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.
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.
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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!