Hi there! Before I start, I want to apologize that it has taken me this long to review; I think life just took over and unfortunately I'll have to close my review thread for a while because of that. ): But let's not dwell on that--onwards!
I have to admit I had my doubts when reading the description at first--though this is a brilliant idea, it can easily spiral downhill if done wrong. I think the way you started off with the letter at the beginning cast aside my doubts, though. It really drew me in and gave me a brief overview of what the story would be like, and I see a lot of potential here! However, I think with stories like these, juggling two eras could be a bit difficult, so I have a few suggestions for you about structuring and formatting your chapters. This wasn't a major problem in the first chapter since it was more of an introduction, but I suggest in further chapters you should perhaps alternate the two eras between chapters, or start off and end off with the current era as she starts and stops reading, making the middle chunk the flashback. I've read stories like these before and they work well if done carefully, and this way it could greatly reduce confusion. ^__^
This chapter was great by way of introduction as we kind of got the basic gist of your story and your cast of characters. As I was reading this, though, it seemed to be rather short. This is good so far, but it seems more like a skeleton, and you need more meaty details to beef it up. (Bleh, trying to come up with analogies after dinner is weird, don't mind me.) Basically, I just think you need to expand the sections a bit more by adding some details. For example, in the opening section you could describe the attic and surroundings more to set the scene, and maybe drop a few hints as to why she suddenly decided to go through the boxes again--spring cleaning? Nostalgia? And for the scene with George, perhaps you could describe the shop, or reveal more about either her friendship with Fred and George, or her job at the theatre?
The details that you did pay attention to were really nice and thoughtful, though. I really liked how you added her concerns about the possibility that reading her mom's book might bring her sadness as it adds some conflict in. I also liked the description of Oliver's and her flat; it's small details like this that makes a story come to life. Like I mentioned above, if you do this in every section you'll have an even better chapter and story. :)
Another issue that I spot is the consistency. For example, I'm a bit confused at the end of the first section when Oliver suggests that she goes home--didn't she just say she was in the attic of their small home a few lines earlier? If it was two different places you were talking about, then maybe you could clarify--perhaps she was visiting her mother's old house and the home she once shared, and Oliver wanted them to go back to his? Or perhaps it was just a minor typo. Whichever it was, just remember that consistency is key. :)
I also spotted a few grammar and spelling errors (I'm a bit of a grammar nazi and just spot them everywhere xD), but I think my reviewing successors have mentioned them sufficiently so I won't regurgitate. :P Overall, I think you have a great start so far with lots of promise (Sirius, anyone?)--with a few minor edits you'll have yourself a great story in no time! Unfortunately, I'm closing down the review thread until probably after school ends in a two months, but I'll be keeping an eye on your story and you can definitely request again once the slots open up again. ♥
~Chocolate_FrogAuthor's Response: I just realized that my original response for this never went through! I'm so sorry!
I want to thank you for taking so much time and leaving me such a detailed and helpful review. I am still very interested in making this story better and continuing it, but I have revived my old story Crash and Burn (which this was going to replace) so I'm leaving this one alone for the foreseeable future.
Again, thank you and I'm sorry about the delayed response. Report Review
Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review! Sorry for the awful delay - I've been very busy lately.
You've got a very interesting premise here, and I can already see this going in a direction that's just going to completely suck me in. I'm a big fan of this sort of story - the different time periods and the discovering the past and all of that other fun stuff.
There are three basic things that I think you need improvement on: minor mechanics, transitions, and detail. None of those were anything remotely approaching bad, but they were a little choppy. Based on what I see in the chapter as a whole, I think that you could polish it up and take it from good to amazing.
On the subject of minor mechanics: your grammar is good, but there were some little typos and misplaced punctuation that it stood out to me. (Disclaimer: I'm such a grammar freak that this isn't actually saying a whole lot.) For example, in the third paragraph after the letter, it should be been up here before, not been up her before. As another example, in the second paragraph of the letter, there really should have been a comma rather than a period after You're at school right now. Again, there weren't all that many and they weren't major errors, but there were enough that I found them a little distracting.
I also found the transitions between scenes to be a little rough. I think that part of it was your presentation: you just used symbols rather than a section break or extra line breaks (or both), which caused me to initially miss that you'd switched to a different scene in the first place, especially when you jumped from the attic to the shop. However, I think that part of it was how short each of the scenes was - I felt like you really could have fleshed them out a little to grab the reader's interest and provide a bit more background about Raissa. We don't need to know her life story - in a lot of ways, that would spoil some of the fun of the story - but a little more detail would have smoothed it out and made each scene feel more worthwhile on its own merits.
And now I've already started talking about detail, which messes up the clean little categories I was intending to have, but that's okay.
