I wrote 10k words in 3 days
Because why not?
In Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass he goes on about how the majority of his story concepts come from taking a pre-existing story and going “What if X happened?” What if Little Red Riding hood killed the wolf? What if you took a well known fairy tale and turned it on its head?
Now, it’s been about two years since I watched that and I might be misremembering it but whatever concept of it I retained I applied to the thing I wrote this week. One of my writing groups has a discord channel for spitballing ideas. In it I was joking around saying “What if the Yellow Wallpaper actually eats the woman?”
Then, because I was in the middle of reading another book and procrastinating on it, I opened up a google doc and started actually writing out a version of the Yellow Wallpaper that actually eats the woman in the end. It was only going to be about 2k words at most, just a quick story covering a weekend where a woman who is already on the cusp of a mental break is hypnotized by the patterns on this wallpaper upstairs and gets eaten by it. Then her husband finds her and he feints. (That’s his job in the old story that’s his job in this story.)
So after the first day and the first two thousand words I realized my character was nowhere near close enough to being eaten by this monster paper. Now, normally I would get caught up in something else and just abandon it like so many others, but for some reason I just… kept going. The next thing I know it’s been three days and the whole story is ten thousand words long.
Luckily for me The Yellow Wallpaper is in the public domain, so I lifted all the character names and places to mirror the old ones. I did have to give the main woman a name this time. She goes unnamed throughout the original, but when I needed a name for a woman who claims something is happening and nobody believes her I kind of had to go with Cassandra.
Now, I will probably post this over on MOSFET tomorrow morning. I spent my time yesterday combing through it to weed out plot holes and smooth over bits where I had already cut things. Today I’m going over some initial feedback on it to address some character motivation and pacing issues which won’t take long. So, if you want to read it be sure to subscribe to that so you don’t miss it.
I do have to preface this one thing, given the fact this is a mild horror story (Halloween is coming up!) this will have some disturbing things going on. There is some mild gore, but if you have an aversion to man-eating wallpaper you might want to sit this one out.
Anyway, you won’t need to read the original Yellow Wallpaper story to understand this one but if you want to catch all the Easter eggs and references in it you might want to give it a scroll.