Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I Was Dead Inside Until I Met You

My name is Caroline Gorge and I’ve been dead these forty years.

My doggy got sick and ran all over, slathering and slavering.

He bit me on the leg.

It went bad.

I was seventeen years old.

I died in my bed with my parents crying next to me.

But I didn’t go anywhere, not really.

I just lay in the ground.

You’d think it’d be quiet down there but there’s always something moving.

Something creeping.

And for a while there was the sound of my body wasting away.

I would lay in my box listening to myself get squishy.

I would lay in my box listening to the worms getting through the wood before getting through me.

Then I would lay in my box listening to myself get brittle.

I would’ve cried if I could’ve.

But when it was quiet I realised that the people above really weren’t so very far away.

The people who came to visit with their flowers and their tears and their prayers.

I listened to them talk to the earth and the ones like me underneath.

My parents who came to see me, no one else.

Before they died too.

Others had lots of visitors, though.

I wondered if they were awake like me, if they appreciated the kind words.

I lay there and listened to them all.

All those sorrowful words.

Then one day there was you.

You were telling your wife how much you missed her.

And you did, I could hear it in your voice, your poor broken heart.

Your honesty, your goodness.

You kept coming back.

And each time you did I felt my heart grow fonder.

I felt my heart grow.

I felt my heart strings pull together and intertwine.

And then I felt my heart beat.

Just once.

Just once at first but then it beat again.

Each time you came back it started beating.

I felt a tingling all over.

I could move a toe, a finger.

I felt my tongue grow back.

I felt my eye-sockets fill and then I saw.

Each time you came back I slowly came alive.

I felt your tears hit the earth above me and I reached up to catch them.

And then came the day when you didn’t come.

And my heart beat anyway.

And I knew what I had to do.

I reached up and I pushed out and I clawed my way through.

And I was outside.

And I never felt so happy.

And I knew I had to find you.

I could feel you, like I knew where you were.

I just walked.

The night was so loud and so bright but I didn’t care because somehow I knew where I was going.

I walked all night and when I got here I knew it was your house.

How could it belong to anybody else?

And I knocked on your door and you answered and I’m standing here and I’ve told you my story.

And I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that.

It makes my heart ache to see you look at me like that.

Don’t you know how much I love you?

I was dead inside until I met you.

You’re ruining everything.

I’m weeping, beyond that, I’m seeping.

I’m falling apart.

I’m falling apart and you can’t even look at me.

Please look at me.



Hello there.

Right, so this story. The format's a little different. I didn't really think about it until I started writing it, but I thought it'd be fun to try it. The subject matter is kind of a flipside to Do You Still Love Your Girlfriend Now That She's Dead Again, which, interestingly, was another title suggestion from this week's Title Suggester Iain McGibbon. I choose not to examine this too closely!

OK, so my first idea for this title was to write something really scary. It was going to be set in a hotel, it was going to have ghosts and killers, but as I was trying to figure out a good ending for it, this popped into my head. So at some point there will be another story called I Was Dead Inside Until I Met You, but for now, this is it.

I was wondering if it would be different if it was a boy under the ground rather than a girl. I toyed with the idea of writing two, but I wanted it to be sad rather than comedic, and the idea I had for the boy involved him being a kid from the 50s with Buddy Holly glasses, and I thought I'd save that character for another time.

I was also planning on having a lot more detail about Caroline Gorge's decomposition, but it didn't quite fit with her character. I liked her noticing it but not dwelling on it. And her story is more that she's lonely rather than upset about being dead. She's from somewhere in the American south. A small town. Where they occasionally sound English rather than American.

On another note, I'm happy with the character name. I'm never happy with character names, but I like this one.

I had trouble with the last line. Should she swear or not? She seems like such a sweet girl. But she's reconstituted her entire corpse, clawed out of the ground, and dragged her carcass to her beau's house only to find he's revolted by her. I think she's entitled to use the F word.

Elsewhere, the novel moves slowly towards being Finished Finished. It should be ready in the next few weeks to begin what I'm sure is the slow and painful process of epublishing. Anyway. There's also the script with Ben Sheppard of Treppenwitz blog excellence, and a long-dormant project with Martin Parsons which I'm trying to wake up. So, stuff to write. There's also lots of film writing happening, which is fun.

Right, until next time, here's a really lovely song by Phernalia I called Sometimes, who I hope is alright with me posting it here.


