Welcome to my world, where Draco/Ginny rule...LOL..If I'm not writing a Dramonie, anyway ;)
I might see if I can write more of this story..I have been inspired...
You hit a few things on the head here...things that others have not picked up on before...so well done :) Hopefully, my writers block passes and I can finish this fic ;)
The initial scene, with Ginny practicing the blue flame spell and Draco joining her, was really good. It introduced the subjects of Dark Magic, Ginny’s desire to beat Hermione at one of her own spells, and the growing attraction. I think the description of the spell itself, and how one produces it, is very credible. If I were giving CC, I would suggest reviewing the scene to emphasize the dialogue and eliminate any unnecessary additional narrative, so that it flows and maintains it’s pace (which I’m obsessed about).
The following sequence with Pansy and Blaise is fine, although I’m not sure you need it.
Similarly, although the "Blaise and Ginny" scenes that follow are well-written, I don’t quite see the reason for them. (All right, Ginny’s arm gets injured; but it’s a complicated detour to accomplish that.) In other words, the Blaise and Ginny interlude could be part of another story but it tends to slow this one down.
This chapter, as the title says, is all about the Blue Bell Flame. The whole story of this chapter is in the opening and closing sections. I think this chapter would be fine if it consisted only of the opening and closing sections – just Draco and Ginny. I emphasize that I like your characterizations of the others – Blaise and Pansy. I just think it’s really important to make the story as cohesive and "moving" as possible.
Ginny then saw the orb [soar] up into the air as it began to change its shape.
. . ., with a wand, you are limited to the flames full potential. Have you ever seen her do what I have just done?" (Suggest: you limit the flames full potential. . . . )
"I’ve been here a while[. So] the Weasel wants to learn the Power of the Bluebell Flames[.] I remember when you were learning that, you almost burned down the Mansion[.]" Pansy laughed.
You were trying to throw orbs at me, [what] did you expect?"
Good transition from the last chapter.
I thought you did a nice job with the "you’re beautiful when you’re angry" cliche (which I took to be the intent). The set-up, of Draco coming unbidden into her room and then asking an impertinent question, was inventive and worked well for these characters in this situation. It also put the AU aspect of the story into sharp relief – this is not the usual Ginny or the usual Harry.
In a related subject: the concluding conversation between Draco and his mom, where Narcissa reflects that Ginny reminds her of herself and expresses her wholehearted approval – in a normal canon world, that would be seriously OC for Narcissa. Blacks do not marry Weasleys. It was hard to evaluate. Was it OOC? Was it OOC deliberately but consistently with your world. Lucius seems a bit more hospitable than usual, but generally he seems to be Lucius, with his normal agenda. But Narcissa – a mysterious character in canon, I admit – seems to have acquired a lot of flexibility that canon Narcissa lacks. This kind of gets me back to wondering whether a road map, so the reader knows what kind of HP/AU world this is, might enhance the reading experience. Just a thought.
Overall, I thought the scene with Draco and Ginny was very good. Because it is such a strong scene, you want to keep the momentum going.
I also liked the scene that followed and the way you used Blaise and Pansy. Nice anti-Blaise: canon Blaise wouldn’t touch that blood-traitor Ginny with a ten-foot pole, whereas your Blaise is her pal and protector. The only suggestion (since you asked specifically about flow) is that I would have liked to see this scene written shorter. It is a very long chapter, and this sequence comes after a Big Scene. It slows the pace at a time when you want to keep it going.
The next sequence, while brief, is also probably longer than it needs to be. Draco doesn’t come around, Blaise acts funny, and Ginny wonders what’s up. Her job is impossible, but it gives her access to interesting books. She doesn’t eat with the Malfoys. I am not trying to be flippant, but, again, I do think it’s importance to move the story and chapter forward.
On Ginny’s work: I have to say that, if Ginny is supposed to be a competent translater, the part about her having nothing but "words that didn’t make any sense" didn’t ring true. If she was ignorant of the language and was using the Wizarding equivalent of Babelfish, she might well have ended up with a list of random words. But even a moderately knowledgeable translator will understand grammar, context and basic vocabulary. It is more likely that Ginny would be impeded in her work by the occurrence of unfamiliar words for which she could not discover a translation.
In the last sequence (Draco, Lucius, Mom), you covered a lot of important ground. I didn’t quite get the banter between Lucius and Narcissa over the way Narcissa treats Ginny – if Narcissa is maintaining appearances by making a token showing of disapproval, wouldnt Lucius be aware of her intentions?
