Reviews For To Tell The Truth.
Reviewer: jenny b
Date: 06/28/10 9:08
Chapter: To Tell The Truth

First of all, I really liked the title and summary combination on this story; it’s the one that stood out to me on your author’s page and made me want to read it. The full-stop in the title bugs me slightly, but I’m horribly pedantic like that. But the summary is perfect – just two lines, and immediately I want to know what the fic is about.

I also really liked the first paragraph. It’s entirely a coincidence that just before I read this fic I was attempting to write a drabble where someone is dying, and my character’s descent into darkness was uncannily similar. I like how you start it off with what feels like an ending: Gwen slowly drifting away, unable to hold on. It really captures the reader right from the beginning. You immediately want to know who she is and what is wrong with her.

Your description of St Mungo’s was also really well-written, as Gwen wakes up with a fuzzy head and tries to make sense of what has happened. The image of her mother is one of my favourite lines in the whole fic – I can just imagine a distraught, tired woman who is terrified of what is happening to her daughter. It’s really touching. However, when put next to your detailed description of the hospital, the next scene with Nick seems entirely too rushed. As their break-up is one of the major points of the fic, I think you need to go one way or the other with it. Either dispose of it entirely (as Paige suggested) or elaborate on it enough so that it means something to the reader. Right now, it’s just an ordinary break-up, and Nick seems two-dimensional and callous. I feel like he has so much untapped potential as a character, and if you worked on that scene it could improve the whole story.

The end of the first section was another of my favourite parts of the fic. Starting from, ‘She didn’t understand …’ to ‘It hadn’t been a dream.’ This is the section where I think you get the real heart of Gwen’s character. She’s a broken, frightened girl, and her whole life depended on her boyfriend. It doesn’t make her a particularly clever character, but it makes her a real character. Not everyone is like Ginny and can survive fine on their own – some people depend on others to survive. Some people, like Gwen, have faults. Gwen is so young and naïve, and she is instrumental in the message behind this story – people make mistakes. I don’t know if that’s the message you intended, but that’s what I got out of it.

That said, with the beginning of the second section I think you could have done so much more elaboration, especially with Gwen’s character. You mention in passing how she has no friends, but I want to know why she doesn’t have friends. In that whole paragraph, that was the one thing that stuck out to me. Everyone (well, most people) have friends. Why doesn’t Gwen? Those four little words just stick out as odd without an explanation behind it. Does she have no friends because she’s a horrible person? Did her relationship with Nick estrange her from all her friends? Gwen is so … flighty in this fic. Good characterisation is the basis of a good story, especially when it’s so character-driven like this piece.

The eating disorder is a really interesting touch, I think. I never enjoy reading fics where canon characters like Hermione get eating disorders – it never seems very in character to me, and even if it’s written well I don’t really see it happening. Gwen, though, is the perfect candidate for an eating disorder (that sounds awful, but hopefully you understand what I mean). Like I mentioned earlier, she’s young, naïve and fragile. The section about Gwen’s deterioration made me think of her mother again, it would have been good if you had mentioned her there. I can just imagine this ghost of a girl wondering aimlessly about the house and her mother watching and unable to help. It’s chilling. I don’t know if you didn’t mention a father figure on purpose, but I think it fits really well with Gwen’s character if she’s never really known her father. It might help explain why she was so dependent on Nick.

Another part that felt extremely rushed was the ending. You go from Gwen walking down the hall to Nick explaining his story to him being dead so quickly that I had to stop and think for a moment about what had just happened. I think the downfall of this fic is the lack of explanation and elaboration with the key scenes. It sort of feels like you were just in a rush to get them out and skipped all the little details. At the moment, it reads sort of like a short, rushed cliché. If you expanded on the break-up scene, the last scene and on the characters of Nick and Gwen, then I think the whole thing would read better and it would go a lot more smoothly. It’s not really enough to just have characters – especially original characters – just do actions, you need to make sure that the reader realises why they’re doing them.

I think this story has huge potential, Russia, and if you ever rewrite it like you mentioned in your reply to Paige’s review then I’ll definitely be reading it again. Don’t think I’m being too harsh on you, I know this was written nearly a year ago – it’s wonderful to see how much your writing has improved. Thanks for the lovely read!

--Jen

Reviewer: sorrow_of_severus
Date: 10/31/09 20:21
Chapter: To Tell The Truth

This was a really neat story, Russia. Your descriptions kept me engrossed, and I was amazed how much the plot twisted and turned. The ending was shocking and very touching. Bravo.

Author's Response: O.O you liked it? Wow. Thankyou SO much Laura, when I saw I had an other review I was like "Aw, man. I bet they hated it." but it was you and it was lovely. Thankyou SO much! I am so happy you liked it! Thanks again. Russia xxxxx

Reviewer: Kerichi
Date: 10/05/09 9:13
Chapter: To Tell The Truth

For the first three weeks after the break-up I refused to move from the sofa.

One of the hardest things to do is to decide where to begin a story. Every writer wants to draw a reader in and keep her engrossed. As much as I admired your use of specific details to describe the hospital ward and her mother (her hair was scruffy and her make-up was smudged under her eyes), the beginning felt too generic and detached. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the character or what had happened.

When I read For the first three weeks I thought, "This would be a kick-ass opening line." The rest of that paragraph summarizes what you wrote before it in a way that would bring readers immediately into the story and better allow them to transition into the core of the plot. 

I feel so awful for suggesting that the story would be improved if the first eleven hundred words were cut (yes, I copied and pasted to a word file). Feel free to borrow my favorite mental image of stabbing a pencil through a "bad" reviewer's hand (It's very therapeutic :D). After you visualize yanking it back out of my torn flesh and casting a healing charm (because you're a good-hearted Gryffindor, not Bellatrix, for Merlin's sake), please do me a favor and read the story as if it started with that paragraph. 

I'm not saying change a word of actual text. I only want you to see how the perception of the viewpoint character and Nick changes. Isn't the story tighter and more focused? Doesn't the end read less melodramatic and more tragic, that she's learned the lesson "Don't give up on him!" too late?

Throughout the story, I noticed a whole lot of adverb love going on. Sometimes the dialogue itself tells the reader how something is said, but even when it doesn't, be aware of using gently, sadly, etc. multiple times.

Finally, the ending lines read too pat for me. Nick just died. I think happiness comes much, much later. If you took off the last four sentences, your "new" ending would convey what your current last sentence does, but with much more impact.

Those words will stay with me forever.

 

 



Author's Response: Kerichi, I love you. Did I ever tell you that? I did? Oh... well I'm gonna tell you again. I can't believe you actually bothered to read such an ATROCIOUS story. I really dont like it at all, thankyou SO MUCH for your review, I am seriously thinking about re-working this fic thanks to you. When I have time... *never has time* I will ask you some more advice, and tackle this hideaous monster head on. Thankyou for your review, and not totally HATING it like I do >.<

Reviewer: Illiria
Date: 08/26/09 7:55
Chapter: To Tell The Truth

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Loved it! You did a very good job of showing how her month of no food and little sleep affected her body, I was very impressed. I loved the last few lines as well, I hated that he died but the fact that he told her he loved her first was so sweet. Great story again.
Ria X

Author's Response: Thanks Ria! *hugs* To be honest, I really hate this fic >.< It was just so short and... eugh. I am so so so happy that someone liked it! I love sweet endings you see! =D Russia xxxxx

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