Forest of Cloth – Author’s Notes
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but life keeps getting in the way. Way back in July 2014 I had my story Forest of Cloth published in [untitled] IV. The story was the first story I wrote when I returned to West Lothian Writers (WLW) in January 2009.
Below you will find my thoughts and ideas behind the story and how it all came about. Of course this means there will be spoilers from this point on! You have been warned!
The original idea
Unlike a lot of my stories I know exactly where the original idea came from for Forest of Cloth. At the first meeting of WLW we started with an exercise created by Susi. She made each of us select a photo and a genre from a pile of cards and write a story on that topic for about five minutes. I pick the photo above and the topic of ‘chick-lit/romance’. I’ll admit that I didn’t really know how to write a romance so I started with a character following another through the woods. It wasn’t till I got home that I realise the story had a more natural horror bent and now able to ignore the romance angle I went from there.
The Three Women
In the early drafts the three women were meant to be banshee – the Irish mythical creature – which is why they scream at the end of the story. However, it was hard to tell the reader this without one of the characters stopping the story to explain what the banshee are. In the end the three women feel more like woodland spirits but still could be noticed as banshee if the reader looks very closely through blurred glasses!
The Start of the Tale
One of the reasons why it took over five years to get Forest of Cloth published is because for a long, long time the start didn’t work. The story was all ending. The main character was rather dull and nice. However, in the second last draft I turned him into the vandal and a much more unpleasant character in general. I seem to be good at writing those if Absorbing Art is anything to go by!
The first start that the vandal version of the main character was revealed to the public was at [untitled]‘s Black Out event in April 2014. I was very kindly asked to read a piece of work inspired by Earth Hour. Somehow a tale of the environment getting its revenge on humanity seemed suitable. Luckily the audience agreed. It was a great night and really fun to be reading my story by candle little in the atmospheric surrounding of Falkirk Trinity Church.