“Through Storm and Night” 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.

Through Storm and Night Covers OfficalHello again, beloved readers!  🙂  I hope you’re all having a good day.

Are we halfway through this book already?  Wow.

Chapter seven has an interesting story behind it.  Originally, Through Storm and Night was only fourteen chapters long.  The story read unevenly.  No matter how much I rewrote it and how many things I fixed, I couldn’t seem to make the story flow smoothly.  It always read . . . rushed is the best way I can describe it.

When my brother was editing, he found an issue that he thought might be contributing to this problem.  There seemed to be a huge jump in time between chapter six and chapter seven (the chapter that wound up becoming chapter eight).  Something needed to happen between the two chapters, otherwise it would feel disconnected.  Adding onto either chapter would be too awkward.  The best solution would be writing a new chapter to add between them.

This made me ridiculously happy because I was able to write something new.  It had been quite some time since I was able to write something that wasn’t a rewrite or revision.  Finally, I could let my imagination run wild.

As a result, chapter seven is probably one of my favorites in the novel.  It moves really nicely and connects chapter six and chapter eight.  I got to write more about the rebel Lair and the scentless men.  I was also really happy to be able to write the Deverells and the Four working together, which was a lot of fun.

Shall we get to the commentary?

Page 121 – 122

Jensen knows how much he gets under Isis’ skin and it amuses him to no end.  This is like his new pastime.

Alpha is a very smart woman (as I’ve mentioned before).  She’s going to take advantage of this new truce with the protectors.  Especially if she can use it to protect her people.  Alpha’s first concern is always the well being of the rebels and what’s in their best interest.

Jensen is never going to miss an opportunity to imply Isis should be a rebel 😉

“I hate him.  So much.” [122].  This pretty much sums up Isis’ sentiments after every interaction with Jensen 😀

Page 122 – 128

The investigation at the rebel Lair, one of the most fun scenes to write.

My brother often tells me there’s not enough shape shifting in my novels.  It’s really quite difficult to find situations that require shape shifting (though I’m starting to get better at it).

Alpha won’t tolerate outside firearms in her club.  She also won’t let protectors come into her club armed.  She doesn’t trust them that much just yet.

Alex mentions that the men in the Lair sound similar to the ones that tried to attack Sly.  They are one in the same in a manner of speaking (they may not be the exact same men, but they have the same abilities).

Another way Jensen has found to get under Isis’ skin:  making barbs about her having been raised by humans.  Shae and Alex find Isis’ aggravation with Jensen to be hilarious (because it kind of is).

The woman in the cloak at the rebel Lair:  she’s a bit of a mysterious figure who I pictured as a kind of watcher.  I have a real soft spot for mysterious characters.  Readers can come up with their own interpretations/theories.

The Lair is a massive sprawling place.  Covering it entirely is almost impossible.  When I was writing it, I tried to give the impression that it might stretch on forever (which it feels like sometimes).

Alpha always watches over the Lair.  She likes to perch up high and observe the activity from above.

I often describe the scentless men as nondescript or plain.  It’s a form of camouflage.  They’re people you’d pass on the street and not spare a second glance.  They’re not individuals.  They have no drives or desires.  They only exist to follow orders.

Isis’ first encounter with these men is meant to be unsettling.  She can’t keep track of them.  Yet Isis isn’t scared of them.  If anything, she’s more curious and wants to figure out how the hell they’re moving so fast 🙂

Jensen pops up at the perfect moment.  Isis finally finds a use for him.  This interaction was a lot of fun to write (Isis gets the upper hand fairly quickly and without really even trying).

Jensen is out of place in a club (and in the Lair in particular).  He’s over-dressed with his nice clothes, for one thing.  Jensen also can’t stand the music.  He’s much more into classical (obviously).

Isis is really getting back at Jensen in this scene.  She has found a way to mess with him and is doing it mercilessly 😀

Jensen and Isis actually make a fairly good team (when they’re not at each others throats).  They’re doing a fairly good job of observing the situation.  Isis has noticed something that will come into play a little later.  Jensen is following her lead.

The end of this scene makes me laugh every damn time.  Jensen isn’t often flustered, but when he is, it’s really freaking funny 😀

Page 128 – 129

Malone and Devin are the Deverells who work together most often.  Malone tends to be the more grim of the two (he’s older than Devin).  He’s fairly entertained in this small scene.  I think this is one of the only times he smiles.

