Reflecting on my own writing journey so far, I came to realise that it was two years ago that I satisfyingly pieced together the final fragments of my debut book, ‘The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost’. This book is something I am very proud of because the storyline means so much to me. Having had friends and family suffering from mental health issues, the narrative was my own way of unpicking some of those elements.
In this blog post I want to reflect upon that story and how I created it. When I think about how it all started, it was actually fairly random. Hopefully by sharing my writing experience, you may find some of it relatable. New writers can understand just how complicated everything to do with publishing seems at first but after a while it all starts to make some kind of sense.
How did it all start?
I remember watching lots of drama series where mental health issues were touched upon and noticing that, at the time, a lot of these didn’t focus on men quite so much. This gave me the idea to make my story about three guys. It was just one of many ideas but I quickly sat down and wrote a short chapter introducing a dad and his son rushing to get to school. I wanted to show stress straight away so I ensured that he was late and that his fraught relationship with his wife was immediately apparent.
There were only two things in my mind at that point. I wanted a story about three guys whose kids all went to the same school and I wanted them to be rattled by something. So, I came up with the idea that one of their spouses would commit suicide. From then on, I knew that I had a story that would grow longer than one of my short stories.
In a nutshell
My story is told in three parts with each person writing a chapter. For me, this was a no brainer as I needed the characters to have their own unique voices and first person narrative was the only way to do this.
During a school play, three kids get into a scuffle, leading their dads to come into the same orbit. Soon after, a tragic suicide resonates through the town. One dad loses a wife while the others also feel the weight of the situation as repercussions eventually play out.
Each guy has a different situation at home. One is fed up with his marriage, another has realised that he prefers men and the third is left to parent alone after his sudden loss. But that is not the crux of the story.
Ten years later, the now 18 year old kids tell their part of the story and unpick the ramifications of not only the suicide, but also the destruction of their parents’ marriages. One daughter in particular cannot stop delving into her mother’s past and is determined that another parent caused her mum’s death.
The third part is a short chapter and is meant to draw things together, helping you to understand some of the chaos and hopefully leaving you with interesting questions.
What does the story mean?
It means everything to me. I have witnessed attempted suicide and loss amongst family and friends and have seen how destructive mental health can be. It was important that I got to explore this within a family drama as such events can have long term affects on those around the people who are suffering.
The story also explores an LGBT relationship, the power of long lasting and meaningful friendship, and how communities come together after a tragic event.
Thank you for reading about my first foray into writing a book. If you enjoyed this and like bookish content then please consider following my blog.