Honest Impulses, a Post-Mortem

Posted on | December 11, 2018

So, Honest Impulses has reached those two most blessed words: THE END. I’m struggling to figure out what to do next. I think I first mentioned Honest Impulses on March 13th, 2013, which makes it one of the shorter-lived WIPs in my collection, but certainly one of the most tortured. There are so many revisions and changes that made its way into the work, plotting out Shandy & Linia’s character arcs, the way they intersected with Mertum, Gazelle, and Misuko’s. There were last-minute revisions that I think made the story stronger (Cal had a much bigger part before I pushed him off to the side), and re-reading it I can see there’s a lot of residue of earlier revisions, things that characters mention that are a bit out-of-place because the supporting backstory is no longer there.

On the other hand, there are plot lines missing that I’m definitely glad are missing. There’s already one Conspiracy around Shandy; she doesn’t need to get sucked into another one. The meeting between Shandy and a local priest was awkward and didn’t do much that Shandy couldn’t communicate by just talking to Linia. Shandy’s religion is still a factor in her life, and I wanted it to be more present. Another scene that disappeared, and I regret it, is Linia’s motorcycle ride out to the biohazard facility where they were growing Isabelle’s new body. Again, it didn’t forward the plot; the conversation she has with Jinny there got rolled into the conversation in Chapter 8.

And the picnic! Oy, The Picnic!. According to my document tracking, I re-wrote that entire scene from scratch eleven times. It’s supposed to be the scene where Shandy’s world comes apart, and it does, and it does so rather well. It sets up the scene, slowly breaks its way into Shandy’s heart, and then at the end shatters her expectations in the worst possible way. It’s some of my best work. But it’s still not the best I could write.

All in all, I’m satisfied with the qualities of Honest Impulses as both a Journal Entry and as a novel. It was a good exercise in points-of-view, plot threading, and sustaining interest through the muddle-in-the-middle.

I hope someone else read and enjoyed it. It was too much fun.


6 Responses to “Honest Impulses, a Post-Mortem”

  1. Anon Today
    December 11th, 2018 @ 1:09 pm

    I’ve been reading along, and send two thumbs up for the entire arc. I’m a big fan of the “what are our responsibilities/obligations toward one another” thought experiments, and this ties nicely in with other reading I’ve been doing.

    Plus, I just flat out enjoy your writing, and have for years.

    Also, thanks for providing the language I need to talk with my teenagers (and others) in a way that’s frank, sex-positive, safety-positive, and enthusiastic-consent-positive. This was not the way I was raised, so getting to read hundreds (or thousands?) of pages of characters modeling frank, loving, reasonable language around issues of sex, desire, and consent has been super-helpful.

  2. Mike Altarriba
    December 14th, 2018 @ 9:55 pm

    Read it, loved it, looking forward to reading it again!

  3. rkda
    December 19th, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

    Once again, you have demonstrated your skill with world building, character development, and best of all…entertaining your readers.

    Thank you for sharing your work for the rest of us to enjoy 🙂


  4. Elf Sternberg
    December 20th, 2018 @ 10:55 am

    Yay! Thanks for such kind words. That’s… actually kinda my point, though. My stories are my method of gaming out how I would want to treat others, and to be treated in kind. How would I hope other srespond, and what would I do if they didn’t respond positively? Now that I’ve been at this for (ack!) 25 years or more, I’ve figured most of it out, but I’m glad others are still getting value out of it all!

  5. G
    December 20th, 2018 @ 3:46 pm

    At the end of 11, Moor tells Linia that Shandy will be the only human in attendance, which means that in 12 Linia overtly lies (“I would have expected”) to Shandy. I really don’t think that’s what you intend.

    Pendor is a favorite utopia. Thank you.

  6. Falbert
    January 25th, 2019 @ 6:16 pm

    Definitely enjoying reading along with the continuing “questions of manners” stories of the Journal Entries, including this newest story arc. WWSD (What Would Shardik Do?) is replaced by WWCD (What Would the Conspiracy Do?) or even just What will Shandy Do?

    As almost always, a big thumb’s up!

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