I want to be clear: what you have here is great. The premise of the story is, as I said above, really inttriguing, and I think that the idea of Raissa finding a journal her mother wrote to her to be quite plausible. There are a lot of places you can take that, especially given the little section that Oliver reads. You've alluded to a dynamic between Raissa and her mother that I'll be interested to see you explore.
However, I do feel like the story is lacking in detail right now. I'm intrigued by the story itself, but I don't really feel any connection to Raissa herself - I don't really feel like I even know who she is. Including more detail about her feelings - particularly on the subject of her mother, but also regarding Oliver, George, acting, her life, etc - would have helped me relate to her and care more about her as a character. How does she feel about her mother right now? I'm assuming this is post-war - does she feel something when she reads Fred's name? Does she miss George? Was she not happy when they were at Hogwarts? How does she feel about Oliver?
Etc. Some more detail and elaboration would make a huge difference to me in really bringing Raissa to life and making the story pop.
Please feel free to rerequest next time I have slots open and you have the second chapter up - I'd love to see where you go with this!Author's Response: Thank you for this detailed review. I'll definitely take everything into consideration, especially regarding the detail.
Since this is planned to be a novel length story I don't think it's so necessary to reveal so much to begin with and definitely not in the first chapter.
I'm currently working on some OF and I'm not sure when I'll get the second chapter out. I'll make sure to rerequest when I do.
Thanks again! Report Review
I'm going to be very very frank with you. I absolutely love this so far. I think it has a great base to become a spectacular story. I won't lie to you and say the description didn't turn me off slightly, but now that I actually took the time to read it, it seems brilliant. So let's start giving you the feedback other than it's brilliant, yeah?
I'm not a big grammar person, so I can't hit you with that whatsoever. From what I saw, it was good though! Again, I'm not a big grammar person, but you seem to have a good hold on that. I've also noticed format is something that a lot of people look at and yours has a good flow with that as well.
I think some things were a little unclear for this to be the first chapter. You weren't sure why the Mom left Rai or why her mom is even sick to begin with. I think it was also unclear why her mother wanted to even send her this to begin with. I also feel that the part that would be the most unrealistic would be the fact that the story/diary her mother sent her is so discriptive. I think a brililant idea would be to throw some memories of her mother's that the mother sent along with the story?
That's about all I have to say in the negative sense. This is a very original idea that I'm in love with. You're taking two of my favorite ships and forming them together, which is a very exciting idea for me. Are you sure you didn't write this story specifically for me? Just kidding.
I'm curious if this story is going to be more set in the past or present? This isn't something you can clarify on in the story, I understand that. It was just burning into my head when I was reading through this.
One more thing: you might want to clarify her history in a few more chapters. How she got with Oliver, how she's friends with the twins, and how her mother left her to begin with. Other than that, I think this will be a great story. Since you are revamping an old story, I don't need to tell you the whole "make sure you know where you're going with this" thing.
Once again... I feel this is brilliant!Author's Response: Aww thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. :)
When I get to revising this chapter, and of course in the chapters to come, I'll try and make things more clear. I'm still a little unsure as to how I'll work her mom's story, but one thing that is certain is Rai's own story and background will be told.
Again, thank you so much for reviewing and enjoying it! :) Report Review
Hey, it's simplelullaby over at the forums with your review!
I liked it, I love your idea and your characterisation, but there are things that could be done to this chapter to make it even better. ;D
I loved that your started the chapter with a letter - it tells us so much about where you're story's going to be going, characterises the mother perfectly and immediately makes us readers sympathise with Raissa. The language used in the letter, though, is a little bit strange. She uses posh words like "oft" but then says later "I lost it," which is more like slang than anything. Keep her language the same throughout to increase the real-factor of your story.
I guessed that Oliver was Raissa's boyfriend at first, but then you call him her fiance. It would be better if you introduced him like we didn't know who he was. Like saying "My fiance Oliver Wood asked as he knelt beside me" and then add a little bit in about his appearance, so we can get and idea of what your Oliver looks like. ;)
TYPO - "I thought you've been up her before" - "HERE."
Although the whole reading-out-loud part was great, there wasn't anything to distinguish that he was reading from Raissa's mother's book. Maybe put those parts in italic to stop confusion? But I so loved the little tidbit you fed us from that book - it really makes you want to read on to see what happens.
And a mention of Sirius? I'm hooked already. :P
I liked your characterisation of Raissa. It was slow and gradual. You didn't pump too much into our heads at the very start, you let her character flow out nicely as the chapter progressed. We know she's an actress, and she's had a pretty crap mum. I would've liked to see a little more on what she looks like, though. That'd be nice.
George and Raissa's little scene was good as well, though it could do with a little more description in between dialogue to slow down the pace a little, if you know what I mean. ;P What I loved though was Raissa's reason not to read the book. It's just such a human reason, a real reason; that she doesn't want to ruin her own happiness. It's brilliant!
