“Sere from the Green” Chapter Seven Commentary

WARNING!  THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!

This post will make much more sense if you’ve already read the novel.  Help out a little indie author and pick up a copy of her book (or books).  You can find them on Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, or my personal online store.

Sere from the Green [front cover]Hello again, loyal readers.  WindyCon is over and I am yours once more.  End of the year cons are always rather slow, particularly for indie authors.  I’ve done I think 10 cons this year, something like that.  I got to see a lot of friends though, which was really nice.  I also learned something about myself:  I don’t have any fucks left to give.  The goddamn asshole who harassed me at my first con showed up at this one.  Thankfully I didn’t see him.  But I heard he was being a dick to other writers, which is pretty much his M.O. (he really loves being an asshole to indie authors).  Seriously, fuck that guy and fuck anybody who tries to excuse his shitty behavior.

Anyhow, I’m more swear-y than normal because I’m tired but I still have a lot of stuff to do.  Thankfully, chapter seven is a very brief chapter.  YAY! 😀

Shall we?

Page 86 – 89

This was probably one of the most fun scenes to write.  Shae has always been amused by Isis and her tendency to be rather sour.  It was important to keep Shae upbeat.  Earlier drafts had her more surprised, but I like giving Shae a bit of a playful demeanor.  She’s just a happy person.  God, I don’t write many “happy” characters.  They’re not miserable, but optimism isn’t exactly my area of strength.

Obviously, Shae has never met Electra before.  That would have been rather strange.

Remington, good ole Remy!  The trainer/mentor and probably one of the more difficult characters to write.  I find it really difficult to get into this guy’s head, which is bizarre seeing as how I created him.  He’s a relatively static character, but for some reason that makes it even trickier to write him.

“Excuse me, who the hell are you?” 🙂  This line has never changed.  It’s such an Isis question.

Character print:  Remington’s painfully strong handshake.  Remington is very, very old.  He’s been to war and mastered a number of fighting styles.  He’s incredibly strong and doesn’t always realize it.  Hence the bone-crushing handshake.

Electra is still struggling with her sense of self.  She’s almost as devastated as Passion, but she’s trying to sort out if/how this new information changes who she is.

Pages 86 – 89

Isis doesn’t react well to the most recent revelation, although this scene is a bit of a turning point for her:  Isis’ isn’t as determined to escape.  She trusts Shae and, though she hasn’t always gotten along with Shae’s friends, she trusts Shae’s taste in people.  These two characters don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they trust each other implicitly and are very loyal to one another.  Of all the friendships in this series, the one between Isis and Shae is one of my favorites.

Ah, the training room.  Readers will be seeing this room quite a lot.  And the fourth member of the Four is glimpsed.

Character print:  Isis can identify different accents.  Guardians have a deep love of culture and art, including languages.  They are born with the ability to distinguish different accents and dialects (this doesn’t mean they’re born fluent in languages.  They can just identify them).

Shae hasn’t spent a measurable amount of time with guardians at this point.  She knows the basics of guardian culture and who some of them are, but, like most shape shifters, she hasn’t really had a reason to hang out with them.  The majority of shape shifters will never encounter a guardian in their life.

Alex is a very interesting character to write.  She’s an observer by nature:  she prefers to watch people and places from afar.  Alex tends to be the quietest member of the Four.  She’s also the smartest (and all of them are really intelligent women).  Like Isis, Alex is wary of strangers.  She’s Remington’s daughter by adoption (she was an infant when he took her in).  Alex is really uninterested in her past, though it annoys her when people use this against her.  I enjoyed writing a bit more about Alex in the fourth novel, where you find out just a little more about the character.  She still remains the most mysterious of the Four and I doubt that will change.

Jade is a natural leader and also a great mediator.  As I mentioned a few times before, she’s the oldest member of the team.  The Four gradually become a sisterhood and I tried to make the dynamics between them reflect this.

The scene in the training room originally had a serious confrontation between Alex and Electra (after Alex was a lot more antagonistic towards Isis).  As usual, it changed in later drafts because it was completely out of character for the two characters:  Alex is pretty indifferent towards Isis at this point and Electra is concerned about other things.

I wrote Remington as a very stern character intentionally.  He needs to make sure these women are prepared for what they’ll be facing.  They’re going to be risking their lives regularly and their survival depends on their ability to handle the unexpected.

