Alison (acampbell) wrote in svficforum,

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"The Better Part of Wisdom", by a campbell

Jumping in, to save the valiant Valentine Michel from languishing out here in the ring alone, I present, for your dissecting pleasure:

The Better Part of Wisdom

My first Smallville fic, written between February and July, 2002, posted last summer, and consequently a bit creaky, by now. It was working-titled "Coming to Terms," but was given a Bradbury title for the Bradbury Title Challenge in force last summer.

BPW was inspired by a bunny suggested by ClarkLex list member Anna Bong. Anna's Message

When the fic had reached its final draft stage, I emailed her a copy. Never heard back from her on whether she liked it not, or whether it was at all like her original dream, or whether she thought it sucked... I'm still wondering.

Back then, I don't think I knew how to keep a fic short, and it grew into this lengthy monster in which I did a LOT of describing. An entire introductory section of Lex just looking out the window and brooding was cut in subsequent revisions. The story was perhaps 2/3-3/4 finished when I blitzed the entire thing off the floppy that housed it by pulling the disc too quickly out of the computer. It all had to be redone. Most of it was available in a printed draft, but the wedding reception scene, particularly the conversation between Lex and Victoria, had just been revised, and was lost. The scene was never that good again.

I came close to abandoning the whole thing more than once.

Initially, it was not intended to be a Clex fic, but more a study of a solitary, Hamlet-esque Lex, who is paralyzed into inaction and forfeits something of potential great importance to him in order to have the flexibility to command more power when it becomes available. I was most interested in the Lex-Lionel-Victoria dynamic, and I think the Lex-Lionel scenes remain some of the best sequences in this story, although Victoria consistently slipped away from me, remaining quite shadowy in my hands.

My betas wanted more of the Clex relationship, and Clark and Lex's discussion of friendship in the beginning, the (almost cliched, I see, in retrospect) scene of Clark using his x-ray vision to spy on Lex and Victoria, the humorous conclusion to the first barn scene, and the pre-sex sequence in the second barn scene, were added to accomodate this request. I don't have a big problem with any of these scenes, but I'm afraid they may not have been very well integrated, may seem tacked on (as they basically were); I was also told in feedback that there is a Point of View problem in the second barn scene. Back then, I'd probably have died before I'd have attempted to write an explicit sex scene, so all we get here is befores and afters. Ah, well, I still do believe that leaving things to the imagination can have valuable dramatic impact.

I'm curious, mainly, how this fic appears to readers, now. We've had nearly an entire additional season of Smallville and have seen the characters develop significantly further. Does a Lex who's paralyzed, afraid of many things, lets his father take control, still work on any level? Does the relationship he and Lionel seem to have in this fic (and yes, I'm still only guessing at what this Lionel really has in mind) still seem in tune with the on-screen dynamic these characters have? or does it seem foreign or oversymplified; Lionel, in particular, seems to have become much more multidimensional this season--or is it an illusion?

Which elements in this fic still work, and which don't? I'm curious.

I still find long fics more satisfying to write, but my plotting and structure skills are generally so poor that I've pretty much forsaken the concept to do shorter stories. The initial reader response to THIS story was favorable enough to convince me to attempt a sequel, which is maybe 2/3 finished and has been pretty much stalled since last fall. I'd still like to complete it given some good uninterrupted work time.

Looking back, a year later, I wonder if I could do a better job on this same story now, but doubt if I'd tackle something so ambitious, now.

Anyway, if anyone would care to comment, I'd be delighted!
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