We made it to 120 pages, and I survived this week! YES. A true accomplishment. And after this is up, I’m gonna go wash some dishes and then sit on my ass before going to the gym. Being an adult is awesome! Also, my check engine light came on yesterday, so fuck being an adult, it’s the worst. Woo!

Anyway, we’re going to stay well the hell away from the creepy house and reflect on what we’ve learned! So we don’t get tetanus. Well, that might not be an issue for werewolves. (Though, actually, what a weird and interesting weakness that would be.) Mal isn’t super sure about the creepy house being so close to where she lives, but at the same time, she feels bad that anyone would actually live there. Elias isn’t so easily swayed by their shitty life choices, though. (Or shitty life circumstances, because let’s be honest, the sad wolf pack did not choose this, it was chosen for them.)

I’ve said it a few times, but just to be clear, this chapter isn’t about action and fighting! As my friend pointed out to me yesterday, our group here is reconnoitering, which she then dared me to use at some point today, so there ya go :). (Which means they are making a military observation of an area…and that seems to make sense to me.) We’re on a fact finding, stay-out-of-trouble mission. After this point, shit is going to start hitting the fan pretty quickly, and there needs to be a breath before that happens. I hate stories that are nonstop action :/. I like action with a purpose! Or rather, I like when action is built up from a solid base in a meaningful way, where everyone is fighting for a real purpose and not just because it looks neat. No one in this story is a fighter, really. Mal makes coffee, Marisa is a nurse, Marin is a lawyer, Elias is just helping out his mom and is otherwise a dead beat I guess, Charlene likes to screw with people, and Vincent is just trying to study biology, damn it. But then, most of them are werewolves and witches. Except Vincent, who is just a normal dude for the most part. And then our antagonist pack of wolves…are just trying to not die. That, to me, is where the larger conflict story arc comes from. One group wants to resume normal life, and are going to hold to said normality with all they’ve got. The other group desperately needs everything to change.

If anyone has ever looked up the Hero’s Journey story arc by Joseph Campbell, you realize it’s thrown around a lot in various narratives. (Especially Star Wars!) One of the steps is that you refuse to become the hero, sometimes multiple times. In most narratives, this falls pretty flat. Why wouldn’t you want to be a hero? What purpose does refusing really have? (And blah blah blah, the hero’s journey is reductive and formulaic, and overall pretty problematic, but don’t worry about it.) But really, when it does work, refusal to become the hero has to be based on a need to keep things the same. Malaya’s primary conflict isn’t with these wolves near her house. They are bringing problems to her front door, but her main conflict as a character is feeling torn between what she sees as safety, and what she sees as opportunity. Keeping things the same is safe for herself and her family. If she doesn’t accept Elias’s help, she might be unhappy, but she knows her family is safe. Learning more about being a werewolf is promising, but if this new knowledge causes any harm to her family, then change isn’t worth it. So, it’s a conflict of personal growth vs status quo. More than world building, more than werewolves, I really just want to write a story about someone in her 20s facing down a fundamental change in her life, one that has good and bad things attached to it. Werewolves are the conduit I’m using to write that story, because werewolves are fun and it’s easier to write within a pre-defined fantasy structure. (Cough hack giving away my secrets cough cough hack.)

Anyway, I’m gonna go pull my life together and eat breakfast so I can accomplish the millions of things I have to accomplish today. Reconnoiter! Great word. We all learned something today.