The Monster in the Door – The Process

The Monster in the Door is story number eight in the #52ShortStories challenge.

**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**

The challenge of this story is that I had so many of the elements firmly in mind from personal experience, I needed to make sure I translated them into something that reader could see just as well. I don’t know if I did that, but I gave it a shot (and that’s what this challenge is mostly about — giving things shots. Like a doctor. Or a mad scientist. Yeah, definitely the latter.)

The initial inspiration was this:

That’s the door to my childhood bedroom and it’s still there (though the room has become a home office). You can imagine a kid with a fertile imagination would have some interesting thoughts regarding that grain pattern in the upper-right corner.

And like any small town, there are colorful bits of history and local lore that can be weaved into an intriguing story. There is a “House on the Hill” that you can read about here. And that little bit of text in the CC&R papers? Yup, it’s real. Sad, but true.

The writing was fluid for the most part, I think because I was so familiar with many of the elements. I also decided to set this in the 80s, hoping that I could evoke a sense of childhood by using my own experiences as fodder.

I’ll probably come back to this setting from time to time. Though I haven’t lived in the area for a couple of decades, there’s something about the hometown that leaves its mark.

Here’s the general scratch file:

And the daily journal entries:

Daily Entries:


2 thoughts on “The Monster in the Door – The Process

  1. It’s clear how much you enjoyed writing in this setting. You always nail the right feeling for each story very quickly, but this one was immediate. With the trend of nostalgia stories at the moment (Stranger Things etc), I connected very quickly with this one – and I didn’t see the twist coming. Love it when that happens.

    You’re scratch file seems a bit more structured than recent ones (although I’m a bit behind on keeping up due to Day Job, so I may have missed the evolution of your approach). You finding a rhythm that’s working for you on outlining, or was it because this one was so formed in your mind?

    1. Good to hear from you, Col. Awesome, hearing that the twist made it by your keen eye! 🙂 I’m glad the nostalgia vibe worked as well. I have so many random memories from those days that have solidified into vivid images in my head. I’m happy I was able to get some of that across.

      And yup, you’re spot on with there seeming to be an evolution in my approach to writing these stories. I think that as I’ve developed a better sense of what makes a well-told story, I can improvise a bit more in that respect and zero in on the other parts of writing — evoking a more lively setting, deeper characters, etc.

      That’s one of the things I love about writing these short stories. I can spot and fix those ‘macro’ mistakes much more quickly than I had in the past when attempting something novel-length.

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