Reading Reviews for James's Sketchbook
  
86 Reviews Found

Review #1, by tangledconstellations Chapter Three: A Stab in the Dark

22nd June 2012:
Hey lovely! I'm so sorry that your requested review has taken such a stupidly long time to get round to. It's seriously appalling, I'm so sorry. But, here I am finally!

It was great to return to this story, because I think subconsciously it's been on my mind, and it all came flooding back when I read the previous chapters. As always, I love your characterisation of Lily and James, and Sev too. They're canon and perfectly so, but at the same time you've made them your own, really showing the reader that this is your mark on Lily/James. I do and probably always will love the way you manage to intertwine emotional aspects with humour. You're such a boss at managing feelings with your writing! :D

It is lovely to see James and Lily's connection growing, almost suggesting to me that there's something there more than just teenage attraction. Because you've made it so unique, through music and art, you've added a whole new dimension to their relationship, but have managed to complicate it still with Severus' presence. A lot of Lily/James writers seem to forget he was there, but I think it's really important that he was, and in this chapter his presence was very welcome and heightened the whole atmosphere of the chapter.

Your beautiful balance of description and dialogue always astounds me. I'm forever guilty of getting carried away with dialogue. I think it would be better if I wrote plays, ha ha! But no, I think you gave the reader exactly what they needed with this fic in terms of a hefty balance but still enough to keep us wanting more.

Hopefully, the next chapter will be along soon :)

Laura xxx

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Review #2, by In The Shadows I Dwell Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

10th May 2012:
Hi!
It's InTheShadowsIDwell from the forums here with your review, sorry it's taken me so long I'm only just catching up with my reviews thread. Anyway, onto my review

Well, the first thing I will say is that I particularly loved the little reference to the future that you included; lines that we as readers know mean something more, even if the characters don’t. Peter talking about his friends losing a finger if he had been particular about nicknames in particular was interesting to me, because ultimately, it happens to him, and it wasn’t nicknames that caused it, but his own lack of loyalty to his friends. Friends which you show with your writing are so close it's almost hard to imagine. There’s actually a lot I loved about this chapter, which was a really interesting way to start the story after the prologue. I think my favourite scene you’ve written within this chapter would have to be Lily playing the violin, I read so few stories where the characters actually play a musical instrument, I suppose it’s something I love reading considering I do see so little of it, so it's a really nice, unique touch.

Your characterisation of Severus is also really interesting, in particular his opinion of James, and how despite everything he really does still seem him as nothing more than an enemy, and someone to wish would be expelled, and despite the fact that he saved his life, he’s not really particularly grateful/or hasn’t changed his opinion on James. It’s clear from your writing that there’s still that hatred there for him, and that love for Lily still remains. It really is wonderful characterization of a man who had to watch the woman he loved fall in love with the man he hated.

I also think what you’ve really captured well is the fact that no-one really probably expected James to become the Head Boy, and I absolutely loved this line “I would have never have guessed the first time I found you in my office your first year at Hogwarts, for setting fire in the walking suit of armour that you would become our Head Boy.” Because really it sums up even Dumbledore’s surprise in this situation, though I have to admit from your writing, it’s clear that there are many reasons as to why he deserved this position which a lot of the time is forgotten and is certainly a nice little touch in this chapter.

I noticed one spelling error in this line: “It’s a good thing you’r Head Boy and Girl are from Gryffindor then.” ‘You’r’ should be ‘you’re’ but aside from that, I really didn't notice anything that was majorly wrong, and the story seemed to flow quite well despite the fact that the perspective changes quite frequently.

Again, I really loved how you’ve used the perspective of the three characters as part of the writing. Seeing things from them all gives me as a reader, an interesting insight into the characters and the problems they are facing, particularly with Voldemort’s power even within the school and those who follow him growing. I really look forward to seeing where the plot goes in later chapters!

Keep up the great work!
~ In The Shadows I Dwell

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Review #3, by SunSation Gal 07 Chapter Three: A Stab in the Dark

27th February 2012:
Awww! Snape's memory was sweet, but sad. And it is amazing the effect that music can have on you. And now I am all caught up and eagerly awaiting the next chapter of this!

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Review #4, by SunSation Gal 07 Chapter Two - Something to Remember

27th February 2012:
Gah, I just love your style. It just flows so smoothly and the characters are incredible. I am just loving this story!

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Review #5, by SunSation Gal 07 Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

27th February 2012:
Yet another fantastic chapter. And I can relate to Lily's playing of the violin, which I love that you did, since I used to play it myself. And now she's really starting to see James. yay!

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Review #6, by SunSation Gal 07 Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

26th February 2012:
Hey! This is Lee from TGS here for the review exchange! And I have to say that I love this so far! Your characterizations are fantastic and your style is just so smooth. Now, onto the next chapter!

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Review #7, by In The Shadows I Dwell Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

22nd February 2012:
Hi,
It's InTheShadowsIDwell from the forums here with your review, I appologise for the awfully long wait since you requested this, I've been absolutely swamped with work over the past month. Okay, enough of my excuses, time for some reviewing. Okay, so I really like how you've narrated this story, the fact that you have all three perspectives of who I assume are going to be the main characters - Lily, James and Severus, is particularly interesting as each gives an insight into the other characters in a way that just one narrator cannot. It's interesting to see how they all react around one another and you've captured it really well, I like how they all seem to be drawn together by Lily and how she really seems to be doing everything she can to really avoid them.