Malone and Devin were the most difficult Deverells to decipher.  In my mind, I pictured Malone as being a little like a sheepdog:  his brothers are his flock and he’s fiercely protective of them.  He’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe.  Devin is much more laid back and takes things as they come.  Things roll right off his back.

The protectors are surrounded by these strange scentless men.  There’s only six, but they move faster than anything the shape shifters have ever encountered.  The strange man are being used to taunt them (the Big Bad is enjoying this immensely).

Page 130 – 131

I wrote Alex as a character who doesn’t like having her inhibitions inhibited.  She tends to avoid things that would compromise her senses or her mind, even if only temporarily.

Jade is rather frustrated.  The Lair isn’t the ideal location to try to figure out what these scentless men are and what they want.  The lighting is disorienting and the Lair is always jam packed.  Jade can work under different conditions (including those that are less than ideal), but this is still a rather frustrating situation.

Alex saves them when she spots another threat aside from the scentless men.  Alex is the quietest member of the Four, but she’s an extremely valuable member of the team.

Page 131 – 135

Protectors start training in self-defense and fighting very early in life.  They’re skilled combatants and it’s how they survive.  Jensen is more skilled than much, having spent a good part of his life dodging attempts on his life.  He could easily go up against any assassin, or pretty much any shape shifter.  Unfortunately, these scentless men aren’t shape shifters.  They’re something shape shifters haven’t encountered before.  So Jensen, and the other protectors, are at a severe disadvantage.

Needless to say, the first encounter Jensen has with a scentless man is violent.  When I was writing this, I had in mind that Jensen is the only one the scentless men have permission to kill.  This is the first time the reader “sees” the scentless men become physical.  If this had been an ordinary opponent, Jensen would have easily and quickly gotten the upper hand.  Unfortunately, he’s up against an opponent who doesn’t feel pain and who is much, much stronger than shape shifters.

Isis to the rescue!  And the return of her trusty baton!  😀

Even after the skirmish, Jensen and Isis are still tormenting each other.  I nearly edited out the part where Isis presses on Jensen’s cracked (possibly broken) ribs.  It seemed rather vicious.  In the end, I left it in because it fit the scene (and this is Isis).  Hey, she does help him up 😉

I loved the idea of Isis using Jensen (and not telling anyone, not even him).  It’s a horrible, dangerous thing to do.  There were so many things that could have gone wrong.  Isis is a little overconfident at times, but so is Jensen.  He’s a little offended at being used as bait, but his first reaction is “that was actually a decent plan.”  These two characters have a reckless streak, which isn’t always a great thing.

Isis is starting to develop some protector instincts.  Her reactions tend to be those of a protector in Through Storm and Night.  When shots ring out, she automatically (and almost without thinking) pushes Jensen to the ground, out of danger.  Even though it results in her getting grazed.

Jensen sees Isis bleeding and it sends a spike of fear through him.  He has been surrounded by violence and death for most of his life.  He’s incredibly uneasy at the thought of someone getting hurt because of him, even if it is a minor wound.  Obviously, Isis doesn’t realize this.

There is adrenaline coursing through Isis’ system.  She is desperate to catch up to and help the other three, even though she’s kind of trapped where she is.  She isn’t really paying attention to anything else.

Isis punches Jensen (actually punches him) for trying to help her.  That’s a typical reaction for her if someone’s hovering 🙂  And she lets him look at her arm just to shut him up.  She’s the kind of person who lets people help her to “stop their whining” 😉 (note:  I’m laughing way too much right now).

Page 135 – 137

To write this scene, I had to look up a few things that probably made me look like a serial killer.  Here’s what my search history was:

-how many volts are fatal
-how many amps are fatal
-how many amps in a Taser gun
-Hogtie bondage

This search history was second only to one I had for a scene in the third novel 🙂

This scene between Onyx and Sly is meant to show the more ruthless side of Sly.  She isn’t a sadist, but she knows how to use pain and doesn’t hesitate to inflict it.  Pain doesn’t bother her, not her own and not others.

There’s a brief mention of Sly’s past.  She has had many careers and many experiences in her long life.

This a good scene for understanding the character of Sly.  She’s brilliant, but she’s dangerous as hell.  And she’s not above toying with people, particularly those she doesn’t like.  Sly doesn’t hate anyone (hasn’t met anyone who is worth the time or effort hate requires), but there are quite a few people she doesn’t like.  Onyx is someone she definitely doesn’t like.  Also, Sly talks about violence the way most people talk about the weather.

Page 137 – 139

I wanted to include a scene with the villains, since they’re in the background for most of this novel.

