When my last job ended, before a combination of age discrimination and lack of enthusiasm changed a job search into an early retirement, I thought to take a “cleansing” break.
Beyond just the mental torpidity inflicted by a quarter century in Corporate America that I needed to shake free of, I had some creative yearnings that could not be satisfied while my attention was focused on work.
I wanted to do some writing. I had a number of vague ideas and one reasonably developed idea. The reasonably developed idea grew larger and more involved as I worked on it.
The first book of my Jeremy Shuttle Adventures trilogy, What if?, was published in 2010. Four years later, the last book in the trilogy, What Now?, was released.
Since that time, I’ve dabbled with those vague ideas to no great success. It puzzled me what the cause of my inability to at least plot through, if not fully write, those ideas.
Recently, as I was doing my morning walk, an entirely new storyline for Jeremy and his supporting characters plotted its way as I traveled.
This was surprising, as I was not intending to write any more stories about Jeremy, let alone another trilogy. But, in a sense, it was not surprising in that it might have been what was blocking my focus on my other projects. Jeremy can be a bit stubborn that way.
So, today, and in the remaining posts for the week, I’ll let you in on some of that ambling, rambling thinking (along with the working titles, subject to change)…
It’s four years later and Natalie is getting ready to head off to college. Jeremy is only a year behind but he doesn’t know how he’ll survive a year without her.
Cemented by the fantastic adventures they shared and proven by what they were willing to sacrifice for each other, Jeremy and Natalie are blessed with a higher certainty and strength in their love than most people their age.
Nearing her final day, Natalie receives a package with no return address (yeah, those are always ominous…like the basement stairs when the light switch doesn’t work).
Inside, she finds drawings she recognizes as Jeremy’s style, but none she had ever seen before. These cause a terrible shock in how dark they are, especially the last one showing Jeremy all alone in a desolate and decimated city.
Afraid to show them to Jeremy, knowing his penchant for questioning without considering the danger, she tries to hide the drawings. This causes her to withdraw from Jeremy, who first becomes concerned and then suspicious.
Unwilling to lie to him, she eventually shows him the drawings and his inevitable desire to pursue answers drives a wedge into their relationship. Jeremy is convinced he needs to find his sketchbook again and unlock this mystery.
She resolves to prevent Jeremy, fearing a worse tragedy than before. She enlists his parents to help and gains further conviction when she receives a visit from someone in her future (but not who you expect).
Of course, it’s not a Jeremy Shuttle Adventures trilogy if he doesn’t find the sketchbook, so you can imagine how Book 1 ends.
Jeremy uncovers the meaning of the drawings and the reason he risked so much in drawing them. The reason is overpowering and he cannot think of anything he would not do to prevent it from coming true.
Unsure whether he decides his fate or the drawings lock him into an unavoidable destiny, he sees no answer other than making the same drawings he has already seen.
If anything, Jeremy is more alone than ever as he is forced from dire situation to deadly circumstance, growing more desperate with each seemingly compounded mistake. And this time, he doesn’t have Natalie to help him (you’ll cringe why).
Out of place, out of time and ultimately out of paper, it’s not tough for you to guess which drawing represents where Jeremy ends up at the close of Book 2.
Book 3 is where I hope to be able to write both a sensible and satisfying solution for the hopeless situation I’ve stuck all the characters.
Just like Book 3 of the first trilogy, I know where I’m ending up and why, but I sure haven’t figured my way out of the pickle.
Only one rule: no deus ex machina.
And there you go, a pre-pre-look at what should be an exciting and hopefully final ride with Jeremy, Natalie and friends, etc.
Whether my favorite character, Mitch the (“don’t call me”) Ant shows up this time is a topic for tomorrow’s blog post.
I’m in no rush on this. I may try to write all the stories at once this time, to avoid the awkward break that happened between What Next? and What Now?
It’s just possible, the whole shebang will be finished by the end of next year. With What Now? coming out in 2014, that would make a potential release date of the new trilogy…four years later.