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LaPorte Caves

24 Apr 2016 10:50 - 24 Apr 2016 11:35 #47438 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves
Hi Circes,
I'm intrigued by what you said in your pm reply about Julia's dream / vision. It has certainly got me thinking about how this will play on now! Especially when I think back to what Castor wrote in an early post on LaPorte Caves... possible spoiler so I won't say anymore about that! but again I'm only guessing. You certainly have Julia in a right quandary in chapter 10 with all that power, which is becoming second nature to her, to give up and I can see she is thinking hard. There is a way I'd love to see this played on further and I am thinking it would be human nature for Julia to do what I am thinking, but there would be no closure. More Power to your Pen! :)

...eta, the human nature thought about Julia isn't the one I mentioned in the earlier pm.
Last edit: 24 Apr 2016 11:35 by Monty.
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03 May 2016 05:46 #47543 by grungykitten
Replied by grungykitten on topic LaPorte Caves
I just wanted to say this is one of the best stories in this genre/fetish that I have ever read, and I'm super happy to see it continue here during brawna.org's downtime.
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07 May 2016 13:24 #47622 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves
Loving Julia in chapter 11! She's definitely the boss and doesn't she (and Howard) know it! Perhaps the addictiveness of the Nourishment is also character changing, but the local residents are unaware as they know of no other way of life? Another great chapter Circes!

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07 May 2016 18:35 #47631 by Torque
Replied by Torque on topic LaPorte Caves
Just following up my comment on chapter 11. You are a great writer, and like others have commented, you've managed the slow burn and anticipation to really build the story instead of disract from it. I don't want to sound too critical of it, I really admire you for the skill needed for that. After I commented before, I went back and read the story over again. I think I can clarify my comment more. I think my issue has more to do with the fact that Julia seems to have no respect for the abilities she's been given. It's required no effort on her part, so she can't understand how that would affect Howard, who I think was trying to help her build into that person (obviously not a super woman through the use a of a magical fruit, but a better version of her Earth 1 self). He doesn't have a problem with muscular women per se, as evidenced by his attraction to the muscular wall climber, and I think he would have helped Julia become more like that and it would have helped them grow as a couple, but that has been taken away and Julia is too naive to realize it. She may be smart, but she has no experience. Personally I hope the nourishment wears off and it brings her down a few pegs so she can appreciate what kind of gift she is being given, and because I think that's the only way howard can start to respect her again. Not because she's less, but because she is the one that needs to mature.

Again, this is great, and I really look forward to more! Thank you for everything so far!

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07 May 2016 21:00 - 07 May 2016 21:00 #47639 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves

Monty wrote: Loving Julia in chapter 11! She's definitely the boss and doesn't she (and Howard) know it! Perhaps the addictiveness of the Nourishment is also character changing, but the local residents are unaware as they know of no other way of life? Another great chapter Circes!


Monty, thanks for the props! I think you're getting at one of the key elements of the story -- that our personalities and relationships are partially shaped by our environment. For example, I used to share a house with several guys who were taller than me and had deeper voices. When they spoke, everyone listened, whereas when I spoke, not everyone did. And so it was no coincidence that those guys were pretty outgoing, too. They were accustomed to commanding a room, so their personalities had adapted to an environment were they were always the center of attention. But if one of them woke up one day and found himself mute -- thats when we find out what he's really made of, isn't it?

Torque wrote: ... I think my issue has more to do with the fact that Julia seems to have no respect for the abilities she's been given ... she can't understand how that would affect Howard


Torque, I can tell from your comments that you gave the story a very close read; this is really gratifying for me because it shows that the story actually made an impression on you! And I appreciate the thought you put into focusing your critique.

To address your question/concern about Julia's treatment of Howard, I'm certainly not interested in a plot where a woman becomes so power-drunk that her emotions and motivations are no longer recognizable to us. Instead, I'm interested in keeping her realistic. We're all flawed beings: we can love someone and yet, at times, be terribly unfair and cruel to them. In the case of Julia, she can recognize how unfair it is to keep Howard in this world, and yet also be deeply tempted by the desire to stay -- so much so that she succumbs to twisted reasoning in order to justify the action.

