How short stories accrete

17 Nov

This is how it goes sometimes.

I will, for the purposes of this discussion, call the story “Skullcrusher”. That’s not its name. I just call lots of things Skullcrusher. My iPod is named Skullcrusher. I dunno.

So. LAST year at this time, I’m in the car with my wife and child (only had one at the time), and we were driving somewhere, or back from somewhere, or who knows what. I was staring out at the Minnesota landscape which is 1) flat fields of snow and 2) trees and 3) flat fields of snow.

And I out of the blue, I had a short story idea pop into my head. It was a simple one, about a father and son in a broken down car on the side of the road. The father is Not Right in The Head. The son escapes. Stuff happens.

It wasn’t bad, but I haven’t written it, or tried to write it, or really thought about it. It just sits in the back of my head along with all the other things I plan to get to.

Usually, what that means is that there’s nothing about the story that yet makes me go “I have GOT to write this!” which I why I don’t worry about it, and just get on with whatever I’m doing right then.

Tonight, a year later, I was watching a music video (for “While your Lips are Still Red” by Nightwish). It contains clips from the Finnish movie on whose soundtrack it appeared. I don’t know anything about the movie, but that never stops me from constructing a narrative out of the music video.

And that narrative, which constructed lazily and without my input somewhere in my head, while I bounced a baby on my lap…collided with the story from a year ago. A few similar elements of each, but mostly the same impetus, the same thing sets both stories in motion. They go different places, but the one goes nowhere really, and the other goes somewhere satisfying.

Thus, I’ve fused two ideas together, across time, with no real work on my part, to create a story I WANT to write. It brings emotion and people into something which was otherwise just plot driven (and I don’t really have an interest in plot-driven stuff, on the whole). It lets me explore ideas I have an interest in, and opinions I have, and other stuff that I won’t know about until I get into the story.

I want to start writing it now.

Unfortunately, I have 8 more days to Thanksgiving to try and get as much of “Usher III” done (have I talked about what this is?) and I’m not getting enough work done (blame the kids. one has an ear infection. The other is three). So no work on the story for awhile longer.

I have ALSO realized, typing this post, that the short story I’m talking about would work exceptionally well as a single-issue comic book. Not only because the story is contained and good for the form, but it lets me have a USE for color and frame composition in the comic. (I don’t think one should take those for granted. I think they should be as on purpose and for a purpose as everything else in a comic).

So that’s that. And now I’m going to drink some tea and maybe, maybe, maybe, if i can manage it, get some writing done tonight.

Love & Mango Black Tea

(p.s. I am aware that at no point did I actually CALL the story “Skullcrusher”.)

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Posted by on November 17, 2010 in Uncategorized


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