For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James


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Post March 22, 2012, 12:59:15 AM

For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Wow . . . I mean, WOW!

You probably all know I'm not generally a fan of fantasy, but this -- this is art. A work of singular beauty, even when it's ugly.

I'll be looking up this author's other work -- and hoping to see more of it here!

Read this story. You won't be sorry.
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Post March 23, 2012, 08:29:49 AM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

I was unsure when the story started out. The narrative seemed too long. But the last three paragraphs really turned it around for me - and everything came together to make sense. I saw where I had made some assumptions that weren't correct, so the ending was worth the wait. I'm not really into fantasy but this one was just plain friendly.
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Post March 25, 2012, 03:39:09 PM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Many, many thanks or the kind comments, it really made my weekend!

At a time when I'm going to have to put writing on the back burner for a while, it is the perfect lead in to an enforced break.

Thanks again,

Tim
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Post March 25, 2012, 06:55:14 PM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Tim, I read both of the other stories that were linked to in your bio here, and liked them, but this is far superior to both of them.

I hope you get back to the craft soon.
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Post April 01, 2012, 10:54:25 AM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Overall, I liked the story. The twist at the end was surprising yet logical.

My dislikes would be with some of Francelly’s dialogue. It seemed too modern at times (“dumbass bitch”) and didn’t convey the demeanor of someone with power and age. Francelly ranted more like a spoiled teenager than a once-powerful witch.

There were also some GSP errors. And I’ve never been a fan of breaking up dialogue with paragraph breaks. Sometimes it’s necessary, but here it’s distracting as I kept thinking the dialogue was shifting back to Ethele:
Francelly continued her rant, sneering at her sister's humble circumstances. "I live in a mansion with servants! Kings call on me, treat me with respect. I can kill with a word, shatter walls with a gesture of my hand! A single look can freeze a knight in his tracks and make him drop dead with fright! People, hell people leave me the greatest of gifts out of their fear for me!

"Me, I deserve the title of witch, not like some backwater animal doctor, who can do next to nothing with what paltry skills -- not magics -- that she has.

"Hell I could raise storms with a single word, and stop them with another!"


Finally, I didn’t fully understand at first how Francelly can be bereft of magic while Ethele retained the ability to pull off the necromantic spell of switching bodies via her familiars. Upon rereading, I surmised that only certain magics were dying out. I think a tad bit more of an explanation may have alleviated my initial confusion.

As a side note, I’m a big cat lover. Having the cat die in such a violent manner lessened my enjoyment of the story. Yes, I understand it was essential for the plot, but what my heart feels and what my brain knows may be two different things. This is not a critique but a warning that you need to be aware of your audience’s potential reaction.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
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Post April 01, 2012, 11:39:01 AM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

As a side note, I’m a big cat lover. Having the cat die in such a violent manner lessened my enjoyment of the story. Yes, I understand it was essential for the plot, but what my heart feels and what my brain knows may be two different things. This is not a critique but a warning that you need to be aware of your audience’s potential reaction.
I'm a cat person too, Jamie, but that passage didn't lessen my appreciation for the story. The violence of the act was what was important, more than the object of the violence. It gave the ultimate proof of the viciousness of the character. I've found that it's sometimes necessary to kill a likeable character in a story in order to forward the plot, and you can't deny that it's a powerful emotional device.

As to paragraph breaks in a monologue, I use them when I have to, but they make me nervous. In a lot of cases, it's too easy for a reader to think that the new paragraph means someone else is speaking. We just have to trust our audience to figure it out -- and be especially careful with punctuation and attribution. I had no problem with the way Mr. James did it.

I also thought Francelly’s speech seemed a little more modern than I might have expected, but that didn't bother me a bit. And, I don't know about "dumbass," but I'm pretty sure that "bitch" has been used as an insult for at least a few thousand years.
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Post April 01, 2012, 07:15:22 PM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Lester Curtis wrote:
As a side note, I’m a big cat lover. Having the cat die in such a violent manner lessened my enjoyment of the story. Yes, I understand it was essential for the plot, but what my heart feels and what my brain knows may be two different things. This is not a critique but a warning that you need to be aware of your audience’s potential reaction.
I'm a cat person too, Jamie, but that passage didn't lessen my appreciation for the story. The violence of the act was what was important, more than the object of the violence. It gave the ultimate proof of the viciousness of the character. I've found that it's sometimes necessary to kill a likeable character in a story in order to forward the plot, and you can't deny that it's a powerful emotional device.


Yeah, that's why I emphasized it as a warning and not a critique. Although it didn't impact you negatively, I know personally a number of people that would have been turned off by the death of the cat (or any animal, for that matter). I just wanted to make sure the author understood the possible reaction.
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


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Post April 05, 2012, 05:19:34 AM

Re: For the Want of a Mouse by T I M James

Many thanks for the comments Jaimie, they are greatly appreciated.

I can see what you are saying about the dialogue being too modern, and flicking back through it I can see a couple of other instances where it might be considered so. I'll try and watch that in the future.

I'll also try and catch the formatting too.

As to the cat, rest assured I'm a cat lover too and really would not like to see them mistreated. It fits a conversation I have been having recently with some other writers about just what you could not bring yourself to write? If the story needs it and it is necessary to the tale then it should be included, no matter how distasteful some people might find it.

Of course, if I had a cat at them moment it would probably be looking at me with narrowed eyes, just knowing what I had written and preparing... something.

Tim

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