What are you upto here? Merlin, you can write! And I don't mean just the goodness of it, but the length. And I imagined this was coming as a one-shot. Mind you, I'm glad this isn't done.
Before I get to the review itself, I'll share a little something with you and well, it's something I have been thinking about and maybe we could discuss it over tea some time. So the last time I sent a chapter to V (vorona) for betaing, the main section was a conversation between James and Remus and I'd written it picturing in my mind how they'd just talk. Like someone was listening to them. V reviewed on that it sounded too much like real conversation, you know the way conversation is vague often. Because we don't always complete our thoughts and depend on the fact that we "know" the other person. I read through my piece again and decided it sounded a little too natural, because V's point I reckon was that it puts off reader when they can't figure out what it is that is being talked about, that some elaboration would do good. Maybe it was something left with me after reading your stories because this isn't my usual way. I haven't got around to changing it. What I'm left wondering now is how much of what V said about readers losing track and interest actually sits.
This chapter was absolutely full of surprise. You know what I'm usually doing when I'm reading, be it fanfiction or original fiction, I tend to glaze over if even the slightest bit of sentence is uninteresting. I just finished two days ago this novel by Karen Bajaj. He's an Indian writer and his book 'Johnny gone down' was an absolutely brilliant read. I thought it seemed like the movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang only in paper. That book didn't have my attention stray for a single second. I read every word. In this chapter the same thing happened. I felt like if I missed a sentence, I'd be lost later. In countless stories I'm just running through lines hoping to get to the parts about the characters I like, because hey I just wanna know what happens and enough with the dwindling!
So you had two things here. You know sometimes when you read fanfiction, you can anticipate what's going to happen. That wasn't the case here. At all. There was just so much information coming along, each and every line, developing your characters, their history, the plot, the story. Especially that part with Annie and Fab and Gab, I was reaching the end and thinking 'goodness, what did you lose!?' I kept thinking she doesn't have something. My first guess was that she was physically challenged somehow. Hmm.
So, here's the other thing that comes off very powerfully and significantly in this chapter. The reader has to really keep up because you don't figure out the core of it until that scene where it should reveal itself is actually over. I have said this before, your writing style has something very vague about it. I can't help but think that it indeed was very natural which is what drew me to it in the first place. You skim through what is happening but it isn't as if you fail to deliver what is most important there. As DeadManSeven says (whom you should check out by the way if you get a chance) that the reader can really fill out the unimportant details by themselves and to their fancy. It's what's central to your story that counts to be delivered.
You did it. Brilliantly as always. I looked at this critically at some points because for a moment or two, I could understand what V said, and because I was so engaged I wondered, 'could I please know what's really going on'. But here's the thing, it doesn't dampen my absolute curiosity or the certainity that I'm not going to be disappointed by the delay. Hmm. Does this answer what I mentioned in the beginning about being too natural? I really don't know about other readers, and of course I'm a little biased about your writing itself, but here's what I say, what's writing and story without a little mystery in it, a little ambigousness to fill in by the creativity in the reader's own head. I love the fact that I don't know where you are heading. The way your dialogue eventually comes off, I feel like I'm evasdropping and the best part of it, this is the sort of the story I will come back to later. Because then I'll know how it ends and still everytime I'd pick up something in the chapter I missed the first time.
Your plot is fascinating. I envy you for writing this last section with Rene and Gideon because there's this wibe coming off it of experience. Rene is so humble and can I say wise, which sounds too strict a word, but anyhow, I "felt" the years behind his words. You made me trust him. I think Gideon does too.
I loved that part about thinking of there being three people in a marriage. Isn't it like that? You got through this detail about a connection that naturally exists between twins, without ever mentioning it in so many cliched words. Annette was brief and I loved the fact that you could actually manipulate her character by showing her through Gideon's eyes when he's talking about her to Fab. It is amazing really, because we haven't seen much of her and yet we might underestimate the strength she might play with in this story just because Gideon said she cried on too many occasions. It seems natural for her to. I can't help anticipating what else you think is under her skin.
I was a little surprised at Gideon sharing his private life with his brother, but I'm an amateur there. And I think the reedeming quality of the surprise I got there was how Fab changed his words in mid-sentence, and how Gideon's words were a little like a monologue itself. I did not like the plot line of the bezoar too much. Certainly it was needed but it was unoriginal.
Hmm, what else? Yeah, and Annette's background. Awesome job of scattering it here and there. That really supports the plot of them not having a child as with the story being centred around family and relationship, yes? We can do a little guess work at Gideon's own family but I think sketching Annette's family was a great move. Makes it credible.
I wish you'd show more of alone time with Annette/Gideon. I want to see what "makes" them. I can't help but cling for the romance here as much as for the story as a whole.
This might not have been a very helpful review. But hey, I'm just spilling words as they are coming to me.
Hope you have back up chapters. I can't wait for an update!
