“Through Storm and Night” Chapter Nine 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, beloved readers! 🙂

I’m working on very little sleep, so let’s hope I can remain coherent.  I’ve yet to meet a creative person who doesn’t suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia.  Writers often seem to be a sickly bunch.

In my experience, creativity is often linked to a sensitivity to the world.  This can be a double-edged sword:  with more sensitivity comes a greater likelihood of being hurt.  I once read about a possible link between psychological disorders and creativity (if I had more sleep, I could probably recall the title).  Writers in particular seem to suffer from a variety of neurosis.  With the way society stigmatizes mental illness, is it any surprise that many artists use their craft as an outlet?  Is writing a kind of anesthesia or the exact opposite.

These are the things my sleep-deprived mind thinks of.  I have strange rambling trains of thought.

Chapter nine is a fairly short chapter but it was, without a doubt, one of the most fun chapters to write.  There are a couple interesting parts and the last scene was one of my favorite meetings/interactions.

Shall we?

Page 161 – 164

There’s a small time jump between the previous chapter and this one (a couple weeks).  One of the benefits of writing is that it’s easier to do time jumps like this.

Jensen and Isis are sort of friends at this point (sort of.  Isis still really isn’t sure about him).  Jensen, being the charming man he is, has befriended Alex and Shae.  It’s interesting that at this point, I pictured Isis trusting Jensen to watch her back on missions but not necessarily liking him.  She has become better at compartmentalizing her feelings:  she doesn’t have to like everyone she works and/or trains with.

Jensen is annoyingly perfect at just about everything.  This is how I’ve always pictured immortal species:  both fascinating and annoying as hell (with a tendency to be a know-it-all).

Jensen is a really good sparring partner.  Isis still holds her own against him though 🙂

I love Electra’s entrance to this scene.  She knows exactly what they’re doing.  My brother called it “fight fucking,” which is quite inaccurate.  This is playful flirting.  Jensen and Isis are both active individuals who happen to enjoy sparring.

In early versions of this scene, Electra demonstrated some disapproval.  This just wasn’t consistent with her character.  Electra is free-spirited.  She doesn’t care about who sleeps with whom.  She doesn’t care who her sister is attracted to (so long as they respect Isis and don’t hurt her).

“Nah, just getting your sister on her back, which isn’t too difficult a feat.” [163].  This totally warranted a kick in the balls 😉  I always pictured Isis being more offended at the implication that her fighting ability wasn’t as good as his (instead of the implication that she’s easy).

The above line (about getting her on her back) was partly inspired by a couple lines from Romeo & Juliet (Act I, Scene III, lines 43 – 54, I believe.  You can read the scene here).  Juliet’s nurse recounts a story about how Juliet fell on her face when she was a baby, prompting the nurse’s husband to observe that it meant she would fall on her back when she grew up.  I didn’t care much for that play, but that part always cracked me up 😀

Electra knows of Jensen, but the two haven’t spent any extended amount of time together.  They aren’t even really acquaintances.

Electra and Isis have grown closer since Sere from the Green.  They’re a bit more comfortable with each other.  Electra has fun with her twin (teasing her about needing a cold shower after her sparring session with Jensen).

Electra has let go of a lot of the bitterness she had in Sere from the Green.  She’s a lot closer to her usual self in Through Storm and Night.  Electra’s young and she has a very playful side.  She likes shape shifters.  Her teasing Jensen is something I liked.  Even though they don’t really know each other, Electra is comfortable in social settings.  Talking to people, even strangers, comes relatively easy to her.  She’s not as social as Shae, but nowhere near as aloof as Isis.

Page 164 – 167

Poor Jet is in a really frustrating predicament.  He needs to speak with the 2nd Man, but the High Council still hasn’t approved his request.  The 2nd Man’s refusal to cooperate with the guardians has only caused even more delays.  So far, all Jet has gotten from the 2nd Man is the fake Key and a cryptic message in a book.

Jet is incredibly uneasy with the whole situation.  From the appearance to the 2nd Man to the lack of answers about Coop to the strange scentless men, there are just too many weird things going on.

