ohhh. that's just so sweet :') if sev hadn't said the M-word, Lily might still be his friend; she might even fall for him :( great job. you made me shed a tear. Report Review
So sad, so sweet.
A thousand congratulations to you. Report Review
This was absolutely amazing. Can I just start off by saying that I loved the title and the whole general idea of the footprints? Honestly, I feel like symbolism in footprints is so underused and underappreciated; I was practically oozing happiness when I saw that that was one of the focal points of this one-shot. So, right off the bat, this story made a good impression on me; when I found out it was Severus and Lily that only increased my eagerness to read it. I've always been intrigued by Severus' perception of Lily’s relationship with James. Your story has made me wholly enthralled with his character, so props for that.
Your word choice is just right; I've always thought word choice was an important part of every story and here you seemed to have painstakingly thought over every word, and it shows. It's hard to find just one example to show what I mean, but, in particular, I loved in the line, "A desk lamp is on, offering a tiny bit of light, but other than that, complete darkness reigns in her room" how you used reign. It would've been so simple for you to just say, "It was completely dark". But by employing such a powerful word as 'reign' you really created a strikingly realistic image in my mind. It gave me the impression that you put a lot of time and effort into writing a story, which is definitely something I appreciate. My other favorite verb choice was in the sentence, "Footprints - his, hers, theirs - litter the ground"; I thought that litter painted such a vivid, beautiful picture.
Another thing that I absolutely adored was your sentences. I know this is a strange thing to comment on, but I've always paid particular attention to how an author constructs their sentences and I found your style really effective. I liked how you started the story with short choppy sentences and I also liked how you ended it with such a powerful short sentence. I think that was my favorite line in the entire piece: "The footprints are gone". I'm also a really big fan of repetition, so I loved how you used it in this and I thought it was done really well. In particular, I enjoyed the "waiting and waiting and waiting" part. And I was also impressed and pleasantly surprised that you used the present tense - it seems like most authors tend to shy away from it, but I thought it really made this writing come to life.
The absolute only critique I have for you is about Severus' thoughts. I don't want to offend you or do anything of that sort, and I know that characterization is rather a touchy subject to criticize on, but I thought his inner musings seemed inconsistent with the glimpses of his character we have seen in canon. It's difficult to adjust to the idea of Severus being so vulnerable, but even after accepting that he must've been, I couldn't imagine him reflecting on the Mudblood scene with disbelief that he had called her that. Perhaps this is merely because, in my mind, Severus' insult of Lily appears intentional; even if unintentional, I doubt that Severus would believe that "he had said that word, for reasons unbeknownst to him". I suppose to me it just seems like Severus would've been constantly conscious of his inner battle between Lily and the Slytherins, and I would've liked to see more contemplation on how he had inevitably chosen the Slytherins over her.
However, that aside, I rather liked your characterization of him. I find Severus to be one of the most complex characters in the series, and therefore one of the most difficult to write. As I said above, it's hard to come to terms with the fact that someone who appears so coldhearted can be so vulnerable on the inside, but I think you managed to make me believe fairly easily. I loved his bitter conclusions. Another one of my favorite lines in this is: "Love, he thinks, is the worst thing in the world" purely because it's written so simply yet so beautifully. There's just something about that statement that makes it incredibly moving.
I thought your approach to unrequited love was rather unique; rather than moving the reader to sympathy through incredible detail of his sorrows, you used his pathetically desperate hope as a device to manipulate readers' emotions. It's sad when a character admits that he has no chance with the love of his life, but it's devastating when the character refuses to admit it, even though the audience knows it. One of the most heartbreaking parts of the story is his line about waiting - particularly how he's waiting for her to fall in love with him. I think it's so depressing because the readers know that it's never going to happen, and it's like watching one of those murder movies where you know what's about to happen - you see the killer sneaking up behind the victim and the victim is so distracted and you just want to reach your hands into the television and shake him so that he doesn't die, but you can't. Because everyone knows what happens with Severus; he doesn't get Lily, he doesn't get his happy ending - he's always waiting. And you almost wish you could reach into the story and shake him out of love because you know it's only going to hurt him.
But the most heartbreaking part of this story, hands down, is the footprints. I loved Severus' deal with himself, particularly because I found it so relatable. You don't know how many times I've down the same thing, but it's one of those weird things that I thought nobody else did. To read it in a story, therefore, was both pleasant and shocking. And, then of course, there's just how childish and naive the entire notion of depending on footprints is - those last few sentences of the story are positively heart-wrenching.