P.S: Honoured by the dedication as always. Won't even bother telling you to give someone else the chance ;)
Author's Response: Holy crap.
I feel like I've been through the six/seven school years reading this story. Nobody has ever done that to me before. Well, not with these characters anyway. I'm not aww-ing or glad or even happy because of what happens, how the story unfolds or the people in it. I'm just struck dumb by how real, how absolutely raw this was. I could harp! about how notrocious I believe Sirius was at school all day. But I have never read him so brilliantly written.
I loved this and if I'm not coherent about it, well, that's just plainly your fault. It's amazing how you kept on describing him from her eyes for the great length of this story and yet every other line you were drawing conclusions about a new aspect of him that eventually made him who he was at the end of all this. I felt like I was going through the years. Is it possible for someone to grow up and still not grow up. I'm just trying to work out the impossible whirlwind of thoughts in my mind right now.
Gotto stop now, though, before my speechlessness drives out good bunnies from your mind. Please do write. I'm adding you to a fav! I enjoyed every word of this!
Edit: Bugger it, I'll put this together in one shot rather than dropping little notes all over your page.
P.S: I'm sorry I had to go look for more of your stuff, lo and behold, I have - after very little effort - found 'Dreams of Naughtiness'.
P.P.S: It's five in the morning. And I have finished reading the other two parts of this tale. Two words for you. Um, make it three: You're really good.
I want to be reduced to tears, because of this last line - the world's most brilliant last line, but I can't. Oh, wow. I love that Luna's persona shines through in your description but the dialogue is wonderful as well. She's funny and no wonder they managed to built such a companionship.
I really really like this. It's very perceptive and well written. Thank you for such a brilliant piece!
Author's Response: Haha. I highly doubt it's "the world's most brilliant last line," but thank you for that wonderful lie regardless. ;) I'm very proud of my characterization of her and plan on writing more fics with her in the future.
Grr. I just lost the review.
Well, I think this is very nice. I think it's because I do a very poor job at my summaries that I think yours was really good. Few people would be able to resist coming in to read this now. It's interesting about fanfiction that it gives us half the world sketched out. I can anticipate what happens at this point in the timeline and for the rest, you have pushed me in the right direction with great description. I love that you highlighted the idea that Neville essentially took Harry's place as the person who leads the student body and doesn't shy from taking other's pain.
Author's Response: Thank you!
On the same night he gets branded with the Dark Mark, he meets with Albus Dumbledore who begs to differ.
Thanks to the lovely Alex aka welshdevondragon for beta'ing this!
Wow. I like this very much. It's so terribly short though ;) I love how Snape seems to shine out of the dialogue. He's witty and practical but not so much as he's in the novels itself which goes to show that he's still to learn. But there is no doubt that he's the same man. So you did a brilliant job at the characterisation.
I also loved the motives you gave him. He's a person who thinks he's fulfilling his own purpose, finding his own way, that he can't ever be "made" to do something. Oh, how sad! Like Regulus indeed. Sad also because Lily didn't understand this either like many other people in the novels and the audience as well, might I say. Or maybe Lily didn't want to. Hmm. Snape is an intelligent guy and sometimes people like him they want to experiment a little of everything to see what niche they want to be a part of.
I've had a look at your list of favs and you sure are a fan of dark, unresolved characters. I recognise a few of them from my own list. Where your story is going to be added next.
Author's Response: Thank you for reading! I'm so glad you liked it, it's the first story I've posted so it makes me truly happy that someone found it worth to read :) About the characterisation; Snape is really young here, and yeah, young people tend to be arrogant about their own abilities. I'm pleased that got through. Also the parallel to Dumbledore's youth; he was also incredibly gifted and understand him more than Snape actually understand. (Yeah, Regulus is also one of my favourite characters and my next fic is gonna be about him and Barty Crouch Jr... I simply cannot resist the bad-boys who are maybe not so bad... OK that sounds lame:P) Again, thanks for reading and reviewing, this made my day!
I like Ron's voice. Especially that part about sticking his wand in the troll's nose. I loved how you touched on each of those "acheivements" if they can ever be. But they define him, that's true. It's a lovely poignant tale. Thank you for writing this!
Author's Response: I'm so glad that you liked this little ficlet, when the idea came to me there was nobody but Ron who could write the epitaph really, only he would fit in my mind, no matter what I did. And, according with Ron's sense of humour, of course he had to consider the troll! Thanks so much for the review :)
*claps* Yay, for joining the club! You should write this pairing often. I loved this story.
I like how you touched on the idea of codes of conduct in both the pairings given here. I don't know how to put this any less crudely, or should I say abstinence. Very tastefully dealt with! You give us both before and after which makes it rounded.
When I read the Dicken's quote, I was immediately reminded of the prompts in the lilyjamesfest on the livejournal. Did you partially write it for that? You could anyway, it totally works.
