Favourite quote: 'What people are ashamed of, usually makes a good story'
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Jackson is a Yorkshire-based horror and science fiction writer. Since his first story was published in Writers' Forum in 2016, his work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including the Amazon-bestselling Dark Minds.
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My story is about a bridge. I love bridges, always been fascinated by them, so when Twisted 2 threw out the call for stories I knew mine had to feature a bridge. It also features a brave
protagonist venturing out alone onto said bridge, and a nasty creature waiting to pounce… and if any of this sounds familiar that’s because there is more than a corpse buried in the foundations
of my architectural marvel – there’s one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales in there too.
I’ll come back to that in a mo.
Writers are obsessed with questions. Every story has at least one at its core: Can Regan MacNeil’s soul be saved? (The Exorcist). Who is the killer? (Every whodunnit ever). Will the cute alien trapped on Earth survive? (Species. Why, what did you think I meant?). So yup, we spend a lot of time on these – but the ones that really matter are the questions we don’t want anyone to ask. The ones that, come the end of the story, shatter the whole carefully constructed nonsense prose with something like: “Why didn’t Frodo just fly a giant eagle to Mount Doom and throw the One Ring into it?” We hate them.
To avoid having more egg on our faces than Humpty Dumpty when he fell off the wall, we try to anticipate these questions (usually after the first draft and before the second pint, whilst the memory’s still functioning), and fill in any pesky plot holes with quick-setting detail before anyone notices. When I kicked my short story out the door and told it not to return without lots of feedback, I was confident I’d done precisely that. Indeed, the only question that would be asked was the one I’d left deliberately unanswered, a nugget of detail hidden amongst the Faustian frivolities for the curious. And nobody gave it a second glance. Understandable really: my poor suffering readers were too busy climbing out of plot holes that some careless, egg-faced idiot had left lying around...