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PostPosted: April 26th, 2020, 6:10 am 
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Insert 17: Life Gets in the Way, by me.

24 June, 12 August & 14 August 2021: Kevin helps James through a tough experience.
​Rated T

This is the final part of the "Harry" trilogy, and how ironic that it's the first Insert to actually specifically mention the fact that James and Harry have been in a romantic relationship. As canny Collinsverse fans will know, this is also specifically mentioned in the first part of the Summer Special, as well as being demonstrated in no uncertain terms over on aff.org in the second chapter of my latest submission.

The romantic roller-coast ride that James is on has seen him riding high with Harry for the past year or so, but now they've come to a very sudden and very sheer dip. This Insert is concerned with how this tough experience feeds into James's interactions with his immediate family (principally his brother, also his parents) as well as some of the further feelings that pop up within those family members as a result.

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PostPosted: April 28th, 2020, 9:40 am 
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I can't think of much to say about this one that I haven't said about other stories, but if it's any help that means I can't think of anything to complain about either :lol:

Life doesn't always work out the way we want, and James Rivera gets a dose of that here. It was well done, though, as always.

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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 3:58 pm 
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Among the other thoughts I had whilst reading it, this story reminded me of Insert 1: 'Not Meant to Be' - set around 24 years earlier - in that it focuses on a young Rivera coming to the end of a romantic relationship. A big difference, however, is that we all knew who Eduardo's one soulmate was and anyone else he tried dating clearly had to be got out of the way sharpish; James, however, does not appear destined to be with anyone in particular. Harry (rather than Aimee of Insert 15) is his first love, and vice versa, but they won't be each other's only loves. (Maybe that's what comes of being a true co-creation...)

This story also shows an important step on Carl's journey, which may even seem like his last, especially to someone who hasn't yet read the Summer Special and/or was not paying close attention to the conversation between Kevin and Beth at the airport. It's easy to have mixed feelings about such a character, especially if he's your dad, as Kevin observes!

(Speaking of the airport, it was only when reading through this that I clicked: the two Inserts featuring JFK, complete with its branch of Dunkin' Donuts, came out consecutively - but perhaps that isn't interesting to anybody else.)

Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted a few other references to earlier episodes, namely those that highlight parallels between the relationship the young Kevin had with Eduardo and the one the older Kevin now has with James. If I remember rightly, this is the only in-story confirmation we have that the Donatello pillow case once belonged to Eduardo (probably complete with a quilt cover, now lost - I know that happens!), but it only makes sense (as, if I recall rightly, I once observed).

I had forgotten that James agrees with me about the Terminator trilogy (well, as of that scene, he hasn't seen the final instalment yet - but I don't see why he should disagree with me when he does see it). Jake tells me there are people out there who would think I had 'no soul' because Terminator 2 doesn't speak to me. Well, I think that my emotional investment in EGB in general, and the Riveras in particular, proves otherwise!

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PostPosted: April 30th, 2020, 4:00 pm 
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It's so interesting that you thought of Insert 1 while reading this story, as the final part of my comment from so long ago about that first Insert was actually thinking forward to this Insert! I mentioned there that a certain Collinsverse couple wasn't going to reach such a conclusive parting of the ways as Eduardo and Bess did, and it was actually Harry and James I was talking about! The further thought has occurred to me that the titles of these two Inserts ('Not Meant to Be' and 'Life Gets in the Way') aren't at all dissimilar concepts, so I guess Inserts 1 and 17 are something of a spiritual pair!

I was distressed when writing this story to discover that the boys were making something of a mistake. Of course they were both being true to their feelings as they understood them at the time, but they were obviously in a lot deeper with this thing than either of them realised, and they should really have tried to maintain a long-distance relationship. Maybe it would've worked out for them, maybe not, but as things stand after this Insert, James and Harry are obviously going to have to come back together sometime to tie up their loose ends, if only for the sake of emotional closure.

I've occasionally been troubled by the thought that perhaps it's a shame we didn't put our heads together sooner when it came to James and his romantic journey so that it could've been steered in a definite direction (and we've discussed at length why that didn't happen) but on the other hand, I think what we've actually ended up with makes a huge amount of emotional sense and feeds into the events of James's life very well indeed, and of course I've enjoyed writing a lot of "adult" stuff about him that I certainly wouldn't have wanted to miss out on! Additionally, James's romantic journey adds something new and unexplored to the Collinsverse, so on the whole I think it's all worked out for the best!

