i oftentimes go into these scenes with a few ideas of what i love about it

Second Chance - Part One

Originally posted by luuuuuke-evans

Alright guys, here is the first chunk of that Gaston x Reader fic that I posted about a few nights ago. I’ve never written a Reader fic, haha. But I’ve had this idea ever since seeing the movie the first time and I suggested it to other writers but I’m impatient so here it is. I also feel like I should thank @sannvers for editing it and telling me “YO THIS PART IS WEIRD FIX IT”, so thanks.

Title: Second Chance

Pairing: Eventual Gaston x Fem!Reader

Rating: T

Words: 3,753

Summary:You try to stop Gaston from shooting the Beast and falling to his death, but you arrive too late to save him. As you sit there, sobbing, the Enchantress offers you a second chance to save him.

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anonymous asked:

What are the components of a good romance story?

Ooh, romance. The old love love.

There’s quite a few components to a good romance. 


First of all, do these characters actually work together? This is the first thing that people often talk about when looking at romance. You can write beautiful, romantic scenes, but if they are forced, it doesn’t matter.

What makes characters compatible? Chemistry. Oftentimes characters that are meant to be will show the ways in which they “click” from the start of their relationship. They work well as a team, or see something in each other that others don’t. Characters something essential that is in common, be it fundamental beliefs or similar backgrounds, but as far as personality, opposites often attract- if you have a stoick, unemotional character, the best match may actually be a character that draws out their emotional side a little more- characters should round each other out and be a positive influence on one another.

An essential part of this is making sure that both characters are developed. If you have one who is Really Cool and Well Thought Out and another that has Maybe Two Traits, the Really Cool one will always take center stage or always outshine their partner. That’s not good chemistry, that’s a Focused Character and their Accessory Lover. 


Somewhat related to that above: your readers are not going to care about the romance if they don’t like the characters, or even if they don’t like one character. Actually, they tend to avidly root against it. The best way to prevent that result is to make sure that both characters involved are well-developed with equal flaws and strengths. Again, if you have one star that shines brighter than the other, it’ll throw things off by a lot. If they like the characters, they will like for them to be happy together. If they like one a lot better, they’ll constantly complain about how they “deserve better” than the other.

Of course not everyone is going to like a character. People have different tastes in characters and that’s okay. What I’m saying here is mostly to make sure that your characters are on a sort of equal footing of likable traits.

Actual Plot:

This has more to do with the writing than the characters. In the best romances, the story isn’t just a romance, but rather, a relationship that develops around the circumstances of their lives and settings. Honestly, if every scene is either “they are together” or “they are not currently together but they are thinking about each other”, it gets boring. Like with any other story, a romance needs conflict. This conflict can vary depending on the rest of the setting and premise, but relationships are tested by the struggles they endure, and if they are meant to be, they will ultimately grow stronger- and any story that lacks conflict isn’t really much of a story at all.

Basically, remember that these characters haves lives outside of each other.

Also, check growth/influence and remember that romances have arcs!

Other Characters:

Yes, the romance is really fun to write, and it’s tempting to spend all your time on your lovey dovey characters, but you should be careful not to forego everything else for them. Every character has importance and influence within the story, or else they shouldn’t be there at all, and that applies to romances too. 


(Also mentioned in Compatibility) When characters spend time together, they have influence over each other. In a successful relationship, this is a positive influence- consider the example of the stoic character and the emotional character. The emotional character will bring out the more sensitive side of the stoic character, and the stoic character may bring out strength in the emotional one. That’s positive! And if you have a tragic romance, you might have characters that bring out negative traits in each other, like jealousy or infatuation. 

(Like characters and stories, romances can have arcs as well, negative and positive)


Realism is not referring to fiction-versus-nonfiction. I’m talking about realism in the context of relationship growth. Again, writing romances is fun, and writers often get ahead of themselves, and that often results in the relationship ending up either Too Dreamy or Too Tragic.

Too Dreamy: Everything is perfect. They work well together, and when others cause problems, they rise above. They never waver or question because they are Just So In Love.

