Anon, thank you for your thoughts and for alerting me to that issue. I won’t post your ask itself because it was slightly inflammatory and I’m not looking to start drama with the author in question, but I appreciate your compliments and had myself a hearty laugh when I found out what post you were referring to. Wow. Just… wow.
remember how everyone wanted Jesse Pinkman to win? because he was a great character and Walter White was really the only bad guy here? and everything Jesse ever did that was bad was because of Walt?
so you guys just forgot how Jesse premeditated a plan, by himself, to go to his NA meeting with his friends, pretending to not know them to sling around the meth he stole to recovering addicts?
I think that people can still like Jesse and root for him while acknowledging that he did some fucked-up things. I don’t defend his actions in that scenario at all. It was super shitty and low of him to do that, and I really hope that he realized that later. I’ve never once defended that and I don’t forget that he did that.
However, I don’t think that’s enough to equate him with Walt or anything. Jesse is obviously a very, idk, conflicted and conflicting character. He does bad things, he does good things. He started cooking meth without Walt’s influence in the first place. Many of his actions — good or bad — were due to Walt’s influence, and many weren’t. I don’t think anyone argues that? I mean, sure, you’ll find some people on tumblr who are big fans and who really characterize Jesse as 100% perfect or something, but that isn’t right at all. He’s far from perfect…personally, that adds to why I like him. I don’t like that he did shitty things, but I like watching characters who are conflicted and conflicting. It’s interesting, and it makes you think about things like morality, what makes a “good” or a “bad” person, etc.
I don’t care if people like Jesse or not or if they think that he’s “good” or not or whatever…but I don’t think that saying that you want Jesse to win, survive, be safe, etc. means that you are saying that he’s perfect, always good, always deserving, or that he never acted on anything on his own accord or that he never did anything fucked-up. It’s quite possible to have complicated feelings about complicated characters!!
I also think a lot of the conflict here comes from what definition of “win” you might be using. From the discussion I saw around the time of the finale, most of us weren’t rooting for Jesse to triumph over Walt in some great battle, or to see Jesse kill Walt. We wanted Jesse to get away from Walt. We wanted to see Jesse turn his life around and make amends, the way he so desperately wanted to do by that point in the series. I was holding my breath and praying that Jesse wouldn’t kill Walt in the end. It would have been anathema to his own wishes and the growth of his character. What OP is ignoring here about the difference between Walt and Jesse is that Jesse was filled with deep regret for his actions, whereas Walt justified his crimes and even blamed Jesse for the results of his actions, e.g. Hank’s death. No one thinks Jesse was a good person, but the important thing here is that Jesse wanted to become a better person, and he was taking steps to do that, and Walt didn’t. Walt already thought he was perfect and could do no wrong, and that anyone who was trying to hold him accountable for his crimes should just get over it already. That’s the difference.
If you could rewrite 187 what would you change (if anything)? Also, cannot wait to read the sequel.
Hmmmm… Well, 187 is essentially a first draft. I didn’t have a beta and I only gave each chapter one or two passes (mostly for grammatical errors or typos) before posting it. My buffer wasn’t so great that I was ever fifty chapters ahead and could check storyline threads for coherency. So mostly I’d just make it less confusing for readers. To some extent, the confusion was intentional within the narrative, but some people had trouble following the reveal in the last chapter and that shouldn’t be the case. It’s a structure issue on my end.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the rest of it. Sometimes I think about what it might have been like to write it from a third-person omniscient perspective instead of third-person subjective - which is to say, I think it would’ve been interesting to get into Todd and Lydia and Jack’s heads in addition to Jesse’s. I’m sure that would have solved a lot of the clarity issues, too. That would be a pretty different story, though. Less of a horror story, and it would alter the entire format I set out to experiment with. But who knows. Maybe it’d be a better story?
The sequel actually is written in third-person omniscient so that might be a lot of the reason I’m having so much fun with it.
