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PostPosted: January 19th, 2020, 7:02 am 
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Insert 11: Carl in Charge, by me.

16 August 2010: Carl finds himself in a new and somewhat daunting situation.

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PostPosted: January 20th, 2020, 4:21 pm 
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EGBFan wrote:
Insert 11: Carl in Charge, by me.

16 August 2010: Carl finds himself in a new and somewhat daunting situation.


The title is appropriate. Carl basically gets to be every sitcom dad ever in this story. :lol:

But he's trying, which is the important part.

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PostPosted: January 21st, 2020, 5:26 am 
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James Rivera's unconditional love for James the Red Engine makes a lot of sense to me, as we know he's been into the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise since he was at least two years old, and at that age he's not going to have settled on a favourite character based on which engine is the best role model for young fans (this would be Edward, hands down!) but rather go by some more accessible parameters. James the Red Engine shares his name, has a striking colour scheme unique among the main engines (which is not the case for any of the rest of them) and makes his presence felt in no uncertain terms whenever he's in one of the stories. Therefore I can't envision any remotely believable scenario where James wouldn't have latched onto him as a favourite character. And just to warn you, this isn't the last time I'll be explaining in this thread something about James (the person, not the steam locomotive) that I think makes perfect sense, nor is it the most in-depth.

Wow, this story got me right in the childhood for the second time in a row! I well remember Rosey's sofa-cheese (I thought it was an accident when I found it) and I well remember her getting ready for bathtime in much the same way that Rose does, whether she was in the kitchen or out in our front garden! The unpleasant experience of having one's hair washed also rings very true here. As I've mentioned before, James is a typically precocious little boy at this age, and his actions relating to Betty Spaghetty and his physical interposition between the two girls certainly ring true too.

This story is a very important port of call on Carl's journey, and it really shows us just how far he's come. We can clearly see some of his more negative/confused raw feelings about James's forming personality but he makes the effort not to incorporate those unwanted feels into his actual relationship with his younger son, which is why Carl has earned my respect as well as that of his sons - he's making the effort to be the person he wants to be and knows he should be for his family, which is actually quite a rare undertaking and hardly ever happens in our universe. Additionally, I'm now quite convinced that Carl would never have accidentally slammed a cake into the abdomen of any daughter he might have had (or any niece or granddaughter he does or will have) as it was purely his kitchen inexperience that caused Rose's milkshake-related incident, not carelessness or lack of effort.

The fact that Carl has had a kind of "dry-run" on Kevin that's made him a great dad for James (not that I'm saying he hasn't been a decent dad to Kevin!) is not something that's been lost on any of the Riveras who are currently aged over six, and we'll see in the future that even though this isn't a source of genuine negativity for anyone, it has evoked some raw feels that Kevin can't help feeling sometimes. Do you think Carl ever tickled Kevin in the way he tickled James in this story, or did something that Kevin enjoyed as much as James enjoys being tickled, even when Kevin was very young? Not likely! It's the same phenomenon as Carl never having made it clear to James (by the time of the Summer Special) that only a sleepover with a boy who has a girlfriend is something he's really comfortable for an obviously-not-totally-straight son of his to do, and never having given Harry the suspicious and/or disapproving treatment that he sometimes gave Oscar. Changing for the better is great and it's very important to the future, but it doesn't magically erase everything that's gone before.

Kylie's appearance at the end of the story is very important and revealing. She said in the Christmas Special that she doesn't love Carl but she knows his heart's in the right place. Do you think she loves him now, almost seven years later? He's certainly earned her respect and they're very much in the whole thing together as principal adults in the immediate family. I think that could be classed as a form of love, so perhaps it would be fair to say that Carl and Kylie love each other exactly the right amount for a brother- and sister-in-law: not too little, not too much!

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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2020, 5:26 pm 
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Thanks once again for the comments.

Fritz wrote:
The title is appropriate. Carl basically gets to be every sitcom dad ever in this story.

I must confess, Jake thought of the title, while I came up with the premise followed by the whole story fairly early in the Inserts creation process as I am partial to a fish out of water comedy (and hopefully this is comedic enough to avoid a Cringe Alert, at least!).

KevinsMensPyjamas wrote:
Kylie's appearance at the end of the story is very important and revealing. She said in the Christmas Special that she doesn't love Carl but she knows his heart's in the right place. Do you think she loves him now, almost seven years later? He's certainly earned her respect and they're very much in the whole thing together as principal adults in the immediate family. I think that could be classed as a form of love, so perhaps it would be fair to say that Carl and Kylie love each other exactly the right amount for a brother- and sister-in-law: not too little, not too much!

