You're too kind. Believe me, I've read the competition, and I'm pretty sure that between you, Jax and bobandbill my offering - which is still in development - would have been beaten into a cocked hat.
No, it isn't. And that's exactly why it's better: Havisham was a little clunkier; it beat the reader over the head in places. This is subtler and much more ambiguous - and in a story that deals with the kind of stuff that this and Havisham deal with, that has so much more impact. It's like the difference between a lightning ink sketch and a fully-finished oil painting: so often, I prefer the sketch above the complete work. It has immediacy and verve; it hasn't been overworked. Sure, it could use a touch-up here and there - but this story does in fact have a charm that Havisham doesn't.
Ah. That must sting. I sympathise, though - despite loathing deliberately convoluted language and academic elitism, it's sometimes very, very difficult to express an exact opinion in a way that can't be misconstrued without resorting to the language of the oppressor. And I'm going to leave it at that, because I can feel some Liberation Theology from two years ago bubbling into the back of my head, and I have no desire to go off on a rant about reversal.
All right, so it can be applied to the rest of the dialogue, if you're being really harsh - and I suppose I should be. It's just that that line left a particularly bad taste in the mouth. Eye. Whatever.
Why disturbed? I'm genuinely curious about that. There's nothing wrong with it.
As for my style... I guess it must be fairly distinctive by now. It's absorbed so many influences that it must bear only a faint resemblance to each individual author.
The pleasure's all mine, I assure you. Whatever and whenever you next post a story, I'll be waiting. Like an assassin. No. Wait. Like a familiar house. That's a much better way of putting it - or at least, a less threatening.
Man, I really ramble on if there's no one to interrupt me, don't I? I'll shut up now.