Too Tragic: These are the Angst stories, where the poor couple can’t seem to catch a break whatsoever. One is always hurt or dealing with something. Yes, conflict is good, but riding the angst train can be a journey with out end sometimes, and it’s very easy to end up making situations happen just because they sound sad, not because they’re actually good for the story. 


As much as I may love a couple together, it can be easily ruined by poor pacing. The romance in itself should be an arc long before it reaches fruition. Start slow. Let them get to know each other. Build from the ground up. Love is beautiful and flowering and you can find the best parts of every stage without skipping straight to the kissy kissy stuff. 

The best thing that you can do for pacing is to learn to show and not tell in their relationship. Start with scenes that show how they interact, that outline their chemistry and the way they work together. This is how they show that their influences on each other can really work out into something wonderful. This kindles the hope in the readers, the idea that hey, I want these two characters to be happy together. Bonding, breakdowns, conversations, sacrifices.

The pursuit is a tense and moving arc of it’s own, and the romance is a satisfying end to that arc that begins a new chapter, but be sure to fully take advantage of every part of the journey for the full affect of the story.


… Of the relationship, not just the characters. When a relationship develops, it takes on a uniqueness of its own. Think of any significant relationship, romantic or otherwise. Think of the inside jokes, the messages communicated through glances, the memories they share together. All these things give the relationship a character of their own. If your characters’ relationship doesn’t have characteristics that set it apart from other relationships, it might need a little more development.

Romances are complicated, and there is a lot more to be said, but for now, I’m wrapping this up. Hope this helps!


anonymous asked:

#7 least favorite ship

7. What is your least favorite (episode/character/season/ship)?

Buffy and Spike. I make zero effort to hide my disdain lol

I’ve touched on why I don’t like them in other posts, so a lot of what I’m going to say isn’t a fresh take.

For starts, the trope of the bad boy falling in love with the good girl is one that oftentimes doesn’t resonate with me; I think a lot of these stories are played out in similar ways – which leads to lazy writing a lot of the time – and I don’t like the underlying messages that usually accompany these stories. I’m not saying that it’s a trope that never works for me, I’m saying that I’m not here for it 9 times out of 10.

Spike isn’t a special vampire because he can ~~love. As both BTVS and ATS progress, it’s clear that it’s not out of the norm for vampires to form bonds and have feelings, so I don’t find it particularly inspiring that he develops feelings for Buffy. Even less so when it all starts because he has a dream. It’s pretty clear during those first few episodes of season 5 that the show had no idea what to do to keep the character relevant. So, this gives him something to do but even then, he’s separate from everything else going on because none of the other characters even like him. Right from the beginning, everything is entirely from Spike’s perspective and that doesn’t change. The relationship does nothing for Buffy’s character because it’s not about Buffy. I don’t think anyone would argue that Spike loves Buffy, but Buffy’s feelings are still a point of contention among the fandom. You can say he loves her with and without a soul (his intentions for getting a soul are not noble, though) but what about Buffy? What does it matter the degree to which he loves her if she doesn’t feel the same way? That love has no balance to it. Buffy’s other relationships are sacrificed in order to make her relationship with Spike more meaningful; this is her show but in the story of Buffy and Spike, Buffy becomes a tertiary character. If you don’t care about Spike, then I think it’s impossible to care at all about B/S.

In season 5, Spike meddles into Buffy’s relationships, stalks her, steals her clothes/underwear, tries to sabotage her report with Watcher’s Council, tries to kill her, chains her up and threatens to kill her because she dare rejects him (hm that sounds like it relates in real world terms…), gets a robot of her made so that he can have sex with it, and that’s all just off the top of my head.

In season 5, Buffy makes her feelings for him abundantly clear and that’s that she doesn’t like him not just in a romantic sense but in a friendly sense. She doesn’t think much of him, and why should she?

