Chapter 15 is finally posted!!!! Hooray!!! 🎉 It’s called “The Scars that Bind Us.” The title is derived from one of the secrets Labriella has been keeping from Rome, the proof of which she wears on her back. You knew the whipping was going to be bad, and twice as bad because it’s done by someone Labriella knows and loves. What Rome doesn’t realize is that it’s not Labriella’s first picnic (so to speak). Being whipped again dredges up all kinds of awful memories for Labriella—the knowledge of which could easily compound Rome’s guilt over fulfilling what he already considers to be a nightmare. The tavern prostitute warned Labriella that she would have a hard time keeping anything from Rome, especially if they were to get intimate. Now it’s time to face the past, and determine whether they can ever truly move forward.
Can Bre ever be more to Rome than a broken servant?
In fulfilling Bre’s request, has Rome lost her affection forever?
Already, several of you (my dear readers) have reviewed! How happy that makes me!
And wow, so far all the feedback has been positive!
I apologize for making you worry that I might have scrapped the story and launched headlong into revisions. I know I have done that in the past. I’m actually trying very hard not to do that right now. I’ve got all kinds of revision ideas, to be sure. But I’ve figured out it’s so much easier to work on things like plot structure and detail consistency/importance when the story is already written (probably because I have to write “by the seat of my pants,” since outlines are more of a suggestive launchpad than representative of the actual life of my writing). So I’m trying to get as far along in the story as I can, before I revise again. I figure if I have a clearer picture of where I’m going now than I did when I was writing volume 1, then I’ll have an even clearer picture of what needs to happen (past and future) when I’m in volume 3, etc. Then I’ll be able to consolidate, and emphasize the important stuff.
But let me be clear: The story continues to defy my storyboarding expectations. It twists and turns anew, because it has a life of its own. It grows like wildfire. So instead of trying to pen it in (don’t mind the pun), I just try to herd it in a general direction. And, as this happens, the characters deepen and create their own quirks and eccentricities, and develop their own internal conflicts of interest. After the “herding” phase, I will try to insert little things here and there to make sure there is a plot. But for now, I’m going to try to just keep on writing. I realize that every time I take a workshop, or read a book or blog about writing technique, my writing changes. (Which is for the better, but develops style, character, and narration inconsistencies with previous versions.) When I write a new chapter, I have to be careful to stick with the story that’s already written, not the one I’ve altered in my head.
I’m glad everyone (so far) seems to feel that in chapter 15 Rome and Labriella have made actual relational progress. I messaged with Tsunayum about how difficult this is to accomplish, realistically, without fabricating circumstances and rushing “wishful thinking” changes in character. Rome, in particular, is difficult to handle, because he can’t appear or sound soft when he’s actually feeling soft-hearted; it would be out of character for him. Likewise, Labriella is prone to internalize all her insecurities, and deem her own issues of self-worth too insignificant to be worth mentioning. It’s a tenuous balancing act to have the two characters push and pull their hidden sides out of one another, to promote interpersonal change, without being too radically unrealistic in reaction and in methodology.
Before publishing, I hope to move this sort of event up sooner, to happen earlier in the story. But we’ll see.
Thanks for all your support! I will be re-launching into writing chapter 16. It will be Party Day 5—the day after the token of favor, the whipping, and the healing and limeyness. The event of the day will be a sort of Hide-and-Go-Seek/Sardines, to the effect of “You keep (for the day) what you catch.” Expect some unexpected twists. 😉