“Sere from the Green” Chapter Ten 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]I had some clever intro planned, but unfortunately, I’ve got a pounding headache (it’s gradually dissipating.  I should be back to my usual colorful self tomorrow).  Thankfully, this was a shorter chapter.

This is also the only chapter without any scene breaks.  It’s one continuous scene.  Upon realizing this, I kind of had an “well, shit” moment.  It was a bit writing up commentary:  I’ve been relying on scene breaks to divide the commentary into pages.

Oh well.  If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’re probably used to my wandering train of thought 😉

Onto the commentary.

Page 127 – 137

Picking up immediately where we left off:  this is Isis’ first visit to the Meadows.  In typical Isis fashion, she’s not thrilled.  Most people would be impressed or in awe of the beauty of the Meadows.  Isis?  Her first reaction is to be annoyed 😀

I admit:  it would kind of suck to end up in a different dimension/galaxy/who knows what without any idea of how to get back.

The guardians dancing on water:  most younger guardians tend to be joyful.  They love life and they love to dance.  Most elemental guardians have some control over what they watch over, hence the water guardians ability to walk (or, in this case, dance) on water.

The mountain lions help protect the Meadows and roam throughout the lands.  Of course Isis is going to run into one 😉

The first thing Isis thinks to do is ask the cougar if it’s a shape shifter.  Probably some wishful thinking on her part, but she’s also fairly quick on her feet.

The cougar recognizes the charm Isis wears.  The cougars in the Meadows aren’t human, but they’re slightly different from the ones found on Earth (a bit more intelligent).

Electra to the rescue (not that Isis was really in any immediate danger).

At this point in the story, Isis and Electra have gotten to know each other better and are a little more comfortable with each other.  Electra has started thinking of Isis as her sister and Isis is kind of warming up to Electra.

Electra is a kind of information booth in this chapter.  The reader learns more about different aspects of the Meadows and guardians through her.

It’s very important to note that Isis will never see Passion as her mother and will therefore never refer to her as such.  Even though Isis didn’t always get along with her adoptive family, they’re who she considers family.  Not the guardians.  People don’t realize how inconsequential DNA is when it comes to familial bonds.  I get so goddamn frustrated at people who refer to biological families as “real.”  Seriously, fuck those people.  That’s insensitive and highly offensive.  I’m an adoptee.  I have no goddamn interest in my biological relatives.  I already have a family that loves and supports me.  What the fuck do I care about genetics (outside of for health reasons).  Oh and here’s something that might shock non-adoptees:  many adopted children don’t have any interest in seeking out their biological relations.  Shocking I know.  Also, not all adoptees have the same experience.  Your adopted cousin Lenny’s experience will be completely different from the millions of other adoptees.  Here’s a general rule of thumb for non-adoptees who want to write adoptee characters:  talk to at least 10 different adoptees before you start writing.

Okay, tangent finished.  Apologies, I just get so sick of non-adoptees writing the same adopted character ad nauseam 😉

Isis rightly points out that Electra continually disregards the fact that she has been raised by humans.  Electra keeps thinking of Isis as a shape shifter, which Isis has only recently learned about.  At this point in the story, Electra has a small epiphany about how she’s from a completely different world than Isis.

Electra isn’t going to force Isis to do anything.  She gives Isis all the power in this situation.

Lots of fairly important dialogue in this chapter.  I also included a couple tidbits about Isis’ past.  She took a zoology course in college, continuing the theme of her preferring animals to people.

Character print:  Isis and Electra don’t like to follow.  They prefer to keep pace with whoever they’re with.

Ah Phoenix.  Some day, I’m going to write a short story featuring this character.  She’s a young fire guardian, around Electra’s age (they’re best friends).  Phoenix is a bit of a gossip and has a very mischievous side.  She turns up every now and again throughout the series.  In the most recent book in the series, she has this small scene with another guardian that makes me chuckle every time I read it.

