Writing chapter 59: Transfiguration

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That opening chapter is ADoF at its most meta. I knew going in that this was the penultimate chapter of the book and could feel the pressure of all the previous chapters. Fumble the ending and you can mess up everything that came before.

This is Kay’s tipping point moment. It’s when the groundwork they’ve spent so long laying finally pays off. It’s a very deliberate choice that everything goes down in a peaceful manner. This is an intellectual and experiential revolution, with Kay outlining her view and story, then Cal providing the proof. The social momentum she’s built throughout Arc 4 carries the idea forwards with such force that there’s no stopping it.

The finale wasn’t always this way. Here’s how the final season was originally described in my early notes:

War to reclaim both dimensions. Spreads into other dimensions. Cal gains total power.

After Kay’s return to Locque, the concept was that the rebel forces on both worlds would be strengthened, with Furey’s lot on Earth striking at the same time as Kay’s on Locque. The conflict would have spilled across multiple dimensions, getting wildly out of control, before being reigned in by Cal.

In Conscience Cal loses his ability to change forms, reducing and focusing his powers. Again, this was vastly different in the early concepts. Check out this line in the early plot document:

By end of series Cal can access millions of universes, becomes practically omnipresent (mind link with all the others?). At first, he can only access a few.

Cal was to have some kind of apotheosis moment, very much becoming ‘The One’ and gaining awareness and dominion across space and time. Or something. I never fully fleshed it out as I moved away from that direction as Arcs 2 and 3 came into being.

Ultimately, I didn’t want A Day of Faces to be about a super-powered god being saving the day and ruling the universe in a benevolent dictatorship. That’s what 15 year old me would have gone for, I expect. Instead, I wanted it to be about Kay, a normal girl, and the difference she was able to effect.

It makes for a smaller ending but one which is more personal, more approachable and more relatable. It’s less bombastic but, then, we see and read Big Bombastic Endings all the damn time.

As more readers flow through to the end of the book I’ll be intrigued to find out if they found it satisfying, or would have preferred something more grandiose.

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