Alison, thanks for kind words and the crit!
Again, since the piece was envisioned as a longer work, the Chloe and Lana bits would have been integrated. The issues you have with Martha and Lex would've worked themselves out. There was so much more plot. Just not enough time, and yeesh, the fic's long enough as it is.
Hmm, so did Martha under-react or is she a rag doll? Do people immediately process, or does it sometimes take time for true horror to sink in? Would histrionics have been more appropriate? Catatonia? To my way of thinking? Not in this universe. People often work through grief by feigning normalcy. Remember, we're talking about a woman who snatched up an alien child from a cornfield - and lied to the authorities. On. The. Spot. Wouldn't that woman still be present? Not falling apart after Jonathan's death doesn't mean she she grieved any less. In fact, I see it as a sign of guilt - and deeper grief. I see her *crumbling* after everything - but we didn't get there in this fic.
Frankly? I don't see anything comical in a woman trying her damndest and failing. I don't agree with your assessment of Martha as ragdoll - she attempts escape TWICE - even knowing who and what she's dealing with. To my mind, she takes a softer route, partly due to being in the midst of grieving for her husband and partly saving the ugly for later. Warning to other writers - this is what happens when you run out of time to tell the story fully.
::note to self - No More Epics::
Is it possible your reaction was visceral? Wanting more from Martha, even under the circumstances? Or hoping for a happy ending? I was very conscious of who Clark killed - killing Jonathan was horrible, but justifiable in an Alpha Male scenario. Who's been the stumbling block? Who's been the enabler? Clark killing his mother? Um... ::shakes head:: Not logical.
In any event, Ruby's Martha is infinitely more level headed and resourceful than Fever Martha (she knows enough to pop a trunk for goodnessake!) - or other versions we've been given by M&G.
As for POV, fanfic tends to be very internal, and it's just not the way I work. I find single POV restrictive, and while the POV shifts, I believe it shifts when dealing with different characters. There's absolutely no reason why a writer can't be in the heads of all the characters, and to my mind, there was no other way to handle this particular story. We absolutely need to know what the other characters are thinking, not just view their reactions through say a Clark lens. Consider why there weren't more substantive Red!Clark stories in fandom. This was the only structure to adequately accommodate it. Think: Stephen King.
I didn't want a "Clark's experience on RedK" story. I wanted a larger tale of power and corruption. I highlighted the Clark thoughts that were important, and the other ones were left to the reader's imaginations.
I wouldn't say Gwen becomes evil without provocation - she's seduced, overwhelmed and wasn't there an alien narcotic involved? Again, though, had the story gone on, we *might've* seen Gwen question the path on which she'd found herself. And maybe an attempt at redemption.
I'd almost agree with your assessment of Lex, but he tends to be the most closed off of all the SV characters. "Normal" on the Kent farm to Lex doesn't mean what it means to you or me.
If you skipped the party scene, you also missed the beginning of Clark treating human beings as less than human. *g*
The idea for Ruby was born from the ep itself. If you watch the end, you see there's a bit of an opportunity for things to go wrong. So, what if? What if they couldn't get the ring from Clark?
I have only one regret: never got to the Chlana, Clex or Mex. Yep, part of the original plot that got jettisoned due to length and time.
As for difficulties: plotty is hard. There's no workaround. It's just the nature of the beast. It's time consuming. Plotty fics tend to be longer. You have to pay very close attention to what you're doing because everything has to align. Oy! It's something I'll *definitely* keep in mind going forward. Action isn't easy either. It has to be choreographed. Absolutely no quick way to do it. Working with all the SV players wasn't a picnic. ::shrug:: Muse's choice.
If you haven't already, read the Seperis post on the original thread. That's what I hoped readers would get out of it. To a "T." If she hadn't gotten it...
Edited to add the regret, difficulties and express gratitude more properly.