It could have been either Kylie or Eduardo who came to collect the girls and have the same basic conversation with Carl, and I didn't decide until the end which it should be. The matter was soon settled, however, when I realised what a good thing it would be to show Kylie and Carl as definite allies after their shaky start in The Riveras main series (having already shown how far Carl and Eduardo have come since their shaky start in 'Rage', towards the end of the main series and in at least one earlier Insert). I think Kylie still would not choose the word 'love' herself to describe her feelings towards Carl, but they certainly amount to something very positive now, and perhaps it is indeed a form of love.

KevinsMensPyjamas wrote:
As I've mentioned before, James is a typically precocious little boy at this age, and his actions relating to Betty Spaghetty and his physical interposition between the two girls certainly ring true too.

(I have quoted Jake's comments out of order because I wanted to end on my response to this one, complete with ellipsis. ;))

My memories of being the smallest child in a group of three or more pretty much add up to being either tyrannised over or ignored by the other children; even in a group of two I was considered by adults to be 'too little' for such things as the best toys and equal shares in food and drink, so Rose gets rather a raw deal here (as, I still maintain, I always used to). It was at some point during the writing process of this 'those little girls' trilogy that I started to realise Rose needed someone and/or something in her life to stop her from spending almost all her time in a state of righteous indignation. I did do something about it, but it's a little while before we'll get to that...

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PostPosted: February 2nd, 2020, 6:33 am 
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Insert 12: A New Friend, by me.

10 & 14 September 2013: Kylie, Eduardo, Conchita and Rose welcome a new addition to the family.

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'Rosey Collins an XGB fan from the UK.'
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PostPosted: February 3rd, 2020, 1:50 pm 
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EGBFan wrote:
Insert 12: A New Friend, by me.

10 & 14 September 2013: Kylie, Eduardo, Conchita and Rose welcome a new addition to the family.


:)

I am such a sucker for cute cat stories.

Quote:
'I think tomorrow,' said Kylie, 'I'll go to the pet store and get her one of those enclosed litter boxes.'


We ended up having to do that with our current cat,who's meowing at me as I type this. What's extra funny is that he likes to go inside it and start batting at the flap door; we call it his boxing training.

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PostPosted: February 4th, 2020, 3:50 pm 
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I happened to mention just the other day how the ring of truth from personal experience adds a lot to any piece of creative writing, and I think I'd be able to detect that ring in this story even if I didn't already know the details of Rosey's initial interactions with our cat, as well as my own reaction to the huge amount of stuff that came home with her. The process of settling the new family member into the household is all very familiar to me as well, particularly the realisation that an enclosed litter box was clearly a necessity.

Much as I appreciate it all, my particular favourite part of this one doesn't directly relate to the cat stuff. I think James did an excellent job helping Chita come to terms with her feelings on the staircase by being open, honest and genuinely caring. This scene underlines the fact that these two cousins are and always will be a very special and very wonderful part of each other's lives, no matter what niggling changes might creep into their relationship as they get older and their lives develop in several interesting ways.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2020, 5:23 am 
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Insert 13: Soulmates, by me.

29 August 2015: Kevin and the gang attend a wedding.
Rated T

Barely a day after the disappearance of the Valentine's colours from this forum, what could be more appropriate than a slice of life that begins at a wedding reception? But whose wedding reception? You'll have to read the Insert to find out, unless you can identify which previous story title "Soulmates" is a spiritual successor to and work it out from there!

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PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 2:58 pm 
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KevinsMensPyjamas wrote:
Insert 13: Soulmates, by me.

29 August 2015: Kevin and the gang attend a wedding.
Rated T

Barely a day after the disappearance of the Valentine's colours from this forum, what could be more appropriate than a slice of life that begins at a wedding reception? But whose wedding reception? You'll have to read the Insert to find out, unless you can identify which previous story title "Soulmates" is a spiritual successor to and work it out from there!


Pardon the phrase, but more than one seed was planted here for past/future stories :lol:

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 8:12 am 
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Whoever thought of bringing Catherine and Stephanie back for another appearance was very clever, I'd say. :D I found them quite stimulating in their junior high years (besides utilising them to balance out the boy stuff with some girl stuff), and it's good to have confirmation that they have indeed ended up as a forever couple. (There might be some divorce in the Collinsverse, but not for any pairing we're particularly attached to - and perhaps some time we'll also get to learn how these two are doing further down the line...)