Author's Response: Um, I don't write for livejournal - never got around to it so I haven't seen the Dickens quotes. I basically googled this about 10 minutes before submitting (yes, I'm that deep!).I do actually write this pairing quite a lot, but it tends to get put under Marauder era. I'm not sure either couple abstained - but I guess I abstained from writing the actual sex.
Thanks for the review ~Carole~
Hullo. I think you have a good start in your story. The ending dialogue is actually what's making me review this because that was so dramatic and nonchalant at the same time. It makes me want to keep an eye around for the next chapter. However, I thought you could do something about the formatting. When online it's pleasant if you read a nicely formatted story, the spacing etc. Also it might be a nice idea to break up the big block of narration you have to two shorter paragraphs perhaps?
There's a description about everyone knowing that Rose might be her mum's clone. I think that might be so. After all children always have some traits of their parents in them. Only thing is, this is so frequently how Rose is described that it's become rather boring now. Maybe you'd like to make her like Hermione but not all of Hermione and especially not describe her as a "clone". I'm sure if you think about Hermione hard enough you'll probably come up with one very obvious quirk that Hermione and her daughter both share. That would connect with the reader in a more unqiue way. Just a suggestion.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the comments!!! In terms of the format, I had it nicely broken up with indents and everything in word, but when I copied it into the text box here, it didn't translate :(...I'll have to work out the kinks to make it look better and be more easy to read (I agree that a huge chunk of writing isn't good) It is tough trying to find something different about Rose from her mother. I'll definitely keep that in mind as I continue writing!!
I agree that this is a grown up topic and I have to say I love how you handled it. The story had such a slow, steady pace, sometimes a reader just needs that to read about an ordinary afternoon that subtly becomes tense, important, important enough to be narrated and delivered. I love how that pace somehow seemed to reinforce what they were going through. They are so mature here, I loved that too. There's weight in Ron's consolations and jokes even. He was adorable here and I love how he behaved.
Very nicely written.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading this and reviewing. I have a few other stories in me on this topic w/regard to R/Hr, but I honestly wasn't sure how well it would be received. How many people out there want to read about R/Hr having fertility problems? ;) I'm so glad you thought the slower pace worked, and that you felt the sorrow under the surface with Ron--that was important to me. Thanks again... I appreciate you taking the time to review!
The setting overall was very brilliant. The tension in this story and the grief had an almost solid presence. There are many parts I liked, Harry's beginning of the speech, Percy's conversation with Ernie, Percy's uneasiness and guilt throughout.
One thing which stood out to me was your handling of the affairs at the Ministry, the way Percy just asks a newbie to take notes at a hearing. I'm surprised but I liked that bit the most. It has such a depth to it, the idea that it doesn't matter whether the one taking notes is on the payroll or not. Everybody participates in that rebuilding and there are few to question. I have never read a story that focuses on how the magical world was sort of reconstructed, so to say. I think that story would be heavy for me. But that idea cropping up here unexpectedly was amazing. A simple line helped to give so much background to the time frame of Percy's story.
Author's Response: Thank you for such a lovely review! I'm really glad that you liked the part where Percy hands over the note-taking job to Ernie. I wasn't sure how that would go overall, to be honest, so it's such a relief to know that you liked it and thought it worked and that it had the intended effect. :D Thank you so much! <3Mere
I have one word about this chapter - refreshing. Hmm, yeah. Cool.
Author's Response: Thank you. Charlie is so often ignored that I felt he deserved some fun. ~Carole~
You had a very drawing summary, Gina. I like how I get the feel from the narration that James and Sirius are both so vulnerable, breakable here. The emotions tightened for me when James asks if they will still share the friendship. You may have intentionally or unintentionally not written the sex in too detail and just for this story I think the absence of that helped me to connect to their emotional state. There's a feel of how nothing's going to be the same.
I love the title also. Good one!
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Akay! It's funny that you mention both the title and the summary, since I usually agonize over both. Yet for this story the title came quickly and the summary was easy. Funny how that works. I'm glad that James and Sirius's emotions came through here. I absolutely believe that they were close enough to allow one another to show vulnerability. I don't know why, I just do. I think I like James/Sirius as a pairing more than Sirius/Remus, and I'm a serious (haha) James/Lily fan! Your point about how James questions their friendship makes me wonder how things would have turned out if he had been forced to make a choice. But I think that would have been out-of-character for Sirius to force that choice on his best friend, so the point is moot, perhaps. And you are exactly right: nothing is going to be the same, but I think they are okay with that and ready to move on. It's part of growing up, and they grow up fast. Thanks so much for stopping to read this story. I really appreciate the lovely review! ~Gina :)
Have seen this scene countless times on tv, in movies, so much that at points I knew what was coming next, because it's a cycle, a known one, and you know what the stages to this sort of addiction are.
The story was really good though. The element of surprise was perhaps not in how it unfolded but the idea of the story itself, unique, and more importantly, well-applied in the wizarding world. Well-setup. The thing that kept me reading was to figure out the "buyer". Interesting choice with a lot of future one-shot potential. Haha.