I'd like to talk about James and Snape's reactions to one another because you've written them really well, they were believable and well within character. You've characterized both, and seeing as they're both trying to win the same girl's heart it's interesting how they each interact with her. I find it interesting that you mentioned Severus's friends at the beginning of his section of the chapter, I don't know whether it's just me, but I didn't exactly imagine him as having many friends, or at least he wouldn't acknowledge them as friends even if they considered him to be one. That might be just me, but it's something that came to mind when I read that line, that is unless you were talking about the Death Eaters... In that case just ignore me!

Something else I found interesting was your choice to give Lily Head Girl without giving her the Prefects badge as well. Most people give her both, but I like how you've sort of got James and Lily as equals, neither of them particularly have any experience so I'm sure that'll make things very interesting later on. I also like how you've made all the endings of each section tie together with each stating that the year is going to change something, and I can't wait to find out what that is. I'm curious already as to whether you'll continue telling the story from all three perspectives as I wonder whether it might distracting in longer chapters, but I shall have to read on to find out.

Overall your writing was very good, and the story itself flowed pretty nicely, it flowed fairly nicely considering you had it split into sections. I noticed no grammatical or spelling errors, that's always a plus! I also loved your characterisation of Lily she seems very much in character and I love how you've shown some of her relationship with her family and Petunia's reaction to her comment. I was slightly confused about the mention of a Graduation Ceremony as they were never actually shown in the books, but aside from that and the other tiny little issue I mentioned earlier it was a great start over all.

Keep up the great work!

~ Ash

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Review #8, by VioletBlade Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

2nd February 2012:
Hi there, I'm back with the second review! Unfortunately, I don't have time to do more than review two of the chapters, but if you want to re-request in the new thread I'll most end up putting up soon, feel free! I love this story so far! And if time allows me to, I will be reading on, and will be reviewing! (Although maybe not with such a critical eye ;))

Your Concerns:

Flow: I think you've really got the humor angle down, and it really helps everything move along so nicely! It adds to the story and makes reading so much easier!

Believability: Besides the bit about the characterization being spot on, another thing that really adds to your believability is the bit that you have the threat of Voldemort and his followers at Hogwarts hit close to home in this chapter for our two protagonists. Sometimes he isn't really featured in the stories that include Lily and James, and I think that's a grave mistake because it's really part of what gets them together. I love the line where Lily says that "It's a good thing both your Head of Houses are from Gryffindor then." That's a perfect line from her!

My Concerns:

Characterization: James: I still think you hit him wonderfully! I like that he looks up to Professor McGonagall, just as Harry did in his years at Hogwarts.
Lily: Can I just start off by saying that I love, love, LOVE that she plays the violin? It's perfect for her, and I too play it, so I can connect to her! :P I also love that it's kind of her little secret, and a little quirk about her, just like the fact that James is such a talented artist.
Now, Dumbledore, he's a hard character to get right! McGonagall's a close second, but he's by far the most difficult, I think. I do think you characterized him well, and that there was an easiness about it, even with the dark days looming ahead.

Grammar: Only one thing, there was this typo: “It’s a good thing you’r Head Boy and Girl are from Gryffindor then.” - Just left off the 'e'!

Plot: The way you started out this chapter was done wonderfully! I loved that you began it with James sketching Lily, and though some might think it creepy when she hates him so much, I think it really added to the story and it was very cute! :) I loved his frustration that he wouldn't have enough time to finish even though the lighting was perfect. It's exactly what an artist would be concerned about. I also really liked this line: "Nodding, James said, “Yeah. It’ll be entitled, ‘Lily Evans, number 3999, unfinished.’” James laughed." It gave some background information but it definitely made me smile!
This line, too, made me smile! "“Three fingers,” reported Peter. “Apparently Mooncalves are very particular about their nicknames. I’d have to say if I was particular about nicknames, you’d all have lost a finger or two long ago.” I LOVE that you included a funny Peter! And I love that he's included in their group! That is so so so important to me in Maurader fics, because often times people just simply leave him out when he really was there and the other three really did love him. I also am one of those people who just think Peter was misunderstood, but that's just me ;)
No, thought James, I will not allow that to happen. I will not let Lily be hurt by a Death Eater. Never." Oh my goodness, this line actually made me tear up! (Only because of what we know happens!)

I really like the way you've put into this chapter the changes that are happening between James and Lily. It's not sudden, it's gradual, and it shows definite maturity. I feel like it really helps your story to make it happen a little bit each chapter. :)

Overall, another really great chapter, and thank you for requesting from me! You are a very talented writer, and I would encourage you to keep writing! I enjoyed your story very much, and hope to continue on soon!

~VioletBlade

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Review #9, by VioletBlade Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

2nd February 2012:
Hi there! VioletBlade here with your requested review! Sorry for taking so long on it! Just to warn you, I'm typing this out somewhere else, so if there are weird symbols in in, I'm sorry for that! I just like having it typed out elsewhere so when I see things I can type them out as I see them and not have to scroll down and back up again each time! :)

Your Areas of Concern:

The flow was nicely done, and everything moved smoothly throughout the story I think! The rest I'll address since it's what I usually look at when reviewing anyway! :)

Grammar: I didn't see any issues at all here! There might have been one typo, but I'm sorry, I can't remember where it was!

Plot: I think this is actually really interesting so far, and I can't say that a lot about many Lily/James stories I've read! I really think this has potential to go somewhere, and I'm especially interested to know how James being an artist comes into play since he isn't often portrayed as such. Great introduction chapter!

