When I started reading, I was a little worried that I’d loose track of who was speaking (since there aren’t any dialogue tags or anything like that). I feel like the difficult parts of reading and writing dialogue heavy stories is being able to follow who’s talking to whom and developing an entire storyline almost solely through speech. However, I was able to follow this story without much problem, probably because Lily and Sirius had very different voices. Neither sounded cliché or superficial, and their conversations sounded everyday ones.
One of the things I liked best about this piece was how Lily and Sirius’s conversations felt typical. They weren't talking about something life changing and important, they were gossiping like normal teenagers! As you suggested in your author's note, I heard this story as a back and forth between Sirius and Lily, which I think contributed to the casual feeling of the piece. In normal prose, there's description and dialogue tags, which I think can get in the way of quick back and forth dialogue.
The story felt like the conversations were happening in real time. In a friendly, flirty banter a pause between a comeback just ruins the whole effect. Inserting dialogue tags does make the reader pause to read the tag before returning to the conversation. In a conversation in which both parties are thinking much before they speak, adding description can add to the feeling of the conversation. Using only dialogue gave this a very quick, witty, and flirty feel which I don't think would have come out as well if the reader had been forced to pause between remarks to read tags or descriptions.
I think one of the reasons that most people avoid dialogue only is because it's so easy to get lost in lines and lines of dialogue. I got occasionally lost, but Lily and Sirius sounded so different, that it was relatively easy to figure out where I was again. I also appreciated that the speaker alternated every line. It's quite disconcerting when the same person speaks short phrases on multiple lines in a row, and if I'd had to do any lengthy puzzling over who was talking, I don't think I'd have made it through the entire piece.
I could completely see Sirius joking about snogging Lily, but I had a lot of trouble seeing him following through on it. He is a teenager, and I don't see him as terribly sensitive, but because of how loyal he seemed to be to James in canon (granted, he was a decade and a half older, and James was dead) I just had trouble wrapping my head around Sirius and Lily having any type of romantic relationship until Sirius was absolutely certain that James wasn't interested in Lily anymore.
However, I thought the way you integrated Sirius and Lily's relationship in the story did work well, and very importantly it was very humorous. Sirius's shock that Lily was actually interested in snogging was exactly the reaction I would have imagined him having, and did wonder whether Lily was partially in the relationship for the purpose amusing herself with Sirius's discomfort. There were several lines, where Lily treated their relationship very seriously and then very casually (especially when they broke up).
Lily's characterization, in my opinion, is what made the story. A lot of the time, Lily seems to be portrayed as a slightly more socially adept Hermione. However in the books, Slughorn describes her as cheeky and witty, but I also got the impression from him that she worked quite hard in her classes. In this she was very witty and quick, but she still seemed relatively studious. I already said that my favorite part of this was the back and forth banter, but if Lily's voice hadn't sounded right, I don't think the story would have worked.
It's now far past my bedtime. So, to sum up it was really fun to read.
Author's Response: I apologize for my late response, but sometimes getting a SPEW review like this takes a while to process! So first of all, THANK YOU!! I am so glad you enjoyed the story, and more importantly, that the format didn't completely turn you off. Your analysis of why it works is lovely, but I must confess that I didn't really think of most of those things while I was writing it. I just wrote it as I heard it. But I have written things where I did notice that dialogue tags and narrative just got in the way, and I think that it definitely would have got in the way here. It would have been too...thoughtful, if that's the right word. I would have had to write inner monologue for one or both of them about *why* they were doing what they were doing, and to be honest, I just didn't want to get into that. I wanted it to be very quick, very aural, clever and fun. So if it worked, yay! Thank you for the comments on the characters. I'm glad Lily worked, I always try to balance her. As for Sirius - I can see your point, because I wouldn't really want to see him do that to James either. But I have to admit a secret soft spot for this pairing (and James/Sirius as well, really) and in this story James was with another girl, and Sirius was reluctant, after all. Hee hee. I had so much fun with this. Thank you so much for the amazing review! It makes me smile every time I read it! ~Gina :)
it was a little hard to keep track of who was talking at first, since it's such a different way to write a story, but i really enjoyed reading it! it puts these three characters in a more human light, something believable. thank you for sharing this story.
Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review! It does take some getting use to, I guess - the dialogue only. I just hear it so clearly in my head it comes naturally to me. I'm glad you enjoyed it. THanks so much for the lovely review! ~Gina :)
I loved the story and the dialogue style is great. I had too much fun reading this one.
Author's Response: Thanks, it was fun to write this way! I'm glad you enjoyed it - thanks for much for the review!! ~Gina :)
I really had a lot of fun reading this. :) Though I wish I knew how they got together!!! Oh well. :P Good job, haha. Though it was a BIT confusing sometimes if I read the wrong line, since we had to keep track of who was talking ourselves. Otherwise, nicely done.
Author's Response: Yes, you do have to really work to keep track of who's talking in a dialogue only piece, but I do have fun with them so I'm glad you were able to enjoy it anyway. I have to admit I have no idea how they got together, since this was all about Lily and Sirius! Thank you for reading, I appreciate the lovely review!~Gina :)
Great story. :3)
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and leaving a review! ~Gina :)
Ooh, this was something different! Usually anything Lily/not-James makes me squirm (and Lily/Seerus makes me puke), but this was great!
I love a jealous Lily, and you pulled her off wonderfully! James and Sirius were also brilliantly IC. Characterizations were spot on.
Onto the style:
I have never read anything like this before. It definitely worked for the start, though I'm not sure about how it went with the wedding scene. I found the dialogue-only style made the reading jerky, which fitted with the bickering, jealousy etc, but not so much with the end. (Just my opinion, ignore if you want)
The American Exchange Student. As soon as I read that, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was wearing a Mary Sue t-shirt. Know what I did the , gmariam? I laughed at the computer screen. God, I love a Mary Sue that Lily Evans hates.Still wondering about her second name - care to share?
I think I would have preferred it of you'd finished with a Lily/Sirius convo after Lily and James were together, rather than at the wedding, though I'm not sure why.
Just re-read the comment. Honestly, all I do is complain, don't I? Sorry about that -- but I really did love this fic!
Loved the whole 'break-up' scene, great job there. LOL'd at the 'restricted section' innuendo, too. Wait -- was that mean't to be innuendo? Or am I just sick-minded? Either way, it was funny.
Really good job, really unique, and you've made me consider maybe reading some more Lily/non-James fics.
Author's Response: Hi Midnight Storm! Thank you so much for the detailed review! I really appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm shocked it's got you thinking of Lily with anyone else but James. For the record, I am a rabid J/L shipper - check my author's page, lol - but for all sorts of reasons, this popped out instead. At first, it was supposed to be about that American exchange student making Lily jealous, which sort of happened, but then Lily hooked up with Sirius and their story took over. I'm glad you laughed rather than cringed, since the American exchange student is totally tongue-in-cheek, by the way. One of those random AIM conversations, plus I was hoping to submit it for a cliche challenge in the TB. But again, the story went elsewhere. Ha ha! Really good point about the dialogue working for the banter, but maybe not for the more serious conversation at the end. I can see that. Sometimes I just get carried away with the banter, since it's so fun! And although I wrote this over the summer, I've been sitting on it because I just couldn't figure out how to end it. I thought about ending it with a J/L scene, but wanted to keep it Lily and Sirius to fit with the rest of the story. I jumped ahead to show that Lily and James did end up together, and Sirius was quite happy about it. Thanks again for the lovely review! ~Gina :)
Oh Gina, I'm so glad you finished this and posted it. You are brilliant with dialogue! I hope that you write more dialogue only fics because they work so well for you.
Author's Response: Lea! Thanks so much! This is all your fault, you know! LOL! I'm so glad we've gotten to know each other over AIM - we've had some fun chats, and I'm so glad this popped out of one of them. I wonder what will be next?? I'm glad you liked how the story turned out - thanks for coming by to review it!! *hugs* ~Gina :)
I really enjoyed this story! I was surprised by how well I liked it, since James/Lily is my favorite pairing in the series, but even with dialogue-only the plot was so believable (apart from the American exchange student's coming to Hogwarts), not to mention hilarious. Great job!