Character print:  Ajax usually wears suits.  It’s his way of remembering his late older brother, Orion.  Orion practically raised his brothers on his own.  When he was killed, Ajax took up the responsibility of keeping his brothers together.  I can’t remember if I left this in the book (or if it’s in the next novel), but the brothers also kept Orion’s car.  They care for it together, another way they keep his memory alive.

This is a nice scene between Ajax and Jet.  Jet has just found out about Halley (who has been avoiding going out for the past couple weeks).  Jet knows there’s a bigger picture, but he’s missing some key pieces.  He really needs to speak with the 2nd Man to see if he can provide these missing pieces.

It’s very rare that Nero’s not thinking about sex.  I once jokingly told someone that Nero’s the only slut in the series.  This is not an accurate description of him (neither is the term “player”).  Both terms suggest a disrespect towards the partner.  Nero enjoys sex, but he’s not interested in any kind of long-term relationship.  He doesn’t use people or lead them on.  He only engages in sex with people who are looking for the same no-strings attached hook-up that he is.  Consent is extremely important to shape shifters, as is respect for all people.

Isis thinks she’s finally going to have a night of peace.  The Four just have to go out on a quick scout/check up.  Of course, things are never that simple.

As Jensen points out, Isis is a bit of a hypocrite in this exchange:  she mentions how shape shifters look down on humans (this coming from a woman who hates practically everyone 😉

The reader finds out a little more about the Deverells.  The two oldest brothers, Orion and Roan, split from their brothers at some point.  Hopefully this caught the readers attention.  It’s very unusual for shape shifter to split up like this.  There’s more to this story, which is touched on more in From the Ashes (the next book in the series).

Page 168 – 169

I love this scene.  It’s a bit weird, but it’s a really funny interaction, which adds a much-needed bit of levity to the chapter.

Isis doesn’t bother locking her door since she’s just grabbing a few things before running out again.

I tried to show that Isis has become used to Jensen’s presence.  He wanders into her room, hops up on her bed, and she doesn’t even bat an eye.  She doesn’t mind him being in her space, which is unusual for her.

Isis still tends to answer Jensen’s questions with more questions.  It’s their way of taunting each other, but it’s much more playful at this point.  Their relationship has evolved a little.

The scene becomes a little more serious when Jensen mentions what happened to Halley, not realizing Isis was going to meet her at the diner.  Isis is horrified at the thought that it could be her fault.  Isis is the kind of person who does her best not to do any harm.  If someone were seriously hurt because of her, Isis would feel an enormous amount of guilt.  It’s like a nightmare suddenly becoming reality.

In the original draft of this scene, Isis didn’t tell Jensen who she had been going to meet.  While going through edits, my brother pointed out that she really doesn’t have a good reason not to confess.  It really doesn’t matter at this point.

Isis is so distracted by that news that she kind of forgets Jensen is even there.

The awkward moment between these two makes me laugh so much.  Every goddamn time! 😀

I considered having these two kiss, but decided it was really out of character for both of them.  I prefer this version with Jensen grabbing her wrist, which causes them to stand really close to each other, and then Jensen has no idea what to do.  “Uh.  I have your wrist [uncomfortable pause].  I should probably let go [another uncomfortable pause].  Right.”  😀

For some reason, whenever someone almost walks into a door, I find it completely hilarious.  It’s one of the few things that’s guaranteed to make me laugh every time.  Of course I had to include it in this novel 😉

Page 169 – 171

I’ve always been interested in small things people do when they’re distracted and/or deep in thought.  For example, I tend to twirl a pen around my fingers (which my cats find mesmerizing).  Isis often drums her fingers, much to the chagrin of the other three.

Obviously, Isis is really confused by the awkward moment she had with Jensen.  Isis isn’t really used to liking people and she’s very wary of new experiences.  Plus, she doesn’t know exactly how much drama she’s willing to tolerate as far as the guardians go.

Shae recognizes the chemistry between Jensen and Isis.  She also knows Isis is going to deny it.  So she’s going to point it out as much as she can 😉

The lighthearted mood comes to a somewhat abrupt end when they arrive at Cara’s house [SPOILER!  I knew the Big Bad would bring death wherever he went and not only to living things.  The places he enters age to the point of becoming decrepit.  They take on a heavy atmosphere, as if they had also died.  There’s a coldness left in the wake of the Big Bad.  When Jet and Sly visited Cara, her house was warm and alive.  Now it’s cold and barren.]

