Wow. This was really, really interesting! I never imagined that James might have suspected one of his closest friends, so this story struck me as surprising and really original. Most importantly, even though I didn't expect to read a story like this, I totally believed it--you made it make total sense, I think--so bravo. Great work!
I loved your descriptions--there's just enough of it to tease the reader and engage them, but not so much that it interferes with the flow. This story reads like a charm... It's not overly elegant with very complicated word choice or artsy assonance, but the sentences fit together very well. That probably sounds a little silly, but it's the only way I can think to put it--basically, the flow is perfect, it feels like you read it over and over again as you were editing, making sure that each paragraph has its own unique descriptions but also didn't go on for too long.
If I had to change anything about this story, I think I would add some length to it , to build the plot and layer the characterizations a bit more than you have. The Remus/Lily scene was a great start, but I think you could have followed it up with at least one James/Lily scene and one Marauders + Lily scene which develops those character relationship dynamics a bit more and then feeds into the ending of the story (the fever-dream). I feel like this situation--four guy friends + one girl who dates two of the guys in the group--has the potential to create some very complex dynamics in a social group, and you only skimmed the surface with the one Remus/Lily scene as backstory... I wanted more.
Then again, wanting more isn't a criticism, really, it's a compliment, haha. Great work, and without further ado, write on! :)
Hello! Thank you for such a constructive review. From the extent of our communication so far, I have gleaned that you have a keen eye for canon information and knack for using that information creatively. I appreciate very much that you find it an interesting take that occurs behind the canon information we know about James and his trust of his friends ("...James would have regarded it as the height of dishonour to mistrust a friend").
I had intended to work on two things here, dialogue and description, with dialogue being the element I'm not usually very good at. Since English is my second language I have a tendency to become verbose and poetic often many times when it doesn't really lend anything to the writing itself. I had to a large extent held back my hand here. Glad you seemed to think the flow and sentence structures work. Involuntarily, I often think of dramatic situations, the result being what you describe as the 'fever-dream'. I enjoyed writing that.
I love the way you say ". . . this situation--four guy friends + one girl who dates two of the guys in the group--has the potential to create some very complex dynamics in a social group . . ." and agree with you wholeheartedly. Hmm, it's making me think about wanting to write more of this :) As I go back to reading that paragraph, I think it was such a long time ago, I don't even remember how I'd intended this to be. Merlin, haha, does that make me a terrible writer? Your fantastic review has spurred me on though. Thank you for your kind words!
Looking forward to read more from you,
Hi there. I rather like this story. The set up is good, and the characterisation in general is excellent. I loved James and Sirius in this and Peter was masterly, carefully sowing the seeds for the Marauder dynamic to destruct.
Didn't like the Remus/Lily relationship. I'm canon bound, it's true, and this doesn't go against canon, but it's not Remus. He was loyal to an absolute fault to James (hence the reason he doesn't intervene when they're bullying Snape) and although I can see how he'd be fond of/in love with Lily, I really can't see him acting on it. And Lily is being rather dumb here if she wants him to carve his initials into the tree and not have James suspect anything's going on. Is she two-timing him in your mind? It's not clear, although it is in their seventh year so it could go either way. That doesn't fit with my version of her ... but that is only my opinion. Sorry, I just don't like the pairing. It didn't ruin the story at all, though because it did give a very good reason for James' mistrust. Although ... *sigh* why on earth couldn't they see through Peter. (Dragon Di really caught that in Edges. Must go and re-read ... )
There are one or two nitpicks (sorry) .
And he’s juggling jobs in both his hand. This is confusing. Either he's juggling two jobs in both hands, or juggling both jobs in one hand. Your phrasing is a bit off at that point.
And the evil Brit in me is raising eyebrows over a basket of muffins bought at the Leaky Cauldron. Firstly, the Leaky Cauldron is a salubrious type of place and buying any sort of food seems to be a risk to health. And then there's the era issue of muffins (and yes this is petty, I admit it). Muffins in that era, meant the bread ones that you'd have for breakfast (English Breakfast Muffin). We didn't start eating American type muffins until shows like Friends appeared on the screen and suddenly we decided we were American. Baskets of muffins are still fairly rare ... and I don;t think you can buy anything like that - to take away - from a pub. Maybe Madam Puddifoots (or whatever that twee cafe is called) instead, or some magical bakery shop.
Liked the end very much. If James had survived Voldy, then he'd be a werewolf. Clever.
Good luck with the challenge ~Carole~
Hey you! Lovely to see you here. I suppose I might get the honour more often except I don't seem to write very much AND I keep deleting my old embarrassing stuff. I did one yesterday. Ahem. So.
The fact that you say excellent characterisation means so much. This wasn't going to be light-hearted, and I was only slightly ashamed that I had nothing half way uplifting to offer for April Fools. Dark/Angst comes easier to me and here it is.
Let's see the things you bring up here. First off, you mention Peter sowing the seeds, but I’m curious if you got that Peter is not actually there? He presence there, if you will, is a voice in James' head. That's why I neglected to write Peter's (to borrow Kuri's expression) "mannerisms" to show subtly that James is imagining him. Peter's conversation with James reflects an argument that James conducts inside his own head there in the forest and has most probably done before as well when Lily was attacked etc. All the things Peter says to James could most certainly pass off as his own thoughts. Because he's trying to reassure himself that he must have faith in his friends, his subconscious takes the form of Peter because Peter is the friend who ultimately seems harmless to James, who almost always seems to agree with him.