Characterization: I think you've done a nice job with Lily's characterization in this story so far, and I absolutely love the look into how Petunia views the coming to the train station to see Lily off. Her characterization I think is spot on, and really shows the hurt Petunia feels when she thinks about her sister and how she's a witch. I'm really glad you put her feelings in this, because I believe it really adds a lot to plot and helps your story to be in character!
I think you did a really nice job introducing the boys too! I just love what Remus interjects about making Dumbledore not think that giving James the Head Boy badge would be a mistake! It's so Remus! :)
"Stiffly, Lily said, “Can’t say the same for you.” That line made me laugh!! :)

I loved that you put a little of it in Snape's point of view. I think that is really important, as he's not someone a lot of people focus on in the Lily/James stories. He was really well done, too!


Believability: Overall, I think this chapter really was believable because of the great characterization you had. The key to making any story truly believable, especially if it contains canon characters, is to stay in canon!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this, and I did really like the part where you ended both James' POV and Severus' point of view with the line that things were going to change this year, of this they were certain! I'm excited to see how that plays out for the both of them! Thanks for requesting from me! (Added to favorites, by the way!)

~VioletBlade

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Review #10, by DracoFerret11 Chapter Three: A Stab in the Dark

21st January 2012:
Hullo, me again! Same format as the other reviews...read on. :]

Characterization: well, here we had a lot of Snape and James, and just a bit of Lily, so we'll comment on all three again. Severus was so realistic here...he's tormented, obviously, and that makes me feel incredibly sorry for him. I usually don't feel any connection to Snape, so this is quite impressive. Continuing...James is great. I definitely winced when his Quidditch practice fell apart, and I could feel his frustration when he couldn't capture the song in a sketch. And Lily, of course, is good here. She didn't seem off at all in this chapter. And I LOVE the idea of Peter and Marlene. I can see a spin-off just waiting to happen there. XD

Flow: still going fine. I like the format with the three characters, if I hadn't mentioned that before.

Tone: great still. :D

Plot: love it. I like seeing everyone's lives changing without the others knowing it. It's very interesting how everything fits together so beautifully, and the other characters can't even see it. Wow. :]

Interactions: I really like Severus' apathy towards the other Slytherins. And the Marauders all mesh well. And Lily and her friends seem to get along too. I absolutely loved Snape's memory of his friendship with Lily...if only he hadn't decided to be a Death Eater and she had continued being his friend...everyone would be so much happier. :/

Descriptions were great here too.

I think you've done wonderfully so far. Great job and keep up the good work. Thank you for visiting the review thread!

--Emily

Author's Response: Hello, thanks for your lovely reviews, I'm slowly getting back to them (out of order, you might notice, but I'm just that kind of person, I respond to reviews out of sequence.)

It's always bothered me how everyone writes Sirius/OC or Remus/OC fics (for various reasons). Peter deserves to have a girlfriend in at least one story, and I got the idea about it being Marlene from the letter Lily wrote to Sirius where she mentions Peter being upset about the McKinnons.

I've always pictured Snape as being on the outside of the group, and that Lily really misunderstood his relationship with the Slytherins (they're hardly his friends, but she doesn't get that). I really wanted to bring out the contrast between that and his friendship with Lily.

Yes, poor Severus. If he hadn't been so silly, Lily would of come to love him (JK says so) and we wouldn't have had Harry Potter.

I'm glad you're enjoying the flow and the descriptions as well as the story. Thanks so much for leaving so many wonderful reviews!
-Houlestar


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Review #11, by DracoFerret11 Chapter Two - Something to Remember

21st January 2012:
Hey there, it's me again!

Well, your concerns first and then mine.

Characterization: we've got James again. His thoughts are actually really nice to read. This story is so believable and I think that a HUGE part of that is the characterization. James just FEELS real. He's just how I would expect him to be, but not in a cliche, predictable way. He's just a good character to read. And then we have Lily whose violin-playing is a wonderfully unique addition to the plot. She's bouncing between cliche and original though. Sometimes she's just like every other version of Lily who hates James, is a bigot, whatever. And other times she's unique and original. Maybe getting into her emotions more would help flesh out her originality. :] Then Severus. Have I mentioned that I love that you write for all three of these characters? Severus is wonderful. He's just cynical and paranoid enough to seem real. And I loved his analysis of the old DADA professors. Good job! I like him a lot.

Flow: well, this is going along nicely. I'm not particularly sure what the exact plot is, but I think you're moving along at a nice pace. I'll get back to this thought in a moment...

Tone: ah, it's perfect! You switch seamlessly between characters and it's all so believable and well-combined. I like it a lot.

And, the last of your concerns, plot: well, I'm not sure exactly what the point of this story is since we're seeing James, Lily, AND Severus' points of view. Is is the progression towards a relationship between Lily and James? Or is it Severus accepting the changes in his life? Or is it the impending war? I'm not sure.

My thoughts!

I think your descriptions in this chapter were flawless. You really brough the stroy to life and helped me feel like I was really IN their shoes. Well done! And I've already mentioned the awesome believability.

One thought that is slightly off-topic: would James really say "Voldemort" at this point? And not scare his friends? I feel like he's not quite at that point, but who knows? :]

So, good chapter! I'll read the next one ASAP.

--Emily

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Review #12, by apocalypse Chapter Three: A Stab in the Dark

17th January 2012:
Hey! This is apocalypse, here with another review for you!

