I’ve been thinking about this idea I have for a short story for the last couple of weeks, but I couldn’t figure out what it was about. Part of it was there, but it was missing something and I wasn’t sure what.
So yesterday I started a blog post while I was working out at the gym, not really thinking too much about it, and then suddenly I just started writing feverishly on my cellphone. I was trying to write as fast as I could because it was all coming so quickly and I didn’t want to miss any of it.
After a few minutes, I realized I was writing my next short story – it was as if my mind was saying Forget that other thing for a minute, here’s what you’re writing next.
That’s how writing is for me – there is usually some vague idea I start off with – but sometimes I don’t even have that. “The Question Mark Bridge” started as a blog post about a real event and then morphed into something else entirely. That was my first piece of fiction and I didn’t even know it until the characters and story just sort of appeared as I wrote. I’m not kidding, I was shocked to find myself writing fiction – it just happened out of nowhere, with no conscious intention on my part.
“Grace Comes at Nightfall” just appeared with no idea at all, I didn’t even know who the main character was until I was well into the story, when he told me. I immediately got excited and thought of course. The whole thing was written stream-of-consciousness.
“Eraser” started as a vague idea and the characters just seemed to appear in my mind, fully formed. I have no idea where they came from, but once they showed up all I had to do was listen and they told me what to write.
I never intended to write fiction at all, but it seems like these characters have picked me to tell their stories. It’s as if they’re saying Don’t think about this too much, we’ll tell you what to write.
Like I said – this whole thing is pretty weird.
I’m not questioning it.