“Sere from the Green” Chapter Fourteen 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]Only one more chapter after this one.  It really flew by, didn’t it?  It has been a very strange experience reviewing my earlier work.  I didn’t cringe as much as I had expected (still cringed quite a bit though).  It’s been interesting revisiting my characters in their earlier states.  There are a couple I don’t really recognize 🙂

After tomorrow, I’m going to take at least three days off before starting up on the “Through Storm and Night” commentary.  There are a couple major plot twists in that book that I’m going to have to come up with code words for in order to avoid massive spoilers.  I love readers reactions to them way too much to just give them away 😉

Well, this chapter and the next one are fairly simple.  I’m actually having trouble what to write for this intro.  My brain really isn’t cooperating with me (not that it has the past few months).

Let’s just get started with the commentary.

Page 181 – 182

Picking up directly after we left off:  Coop has the really unfortunate habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He originally had a lot more dialogue and was incredibly sarcastic.  Then I decided the character (and the group he belongs to) worked much better when they had the whole “out of place” kind of vibe.

There’s a small reveal here:  it’s not only shape shifters who vanish without a trace.  It’s also humans, like the scientist.

Coop is highly trained and won’t give any information he doesn’t intend to.  He’s actually used to being tortured and threatened.  Being questioned without such threats of violence is quite unusual to him.  Coop has been conditioned to withstand the worst kinds of torture and isn’t used to being treated like he has rights.  He’s been on the outside for a while, so he’s a little more accustomed to it, but still finds it rather peculiar.

Coop has a really interesting line about not being a killer.  Readers of the series know that experiments are conditioned and trained to kill (it’s their purpose:  they’re treated and used as weapons).  In the past, Coop was a killer.  After decades on the outside, he’s starting to recognize that he’s an individual and doesn’t have to be a monster.

It’s really challenging writing a character who talks without saying anything.  Coop always plays his cards close to his chest.

“You haven’t given me one reason to trust you and yet you still expect me to just let you go.”
“I saved you twice.” ~ Coop is being completely sincere in this situation.  This was not a sarcastic answer.  He’s responding with logic, which is the only way he knows how.  It sometimes seems sarcastic or odd, but he has offered a genuine response (which Shae finds amusing, obviously).

Page 183 – 190

I didn’t realize there were only two scenes in this chapter.  Yeah, I definitely became a lot more consistent in regards to scene changes in chapters.  At least, I think I have.

Coop could have easily escaped at any point during the previous scenes, but didn’t for a couple reasons.  At this point in the story, he’s still trying to not use violence (he has too much in his past and it has left him scarred.  Coop doesn’t want to be the monster the Corporation made him into).  He also doesn’t understand the protectors and what motivates them.  So he wants to observe them a bit.

I really have to be careful when I have a scene with Electra, Isis, and Passion in it because I can stumble and slip into familial terminology (as I briefly did in this scene).  That happens because of the three completely different relationships that I have to keep track of.  It’s why these three don’t often share scenes 🙂

The guardians don’t believe in torture or the death penalty.  They see both as absolutely barbaric.  In the second book, there are a few scenes in the dungeons where readers see how humanely prisoners are treated and how comfortable they’re made.  The guardians firmly believe in treating all prisoners with kindness and compassion, even those serving life sentences.  Their philosophy is that cruelty remedies nothing.

Isis’ unwillingness to ask for help and tendency to close herself off is sometimes what leads her into trouble.  Not telling anyone about Coop was one of her less than stellar ideas.  Isis is a flawed character.  Also, being new, she makes so many mistakes in this novel.   It’s kind of funny how I grew along with this character 🙂

Isis gets really aggravated when she’s not listened to.  It’s really frustrating being a woman today and one reason why is because of how often we’re just disregarded and not listened to.

This is a ridiculously long scene.  I had so much information I needed to get across through dialogue, which I don’t like doing.  Unfortunately, using a flashback didn’t work (it was way, way too jarring).  No matter how many times I rewrote this scene, I couldn’t trim the length.  This was another scene that just frustrated me to no end (one of those scenes where I just threw my hands up and said “fuck it”).