It's hard to respond in any further detail without spoiling the whole story. But I'll take it as a compliment that you found these characters compelling enough to become emotionally invested in them! ;)
Last edit: 07 May 2016 21:00 by circes_cup.

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07 May 2016 22:24 #47641 by Torque
Replied by Torque on topic LaPorte Caves
Very much so! A lot of this story resonates with me from my own relationship; I can relate myself and my significant other quite closely to Julia and Howard actually. Not in the supernatural sense of course, but the taking care of one over the other. I'm glad to hear that you're keeping the character motivations somewhat grounded. I can't wait to see what else you have in store! Any idea when the next update is or how many chapters you think you have to complete this saga?

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08 May 2016 00:05 - 08 May 2016 01:00 #47643 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves
I think it is Howard who has to adapt here and not Julia. Why does Julia need to change? She has it all at her fingertips! You showed in a good way that Julia still cares for Howard by locking him up against his will to stop him wandering off. I don't think Howie is too impressed though!
Last edit: 08 May 2016 01:00 by Monty.

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08 May 2016 01:32 #47644 by Torque
Replied by Torque on topic LaPorte Caves
Howard can certainly adapt by being more accepting that Julia can be self sufficient and not rely on him, of course, but in a healthy relationship each person is motivated by the other to be better and do better, not necessarily to impress each other but because everyone has their own interests and pursuits that they want to achieve. It's a two way street, and true partners support each other. Julia is basically telling Howard that everything he is no longer matters because all her abilities are so much better. She's not even giving him a choice to decide if a life of doing nothing more than being a toy to her is something he wants. You're right, she does have it all at her fingertips, all because the Diana fruit only works on women. She needs to respect how she didn't have to work for it. Howard needs to accept that he doesn't have to be the hero all the time too, but look at how she doesn't even care about the necklace he gave her that she melted off without so much as a single regret or thought of how he would feel. To me that says she has more to learn about how their relationship works than him.

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08 May 2016 14:33 #47653 by smoki07
Replied by smoki07 on topic LaPorte Caves
"Asolute power corrupts asolutely"

I agree with Torque, Julia is belittling Howard. Besides, In this world Women is superior but it doesn't Men can live by themselft (ex. men's beach). Howard may decide this option to "clear his mind". He can start a sort of men's right over there but it's highly unlikely as he wants to go home. But once at home, Julia will lost benefits of her superioty so....

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08 May 2016 14:47 #47655 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

Monty wrote: I think it is Howard who has to adapt here and not Julia. Why does Julia need to change? She has it all at her fingertips! You showed in a good way that Julia still cares for Howard by locking him up against his will to stop him wandering off. I don't think Howie is too impressed though!

I couldn't disagree more. Tying someone up is how you treat a dog or a slave, not someone you care about who is supposed to have dignity and free will. If she wants him to stay she should offer him something worth staying for, not try to break his spirit. Julia may see this as just a reversal of the way their relationship was before, but whatever upper hand Howard may have had over Julia, I don't get the sense that he abused it or sought to show her her place.

All of which does raise interesting questions for the story to answer. Does Howard enjoy any protections in this world, or could Julia take his head off, literally, with no one to answer to? Will Julia realize, or will Howard point out that she is setting out to degrade him as much as possible and telling him to learn to like it? As much as she is now stronger and smarter than him, I think Howard still has the moral high ground here.

I'm sorry to make my first post here a bit negative. It's really an excellent story; I hope it says something that I de-lurked to post about it.

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08 May 2016 17:35 #47656 by smoki07
Replied by smoki07 on topic LaPorte Caves
PS : Make no mistake I still love the story despite being critic Circes cup!!!!!

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09 May 2016 08:39 #47669 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic LaPorte Caves
Honestly, I think Julia just handed Howard ammo that will cut her to the bone later.

Its ok that Julia isn't perfect. But no amount of super strength makes you immune to regret.

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09 May 2016 16:28 - 09 May 2016 16:30 #47674 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves

Torque wrote: Any idea when the next update is or how many chapters you think you have to complete this saga?


In terms of the next update, hard to say. Ch 12 is basically a blank page at this point. And I often write the chapters in groups of 2-3 at a time, so it may be a while before I complete the the 12-15 group.