And a bit of PJ Harvey because why not.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

On Loneliness and Earthquakes


He had arrived at the cabin by the lake three weeks ago. He had brought enough supplies with him to last him a month. He sat on the carpet, staring at the canvases he had painted, wondering how he was going to last another week by himself.

He had come here for the good of the work. The work. Bollocks. He had started repeating himself a week ago. An entire week’s worth of repetitive bollocks. He had come here to give himself exclusive access to himself, to shut out the din of the outside, to expel all intruders from his precious personal space. And the work was bollocks.

He had felt good about himself for a little while. For a little while it had seemed as though this was the best idea he had ever had. But here he was, on the floor in a paint-spattered t-shirt he had bought in Barcelona and a mostly clean pair of boxer shorts, staring at a canvas that was covered in strokes of bad ideas and colours that screamed volumes about his lack of imagination.

He hadn’t spoken to anyone since he had been here. He had not spoken to another living soul.

He turned his mobile on once a day to check that people were still thinking about him. Hearing his friends and family speaking to him via an automated messaging system cheered him more than he liked to admit. His parents calling to tell him about the family of sparrows that had arrived in their back garden to use the new bird bath. His friends calling to invite him to the pub before remembering that he was away. His sister calling him to tell him that his niece was very upset that he had missed her school play. His brother calling to ask him if he could pay back the money he had borrowed. And his girlfriend calling to tell him that she missed him.

He checked the phone every day at five o’clock. The time now was sixteen minutes to five. He didn’t like that he felt compelled to check. It showed a lack of focus. The phone itself was a distraction. Both the idea of it itself and the object itself. Every aspect of the phone, literal, metaphorical, metaphysical, was sabotaging him. He shouldn’t even have brought it. He should dispose of it immediately and dedicate himself to total concentration on his work.

But he couldn’t do that. He needed it. He needed to hear people. Fourteen minutes to five.

He needed to talk to people. He would catch himself remembering the words to songs he hadn’t thought about in years before singing an entire “Best of…” a capella. He would talk about the meals he was making to himself. Not full sentences yet. “…cup of…coffee, mmm…an apple.” Idiot ramblings. But full sentences couldn’t be far away. Twelve minutes to five.

But this was good. What he had here. He needed this. He needed isolation. Because somewhere in this isolation was the good idea. He had hoped to come out of this with a series of beautiful canvases, he’d even thought about titles, but now he would settle for one good painting.

It hadn’t always been so hard. He used to be able to produce a sketch in a blink of an eye. He could sit at the dinner table, not entirely blanking out the conversation of the people surrounding him, and produce something that they would lean over and admire. He had always been able to paint with other people in the room. Even if they were chatting away, it was fine. It didn’t make any difference. But soon he had to tell them to be quiet if they were going to stand there and stare at him. They did, for a while. Then they stopped coming to see him paint. He wasn’t bothered. It was better. He used to listen to music while he was painting. Then that stopped too. Nine minutes to five.

And finally it was any noise. Any noise could destroy an entire day’s work. Whether it was a car horn from two streets away, or someone talking on their phone outside the studio window, the connection between him and the canvas had been broken and, like a phone call to a distant country, it could not be immediately re-established.

Once, while drunk, he had poured all his frustration in the form of a monologue to his girlfriend while they sat in the pub they’d gone to in order to celebrate the end of her unemployment. The short of it had been that he needed to be alone. The long of it had included a lot of cursing and a lengthy itemised list of specific instances where he hadn’t been alone. She had got up to go to the toilet and hadn’t returned. They had reconciled a couple of days later, and he was more careful about how he phrased his situation from then on. Seven minutes to five

But nothing had changed. Inside he still yearned for an end to these tremors, these ruptures in concentration. He realised that he needed was a retreat. An artist’s retreat. And not one of those half-arsed retreats to a heated country house filled with pretentious windbags complaining about the work. A place where there would be no barrier between him and the work. He and the work would become one. And they would be great. Five minutes to five

But somehow here he was. He had admitted to himself a couple of days before that he was going a bit strange. The beard wasn’t rugged, it was scruffy. His hygiene had gone out of the window, which he had anticipated but was unexpectedly upset by. The smell of him filled the cabin. He wasn’t eating well, which didn’t help. He wasn’t washing regularly, which made it worse. And he couldn’t open the windows and refused to call for help, which was the nail in the reeking container of his bad work. Three minutes to five.

And he was desperately lonely. Simple as that. He missed his girlfriend. He had treated her badly, he had treated everyone badly, but it had been important. There was no other way. Two minutes to five.

