Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Smallville: Runaway

This Smallville novel by Suzan Colon is set in a highly specific period of the TV series:

Martha Kent has become Lionel Luthor's personal assistant;
Terrance Reynolds has become principal of Smallville High School;
Lana Lang is managing the Talon coffee bar;
Whitney Fordman has gone to the Marines from which, I think, he will not return;
Clark had recently declared his feelings for Lana, then returned to being just friends (I think that this probably happened in Smallville: Buried Secrets by Suzan Colon, to which Runaway (New York, 2003) is a sequel.)

A note "About the Author" says that Suzan Colon has written two Smallville novels, a Catwoman book (novel?) and features for magazines. Although writing scripts for a TV series or novels based on the series is not on the same literary level as writing entirely original screenplays or novels, it is nevertheless a writing assignment involving skills which most of us do not have. I would like to be able to write fiction and to contribute to a series like Smallville. Alan Grant, who has written at least two Smallville novels as well as other novels based directly on the comic book versions of several DC characters, is mainly a comic books writer whereas Suzan Colon seems to be entirely a prose writer and this novel, like all the volumes of the series that I have acquired, is written well.

There is one stylistic problem in Chapter 3. The chapter is narrated from Clark's point of view until the top of p. 18 where:

"Clark wasn't sure he'd heard her right." (p. 18)

Lana continues to speak, then:

"Lana was interrupted by a flash of memory: Clark coming into the Talon..." (p. 18)

She reminisces about the incident, then returns to what she was saying. So the point of view has jumped abruptly from Clark to Lana in mid-speech and stays with her for the rest of the chapter. But writers generally accept and readers, if they reflect on it, expect that each scene will be narrated from a single point of view. Lana and Clark each experience the entire conversation only from their own perspective. The jump from one point of view to the other does not represent anything that happens in a real conversation.

Sometimes, a writer will, in different chapters or chapter sections, describe a conversation or other occurrence first from one point of view, then from another. If that had been done here, then we would have been told how both Clark and Lana had perceived the entire conversation and would have appreciated added depth rather than an abrupt change of viewpoint.

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