The cover of the story "Grave Digger"

Why I Wrote: Grave Digger

This post contains spoilers for my story “Grave Digger”, so if you haven’t read it yet head on over and give it a read. It’s short and it’s free! What are you waiting for? Here’s a link.

So you’ve read the story by now, right? Great.

So one day I’m driving and listening to the song Mellow Marmalade by Tash Sultana and I hear the lyrics “Grave digger, why don’t we slow it down?”. Although I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times and know she’s really saying “Baby girl, why don’t we slow it down?” I couldn’t help but hear it as “Grave digger” once.

1:04 for the line I’m talking about, if you’re curious

That’s all it takes, once you mishear that lyric one time it’s over. You’ll never hear it the same again. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well, you’re lucky I guess.

The words Grave Digger stuck with me. The second I heard them (or thought I did) I knew it was the title of my next story. It’s always hard for me when I get the title first. There’s so many things that a title can be. I mention this in my “Why I Wrote: I’m All Alone and It’s Getting Dark” post as well.

When I already have the idea for a story; when I have a plot or a scenario worked out in my head the title comes naturally. It just makes sense.

Take “Lab Zero” for example. I have the idea for a story about a basement laboratory that’s off limits and the room number for that lab is zero.

Lab Zero seems like an obvious choice.

But when I have the title “Grave Digger” sitting in my head, there’s a lot of options.

So I thought about those words every day. I listened to that song multiple times a day hoping it would give me the inspiration I need (also it’s a damn good song). One day while I was driving, yet again, it came to me. Actually, my girlfriend was driving this time. I was just the passenger. Anyway, we were listening to music (unfortunately it was not Mellow Marmalade) and the story was just there.

I don’t think I was even thinking about Grave Digger for once; it just happened. It was probably the only moment I wasn’t thinking about it since I had that title stuck in my head (when I have a story idea I become obsessed and think about it a little too much).

I was so excited I finally had the plot for this story. The first thing that came to me was the graves. How something was digging them up. I knew there had to be some type of monster or mysterious figure as the culprit but I wasn’t entirely sure of what this being/figure would be.

It was time to sit down and write it; I did it in one sitting.

Not all that surprising, it’s really short. There was a lot of editing though. Weeks worth of it. I read “Grave Digger” so many times. I entirely rewrote the part with Beverly. I know her mentioning is still very brief but it’s much more than it used to be, trust me. Previously she was just mentioned in one line.

I feel I should mention that part with the sleep paralysis/not being able to move or talk is actually very real for me. I suffer from sleep paralysis from time to time and it’s not fun. Seeing shapes and human figures, which are sometimes incredibly vivid, is terrifying. Not being able to move a muscle or speak. You can’t ask the person lying next to you to snap you out of it. It’s such an awful feeling.

The end got rewritten too. I notice after having a few stories under my belt that I do that. I think I have changed the ending to every one of my stories so far besides Lab Zero. I even have a story that is still being worked on that has went through an ending change. The story I’m currently working on is actually the first short story I ever wrote, it’s just going through a lot of editing and will most likely be the next story I put out.

Originally the ending for “Grave Digger” was just that the main character died. That’s it. He was thrown in the grave, as usual. He had his memories sucked out just like how it ends now but that was it. He was just gone.

I really liked the idea of him becoming a part of the monster though, so I changed it and worked it in. Having his eyes become one with many others; having to live as a part of it for all eternity without even having his memories. He knows he existed at some point but to what extent? At this point all he knows is digging graves.

The irony.

Some amazing fan art based around Grave Digger!

If you liked Grave Digger (or this blog post), please check out my other stories here!

Cover of I'm All Alone and It's Getting Dark

Why I Wrote: I’m All Alone and It’s Getting Dark

This post will contain spoilers for the story “I’m All Alone and It’s Getting Dark”. Please consider reading the story before continuing. If spoilers don’t bother you then feel free to read on!

I’m All Alone and It’s getting Dark was a very different story for me. Almost every single one of my story ideas comes from envisioning a character in a situation and watching how it plays out in my mind.

After I have the story worked out it comes to writing it. Generally, partway into writing the story or even after i’m finished with it is when I come up with the title for the story.

I’m All Alone was different in this regard. The story title just popped into my head one day. I loved the title so much but couldn’t place what the plot was. I had a lot of trouble placing a character into a situation for this title. I never had the title first and it felt like I was starting in the wrong spot.

