“Sere from the Green” Chapter Twelve Commentary


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]This chapter was really difficult to write commentary for.  I know what I did wrong too:  this is an info chapter where I just kind of dumped a large amount of information into this chapter, not always in the most skillful way.  The chapter starts out fairly okay, but it just kind of peters out a bit.  Needless to say, there was a lot of cringing 😉

If you’re following this blog, you should know that I never talk about traditional vs. self publishing.  For one thing, there are far more qualified people than me who do that on other blogs (really, Google it).  For another, I find the discussion rather dull.  I’m still learning the ropes of self-publishing myself, but I’m more interested in stories.  I’m an author, that’s what I’ve always been.  My publishing method should not define me or any other author for that matter.

Anyway, if I keep going, I’m going to start ranting.

Onto the commentary . . .

Page 151 – 154

Oh great job, Lauren.  You just had to start jotting down notes for other books on the first page of this freaking commentary, didn’t you?

When I started planning “The Shape Shifter Chronicles,” I knew a huge part of the story was going to involve shape shifters and people who had been completely erased from existence.  Shape shifters remember the missing, but humans don’t.  The protectors have been trying to solve this mystery for centuries.  [Spoiler!  Coop is one of the shape shifters who has been erased.  The reader finds out his back story in books two and three].

It’s really, really difficult to write a character like Coop.  I had to figure out exactly how much to reveal this early in the story.  Coop is a closed book, so he’s not going to reveal much in dialogue.  It was so challenging to get into his mind.  This is a character who doesn’t really experience any sort of emotion, not in the way we understand it.  He is conditioned for war and approaches every situation as potentially hostile.  Coop is constantly on edge, but never visibly so.

I’ll go more into experiments in book three.  Coop is an interesting case:  unlike many of the others, he has some faint memories of what emotions are like.  That doesn’t make it easier for him to mimic them.

Isis is extremely unhappy with the situation.  Coop is desperately trying to be normal and he fails miserably at it.  I cannot emphasize how out of place he is.  Coop is trying to fake normalcy, but without instruction, he can’t quite achieve it.

The glowing eyes:  a trademark of the place Coop escaped from.  It’s why experiments always have to keep their eyes concealed (either with special lenses or sunglasses).

For as much as she hates people, Isis is a fairly good judge of character.  She never hates anyone without cause.  I wrote Isis as very perceptive.  Also, in my experience, similar personalities can sometimes recognize each other without realizing it (if that makes any sense at all).  Isis recognizes something in Coop, but she doesn’t know what exactly.

Coop’s mysterious contact:  Coop sees him as a kind of handler, which the contact would hate.  Having no idea what to do in the situation, Coop reaches out to the person who sent him on the errand in the hopes that he can offer suggestions for how to remedy the situation.

The conversation with the contact:  I experimented when I wrote this.  I actually said the other side of this conversation out loud and then typed Coop’s response to what I said.  It was surprisingly fun and I’ve employed the method again a few times since.  That’s one of the benefits to writing being a solitary activity:  you can talk to yourself for as long as you want without feeling self-conscious.

Once the conversation is over, Coop is back to business.  He’s a very focused character.  His main objective is to finish this mission.  Also, he’s used to coming up with cover stories and can invent one on the spot.

Coop finally gets Isis back to the mansion and they have a nice moment (neither one is used to gratitude, either receiving or giving it).  These two were never written to have romantic tension, but there is a potential friendship between them.

Page 154 – 155

I have some really vague sketched blueprints and maps of the mansion (and all the other locations in this series).  Dear god, I shudder to think what would happen if a stranger wandered into my room.  There are spirals filled with random gibberish and drawings everywhere 😀

Jet is very distracted by the new revelations from the incident at Isis’ old apartment.  There are a couple clues in this scene.  I think I’ve gotten better at the literary striptease as I got more experience.  At least, I hope I have.

Jet is feeling somewhat unsettled, but he’s mostly focused on trying to figure out how these strange incidents connect (if they do at all).

Shae has proven to be a very useful character:  if a scene is too grim, she can often lighten it up.  Too much modern fantasy is overly grim to the point of being almost nihilistic.  I’m of the mind that fantasy should always have at least a glimmer of optimism.  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but my god, you shouldn’t be completely miserable at the end of a fantasy novel.

Isis has quite a few half-truths she needs to keep track of.  She has nowhere near the experience of the other shape shifters and is still figuring out how to navigate this world.

Page 156

The incident with Blackjack has really made Isis think about the new dangers in her life.  She really isn’t comfortable with the guardians, but she is starting to warm up to Electra.  Enough that she feels like she can go to Electra if she has a question.

