Bad Together: Afterword

I started writing Bad Together almost an entire year ago (November 4th, 2017 to be exact) when I heard about a really bad breakup between two of my classmates in college. Between that as well as my own breakup, and a bad date that I had in October 2017, it just felt like a story that needed to be written. It did take a while for me to finish it, because I just felt like there was a bit of a disconnect for me after a while, because I refused to date and therefore, the feelings of rejection, frustration, and aggravation I used to fuel the story when initially writing this went away. Eventually, October crept up on me, and I just had to finish writing this (at that point, I was about 16 chapters into the 25 chapter story). The story itself took a while to write, actually a lot longer than the other stories I’ve written (I even wrote Regulus and finished writing that story before I finished this one), but I think it is one of my favorites just from some of the characters that were in it alone. We had some dynamic personalities, and I really enjoyed writing from certain perspectives because of that.

For the main characters, I knew I wanted to have two. Jamie and Farina were directly inspired by the classmates I had in college, but with just slight alterations to their names and for Jamie’s case, a change in ethnic background as well, while for Farina, the girl she was inspired by was a model turned graphic designer, but beside the extremely slight name change and the career adjustment, she remained essentially the same as she is in real life. In Jamie’s case, he is confident and capable, full of charisma and able to accomplish a lot. Finding a vice for him was tricky, but I felt like a lot of people who exude confidence tend to have trust issues with people who they let really close to them; in short, they have a level of insecurity when it comes to making friends and having loyalties. For Farina, she was this wayward free spirit, who appears delicate and quiet, and unfortunately suffers from self-esteem issues that stems from her being a model. She felt like she was objectified and therefore, wanted to stray away from being just a model so that she can prove that there’s a person underneath. Farina being withdrawn was why I was aiming for this almost underdeveloped personality, just to denote that she is still incomplete as a person.

For the supporting characters, we had Andy, as well as Patricia and Olivia, who were Farina’s friends. Andy was more of a central character, which is why he had so much development. I wanted everyone to really understand that you can come from a tough background but still make it as a successful person. His brotherhood aspect with Jamie was there to really give Jamie somebody to rely on for emotional support. He was there for Jamie unconditionally, and it also shows how Jamie is somebody who goes out of his way to care for others, and how that charisma led to Andy’s unwavering loyalty to his boss turned friend. For Patricia and Olivia, honestly, I was not expecting them to play any real role in the story when I was writing it in the first place. However, they both grew in their roles because Farina needed a similar support from what Jamie had in Andy, and that’s where the need to develop their backgrounds and roles arose. It might be very apparent that even giving basic exposure on those two was an afterthought, just from the sole fact that what they wanted to do for a living or what they studied in school was only addressed in the very last chapter. However, they offer a great dynamic with each other and with Farina, with Patricia being the optimistic one and Olivia being the more stern. Both of them show different sides of what a loyal friend can be, but both of them show that they deeply care for Farina nonetheless.

Now my absolute favorite character to write was Jessica. She was an absolute train-wreck to the point where anything that she came across would immediately go wrong. What I loved about her was the fact that the moment she appeared in the story, she moved the plot along, for better or for worse, it did not matter. She was an extremely effective plot device and worked her magic in vilifying everyone in the eyes of one another, while almost always avoiding being called out for her scumbag tendencies until she eventually got arrested. Even then, Farina would never find out that Jessica was the root of her problems. That portion was not necessary to move the plot along, since all Jessica was there to do was plant the seeds of doubt, create a storm of trouble, then walk away. The idea of her meeting her end by arrest was not initially planned, but I had to find a way to effectively cut her out of the plot once she had progressed it enough, which is why she got sent to jail in the end. I also wanted to address what had actually happened to her too, since she was one of my favorite characters in the story and I wanted to make sure that her arc would be finished and given proper closure.

Overall, Bad Together was an intense story to write about, compared to stories like Damn Real or Sky Bird, where the plots were more lighthearted and fun. It did tackle similar coping themes to Road Movie, even including the need for therapy, but I wanted the relationship to progress differently than Dakota’s story wound up. It was a story that I had to write, since it tackles the themes of infidelity, distrust, anxiety, and poor coping, and I wanted to write it in honor of those two classmates, since there was a time that I cared for both of them, before we wound up growing apart with time and distance. The themes I listed are actual problems that we as human beings deal with. The theme of toxic relationships was extremely important to address as well. Often times, we try to vilify the other party in a toxic relationship, thinking that they are just abusive or crazy, and write it off as just that. But there are instances where both people in a toxic relationship are actually good people, but that they simply can just bring out the worst in each other. In that case, it was Jamie only caring about his own goals, and Farina not being confident enough to value or pursue her own being the two bad habits that spiraled out of control in their relationship. While this story did end with the toxic relationship no longer existing, there are definitely some instances where you can make them work, granted that will probably take relationship counseling or external, professional help. 

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