Working Out the Details

Cora and I went back and forth in a few emails which I summarized in my Scriv file. Her questions are in bold, my answers are in italics, and then her responses to my responses  (heh) are in bold italics.

Pacing/Arrangement of Events:

  • The pacing of the story flows and the timeline of events makes sense.
  • Is the part about Sam dying and the whole arrangement with Jason/Sonny going to be written as a chapter 1 to the story or in flashbacks throughout?
    • Right now, everything before Elizabeth coming home is just backstory. I wrote it into the outline so I could keep the version of events in my head. Some of it will probably be flashbacks during the custody hearing.
  • Do you plan on going back to the conversations between Jason/Sonny/Sam (i.e. Sonny agreeing to let Jason claim paternity) in the later chapters – specifically when Sonny has his breakdown? I think it’ll show Sonny’s erratic mental state if you go back and forth.
    • I know that Sonny needs to yo-yo more. I really want this to be about his illness in a way the show almost touched on in 2006 but wussied out. I’m doing some research on bipolar, and they said the depressive episodes can last 6-12 months, with manic episodes spruced in there. So I want this to be almost a tragedy, and that’s why Jason tries to plead with him at the end to get help, because that man is still in there. At the same time though, I can’t ignore that Sonny changed after Carly came into his life. So I really have to get Sonny just right

Characterization & thoughts about characters

  • The actions are true to the characters. The only character whose actions I’m having trouble reasoning is Carly. It makes sense for her to want her family with Sonny to work out but I’m having a hard time seeing how she can easily turn her loyalty away from Jason to Sonny. Perhaps she is torn between the two? It seems that way in certain scenes and then in others she seems very vindictive towards Jason. Are you channeling the way Carly was during the period she married AJ to keep Michael? If I remember correctly, she still loved Jason during that time so it’s hard to understand why she would think turning Sonny against Jason would be okay.
    • Carly’s going to be difficult to nail, which is why I’m trying to build her frustration. Her inability to get pregnant to fix her family needs to fester more, I’m just trying to figure out how long to draw it out. I think some scenes of seeing Jason with his daughter to drive home the fact that she needs to fix her family. I do need the decision to turn on Jason to be more organic, as an inevitable. She loves him, but her children, her family means more, and in her head, I think I need her to feel betrayed. Can’t Jason see that this is what her family needs? Hasn’t he always given her what she needed before? She almost feels like he’s being selfish. Didn’t she wait until Elizabeth was in his life, until Jason had someone to help him? The scenes with Sonny when she feeds his distrust of Jason are going be tricky, because I don’t want her to actively trying to push Sonny, but just that she knows which buttons to push, you know? And then for her to have the realization once she’s in the custody hearing that Sonny’s going over the edge, it’s her fault, and she can’t stop it.
      • If you can show Carly’s frustration and her sense of betrayal, her actions will make perfect sense. Also, I like that you are waiting for Jason to be with Elizabeth so Carly can justify her actions. In a sense it’s like her telling him “You have someone to lean on and you will be getting a son in Cameron, can we have Evie now?” haha. Seems very Carly-like to want Jason to be taken care of before she “takes” Evie away.
  • I like your inclusion of the Zaccharas and Nadine. The pages prior to page 15 only mention Johnny in passing. Are you going to include any scenes between Jason/Sonny/Johnny beforehand or only after Sonny and Johnny both get shot?
    • There needs to be more Nohnny in some sense, but I like the idea of them remaining background until Sonny makes them the issue, as Jason is correct all along — Johnny’s just hanging around to date Nadine. It’s nothing to do with Sonny. So in my head, since this is more Jason’s story, Johnny’s just not a factor until Sonny tries to kill him. But that may not work in reality. He may need more to do later, or there may need to be a confrontation.
