This made me tear up, beautifully written :)
I don’t know what I expected when I clicked this piece, but I am thoroughly amazed. We all know about Colin and his camera, but this reaches beyond that. The level of detail regarding every picture taken - the thought that went into every one of his actions - was beautifully stated, without being over the top.
One of the most interesting aspects of this piece was the style. It’s written in a narrative from Dennis’s point of view, which added to how bluntly and painfully everything was said. I loved how at some points, it sounded like he was talking to Colin, while at others it seemed more for his own understanding. It allowed for all of the brilliant ideas to be stated without seeming over-dramatic or overdone; on the contrary, I think it’s the understatement of everything that makes it so great. It’s a mish-mash of childhood stories, but it’s so incredibly bittersweet because of the information we all know at the beginning: this isn’t just about a boy with a camera, but a reflection on the only thing Dennis will ever have with his brother - the past. I also loved how some parts were choppier while others seemed to flow more smoothly - it alerted us, as readers, to where Dennis was either struggling to describe something or struggling with his own emotions. One thing I might say, though, is that you tend to use a good amount of ‘-‘s, especially when Dennis is excited. It can distract from the flow, and it’s just something to look out for. :)
Dennis. Oh, he is a far cry from the excited younger brother we always see in the books. He’s remorseful, but even though he talks all about his brother’s eye for detail, he possesses an incredible one of his own. Often in stories we see characters forget as time passes, but if anything Colin seems sharper to Dennis. He’s constantly noticing new things, even if he doesn’t necessarily want to. I also love how you distinctly made Dennis, though this piece isn’t about him really, seem different from Colin. Where Colin constantly finds meaning and beauty in everything around him (even if it isn’t at all), Dennis is left wondering why. He doesn’t understand fully, until it’s too late and all he can do is stare at the pictures his brother took.
The photography aspect of this piece was done incredibly well. You manage to describe what they all are so vividly, while never truly talking about what they entail, unless it means something to Colin. I also really liked how it felt like most of Colin’s pictures didn’t turn out, whether they were blurry or the lighting was bad or something. Because Colin kept them, and therefore let us see them. It’s easy to simply stick Colin behind the camera and call it canon, but you interwove the camera into everything that he did.
The ending was very brief, and said something I found incredibly poignant. Colin was always the one behind the camera, and in the entire story until that point, he hadn’t appeared in one photograph. And when he finally did, Colin was hidden - tucked under the arm of someone else. That was the price he paid for his fascination with the pictures. He was always the one behind the camera, instead of ever being in it. And with his life being so short, there was no opportunity for someone to eventually realize this and shove him into a few later.
Overall, I thought this was brilliant. It was a great character study, and extremely poignant and thought-out. I think the saddest part was that it was a story of Colin’s childhood, and we knew he’d never reach adulthood. Nothing was overstated, and it felt very minimalistic, compared to overdramatic. The entire piece made me feel like I was personally rifling through all of Colin’s photographs, and that’s a sort of intimacy that’s hard to reach. Brilliant job!
Oooooooh! Lovely story, Nicole :D I'm reading this for SBBC, and I think I've reread three times now because the style was just that good. You have such a way with words, and the photos in this story were so vividly and beautifully illustrated by your rich use of language.
But at the same time, I also think you really captured Dennis's voice here. I could practically hear him narrating the story, and I could tell how much he missed his brother :( I love Dennis as a character, having read a couple of excellent stories featuring him (as well as this one, of course :) ), as I think Colin's death was really significant in DH for Harry alone -- and here I could see how much it affected his brother, too.
My favourite section was definitely the end one, especially because of that last line where he points out where Colin is in the picture. Gahhh. A lovely end to a fab story. Well done :)
Author's Response: Soraya! ♥
Gaaah, what a fabulous review! Thank you SO MUCH! I'm so flattered at all the wonderful compliments you left. I'm really glad you thought the photos were vivid; there is a lot of clutter in it, a lot of unnecessary detail because Dennis sort of notices them.
And Dennis! :( I'm very fond of him as a character as well. Such a sad story, the Creeveys. I'm glad you thought Dennis' voice was clear and well-written!
