Yesterday I finished the first draft of my second short story called, The Keepers. It’s set in the Chronos universe, which I premiered in my first short story, Second Chances. I am beyond happy that I’m done. By the time I’ve gotten to the end of a story, I start to hate it because I’ve been tinkering away at it for so long. This story had an extra layer of difficulty since it was a hard one to write from an emotional standpoint. I deal with some heavy motifs: suicide, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.
As a writer, I take on the emotional baggage of my characters. It helps me get into their heads and really get an understanding of them down into words. If I can relate and connect to them, it’s usually a good sign that my readers will be able to do the same. When I’m doing character work and grounding them into a book, I scan through my experiences or my friends’ experiences and see if there are parallels that I can think about to evoke a similar emotional response. As I wrote this short story, I felt myself getting sadder as I looked back on past experiences with a new lens of being negative. I found myself picking apart things in a more negative light, and I think it was subconscious to trying to get inline with the characters and how they would view it. It was a tough road, but it’s part of the job. It’s part of the purpose and story to carve out real, breathing characters. I needed them to invoke pieces of them to better spread a message to the readers, and to give a glimpse into mental disorders.
Anyhow, I will post the story as soon as two things happen. First, I need to go through and band-aid the wounds of the story so it doesn’t look like a hack job. Then, I need to send it off to a couple of alpha readers to make sure I haven’t gone certifiably insane. Fingers crossed, it will be on Creative Carnage by the end of January.
While I was toward the end of finishing the story, I thought up a character concept I wanted to post. It came to me during my commute to work, and I scribbled it down in my moleskin. The character is pieced together from several places. I’ve partly based them off of someone I know and someone I’ve randomly seen multiple times on the bus to work and don’t know. She is nameless, and she is a dancer. I’m not sure what type of dancing, but she probably loves it all, because as she says, “God loves you when you’re dancing.” Tall, elegant—swan like, she has the perfect exterior prone to people who use their body for their profession. She’s lost inside though. Her self-identity is in pieces, and maybe that’s because she never committed to anything: college, jobs, or relationships. She knows a piece of that is due to her mother. Damn that woman, and all those marriages with crap men. She knew she wouldn’t end up like that, she was sure of it.
One of the things that give her comfort is her eccentric clothes. Neon colors and prints, demanding attention to her, or so that’s what everyone else thinks. She thinks fashion is art, and could care less about people’s wondering eyes. The naysayers were never known for being quiet anyway. All that background noise can easily be drowned out with a drink, even though it’s never just one, is it? But hey, life is short, so better to have fun, be whimsical, and go with the flow. She might not know who she is, but she’s got an appetite for every experience, and when she’s at war with herself, she can dance.
[Featured photo credit: National Nuclear Security Administration]