There's one thing you might like to know. I thought when I read the summary that the narrator is a woman. For some reason, there's something in the wording like the narrator is amused and at the same time shrewd about his (her) clients. And the way the narrator's observation are written, it sounded to me like a woman. But that's just me. Merely letting you know how I read it. Though, in the second half the voice began to sound manly. Of course a man's voice suits better in the story.
I like this because it's a non-judgemental perspective, perhaps because the person selling it makes money out of it. It has lead me to think more of their side than those who stand on George's. When you see this on tv, the dealers are always portrayed in a negative or part-negative light. Here I find myself almost sympathising with him. I realise how senstive this topic is, how intriguing it is to probe into the POV of the person who is dealing the drugs out. When people have other people at their mercy. . . .
Hmm, interesting point that you bring up about the narrator. I honestly didn't want their identity specified in any way, since that's the way things tend to be in the underworld of illicit substances. A client may know the dealer's street name, but that's never actually their name. I like having a level of anonymity for the role. I really hadn't intentionally put a feminine or masculine voice to the summary or to the narrative, though the dealer feels like they should be a male in my head, so you're right on that. I might peruse the summary and tweak it a bit, make it a little less female-sounding.
This was meant to be the story that's been told a thousand times, because that's what it is to the dealer. He has seen countless people come to him from various backgrounds, but they all end up the same in the end. That was deliberate on my part.
I'm not sure why I picked second person for this, but I suppose it just seemed to fit in my head, so I'm taking the fact that you hadn't commented on it as a sign that it wasn't done poorly. I've never used it before, and it's not something I particularly enjoy reading, so yay if it turned out okay.
Thanks for the great review. :)
It is always ironic how good, wholesome, purposeful stories have a few reviews, but give you an average story but a known author, and the reviews come in like a flood. I might be guilty of that too, because it what you review begins to matter more if you really do know the person and the impact your review will have on them.
However, as far as your story is concerned, I found it a good read. First off, your summary was hugely drawing. I only opened one story yesterday while browsing the recent page, based on the summary, and yours was the one. I came around to reading it only today. I'm glad I did.
Another thing I find notably well-done is the aura in your story. There's a dreaful shadow painted in your first chapter, dreary, hopeless, but the way Snape's narration is written with a constant reminder of his humanity and concern intergrated with his inner fear, my mind kept picturing Dumbledore's office, which is like always a scene of safety and warmth. Conveying the scene like you did, helped make the scene really real. People never usually write about this part of Snape or this timeline specifically. All of this made this chapter memorable for me.
Once I was through reading that chapter, I lingered onto the last line and for a moment, I can't help but link the way you setup this chapter to DH's The Dark Lord Ascending. On judging how you capture and transport the reader's attention to Snape's world, I think you might have written just as well as Jo in her first DH chapter.
I like the fact that your talent with descriptions was viisble also in the second chapter. I particularly like the one of the moonlight disappearing and how Snape links it to the presence of evil. That's again potent. Because a simple description of two or three lines doesn't just has the purpose of describing but settling the tone and environment. Good job again. I really enjoyed Snape's inner monologue towards the beginning of Two. McGonagall's fear and Snape's fear for her are really very real. You consistently make the reader appreciate the complexity of Snape's job in this war. That's what makes Snape Snape and I applaud you for getting that right on.
However, something goes down in the last part of chapter two. In all honesty, I didn't like it as much. Now, you must see this as a VERY personal way of looking at something. Please read on.
I always enjoy keeping track of the way heroes are developed in movies, books and more often than not, that process is often dictated to us, narrated and told in plain words. Villians are tricky. The thing that moves them, in order to write that convincingly you have to believe that its possible to believe what they do, and justify that with your actions. I have always noted that smart, intelligent people make villian. I have always find this intriguing. Examples that come off the top of my head, Dr Hannibal Lecter, Joker, Dr Octopus . . .
You will always see that they have a penchant for evil and torture, but I have always felt that they are capable of almost rationally draw a line sometimes, between their victims, in the way they take a stance in certain situations. So much in fact that you hate them but inside you are doubting their animalistic tendencies. I just watched Silence of the Lambs for the first time last week, and it's amazing to me how Lecter calls the agent in the end and sort of spares her, decides not to come after her and actually tells her that.
The whole point of this long long thing is that I don't see Voldemort as the sort of person to publicly rape someone. I can't be convinced on this at all. It's just my view of him. How his agenda involves showing muggleborns their original place but a person of his intellect and power, it's hard to imagine that he's succumb to an act of raping. Perhaps privately, if he and McGonagall have had a past, that action could be psychotically justified. I always see it this way: that there's a difference between the way his followers will treat a woman who defies them and then there's the way Voldemort will behave. Humiliation is his motive, but I don't see Voldemort really going through with this.
