This was another Eric-suggested exercise that exceeded expectations. “What about a ghost that can communicate only with technology? What if it can only appear as glitches in electronics?”
I took the idea and ran with it, though in a slightly skewed direction, and came up with a 1,800-word short I’m calling, simply, “Hello.” The ghost doesn’t show up as glitches, exactly. It does use electronic hardware as a way of getting their message across, though.
I wasn’t too thrilled when I started writing this. It really had the feel of a story that I’d end up abandoning halfway through. I used to write a lot of those. I’d come up with an idea, write out what I’d thought through (which was only about the first half of the story) and when it came time to flesh it out and finish it I’d balk. My idea would feel very stale to me, not worth spending time on, and I’d scrap it. Up until recently I’d probably write three or four of these half-stories for every one I’d actually finish.
Lately, though, I’ve been finishing more and more of my stories. In fact, most of what I start out writing simply for exercise ends up longer than I’d expected starting out. It’s a glad reversal, for me, and I feel like writing every day now. I no longer feel anxiety at having to come up with a new idea. Granted, not all my ideas end up panning out, but once I’ve committed to putting something onto paper I don’t feel a lack of inspiration anymore. In his book Writing Short Fiction, Damon Knight called the subconscious mind, the part of your brain that floats ideas up to the surface, Fred. Having a dialogue with Fred meant sending ideas or thoughts into the subconscious and accepting what was given back to you. The more you talk to Fred and use what he gives you, Knight explained, the more ideas you’ll end up receiving.
It seems like Fred’s been working overtime lately, and I really appreciate it.