Since it's the last review, for the time being, I'd like to go over the areas of concern again.

Characterization: Well I guess I'll pass this one for now. I've been mentioning it in all my previous reviews so my views regarding it haven't changed much. In short: Good job! =)

Flow: It seemed very persistent. Especially the transitions between the different POVs; they were very smooth. Keep it up! However the part where Snape got distracted with his thoughts; to be honest I didn't really get the point of it. I mean it seemed sort of off and didn't really fit well. According to me, it was the only thing that might have disrupted your flow, over all. If you could clarify the reason behind it, I think I'll be able to understand it much better.

I personally like your writing style. You tend to cover as many details as you can. You've established this even balance between dialogues and description, throughout the chapter, which is exceptional. =) Especially Snape's scenes; they are always very well written. Maruderers reactions; Lily's actions; the depth in both James/Lily's talents; everything is very well described. Great job!

I was having issues regarding the progress in your plot as a whole. I mean it's been four chapters and there have been similar POVs over and over again. Though you did seem to work on it by writing Quidditch scenario in this chapter and by mentioning the death eaters but I'd still recommend you to work on it. This way you'll be able to attain reader's interest throughout and avoid scenes form getting monotonous in between. I hope you work on it in the upcoming chapters.

James' part was very interesting and the Peeves bit and the staircase scene were very entertaining. I really like how you've portrayed his character. Every time I read a new scene, I start liking his character even more than before.

He listened to Lily's song! Wow! I don't know how to explain it but the way you described his reaction to the song was amazing! And then later, its connection to his sketching. That what I'd been talking about when I meant that there'll be a time when their talents will compliment each other.. The thing that seems to be incomplete to James, in his sketches, was the fact that he doesn't know it's Lily who played that song.

My expectations for the upcoming chapters have sorta increased. I'm looking forward to see more progress both in their talents as well as their relationship. I'm afraid that Lily's scenes are sort of lacking that fun or interesting factor. I'd like to see something else in her routine or life other than the violin and hanging out with friends. I guess what I'm trying to say is that she needs more activity. I hope you know what I mean =)

I hope my reviews have helped you! Feel free to re-request! Until next time, good luck and Happy Writing! =)

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Review #13, by apocalypse Chapter Two - Something to Remember

17th January 2012:
Hey! Apocalypse here with another review for you!

As I've mentioned in my previous reviews, you're doing a great job with the characterization. =) Your perception for James' character is so much more than just the fact that he's a 'Quidditch player who's in love with Lily and hangs out with the marauders'. First you gave him such a creative talent for sketching and now you've added so much depth to that idea of yours that it took your characterization to a completely next level; a high level, for sure. =) I liked the atmosphere you created in the first paragraph. I really like the way you use details such as the set up or the weather to reflect your characters' emotions. For instance James' and Lily's emotions in the first half of the chapter. Good job! It shows that you really concentrate on the level of your description and I really like that quality of yours!

Moto Perpetuo: to be honest I thought Lily's practicing some kind of a spell for one of her classes or something. Over all her part was also well written; it's good to see her working hard to get her notes right. I like how James' sketching remains incomplete and her notes were not exactly perfect. There's this thing that seems to be missing in their work. I could feel some sort of connection there. I really liked the fact that Lily got distracted by James' flying and then went on with her thoughts regarding him. =) She DOES think of him after all. =P

There's this part where you mentioned that James hasn't done anything yet, this year. I had questions regarding exactly how long it's been since they got back.

Lily/James conversation, at the hall, seemed fine. Though I wish Lily was a bit nicer to him. But at the same time I don't want you to rush with their relationship; that'd be too typical. I like it this way better. =)

Snape's part was again very well written. However I felt that somewhere in between it sort of got dull and boring. I felt that you dragged it a bit; I would like you to progress with his story. I guess I just can't wait to read more about his character. =P I loved his smile in the classroom scenario! =D

The last scenario was simply flawless. It was my favorite scene so far. I actually read it twice! I love how you tried to deliver so many points from just one simple, yet beautifully written scene. Excellent job!

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Review #14, by apocalypse Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

17th January 2012:
And I'm back for round 2! I'm sorry it took me so long, I have been really busy!

I love the modification you did with James' character! His passion for sketching was a really unique and innovative approach. Good job! =) The details regarding Lily's position, for instance the light and expression were really good. However more specifications would've helped enhance your scenario more appropriately. At the same time you were able to retain the originality pretty well. You didn't get carried away with it therefore making it, to some extent, realistic. Keep it up. =)

The Marauder scenes were very entertaining. I was actually laughing with them while reading; it was as if I was sitting WITH them. Their scenes really got me absorbed. =) I really liked Peter's reaction. I could see the connection you tried to initiate from his dialogue with his future; it was very original and funny at the same time. =) My favorite so far is definitely Sirius. Hitting the book on James' head and making him draw himself was very amusing. The part where James drew himself was hilarious! You're doing a great job with all the Marauder characterizations.

Lily's violin scenario very brief yet well written. I really liked the way you let a muggle instrument into her life. The connection was very realistic. This talent of hers compliments her character. Good job with the creativity there. =) However it might have been better if you revealed her talent in the next or upcoming chapters. It would've been better if you had had a gap between revealing James' talent and then hers. The chapter seemed fine without the addition at the moment.