Weird. I'll repeat the first part, but I didn't mean for it to be reblogged. Anyway, hi. I attempted to ask you what was the distinction between what you respond to as panatheism and what you respond to as 'panatheist' (for likes and reblogs, etc). Also, I wondered if you were like me when it came to reading fics that have a similar premise to a story you are currently working on. I have to avoid them, because I don't want to feel that I may have been influenced by them in any way. (more)
Oh! Well, I reblog like crazy and panatheist where all of that stuff goes, so this blog can stay mostly related to the stuff I make myself and it doesn’t get too cluttered for people who are just following me for that.
As far as avoiding stuff that has a similar premise, I’ve never been that worried about it? I outline my fics so tightly from the very start that there’s no chance I’ll see something later and accidentally lift a whole plot from someone else, because I’ve already got mine in place, even if it takes me six months to complete the story itself.
Beyond that, I’m not worried about “stealing ideas” in general. Vince Gilligan himself said he’d never have written Breaking Bad if he’d been aware of Weeds, which… Can you imagine what a fucking tragedy that’d be? Yeah, the premise is similar on paper, but the execution makes all the difference in the world. I think that extends to just about everything.
No one else would have taken the premise of 187 and written it the way I did, because I came at the material with my entire history and my style and my interpretation of events and all these things that someone else couldn’t possibly have mimicked. Someone else could write the same plot right now and I wouldn’t be the least bit worried or offended, because their execution isn’t going to be the same as mine, and it’s going to be wholly valid and fascinating in its own way.
Basically: plot is just plot. It has nothing to do with the soul of the story. I’ve already read a bunch of post-Felina fic over the past year and I’m sure elements of them are still rattling around and influencing me as I’m writing this sequel. But I just don’t sweat it. A writer can end up crippled if they worry about that stuff too much, and then they get nothing done at all and that’s the biggest tragedy. Je refuse!
(cont) Anyway, I was also curious. When it comes to Jesse's life after the show, how do you feel about the idea of him turning back to drugs?
tumblr’s fucking up or something, because I’m missing whatever the first part of this ask was!
My personal feeling… I don’t think there could have possibly been a more effective rehab for Jesse than going through what he’s been through. Whatever his new life is, I can’t see him wanting it to look anything like his old one. He’s leaving that entire world behind him. Nothing’s more important to him than self-determination at this point, and he can’t steer his life in a new direction if he’s getting high. Of course, he’s an addict and the temptation will always be there on some level when he’s feeling down. But I believe he has the strength to remind himself that, whatever happens, he’s lived through worse and he can get through it without self-medicating.
Hi! I have enjoyed reading all of your BrBa fanfiction on AO3 after discovering an incomplete translated version "187" (which is an AMAZING fic--one of its kind--and deserves all kinds of awards) on a Chinese fansite which linked to your AO3. I particularly enjoyed "Go" which is one of the main reasons I have so much feels ;_; Anyways, all this is to say, imagine the shock when I found out that you're following me ///0▽0/// if you ever want to collaborate/trade just holler, I'd be thrilled! ^^
Wow, thank you so much! (I was wondering if that translation ever ended up happening… I guess it did!) Your work is really beautiful and I’d love to do a trade sometime.
Uncle Jack! I LOVE how you developed him, but ultimately I was left unsure whether the whole mentor thing was really meant by him or just going along with the whole gaslighting on Jesse.
1. Jack’s arrogance is a mask for his insecurity. His command over others is tenuous. It depends entirely on his image and he knows it. At some point, he was the runt in the litter and he hasn’t forgotten that time. Where matters of honor are concerned, as when Walt reminds Jack, “You owe me,” Jack knows that he has to follow through or risk the illusion of his power unraveling. Even in begging for his life, he frames it as if he’s the one with all the power by holding Walt’s money hostage. But in the moments before that, we see him quite desperate to prove that he doesn’t partner with rats. It isn’t Walt he’s reassuring, but his own men - who, you might notice, aren’t too quick to jump and follow his orders by this point.
2. Jack believes in personal responsibility. If you do the crime, you do the time. If you want something, take it. If you think you’ve been wronged, it’s up to you to stand up for yourself. The world doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t earned, though his definition of “earning” something is skewed. If someone steals from you, the fault is on you for allowing it to happen. The victim of any crime is to blame for not being strong enough to defend themselves. If he could make it in this world, he sees no reason why anyone else can’t also pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Every man for himself, and you deserve what you get.
