“Through Storm and Night” Chapter Eleven 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.

Through Storm and Night Covers OfficalHello wonderful readers!  I hope you had a great day today 🙂

I’ve been dreading this commentary for a long time for a couple reasons.  I don’t know how to discuss a fairly massive spoiler without spoiling things, for one.  When I started working on Through Storm and Night I knew this event (which I’ll refer to as “the Trap”) was going to happen.  It needed to for the story to go in the direction I needed it to.  It didn’t make it any easier to write.  I’ve spent most of this afternoon trying to avoid writing about it because revisiting it is still rather sad.

Chapter eleven is the one that makes a lot of readers go “wait, what!?  What just happened!?”  I love, love, love that disbelief.  You guys are the best! 😀

I think chapter eleven may be the most important in the series.  It sets up everything that happens in the rest of the series.  Unfortunately, it also leads to some rather negative repercussions for the protectors (and a few characters in particular).  The story takes a rather dark turn, but the mystery continues on.

Shall we?

Page 193 – 198

I had an idea about a very disjointed nightmare to start the chapter with.  Random images can often be rather unsettling.  It was important to give this chapter a sense of dread right out of the gate.  I wanted the reader to anticipate something happening, even if they weren’t exactly sure what.  As a reader, you can only sit back and watch events unfold.

Feline imagery recurs throughout this series, in case you hadn’t noticed.  There’s a reason for that, which I’ll go more into in the commentary for book three, From the Ashes.

(Note:  I write these commentaries in a spiral first and then type it up on WordPress.  I scratched out a lot of stuff in today’s commentary.  God damn, it’s kind of hard to read).

Jensen rarely sleeps peacefully.  The closest he comes is probably in the beginning of this chapter.

Most shape shifters are great lovers.  There’s a joke in this series that none surpass the Deverells (something Nero brags about endlessly).

More cold 😉

Of course Isis is going to borrow the Jaguar to go back to the mansion.  She’s not just going to walk in the cold.  At least she leaves a note 🙂

Oh god, any scene with Nero is a fun scene to write.  As a character, Nero has really great timing.  He’s always right where I need him to be.

Nero, though he’s completely loyal to the guardians, is a protector who doesn’t really care about what other shape shifters do in their personal lives or who they sleep with.  He would never rat out Jensen and Isis (he really doesn’t care about that one sacred law).

Jensen and Nero are like brothers.  And they are incapable of passing up an opportunity to mess with each other 😀

[SPOILER!  Readers of the series can probably guess why I find the scene on page 195 so sad.  That one sentence was even more difficult to write than the Trap itself]

Nero dousing Jensen with water:  I had to include one last bit of lightheartedness, as much for myself as for the reader.  These two characters are just so funny together.  This was also a way for me to poke fun at the tired old trope of men being protective of women relatives.  By the way, if you’re one of those dudes who has rules for the men his daughter dates (thereby treating her like your property instead of an actual human being):  fuck you.  (If on the other hand, you believe in this, you are a wonderful, wonderful human being and I thank you for recognizing gender equality 🙂

My brother is very much to thank for this scene between Jensen and his nosy neighbor.  In an early draft, Jensen was quite peevish during this exchange.  While editing, my brother pointed out that this wasn’t in character for Jensen.  No, Jensen is going to mess with this woman as much as possible 😀

I absolutely hate/loath/despise the term “bromance.”  There are a couple of reasons why.  It’s somewhat homophobic for one thing.  For another, there’s no equivalent for women.  It also suggests that friendships between men are so unusual and weird that it requires its own term.  I told a friend a while ago that I would probably get so annoyed if this term were applied to Nero and Jensen (which I know it probably would be, because the world is fucking awful).  Slash fic about these two, I wouldn’t mind at all.  Just don’t use that god awful term.

“You realize I’m going to have a reputation now” [197].  As if Jensen gives a damn 😉

Character print:  Nero will sometimes speak with a brogue (that he insists is completely authentic).  The thing is, Nero often forgets to keep speaking with it.  As Jensen observes, it seems to take days off on occasion.

I wrote this scene to show the relationship between these two characters.  Nero is used to Jensen’s occasional bouts of moodiness.  These two are a strange pair of unlikely friends.  In any other circumstance, these two probably wouldn’t have become friends (Jensen is just a little too intense and Nero’s much too easygoing).  Yet they’ve become like brothers over the years.  Nero’s able to call Jensen out on his occasional distorted thinking and can snap him out of his funks.

Jensen is a character who feels weighted down by his past.  He has the tendency to blame himself for things he couldn’t have possibly done anything about.

