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Gena Moretti is a fan writer.
Some Fan Comments: Her Star Trek Fic
In 1991, Gena Moretti was the subject of "The Booth," a feature in The LOC Connection where fans volunteered to have their bodies of work critiqued by other fans.
From "The LOC Connection" #35 (11/1991):
In order to offer comments for The Booth, I reread the stories I had available as well as reviewed my original LOCs on those stories. Rereading the stories was definitely no hardship as almost every one is marked on my reread list anyway. Reviewing my original LOCs did reveal something of a trend. In fact, my comments tended to be fairly repetitive for most stories:
- 1. wonderfully original plot
- 2. on the mark characterization
- 3. satisfying attention to detail
- 4. delightful use of words and phrasing
Stories such as "Captives", "Six Weeks", "One Great Use of Words" and "Let's Just Forget the Whole Thing" combined all of the above while weaving the K/S relationship through an interesting independent plot with the added bonus of good use of the familiar "minor" characters. The use of McCoy and his interaction and relationships with both Kirk and Spock are particularly well used in almost every story.
There are other stories, such as "Winds of Chance", where the premise may be a bit pat or often-used, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying the story for one or more of the other three elements, most often the second or fourth.
There have been so very few of Ms. Moretti's stories that I have not liked, it makes it difficult to offer any constructive criticism other than her own self-stated difficulty in handling conflict, The only examples I can think of is 'One Winged Angels' and 'In Bunches Like Bananas'. It almost seemed that in trying to create more tension in these stories, she left behind the four elements that, for me, make her work so enjoyable.To summarize, when I read the Table of Contents of a zine I'm considering handing over $20.00 (plus exchange) for, and see a story by Gena Moretti, I know I have a 99% chance of finding at least one story in the zine to my liking.
Usually, when I think of a certain author, I immediately associate her name with a specific story, However, in the case of Gena Moretti, I find myself thinking more in terms of style, and the name brings to mind 'soft humor', 'innocent love', and 'lots of McCoy'.
I have found many of Gena's short stories and vignettes to be flawless, or nearly so. Little stories like 'Say It With Music" (COUNTERPOINT 3), "A Case of Love" and "Nitecap" (COUNTERPOINT 2), "Courtship" (FIRST TIME 24), and "Addiction" (FIRST TIME 23) contain such an aura of charming innocence that they're great for breaking up the monotony of more intense, somber works that often fill zines, Gena definitely has a knack for writing "good-feeling" pieces, and such stories rarely fail to enchant me.
When Gena takes those warm, innocent themes and stretches them into longer stories, that's when I sometimes find stumbling blocks. A solid, full-length story needs drama and conflict, and when they lack such, they come across as flat and overly-long. I found this problem with "To He Who Waits" (WITHIN THE MIRROR 4), "For Friendship's Sake" (SCATTERED STARS 1), and "Winds of Chance" (FEVER 2). Having the characters being extraordinarily "nice" to each other for pages and pages just doesn't make for an interesting story.
However, this author has written some long stories with strong plots, and in this group I would include "T'hy'li (SHADES OF GREY 5, "Let's Forget the Whole Thing" (COUNTERPOINT 4), "One Great Use of Words' (AS I DO THEE 15), "In Bunches, Like Bananas (NAKED TIMES 26), and "Six Weeks" (BETWEEN FRIENDS). In the case of "T'hy'li" and "Six Weeks", I felt the narrative suffered an unusual degree of distance. Though both stories moved quickly and were attentive to detail, I felt the reader wasn't privy to what the characters were thinking or feeling. The stories were "told" to the reader, instead of "shown", and I felt left out. I also had this problem with "Eavesdropper" (FIRST TIME 23) and with "One Winged Angels" (AS I DO THEE 16), where all the emphasis on clothing and makeup left little room for how the characters felt about their change in gender. I have a couple of nitpicking comments about dialogue. In some of Gena's older stories, Spock would say "so" a lot — both as a means of emphasis, and as a casual way of starting a sentence. I feel both uses are out of character, The stories "Thy'li" and "To He Who Waits" are ones where I thought the problem got a bit out of hand. Nevertheless, I haven't noticed it in Gena's more recent stories, so hopefully it's a habit that's been overcome. The other small flaw I've occasionally found is the tendency to have the characters make speeches; i.e., babble for long periods of time with no one else interrupting, or otherwise adding to the conversation. Granted, there are certain situations where either Kirk or Spock would and/or should "lecture", but when involved in casual conversations this long-winded dialogue comes across as unnatural and unrealistic. Of this author's longer stories, I would have to say the best-written are "Let's Forget the Whole Thing", "One Great Use of Words", and "In Bunches, Like Bananas". The first two contained a good amount of plot, without losing the author's flair for warmth and humor. The latter was also well-plotted, and I appreciated the influx of drama that this author's stories often lack.The biggest compliment I can give Gena is that her "average" story is superior to the average story found in most K/S zines, and that is an admirable feat for one so prolific. There's never been anything wrong with her little short stories, and her longer stories are getting better and better. In the future, I'm sure she'll be even more appreciated than she already is.
I think that Gena's greatest strength as a writer is her eye for realistic detail. She can make the situations she writes about very vivid with a well-placed description that makes a reader feel as if she is experiencing all this herself. The story that is the best showcase for this talent is 'Six Weeks" (BETWEEN FRIENDS). Gena thought of every single aspect involved in caretaking infants under such unique circumstances. In order to write such a story, Gena had to be as resourceful as her Kirk and Spock in figuring out the solutions to the multiplicity of problems raised in the course of the narrative. That's why I particularly admire that story. The most serious problems I see in Gena's work is that she sometimes tries to minimize conflicts. When she does this, it lessens both the impact of the story, and the credibility of the characters. Not every character conflict can be easily resolved. If Gena would let her characters engage in honest struggle instead of giving into the temptation for a quick fix, all her stories would have more depth and dramatic intensity.
