In the "Shakespeare" thread, Pat wrote:
Okay. I made this one my bedtime story tonight.Well, so far I have read "In the fell clutch." I liked it, much like the other story in that it is a Vincent focus. However, a few aspects bothered me.
I did not care for the main character speaking in what I guess was to be a New Yorker vernacular. It was unnecessary in my opinion and ended up distracting a bit for me. It was far from what I have heard as a New York accent, nor was it consistent. I wouldn't have advised it if I had been asked (but I wasn't, so there, Pat!)
I also thought it was longer than it needed to be. I liked the description well enough, and the writer sounded knowledgable about underground gas mains, so I credit her/him for that. But it went on longer than necessary for the points that it was trying to make.
And a couple of points about the story were out of sync for me. The beginning gave me a strong impression that by the end of the story, the narrator would be dead. After meeting Kristopher Gentian, that is certainly in the realm of possibility! But no, it was not how it ended. So I felt a bit misled. This may be solely how it struck me, but that's the way I experienced it. The second thing that felt false to me was the narrator becoming suddenly more outward thinking and wanting to help others. I didn't see the conversion of him well enough in what was written, or not enough was written about that aspect that convinced me at the end that it was a natural progression for him.
I don't know if you all (or in Texas, ya'll) find typos and mis-used words like I do, but for some reason, they leap out at me. So in both of these stories, I found a number of misspellings and mis-used words. I freely admit I cannot see my own; just other people's. So if anyone needs a final edit (even in the age of spell-checker) I'm available
Yes, the lingo is distracting. But the setting descriptions were awesome. The pacing was good, moving swiftly through the setup, the crisis, the waiting game, the deeper issues in the narrator's life.
I so enjoyed reading much of Vincent's dialogue. That was Vincent, in the first half of the story anyway. I could hear the voice in my mental ear.
I do think the narrator got too cozy with the mysterious speaker (Vincent), assigning too much meaning that the character really could not have gathered or known, inserting too much of Vincent's perspective in between the lines. And the quick give-and-take intimacy was not right. I think the author tried to imply that Vincent's empathic powers were projecting his feelings, helping the two men to connect quickly. But it feels like a shortcut to me. Understandable, really. It's a short story about a single conversation. It just felt a little forced, nudging the characters though the author's hoop to suit the author's timing. Vincent stopped being Vincent when he got "chatty."
I also don't believe that the Vincent who barely told Catherine anything about his life and his world during the early stages of their relationship would spill his life's history to a strange gas worker like that. Catherine's hagiography was...startling. Even Brigit didn't get an eighth of what Mason gets in this tale. And I have a lot of trouble with the idea of Vincent speaking of his heart in Catherine's keeping as something she has "stolen." That's a turn of phrase that is foreign to his thinking. Similar problems came up when Vincent casually reveals his sensory capabilities. Again, Vincent is no longer Vincent there.
Mason stopped being Mason too. Too complimentary of his companion. And the New Yorker working-joe suddenly comes up with abstractions like sensitivity, nobility, charity, and mythical love. Sure, he reads Heinlein. But where did the High Romantic sensibility come from?
And I simply do not believe Vincent would sit there talking about matters of the heart when his companion's literal heart was steadily pumping blood out of his wounded body. Vincent protects and treats injured people. I did not like the abrupt medical gloss for ending the crisis.
This one was so-so for me. A little too convenient, a little too indulgent. Neat scenario and main character, though. The ongoing book exchange at the end is fun. I think people must like the idea of Vincent communicating with Topsiders through shared literature. Like you, Pat, I did not know where Mason's sudden desire to do charitable work for needy people came from. It just kind of floated in on the tide of a near-death experience, I guess?
Unless it's really, really bad, I ignore typos and such in fanfiction. I think this is a hobbyist's art, and people who are not professional writers are still putting their best work on display. Also, lots of people use fanfiction as a way to learn English, so their language may not be especially strong. It's the story that matters. Does the story take me somewhere? Does it give something good to the reader?
"In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance" gives us a look at trust and compassion. It also provides a very up-close-and-technical glimpse of the real environmental dangers the Tunnelfolk constantly live with. I greatly appreciated that! A pleasant read. Thank you, Sobi!
And Pat, be careful about offering your proofreading services. I've got some gigantic doozies up my sleeve. I may have to take you up on your offer someday....