In season 6 their relationship is abusive, plain and simple. Abusive relationships are not interesting nor are they entertaining. I’ll leave it at that because this doesn’t need to turn into an essay. Actually, one more thing; so in OMWF everyone is singing their truths and Buffy literally sings “This isn’t real.” She looked pained during that kiss.

In season 7, he somehow becomes the victim in all this?? Because women just have that effect on men, I guess rme. It’s still a gross dynamic, too. Spike has this blind loyalty to her and this isn’t romantic. He’d kill Faith if Buffy asked him to? He’ll ~be evil~ if Buffy asks him to? I repeat, this isn’t romantic! I think SMG was pretty over it at this point as well because their scenes in S7 seem so hollow to me because she’s not even trying lmao bless her

tl;dr Basically, nothing about the B/S relationship appeals to me!

A Conversation with Chelsea Bartlett

Recently, I met Chelsea Bartlett. I wish that I could say I’ve known her for years, because she’s just that cool, but I know her now and that will have to be good enough. Chelsea is a short story writer, currently working on a novel, (you can already see how much we’ve got in common!) and she runs a blog, Princesses, Pirates, and the Pen (which all of you should definitely go follow). 

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#TwinPeaks Star Kyle MacLachlan Reflects on Agent Cooper’s Past and Looks Toward His Future

In an interview with THR, the actor relives some of his favorite memories from the original ‘Twin Peaks’ run and offers a tease or two about what’s ahead.

During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon asked Kyle MacLachlan what the actor could reveal about the upcoming Twin Peaks revival. His answer, of course, was virtually nothing, except for one tongue-in-cheek tease: “It was damn good coffee.”

It’s no wonder MacLachlan can’t say much, given Twin Peaks creators David Lynch and Mark Frost’s insistence on keeping the Showtime series’ story under tight wraps. Few characters are shrouded in more uncertainty than MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper, with the possible exception of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), who seemingly exploded in the final episode of the series. (Fenn is one of the more than 200 actors aboard the revival; it’s a good bet she survived the blast, but then again, who knows?! This is Twin Peaks, where dead does not always mean dead.) In the season two finale, Cooper entered the dark spiritual realm known as the Black Lodge, where he became the newest vessel for Killer BOB (played by the late Frank Silva), the denim-wearing demon responsible for killing Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and condemning her father Leland (Ray Wise) in the process.

What version of Agent Cooper will we see in the new Twin Peaks, set 25 years after that devastating cliffhanger? Will it be the soulful optimist who loves few things more than a damn good coffee paired with a slice of cherry pie? Or will it be a BOB in Coop’s clothing, bursting through the Douglas firs to terrorize this eccentric Pacific Northwest town over the past two decades and change?

Of course, MacLachlan won’t say one way or the other. He’s much happier to weigh in on the process of filming the new Twin Peaks, reuniting with Lynch once again after several years apart, and what it was like to live through some of the most iconic moments of the series: the Red Room and the bananas BOB twist included. Here’s what he told The Hollywood Reporter about all of that and more.

How are you feeling, now that the world is days away from putting eyes on the new Twin Peaks?

It’s funny, isn’t it? It feels exactly that way: a long time coming. But it feels like we’re all coming into focus now, and everyone is turning our way. It’s very exciting. There’s been a lot of activity.

How often were you thinking about Agent Cooper in the years since you last played the character?

You know, off and on through the time that it was not on. It’s a character who really stayed with me. He’s one of the greatest characters that I have ever played, certainly. I always thought in the back of my mind that we could actually return there at some point in time if the stars aligned. It’s not that I was sitting around hoping it would happen, but I felt it would be kind of fun were it to happen. It was always a “what if.” Were it to happen, it would be really fun to revisit. It wasn’t something where I was thinking, “We have to get this done.” It was more, “Well, let’s see what happens. Let’s see if a story develops with David and Mark.”

There are several reasons why Agent Cooper has endured as a character, including the fact that he’s such a soulful and optimistic force in what’s often a bleak world. Do you view him that way?

