestly can’t see him being so brash and almost bragging about saving the world. I can’t actually see him referring to what he’s been doing as saving the world at all, he’s far too modest and what he’s been through has cost him too many loved ones for him to joke about it.
Technically, I did notice a few mistakes with commas, and you often capitalised the word ‘summer’ when it was not needed (incidentally, Brits wouldn’t call it ‘summer break’, it would be ‘summer holiday’ instead). Also, I think you needed to set the scene a little more in the beginning. Harry, when he speaks, sort of pops out of nowhere and I think it would have been good to include that Neville was actually with someone at the beginning. Report Review
This sort of divided me a little. On the one hand, I thought the beginning was good, I loved the part in italics; it was very emotive and gave an insight into Luna’s feelings and her state of mind, a good beginning to set the tone of the fic. However, after that the sections got very short and I don’t think there was enough in them to justify what was happening. I was being told what Rolf was doing, but I couldn’t really picture it or feel it because you didn’t delve into his mind or emotions. I think those sections could benefit from being elongated.
I also spotted a fair few grammatical mistakes, especially with commas, so you might want to enlist the help of a beta who really knows commas to give you a bit of a hand to understand them.
Overall, I felt that this fic showed promise, but the execution of it in the middle parts let it down slightly.Author's Response: Hi
Thankyou for reviewing! The grammar and spelling errors were mostly typos and for some reason I missed them when I was editing. I am also adding alot more into this story, based on yours and others reviews. Hopefully the updated version wil be up soon.
Thanks again. Report Review
In terms of the extraneous detail and the dragging pace, I thought this chapter was much better. I did notice it in the beginning; the scene in the morning did drag and I feel that we didn’t really learn so much to warrant the length of the scene. Something else I also liked was the picture of Lily we get. I’m finding it very interesting seeing Lily, particularly, from someone else’s point of view; it’s almost like going back in time and re-meeting one of your best friends. I also like how you’ve portrayed her not as an uptight never-breaking-any-rules type person. That’s brilliant, because we see from the books that she wouldn’t have been like that. I love a Lily with a bit of bite, and she’s got that here, tempered with other things. However, I’d say she probably wasn’t the best in all her classes, that was probably Sirius and James, from what many people say. The first thing they say about Lily was her kindness. Yes, she was intelligent, Slughorn says that, but she’s never mentioned in the same sentences as James and Sirius in terms of brilliance.
We are getting more from Keria in terms of characterisation, however, I’m not sure I like her at times. In certain places she comes across as very shallow and silly, wanting to be popular and whining that nobody noticed her. I didn’t see why she should feel it was such a big deal that some people didn’t know her name; earlier in the chapter she says something along the lines of ‘if only Henry wasn’t in Wales, this would be perfect,’ alluding to the friends she has, and, I thought, her boyfriend. I dislike that she goes into those shallow and self pitying moments when she knows she has a pretty good time of it already. Her wanting to impress people that she doesn’t know and doesn’t know her not only annoyed me, but didn’t make sense. With the other characters, I’m still not getting much of Mel and Reyna. Sure, we learn a bit about them in the beginning of the chapter, but you’re telling us about them, not showing us and so the characters aren’t standing out to me. Something that is also confusing is the fact that you use character’s surnames. This is only the second chapter and there have been a lot of character’s introduced, I’m only just learning their first names, let alone second names.
Something that didn’t really register in the previous chapter was the use of Alice Longbottom as one of Keira’s friends, Keira who is a year younger than the Marauders. I see Alice used a lot as one of Lily’s friends in fanfiction, but personally don’t think it’s plausible due to time constraints. I usually don’t say anything because it’s a bit much to ask authors to cut a character if they’ve got an established chapter and technically it could work, but I don’t think it’s possible that Alice was younger than the Marauders. First of all, Alice is a qualified Auror at the time she is tortured. Secondly, she has a one year old son and thirdly, she’s got a great reputation as an Auror. Lily and the Marauders leave school in 1978, which leaves just three years for Alice to qualify, have Neville and build her reputation in if she’s Marauder age, which isn’t very much time at all, seeing as she’s got to have a baby as well as train as an Auror. Personally, I think Alice was several years older than Lily and James. With you having her a year younger, she’s not even able to qualify as an Auror.
These things aside, there was a marked improvement and enjoyment in my reading between the first and second chapters, and I’m intrigued to read on and see what happens.Author's Response: I'm glad that this chapter was in improvement for you :)
I've worked really hard on getting Lily's character right, so i'm glad that you think she's up to par. I used Alice's name before I remembered her and Frank, but some reviewers picked up on the name and I decided to run with it. Sorry if it annoys you.
