Well hello. Fancy meeting you here!
Yes, so, let’s take it as read that I am, as ever, very sorry for the lengthy delay before publishing Via Dolorosa, Part III. I had hoped that such egregiously long breaks were a part of my past, but… I’m not entirely sure why I had that level of hubris.
I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been fantastically busy producing dozens of books. Wouldn’t that be nice? But while I have spent much time working on other projects, including helping a co-author with the middle book in a trilogy, I wouldn’t say that’s what’s kept me away from ASF. As usual it’s the ongoing struggle with my own mind that is primarily to blame.
But no one wants to hear me complain about that, not even my shrink and I pay her, so let’s move on.
One of the non-Depression-related mental clogs, so to speak, is actually worth speaking about here. When I started this “Six Weeks” experiment–i.e., writing from the POV of one character (or a small set of related characters) throughout an entire installment–I thought it would be a terrific challenge.
Well… it was a challenge, anyway.
After spending so many years writing for multiple viewpoints, sticking with one person for so long, especially when the actual plot beats (reactions to the wedding massacre) have been similar, turned out to be more stifling than freeing. I’m not saying I regret the experiment, because I think (in particular) the Hannah installments were effective and couldn’t possibly have been as impactful as I believe they were, if they’d been written in the standard three-or-four plotline/POV format of ASF.
But when it came to Ian’s storyline, I wanted to cover so much of his torturous experience in Tag’s cellar, and his first day of freedom, that it took much longer–imagine that, Kira’s writing becoming too wordy!–to get through. And that meant pushing it to three installments, and I simply didn’t want to go back into Ian’s mental state yet again.
And yet, I’d made the commitment. Being somewhat perfectionist (and not in a good way–that isn’t a humblebrag, it’s a genuine flaw that is toxic to a creator who wishes to produce material regularly), I felt unable to break the format and swap to someone else’s POV. No, I had committed to Ian, and so, damn it, the next episode would be following through on that.
That, my dear friends, colleagues, readers, and spambots who visit this page, is what led to a mental standoff. I refused to budge, even though it meant I also felt trapped and uninspired. And that meant paralysis.
So here we are, nearly two years later. What helped me through this latest obstacle was the decision that, while I would stay with Ian’s POV through to the finish line, I would trickle more hints about what’s going on with other characters and their own arcs as possible. Which is why (spoiler alert for those who haven’t read the episode yet…) Julie shows up and I teased the heck out of whatever happened to the Fiores–not to mention Laurie–at the wedding; Tristan appears with a curious bruise and a somewhat tougher attitude, at least through Ian’s perspective; Chelsea’s hearing situation is clearly more pronounced than before; and Jason’s behavior (and a teaser that he’s spent more time with Becca) continues to seem out of character.
Finally, I also decided to focus more on depicting Adele as a human being, a possibility thanks to her strong feelings for Ian and her grandchildren. What keeps Adele from being Cruella DeVille (I hope) is that she does have real emotions. We don’t see this side of her that often, but here I could let her drop her defenses, all as a result of Hannah and Nick’s devastating loss.
It would take a monster not to react to parents losing both children in six agonizing weeks (hence Danielle’s sociopathic lack of response), and Adele–as horrible and cruel as she is–isn’t a monster. Even as awful as she is to Laurie, and as cold as she is to her son, and calculating/vicious regarding Martina and that damned necklace… Adele isn’t inhuman.
(Heck, even Dean is shown to be affected by his boss’s grief.)
These are the elements added–some of them planned all along, others not so much–that made me able to produce this final (yay!) part of Via Dolorosa. Of course, the Daphne/Ian pairing remained an important through-line of the piece, and this time I showed the identical scene as in #6.04–Daphne in the waiting room after Tyler’s liver transplant, then discovering Ian’s family and realizing just who Tyler’s mystery donor was–all from Ian’s POV. The gimmick isn’t a well from which I want to draw too often, because it can get too repetitive. But for characters whose thoughts and reactions to the same event are especially important, I do want to keep using this technique.
In any event, now that Via Dolorosa has been travelled at last, we can move on. And because I desperately need a break from the Nichols side of the equation–and the wedding tragedies as a whole–I’ll be switching to a new set of characters whose lives were frozen with fairly significant cliffhangers at the end of (what is now) Season Five. Which ones? Well, you’ll find out. But yes, this means you’ll still be waiting to find out who lived and who died. Sorry!
One last thing. As mentioned at the end of this installment, I’m dedicating this to the memory of Eadie Silverberg, who passed away on December 7, 2014. I wrote a post on Facebook about Eadie, but I’ll add briefly thatΒ Eadie was one of ASF’s first readers, a dear woman whose encouragement and enthusiasm–and even ASF-evangelism in the early days when she posted to soap opera newsgroups about this new web-based story she’d discovered–meant the world to me. I am so sorry that I never got a chance to meet or speak with her in person. If the many emails and messages through the mailing list were even a glimpse of her humor, kindness and effervescence, Eadie’s family and friends were lucky indeed.
Thanks to everyone for reading and, as always, your patience. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
P.S. happy new year (or L’shanah tovah ) to those who celebrate Rosh Hashana!