He wondered if he should destroy the painting in front of him. Maybe the act of destruction would make it more interesting. It needed something. It needed anything, because it was, quite frankly…

“Bollocks,” he said. “Utter bollocks.”

He scratched at his left armpit before stopping. Five o’clock.

He ran to the phone and snatched it off the desk. He pressed the button for voicemail and held it up to his ear.

“You have no new messages.”

The police arrived an hour later to answer a complaint from a neighbour. A tenant from one of the cabins was swimming naked in the lake, throwing paint into the water and sobbing.


Hello there.

I hope you enjoyed this. I set out to not write a horror story, and this slightly odd comedy came out instead. The title comes from @macaroni_mob, her blog is In Transit. It was originally going to be a sad story about a shut-in, which I will write at a later date, but I really didn't feel like writing something sad and grim, so I wrote about "him" and his problems instead.

It was also originally going to be about a writer, but I always seem to end up writing about artists when I try to do that. The neuroses exhibited here by no means apply to my brother, who is an artist, they are all writing ones. Isolation is very important for writing, at least to me, and being selfish with your time is important if you want to get any decent work done, but shutting yourself off from the world doesn't help, and being selfish with people certainly doesn't. Oh it's a morality tale!

Otherwise, things move forward. Decisions will be made about various things. Friends have been editing the novel and have been extremely generous with their time! It's very much appreciated and I hope it will be worth it. I didn't do much writing after I finished my last edit so I'm getting back into a couple of projects now.

Hope you enjoyed the story.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Girl in Club Sorrow: Alternate Ending

Hello there.

So a couple of days ago, I posted a short story called The Girl in Club Sorrow. I wrote about how I wasn't necessarily happy with it and asked for feedback. The funny thing about criticism is that it tends to immediately focus on the bits that you know aren't working. Well, I still like the ending to the story, but here is a different ending, which is closer to the one I was originally thinking of. I generally assume that the people reading this blog are regulars, so I'm not going to re-post the whole story, but you can find it here if you haven't read it. So, let's get on with it!


“Focus, everyone,” muttered Bridget. Grace looked at her and Bridget turned to meet her gaze. “You’d better focus or I’m going to make the rest of your afterlife hell, do you understand me?” Grace nodded. “Right, focus on that hand.”

She did as she was told. She could feel the atmosphere change, wherever they were. More than just the atmosphere. She could feel the body they were in resisting their presence, their instructions. But it wasn’t strong enough. Through Vincent’s eyes she could see his arm begin to move, scrabbling across the desk to an orange pair of scissors. She could hear him shouting. She closed her eyes just as she saw the first drops of blood forming on his forearm.

The four were laughing and cheering, telling each other that it was working. Club Sorrow was in full control. Grace moved away from the light and wondered how she had managed to end up at the mercy of another group of horrible people. It hurt her to know that this is where she had ended up, and who she had ended up with. It hurt terribly.

She opened her eyes as the scissors hacked deeper into Vincent’s arm. It seemed like they were still unsure how much control they had over his movements. The slashes were haphazard, some doing much more damage than others. Vincent was howling in pain, the sound echoing through this interior space. The connection with him seemed to cutting in and out. The four shouted in unison as the scissors went deep into his wrist, and Grace could swear that she felt it. Vincent was crying, and so was she.

She looked at Club Sorrow. They were huddled together, peering out at the damage they were inflicting. They were giggling, giggling at this boy’s pain. She didn’t want any part of this, she had told them so but they hadn’t listened. To her surprise, what she did next was almost too easy. She simply wished that she were somewhere else. She focused on that wish. She didn’t even have to shut her eyes, and she was glad that she didn’t. Because somehow they realised what she was doing. Maybe they felt the connection grow weaker. Maybe they just felt her going. But they turned and they saw and they started to scream. They screamed louder than Vincent had. Grace started to laugh. Let them scream.

“Stop her,” cried Bridget. “She’s trying to leave!”

The all clamoured and shouted and tried to grab hold of her, but there was no trying about it. She slipped away.

She blinked once. She knew where she was. The room was a mess. There were magazines on the floor, beer cans by the bed. Posters with jokes she didn’t find funny. She was staring at a boy with a crew cut, with tears streaming down his face and blood streaming down his arm.

“I don’t….” he said. He was staring at her, trying to understand. She shook her head. “It felt like…I can still hear them,” he whimpered. Grace reached out and patted his shoulder.

“You always will. From the sounds of it, you deserve each other.” She looked into his eyes and smiled. “Goodbye everyone,” she said, and then she left the building.