In terms of the expected length of the story, I hope that have only another 4-5 chapters to go, but I always tend to underestimate the length. Deep Down Inside was supposed to be 10 chapters and it wound up being 42. This one was supposed to be 5 chapters, so you do the math.
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Pepper wrote: Does Howard enjoy any protections in this world, or could Julia take his head off, literally, with no one to answer to?


The story is intended to convey that protections do exist. In the first chapter, the cop makes an indirect reference to protections against abduction and abuse. And in Ch 9, Ruth also discusses the abuse in a way that presumes abuse is bad. I did not want to make this a pure might-is-right world where men live in continuous mortal fear of their women. And to the extent this ins't coming through in the story, that's certainly a point I should have made more clearly.

Moreover, the direction in which I'd ultimately like to take the story is to make it analogous to our own societies: courts and cultural values seek to make a fair and just society, but there are both good apples and bad ones. And sometimes justice is frayed on the margins -- for example, if it comes down to the word of a man versus the word of a woman in court, then who previals?
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Pepper wrote: I'm sorry to make my first post here a bit negative. It's really an excellent story; I hope it says something that I de-lurked to post about it

It's great to see several new forum participants commenting on this story, and I really hope you keep doing so on this story and others! To the extent your post was negative, it was only negative towards a specific thing that Julia was doing -- something that I wouldn't have enjoyed either! So, no, I didn't find your post negative at all.
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Smoki97 wrote: PS : Make no mistake I still love the story despite being critic


I actually didn't see your comment as critical at all!
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AuGoose wrote: Its ok that Julia isn't perfect. But no amount of super strength makes you immune to regret.


That pretty much sums up how I am thinking about this, and apparently the way that several others are thinking as well. In the short run, Julia has it all at her fingertips, as Monty said. But in the long run, she can't be happy with him unless he is happy with her-- and It's this bond on which the story rotates.

Great to get all your comments! This level of engagement puts much more wind in my sails to get the next chapter!
Last edit: 09 May 2016 16:30 by circes_cup.
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09 May 2016 18:59 #47678 by ballen
Replied by ballen on topic LaPorte Caves
As I read the comments that suggest Julia has somehow become corrupted by power and is treating Howard as a slave, I cannot help but think there is short / selective memory being displayed here. Howard absolutely defines his relationship with Julia by both is perceived greater deductive abilities and physical abilities. And now that Julia is the more able person in this world he is having severe problems coping.

Let's go back to Chapter 8 when Julia was quickly able to decipher the written language of this new world - something Howard was unable to do. What was his reaction? There was no, "that's great Julia. that will be helpful for us to navigate this stange world until we are able to leave ..." He stormed out of the room like a child.

Immediately after, she tried to extend an olive branch by engaging in something that could bring them together; swimming. The passage reads that she looked for a way to bring his confidence back up. Unfortunately the gesture failed. Why? Because of his pride. There was no, "You performed amazingly honey - phenomenal". In fact he understated her performance by saying, "Your pace was good." A reader commented that Howard was trying to build her into a better person. If there was a sincere effort on his part to do that, there would be no need to restrain compliments to his girlfriend. Why hold back? Tell her she is amazing. A confident man would do that. Further, how did he react when she continued to improve her already incredible performance? He struck her! He resorted to physical abuse. There was no taunting, no bating or any provocation on her part except for once in their relationship, she was more able than he, and that he could not tolerate. Thank goodness she was invulnerable.

Howard's reactions clearly demonstrate that this relationship only works for him when he is more able, both mentally and physically. Sure he encouraged her in their former world, but is behavior in this world suggests his encouragement was more likely patronizing and probably would be absent should she "ascend" to his level.

I could go on by discussing their interaction at the rock, but I want to turn to the latest chapter. Where Julia comes into her own and starts behaving like the superior being Ruth is encouraging her to embrace. I will say here, Julia did not exercise any tact or diplomacy when it came to her sexual behavior. She didn't have to tack in that direction but she did so in order to get Howard to hit her with the crowbar. In the end however it was a miscalculation because instead of her getting Howard to recognize she didn't need his protection, she instead only got him to see rage. The metaphor was lost if you will. I would make this point however. Howard was the first to transgress in his act with Amanda. Julia made him promise not to do anything with her, yet he succumbed. And not only that, but he admitted to her how wonderful the experience was. Frankly, neither one of them could have helped themselves. Women in this world are as unable to resist their sexual needs as the men are to resist women's pheromones.

