This is a GREAT line:
No, it was much simpler. What perturbed him was that his three best mates seemed to enjoy the idea of being expelled.
Already, you’ve set the tone for this fic. You seem to write Remus’s character very well, and even those this is a short bit, I really enjoyed it.
There are a myriad of Marauder stories out there, particularly ones featuring Remus Lupin. An avid fan of this genre of Harry Potter Fan Fiction would expect this to equate to paradise – except for the fact that so many of them are poorly written. It’s as though there is a gigantic MWPP cookie-cutting machine that continues to cough out cloned work, leaving readers rolling their eyes at the sight of yet another batch.
A possible theory I have to explain this phenomenon is the concrete knowledge we have about the fates of James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter gleaned from the books. Authors do not have a tremendous amount of room to create events and readers always have an upper hand on suspense. They know how things are going to turn out in the end.
In such a situation, it is my opinion that the success of a story then hinges on areas like characterization, imagery, and uniqueness of style. Though it is very brief, checking in at just over one-thousand words, the outstanding profile of Remus Lupin, the account of his horrible transformations, and the insight on his relationship with his best friends cause this one-shot to shine above others in this category.
Let me begin by examining your characterization of the canon character Remus Lupin. Accuracy here is critical to the success of a fan fiction. Throughout this entire story, you supply several bits of clear evidence that you deeply understand his character. I see a high level of consistency with the J.K. Rowling original, a mark missed by many others. In the next two paragraphs, I would like to look at two examples that make my point clearly.
What perturbed him was that his three best mates seemed to enjoy the idea of being expelled.The striking thing about this passage is how well it captures the conflict between the guarded approach to life of Remus and the reckless, adventure-hungry attitudes of James and Sirius. The Lupin in the books would never promote actions that could lead his friends into a dangerous situation. On the contrary, it would annoy him. He would give much higher preference to any plan that saw them sitting safely in the Gryffindor Common Room. Yet so often he lost out to the will of his friends, leaving him to wonder if what they were doing was right.
Remus wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he inflicted the pain he felt upon someone else. Beginning as soon as he appeared in the books, Lupin repeatedly took actions out selflessness or self-pity. For example, he resigned from Hogwarts when the secret that he was a Werewolf leaked out. He didn’t want to create a difficult situation that would negatively affect the quality of education at the school. He also hesitated at the prospect of becoming romantically involved with Tonks, fearing what could become of it. In both cases, the arguments could be made that he acted in the best interests of others, but that he also did so because he was afraid of the consequences of the alternative.
These are both excellent examples of accurate characterization of a canon character. Another area in which you excelled here was imagery. Your descriptions, though short and to the point, were very effective.
The sun kissed the horizon goodbye as the moon slowly rose, taking its place. A sunset is an ordinary, everyday happening – something most readers experience on a daily basis. There are certainly several clichéd ways to describe a sunset, often involving something about how the sky was on fire or red like blood. The idea of a goodbye kiss was a wonderfully fresh way to put it, catching the imagination of the readers, drawing them in.
The descriptions in this story are not overly verbose, a pitfall that often consumes many writers (I don’t know, like me). There is often a tendency by some to pry open a thesaurus and dump as much flowery language in to a scene as it is believed readers will stomach. That is not the case here. Your description is concise, but effective, leaving readers with a very clearly painted picture.
If I were to give you any notes in the area of constructive criticism, it is with the continuous use of the proper name Remus. There are several of instances where you could have used he or him. To exaggerate the effect greatly, not doing so makes the story sound or read like, ‘Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus, Remus.’ To improve this, perhaps avoid using the characters proper name more than once every one or two paragraphs unless there is no way to avoid it. For example, if there are more than one male characters involved in the scene, it is possible that using he or him could result in confusion. Careful wording sequences can eliminate the problem even under those circumstances, however. My thought is that it just gives your story to much unintentional repetition by using the proper name so many times.
In conclusion, this is a wonderful, short fan fiction containing a fantastic look at Remus Lupin and a chilling account of his transformations. I think any fan of this character or the Marauders in general are not likely to be disappointed.
