Yeah, Rachel. I really, really did (I swear!) go to your author page with the intent of reviewing something that you’d written within the last year, you know, so that the review would be on your current writing style. However, I was just glancing through your stories and – being infested with holiday cheer – I felt simply compelled to review this story. My apologies for not leaving you a review on your more recent work. But, whatever, on to the review!
It was a really cute story. Christmas, snow, gifts, the Marauders…all the elements needed for a nice, wintery fic.
James, I thought, was a very interesting character. His thoughts, at the beginning, actually seemed a little bit more mature than I would have thought.
[i] Snap out of it, Prongs, he mentally scolded himself. She doesn’t even call you by your first name — let’s not get carried away.[/i]
I don’t know why, but that seems pretty mature for James. I would have expected that to have come after his encounter with Emmeline Vance, when he realizes that he’s been fairly immature. Granted, though, I think that he realized with Emmeline that his actions had been immature, not his thoughts. So…it works. I was just a little surprised.
And, wow, diamond earrings. Lucky Emmeline! (Sorry, I just had to say that.) It does kind of make me wonder – where did James get those earrings? That’s completely irrelevant to the story, but I just was wondering.
And speaking of Emmeline, the way that it’s written makes me wonder if she and James had a bit of a relationship for a while. Would that relationship (James with a sensible, kind, girl – a Prefect, for goodness sake) convince Lily that perhaps James had matured? I think that, if it indeed happened, it might have. Lily would have seen James in a very different light than the stalker (because he really was and it was creepy) who was constantly at her heels. I don’t know if it was your intention to kind of hint at that with this story, but I couldn’t help but wonder about it (once again).
[i] The low point was a book from Remus, but luckily James had a faint idea of where it had been purchased, and made a mental note to trade it in at the first chance he got. [/i]
That made me laugh. It’s so like Remus to give people books for Christmas (and, um, I do that, too) and it was just so adorable to have James consider it a low point in his Christmas haul. I guess that gift returns are universal – they exist in the Wizarding world as well as the Muggle world. Heh.
Actually, this story (well, the beginning, really) was full of little giggly moments for me. James’ interactions with Sirius were highly amusing for me (and they were actually twice as funny because, as you know, in my fic, The Morning Comes to Early, I have a scene in which Sirius is a very reluctant waker). I thought that your including the phrase, “a rude hand gesture” was a nice tribute to JK Rowling as that is the only phrase that she ever uses to describe such a thing. I don’t know why, but it also seems very Sirius-like for him to have great, untidy heaps of clothing around his bed. Don’t ask me why, but it just seemed to work.
Anyways, I liked this story, Rachel, even though it isn’t one of your more recent pieces. It fit nicely with my Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas!
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much, Kelly! I wasn't expecting this at all, and I really appreciate your feedback. I can definitely see what you mean with James' mature thoughts toward the beginning. I agree - they seem more fitting for the end [or a sequel], considering that his encounter with Emmeline is what made him start thinking about taking things slow in regards to Lily. Come to think of it, I think it would be slightly more fitting to just leave that scene at James fantasising about Lily, without the mature conscience. Thanks for pointing that out. No one's really said anything about that before, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. I'm not entirely sure what I intended with James meeting Emmeline. Part of me likes to think that she had a significant impact on him, just talking for a few minutes, and that they never spoke again. But I agree, it's very likely that they could have had a relationship after this... actually, I do really like that idea. Perhaps I can get around to writing something like that... well, expect it in the next couple of years, anyway. LOL, the reason that I didn't say where James got the earrings is because I have no idea. >.> Perhaps there's a shop for it in Hogsmeade? Hee, I'm glad you liked the beginning with the brief Sirius and James interaction, because that was easily my favourite part of writing this fic. There's something very satisfying about writing the Marauders. Merry Christmas to you too, dear! Thanks again for the review! *hugs*
Good story! It was a sweet little moment that still kept to canon and James wasn't OOC either.
I liked how you described the snow on the ground, crusty. I can totally picture the Hogwarts grounds under a layer of "crusty" snow. :]
Well done! I enjoyed it.
