My spine sprung a leak so I was back in the hospital today getting that patched up with my own blood. Turns out that’s way more painful than the spinal tap itself. Very exciting. They tell me I’ll recover in another day or two. Sorry, everyone.
Everyone has been so sweet. Thank you for your kind messages. I still can’t really sit up or move much but I’m told the procedure went very smoothly and I don’t seem to have any major complications. Trying to recover as quickly as possible. It’s very boring just lying here with my phone. Love you all.
I had to look up what spinal taps are for and...I just hope it's not serious. Feel better.
Thanks. It isn’t life-threatening or anything. About a month and a half ago I lost some feeling in the left side of my body and we initially thought it might have been a stroke (I have a genetic blood disorder that predisposes me to clots) but an MRI showed possible multiple sclerosis, and this LP is meant to confirm that diagnosis. tl;dr serious but not deadly
On that note, I’m awake now but not mobile. Hi, everyone!
Just a general notice to my readers: I’m going in for a spinal tap tomorrow morning. It may or may not affect 187's updates for the next few days. There's a chance I won't be able to sit upright until my cerebrospinal fluid replenishes, and I'll probably want to be unconscious as much as possible because I'm told it's very painful. So! There's that. Thanks for your patience.
15:What would you say has inspired you the most? I don’t know about “the most”, but… My life, first of all. My writing isn’t autobiographical but a lot of my experiences end up in there, in an abstracted sense. Writing is a little therapeutic for me. There are a lot of things I’m trying to understand about people I’ve known and things that have happened to me, which I end up working out in writing characters that are like those people. My husband often points to things I’ve written and says, “This is really about so-and-so, isn’t it?” And he’s not wrong. But stylistically, I think there’s a lot of noir film in there, a lot of mystery and horror. And music does so much for me. Everything has a soundtrack.
20:What’s your favorite writing program? I love ZenWriter a lot, but lately I’m just writing in Google Drive so that I can hop from my computer to my iPad whenever I want.
29:Which do you find easiest: writing or editing? Everything is torture. I just want to get the thing out of my head and into its finished, readable state as fast as possible.
35:What’s your favorite time of day for writing? When everything in the world is completely silent, from around three in the morning to dawn.
46:Describe your perfect writing space. My family’s home in Greece. It’s been years since I’ve been able to go back, but it’s a quaint little house a block from the Gulf of Corinth, and my favorite thing is to sit out on the wraparound porch with my laptop and my frappé and simply write for hours without the internet or people or anything to distract me. There’s something about the air there.
01:When did you first start writing? I wrote my first novella when I was 9, which was about a hundred standard word processor pages, though I can’t remember how many words. It was a ghost story about a girl who died in an orphanage fire. Nearly got published, too.
02:What was your favorite book growing up? It’s hard to pick a favorite. I was very into horror series, so I read a lot of R.L. Stine and Stephen King and Anne Rice. Approaching adolescence, I was absolutely obsessed with Elizabeth Hand’s Winterlong.
08:What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten? “Less is more.”
10:What’s your biggest writer pet-peeve? Long exposition given in the prose rather than allowing it to come through organically as the story plays out. It happens sometimes by necessity, but I always think it’s best to show rather than tell, so I get a bit annoyed if I’m sitting there reading paragraph upon paragraph of such-and-such is happening because of so-and-so that did something way back whenever. The reader doesn’t always have to know everything. Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing. On the flip side, though, there are fun ways to play with long exposition, like Susanna Clarke’s handling of footnotes in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. So it all depends.
12:Who is your favorite author? Haruki Murakami. Holy hell, what an amazing storyteller.
21:Do you outline? I outline so much. I like to know every major beat in a story so I can get my pacing right. I’m not chained to the outline, though. If something begins to unfold in the telling, I’ll move things around or change them altogether.
