Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party

& Other Stories by Le Kendall

Behind The Scenes: Part Three

As always I’m writing this post as an attempt to indulge my impulse to infodump. Feel free to proceed directly to the next part of the story if that’s more your jam.

That Was A Big Week For Us!! One of the things which pleases me about putting my story up on the internet purely for my own joy and having other people read and respond to it as an incredibly amazing bonus rather than being the whole point… is that I can just do whatever silly thing I like like scheduling seven chapters to come out at all sorts of weird times. It was very fun!! I do not intend to ever do that again because it was also somewhat stressful to have that feeling of Anticipation hanging over me for basically the entire week.

Sometimes I name folders and passages in Scrivener purely for my own reference and/or amusement. Naming the folder for these chapters “That Was A Big Week For Us” was one of those things back when I assumed that the 20 year(!) saga of Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party would be one thing rather than being broken up into parts.

Breaking the story up into parts as I have done solved two things which weren’t ever actually problems.

One – the focus and tone of the story changes a lot as the characters get older and have different sorts of worries and problems. At first it’s a romance with some family stuff but then the romance is resolved half way through (is it a spoiler to assure you at this point that this is the happily ever after for Alan Sebastian and Scott? I don’t care. I don’t want you to anticipate being thrown back into indefinite will-they-or-won’t-they while you become increasingly frustrated with their inability to identify or communicate their wants and needs. It will be fine. They’re fine. They don’t exist but the way they don’t exist is pretty happily) and it becomes a focus on… other stuff? Things. The sorts of things that happen to people sometimes.

Two – I got to use the title That Was A Big Week For Us which otherwise would have not had anywhere to go. Hooray!

I was very excited to name the chapters for That Was A Big Week For Us. I felt like That Was A Big Week For Us told readers that important and life changing things would probably happen and that readers would have a pretty good guess as to what sort of things those things might be. So it delighted me to think I might surprise you as to when they happened by being deliberately misleading.

I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes thinking about how pleased I am with naming the chapter where they properly decide and agree that they’re 100% together for real Disaster. Heh heh heh. The word disaster appears four times in the chapter. It’s completely appropriate.

Also I hope you noticed that while the other chapters use 24 hour time as is Alan Sebastian’s strong preference for avoiding any ambiguity and doing things the way they Obviously Ought To Be Done this one uses 12 hour time because it starts with Scott who also likes to do things the way they Obviously Ought To Be Done but places a higher priority on the way that other people do things than Alan Sebastian does.

Much like Part Two’s Gillian vs Michelle I did at first wonder how the heck I would be able to record 3.6 Escape. And then once again realised that ear readers may be getting a better version which could not be replicated in text.

Something which perpetually astonishes me is the number of times that I consciously write in character traits or behaviour patterns for Alan Sebastian that are distinct from my own in order to ensure that he’s not simply the gay male version of Le. And then later I discover that… welp. Actually that’s based on me again but I somehow didn’t realise it?

Over and over again he teaches me about myself. Thanks, Alan Sebastian.

Anyway I wrote Alan Sebastian’s recovery from his meltdown because it felt like the way things would work for him. It wasn’t a way I’d ever consciously attempted to regulate while in intense distress although I’ve been aware for some time that provoking an intense emotional response in myself via imagining stories is an effective way for me to avoid melting down in the first place… but following writing this chapter I did deliberately try this method myself and it worked very well. Thanks again, Alan Sebastian.

As I mentioned in the Behind The Scenes notes for Part Two, Michelle was an unexpected fan favourite. I could not, of course, add her into this part of the story since she was definitely not around for any of this. But I am very pleased with the weight I added to her absence in this story and I hope you liked it.

Fun Facts

  • There is one (1) thing which looks like an error but I did it on purpose for Reasons
  • I renamed the throwaway character Anna at the last minute because I have this habit of using names that start with J for minor and throwaway characters. Jeremy! Jazz! Julia! Gina isn’t strictly a J name but it has the same sound so I’ll count here anyway! So I renamed Jenna to Anna because it didn’t matter in any way and it was too late to change any of the others since they’d already appeared in the story.
  • Sometimes I just make up names in the moment to refer to people who exist but aren’t important just because I don’t want it to seem like the world is entirely empty apart from these people. Like Damian King or Tiffany West. These people do not matter but they exist because there are more than six people in the universe. Sometimes I mention people in the same way but they’re actually people I have stories about or who will come up later. Scarlett’s one of those ones.

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