Reviewer: snivellicious
Date: 03/19/09 19:48
Chapter: An Impossible Mission

hi, i know that this fic is long in the past, but i just read it so i thought i'd point out a few things i noticed. first off, i love your descriptions of sirius. i think you depicted him very true to character. second, i have a couple of questions. if snape and sirius travelled back to the year 1871, how did a book from that time contain information regarding black family history from the year 1910 if that year hasn't happened yet? also, you describe phineas black as arturus' father (elladora says, "you must be the son of my brother..." ) but then you refer to him as arturus' brother, meaning he would also be elladora's brother.

heh, just some things i wanted to point out. maybe i read or interpreted wrong.

Reviewer: Roommate of the Quillster
Date: 04/16/08 22:36
Chapter: An Impossible Mission

Hello! :) I noticed this story had zero reviews, and I was shocked. I know it’s for the Gauntlet, but I thought you might like some feedback anyway.

There are lots of things I like about your writing. For example I like the perspective on characters you take. I like the complete understanding you have of the scene each character is in. And I particularly like the element of suspense/mystery you included in this chapter.

However, I also think there are some things you could change. Now I know, again, this is for the Gauntlet, but the beginnings of every story are important. Look at the first sentence of your entire story:

The sun shone as brightly as ever even though it was still extremely cold.

Okay, you’re giving us a scene description. It’s lovely, but as the first sentence, how can something be “as brightly as ever” when we have nothing emotionally or physically to compare it to as it relates to your story? Also, how can something be “still” cold when, once again, we have nothing to compare it to? And what is the difference between cold and “still extremely cold?” I guess what I’m trying to say with the questions is that this sentence doesn’t invite the reader in. It leaves us comparing to weather we aren’t familiar with because we don’t know what it was. It’s distant and vague, and although that may have been the feeling you wanted us to have, I think you could go about it a different way.

One thing that might help with that is to take a look at your verbs. Passive verbs are frequent occurrences in this story. For example, these are from the first two paragraphs:

would have thought that / who had struck him / may have had some / was extremely lightheaded

Those verbs are just passive. They’re weak. It’s almost like you as an author are indecisive — like you’re not sure if it’s really that way or not but perhaps it might be.

If you look at your sentences in general, it’s almost like your writing is formulaic. Each sentence is direct and passively describes things surrounding it. Partially this is the repetitiveness of the weak and uncertain verbs. But it’s also that the people aren’t really emotional at all. It’s very straight forward writing.

And it gets confusing as you continue the story because the readers aren’t emotionally invested because of the passive sentences and then you change point of view multiple times in a row without extra paragraph breaks. It’s hard to focus when the point of view is Sirius through the first half of the story and then it’s Severus, Elladora, and Arcturus.

Then you throw in details like this:

To a Muggle, it would have looked like a small, skinny twig, but any witch or wizard would know that it was just merely a wand.

This is a bit unnecessary for your audience. Sometimes we like to give superfluous information, but how often do you skim past that kind of stuff when reading the HP books or other favorites when the author is recapping information? As nice as it is to review and slow the pace down, a better way to have phrased this would have been to get rid of the second half of the sentence. Just let him pull out the twig and start muttering things — we’ll all know it’s a wand. Or just call it a wand. The place for artistically describing events is when it’s something you have added that we as readers are unfamiliar with because it deviates from the canon we know.

But then you give us this bit:

Once again the group of women quietly whispered to each other, giggling until the same woman answered his question. “Why, it is 1871. Now, it is my turn to ask you some questions.” Sirius ran his hand through his hair, and rubbed his eyes. He then nodded his head in the direction of the woman, urging her to continue.

This paragraph was so refreshing! It perfectly describes confused Sirius and ladies of that time. I can see the giggling women eying him up and see Sirius’s exhaustion as he agrees to their questions.

Elladora chuckled, and began to shake her head. “Well, I haven't actually done it, but I have been thinking about beheading the house-elf we have now. He can't even carry a tray of tea anymore!”

-giggles- That was lovely. Insisting she hadn’t done it yet, but it was certainly on her mind. It’s paragraphs like these two that connect us back to your characters and make us want to keep reading.

So there are good pieces, and I do like how you handle your characters in their setting, but I think if you described the details to your readers a more confidently and less passively, your story would be more effective. It’s an exciting, mysterious story, but that gets lost when the verbs are weak. So, nice job with this, I really did enjoy it. And good luck with your writing!

Author's Response: Shanae.. I believe that's your name, right? I'm sorry if I'm wrong. rnrnThank you so much for this review. I understand exactly what you mean with everything that you pointed out to me. I will most definitely have to change a lot of things with this story. I was practically rushing through to get it done because of it being for the Gauntlet and everything. In the near future, I will probably go through and change a lot of things in it. Personally, I don't like the ending, so that will definitely be changed..rnrnAh, I know.. I suck at describing things. Lol. I try, but it just doesn't come off sounding believable.. I'm trying to work on that more, and I'm hoping that with my new fic that should be up soon is a lot better with details and such. =)rnrnThank you so much for the lovely review. I really appreciate all of the constructive criticism. :)

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