I liked the way you've written Dumbledore's character; it was very canon and seemed to me that there wasn't anything wrong with what you've written. Many people have problems with writing Dumbledore's character perfectly but I could see that you didn't and I think you did a good job with it, so keep it up! =)

The last scenario was well written. I liked how you linked their emotions' with Lily's eyes. James' and Lily's conversation was realistic until one part. Lily's views regarding James are changing a bit too quickly, don't you think? It would be more appropriate if it could be slowed down a bit.

Overall, it was a very good and amusing chapter. I really like how you've incorporated so many human things into the chapter; the way he can and the way she can play the violin. It was a very nice touch and I can already see your story as being quite a unique one. Keep it up! =)

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Review #15, by DracoFerret11 Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

15th January 2012:
Hello there! It's me again.

Well, let's talk about your concerns again, and then my opinions:

Characterization, first. Well, let's start with the Marauders. Not much to say about Sirius and Remus. I like them both and they're believable, so that's great. I absolutely LOVED Peter's characterization here, especially the part where he made the others laugh. It was very different than the way I've seen him portrayed in other stories. Spectacular. I like Lily here, too. I think it's quite original to have her play the violin. I haven't seen something like that before. It's nice to have some originality. Like James sketching! :D His characterization is quite great. I love that I can see the progression of him steadily changing. I can see where he would be different enough for Lily to like him. Wonderful. And Severus wasn't here much, but his characterization was good too. I loved the line where he realized James wasn't going to be expelled. That was funny. :]

Flow: things are moving along nicely. I like that it isn't rushed, so hopefully it will stay that way.

Tone: well done! I really feel like everything is sincere which I appreciate. It's always good when you can feel what the characters are feeling and believe them. In other words, I like your tone a lot.

Plot: Wow! I love that you had Dumbledore in here and that he was so believable. His warnings about Death Eaters were an incredibly good plot idea. That wasn't cliche or silly at all. I think you're doing beautifully in this department. :]

So! Other things...I like the story so far! It has great potential to enter my Favorites when I'm done leaving you reviews. I like where it's going and the characters are good. I'm interested to see where the plot ends up. Great job so far! I'll read chapter three ASAP!

--Emily

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Review #16, by Phoenix_Flames Chapter Two - Something to Remember

14th January 2012:
Another great chapter! Very similar to what I remember from the first version.

I can't tell you how much I love your portrayals of James and Lily. I just think they are so original. I guess I have never given it much thought, but it is extremely likely that witches and wizards do some muggle hobbies too. Especially Lily who was raised a muggle! It is extremely likely that she had these hobbies before she started school and she could have continued them during her school years. I think that's brilliant.

And a guy who draws. I think that's cute. That's like a guy writing poetry for me. It makes my heart melt, and I love it. I actually think it shows a guys masculinity more! I don't know why, but I really do.

This was a wonderful chapter. So much development to their characters. Well done!

Author's Response: I've been frustrated with the wizarding world in canon. What do people do for fun? If you can't play Quidditch, are terrible at Gobstones and Wizards' Chess, then what do you do? (I'd be one of those people.) There had to be more hobbies (muggle or magical) going on at Hogwarts. As Lily was raised by muggles, I've given her a very muggle hobby. I like to imagine that her family's the typical middle class family that *makes* their kid play an instrument.

I love guys who can draw. (Actually, one of my friends I have met since writing JS is named James and is an artist.) There's just something so cute about a guy with glasses looking up at you over his sketchbook.

Thanks for the review, you're awesome!
-Houlestar


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Review #17, by classicblack Chapter Three: A Stab in the Dark

14th January 2012:
Why hello, I'm back with your last review!
So I'm just going to get this out before I get all serious (or sirius) and give you your review. *GASPS* James heard Lily playing! Oh my goodness how wonderfully amazing! That was a great touch. Hopefully, if she ever plays for him, he'll recognize the song and realise he heard her!
But in all seriousness, it was a great chapter. I love how you have delved into Snape's character and have him remembering the days when Lily liked him and regretting all the mistakes he's made. You've really go Snape's character down pat, especially because you've stressed that the good in him comes from loving Lily.
Futhermore, I think you've really got the story going at a nice pace. You haven't dragged on long bits and only included minimal actual events- if you can understand what that means at all, haha. It really helps keep the reader interested, though.
I think you've got a marvelous start to your story so far! I'm glad you decided to rewrite it. Not many authors have the courage to go back and tackle an old story.
Happy writing,
classicblack from the forums.

Author's Response: Thanks for leaving so many nice reviews (I'm slowly getting to respond to them. I really like taking the time to respond to each review, so it takes me a while, sometimes).

There will be more violin-ing. You'll have to keep reading to see if James hears it though and if he ever figures out who's playing it.

Sometimes I worry that the pace is a little slow, since it's pointed out to me in reviews. I'm glad some people think the pace is fine, because I can't really think of writing it any other way.

It took me a long time to decide to rewrite. When I left HPFF, I felt as though I had unfinished business, and it really bothered me. I wanted to, but I didn't really think that I should. Finally, I just decided, "I'm actually going to do this. I'm going to finish this." I knew that I had to rewrite it completely, since I wanted to go places in the story where I had never went before, and I'm such a different writer now.

