Hi. I'm James and I write fan fiction. Sorry, was just practicing for the upcoming MNFF-aholics Anonymous meeting. Please feel free to check out some of my stories.
First Place Winner in the June One-Shot Challenge!
Awesome banner by wendelin the wierd
Amazing banner by TyrannoLaurus
I know that this is only the prologue, and there is certainly a lot of development to take place in the instalments ahead, but I have to say I am really fascinated by the premise of your story so far. Generations of what boils down to inbreeding on the part of purebloods, who are in many cases swollen with pride about their spotless ancestry, has resulted in the delusion / damage of the genetics that makes them magic. That is, the hormone directly linked to the presence of magical ability is weakest, or present in the least quantity, in purebloods. In just one word: fantastic! The purebloods are breeding themselves into inferiority. I cannot tell you how much I like that whole idea alone.
The other thing I found captivating is the legislation that the Ministry passed to correct the phenomenon. Can you imagine the outrage? I tried imaging some real life genetic defect that would cause the government to pass a law roughly equivalent. It’s a horrifying notion, having to prove that you are so many generations removed from relation to someone to marry him or her, or that you have a given number of other blood types in your ancestry.
One thing I did wonder, as I was thinking about this, however, is why the law did not only apply to pureblood wizards and witches? It seems like they are the source of the problem, though I suppose the problem does not only occurs with pureblood parentage. It just seems like half-bloods and Muggle-borns, whose breeding is mixed by their very nature and who had the highest Pisces hormone counts, would be immune to the problem, or so drastically less likely to be impacted that the legislation might omit them.
This is a great backdrop against which to set a story and I’m interested to see what develops with Percy. He isn’t the sort of character, from the books anyway, that one would expect to have a ‘secret’. Then again, that’s what could make it so interesting.
About the only thing I can think of, as far as constructive criticism – and this may be more a matter of opinion / style, is long paragraphs. Personally, I take the notion of new idea, new paragraph to the extreme. The result in my writing is very short paragraphs. While reading your first chapter, I did come across an instance or two where I might have been inclined to start a new one. The first paragraph, for example, I would have started a new one with the Left. Right. Left. Right. sequence.
I guess it’s just because I’m such a nitwit that I get lost in long paragraphs as I’m reading. It’s about the only suggestion I could come up with here, being that I liked this one so much. I did notice that you appear to be missing a blank line between your last two paragraphs. That’s just a simple formatting item.
Great work and I’ll be watching for the next chapter. I’m adding it to my favourites (which I don’t do much of) so I can kept an eye out.
The thing I liked most about this story was its believable, first-person perspective. As I read, I did get a genuine sense that it was James telling the story, recalling the series of events that have led up to the meeting with this mystery woman. The trouble I always have when reading a story in first person, or writing one myself, is that it ends up sounding too much like third-person, an omniscient one at that. That is to say, the person telling the story seems too aware of the whole word, to broad a view on things to be speaking from his or her own point of view. I do not get that sense here. You definitely have done well with the first person here.
I also liked the main idea of your story, even though it was prompted to be as such for the challenge, and I thought you did a nice job characterizing James as he recounted the tale so far. I believe one or more of Harry’s children could very easily turn out feeling the way James does about all the fame – loving it at first, but growing to hate it. Such a thing can be a powerful influence on a young person’s decisions regarding his or her career and living arrangements. James wants out of the spotlight badly – that much is clear. I thought you did a good job of laying out his reasons.
There are a couple of areas in which I would like to offer constructive comments. First of all, I thought you over-used short sentences / sentence fragments. There are just too many, and instead of placing emphasis on certain ideas, or making a certain thing poignant, it felt like it broke up the flow. In places, it was like the pavement on the road suddenly ended, if you catch my meaning.
To combat this, I think you could combine several smaller sentences and ideas. I think it would have the effect of smoothing out the road for your reader. For example, take a look at this passage:
I had become used to the place well. The weather was bearable, sometimes good even. I had also found friends in other tamers. I had passed the probation period. My wages had been upped. Mum and Dad visited me one month. I would visit them the next. I still sometimes came across screaming girls or reporters or photographers when I went to London, but it was better than before and I was content. Until now that is.
You have a number of very short sentences here and a number of short, quick ideas. To me, this reads a little bumpy and disjointed. In truth, I think you might have enough ideas in here for two to three paragraphs, and when you expand the ideas, the ride might not be as rough. For example:
Though it did not happen overnight, I was beginning to get used to the place – even like it, call it home. After what seemed like a month straight of cloudy, rainy days, the sun began to make regular appearances and it warmed up considerably. I had gotten to know a few of the other tamers and they had taken my under their wings. They had been friendly, helpful, and never once asked me anything about my famous father. By the time my probation was complete, my salary got an increase and I was resolute that I had made the right choice coming here. So far, it had been everything I had hoped.
I don’t know that you would like what I had written any better, but the actual content is not the point, expanding the ideas is. I think you can improve the flow if you expanded some of the many ideas you have and used the extra detail to help vary the length of your sentences and paragraphs.
Speaking of details, that leads me to my final constructive comment. You have several great ideas in the story to which you can add some detail. As you go through this first chapter, you have James telling us about all these things that have happened and all these reasons why he is where he is as we begin your story. Now, I am not suggesting you go into detail about all of them – that would make this chapter very long indeed. I think you could pick one or two things in there though and really give us a detailed scene. For example, what about a detailed scene where James and his father, Harry, leave the house together and are suddenly mobbed by reporters – so much so that they can hardly even walk down the street. Have James not just say he didn’t like it, have him tell us what it felt like to be mobbed. Tell us how he could hardly move without stepping on someone, how the camera lenses where jammed right up into his face, and how all those people where so close he could hardly breathe.
Good luck in the rest of the Third Task, Afifa!