Out of all my siblings, my younger brother Joe and I are the most alike. Even though there are four years between us, we have plenty to talk about. And one of those things is writing. Mostly my writing, and I tell him about all the thing going on with my current story and then get mad when he tries to “rewrite” it the way he likes. But it’s a playful game, and often in the discussing, he helps me work out a sticking point. Or, because of his ramblings, I know EXACTLY what I don’t want to do. Either way, it’s usually constructive.
A dozen years or more ago, he told me about this idea he had. A man who continually dies so that he can help lost souls cross over. It’s his job. He goes to work to be killed, in a very particular way, and then goes about his business. That was about as much as he had at the time, a few other salient details, but nothing more. But it’s stuck with me all this time. The idea, the mental image he created when he told me about it, and I’ve thought about it on and off for years.
Last year (or was it the year before?) I asked him if I could have it. Because I could think of what came next, and how things would progress, and even though I was certain it was nothing like what he would have written, I wanted to steal his base idea. With permission, of course.
He gave it.
So I started writing it, though it failed immediately. I didn’t have all the details down the way I wanted, and I shelved it. And there it sat for a good long while, until I saw the Dreamspun Beyond call and just knew I had the right story for it.
Joe’s base idea is still the same: A man goes to work to be killed, over and over, to help lost souls cross over. But the rest is all mine.
All fifty thousand plus words of it.
And it’s done.
After some very focused writing days, a lot of encouragement and cheerleading, it’s done. And I’m proud of it and I love it. And there’s still work to be done, tweaking and fixing and polishing. But it’s done.