SPOILER ALERT: This is meant to be read after finishing chapter 47.
I finished Arc 4 this evening. I seem to say this every time I finish an arc but I really feel like this will be it. I have to stop writing it.
I am honestly completely uncertain at how this arc will be received. The first half flows in a very different style than the previous arcs. The second half returns more to normal but there are a handful of pivotal scenes that I almost scrapped.
Wanda’s character has been in a state of evolving flux since Arc 3. She’s learning, growing, and changing as she experiences new things. Her mindset is slowly changing as she unlearns past biases and struggles with the confusion of the new feelings working their way in. When I was inside of her character writing this, the feelings were very unclear. They were murky. They felt one thing one minute and something else the next. The feelings would clash with the previous understanding of herself and if they broke through, force her to shape a new understanding that incorporates them into herself. Change is a slow process. I can’t tell if my portrayal of it feels “true to life” or like bad writing. In this arc she continued down the path that she started in Arc 3, finding new ways to come to terms with and meld her inner sadist into her accepted self.
Basically, I have a feeling that people will either really like this or think it sucks. I can’t tell. There were scenes in the last few chapters where I can’t tell if what she did was completely out of character or exactly within character at that moment. When she pulls out the documents is one of them. I can’t tell if that was her saying those things or if it was my deepest darkest fantasy coming to life and being delivered in my voice instead of hers. If people have feedback on this let me know and I may rewrite it.
With this arc I got the least amount of feedback during the writing process out of all of them.
As for the reason I need to stop writing it… I feel like I keep coming to the same inevitable outcomes. She was never supposed to end up with David. When I introduced the Fcsie character I told myself that he was going to stay as an online friend only and would never become involved in person within the story.
Almost every male interest in this story was some “what if” version of me. For example, fs, who is barely present in this story was my interpretation/simulation of what I could/would become under strict and harsh (yet loving) dominance for a prolonged period of time. David was based on the me from 2 years after K died and minus some of the agoraphobia I had at that time. James was based upon what I might have ended up as if my past with M had steered me down the road to ending up a 35 year old virgin that found M again in a weakened and vulnerable state. Michael is based on the personification of my “little submissive” state and what it would be like if I hadn’t developed my vanilla guardian persona to protect me and keep myself busy. Brendan was based on me from the past ~7 years, worn down and trapped, yet still willing to jump at hope and believe in people.
Wanda ending up loving the two characters that are closest to the real me doesn’t sit well with me. One, it makes me feel fucking arrogant, like the versions of my self can sweep a woman off her feet. Two, it makes Wanda seem less and less real and more like a fantasy to me because my own luck with women hasn’t been like that. By having her end up with David and Brendan, I feel like I took someone who was supposed to feel real and made her just a fantasy out of my own wanker dreams.
I don’t know if this is how it appears. I haven’t gotten enough feedback to know if her falling for the attempts to woo her by those characters feels legitimate, honest, and real. I don’t know if I am creating a woman that doesn’t exist or if readers side with her feelings and are drawn to them. It drives me crazy feeling so messed up about it. I feel like I cheapened myself, but I can’t tell if I did or not.
The other factor is that I finally feel like Wanda’s persona is fading a bit from me. There were times where she was just itching to “go on” with her life and that is when I would write. When this happens it feels consuming and I lose myself in her. It messes with me. I stop thinking “as me,” and start thinking “as her.” While it does seem to open up a new vision of understanding an empathy, it also isn’t me.
I don’t know. The more that I write in this, the more insecure and confused I feel about it. The more that Wanda changes, the more insecure and confused I feel about my writing.
I know that I probably scared some people off after Arc 2, but my attempt to get to the “correct” ending that I had planned for required something drastic. To top it off… I went through all that just to end up falling into the same trap.
I don’t know.
I was on the fence about the last paragraph in chapter 47. I felt like if it was just the end of the arc, I would cut it. If it was the end of the story, I would leave it in. I chose to put it in. All that is left would be writing the “happily ever after” portion, and that only really works for one chapter before it gets old.
ADDED: On the off chance people are curious about knowing who M, K, and some of those earlier iterations of me are, I have an in depth bio on my old blog.