The easiest way for me to start this wingnut is to quote two paragraphs that I wrote for the
wingnut for The Changeling.
"At [the time I was writing The Changeling], I was dealing with a very strong desire to
get John incredibly dirty and then clean him up. I confess that this desire grew out
of a scene in Speedbump's exceptional fic, The Resurrection of Man. Speedbump got John
far filthier than I ever have ever dreamed of, and then devoted a single paragraph
getting him clean again. While the abbreviated description was entirely appropriate to
Speedbump's story, by the time I got around to dreaming up The Changeling, I had spent
several years yearning for more time in the shower watching John get rid of a beard and
layers of dirt and grime. Now was my chance!!"
"I ... intended to tack on a one-part 'Addendum', starting in the shower and winding up
with John and Aeryn in bed together. Then I hit about 15 pages, and cut it into a two-
part Addendum. Then the page count reached the mid-20's, the soap suds had only just
begun to slop onto the shower floor, the Addendum was headed into the 3- or 4-part
range, and I didn't even have them in bed together yet!! So at that point, I hacked
the entire thing off of the end of the The Changeling, deleted the replies I had saved
to post it at Terra Firma, and christened it a story in its own right."
Those two paragraphs explain WHY I wrote The Chrysalis, and why it turned into a stand-alone
sequel, as opposed to an Addendum to The Changeling.
Now let's see what other interesting insights I can provide about the creation of this story.
I learned some lessons about "pace" with this story. Once I had committed myself to a
painstakingly detailed description of what it took to transform John from a foul, begrimed cave
man back into a more recognizable version of John Crichton, I found it very difficult to condense
the process. Several times, I tried to shorten things up in order to get to the "good parts". The
story resisted. Without knowing precisely what I was doing, I think I knew that my efforts were
screwing up the pace (making it inconsistent), and I wound up putting the detailed descriptions
back in order to fix what I did not consciously realize was broken.
Either that or I was having too much fun taking John out of his clothes, and did not want to give
up a single moment of the experience.
If you're placing bets, put your money on the second explanation.
One thing that made this story difficult to write was that it would have been inappropriate to have
John cast off his depression in the space of a couple of hours. I love writing John and Aeryn
having a good time in bed. I think consensual sex should be fun. Ideally, it should be a
celebration of love, passion, togetherness, and the fact that somewhere during our evolution, our
nervous systems got wired up in a manner that provides the most exquisite sensations as a result
of sexual stimulation. What I like to write are the best moments, when everything works the way
it is supposed to, and the couple gets to enjoy their time together. Unfortunately, at the end of
The Changeling, John was not in any condition for that kind of enthusiastic fun in the sack. I could
not simply ignore the lead-in and have him undergo a three-microt recovery from a profound state
More than once, I had to delete a delightfully funny or passionate moment, and replace it with
something more subdued or erratic. Even at the end, Aeryn knows that John is not fully
recovered. He managed to return to something close to normal for an arn or two while he was
immersed in the moment, but she knows that they both face a long and difficult recovery period.
On the other hand, I had a blast writing John dealing with a bout of impotence. In so many NC-17
fics, my own included, John is randy and ready at all times. He must be the most "capable" guy in
the entire universe. It's completely understandable. After all, why would anyone write an NC-17
fic if the man in the story can't get it up at the critical moment? When it comes to fanfic, of
course John is always going to be virile and instantaneously tumescent. And I got to have a little
fun with that assumption.
John in the shower seemed to be the definition of the word ‘aroused’. Under normal
circumstances, preventing him from getting physically excited was the challenge, not the other
The Chrysalis was a wonderful opportunity to turn that bit of 'fanon' on its head. There is
certainly good cause for it to happen. The poor guy has been starved to the brink of death,
suicidally depressed, and run through an emotional wringer. I would be surprised if a perpetually
randy, oversexed teen-aged male could get it up under those circumstances. Not only is it
reasonable, it also gave me a chance to write Aeryn attempting to ... erm ... "kick start his
engine". Who could ask for anything more?
The one other thing that I think is worth mentioning is my decision to cut off all John's hair.
That was an evil thing to do, wasn't it? A hairless John Crichton. It boggles the mind.
Why did I do it? I don't have a good answer for that question. Looking back on it now that the
story is finished, I like it as a symbol of what John is going to have to go through mentally in order
to recover from his depression. He has already cast off all preconceptions about who he is and
what he is capable of doing. He has discovered that he is not always the civilized creature he had
envisioned himself being, and he will need to strip himself down mentally, and rebuild from scratch,
eventually emerging both stronger and more vulnerable as a result of self-awareness he has
gained. (At least that's the way I see it.) The physical imagery of John stripping down to skin and
bones, divesting himself of everything that can be discarded, including his hair, works well for me.
And it was completely unintentional.
More honestly, I love watching guys get a clipper cut that takes their hair down to 1/2 inch or less
... especially if their hair was fairly long to start with. I'm not talking about shearing off male
shoulder length tresses -- although that's fun, too. I just enjoy sitting at a place like SuperCuts
that caters to both male and female customers, and watching the guys get their hair taken down
short. The Chrysalis was written out of pure self-indulgence, so I went all the way. I did
something to John that we never would have seen on the screen even if Farscape had lasted ten
And I enjoyed it.
It's only hair. It'll grow back.
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