Overall, I found it a very interesting read. Love the reference to Lily in the end. Love that you have written Snape as a braver person than I have ever read before.
Awaiting the next update,
First off, I want to thank you for such an honest and thought out review. That is exactly what I was hoping for. I am very humbled that you find my wirting so effective, and especially that you compared it on keel with Jo's herself. My deepest appreciation for your kind words.
In regards to your concerns about my portrayal of Voldemort, part of me is even in agreement with you. I debated myself what form the torture would take. We really have little information on what exactly goes on behind the scenes for the darker characters, mostly due to the books being written for children's ears. I agree with you that Voldemort is in many ways above the lower actions of his followers. However, I also wanted to push the envelope here a little. This may, in fact, have been a first for him. He was VERY angry after the battle and the prophecy were lost at the Ministry building. He may be feeling desperate and afraid he's losing control of things. Then this new opportunity presents itself. He has some history with McGonagall, and even more with Dumbledore. He wants them to suffer, especially Dumbledore. He, like Snape, also realizes that all the Order members are prepared to die if necessary for the cause, so even Crucio is only so effective to "break" their spirits. To get someone as self disciplined as McGonagall to beg him like he wanted, he had to push her farther. The humiliation factor, as you mentioned, was his goal. Those were the ideas in my head when I wrote this.
I love the Snape character, as I suspect is obvious in my writing. I am glad you are enjoying the complexity with which I write him. He is very brave, and often very confused. I'm glad you liked the Lily reference. I like to use reminders of Snape's humanity whenever possible. Thanks again for your wonderful review.
In the Great Hall, the crowd is celebrating Reconstruction. Here, in this cupboard, things have just begun to fall apart.
Been a few minutes and here I am still trying to clear my head. Being a person who frequently visits the recent page and leaves without often going to none of the stories, right now I find myself sunken in my chair feeling sad and torn and absolutely wanting to get this review over with so I can read the story again. (One could say I'd do better with a little more enthusiasm, haha). Thanks for giving me the most enjoyable ten minutes of this morning.
Something that stood out incredibly in story was your command on the descriptions. A favourite fanfic author of mine here has this gift with description too, but in a way that he weaves it into the story so well that you're not essentially thinking about the actions but the character, because he only chooses the details that lend something to the character in that very moment. I absolutely loved your contrast to him in the way that your descriptions are not subtle but the story, the anticipation is actually built on them. Description is what apparantly you have here but then I reach the end and the find out who the person is and for a moment, I'm over taken by an overwhelming feeling (like some residue from finishing DH). The description serves its purpose because I go back reread it again just after I have done the first time, this time putting a name to the pronoun. It was like default.
Time slows down in the cupboard. Amazing. I realise now also that the actions Harry observes in there (description of the perfume earlier and later also - so good!) are so unique in quality that they could only have been Harry's. He's the guy who couldn't afford to think about girls in that last book but now in a post war glimpse of him, he's filled with an overpowering need to be together with one.
This above must have been something you were expecting. But I bet you wouldn't this: I thought the protagonist was Luna. Ha. There are few things I begin with here, an attention to detail, the absolute sensitivity of it, being withdrawn and being at ease with it because it comes as second nature, an instinct to feeling lonely post-war. Off the top of my head I can only relate these attributes to either Harry and Luna. And when I began this I thought it was Luna. Maybe I'd have missed something in the summary that suggests it. But I wonder what you think about this. You know of at least one person (me) who misjudged the sex here. Do you think there is some way that this detail can be dealt with here or would you say that its not important to superimpose everything onto the reader and take away the joy of being indulged.
I could not guess that girl was Hermione either. It is so masterful of you to describe her as: silhouette, tall with willow limbs, standing still and peering down through the thin crack between the door and the frame. I wait for her to speak to me, to step inside. After all, it’s not as if she’s ever really needed an invitation, before. So amazing. Genius. There's a post war change in her too. It's lovely to see that she's this young lady now who is slowly trying to embrace life and reach for any bit of goodness their scarred world has to offer. You employ simple elements of a girl's daily life: a lipstick and perfume, but they have contributed so much here. It makes me so sad to contrast Hermione's growth against Harry. He's wound up in a cupboard again, a little by his free will, perhaps, a little by the actions of the cruel world.
Very beautiful. Thanks again for this wonderful piece of work and keep writing.