Passion probably could have used a drink in this scene.

Only one other guardian that Passion knows of knows what happened the night Roan disappeared:  Donovan.  I always figured Donovan confided in Adonia about what happened, knowing she wouldn’t use the information against them.

Isis still thinks guardians are omnipotent.  In the second novel, she has a much better grasp of what guardians can and can’t do and is therefore not as intimidated by them 🙂

I always wrote Electra as having a way more sheltered life than Isis did.  Electra is an interesting character to write, though she can be rather frustrating at times (she has the tendency to be a bit privilege blind).

Passion finally reveals what happened to Roan.  I always had a very clear idea of this back story.  It reads a bit sappy, which is making me shudder.  The story of Passion and Roan is a tragic one, which was entirely his doing.

One thing I really wanted to come across in this reveal is how compassionate Passion is.  Compassion is central to most guardians, but Passion is someone who cannot stand to see another living being suffer for any reason.  She can’t stand by if someone’s in pain.  Even though she isn’t a healer, Passion will go out of her way to help someone who is hurting.

While she won’t admit it, Passion was traumatized by the experience of watching Roan die.  It’s why the memory is still vivid so many years later.

Donovan is a great character who appears briefly in book two (and then again in book four).  He’s a night guardian, Passion’s lover, and quite a personality.  Donovan really dislikes most of the men on the High Council.  I always figured that part of the reason he helped Passion was because he knew how much it would piss them off if they ever found out.  When they were deciding Passion’s punishment, Donovan would have refused to take part and protested in whatever way he could.  He was never jealous of Passion’s other lovers (including Roan) because he doesn’t believe in having claims on other people.  Robbing Passion of her freedom would be robbing her of an essential part of her identity, which Donovan would never do.

I think this is one of the first times Isis has a completely neutral opinion.  The guardians aren’t perfect.  For all their good qualities, they have just as many bad ones.  They’re compassionate, but they can also be cold at times.

Seriously, readers, the Deverall brothers.  Oh my god, the Deverall brothers 😀  (the story about how I came up with Nero in particular still cracks me up).  I know I’ve mentioned it before:  I came up with the character of Roan because of my fascination with the idea of the “black sheep” of the family.  I have an interest in what makes someone an outsider and the black sheep can definitely fall into that category.  Roan came from a family of heroes but became a villain.  Some more of this story is revealed throughout the rest of the series.

I always laughed at the idea of Isis trying to put together a family tree.  She’d probably throw something 🙂

So many of these characters have their own language of gestures and looks that has been developed over years.  It can be a frustrating situation for new people (not to mention the writer who has to figure all this crap out).

Isis is going to clean all the skeletons out of the biological closet in one go 😉  Originally this scene was overly emotional with Isis just completely losing it.  As usual, less is more 🙂

There’s a nice moment between Electra and Isis.  These two are still trying to figure each other out, but they are heading in the direction of a friendship.  This is seen more in book two.  It’s funny how characters change in different ways over the series.  Electra changes in very subtle ways, but she does change.

Electra is slightly less cynical than Isis.  She is quite bitter in this novel, which is because of everything she found out.  Electra is a lot more like her usual self in book two.

While reading this novel again, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shouted, “Stop doing stupid shit, Isis!”  Freaking newbie shape shifters!  😀

I have a fear of being unconscious.  It’s just such a massively vulnerable position/state.  The couple times when I’ve had procedures where I’ve had to be put under, it has been a really unsettling experience.  And that was in a controlled situation.  Isis is knocked out on an empty street at night.

Blackjack really hates other assassins.  Gia and Onyx are complete fuck ups in his opinion.

The mysterious man in the shadows returns.  I love moving this figure around.  Plus, he makes for an excellent cliffhanger 😉

So ends chapter fourteen commentary.  Tomorrow concludes the “Sere from the Green” commentary.  I hope everyone has found this somewhat interesting.  I had a fairly good time writing them.

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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