Hi, Kat. Sorry for late response for your post on the forums. My life in last December was hectic. If you don’t mind, please post more on my review request thread. I’m willing to follow your stories.
I remember this story. The mood was very dark in spite of the cheerful event such as Christmas, and Sirius Black’s agony was well written at that time when I stopped by via the previous forums. Then I reread this story, I figured it out deeply. I think you edited great. My impression is each scene gets clearer than before. There two spots I found this time.
1 The young Aurors mocking Black, which pulls our sympathy towards him. They must have behaved so rudely seeing Sirius as a criminal with despise. They could be crueler to him or might have asked why he had committed such an awful crime and accused him more violently.
2 Black’s bright memory that Lily and Rupin were almost kissing and James interrupted them, makes the latter horror caused by Dementors more outstanding. The Dog Star watching all happenings from the window on Christmas Eve, which is very impressive, it’s good you kept the last scene as well as before.
If there were the thing you could fix, I suggest adding more descriptions about his mother and his godson, Harry from Black’s POV. These things will make his emotions more accentuated in this story.
Hello again! I'm here with your request from about a month ago over in my thread on HPFT. First of all, the author's note you wrote at the end was extremely touching and appropriate considering the setting of the story and time of year this was posted. It moved me a bit to do my best in these last dregs of the holiday season, so thank you.
You were mainly concerned with the dialogue section and doing more "showing" rather than "telling." I'll begin with the dialogue between Sirius and the two guards. So from an outside perspective, the tone of voice the guards use fits with the setting and general feelings towards Sirius at this point in time. However, I do see where you were concerned with it as it does feel a bit forced and heavy in terms of length of time/words spoken per person. Something that I like to do when I'm getting stuck with dialogue is to read it out loud and mark where I take natural pauses to breathe or just in the phrasing. Then if it cuts up a large paragraph, I can insert a dialogue tag and maybe a body movement or something similar to help break it up further. By giving the speaker something to do besides just talk, the dialogue bits can then be strengthened. With these two Aurors specifically, since they're both so young and new to the job, allowing some of their internal fear and jumpiness at being inside Azkaban to peek through in body language while they speak could make the dialogue less harsh as well. If the transition from playing games with Sirius to serious manner was more fluid and had greater weight, the switch in tone would make more sense. They also begin by being rude to him, and then end by saying they used to look up to him and their siblings as well in Gryffindor, which is an admission that could be given much more weight. This admission of former idolization (if you will) typically doesn't come easy, but could be stoked by Sirius maybe acknowledging their presence in some form (like turning away to face the back wall of the cell) so they get aggravated at his lack of reaction. Otherwise, it feels awkward like you said. If you can re-work it with some of these suggestions then I think the dialogue could be much stronger.
Now as far as the "showing" versus "telling" aspect of this story, I think there's not a whole lot you need to do to it anymore. You do a very good job of describing Sirius's emotions as things are happening in real time and his memories. There is a fine line between telling and showing in describing things in writing, but you've worked on editing this piece and there is honestly not much I would change in regards to that aspect. The closing paragraphs are very well written too and emphasize the point of the whole story in a way that sometimes some character or scene description can't convey. Perhaps I was just more in tune with your message for this story, but I believe your description here fits with the writing style and POV you used.
So really, very well done on this story! While it definitely tugged at my heartstrings, your writing really pulled me in and made me feel a lot more about Sirius Black than I really thought I would. So thank you! Please feel free to pop over to my review thread again sometime if you like! :)
Hey, thanks for the advice! I'll definitly try to edit that dialogue section some more and figure out some way to tweak it. I'm glad to see the telling isn't too big an issue here. I know back on HPFF some people pointed that out as a thing to maybe watch for in this, so it seems the editing worked there. Now I'll have to focus on the other section.
I'm glad you liked it, and thanks again for the solid review and feedback! :D
Hey Kat, I finally made it here for our swap!! I am seriously SOOO SORRY for how long it has taken me to get back here and finish this for you hun. Things IRL have been sooo crazy this month, and I really did not mean for this to take so long. =(
I really liked this piece a lot though!! It gave me ALL the feels, lol! OMG, why didn't you warn me tho?!? I wasn't ready, haha!! (I actually read this one-shot BEFORE it was on fic-night, so I knew what was gonna happen during the broadcast. You were brilliant, btw! Congrats on being featured!!)
