Saturday, October 24, 2009

Admin Rec: Pastiche Ogles the Southern Gothic

Finding really amazing writing is something of a chore with fan fiction. Now, that's not to say that there aren't lots of wonderful stories.

There are cyber-barrels full.

However, I personally separate storytelling from writing when I categorize my reading list. I tend to see it as follows:

The story is the skeleton. Writing is the sexy muscles.

Amazing writing is Irritable Grizzly Adams, Cowboys and Indians, and Sanctuary. You can feel the atmosphere in those fics. It sweeps around you. There are original characters that feel as real as our stock fan fiction character set. You can taste the wine. You can see the sky change with the burgeoning threat of the tornado. You feel like you could reach down and pinch the frosty-wet of the snow.

Mary, Full of Grace is like that.

Mary, Full of Grace is the story of Mary Alice Brandon. Told in the style of Southern Gothic, there is the lurking sense of the grotesque in every "turn-of the-page." We know that something horrible happened in Alice's past—she ended up in the asylum, afterall. Moreover, as a vampire, she was devoid of all human memories. But the question is: WHY? What parents would turn away a child that they allegedly loved—yet keep their other daughter? How did the visions come about? Who was she? Why did she prefer "Alice" instead of "Mary?"

The story begins in the present with Jasper interviewing a woman from Alice's hometown:

He appeared out of nowhere near the end of dusk, standing at the edge of an overgrown field across from her house. I heard him approaching, Franny told herself later, but truthfully all she remembered was pouring herself some sweet tea and, when she looked up, there he was. He was young, twenty perhaps, about six feet tall and wearing a white collared shirt and blue jeans. He was light-skinned, paler than anybody from around Pearlington. A large cowboy hat sat on his head, covering his face. Definitely not from Pearlington, Franny thought.

Elise Montgomery gives us a delightfully dark and twisted rendition of Alice's secret history. I must warn you in advance—there are loads of what might be considered stereotypical turn-offs to a story. Lots of original characters. Rape. Also, this isn't a BellaxEdward story (in case you didn't notice). And yet, in spite of all the fandom red flags, I'm not remotely worried. The reason why I often hate reading original characters in fan fiction is because they're normally flat, but with Mary, I immediately feel like I've met them before, even if it certainly wasn't from Twilight. I often could care less about Alice in fics, but again, that's because she's got all the depth of "that one nice cheerleader from your high school!" But Mary Alice is born the outsider before she even knows what the word "outsider" means.

What I'm telling you is that this story is the exception to so many rules. I shivered at the end of the prologue. I gasped through the second chapter. I felt like crying in the third. Only a prologue and two chapters in (though almost 20k), and it's already blossoming like a heavy magnolia.

So, yeah, read this story. It's gorgeous.

Pastiche Pen is a mouthy, ornery admin, who often seizes control of this blog. Sorry 'bout that. Really. (Okay, well, maybe not, but I may eventually feel some modicom of guilt...?) Anyhoo, she is currently writing Psychotic SuperPowered Vampirism, which is scaring away all the sane people and is making a strange amount of sense to all the people on prescription medications and lines of Patron hooked up to their major veins.


  1. I couldn't agree more. It is original on so many levels. Also all the characters are so believable and no matter what they do they are still likeable on some level. You feel you understand them and their motivations.

  2. i found this story on twilighted a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't agree more. not a ship i usually seek out, but the writing is so freaking gorgeous and evocative, even with nothing but OCs so far, i'm along for the ride. glad you're pimping it here - it certainly deserves more attention. -Liz

  3. so glad to see this recc'd. It is a true gem. Original sharp, well-written. Everyone should be reading this.

  4. I just wanted to say how happy I am to be recc'd. I am on cloud nine and have been since I first read this. Thank you guys so much.

    BTW, Mary, Full of Grace is up on Twilighted as well:


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