Please take this suggestion for what its worth, including completely disregarding it. As I indicated above, I am all about quickening the pace in this chapter. The Big Events are the
Draco/Ginny opening scene and the Draco/Mom closing scene. For the reasons set forth in the preceding paragraph, you might consider cutting or abbreviating the part of the scene that involves Lucius. That would allow the scene to center on the conversation between Draco and Narcissa.
" . . . and if Harry Potter could [not] keep her on his side,
I know, I promised no punctuation notes. This one seemed to need noting:
I can assure you now that I do not intend on having my heart broken," Narcissa smiled at hearing her son say these words.
This sentence needs a period after "broken." But, also, the juxtaposition of clauses or sentences makes it look like Narcissa is the speaker. I’d suggest: " . . . intending on having my heart broken," said Draco. Narcissa smiled . . .
I like the image of Lucius Malfoy – workaholic. It’s an aspect of his character I don’t think I’ve seen anyone portray.
The sinister reference to her taking the Mark is very interesting. It’s one thing to learn Dark Magic and set your boyfriend’s clothes on fire. It’s another to align yourself with a monster.
To my embarrassment, I realized that the segment explaining what happened at the Hogs Head was the scene at Breakfast in the preceding chapter. I liked the idea of the two girls – Ginny and Pansy – having a chat in a pub. It’s soz88;against type.
In fact, if I didn’t say it already, I think you’ve done a nice job with Pansy.
Where Draco says -
Was all this set up to get Potter? He needed answers, and the only way he would get them, was to get her. – I don’t quite get this. Talk to her? Seduce her? Become romantically involved with her? And, if it is any of these things, why? It makes sense that he would go to the source, so to speak. But his Dad’s the one with the agenda.
The (flashback?) scene with Hermione and the Weasleys was a little more difficult. I couldn’t quite see why Hermione was withholding information. She’s Harry’s friend, but she’s Ron’s girlfriend. Plus, if she’s IC, she puts a high value on the truth. So I didn’t quite get why she wouldn’t back Ginny. Or why, when no one actually contradicted Ginny except Harry, her family failed to take her side and weren’t, generally, more sympathetic. (In other words, why didn’t they throw the cheating creep out of the house and spare Ginny the ultimatum, at least temporarily. Although I do see where Arthur was coming from.
I won’t bore you with more grammar matters after this chapter. They are practically all concerned with punctuation. You like to connect compound sentences with commas. Obviously, punctuation has a lot to do with personal style and communications. But, as a general rule, connecting two independent clauses with comma and no conjunction is a run-on sentence, a comma splice. My brain is programmed to see it as an error. Since I already wrote them out for this chapter, I’ll include them this one last time:
She silently watched as Blaise greeted Draco, though [she] was caught off guard when her eyes met Draco's.
"What a surprise to find you here?" [s/b period, rather than question mark]
Ginny went to say something, though [she] closed her mouth [and a ] confused look . . .
"Why a surprise[? Surely] you knew?"
"Research," Ginny answered though [she] was taken aback by Draco's lack of knowledge of her.
Ginny watched Draco walk away[. A] part of her was relieved[,] but she was still unnerved by the fact that he had no idea what has been happening these last couple of weeks
"Let's go back inside[. After] all, you have promised me a dance," Blaise said with a wink.
It was not hard to find his father[. Although] he kept throwing these silly parties, guaranteed, Lucius Malfoy would be hiding in his study, working endlessly for the Dark Lord.
"It seems that Miss Weasley has had a falling out with Potter[. Now,] I don't care about her private life[. What] I care about is what information she can provide me.
You mean she's staying here[? Do] you have her under Imperius?"
One guard stayed ahead of her, one stayed behind her[. It] never really bothered her, until she left Flourish & Blott's.
She could see the guard in front[. However], she dropped a pile of books[, and,] after she picked them up, she looked behind her and could not see the guard that was supposed to be there.
. . . her hands were full, and [she] could not reach her wand
"I know [you’re] angry right now,
"I'm sure that it was just a misunderstanding[. Now] let's just forget all this nonsense[,] and you can come home to the Burrow," her mother said[, and] Ginny could see her mothers uncertainty at her own words. (Suggest: . . . her mother said. Ginny could see . . . )
"Tell her[,] Hermione[. T]ell her what we walked in on[.]"
You win[,] Harry
The Malfoy's are on Voldemort's side[. They] are foul, evil people[,] Ginny[. Y]ou know that.