Author's Response: Hi, Akay, I am so pleased you enjoyed this and to see some of the comments you have left for me. I will try to address what I can. 'Time slows down in the cupboard.' I wanted nothing more than to project that feeling of liminal time, that feeling of being arrested. It is a key theme, here, and I'm glad you feel I succeeded. To answer your question about the misjudged sex, I have never felt the need to give the reader all the information up front, and I don't mind at all that you thought the protagonist might be Luna or that you didn't immediately recognize Hermione. It was less important to me that you instantly know who these people might be, and more important that you can feel, or, at least, have some sense of, what they might be feeling. I generally like to leave some room for the reader to think, to linger. I like for them to have somewhere to go without me (the author) holding their metaphorical hand so tightly. I want to gently lead you through the scene in my mind, not march you through in tight formation, if that makes any sense. I intentionally made the summary as vague as possible. Maybe this is a bad choice. I mean, I want people to feel intrigued enough to read, but then I look at it and I can’t bring myself to change it to make it clearer. I can’t get away from maintaining the ambiguity of the beginning of the story. Is this a detriment? Perhaps. Only the individual reader can judge. I am so glad you chose to read this and then write such a thoughtful review. I’m very happy you feel that it wasn’t ten minutes wasted.-S-
Hermione gets the cat, the flat, the food, and the furniture. Ron gets the family and friends.
Harry gets the boot, his little book, the blame, and the shame. Ginny gets a new bloke and a haircut.
'The One' is an insidious myth, and 'Meant To Be' smacks of a hope to which no one has a right.
It's a shame the two of them bought into it for so long.
And it's too bad old habits are so hard to break.
Dearest Littlebird, where art thou? I hope you'll be back soon! It's too lonely here without being able to read something by you.
Author's Response: Hi, Akay! Just waiting for validation. I has been a while, hasn't it? Thanks for checking in! -S-
Amazing that it is four in the morning and I just got lucky the fourth time today while checking if your chapter got through. First one on the recent page. Shouldn't there be points for this kind of thing?
I could hear Harry. From the second sentence onward. I love this about the first person, which is just one of the reasons that it's my own default writing POV. I thought at first that his observations of the sounds were too much information, in too much detail. But my idea was very premature. This beginning scene required a bit of imagination and it works amazingly for the reader that way. I love the way he's lying there listening to her move around in the kitchen, his easiness in that gesture, up until the moment that so suddenly she has head out of the door and he springs after her belatedly. As before you have tapped into Harry very well. It's so endearing about him the way he's unsurprised at her visit but curiosity fills him entirely only minutes later.
Just like Hermione's prologue you do here a nice job of sketching out his life and who he is at this point in a unique manner, without ever really spelling things out for the reader. I love the feeling of open-endedness I feel.
Authors often write Harry as an organized and collected person after the war. You write him with a stark contrast. I can't help but almost smile at the conversation in his head, he's divided and confused and probably not used to solving riddles without her help.
There's an affected brand of wittiness there: 'floppy wastes of time', 'the fact still remains - I'm faster' which sort of balances this chapter against the last, him against her.
I did have a tiny doubt about the girl in his bed being Hermione at first. But the line about the curl suggests otherwise. It's amazing that your chapters are so short but the events in your story, perhaps because of the way you are laying them out, I should say is progressing just fine. Obviously though, there are more questions than answers.
See you on the other side of the calender. Happy new year, littlebird!
Hi, Akay! Happy New Year to you!
First, let me say that you have tapped one of my pet peeves: Authors writing post-Hogwarts Harry as a righteous, collected, uber-capable machine of valour. I've never been able to see why, suddenly, he should have it all together just because he's older. I've always thought it more likely that the years would turn up more and more issues. More scars. More chips in his psyche. I believe he would struggle, but I also believe there would be a sort of wry acceptance that these things would come, and that he'd think it best to try to deal with them.
I wonder, can you tell that this was originally going to be two separate stories? The more I thought about it, though, the more I wanted to mesh them together and shift between voices; Hermione- injured with no recovery in sight, and Harry- not quite so desperate, but still floundering. I am pleased you found my representation of his voice believable and that the contrast between the two is discernible.
As I'm sure you've deduced by now, I am no fan of exposition and much prefer to nonchalantly tuck a few key details into the narrative, letting the reader intuitively perceive the larger picture. This is another reason to like first-person POV. The information, no matter how "reliable" the narrator, remains completely subjective. Even the narrator's most honest statements can contain only part of the truth, and that, to me, is much more interesting.
Oh, dear. It's late and I've begun to ramble. As always, thank you so much for reading and for the thoughtful review, and I hope to have a new chapter up soon!
This isn't a review. You've been away for a while, so I hope you're okay and on to bigger things. When you come back to writing more of this, do know that I'd be sticking around to check it out.
