Hi, Dawn. This is Vicki from Slytherin House, commenting on your story. It’s probably a sign of a good story if many different people can get many different messages from it.
What struck me immediately about your story was Lily’s initial behavior because it seemed to be a different characterization than the way she is often portrayed. She is full of accusatory statements: “Do I look like a damsel in distress?’ and “So you felt it was necessary to lie to our son,” and “Do you really find me that boring?” And this wasn’t all a teasing joke on her part; she really was angry, and she chose to interpret everything about James’s “innocent story” in the most negative way possible.
You show her attitude clearly with words and phrases like “wasn’t happy,” “disapproval,” “sharply”, “eyes narrowing,” “sarcastically”, and “the irritation.” And the clincher is “Lily had long mastered the ability to put reproach into any statement.” I tell myself that she is only twenty years old at this time and doesn’t realize how hurtful words can erode a relationship like slowly dripping acid, until the day finally comes when James decides it all just isn’t worth it any more. I want to reach into the story and shake her by the shoulders, saying “Don’t you see what you are doing?” We know that Lily and James were both dead a year after this story takes place, but I wonder, had they survived, whether their marriage would have survived. In the end, there can be wounds that kisses don’t cure.
I was more attracted by the second half of your story, where Lily stops being snarky and the two of them reminisce about their checkered dating history. You have a lively list of amusing dating disasters; I imagine you had fun thinking them up. And the end of the story has a clever twist, where you have Lily conceding that Harry’s made-up story is not more outlandish than what really happened.
Your sentences are fluid, with good word choices and variations in sentence structure to provide variety. There is not a lot of description, but not much is needed; the story all takes place in a baby’s nursery and consists chiefly of conversation, with a modicum of action (baby grabbing someone’s hair) and a little bit of internal reflection. Internal reflection can be overdone, so it is nice to see a story that relies on what the outside observer can observe: words and actions. From these we are to deduce the nature of the events.
You say in your bio that you don’t write fluff; maybe this story is about as fluffy as you get, but with hints of a darker undercurrent. That’s why I say that different people can get different messages from it. Nice job.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I always love getting feedback. I wasn't intentionally writing Lily to be quite as acidic as you are interpreting (she is supposed to be teasing in a couple of those places, though not all of them), though I did try to get some "darkness" into the story. For some reason I always assumed that Lily had a harshness to her that occasionally flared up when she was stressed or upset, and since they were in the middle of a war, I figured she would be upset a lot and it would occasionally slip out in her interactions with James and her friends. And I think she also kind of knew how she was acting, and would try to stop it, which is why her temper ebbs throughout the story. And yes, this is my version of fluff.
This was funny and sweet and adorable and sad at the same time. The last sentence totally killed me ( I picked the DH2 hint).
Author's Response: Thanks! Glad you liked it.