24:What’s your favorite & least favorite part of plotting? I don’t really know how to answer this. Plots come to me intuitively. I’m mostly letting the characters run around and tell me what to put on the page, so it doesn’t feel like something I’m working at. My process mostly involves me getting stoned and listening to music at ass o’clock in the morning, jotting things down when I see something cool in the movie that’s playing in my head. I guess the tricky part is knowing your characters well enough that you can let the muse run loose but not go off the rails.
27:Which is your favorite genre to write? Drama. I can’t narrow it down much further than that, because I like crime and horror and slice-of-life and touches of sci-fi and fantasy all rolled up. All I know is that I’m not much of a comedy writer. Even my humor is so dark it’s pitch black.
37:What’s your oldest WIP?Machine Flower. I wrote it as a novel when I was 12 (and I’m almost 30 now), then I made it a webcomic, and now I’m toying with it as a novel again. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be finished with it.
48:If you could write the next book of any series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about? I’m so into writing about Breaking Bad right now that it’s hard to think about anything else. I want to play in this world for as long as I can. It isn’t a book series, even, but that’s where I’m at. And my next fic picks up at the end of Felina, so! That’s all I’m saying.
49:If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about? Me and metonymph have a good repartee, I feel like. I bet we could write something that’s a nice balance of devastating and hilarious. She’s really fantastic.
50:If you could live in any fictional world, which would it be?His Dark Materials. I want a daemon.
If I were writing 187 I probably would have given up before chapter 10. Big kudos to you for taking on such an ambitious project and congratulations on being so close to finishing. :)
Thank you so much, friend! The easiest way to not give up is to just put in your time every day and not think about the big number. I forced myself to write at least 200 words a day… which would sometimes end up being a thousand! And maybe one day’s work would turn out complete trash because I was exhausted or something, but that’s what revisions are for. Give yourself a good buffer to work with if you’ve got a release schedule so meeting your daily goal isn’t any stress at all. Then you’re golden! ♥
Again, I’m afraid I don’t want to say too much about Jack’s motivation, but I agree with many of the points you’ve made. I’m going to have to leave it there, for fear of spoiling the people who do intend to finish the story.
Other scattered notes:
White supremacist gangs frequently brand their slaves, and when Ozymandias aired, people posted screencaps of what looked like swastika-shaped blood stains on Jesse’s shirt. I ran with it.
There’s not much I can say about your personal dislike for the use of Stockholm Syndrome in fiction. To each their own. But I will say that a lot of Jesse’s behaviors and delusions come from what I’ve observed in my own life and victims of abuse that I’ve personally encountered, as well as what we’ve seen of his own desperation and search for approval throughout the series itself. To call it fanservice skirts on offensive to me, so I’m leaving it there.
I find Jesse’s empathy to be what really makes Jesse Jesse, and maybe we disagree there. But there you have the core I’m operating around in this particular story, with regards to what changes and what remains of his personality. My Jesse is fighting these people in the best way he knows how, which involves clinging to his humanism as much as it involves his insolence.
I’m sure I have many critics out there, only a handful of whom have or will come forth with a critique. Many people like this story and I’m grateful to all of them. I’m also grateful to the people who tried it and found that it wasn’t for them. I never presumed to deliver something that everyone would like, particularly in choosing such a controversial point in canon to work from. All I can say is thanks for reading, and thanks for your feedback and your commitment, for however long it lasted.
First off, thank you for your critique. There are a few points here I’d like to address and others I’ll leave untouched, because there are still about two weeks’ worth of chapters to go, and quite a lot remaining in that text which I think will address those issues without me having to explain them.
