Leila has strayed a little into the upper layers of the manuscript mines with this one. This is what she said:
After getting bit by a fresh piece (and its author) in the LS wilderness I resolved to wait until a story is at least one year old before charming it onto the leash and bringing it home for everyone to get a second look at. But LS is a meritocracy, and even though his first piece is but a pup of five months, Harrison Kim has been such a fine contributor to the site that it would be unfair to hold him off the Sunday feature merely due to a lack of seniority.
With all that said, Kim’s A Major Error in Judgement isn’t an easy critter to charm onto the leash. It’s a biter in slightly more than the metaphoric sense. Still, judging from the constant comments that HE (unlike some, no, most of you guys) offers other writers, Mr. Kim seems like an intelligent and reasonable sort who won’t mind too much if we pester him with a couple of questions.
Q: In this piece, and others, you display the ability to get into your MC’s head even though (as it is in this story) it is often a haunted place. How are you able to accomplish this and yet remain somewhat objective?
Q: Many of your images (like biting) are cringeworthy and create great tension. I find this effective. How do you go about the process of designing a story (if you do) and decided where to place the disquieting elements?
1) This story was told to me in different forms by different people when I worked at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FPH). I absorbed the stories over the years and made one of my own. I spent many hours thinking about the people I worked with, to the extent of visiting the graves of some of their victims, and talking to people affected by their violent actions. I had to understand why some people might want to commit such brutal, irrational acts. I learned why over the years at FPH. I can imagine a world of delusion because I’ve also experienced the results of going with false assumptions. They are not pleasant, as most of us know. I am also a fan of very dark humour and a belief that this world is essentially absurd. Seeing things objectively is a challenging exercise.
2) I look at the story over and over and change it many times. “A Major Error In Judgement” was first written fifteen years ago in a rather different form. I rewrote it again last year, then did editing over a long period of time until it felt right, until it felt exactly like how the character would have experienced his life slipping out of control. I don’t decide re: disquieting elements, they kind of fall into place, it’s like completing a painting, I think. When it’s finished correctly, you just know it’s a complete picture, it’s the scene, the theme and the character that you wanted to create.
I guess that summarizes it. Thanks for letting me have the opportunity to answer these questions and put across some writing process ideas for others.
A Major Error in Judgement