Before I answer some questions for you all (and by the way, thanks for the myriad of questions, I was expecting around 10 at absolute most) I’d just like to talk some more about the ending to Being More Social. After receiving feedback on it, some positive and some constructive criticism, the consensus seems to be that people weren’t expecting my ending to be as safe as it was. Not only is this kind of funny given the last chapter deals with themes of suicide and missing kids and somehow that’s tame for me, it’s also interesting how many people liked that. I was expecting more people to dislike it for what it was.
Most of the time I justify my story choices with “that’s how the story played out in my head,” which is true in this case, but as well, even from a story-creating view (at least in my opinion), it wouldn’t have been right to throw a shocking curveball since I already expressed an interest in writing a sequel. Whenever you end a story with a massive twist then write a sequel, then one of two things has to happen. A, you have to address this twist and spoil the magic, or B, you ignore it happened and kind of look like a dick for doing so. Even with the way I ended it, 100% of all speculation I received from emails regarding a sequel had to do with Nicole seeing the school counselor. Every single speculation included that. 20 chapters and it boils down to that. Very interesting, if you ask me.
Again, it seemed right to end Being More Social as I did: safely. The conflicts in this story had been resolved or constant. There really wasn’t a purpose to introduce a new conflict, and any stakes raised like Phil trying to murder Adam or something would be either too cheesy or extreme and would make readers roll their eyes. As well, I want to leave room for speculation. I have plans for the future, and it’s almost nice that one detail in the final chapter wrongfoots people right away. If people guessed what I imagine an eventual sequel would be about down to a T, there’s a good chance I’d be discouraged to write it.
Either way, thanks to any and all that read my story, and sent me feedback and/or questions last week. With that in mind, let’s get to some of the specific questions I’ve gotten since. They may be ‘out of order,’ they’re just in the order of me seeing & answering them from comments and emails.
Q: When’s the next chapter?
I like how even when I finish a book I can never escape these kinds of questions. The Being More Social storyline will be taking a break for now – I set a self-discipline to finish at least two other books before picking it back up. If I get too wrapped up in one character’s perspective, it’ll distort my ability to write from another. The next written piece will come out sometime in June, but the next book told from the perspective of Adam, if there will be one, will be a decent amount of time away. And speaking of…
Q: Will you be making a sequel to Being More Social?
My answer to this for now is “Yes, but be careful what you wish for.” The sequel to Being More Social, working title ‘Consequences,’ is in its planning phase. To an extent I know what happens with it. However, when the time comes, rather than immediately starting it I’ll instead be asking my community if they want a sequel, or if they’re happy with leaving the story there. Patreon supporters will have more sway to this due to the fact they financially support my work, but every voice will be counted. The story may take twists some readers wish wouldn’t have happened. The story, should it get written, will also be 20 chapters, and if you think you know already what it will be about, don’t get cocky.
Q: What was the result with Nicole’s cuts? It’s important not to cast aside a detail like that.
Normally I’d 100% agree with you. This as well ties in with T Mutter’s well-worded criticism on the final chapter. The idea of this was to create a form of ambiguity so that the reader either A, could fill in the gaps in their own headcanon, or B, never truly know the result of a journey after so long was spent on it, because that’s thematic of life. Sometimes there are no answers, as cheesy as that is. As well, and this I felt was a crucial piece of information, Adam actually never knew the results himself. This story is only told from Adam’s perspective, and I only broke that rule once to showcase a point when Megan was hiding in the shadows, unbeknownst to Adam. I was a whistleblower in high school who told the school’s counselor of people showing suicidal tendencies, and only recently had the guts to tell a fellow graduate I did it. While she understood why, she had told me at the time she would have been furious with me, hence the discussion with Mr. Salvador going the way it did. Anyway, I never knew what happened to her until I asked. Since this was Adam’s perspective, it felt right not to flesh out what happened.
[SPOILERS FOR THE FUTURE INCOMING] If you really need to know badly what happened, over the summer Nicole was notified that ‘teachers had noticed her cuts and tendencies’ and received counseling. While annoyed with it, she didn’t refuse. She never once blamed Adam for it, although whether she knows Adam blew the whistle or not is a mystery.
In terms of why they happened, there was no one singular reason – there rarely is. Nicole had a bad past and doesn’t much like herself. It started before she first ever met Adam, but beyond that, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Q: How much did you outline the story? Did you wing it or plan it?
A little bit of both, honestly. Most major events were planned beforehand, because starting around chapter 4 or so, I not only wanted to link events to past events within the story, I wanted to link certain events to things that had not happened yet. Things like Nicole casually mentioning her brother before the graveyard scene, Paul being in love with Nicole explaining why he tries to convince Adam to not go for her, etc. was possible due to planning. That said, certain events, like for example the vote to kick Phil off of student council, were entirely spontaneous. The way I write is in the belief that the characters exist in my mind and I document their actions, not make it up. That means if while writing something completely spontaneous and new happens, it would be dishonest to the story for me to ignore that because ‘it’s not what I planned.’