Thanks!
-Houlestar


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Review #18, by classicblack Chapter Two - Something to Remember

14th January 2012:
Hi I'm here with your review!
I liked that at the beginning, when Lily was practicing her violin, it sounded like the song name was a spell. I thought at first that she was practicing a spell for class until I realised it was a song and smacked myself in the forehead and said "OH!". Even if you didn't mean to do that, nice one!
I caught a few punctuation or other mistakes, but it really didn't make much of a difference to the quality of the chapter.
Oh my, I absolutely love your interpretaion of Snape's obsession/ love with Lily and that Remus didn't tell James who Snape was staring at at the end of the chapter. I also liked that the smile James had never seen on Severus's face was becaue of Lily. It really was a beautiful testimony to the undying love that JKR showed us in the books.
In the future, I'd like to see more Head Girl/ Boy interaction between Lily and James. Also, hopefully Lily won't fall for James too quickly, as it might put the story in high gear a little too quickly. Watch out for that.
As a reader, I think that this story is generally a cute, slightly dark fic about Lily and James. Hopefully, it won't be too drama/ Dark Arts filled, as you've got a great thing going right now.
Nice job!
Happy writing,
classicblack from the forums

Author's Response: Now that you mention it, the name does sound like it could be a spell. Completely unintentional. But I'm glad you liked it. I was just trying to pick a nice piece for her to be practicing.

I've always thought that Remus understood more about Snape than he was saying, so I wanted to indicate his awareness of the situation that James is completely oblivious to (for the sake of this story). Here I really wanted to show James the artist -- how an artist can find beauty in anything, even his worst enemy, and that the beauty James sees is because of Lily.

Oh, no. Lily is not going to fall for James too quickly. They've got a long way to go before that, I can assure you. And there will be more Head Boy-Girl action soon. Very soon.

Thanks for the review!
Houlestar


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Review #19, by classicblack Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

14th January 2012:
Hey it's classicblack with your review!
Hmm, Peter talking about losing fingers? Could this possibly be foreshadowing to Wormtail's future? I love seeing how authors hint at Peter's true nature; everyone comes up with new and creative ways (personally, I think your's was the best so far). It's great fun!
Alright, back to the review: I liked how you had Dumbledore warn Lily and James about what was to come and even sort of give them a chance to back out if they wanted to. It was very Dumbledoreish and I think you've really captured his character. The serious and caring part of him. Hopefully, more of the fun, slightly barmy Dumbledore will come in the future, too.
I like that you already started including the Sketchbook as part of the story and, as the story's named after it, I'm hoping that drawing becomes more of a part of James's life.
So Lily plays violin? That was an interesting touch. I think it was very creative- it's a bit like having Lily bring something from the Muggle world to Hogwarts with her.
Hopefully, James and Lily will be able to share their talents together.
The flow of the story is pretty good, but make sure you watch out for skipping around too much. Try to limit POVs, too. I like that Lily is viewing James differently, but it might be a bit too soon. It makes the story a bit too fast-paced.
This chapter was really well done, overall.
Happy writing,
classicblack from the forums

Author's Response: I'm glad somebody finally picked up on that. Yes, that was on purpose, but it's not a "hint at his true nature." I've got a lot to say on Peter, as I believe he's more complex than most people believe. However, I won't really be getting into that in this story. In another story I'm working on, Peter's going to be very important. I just wanted to include him (as a means of apology for ignoring him up until this point).

Dumbledore is a hard character to write. I love writing him (especially post-DH), but he's really hard to get right. I hope I will be as successful at capturing him when he appears later.

There were hints at the sketchbook and violin in the prologue, but here's where you get introduced to them proper. They're very important "characters" for the story (hence the title).

-Houlestar


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Review #20, by classicblack Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

14th January 2012:
Hi, it's classicblack from the forums with your review!
I've got to say, I really like how you had different perspectives of the first day off school in chronological order. I've seen a lot of first days of the last year and not many of them have added that touch. It helps show what the train ride would be like for more than one person, which adds variety. It was really good on your part!
I like James's determination, but the fact that he's so openly embarassed when Lily insults him is either just a random tidbit that seems very out of character to me or you trying to make him seem more grown up. Either way, to me, it doesn't really seem to fit all too well. James never seemed the type to get so embarassed, you know? Or at least he wouldn't show it so much. It's a bit... feminine?
I also really liked how you had both James and Snape say that this year would be different. It's cool because it seems like they mean it in two totally different ways.
The tone of the chapter has the right touch of melancholy-ness for the first day of school and the drama that's already beginning to unfold, but it's also very light and happy. After all, the main characters are still kids at this time.
I'd also like to comment on Mary MacDonald. Every story I've read has always had a different take on Mary and I think you're the first author I've read who's had someone other than the Marauders and/or Lily (but only slightly) be mean to Snape. I liked that it was Mary. It was a nice touch, especially because, when you look at canon, Snape really WAS hated at school, so more than a handfull of people would've been mean to him. The fact that he also doesn't really like hanging out with the future-Death-Eater crowed was a nice twist to his character as well. It foreshadows to his future self a bit.
I found a few mistakes here and there, but nothing that would turn me off to the story.
Overall, a great start to your story.
Happy writing,
classicblack from the forums

Author's Response: Hello there! Glad to see you!

I try to tell my stories chronologically when I'm switching POVs. It's confusing enough. I will put in flashbacks, but for all intents and purposes I do it chronologically.

I was trying to show there how he's changed from when we saw him in fifth-year. He's a little more grown up, but not completely, and he's only embarrassed because it's Lily. Had it been anyone else, he wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't necessarily say it's feminine. In HP canon, guys and girls get embarrassed, so it's consistent with how Ms Rowling writes.