Ah, Britt. [hugs]
This was a really short fic, but I quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t as … thrilling, I suppose I shall say, as I had thought it was going to be, and it definitely was a lot shorter than I presumed. I guess I expected more action. Looking back, though, this works much better than if it had been long and I like that there isn’t really a new story. It’s a look into Remus, just as the title suggest, a peek into his mind. A character study more than anything else, and a great one at that. I haven’t read many Remus fics, I’ll admit, but I’ve seen him featured in Marauder stories. Of all the Remus’ I’ve seen, I can say with confidence that this was one of the best representations I have seen of him. Well done, my dear.
What perturbed him was that his three best mates seemed to enjoy the idea of being expelled.
I love this, dear, simply love it. Not only does it very accurately characterize Remus, but it shows that you know the Marauders well also. We know they enjoyed the risk, and Sirius even said that such a thrill would have been what made it fun for James. With this line you show that you have not forgotten that.
The silent commute to the Whomping Willow, its branches flailing about. It too appeared to be familiar with the exchange. It was really the only thing that still managed to surprise Remus.
This, too, is great. The subtle personification of the willow adds immensely to the story, and it gives the tree a bit of character as well. I also really like that the willow is the only thing that still surprises Remus.
Remus took one last glance at the night sky. He would never truly be able to appreciate the beauty of the full moon. His opinion distorted, it would always be a curse, a reminder of the tortured howls he emitted, the self-inflicted wounds.
Another excellent look into the psych of Remus Lupin. These sentences are wonderful because they show just the right amount of bitter bias in him, and I think it really shows how well you know his character.
The walls felt more like a prison than anything, holding back the monster that Remus was forced to became each month.
This is a great line that I like for the same reason as above. Words like ‘prison’ and ‘forced’ and ‘monster’ are simply perfect in this situation.
The thought alone sent shivers up his spine, the mere suggestion reminded him just how wrong an idea it was for James, Sirius and Peter to involve themselves in this mess. If he harmed them…it would be far worse than any pain he ever had or could endure.
[sigh] I’m probably providing too many examples, but you really, really know your Remus, kid. It’s wonderful to read a fanfic so spot on.
[Sorry if they’ve been said]
It was about time to meet Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing, she always liked him to be prompt, just incase.
I think it should be ‘in case,’ two words, but I’m not entirely sure. I could be wrong, but I thought I would point it out just in case.
It had a funny smell to it, making Remus’ noise scrunch in irritation.
Lol. I think you mean nose, dear, not noise. :D
Still, it didn’t matter, if the place frightened them enough to stay away, good.
I’m thinking the comma after ‘matter’ should really be a semi-colon.
That maybe there really was something wrong with him, a filthy animal that deserved sympathy.
Hm. I question this sentence only because I’m not entirely sure Remus would think he deserved sympathy. I’m more inclined to think he wouldn’t want it. I love the rest of the sentence, the doubt and his reference to himself as a ‘filthy animal’ are perfectly in character. I’m simply a little iffy on the latter end of this sentence. Would Remus want sympathy? He’s accepted his condition, but it is clear he still doesn’t like it, and though I don’t think he necessarily tries to hide it or pretend he isn’t what he is, he doesn’t parade it either. I think people’s sympathy might irritate him a bit more, though.
That transformation … just … wow. The description was absolutely astounding; such detail and precision, one might think you yourself have gone through it (though I know you haven’t; ha). It isn’t too overdone, and it just … it works. I especially love the shift in narrative that occurred once it was over. I was afraid that it would continue from Remus’ perspective in the same manner, but it didn’t. You did not forget that as a wolf Remus was not Remus, and it showed in the diction of the last two paragraphs.
As I’ve said, very well done, love! I applaud you on this. [hugs]
Very, very good job, dear!
You know the questions asked in the summary?Imagine the pure agony that must be endured in a transformation. Can you capture the fear? How can you possibly put into words the magnitude of anxiety one would feel?
You did it! You captured it and put it into words. You did it superbly.It was almost dusk. The sun kissed the horizon goodbye as the moon slowly rose, taking its place.
^ I love this opening line. You showed us the sunset in just a few words – there’s a certain beauty and calmness to the scene, and the beauty with which the reader would normally associate with the moon really contrasts with the way you go on to describe Remus’ feelings to the moon, as in this passage later on:Remus took one last glance at the night sky. He would never truly be able to appreciate the beauty of the full moon. His opinion distorted, it would always be a curse, a reminder of the tortured howls he emitted, the self-inflicted wounds.
