The Making o​​f: Midnight

Life, revisions, and going refined sugar-free has brought me down. So, this post is going to be fun. My inspiration? A recent blog from Jenn Gott (Author of The Private Life of Jane Maxwell and The Beacon Campaigns) caught my attention. All of Jenn’s fun facts about the making of Private Life were not only interesting to me as a fan of her book,  but also as an author. As I’ve mentioned before, I wrote The Opposition as a stand-alone novel. A lot of things changed from that original draft to the finished book lurking on your Kindle.

So, here’s a few behind-the-scenes/fun facts about the creation of Midnight:

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Four different versions of Midnight (out of about eight total)

Midnight was released on June 13th, 2017. The same day Jo wakes up in the morgue.

Jo’s original name was Terri. She was an only child. Then she was given an older brother to further her plot. Her original motive was revenge on Morgan, but writing a revenge plot just wasn’t working for me.

Jo’s character was divided into two after Jamie came into play. And no, the other half of her isn’t Jamie, but another character. *whistles innocently*

Her brother became her twin brother after I read about the link between MS and twins (the same fact Jo mentions to Morgan in their first encounter.) The early draft was HILARIOUS because I made the switch part-way through– meaning she references her twin as being four years older than her several times.

Jo and Jamie were named so because I had a highly illogical scene where Jo pretends to be Jamie to get a copy of her death certificate and I needed unisex names for both of them.

Jo’s name was decided upon after I realized her entire motive was stealing Jamie away from Morgan. (Jolene, Jolene, Joleeenee, Jooolllleeennneee…)

I HATED the name Langdon and lamented how I couldn’t find a better fit for him. After I gave out the first round to my inner circle someone sent me a text that merely said, “Aw, you never changed his name?” But by that point, I really really loved the name. *shrugs*

Stan was originally called Stanley, an ode to his love of comics. (Stanley = Stan Lee. I amuse myself.) Not entirely sure why I shortened it.

Darcy was originally called Jane because I didn’t have any character development planned for her in the first draft and thought of her as a Plain Jane. All I knew was that her parents were famous literature professors, one of whom was a Jane Austen expert… (Guess you can see what happened there.)

Why Montreal? Originally it was set in New York, but that’s where allllll superhero stories happen. Then one of my favorite lines popped into my head. A jest from E4’s Misfits, “Superheroes? That sort of thing only happens in America.” Thus, Canada. Montreal was chosen for its proximity to NY and because I wanted an area that had a lot of people but didn’t have *as* high a cost-of-living.

Jo assigns nicknames and not just to Ben. Among these: Marge instead of Margret, peanut instead of Langdon, and yes, Jamie instead of James (Though that one is less obvious. He’s given up and introduces himself as Jamie to everyone now). There are more examples of this in Liminal Boy. This all stemmed from the second draft of The Opposition, which was the first time the story was told entirely from Jo’s POV. Since she didn’t have access to the others’ names, she assigned them code names like they assigned her the title Midnight. Parts of that survived the final draft.

Jo’s role in helping Jamie become famous was cut in Midnight but will be explained in more detail in Liminal Boy. 

There are two large running themes in The Opposition. Perspective is one. For example, Jo is EXTREMELY unobservant. There are a lot of clues she either didn’t notice or became too distracted to really take in. Some of these hints will come back in Liminal Boy. Some of these are ABOUT Liminal Boy.

Mirrored people are the other huge theme. Jo and Jamie or Morgan and the doppelgängers are one type of mirrors. Another would be the way Jo presented herself versus the way others perceived Midnight. 

Aside from Jo’s unobservant nature, Lupe is often not mentioned on purpose. She is the invisible girl, after all. Poor Lupe goes unnoticed beyond just when she is using her verve. 

The REV is based on the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which is a high powered generator used in big things. Not in humans. Not implant-size.

Speaking of implants, I’m slightly terrified of them which why I used them as the source of the verve. 

Speaking of verve, I became really fond of the word after I got into a disagreement with a professor in the middle of a class over an author’s motive for using that specific word in a short story. (I still stand that it was a reference to the 90’s band, The Verve.) (Sadly, I can’t remember that story’s title.)

Part of Jo’s verve stemmed from my desire to have the ability to 1. not need glasses and 2. eat all the food I am allergic to.

The verve side-effects are mostly for plot reasons but also because I get the hiccups more than anyone I know and I wanted someone else to suffer. (Sorry, Jamie.)

The layout of Summers’ Reads and the East Rivers Center is slightly based on a favorite indie bookstore of mine and the shopping complex it’s in. I marvel at the neighborhood behind it and often wonder what it would be like to live so close to a bookstore. The restaurants and coffee shop in the fictional center are much closer and of better quality, however. 

I had a neighbor once who owned a very large, very fluffy Chow Chow. She was a big sweet goof. Misty is the lesser-behaved version of that dog.

I automatically trust people who have a lot of pets. When I wanted to establish the Summers as trustworthy my first thought was to give their household a lot of dogs. 

Ben and Dan were characters from a short story that lived in my head, as where the Hardings’ parents (in an unrelated story). I really want to bring in those backstories at some point.

All of the chapter titles in Midnight were originally puns, but I changed nearly all of them out of fear of copyright issues. My personal favorite? “Bitch Better Have My Brother.”

“The Dark Horse” was the last title I decided on. It’s a nod to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long blog as well as Langdon’s character development throughout Midnight. (And ok, that one Katy Perry song I like.)

I really hated editing Chapter 18. “Breaking and Entering” was a logistical nightmare. It was also the second scene I wrote entirely for Midnight and not for the stand-alone. 

The first scene I wrote for Midnight was the fight at the diner. Those two scenes told me everything I needed to know about Jo and what kind of tone her story would have. 

Speaking of scenes from hell: Langdon and Jo’s meeting was written no less than a dozen different ways. These include:

  • A liminal fight in an abandoned warehouse in front of Jamie and the other experiments.
  • Jo running into him while stalking the mansion.
  • A version of the scene where he catches her at the end of Chapter 18.
  • A confrontation near a stop sign.
  • A confrontation at the facility Morgan took Kiko to for “treatment.”
  • A fight at one of Morgan’s abandoned facilities.
  • A confrontation at the facility Jo burned down in Chapter One.
  • A fight at a gas station that somehow snowballed into the pair getting coffee at a breakfast diner.
  • Langdon just casually rolling up to the Summers’ house… and, yeah, a fight.

I snark on my own characters. Jo’s line “I like (Langdon) even though he never listens to a thing I say” is 100% a line I inserted while fed up with him during the editing stage. For an explanation, see the above fun fact.

My favorite literary device is foreshadowing. “By the time it was all over, I couldn’t count how many different versions of him there were” was a subtle jab at the clones. Meanwhile, “Holding a sibling hostage with the looming threat of death creates a lot of stress” was a more obvious hint that Jo was still part of the experiment.

Whew. Enough for you? Would you like some facts about The Moonlight Herders? Or another one of these in the future for Liminal Boy?

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