Writing chapter 57: Psyche

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Here we have a character who suffers a terrible handicap, leaving him with only a single superpower. I thought this would make for an interesting theme to explore: that of focusing on what you’ve lost, rather than on what you still have.

More time gets spent this chapter on the long-overdue confrontation between Kay and Cal. Ever since hints started to get dropped about Cal manipulating Kay and Marv the story has been building up to this moment. The obvious raute would have been a big fight, or at least a highly charged confrontation, with lots of suppressed thoughts bubbling to the surface. It’d start with Kay or Marv raising the subject and forcing Cal to tell the awkward truth.

Instead, it’s Cal who brings it up, and it all goes down in a changed context. Cal isn’t the unstoppable force he once was, and his admitting past behaviour makes him almost pitiable. He’s the revolutionary who had no friends or comrades and had to rely on manipulation to get support.

What this chapter really does is solidify the relationship between Cal and Kay, making it abundantly clear that the power arrangement has shifted. Where Kay was once the wide-eyed teenager, she’s now the one with a plan, and her own code, and the drive. More than anything, A Day of Faces has been about her becoming a leader.

The interesting thing about Arc 4, from my perspective, is that it’s been much more focused thematically. That’s a side effect of the serialised nature of the writing and publishing – I’ve been finding my way with the book as I’ve gone along.

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