Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)
I'm sorry, Kim, I didn't read the title of your second fan-fic quite right. Perhaps that skewed my view of what I was reading - I'll have to go back and re-read it with the correct title on my mind to see.
At any rate, I didn't mean to indicate that I didn't care for your topic lines, all I said was that I don't quite understand the background behind "Stagefright". I think perhaps a week or two of setup background would better ground the story. As it reads, it sounds entirely too much like a Harlequin to me - a couple of sentences to set it up, but nothing to really make me feel the fear Paul is feeling. I truly loathe Harlequins where the entire storyline is girl meets boy, girl hates boy, girl kisses/screws boy (depending on which decade it was written in), boy admits he loves girl, and vice versa. And nearly all of them have one or the other of the supposed couple in some situation of peril wherein the other discovers the depth of their feeling for the other.
That genre works as well as it does because most of us females fill in the obvious blanks of the story with our own personal experiences. Regardless of what some men claim, we women mostly tend to fantasize about our current love, not someone else. The Harlequin type gives us a vehicle for our personal fantasy.
In your story, though, I don't have any personal experiences to fill in the blanks with. That's why I think taking a more Stephen King-ish approach (with some detailed history) to set it up would work beautifully.
Now, as for "Choices", I don't see what all of the hullaballoo is about. I have read extensively, and cannot find enough written material on Jim McCartney to negate your storyline that he kinda lost it after Mary's death. Having gone through several immediate deaths in the family, I don't find it far-fetched at all. What I do find far-fetched is the suggestion that a "nice guy" wouldn't act any differently when his beloved spouse dies. That is utter crap - only an unfeeling lout would have no personal feelings to work through. The grieving process involves the utter bereavement, the sense that all is lost, anger against the one who died, anger against God, anger against anyone connected to the deceased who continually reminds the grieving person of the deceased person, anger against oneself for feeling all of these conflicting emotions, and definite, although usually temporary, changes in one's perceived character. Most of us do NOT go around seeking comfort 24/7 - the recently bereaved do just that, and it's a process that takes well upwards of two years. The more our public lives require us to remain the same, the more our private lives must change to accomodate our grieving process.
In all of my reading, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that life went on as usual after Mary's death. Most of the few tales that exist pick up some couple of years afterwards, when the grieving process would naturally have abated.
Having said all of that, I don't find your fanfic unbelievable at all.