So, with Chapter 9 of 139, Years to the End of the World, up, I thought I should hold up to my previous arrangement of writing my thoughts on the chapter. I’m just going to ramble a bit, no real formatting here.
I realized with this chapter how hard it is to portray Milton’s emotions given his lack of physical capabilities, and admit that how I wrote the scene of him mourning for his parents felt incomplete, but would likely be how he handled the situation, given his physical imperfections. I also rushed the chapter a little, as I wanted to work more on Where the Stories Go, the novella I’m writing for Blackhill Press’s Summer Writing Project, so it was about a hundred words shorter than my norm. I’m hoping to have that novella done before July though.
But back to Years, Leah was especially fun to write since she didn’t get as much screen time during her introduction chapter and throughout Year One. I have a trope where I always end up with a Luna Lovegood styled character in my stories, like Stella Barber and Sister in 139: In Evening and Amaya Sayuri from my old fanfiction. Mei from my novel-in-progress also fits the billing. There’s a couple more, including one in the upcoming Where the Stories Go that have a similar personality. But when compared to all the others, I think Leah is the toughest and most serious of the lot, as seen in Chapter 2, and I intend to fully explore that personality of hers in the next chapter.
Needless to say, Rowling’s Luna Lovegood, and before that even, Ivy Elgin, one of my favorite characters of all time from Dean Koontz’s Velocity, engraved these golden haired females into my writing. Though I will admit, I can’t really remember if Ivy was blonde or not. Time to go back for a reread! But these entrancing, mysterious and musically tuned girls had been an absolute joy to write. Each of them, though similar, presented a different character. Sister had a seductive, and at the same time, innocent streak. Stella’s tomboyish but light on her soul, with her brother’s never-back-down attitude. They all had this innocence to them that belies great strength, and still held a zen-like, gentle calm. I’m quite sure Leah’s work-minded twist to this trope will be a great fun to explore.
Joan didn’t get that good a chapter, but that’s cause I felt I’ve shown her strength and personality enough throughout Year One. She’s kept her spirit, but with added years for wisdom. Her words to Milton in the chapter’s climax felt very empowering when I wrote it. I just hope that same sense get conveyed to the readers.
Also, Jaye Viner gave some really great feedback in chapter 7. Check her out at her Twitter or her The Lost Vanguard Trail on JukePop. She said that the lack of dramatic tension in the previous chapter made the end quite empty (I’m paraphrasing :P). I tried to go with an episodic style to each chapters where there is a beginning, a middle, a climax, and an end. Something proper and stand alone, but apparently, that just doesn’t work. So I went back with the cliffhanger style with Chapter 9 and I hope everyone likes it.
(Update: Good news! Ivy Elgin will be the main protagonist in Secret Forest, an upcoming novel by the extremely powerful thriller writer, Dean Koontz. Check out the shelves on January 2015!)