One last quick point on tying Howard to a tree. Again could have been handled better, but definitely for his own good. It's like telling your 10 year old daughter not to go out at night for her own safety, except the 10 year old daughter would know better. Howard would roll out refusing to admit he is less able to defend himself in this world, than a 10 year old girl would be in his old world.

I want Julia to experience being independent and confident and let's see if Howard really can love Julia if he is not able one in the relationship. If so, then I think their relationship will become a deeper one.

And by the way, I thought this was superwomenmania.com? Why would we ever want the nourishment to wear off or the women to LOSE their powers?
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09 May 2016 19:25 #47680 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic LaPorte Caves
While I'm horribly behind with this story, I have to compliment Circes for creating something so thought provoking to spark this discussion.

ballen wrote: And by the way, I thought this was superwomenmania.com? Why would we ever want the nourishment to wear off or the women to LOSE their powers?


Yet, on this bit, I have to make a bit of a statement: SWM is a site about female empowerment, something often mistaken for male degradation, but this is not the case. Often stories here feature both elements because it's relatively easy for one to pour into the other, but the focus should not waver. Given that, each and every one of us has different limits in this regard and I think that the point is this: Julia was abused before and was in an uneven relationship?
Yes.
Does that makes okay for her to abuse Howard?
No.
This is the point for -- and, I guess, others -- while it's okay for Julia to showcase her superiority, I don't think that using that superiority to abuse Howard the same way she was abused is okay, retribution isn't part of what I consider female empowerment. Am I saying that she should lose her powers?
Absolutely not, but I don't condone what she did with them either. Howard is a dick, no doubt about that, but that doesn't provide entitlement to repay him the same way.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?" ("Gentleman" John Marcone)

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09 May 2016 20:29 #47681 by ballen
Replied by ballen on topic LaPorte Caves
[quote=Does that makes okay for her to abuse Howard?
No.
This is the point for -- and, I guess, others -- while it's okay for Julia to showcase her superiority, I don't think that using that superiority to abuse Howard the same way she was abused is okay, retribution isn't part of what I consider female empowerment.[/quote]

I thought I wouldn't have to state it explicitly, but I guess I need to. I am suggesting that Julia is in fact not abusing Howard, nor is she seeking retribution. If you are using her indiscretion as an example of abuse, I am countering by saying she could not help it because the power of sexual needs is as unbelievably powerful and awesome as the rest of her body. Howard could not resist the power of Amanda's body and Julia cannot resist the power of her own body. To deny it would put Howard in harm's way as Ruth warned. If you are arguing that tying him to a tree is abuse, I am countering by saying it was to keep him out of harms way. He is stubborn and could possibly get himself into trouble walking alone and unclaimed in this new world or find himself trapped in the caves as he did in Chapter 2 when they tried to escape the first time.

This is not abuse. It is bitter medicine for his own good.

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09 May 2016 22:53 - 09 May 2016 23:05 #47690 by Monty
Replied by Monty on topic LaPorte Caves
I'm going with the idea that unknowingly to Julia and the locals is that the Nourishment, addictive as it is, is also character changing. Only Howard can see the changes. From Julia's perspective, everything is great now! Excellent work Circes!
Last edit: 09 May 2016 23:05 by Monty.

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10 May 2016 00:46 #47695 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves
This turned out a bit long, hope I got all the quote tags right.

circes_cup wrote: The story is intended to convey that protections do exist. In the first chapter, the cop makes an indirect reference to protections against abduction and abuse. And in Ch 9, Ruth also discusses the abuse in a way that presumes abuse is bad. I did not want to make this a pure might-is-right world where men live in continuous mortal fear of their women. And to the extent this ins't coming through in the story, that's certainly a point I should have made more clearly.

My fault as well. When a story comes out in installments like this I don't always remember remember all of those little details. I've re-read some of those earlier chapters and think I've seen hints of where the story is going (or maybe just where I'd take it).