The fingernail moon shone brightly. Grace stared up at it and thought about what she would do now. She could go back to the school, find the gassed boy, maybe start a friendship. But there would be time for friends. There would be time for clubs. There would be time to see people, good and bad. She could be good or bad if she wanted. But right now, all Grace wanted was to be alone. And she had all the time in the world.


So, what did you guys think? I had much more trouble with this story than I anticipated, and I kind of think this ending might fit it better. But I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Otherwise, a few people are reading my novel in preparation for the self-publishing adventure. I hope they enjoy it. I've had a few helpful notes already actually. I've found that constructive criticism tends to point out things you already knew were wrong but didn't want to/couldn't be bothered with fixing or things or it points out something that you feel strongly enough to stick by, in which case it needs to made clearer. I've been lucky with the people who've read my work and given me feedback. They are excellent people.

So the plan is to upload the novel as an ebook, which I will awkwardly try to promote across social networking sites. There's a companion novel that I finished badly a few years ago that I'm going to go back to. More on that if I decide it's worth saving. But life outside fiction marches on, will have some decisions to make soon. I hope you enjoyed this alternate ending.

This next story will be "On Loneliness and Earthquakes", title from Rhiannon Jones, who you can find on Twitter @macaroni_mob and check out her blog here.

Here's a happy Nick Cave song:

And here's Evelyn Evelyn

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Girl in Club Sorrow

Tonight's short story is a horror, with suicide themes so please be aware of that before reading it. Or not reading it. Your choice. Please enjoy.


Grace was dead. By her estimation she had died about two minutes ago. Well, she thought that was how long she had been looking at her body, wishing she could have left a prettier corpse. But she knew that it had never really been an option. Grace hated the way she looked, she hated the way she had been, she hated her life in general. Maybe more than anything Grace hated her name. She thought about what her parents must have been hoping for when they named her. They must have been imagining someone elegant, beautiful. Hell, they must have been imagining someone graceful. How could they have been so cruel?

These were a few of the reasons why Grace had opted out; as she had described it in the note she had left behind. She had worried if the note was a bit trite, she’d worried about whether people still left notes. Still, it was too late to do anything about it now. And she was glad that she had decided to leave a note because she thought that her family deserved an explanation. She had briefly mentioned the bullying, but she had decided not to name any names. She didn’t want to start any call to action. She just wanted to be left alone. Which was why she was here now, floating about a foot above the ground, and looking at what she had left behind.

She was getting used to the movement. She didn’t exactly walk anymore. It was floating, really. She could stand on the ground if she wanted to, or she could hover. She supposed she could do whatever she wanted. Incorporeality probably meant that she could be upside down if she wanted to be. She thought about where she wanted to go and there she was. She saw the window and thought about how she wanted to be outside. Before she knew it, she was in the garden, looking up at the bathroom window. From outside it was impossible to tell what had happened in there. She supposed her parents would find her in the bathtub. Or her big sister Katie, or her little brother Jack. She hoped it would be Katie. Not because she deserved it. Because she was the one who would be able to handle it best. Her parents would be upset and Jack was too young to see something like this. He wouldn’t be able to handle the trauma.

And as she focused on the word trauma she found herself somewhere else. No longer outside, but just as cold. She recognised it even in the dark. Her school corridor. And she had landed right by her locker. She’d thought she wouldn’t have to come back here ever again. She’d been humiliated here today, like every day before it, she had no desire to relive the experience. She just wanted to be somewhere away from here.

“They’re going to ask you to join them,” said a small voice from behind her. She turned to see a young boy in school uniform. The skin around his eyes was puffy and had gone a disturbingly purple colour. When Grace realised that both he and she were already dead she calmed down a little bit.

“Who are you?” she asked. “What am I doing here?”

He moved a little closer and looked around nervously. Grace thought that she could smell gas.

“We don’t have time; they don’t know that I’m here. They’ll try and get you to join them, they’ll try and tell you that it’s the right thing to do but they’re wrong.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked.

The strip lighting in the corridor flickered on and off and the boy looked up, startled.

“Oh God, they’re already here,” he muttered. He turned. “I’m sorry, I’ve got to run. If they know that I’m here…They’re coming to find you.”

And with that he vanished into thin air. Grace thought about shouting after him but she got the impression that he didn’t want to be found. Then she saw a light go on. The frosted glass on top of the door of the ladies’ toilets. She looked up and down the corridor. She felt scared but she knew that was ridiculous. She was dead. What could there possibly be to be scared of? She crossed the corridor to the ladies’ and pushed the door open. It stank of cleaning fluid. She didn’t particularly want to be here. She didn’t want to be in this school. But she had time to spare.