Hmmmm. I don’t think there’s really a “purpose” for fanfic, at least not on a level that goes beyond personal fulfillment. You’re writing happy endings, and that’s awesome, but not everyone is setting out to tell that kind of story and there’s no reason to expect that they should. Sometimes there’s simply an aspect of canon that’s lacking and begs to be explored further in fanworks. To use myself as an example: I hated Jesse’s slavery arc. It felt pointless as it was presented in canon, turning Jesse into more of a plot device than a character. So I wanted to find the human meaning of it. I wanted to spend time with Jesse in that place, every single day he was there, and to take that journey with him. I wanted to track his growth. I wanted to learn about these people around him, who were barely characters in canon. I wanted to sort out their motivations, to find their humanity in the same way earlier canon delivered Gus. And I wanted to see Jesse survive and save himself in some way, because I loathed nothing more than watching Walt get to play the hero in the end when he was really the villain who did this to Jesse in the first place. So I wrote 187. It may not be a happy story, but I like to think it’s a hopeful one, and most of all, I’m writing it to give myself closure.
ART TUMBLR - my art and writing and related things MISC TUMBLR - where I reblog all the other things BEHANCE - my professional art portfolio DEVIANTART - where a lot of my older art is SOCIETY6 - my art prints and other merch TWITTER - the bird thing I need to use more INSTAGRAM - where my personal photos go 8TRACKS - fanmixes and general playlists AO3 / FF.NET - all of my brba fanfiction PLURK - where I chat about rp and fandom all day
Just curious, but how far ahead into 187 do you write? Or do you just go day by day?
The entire story is outlined (as is the sequel) but I tend to write each chapter just a few days in advance of posting. Lately I’ve been in the hospital or otherwise away from my computer so my posting time’s a little erratic. I’m not even home right now, haha. I’m on my phone. So tonight’s gonna be a little late too. I’m sorry, everyone!
5: What’s your favorite thing to draw? People, by far. I’m not that interested in drawing landscapes and background elements. I like portraits or interactions between people. I don’t know if it’s because I’m lazy or it’s just that I’m mostly inspired by film stills and fashion photography.
15: How long does an average piece take you to complete? I can get something out in two hours if I’m really going at it and it isn’t very complicated, but I think most of my work is in the seven-hour range.
16: Do you draw more today than you did in the past, or do you draw less? Less. So much less. When I was doing comics, my life was 90% drawing. My health is declining now, I have less energy overall and it’s easier to write than to draw. And most of the time I spend drawing now is for work, not play. It’s sad.
18: What are you currently trying to improve on? My style isn’t where I want it to be. I want to loosen up a little and work with mood and abstraction, but it’s hard to let go of reality-based foundations. I end up overworking things to perfection instead of following instinct. I lose a lot of emotion in my art when that happens.
19: What is the most difficult thing for you to draw? Architecture. It’s so hard to care about.
20: What is the easiest thing for you to draw? Human expressions and bodies.
24: Do you feel jealous when you see other people’s art, or inspired? Jealousy isn’t the right word. I end up feeling a bit hopeless sometimes. I see a lot of artists who can work longer and harder than I’m even physically capable of, and they’re more clever and creative than I am, and I wonder why I even try. But they’re doing one thing and I’m doing another. I don’t think I’m that bad at what I’m doing.
26: For digital artists: what program(s) do you use? Photoshop, exclusively. My husband keeps trying to get me to try Manga Studio but I’m so stubborn when it comes to learning new habits. Maybe eventually…
I agree, I didn't dislike S5 as a whole but I felt that it didn't compare to s4 which was the strongest IMO
oh gosh yeah s4 was pretty fuckin rad
i have so many problems with s5 tho
like how the heckie are we supposed to believe walt, a 50-year-old cancer patient, could dig a hole in the desert big enough for all those barrels of money (and then BURY THEM!!!!). like have u tried to dig a hole that big before? shit son
also mike knew walt was dangerous/”a ticking time bomb” but he didn’t put up much of a fight when he had to go in on their little meth empire. like ok yeah i get that he had to protect his guys in prison (and provide for his granddaughter) but it didn’t seem like he even tried any other avenue.
