Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier


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Post July 02, 2007, 10:33:57 AM

Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

Spoiler Alert!  
If you haven't read the story, read this post at your peril!



Wow!  What a well-written story this was.  

I found it absolutely flawless.  It is well-structured, with no compositional errors and a plot that grabs the reader fast and never lets go.

The story was perfectly paced with the steady construction of both character and scene.  It's a tough balance to achieve and Ms. Bobier seemed to pull it off with effortless grace.  If I had the ability to steal that technique.  .  .I would.  But I think I would have to be a better writer than I am just to do so.

Even the ending caught me by surprise.  I was expecting any number of plot twists.  Perhaps Aunt Ellen and her witchery was the only thing holding at bay some unnamed evil.  Perhaps by throwing away all the spices and potions, the wards protecting him were being weakened and something very nasty was going to be:

1.  Loosed upon the world.
2.  Almost loosed upon the world, but saved at the last moment by some clever trickery by the late Aunt Ellen.  Which means that he ends-up moving into the house and taking over the family 'business.'

I was prepared for these and other possible twits.  .  .

And then the plot caught me off-guard by not twisting.  It was a subtle and intriguing methodology.   I was sure that the moving shadows in the basement were something creeping in now that he was opening windows and flushing the potions down the drain.  It provided just enough distraction to keep me from arriving at the conclusion before the author decided to take me there.

And that is exactly the way it's supposed to work.

Bill Wolfe
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
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Post July 02, 2007, 08:29:15 PM

Re: Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

Well, if Bill is right, and there were nasties in the basement that required a guardian (although the purity of Aunt Ellen's motives would seem to be called into question by her apparent role in the deaths of Our Hero's parents) ... to paraphrase Damon Wayans as Major Payne, after he pumped several .45 caliber slugs into the closet wherein a child believed a monster lay in wait ...

if they're still in there, they ain't happy. Unless they like fire, which is possible.

Robert "Sometimes, sacrifices must be made in the service of a great cause. Sometimes they're human sacrifices." M.
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Post July 02, 2007, 09:29:08 PM

Re: Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

Captivating story from beginning to end. Very professional use of the English language, a use that comes from reading, studying and analyzing. But it takes more than that! It takes a talent that knows how to place words and sentences together to produce the effect that the writer wants. That is good writing and I’ve read many stories that are well written with a high degree of professionalism.

This story is well written , but there is more here!

I don’t have to tools to describe Michelle Bobier writing, nor can I say what makes it great! And great it is!

She has that x factor--- for the want of a better word-- that propels her story far above mine and many other stories I have read!! Another story with equally good grammar, style and content, will not make that story soar as this one does. It takes more, and Michelle has that unique talent or training or combination of the two that has integrated itself so well, that she can place words on paper as an accomplished artist can on canvas.

I can’t critique her on the level she deserves! All that I can say is that her story, to me, is superb!
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Post July 04, 2007, 04:27:19 AM

Re: Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

Someone once said there's a type of plot called a "spiral", whereupon the reader knows exactly the direction things are going, and the kick of the story is in the specifics of the language to draw closer to the inevitable conclusion. Asimov's Nightfall was in that vein. This follows suit.

I would garner that Bill Wolfe's urge to look for a snap twist occurred because there are in fact very few spiral stories. Reason: they're hard to do, because if the reader *enjoys* being surprised by a snap ending, then the story "just finishes with the obvious". Unless handled very well, this can bother the reader.

I enjoyed thinking "If Aunt E. is *this good* beyond her grave, imagine her in her prime!"

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Post July 11, 2007, 10:35:14 PM

Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

agreed: it was extremely well written and consistent. the victorian mood was also compelling and must admit the last few scenes had me bating my breath.

however, the constant "discoveries" made by the protagonist began to wear thin and got kind of samey after a while, plus overall i would say the story was a bit too long for its own good.

enjoyable and deep, but perhaps a mite too much for a short.
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Post July 27, 2007, 12:31:20 PM

Re: Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

I thought this was a fairly good tale--not exceptional, yet not bad, either.

I don't know about spiral in plot or not, but it was straightforward enough. That lack of a good surprise in today's marketplace, however, might have been why this piece appeared in a free market rather than paid.

In this case, I thought the "weird sisters" line gives away that the hero is already thinking about this as witchcraft. There were a substantial number of clues to suggest this, but I would rather have felt that the character did not suspect before he found out. That would have made it a better drama for me as reader to absorb.

Also, I thought the opening was a bit slow, and not as gripping as it might have been.


Just my opinions.

Nate
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Post July 29, 2007, 11:14:11 PM

Keepsake  by Michelle Bobier

true, there was little sense of wonder in the story, but then the protag here is an above average main character in terms of prowess and intellect...we're meant to see him as capable of handling this kind of situation.

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