Black Ring II and III Commentary

So, Black Ring was only meant to be a one-shot story, but it received higher than usual attention along with some requests to keep it going with these characters and the ideas. Coincidentally, the movie Split came out soon after I had finished Black Ring.

For narrative purposes, I didn't cover Jill's transition at all in Black Ring. I thought it would be a lot more shocking for Jack and the reader to have them wake up one day totally changed, not because of magic or sci fi, but due to being in a coma for five years. I imagine it would be equally shocking for a transsexual individual transitioning all the way only to find their changes completely reversed the next day. For these reasons and the already long length of the story, I didn't write at all on Jill's journey.

So, when contemplating a sequel I believed that Black Ring was unfinished. Before going forward, I would need to go backward. I wrote Black Ring II narrating Jill's struggle to wait for Jack's return or leap into transitioning. I wanted to cover Jill feeling envy of Nick/Nicki going forward while she continued to wait for Jack. I added Chris' sister, barely mentioned in Black Ring, to create more confusion for her. As with Black Ring, Chris remains the White Knight that gives Jill a stable anchor.

As with Black Ring, the sequel has unreliable narrator. Jill is mentally unstable and sees the world differently than other people. Everything she sees, hears, and feels is a different reality than the other characters. As such, I decided to make the dialogue comedic or absurd showing that although Jill recognized her own insanity, the world was also just as insane. Dr. Stein's advice is to further reveal Jill's thinking rather than accurately portray what a psychiatrist would really do under the same circumstances.

The story of Jill's transition was going to overwhelm the original Black Ring, so I decided to split the story in two. Black Ring III goes more into the transition itself and eventually leads to midway point in Black Ring. I am hopeful that readers will realize that the story is presented chronologically as I, II, III, I.

This is my only story that goes into detail the transition process. I am much more comfortable with magical and sci fi changes but it had to be done to truly finish the Black Ring story line.

Black Ring IV is in development and it is a direct sequel to Black Ring I. Jack/Jacky is going to have to deal with being second fiddle to Jill's transition, marriage, and career. Will Jacky be a helpful partner to Jill or find a way to rebel? How will she cope being a straight man in the body of a woman married to a man. How will Chris deal with his wife being two completely different personalities? Will Chris and Jill continue to plan for a baby or will Jacky's issues interfere? Is it even ethical to have a child using Jill's stored sperm when the child could develop hereditary mental illness? I hope to work out these questions soon.

Also, if there are any scenarios, requests, ideas, or advice on further Black Ring I will seriously consider them so long as they are consistent with the character's motivations.

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