I debated for a while whether to include this important reveal in this chapter.  I decided to do it because it provided the sense of menace I needed for the rising action.  Also, as a reader, it’s sometimes fun to know more than the characters do.

I’ve always found it creepy when people use different voices for different situations.  Not in regards to volume, but when they change their accent and octave to the point where their voice is completely different.  Inconsistent accents can sometimes be unsettling.  No idea why.  When I was writing this book, I had planned this villain out and how she changes her entire personality (and voice) depending on the situation.  She’s really good at what she does and she’s frighteningly skilled at hiding her identity.  She can change practically everything about herself at will.

[Spoiler!  The Big Bad wiped out Tracy’s entire culture, one of the earliest ones, and erased all evidence of it.  So her accent is unidentifiable.  She’s the only one that remains of her culture, which she never cared for.  She traded it, and her freedom, in exchange for immortality.  She allowed an entire people to be wiped out for immortality.  Tracy believes in what she’s doing and sees the price she paid as fair.  She believes in, and is loyal to, the Corporation.  In her mind, the Big Bad is fully justified in conquering the Earth and the Meadows.  Tracy has always been loyal to Grenich and follows orders without question, which makes her a favorite of the Big Bad.  She’s a servant, a position she considers to be an honorable one.]

Onyx acts mostly in her own self-interests, but she can be a little unpredictable at times.  This makes her a liability.

The scentless men are the least dangerous products the Grenich Corporation has made.  These guys are nothing compared to the ones readers meet later.  These are disposable.  Grenich doesn’t even bother arming them.  At this point, the Big Bad is using the last few to set things in motion.  His army is growing, he’s got newer and better products, and no longer needs the scentless men.

The Big Bad pretty much controls assassins at this point in the story.  Assassins are motivated mainly by money, which the Big Bad controls most of.  He’s really good at using motivations to manipulate people.

Those who work for the Big Bad never threaten.  They warn.  He doesn’t even bother doing either.

Page 139 – 141

Alpha is pissed.  To be fair, she has every right to be (she lost a ton of business because of the pandemonium.  To say nothing of the rebels who were endangered because of it).  Still, she’s going to rant a bit.

I love Alpha’s line about protectors stomping around like a herd of goddamn elephants 😀  She has a lot of really great lines in this small scene.

One of my absolute favorite parts of this scene:  Alex reading a book at the bar, completely unbothered.

Jensen and Isis’ exchange concerning the bounty on his head was something that always made me laugh.  There’s a small change in their dynamic:  Isis has figured out a couple ways to get under his skin.  She’s also saved him twice (although . . . does it count if she used him as bait?)

Alpha swears like a fucking lady!  😀

At this point, even Alpha is fed up with the High Council.  Though, as a rebel, she already saw them as pretty useless.  Now she sees them as completely fucking things up with inaction.  They kind of are:  they’ve got a potentially useful source who probably has some really valuable information and they’re dragging their heels because of tradition.  The High Council is meant to be rather infuriating.

Page 141 – 143

The chapter had to end with Sly and Onyx.  This scene is actually mentioned in the next book, From the Ashes.

Sly doesn’t fuck around.  This was another scene where I tried to show how dangerous she is.  Sly is capable of empathy, but she’s also capable of ignoring it.  She can be as merciless as an assassin when she needs to be.  If she hadn’t been interrupted, she would have beat Onyx like a pinata.

Sly’s completely at ease in this situation.  This is something she has done before, more than once.  Sly’s prepared to kill Onyx if it comes to that.  She’s mainly interested in getting answers, but she won’t hesitate to kill if things go sideways.

I wanted this scene to end after an abrupt and unexpected change in scenery.  The reader is meant to feel slightly disoriented (similar to Sly).

As a character, Sly is fearless.  She doesn’t get scared, she figures out how to get the advantage (or how to take control of the situation.  Or she sits back and watches things unfold, probably laughing).  For all her faults, Sly is definitely a valuable ally to have.

So ends commentary for chapter seven.  That was an unusually difficult commentary to write.  I was having trouble figuring out what to write (I didn’t want to just tell the story, which you can/have read).

If you’re enjoying this commentary, and I very much hope you are, I hope you consider purchasing a copy of my novels.  It’s more fun reading these commentaries if you know what the hell is going on.  Also, you’d be helping a little indie genre feminist author.  That’s always a wonderful thing to do 🙂

See you tomorrow for chapter eight commentary.  Virtual hugs 😀

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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