|Commentary, Chapter 2-6|
|Tuesday, 21 August 2007|
“Running free through the night in the street” — this line comes from an REO Speedwagon song called “Thru the Window.” The song is about a young man who sneaks out and creeps around at night. I caught the band in concert in support of their Wheels Are Turnin’ album (circa 1985) and somehow retained this line and imagery. And somehow, REO Speedwagon is still around. I’m not sure if Tommie is a fan.
The last paragraph above came directly from me walking at night along Grandview Avenue in Arvada, Colorado, and listening to the sounds.
You kinda have to read this scene quickly, roll with the pace, and not try to overanalyze it. Casey’s taking his first step here toward being a good guy/hero-type character.
Tommie’s singing a line from a Bowling for Soup song here.
Lake Lenape is a real place that I’ve visited, located just outside of Jasonville. It’s actually pretty cool. There is also a Lake Lenape in New Jersey.
The claustrophobia-in-the-dark feeling of this scene owes itself to an incident in a friend’s basement when I was in high school. I was in a room with the door closed when the electricity went out all around town. When I tried to find my way out, it was so dark I couldn’t locate the door. I could swear I felt along the wall and went around the room multiple times before the doorway “reappeared”. Thankfully there was no one around trying to attack me. And no corpse.
I try to sneak in a bit of “theme” into the conclusion of this chapter: mayhem coming to a small-town place that isn’t ready for it, and people who don’t want to believe it.
Note that this is the first specific mention in the book of the setting: Jasonville, Indiana. Yes, it’s a real place. Yes, I’ve been there. Yes, the events of my story are completely fictitious.
I’m doing my best impression of an investigative crime reporter for a newspaper. I have a lot of respect for people who do this kind of research and writing for a living. Investigative writing is the only newspaper content that I read and am like “whoa, that’s good” from a craft standpoint. Some people who do it risk their lives doing so.
For the record, most of the information about Jasonville in the “excerpt” is factually accurate.
LeAnne Craver, who gets quoted in the piece, is the mother of my character Mark Craver. Mark makes his first appearance in the next scene and figures prominently in the story.
So really, if I’m being honest, I should admit that the first two chapters are very Prologue-y. I pretty much wrote two “flash-forward” chapters and decided they were so important, I couldn’t just combine them into one Prologue and risk it being skipped. To quote my editor, “The entire non-creative side of the publishing industry loathes prologues.” Apparently, readers are notorious for passing them over in favor of something called “Chapter 1”.
Regarding the back-and-forth between the guys here, no, I haven’t seen all of the movies in the Friday the 13th series. Hopefully you can’t tell from my characters’ statements which ones I’ve seen and which I haven’t. Heaven knows, there’s certainly enough information on the internet recapping all the gory details of each film to compensate.
I got the idea for The Fraternal Order of Friday from a cartoon in the sports pages of a newspaper called the Rocky Mountain News. It featured this nutty middle-aged guy who was euphoric that each fall meant the start of a new football season. I believe the cartoon’s theme was “Fraternal Order of Pigskin” or something along those lines. It gave me a chuckle and got me thinking.
Anyway, the guys in my story gradually just start referring to themselves with the shortened “Order” or “The Order” moniker, rather than their group’s full name. For the record, I have never seen the Heath Ledger film called The Order, and the group’s name here has no connection.
Jasonville = Jason Voorhees. Might be a stretch, I know. It’s probably not a stretch that some group of teens somewhere could possibly make the connection. Sometimes ya just gotta role the dice and create your own reality.
It’s important to remember that Cameron is instigating here. He might be a little too into it if you get my drift.
“Yeah, so do you guys.” I love that line. Sure, I wrote it here, but I can’t take full credit. It was something my best friend from high school used to say whenever people would roll out a “Great minds think alike” self-congratulatory comment. If memory serves, I think he got it from a Hagar the Horrible comic.
Sadly, it ain’t just pretend, and we’ll all know it soon. I like it when a character is so emphatic with a statement that you just know it can’t be true.
I wanted there to be some meaning attached to the Neal-Trisha relationship, and also to show some of the nuances to how Casey and Mark handle it in different ways.
This chapter also allows Trisha to say some things about Casey, and his character, that I want to get across. Casey is the most thoughtful of the guys and he’s also very smart.
Overall, there’s a lot going on here if a reader is paying attention: Casey’s love for Neal and his appreciation of Trisha, Mark being wooed and beginning to choose the dark side, Danny refusing to let things go and his stalking of Trisha, Casey’s guilt about the kinds of things they’ve been talking about in the Order, and that the winner of any hotdog-eating contest doesn’t really win in the end.
Many years ago, my high school in Alliance, Nebraska, would do a “Burning of the A” for homecoming week. I changed some things around here and made it coincide with the season opener.
This is semi-autobiographical for me as well. I remember having a conversation with a friend when I was young where I had to be convinced that girls weren’t slimy. Then a few years later, the same friend reversed course and told me girls were, in fact, slimy — trying to play off the fact that I since I liked slimy things, I should certainly like girls, too. I came around.
Here we have a rare “good-guy moment” for Danny, which might be challenging to get a handle on, depending on your assumptions. This is a fairly important scene to see some of the further enmity building up between Eric and some of the girls.
Another Friday was the original title of this book. In fact, because of that, the first editor who worked on it tried to italicize those words here in this line. Sometimes editors outsmart themselves.
Possibly my favorite Neal line. Personally, I do wonder what my 40-yard-dash time would be on one of those moving sidewalks at the airport.
My dad always wanted one of these bumper stickers for some reason. He never got one, even though I made the Honor Roll several times through junior high and high school. Sorry, dad. Maybe yours got lost in the mail.
Casey thoughts are allowing me to intertwine theme and character here. Some people seem surprised to learn that young men give up a lot of themselves (particularly their “decent selves”) and often have to set their consciences aside for the sake of friendship and peer pressure. Not very manly to admit, but true nonetheless.
This is a reference to a real-life prank gone awry that I was involved in, though the retailer was not a Pamida store. (I’ll never say the real one.)
A friend and I thought it would be cool to hide out in a store and wait until closing, then come out after all the staff had left. It would have been the perfect crime…had the motion detector alarms not gone off. Oh, and we were locked in, too.
“Point.” My daughter says this. That’s where I got it. I guess that means she occasionally thinks I’m right.
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