FashionPhotographer!Draco. When Gabrielle Delacour is found in bed with a man, another woman, and a house elf, Ginny gets her chance.Category: Completed Short Stories
A little slapstick, a teensy bit disjointed, but shiny, glossy and bang-on in so many places. “It will show up beautifully on film,” Jacques interrupted, sensing his finding fee slipping away- clinched it. (Overall very vaguely reminiscent of "The Devil Wears Prada" mostly because of striking similarities between Stanley Tucci and Jacques D'Arcourt: self-motivated and gay.)
My favourite moment:
Malfoy turned to face her, his expression carefully neutral.
“Once, long ago. And then I learned better.”
She stopped baiting him.
And the classic:
He did not dispute the accuracy of that statement. “No. But it pays the bills.” He slid her a sidelong look. “Which should be your main concern, Weasley.”
She snorted. “One day, you’ll come up with an original insult.”
Draco's favourite oath, on the other hand, had a grammatical typo: "Great Goddess’ tits" should be "goddess's."
The last conversation was more subdued than the rest of the story (like your characteristic writing style was peeking through the slats of the glitter and the gloss) and the ending was nicely muted and understated: just about the perfect place to leave off.
Draco Malfoy fancies himself a connoisseur of fine wine and fine women, but a string of encounters with Ginny Weasley teaches him that he still has something to learn about both.Category: Long and Completed
“It isn’t always a good idea to judge a wine by what’s on its label. Sometimes… sometimes you need to taste it first.”
Which proves that wine and DG DO go together.
Distinctly different, interesting, refreshing, and fast-paced enough, not at all bogged down by an author's over-zealousness for their own passion. I know zilch about tea-tasting, let alone wine, and you still didn't make me feel at sea. Nuggets of well-put information instead of OVER-LOAD, and I can perfectly picture Draco fitting into the carpet slippers and a terrycloth-robe of a connoisseur: goes very well with the image fanon (DG in particular) has built of him.
And of course, one thanks God that this story respects the fact that Draco's father wasn't a saint, but refrains from trotting out sob-stories or ideology-glorification or even patricide. And even as a slightly vacuous "society-woman," Narcissa had depth (as much as possible) and feeling, and wasn't an utter and complete snob (Chapter six: Clarification.) My point is that I absolutely adored and admired how you characterised the Infamous Malfoy Family.
However, the first jarring note in the flow of the story is your fondness (in addition to wine and DG?) for proper nouns and repudiation of pronouns. (Bah! Who needs 'em indeed?) But seriously, it does make the reading a funny, bumpy experience.
Not being able to remember a girl's name, but her association with grapes, definitely shows where Master Malfoy's priorities lie. Playboy definitely, but this gives even that a new twist. (I wonder if he doesn't dream of literally uncorking a bottle to have a girl flow out into his wineglass, but ookkaaay, getting incoherent here…)
Distinctly liked your description of Ginny, and finally there's a method of Floo travel that respects people's privacy! The fact that Ginny didn't explode like a volcano the second she saw him or even heard his "secret weapon" of a victory-assuring taunt, was rather telling. That despite her grubby clothes, she's still more mature than him, his wealth and his worldliness. Her retort is one for the History Books of Cutely Intelligent Comebacks.
And GASP! Draco *didn't* go ga-ga over her! He actually debunked her as cheap "plonk" the second he saw her instead of grudgingly falling into love-at-first-sight!! ::swoons::
::jerks awake before anyone can bring out smelling salts::
The Harvest Moon Gala and the St. Jerome Emiliani Orphanage for Young Witches and Wizards and Alethia Greengrass were a nice touch. It's refreshing to have fanfiction writers stick a toe out of the "lakshman rekha" of JKR's world.
The description of Ginny's wine-tasting technique and others' cigarette-finishing ones was brilliant! That Ginny walked away from him without a second glance underscores the point about their characteristics. In canon, Draco has always been portrayed as a petty sort of snotty bullying toerag, and its strange how DG fanon (glorifying Draco and giving him dimensions at the same time) barely deviates from the real thing. Using dancing as an excuse to ogle Ginny while pretending to "plot" really made me laugh; (snide as it sounds) Draco's comicality is a plus point in this story.
