Death Therapy... by Juliet Sneed

None of my stories (well, almost none of them) start out the way they are supposed to. I suppose this is normal, but it drives me nuts. I have an especially bad case of it, you see.

The Azrael  started out as a semi-comedic little nightmare about a therapist whose client brings a corpse to the session. Then it became a seriously big nightmare about a therapist who murders his clients because they annoy him ("death therapy"). I have a BA in Psychology, so occasionally I just can't resist the urge to parody my professors. After a while, all those syndromes and complexes just make you want to... Anyway...

The story was not working, primarily because the therapist bored me. No matter what I did, he just wasn't crazy enough. So I decided to tell the story from the client's perspective. Then things got interesting.

I couldn't decide whether Clive Witherwell should be nuts or not. If he were nuts, the tale of his takeover by X wouldn't be as scary: the reader would think "Nutty people hallucinate all the time. How dull." If he were sane, the takeover wouldn't be believable: the reader would think "Good grief! She expects me to swallow that incredible whopper?"

To avoid Spoiler Syndrome, let's just say that I focused on creating such a weird voice for Clive that I didn't have to decide about his sanity.

I would like to write more about Clive and X, especially X. It is frustrating to think about, though, because I can see the ideas taking shape but I have no idea how to phrase them...Hmmm...Interesting...Sorry. Incoming...


Now where's my pencil?


Juliet Sneed
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Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    Tom J Hingley (Thursday, 11 October 2018 15:36)

    With you here Juliet. I like to start with an idea or theme with a strong end but sometimes get lost in “unconvincing land” en route. But lost is good. Maybe your characters chuck away your Sat Nav and jump in the driving seat or just need your help getting to the next Services. Breakdown cover is always reassuring of course and there is always someone you can call when the wheels really do fall off.
    Your story is really intriguing and it sounds like you are pleased with resolving your initial conundrum. I for one, want to know what happens next and where it goes. Will it be very scary??

  • #2

    James Jay (Sunday, 14 October 2018 09:25)

    Always fascinating to wonder where this stuff comes from, somewhere at the back of the head I guess, somewhere in the deep recesses of the mind where phantom ideas compete for a place in the mind, killing each other off, until one appears as blithely as a waiter serving coffee. I guess it's the bi-cameral mind at work, the unconscious generates 10's of thousands of thoughts and the still fairly recently added frontal bits try to make sense of it's ramblings....eventually, if you stick around long enough and apply a few storytelling tools, something appears that connects and you sit and wonder....who wrote that?

  • #3

    Chris Jones (Monday, 15 October 2018 14:17)

    I love these genesis stories, so interesting to get under the skin!