A few guardians are briefly name-dropped.  Like I mentioned in another commentary, I have a massive spiral full of guardian names.

Isis’ first look at the Pearl Castle, home of the royal line and the healers.  There was a scene I had to cut, which I’m still a little bummed about.  Originally, to enter the Pearl Castle, one had to walk across the backs of alligators.  Isis was so thrilled about that.  It was a funny scene, but just a bit over the top.

Poor Isis really isn’t used to the sheer amount of activity found in the Pearl Castle.  The world never sleeps.  Neither do the guardians 🙂

Everything about the Pearl Castle is meant to be grand.  There’s also a sense of history throughout the hallways, hence the artifacts and portraits from the past.

The lack of corners in the castle:  I’ve encountered this a couple times (I believe there’s a belief about demons hiding in corners, but I can’t remember exactly where I read/heard that).  The Meadows is meant to have a very dreamlike atmosphere.  Corners have a very sharp connotation.  I wanted the castle to have more of a smoothness to it.

Artemis and Electra are close.  They don’t have the tumultuous relationship that Artemis and Passion do.  I originally wrote it as similar with Electra having some resentment towards Artemis.  However, it made Electra come off as really childish and it didn’t make any sense at all.

Oh dammit fuck!  I meant to edit out the line about Artemis’ name.  Shit!  This was from an earlier draft where I had a different idea about the guardians.  Artemis is nowhere near that old.  Some guardians may share names with ancestors, though I haven’t written such a case yet.  Part of me is a bit worried about getting into a Ptolemy situation (look up Cleopatra’s family.  Most of the men shared the name of Ptolemy).

Artemis is very private and very quiet, even by guardian standards.  There is a reason for her strict adherence to the rules, which also connects to the strife between her and Passion.

Isis meeting Passion and Adonia for the first time was one of the hardest scenes I’ve ever had to write.  I wrote so many different versions of it, probably more than any other scene in the series.  Trying to write a scene like this without it becoming maudlin or saccharine is challenging as fuck.

I wanted Adonia’s office to have a kind of ethereal feel.  This is a very regal character and about as close to being a goddess as a character can be.

For one of the first times in her life, Isis is completely speechless.  Both she and Passion are very uncomfortable in this situations, which neither of them ever expected to be in.

I don’t know why Isis’ statue approach made me laugh so much.  It still does.  She just stands there silently, occasionally nodding 😀

The galaxies above Adonia’s office (there’s no ceiling) was a visual from a dream that I really loved and so I worked it into my novel.

Jade and Electra’s habit of talking about people like they’re not there has rubbed off on Isis.

Passion is a complete stranger to Isis and Isis doesn’t like being around strangers for measurable amounts of time.  This is not a situation she enjoys being in.

The attempt at small talk reads slightly better than I remember.  I cannot express enough how uncomfortable these two women are.  Passion is more open to the situation.  Isis is really just killing time and waiting for Electra to come back.

Passion’s lines about having so many regrets made me laugh . . . quite a bit.  Is it sad how often I manage to crack myself up with my work.

The High Council took away Passion’s ability and right to have more children or marry.  That’s quite a cruel sentence, but they don’t fuck around when it comes to sacred laws.  Still, Passion hasn’t let the sentence prevent her from having a healthy sex life.  Passion is a character who will not be broken or controlled.  She doesn’t do any harm, but she refuses to recognize oppressive rules.

Where the High Council’s ruling would lead most guardians to feeling some bitterness (rightfully so), it’s not in Passion’s nature to hold grudges or dwell on things she can’t change.  Instead, she adapts and looks forward.  She was never the marrying type anyway.  Passion is an incredibly strong character, which she doesn’t often get credit for.

Isis as a rule.  Dear god, no.  That is not a position she would ever want or accept.  I don’t think Electra would either, come to think of it.

And thus ends chapter ten commentary.  I hope to be much less groggy for the next commentary.  This headache is just sapping all my creativeness at the moment.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.  Spammers can fuck right off. 

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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