I thought it quite important to include some of Kevin's raw feelings about his relationship with Carl somewhere along the way - as Kevin is destined to tell James under a very significant truck about ten months after this story ends, despite the fact that his logical mind is very much at ease with the whole situation, he did and still does feel these things sometimes. Certainly I think the trigger of being confronted pretty starkly by the difference in Carl's attitude causing Kevin to share some of those unwanted, unusable feelings with his mother makes a great deal of sense.

Just as James agrees with Rosey on the matter, the Terminator franchise is one of the many things I agree with Kevin about: I don't like it that much but I do enjoy watching it occasionally, and I did show it to my younger sibling at one point. I remember watching the documentary where Terminator fans insisted that the second film was the most emotionally pregnant piece of art in the history of the universe, but I was pretty sure I'd never agree with them about that, and I was right. (Personally I'd choose a Kevin/Oscar story for this accolade, though I'd have to think very carefully about which one.)

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2020, 6:30 am 
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Insert 18: New Blood, by me.

28 & 30 April 2022: Eduardo welcomes two new recruits to his ghostbusting team.
Rated T

We have now reached the last point before the (previously released) Summer Special on this whistle-stop tour of the Collinsverse, though the tour is not over; that Special did set up a few things that are soon to be explored in further Inserts and Extensions. Before that, though, here's a sort of prequel to it (featuring some actual Ghostbusting, for the first time in forever).

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PostPosted: May 12th, 2020, 9:09 am 
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EGBFan wrote:
Insert 18: New Blood, by me.

28 & 30 April 2022: Eduardo welcomes two new recruits to his ghostbusting team.
Rated T

We have now reached the last point before the (previously released) Summer Special on this whistle-stop tour of the Collinsverse, though the tour is not over; that Special did set up a few things that are soon to be explored in further Inserts and Extensions. Before that, though, here's a sort of prequel to it (featuring some actual Ghostbusting, for the first time in forever).


I like that one a lot; you and Jake have been doing outstanding work, but it's neat to see such a "throwback" story like this once in a while. Kind of remembering your roots, in a way.

(I plan to go "retro" in my next story too, in more senses than one. No DnD pastiches or hobbit mating dances, it's some Ghostbusters actually dealing with a ghost! :lol: )

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2020, 11:07 am 
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This is the only Insert with Ghostbusting in it, and it would indeed have been an oversight not to include any in the series at all. Of course, as Eduardo mentions, this story is more about ghost therapy, which is a phrase (though undoubtedly not a whole concept) that Kevin and Oscar coined after their hospital ghost adventure, so personally I like to think that the words "ghost therapy" are still being used around the firehouse as a lasting consequence of Kevin's time as a Ghostbuster.

The real-life elephant story that inspired Rosey's work is both interesting and poignant, and the Collinsverse version of it serves very nicely to introduce us (chronologically, at least) to the two new Ghostbuster characters. Freya's virtues are starkly evident, and the canny reader will notice that Josh has plenty of hidden depths for Conchita to explore, both during and after the Summer Special. In other words, despite some outward appearances, she definitely hasn't picked herself another douchebag!

Another great piece of world-building is seamlessly woven into this Insert, namely the introduction of the fifth and final of Roland's "whole bunch" of kids. This is particularly fitting in a story that looks back to its EGB roots, and of course it's a great opportunity to highlight that generation gap again with some technological references. You could argue that the Pony Express was the first form of communication to be rendered totally obsolete by its successor (the telegraph) and this is a phenomenon that continues to this day, so Kylie is right to point out the parallels!

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PostPosted: May 14th, 2020, 1:09 pm 
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Thanks for the comments as always, guys.

After writing a few supernatural-themed episodes of The Riveras main series, I did think I'd run out of Ghostbusting ideas - but then for some reason I decided I wanted to write about a ghost elephant. I can't remember whether I thought of this before or after deciding to write an Insert introducing Josh and Freya, but either way I guess it was a good thing, as I agree that it's right to include just a little bit more Ghostbusting (as part of some ghost therapy) at this stage.

