Inside the Mind: TEXT
Where did the story for TEXT come from?
More than anything we writers probably get asked where we get our ideas. I have written before about the fact that I just don't know. I do not believe that I am in control of my stories. I sometimes feel that I am just a portal, that I can open that portal and peer into this other world and the people there tell me the tales I then put down on this laptop and eventually bring to you.
I think that my latest thriller novel TEXT is a good example (also I must warn you, what follows may be SPOILERS for that novel, so beware, or go read that book before this blog).
I honestly cannot recall where I was when I got the idea. I have been doing a lot of walking lately and walking around the warehouse attached to the office where I work the day job as a content writer and social media manager. If you are a creative person, you know how this can sometimes be the the thing that stimulates that window into the portal. Driving, shaving, shopping, doing something else is often the best way to get past writer's block and to come up with the next story. So, I think I was just going for a walk when the idea hit. The idea was simple to start with.
What if a man got a video text and that video showed a horrifying image of his entire family being slaughtered by men in masks? What if the video was set in the future? No idea how he got it, how it got to him, how that is possible, but what would you do? What would he do? Would he run? Would he stay and fight? Would he even be able to believe it was a real video text from the future?
That was it. Mostly it was the idea of a video text from the future. The rest filled in behind that.
So, it was with that idea in my head, and the horrifying image of that video in my brain, I started to write. Much to my surprise, the story began to take on a whole new path and new meaning.
As I began to write, I began to explore just how far a man would be willing to go to protect his home and family? I mean, a home is property and what if you knew that leaving, that running away, could potentially destroy that home you'd built over the years? When does it make sense to defend that property? And when it comes to your family, how far is too far? Is there a limit? Would a decent and good man be willing to truly go as far as necessary in order to find out who was on that video, why they were there, and then stop them? Would he kidnap? Would he torture?
Would he kill?
Of course, the sane thing would be to run. Run away. Pack up the kids, get them out of town, and run. But would you? If you felt you had the necessary resources, the right people to ask, and the methods to possibly track down the people in the video - would you? Once you knew, what would you do then?
It started out as scary in one way for me, and then became scary in another. There are some brutal scenes in TEXT, as Abe kidnaps a man and then tortures him for information. They are not as graphic as some I have read, but for me, they were the bloodiest and most gruesome I had ever written.
So, the story became personal. Personal for me and for Abe. It became a thriller that was about dealing with an external horror, then turning that horror inward. Could you look into the face of evil and not become evil yourself?
The answers shocked me and the novel took twists and turns that even I did not expect.
Writing is the greatest joy when that happens. It is the magic I hope for every time I start a new novel. It is the thing I can get out of writing fiction that, although I enjoy writing for companies and in non-fiction, I cannot get writing other things. It's the high that I pursue over and over again.
How far would you go? Read TEXT and then let me know.