      • Perhaps you can insert Johnny into the scene for Elizabeth’s art show? Introduce him that way? He takes Nadine out to the show and purchases a painting for her or Claudia? I feel like the red shoe/park painting would be something Claudia might own. That’s one way to incorporate more Nohnny.
  • Great choice of antagonists. I like the introduction of the Ruiz clan but there’s no mention of Alcazar. How do you plan on writing off his character since he was tied to both Sonny and Carly during that time period? Perhaps you can mention Alcazar when you have Emily think that Carly ruined some part of Sonny? Carly’s actions with Alcazar could also explain why she is trying so hard to work it out with Sonny.
    • I think I’m planning to write Alcazar out at some point. I liked him and Carly, but once she goes back to Sonny and makes that commitment, maybe he takes off. Even puts the Ruizes in place to go after Sonny and make his life miserable.
  • Will you be including any scenes in regards to a relationship between the Corinthos’ boys and Evie? I would think Michael would want to visit his “cousin” and Jason would let him because he loves Michael. Also, since Morgan is one – two years old when this takes place, wouldn’t Carly want to socialize Morgan with Evie?
    • I don’t think I’ll be including much of Michael and Morgan, mostly because the story is really about the distance between Jason and Sonny, and in some ways, Jason trying really hard not to put Evie in their orbit. He’s torn because part of him knows his actions are disloyal to Sonny, but he knows his promise to Sam means more in the long run. So in the beginning, one of his big frustations is that Sonny is overworking him, he can’t hire a nanny for Evie, so when Sonny calls him, he has to take the little girl to Sonny and Carly. Her schedule is disrupted, it’s just a mess, and he knows Carly resents Evie for what she almost represented (and Carly never really sees Evie as a little girl in her own right, it’s always just a way to fix Sonny, to fix her marriage, so she really does resent her early on before she admits she knows the truth). So maybe a few scenes of Jason trying to maintain a fine balance between Michael and Evie, because Michael’s old enough to know better. Sometthing work adding to a Liason scene, maybe.
  • You mention Courtney is passing in the story but not much else. What happens to her character? In April 2004, she hit Jason in the head so he wouldn’t kill Alcazar. Does she fall off the face of the earth afterwards? I don’t mind that choice because I loathe her but did you mention what happens to her character and why she doesn’t appear in the fic? Not sure if I missed it or not.
    • Courtney’s insigificant in this fic, though she really shouldn’t be. I have a difficult time adding her in all these years later, haha. I’ll probably have her moving to New York. She’d mostly cut ties with Sonny by this point anyway.
  • Jason & Elizabeth: I enjoy that Jason and Elizabeth’s friendship is rocky when they see each other again because there wasn’t much friendship when she left for CA. The show seemed to be rebuilding the friendship during the scenes from early 2004 but it was nowhere near the level of friendship from 1999/2000. So, it’s realistic that Jason wouldn’t just outright confess his problems to Elizabeth. I like that you chose Emily instead. It just makes more sense.
    • I’ve always wondered if they had planned to reunite Jason and Elizabeth in 2004 before it became clear that Jason and Sam had chemistry. I really think Sonny/Sam was the original plan — they oozed chemistry and Sam was written to be in love with Sonny. I don’t blame them for going to with JaSam — I even liked parts of the initial first few years. I just hated that Sam was Sonny’s leftovers. So yeah, having them establish their friendship worked in my head and once I had the scene at the gallery in my head, I think I knew it had to be that way.
  • The buildup of their relationship is a nice pace. I enjoy that they slowly rebuild their friendship before embarking on a romance despite Emily’s nagging.
  • I’m looking forward to the Elizabeth/Nadine scenes. You are doing a great job paralleling Nohnny to Liason but still letting Nohnny have their own characteristics/relationship traits.

