There's an adage in tabletop RPGs meant for the GM - Don't Split the Party. When the party splits up, that means there are two or more groups getting into trouble. One group takes the spotlight while the others wait. In writing, that's not a problem, at least for the writer. For the reader, though, that may mean waiting for a preferred character's spotlight to return. The parallel plot lines need to balance out. However, four characters, six including Susanna and Abby, leads to a lot of interaction and dislogue. A lone character has to get introspective or very busy to keep up. I could have separated the groups into their own episodes, but that wasn't the goal. I wanted to show the difference between Dusty and her roommates.
The last chapter of the episode sets up the next arc. The conflict between Dusty and Rhiannon can't go on much longer without breaking the suspension of disbelief. At some point, Rhiannon will have enough of the traitor and lash out. Or Rhiannon will get to know Dusty. Or Rhiannon will get Dusty expelled for her piece of mind. They have a working agreement, but from necessity. The end of the episode starts getting the potential for an external conflict set up. At this point, there should be questions in readers' heads on why Rhiannon and Dusty are in the same squad.
Which leads to the next issue. Episode 3 isn't ready yet. Unlike The Soul Blade and The Devil You Know, the next episode of Mecha Academy isn't far enough along to start posting and hope I can catch up before I run out of buffer. I only have three chapters done. Until recently, I didn't know where the chapter was going beyond changing the nature of the conflict. Commander Haag has been waiting for his queue to enter a scene since last November. Now that I've figured out where I'm going, I can continue.
What does that mean for the Friday fiction slot? I'm going to switch over to gaming content for a bit. The commentary may disappear, or it may get replaced by NaNoWriMo thoughts and concepts. I hope the change isn't for long. Writing is relaxing, which surprises me.
Thanks for reading!