I'll go back and read over the chapters with all of your comments in mind. Thanks so much for the review, it's been really constructive,
- Adele :) Report Review
I think with stories like this, you have to be careful because there have been so many of the same ilk before that clichés are easy to fall into. I think that in this, you’ve done well to avoid many of them, but, for me, you fall in other areas. There were two things I liked very much about this opening chapter. The first was that your main character isn’t in the same year as the Marauders. This isn’t something I have seen before and I thought it was an interesting take and could provide a very fascinating point of view of the Marauder story. The second thing I liked was that the main character’s mother’s dislike of magic. Usually, both in the books and in fanfiction, we see that non-magical people are fascinated by magic and I think by having an unsympathetic character so emotionally close to the main character could provide potential conflict and thus a very interesting storyline. I also thought that technically, your writing was very competent; you had no glaring errors in spelling and the only major grammar mistake I noticed was that you used numbers in your narrative instead of spelling them out (for example, you used 9 ¾ instead of nine and three-quarters).
The thing I think is most difficult about writing a Marauder era story is remembering that you aren’t writing today, the story is taking place several decades ago. Things have changed a lot in the intervening times, especially in the UK as more and more American culture is exported here through media and games and such. I think you’ve fallen here a little. Names like Keira, Mel and Reyna weren’t in use back in the sixties when these characters would have been born. They’re only just becoming popular now. Also, you use a lot of slang and colloquialisms such as ‘chill’, ‘gotten’, ‘slack off’, and ‘damn girl’ that wouldn’t have been around then. This sort of slang not only looked out of place but gave a bit of an immature, unprofessional feel to the story and at times felt very cheesy, which made it read like a bit of a teen TV programme, and I wasn’t really a fan of that. I’d suggest trying to combat this by getting a beta who is British to help, or just asking in the Britisisms thread on the forums if such-and-such a phrase would have been in use in the Marauder era.
The reading experience of this chapter wasn’t as good as I thought it could have been. Firstly because of the reasons I have said already, but also because it was a very long chapter where, really, not a huge amount happened. Your style is very heavy on description and often that was to the detriment of the progression and flow of the story. Scenes that should have been short and to the point were elongated by superfluous detail, for example, the scene where the girls meet Mary and her friends. Currently, from the moment Anthony leaves them to the end of the section, the word count is over five hundred words. All that needs to happen is a relationship established between the two groups of girls. You don’t need to describe Mary’s cat, or exactly where Keira puts Wren, such details take away from what is actually going on and disguises the movement of the plot.
I think this also affected the characterisation. Because there was so much extraneous stuff happening, I didn’t notice the characters as much, because the main character was concentrating on other things. Therefore, I felt that the characters were a little two-dimensional. Granted, this is only the first chapter, but it is a long chapter. I should know more about the character by the end of six thousand words than their hair colour and who fancies who. I should have an idea of what each character is like on a personal level, but I’m not really getting that.
You’re probably a little disheartened reading this, but please don’t be. There is a way to fix every problem I’ve pointed out, with practice and a lot of looking critically at what you’ve written. I don’t think you’ve got a bad beginning here, I think your writing shows a lot of promise, I just think you need to polish a little to get it perfect and iron out a few bad habits.Author's Response: Ahh, thank you. You've given me so much to think about, and I'll defiantly give this chapter a re-visit.
Thanks so much and I hope that besides all of this that you enjoyed it.
- Adele :) Report Review
I quite like this. Mainly I like the conflict that the storyline will bring to the characters, and their ability to deal with what has happened. Very interesting. So far, you’ve done well with their characterisation. I think that the death of a parent is something many people struggle with and you’ve written James and Albus’ struggle very realistically and maturely and it comes across as believable. The emotion is there, which I like, and I love the last line. It’s very poignant and it’s realistic, I think, for James to be thinking along those lines at that moment. We only meet these characters after the tragic events have happened, but I can still gauge that they’ve changed because of the way they react to other characters, and how the other characters react and think about them. It’s well done.
However, I don’t find the idea that they’d be left on their own completely believable. James and Albus will have a huge network of friends and family, and even if they do live on their own, surely various relatives would come round to check on them, make sure they have enough food and money, at the very least. Personally, I think that they’d live with a relative until they’d left Hogwarts, but I could buy the fact that they’d moved in on their own. I also am not a fan of the idea that James cannot inherit his father’s money until he turns twenty-one. We see from the books that Harry inherits from Sirius aged sixteen, so I find it unbelievable that James, who is of age, would not be able to inherit from Harry. It sort of feels like you’ve used it as a plot device to make their situation more complicated and pitiable.
That is me being subjective. Being objective, I found that while your narrative and style of writing was generally good, there were times where you used colloquialisms (such as ‘Hermione’d’ instead of ‘Hermione had’) which made the narrative seem a little unprofessional. I also found these lines,
“If you’re not too busy. You’re Head Boy now, and a Chaser, and it’s N.E.W.T. year,” Al reminded him.