. . . and her [parents’] faces
"Be that as it may[,] Ginny, you can not go back to the Malfoy's.
Molly gasped in shock upon hearing her husbands words[.] Ron looked like he was about to faint[.] Hermione still stood with her head down, though Ginny could see tears fall from her eyes.
Alternative: Molly gasped in shock . . . words; Ron looked . . . about to faint; and Hermione . . .
Ginny then looked over at Harry[. He] looked too calm and relaxed for the situation they were all in[,] and she immediately felt her anger rise
Ginny looked back at her father[. Her] famous Weasley temper was boiling through her veins[. However,] she kept her voice calm as she spoke.
What happened[? Where] are the guards?" Lucius asked her.
"I am sorry about your parents, but you are a grown woman now[,] Ginevra[. You] can make up your own mind about things.
I came to see you[,] of course[.]" Draco [comma omitted] grinned.
I read the eight chapters before going back to review. As I recall, you were interested in comments about flow, so I'll do my best. I see this as basically a short story, although it runs to the long/novella side.
I like the set-up. I have thought, as I read it, that I might have liked a more extensive introductory note that set out the parameters of the challenge it was written for (if I got that right). My understanding was that the main characters -- Harry, Draco, Ginny, the Malfoys -- are deliberately written OOC. Harry's a jerk; Ginny's impetuous with a taste for the dark side, Pansy's a loyal BFF to Draco, and Draco's looking for that special someone. You explain in the intro that the story is AU and post-Hogwarts – but it’s very AU in a number of respects: although everyone is indeed out of Hogwarts, the Dark Lord is still with us. Since Harry is a different character, it may be presumed that the Dark Lord’s relationship to him (or outlook on him) may not be the same. That's another reason it might be good to know the lay of the land.
I appreciate the Intro (I feel like I’m repeating myself) – specifically, where it says that not all love affairs are happy. But given the oddness of the ending (and I do not mean that in a bad way), and given that this story plays with conventions and characters, it would have been nice if some aspect of the beginning bore some relationship to the ending. (Don’t ask me for an example – but if, for instance Bellatrix had turned up at the party with a present for her nephew but was turned away at the gate, like the Dark Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. A comment by Ginny about how her life didn’t really start until she moved to Malfoy Manor. Anything at all to tie the beginning and the end up as a cohesive whole.) Given the way the story ends, I would have liked the beginning to bear some relationship to the end. Currently, it doesn't; which makes the rereading a bit strange.
I really like the plot twist whereby Harry cheats on Ginny, she get drunk at the Hogs Head, and she finally ends up at Malfoy Manor. I thought you explained the situation nicely in the second chapter. (I had forgotten about that, so I had to delete this review and rewrite parts of it.)
I wondered about Narcissa bringing the breakfast tray. Don't they have any servants? House-elves? Or is this the personal touch?
I know the backstory on Ginny is coming. We know that her boyfriend Harry was a selfish jerk. (What kind of chauvanist keeps his girlfriend from starting Auror training?)
Grammar Nazi notes:
His mother tried her hardest to find him a suitable female companion, however, once he got to know these girls; that was all they were, just girls. Suggest: His mother tried her hardest . . . companion. However, once he got to know these girls, that was all they were, just girls.
who looked beyond his money and family name, someone who he could talk to, to hold and to love. SUGGEST: . . . and family name; someone he could talk to, to hold and to love.
He did have a crush on her at one stage[. However,] as they both grew, they realised that their relationship was more like a brother and sister love, not the kind of love that they both wanted
. . .you were with was having a good time[;] it was genuine laughter.
Her hair looked dark from where he stood[. It] was long [and] straight[. As] a slight breeze picked up in the air, it blew a few stands back away from her face.
. . . as she pointed to the girl Draco was staring at[, "is] Ginevra Weasley,"
She wasn’t even sure if she could go back to her apartment[. S]he did think she could go back to the Burrow[;] however she [enjoyed] the freedom of not being home with her parents. (Suggestion: "enjoyed" substituted for "did enjoy" to avoid repeating "did.")
["]I must insist that you now reside here[. As] this job requires so much time, it would be pointless of you to find somewhere new to live,"
He had been away on a mission for the last couple of weeks and [Ginny?] wasn’t sure how he would react to her presence.
I just checke . . .
YOU CAN'T STOP HERE!!!!!!
YOU HAVE TO KEEP THIS STORY GOING!!!!!!!
THIS ONE IS TOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!
Frustration factor kicking in!
Obsenities held in check . . .sort of . . .