As the door closed behind her she became aware that she was not alone. The lights flickered for a moment then stayed on. In the centre of the room she saw four figures, each wearing slightly different school uniforms, all with the same insignia. On the left stood two girls, one with deep open running down her arms and the other with what Grace guessed was rope burn around her neck. On the right stood two boys, one dripping wet and the other with the left half of his face simply missing, a red and white gory mess in its place. Grace wondered how he’d gone. They were all smiling. They saw Grace, and then they started to clap.

“Welcome,” said the scarred girl. “We’re so pleased to see you. Welcome, welcome.”

“Who are you?” asked Grace. The four figures looked at each other and continued to smile as they turned back to face Grace.

“We’re like you,” said the dripping boy. “We all opted out. We all went to this school, at one time or another. We’ve been waiting for you.”

“Waiting for me?” Grace asked. They nodded, those smiles still fixed on their faces. The smiles worried Grace for reasons she couldn’t quite pin down.

“Welcome to Club Sorrow,” said the girl with the rope burn. “My name is Alexandra. The girl who slit her wrists is Bridget. The boy who drowned himself is Ryan. The boy who jumped in front of a bus is Darren. And you are?”

“I’m Grace,” she said, and held out her hands. “Wrists, too. Not very original is it?” She had thought she’d try bad taste and found that she instantly regretted it. But it didn’t seem to bother anybody.

“It’s tough to be original,” said Bridget. “It’s all been done. Don’t worry about it. Oh, I should say, please don’t think that Darren is ignoring you. He lost the ability to talk after his exit. I don’t know how that works, I mean, he’s dead, you’d think they’d let him talk. Anyway, sorry, I’m rambling. Welcome.” She took a deep breath. “Now we are five. Now we can start.”

Grace felt herself being pulled towards the four of them. They all smiled at her and held out their hands. They were welcoming her. This felt different. This felt nice.

So she felt bad when she knew she had to ask, “Start what?”

“We’ve been waiting for fifteen years, Grace,” said Ryan. “We’ve been waiting for the a fifth to make us strong enough.”

“Sorry, but strong enough to what?”

“I’m sorry about Ryan,” said Alexandra. “He likes making these grand speeches and he’s had a lot of time to practice. We’re talking about revenge, sweetheart.”

“Revenge?” asked Grace.

“That’s right,” she said, and took Grace’s arm. “We’re stuck in limbo and they get to keep walking around like nothing happened. It doesn’t seem right, does it? And during the long years we’ve had to ourselves, we’ve finally worked out how to get back at them for what they did to us.”

“Possession,” whispered Bridget theatrically.

“Exactly,” said Ryan. “If you’d let me get to my point, I would have told Grace that we needed five spirits for what we have in mind. I know, you’re only just getting used to everything, so I’ll just give you the important bits. It takes two spirits to get inside a living body. It takes three to begin to alter mood. Four can create a little bit of movement, sort of like a nervous tick, but nothing really major. Five spirits working in harmony will actually give us full control of the body.”

Grace listened to all of this. She found the positivity in the room disturbing. So she asked the best question that she could think of. “Why?”

Ryan looked puzzled. “Sorry, do you mean why do I think five will give us full control of the body or why do we want to get full control over the body in the first place?”

“The second one. And whose body would you want to control?”

The four looked at each other and back at Grace. Grace felt like she was being made to feel like she was asking stupid questions when they were actually very reasonable.

“Sweetheart,” said Alexandra. “The ones who bullied us. The ones who drove us to this. We’re going to make them suffer. We’ve got it all worked out. Bridget?”

Bridget stepped forward when her name was called.

“Right, my one. He’s still young. Well, he’s in university. He used to tease me. So my idea was that we would go and give him a taste of what it was like.”

“And now that you’re here,” said Ryan, “We can finally get things going. So, we’re going to join hands, we’re going to let Bridget picture…what was his name again?”


“Right, Vince. Then we let her us there. Oh, just one final point, it’s very important that none of us, Grace, leave Vince’s head before we’re finished. We all need to go in at the same time, and we all need to leave at the same time. Otherwise the ones left behind will be stuck there.”

“There were five of us last week,” said Alexandra. “We left a boy behind in my old gym teacher.”

“You’ve done this before?” asked Grace.

“Well, once. And like I said, it didn’t go well. We’re feeling a lot more confident about it this time,” Alexandra replied.