(Minor spoiler alert:) Catherine's revelation now has an entry in our Character index (under D), as does Catherine's sister (whose name is revealed in the story). As Stephanie's brother Shawn was getting his second appearance in this story, I (we?) thought it was only fair that Catherine's older sister (twice mentioned in Kevin and the Gang: In-Between) should also also have a named appearance (earning her that place in the Character Index); I especially like the touchingly supportive conversation between the brides' siblings that we've ended up with. Could Shawn and Amelia also be Soulmates? That one, I think, Jake and I are both more than happy to leave up to the individual - but certainly they've got the potential to be Best Friends! ;)

No mom stuff for Beth to say this time, but rather cross-generational stuff for Carl and James (I made a suggestion concerning Kevin's exchange with Carl based on an experience of my own paternal unit using outdated terminology [if you want to know, we were going to see a film and young-teenaged me was horrified to hear him refer to one cinema employee as an 'usherette']). It can get a bit complicated if you think about Carl and James's relationship with each other at this point, and how James would feel if he'd happened to overhear - but he didn't, coming downstairs only to initiate a scene that reminded me very much of when Ella got her first period in the Rivera house (in a way, it's too bad it doesn't happen in the same room, but in another way, I'm sure James is more than happy to have been occupying the bigger bedroom since Kevin moved out of it :P ).

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PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 1:39 pm 
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As you can perhaps work out from the reply above, it was Rosey's idea to take Catherine and Stephanie's wedding as a start point for an Insert, plus she came up with the title "Soulmates" as a spiritual successor to the Kevin and the Gang episode "Best Friends", which was also based around Cat and Steph's relationship when the casual reader might have expected it to refer to someone else's. I was thrilled with the idea and jumped at the chance to confirm this relationship as a romantic one in Collinsverse canon, which is something I've stated my firm belief in before, both out loud and in this thread.

The specific themes and events of the story were then channelled from the Collinsverse directly through me. I thought it would be nice to include the news of Catherine's pregnancy, and then use this as a way to get into the issue of Kevin and Oscar having a baby. (The title does also refer to these two of course, and how could anyone expect anything else from one of my stories?) This is a very important seed for the future: the guys may still be a few years away from fatherhood, but they've both now agreed that they're definitely going to make it happen someday, somehow. (We know when and how, but they don't yet!)

The conversation between Catherine and Kevin caused me to experience similar unexpected thoughts to the ones they themselves had - it's too bad the two same-sex couples didn't go in on a baby together! It reminded me of when I was wishing I'd included Cat and Steph in Snapshots, and of course the one thing would probably have led on to the other. Happily, this train of thought was mired in regret for only a short time as I realised (partly through talking with Rosey) that it was quite the right thing for both couples to have a child of their own first of all (Cat/Steph from the sperm bank and Kevin/Oscar through surrogacy) as they could then go in on a second child to co-parent sometime in the future (i.e. after the Summer Special) so they'd both have one of their own and one to share! This is a very big seed sown for the future, I absolutely love it as an idea, and you will be hearing more about it!

The message I received from the Collinsverse about Shawn and Amelia came as a pleasant surprise to me, and could easily be another seed sown for the future. Unlike the others, this is one that readers will have to nurture for themselves, but personally I think the two should certainly try going out on a date together and see what happens. The least we can say is that this wedding has made them see each other in a whole new light, and their relationship looks set to become something more than common siblings of a pair of best-friend-soulmates.

As Rosey has also pointed out, another of those seeds is the generation gap between Carl and his younger son. Again, we know when and how it's going to come to a head but the characters are blissfully ignorant at the moment. Another point worthy of note is that the scene at the bottom of the stairs is only a teaser for the Kevin/James interaction that features in all my remaining Inserts, and the fact that James has now reached sexual maturity is by no means irrelevant to any of them!

Finally, I have to confess that I'm a liar! I didn't mean to be, of course, but there are erroneous statements earlier in this thread that I made with far more confidence than was warranted. The first of these was that we wouldn't hear specifically about Al Rivera again. Oops, we just did! You may notice that Carl still finds Kevin's view of Al hard to match up with his own, which perhaps backs up the point about the differences between how Carl himself is viewed by his two sons.

Just as a point of interest, the other two lies are that we wouldn't find out for certain what house-moving plans would be made after the Summer Special to fit in with Carl's retirement and the arrival of Kevin and Oscar's first baby, and that the epilogue of the Christmas Special would be the furthest point forward in time we'd be seeing in any story. Group these two things together with the idea about Kevin/Oscar and Catherine/Stephanie going in on a baby in the future, and some news that we'll be announcing sometime this summer may not come as anything like a surprise to you!

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