This was a beautiful piece, very poetic. I love how you transferred James thoughts and feelings about the damaged tree to the situation he and Lily were in. I was a little confused as to what came before this scene, so I'm afraid i'm going to have to read your other stories in search of answers, but believe me when i say that it won't be a chore. This and you are going on my favourites.
Ugh. Guh. I don’t know which word to use. There’s so much symbolism in this story. I’m jealous. (Ugh.) It’s gorgeous. (GUH.) Why haven’t I been able to do something like this yet? *pouts* Hee, I’m glad I got to read this and shocked that it only has two reviews…so here I am, SPEW buddy, with my best *ahemnoviceahem* reviewing skills on hand to give you a review worthy of this marvelous little piece.
I love the details you put into this. When the entire story focuses on this symbolism – the green, the tree, growth and change – the details are important. I think you have done a fabulous, fantastic job of including the perfect mix of details and the entire story has a strong, lovely poetic nuance to it. It’s beautiful.
I also love your characterization. James – well, he is still a bit of an arse, but he’s also a heck of a lot wiser than he was a few years back, and that’s just nice to see. You cover the transition from absolute idiot *boys are, usually* to a wiser, still frustrating at times person *men are that way, usually*. :D And Lily – can I squee over the fact that she’s not as perfect and mature as she looks at first. It always irks me that she’s been a bit of a Mary-Sue in canon, and we see the elements of that as well as the *lovable* imperfect truth that lies deeper in this story. It’s very, very, very nice. SQUEE! :)
I’ll just go through the story and shout out random things. Hee. The story overall is excellent and there are no criticisms that cover the whole story, so that’s a really GOOD thing. *applause*
The flow of the first paragraph, to me, seems like the ideas jump around a bit. I would move the first two lines to the end of the first paragraph. The only problem with this suggestion is that the ‘speckled’ in the third line will no longer make sense, and I LOVE where you’ve placed that adjective. But personally, I feel the flow would be better if the first two lines came at the end of the first paragraph rather than the beginning…just a personal preference; it’s fine as it is as well – something to think about.
Running a finger over it, he was surprised when even the slightest touch inflamed the tree, turning it an angry green colour — the color of bruised tree flesh. Hmm. I love the sentence, but “colour” felt repetitive. I would take out “the color of.” But overall, I should also bring attention to the fact that you really personified the tree well – with “skin” and “flesh” and “bruised,” you started to really feel humanistic aspects to the tree. That was WONDERFULLY and very subtly done. *hearts*
The conversation with Lily – there are just no words. I mean, your characterization is impeccable. And it’s just GUH. ‘You don’t mean to do most things, James. A lot of things happen as a result of not thinking.’ = absolute best line ever. The way James feels like a little kid ashamed of himself in the beginning of the conversation and turns into a man who knows Lily for what she is by the end really is a beautiful transition. The entire conversation is perfect James/Lily. Perfect.
Her hair was the only thing that stood out against the shade of jade, and green, and the hint of lemon… This comes after a long paragraph of colour-related details, if you can recall. The last thing – hint of lemon – was just perfect because though it could be a colour, I rather imagine it to be a scent. This means he goes from colors – to describing Lily (colours and scents and all!) and that little phrase at the end endeared this line to me.
Just because I scratched some bark off a tree, doesn’t mean I’ve aided its ability to grow taller than it is right now,’ *twitches at the comma after tree* Throughout the story, there are a few errant commas – this is one of them. No big deal, but easily fixed and it does improve the story’s aesthetic appeal!
I guess all the intelligent stuff doesn’t work for you, does it James? You need another comma after ‘it.’ Nouns of direct address should be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas.
