Very interesting story, a good development of a character most people have never really given much thought to
Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing :) I'm glad I managed to get character development across in an one-shot :)
I liked how you began the piece with the beginning of the letter. It gave the beginning of the piece an aura of suspense and mystery, which dragged me into the piece. Though, I found the first paragraph a little choppy. You began by describing the room, then suddenly jumped to describing Walburga. I felt that the description of the room didn’t add much. It certainly set the scene, but the image you gave of Walburga, gave me a very clear idea of how Alphard regards his family.
I’m not certain if you intended this, but the tone of the letter felt very formal and a little forced to me. Firstly, the mix of contractions and lack there of sounded odd to me. I suppose that Chance could have a very formal manner and using contractions/ less formality in some places could be used to indicate passion, but I would assume that in a letter asking someone to run away with you, you’d use a slightly less formal voice, considering the writer would likely be very close to the recipient. The allusion Chance is trying to cast makes me think that he would chose a very informal tone because he wants to heighten the feeling of emotional intimacy with Alphard. The other think that jumped out at me was how you used damned multiple times (three I think) in the letter. I assume that it was intended to show passion, but, for me, it made the letter sound forced and insincere, (which again, I’m not sure whether it was intentional).
When you said “He looked at her with an expression, briefly, of despair, and then glanced away.” (third paragraph after the letter), I was a bit confused for a moment. Saying briefly right in front of despair didn’t sound quite right to me. I would assume that you meant that he looked at the word briefly with an expression of despair. If so, I would move the word briefly to after looked at her, so the sentence would read “He looked at her briefly with an expression of despair.” This would clarify that the look was brief, as saying that the expression was brief sounds a little awkward to me.
I really liked when Alphard said “Walburga, pleas tell me you are tired of lies.” To me, it nicely showed a brief attempt on Alphard’s part to reach out to his sister, who I’m assuming he’s (or at one point was) close to. In the next paragraph, you said, “He was used to his sister trying to get information out of him. It had been a few years since she succeeded.” To me, these two sentences sounded a bit choppy together. If this were my piece, I’d connect them with a word, for example “He was used to his sister trying to get information out of him; though, it had been a few years since she’d succeeded.”
In this sentence, “Alphard walked straight past him, without a word, to the red leather booth in the corner next to the pool table, the balls kept in a triangle ready for the next game.” I liked the description in the first part of the sentence, but to me, describing the position of the balls on the pool table was a little too much.
Later in the piece you say, “Then he smiled lightly, and said, “I’m sorry? You are not running away with me?”” I liked how you began to hint in this line that Chance wasn’t really sorry that Alphard wasn’t running away with him. I also want to point out that I don’t think you need the comma after “Then he smiled lightly”. As you can see from my writing comma use isn’t exactly my strength, but I think there are a handful of commas in this piece that aren’t needed.
In the next paragraph you describe both Alphard and Chance in the sentences, “Chance did not like being stared at in that way. Alphard normally did not meet the eyes of the person he was talking to, and Chance was not quite sure how to deal with this new, direct approach.” I liked that you said showed the reader that Alphard was normally timid, but was now being brave, but I think it would sound better if you actually showed it through Alphard’s actions and Chance’s actions and motions. I think if you showed Alphard making eye contact and Chance flinching (or something like that) at the unusual action, it would be a little more subtle.
About 6 paragraphs down Alphard says, “STOP PRENDING.” You describe it as not being a shout, so your use of caps surprised me. I generally assume that when something’s written all in uppercase, then it’s being shouted. If I were writing something that were being emphasized but not shouted, I’d use bold or something similar. Though, I really liked how you used caps when Chance said, “She lied to ME!” To me, that really accented how he was loosing his temper, and just putting the word “me” in uppercase really showed how self centered Chance is.
Later in the piece, I didn’t really like when you showed Chance’s thoughts. As the whole piece had been told from Alphard’s point of view, jumping into Chance’s head didn’t sound quite right to me. I didn’t think that you really needed to show Chance’s thoughts, as throughout the piece the reader had a pretty good idea of what Chance was thinking and feeling from the way you described his actions.
The only other critique I had in this piece was the dialogue after Chance’s thoughts, when Alphard said, “Purebloods may have many faults, and that is because we are human. The only common fault is pride, which many Muggleborns and Muggles share. We also have a prejudice towards anyone not Pureblood.” This really sounded awkward to me. It sounded so detached and formal, that I really couldn’t see anyone saying quite that, especially in the situation Alphard’s in. (Though, I like how you show Alphard as being very very formal when he’s under mental strain.)
