Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking It Too Far

It always starts the same way; I get a little nugget of an idea for a story, usually from something I dream, and then I start a dialogue inside my head. It usually all begins with a single character talking to no-one in particular, and it's when the replies start to come that the story begins to flesh out a little fuller.

This current idea started somewhat differently, in that it came from an article I read about the 3 am to 4 am hour being when the veil between our world and the next is at its very thinnest. I was intrigued by this, and started to imagine what it would feel like for someone to be tormented by unseen forces during that hour. What started as a very basic concept eventually turned into a story about crib death, relationships breaking apart, and a level of violence that went beyond anything I had ever written before. That I have written some brutally violent stuff gives you an idea of how bad it was.

I was a little concerned!

I'm not usually one to censor myself, but I was finding it difficult to get this story out, whilst also finding it unbearable to have in my head. It didn't help that the story format I was choosing was going to be in journal form, making the act of storytelling a little trickier. I started writing this thing, but was troubled. I decided it was time to tell the idea to my editor and harshest critic: my wife.

As I revealed the details of this little yard, I could see her become increasingly disturbed. I cannot remember the exact words she said, but it was something along the lines of..."isn't there any way to tone this down a little? It's horrible as is?" I thought of a few ways to perhaps lighten things up, but the emotional impact was instantly removed.

And so the word document, innocuously named "3AM" with the opening few hundred words sits in my desktop and taunts me every time I open my laptop. I want to delete it, but find that I cannot. The struggle is real, and I know that on some sleepless night, probably between 3 and 4 in the morning, that thing is going to call me out and make me finish this space!!


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