Well, hell, NOW what am I supposed to do?
Been reading this whole sotry and now it's stopping? NOOOOOOOO!X
Youngl ady, you get right back onto your computer and get going on the rest of this sotry . . .this is Mom-mom speaking!
I'm going to go get some coffee. will check back on this story - frequently - and I'd better see something soon or I'll just hold my breath until I turn as blue as those flames of Ginny's!
PS Bella reallly IS and insane person, isn't she?
"Oh dear, oh dear, we are in trouble now."
OlBV is watching, knowing the showdown is coming and it's rally going to be interesting to see whcih way this goies . . . I personally think it going to be a tossup, with a slight edge to Draco.
One of my favorite expression:
"That cat wasn't let out of the bag, it was yanked!"
Now Harry and thus the Aurors, will know Ginny's sliding toward the Dark Arts.
LIke I said before, she'd better learn how to control this newly realized power. Enter Narcissa, her new teacher.
Well, between angst and eavesdropping and misunderstading, Ginny is going to be pouting for the forseeable future, isn't she?
Ah, Bella, the certifiably insane aunt. Lovely woman. Must invite her to tea, one day.
Blaise, you butthead, you got what you deserved!
Ginny, you're more powerful than you realize, but somepeople - read Lusicu and BV, know that.
The trick is controlling it for what YOU want, not being aimed at a target by someone else.
Ah, now the complications and deceptions start to show and weave themsleves among our little group.
I'm starting to like Narcissa, as a character, more and more as I read all of these stories.
I used her in a favorable light in my own, but that was after Lucius was dead, so it was a survival mode she was in, not a mother tiger one as she is here.
Hopefully, Ginny and Draco will get it right when they get together, despite the Dark Lord's presence.
I just remembered that you'v really ignored the original timeline as this is a couple of years after Ginny graduated from Hogwarts and Baldie Voldie is atill alive and still around. Hmmmm, gotta remember this is WAY AU.
Yes, this story was written for NaNo 2006...Most of my stories are very AU...But...This story is...Well, there's MORE then just what you read..I'll put it that way!!
I love Narcissa, I find her facinating...And I adore Lucius...I never saw him as abusive, so he'll be a little OCC, but always for a reason ;)
Well, that answered a few questions. But the fact that Molly and Authur would side with Harry instead of Ginny? I'd be pissed off, too.
And now Draco's going to make his move.
Maybe he should take it slow . . .but I doubt it.
Better get back to the story and find out what happens next. . .
Oh, my dear, this has the makings of one very interesting story.
Actually, I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the Hog's Head.
That must have been SOME drinking session . . . . that must have been some fight.
What was Pansy doing there? And Lucius?
I'll just putter on to the next chapters, where, I have no doubt, all will be revealed.
I'm SOOOOO happy that you think I am cruel! I REALLY had trouble getting this chapter written. I knew what was going to happen and when I finally had the chance to write the scene, my 'baby' decided that he/she doesn't like evilness, although its mummy does...so I struggled getting this out!!
The second part...*clamps hand over her mouth and in a mufflede voice, says* Thank you for all of your reviews!
Hemione is....*grins*..Hermione...Don't underestimate her simply because I haven't given you reason to believe her either way ;) That's the biggest hint I've given about this story yet!
Ginny has a lot of anger. Not just because f what Hary has 'done', but because eveyone's on Harry's side. She can see now, why Harry could have enemies, even if they were ON the same side. To her, he can get away with blue murder and still have the sun shine out of his butt, and its really eating her goat right now.
I adore Pansy. She's iven such a bad rep and always made out to be bad. But I think she's quite fun, if you know hw to write her well enough. She can still hae her annoying habbits, jut sed in a different light.
Confusion...Such a fantasic word...keep that one close by ;)
Are you getng my mission yet? hehehehe
Draco is a wondeful character if put in the right hands. I love him!
Ah, Hermione.... can't say much aou her...yet ;)
hehehe...I love romance and Fluff, so I think I just needed something to happen...Plot wise, nothing needed to be in here...But I wanted it, so I wrote it...LOL
And Lucius and Narcissa are rather interesting, aren't they? :)
I think Authur's reaction is more a 'heat of the moment' thing...Much like how he treated Percy, but this is slightly different. Ginny is his only daughter and she's running off with the very people who are trying to kill them, so to him, he can't see her sense in it, only that she's choosing to be against her own family.
Oh, poor Harry...*sigh*...Yes, he IS a jerk...buy why???...hmmmmm