3. Jack doesn’t trust the government. The government put him away for doing what it took to provide for his family, all the while giving handouts to people who were unwilling to do the same. The government tries to tell him where he’s allowed to smoke a cigarette and what guns he’s allowed to own and it forces him to fork over tax money just to live on his own land. He’s determined to show them he doesn’t need them, and neither does anyone else. If it were up to Jack, it’d be just like the Old West frontier again, and he’d be left to govern himself and his people. Because he knows best.
4. Family is everything to Jack - second only to his own survival. See, Jack isn’t much of a lone wolf. If he’s going to survive, he needs the whole pack to support him. And he supports them, in turn. He didn’t have to take his nephew in, but doing it makes him feel like a strong patriarch, and Todd’s accomplishments feel like his own. When everyone’s dying all around him, however, he’s thinking about himself above all. His nephew’s just been strangled but his primary concern is to save his own ass.
5. Jack values loyalty. He considers himself a loyal person and instills that value in Todd. Snitching is just about the worst thing you could do. And guess what? So is putting a hit on someone you consider “family”. Jack lost whatever respect he might have had for Walt when Walt made their arrangement, despite his sympathetic words. He stops taking orders from Walt and starts giving them, because he sees this guy as a worm from then on. A real man would face his partner mano-a-mano, not hire someone to shoot him in the back of the head unsuspectingly. It isn’t mercy, it’s pure cowardice.
So, to answer your question about 187, Jack himself wavered quite a bit. He originally intended it as another step in the plan, but I think he saw glimpses of the same thing Walt and Gus and Mike saw in Jesse: that this is someone who has the potential to be the most loyal follower of all, if he can be properly tamed. I think Jack struggled with his distaste for this rat’s past actions and the possibilities he saw, if he could just get this kid to care for his nephew and the interests of the gang.
1. Todd is essentially a three-year-old when it comes to emotional development. He has no internal sense of empathy or compassion. If he isn’t bothered by something, he doesn’t understand how or why anyone else might be bothered by it. This isn’t to say that he’s emotionless, but that he isn’t capable of putting himself in anyone else’s shoes.
2. Todd isn’t stupid. He actually quite perceptive and logical, which are traits that pinged Walt’s interest. Todd jumped to answer Mike’s questions when Walt and Jesse first began at Vamonos, and he thought to look for the nanny-cam during their first cook. And, of course, he took care of their problem after the heist in the most cold and logical way possible.
3. Todd is curious, not sadistic. Contrary to Jesse’s view of him, Todd doesn’t take pleasure in causing harm. If he’s pulling the wings off a fly, it’s because he wants to see what will happen, not because he enjoys making it suffer. When he volunteered to torture Jesse, it was a means to an end. He even said as much. And when his “family” is slaughtered around him, his instinct is to seek out the cause, because that’s more interesting to him than whatever emotional response he might have to loss.
4. Todd actually finds outbursts of emotion highly uncomfortable. He doesn’t know what to do with these situations, like when he’s watching his mentor wailing in sorrow. He isn’t sure what to do with his own intense feelings. His attraction to Lydia comes off as creepy and obsessive because he can’t display it properly, but it’s ultimately quite innocent in nature.
5. Todd’s politeness is a learned behavior. Someone at some point taught him that using certain words and affecting an air of deference would be the easiest way to get what he wants, so that’s how he behaves. He doesn’t have a sense of personal space or others’ autonomy, so I imagine he was unintentionally rude and pushy before he learned this.
So, I'm curious. What did happen Jesse in chapter 174? I feel like there's something I'm missing for some reason? Thank you for your time!
As part of their routine to make Jesse feel disoriented and lose trust in himself, Jack and Todd drugged him and made him appear as if he’d been having fits and injuring himself. The symptoms he’s feeling when he wakes up (and several other times throughout the story) are the aftereffects of the drugs they used to keep him unconscious while they did these things to him.