|Commentary, Chapters 19-25|
|Friday, 21 September 2007|
This is an exchange of dialog that actually happened to me. I was told “People don’t have to smoke in their rooms” in response to the same question Kevin asks. It was hard not to laugh. Maybe she thought I actually asked, “Am I required to smoke in my motel room?” In which case the reply was perfect.
All accurate details about the real Jasonville.
This is a factoid gleaned from research done at “The Body Farm” in Tennessee. (It’s actually five pounds a day when left outside, not in a cornfield per se.) The note writer embellished the facts a little.
Originally I had a fourth masked kid in this scene, referred to as Charcoal Mask. (The Order, also, originally had more members than the final book. Too many to keep track of.) Since I dropped the idea of having four guys attack Kevin, I never had to figure out Charcoal Mask’s identity.
In the script for the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs, there is an unused scene where lines emerge in the corn and converge on the main family’s house. When I read that in the script, I wanted to “see” it. So, in a way, this is a tribute to a deleted movie scene.
My first-ever reader of this scene reacted with an audible “Ugh, he lost his keys!” At the other end of the spectrum, my editor told me “Keys don’t just fall out of people’s pockets.”
I invoked a Stephen King known as, “a tie goes to the writer.”
The lost keys stayed. You decide.
The Chesteron short story this quote comes from is called The Blue Cross. I discovered it while listening to an audiotape of mystery/detective stories from various writers. It’s brilliant.
I thought about having the chaplain say “then God—and maybe I” instead of the other way around (i.e., for sure God can help Cameron, and maybe the chaplain can, too). I wrote it out both ways and liked it better with a little more uncertainty. Of course, I don’t want to be accused of bad theology here. Chaplain Ashton just means that depending on what Cameron has done, it might be a “God-sized” project. Sometimes people talk this way.
For some insane reason, I tried politics at one point in my life, working briefly at the Colorado State Capitol with the Governor’s Office. I met plenty of people who sound like Marshall and Thompson, and are of similar mind and couth, for better or for worse.
Those who live in southwestern Indiana will probably know that in the 2006 election the Eighth Congressional district “went blue,” then returned to "red" again in 2010. In fact, the district is known as Indiana’s “Bloody Eighth” (ironic, I know) for its contentious and dramatic election races. Let’s just say that Marshall and Thompson live in an alternative reality…
No, I’m not anti-Wal-Mart.
Mark is channeling Delmar’s baptism scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou? here.
Neal’s misery is causing Mark some guilt that he just doesn’t want to deal with. Like many people who suffer guilty consciences, he’s trying to come up with excuses to deflect the issue. He’s a good liar.
This intersection is real and lies essentially in the middle of Jasonville.
Another real intersection in Jasonville, though I’m hedging the geography of the town’s layout here a bit. One early adviser for my book accused me of making up the street name Possum Hollow, calling it “over-the-top.” It’s not made up. People even live on Possum Hollow.
This distasteful anecdote come from the real-life JonBenét Ramsey case. At one point during the course of the investigation, Det. Linda Arndt (the first investigator to arrive at the scene of the crime — somewhat infamously) experienced an incident like this at her home. Arndt, incidentally, no longer works in law enforcement.
There are, in fact, little signs like this that can be found around Jasonville.
Originally, I had Kevin getting a single paintball round shot at him from the direction of the trees, and no note. I much prefer it the way it turned out in the final book, with a splatter inside the car and the note on the steering wheel. After all, they ended up with his keys. Of course they’d mess with his car in some way.
This final scene with Neal was painful to write, and I know it’s painful to read. You get into his head a little and it’s a rough experience.
In Colorado where I wrote Dark Friday, the people there, of course, still remember the Columbine High School attack of 1999. (Something my book only mentions ever-so-briefly, in passing.) What many people outside of Colorado don’t realize is that there were suicides in the wake of the Columbine attack, from people who were involved. One was a mother of a seriously wounded student, the other a star basketball player who had seen a teacher killed right in front of him. Sad but true. Painful, yet reality. Sometimes when huge, tragic things happen, there are people who can’t figure out how to go on.
In my story, I thought it was important to show the impact of the night of murders, the unintended consequences, and how dark choices tend to take things further than anyone ever intended. What Neal does here is obviously not recommended or necessary behavior.
I wrote a short story for Esquire magazine several years ago called Nena’s Tarantula. It’s about a young man who hears the 80s song “99 Luftballoons” (from the German artist, Nena) and has an epiphany about why he struggles in his relationships with women. At first, the magazine asked me to make the story longer. Then, when I did a longer version, they decided not to run it.
I think I was remembering that story here. Someday, maybe, Nena will be heard from again.
Lorraine’s a sharp lady. I like her. That’s why she’s in the story.
Another line from Rix that I’m quite fond of. Readers seem to like this one. I also can’t resist highlighting things like pen tapping, even though they’re minor tics.
The idea here was to have Casey assuring himself, “I can handle this,” but really not be able to — like no matter how many times he tells himself that, he can’t change reality. And it makes the breakdown more “violent” when he ultimately succumbs.
The crow incident story comes from something that happened to me when I was in college in Nebraska in the early 90s. I was with my then-girlfriend rather than a friend; and I didn’t throw a rock at the truck like Neal does. Other than those details, the story in the book is accurate.
I have this thing about helping wounded or at-risk animals, and I could tell many stories — including one that involves an alligator, and another involving a huge, ungrateful snapping turtle.
This action could be viewed (wrongly) as some sort of character-driven rebuke of horror movies, or Freddy vs. Jason in particular. That’s not really what I intended. It’s just Casey thinking about The Order, the kinds of things they talked about, and how it went too far and has destroyed lives, then taking out his pain on something nearby.
Casey is a character who I like, and this is how I treat him. This is probably the worst day of his life. Just when he thinks it can’t get any worse, Ashley calls…
From a storytelling standpoint, there’s something to be said to making one of your main character’s lives a total mess. Today is Casey’s day, for better or for worse. I suspect he’s up to the challenge.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 November 2010 )|
|< Prev||Next >|