In the end, I think the friendship combusted because of what was in James' own head or the way each of them thought about the other. Peter, the real Peter, may or may not have a hand in prodding the Marauders' individual fears - that's for another story or maybe that's not a story for me to write - but here I wanted to explore how sometimes without wanting to, without meaning even, some bit of our own personality triggers the way our relationship with others wear apart. In this case, it is that James wants very badly to believe that it is NOT Remus and it that stops him from seeing the truth about who is.
Remus/Lily. I like to say that I'm a canon girl but that's not entirely why I read fanfiction. My OTP is James/Lily but I love Lily/Sirius, Lily/Remus, Lily/Snape just as equally. But here's my thing. There are so many levels at which a relationship can be written. I don't see this "/" between two character names as indicating that they are both definitely in love or will resolve by the end of the story. I don't just see Remus as being loyal to James but I think in some way Lily was too. But then I also see her as unsure, experimental, cheeky and at times, a little manipulative even. I'm not saying that ultimately applies to how it led up to the kiss. In my mind, that scene could have been anything. Yes, one could say nothing gets more explicit than a kiss. Of course. But James is seeing it. This is first person. The fact that he thinks about that kiss but dismisses it, shows that he's strong and it doesn't matter and that he really understands that Lily and Remus share something. He's the jealous type, yeah, but I see him as being more. She says ‘your turn’ but what do you know if Remus actually put their initials on the tree. I know that putting names on a tree is exclusive often to a particular kind of relationships. Yet. If it makes it easier, I can tell you that James is totally honest in this narrative. What did he feel then? Maybe anger. Maybe betrayal. That’s another story. What does he think now? He wants to really believe that Remus can’t be the traitor. In my mind, he was looking in that memory for reassurance that Remus feels a level of love for Lily and he that would never voluntarily do something that would hurt a hair on her head.
About the Briticism. Can I tell you I wrote this story first without adding a single prompt? I do all things out of order really. I did try to be inspired by the prompts. But nothing ideal sprang up. A very good friend pushed me to do this. So after its completion, I sprinkled in the prompts. There. My secret’s out. Haha. You know I went for muffins but I was thinking of buns. I remember this rhyme from nursery: hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny…. *hides*So embarrassing. I might come to change this. But you must understand I was REALLY desperate! Hah. It’s nice to have this pointed out though. I think basket would need changing too, because an entire basket (I ask you!) is rather misleading if I’m not trying to give you the impression that Remus is making some statement by bringing her favourite snacks home while pretending to be thoroughly oblivious about what it might mean.
Glad you liked the ending, I saw James as being hurt mostly and even if he did survive Voldemort maybe he wouldn’t turn into a werewolf. He’s feverish really and claustrophobic and an hour or so ago had been very scared. I think all those things have him seeing things. Poor guy.
I wrote a monster. Thank you for taking the time to review. Akay
This was a really interesting story. I really loved how you explored the relationships between the Marauders without explicitly saying that they were falling apart.
I thought your characterisations were great. Firstly, James: I thought it was typical of him to put Galleons in Remus' account. I think this fic is an interesting exploration of him coming to distrust Remus, despite not wanting to, and that works really well, as he is someone who really values loyalty and friendship. Sirius was depicted well, too. To me it seemed like he was trying to hold everyone together in this fic, which is in character as his friends are his family. The dialogue between James and Sirius near the beginning worked well; it showed that they were comfortable together, yet also gave the indication that they bicker more and have less fun than before. (I hope that makes sense.)
I was a tiny bit confused - when James is looking at Lily's initials and talks to Peter, is that in his imagination? As in, he's remembering Remus and Lily at the tree and then he imagines a conversation with Peter? That's what I understood, anyway, and it seems that James is suffering from fever and hallucinations... is it to do with blood loss?
Your writing was excellent. I loved the imagery and you use dialogue very effectively, and particularly when Sirius and James are talking near the beginning, the dialogue also tells the action, as in what the characters are doing, which is really hard to do and works really well.
So I really loved this story, your writing is just so wonderful and you've really mastered the art of showing, not telling. Fantastic :)
All the reviews you leave for the stories on MNFF are so very encouraging and lovely. So thank you for this one. What makes this special is that I was expecting at least two highly confused reviewers before someone who really understood the story for what I'd tried to do with it. You saved me, my friend.
You got that right about James and Remus. I think this was a very tough time for James. This is August of 1981 and incidentally after the event of this full moon I see this as becoming the last time James accompanies Remus for the transformation. James values loyalty and that's why for him to come to that conclusion, to withdraw from his friends especially Remus was so hard and breaking. Your comment about Sirius and James bickering more often makes perfect sense. In my imagination I see that when they'd have first found out about Remus, it would be James who took it without fear and Sirius would somehow take a quiet debate with himself to overcome the prejudice that were harboured in his family. But as it happens later in the years, James cracks first. His fear that Remus might be betraying him translates to Moony also, so that James vaguely, reluctantly thinks that Remus is dangerous when he'd transformed.
What you mention about your confusion is actually exactly the way I meant it to be. I couldn't have put my whole idea in words better than you did. In addition to the fever and hallucinations, he's also claustrophobic which is why he's struggling with breathing throughout.
I wrote the setting after having staring for long minutes at photographs of forests in order to transport myself and James there so we could get a feel of it. That seems to have paid off. Dialogue is usually never my forte, but I was experimenting here and for that reason, I eliminated most dialogue tags in order to focus on the content of the speech and let it do most of the talking.
I'm very glad you liked this, Katrina