Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Writing of "David and Goliath"

The intent of this post is to give you a little insight into the evolution of "David and Goliath." First, if you haven't read the story, it's here.

Then, you need to see the pictures as I first saw them.

This story came a little more easily than did "Helping Hands." For me, guns have a good and a bad aspect to them. Or maybe I should say an easy and a hard aspect. Guns, like bombs, are there to be what they “are.” They are a “character” that has a certain plot already written for them. I mean, what effect does a gun have in a story if it’s not fired?

That began the thought process because I wanted to treat the gun differently. Several ideas ran through my head but none really worked until I added the picture of the woman to the equation. This was a very “real” picture but it still had an evil feel to it. I liked the contrast because the picture was not manipulated, it was obviously a real woman, and yet without a discernable face, it was not human. The notion became a story about a gun with a phantom that seemed real but was not. Only 15 minutes into the process and I had the bones of the story.

The notion of an “unreal” reality led to a man, obviously psychotic or insane, killing people with the gun. He was being guided by my “real” phantom to commit the acts.

I tried to begin writing but the words did not flow so I put the story away for an evening. The next night led me to the Internet to do a little research. I really liked WitNit’s previous story where he described the guns involved. I am not a weapon aficionado so I began by researching types of guns. I happened upon the Browning P-35 that looked like the picture and I found that it had a clip that contained 13 rounds plus one in the chamber. This lead to the notion of killing thirteen people with one left for our villain.

One of the most difficult things I found was trying to describe the insanity this man was going through while making sure it seemed very real to him. From that, I decided to focus on one aspect of the gun that was very real to “David” while being very abstract to the reader. I thought about using the smells of a gun but that didn’t work well. I finally settled on the sounds of the gun, slowing them to an unnatural pace and emphasizing them by repeating them at each killing. I particularly like how that notion came together as the ending of the story.

The last piece that fell into place was the change of Goliath from red to black. I have no idea where it came from but I had fun writing it.

Writing of "Helping Hands"

The intent of this post is to give you a little insight into the evolution of "Helping Hands." First, if you haven't read the story, it's here. Then, you need to see the pictures as I first saw them.

The first thing I thought was "Wow. Could she have picked three pictures with less in common than these three!" Sorry, silk! Just being honest! =:^) I mean, we have a charming picture of a child's hand, an eye where the reflection is the most important item and a sensual (sort of) nude.

I was first drawn to the nude. With the obvious contrast of a nude in a cemetery, I decided that I couldn't treat it sensually. That left me in a rut. It was the most striking picture but I couldn't start with it.

Next, I turned to the picture of the hands. My previous story was about families so a dozen ideas went throught my head, all easy to do. Unfortunately none of them included the other pictures. Finally, the eye. Lots of opportunities to tie the sensual nude with the eye but that left out the hands. Once again, no idea.

Then I decided I needed to move outside the obvious connotations and maybe I could then see some connections. (of course, seasoned writers do this first thing. I'm still learning!)

I first wondered about the hands picture, which includes, obviously, a child. The phrase, "seeing things through a childs eyes" is fairly common. That's when the structure for the story hit me. It needed to focus on the child and his/her perception of something. That only left the nude to deal with.

I was still struck by the dichotomy of the nude in the cemetery. It is sensual while also being evil or dark. Since the focus of the structure was "through a childs eyes" the "sensual" was less fitting than the "evil" nature. If the nature of the relationships was evil, the headstone could then be the focus of the nude photo. Throwing out the sensual portion of the nude gave me free reign and everything clicked. Suddenly I had a nude woman waking up at the base of a childs headstone and the child had been murdered. Viola! A story about a child's murder that started in a cemetery.

I had great fun keeping the true nature of Joyces "extra power" a secret. Instead I focused on an established relationship (between Joyce and Adam) that the reader was experiencing as an outsider. That gave me full latitude to help the reader "feel" the experience of Jeremy and the supernatural relationship between Joyce and Jeremy.

Anyway, that was how "Helping Hands" developed. Hope you enjoyed it.