In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance ~ gkkstitch

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In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance ~ gkkstitch

Post by Zara » ... rcumstance

In the "Shakespeare" thread, Pat wrote:
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

Okay. I made this one my bedtime story tonight. :D

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....

~ Zara
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Re: In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance ~ gkkstitch

Post by Maclurv »

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.
While I see your point, I would argue on the author's behalf that pitch blackness can create an intimacy that could lend itself to opening up in degrees otherwise not expected. Especially for Vincent who would not be as concerned about being seen, would not be as concerned with seeing a reaction to what was said, to hear out loud what has been heretofore only in his thoughts. It is a type of freedom unexpectedly offered.

Perhaps Vincent's chattiness was in response to his knowledge of Mason's true condition, keeping him talking so his mind was off of his injuries. So, in that sense, it was at least logical for Vincent to show that behavior, if not typical of him.

I wasn't offering the misspellings/mis-use so much as a criticism, but as a personal quirk of mine. :) They truly do seem to leap off the page at me.

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Re: In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance ~ gkkstitch

Post by Zara »

Yes, you make great sense, Pat. :) I hadn't thought of these possibilities. Mostly, that part of the conversation just grated along the edges of my willing suspension of disbelief.

Sorry if I came across too strong about the typos and things, ha ha. I know you were explaining a quirk. Punctuation is what jumps me most often. When I was an undergrad TA at my university, grading the papers of underclassmen was a teeth-gnashing process for the first couple months.

Another thought on the story. I really liked Mason's personality. You can tell he's a good-hearted man and a hard worker. He loves his family and wants to do right by them. His sense of humor is intact and his common sense serves him well during an emergency. He gives an everyman's perspective of Vincent, not an outcast's, not a mogul's, not a cop's or a crook's. It's refreshing.

And I also enjoyed the little glimpses of how Vincent understands the gas lines in the Tunnels, how he and his people cooperate to try to stay unnoticed Below. Like the situation in "Fever," when the Tunnelmen are taking it upon themselves to repair the damaged storm drain. The Tunnelfolk serve their own needs, sure. But they also try to help the city, and they put in a lot of hard work to do so, placing themselves at risk in the process.

~ Zara
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Re: In the Fell Clutch of Circumstance ~ gkkstitch

Post by 222333 »

I finally had time to re-read this as well.

Thank you for your comments, ladies. They are as enjoyable as reading the story itself! I agree with everything you have said.

In general, I see an interesting story, with a fairly original plot, a good and credible development, an overall inner consistency. It offers some inspiring nugget along the way, and I like the way the scenario is slowly uncovered, from the pitch darkness to the final disclosing, adding strokes of awareness for Mason and the readers who recognize our world. It’s a technique that I personally love, a way of building complicity with the reader.

I am absolutely impressed by the skill at depicting such a technical setting. I understood about 30 percent of what was written, for exotic words and personal technical dumbness, so the writer may very well have invented an absurd situation. One of the comments in praises precisely all that though, from someone who seems to be familiar with what is being said.

I agree that the main problem with this story is that it is unbalanced, as while it develops it somewhat loses consistency with the premises. Not in a degree that makes it not credible overall, but definitely too quick, and perhaps too optimistic. As if the writer wanted to offer a digest of all that is B&B squeezed in a single episode. But the effort is remarkable.

I like the touch about Heinlein – I’m a science fiction buff – and the other one about Catherine sensing V in danger: “We all thought the worst when she showed up.”

It’s one of those stories that leave me something after I finish to read it, not just another generic one which loses itself in the fanfic white noise: a smile, as I enjoyed reading it, a “possibility” that I can add to my personal B&B scenario without having to disrupt it, an interesting and promising character, like Midnight Rose’s custodian, something about Vincent and the usual characters not already said hundreds of times, etc.

The writer has two more B&B stories, which did not impress me as much, but very much impressed others, which means that overall she had something good to say. She’s a flash in the pan though, as we don’t know of anything else. One of those writer who explored a field, I think, and showed remarkable skill in catching and writing about the juices of the show, and then moved on.

Blackout, by BeeDrew, is a very similar kind of story. I personally like very much to compare different takes to see how the writers approached the situation {as you can guess from the challenges I launch in BatBland}, but if you prefer to pick a different kind of story, it's okay for me.

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