Q: What happened with Pierce?
Pierce’s sudden disappearance played with the idea that some things that used to be the most important thing in your life not only could vanish, but be so meaningless at the time that one doesn’t even notice. To me, the most significant part of that scene was the implied notion that Pierce had been missing for a long time by the time Adam even noticed. While I was never quite bullied like Adam was, there was this one guy who treated me poorly in middle school who in high school told me, “You’re going to learn to love me, bro.” Those were the last words I ever heard from him. After graduation he was reported missing and still hasn’t been found. I’m not in tears over it, I barely knew him, but it was a grim reminder of how easy it is for something that was once important to become so absent from your life that when it becomes absent from everything, you don’t notice.
Q: Are we done seeing Nicole’s submissive side? Why is she still sleeping with other guys, shouldn’t Adam have made her stop?
This marks a difference in philosophy. I didn’t include this part of her nature as a plot device. This is how Nicole operates. Like her big speech in chapter either 18 or 19 (I’m such an amazing author I can’t even remember my own story) shows, she can’t be comfortable with monogamy. 99.9% of us were raised believing that monogamy is right, so I don’t blame any readers to object to this, but had Adam ‘overcome’ or persuaded her to drop that philosophy, he’d be doing what she put up walls to prevent: changed her so she could be his, instead of being herself willingly sharing herself with her lover. If I made it seem as though this trait were to be overcome, I wrote it incorrectly. It’s a part of her. As she herself said, she can accept that Adam isn’t comfortable with it, which is why she didn’t push for a relationship where he had to deal with it. When Adam wanted a relationship and at the same time asked her to commit only to him, he wasn’t offering her the same respect. One of them was going to have to compromise, and given Nicole’s stubborn nature, it sure wasn’t going to be her.
With her submissive side, this was a kink of her’s. No true significance to it besides the significance it played in the story. With her backstory it could be believable that she secretly liked being owned and held, and that she would want to overly protest her independence on the outside. It’s not really as much of a plot device as it is a part of her. I never like adding traits to people to become plot devices. Instead I like to create plot devices from these traits. So in the future you could see more of it, or it could just be what it is.
Q: In the sequel, are we done seeing <this character>?
Probably not. Unless you were the person who asked about May. May is for sure out of the sequel. It’s safe to assume anyone graduating is out of the picture too.
Q: Are you now going back to The Good, The Bad and the Molly?
I understand not everyone is as in love with the story as they were with Being More Social. I’ll be back to writing it, as well as shorter stories. As well, the stories I’ll be writing after I finish GBM will undoubtedly be taking some more risks.
Q: What did Jashley think of the story?
Even after I get my own website I can’t escape being in this guy’s shadow…
He liked it. To my delight he’s one of my biggest and most unafraid critics, so if you liked the chapter, odds are you owe appreciation at least in part to him. He would tell me what worked and didn’t, and more importantly why. Super helpful.
Q: Did Nicole kill Pierce? Did Nicole kill her brother? Did Nicole have sex with her brother?
Jesus. No to all of these. I have a feeling I may have oversold Nicole’s mental instability.
Q: Were Chris and Jerome the same Chris and Jerome you mentioned in The Good, The Bad and the Molly?
Yes. Good eye.
Q: How long will The Good, the Bad and the Molly be? Will it be longer than Being More Social?
I’ve planned most of The Good, the Bad and the Molly but not all. Given this, I can confidently say that no, it won’t. This’ll be good news for those of you that don’t much care for it. There likely will be less than 20 chapters, plus my minimum word limit for those chapters are 5000 as opposed to 10000. Some stories take longer to unfold – GBM isn’t one of them.
Q: Why was there no big twist? I’m used to seeing them from you.
I’d like to believe the twists in my stories are as impactful as they are because they genuinely come at unexpected moments. That’s what makes them twists. If you were expecting a twist and a twist never came, I’d argue that I’m doing my apparent reputation justice.
Q: Did you ever listen to music while writing? If so, what music?
Ooh, I like this one. A good amount of BMS was written in silence, however, to hype myself up I’d occasionally listen to instrumental music. (Hearing words, even words sung, when writing causes me to accidentally write those words instead of my own.) I got really into Two Steps From Hell while writing this and used their music for the most part, but for very specific emotions, I used pieces from Epic Mountain music. Their song ‘Red Dwarves’ was on repeat while I was writing the final section of chapter 20.
Q: Did you have a drama teacher like Mr. Salvador?
Yes. He hated me.
Of course, if you have more questions, whether in the comments or in emails, I’ll of course answer them in real time. In the meantime, the plan from here on in is working on The Good, the Bad and the Molly, as well as other small tidbits for the site I’m planning on doing (though they’ve been on the backburner for about 3 months now). Thank you all for continuing to support me, whether it’s monetarily or even with your time and words. It means the world to me.