You wound me. Because I read here so rarely now, because my favourite authors have moved on and don't write anymore, and almost by chance I stumble on your story and I know that I must expect something moving, it's still a surprise somehow how sad your writing makes me feel. If I wound you, then may I say that you, in your way, both gratify and frighten me. Because you are clearly a thorough, conscientious, and discerning reader, you are both my ideal audience and a great source of creative anxiety. I feel held to a higher standard, and know, inevitably, one day I shan't live up. Until that day, though, thank you so much for reading my stories. You use of the words "hurt and hollowness" pleases me no end, because that is exactly what I needed to convey. It is essential that the reader understand the place to which Hermione has been driven, and yet I want the reader to question how she ended up here, alone. I also needed to provide a starting point for what I will give the reader next. I agree with your assessment of the "Unresolved Harry". That love (whose ever it may have been) should have shielded him from any and all psychological injury is the sort of dreamy untruth I simply can't reconcile. For that matter, the idea that any of these characters could just slip into happy oblivion with their teen-age sweetheart really chafes. In my characterisations, therefore, they must be damaged. They must be flawed and behave in ways they will regret, and they must hurt. The sentence "I begin to walk, gulping quick lungfuls of frigid air, cooling everything fast, through and through," I will attempt to defend, workshop style. This is meant to serve as both a transitive device and a link between the outside environment and the state to which Hermione, at that moment, aspires: Cold and unfeeling. That was my aim. I am willing to concede I may have missed the mark. That said, I will warn you, this is an experiment in non-linear story telling with shifting POV's. There will be violence and sex (neither will be gratuitous) and some of the language may be...inelegant when I feel it to be appropriate. Of course, I will keep it within MN guidelines, but I refuse to look away, so to speak. To answer your final question, the next bit is done, submitted, and only awaiting validation. From that point on, I have no idea how fast this thing will be written. I have the whole story in my head, but, because I write sentence by sentence and don't have a beta, I usually re-write several times until I'm satisfied. My biggest obstacle, though, is RL, and the same crunched schedule that anyone with a small child, a job, and a spouse must endure. Still, I'm currently very excited about this story and it's necessary research. Thank you so much for reading for your always thoughtful reviews. I hope I can persuade you to stick with me through this little experiment of mine. -S-
The flair with which you create hurt and hollowness is simply remarkable. Because the character is Hermione, the whole chapter exudes this feeling of a nagging pain, an anticipation of it, anxiousness, of the sort that a person carries with him on one of those days that they go about their business occasionally with a forced smile, sometimes, if they're lucky, even getting lost in the mundanity of life, but the chest remains heavy with a burden of not being brave enough, or ready enough to deal with it. The best lines of course were in that paragraph were she mulls over steps she'd taken to make that meeting as less difficult as possible. It's so characteristic of Hermione to plan the way she did, but it's also heart-breaking to reflect that she perhaps did all those things for herself as much as for him. Hermione who never focused much on her physical aspects, I reckon after the war must have begun to appreciate them in the way that Ron was appreciative of them. For me thinking that she makes the effort to wear an unlikeable braid speaks just enough about the length and breadth of their relationship and what it had suddenly become.
The best line was That leaves Harry - if Harry even exists, anymore It's an amazing line to give Harry the introduction in your story and sets the tone of his role and characterisation in the future chapters. The lonely, broody, unresolved Harry just seems to fit post-war stories so well than other scenarios. Loved it.
I liked the intensity of the second last paragraph. I have never read anyone describe breathing in cold wind but it's a feeling we know all too well. But I thought it didn't come off as well as it could specifically thegulping, quick lungfuls of frigid air part.
The line where you end is so appropriate but at the same time, I was thinking if what comes next at Harry's place could actually have been included in this chapter. It's very less to go on, but maybe that's just my highly eager (read: impatient) self talking.
So my brilliant little head just took a battering from your very talented one. I suppose life's not always fair. So how far are you in the next chapter?
Author's Response: Hi, Akay,
If I wound you, then may I say that you, in your way, both gratify and frighten me. Because you are clearly a thorough, conscientious, and discerning reader, you are both my ideal audience and a great source of creative anxiety. I feel held to a higher standard, and know, inevitably, one day I shan't live up. Until that day, though, thank you so much for reading my stories.
You use of the words "hurt and hollowness" pleases me no end, because that is exactly what I needed to convey. It is essential that the reader understand the place to which Hermione has been driven, and yet I want the reader to question how she ended up here, alone. I also needed to provide a starting point for what I will give the reader next.
I agree with your assessment of the "Unresolved Harry". That love (whose ever it may have been) should have shielded him from any and all psychological injury is the sort of dreamy untruth I simply can't reconcile. For that matter, the idea that any of these characters could just slip into happy oblivion with their teen-age sweetheart really chafes. In my characterisations, therefore, they must be damaged. They must be flawed and behave in ways they will regret, and they must hurt.
The sentence "I begin to walk, gulping quick lungfuls of frigid air, cooling everything fast, through and through," I will attempt to defend, workshop style. This is meant to serve as both a transitive device and a link between the outside environment and the state to which Hermione, at that moment, aspires: Cold and unfeeling. That was my aim. I am willing to concede I may have missed the mark. That said, I will warn you, this is an experiment in non-linear story telling with shifting POV's. There will be violence and sex (neither will be gratuitous) and some of the language may be...inelegant when I feel it to be appropriate. Of course, I will keep it within MN guidelines, but I refuse to look away, so to speak.