The ending was pretty good as well - I love the extra detail you add in (Quidditch magazines, what the table's used for...) about Raissa's life, and the fact that Oliver persuades Raissa to read it.
"'I really need to buy some food,' I said out loud." We already know she's saying it out loud - there's no need to say it.
Overall Description: The chapter could use a little more, I think, between dialogue. As I've mentioned before, though, the little details you add in are brilliant. ;D
Overall Plot: Good. It's a clear, definite opening. Tells us where the story is going to go, and gives a little, but not too much information about what's to come. Your idea is so original - it's such a brilliant concept for a fanfic. I can't wait to see where this goes!
Overall Characterisation: You characterise the mother pretty well, and Raissa. I think, though, you could have done a little with description of your character's appearances so we get an idea of what they look like. Also, a danger for all fanfic writers, always introduce all your characters like we've never met them before in our lives. Like saying "George Weasley" and "Oliver Wood." It's just more proper, I suppose.
Overall Structure: This is the section which could use the most work. You use commas a little too much, and get your words mixed up so sentences don't make too much sense. I'd recommend getting a beta to make this story get all the more better! ;P
Overall it was a great opening chapter. It opens the entire story, for a start, and though it doesn't go into any detail about anything you pepper the chapter with little details I find really amazing, adding to the real factor. Grammar could be worked on, but after that's done this could be a really amazing chapter.
Please respond so I know if I've helped, and feel free to rerequest!
(7/10)Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review! I really appreciate the detail and this is just what I've been looking for.
To be honest, I didn't spend much time on this chapter since I haven't had much time between classes and my original work. This really is a story I want to develop though.
I'm writing down all of your suggestions for when I revise this. I have that many grammar issues? Wow...that's not typically something I have a problem with. I've posted a request for a beta, but no one has responded. Perfect Imagination is shut down so I'm at a loss to find a beta if no one responds to my request.
Thank you again. I really appreciate your honesty. Report Review
Hm, this is really amazing, you know that right?
Not only is the plot well done, but the actual writing is excellent.
Some issues I found however:
~"...through my oft clouded eyes."
You should change this to 'often'. Minor detail, its just things like this are odd, like when you have 'BRB' in a story.
~"He gently took the pages from me and flipped through them ... ‘We’ll get through this, Nen, I promise we will.’” Oliver gently closed the book. "
This is not quite clear where the passage of the book ends, and where Oli starts.
~You should elaborate and build the characters. I really have no idea about any of the people so far. I know its the prologue/first chap, but it really does need to be made more clear.
Honestly? I can't find anything more than that. Your sentence structure is amazing, the dialogue fits perfectly, and it flows really well.
This is amazing, please write more, and sorry I couldn't be more of a help, but theres not much to improve on.
~LizAuthor's Response: Thank you so much for the quick response!
I'll definitely take your suggestions into consideration. I know I definitely need to make the part where Oliver is reading more clear. Italics were suggested. Before I make edits to this I want to make sure I have more up and written so the story continues. :)
I'm the kind of writer where I don't like to give away too much to begin with. Characters will be developed as the story progresses.
Again thank you so much! I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to review and the fact that you liked it really makes my day. :) Report Review
I really like this. It seems very mysterious and intriguing.
The beginning is a bit confusing, but otherwise, I can't complain. I like your writing style a lot. It doesnt feel weighed down like a lot of stories.
I can't wait for more, please update soon!!! PLEASEAuthor's Response: Thank you! :) I'll try and have chapter 2 out asap! Report Review
Interesting start... One question, actually: Is this before or after the battle of Hogwarts? I was trying to figure it out...
But anyhow, Raissa is an interesting character already and I can't wait to get to know her more.
You have nice writing, and the first person POV is better than many of the stories I've read on here, so good job. Very few grammar issues...
Good story over all. :)Author's Response: It's set around a year after the battle.
Thank you for reviewing. I'm so glad you liked it. :) This was a reworking of my old story Crash and Burn and since I'm taking such a drastically different route with it I've been concerned about how it would turn out.
Thanks again! :) Report Review
This is a really great first chapter :) It's really intersting so far, I really want to know more! Oliver's such a sweetheart here. I like how she works at George's shop :) Is this going to be set after the war, or before?
I did get a little confused when he was reading from what her mother had written because I didn't really realize it was from the book, but I went back and it made sense. Maybe changing the part to italics if you do an edit? Just a thought :)
Other than that, I didn't notice anything grammer-wise, but by no means am I an expert on that. I like her personallity so far, so good job on that :)
Really really great job overall! I'll be looking for updates for sure!Author's Response: Thank you so much for reviewing!
It is set after the war by about a year with Rai, but her mom's story is during the Marauder's era.
I'll definitely have to change that to italics. Thanks for pointing it out because I had forgotten about it!
Thanks again! :) Report Review
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