It also seemed like a good time (in terms of the timeline rather than release dates) to introduce Liam Jackson-Adenuga (now pictured in the Character Index); as Jake says, he is indeed the last addition to Roland's bunch of kids. I seem to remember that, long ago (or what seems like long ago), T'Keyah said she would/might eventually like to have one child in The Riveras episode 'Girls' Night Out' - but I didn't double-check that! (At any rate, she certainly didn't say anything to the contrary.)

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PostPosted: May 24th, 2020, 7:24 am 
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Insert 19: Trio, by me.

31 October – 1 November 2022: Conchita, James and Isabel navigate some of life's turning points.
Rated M

This one also has a sort of Insert of its own, rated higher than M (Adult+, in fact), if anyone is interested in going to find it. (Edit: I've just realised I feel weird advertising that right next to a picture of, well... :?)

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'Rosey Collins an XGB fan from the UK.'
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PostPosted: May 26th, 2020, 9:48 am 
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EGBFan wrote:
Insert 19: Trio, by me.

31 October – 1 November 2022: Conchita, James and Isabel navigate some of life's turning points.
Rated M

This one also has a sort of Insert of its own, rated higher than M (Adult+, in fact), if anyone is interested in going to find it. (Edit: I've just realised I feel weird advertising that right next to a picture of, well... :?)


:torgo: --Yeah. Really.

Another enjoyable read. But not as enjoyable as the time Conchita had :lol:

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PostPosted: May 27th, 2020, 5:41 am 
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Like the episode of The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai that inspired the title of this story (though nothing else about it, I think) there is a definite keystone member within the trio who serves as an emotional and practical anchor for the piece. It took me four or five read-throughs to realise that all the character interplay here either involves Conchita directly or is bridged over her in some way.

As a dramatic device, I think this definitely works. It heightens and underlines the sense of the whole world changing around Chita at this turning point in her life, and her attempts to come to terms with those changes. Some changes she wants to embrace, namely the development of her relationship with Josh and her friendship with her roommates, especially Tia, while other changes need reining in and taking control of, i.e. her changing dynamics with James and Isabel, both individually and as a trio.

As a reader, I've found this story to be an extremely useful piece of world-building that's later inspired me when writing. As well as bringing the whole college set-up to life for me, I have to admit that this is the story that really made me care about Isabel as a person, as I find the emotional scenes between her and Conchita the most striking parts of this one and I think they really ring true. This has a lot more to do with life, love and friendship than anything in the area of gender, though that issue is subtly interwoven for us to think about.

Before I'd even read this story for the first time, Rosey knew that I would want to write further material about Krish and develop his relationship with James, and she told me so. As it turned out, she was quite right, and you'll be hearing some more about those two in the near future. Clearly Krish is apt to be rather crass and insensitive, but like Michael before him, could the friendship of a Rivera brother help to bring out the best in him? We'll just have to wait and see.

The final Insert (coming in two and a half weeks, after a somewhat collaborative Extension) features (among other things) an idea I had a long time ago that's gone through a lot of very necessary development and refinement before making it into print. It's my very great hope that readers will find that it follows on from this story both narratively and thematically in terms of what's been going on with our trio since starting college, and with one particular member since he started dating a girl called Aimee when he was fourteen and three quarters.

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PostPosted: May 28th, 2020, 9:39 am 
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Once again, thank you guys for the comments.

I seem to remember that this was not one of the Insert ideas to be conceived in the first planning stages, but at some point I realised that there ought to be something to show that Josh and Conchita are developing their relationship after the Summer Special. Not that Josh himself actually has a speaking appearance in this one, but it gives that information at any rate.

When thinking up a roommate for James, I decided that he ought to be difficult to get along with (at least at first) just to balance out the new friends that Conchita has made so easily; just by the law of averages, they were unlikely both to be so lucky. I remember looking at a popular names list for something that was chosen for the wrong reasons (okay, I was initially thinking 'stupid name', which Krish is not; it originates in the Hindu deity Krishna, but this Krish has no known connection to that culture, so I figure his parents just thought it sounded cool) - but, rather like Lars, you get used to Krish's name once you get to know him. ;)

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