^ Lovely writing there: simple but so powerful.
And the transformation description: just wow. It’s so detailed, I can tell you must have put a lot of thought and imagination into that. Everything down to the way his senses changed – I don’t blame Mere and Jenna for questioning whether you are in fact a werewolf, because this is so convincing.
I like that you included lots of different emotions in this story, such as Remus’ multiple feelings about his friends coming – he’s not just worried about them, he’s embarrassed, and so on. It makes it so much more real and conveys the confusion that he no doubt feels.
And the absence of dialogue – I like that. We really are in Remus’ head.He bristled. The time was nearing. Remus had gotten lost in his thoughts again, losing track precious. There, it was that feeling again. The one he got rather frequently right before a transformation. His body responding quicker than his mind could process it. His transformation was beginning.
^ Ooh, the sentences there are sort of fragmented and it lends a great tension to the passage. Wonderful writing. But, as Mere said, that second sentence doesn’t make sense...
I have a couple of other technical nitpicks:It was about time to meet Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing, she always liked him to be prompt, just incase.
‘Incase’ should be two words, and I’d replace the first comma with a colon or something so the sentence isn’t a run-on.The tunnel was bleak and musky. It had a funny smell to it, making Remus’ noise scrunch in irritation.
Haha, his ‘nose’, not his ‘noise’ ;)
All in all, a very impressive fic. You captured Remus and lycanthropy just perfectly. It was a pleasure to read and review.
If you had a blast writing this - I had an EXPLOSION reading this!!! X-D :)))))) Keep it up, love =] (oh, wow, that's my first usage of that kind of smiley face, lol. I guess I like it =]] =p)
Brittany! -tackles lovely SPEW buddy-
Wow. What a fantasically awesome piece.
First, though, some little nitpicks:
It was really the only thing that still managed to surprise Remus.
What was the only thing that managed to surprise Remus? The Whomping Willow? I thought that it was familiar with the routine? How could it be familiar but surprising? Or was it Madame Pomfrey stopping it? Sorry, that was just a little unclear to me.
Never really knowing, only hearing about the great fun the four of them had.
I love this line. I really do, but if it's the first time James, Sirius, and Peter are joining him, how does he know that they're going to have a lot of fun? Maybe something that hints at vague memories or him questioning his friends about what happened.
Remus had gotten lost in his thoughts again, losing track precious.
Err... This line doesn't make sense. Did you mean to put 'losing track of precious time'? Or is something else precious?
Mounted with the pressure of the full moon, it only agonized him more to think of the probability of those things happening.
This line is so beautiful. It made my eyes burn.
His opinion distorted, it would always be a curse, a reminder of the tortured howls he emitted, the self-inflicted wounds.
Aww.... -huggles Remus-
The first time he had traveled this way, he had been half out of his mind with the terror that clutched his heart.
I want to hug you because of this line. -hugs-
Maybe…but before Remus could finish his thought it was lost forever, trapped in a corner of his mind, never to be retrieved.
-is speechless- This line is so powerful and heart-wrenching.
Some random thoughts -->
Are you a werewolf, hon? I mean, seriously, Britt, this piece was just so maginificent, so powerful, so emotional, so in tune with what Remus would be thinking. It's really beautiful too. You have a wonderful way with words, even your prose seems like poetry.
Remus is perfect. He would be concerned about hurting someone, hurting one of his friends, his friends getting caught, etc. And he would think deep, dark, complex thoughts on his way to transformation.
I love the way you describe the transformation. It's so accurate and believable. Almost makes me think that werewolves are real. ;) I also love the way you introduced the rest of the Marauders and how Remus reacts to them. It's wonderful.
Well, you had a blast writing this piece and I had a blast reviewing it. :D
Amazing, strong, powerful, stunning story.
Brittany, I need to ask you a question. Ahem. Are you a werewolf?
Because, I have no idea how you managed to describe the transformation with such vivid detail. I mean, wow. It really read like someone writing something they had experienced before. This, for instance: At first it was a light tickling sensation, but then a whole new feeling took over as though someone was jabbing needles into his skin, in a million different places, and all at the same time.
If I am to accept that you are not in fact a werewolf, than I must applaud your ability to put yourself into the mindset of someone else and imagine through and through how an experience must feel. I’ve seen various versions of the transformation experience, and it’s usually very good, but just the basic mentions of searing pain and shaking limbs and the fear, etc; You really went all out, feeling every aspect of the sensation of becoming a different creature. (And if you are a werewolf then, might I say, you still wrote that very well!)