Seriously though, I was so amazed by how much emotion you conveyed in this piece, Kat. I've never read anything from Sirius' POV during his time in Azkaban before, but the way that you wrote this was so realistic. Like, this is something that I could absolutely see happening in the books. It's very believable, and the whole thing flowed quite nicely. As if Sirius' story is isn't already heart-breaking enough, you just had to go and dig the knife in a little bit deeper, lol! I felt so bad for him when those two Aurors were mocking him, especially when they told him about his mum. Like, I get that they weren't exactly close and all, but it still must be awful to find out that type of news; especially on Christmas Eve. And the way that he found out was horrible too!! Poor Sirius. I just want to hug him. =(
I love how gripping your details are, and your transitions all ran so smoothly from one scene to the next. I would suggest doing one quick read through, when you have some time, as there were a few minor grammatical things that I spotted as I was reading. Nothing too distracting though, as the writing here is just incredible!! I love, love, love the way that you do Angst!! You have such a solid grip on your character's emotions, and the way that you convey everything through their thoughts and feelings is soooo good!! ♥
I'm definitely going to try and read the other story that you requested ASAP, especially since it was nominated for a FROGS award!! Congratulations on that, by the way!! I can absolutely see WHY you were nominated, especially with Sirius Black as the character. You really seem to have a firm understanding of his character, and I cannot wait to see how you portray him outside of Azkaban, when he has his freedom and is able to better interact with other people as well.
Well done, Kat. This piece was such perfection. I cannot wait to read more of your works!! =)
Don't worry, Roxi! I was pretty late with a few of my swaps too. Oops!
Sorry. Well. Heads up for the second story you plan to read since you didn't get it for this one. I think it might end up being even worse if what people have said so far is true. And I gotta say. When you said I was featured I went straight to the forums. I didn't even know it had happened until you told me here. And thanks for the congrats. The audio on my part prompted me to order a headset ASAP. I feel so bad for my D&D group if they've been listening to that kind of static for so long. If I ever go on again I'll be prepared. XD
I tried to make it realistic considering I wrote it as kinda a missing moment type thing. Glad to see it was pulled off. I'll definitly be doing a read through. If you wouldn't mind, and if you still remember, would you mind sending me a PM through either the forums or twitter on what and where you saw the errors so I can catch them a bit easier?
Thank you so much for the kind review. Looking foward to hearing from you again soon, and maybe doing another swap! :D
Howdy Kat! I realized that even after reading this for Fic Night, I forgot to leave a review. Sorry about that :( As you already know, I really enjoyed your story and I'll reiterate some of that here for the non-viewing public, but I'll also try to focus on what you asked for in the Staff Review thread.
To start with I definitely really enjoyed the description of Azkaban, not just the look, but most importantly in a place like that and a piece like this the feelings it imposes on its inhabitants. I also thought you did a great job with Sirius's characterization. It retained an element of his snark, even if self-directed, and did a good job balancing his defiance with the hopelessness that can so easily overwhelm someone - especially when confronted with the dementors and constant derision from the guards.
You also referenced some prior CC in your request. While I do tend to agree that you do a lot of telling in this story, I disagree that it's a problem. While "show don't tell" is of course a maxim that we as writers understand and attempt to abide by there is a balance and in a piece that is hyperfocused on a single character and in particular that character's thoughts and emotions, I think more telling is going to be necessary and I certainly don't think it was too much here.
As far as the dialogue goes, I think part of what could be improved is to layer in the backstory without it being specifically directed at Sirius. The footsteps are heard down the hall and I think perhaps conversation could reveal some of that partner-to-partner that Sirius simply overhears. This may also be a method of "telling" less. I think this could also remedy the thought that this pair spend what feels like a slightly long conversation with Sirius just to throw the barbs they do - it's something I see as taking place more quickly and sharply.
I will end now with your end. I really enjoyed that this story, despite all the heaviness and darker emotions that we saw throughout drew upon the defiance we know and witnessed to end on a note of hope and determination.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Kat - both here and for Fic Night!
Thanks! I'll go back and see if I can put some of that info you mentioned in more naturally. I've been thinking about that myself but haven't been sure how to impliment it like I want to, you know? You make a good point about "Telling Vs Showing" and how it comes down to the situation, and I do feel a bit better now about that.
Thanks for having me on. Maybe I'll get another chance later, and with a better mic! XD
Hi again, Kat, and Merry Christmas!
Okay, so, I will start by addressing your concerns and I'll try to do so at my best...