“Jensen, I love you like a brother, but you need to lighten the fuck up” [198].  Nero hits the nail directly on the head.  My brother enjoys this character (he thinks most of my characters are too grim.  I can’t count how many times during editing he would point out blatant wangst and direct me to this link, because I had no idea what the fuck that meant 🙂

Page 198 – 201

This is the scene where the Trap slams shut.  While editing, my brother and I disagreed a little about the execution of this scene.  [SPOILER!  He didn’t like the finality and how it was impossible to avoid or get out of.  I argued that was what made it effective and why Grenich was so scary:  the Big Bad can create these situations you can’t get out of.  The Trap was almost completely unavoidable.  My brother wasn’t completely convinced, but this was the only way I could make the scene work]

In the cold (cold!) dead house.  I always knew this was where the Trap would take place.  [SPOILER!  Originally the character was shot in the head, but that didn’t work for a couple reasons that I will probably get into in the commentary for book three]

This is also the last time we see the fast-moving scentless men.  The one in this scene was the very last of that particular product line.  He served his purpose and then expired.

This scene was so difficult for me to write.  I know, I know, all writers say that.  It’s probably quite obnoxious.  Still, my heart hurts re-reading this 😦

Originally, this scene ended a lot more abruptly, but my brother convinced me to change it [SPOILER!  He insisted that this character had to go down fighting and get one last punch in.  I’m really glad he caught that and convinced me.  It helped take some of the sting out of the scene]

[SPOILER!  The symbol of the Corporation being drawn on the wall is an important detail, one that recalls the mystery that started this whole thing]

Page 201 – 202

There are a couple ways I describe Grenich in regards to their influence and power.  It’s like an alien life form with numerous tentacles.  These tentacles are in just about every facet of power in the world.  It’s also a lot like a virus that has infected just about everything.

[SPOILER!  Tracy is still undercover.  When I wrote this character, I made a note that she’s incapable of love and affection for others.  The only thing she loves is the Corporation and the Big Bad.  Tracy will do anything for her superiors]

I think this is the first time the reader gets a “glimpse” of the Big Bad (the voice on the other end of the line).

Page 202 – 207

Jensen is really attached to his car.  In his defense, it’s a nice car.

Obviously, I wrote small clues and bits of foreshadowing along the road.  At this point, I was hoping that the reader is still stunned from the scene before last one.  I wanted to pull the rug completely out from under them.

I wanted the scene in the Trap to be very odd.  It doesn’t quite make sense.  The reader “sees” a lot of things that Nero and Jensen don’t.  The reader knows something (a few things) aren’t right about this scene.

Dearest reader, you have probably noticed that there aren’t a lot of coincidences in this series.  In fact, I don’t think there are any.

I had a friend who read this book refer to these suspicious paramedics (one of whom Nero slept with) as “those two blonde bimbos”  😀  It made me laugh.

[SPOILER!  Everyone in this scene is part of a Grenich retrieval team.  They’re quite low-ranking in Corporation, servants.  They get excited by death and live to please their superiors.  Shape shifters are disgusted by those who worship death.  Protectors are also disgusted by those who treat death cavalierly]

The names of some of the villains in this series come from people I’ve met who were complete fucking douche bags.  Of course, when I do this, I run the risk of meeting someone nice who happens to have the same name as one of my villains (or possibly a reader).  That can be quite awkward.  I actually have a funny anecdote about something like this about the fourth novel, Haunted by the Keres.

This was another really difficult scene to write because I had to write a fairly likeable character breaking.  It’s hard for me to write something like that.  We’ve all been broken at some point in our lives, in different degrees.  [SPOILER!  This is probably the third time in his life that Jensen’s been broken.  One can only be put back together so many times and there will always be cracks/scars.  By the end of this scene, he’s barely functional and not really aware of anything]

Nero’s feeling incredibly lost at the end of this scene.  His dialogue with his brother:  Nero wants instructions.  He wants his brother to tell him what to do (even though he doesn’t outright ask it).

So ends commentary for chapter eleven 😥

That was such a tough chapter.  The next one is a little easier to get through, but only just.  It deals with a lot of fallout.

If you’re looking to do some last minute holiday shopping, my books make great gifts.  You’d be supporting a little indie author.  Every book sold helps me achieve my dream of being a storyteller.  Please, won’t you be so kind to an indie artist this year 🙂

By the way, if you’re a spammer and you have the gall to email me about hocking your crappy merchandise on my site, this is always going to be my response:

So just don’t. 

(Indie artists:  I’m considering doing something on my blog highlighting the work of fellow indie artists.  It’s still only a half-formed idea, one I’m not ready to try planning more fully until after these commentaries.  But feel free to drop me an email if you’d ever be interested in maybe an interview or a guest post on this blog)

As always, 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.
This entry was posted in Through Storm and Night, Writing Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s