Omg Mary Mcdonald! Stunning! The beginning is just amazing. You made me want to continue writing. It's just amazing. I love it. I love the way you've told us a whole history of hers and Fabian'z (By the way, nice match) in such a simple way. Whoa! That's all I can say.
I didn't find many mistakes. Not much at all actually so that's a big yay! Go you! The plotting, characterization and the flow is amazing! whoa. I still can't get over it :D
I'll definitely follow this story. Also, I hope you win :)
*Hugs*Author's Response: Ahh! Thanks a ton for this review! Mary McDonald is one of the biggest adventures I've decided to take so far. The Marauders' Era mortifies me sometimes... It ends like, 'and everybody ends up dead'. So it's always nice to hear that I didn't really mess up this one-shot!
Actually, I won second place with this story! I still can't believe it sometimes! Thank you for reminding me that I needed to edit that bit in the summary! :D
Again, thank you for your compliments and for the review!
-Manno Report Review
Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review!
First off: I think that you pulled off present tense fine; I actually often dislike stories told in present tense, because I find it distracting, but I barely even noticed it here. I think that some of that was probably just due to the tone of the story as a whole, and that some of it was just due to your clear talent as a writer. Regardless, the present tense is so far working out fine.
You also mentioned a major worry for you being flow, and after reading the chapter, I think I can see what you mean. There were definitely several points where I was a little confused about how you got from point A to point B, and that was the major weakness I saw in your story.
I think that most of the issue with flow had to do with the letters. They sometimes felt a little stilted to me, for a couple reasons. First, I felt like there were just too many of them - I like the idea, but the execution of it here just felt a little overwhelming and I think it contributed to the story feeling a little disjointed. In my opinion, fewer letters and more calculated placement of them - or just having one longer letter, split up throughout the narrative - would have worked much better.
My other major issue with the letters was that I had a bit of a hard time imagining someone in Mary's position actually writing that way. It was a little too flowery to me to really sound like a woman who's feeling isolated and afraid and cut off from the world. She herself says that she's on the brink of insanity. To me, however, it felt more calmly philosophical than desperate and harried, and I really wanted the letters to help sink me into the atmosphere of isolation and fear, not jerk me out of it.
Let me use the first letter as an example of what I mean.
The first paragraph felt too philosophical and disconnected for me. Saying that the isolation was the worst part of war and everything else stemmed from it would have been fine, but when she starts off by distinguishing between "actual result" and "sub-effects" of war, it felt awkward and unrealistic to me.
Similarly, in the second paragraph, your only remaining illumination, your only weapon against the overly-consuming darkness -this calm use of a candle as metaphor just doesn't sound to me like a woman who is isolated and who feels like she's in danger of being consumed by the darkness. There's not enough tension. It's too deliberate. And, on a more practical level, I wasn't sure how the candle was her only remaining light anyway - doesn't she have a wand?
I definitely felt like the third paragraph was better than the first two. The way she described Fabian and how much she missed him worked really well; she did feel desperate and isolated to me when she wondered about her friends and thought about Fabian. I felt like touching his pillow was perhaps a little dramatic - maybe looking at it or using it would have worked better - and the last sentence started to veer off into flowery again, but on the whole, that was good.
The last two paragraphs were also good. Again, they felt like a woman at the end of her rope; your word choice in the fourth paragraph was positively chilling, and the way she's equating captivity and protection... to me, that really did an excellent job of depicting her as someone who is, as she said, "on the brink of insanity." That was just such a terrific use of words on your part, and every time I read over the letter I like it more.
In general, your letters were pretty uneven. Sometimes, as at the end of the first one, they were spot on and really helped add to the scene. Sometimes, however, they were just too calm and philosophical to feel real. Does that make sense?
That's in marked contrast to your actual narrative. I did feel like occasionally you got a little dramatic there, too (the rain and blood comparison, for example), but on the whole you did a good job of showing a woman who is reaching her breaking point. Her thoughts were disjointed and occasionally a little hard to follow, but that was good - it really helped to get me into her frame of mind. I also liked the
One line in particular that I thought was terrific:
The music that was no longer playing. When did it even stop, I do not know.
No, no... It wasn't a thought, right, darling?
It just so... creepy. And I love that. Another good example of that was at the very end, when she felt less shaken because she was sitting by the light even though it made her more vulnerable. It didn't make sense. Logically, she shouldn't have been sitting there. But she was, because she's human and not necessarily rational, especially right now. That little line really helped to illustrate that, and I just felt like it was so true to real life.
While I liked that line, however, the end did confuse me in a not-good way - was there someone there or not, and why was she going to her desk to write rather than investigate or hide? I wanted a bit more of an explanation, because she doesn't come across as so unhinged that her response to "Someone might be here to kill me" is "I should go write a letter." Other than that, though, my only major issue with the narrative was that I wanted more of it and for it to be less interrupted by the letters, especially toward the end. On the whole, it was great.
I hope I didn't come off as hypercritical, because I really do like the story and think that you've got a really interesting start here. I love your narrative overall, and I think that the letters have a lot of potential - I just think they need a little work to really fit in well with the story. :)Author's Response: Hello, Beeezie! I am so sorry for taking months to write a response, but I had got busy during the last while with real life, and I feel terrible for leaving this wonderfully meticulous review here without a response for this long.