Claudia's poor luck at gambling was deliciously symbolic. And little Ginnys have wicked eyebrows it seems!
And of course, Ginny has to be a wine-taster.
Does Draco even live at home? Still, Theodore Nott's predicament was hilarious. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but what's a Fwooper?
Also, call me racist/discriminatory/insert-appropriate-label-here, but Amber's concern about her "chi" made me grin. That's one Americanism down pat.
"Weasley? An expert on wine? And at his favorite restaurant, no less? That was unacceptable."
I could perfectly imagine chibi-Draco leaping up and down and breathing fire. Intensified, of course, when Ginny turned the tables on him. Their Meaningful Silent Look skills more than made up for their lack of conversation skills, and Amber's bad taste in wine was an excellent plot device.
"He figured that if he was going to be forced to drink something he didn’t want, it might well be cheap. Now if he could only say the same thing about Amber…"
Bang on. ::snickers evilly like a demented goblin:: By far, "First Crush" was my favourite chapter, not to mention the politics behind the titling.
Sometimes, however, it seems as if Draco does nothing but drink, taste and sleep with wine. (When the time comes that he's so taken with Ginny that he can't stand anyone less, you mention that he equates somewhat intelligent conversation with a discussion of wine.)
Pansy Parkinson's snideness was an excellent side-dish. Her characterisation was a nice change from the stereotype (sometimes a mindless slut, sometimes the intelligent psychotic ex-girlfriend, and — oddly enough — once a sex guru) and also from the impression you left the reader with in the beginning (that her snide asides served as spice to the conversation, but — implicitly — got very tedious very fast.)
Mez. Warrington's shoes sound cool!
"It was only then that Draco realized that they hadn’t asked if he wanted red or white wine. He would have preferred red, but he wasn’t in the mood to argue anymore, so for once in his life, he kept his mouth shut." — 't'was perfectly brilliant.
On a personal note, I wished the story had ended with "The Finish." The past-midnight conversation was hilarious: Draco getting tongue-tied and Ginny drawing all the wrong conclusions (especially about her resembling his mother.) To be expected that Ginny is unclassifiable, but that cliché is to be preferred to all others. In fact, you just taught me (aside from judging by covers and labels) that some clichés are actually quite nice…
The fact that Ginny *wasn't* having Oliver toot her tune for the express purpose of making Draco jealous (whose appearance at Hex she had divined) was certainly NOT a cliché.
The wines signifying and symbolising snippets of their life were really good, and the epilogue really wasn't that corny. Draco's love for wine seems to be turning into obsession, but at least, not a vice. Or rather, not enough to drink when Ginny can't. Her "We'll manage" comment was rather suspicious; to me, it seemed like she was (metaphorically) shaking her head sadly for his plight.
One discrepancy has stuck with me until the end, though: Ginny does live at Edgerton Arms, and the only reason Draco saw her in grubby clothes was because she disliked getting good robes dirty at work. But Ginny told him earlier that she returned to Britain and came down to London only because Chez Henri needed a sommelier, and when he saw her at Chez Henri, she was dressed elegantly and neatly.
Is there a jigsaw piece I've missed? Something obvious overlooked?
But over and above, I reiterate all that I've said: concise, well-paced, refreshing, and old clichés revisited and refurbished. The title was very apt.
Wow. Thank you so much for the very detailed review! I'm glad that you enjoyed the story so much. I'll try to respond to your questions and concerns as thoughtfully as you laid them out.
First of all, yes, I feel strongly about using proper nouns the first time I refer to a character in a paragraph (I only have one story where I break this rule, but that's only because I don't use proper nouns at all as a matter of style in that one). I find that authors who tend to leave out proper nouns because they assume the reader knows who they are talking about tend to assume that the reader understands everything else they are thinking too. This isn't always true, of course, but essential details tend to be left out when the author isn't careful to keep the reader's perspective in mind. I try very hard not to fall into that trap.
