Every story starts somewhere. For CONSEQUENCES, it was a local legend from my high school days. For THE JOURNAL OF JEREMY TODD, it starts more recently, but it does dig into things that happened as far back as middle school for me, and also digs into things that keep themselves hidden in the dark recesses of my mind, only coming out on occasion when I’m feeling especially vulnerable. Writing the story helped me to deal with those to some degree, and hopefully writing this “story behind the story” post will help me finish exorcising them. Will it get rid of them? No, they’ve been there too long, and have become a part of who I am. But hopefully they’ll lose what little remains of their sting, and that’s more important, anyway.
Since JEREMY TODD has only been out for a couple of weeks now, I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven’t managed to get very far into it.
One of the themes in JEREMY TODD is bullying, and how victims of bullying deal with it as they get older. This is the first and only time I’ve ever gone into a story with even that much of a theme in mind. Usually, I just have the story idea and then I write it. I might find something during edits, some subconscious thing that crept into the story somewhere along the way, but it’s never a conscious decision. This time, it was. Everyone has their hot-button topic, the thing that sets their blood to boiling until the rage is nearly strong enough to consume them. For me, that topic is bullying.