Author's Response: Oh, thank you, Ayra! This is actually an older fic so I haven't reread it in a while, heh. I should do that and see if I can manage to keep from cringing at my writing... but, thank you! I am very glad that you enjoyed it and found James to be IC, because characterisation has never been a forte of mine. thanks for the review!
I really liked this one shot. I felt like is was a good explanation for James and Lily's ultimate love and understanding. Good job! The story was sweet and simple-- I liked the fact that it didn't have any 'frills.'
The first two or three paragraphs needed some work. Several sentences were grammatically unclear and seemed kind of choppy. One example is: "He had never seen their beds empty, usually one to leave for the holidays himself." I know what you are saying, I just think you could say it better.
I'm off to read another one of your stories (and review, of course!)
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, glad you liked it! Hmm, that sentence seems fine to me. I actually like the way it's written. How do you think I should rephrase it, exactly?
What a lovely little story! You have a very good writing style; it flows extremely well and there wasn't a sentence that sounded wrong. That doesn't sound like much, but to have a whole chapter flow without jarring is an achievement. I found James to be completely believeable, exactly how I imagined him. You walked the fine line between making him slightly too arrogant - I thought his thoughts about Remus' gift, though harsh, were probably spot on - and making him vulnerable. There were no hysterics, no loud, in-your-face behaviour from him. It was so nice to see him portrayed in thoughtful mood.
Even though this is a short one-shot, you built a nice amount of plot into it to keep the reader involved yet didn't neglect the characterisation, which I thought was the most important thing. I enjoyed Emmeline's character too, I thought she gave him some solid advice, and the decision to give her the ear rings was very fitting. I think this asked a lot more questions than it answered and would like to have seen maybe one or two more chapers. But then, we always want more of a good thing. ;-)
My only bit of con-crit is that you need to place spaces before and after dashes. If you don't, you read words as being hyphenated. Here's a prime example of where that can get confusing:
honestly–don’t think I haven’t noticed that fan-club of yours–so…why
See how the hyphenated words get lost with the dashes?
So, yes, that's all the concrit I have for you! This was a nice snapshot of a story very well told. :-)
Author's Response: =D THANK YOU, dearest Jan! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this! And, hee. Those flowy sentences? Thank Kate. She pwns. And I agree with what you said about the dashes - I do it like so now, but at the time that I wrote this, I used dashes--like so, and I completely see what you mean. Thanks SO much for the brilliant review! *squish*
WOW! Another great story by you! James seems very in canon and reminds me so much of Harry (GOOD JOB!) You are just an amazing writer! All of your stories that I read are amazing and extremely brilliant! You most definetly have a future in writing! Your first story was briliant and each story is better than it's predecessor (did I spell that right? ;) ) Anywho, I just really wanted you to know how great of an author I think you are, Rachel. You are a truly, truly great author!
Author's Response: Aww, thanks so much! That means a lot that you think so highly of my writing abilities! Thanks for the fantastic review!
Hey Rachel! Great story, here. You know what I liked best about this? You seemed to have some of Harry's attributes within James, but he was still very different. (Case in point - Harry wouldn't be so bold as to just lean in and kiss a girl a year older than him.)
Being a winter person, I really love these kinds of stories. It was a Christmas story, but then again, not quite. I also loved you throwing the "what if's" in there without disrupting cannon. This was a great one-shot.
- Jacie the Cat
Author's Response: My review plee worked? Gasp! And squee! Thank you sooo much for taking the time to review this, Jace! And I'm really glad you liked it. Yeah, it was hard, because my prompt was 'an unlikely pairing share a moment at Christmastime'. So I thought Beth=James. But then...how to write James without James/Lily? *snorts* So, I'm glad you found it believable, and not canon-disruptive. Thanks again! *hugs*
cool. I really like it, but James is a bit different than I picture him. P.S. Why do you say happy Christmas instead of Merry christmas?
Author's Response: Because in England and in the Harry Potter books/movies, 'Happy Christmas' is canon. Thanks for the review.