I got the greatest piece of critical feedback today from a person respectfully exiting their Patreon support. Along with their exit, they filled out an ‘exit survey’ explaining how the story used to be special to them and the current direction makes it not “special” anymore, even though they wouldn’t call it ‘bad’ per se, and notes how the dynamics of the story used to be more unique and now every character kind of acts like a similar version of each other.
This feedback was worded more respectfully than my story frankly deserved because it’s very true. While some level of it is purposeful, which I will get into, it’s very easy to see how the story becomes a bit reductive as it goes on. This is something I’ll need to watch as I write future stories. My stories are about characters, and no matter how much I justify my choices below, it is undermining my own writing to pursue this boiling down of characters because it renders the strongest part of my writing toothless at the worst of times.
Largely, this book is about transformation. Quinn effectively wishes to be someone other than himself, gets his wish granted, and discovers the bad parts of himself along the way. He discovers another girl has a crush on him, reluctantly dates her until he likes her, falls in love, and discovers that even that second idealized version of Morgan isn’t what he wanted her to be. All three people in the story, as this person rightfully criticizes, become some version of Taylor. This is largely because all of this people already potentially were Taylor and drama has made them into the worst versions of themselves they could be. The creation of a less interesting dynamic is a byproduct of this that I, frankly, should have seen coming and didn’t.
There is a great pressure to “nail the landing” given the ugliness I’ve landed these characters in. One single chapter is a very small amount of writing and time to wrap up the story of these characters. As I’ve said before, no doubt I’ll upset some people, or at least make them less interested. Clearly, I already have, but I’ll do my best with the last chapter, and accept the consequences of that. And, if the writer of that comment happens to be reading this, seriously, thank you for taking the time to give me this feedback. Whether it helps or not with Chapter Twenty (which I’m already a fair chunk through), it will definitely help me with future stories. Individual characters and dynamics are magic, and I shouldn’t forget or neglect its importance. I’ll talk to you all next week.