May 182017
 

Finally, it’s here! Sorry this took so long. Please forgive me for any dictation related typos. If something doesn’t make sense, read it out loud and hopefully it’ll make more sense. If you are not up-to-date with the story as of Chapter 55, do not read this. You will be spoiled if you do.

Jade Vanadium asked – “Hmmm has Shreya ever been with someone before? Or had a crush on someone? We know Ellie’s been with at least one person before, but I don’t remember seeing anything about Shreya’s romantic history.”

I forget what chapter this happened in, but the most sage advice that Shanti gave to Shreya was something to the tune of “just because she is your first doesn’t mean that she is your only one.” She was referring to Ellie there.

As for crushes, I’ve gone back and forth about it. I’ve also gone back and forth on if she’s only ever liked women. I think I’m leaning towards that she would’ve admired certain people for certain qualities, but I don’t know if she ever allowed that admiration to develop into full-blown crushes. I think she would’ve wanted to be in a relationship in a vague sense, but not have an exact object of desire for that relationship.

Of course, I go back and forth about this so honestly I’m not 100% sure. Thanks for the question!

mathtans asked – “1. How do you decide when to go back and forth between the two locations (humans and wolves)? For instance, is it totally a whim, or whenever a key event occurs, or a desire to have at least one shift every five parts, something else completely?”

Usually it would be when a key event occurs. It might be less to do with the location and more to do with the character of the them self. Sometimes I get antsy staying with a certain location for too long, so then I’ll make the switch. If I need a hold readers in suspense, I’ll think about making the switch. So… Partially a whim and partially when the story calls for it.

mathtans asked – “1b. Related, how do you decide on the point of view character? Like, when you have a scene where you know Ellie and Zinnia will talk, how do you decide who gets the perspective? (The Marietta perspective a few parts back was interesting, I hadn’t expected that one. Or that you’d have it as a vote last time.)”

Forgive me for abusing the word sometimes here. 🙂 There are several factors that go into me deciding whose perspective I’m going to write from.

It could be that it’s a pivotal moment for one of the characters. I could be obscuring their true intentions by not showing their thoughts. And when we’re away from a character’s head, their actions and dialogue is up to more interpretation, especially from the character whose point of view we are looking through. It builds up a little bit more mystery.

We spent a lot of time away from Ellie’s perspective after Shreya’s reveal because of that. If we had been with Ellie, we would’ve known what she was thinking up-to-the-minute. We (the readers) might not have had to worry as much and speculate as much from Zinnia’s perspective if we all knew what Ellie was thinking. I think that also helped with the choices during that part of the story.

Another factor could be that I’m in the mood to write in a certain style. I don’t know if the writing comes off this way, by with certain characters I have to enter certain head spaces when I write as them. These “modes” of writing dictate word choice, rhythm and flow, and particular writing techniques that I can call upon. I feel like when I’m in the Shreya headspace, I can play around with the prose a lot more. I think she’s more prone to darker introspection, although Ellie has been encroaching on that territory lately. When I’m in Ellie’s headspace, I can incorporate her commentary and sarcasm and (more recently) her bitterness. Marietta doesn’t angst as much as the others, so it’s fun to use her as a reprieve. Zinnia, I try to sound more serious, a little less silly when I do her parts (unless I am using her as the “straight man” in a scene).

So part of that is also me asking myself whose headspace would work better for a particular scene.

Sometimes, I could be choosing a particular perspective because I want to mention something that happened and I don’t think dialogue would be enough to get it across. I think the Marietta chapter you may be referring to is the one in which she shows that she’s been teaching Sunflower how to talk? At that point, I wanted to check in with Marietta about the Ellie in Shreya situation and let everyone know a little bit more about what she’s been doing with Sunflower. I wanted to shake off some of that mystery and confusion that Zinnia felt when she first noticed how Marietta seem to have been treating Sunflower (the cleanliness, etc.).

And sometimes, I find it easier to write as certain characters. It could be because I haven’t fully decided on a character’s true intentions in a scene or I feel like I can pull better emotions out of certain character, so I pick one over the other.

mathtans asked – “2. What’s the highest degree of technology they have available? I’m trying to recall if we’ve had evidence of refrigerators. Is there anyone in town trying to invent horseless carriages or voice recorders or photographs? Does tech level depend on the city you live in?”

I think the closest thing to a refrigerator was seen in the chapter where Ellie was taking the leftovers out of the basement and Hildegarde caught her doing it. That may have been described as an ice box, but I don’t exactly remember.

Yes, tech level does depend on the town that you’re in. A long time ago, we had that Council debate about electricity. There are towns out there that are more advanced than Stockbrunn. Stockbrunn is rather far off from other communities and they are surrounded by a forest, so they’ve been a little more insular I would say than other communities in the country. This has contributed to them being more behind. I don’t know if this was touched on in the story. Maybe one of the Intendants mentioned his worries about the Stockbrunnians following too far behind.

I don’t think anyone in Stockbrunn is trying to invent horseless carriages. I think that many people in the town are stuck in old ways, and figure that if things work a certain way, there’s no point in making improvements. Why fix what isn’t broken? I’ve considered phonographs and old-school projectors in town, but I’ve gone back and forth about it. If there were voice recorders around, they’d be limited to a more elite part of the population (and I imagine that in other towns, Stockbrunn’s elite would be seen as laughable — I’m looking forward to Ellie someday having to interact with other towns so we can see their views on Stockbrunn).

If there was photography, it would probably be a more recent development, meaning that be in the early stages of it. I think it would be seen as something that’s fascinating, but a pain to sit there to get your picture taken. I would definitely have to give both of these things more thought. I do that a lot with the technology that I introduce into the story. Sometimes I’ll go with the 19th century version of something and then go with the 18th century version of something else because I think about either their reluctance to develop the technology or about how they might not have viewed it as a necessity, especially because they are a primarily agrarian society.

mathtans asked – “3. Just for kicks, it may have been asked before, but do Ellie, Shreya and Zinnia have favourite foods?”

This is probably the hardest question on this list.

Ellie eats a lot of roasted bird. I’d say… Some type of stuffed quail dish with mashed potatoes and greens. A simple meal, but she’s picky about the butter and salt ratios in the mashed potatoes. Her mother does the cooking at home, even though she could easily hire someone to do it. Hildegarde prefers to be hands-on with most things in her life.

Shreya’s favorite food is whatever food is in front of her, because she doesn’t get to eat enough. 🙂 I think she’d be more into fish over other meats. Lately, she’s been a fan of Ellie’s oatmeal porridge, even though most people would probably disagree with her about how good it is.

Zinnia… That’s tough. I’d say something like smoked sausage, chopped chicken livers, rice, grilled onions, and some type of herb mixed into all of that. You would think because she works with pigs so much, she’d like pork dishes, but I lean towards doubting that. She’d probably like something that would be heavy on her stomach. I think she normally eats simple hardy food that can be made in large batches for her family, since she does the majority of the cooking.

Thanks for the questions!

Anonymous on Tumblr asked – “Do you know the end?”

Nope.

I know some future events I would like to see happen, but I know that there is a definite chance they may not happen. Something like that has already happened a few times in the story, where I’ve expected things to go in a certain direction, but then a vote changes the direction or a more compelling idea calls out to me that week. I try not to plan too far ahead because of that.

Thanks for the question.


 

If any of you have any more questions you’d like me to answer, you can use the Contact page on or the ask box on our Tumblr blog.

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