Phew. Okay, now that I'm done babbling/crying about this story, I just wanted to say thank you for participating in my challenge. This was truly a pleasure to read, and I don't think I'll forget the haunting image of Severus staring out his window at footprints that aren't there for a long time.
Cherry BearAuthor's Response: Wow! Thanks so much for this lovely review! (=
I actually originally wasn't planning to do a Sev/Lily fic - the first thing that I wrote [for this challenge] was a Next Gen fic - but then, out of the blue, this idea just came to me. I was really unsure about making the main focus of my story Severus, as I, too, believe he's one of the most complex characters of the books and I was terribly afraid my writing and characterization of him wouldn't do him any justice. But I had this image in my head of Sev staring out the window at footprints in the snow and decided I had to write it.
Word choice is so important. I have this terrible problem where (especially in essays for school) I use way too many 'to be' verbs, so I always try to watch my word choice, especially my verbs, so I'm really glad that you thought my verb choice was good.
Sentences are not a strange thing to comment on! (= I've always thought they were really important in writing, actually. I like to create a balance, with long sentences, and then just put one or two really short sentences on their own. And I love repetition too! =D
Thanks for your critique about Sev's characterization. I was, as I mentioned before, really afraid of writing him - I was really unsure about how this piece would turn out. Generally, I try to write next gen fics because I can pretty much do whatever I want with the characters, as there isn't much out there about them; whereas, with canon characters, there's so much to live up to. That, and I'm really just terrible at keeping characters "in character" so to speak. I will definitely keep your advice in mind if I ever write another Sev-centered fic.
This was so heartbreaking for me to write, actually. Even though I'm totally a James/Lily shipper, I desperately wanted to make the footprints still be visible at the end. I wanted to make waiting a recurring theme throughout the one-shot, sort of, because I feel like Severus is always waiting - maybe waiting forever, even after Lily dies. We never see him find love in the books and he always seems sort of bitter, so my opinion has always been that he's really, truly still in love with Lily and, also, that he's a bit bitter about the waiting, but he can't bring himself to stop wishing and wanting and hoping. I really wanted to bring that across in the story and show how much he loves her and how he'll sort of always be waiting, so I'm really glad you got that.
Ahaha, the deal! I threw that in there at the last minute because I had this great last line in my head - 'the footprints are gone' - and I needed a way to tie it in with the rest of the story, to really tie the whole thing together. And then I thought, well, I always make deals with myself and, I dunno, it just clicked with the story. It was sort of like his last hope, his last chance, and I really just hated to crush it all in that last sentence, but it had to be done.
Thanks again for this lovely review, and thanks so, so much for making this challenge - writing this piece really brought me out of my comfort zone, so I thank you for the oppurtunity. I'm used to writing Next Gen, humour, happy-ending fics in first person, and this was the complete opposite, so I'm really just thrilled to have gotten the chance to participate in this challenge and try something new!
~ Emma Report Review
Wow, this was beautifully written! You certainly have talent. This was very gorgeous, if you don't mind me saying that.
This piece seemed to flow effortlessly, and that's always a nice touch. It was very poetic and very well written.
The characterization of Severus was absolutely perfect, in my mind. He acted just like I would imagine the Canon Sev, would have. I also liked your portrayals of James (what little we see of him) and of Lily. I like how she seemed frightened of him.
I do like, however, that she did bother to come out. I do think that she would want to see what he was up to, even if she didn't want to come out and say that.
I also like that the fic doesn't betray when this occurs, but one can surmise that it takes place sometime during winter break because of the contextual clues in the setting. Well done!
I absolutely adored the last line. So powerful and yet so poignant, and it ties the peace together so perfectly!
This is writing at it's finest. Thank you for this!
LindersAuthor's Response: Wow, thank you! This means a lot to me!
I'm glad you thought it flowed well - I sometimes have problems with flow, so I was glad that it came across well. I wanted it to be longer, but I felt that if I made it longer it wouldn't flow as well, so I'm glad I kept it at its current length.
I was so unsure on Sev's characterization, so I'm glad you liked it. I always sort of pictured him as one of those characters with a hard shell, but a soft spot inside (Lily) but it was a bit hard to write about his soft side and I was unsure of how it was going to turn out, so I'm super glad you thought it was good!
Thanks so much for reviewing! It was really nice of you to do so! (=
~ Emma Report Review
Aw.. that's so sad! Your writing is really amazing!Author's Response: Yea, it's supposed to be sad. =( But thank you! (= Report Review
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