As we move into the second part of Season 2 of my fan fiction story: "Doris Schwartz: Time and Again", we move into one huge story Arc that will run until the end of this season. This was quite a challenge that was continually changing as I wrote the episodes.
The Titles "If Tomorrow Never Comes" is a lyric from the season 4 song "Right Here, Right Now" and for me refers to Doris realising she has to try and stops the events that cause Nicole's death.
We start the episodes with Doris thinking she is dead. She isn't but we don't find that out for sure yet, but I wanted Doris to remember back to helping Lisa the ghost pass over, when she was in High School. It was important because she will need those skills to help Nicole in the future.
Doris starts to think that she may need to help Tracy pass over and at this point I was thinking we would return to this story. I knew it wouldn't be this season, as that already had an outline but I left it open for a possible season 3 storyline. However, when I started writing season 3, that took me in other directions so Tracy was forgotten about. Presumably she is still a ghost haunting the school!
Instead I wanted to set up the party in which Mickey Garth would get drunk and consequently have a car accident that kills Nicole. In the actual episode we didn't see the party so I had free will to describe that. Also Doris had never been there so she like the reader, has no reason to suspect what maybe ahead.
I start to drop in clues like the date. January 5th 1987 was the actual U.S. air date of "Go Softly Into Morning" but the casual reader wouldn't necessarily know that. I give it a significance to Doris by her recalling it was the date she gave birth to her daughter Jenny, who we see in the last episode of the TV series. I wanted to establish a connection that Nicole died on the very night that Jenny was born. This will become important later.
In terms of the TV series and reality Taylor McVay, Valerie's real daughter who we see as Jenny onscreen was a couple of months younger but I wanted to used artistic license. Also a difficult premature birth gave Doris an explanation for not coming back when Nicole died. Something Doris would admit to feeling guilty about.
As a red herring and because of the mergence of the different time periods, I threw Coco and Bruno in for good measure. I liked the idea of Coco feeling threatened by Nicole. For Coco and Bruno, the events of are taking place in 1983 at the start of season 3 of the TV series so she hasn't met Nicole yet and Nicole has had 2 and a half years training at the school so is more confident than when Coco meets her for real. Bruno of course has just lost his father.
I always thought the TV show was wrong to split Nicole and Jesse up so I wanted to establish that at this point in time Nicole was having second thoughts about that decision and wanted Jesse back. At this point of writing I didn't realise how crucial that piece of information would be in season 3.
In an attempt to make my series more like the TV show I started to look for more situations that I could add songs to my episodes. The situation of a party seemed perfect to have some of the kids sing. It's always difficult to choose songs to fit the story as I want the reader to imagine that the character could have sang that song. So it's finding singers who are similar and songs that could fit the storyline. The song here "Hole in My Heart" I first heard by Lisa Hartman, in another favourite show of mine "Knots Landing" and it seemed a good match to fit here.
Originally the events of Doris trying to save Nicole were only supposed to cover one episodes but as I'd taken time to set up the story it seemed better to make it a two parter with the cliff hanger being the revelation of what Doris had to do.