Definitely. I’m kind of that way in life. I tend to be more optimistic than the other way. The glass is always half full, I think, at least in most things — maybe not my golf game. (Laughs.) But! As far as the show and that character, he’s intuitive and he’s obviously empathic. He has a great love of the people around him, and a great love for them. I think he considers himself a fortress against whatever the dark side might be — the world of BOB and all of that — and I think he takes that role very seriously. To be able to step back into the suit and continue on this journey has been really fun and rewarding.

No, not at all. When I spoke with David about it, and he told me what was happening, we didn’t talk much about the journey itself, just that he and Mark were working on this. I was excited about the prospect, because he said, “I’m going to be directing every episode.” And I felt, “Wow.” If you’re going to return to Twin Peaks, there’s no better way to do it than to have the creator also be the director of every frame. That, to me, was very exciting. But no, no trepidation at all. Just excitement, and curiosity, certainly, about what the story was going to be, and the journey that Cooper was going to be taking.

You and Lynch have worked together on a variety of projects, and there are few better people to weigh in on what it’s like to work on a Lynch film set. Can you describe the experience?

He’s unlike anything else. The environment he creates for us is so supportive. There’s a lot of humor involved. There’s tremendous focus. There’s a clarity of vision. If for some reason he’s not sure about something, he sits and thinks about it until he’s sure. There’s no forward steps without knowing where we’re going. But that’s not to say he’s not open to happy accidents, as well. That’s one of the catchphrases about David’s process: If there’s something that happens that’s unexpected or accidental, as opposed to rejecting it outright, oftentimes he welcomes it in. He counts it as life. Those things can be very revealing and important. There’s room for that in the creative process. It’s a real pleasure working with him, whether you’re talking to an old-timer like me or people who have just come on for the first time. To a person, they’ll say that it was one of the best working experiences they have ever had.

The revival is shrouded in secrecy. We know nothing about the story, except that it takes place 25 years after the original series’ cancellation. What’s your view on all of the secrecy, the fact that the details of the plot are being held so close to the chest?

I think it’s terrific. I’m excited about the idea. I’m actually thrilled about the idea, that we’ve been able to keep it under wraps, which was the idea from the very, very beginning. When I had my first reading of the script, I read it at the studio in a room by myself. Of course, I didn’t tell them I took photographs of every page … (Laughs). No, I didn’t do that. They let me read it all the way through, and then I had to pass the script back. The pages were then distributed out, and I was one of the ones who had most of the script, which I needed. Most people just received what was pertinent to them. Again, it was an effort to keep things contained, and also to help us. That way, if anyone asks us about the story, we could say, “I don’t really know!” As opposed to feeling an obligation to say something, or maybe you would feel compelled out of your own sense of whatever to say it’s about this or this. There were no opportunities for that. I love that people are going to be embarking on this fresh. For something that’s so well known, it’s going to be a whole new journey. I think that’s wonderful.

The only thing I can say is that the journey continues. I have said it’s almost as if Twin Peaks never stopped. The world of Twin Peaks, the environment and the town and the people, have all continued to live on, and now we’re dipping back into that world and taking a further journey with them. We’ll catch up on what’s happened after these 25 years. Beyond that, I can’t say much, other than it’s David’s vision. I feel like it’s going to be something that’s as unexpected and compelling as the original was when it was first broadcast — in a different way, of course. But it has that same kind of power and magic going forward. I, like you and many people, am curious to see how the audience is going to respond.

Lynch has talked about viewing the new Twin Peaks as an 18-hour movie, versus an eight-episode television series. Do you agree with the distinction?

It was definitely a different structure. Instead of traditional episodes that were handed out one by one, this came as a very long feature. He’s made a point of calling them “hours” or “parts.” In his mind, he’s directed an 18-hour movie that was fractured into 18 installments. It’s different in the telling of the story; maybe not different in the playing, because the scripts were already broken into scenes, anyway. You’re concentrating on smaller pieces. But when you go to assemble it? I’m sure the editors were looking at it and going, “What are we going to do?!” The assemblage, I’m sure, was very different.

