October 22nd to November 4th: The Forever Halloween

October 28th, 2020:

I’m neck-deep into writing a short story, and I must finish it by Saturday! I started last Thursday, and there has been heavy revisions and editing as I go… but the inspiration is flowing. :-) It’s unfinished at 4,300 words with three of its five planned scenes done or mostly done.

I’m calling it, The Forever Halloween.

That’s my update and project for this week— and as I’m racing the clock to get it done— I’m going to get back to it!

November 4th, 2020:

I did not meet my goal of finishing and releasing The Forever Halloween on the day of Halloween itself.

Last update (October 28th) it had reached 4,300 words after six days of writing that included heavy revisions and editing through three incomplete drafts. By the Saturday of Halloween, the short story had become a novelette. As of today, it is 9,400 words long in an almost complete fifth draft. The closing lines of the story are written, and I just need to go back and scribe an additional short scene that will strengthen the ending.

Unfortunately— and in sequential progression since Sunday— my wife started feeling unwell, our car started acting up again, and the furnace heater stopped working. I also threw everything I had into finishing the story for Halloween, including getting only two hours of sleep in the forty-eight leading up to it. The muses really had me inspired, but the single-minded effort came at the sacrifice of my typical monthly social media setup. Now I’m exhausted and dealing with unforeseen problems in addition to limping along with my media stuff unscheduled, crafting microfictions ad hoc and day-to-day.

But I think it was worth it.

The Forever Halloween is shaping-up to be a good story. Although it takes place on Halloween and the holiday’s history and mythology is part of the plot, its main themes of death, the dead and the pain of this terrible year will be universal enough that they will resonate being read anytime. The reason I didn’t get it out on Saturday was that the story had outgrown its original ending. After throwing out two new versions I wrote that tried to salvage my first ideas on Friday night into early Saturday morning, I struck on a radically different and fantastic ending to close the story on. Something much better than what I’d started with in mind. It required yet another hefty rewrite to a previous section, but it strengthened that chapter immensely and threaded the entire story’s themes into a unified whole. I really love how it all meshes together now. The ending events should take people off guard with a good jump and make them uncertain of the outcome until the final page, which I think should make a rather good read. But the improvement and lengthening of the tale meant that it was not fated to be for this Halloween.

Once I clean it to a sixth draft, I am still considering putting it up on my blog publicly for a limited time. But it’s so long, and my fiction over a 1k wordcount generally preforms poorly or only as well as a fifty-word micro on my social media. I may instead share it with those that request to read it for now. However, unless people universally hate it, I could very well prep The Forever Halloween for an eBook and print release in the fall of next year.

Anyway, right now I’m literally chilling waiting to hear back from the heater repairman in two sweaters or call someone else. The typing keeps me warm…

Take care everyone! Be safe, and keep writing!

~Jason H. Abbott

Update: Kevin the heater repairman is a god among men and now has a new loyal, and once again warm, customer. :-)

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