So yesterday I published a story that hopefully anyone reading this post has read called “An Eye for an Eye.” It was a short horror narrative that took a look at what was currently taking place with American immigration policy. Now with many of my works, I’ll often get asked on how I came up with something and what was the process I took to create it. Usually I don’t have a great answer but I thought for today’s post I may sit back and try to break down the process of writing this creative piece.
Now one of the first things I did was contemplate the night before on what genre I wanted to write in. Although I fancy myself a good enough writer to be able to cross into any genre, I’m also not entirely foolish to ignore the fact that my strengths lie in science fiction and horror. With that in mind, I had decided I wanted to show off my skills within one of those genres.
Now the next part may seem simple or even funny for many, but a lot of what I write on creatively is inspired by the media I take in. Some days I’ll get online and see a particular post on social media or a news article that gets me motivated to write. Other times it depends on what television shows or movies I may have watched throughout the day. On Monday night, when I was trying to decide what genre to write in, my influence came from Westworld. Now if you’ve read my piece from yesterday, you may begin to question how Westworld influenced what I wrote. This is where the breakdown gets tricky.
I had went to bed that night thinking about how I wanted to write in the horror genre, and then what horrifying thing could I write about. I tried to imagine various things that would make me want to run screaming from the house if I saw them when the lights came on. The one that stuck in my mind was having a body with a head that spun and kept changing faces. I thought next on what could make it creepier. That’s where the influence from Westworld came in. What if they had a blank stare or could be different people in the same body. This may be a stretch to anyone that has seen the show, but that’s how the idea came about. I fell asleep thinking about this and how to build a story around it.
The next part of how my story came to be took place the next day. I had went through my morning routine of eating breakfast, walking the dog, showering, and all the little chores that go along with keeping a house looking nice. I still pondered how I was going to make this creepy concept come together in a story. I thought about having it be a mass murderer facing his victims in Hell, but it felt close to what AMC’s show Preacher did in season 2. I thought maybe having it be a lousy lawyer that faces down all the people he “helped” in a nightmare may do it but I didn’t think I knew enough about the world of law to have a coherent story.
I finally discovered what the subject would be of my piece while scrolling through Twitter and watching France vs Belgium in the World Cup. I had been looking for posts from Barstool’s Big Cat, as his hot takes on soccer, specifically the World Cup, have been hilarious to read while the match takes place. While I was scrolling, however, I saw an article get retweeted from Newsweek that made me gasp in horror at the headline. It read “Pregnant women detained by ICE miscarried and did not get medical care, report claims.“
Now when reading this, I want to give a disclaimer that I had not read the article, nor fully believed it, due to the headline using “claim” in it. However, the idea that this could happen in a country where I lived was something I couldn’t fathom. I then knew how the story would unfold. I won’t go into great detail through the entire plot, but that article seemed to have a neon light hanging over it as to what I should make the story centered around.
I’d say the rest is history but there are a few minor things that I will talk about before ending this post, just parts of the writing that may or may not be of importance. One of the things that I did, and something I love about writing in the twenty-first century, is that I googled for simple symbols to use in the story. An example would be at the very beginning where I compared the light flickering with that of a moth’s wings. In a quick Google search, I found that moths are considered a symbol of death and it was that symbolism I wanted early on in the piece to foreshadow what was coming later. I also did the same with blood red lights, although the color was supposed to be multi-faceted. I wanted it to show the amount of blood that is on the hands of Daniel, while still illuminating his endless anger in the face of a horrific event. Finally at the end, which as I begin to publish more quick works of horror for everyone, I chose to have him smile to try and emulate the fact that people are always the scariest thing to deal with.
Hopefully this blog will give you an idea of how I handle my creative process. Even as I go back and re-read this out loud for mistakes, I still find that at times my explanation can seem convoluted or hard to follow. Maybe this is because I’m trying to convey a process that I don’t totally understand, or maybe this seems off because I feel writing shouldn’t be that easy to breakdown. No matter what the case may be, I hope you at least have some idea of how I write and enjoyed learning about it.