The reading was one thing. When you actually get into the environment, it’s completely different. David was having us do some unusual things, like walking backwards. I didn’t do too much backwards stuff, thank god, but Mike Anderson (The Man From Another Place) and Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) had to do some backward talking. We all know how that can translate when it’s run forward: It’s oddly disturbing and surprisingly effective for such a simple technique. I knew going in that it was going to be a little bit strange, and I was also wondering, “Is this going to work?” That’s the thing: You can shoot it backwards, but at that time, you weren’t able to run it forwards to see what you could expect. They could play the audio back so you could see how close you were to matching, to see if people could understand what you were saying — which is why they provided the subtitles as well, I think. You knew something odd was being created, but you didn’t know the impact yet.

It ended up being quite iconic.

Oh, yeah. Super frightening. And unexpected, too. I think a lot of people sat up on their couches and exclaimed: “What am I watching here?” (Laughs.) “This doesn’t seem like any TV that I’ve seen before!” And that was the idea.

A personal favorite moment is when Cooper throws rocks at bottles in order to narrow down suspects in the Laura Palmer case…

Yeah, me too. (Laughs.) It was such a great day. We were outside, drinking coffee, having fun, and I was just there throwing rocks at bottles. There are few things as satisfying as throwing rocks at a bottle, with the expectation being that if it hits, it’s going to explode. It was really perfect, actually. David had no problem just rolling. We were burning film in those days. We were burning through thousand-foot mags, as I kept throwing rocks. He was shooting from behind me so he could see the whole thing. I missed a ton. And I said, “David, are you sure you don’t want to cut?” And he goes, “Nope, we’ll keep rolling.” I threw a bunch, and I finally nicked a bottle or something. It took a while. There were a few very close ones. But what he was capturing, and I didn’t realize this, is that everyone was watching me, and each time I threw a rock there would be a [collective gasp from the crew]. You think it’s going to happen! You never really get tired of watching, because you think, “This could be the rock that breaks the bottle!” I realized later that that’s what he was going for. He was going for that moment of expectation that would hopefully be fulfilled. It just took me a very long time before I made it happen. (Laughs.) And then he gave everyone else a chance to throw rocks. We didn’t film that, but everyone had their chance. It was such a fun day.

Season two of the series is something of a mixed bag, with a very strong start in those first nine episodes, before losing its way in the middle of the season, when Lynch became less involved. What was your experience of shooting that season?

I think we all felt the pressure to resolve the mystery. Not internally, but from outside. The studio was saying, “We need to figure out who killed Laura Palmer. People are crazy about this.” I think it was episode nine where they have that final sequence [with Wise as Leland Palmer], which I thought was beautiful. Everything leading up to that was pretty amazing. It was a culmination of the big mystery. There’s a variety of thoughts about what happened later. I personally thought the “Who killed Laura Palmer?” mystery was such a strong engine for the show onto which we laid all these eccentric and unusual characters and this incredibly unusual environment, that to come up with something equally compelling? It just didn’t happen. It was a great potential for a story, it just somehow didn’t capture the audience in the same way as, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” We were going forward and doing the best we could. It was an interesting enough storyline, but it wasn’t interesting enough, you know what I mean? That’s where we lost people. Once you give people the resolution to that, it’s kind of done. I think we all realized that we revealed it all … maybe not too soon, necessarily, but maybe there was another way to keep it going where that question wasn’t answered. (Pauses.) Anyway. That’s me looking back! Hindsight and all. But the end of it all, the last episode of that season, it ended with what I thought was, “Okay! Now the engine’s revved up again. We have a very interesting question of, 'What’s going to happen now?’” Unfortunately, it was too late. Which is why it’s so beautiful that we get to return after all of this time and pick the story up and move forward and hopefully have some answers.

It’s one of the most brutal cliffhangers in television history. As we were speaking about before, Cooper is such an optimistic man, so to see you doing almost a Killer BOB impression … it’s such a foreign way of looking at that character.