Isis isn’t upset about being related to Roan as Electra is.  To Isis, it’s another annoyance, but pretty inconsequential to her.  Electra has been raised in this world and knows all the stories about Roan, who’s practically a boogeyman to the shape shifters.

Isis going to Electra to ask about Roan:  she really just wants to make sure there’s not another person trying to kill her.  Nobody knows what happened to him (aside from rumors) and Isis wants to make sure she doesn’t have to be constantly looking over her shoulder.

Page 156 – 159

Oh dear god, this scene could have used a few more rewrites (face –> palm).  Jesus, I was such a novice writer.  At least I managed to tone this down a little from the all-out shouting match it was originally.

Passion is always late to official meetings.  She has better things to do with her time 🙂

Ah, the guardian men.  Most of them are quite insufferable.  The guardian women in general are much more progressive than their counterparts.  There’s an equal amount of men and women in the Meadows and they serve the same purpose.  Occasionally a guardian man will go into the women’s lands to observe, make sure everything is in place and running smoothly.  Guardian women do the same.

Passion obviously dislikes the head guardian man.  And it’s a mutual dislike, as readers soon find out.  In mythology, there’s usually a fair amount of dysfunction among the deities.  With guardians, it’s no different.

Regarding child-rearing in the Meadows:  When a guardian is born, boys are brought to the lands of men and girls to the lands of women.  They are raised by their mother or father depending on their gender (fathers raise sons, mothers daughters).  If they are a different gender from what they’re assigned at birth, they go to the lands of whichever gender they identify as.  There are a couple places where both genders are allowed:  the library and the gem caves for example.  But for the most part, the genders are kept separate.  Guardian women don’t really know their fathers and guardian men don’t know their mothers.  Guardians are able to sense close relations, which prevents inbreeding.

One of these days, I’m also going to write a complete guide to guardians (customs, laws, etc.)

Passion and Artemis butt heads rather frequently, which often requires Adonia to step in and break it up.

Most of the younger guardians look up to Passion (who is just incredibly fucking cool 😀 ).  Calida is the rare exception.  In my encyclopedia of guardians, I have noted which guardians dislike Passion and why.  It’s actually not a very long list (her list of lovers is a bit longer).

Younger guardians are allowed to sit in on meetings.  The guardians have a very transparent culture.  There aren’t many secrets in the Meadows.  Phoenix is probably attending just to see what Passion will do (Phoenix is one of the younger guardians who looks up to Passion).

Passion will not tolerate any form of victim blaming.  She won’t listen to any excuses, “from another era” or “social status” bullshit.  If a guardian man is ogling her, Passion won’t let them tell her to dress more appropriately.  Her response will inevitably be, “Stop being an objectifying pig!”

Adonia dismisses the meeting before Artemis and Passion are at each others throats.

Page 159 – 162

Isis is a very active woman and she uses her free time to train.  She really wants to catch up to her teammates as far as skill level goes.

Electra comes to warn Isis about the upcoming visit from the guardian men.  Isis is considered part of the guardians now and is therefore subject to their laws and rules.  In book two, you find out just how aggravating this is for her.

Fucking dammit!  I spotted yet another mistake.  Dammit, dammit, dammit!  Donovan is part of the High Council, but he has better things to do than pester the guardian women with what he sees as asinine excursions.

Right after Electra’s somewhat bad news, Shae wanders in to lighten the mood.

Isis is an introvert.  I wrote her bitterness as stemming in part from people trying to force her to be an extrovert (what they viewed as “being normal”).  The label of introvert has some negative connotations particularly when it comes to women.  With men, they’re seen as brooding whereas women are seen as “being a bitch.”  There’s this idea that if you’re quiet and solitary by nature, you must/will be completely miserable.  This just isn’t the case.  I once wrote somewhere that the loneliest I’ve ever felt was when I was in a crowded room.

Shae and Isis have a nice moment here.  They’ve known each other all their lives and they really understand one another.

Some bits of Steve (who is a little better at excuses than Isis), Shae, and Isis’ past is revealed in this massive chunk of exposition.  It’s just a bit too much and interrupts the narrative flow a lot more than I remember.  Dammit.

Isis is still keeping Coop a secret, partly to avoid getting the third degree.

And thus ends chapter twelve commentary.  One of the more painful commentaries, but I managed to get through it 😀 

Tomorrow’s commentary might be a bit later.  I’ve got plans in the afternoon and chapter thirteen is a really long chapter.  I have no idea how long it will take me.  Holy shit, guys!  I only have three more chapters left!  Damn!

Questions and comments are welcome.  Spammers can fuck right off. 

Until next time . . .


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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