For the first time I had to sit down and think “what is this about?” rather than letting it flow out of me.

It wasn’t working. I had to let the story sit for awhile and focus on other things.

After a week or so had passed I sat back down and asked myself “when is it scary to be alone?”.

That’s when the idea first came to me.

Being alone as a child has to be one of the most terrifying things. You don’t understand a lot of what’s going on around you so you rely on adults to fill in the blanks. But what happens when there’s no one there to fill in the blanks?

I knew the story had to focus around a child as the main character. I had a lot of trouble deciding if the story should be third or first person. I eventually went with first person. I really liked the idea of being able to get deep into the mind of a child and what they would be thinking in terrifying situations.

Also, I liked the idea of it being first person because this gave me a lot of room to work with the idea of the story being vague when it comes to the intruder. Is this a child’s imagination making the intruder seem like a monster or is there really a monster in the house?

I also wrote the entire story in past tense but felt that it was less scary that way, so I went back and rewrote the entire thing in the present tense.

After I had the idea of the story set up it was easy to envision what this little boy’s plan of action would be. I wanted every move to feel childlike and I wanted the story to unfold quickly. A lot of the time things play out much faster than you’d expect.

Maybe a little bit of my childhood leaked into this story too. I was a little too young to remember this event very well but when I was a child armed robbers broke into my house, pistol whipped my dad and tied him up. My mom wasn’t home but my older brother was and he remembers it much better than I do. They threw the phone down the stairs into the basement and my brother had to go get it when they left.

All of this seemed to happen incredibly fast.

It’s a connection I haven’t really thought much about but i’m sure there’s some significance between my story and this. Honestly, I haven’t thought about the connection until I started writing this section of “Why I Wrote”. There are a lot of similarities that I’m only now realizing.

Obviously intruders in a house is the elephant in the room. A further example would be my brother having to go get the phone from the basement so my father could call the police. This is very reminiscent of the boy in my story having to go to the cellar to get Amanda’s cell phone to call for help.

Speaking of the cellar, the cellar scene is my absolute favorite part of the story. I had a lot of trouble deciding if I should write the cellar in or not but I really wanted it to be there. I did a lot of thinking about if someone would have a cellar in their kitchen or not and eventually I said “fuck it! I want a cellar scene.”.

It ended up being, in my opinion, the creepiest thing I have written in any of my stories so far. I can’t wait to top this scene.

The idea of him using a dead girls finger to access her phone was really fucked up to me. My google search history definitely looked a little crazy after doing some research on if this would work or not.

The boy calling the babysitters mom felt like something a child would do on accident. Seeing an entry for “Mom” and calling them thinking it would be their mother.

This also holds my favorite Roosevelt scene. The part where you really are thinking “is this all his imagination or is there more to this?”.

Speaking of Roosevelt, Roosevelt as a character just felt right. When I first started writing the story I imagined the child getting scared and going back to grab a toy to feel safer. I couldn’t help but make him a character that acts as a guide to fill in the blanks for him.

Roosevelt was a placeholder name that I ended up really liking so I kept it. Obviously it’s a bit of a joke. A teddy-bear named Roosevelt… Teddy Roosevelt. But i’m sure you picked that up by now.

Anyway. He ended up being much larger of a character (especially in the cellar) than I initially intended. I almost wrote him out at one point too.

When I first finished writing “I’m All Alone” I hated it. I almost deleted the file and moved on. After writing other stories I went back to edit it, and man did I edit.

I edited the story so much it was ridiculous. This was the point that I decided to make it present tense rather than past tense. I almost removed Roosevelt but decided against it. I changed the dialogue and how they interact with each other quite a bit. I took every single scene that is creepy or scary and made it creepier and scarier. I changed the ending.

Originally the intruder gets shot and falls out of the window and gets away. A kind of Michael Myers from the first Halloween thing going on. Then I changed it to the boy climbing out of the window to get further away from the intruder.

I fell in love with the story while editing. It was really strange to me because it was my least favorite story I had written up to that point but it quickly became my favorite with a little work. I loved editing this story.

This story taught me that something doesn’t have to be perfect right from the start. It taught me how powerful editing is and how much I can make something really shine with a little bit of polish.

If you liked I’m All Alone and It’s Getting Dark please check out my other stories on Amazon!