I was excited by it. I was already thinking, “This is a journey that’s going to be very interesting.” I don’t know if we knew at that time that we had been canceled yet. But I remember thinking, “Wow, I am ready to go!” And of course it was nipped in the bud. But I was so excited about the idea of being able to explore, as an actor, what that might look like.

Did you work with Frank Silva at all to incorporate BOB’s mannerisms into your performance?

No, not really. I watched what he did. When we were trying to do the mime thing towards the mirror — because he was on the other side — we worked on that in sequence. Apart from that? Not really. It was just trying to capture that moment, and whatever it was going to turn into. I didn’t know what it would turn into.

What do you remember about working with Silva, who passed away a few years after the series ended? He was so memorably terrifying as Killer BOB.

He was a lovely guy. Quiet, and kind of funny, and very humble. He was nothing like the character he played. I find that this is more often the case than not, that the guys who play the villains are the nicest and sweetest guys you can possibly imagine. And that was Frank. He was such a sweetheart.

As we look forward, knowing that there’s so little you can say about it, do you have an out-of-context way of describing the new Twin Peaks? A word or two that might not make sense right now, but maybe will make sense once we finish watching the season?

Oh, man! (Laughs.) I could probably come up with one, or two, but I would be worried that speculation would start, and then David would call me and say, “Okay, what did you do?” (Laughs.) I don’t want to get in trouble! But there will be some interesting reveals, I think. Unexpected, too. Which is fun. I’ll tell you what has been fun: It’s been very fun to read and follow along with people’s ideas and thoughts, and what they think they know, and watching that and smiling and going, “Ah, they have no idea what’s coming.” That’s very fun.

Do you view this as the end, or as a new beginning?

It’s a good question. I don’t know. David has said: “Everything is Twin Peaks.” It leads me to believe that there are other stories to tell. I think it’s just a question of whether David and Mark want to tell them. I don’t know. But I’m happy. Revisiting the character, working on this character again, was really such a thrill. And working with David again. It had been a long time since we had the director-actor relationship. That was spectacular. Hopefully it’s not the last time. I hope there’s more that we can do together, whether it’s Twin Peaks or not.

link (TP)

anonymous asked:

how do you do it? start a fic and continue writing it until completion? do you have resources on how to write an introduction, because i'm at a traffic light :( i have ideas, i just don't have the thoughts of how to organise everything so it actually forms a story. so i wanted some advice from you as you're one of my fav iwaoi/AO3 writers :(

Hey anon! 

Starting a fic and finishing it - especially if it is a long fic - is definitely not an easy feat. Don’t feel bad at all that it’s been a bit of a struggle! I’m no expert by any means, but here are a few things that I do when I get a fic idea that help me finish things that I start.

When I first get an idea, more likely than not, I’ll yell to someone about it! (Haha, you know who you are ;D) It doesn’t need to be totally fleshed out, but I find that talking to someone about an idea helps give it a little bit more.. substance. Not only that, but telling someone the details helps me see which areas of the plot are weak or strong, and often times whoever I am bouncing ideas off will have a different perspective on ideas. So if I’m not sure if a certain event works, they can help with that. Also, this just gets someone excited about the idea, and that is so great for motivation! I can’t even explain how much that motivates me to want to write. Having someone else tell me they like the idea, can’t wait to see it in writing - it’s great.

As for the actual writing, introductions are also my weak point. A lot of the time, I write an introduction last. Don’t be afraid to just jump into the story! Write the first parts that you are inspired to write. If that isn’t the introduction, then write the middle of the story. Once you have finished the rest of the story, then you can read it over and figure out if there’s any set-up that you feel that the story really needs. Show it to someone else if you have a friend that can look it over, so that they can tell you if there are any parts that are confusing or that they felt was missing. I find this so valuable because a lot of the time, I can’t always tell, because the entire story is completed in my head - if that makes sense? So I fill in the blanks, but someone else wouldn’t. Actually, oftentimes, after just starting a story, I find that I don’t need a big introduction anyway. If anything a sentence or two introducing what is happening is enough.

