The Fifth Monday: Hard On’s Curse – Behind the Writing

Blog No 158

Behind the writing was an idea I came up wit back when we started Adventure Worlds. Other people have done similar things (it’s not like I invented it) but for the purposes of this blog, it was something I pushed for. The others weren’t convinced, and now I seem to be the only one sticking with it. Which is appropriate, since I was the only one interested in the first place. So now I’m doing them on my blog and I just finished the conclusion to Hard On’s Curse, and now I’m going to talk about it. So *spoilers* and all that. (

The idea for the fifth Monday stories came from Christian. There was some chatter about connected and continuing stories from the original group, but Christian spotted the odd months with the extra Monday and made the proposal. The first year (last year) fizzled out in the end, so this year we decided to start from scratch and do one that started and ended in the calendar year. While Christian got the start the first Fifth Monday, it was my honour to start this one. So, I went for the gusto. Since it was something different, a project or even and experiment, I decided to pull out all the stops and actively try to write the craziest, reticence free, story as far from my norm as possible. With that state of mind achieved (to the best of my ability) I created Hard On, Mr. T and the Demon God Burner.

s-tootsie-pop-commercial-largePart one was a hoot. It all came so quickly. I turned off as much of my brain as I could and let the characters drive me. The descriptions and dialogue all came from creating these less that delightful people and turning them loose in this twisted world. It was a joy to write and I hoped it would be a fun, if unexpected, story to read. I was rewarded with a lot of kind words and shocked statements. I achieved my goal (to a reasonable standard) and left Christian with a challenge. Take my weird, semi-lucid story, and continue it for the next Fifth Monday.

Not only did he accept the challenge, he blew it out of the water. I had all kinds of ideas as to where he could take the story, but in true Christian style, he went somewhere I didn’t expect. Five years later we saw what living with a tormenting demon did to my almost lovable (maybe pitiable) character Hard On. He had the makings of a normal life, kept at arms reach. It was funny, exciting, and a little sad (not only for the ill-fated protagonist, but for me as well). Christian out did my masterpiece and left a steaming pile of a challenge for the third writer of the series.

Edele Winnie has been submitting (and supporting) Adventure Worlds for a long time. She has as many stories posted as either Christian or me. Her writing is aggressive, subtly complex, and often compelling. She has shown us time and time again, her ability to take characters and stories to new, exciting places. Turing the story over to her was a no-brainer and she took the characters to a new place I would never have thought of. She turned empty jokes into critical plot points and one dimensional characters into developed people. She opened up my little story and left the next writer with a heck of a lot of threads to tie up (and too many interesting ideas to lose any of them).

Who was the lucky fourth writer willing to conclude this masterpiece of experimental fiction. Why it was me. Yay. By the time part three came out, I was under the gun with several stories and larger endeavors. I had Dime Store to finish, the collection to finish, and the zines to finish. The Fifth Monday wasn’t a priority. I had no idea how I was going to wrap it all up, let alone ending it in one part. So I left it and finished everything else. By the time I was ready to get to it, I had less than a week before it was due. I have no one else to blame but myself, and thankfully, Christian came to my aid and did my edits at the last minute.

The story had gotten so big, it took a double post to get to all the lose ends. I had both Christian’s amazing part two and Edele’s fantastic part three to try and out do too. I couldn’t let them both do a better job with my story than I did. In a frantic few days I pounded away at the keys, going back to the previous parts, making sure to not miss any crucial detail, looking for every comedic element to exploit. It was a challenge and whether I succeed or not, I got the story finished, and that’s more that I can say for the last Fifth Monday. Now we have next years to look forward to. I hope it’s even more out there.

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