I'm not lucky enough to be the sort of person where an idea for a story drops fully formed into my lap, and sitting down cold to write about a particular subject or theme has always been a struggle. Whenever I've most successfully written anything in the past (short stories, unfinished, unpublishable novels, whatever) they've always heaved themselves out of a soup of ideas which I've collected together over a period of time.
The ingredients for this primordial soup can come from many sources. Something in the news, a conversation, an old memory which randomly surfaces, even just a single sentence in a book. They stew together in the dark until something - usually a new 'ingredient' - causes them to spark and suddenly a narrative begins to form. This foetal narrative is fed and nurtured and slowly it grows, gnawing away at me until, finally, I write the fucker down in a notebook.
The genesis for The Absence was no different. To avoid spoiling the story I shan't reveal the initial 'spark' which caused the entire story to splutter into life, but I had a lovely revelation recently which made me discover a 'hidden' idea behind my comic which even I hadn't realised.
A couple of months ago, shortly before starting issue #3, I was at my parent's house. I was preparing to leave, putting on my coat in their hall and I suddenly noticed a small picture on the wall.
I'd seen this picture, many, many times before. It's a drawing done decades ago by my grandfather and now in the possession my dad. My grandfather drew for a hobby - and from what I gather he was very good. He died when I was a kid and my memory of him is hazy but I'm often told I inherit my artistic nature from him. My dad is a draughtsman and has my grandfather's technical excellence and eye for detail whereas I tend to come at drawing with a faster, more slapdash approach (mainly due to my complete lack of patience and short attention span).
No one in the family seems to know exactly when this was drawn, nor even where exactly the village is. My grandfather used to go for long cycle rides, so the general consensus is it's simply somewhere he stumbled upon while out. I used to study the picture when I lived at home. I have always drawn - and having another member of my family with the same interest has always made me feel close to him even though we barely knew each other. So everytime I passed this picture in the hall I would look at it, and imagine the scene as it unfolded for my grandfather, the man delivering as the woman watches on while the horse sweats in the sun. And I would imagine the village we can't see.
I moved out of my parent's house about fifteen years ago and haven't really given the picture much conscious thought since. But that day, putting on my coat and preparing to leave, I noticed it again. And I realised where the village in The Absence had begun to grow.
I've put a little homage to the picture in #3. Of course it's not as good, not as technically proficient or as detailed as my grandfather's (and yes, it's also been snowing in mine...) but I liked the idea that the village my grandfather found that day on his bike, might just be the one in my comic.
Reviews: psychological dread in The Resident - The Resident, Directed by John Ainslie Starring Tianna Nori, Mark Matechuk, Krista Madison You could be forgiven for thinking the story concept for The R...
3 hours ago