Hi, Minna. This is Vicki of Slytherin, finally getting around to reading Chapter One of The Butcher Pirate, which you posted many months ago.
Your story is noteworthy for many features. First of all, the pace goes very fast. The writing is spare, with little descriptive detail. We readers rely on our own knowledge of history to imagine the domestic scenes of Amsterdam (though at what time period? 1600’s? 1700’s? 1800’s? Perhaps we will learn later.) But the spareness never prevents us from following the action, as I have seen in some other sparely-written stories.
The details of the background of the story, the potion-ingredient importing business, are fitted in neatly within the narrative, without needing to be inserted as a frank information dump, and because the story moves at such a rapid pace, we readers don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering what is going on and perhaps losing interest. Even the location, Amsterdam, is not revealed until the remark the docks of Amsterdam halfway down the page, though we might have guessed it from the name of the ship, Feniks, which, if we say it aloud, we realize is the Dutch form of Phoenix.
When your seaman says, “You’ll want to get down here once we’re underway. The captain doesn’t like passengers abovedecks when we go under. Too risky. You’d probably find it upsetting, anyway,” I wondered what we go under implied. To go underway? To go under sail? Not really, since Marja was still at the rail as the ship got underway, obviously under sail. His whole speech was not entirely understandable. But a few paragraphs later it became clear without requiring any explanation: like the Durmstrang ship, the Feniks submerges and promptly re-emerges at its destination. It was clever of you to seize upon, use, and expand this detail from The Goblet of Fire.
My impression is that this story will not have any connection to the canon of Hogwarts School except for being set in the milieu of the international wizarding community. So you will be weaving your story as a new creation, perhaps a rollicking adventure tale. In this first chapter you have established Marja as a strong, take-charge character, impatient and determined. I would like to see more detail, more extensive development in the forthcoming chapters, which will form the meat of the narrative. Surely even take-charge Marja will encounter setbacks, difficulties, and dangers.
Your Chapter End Notes are intriguing. They promise a story with a strong framework of setting, and anything that takes inspiration from Macbeth is bound to be deep. I hope that you will find the time to post the rest of the chapters.
Intriguing! This well-constructed opening chapter sets things up without wasting words or giving too much away. I'm looking out for the next installment.
Is this all OC and AU? I still like the writing and it looks promising.
Author's Response: It's all OC. It's not AU, it's simply set in a historical time and place in the Potterverse we haven't heard about. Thank you for reading anyway. :)