It's great to see several new forum participants commenting on this story, and I really hope you keep doing so on this story and others! To the extent your post was negative, it was only negative towards a specific thing that Julia was doing -- something that I wouldn't have enjoyed either! So, no, I didn't find your post negative at all.

Thank you for the warm welcome; don't always get that on the internet.

ballen wrote: ... I would make this point however. Howard was the first to transgress in his act with Amanda. Julia made him promise not to do anything with her, yet he succumbed. And not only that, but he admitted to her how wonderful the experience was. Frankly, neither one of them could have helped themselves. Women in this world are as unable to resist their sexual needs as the men are to resist women's pheromones.

I don't think it's fair to blame Howard for something he didn't consent to and was powerless to prevent. Suppose a woman (in our world, not the one of the story) was at a bar and someone slipped ecstasy into her drink, spirited her away, and had sex with her. What would we say if her husband got mad at her, or had sex with another woman and justified it by saying she had transgressed first?

One last quick point on tying Howard to a tree. Again could have been handled better, but definitely for his own good. It's like telling your 10 year old daughter not to go out at night for her own safety, except the 10 year old daughter would know better. Howard would roll out refusing to admit he is less able to defend himself in this world, than a 10 year old girl would be in his old world.

Well, there's no telling what sort of danger Howard could get into on his own. I mean, if he's not careful he could wind up with some woman who wraps a crowbar around him and ties him to a drainpipe.

Woodclaw wrote: Yet, on this bit, I have to make a bit of a statement: SWM is a site about female empowerment, something often mistaken for male degradation, but this is not the case. Often stories here feature both elements because it's relatively easy for one to pour into the other, but the focus should not waver. Given that, each and every one of us has different limits in this regard and I think that the point is this: Julia was abused before and was in an uneven relationship?
Yes.

Uneven, probably, but I don't get why you're saying she was abused. As I said, I may have forgotten some details of earlier chapters. Did Howard enjoy being the more capable and successful one in their relationship? Maybe. I do remember references to Howard getting Julia a job and buying her a car; did he do that to make her content with living in his shadow and keep her from forging out on her own? Possibly. I don't think the story makes it clear. Transportation and a job can lead to greater independence, not less. Howard may have given her those things as the tools to make more of her life. I don't get the sense that he told her to turn down other jobs, or told her where she could go in the car. This is not a woman who was in the kitchen, barefoot, and pregnant.

Does that makes okay for her to abuse Howard?
No.
This is the point for -- and, I guess, others -- while it's okay for Julia to showcase her superiority, I don't think that using that superiority to abuse Howard the same way she was abused is okay, retribution isn't part of what I consider female empowerment. Am I saying that she should lose her powers?
Absolutely not, but I don't condone what she did with them either. Howard is a dick, no doubt about that, but that doesn't provide entitlement to repay him the same way.

Howard may be a dick. If he is, we could have an interesting discussion on whether it's wise, or whether someone even has a right, to try to change someone she loves. There's also the unreliable-narrator issue; the story is told from Julia's POV so we only have her perspective on the nature of their earlier relationship. But even ignoring those two things, I think there's still a conflict in her current behavior. She is now clearly superior to Howard, but the more she revels in that, and the more she enjoys it, the more she reveals the repressed resentment she was carrying from when Howard overshadowed her. And there's no problem with that, it makes her a flawed, but evolving character. But the more she rubs Howard face in that, and the more she shows off and belittles him, the more resentment he's going to feel toward her.

So, even granted that Howard is a dick, and granted that she's right to try to change him, I think her method would only bring about the opposite result. With her otherworldly intelligence, I'm surprised she doesn't realize that.

ballen wrote: I thought I wouldn't have to state it explicitly, but I guess I need to. I am suggesting that Julia is in fact not abusing Howard, nor is she seeking retribution. If you are using her indiscretion as an example of abuse, I am countering by saying she could not help it because the power of sexual needs is as unbelievably powerful and awesome as the rest of her body. Howard could not resist the power of Amanda's body and Julia cannot resist the power of her own body. To deny it would put Howard in harm's way as Ruth warned. If you are arguing that tying him to a tree is abuse, I am countering by saying it was to keep him out of harms way. He is stubborn and could possibly get himself into trouble walking alone and unclaimed in this new world or find himself trapped in the caves as he did in Chapter 2 when they tried to escape the first time.

