"The Light Around the Doorframe" started out all along as horror, it just didn't necessarily begin in quite so disturbing a fashion.
I got up one morning, turned the heater on in the bathroom, left to get breakfast, and when I came back I realized I had left the bathroom light on. The door and frame were silhoutted by a thin line of light around it. Even though I wasn't worried about there being someone, or something, in there, I knew I had a decent framing (ha!) for a story.
I ended up hanging out with some friends while they did homework that evening, so I pounded out the rough draft in about forty-five minutes or so. I let the story rest overnight and went back to it, checking the wordcount. It was at 670 and most of the story was there. The only things missing were the confontations with the fan, the heat lamp, and the vanity light.
My bathroom actually has five switches by the door, fan, heat lamp, overhead, and vanity. (The fifth is I guess there as a back-up.) So I decided that each one would be a different haunting.
I tried to figure out what each haunting would be. The heat lamp immediately suggested itself to a darkroom, and I decided that that would be a good high school darkroom bit. Eduard is not a very good guy, so I figured voyeurism would be right up his alley. I wanted something with the other kids not liking him either, so I used the fan to segway into their laughter. Then came his mother in front of the vanity. Of course.
The original story had the kids laughing at Eduard and his mother being the prototypical alcoholic mom who hated him. A friend read it and it came across as simply depressing. No real suspense, just depressing pity. So I went back and tried to change Eduard into a psychopath. This being late Thursday night, I was only marginally succesful. If that.
All told I spent far more time trying to fine tune the story and add nuances than I did int he first initial writing. The structure of the story, with the alternating of line and paragraph I think worked well to give it a lyrical quality. Since the story is actually taking place more in purgatory than in the real world, I think that's a bene, too.
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2 months ago