While I haven’t been working on Socialpunk as much as I should (I’ve been concentrating primarily on Emma + Elsie this week), I woke up this morning thinking about Vaughn and who he was before he met Ima.
I should stop this entry now and say spoiler alert if you haven’t read any of Socialpunk yet.
So, I already know how the Vaughn – Ima – Nahum triangle will play out in the next few books—I think, anyway, though I reserve the right to change my mind—and Vaughn is kind of like the last puzzle piece that will really determine which way she goes, or whether she will go one way or the other at all.
I know who Ima is; I know who Nahum is. I know why they would be both good together and bad together. It’s really Vaughn who isn’t a clear picture to me, or to Ima. He’s still very mysterious in the book. Obviously, he’s got a thing for her—but it’s not really clear why or how deeply it affects him.
Also, Ima repeats over and over again, to basically every character in the whole book, that she doesn’t have feelings for Vaughn. For the most part, that’s because he’s actually pretty damn cold to her most of the time, only showing her glimmers of interest every once in awhile. She doesn’t know anything about him and it drives her crazy.
Nahum is a much more open book, but her attraction to him is still sudden. There’s a reason for that, which is hinted at fairly early on, in the first 500 or so words of the series. Their insta-attraction could actually bite him in the ass at some point, though—Ima doesn’t take well to what The Researcher is doing at all. She doesn’t like being manipulated. So would she turn down Mr. Perfect just because he was crafted especially for her?
Back to Vaughn: the first question is, who is Vaughn? What attracts him to Ima, and what can he offer her as a love interest? I’m still exploring those questions, and until I have answers, I won’t really know who Ima should choose or will choose. It could go either way. In fact, I have written two different outlines for this series, and in each one, she ends up with a different guy. (Also, two vastly different things happen to the group of Domers. A lot more die in one of the versions.)
What I think is interesting about Vaughn is that his role in the Socialpunks has a huge effect on his personality as a whole. His relationship with Ember is confusing, his relationship with Nasser is confusing, and it’s not really clear to me why he rescued Ima in the first place. She was going to a party with a guy when he first saw her, then she was kissing another guy when he found her the second time. What about that screams “rescue me!” ??? Nothing.
I think there is something deeper here. Until I get to the bottom of it, I can’t write the ending that makes the most sense for the characters.
But I’m finally asking the right questions, and I sense that once I figure out the answers, the words will fly from my fingers and the series will be done. It’s taken me two years to get to this point, but I’m looking forward to discovering more about Vaughn as the books roll on. He’s a fascinating character and one I’m genuinely rooting for.