This is not abuse. It is bitter medicine for his own good.

See my earlier comment about whether the danger Howard would face on his own is worse than the situation he's currently in. And if Julia's body has needs beyond what Howard can fulfill, fine, but she could do that without bragging about the other men's prowess and belittling him. If she wants to keep him from getting lost in the caves she could bring him through and back to our world, and then go back to live with Ruth. It would be no more than a jog in the park for her. There are ways for Julia to protect Howard and still spare his feelings, but she is not looking for those ways.

Monty wrote: I'm going with the idea that unknowingly to Julia and the locals is that the Nourishment, addictive as it is, is also character changing. Only Howard can see the changes. From Julia's perspective, everything is great now! Excellent work Circes!

That's odd, I don't think it's the Nourishment that's addictive at all.

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10 May 2016 01:19 #47696 by Torque
Replied by Torque on topic LaPorte Caves
Finally some spirited discussion!!

I have to disagree with you ballen on a few points, but not completely. I think you're right, Howard reacted a little immaturely when Julia began to showcase her abilities, but I think it still comes down to the same fact I've been trying to make; he reacts that way because he puts in an effort with absolutely nothing to show for it, with zero progress, and all of a sudden Julia can do anything and everything, including things that take time to master just to get the technique. Sure, a confident man is happy that his significant other is improving, and Howard even hints at this when he tries to remind himself that this is only temporary (I'm referring to the swimming scene for most of this analogy). But even the most confident man starts to feel intimidated at some point. Usually this conflict in a relationship acts as a catalyst for someone to be motivated to be better, but in Howard's case it's pointless for him to even try. Put yourself in his shoes; no one in this world, including the men, would ever respect him for what he knows or could do. That's extremely terrifying, and he lashed out. He clearly regretted it immediately, but even his regret is pointless and ultimately he is laughed at for even thinking something like that would do anything to Julia.

The scene with the rock is a perfect example of miscommunication. For all of her internal strife originally with the nourishment, outwardly she didn't express those feelings to Howard whatsoever, so when he gets dumped in the water and she starts to laugh, why would he think it was anything other than her showing off?

But to keep things to most recent chapter (# 11), I agree she completely missed the point by asking Howard to hit her, but I think it just reinforces my point; she has no EMPATHY. In every chapter, she misreads Howard's reactions. Even when she's nourished, she still can't read him. That's not to say everyone is a people person or that nourishing would enhance that skill as well, but you would think with her enhanced perception and knowing howard that she would draw certain inferences to what he must be feeling right now. Instead she's so caught up in herself that she doesn't really care how this is affecting him, and only wants to make him better by giving him a time out. Which I'll bring up as my last point. I'm not a fan of the word abuse because I think it comes off as a little strong in this context, but her treating him like a 10 year old girl as you put it, is certainly tantamount to mental abuse. You're right, ten year olds don't know better, but he's not ten. He's a grown man who is free to think and feel about this world as he wants, and her fears of him getting himself hurt are only brought on by the possibility of her losing control over him. Going by the rules of the world, he's a claimed, so she shouldn't have to worry about any other woman messing with him, and it's not like he could make an attempt at the caves when she destroyed his gear and won't tell him where to go. It's become about her now.

And as for losing her strength, I agree with woodclaw. There is more to female empowerment than supernatural abilities. I like this story because it goes beyond just that. Those kind of stories are a dime a dozen around the web, and what Circe's has built here goes beyond just that and explores the relationship behind it, in a way that is very real to how 95% of men would feel. I know I was raised to play the hero, and my interactions and feelings in one of my past serious relationships mirrors Howard and Julia almost exactly, so I approach the story with a little baggage I suppose.

Hats off to circes!!

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10 May 2016 04:29 #47700 by grungykitten
Replied by grungykitten on topic LaPorte Caves
The thing I like most about Julia's transformation is that it was triggered by her own self-perception. All of the joys she had experienced, as great as they were, did not change her resolve to leave and preserve her relationship with Howard. Not even sex with Benjamin could persuade her to stay. But when she finally understood how sexy she is, that's when she decided to stay. That's a really powerful character statement.