Draco does do other things besides drink wine (like work!), but they are pretty boring in comparison, at least to him, and probably to the reader as well.
I thought about ending the story where you suggested, but decided it would be a bit too abrupt. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to show that Draco had the potential to become obsessed with something other than wine as well. :)
In answer to your last question, yes, there is something you missed, but it was only mentioned in passing, I think, so that's not overly surprising. When Draco runs into Ginny outside the Edgerton Arms, she had just returned from a day of working in the vineyards in France (helping the family that had taught her the business), not from a day of being a sommelier. She of course dresses appropriately for the job, whatever it is.
Once again, thank you very much for the wonderful review. I very much appreciate the time you took to write it!
Category: Completed Short Stories
It takes a thief to catch a thief, but when Auror Ginny Weasley goes beyond the call of duty to catch Draco Malfoy red-handed, he catches her off guard, professionally and romantically.
I liked this one immensely. It started off with no frills and kept delivering punches wham wham wham with élan, even though the innuendo didn't work too well (“I’m not prejudiced. I’m an Auror who’s onto you, Malfoy.” — “It’s Draco. You’re trying to get on with me? I’m flattered, but what would your brothers say?”) The intro was resplendent:
Her head jerked back. “What about white?”
Was she referring to his hair or skin tone? Draco smirked. “They revered it.”
Draco the family man with a golden heart. Hn, a cliché, but a lovable one. (However, I really liked: "He was not currying favour with the help. He merely disliked the smell of damp towels.") The bit of musing about his father before the mirror was a nice touch. (Draco had long since given up trying to win his father's approval. It came at too high a price.)
The break-in, on the other hand, was too anti-climactic: too banal, impersonal and minimum detail; a little too mechanical. The tiny little twist about him not requiring a wand could've been written better. By contrast, the part after Draco tells Ginny the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth was really well-done. "It felt like he was balancing on a knife's edge"— another less-used cliché, but a very, *very* apt one.
The captor-captive conversation was absolutely brilliant, especially with the crack about the constipated face and the white tomb. "He needed to spend some of that money on colourful throw pillows" was classic. All in all, I've decided every single bit of repartee and dialogue that this story has to offer is by default brilliant.
"It's misnamed. Mr. Pang never smiles."
"He should. The place always has a line out the door."
*That* was another well-thrown punch.
“Would Potter really hold a conference the moment you asked?”
“No. I’d probably have to cry and guilt him into it.”
“Guilt because he broke your heart?”
“Dented it, more like.”
That was a really cute exchange, IMHO.
However, Ginny versus Scrimegour was another disappointment. It wasn't convincing, not least because she appeared out of nowhere, and he didn't bat an eyelash, even though she poses a potential contingency that won't be pleasant to deal with.
The end, juxtaposed with the opening, was nicely played, particularly: "The laughing, slightly husky voice belonged to his date."
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing the concrit along with the praise! I'm not going to edit, :D, but I will keep certain points in mind in the future! :)
First Place Winner in Pud's Great Draco & Ginny Contest 2007.Category: Long and Completed
After the war is over, Ginny makes a vow to restore stolen items to their rightful owners.
It moves very fast, with barely any background detail: a little more description of Nott's manor, the wall, the bench, the people at the ball, the office, the coffee, Malfoy's stunning appearance in dress robes would have helped. The only thing you DO describe in great detail is Ginny's dress, but it was a little overwhelming.
The memory in the Pensieve was also a little gappy; maybe you could rewrite it? It just didn't flow. Also, logistically, how common are objects like a Pensieve, if a Potions master with dark memories like Snape had to borrow one from Dumbledore (in the OotP)?
But one thing I can't find fault with at all, is it the dialogue: vibrant, dynamic and peppery. One of my favourites was,
“I don’t know, Malfoy. I’m really used to turning you down when I have a full cup of coffee in front of me.”
“Shall I summon an elf to make it easier for you?”
And of course:
“Did you stop by for something more than to drool on the back of my partner’s hand, Nott?”
“You know, you should talk less. It’s very becoming when you just stand around and look pretty.” was a gem.