Author's Response: Thank you for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the story, dialogue, pairing, American and all. ;) I have to admit, the American exchange student is a bit of an inside joke between myself and the friend I was chatting with when this was born. It's sort of my way of poking fun at the cliche, I suppose. The drabble was actually supposed to be about the exchange student (there was a cliche challenge over on the beta boards) but never got there because Lily and Sirius just took over, for which I am very glad. Thanks so much for reading this, and thank you for the lovely review! ~Gina :)
This was a clever and enjoyable fic. I loved the style in which it was written. It was a little hard to follow in some parts, but it wasn't that bad.
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it, although I do feel bad it was hard to follow at times. Having heard it so clearly in my head, it's not a problem for me, but I can totally see how it would be tricky for someone who is not in my head, lol. It was still fun to write this way, though. Thanks so much for reading it and thanks again for the lovely review! ~Gina :)
Hello, I've come to review. Well, I should probably tell you (just in case you didn;t lnow) that Sirius/Lily tends to make me feel squicky, so I was going to ignore this and pretend it didn't exist - ha ha.
However, I had read some of this on LJ, and I did remember enjoying all the banter. I do like the relationship between them and it comes over as a lot of fun. You've captured a great side to Lily (she wants fun and gets jealous - YAY) and Sirius is very IC. Bloody American Exchange Student - why was she there? (you do realise that someone will object, but I know this was tongue-in-cheek so hee hee)
You haven't made me jump ship - nothing will ever shift from J/L, but you did make me giggle and yes, I could see them acting this out as I read. Great job!
Author's Response: Ah Carole - hee hee. Thanks for coming by to read this and see how it ended. I'm glad you enjoyed it enough the first time around to finish it up - or maybe it was morbid fascination with the ship? You know how hard I ship James/Lily, so no worries about my canon card there. I'll have to pick your brain about the Sirius/Lily squick factor, though. I certainly don't think it could have, would have, or did happen, but it was a total blast to write. And if it made you laugh, then that is a good thing. Watch out, I may have to post my James/Sirius next... Oh, and you know that American exchange student is in there because I was halfway hoping to write this for that cliche drabble exchange back in August...only Lily/Sirius quickly totally took over. And yes, it has already been pointed out, lol. Thanks again for the review! ~Gina :)
Wow!! That was really impressive. Dialogue-only fics must be really hard to write... and yet this was just fantastic. Sirius' characterisation was spot on, and I loved your interpretation of Lily. You managed to put so much of their characters and the setting into the dialogue... it was really amazing.
My favourite part was probably just after Sirius and Lily had 'broken up' and Lily tells Sirius that's he's a good person. It really showed development in both their characters and was written so well.
Just one small thing - a couple of times you've written "Juliannaa" instead of "Julianna".
Anyway, I'm totally in love with this fic!! It was very unique and your writing was brilliant.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review! In some ways, dialogue only can be tricky, but I heard this so clearly in my head it was not that hard. I'm thrilled to hear the characterization came through just through their dialogue, because I could also see them saying this, but that descriptive narrative element is obviously missing and unable to contribute to the overall effect. Thanks for pointing out my typo, I think I've fixed them all. :) And thank you so much for reading this, I really appreciate the amazing review for something I was a bit worried about! ~Gina :)
Awww! Really cute fic. Nice work! :)
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really appreciate the review - thanks!! ~Gina :)
I loved this! This has to be one of the most unique fanfiction I have ever come across.
A dialogue-only writing style had to be difficult, but you did a great job! I only got a lost a few times, but it was really easy to see who was talking to who, most of the time. No narrative means that one won't be able to visualize the settings very well, but it was actually easy to visualize the setting. I could tell when they were at in the common room, or at the wedding and so on, and you didn't describe a hint of it! Well done!
I was always drawn to the Lily/Sirius pairing, even if I LOVE James/Lily. Sirius/Lily is so anti-cliched, and it adds such a twist to the Lily/James story. Although this story ended James/Lily, no doubt there were feelings of attraction between Lily and Sirius- and you didn't describe a thing!
I really enjoyed this, and thought it was really impressive! Great work!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm so happy to get such a positive first review! Yes, I had my doubts about posting the dialogue only thing, so I'm glad it worked for you. And I'm totally a J/L shipper, but this really captured my interest (as does Remus and Lily at times...) James and Lily did end up together, after all-just with a little detour. Thanks again for the amazing review, I really appreciate it!! ~Gina :)