To answer your final question, the next bit is done, submitted, and only awaiting validation. From that point on, I have no idea how fast this thing will be written. I have the whole story in my head, but, because I write sentence by sentence and don't have a beta, I usually re-write several times until I'm satisfied. My biggest obstacle, though, is RL, and the same crunched schedule that anyone with a small child, a job, and a spouse must endure. Still, I'm currently very excited about this story and it's necessary research.
Thank you so much for reading for your always thoughtful reviews. I hope I can persuade you to stick with me through this little experiment of mine.
I'm in love with the way these characters are evolving! Evolving sounds wrong somehow though, because the prologue well it already said where we were headed and now, this chapter especially has been like an after-thought, retrospective look by Harry about the ways life's becoming so wrong.
This chapter gave me a profound impression that I could actually go back and read the chapters again in order, that in such a way of reading, the characters will become even more pronounced, that after it, I will unreversibly begin to see this storyline as the only reality of post-War trio that was ever possible.
I loved something about the way events were written here: that I was never any wiser than what I was being explicitly told. The descriptions with the newspaper, the chair, Benoit, it's all unimportant to me, until the point I become privy to Harry's thoughts about them. I wondered for some time that placing part of the pub scene in the beginning is a great touch and in addition to that it also reads superbly. But I trip over my own indulgence when you say 'We both know why she's really here' I just instantly assume this is about Ron and Hermione, with Hermione being awfully quiet and Harry at the beginning thinking of Ron being a prat. So in that whole next paragraph I totally overlook the importance of describing the newspaper and that the reason for Harry's edginess has really something to do with page 5. It's brilliantly satisfying to see that I don't have the story figured out. Love such subtle reminders from good authors.
It's also amazing that despite reading in first person, I felt for the most part of this chapter as if I were watching Harry while standing invisible in the corner of his office. But it's not so, and I'm in his head too, which just makes him all the more on the brink to me, like any moment there's going to be an OOTP-like emotional exposion. It was thoroughly occupying. And yet my favourite part of this chapter was when he says to Ginny "Yeah, I guess it is" and I can't imagine how perfectly your choice of word 'release' describes this absolutely breathtaking scene.
Harry's dreams were terrifying. They were so devastating, so dark, so incredibly well-written. I couldn't help but think that this Harry seemed far removed from the one we know in the books. His dreams might have been similarly terrifying then but Rowling couldn't obviously write about them. My mind wandered back to the time he was so worried, scared after the episode with the snake in OOTP. He's a different man here.
I have dreamt of my falling teeth once and had ventured to google the meaning of it. I guess as opposed to what it usually means - not being able to express yourself - Harry here just wants Ron to stop talking.
You said one time about living upto those expectation that come from a highly-involved reader. I think if it is possible, you surpass the standards with every new chapter. It makes me sad that this is based on fanfiction, because if you wrote orginal fiction in this manner, I'd like it to be known that I'm one of those crazy people who would have hugged your book, frequently sighed into its pages and slept next to it at night.
Quicksilver season is on and I'd have been the first to nominate this story if I only still saw Quicksilver the way I did three years ago. As it is, I see that much like most of the awards, the judgement is incredibly arbitrary. Perhaps that's just my bias speaking. Passionate nerd that I am though, I'll hate it when sub-par writing are branded winner over pure ingenuity.
My dear, this was good stuff. Thanks for writing!
Author's Response: Hi Akay! Okay, I thought I replied to this review a couple of weeks ago, but I'm guessing my WiFi must have timed out before I hit "Submit" and it didn't post. I am truly sorry, so let me try again...
First, I would like to thank you so much for reading. I truly appreciate you sticking with this story after months with no updates, and also for taking the time to wonder where I've been. It's the best motivation, knowing someone's still interested, and again, I thank you.
The characters here-- it's very important that they seem indisputably older. Sort of world worn, and tired, and disillusioned. Time and the adult world has altered them as much as living through the War has.
This chapter, well, I shook my fist at the screen a fair few times because it just wasn't working for me. It felt flat and just meh, then I wrote the book-end pub scenes and it all sort of fell together. The layers were finally there, and it became a much better read, much more satisfying.
I'm glad you felt my H/G break-up scene worked, as abbreviated as it was. I had this whole, big thing written out and cut it to the bone. It felt as if it was dwelling too much in the past, and I didn't want to linger too long around Harry's rejection.
Harry's dreams-- I won't try to provide a psychoanalytic interpretation, now, but it will very likely be addressed later in this story. ;)
As for Quicksilver, I didn't realize 'twas the season until you said, and I went perusing and found that my story "Hangman" has been nominated for Best Dark/Angst. I was stunned! Pleased, as well, but mostly stunned.
I am so glad that this story continues to make the cut with you, Akay, and that you think this was 'good stuff.' I'm not ashamed to admit that your comment about the OF made me a bit misty-eyed. If I ever publish anything, I'm winging a copy straight to you!
Again, I sincerely thank you for reading and for your always thoughtful reviews. I truly appreciate your insightful feedback.