I think pretty much everyone except for Lily was in some way mean to Snape, or at least, that's the impression I got from canon. The Marauders were just the people that made it cool, and did it most. I think that Lily's friends would really not like Snape at all, and therefore be hostile to him in the lovely way that teenage girls are so adapt at.

Honestly, I don't think Snape was friends with his fellow Slytherins. He just wanted to belong to something, but was always an outsider. Lily misunderstood his relationship with them, in a way that reveals a lot about her own character.

Thanks for the review!
-Houlestar


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Review #21, by Phoenix_Flames Chapter One – Inner Sanctum

14th January 2012:
Ah, yes. Such a great chapter. I loved the deeper focus on James in this chapter. I'll be honest; he's my favorite HP character although we never really get to see him in the books. Only in those occasional appearances, but I love him. If he were alive and real, I would track him down and marry him. He just hits this weak spot of mine, and I don't know why.

There are only a few characterizations of him that make me dislike him, but here, you make me only fall more and more in love with him. He is sweet. He isn't that incredibly stupid and immature adult. He's really grown up and he has all these deeper things going on inside him. I think that's brilliant.

I loved the little part in this chapter about Lily's eyes. The thoughts that you throw into the scenes really tie things together. There are just these really small things that you add but really piece it together perfectly and suddenly make it 10 times deeper. It's wonderful, and how you threw in his thoughts about her eyes and told her to never look away was just the cherry on top. It's so short, pure, and simple, but its also incredibly heart-warming. Definitely my favorite part of the chapter.

Great job, hun! This is making such good progress, and I can't wait to read more! Well done!

Author's Response: To tell you the truth, I really don't like James. And yet, I write about him. It's pretty funny. I've just always thought that James was an annoying bully. However, he and I have come to an agreement, so I will be nice to him in this story. (I'm not so nice to him in some others).

Despite my own personal feelings about James, I love writing him, especially at the point where he begins to change. It's fun to work out the world through his POV.

Lily's eyes play an important role throughout the series. It's what shows Lily in Harry. It's the lasting symbol of Lily for Snape. etc. So, the attention to Lily's eyes is very intentional. Both Snape and James are fixated on them. And besides, I love describing eyes. "Windows to the soul" and a gold mine for writers and poets.

thanks for the review!
-Houlestar


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Review #22, by Phoenix_Flames Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

14th January 2012:
Ah! Hello, dear! I really, deeply apologize for this extremely delayed review. I feel awful and I know there are no excuses, so I'm not going to waste my time talking about busy school work and what not. :P I'll just get right down to business!

I was a HUGE fan of the original piece of this. It's still in my favorites, to be honest. :) So I am already in love with this story, so I was so eager to see the changes and everything that you have/will make to this story. I already think it is such an original and wonderful piece! So awesome!

You can tell the similarities in this chapter from the first story, but you can also tell how drastically your writing has improved. It's wonderful, and while it was brilliant to begin with, it is absolutely flawless now. Not a single mistake. Not that I was looking for them, though. I was very into the story. :P

I thought everyone was brilliantly in character. I love Lily like this, and her parents were incredibly sweet, just the kind of sweet I imagine. I also like that Lily's OC friends that you have brought in don't have those incredibly cliche names that you normally see in Marauder fics. Mary Macdonald. Actually I remember that name from the HP series somewhere. I don't quite remember who she is, but I always think its BRILLIANT when authors tie in those extremely minor characters you hardly remember but put them in there anyways. Because it is always incredibly possible that the Marauder generation may have been closer.

Anyways! Brilliant progress with this chapter, and I don't know what more to say. This was wonderful and I can't wait to continue on the revised version. Great job, hun! And again, extremely sorry for this very delayed review! I feel awful!

Author's Response: I'm glad you remember the original piece and are looking forward to this one. There will be similarities between the two, but I've reworked a lot of things. The original was a product of who I was then, and this is who I am now. Obviously, having learned a lot more about writing has definitely helped the rewritten version of James's Sketchbook.

I'm very careful when I make Lily's friends, as there are so many cliches around them. I've tried as much as possible to not "make-up" a character. I look through HP wiki to see minor characters where we know a little about (eg. Mary's a muggle-born) and given them a personality. So far, there is only on true OC in the story. Most of the other people were mentioned by JK Rowling somewhere, and I'm just building off of that.

I don't mind about the review being late. You did it right? ^_^ I hope you continue to enjoy the story.
-Houlestar


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Review #23, by DracoFerret11 Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

13th January 2012:
Hello there! This is DarkRose from the forums here to review for you! :D So, random thought before we get started: your chapter image is really pretty. I like it a lot. :]

Now, onto the chapter! We'll cover your concerns first and then I'll throw in any opinions that I have that don't fit into what you asked about at the end. Here we go!

