Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back from Our Irregularly Scheduled Programming: Chicklette Recs Bright Garments!


Tell me a story. Draw me in. Weave your words in a way that is new, and capture my attention. Suck me away from the doldrums of the day and take me to someplace other. Somewhere cold and rainy or covered in snow, or draped in sunlight so bright it hurts my eyes when you look at it. Take me with you when you fall in love, when you see him for the first time, when your heart trips at the sound of her voice, when you fight for a life, even if it’s not your own.

That is what I ask of an author when I open a new story. Maybe that’s a tall order, but it’s one that Miaokuancha has delivered in spades with A Garment of Brightness. When a friend sent me a PM suggesting that I read it, I opened the tab and figured I would get to it eventually. At that point, I had eight or nine open tabs of Twilight fanfiction – pretty typical for me, any day of the week. I was flipping through the tabs, looking for something that would just grab me, and settled for that one.

Now, I’ll be frank here: So far, the plot not extraordinary. There’s a coven of vampires pretending to be human. Bella Swan is the new kid in town. Forks is wet and rainy. For much of the story, it is a simple retelling of Twilight.

And yet it is so much more:

We don't say much. We never do. Just the usual awkward hug at the terminal gate when he picked me up. You know the kind – one armed, with our faces both turned away. I've wondered whether that was one of the reasons Mom left Dad. Was he always giving her one-armed hugs after they got married? But I'm the same way, and she never left me on any church doorstep.

It's quiet and dark and drizzling, when we pull in. The drip, drip, drip from the trees and the eaves is everywhere. The porch still smells a little moldy. Not enough to give anyone allergies – just wet, wet wood, that hasn't seen paint quite often enough.

"I got a surprise for you, Bells." Dad never calls me Isabella. It just wouldn't sound right coming from him. He's not an Isabella kind of guy.

That right there was the first bit to really draw me in, because it reeks of truth. Bella and Charlie, for their common blood lines, are very much strangers, and this is captured so well by Miaokuancha’s evocative style.

Using short chapters and lyrical phrasing, the author creates a world full of vivid sensory input, as seen and felt through Bella, Edward, and perhaps the ravens, as they watch down from above:

They stand together, talking without sound, as we do. The pale-head places his featherless wing across the back of the immature. The young one flinchers away at first, then submits, then curls to the ground. The parent guards him there, with his wing across his back. They know the way of the stones. They stay without moving, until the daylight begins to die in the clouds.

At the bottom of the ravine, a doe walks carefully.

The two descend as one, and kill, and feed.

Using such distinct points of view lends this story a sort of spiritual mysticism that I hadn’t expected, yet one that I quickly came to adore.

Another interesting aspect of this story is how much Edward struggles with the ruse of being a “child.” His point of view holds a maturity and a distinctly male voice, as he struggles with himself, and also his bloodlust:

We have sauntered indoors, into the bright, warm hallways. The other students unconsciously give us space, avoid our eyes. Shards of thought assault me from every direction. How I hate the crowded spaces. I shut out the voices, as I have learned to do. Just as we all have learned to shut out the enticement of so much blood, so many beating hearts, under our very noses. To pass among the hot, throbbing herd, untouched and untouchable. Most of the time.

"So, Alice," I say, and I don't mean to mock, but I do, "How sure is 'pretty sure'?"

There are so many beautiful passages in this story that I wish I could highlight them all, and paste them here, for your consumption. Instead, I’ll beg you to go and read them for yourself. Get lost with Miaokuancha’s Edward and Bella. Let her draw you in. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicklette is the author of many wonderful fics, including some rec'd on the Ficster. She's currently writing Of Kith and Kin, and if you haven't read her--YOU ARE MISSING OUT.

Blog Update

We're still working on our transition for updating the Ficster. Believe it or not, we're making progress! However, if anyone would like to volunteer to crunch some (easy but repetitive) HTML, send an email to The admins will snuggle you.

Spread The Word