Still, I can't help but feel that her attitude shift was a little too sudden and complete. Just a few hours prior, she had to resist the urge to help the men gather firewood, and then only with their intense pleas. Now, she's dominating her boyfriend. I understand why, I just feel it was too sudden.

Plus, this seems like the kind of world where even if Howard had attempted to strike out for the caves on his own, he wouldn't have made it very far without the women knowing about it. Part of me would have liked to see a chapter of Howard spending a night on his own, trying to navigate this society where no-one knows his background, dealing with his utter inferiority and having to humiliate himself to make even the slightest bit of progress.

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10 May 2016 20:56 - 10 May 2016 20:57 #47723 by circes_cup
Replied by circes_cup on topic LaPorte Caves
I really appreciate the spirited debate, as Torque said!

I'm not going to respond to everything that was said. This is partly because I don't want to reveal the future plot.

But also, although this is my story, I'm certainly in no position to say which member of this couple is more right than the other. Julia is generally a sweet person, as evidenced by her multiple attempts to ease Howard's discomfort in this world. And yet, in this most recent scene, she has clearly grown inconsiderate towards him as well, to the point where she had detained him against his will. For his part, Howard had been generous back on Earth, but the self-serving nature of that generosity is now coming clear. And when Howard is displaced from his position of power, he loses his self-control as well. Both of these people are good, and flawed, at the same time. And as many of us know, romantic relationships rarely have the benefit of a scorekeeper.
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Woodclaw wrote: While I'm horribly behind with this story, I have to compliment Circes for creating something so thought provoking to spark this discussion.....
.....Julia was abused before and was in an uneven relationship?
Yes.
Does that makes okay for her to abuse Howard?
No.....
.....This is the point for -- and, I guess, others -- while it's okay for Julia to showcase her superiority, I don't think that using that superiority to abuse Howard the same way she was abused is okay, retribution isn't part of what I consider female empowerment.


OK, I'm really confused by this.

Julia was not abused. It's simply not part of the story. And whatever Julia did to Howard, it's certainly not a given that once could characterize those actions, either, as abuse.

Woodclaw, when you say "I'm horribly behind on this story", are you suggesting that haven't read it? I need to determine where the disconnect is on this important point -- whether the story is suggesting something that was not intended.
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Monty wrote: I'm going with the idea that unknowingly to Julia and the locals is that the Nourishment, addictive as it is, is also character changing.


That would be an interesting plot, but it's not the one I intended to write. I envisioned Nourishment as addictive but not character-changing, except to the degree that new power can change anyone. However, I like the concept of a character-changing drug. Maybe that's the next story!
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Pepper wrote: She is now clearly superior to Howard, but the more she revels in that, and the more she enjoys it, the more she reveals the repressed resentment she was carrying from when Howard overshadowed her.


This idea of repressed resentment -- this is a great angle that I hadn't (consciously) explored. But I think it's consistent with the story and may work some of that in. Thanks!
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Torque wrote: Sure, a confident man is happy that his significant other is improving, and Howard even hints at this when he tries to remind himself that this is only temporary (I'm referring to the swimming scene for most of this analogy). But even the most confident man starts to feel intimidated at some point. Usually this conflict in a relationship acts as a catalyst for someone to be motivated to be better, but in Howard's case it's pointless for him to even try. Put yourself in his shoes; no one in this world, including the men, would ever respect him for what he knows or could do. That's extremely terrifying...


Thanks, Torque. Howard can be faulted for lashing out, but how much better would any of us have done? I tried to make Howard's action both wrong and understandable, and I'm really gratified that this element of the story came through.
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grungykitten wrote: Still, I can't help but feel that her attitude shift was a little too sudden and complete.


Thanks. I'd be curious to hear whether others agree. If others came away with the same feeling, then clearly that's and area of my writing that needs to be improved.
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ballen wrote: Immediately after, she tried to extend an olive branch by engaging in something that could bring them together; swimming. The passage reads that she looked for a way to bring his confidence back up. Unfortunately the gesture failed. Why? Because of his pride. There was no, "You performed amazingly honey - phenomenal". In fact he understated her performance by saying, "Your pace was good." .... Tell her she is amazing. A confident man would do that.


