Sunday, February 12, 2012

February Perry writing projects and nostalgia

As of the end of January, I concluded my longest Perry mystery yet, The Case of the Broken Ties. It was a very rewarding experience overall. I loved writing for the characters, as I have with every venture.

It’s probably the strangest Perry story anyone will ever stumble across. I pitched the initial idea to the Della-Perry Yahoo group (which is for Della, although they are certainly not adverse to Perry/Della as a romantic pairing) and was surprised by the level of interested response. As previously described, it is a very supernatural story. And it is also Hamilton and Paul’s story—with the scale tipped a bit more in Hamilton’s favor as far as narrative point-of-view is concerned. I still find him easier to write for than Paul, although I tried to give Paul a good number of scenes too and found it very interesting when I started trying to pick apart his mind.

While trying to avoid spoilers and repeating myself from past blog posts, the basic plot involves several villains teaming up and enacting revenge on the good guys by unleashing a powerful spell that causes nearly everyone to forget some or all of their life’s memories. Hamilton and Paul are the only ones unaffected and must try to get everyone else to remember as well. Perry and Della’s bond also survived the spell, and despite not consciously remembering each other, they do subconsciously and want to meet.

When I finished that story, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do on the mystery front. I had already decided to work on a month-long project for the community 31 Days, a writing prompt group on The overall theme of the prompts for February was Fire and Ice, and I decided that fit Hamilton and Mignon Germaine quite well, with Hamilton representing fire and Mignon, ice. I have been writing and posting short vignettes with each of the month’s writing prompts. Some take place in the past, when Hamilton and Mignon first met, some in the present, and others all throughout the middle. All are being collected here: I am unsure if I will post them at or not.

While the overarching theme of the vignettes is an exploration and celebration of those characters and their canonical friendship, other characters feature in some of the ventures as well. I have been writing ahead, and the one I am currently working on for the 23rd largely features Lieutenant Tragg and his friendship with Hamilton. I also threw in a reference to The Screaming Woman, with the technology updated to be a doctored CD that Hamilton threw at the wall instead of a Dictaphone cylinder.

Finally I decided that I would also start another mystery story as well and write both projects during the month. The plot of the new story is one I debated over for some time and previously rejected, but with the receptive response I received for The Broken Ties I decided to give it the go-ahead.

The new story is The Case of the Spectral Stalker, and it is a sequel to season 4’s The Misguided Missile. Actor Simon Oakland was directly responsible for rekindling my old interest in Perry Mason, and his character Captain Caldwell is my favorite of the two he originated for our series. I was heartbroken by Caldwell’s needless death (seriously, by killing him in hopes of letting his missile fly, Dan Morgan almost got the launch stopped anyway by leaving the body on the test field!) and have wondered what really happened concerning his past with Perry’s friend Jerry Reynolds. He insisted that he never received the order Jerry gave that he didn’t follow. And depending on the circumstances, maybe he really didn’t. We never found out enough to draw an opinion one way or another.

My first Perry story was a very short piece written as an addendum to The Misguided Missile. The new story doesn’t connect with it at all, even offering a different scenario and explanation as to why Caldwell did not receive Jerry’s order. In addition, although when I started this blog I mused that I would change the war Jerry and Caldwell fought in from the Korean War to Afghanistan to make it contemporary, I realized recently that it wouldn’t quite fit in the timeframe I had in mind. The Bosnian War, on the other hand, would fit just about perfectly. So Bosnia it is.

The mystery also offers Jerry being stalked by a mysterious person who eerily resembles Caldwell. Panic-stricken and believing he’s losing his mind, he goes to Perry for help. Perry deduces that someone is likely trying to torture Jerry and either make him believe he’s cracking up or cause him to crack up. The mystery quickly descends into a dark and twisted puzzle as it interlocks with Perry’s current case and begins to open up a world of unaccepted science none of the characters ever dreamed could exist. Its main villain will be another of my long-time original characters, Dr. Alice Portman.

There isn’t much more I can offer without revealing what I have planned for the story in future chapters. I currently have four completed. It’s a very interesting and unique venture. While Hamilton was really the star of the previous two, this one goes back to Perry and Della being the main characters, due to Perry’s friend Jerry being the one to have the problem. But Hamilton is the most prominent after them. Of course, he will always be prominent in my mysteries!

The other main characters are also certainly present as well. Taking place over a month after The Broken Ties, some of them are still trying to heal from the various emotional damage done to their hearts and souls during their previous experiences. I’m planning that Tragg will finally be able to fully get on the mend, but to tell why and how is a huge spoiler.

I hope that these projects will be enjoyed, just as the others have been. I find it very fun to write for characters I’ve loved for so many years.

I finally figured out some calculations and determined that it’s been at least over twelve years since the show became a household name for us. I want to say we started watching on the New Year’s Eve marathon of 1999, and that that was also our local station’s introduction to airing the show, but I’m not fully sure on the latter point. Perhaps it had aired for some time before that and we just never happened to catch it. Although that seems a bit far-fetched; I can’t believe we wouldn’t have run across it at least sometimes.

I remember that Dad turned the TV on that night and the marathon was on. I had just learned of the marathon’s existence from the mother of my brother’s future wife before we came home and was surprised at such an old show being on. I was curious and excited at the prospect. Mom was initially lukewarm about the show being on, as she wasn’t crazy about murder mysteries. But somehow we all got hooked, Mom when she remembered having watched the show years ago with her father, Dad because of the mysteries, and me because of the characters. (We all came to love at least some of the characters, however. Mom and I love everyone. Dad I’m not sure about.)

I remember my surprise at realizing there was always (or almost always) the same prosecuting attorney and policeman. I immediately thought that was cool. I liked continuity of that sort even back then. And I believe I liked Hamilton almost immediately. I remember seeing him walking around the courtroom, questioning witnesses. I’m not sure what I liked about him at that point. There were certainly plenty of indications even early on that he is a wonderful person. (I believe that first marathon was the first few episodes of season 1.) But maybe right then I just thought he was a good foil for Perry. Somehow, though, I think it was more than that. I think that perhaps I had a little crush on him even then.

And on this highly nostalgic (for me) and completely unplanned part of my musing, I will close this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment