I really liked it this! It shows great promise, and I like what you've done with the characters and I really want to see what happens next.
I would love to see a bit more description in your writing. You're very dialogue based, and I think you could take this story further if you cut some of the unnecessary dialogue (it's horrible to do, believe me... I had to do that with one of my own stories, and I was all like 'I NEED ALL THIS DIALOGUE' and had a minor breakdown) and replace it with a bit more description. Even if it's of the countryside of the train, or a bit more or Arianthe's emotions and backstory, but I think it would help with the flow and make it less dialogue-heavy.
Other than that, I really think this story has promise! :DAuthor's Response: Thank you! Criticism is always welcome, and this is good stuff. I hadn't realized there was so much dialogue! :) :) I'll be sure to put some description in there, that's an important part of the story too. Report Review
Hi there! Here I am, with your requested review. I have to say, when I read the summary for your story, I was definitely intrigued--many NextGen stories seem to be of the "day in the life of a teen" variety, with the main focus on relationships and Quidditch. It's always more interesting to read one that goes beyond that, especially when there's an element of mystery in the plot!
A couple of the things you mentioned in your areas of concern were flow and characterization. I think the flow was generally good, though I think it might have been nice to break up the chapter once or twice. The train, the boat ride across the lake, the Sorting, and being shown to the Ravenclaw common room is a lot of ground to cover in one long scene. So, for example, you could have had a scene break at the end of the conversation on the train, and skipped straight to the boat ride. It just makes the experience of reading a little more varied and dynamic.
As for characterization, I really like Arianthe! I think it's great to see a Malfoy being Sorted into a house other than Slytherin. You wrote her perfectly for her age, which can be difficult to do. It was good to show her inner conflict as she arrived at school and found out more about her family's past; her refusal to believe it was really in-character.
My only suggestion in this area would be that I would have liked to have a bit more explanation of Arianthe's background. I didn't get a good sense of the Malfoy family dynamics--there were hints at it, like Arianthe's puppy-dog-eyes, and her description of Scorpius and Selene, but I felt like we kind of hovered on the surface and never really delved much deeper into it. Draco seemed much more doting and fatherly than I would have expected, so it would have been interesting to hear how his canon personality has changed since he's had children. Also, I don't think you mentioned in this chapter how much older Scorpius and Selene are than Arianthe, which is something I think readers would naturally question. It also would have been interesting to read more about the dynamics between the Potters/Weasleys and the Malfoys. It would be good, I think, to explain why they're all friends (or at least sort of friends), despite the history between their families. And on that note, while I found her discovery of her family's reputation to be one of the best parts of this chapter, I have to wonder how she didn't find anything out before now--surely, wouldn't she have gotten some inkling of it before? She might have heard her brother and sister talking about it, or noticed people's reactions to her father when they were out in public. Addressing that could make her revelation all the more significant.
Introducing a character well is a really important part of a first chapter, and it can be hard to hit the right balance. One other thing I noticed is that you seem to gravitate more towards writing dialogue than description (and I do that, too, so I understand!), which can be more problematic in first chapters than in others. It's hard to feel like you're getting to know a character when most of it is dialogue, and a lot of it is dialogue from characters other than the protagonist. I think this chapter could be strengthened by the inclusion of some more background information, not just about Arianthe, but about her family and their place at Hogwarts. Maybe you get to explaining that in later chapters, but I really think it would be good to have at least some of it in this very first chapter, to answer the questions that I'm sure are on many readers' minds. If it's an issue of spoilers, you can include some cryptic statements, just so the readers know that you haven't neglected to consider it.
One other thing I noticed is that your dialogue isn't formatted properly in all cases. This formatting is perfect: "I have a brother too," I said, glancing back at Morgan curiously. You've ended the quotation with a comma/half-stop. In many other places, though, you ended it with a period/full-stop. I actually wrote a guide to formatting dialogue that's in the grammar guidelines subforum in the Writer's Resources area over on the forums. If you aren't sure about how to format your dialogue, I think you might find it helpful.
So, all in all, I think this chapter was really intriguing, and I liked your protagonist. The only thing I found myself wishing for was more explanation--which, if you think about it, isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your story is great; I'm just curious and want to hear more about your characters! :)Author's Response: Holycraplongreview.
Helpful, though. I won't address every single paragraph, which isn't doing this review the justice it deserves, but I will say thank you so much for taking the time to do this for little ol' me, and also, about the formatting thing - I acutally did read that a while back :) looks like I need to brush up on my skills, though. It was very helpful :)
~Elle Report Review
PLEASE UPDATE! I honestly luv the plotAuthor's Response: Thank you :) Report Review
sdjhflksdhjf THIS IS. SO. ADORABLE. Ugh. You write an eleven-year-old so, so well! It's hard to remember exactly how young the children at Hogwarts are, I think, in light of how much Harry & co. achieved while they were there, but Arianthe is such a mix of Malfoy sass and child-like innocence that I was just grinning at my screen the whole time I read this.
I will come back to the cuteness in a moment, but I would like to comment on how much I appreciate the way you've written this as well. We do see Arianthe's spunk in some of the narration, but a lot of it is adorably innocent and very absorbing of the real charm of Hogwarts to someone who's never been there before. I like that she already knows about the Sorting Hat, too, I always found it weird that nobody seemed to know how it was done, especially Ron, because he had a lot of people close to him that went through it and yet he chose to believe Fred and George :P
I also love that you've brought in a completely new character to be headmistress! And what a lovely woman, too, grunge and all haha. I'm prey to this habit, but a lot of people just tend to chuck in one of the old professors to Headmaster or Headmistress, and while this is easier as a writer, for me as a reader I like the idea that Hogwarts has changed a bit (or a lot) between the times Harry was there and his children are.
The episode on the train with Silencio was so cute, I was literally laughing out loud. I am really jealous of your ability to juggle so many characters and do it so well. This fic really reminds me of the reason I fell in love with JKR's world in the first place. I love that Arianthe is still untouched by the darker side of magic in this chapter, because to me that is how Harry read in the first book before everything happened. I know that this will eventually include a murder and ensuing investigation, but, man, for now, this is so cute I can't even think of another word for it. Besides ones I've already mentioned.
I also really like the idea that Arianthe doesn't know what her father's done. I like to imagine that maybe Draco waits until his kids are a certain age before he tells them or something, and than meanwhile rumours are running rampant at Hogwarts. There was this--I don't know, this will be awkwardly worded I am sure--this quality to the mean kids in this chapter that was so realistic. Often children can be cruelest because they don't know how to empathize yet, and because it's all about sides and who's right and who's wrong, who's good and who's bad. And at Hogwarts this would obviously be supercharged, especially in the aftermath of the war and concerning the children of the people on either side.
So, basically, this story has completely won me over, and as soon as it's not one AM, I am going to read the rest of the chapters and keep up with it because. Just because. Yes.
-lilyAuthor's Response: So I've been purposely not responding to this because I love looking at it whenever I go to Unanswered Reviews, but I think it's time I got around to responding to it :)
skfjldsgnaogd I LOVE WRITING FIRST YEARS IT'S SO FUN! I feel like a lot of people mostly write seventh years because they can relate to them more, and that holds true for me as well but I LOVE WRITING FIRST YEARS. And I'm young enough to remember when I was eleven and I don't think that all first years are either annoying snobs or dumb, squeaky little twits. You know, they have their own dramas, as stupid as they are. I think the problem most people have is capturing that drama correctly. Everything is a super big deal to a first year, because everything's new. They get stupid fears, but they also know how to rationalize. I'm not saying that I write the first year perfectly but I do think that those are some problems people run into.
On the other hand, you can't make first years too mature. Like, an eleven year old probably isn't going to have their first kiss (but if they do, they're damn lucky ;) )
They're also super innocent, which I love. Their dramas, like I said, are stupid, like, who called who what name. A big deal to them, but stupid.
I also found it weird that Ron chose to believe Fred and George, of all people. I suppose it was because Charlie and Bill were gone and he didn't like talking to Percy...?
I do that with the Headmistress to, but this time I decided to change it up a bit. I like Headmistress Roberts. She reminds me a lot of this character on Grey's Anatomy (I'm obssessed with that show) who acts like a pushover sometimes but really has a lot of spirit and passion and all that. I really want to get around to showing that sometime...
Juggling characters? Pshaw, no problem.
I'm just kidding. It's really difficult. A lot of times I forget names and stuff and have to go back and check and yeah. I just have to be really careful. Because if I made Rose's hair auburn in one paragraph, then came back a week later and made it red because I wasn't paying attention, that would be bad.
Anyway, I always thought that Draco may not want to tell his kids about what he's done at such a young age. It would give them nightmares and such :) But there's also a certain level of fresh start I think he'd want from them, you know? I think he'd want someone not to know, even if they'd find out eventually. That way he knows that his kids actually love him when he tells them, and aren't just - this sounds horrible, but pretending, or faking or something. I don't know.
So, basically, I love you right now. Your review got me through the next chapter of this thing. I'm going to post it right now, so, yeah. Bye.
Same advice as last time, you have some odd word choices every now and then. Nothing that a good beta wouldn't be able to fix. Otherwise, everything looks great :)
~DeliaAuthor's Response: Thanks so much for the reviews :) Report Review
Hi, this is Delia here with your requested review :)
So, I think you have a pretty good plot here. Arianthe is an interesting character, although, what happened to Lily? Shouldn't she be going into first year around this time also?
I think you've set up the characters and the story and plot lines well. There are some issues where you have some odd word choices. I'm sure that if you go back and look for them, you'll find them :)
Well, that's all for now. I'm going to read chapter 2 now :)
~DeliaAuthor's Response: Hi Delia!
If I told you what happened to Lily, I would be giving away spoilers. But I promise I didn't forget about her or anything :)
I'll look back and see the word choice. Thanks for the feedback :) Report Review
Hope this story continues, because i'm loving itAuthor's Response: Thank you!! Report Review
I am really loving this story so you better continue it!! Please!!!Author's Response: Thank you lots! You're my first review! And chapter 2 is in the queue right now, thankfully :) Report Review
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