Anyway. *shifty eyes*
I really, really like your writing! The first paragraph sort of stunned me for a moment. Remus’ thoughts were so Remus, and the words were so well strung together, it was just familiar somehow, in a way that fan-fiction usually isn’t, because it’s different writers, different settings, different situations, different universes. And as that sense of familiarity closed around me while I was reading, my mind jerked and said with surprise: Wait. You’re reading fan-fiction.
This line was part of that excellence: “What perturbed him was that his three best mates seemed to enjoy the idea of being expelled.” That was just such a Remus thought, and such an accurate image of the Marauders. Hee.
I think there’s one aspect of Remus you captured particularly well, and that’s the stubborn, vulnerable self-loathing part of his nature that looks at the world with meek hope. The part of him that admittedly likes the idea of his friends being there, but wouldn’t admit it out loud to them for fear they’d actually see it as approval. He’s always trying to protect everyone from himself. I think without people like James and Sirius (and Peter, I suppose, *rolls eyes*), Remus would become the loathsome creature he sees himself as. Because he wants to be loved, he wants to be accepted, but he’s so insistent on pushing people away in order to hide those human needs that if there weren’t people around good enough to be stubborn right back, he’d be lost. And, yes, I think you captured that element of his nature, through and through. The part of him that pushes away, but is touched and secretly pleased when everyone else pushes back.
He would never truly be able to appreciate the beauty of the full moon. His opinion distorted, it would always be a curse, a reminder of the tortured howls he emitted, the self-inflicted wounds. I like this note. Probably because I wrote a drabble about Remus and the moon. >.> But, also, it’s a nice addition to this ongoing insight to the “wolfish mind”. And it’s a good example of how we all react to symbols differently, the signifier the same, the signified different.
By the time Remus had finished contemplating this,… Admittedly, this line through me off a little. I sort of relate to it – writing characters on any kind of journey can be awkward. You want to show that they’ve moved, but you also want to show a passage of time with thoughts. I think I’ve probably written a line almost exactly like this once or twice. But, I think it would have been nicer if you’d just said, “They reached the end of the passageway.” I think with the break in his thoughts and the sudden reminder of reality moving around him, it would imply to the reader that as these lasts thoughts when through his mind, they reached the destination. Without actually dictating “By the time he finished this thought…”, which really just looks like you were trying to force ends to meet.
The one he got rather frequently right before a transformation. His body responding quicker than his mind could process it. This line, I really liked. It hinted at his wolfish instincts rising up inside him. A sensory transformation as his body prepares for the physical one.
And then there’s the transformation, that I already complimented you on. Hee. A very sweet ending. It was slightly abrupt, but mostly it was just fitting, and it was a lovely note to go out on. I like that, all in all, it comes down to friendship. :)
Author's Response: *giggles* This is the best review I've gotten for this and well...ever. =D No, I am most certainly not a werewolf. *shifty eyes* I'm just so pleased I don't even know how to respond. I will keep all that you said in mind though. This is just so lovely. Yay! =)
As I am sure I already told you, I loved this fic. I think that you captured the emotion and transformation perfectly. Great job, dear.
Author's Response: Thank you Haylee! Everyone, this was my lovely beta! Many thanks to her. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. To go a little off topic, I created this because I hadn't really read any fics at all about Remus' transformations and I figured I should step up to it. I am grateful for this short but lovely review.
I LOVE THIS FIC SOOOOO MUCH. YOU REALLY HAVE A LOT OF TALENT. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO READING YOUR FUTURE FICS. PLEASE CONTINUE TO WRITE SUCH AWESOME FICS.!!!
ALL THE BEST
P.S. I'M ADDING THIS FIC TO MY FAVORITES!!!!!!
Author's Response: Why. thank you, how kind! I plan to write many more fics that include the Marauders and lots of J/L, so if I ever get around to submitting, I'll let you know. =)
You're an excellent writer... thats exactly how I've always pictured Remus' transformations.
Author's Response: Why, thank you! I am grateful for your review. You start to wonder after 100 read counts and no reviews that the fic you've written is dreadul. So, you really have no idea how much your thoughts mean to me. =D