clutching at straws [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3 Rated: E

The next few chapters will be shorter bursts of insight into Hopper’s current mental state. I originally wrote each section (seven in total) back to back, in one long chapter with section breaks, but when I realized it was 18k words, I suggested to my beta that I might break them into individual chapters (2-4k words each). He agreed with that sentiment, saying that it would preserve the disjointed feeling of this part of the story as well.

If this were a physical novel, you could simply read at your own pace, but unfortunately, the flow doesn’t translate well when the chapters are posted weeks apart (which I do for several reasons – time, story continuity, and visibility being three of them). This will not be an issue once it’s completed, but for now, I apologize. I’ve decided to err on the side of the story’s needs rather than the comfort of my faithful readers, and I’m sorry about that. But in the end, I think the integrity of the story’s flow will be upheld if I post each section a week or so apart. I will try to post them at a quicker pace if possible, but if you want to not read for a few chapters, I fully understand.

An update on the scale of this monster: I was aiming for 60 chapter. Looking at that now, it’s a laughable goal. The Music Man’s death and Hopper’s mental and physical recovery was supposed to be three chapters in total before they move on. At this point, it is eleven. What I mean is: Unhitched will go far beyond 60 chapters.

That said, this is not a story that’s being written to be published (but a huge thank you to all the readers who have said that it should be). The fic is far too long and covers way too much information for a standard novel. The word count alone is outrageous, but I promised myself that I would write it as an exercise in mood, emotion, continuity, symbolism, and characterization, WITHOUT an end goal of publication. Because I’m not limiting myself (with a word count or length), I can go into the more fun aspects of my characters by visiting their mind palaces/stream of consciousness, dreams, back stories, hallucinations, etc, without length constraints.

Most of you are already supportive of this – you don’t want me to skim or limit this AU, and I thank you all for that encouragement. <3

To the meat of the chapter: If you were confused by this chapter, know that it will all make sense in a bit, please bear with me while I edit. I will try to post as quickly as possible without screwing myself by overlooking something important. I have already gone back through the previous 30 chapter, sculpting, adding, and editing, so if you ever plan to reread it, there are new tidbits to discover.

The fable, in the beginning, is actually a retelling of Aesop’s The Monkey and the Dolphin, the moral being, “He who once begins to tell falsehoods is obliged to tell others to make them appear true, and, sooner or later, they will get him into trouble.” Hopper should be concerned by his unreliable narration, but who knows if he actually sees the reasons yet.

In other news, I know at least one of you is going to message me saying, “The Blue Oyster, Jo? Is that a reference to The Blue Oyster club from those Police Academy movies? Do you have any integrity left?”

I plead the fifth, and also, I never had any integrity to start with, so suck it, Tyler. And we all know Hopper would frequent a gay-ass leather bar if he could find one in Baltimore in the late 60s. THAT’S MY HEADCANON WHICH IS CANON NOW. EVERYONE CALLED HIM SLUTPUPPY.

As for the trees and the plants and all that yada, yada, I’m not going to get into the symbolism because (guess what?) it comes up later.

BUT … the Montrachet, Montrachet, I always talk about Montrachet because it’s Will favorite wine. From Red Dragon,

Graham, who owned almost nothing except basic fishing equipment, a third-hand Volkswagen, and two cases of Montrachet, felt a mild animosity toward the adult toys and wondered why.

This is extra funny because the “adult toys” are not dildoes as we all immediately imagined, but rather golf clubs, trail bikes, a skeet gun, a Nikon camera, and a projector.

Anyway, I can’t NOT write about the Montrachet because it’s also the “Bastard” wine that Bedelia uses to draw the police to Hannibal in the show, so I always include it somewhere in my fics.

Anyone familiar with locust trees? I am. I had a giant one in the front yard of my childhood home. They are covered in huge ass spikes.

The next few chapters will be shorter bursts of insight into Hopper’s current mental state. I originally wrote each section (seven in total) back to back, in one long chapter with section breaks, but when I realized it was 18k words, I suggested to my beta that I might break them into individual chapters (2-4k words each). He agreed with that sentiment, saying that it would preserve the disjointed feeling of this part of the story as well.

If this were a physical novel, you could simply read at your own pace, but unfortunately, the flow doesn’t translate well when the chapters are posted weeks apart (which I do for several reasons – time, story continuity, and visibility being three of them). This will not be an issue once it’s completed, but for now, I apologize. I’ve decided to err on the side of the story’s needs rather than the comfort of my faithful readers, and I’m sorry about that. But in the end, I think the integrity of the story’s flow will be upheld if I post each section a week or so apart. I will try to post them at a quicker pace if possible, but if you want to not read for a few chapters, I fully understand.

