Pangaea Commentary Chapter 10 – A Trip Cut Short

Welcome to a new blog series called Pangaea Commentary. Each week I’ll be diving into one chapter of my book, Pangaea: Unsettled Land, in sequential order to give you the following:

  • my thoughts on my intentions for the chapter
  • how things changed through various drafts
  • why you should love this chapter
  • and even why you may stop reading

I’ve learned a lot about my craft by going through the process of writing and publishing this book. This will be a great way to share what I’ve learned and provide some entertaining tidbits.

Spoiler Alert

The following will contain spoilers. Haven’t read Pangaea yet? Buy it now and follow along.

Chapter 10 Summary

In this chapter, Slade and Gisela fly to Slade’s hometown, Reor, in the Middle Third for spring break. We get some inner dialogue from both about their feelings for each other: Gisela in wanting things to be more between her and Slade, and Slade wondering about the possibility of romance between himself and Douglassaire.

They arrive at Slade’s parent’s lavish house and are greeted by Slade’s father. Slade mentions they’re only going to stay for a shorter time and he’s worried about his mother’s reaction. The next day, Gisela wakes up to find Slade at the dining table with his sister, Samantha, debating the protests over the Southern Third’s Power Battle. Gisela meets Slade’s mom for the first time, and Slade tells his mother that they’re not staying the full week. His mother is disappointed, but they agree to talk later. The scene ends with Slade’s father saying Mason called for him.

The next scene begins with an introduction to the beautiful, magnetic Mason, whom Slade is resistant to after being ghosted on (remember in chapter 1). They agree to meet for dinner at a popular date spot which leaves Slade unsure if Mason wants to make them a couple or just talk.

After coming back from a day of sightseeing and shopping in Reor, Slade has a talk with his mom who has calmed down. She needed to come to grips with Slade being a man and doing his own thing. Slade and Gisela decide to go for a swim, but she shows some hesitation getting into the pool because of her past trauma. Once Slade jumps in, she feels safe and she falls even more in love with him.

Slade goes to meet up with Mason, but is frustrated yet again because he’s a no-show.

The final night, at dinner with his family, Slade is in a funk, but gets a pep talk from his sister. Both Slade and Gisela depart for the Southern Third for the second leg of their spring break with their hopes high of what’s to come.

My Thoughts

I’m going to do something different with this post. Instead of saying what you should love and what you may dislike, I’m trying to go deeper into my thoughts on the chapter. Please let me know if you enjoy this format better or if you’d like to go back to how I had it.

This chapter was absolutely packed with worldbuilding. And, to give myself a pat on the back, I think I pulled it off well without stopping the story. In the chapter you learned about the technological advancements of the Middle Third: supertrops (airplane with a unique, sting ray-like shape), the difference between hover cars and air cars (and who can use them), fingerprint scanners for payments, and unlocking your front door with voice recognition. I was also able to give you an inside look at the exclusive world of the nobles of the Middle Third kingdom through the eyes of an outsider, Gisela. And lastly, there was more detail about the Power Battle.

As far as the drama is concerned, I wanted to tie up some of the more grounded, human stories in this chapter allowing me to move into the more fantastical with the next chapter. It was a necessary evil and one that I think could have lost a few of you at this point. I got notes from my editor that Slade’s issue with his mom was not a compelling enough arc to keep the reader engaged. I know from readers that Gisela being blind to Slade’s sexuality was a bit of a thorn. And perhaps the whole Mason thing was not very interesting either. But I can explain!

First of all, I needed Slade to show that he was stepping up and pushing against his mother and just doing what he’s told. Without this, we don’t get the emotional gut-punch that comes at the end of part 1 and the beginning of his story in part 2. Second of all, sexuality is expressed differently in this world (or so I tried to show). It’s not something that needs to be stated. In this world, if you’re attracted to someone, you take your shot and if they’re not interested that’s when the clarity on their sexuality comes. So, technically Slade could flirt with any guy he wanted, and if they were straight, they’d say so and everyone would move on – no harm no foul. I could have done a better job at explaining this mindset that society has towards sexuality. I think this would have made the difference for readers who felt frustrated with Gisela. Through all of this, I bring the love triangle story thread closer to its climax. And I know there are many who hate love triangles, but at the time of writing, I didn’t know it was such a no-no. Luckily, it doesn’t last long.

I have to bring up Slade’s sister, Samantha. It really came as a surprise that she was so loved, given that her role was so small. She’s a big personality and leaves a big impression and I’m really happy that readers wanted more of her. The problem I run into when thinking about a possible next book is that the bar is raised for her. I want to give you more of her, but I not too much. I want her to be that breath of fresh air that she was here. Hopefully I can strike the right balance.

Lastly, this scene where Slade is stood up by Mason at the restaurant is crushing. Maybe only for me, but I tried to convey that sense of hope slowly dissolving into frustration and despair for you. I’ve had this exact scenario happen – including getting the “poor guy” looks from the restaurant hostess. In fact, much of Slade’s troubles with Mason stem from my own misadventures with dating and relationships. This was my attempt at injecting a harsh truth about finding love. And my final jolt to the reader, in a book where every single loose thread is tied neatly into a bow by the end, is leaving this one just hanging there. You have this nagging thought of “Where did Mason go?” or “What happened to Mason?” And I never tell you. Because that’s how it feels when someone toys with you and then up and leaves without a word. I wonder if anyone got that…

Coming Up…

In chapter 11, we get a deep dive into Douglassaire’s past and even his father’s adventures, setting up the full fantasy arc to come. Continue with me!

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