Thoughts about the plot:

  • I really like the plot points you have for TBT. You cover everything from weddings, birthdays, engagements, deaths, and shootings. I like that Cam’s birthday is celebrated. How about Evie’s?
    • I realized I had missed Evie’s birthday when I wrote the ending to be in December, so I’ll have to juggle that in. How do you celebrate in the middle of chaos? I haven’t nailed down the timeline too much, but it’s important her birthday be included.
      • I think Evie’s birthday could be a catalyst that also sends Sonny over the edge. Jason / Elizabeth throw her a party and Sonny gets really upset about missing Evie’s first year. He can be tormented with guilt and just blows up. It can be lead to one of Sonny’s manic episodes.
  • I like the idea of the custody battle but I’m a bit confused at how it comes about. Is there a reveal that Jason is not Evie’s father before the custody battle begins? If so, when does it occur? Additionally, who is listed as the father on Evie’s birth certificate? I would assume Jason had to fill it out since Sam was on her deathbed. Wouldn’t he have put his name down to keep up appearances and hide the baby’s true paternity? Using the logic from “Damaged” (Britt/Ben/Dante/Lulu) wouldn’t the custody battle be moot? I’m a bit confused about the paperwork switcheroo that occurs. Does Sonny sign two documents unknowingly? Two documents: One that sets up the trust and another that terminates his rights. Or does he sign only one document?
    • Well, the custody hearing is necessary since Sonny has to reverse his termination of parental rights. I think I’ll eliminate the part of about him appointing Jason as guardian, or figure out a way to make that work. Initially, Elizabeth was going to be a nurse at the hospital who had known the truth all along and encouraged Emily to encourage Jason to get guardianship papers signed for medical reasons because she wanted to protect him, but haha, her nursing schedule wouldn’t have allowed her fot flit all over all like this, so I went to her being an artist. But if Sonny signs the termination, and Sam leaves custody to Jason, then yeah.
      And the paternity reveal I guess is something that has to be dealt with, but in a lot of ways I think I’m going to have dropped hints that most of PC figured Jason was cleaning up Sonny’s messes the way he always does. Like Monica knows it’s not her biological granddaughter, but he loves her anyway. So that the custody hearing won’t be much of a shock. Jason is Evie’s legal father, but Sonny’s going to fight the termination of rights on basis of fraud and sue for custody. I’m not sure of the law, but I know that adoptive mothers have sued for their kids long after they terminated their rights and kids were adopted. I didn’t have Jason adopt her outright to maintain the image, so guardianship is a little less permanent and malleable. I have to look up custody law to get it right, but I think it works.
  • I mentioned this as a comment in your outline but does the storyline regarding Kristina’s illness not exist in this universe?
    • Kristina’s illness doesn’t exist. I like the idea of Carly keeping this secret, like she’s keeping her knowledge of Evie a secret. Her entire being is about preservering her marriage, and Evie is the one without a mother, so she’ll divulge that, but Kristina has Alexis, and she doesn’t need that complication. It would just make everything worse. I need her to have a sense of desperation, that she’s justfiying things that just aren’t justifable to anyone else.
  • Great climax for the story. Lots of action – good soap-opera action. I like the way you are planning the fallout to the custody battle. I also like the inclusion Carly’s downfall (aka the realization that her action has horrible, horrible consequences).
  • Is Audrey’s death a plot device to provide the Hardy house for the Morgan-Webber clan? Will you explore Elizabeth’s reaction to Audrey’s death more?
    • Audrey’s death was initially the point of the story. I began it in 2004, right Lila died, with the idea of having Audrey’s death bring home her son, TJ, Elizabeth’s parents, etc. When I picked this back up again in 2014, I just couldn’t figure out how to make the original plot work, but I kept Audrey’s death and Elizabeth’s parents all the way until this version. And then I realized Elizabeth didn’t have time for the parents with fallling in love with Jason. Yeah, Elizabeth’s reactions to Audrey’s death are going to be big in the rest of the story, kind of interwoven throughout. Her grandmother kept her illness from her to allow Elizabeth to build a new life, a life with Jason, and in some ways she considers that her real inheritance from Audrey, so she’s going to do everything she can to protect it.

And then here are my notes for what to do with this conversations and things to work on in the next outline.

– Emphasize Sonny’s yo-yoing. More scenes of him being accepting – this could be his depressed period.
-Emphasize Carly’s motivations. Does she need a confidant? I feel if Courtney were in the story as a full supporting character, she’d talk Carly out of her decisions, so maybe some long distance.
– Love the idea of Nohnny at the gallery. Even a funny moment towards the end — Claudia Zacchara owns my red shoe painting?
– Address Alcazar. How to make it clear he pointed the Ruizes at Sonny?
– Address Michael/Jason relationship. Jason is less close to Morgan. He feels guilty not letting Michael around Evie more, talks to Elizabeth and even Emily about it.
– Courtney as a supporting character from New York.
Scene between Courtney and Elizabeth, coming to terms. Courtney won’t testify for Sonny/Carly, but would if it came down to it. Doesn’t think they should have custody. A growing up scene. A better, brighter Courtney.

– Evie’s birthday in early November. How does the custody battle work out? Nail down timeline. Love the idea of using it as a catalyst.
– Clarify the way Sonny lost custody in the first place.
– Drop hints that PC knows Jason is probably not the father. Carly never really believed it. Emily and Elizabeth suspected. Monica does as well. Courtney knew, but left anyway.
– Sonny’s claiming fraud in regards to the termination papers — have someone remark that it’s ironic because of AJ. Courtney would be a good candidate.
– Audrey’s death, deeper fallout. Have it really make Elizabeth cling to her family, her grandmother sacrificed to give Elizabeth this opportunity.

As I’ve always said when discussing this story, if you like Carly or Courtney in this story at all, it’s because of this conversation.

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