Obviously, I enjoyed your piece on the whole. (I especially liked the part about Lucinda, which felt very well written (especially all of Alphard’s emotions about her).) I really thought that you did a brilliant job on Alphard’s characterization. To me, he personified the way I see many Purebloods as being. It really struck me as realistic how Alphard didn’t technically believe in blood superiority, but wasn’t brave enough to stand up for it either.
Author's Response: Wow. Thank you for leaving me such a lovely long review, with so much helpful constructive criticism. This was one of the first stories I posted on MNFF which I still think is good enough to leave up, so I'm pleased you enjoyed it and Alphard's characterisation.
Your review made me look at this story again for the first time in ages and reading it I found myself agreeing with nearly everything you said, and am currently making changes accordingly. I agree with you saying that the letter sounds too formal and forced, and that the use of contractions is inconsistent but the use of the "damned"s in trying to sound passionate but coming across forced was intentional.
Re- the caps lock- well, maybe it's because I regularly overdose on Terry Pratchett novels where Death does not shout but speaks in capital letters. I think there's something authoritative and controlled about consistent capital letters, which as you point out so insightfully, Chance does not have.
I do jump around people's heads a lot, and can see why you thought it sounded disconcerting, but I feel that it is necessary to the piece in this case, though obviously not always.
I had originally planned a story about Lucinda, but I doubt I'll ever write that now GIven she is important but not actually there I'm pleased you thought that was well written, and you enjoyed Alphard's characterisation.
br> Anything I haven't mentioned- it's because I just thought "she's completely right" and have already made the changes, so thank you for that. And thanks for leaving such a helpful, lengthy review- I really appreciate it! Alex
My first slash story ever! (I'm so glad it was light!) I really liked your characterisation as a whole. I think that it's great how you basically wrote completely new characters and yet I totally believed that they were part of the Potterverse. I also really liked the amount of dialogue in this story, it really makes the plot move along. I really like how you took something that I would never ever read and make it something that I really enjoyed, for me that is the markings of good author!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reviewing and taking the time to read my story! There was quite a lot of backstory which I managed to get into this and I'm glad you like the dialogue! I do, however, seem only to write convincing non-fluffy dialogue! Anyway thank you so much for reading and reviewing! Alex x
Very good work! I like how you fleshed out Chance, I felt like I had some idea of his motivations. I got a little lost in your characterization of Alphard. Perhaps an indication of his age, would help. I thought he was in still in school for a while which threw me out of the story for a bit. I had trouble pinning down and relating to Alphard. Overall this was an interesting piece and I'm glad that I got to see your glimpse of these periphery characters!
Author's Response: I thought I'd responded to this- sorry for the wait. It's such a long time since I wrote this story that I'd given up hope of anyone ever reading this again. I really, really enjoyed writing this and think it's my best one-shot by far. I can see why Alphard's age would be a problem. He's supposed to be in his mid to late twenties. But I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the review!
Wow! You packed a great deal into this! I think he more likely left his money to Sirius because Sirius had guts than because Sirius had no problem with Muggleborns, but maybe that was what you meant...
Author's Response: Thank you! I meant both- that Sirius had no problem with Muggle-borns and had the guts to say so to his family and the world, whereas Alphard did not. Still glad you enjoyed it :)
This is probably one of my favorite stories. I really like everything in it. I like the characterization of Alphard. It's very good.
For a second I thought it was going to be a Sirius/Alphard storry! Boy, was I wrong. It was a good wrong, though. I thought it would be a bit weird if it was Sirius and his uncle.
I also like Chance *forgets first name*. His character was very well written, in my opinion. It seemed very origional.
I also like the plot. I haven't read one like it. It was very entertainting to read. The struggle that Alphard went through was very good.
I would give this story a three thumbs up if I had three thumbs, but sadly I don't so I will have to stick with two. I think you did a great job on this!
Author's Response: Wow- Thank you very much!! I found this really difficult to write- both my beta and the mod said it was confusing, so I made a few changes- I'm really glad you found it entertaining, and Alphard's struggle and Chance's character believable.
I don't really know where the idea for the plot came from. Chance is, to some extent, a bit of a stereotype in that he's the equivalent to the cockney who finds himself at the height of society. I don't know whether I mentioned this (should've - will now) but his name comes from the Tennessee Williams' play "The Sweet Bird of Youth"- although the characters are quite dissimilar they are linked in that they use people for money.
Thank you so much again!