Let me tell y'all a thang.
I've always wanted to write a wholesome Leah story, but with experience from beta-ing Leah-centric stories, I knew what kind of audience I'd be dealing with.
You see, I'm not really a Leah writer. She's my favorite character, but I've never known what to really do with her, writing-wise, so I became a writer of Jacob and Bella. I've always had plenty of ideas for them. So when I decided I wanted to write a Leah-centric story, I knew the audience would be totally different, and this is probably the best audience I've ever had.
Leah fans are a bit like the character: a little outspoken, definitely honest, and very unapologetic. I'll tell you guys right now, you kind of tore me down a little, lol. And I. Loved. Every. Minute. Of. It. I write for the readers. That's always been my thing. So when the readers were getting really vocal about it, I felt like I could fly. I was like, "Yes, yes, yes! Tell me how you feel!" So I was determined to get better and better, and I think I might have.
The idea of this story came much later than the inspiration. For one thing, I didn't listen to one song while writing this story; I wrote in pure silence. No Lana Del Rey. No Marina and the Diamonds. Nothing. Writing stuff inspired by music has kind of been my own personal trademark, and I think I may have to do that more often. Cleansing is different from anything I've ever written, and I'm proud of it. Instead of music, I looked at this list I reblogged a while from my Tumblr. It was written by a non-professional, so maybe I shouldn't have used it, but I did, anyway. I hope they don't mind. I really hope I wrote something they would be proud of if they ever come across it in the future. I thought it was a really great list, and later I decided it would pump me up for a Leah fanfic. And so it did.
With writing a Leah story, I knew I would have to keep her in character a bit, but this story takes place over such a long time (about six years). I knew she wasn't going to live in the woods and phase all the time; she was going to have a life. It's what I wanted, and also what I thought she would want. Breaking Dawn (yeah, that hot mess) left her with such an open, empty ending, and I didn't like how that happened.
So I gave Leah a life after Breaking Dawn. I wanted her to have relationships, though, and I never planned on Sue being in the picture. In this story, Leah treats the pack as one unit—they all get married and have kids and everything in the end, so why not? At first, though, I wanted her to have more of a relationship with Seth, until I realized that was turning into a Sue thing. I've read maybe two Sues in fanfiction, so I inspired her after the motherly figure I know best: my own mother. (In all honesty, I got a little nervous when you guys were bad-mouthing Sue so much. I was like, "That's my mother you're talking shit about!") Sue is a lot like my mom, only worse. She's like my mom on a bad—okay, a really bad—day, but I think she ended up okay. Moms are fierce. You don't really have to be one to know that, you know?
I also gave Leah relationships other than the one with Sue, too: Ryder and Wes. To be honest, I've always wanted to write a fic with the names Ryder and Wes in them; I thought those names were so cool, and I still do think that. Ryder would have been around for longer, but I pushed him out. I didn't have an image of him in my head, and I never thought he was good for Leah in the first place. We all know how that worked out. I found Wes to be different, though; I found him to kind of baffle Leah. I mean, Leah was always rejected to me, in and out of the pack. She never belonged, but then there came Wes, who really did love her for her—all of her—and not the fact that he was like her, because he really wasn't. I don't usually get that into my stories (or at least let it show, lol), but I thought that was a nice touch. I've been in exactly zero romantic relationships in my entire life—I've never even been kissed, imagine that—but I like to absorb things like a sponge. You don't need experience to get an idea of it, and I think that's the greatest thing about the brain; it imagines, and it gets inspired. That's fantastic to me.
So yeah, that was my little author's commentary. Now, for the actual good part, a thanks to those who reviewed:
-Guest from Chapter 8
-Guest from Chapter 9
-Guest from Chapter 10
-Guest from Chapter 11
-Guest from Chapter 12
Thank you all. I love each and every one of you. Also, thanks so much for the follows and favorites, as well. They light up my day so much, you have no idea.
And that was Cleansing. :) I think it was a fine fiftieth story. Can't wait to hit 100. Then I think I'll rest.
Much, much adoration from your musical Twilighter (who just might be lovely, too),
MusicTwilightLove. [infinite x's and o's]