Also, sorry, but if you bring in Nazis you sort of automatically lose. Nazis and zombies are pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of easy villains. You want villains that are threatening, intimidating, and just reeking of evil, but you’re can’t come up with anything? Here’s an idea: throw some Nazis in there! (Not that Nazis can’t be well-developed, three-dimensional characters, but the Nazis in BrBa were, well, not? I mean, shit, they had Todd murder a frickin’ child and be totes cool with it!!!! How much more blatant could the writers be with the Obviously Evil® brush?)
One of Breaking Bad’s biggest strengths was developing the character of Walter, who originated as a protagonist then slowly developed into an antagonist. And for a show that proved to be wholly capable of writing developed, three-dimensional characters, throwing the flat, cardboard Nazis into the mix seemed like they were grasping at straws for new villains. Because I guess having Walt as the main baddie wasn’t enough even though that’s they what were building up to?
Also, Jesse seemed to mood-swing to the convenience of the plot, didn’t he? When he needed to be depressed and sad so Walt could be there to relay important information or comfort him, he was depressed and sad! Jesus, guy, ping-pong balls bounce back and forth less than you do! When he needed to be angry at Walt, there was always some poorly-established reason for it. The justification for his emotions in s5 just seemed really weak and not established enough in comparison to earlier seasons.
And, yeah, Walt got way more cartoonishly evil. I guess the writers were like “gee, people still seem to like this guy. Maybe we did too good a job at making him human and therefore sympathetic? Let’s see, what ridiculously out-of-character stints can we pull to make sure the audience isn’t on his side?”
Walt telling Jesse the truth about Jane just seemed unnecessarily vicious and mean-spirited, like it was just for the sake of showing how ~evil~ he is. Oh, yeah, and that was right after he sold Jesse to the Nazis. Which, y’know, totally made sense /sarcasm.
What I liked about Walt was that you were never really sure if he was retaliating against a world that never cut him a break, a man going through a midlife crisis after being faced with his own mortality, or if he really was sociopathic all along and the diagnosis exacerbated it. The mystery and freedom of interpretation made him great. But s5 was just like “nope” and pulled back the curtain, which, y’know how in horror movies what you see on screen is never as scary as your imagination? Yeah. I think they should have left it ambiguous.
And Walt was a fucking idiot for leaving that damn book in his bathroom. “Leave a vital piece of evidence of my involvement in a murder/meth ring in my house where my DEA brother-in-law frequently visits? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?”
But Gus was kind of stupid too for having all of his incriminating files on his laptop that the police took into evidence.
But I could forgive that, all of it, if Brock’s poisoning hadn’t been so poorly executed. For such a central plot point that pretty much carries Jesse’s arc in s5, why the hell didn’t the writers show us Walt making the poison/going to Andrea’s place/arranging it with Saul/wtfever he did??? I’m not asking for a flashback where we see Walt administering poison to a child, just something that shows he did it. At the end of the last s4 ep we see the plant in his backyard, which, if the show had ended there, would have been a fuck-awesome way to go (“did he really poison him?”). But the writers kinda shit the bed in s5 with that plot point, because it’s addressed in dialogue, but we don’t get to see it. Apparently Word of God is that Walt put the poison in a juice box and gave it to Brock at his school? Well, gee, that would’ve been a helpful scene to have, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t a big plot point, but because Brock’s poisoning was yet another Moral Event Horizon for Walt and Jesse’s primary motivation for teaming up with Hank, it seems prudent that we should have seen it, y’know? It would have been much more impactful, rather than just having loose ends tied up a little less loosely. It almost comes off as cheap shock value.
I mean, wouldn’t you have been pissed if we never saw the scene where Walt snuck into Jesse’s place and let Jane die, and then when Jesse wakes up and she’s dead, later Walt’s like “o yea that was me” to Saul or something???? ‘Cause that’s basically what they did here.
I don’t think the other seasons are flawless, as they all have their share of headscratchers and “wait, what?” moments, but everyone seems to hail s5 as this pinnacle of perfect TV and I’m just like “hold on there friend let me explain u a thing.”