Preemptive State of Emergency

Which is a title that would have been more appropriate had I written this post Friday night before Hurricane Irene paid a visit to the coast.  But I’m using it anyway.

Yesterday’s plan of spending all day writing didn’t pan out.  Power went out around 8:45 in the morning, fortunately after I’d gotten my first cup of coffee made.  The battery life of my laptop is maybe two hours, and having no idea how long the power was going to stay off, I shut it down rather than keep writing.  The power was out for less than an hour, but the interruption had done its damage.  I was distracted by the howling wind, the swaying trees and my hourly checks of weather.com.  I have family in the Hampton Roads area of VA, and they were poised to take a bigger hit than we did here.  (When I talked to my mom later in the evening, she said Isabel, seven or eight years ago, was worse.)

So all that I ignored yesterday was reslated for today; laundry and working on Red Light, the final story in the saga of Mad Jack Runner.  The last load of laundry is in the dryer now.  The story is maybe 2000 words from The End.

I’ve been struggling with this story for various reasons since December.  The biggest reason for that is that I don’t really want to be done with Jack.  But this whole thing started five years ago when I stuck him in a story, killed him off early and discovered that the story was about him anyway.  He made me go back and tell the whole thing.  Needless to say this story is vastly different than what I wrote five years ago, almost six now actually.  But the end result has always been the same.  He’s going to die.  I’ve always known that.  So has he.  So has anyone who’s read any of the stories.

In that first story, Jack’s death took place off screen.  When his body was found nearly 24 hours later, the shit started to hit the fan.  This time around, the shit’s been hitting the fan for a long, long time, and Jack’s death is not going to be off screen.  It can’t be.  I’m not letting myself out of it that easily, nor am I going to let the readers off that easily.  All of us are going to watch it happen.  Don’t look away.  If you love Jack like I do, you won’t be able to look away.

Once I get to that part, the writing itself will not be hard.  That’s not what’s holding me up.  It’s getting up to that point.  Again, the writing isn’t difficult.  I do, finally, know where I’m going with all of it, but that doesn’t mean I’m able to breeze through it.  It’s like staying in bed as long as you can in the morning to delay the inevitable hell of going to work.  Unlike going to work, I do want to get to the end of Jack’s story.  I mean, I could tell little tales from his career for the rest of my life.  I could fall back on the original plan for the second series and have him magically resurrected.  But then what would be the point of the end?  I’ve been over that, and the planned second series is reshaping itself to suit.  I won’t be getting into that any time soon.  I’ve got other characters to torture, to help bring to the ends of their stories.

Even if I did finish Red Light tonight, it’s going to be several days in post-production.  I’ll print it out, let it sit somewhere untouched for a few days, read it, and then begin the editing/revising process.  I know there are things I need to fix.  There are some sappy things I need to cut out or make less sappy.  There’s a big chunk that needs to be rearranged before it flows correctly.  There are small details I need to tweak.

I’ll get there.  The red light at the end of Jack’s road isn’t going anywhere.

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2 thoughts on “Preemptive State of Emergency

  1. Well, those of us who love Jack Runner can provide the sappy Greek mourners’ chorus and the tears, if necessary. Brilliant choice of words for a title, not looking forward to reading it … well, yes, I am, but no I’m not.

    Glad you got through the storm with little hardship. I’ve been watching for your posts.

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