There are only three more chapters. Two are complete. The third is complete enough that I could post it as-is, but I'll expand it, I know, before doing so. But posting Chapter 29 really locks it down, because at this point there's really no changing course. The ending will work, or it won't. People will buy it, or not.
annathepiper has read it. She thinks it works. I hope it works for other people.
I wish this was a thing I could do more regularly, more intentionally. At roughly 35,000 words, it's more words of fiction than I've written, combined, my entire existence. I've never had fiction just flow out of me like this before, and I don't know that I ever will again. It's almost painfully close to a novel, but there aren't really other parts that should be part of it so I suppose I must live with that.
I think I'm working some things out in my head, here, in this story. Like I'm sorting out some things in my head. I don't know that I know entirely or even exactly what those things are, but I think it's what I'm doing.
One of the things I've done in this story is that if there's a 'default' character? She's a woman. If I have a guy, I have a reason for it. The Menger Group reps are as they are for specific reasons, for example, and that includes gender. I wanted to shoot toxic masculinity in the head, so I did.
(There is also one specifically agender character, though they are extremely minor, and have a couple of speaking lines. They're the MI5 data analyst who almost figures out Sombra built Venom's next-generation chronal accelerator - note specifically they/them pronouns. I rewrote their dialogue specifically to use a pronoun:
"There is one other possibility," said a data analyst, flipping through pages of data. "This new actor, Sombra. I'm not sure why, but it reminds me a little of her work."
"Go on," said the Brig.
"She'd have to have a lot of help - we mostly know about her software, and she doesn't do bioware. At least, not as far as we know, ma'am. But," they looked at the display with intense concentration, "something about it just reminds me of her code."
That's not me figuring something out, it's just an aside. But they aren't agender "for a reason," they're agender because they are. They also have the most nicely decorated flat of anyone in that room, which is relevant to nothing, and I don't even know why it's true but it is, and there you are.)
I deeply enjoy living in this world. Maybe it's just the sense of control over life? I have no idea of that. And maybe in part, it's about how Venom's and Widowmaker's sexualities are not the issue, but that seems too easy. And maybe part of it is - this might be kind of ludicrous at this point, but I feel like maybe I'm still figuring out how to lesbian? Still? (Yes, yes, I'm bi, not lesbian, so is Widowmaker, shut up. I don't have an avatar in this story - this isn't self-insert fic - but there's a lot of parts of me in it because I'm the one writing it and Widowmaker thinks kinda like me. Not exactly, but kinda.) And this is me figuring more out about that.
(It's not how to sniper, I'm a terrible sniper on this game, which is weird, seeing as that bit about being the Halo 2 Sniper Bitch wasn't a lie. In gameplay, I'm pure Tracer.)
The story is laced through with politics, of course. Mine, mostly. Is Sándor Farkas a stand-in for a real political figure? Yes, he is. How do I feel about that? I don't know.
I thought about naming him Sándor v. Farkas but I thought it was a little too on the nose. On reflection, I think I buried it too deeply instead.
I don't know. I'm just not sure what I'm thinking here. I know that this story is almost finished - even if I did just add a bit more to Chapter 30 - and it's just this random, kinda overly-talky bit of fanfic and that's all it's going to be, even if it's carried me along like a flash flood or a tsunami and it feels like I've just been swept along for the ride.
Chapter 30 (and 31, which is really a continuation, but is its own chapter) is just about ready. It probably is ready.
I just hope it works.