UNLUCKY NUMBERS – STORIES BEHIND THE STORIES, PART THREE
Another run through four stories and the ideas behind them. Remember, Spoiler Alert! Read the stories before you venture on…
A DOOR OR A WINDOW?: What do you call the little squares that you open on an advent calendar? This story came from a brainstorming exercise to kickstart ideas to do with numbers. It’s that time of year when we pay specific detail to each day’s number, especially for a chocolate treat. As often with my stories I then think what if? What if the chocolate treat you were expecting behind the door (or window) wasn’t nice at all? It was then just a case of working out how the chocolate could be affected, and why it would escalate the closer we got to Christmas. Hence a ghostly back story. This one also got included in my Christmas collection, ‘Frightful’.
MIXTAPE: This one started life as a bonus piece in ‘A Very Bad Year’ but I pulled it when I realised it had a home in ‘Unlucky Numbers’. After all, the number of girlfriends, the order of the songs and the tattoos – it all adds to the story. Also, in its first version, the story ended when the inspector arrives and is revealed to be Michelle. I wanted to know what happened next, so I had a good think about it and wrote the rest!
FAINTING BY NUMBERS: Another one that was written to a prompt for a forum. It had to start with the first line about the text. Straight away I had the idea that this wouldn’t be a literal warning or threat, but a code for something else. It seemed obvious that it should be a reference to the Jennifer Love Hewitt movie – it was then just a case of why someone needed a coded message that was a horror movie title. The discussion group Fainting By Numbers was born. The numbers reference obviously very important for this collection too. No real surprises for myself (which sometimes happens) as I wrote this one; it turned out pretty much just as I expected.
THE GIRL AT THE BUS STOP: There’s a little bit of me in this one. Not the child murderer bit, but the idea of driving to work and having landmarks that I tried to hit at certain times. On my route to work for one job, there was actually a bus stop, and a girl waiting each morning… that’s where comparisons end! Couple of Easter eggs here: the narrator only speaks out loud to other characters in seven word sentences, and the name of the labs he works at – Felix – actually means lucky.
There is one other story, HIDDEN TRACK. I’m going to do that one in its own little post in a few days time. Special one for me, that little tale…