I moved the next part of this scene to the next chapter.  I wanted to leave the reader wondering about the creepiness of the scene.  I have to keep the pages turning 😉

Page 171 – 176

Possibly one of my favorite scenes in the book.  This was another scene that was originally two scenes, which I combined into one.  I really didn’t mind the change.  The scene reads fine both ways.

There’s a nice contrast between the previous scene and this one in the Meadows.  The Meadows is always warm and lively, a very inviting atmosphere.  The previous setting couldn’t be more opposite of this one.

Electra really doesn’t like the idea of her mother talking to the 2nd Man.  Electra would be happy if he were locked away for an eternity (after speaking with Jet, obviously).

Passion is very good at talking to people and getting them to open up to her.  If anyone can get answers out of the 2nd Man, it’s probably Passion.

Even Passion wouldn’t go into the dungeons without permission from Adonia.  Both Adonia and Artemis are aware of Passion’s strengths, including her persuasiveness.  They know Jet needs the information the 2nd Man has and the High Council isn’t going to move any faster.  Adonia has granted Passion permission because Passion has the best chance of getting that information for Jet.

Passion really struggles to keep her personal feelings buried for this scene, but isn’t quite able to.  A lot of Passion’s strength comes from her intensity and her emotions.  To deny them is to deny a part of who she is.

There aren’t many people who intimidate the 2nd Man (not even many guardians).  Passion intimidates him.  There’s a part of him that hoped he wouldn’t have to see her, though he knew he likely would eventually.

Passion’s fury is something to be feared, as is her wrath (which is saved for those foolish enough to threaten her loved ones).

Passion isn’t about to let the 2nd Man dodge questions or get away with overly vague responses.

Interestingly, the 2nd Man is doing his best to protect his mysterious ally, the doctor.  I’ve often thought of the 2nd Man’s motivations, which sometimes change and are often pretty murky.  Though the doctor saved the 2nd Man’s life, the 2nd Man doesn’t believe in life debts.  It’s certainly not why he allied with the doctor.  He’s fighting for his very survival, and that of the doctor’s as well as the few people the 2nd Man cares about.  If Grenich succeeds in conquering the Meadows, the shape shifters and guardians are fucked.  His motivations are never purely self-interested.

While this isn’t the biggest challenge Passion has ever faced, this is still an incredibly difficult situation for her.  She doesn’t really want to talk to the 2nd Man, but Passion is willing to do it for Jet.

The thing about this scene is that the 2nd Man is being as honest as he can be with Passion.  Unfortunately, because of his past, nobody can take him at his word or give him the benefit of the doubt.  He’ll always be suspect and whatever he tells them will have to be confirmed by other sources.

As dark as his past is, the 2nd Man is nothing compared to the Grenich Corporation.  The Big Bad does things that disturbs even someone like the 2nd Man.

The 2nd Man is the most honest with Passion, even though he refuses to give her any kind of important information.  He does his best to explain why he can’t, but she’s not satisfied with his excuses.

The 2nd Man does want to help and he does want to change, but his stubbornness is preventing him from doing so.

So ends commentary for chapter nine.  Whew.  We’re flying right through this novel 🙂

So if you look up on the menu bar, you’ll notice a new tab:  Downloads.  I’ve created a page where I upload completed commentaries so you don’t have to hunt through the blog.  Right now, I have the complete commentary for “Sere from the Green” available for download.  In the future, I plan to upload other documents as well (hopefully, once I’m done with commentary, I’ll be able to work on a glossary and a character guide).

Dear reader, how many books on your shelf are from self-published authors?  How many on your eReader?  It always amazes me how many “unbiased” readers don’t have a single indie author in their reading material.  Why don’t we change that?  Go out, find an indie author, and pick up a copy of their book.  Whenever you buy a self-published book, you support the author and show that you believe the power should be in the readers hands 🙂

That’s my short “support indie authors” spiel.  It’s so important and I wish more people were passionate about indie authors.

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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