This post contains spoilers for my story “Grave Digger”, so if you haven’t read it yet head on over and give it a read. It’s short and it’s free! What are you waiting for? Here’s a link.
So you’ve read the story by now, right? Great.
So one day I’m driving and listening to the song Mellow Marmalade by Tash Sultana and I hear the lyrics “Grave digger, why don’t we slow it down?”. Although I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times and know she’s really saying “Baby girl, why don’t we slow it down?” I couldn’t help but hear it as “Grave digger” once.
That’s all it takes, once you mishear that lyric one time it’s over. You’ll never hear it the same again. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well, you’re lucky I guess.
The words Grave Digger stuck with me. The second I heard them (or thought I did) I knew it was the title of my next story. It’s always hard for me when I get the title first. There’s so many things that a title can be. I mention this in my “Why I Wrote: I’m All Alone and It’s Getting Dark” post as well.
When I already have the idea for a story; when I have a plot or a scenario worked out in my head the title comes naturally. It just makes sense.
Take “Lab Zero” for example. I have the idea for a story about a basement laboratory that’s off limits and the room number for that lab is zero.
Lab Zero seems like an obvious choice.
But when I have the title “Grave Digger” sitting in my head, there’s a lot of options.
So I thought about those words every day. I listened to that song multiple times a day hoping it would give me the inspiration I need (also it’s a damn good song). One day while I was driving, yet again, it came to me. Actually, my girlfriend was driving this time. I was just the passenger. Anyway, we were listening to music (unfortunately it was not Mellow Marmalade) and the story was just there.
I don’t think I was even thinking about Grave Digger for once; it just happened. It was probably the only moment I wasn’t thinking about it since I had that title stuck in my head (when I have a story idea I become obsessed and think about it a little too much).
I was so excited I finally had the plot for this story. The first thing that came to me was the graves. How something was digging them up. I knew there had to be some type of monster or mysterious figure as the culprit but I wasn’t entirely sure of what this being/figure would be.
It was time to sit down and write it; I did it in one sitting.
Not all that surprising, it’s really short. There was a lot of editing though. Weeks worth of it. I read “Grave Digger” so many times. I entirely rewrote the part with Beverly. I know her mentioning is still very brief but it’s much more than it used to be, trust me. Previously she was just mentioned in one line.
I feel I should mention that part with the sleep paralysis/not being able to move or talk is actually very real for me. I suffer from sleep paralysis from time to time and it’s not fun. Seeing shapes and human figures, which are sometimes incredibly vivid, is terrifying. Not being able to move a muscle or speak. You can’t ask the person lying next to you to snap you out of it. It’s such an awful feeling.
The end got rewritten too. I notice after having a few stories under my belt that I do that. I think I have changed the ending to every one of my stories so far besides Lab Zero. I even have a story that is still being worked on that has went through an ending change. The story I’m currently working on is actually the first short story I ever wrote, it’s just going through a lot of editing and will most likely be the next story I put out.
Originally the ending for “Grave Digger” was just that the main character died. That’s it. He was thrown in the grave, as usual. He had his memories sucked out just like how it ends now but that was it. He was just gone.
I really liked the idea of him becoming a part of the monster though, so I changed it and worked it in. Having his eyes become one with many others; having to live as a part of it for all eternity without even having his memories. He knows he existed at some point but to what extent? At this point all he knows is digging graves.