For showing rather than telling... I must admit, description is not my strongest point, so I might be more condescending than other people on that, but I couldn't really see any issue about that here. I think everything ids flashed out really well and I could picture both the cold walls of Azkaban and the cheery and warm atmosphere of Christmas at the Potters' just perfectly. So, yeah, I think that worked pretty well.
Also the dialogue seems fine to me. I was just re-reading it now and I think it's verosimilar and it works quite well. I'm not sure if the change of tone from mocking to angry could be emphasised a bit more? But I'm not sure how you could do that. Also, I think you start calling one of the Aurors Rick at a certain point but I think his name was never mentioned? Maybe I missed it...
What I have to say about the bit of dialogue is that it made me so angry. I really, really wanted Sirius to react, to shout at them that they were wrong and didn't know what they were talking about, to shout at them the truth. But I guess it would be pointless.
I also think the change of mood at the arrival of Dementors was very powerful. I sort of wanted to jump in and give Sirius a hug. Anyway, I loved how you wrote it and I also loved that the story ended on a bit of a hopeful note, even if only slightly.
This was another great piece, maybe not as powerful as "Words and Silences" but I really "enjoyed" reading it.
Merry Christmas again,
Thanks for stopping by!
Glad to hear the description worked. Some other people pointed out some stuff about dialogue, and there's probably some things I'll go back and change sometime, so I'll look at that to see if I missed it. Thought I put it in, but maybe not. :)
Hello! Yay, more Sirius!
Waahh, more sadness. It was shocking to think of John and Rick as Aurors. I'd forgotten that Sirius was seen as the bad guy in this piece, and that for such a long time he was made out to be a villain, and that's something you wrote well in this.
Most of your descriptions are really good, but if you want to improve the weaker areas, try swapping adverbs for stronger words. I noticed you used 'slow' and 'slowly' a lot, as well as other adverbs ending in 'ly'. I think I'm noticing these more because I'm editing my own novel and I have a very bad habit of using those words :P Your writing definitely improved toward the end of the story, though. Also, I don't believe the dialogue is as bad as you think it is. A little bit villainous, perhaps, but those Aurors have reasons to hate Sirius as they do.
Ugh I just want to strangle those Dementors for snuffing out his one happy memory over Christmas. But the star at the end was such a beautiful touch, and I didn't leave this story as depressed as I thought I was going to be :P especially since we know he does escape, and spends time with Harry.
Anyway, I enjoyed this, and hope this review helps! <3
Yes. Perfect. Cry, Anne. Let the tears flow. :P
I'm on the fence about -ly words lately (ha. See what I did?) I've been meaning to go back and try to remove some to test out how it looks, though.
Thanks for the CC. Next time remember not to leave behind tissues. It's good to cry every once and a while.
Hey there and welcome to the archive (/welcome back!) Happy to see you're starting to post your stories to HPFT (and what a timely one to start with). Transferring this review over as well (minus the CC notes which you've already fixed)
Hi! I'm here with your review :)
This was really good! I am so glad you brought this story to my attention as I might not have found it otherwise.
Your descriptions are fantastic, particularly when illustrating the cold of the cell in Azkaban, and the nightmares, and Sirius changing from a dog into a person. And then the happy memory, full of love and happy emotions, instantly contrasted with when the Dementors come back and force him back into the bad memories - the bad memory of him being dragged off after Peter's betrayal is equally detailed, but it didn't feel very emotional - it was mainly just numb. Which I thought was perfect for the circumstances. He's been sitting in prison for twelve years and is numb to it all by now, and he's probably relived this unpleasant scene countless times. So I really liked the way you wrote with such detail but lack of deep emotion - it suited the story so well. But it still takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. Basically, your description and the way you set the tone in this story is brilliant. I applaud you.
The guards coming by to taunt him made me really sad. It just reinforces how utterly heartbreaking Sirius's story is and all he had to endure for something he didn't do. Gah, he really had to deal with the worst, and how all he has is these good memories that he holds onto until they get taken away and the Dementors come by, but even so it's still worth it for him to dwell on the past. The fact that he still had some hope only makes him stronger for everything he had to go through. I liked your A/N at the end by the way, those are important things you said and definitely puts in perspective how easy it is to take things for granted during the Christmas season.
It's sad, it's heartbreaking, but then there's a little bit of hope at the end, which I absolutely love. This was such a good story! Thanks for requesting!
Thank you! Another one just got validated a few minutes ago, and I'll be putting two more in tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to play some of the reviewing games since I'd have some stuff up.