K3 Commentary: Cutting the Turtle and Writing like an Egg

Once again, I find myself running out of topics for commentary. There’s not a lot in this section I haven’t already discussed. So, I thought I’d discuss something I cut when I wrote this new draft.

In the exploratory draft (which you can read, if you support me on Patreon!) I wasn’t sure what should happen to Faith in the afterlife. To compensate, I added another character to take up narrative space: a turtle who dispensed fortune-cookie wisdom. He didn’t do anything, or mean anything, and he only appeared because I wanted to fluff up the word-count. But including the turtle did make these sections easier to write, so even though I removed him, he was an integral part of my writing process. Like a bay-leaf added to soup and removed before serving.

H4 Commentary: The Beatific Vision

H4. Dan’s Final Presentation involves several final presentations. Dan gives his final presentation in High School. Dan presents himself to Beatrice with a gift from Faith. And, Dan provokes Leo into presenting his swastika tattoo for the party-goers. It’s the longest section so far, and it will probably be the longest in the book; it was originally a whole chapter, but I decided to condense it because no one wants to spend a whole chapter about a guy with anxiety trying to go to a party.

Dan’s moments with Beatrice reflect the Beatific Vision, the direct religion revelation. In the commentary for B2 I discussed how the poet Dante Alighieri loved a woman named Beatrice but she married another man and then died young. Dante never stopped obsessing over Beatrice, and wrote her into his vision of heaven in the Paradiso. It’s said Dante once had a dream that God made Beatrice eat his flaming heart, which is fucking metal, but also wonderfully symbolic.

G4 Commentary: Wrapping Things Up

G4: Riding the River is the end of a story arc. Jay has finished his tour through Sheridan, and next week he’ll be back in LA. I’ve done my best handling loose story threads: the Chinese couple, Eva, and Lilly share a moment of closure, while Leo/’Henry’ will appear again; I’ve dangled him on purpose. Let’s examine this ending to see how I try to wrap things up and provide a satisfying conclusion.

First, ‘Craig,’ ‘Suzy,’ Eva, and Lilly share their last moments ‘on-screen.’ Conjoining the endings means I only needed to write one effective scene. If I wanted to address ‘Craig’ and ‘Suzy’ and Eva and Lilly separately, I’d have to write and balance multiple scenes and that sounds hard. It’s more expedient to roll these characters together and finish them all off at once.

F4 Commentary: Big Ol’ Birds and Penguin Pilgrims

In F4: The Main Island of Sheridan the tour hikes around the mountainous main island. In the end Jay continues hiking to the monastery of Virgil Blue, joining only the oldest birds still climbing through their life’s journey. In this commentary I’d like to talk briefly about the birds, their life-cycle, and the religion I built around them.

Real-world birds migrate. They have wings and eat bugs, so they’d might as well live anywhere they want. And somehow they know exactly where to go! Seeing migration through the lens of religion, birds are pilgrims who travel long distances guided by their faith.

F3 Commentary: Power Dynamics

In F3: Ferryman the tour buys seashells from a ferryman to gain passage to the main island. Aside from alluding to the river Styx (the Greek river bordering the afterlife, for whose crossing the ferryman Charon would demand two coins), this is a chance for characters to show their position in the group’s power structure. On the ferry we see those power dynamics come to a head. Subtle power dynamics can make conversations as tense as action scenes. (Have you seen the new Spider-Man movie, Homecoming? You know what I’m talking about.)

E3 Commentary: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

In E3: In-Flight Entertainment Jay watches another episode of LuLu’s Space-Time Acceleration to avoid conversation with an obnoxious man on a plane. I know I promised to discuss Paradise Lost the next time we watched anime, but I lied. Paradise Lost comes later. For now, let’s talk about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. (Spoiler alert.)

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