“Well, you’re a Prefect, in N.E.W.T. classes, and the Seeker, for Slytherin,” James reminded him.
a little expositionary, like you were trying to fill the reader in about James and Albus’ situation at Hogwarts. It didn’t feel very natural.
However, as I said above, the writing was generally good and I liked the premises of the story.Author's Response: Wow. Thanks for the amazing review. :)
I'm glad you like it in general. I have a lot of stuff to work on with this, and I'm planning to have it beta-d soon (eventually).
I totally get what you're saying with the second paragraph. I did that because, well, Harry wasn't planning to die, and didn't think it would be an issue to freeze it until James is older. Just his mistake . . .
Plus, James wanted to do this on his own. He felt that it was his personal duty to his father and to his family to keep them together. Basically, James was very prideful. Also, their empty fridge is because both are leaving for school so they didn't want to buy more to waste it. And you're right; it is a plot device, which will become very important. :)
Thanks for the amazing review!
Ellie Report Review
I’ve got mixed feelings with the beginning of this story. On the one hand I think that technically, it was very well written in a fairly engaging style. I’ve not been reading on this site long, but you’re definitely the best author I’ve read in terms of technical ability. I’m also very intrigued at the premises of the story and interested to see where it might lead, even though I don’t normally read AU.
However, I don’t quite believe that Dumbledore would have been... defeated quite so easily. I think he has great strength of character and an amazing resistance to such things because he knows what he would become if he had possession of the Hallows. That is not to say I don’t think he could ever be bribed in that way, I think he probably could, and I think that would have been the only way Voldemort could have bribed him, when it was done in the right way. My problem here is that Dumbledore’s resilience crumbles much sooner than I think believable. I am also not a fan of the idea that Voldemort knows about and has two of the Hallows. In the books it says that Voldemort would not have known about the Hallows, nobody would have read him such childhood stories and I doubt he would have thought to make the connection even if they did. If he did know about them and did seek them out, why did he not use them to become Master of Death himself? Becoming immortal is Voldemort’s main aim because of his fear of death, I’m sure he would take any opportunity he could to beat it, so why give two of the Hallows that might protect him from death away? This is not explained in this chapter, though perhaps it is in others. However, my first impression is that him having the Hallows is a convenient plot device to enable him to bribe Dumbledore out of the castle.
Perhaps these questions will be answered later in the chapter, and so this is actually part of why I would want to read on. On the technical side of things, something that jumps out at me is your avoidance of the word ‘said’. Writers often strive to come up with different words to use instead of ‘said’, but the truth is that ‘said’ is an invisible word. Readers don’t notice it after dialogue because they’re much more interested in what has come before and what is going to come after. Here, my focus was often taken away from the dialogue because you used a lot of different phrases that caught my attention for the wrong reason.
In terms of characterisation, other than the Dumbledore issue (which, really, I don’t see as a characterisation issue, more of a lack of detail issue), I thought you did well. Dumbledore I find really hard to get right mainly because he’s so wise and enigmatic and I will admit at never having attempted Voldemort. There were a few phrases that I thought wouldn’t have come out of Dumbledore’s mouth ("You think you can bribe me like some cheap whore?" being one), but other than that I think you managed to capture both of them very well.
With your dialogue in terms of structure in the story, sometimes I do think that it was a bit heavy, that there was a bit much of it, but this is personal opinion on style. I prefer a balance of both dialogue and narrative, and here you didn’t have so much narrative, but this is perhaps personal preference rather than a major style issue.
So, all in all, while I do think there are things you could have ironed out a little more in this chapter, I am genuinely intrigued as to where this story goes, and impressed with your technique and ability to craft a story.Author's Response: My greatest weakness is shown again.
It's difficult to have so many ideas bouncing around your head and to have all these threads of narrative prepared for this giant web, but not having the needle to tie them together.
Riddle's knowledge and subsequent disregard of the Hallows is a key element to his character in this story but Dumbledore's quick acceptance and defeat is certainly not within character. It's almost easier to just say that Riddle became the Headmaster without showing it, but I feel it would be a big disservice to the former Headmaster to not have this scene incorporated.
Plot contrivances, my greatest weakness and my most often used tool.
You are correct again that I often avoid using the word 'said.' Somewhere along the line, an English teacher told me to avoid the word 'said' like the plague and I took the lesson to heart. There are chapters when I use said frequently and there are chapters such as this prologue that I come nowhere near them, but I understand the distraction.
I have difficulty balancing dialogue with narrative. Sometimes I think when I defer to descriptions, I'm simply hammering away at the reader that this is what it looks like and I try to use the more subtle force of dialogue. Yet, the dialogue doesn't always come out as natural and ends up being a bit heavy handed as you said. I don't know - I haven't found the perfect balance between the two yet.
But thank you very much for your review. It was incredibly insightful, not only from a character and plot perspective, but a different prospective on my stylistic choices. Report Review
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