Grace started to back away towards to the door of the toilets. She held her hands up and tried to give a decent approximation of the smile they’d been giving her.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’m not the right girl for this. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Bridget. “They were so horrible to you.”

“Of course they were,” said Grace. “But that doesn’t mean I want to hurt them back. That would make me just as bad as they are. And just as bad as you are. And I’m sorry that this boy Vince made fun of you, that’s terrible, but if you do this…I can’t. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”

The four looked at each other, then back at Grace. The smiles had all gone. The positivity had left the room.

“I’m sorry, Grace,” said Alexandra. “But we’re not giving you a choice.”

They rushed through the air towards her and grabbed her by her hands and shoulders. As Grace started to scream Bridget screamed the name Vincent and everything went black.

It was cramped. Grace could feel the four pressed against her. It was like being trapped with them in a warm, damp, airless cupboard. But there was a light source not too far ahead of her. She moved towards it and looked through to a bedroom she didn’t recognise. She saw a desk, she saw books, and she saw hands that weren’t her own. She was inside the Vincent boy’s head. She felt rough hands on her shoulders pulling her back.

“Focus, everyone,” muttered Bridget. Grace looked at her and Bridget turned to meet her gaze. “You’d better focus or I’m going to make the rest of your afterlife hell, do you understand me?” Grace nodded. “Right, focus on that hand.”

She did as she was told. She could feel the atmosphere change, wherever they were. More than just the atmosphere. She could feel the body they were in resisting their presence, their instructions. But it wasn’t strong enough. Through Vincent’s eyes she could see his arm begin to move, scrabbling across the desk to an orange pair of scissors. She could hear him shouting. She closed her eyes just as she saw the first drops of blood forming on his forearm.

The four were laughing and cheering, telling each other that it was working. Club Sorrow was in full control. Grace moved away from the light and wondered how she had managed to end up at the mercy of another group of horrible people. It hurt her to know that this is where she had ended up, and who she had ended up with. It hurt terribly. In fact, it hurt worse than terribly. It was excruciating. It was too much to bear. She started to scream. The laughter stopped and the four turned to see what was going on. She saw their grins drop, replaced by fear.

“No!” shouted Alexandra. “Stop her, she’s getting away!” She felt their hands grabbing for her, and she felt herself slipping out of their grasp. “She can’t leave now!”

She opened her eyes. There was a long clear plastic tube running out of her arm. The arm itself was covered in bandages. She lifted her head and saw her mum asleep in the chair opposite. She let her head drop back on the pillow. A cool hand was pressed against her forehead. She looked up and saw a nurse smiling down at her.

“They’re trapped,” she told the nurse. “They can’t hurt anyone in there.”

The nurse patted her head and didn't think twice about what she was saying. Grace closed her eyes and went to sleep.


Right, so.

I'm not sure how much I like this story. I like the title, given to me by Dan Cole (@gizmo151183), and I thought I had a good idea for it. Then the issue of tone came into it and I'm not sure how well it's come off.

My idea was definitely a horror but bits of it are inspired by/cribbed from the lovely indie film Wristcutters: A Love Story, which is based on a short story by Etgar Keret that I regretfully haven't read. It's also impossible for me to write gory ghosts talking without thinking of An American Werewolf in London, which is probably why they're a bit funny (hopefully) as well as nasty. There's also a bit of Being John Malkovich in there, with the possession. I thought about making the inside of Vincent all wet and guts-y and Clive Barker-esque but I decided against it. When I first thought of it it was going to be quite a lot nastier but I found myself backing away from it, partly because of how the character of Grace ended up being. Which is partly why it ends how it does. If I ever give this another re-write it might end differently, I'd like to hear what you think about it. I suppose eventually I thought the actual subject matter was dark enough, I didn't want to wallow in it.

With a lot of these short stories I'm finding it difficult to keep to a tone or to one storyline. If this were longer I'd feel comfortable about going to some slightly darker places with it. I'd also want to explore the limbo a lot more and see what other characters are there. But the challenge with a short story is keeping it short. I like it more than I did after the first draft but I'm still not really sure how well it all fits together so I'd be interested to hear your opinions. The point of this blog at the start was to have some writing about writing here as well as short stories, which there hasn't been much of recently. Maybe if there's enough feedback, if you think it could be better a different way, I'll write another draft of it at some point. But, in the end, there is quite a lot that I like here. I hope you enjoyed it.

Here's the Wristcutters trailer

And here's a bit of Tom Waits for you