I almost always enjoy Gena's stories, even if they occasionally drive me crazy, She has a very distinctive writing style which sets her apart from other authors. I almost always know when I'm reading one of her stories, even if I have not made note of the author. She obviously favors a light touch, for you won't find much conflict or emotional 'angst' in her work. And Gena has a marvelous way of writing passages which I will re-read just to get me thinking. I am thinking particularly of "Courtship" from FIRST TIME 24. The passages where Spock is thinking of how Kirk reacts to him as Sarek does to Amanda are delightful. I often find myself smiling at various sentences or paragraphs Gena has written, and remembering them even after the story itself has been forgotten. I have found myself wondering if her writing technique is to come up with a particular scene or expression which she wants to write, and then devising a story to go around it.
But "Courtship" also illustrates what I consider Gena's major problem. How probable is it that McCoy would discern Spock's touching campaign, and how probable is it that Spock would explicitly ask the physician for advice? Not too likely, in an effort to move the story, Gena's characterizations are often stretched to the point of being noticeably off base. Another very obvious example of this problem occurs in "Beloved Relatives" from AS I DO THEE 17. This is a story I hated to like. It was cute, it made me smile, but this just wasn't about the strong starship Captain and the quiet Vulcan we all know and love. The people in this story were not characters, they were caricatures. The aunt and the cousin were especially stilted, and quite unbelievable, I would have found this story a bit more acceptable if it had been Kirk who had been doing the maneuvering to establish a physical relationship with Spock, but the other way around seemed so incredibly un-Spockish! Add to that the utter unlikelihood that Kirk would make such a request of Spock in the first place, and my frustration with this story was complete.
To me, Gena is a very frustrating writer. It is clear that she has lots of talent, but I believe she sometimes wastes that talent on unlikely scenarios where she has to 'stretch' the characters and our belief to achieve the light tone she is striving for. "Say It With Music" from COUNTERPOINT 3 is a good example of this problem. This is a cute idea, one that would have worked well within another story, but which became overwhelmingly 'cutesy' when the entire story was based on a concept which we all know is unrealistic, Despite some lovely little touches, such as Kirk wondering 'The WHOLE ship?', the story became too much for me.
There are some notable exceptions, however, I consider 'One Great Use of Words" from AS I DO THEE 15 to be a successfully written, entertaining story. The idea of Code Seventeen is an interesting one, and McCoy's slang is a riot. Now this is a story where the 'light' tone and the humor were not forced, and were an integral part of the plot.
Another good example of a successful story is "A Case of Love" from COUNTERPOINT 2. The whole plot hinged on Spock's misunderstanding of Terran slang, and provided for an amusing encounter between him and Kirk. I also enjoyed "Love Letters in the Sand" from FIRST TIME 28. A lovely, simple little idea. I would have preferred that McCoy not be turned into the omniscient voyeur at the end, but that is just a personal preference.
I have two comments about writing techniques in Gena's stories. First, there are some occasional problems with transitions. On page 29 of "Courtship", Spock's sudden enthusiastic questions seemed quite jarring, There are many other examples of the same problem. One occurs in "One Winged Angels" from AS I DO THEE 16, when "seeing Kirk's face wet with tears and his arms clutching his stomach, Spock was kneeling beside his chair in an instant." This is an excessive reaction from our controlled Vulcan, considering that Kirk is just laughing at McCoy. Surely, an alien who has lived among humans for as long as Spock would make the connection!
The other problem I find is in dialogue, particularly Spock's wording. Frequently, Spock is so abrupt, or stilted in what he says. For example, 'Now Jim, will you please explain to me why you have never once returned, or at least responded to my touch. You have driven me mad with worry and fear." This comment occurs right after the very first steps in their mutual seduction. It seems very out of place to me, abrupt to the point of stopping the flow of the story. Nor does it sound very much like Spock.
To my knowledge, Gena's longest work appears in BETWEEN FRIENDS. It is difficult for me to properly evaluate "Six Weeks" and "Seven Years Later." Obviously the author followed the teacher's admonishment to write what you know of. I bet Gena has changed more than her share of diapers! I like these two stories, and yet am left with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. Perhaps it is because of the overly prosaic method of expression. Everyone is so matter of fact in these stories! Everything is explained in perhaps too much detail, This is also a criticism which could be leveled at some other of Gena's works. And the ending of "Seven Years Later" trails off badly. The interaction between the four major characters which had made the stories interesting is lost with the introduction of the two women. I'm simply not that interested in Sabor or Jon except as they relate to Kirk and/or Spock.To sum up: I hope Gena Moretti keeps writing. Those stories which Gena has penned where humor and/or a light touch is an integral part of the plot are among the most memorable I have read. If all we had to read was emotional anguish and torment, K/S would be dull indeed, and Gena's special emotional touch is needed and appreciated. She has a lot of talent.
I have always been fascinated by Gena's work, for four reasons:
- (A) She doesn't beat around the bush.
- (B) She has a wonderful imagination.
- (C) She writes in both a romantic and a vivid way. I never have to read a passage twice to figure out what she means.
- (D) I am never disappointed when I finish something she has penned. There aren't a lot of writers around with her talent
and who can make a reader want to read more stories by her.I make it a habit to read comments on her stories, not just out of curiosity or to get an idea what she has written, but to see how many readers are able to see what I've seen, how many enjoy her authorship as much as I do.