The Draco-Ginny dynamic worked really well. Draco was particularly well-characterised ("MO" and "Pansy's house was hit" … hmmmm, his vocabulary gets better and better…) Ginny was startled me, and that's an understatement. Her "kleptomania" was unanticipated, and her threatened treatment of Draco's flowers had me rolling on the floor.
But there was a typo in the third chapter: "Emmaline Vance" should have been Emmeline.
"Ginny mentally rolled her eyes. Had she had the flu that week at Hogwarts? Did everyone know tracking and tracing spells but her?" also struck an incongruous note. I'm no authority, but isn't a tracking spell something that would be VEEEREE useful and mandatory for an *Auror*?
The ending was a nice one.
The clock was in his possession. There was something it that screamed things like "Set-up" and "Haven't I predicted this before?" but at least, Draco didn't steal the clock from the original thief just to lure Ginny. That he confessed to using the clock, not as bait, but to keep (friendly) tabs on her, was the redeeming factor.
So pros outbalance the cons by far, and I really liked how this story went and was wrapped up. The funny bits were really funny, and the fluffy bits were … fluffy. Nice, light, good read.
A British witch who is using unauthorized magic in New Orleans is Draco's new assignment. What happens is a surprise to both of them.Category: Completed Short Stories
The story could done with a less sketchy background, because everything seemed to mushroom up from nowhere. It really makes my day to note how writers consistently give details of clothing priority over a simple view of the location. At first I thought Draco was in a street, and then came the tents, so I presumed a fairground. (I'm still fuzzily unclear on that count.) Then, boom, pop, and he's gone. Too fast, too dizzy, too gappy.
There was also a tense-error:
"He had yelled at her that all she was good at is hiding behind the scenes." "Is" should *not* have been there.
But nit-picking aside, I really liked this one. The Draco-Harry exchange made me laugh, and the fact that Neville had been handing out assignments just about explained everything.
Madame (married to whom? The Disney prince?) Ariel was distinctly memorable. A favourite bombshell, but a classic bombshell:
Ginny calculated this was the perfect time to drop the bomb. “He’s cheating on you with another guy.”
[She knew from letters by Harry, and various complaints from Ron, that Draco worked with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.]
Various complaints from Ron— I might have choked myself laughing.
[“The soft lights, the mystical atmosphere. Where love just seems to hang in the air, like a mist surrounding the city.” He leaned closer until she was almost lost in the mercury depths of his eyes. “So, the Muggles don’t bother you?” he asked in the same voice.
“Not really. You get used to--” Ginny broke off and scowled.]
Classic bait. Classic sucker. I loved it.
But I didn't quite understand when Ginny says, “No, you wouldn’t. You hate the Dark Arts as much as, if not more than, Harry Potter. Using a Dark spell would be like admitting defeat to you.”
Does she mean using Dark spells equals Draco losing to himself in his fight against The Darkness Within, or is it something else?
Snape had stared at her and then replied shortly that she should have gone to Slytherin and the Sorting Hat must have gotten confused because of the Weasley hair— was a classic.
The ending reminded me of custard pudding: nice and sweet and creamy. “Neither does mine,” gave it a good punchline.
Wow. First, thank you for the long and in-depth review. I really like the fact someone liked the story well enough to notice all the details.
Ha, tense errors. I guess even two betas can't fix all my grammatical errors. I do realize that it seems like it popped up out of nowhere but I kind of rushed because I waited til the last minute on the exchange to finish this.
As for the Madame, where I come from, Madame is used to show respect and psychics demand respect, no?
I'm glad everyone liked the Draco-Harry banter I had a lot of fun writing that part. And Neville is just Neville, I love him though. ^^
And yes, I meant Draco losing himself to the Darkness Within. See originally I had planned to write a prequel to this story...but real life and stuff, y'know, resulted in only a couple of scenes written out. =P
Yes, I'm sucker for the classic baits.
I'm mostly an artist but I like writing every now and again so when some likes my stories it makes me happy. So thank you once again! ^//-//^