Process: The Gentleman Without A Shadow

(Note: This post is a lil spoilery, so if you wanna read the short story first, off with you!)

A great many of my projects seem to start with not an idea, but a title.

Usually, but not always, it’s a bastardized version of a title or phrase I saw somewhere else, which sparked some sort of imagery or otherwise seemed as though it would do me just fine for my own devious purposes.

Combine that with the idea of an immortal who happens to be dreadfully suicidal, and you get this. Apparently. I get this, anyway. My writing seems to be a lot like a kitchen sink soup; throw stuff in until it tastes good. The key is finding ingredients that go well together.

I actually thought this one was more or less done in its first 1800 or so word draft, which I wrote in a day at work. Then I left it sitting for a day, started thinking about cocoons, and somehow got from there to realizing I knew just how this story had to end, that it wasn’t just about him finding some renewed life hanging out with some teenagers or whatever, and that it was actually going to be spooky and scary and awesome.

I am okay with this.

The whole cocoon thing was totally random, but it really just came about that way. I was mulling over the idea of mind maps, and how I don’t really know what they are, or how they work, and couldn’t find a decent explanation of them online. And from there I somehow got to thinking about a lot of random things, in my effort to understand the concept of a mind map, I guess, and somehow I got to cocoons. And suddenly the entire story came together with a cohesive ending, and I finished the whole thing up in about three days.

This whole experiment does give me some hope for the 52 Week challenge. I’m not sure how strictly I’ll adhere to it, as I don’t think I can handle a whole year of NaNo-level stress; but it will be nice to have a vague goal to push me forward. As long as I’m writing a lot of stuff, that’s all I really care about!

Also, fun fact – when I gave this story to my wife to read, she misread ‘second draft’ as ‘Second Death’, which is also a pretty cool and suitable title. If not a little spoiler-y.

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