First of all, I find it necessary to thank you for taking such great care while writing this review and for pointing out all of those things I probably would have never noticed on my own.
It's reassuring to hear that I was able to execute the present tense here because it usually irks me as well, but I felt that this story needed the present tense.
As for the letters, I do see now how terribly placed they were and how I needed to work harder onto fitting them in a less distracting and intrusive way so that they would not disrupt the flow. I've taken all you've said into consideration and it has been of so much help!
As for characterisation, I suppose you're right. Back when I was working on this story, I was still working on my ability to remain consistent when it comes to my characters, and I've been working on it very hard ever since, taking all the criticism I've got into consideration.
You did not come off as hypercritical; I'm still new to all of this and I have a lot to learn. You've been so helpful and I probably could not thank you enough times for this amazing review. But, I must, once again, say thank you. :)
-Manno Report Review
Hi, i'm here for your review!
Okay, so my first impression of this was overall good. I think it's an interesting perspective today and i've always wondered about Mary because we never hear what happened to her. I love when people explore characters that never got a lot of show time and I think that you take on this is so interesting. Especially bringing the link to Fabian as well.
I think you have a really interesting take on this as well as we don't typically see the war from a mothers perspective. (other than Lily's anyway). So it's incredible to see how another woman grow into herself and be willing to go down fighting and not hiding in a corner.
I really liked the changes we saw in Mary and i think you explored many of those emotions fairly well. It was interesting to see her contemplating her past fearless self but as we can see, she is full of it now and i think that the war can do that to a person. It can either make a person stronger or tear down all their defences and destroy them which i think is clear here with Mary. I also see the desperate woman willing to do anything for her baby and i like to see that spark in a person.
I really liked the letter idea or, at least, the part where she seemed to be talking to her unborn child, but i also felt like there was just so much of it that it distracted from the feelings of the story. It felt too much of a letter and i couldn't help but think that if she was about to be attacked, writing a letter would be the last thing she'd be doing. I feel like if it had been more of a running thought in her head it might have been a bit smoother.
Also, although i really liked how she grew into really wanting to go down fighting, i felt like the switch of her hiding in a corner and then being ready to go down fighting was a little too fast since the whole chapter had sort of been about this down trodden woman, i felt like that end part could have been developed a bit more.
I do think you have an interesting start here and i really like the perspective and voice though. I hope you have found this review helpful
:DAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for this review and I feel horrible about taking so, so very long to get to writing a response to it! It's been so helpful!
I did go back and reread the chapter, and I suppose you are right about how much of the letter there is in there. But when I was writing the chapter, I was worried that if all this was put into thought only, it would get a little boring or tedious. Maybe that was the right decision, but hey, I'm still learning! :D
Again, huge thanks for this wonderful review! Report Review
Wow. That's all I can really say is...wow. You describe such little things so greatly that I want to keep reading. You're a wonderful author, keep up the good work! Thank you for entering my challenge, I'm very honored that you did so. I'll be back! I won't stop reading this story :) It's so wonderful! I love the Marauderettes. But how come Dorcas isn't in the bunch? She died as well, I'm positive, before James and Lily did. Dorcas was close friends with Mary, Lily, and Marlene, if I'm not mistaken. But I'm pretty sure :) That would be a good add on, if you ever edit. xxx thank you. 10/10!Author's Response: Your compliments just make me want to stick my head through the window and scream! Really! Thanks to your challenge, I've come to discover that the Marauders' Era is actually quite interesting, and I plan to explore it furthermore in the future.
As for Dorcas, I suppose you're right; I did miss out on this one. I suppose it shouldn't be too hard to include her when (if) I edit, so thanks for pointing that out.
Once again, thanks for the challenge. And this review, of course.
-Manno Report Review
My goodness. Thank you SO much for entering my challenge, because you're a WONDERFUL author. This is your first challenge? My goodness, it's so wonderful. This is the best entry I've read so far, I have to say. It makes me want to cry. I can see the pain that still lingers in Mary from being tortured. I can see how afraid she is of anyone hurting her child. It's obvious that she's very lonely - she wants to keep her baby safe. This story already has so much meaning and potential. After the challenge, you can expect me to be reviewing every chapter!
You don't have many errors, really, but the repitition of the last paragraph was sort of confusing. Maybe change it up a bit so it doesn't sound the same. 10/10
Thank you again! ~Cierra.Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review! I really did squeal when I first saw it. I still can't believe I got 2nd Place with this, but I surely am very glad that I did!
I really did enjoy writing this story, though parts of it were a bit hard for me to imagine and were probably missed out. Nonetheless, I am very happy you liked this!
Thank you so much for setting up this wonderful challenge and for this lovely review.
-Manno. Report Review
Wow, this is amazing! I love the plot (or, the plot so far), the way you write, the way you portray Mary, everthing. I love it! Thank you for writing this!Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review! It means so much to me that you took the time to let me know that you've read it. And it makes me very happy to know that you like it!
And I thought I should be the one thanking you for reading and reviewing! :D Report Review
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