An update on the scale of this monster: I was aiming for 60 chapter. Looking at that now, it’s a laughable goal. The Music Man’s death and Hopper’s mental and physical recovery was supposed to be three chapters in total before they move on. At this point, it is eleven. What I mean is: Unhitched will go far beyond 60 chapters.

That said, this is not a story that’s being written to be published (but a huge thank you to all the readers who have said that it should be). The fic is far too long and covers way too much information for a standard novel. The word count alone is outrageous, but I promised myself that I would write it as an exercise in mood, emotion, continuity, symbolism, and characterization, WITHOUT an end goal of publication. Because I’m not limiting myself (with a word count or length), I can go into the more fun aspects of my characters by visiting their mind palaces/stream of consciousness, dreams, back stories, hallucinations, etc, without length constraints.

Most of you are already supportive of this – you don’t want me to skim or limit this AU, and I thank you all for that encouragement. <3

To the meat of the chapter: If you were confused by this chapter, know that it will all make sense in a bit, please bear with me while I edit. I will try to post as quickly as possible without screwing myself by overlooking something important. I have already gone back through the previous 30 chapter, sculpting, adding, and editing, so if you ever plan to reread it, there are new tidbits to discover.

The fable, in the beginning, is actually a retelling of Aesop’s The Monkey and the Dolphin, the moral being, “He who once begins to tell falsehoods is obliged to tell others to make them appear true, and, sooner or later, they will get him into trouble.” Hopper should be concerned by his unreliable narration, but who knows if he actually sees the reasons yet.

In other news, I know at least one of you is going to message me saying, “The Blue Oyster, Jo? Is that a reference to The Blue Oyster club from those Police Academy movies? Do you have any integrity left?”

I plead the fifth, and also, I never had any integrity to start with, so suck it, Tyler. And we all know Hopper would frequent a gay-ass leather bar if he could find one in Baltimore in the late 60s. THAT’S MY HEADCANON WHICH IS CANON NOW. EVERYONE CALLED HIM SLUTPUPPY.

As for the trees and the plants and all that yada, yada, I’m not going to get into the symbolism because (guess what?) it comes up later.

BUT … the Montrachet, Montrachet, I always talk about Montrachet because it’s Will favorite wine. From Red Dragon,

Graham, who owned almost nothing except basic fishing equipment, a third-hand Volkswagen, and two cases of Montrachet, felt a mild animosity toward the adult toys and wondered why.

This is extra funny because the “adult toys” are not dildoes as we all immediately imagined, but rather golf clubs, trail bikes, a skeet gun, a Nikon camera, and a projector.

Anyway, I can’t NOT write about the Montrachet because it’s also the “Bastard” wine that Bedelia uses to draw the police to Hannibal in the show, so I always include it somewhere in my fics.

Anyone familiar with locust trees? I am. I had a giant one in the front yard of my childhood home. They are covered in huge ass spikes.

And that tree sent several of us kids to the hospital.

And that brings us to the end where Hopper collapses to the ground until his attention is drawn to a sweet voice he never thought he’d hear again. Hell, I never thought I’d write for her in this fic, but then again, why not? Let’s get some girl power up in this sausagefest. More on that to come.

All of that said: Please don’t hesitate to comment! I’d love to hear your insights, ideas, comments, or predictions! I do not bite! I am not someone to be intimidated by! I’m just writing a bizzaro story about cannibal truckers, and I’d love to hear from you.

Have you made any art for Unhitched? I’d LOVE to see it!

Have you tried your hand at Hopper and written a spin-off? Share that shit with me, goddamn it!

Comments make my day and if you don’t think I put a hellish amount of time and effort into his fic, you do not understand how this works.

Just know that I truly appreciate every comment (even the bad ones) and try to reply to everyone, though sometimes it can take me weeks to do so. If you’re nervous and don’t want me to reply, just say so! (Like: Reply not necessary.).

A lot of time and energy go into this fic, and I want to thank you all so very much for reading and for providing me with your continued support. I can’t wait to share more with you.

If you enjoy my writing, please consider dropping me a comment here or, if applicable, on AO3 or by supporting my hot beverage habit on Ko-fi. Thank you!

—joanielspeak
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