So I’ve been more or less stalled at 27.9k words into Gray Morning, right?

Originally, I thought this was because I had essentially changed the game, removing one of my old plot-lines. Because originally, Jazz goes on the run from the Empire itself and goes into hiding. This is after Savin has his Moment of Sheer Awful (for Savin), and Jazz just doesn’t know how to cope with the combined stress of his collapsing Empire AND marriage, so he up and leaves.

Well, I came to my senses before starting this draft and dropped that plotline. Which gave me a slight panic attack, because oh fuck, what do I do with Ravi? Ravi doesn’t show up in the novel until after Jazz leaves and if Jazz doesn’t leave then how do he and Jazz meet and —

Eventually, I developed an answer for that, too. Ravi’s now a member of the Imperial Guard; he is brought in as an extra layer of protection for Jazz after the first assassination attempt goes down and fails (Jazz is shot, but not mortally wounded). What they don’t know is that Ravi himself is a member of the Resistance — in fact, he was the assassin who failed to take out the Emperor properly, in the first place.

So basically, that’s as far as I got in the book before my brain ground to a halt on how to proceed. I wrote a Council scene, paused halfway through it with Jazz and Mitchel sharing a meaningful look, and I haven’t written another word. Instead, I’ve been writing that OTP challenge and finally finishing up my stripper!Jazz smut that I’ve been sitting on for over a month.

And then this morning, I decided instead of working on any writing, I was going to nap. Because my son’s at school and well, I have caught his death flu (though mostly doing better now aside from the coughing).

And. I. couldn’t. nap.

Because I started thinking about how Jazz and Savin fall apart. Because in this version, I honestly don’t know how it comes about anymore. Savin lost half of the outside influences that had an indirect impact on his relationship with Jazz. The assassination attempts are still a thing and I can see that scaring Savin off, basically. But for Savin to think the relationship could never actually be repaired, something else has to happen, too. Because he adores Jazz. Always has. Always will. Leaving Jazz would be no easy feat for him; it’d be a decision he’d have to revisit a thousand times before he was certain he could even remotely be making the right one.

And since relationships don’t fall apart because of just one person — I wondered what Jazz’s role would be. I know he develops a romantic attraction to Ravi. He’s definitely already got a physical one, based on Ravi’s introduction alone. But there’s also a hint of a romantic/physical interest in Mitchel, too, on Jazz’s end. And it always kind of bothered me, how my one openly gay character more or less develops a relationship (in various uses of the word) with practically all of the males in the books. It’s not because I think gay men are promiscuous by nature — but I know that’s a stereotype. And it’s not one I particularly like, either, considering.

Do I think he cheats on Savin? Possibly. I think he at least makes a move on Ravi and Ravi more or less brings him to his senses/refuses to let things go any further than Jazz’s singular move, which Jazz respects. If Mitchel decides to make a move, himself, then Jazz would have to be the one to turn him down, and I don’t think that’d happen. I think they’d have sex, if Mitchel picked up on Jazz’s attraction to him, no matter how vague it was and thought Jazz was in a place (mentally) where he’d push his loyalty to Savin aside.

Which, well, Mitchel would, because he’s Mitchel. But that’s neither here nor there. Why does Jazz like so many people? Why isn’t he singularly focused like Savin is? He’s not —

He is poly.

And that was the moment Alicia realized she was not getting any goddamn sleep this morning while her son was at school, because goddamnit, Jazz, why do I have to figure these things out for you?? Except I don’t think Jazz really ever figures out about this aspect of his sexuality; he was married fairly young (24), and by the time Mitchel and Ravi really present themselves as viable romantic partners, he’s (unknowingly) close to his own death. But him slowly coming to an understanding about this aspect of his sexuality might be one of the things that pulls him and Savin apart.

It’s at least part of it. Especially if he tries to pursue anything with either Ravi or Mitchel — though to be fair, if he pursued Ravi, Ravi’d turn him down. And he wouldn’t pursue Mitchel; Mitchel would be the one to chase. And I think Mitchel’s subtle chasing is what Savin reacts (badly) to. Savin’s reaction puts distance between them. Jazz seeks comfort in Ravi. Cue more distance and more suspicion and anger from Savin. Jazz making a move towards Ravi. Being turned down by Ravi. Confiding in Savin the truth about it? Savin witnesses it? Something?

I get the feeling that this progression is what I needed to figure out. Maybe after Ravi turns him down, Jazz finally makes a connection about himself he didn’t really see/understand before, and he tries to talk to Savin about it. Maybe they make the decision to work through it. To find ways around it. What Jazz did isn’t excusable and Savin will outright tell him as much, but Savin’s Savin. He’d try to be understanding and accommodating. He’d want to work through it, ultimately.

And of course that’s when I destroy everyone’s hopes and dreams and Jazz ends up dead, but Christ Almighty, did I really need a week sabbatical from GM to figure this shit out? Yeesh.