Characterization: well, I think you did very well here, in all aspects. I like the fact that you jumped from Lily to James to Severus. Good flow there. A few thoughts about everybody: I like that you kept Peter in the story, even subtly, and that he wasn't just eating cheese or something. Originality is good. :] So, props there. Not much to say about Sirius since he isn't too prominent here, but I sort of like that. You lose a few points on Remus's characterization for being overly predictable, but I like that he's consistent at least. The fact that he has chocolate, talks about the books he's read, AND is the only one to reign in James is all a bit cliche, but I love Remus, so I'm not going to complain too much. So...Lily is mean. Which is predictable, but understandable. I like her attitude towards Severus. I've been in a similar position with a former best friend and I think her emotions were very believable. Great job there. Severus himself is actually a lot better than I would think he would be. Most people don't write him as well as you did, so hopefully that keeps up. :D I really, really liked the juxtaposition between James and Severus, right after James says this year is going to change, then Severus is thinking how it's going to be the same. I really felt some sympathy for him, which is crazy 'cause I usually am not fond of him at all. And the predictable meanness to each other...ugh. How petty! But well-written. :] So...there are my giant thoughts on characterization. Moving on:

Flow: I sort of mentioned this above, but I'll reitterate--I like that you switch between characters so flawlessly. Well done. That's something that I can appreciate, since I'm completely incapable of doing it. :]

Tone: awesome job, here! It changes subtly for each character, but it's not overwhelming or distracting. I think you did really well in this aspect.

Plot: not much to comment on, yet, but so far, so good! It doesn't look like it will end up cliche and predictable. We'll see! :D I will read more and let you know ASAP.

(A few related comments on plot though: at the beginning of the chapter, Lily wonders where the "past seven years" have gone and her mother says she's glad that letter arrived "seven years ago," but both of these would really be six years. Because the seventh year hasn't happened. Y'know?)

Mmmmkay, other opinions: yes, the story makes sense so far. I like how you've written the characters and everything seems to be going well. I don't often read Marauders-Era, so we'll see where this story goes and how I feel about it. :D I think you're doing well so far! Keep up the good work and I'll read the next chapter ASAP!

--Emily

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Review #24, by apocalypse Prologue – The Seventh Hogwarts Express

13th January 2012:
Hey! This is apocalypse, here with your review!

Let's start off with the areas of concern, shall we?

As far as characterization is concerned you did an amazing job in retaining the originality of your characters. You took the bits and pieces of information you had on their personalities and simply enhanced them in such a great way that it made your readers like them instantly. =)

Lily: you wrote her character with such beauty that in just two-three paragraphs you were able to fill us up with her background story, her character, as well as her emotions. Your briefing regarding her being a daughter, a sister and a friend simply made her character even more interesting and I admired the way you've created her even though I have read many Marauder stories. You perception of Lily was very interesting to read. Good job. =)

The Marauders: Again, a very good job. I liked the fun-factor you initiated in the atmosphere. I was enjoying their conversation all along; however, you could have made the topic even funnier but that's just me talking. It was good overall but only needed a refining touch. It's very hard to pull off scenarios including the Marauders but you sure did a pretty convincing job. =) I'm glad James didn't start off the conversation with Lily, it would've been too typical. Also you didn't introduce him as the conceited and arrogant James Potter as he's mostly introduced. It wasn't the same regular James, it was unique and I liked the fact that while making him different, you were still able to make him James-ish. =P

Snape: I loved how you described his emotions; you conveyed them in a very realistic way. His POV was I guess the best among the three you wrote in this chapter. The part where you wrote: "'If that's the case,' sneered Severus as he pushed past the two of them, 'then proceed, your Majesty.'", was brilliant and I started laughing. After finishing reading the entire chapter I actually went back to read this part again. =)

Flow/Tone: the flow in both paragraphing and transitions between the POVs was very much consistent. I'm impressed by the fact that you were able to achieve just the right balance throughout the chapter. Great job! =)

Dialogues seemed fine and I did not have a particular problem with them. Though, you might have to work on the description part; like description regarding the setup. Since it's just the first chapter I'll pass on the lack of details for now. =)

Does it make sense? Sure it does! You really don't need to worry about that part. =)

Plot: A bit too soon to comment on that, you just started with it. Though, I'm getting the feeling I'm going to enjoy reading it. Especially if you're going to write from different POVs and will keep the characters so original and lively.

A very good start! I enjoyed reading and reviewing this chapter immensely and am gonna be looking forward to the next chapters to which I'll be coming back in a few hours. Good job! =)

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Review #25, by CloakAuror9 Chapter Two - Something to Remember

12th January 2012:
Hey hey!

Okay, so I just love this chapter. There's just so much things to say about James! I mean, this story definitely puts more depth to an 'arrogant toe-rag'. Many stories portray him as nothing more than a love-sick puppy and no matter how much I enjoy and love reading those stories, truth is it does get boring. So like I said before, you're story is a fresh air for us readers!

I love James and I love Lily but Lily treating James like that in the Great Hall is just...frustrating. I mean, why can't she just be nice to James for once in her life? I mean, it wouldn't kill her! All she need to have is one good conversation and she'll realise how good he is but then I suppose the story won't really have anything in it if that ever happens. I love the James/Lily drama, tension, fight and romance.

One thing I really find interesting in you're style of writing is that you never seem to have the plot revealed to the reader's and you leave me going like 'What happens next?' Not like 'Omg! I totally know what's going to happen!' and for that I respect you. I suppose you're just a really good author overall, eh?

Keep up the great job!
CloakAuror9 xx

Author's Response: Hello again!

I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again: if there hadn't been more to James, Lily wouldn't have fallen for him. If he had only been obsessed with her, she wouldn't have gone for him.

Oh, yes, Lily has to change as well, as that scene shows. James isn't the only one who needs to grow up. A lot of people don't remember that.

I grew up with a dad who would, whenever watching TV say exactly what was going to happen. It drove me nuts, so I try my best not to turn my readers into my dad. Of course, things can't come out of left-feild, so what happens can't be unexpected, it just can't be obvious.

Thank you so much, you rock!
-Houlestar


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