Monday, October 26, 2009

Judges' Mention: Ten Seconds at a Time by InstantKarmaGirl

When I first read “Ten Seconds at a Time” by InstantKarmaGirl, I was immediately struck by the sincerity of the characters. They aren’t perfect or necessarily pretty, but they are honest – and for this Jasper, that honesty was a long time coming. After being asked to write this blurb, I went back to check my notes on my first reading – just to be sure I was giving a fair account – and I still agree with my initial assessment. It is a beautiful, touching work that left me really feeling for the characters, which is a challenge in and of itself. Too many fics fall flat or leave me emotionless, especially when so much has to be expressed in so few words. (Shut up. For me, 6,500 is a very few words.)

The premise of this story is that Jasper is a recovering drug addict who is working through his twelve steps. He’s moved back home to Washington to face those people he ran away from when his life spun out of control years earlier. The reader doesn’t know until near the end what, exactly, he did that was so horrible, but I got the sense that it haunts him from the beginning. During one of his initial meetings in Seattle, he meets a woman named Alice he feels drawn toward – in many ways, because she is an addict just like he is.

The canon characteristics in this piece are rendered wonderfully. The idea of Jasper as a junkie is becoming more widespread, but I like the way this one isn’t just a hopeless addict. He struggles, he considers turning back, but he is facing his demons and trying to become a better man – all of which are traits of canon Jasper. Alice, likewise, is heartbreaking, a self-medicating hyperactive woman who has lost her family. I found that even Edward and Bella maintain so many of their canon traits – Edward is overprotective and a little domineering, completely in love with Bella, who has no sense of her own fragility but an amazing – and sometimes infuriating for Edward – capacity for forgiveness. All of these characters combine with beautiful writing and a plot that could be melodramatic but avoids it to make a fantastic, enjoyable tale.

- SorceressCirce

Link to story: Ten Seconds at a Time by InstantKarmaGirl

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