So you can’t be standing her feeding me all this stuff about growing and changing when you’ve just told me that you haven’t changed. You haven’t grown stronger because of us. Because of what happened.’ The emotion in this paragraph is beyond love – it’s like ‘lurrrve.’ Hee. But ‘her’ should be ‘here.’ ;)
The rain in this story seems to be the turning point. It cuts off the climax of the fight where James is angry and changes the direction of the conversation as they huddle under the tree. It makes me feel like greater homage should be paid to the rain in some way…but I can’t figure out how. Just a thought if you ever decide to look at this story for a lengthy time – the rain deserves more spotlight. *giggles at how strange that sounds, but lets it be because she’s strange as well!*
They both momentarily forgot their dispute and huddled together under the tree while each leaf dripped slowly, soaking them slower than what they would have if they were out in the open beneath the crying sky. I suggest “soaking them slower than if they were out in the open…” and I love the phrase “crying sky.” So…human. It’s lovely.
You’re still bickering with me, isn’t that enough proof? First, I love that she spits this ‘fallaciously.’ BEAUTIFUL diction. But…the comma should be a semicolon. You haven’t, you’ve just tried to. *twitch* Comma should be a semicolon.
You don’t know the way I think, or the way I am. Commas before conjunctions are acceptable only when what follows the conjunction can stand alone as a sentence. In this case, it can’t, so there should be no comma before ‘or.’
The same green colour resided in Lily’s eyes, and James stepped forward so all that there was beneath the umbrella leaves of the tree was green, red, black, and pale creamy skin sprinkled with freckles. This is the one line that I felt didn’t entirely work in the whole details-of-color thing you’ve done through this whole story. This sentence is just hard to follow. It broke the flow of the text up for me a bit.
James grinned and touched the tree on the brilliantly green patch of raw bark before kicking some pungent dirt into the base of the tree and setting out into the renewed warmth. I LOVE the ‘brilliantly green’ bit you threw in…that’s a marvelous little mention that pulls together all the color references in the story for one final huzzah. But…I feel like all the actions meld together in this long sentence. Most of your narrative is made up of long sentences…it would be nice, as a culminating gesture, to make the ‘setting out into the renewed warmth’ a sentence on its own – one final, special, resolving action.
Throughout this whole story, there have been errant commas. There have been a few awkward phrases. But overall, there has been a sense of change, a sense of new understanding, of hurt and comfort and growth that is James and Lily. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful. This story is absolutely breathtaking, dear, dear Steph. Kudos to you for writing it and three cheers for the characters!
I am absolutely bloody green with envy. ;) I hope my first SPEW review did the story justice!
Author's Response: ... this was, your, first, spew review?
;) I have a huuuuuge problem with commas. I don't exactly use them as a pause in thought, but a consideration? that, in which, would.... I'm not sure where I got it from, but I'll work to fix it.
And with semicolons, I need to learn when to use them appropriatley. I picked up most of my grammar from reading, and s.c's arent' all that common, so I'll have to work on those! I loved this review, it made me really happy to know that something I'd put a lot of energy into was... appreciated for its MEness. & all those long sentences and stuff - all that crit is stuff I recognise, you know? I know I need to work on it, so reaffiramtion is always important. ♥
Oooh, er, hello. *shifty eyes*
I hadn't been on MNFF for a long time, and so naturally decided to check out your new fics - this brilliant one's only got one review! It deserves more. Anyway, I love the significance of the colour green. And the fact that you have the word 'lurid' in your fic. *giggles* Tree, grass, and Lily's eyes...well, with that plus the rain, I really do love the colours and scenery (? - can't find a better word) in your story. Lovely character stuff too, without being cliche and fluffy - brilliant story, as always. :)
Author's Response: Er, hi :).
See,m yo know I love to shamlessly self promote. And I giggled just as much as you, you see. I always laugh when I'm putting something silly in like that.
Makes me wonder if when JKR added forshadowing into previous books she cackled maniacly. Lol.
amazing. i love the way you colored in their feelings with your words 10000000000000/10
also, kudos to you for no cliche kissy ending
Author's Response: Hah. I hate kissy endings, and try to avoid the deep in fluffy love ones as much as possible :D Thanks hun!