Thank you so much once again for this lovely review, Soraya! It's absolutely made my day! ♥♥
This is a wonderful piece; thoughtful, revealing, and artfully constructed. The Colin we love is given dimension and life. We can see his raised eyebrows and exuberent smile as he waits to snap another photo. His passion for "capturing the moment" fairly radiates from the page. Dennis's memories touch our hearts.
Author's Response: Hello there!
Wow, what a lovely review! I'm sorry for taking so long to respond. The Creeveys are such a sad story, even sadder because we hear nothing about them after the final battle. I'm so glad you found Colin a rounded, realistic character full of 'dimension and life'. He certainly is exuberant! Such a contrast to Dennis. Thank you so much for this lovely review again!
While Natalie is seething with envy, I am suffering from embarrassment that I could never write something so moving and understated. Also, because I was sitting in a cafe when I read this and had to hide my emotional breakdown when the fic ended.
This is so beautiful. I love the structure you've used, I love the imagery, I love the way you capture both Colin and Dennis and their relationship. Your story may be subtle on the surface but it is bubbling with undercurrents of such intense loss. Suppressing my tears in public was a mission and a half, just so you know.
And the ending. Oh the ending. I can see that photograph, with a blurry barely visible Colin, so vividly in my mind. GUH.
I've read a few things by Emily Perkins but not that short story collection so I am going to order it from the library right now haha.
I am not surprised at how moved I was by this fic. You wrote it. I knew what I was getting myself into. But you continually blow me away, and each fic of yours that I delve into is like unwrapping an unexpected gift.
Author's Response: Julia! ♥ What a lovely surprise :D
And ak;jshiulasd what amazing compliments you left. :O It really makes me happy to hear that reviewers have engaged with this little story on such a deep emotional level. Out of all the stories on my page, this is the one I've enjoyed writing the most, but it's also the least original :P So yeah, I myself probably wouldn't be able to come up with such a style or structure.
Colin and Dennis ♥ I'm so glad you liked the ending! There was meant to be a shift in tone or something, I dunno; I have this feeling that Dennis will be alright. In time.
The snapshot format is from the Perkins story, as is the first sentence, and most of the structure is heavily based on her story so I can't take credit for any of that. But if I know EP's writing (and I think I know it a bit), she'll have been influenced by other writers as well, and this is a style I've seen crop up a few times in short stories. Also, I've heard that it's not so much whether an idea is original or not, but it's how that idea is presented is what matters (EP said that herself; during my uni days I did a one-off creative writing course and she was the lecturer bahaha).
Gakhjasf Julia thanks so much for this amazing review! You're one of the first authors whose work I started reading and loving when I just joined this site sometime last year, so it means heaps to hear this sort of praise from you! ♥
Oh, Nicole. You are clearly a witch. Your writing is so bloody refined that, honestly, I'm seething with envy :) (The smile is supposed to tell you not to be scared.) I've written Dennis after Colin's death, and though the relationship between the two brothers was an important theme of that story, I have to see I'd never been able to look it with such clarity. I just love the way you made those photographs so, so vivid. I can easily picture all of them in my head. And the ending? Unexpected, and all the more beautiful for that. I must go and read the other stories. Thank you for such amazing writing!
Author's Response: Hello Natalie:D TELL ME HOW DO I RESPOND TO THIS REVIEW. HOW SERIOUSLY HOW. First, I'm so incredibly flattered that you dropped by my page and read my other stories asljkd;sdfjhklj THANK YOU SO MUCH OMG. Dennis has become one of my favourite characters (but only after I started writing him :P ) I will certainly have to read your Dennis story. I'm glad you liked the ending! I wanted to have a little shift in tone, and end the story on a bit of hope, rather than just stopping at Colin's death. Dennis is going to be fine, honestly :) And thank YOU for your amazing reviews *hugs* - teh/Nicole
I enjoyed this story. It makes the character of Colin in the books easier to understand, more than just an odd kid who liked to take pictures of everything for no apparent reason.
Author's Response: Oh, thank you for your lovely review! Yes, this fic is an exploration of Colin's character and the relationship between the brothers :) though I think Dennis is slightly overshadowed here. Thanks again!
Very nice, but the opposite of a digital camera is a film camera.
Author's Response: Thanks for telling me baha xD That's been changed. Obviously I'm no photographer :)