If you’re having trouble organizing, try starting with writing down all of your ideas. On paper, in a Google doc, wherever - just get them written down, and then you can look at what you have in sequence and see if it makes a whole cohesive plot. I rely a lot on others here, because I pretty much always just yell at my friend and she yells back if it makes sense or tells me if something is missing or it doesn’t make sense. But if you work better solo, just see if there are any holes in your plot. Mark those spots, and see if you can bridge your ideas together. It might be helpful to sort into scenes, or chapters. If the idea is long, having multiple chapters to write can be great because you can post small bits at a time and get some response from people.

But, with this remember that the first few chapters of a multi-chapter fic aren’t going to get very many hits. This is true even for well-established authors - don’t let this discourage you! I find once you get to 3 or 4 chapters, more people will click on it and it’s still much easier than trying to sit down and write 20k+ words without actually getting feedback.

Most importantly, though? You have to like the idea. It’s so, so hard to motivate yourself to write if you don’t like it - so make sure it’s exactly the way that you want it to be. Don’t change it if someone doesn’t like it (someone always doesn’t), don’t change it if someone offers suggestions you don’t like. Stick with your idea, and write it because you like it. Yes, you’ll get comments, and talking to friends is motivating - but I love my writing a lot more when I’m writing it because it’s an idea that I’m in love with. 

One last thing - don’t forget to take breaks! If it just isn’t working and you’re getting frustrated, take a step back. Go watch something, listen to music, take a walk, just get a break. It’s important to be disciplined, but don’t try to force it if it isn’t working. Listen to what your body is telling you.

Sorry this is a bit of a mess - hopefully it helped some! Good luck! <3

Hellhound!Dean and Breaking the Authoritarian Mindset

I’ve spoken a lot in the past few weeks about Dean’s mark of Cain storyline, as well as his developing relationship with Crowley, as strongly framing Dean as fulfilling a Hellhound type of role for the King of Hell. As early as Dog Dean Afternoon where Dean literally took on a canine mindset there have been clues that a master/attack dog dynamic was being set up. And this isn’t the first time the show has highlighted the tendency towards a simplistic mindset within Dean, that such a comparison has been made…

Dream!Demon!Dean: You’re as mindless and obedient as an attack dog.

Although I don’t think for one moment that the events of Dream A Little Dream of Me were foreshadowing (different showrunners, different agendas afterall), I do think Carver may be intending on going back to themes that could have been explored back in Season 3, and if Season 10 is going in the direction I think it may be (and hope it will!), Dean’s experiences under the corruption of the mark of Cain could lead to him taking huge steps towards change for the better once humanity has found him again.

Dean’s authoritarian upbringing is one of the fundamental sources of the current issues we see in him, and while I don’t think enough traits manifest in him that he would be labelled as having an authoritarian personality per se, I do think there are authoritarian aspects to him he inherited from John’s military-esque approach to parenting.

The authoritarian personality (e.g. Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford (1950)) can be considered a mindset in which obedience to authority is paramount, both in oneself to superior others, and in inferior others’ obedience to self. The theorising speaks of strict, authoritative parenting as instilling both anger and fear into a child that is suppressed and manifests as an idolising of authority figures and desire for adherence to hierarchical social structures. A mindset I feel is highly applicable to Dean and his relationship with John.

John gave orders and he expected them to be followed, precisely, with any deviation from given directives to be greeted with punishment. We saw back in Something Wicked a snapshot of some of the emotional punishment Dean would suffer when, as a child, he hadn’t complied with instructions, and we needed only a glimpse of Dean’s face in Dark Side of the Moon when speaking with Sam about his running away to get an idea that punishment could likely be harsher.