As I've said before, I appreciate how closely you read these stories. Including detail in a story takes effort, but the effort is so worth it when I see that the detail has been noticed by the reader.
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ballen wrote: I want Julia to experience being independent and confident and let's see if Howard really can love Julia if he is not able one in the relationship.


That's where this is going, whether Howard likes it or not!

Thanks again for all the great comments everyone! Now back to writing.
Last edit: 10 May 2016 20:57 by circes_cup.

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10 May 2016 23:30 #47728 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic LaPorte Caves

circes_cup wrote:

Woodclaw wrote: While I'm horribly behind with this story, I have to compliment Circes for creating something so thought provoking to spark this discussion.....
.....Julia was abused before and was in an uneven relationship?
Yes.
Does that makes okay for her to abuse Howard?
No.....
.....This is the point for -- and, I guess, others -- while it's okay for Julia to showcase her superiority, I don't think that using that superiority to abuse Howard the same way she was abused is okay, retribution isn't part of what I consider female empowerment.


OK, I'm really confused by this.

Julia was not abused. It's simply not part of the story. And whatever Julia did to Howard, it's certainly not a given that once could characterize those actions, either, as abuse.

Woodclaw, when you say "I'm horribly behind on this story", are you suggesting that haven't read it? I need to determine where the disconnect is on this important point -- whether the story is suggesting something that was not intended.


To be honest I've read just the first three chapters, before my spare time was sucked away :pinch:

Still, my considerations were meant to be only a response to Ballen's first post, who seemed to imply that Howard was emotionally abusing Julia, by not being supportive of her now that she was superior to him, but apparently I misread him.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?" ("Gentleman" John Marcone)

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11 May 2016 02:01 #47730 by Pepper
Replied by Pepper on topic LaPorte Caves

circes_cup wrote:

grungykitten wrote: Still, I can't help but feel that her attitude shift was a little too sudden and complete.


Thanks. I'd be curious to hear whether others agree. If others came away with the same feeling, then clearly that's and area of my writing that needs to be improved.

Was the attitude shift sudden? I suppose it depends on what shift you mean. There have been hints at how much Julia has been enjoying herself and it's no surprise that she'd want to stay. And she's been giving Howard orders for the past two chapters. Once she figured out the way home, he hugged her, and then she told Howard that they couldn't leave until after the party on the beach. Julia is wrong if she thinks Howard won't let her take the lead; he followed her plan without complaint, scrounged some clothes for her, missed out on the party, and waited in a shed for her for two hours. If there's a sudden shift, it's how quickly she went from caring about him and planning their mutual escape to trying to crush his ego.

For that matter, I'm not sure her attitude shift is complete either; Julia is perhaps not as in charge as she thinks. Probably shouldn't say more, don't want to influence where circes is taking the story.

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11 May 2016 02:38 #47731 by jnw550
Replied by jnw550 on topic LaPorte Caves
I think the only reason Howard went along with her plan was for his own selfish reasons. At that point, it was making the best of a "bad" situation to get what he ultimately wanted.

Everyone wants to be a beast, until it's time to do what real beasts do.

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11 May 2016 03:00 #47732 by jnw550
Replied by jnw550 on topic LaPorte Caves
What a great discussion! This story needs to be made into comic, seriously.

There was mention of abuse on Julia's part toward Howard, but I don't see it. If anything, I feel like Julia has been emotionally manipulated long enough that she deserves a little comeuppance. I've not only seen superhuman abilities, but superhuman patience on her part. To add, she wasn't the one who got truly physical. It doesn't matter that Howard can't hurt Julia anymore, he still lashed out at her and the worst he got was pinned to pipe.

I do agree that her infidelity was wrong; however, even knowing she was superhuman, I wouldn't have struck her out of anger.

Just my opinion.

I really like the idea of Howard attempting to find his way by himself in their new world if only to see that he truly needs Julia.

Everyone wants to be a beast, until it's time to do what real beasts do.

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