Oh no, not the tea! What an awful way to go...
I really liked this story, it was so interesting and readable. Your writing has a kind of simplicity that makes it a pleasure to read. Charlie was a brilliant narrator...I loved how matter-of-fact he was. It was quite nice that he didn't have an angst attack when he realised he had been poisoned as I think that would have been quite out of character for him.
The first two paragraphs were the weakest points of the story, in my opinion. The repetition that it was an ordinary day but he would be dead in twenty four hours time felt a little forced. It was like you were telling the reader how ordinary the day was instead of showing them.
I really liked how Charlie methodically went through all the possibilities when he realised he had been poisoned. It seemed very in-character for him to want to run over the past day and try to identify the poison. Plus it reinforced how terrible it was when he finally found out that it was the tea...the other options (being pricked by a needle, the dragon burn etc) all seemed much more...heroic? That's not the right word but I hope you know what I mean...:D
Overall I thought this was a really great oneshot. Thank you for writing it 9/10 :DAuthor's Response: I'm glad you liked this story and the way that I write. I've always felt that Charlie was a simple, down-to-Earth kind of guy. Thanks for the critique about the first two paragraphs, I guess I was really trying to emphasise the point about it being an ordinary day.
I'm glad you thought Charlie was in-character. We see so little of him in the books, but that is how I imagine him to be. I think working with dragons he would expect to die in a much more adventurous and heroic way (I do know what you mean) rather than something so little and mundane.
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing :) Report Review
I not sure if I should gasp with horror or giggle with surprise. Tea? Poor Charlie! definitely not the most heroic way to go out lol.
I loved your descritions and the way you kept me guessing regarding how he was poisoned until the last few paragraphs!
Great writing! 10/10Author's Response: I'm glad I kept you guessing and that the tea came as a surprise at the end. Poor Charlie, indeed, definitely not a heroic death.
Thanks so much for reviewing! Report Review
Oh no! Not the tea. Oh my goodness, that is too awful! Gee, a couple of these staff challenge prompts have spawned some very sad stories. :-( Actually, I can't say this story is overly sad in tone. Charlie is quite conversational with us, and he isn't really the self-pitying sort. Still, the idea of it makes me think about sniffing a bit.
I really admire the way you made the cup of tea he drank at the beginning of the day seem so completely ordinary. He didn't suspect it, I didn't suspect it, and probably no one suspected it but you! I racked my brains trying to figure out how Charlie could have been poisoned, but that ordinary little cup of tea flew right beneath my radar. I just liked the symmetry of it, mentioning the tea at the beginning and again at the end.
The way you described the effects of the poison on Charlie was quite good as well. It started out innocently enough, with a bit of paleness, a headache, maybe some weakness in the limbs. Maybe he was coming down with the flu or something. Then he needs water and is all weak. Hm, something's not right, but maybe that flu is just really nasty. And then comes the whopper of a description: the kitchen floor hits him on the face. I loved that description! It's much more fantastic than saying, "He crashed to the ground" or similar.
I thought Charlie's thought process after that point was good as well. I really felt how confused and anxious he is, how desperately worried. It's as if he's trying to rationalize his way out of the situation too. Also, it was very sad that he figured out what had happened to him, and then Sarah found him just at the moment of his death. (The very last line was probably my least favorite, but the rest of the story I liked so much it hardly seems worth mentioning.)
I love seeing how much your writing has improved from the earliest things you have posted, and even how it has changed since I first started reading your stories.Author's Response: Yes, the tea. I really loved this prompt as soon as I read it and knew I had to write something for it. I guess it would have been hard for it not to be sad considering that a character had to die (although I know of someone who is writing a comedy piece based on the prompt).
I always admire the way writers are able to include seemingly insignificant information into a story only for the reader to find out at the end that it wasn't insignificant at all. I've always wished I could incorporate that into my writing, and this one-shot was a perfect opportunity to try it out. I'm so glad it turned out to be successful.
I'm glad you liked the way I described the gradual onset of symptoms and I'm glad you liked my description of him hitting the floor. In his dizzy and poisoned state I wanted it to seem as though Charlie hadn't realised at first that he had fallen, as though one minute he was standing and the next he found himself being hit by the floor and not knowing exactly how it happened.
I was a little unsure about the last few lines. I originally only had the first line of the last paragraph, but it didn't feel like a strong ending, so I added the part with Sarah coming down the stairs. The very last line, I guess, almost seems too blunt when I read it again now. I'm always glad you mention these things, it pushes me to be a better writer.
It's great having reviewers who have read all my work and can comment on how much my writing has improved, it makes me feel more confident in my writing and makes me appreciate even more how much HPFF and reviewers like yourself have really helped me on my writing journey.
Thank-you so much for your review. Report Review
Wow! That's so sad, and so real. So many people die in so many stupid and useless ways. I feel for Sarah and the Weasleys.
You tell a story beautifully and with a grace that makes everything you write so easy to read.
The way that Charlie recounts his last day is so well done. His typical day that turned out to be not-so-typical really gives us insight into his personality.
Usually my reviews are fairly long and full of praise and CC for things I think need improvement. This one is rather shorter because I don't see anything that needs improvement.
A masterpiece.Author's Response: Wow! Such high praise! Thank-you so much! (Sorry about the overuse of exclamation marks, but I'm honestly astounded you thought it was 'a masterpiece'!)
It is true that people die every day in the most silly and mundane ways. Poor Molly loses another son before his time, I feel kind of mean for doing that to her.
I'm glad you were able to glean insight into Charlie's character from this piece, as you mentioned in my blog he is really quite an interesting character to write.
Thank you so much for the lovely review! I can't wait to read your entry for the staff challenge :) Report Review
Wow, this is a very good story! I really enjoyed it, well done! 10/10Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Report Review
Lovely! You paint such a believable picture that I'm sure we could all feel ourselves standing in poor Charlie's shoes. He is utterly human and evinces no supernatural or superhuman traits which might distance us from him emotionally.
The meaningless death also drives home how normal he was and how fragile life can be without the need of dark wizards and power struggles to endanger it. A cracking short story!Author's Response: In a world full of dragons and dark wizards, I thought it would interesting to write of a fairly ordinary death on an ordinary day. I guess I wanted to give the message that none of us can predict how or when we are going to die and that we should value every day we have here on Earth.
Thank you so much for reviewing! Report Review
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