I’ve spoken before of Dean fitting a fearful-avoidant attachment personality (an orientation that is characterised by both high anxiety and avoidance in relationships, producing an approach to interactions whereby the emotional intimacy such a person strongly desires with others is limited to avoid the perceived inevitability of abandonment and rejection). A person of this orientation highly values loyalty, which is why we see in those few people that Dean has allowed himself to be close to he is fiercely loyal to, oftentimes to his own detriment… Combine loyalty, emotional vulnerability, and valuing authoritarian structure, and what you have is someone who gets a sense of highly-coveted acceptance through complying with perceived superior others (‘If I do what I’m told then I’m part of the system, I belong somewhere’) and gets their validation through being useful to others: We have Dean. It’s why in earlier seasons we saw his idolising of his father as well as adherence to his law, why we saw anger in Dean towards John in episodes such as In My Time of Dying and Dream A Little Dream of Me, and why we also see Dean take a rather authoritarian approach to Sam; while he loves Sam and highly, highly, values him, his status as 'younger brother’ sees him fall beneath Dean in the hierarchy and therefore in a position to follow orders.

Abaddon: Obedient… and suicidally stupid. I like that too.

Loyalty is of course highly valued, but the extent to which Dean is willing to go due to the loyalty he feels towards those he loves and feels responsible for is drastically unhealthy. I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here is a perfect example of this.

Dean’s loyalty to Castiel sees him put himself through this. Yes it’s moving that he cares for Castiel this much, but his devotion to fulfilling his role as being useful is literally killing him, which symbolically works perfectly: his loyalty and devotion is killing who he is as an individual. Dean doesn’t value himself, he values what he can do for others, how he can fulfill the role his father assigned him as a child. This needs to change. Dean needs to see that who he is matters, he is more than the tool he has created of himself to be used by others, more than a member within a hierarchical doctrine he lives by, he is a human deserving.

Which is why I feel the framing of Dean as a dog and, more recently, a Hellhound to his demonic master is both tragic and yet hopeful for Dean’s evolution: I genuinely believe that Season 9’s set-up for demon!Dean in a Hellhound position for Crowley is a means to see him break free from the authoritarian leash he has tethered himself with all his life.

Crowley: See, that’s the thing about demons. They’re only obedient to a point

Dean’s authoritarian mindset, low self-esteem and strong desire for acceptance were the perfect combination for Crowley to manipulate into becoming a Hellhound of sorts for him to use for his own benefit: A 'dog’ such as Dean can have his loyalty and devotion be taken advantage of and used for sinister purposes (see here for how I think Crowley will continue to manipulate Dean now that he has become a demon) and it’s my gut feeling that, at least initially, Crowley will indeed reap the rewards of his new Hellhound acquisition. Season 9 (as particularly highlighted by Do You Believe in Miracles) saw Crowley set himself up as a figure of guidance of sorts, one with authority. In particular, one could interpret the new dynamic between Crowley and Dean as one of being a twisted father-son relationship. yaelstiel, pirrofarfalla and myself discussed here what may have been suggested in the final scene of Do You Believe in Miracles, that Crowley has positioned himself as a father/sire to this new demon!Dean creation and as such may elicit obedience of the sort that John had conditioned into Dean as a child.

In this sense, Carver may intend to use this storyline to address the issues we have seen Dean struggle with since we were first introduced to him 9 years ago. The authoritarian mindset that dictates he still follow John’s directives in taking care of Sammy, looking out for his brother above all else, may finally be broken when the leash Crowley has put him on snaps. Because it will snap, the above quote concerning loyalty I think foreshadows that nicely. Because in Cain’s struggle between his duty to Lucifer and his love for Colette, love won. And that’s the dichotomy that needs to be addressed within Dean. Duty versus love. Obedience versus autonomy. Dean’s descent into darkness should be a massive learning curve for him, because it is his authoritarian nature and perception of worth as intrinsically linked to what he can do for others that will see him walk a dangerous, bloody path in the beginning of Season 10 (and indeed has seen him on many times before), but it will be love that saves him. Love that helps him to realise that he is more than the tool he has made of himself for Crowley (and therefore more than the constrictive role that John assigned him) and that it is who he is and not what purpose he serves that gives him worth.

If indeed that is Carver’s intention for Season 10, then I think Dean being framed as a Hellhound is the start of a truly transformative journey for him, and one that may see him in the healthiest place he’s ever been in.