This ridiculous nonsense goes up without my editor’s approval, because I wanted to prove to my sister that sometimes I actually do write. I was supposed to be working on my novel (I’ll probably be hearing about that later), but in the meantime here’s some absurdity right in time for the weekend:
I wrote it in competing tenses and goodness knows the real reason I didn’t run it by the editor is because she’d tell me it doesn’t make sense. *sniffs haughtily in the air* As if I don’t know when my own writing doesn’t make sense. Honestly, if I was really serious about this story I would leave it alone for six months and then rewrite it, but I am so tired of looking at it that it’s going up anyways. So ha! I don’t know who I’m ha-ing there, but…ha!
(I think I’m ha-ing me, actually, which is a waste of my own time. I should probably let myself know.)
So where did this nonsense come from anyways?
(Please note: SPOILERS, for both this story and “The Shining.” Go read those first.)
It actually comes from a very strange encounter I had with a Stephen King novel. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I’ve read a lot of Stephen King because the man understands that fear really grows out of anticipation (it’s not the jump-scare – it’s in waiting for the jump-scare) and because he has a handle on the psychological aspects of horror. However, I own only one of his novels: “The Shining.” I’d get into what makes “The Shining” stand out in the field, but it’s been done before. (It’s totally the topiary animals; don’t let anyone tell you differently. I still remember sitting in a gas station as Dad gassed up the car, reading while I waited and feeling the hackles raise on my neck, because a bunch of bushes might be sneaking up on me.) The salient point is that on my second read-through, the black man didn’t die.
I was absolutely certain that he had. He’s one of my favorite characters, so it was a shock – after anticipating his unfortunate demise and wishing that it wouldn’t happen – when he didn’t. It scared me to death.
Later I figured out what happened. I’d read the book years before, then out of curiosity read a summary of the 1980 film in which Halloran (the black character) dies. It annoyed and disappointed me so much that it apparently got stuck in my head as canon. Normally I hang onto information better than that, but for awhile I did think I had the power to change plot points with my mind, which was pretty thrilling.
So that’s where this came from. If you’ve read “The Shining” you’ll recognize Darryl’s last name as an homage to Halloran, though you won’t recognize anything else that even suggests this is similar to a Stephen King novel. I wanted to write something fun, which is why this reads suspiciously like a romance by the end.