It was close to lunch time on Monday when Jonathan finally called me back, the unmistakable opening riff of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” signaling his call. I picked up immediately, glad to have the temporary distraction. Kurt had put me on local culture news that day, and I was already sick of reading press releases about the state ostrich festival later in the week.
“Find anything?” I asked eagerly.
“And hello to you too,” he said. “I’m fine, by the way, thanks for asking.”
I sighed. “Jon, don’t be petulant. You aren’t as good at it as I am.”
Because there’s been an influx of new readers recently, I just want to clarify that the update that was scheduled for May 20th has been pushed back a week, due to a series of events entirely within my control. I’m not dead, the serial hasn’t been abandoned, don’t panic.
I woke up to find myself lying on the ground, naked, with blood on my face.
So, pretty much a regular Sunday morning.
It was still dark out, and I briefly considered going back to sleep. The den was cozy, warmed as it was by the body heat of two dozen lycanthropes, and I was exhausted. More than that, I ached. The shift from wolf to human had happened while I was asleep, but that didn’t make it any less painful.
As I stared through half-closed eyes into the predawn gloom, I felt my wolf stirring at the edge of my mind. The inexorable pressure she had exerted the night before was gone, but she was still far from silent. It didn’t take long for her to start nagging and prodding. Couldn’t sleep in, that would be a sign of weakness.
I hated the posturing. Hated having to act like a wolf, even as a human. But I had fought hard for my spot near the top of the pack’s pecking order, and I was loathe to give it up so easily.
Insomnia is extremely common among werewolves.
The reason is incredibly obvious to any lycanthrope, and surprisingly unintuitive to most other people: being a werewolf is extremely stressful. Lupine instincts aren’t well adapted to human society, and participating in civilization is a constant struggle to keep the wolf in check, to present a pleasant face, and to not give in to the urge to snarl at jostlers on the bus. Every moment of every day is a battle to be human.
For most of us, it’s a losing battle, or at best a stalemate. The wolf wants, more than almost anything, to be free, and it will push and prod until it gets its way.
Despite what I promised in the comments of the Part Two, Part Three will not be posted this weekend. It will be posted on April 22nd. Part Four will (unless circumstances change), be posted on April 29th. After that, we will start the normal fortnightly schedule which was originally intended.
The reasons for the lack of update this weekend are numerous, but (as those of you who follow me on Twitter may have heard) essentially boil down to editing. I have a great deal of the storyline already written or mapped out, but as the time approached to post Part Three, I realized that it needed significant edits before going live. This is because the bulk of Part Three stems from earlier drafts of the story, and many parts of it have now been made outdated by later rewrites.
Initially, I thought I could still make the Saturday deadline. When it became clear that wouldn’t happen, I committed to posting on Sunday. But then I realized that doing so would just mean I was depriving myself of the opportunity to perform the extensive editing that I wanted. So I’m delaying the update a week to give myself more time to do so.
Apologies for the handful of existing regular readers out there. Once we get onto the less frantic fortnightly update schedule, slips like this shouldn’t happen as often (or at all, hopefully).
In journalism, an editor isn’t just someone who corrects spelling and grammar. Those people still exist, of course, but they’re referred to as copy editors, to distinguish them from the much more powerful section editors. If the newsroom is an orchestra, then editors are the conductors. They decide what gets reported, who does the reporting, and where and when it goes in the newspaper. Collectively, these decisions are called the budget. To extend the musical metaphor further, the budget is the sheet music.
Understanding this is the key to understanding the complicated relationship between editors and journalists. To a journalist, the editor is both supervisor and supporter. They are the source of assignments, deadlines, and criticism, but they are also an advocate, mentor, and collaborator. Your editor can be your best friend, your worst enemy, or both in equal measure.
Kurt Holmes had been my editor for more than a year now, and I still wasn’t sure where to place him.
The newsroom was never silent.
At any given moment at least a dozen people – usually more – would be tapping away at their keyboards with varying levels of speed and force, producing an irregular staccato rhythm that was punctuated by the ringing of telephones, the whirring of photocopiers, and the barking of editors. It was the frenetic pulse of the daily news, driven by the furious heartbeat of the information age. It was discordant and chaotic and beautiful.
Starting next month (April 2017), I will embark upon the grand endeavor of writing and posting a fortnightly serialized web novel. This is a project which has been, in one form or another, fermenting in the recesses of my mind for over three years now. In that time, it has undergone multiple drastic changes in style, tone, story, and even medium. But I do believe that I have finally worked it into a form and format which is ready to be pushed out into the cold, cruel light of the world for all to see.
Folks, I am pleased to announce Newshound, coming soon to an Internet near you.