Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party

& Other Stories by Le Kendall

Behind the Scenes: Part Two

If you want to go straight to the next part of the story you can safely skip this one! As always I will try to avoid spoilers for future parts of the story.

Chapter 2.3 Michael’s Brother was originally chapter one of I Can’t Talk About That. But when Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party (part one) went live on Patreon people seemed to like Michelle a lot. I mean I like Michelle a lot, obviously. But since I know what happens to her and how things end up I was not as worried as readers who’d had her thoughts and actions at the end of Stop as a cliffhanger. Cheer-readers and early readers also got basically the whole story at once – or in some cases bit by bit but wildly out of order. I was kind of attached to the idea that she just dropped out of the story suddenly and uncomfortably the way she dropped out of Alan Sebastian’s life I wrote One At A Time, Gillian vs Michelle and Private Number in response to reader feedback and now I can’t imagine this part of the story without those chapters. I’m not going to change plotlines based on what readers tell me they want to happen – but feedback as simple as “oh no I am really worried about Michelle” means a lot to me especially when it inspires me to add more things that I – knowing in advance what’s going to happen down the line – don’t notice are missing in the same way as readers who are reading the story drip-by-drip.

Gillian vs Michelle was a chapter I wrote where I thought “oh no how the heck can I possibly record this?” and then later “oh dang, eye readers are really not getting the full experience for this one”.

As a person with Auditory Processing issues I basically can’t listen to podcasts or audiobooks. I miss too much of what is going on and they fairly quickly send me into sensory overload. So I find it kind of amusing that I find it so fun and rewarding to create a kind of content I have no wish to consume. But recording the chapters improves my writing so much. I feel like the chapters come out so much better when I’m writing them thinking about how they’ll sound when I read them aloud… and of course reading them aloud has always been a great way for me to find grammar errors and typos. But something about reading them aloud for the purpose of other people to listen to rather than just for flow, grammar and typos helps me mould the emotional shape in a way that I am very pleased with.

I was surprised by how many people told me they really liked The Leap. I really like The Leap. Which is why I wrote it the way I did. But somehow I feel like timeskip chapters are cheating. It seems like Tell rather than Show which is the opposite of what you’re ~supposed~ to do. But some of my favourite chapters are definitely the tell ones so… take that, traditional writing advice!!

At the same time The Leap was also a weird chapter for people who have known me for a long time and know me very well. I prefer to write feelings rather than details so when it came to fill in details of what Alan Sebastian had been doing all of this time… well it seemed boring to make anything up so he did my degree, got my job and wrote my webcomic. I then had to take out a bunch of the details of the details because it felt weird to be so specific in this one place when I had been so vague elsewhere.

Fun Facts!

  • Alan Sebastian’s version of the webcomic The Adventures Of Chifley is much funnier and more popular than mine which had around 30 readers.
  • I imagine that the universe of Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party is almost identical to the one we’re in except that I do not exist there in the same way that Alan Sebastian does not exist here. If you were a second floorer in the early-mid 00s you might have seen him there. You probably wouldn’t have been friends though because he’s not very good at that.

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