Isis is once again thrown right out of her comfort zone.  She really doesn’t want to leave Shae.  When surrounded by strangers, many of us will seek out some kind of familiarity.  This is especially true of an individual with trust issues like Isis.  She is completely out of her element and she definitely doesn’t like it.

Page 90 – 93

I originally had Electra teaching Isis how to fight, until I realized this made absolutely no sense.  Electra knows how to defend herself, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of training shape shifters do.

I always wrote this scene as Isis purposely taking her time.  She still hasn’t made up her mind about Electra.

Cassidy told Isis where the Koi pond was.  I tried to write this scene, but it never quite meshed with the other scene (too much of a detour).  I really enjoyed how confused Cassidy was with Isis’ discomfort.  There’s a bit of a culture shock going on.  The scene interrupted the plot a little too much and I felt like Isis’ outsider status had already been established at this point.

I love Koi.  If I had money, I might consider getting a Koi pond.  When researching this book, I got distracted at this part just looking at a bunch of pretty pictures of different kinds of Koi.

This is a funny moment between Electra and Isis.  Electra is rather impatient and Isis is just completely incredulous.  This whole scene is Isis thinking, “You want me to do what now?”

Electra really makes an effort to be patient.  Guardians don’t often take proteges until much later in their lives.  This is a completely new experience for her, one she’s not prepared for.

Electra doesn’t understand Isis’ frustration at all.  She is thinking of her as a regular shape shifter, not even considering Isis’ background.  Isis feels like her independence is being stripped from her and she doesn’t like it.  Humans have very different lives than shape shifters and guardians.  Electra doesn’t have any experience with humans, so she can’t appreciate Isis’ feelings about the whole situation.

By using Isis as a proxy for the reader, I was able to use Electra to give information about shape shifters and guardians.  Debut novels are always difficult, but the first novel of a series is a monumental challenge (one you will inevitably fuck up in numerous ways).  The author has to set up various characters and conflicts, sometimes different worlds, and assorted back stories and relationships.  Writers have to be incredibly creative when it comes to revealing all this information (it’s a literary strip tease).

I really could have done a better job of explaining the abilities of the royal line.  Electra is just a little too vague.

Electra still hasn’t learned Isis’ tells.  Jade probably would have noticed the overly hasty response (and then it would have been a very different story).

I had forgotten how frustrated Electra gets with Isis.  She’s kind of out of her depth in this situation too.

This training scene was a massive, massive pain in the ass to write.  I had no idea how someone would go about tapping into abilities like telekinesis (since such a thing doesn’t really exist).  Also, I knew Isis had to majorly fuck up at least once (while still trying to demonstrate that she is a quick learner).  God, I’d hate having to write this scene again, even though it could probably use at least one more rewrite.

Electra treats Isis nearly gouging out her eye as a personal slight, which I find rather amusing.  She really isn’t in the best state to be training Isis, but Electra is trying.

Isis is a very fast learner, almost abnormally fast.  I’m hoping readers wondered about that.  It may be important later in the series 😉

So ends chapter seven commentary.  A bit haphazard, but like I said:  con-brain. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be shipping out the orders from my online store and hopefully updating my 2015 convention schedule (which can be found on pretty much all my social media accounts). 

I feel like I’m forgetting something.  Stupid, damn brain!  Well, maybe I’ll think of it tomorrow.  As always, thank you so much for reading! 

Until next time . . .

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About Lauren Jankowski

Lauren Jankowski, an author from Illinois, has been an avid reader and a genre feminist for most of her life. She holds a degree in Women and Genders Studies from Beloit College. In 2015, she founded “Asexual Artists,” a Tumblr and WordPress site dedicated to highlighting the contributions of asexual identifying individuals to the arts. She has been writing fiction since high school, when she noticed a lack of strong women in the popular genre books. When she’s not writing or researching, she enjoys reading (particularly anything relating to ancient myths) or playing with her pets. She participates in activism for asexual visibility and feminist causes. She enjoys speaking about genre feminism, a topic she is quite passionate about, and hopes to bring more strong heroines to literature, including badass asexual women. Her debut novel was "Sere from the Green," the first volume in her ongoing series "The Shape Shifter Chronicles." The sequels, "Through Storm and Night," "From the Ashes," and "Haunted by the Keres" are also available. All books can be purchased through Amazon, CreateSpace, or Smashwords.
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