Being that my re-read of chapters 1-5 went much better than expected (meaning I’m still in one psychological piece) you’d think that I would have been ready to jump into the rest of the story immediately. Unfortunately, in the last seven days I’ve left my full-time job and spent the past week making a list a million miles long of all the things I need to accomplish in the next six months in order to capitalize on my current momentum to the point that I’m not sleeping or all that interested in eating (I never lose my appetite, not even when I have the flu!) and at this point I’m just a ball of nerves trying not to self-implode. Which has given this re-read an entirely new context. Because, you see, once I’ve finished re-reading the first three books in the TGIB series I’ll actually have to sit down and finish the final book. And what if it’s terrible and everyone hates it? Hence my putting off reading chapters 6-10…
Initial Feelings: The opposite of hunger. Anxious. Sleepy.
Initial Thoughts: If Stephanie Meyer can suffer through a re-read of Twilight for the purpose of gender bending the two–according to early reviews–most un-gender-bendable characters of all time then I can certainly re-read TGIB without having a full-blown panic attack. Oh my gosh. Am I about to have a panic attack? But I’m out of on demand episodes of The Real Housewives. And ice cream. Where has all the ice cream gone??? That’s it. Emergency trip to the grocery store. I can read this shit later…And I just remembered my boyfriend took my car to work.
*Chapter 7 is one of my favorites. Getting it right was absolutely punishing but Roman’s descent into the ocean as he searches for some piece of himself is such an important moment for his character. On every page of every book it’s like he’s constantly fighting between being the hero and giving up. That fight starts here in this moment and it’s also the first time we see the dynamic between him and Bryn. Roman finds so much strength in her and she really is the one who, time after time, continues to come to his rescue. Creating that nontraditional dynamic where the girl is the hero wasn’t really my intention. As I was writing and fleshing out their characters, it was more like, Bryn just came to me and said “so, I’m the hero of this story,” and Roman was like “and I’m the one she saves.” The strength and support they give to one another gradually becomes more mutual as the series progresses but Bryn’s character is much more consistent and even as Roman becomes more and more powerful she still represents everything he wants to be.
*A lot of Bryn’s grandmother’s most memorable lines were actually added in later drafts of the story. Again, I was really trying to pump up the dialogue and add some more humor to break up the emotional intensity in certain places. When Bryn’s in the dream state it’s like one emotionally intense scene between her and Roman after the other. When she goes back to the real world I wanted it to feel lighter, even if it’s just briefly. I love in chapter 8 when Bryn and her mother are eye-rolling over her grandmother’s superstitious impulse to tie rosemary around her wrist and then she suddenly appears and is all like…”I do not sneak.” I can just picture her wearing a long gypsy-like robe with bangles and gold chains that are eerily silent as she manifests in the doorway.
*I would now like to take this moment to address the very polarizing decision (at least for my books it has been) of my inclusion of authentic “teen speak” in my novels (this definitely picks up steam at around chapter 8). I know a lot of people don’t like cursing, especially in books for young adults. However, some teens curse. This is a fact. And some of those teens happen to be represented in my books. If you don’t like to read/hear/speak curse words then save yourself the agony and don’t read books with curse words in them. I am an artist and it is not my job to police what your child may or may not be reading. I am not thinking about the possible negative implications of my artistic choices on the youth of the world. I’m telling a story. Just a story. *Drops mic*
*Adding to what I wrote about in last week’s re-read post about Bryn’s real-world problems adding depth to the story…I’ve also noticed that a lot of paranormal stories follow the format of: girl grows up in boring town surrounded by boring people where nothing ever happens–she meets a mysterious stranger–finds out she has super powers and is supposed to save the world. Now…this plot might sound slightly familiar, even in TGIB (Hey, it was my first paranormal romance!) BUT even though Bryn does believe she has a somewhat dull and unproductive life due to her disease, I really tried to make it a point to give her a past. Past, as in, Drew, issues with her father, her grandfather’s passing, her mother’s borderline romantic relationship with her uncle, her friendships with Dani and Felix, etc. In these first ten chapters we’re not just introduced to Bryn’s disease and all of the “paranormal” symptoms that come with it but we’re also introduced to her. The girl. The normal human being who has been living a life before Roman showed up. He is not the impetus of her existence or even of her story. Why? Because REAL HEALTHY relationships don’t work that way and they shouldn’t be portrayed that way in fiction either.
*This was my first novel written in past tense and it shows. But that’s okay, I’ll just tweak this, and change that, and…STOP! NO EDITING ALLOWED!
*When I first wrote this novel and all of the accompanying “high school-esque” scenes it had only been about two years since my own high school graduation. Now, it’s been about six…and can you believe I’m actually volunteering to go back there and be a teacher? I pray every night that I won’t have students like Jessie Fowler or Candace Johnson or, God forbid, Drew… But I probably will and then I’ll just have to write books about them where they get exactly what they deserve
*Sidenote-my high school stats teacher was also named Mrs. Wheeler. She was a very nice lady who surely passed me out of pity.
*I like that Bryn’s dreams of going away to college in no way cause her to be overly preachy when it comes to Dani and Felix’s alternative plans (or lack thereof). I know we like to drill it into kids’ heads that they should all go to college someday but the truth is that college is NOT for everyone.
*I also love how Bryn’s main concern as Michael Erickson is being carried into the back of an ambulance is “what about the cake?”