Not taking writing so seriously means I actually get to do things I didn't think I was up to. This series has an A plot and a B plot! I've never really managed that before. I've finally, finally set a story up properly - not just gone from BIG SCENE 1 to BIG SCENE 2, but had quiet moments and introspection and segues --- yes, it's the most conventional thing ever and cliché to boot and wildly unrealistic, but it has all of these little things in it that I really like. So, attacking one long story as several short stories really works, then. Huh. Good to know.
I… still rushed the ending. I know. I do that. It's a terrible habit I haven't yet got out of. Does it make it any better if I say I ran out of suitable titles? No, it doesn't, does it? The story was only intended to be in five pieces anyway, so it's sort of remarkable we got seven. I promise that next time I'll try and take more time with it. I still don't entirely know why I do it, though. Excitement, possibly. "THE END, I CAN SEE IT' type stuff.
I think, for me, writing is always about compromise. I know what I like and I know what wider audiences like, and I try to mesh them together. (Because often, what I like is really not what others do. I really love soft quiet things where nothing's said, that leave you feeling futile and alone. But, um, fandom's generally meant to be a happy place, or the angst is meant to be ANGST. And I don't do that.)
I shall give you an example; the big sex scene. In my mind, initially, it was naturalistic and therefore, really sort of uncomfortable and awful. But that often isn't what audiences want to read. It certainly isn't what an audience who started the journey on one of fiction's Big Clichés would want to read, so I wrote the Hot Sex variety of it, with a couple of tongue-in-cheek lantern hanging moments. And it worked. At least, I think it worked.
There's a lot of lantern hanging in this one. It's very much a 'yes, we all know this is cliché and conventional and wildly unrealistic, but that's the fun of it' story. I did find myself wondering if I was being very naughty - kind of like the recent filmic adaptation of Chicago, where, we knew it was a musical, so why did the writer feel most of the song and dance numbers had to be fantasies? But then I decided it was clearly being a playful homage and the audience would get that. I'm not cringing away from it, I'm celebrating it. I'm revelling in it.
Things that Gene Hunt does not do, according to lines in the story:
'It Up The Bum'
Point being, of course, that Gene does do all of these things on occasion. The whole thing was based on something Phil said, where he was asked about Gene having a love interest and he said something to the effect of, "I don't think Gene does love."
Well, we know Gene does love. He even says so, episode 1.02. ("I love this city. Its mess. Its noise. Prozzies. Drunks. Stray dogs, little old men.") He loves his city, he loves his team, he loves his wife, and he loves Sam. What Phil meant, I think, is that Gene would be hard pressed to admit it, wouldn't really talk about it --- and that's true. The only reason he confesses this to Sam is that
I really think that next time I write a long slash story, I have to do it from Gene's perspective, because they've all been from Sam's so far, and he often feels like he's the only one who loves in the exchange - that Gene's just using him. It's not this way, of course. Not usually. But I think it would be fascinating to see a similar scenario from Gene's perspective, instead of just alluding to it. It would be very hard to write convincingly, which is why I generally don't.
ETA: I HAVE NO BRAIN, Everything in its Right Place is written from Gene's perspective. HAHAHA.
I'm mostly really pleased with the style of writing in some of the sections of the series. There were some lines that made me grin in that egotistical way wannabe writers do when they know they've done something well. Also, some of the dialogue is the best I've ever written and I generally consider my dialogue my strong suit. (To compensate for the good things, I'll admit that I'm aware the pacing's off, again, and there was, perhaps, a lack of finesse at some points.)
As for Sam and Gene in the story, in my head, the last line was "And they fucked and loved each other forever and ever." Just as well I don't always write what's in my head. But that hopefulness at the end, it lasts. Because I am sick to the teeth of believing these two can't be happy together. They can! I can't hear you. LA LA LA LA LA LA!