Hey, Spire =D
I really liked this fic. I usually don’t like second person a great deal, but I think you handled it really well. You used second person very effectively to involve the reader in the story.
The emotion in this fic is just... wow. The beginning was so powerful,
“The cellar is dark, and you look up at your parents in horror. Their eyes are wide, their expressions pained.”
That is such a great angsty opening. Immediately the reader wonders why the MC is in the cellar and why his parents aren’t helping him. It grabs the reader’s attention and makes them read on!
I liked this story because, although short, it seemed to give a deep insight to the character and his situation. The part of the story in italics is very well thought out, it was so interesting to read, and it was a really good idea. Your wording rocks, Spire, it really does. “It is black. It is pitch black in the cellar.” repeating the word black makes this sentence so powerful.
Your characterisation of Remus was really good, you conveyed his fear really well.
“All around the snarls echo, and it feels as if something is slashing into your body. No creature seems to be with you, though; you can see nothing but red.”
The way you word things makes them sound to powerful, you have a talent for angst writing, I can tell =p I couldn’t find much wrong with this fic to be honest, you fitted a lot into a small number of words, and it was very effective.
Overall this was a very powerful story which conveyed its meaning and messages really well. I look forward to reading more of your stories, Spire.
Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review, Russia! :D xx
I love Remus, and your summary was appealing. It had pathos that made me want to read the story.
I think you used second person successfully to make a reader a part of the story and experience Remus' shock and detachment through his comprehensive observations about his parents, the way he focuses outward instead of inward. I flipped a jeep once on black ice, overcorrecting to keep from sliding down an embankment, with much the same response. Feeling like an onlooker taking in all the details, hyper-aware of everything that’s happening, and yet emotionally distanced.
The physical descriptions were striking, especially the rough texture of the broken skin.
Your word choices, however, made it impossible for me to fully suspend disbelief and see myself as the child Remus while reading. There’s a saying, when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. Sometimes, “you” comes across as a child (Stupid, stupid moon). Most of the time, though, “you” is portrayed using vocabulary that’s too advanced. Impassive, relentlessly, fathom, suffocating, unconsciousness, incident, blemish, gaunt, suppressed: words like this are used by much older children.
I did enjoy the story and found the ending extremely realistic. I could see that happening the morning after Remus’ first transformation, and the use of looking in horror, by the child in the beginning, the mother at the end, was an effective way to bring the story full circle.
Author's Response: Ah, yes, I was a little unsure whether I'd captured the child Remus' voice. I don't write from such a young point of view very often, so thank you for pointing out the advanced vocab. And thank you for the review! -hugs-
You know, I tend not to read too many Remus-during-a-transformation fics, because it seems that they usually get a bit old after a while. But the prompt ‘fresh’ intrigued me, and I was definitely not bored by this fic.
In general, I am very critical of the second person. I use it almost ridiculously often myself and as such, I’ve found that I’m quite ridiculously possessive of it. I think it’s very hard to pull off effectively; in my opinion, it needs to completely flow with the fic – it shouldn’t be the main focus, it should just be natural and the perfect way of telling a particular story. That said, I thought your use of the second person worked really well in some places but wasn’t as effective in others. I think it’s a brilliant way to really get inside Remus’s head as he’s transforming and as he remembers becoming a werewolf. That part of the fic, I thought, was great. All of the description and imagery were spot on. However, the parts when he refers to his parents and you bring us back to a more tangible present – I don’t know, it didn’t quite fit for me. There was something missing that made the second person feel a little off. I think perhaps parts of this felt a little choppy and rushed, so the second felt almost jarring rather than smooth. Does any of that even make sense? I really am trying. My only suggestion is simply to write more in second person so you get a better feel for it. It can be quite tricky, and I think all you can do is practice. You’ve got a wonderful foundation here, though, to work from.
There were some minor mistakes throughout this that distracted me a little from the fic itself. Another thorough once-over probably would have caught those small errors and benefited the fic on the whole. I found some of the wording to be just a little awkward. For example: …the last glimpse you get of mum is her glistening eyes, from where the tears have begun to fall relentlessly. The second clause is a little confusing. I think if you just eliminated ‘from,’ the sentence would read more clearly. (Also, ‘mum’ should be capitalized in that instance.) Then there were other bits like ‘rattling breathing’ that didn’t feel quite right when I was reading. I think you would either have ‘rattled breathing’ or ‘rattled breaths,’ but the –ing adverb and the gerund together are somewhat awkward and, I think, not really correct. Finally, this bit was really odd to me: In the distance, you hear a scream; Mum? I don’t understand the use of the semicolon here, honestly. Technically it’s correct, but it’s just…the semicolon doesn’t serve any real purpose. A dash or a simple period would have been much more effective, I think, in conveying Remus’s thought from the scream to his mum. It’s a moment that needs to be connected and disconnected at the same time; it needs to be clear that Remus immediately thinks of his mother when he hears the scream, but the ‘Mum?’ part is also separate from the narration and is, actually, rather chilling when set apart that way.
