writing: where i am right now

I may have to make a change in Midnight’s Heir. Oomph …

My mind stores information in the strangest of ways.

I never meant to connect Toby and Janell to Columbine. Ouch!

Even before I realized consciously what I’d done – over the last week or so, actually, I had thought about taking Toby’s and Janell’s incident out of the school (which I’d have to do away with the memorial plaque mentioned once in Heir’s Starlight) and into one of their homes.

In my rewriting, I decided it’d be smart if I moved up the school shooting from the middle of the Summer during summer session to near the end of the traditional school year. Completely arbitrary, I decided prom night made sense. April 17. Saturday. 2004.

I’ve sat here beating my head on my kitchen table – figuratively – for an hour now.

    Columbine happened in April.
    Columbine happened a few days after prom.
    Tuesday, April 20th.
    Prom was the 17th, Saturday.

You’ve got to step back and admire the subconscious mind.

I pieced all this together for my story and thought, “I need to do some reading real quick before I start reworking everything.” And came over here and started reading about Columbine – and whoops.

Apparently April 1999 and April 2004 have exactly the same calendar. The only difference is when the full moons fell that month – and other astrological stuff.

But I didn’t consciously realize what I had done when I wrote Sami standing outside Harlan County High School* watching the people who were still there, at all the kids who were outside in their prom dresses and tuxedos and she thought they looked like paper flowers.

I e-mailed my concerns out to some folks last night, and it was suggested that perhaps “most people” wouldn’t put the two incidents together. And it’s very possibly no one will connect the dates. I have my chapters divided up by month, but I never state specifically what the date is – unless someone pieces it together on his own. To do that, he’d have to know the date of the full moon in April 2004 and the date of Sami’s mother’s death (and birthday).

So I think what I’m going to do is go over here and keep writing and piece the scene/event together the way it wants to go and just leave it. And if, in the future, some buyer wants a change, I’ll tackle it then. For now, this is how it wants to be, and I have to go with that. I can’t force it to be something it’s not.

*I never mention the school by name but by location. Too, this particular school wasn’t open in 2004. It didn’t open until the Fall of 2008. When I wrote the first draft of this story in 2005, the new school was still a gleam in the county’s eye.

[[ 6/3/10: eta: i want to point readers to this post about columbine here: http://thecorvidaecabal.org/2009/04/16/columbine/ ]]