All of that out of the way, I did quite like this fic. The relationship between Remus and his parents is a really interesting one to explore. How was it for them, having a son who was a werewolf? Here, you show that it was exceedingly difficult and painful and really, very sad. It breaks my heart, but in a wonderful way because the writing is so emotional. I also think you captured young Remus very well. Writing a child is something I try not to even do, because it’s so hard to portray them convincingly in a way that still works. But you did a great job of conveying his innocence and his struggle to understand why his parents have to lock him in the cellar. Of course, being bitten by a werewolf as a child would be terribly traumatizing and confusing for a child, and I thought you showed that really well here.
One of my favorite parts was this: And then you see red. It’s a very simple sentence, but it’s also quite powerful; it’s even a little abstract, because even though the red can be taken as something physical – blood, I think – it could also be a reference to the sheer terror of the situation or something similar. Really nice sentence.
I thought this was a very interesting take on Remus as a werewolf, and definitely not the same thing I’ve seen before. Good job, dear Spire! -squishes-
Author's Response: Wow, what a great review! Yes, your second person paragraph makes sense. Lol. Thanks for the feedback on it - second person is one of those things I love to read, so I'd like to be able to write it well, too, so it's nice to know what worked and what didn't, etc. :) I'll look into those mistakes, also, when I get a moment. I thought I'd caught all the lowercase mums and dads, though. >.< And I'm pleased child Remus works; I was slightly concerned he would seem too old. Anyway, thank you for a fantastic review! xx
I seem to be on something of a Remus Lupin roll lately. Doing so completely unintentionally, this is like the third story on MNFF about the character I have read in a row. I mostly bounce around the various categories and just pick fics at random.
The thing that really gripped me when reading this was not so much Remus’ situation, but the absolute horror it must have been for his parents. The thought of locking a child in a cellar for his own good while he looks at his parents pleading, “Why?” It tears at my insides. I cannot imagine it. Even from the point of view of Remus, you manage to capture that harrowing predicament marvelously.
I also liked the unclear nature of Remus’ recollection of the attack. Many times, you hear accounts of victims who have the misfortune of having something like that happen to them that are foggy at best. It either happens so fast that they hardly realized what happened, which I can completely envision in the case of a werewolf attack, or the experience is so horrible that the victim’s mind blacks out many of the details. Great job on this part of your story as well.
When I came across this sentence, I wondered if it needed to be reworded a little bit: before, you weren’t a little bit hungry, but now the pain has stopped, all you want is food. I have read it several times over now and I still find the wondering a bit unclear. You weren’t a little bit hungry before, but now you’re starving – do we need the word even in there after weren’t. Or, perhaps you could say you weren’t the slightest bit hungry before.... Take a look at that one when you have a moment and see what you think.
A previous reviewer mentioned a canon issue with Fenrir Greyback. I would suggest correcting this by simply taking his name out altogether. In my opinion, the paragraph is every bit as effective only mentioning a werewolf. Truthfully, I don’t think the reader knowing it was Fenrir adds anything. Besides, nine out of ten of your readers will know who it is anyway. Omitting it just seems to be an easy fix for anyone wanting to beat the canon drum.
Good job on this first installment of SPEW 007. I’ll be looking forward to see more from you.
Author's Response: Thanks, James! :) I'm pleased you like it, and I can see how that line can be confusing. When I get a moment, I will change it, and the Fenrir Greyback thing, too. >.> Why didn't I think of that? Lol. But yeah. Thank you! xx
Ahh, this is a very interesting account of Remus' first transformation and you've handled his flashback to the attack very well indeed. I think what I liked was the fact that you didn't make the initial attack too gruesome - you hinted but did not show, and the imagined horror is always worse than the graphic. Having said that, I would have liked more detail about the transformation. From what you've written, it actually sounds as if he only suffered an initial bit of pain and was then fine. The touch about him not remembering is quite clever, but I'm not sure it's accurate. Personally I think he'd remember every detail - but then perhaps it's so horrific he's blanked it out.
Second person perspective. It works very well in this piece. Not repetative and I got a real insight into a little boy's feelings. Masterfully done, Spire. (And you know what I'm like with second person.)
I have a canon nit-pick. In Half Blood Prince Remus tells Harry that he didn't know for years the identity of his attacker so him hearing Fenrir's was a slightly jarring note.
In the end, though, what makes this successful is his parents' reactions. They must be going through hell above him, and you hint at that very well.
Author's Response: Well, I'm pleased you liked this, dear. :) Oops on the canon error. I'm going to assume that the name mentioning never meant anything to Remus until years later [I need to re-read the books >.<], and thanks for all your other comments! I'm especially pleased that you like my second person - I was actually quite worried about it. >.> Credit goes to Afifa for the sucessful reaction on the father's part. :D And, yeah. Thanks for a fantastic review! xx