Inside the Pages: The Good Deeds Society

The Good Deeds Society-coverHey there fellow Goner,

I’m trying something different this week…

I’m using the Author’s Note of this week’s release, The Dark Crossings short tale, The Good Deeds Society, as our newsletter. Don’t worry, it’s a spoiler-free Author’s Note.

As much as I hadn’t planned the ending for this short story (which came to me in an almost fevered rush of writing), I didn’t plan to write this Author’s Note about why I write. It just kinda came out. It felt confessional, and cleansing in a way, to finally put a point on a question that many have asked and which I’ve never had a decent answer for — why do I write such dark stuff?

Usually it’s asked with either fascination, like I must be some dark, evil, and totally fun guy (instead of the boring guy I am). Or it’s asked with which I can only describe as that face, where someone doesn’t want to insult you, yet they clearly are concerned for your sanity.

Well, I think I finally have an answer (which you can read below or wait until you read the book, where it’s also included).

Here’s the story pitch and the links, followed by the original author’s note (with just a couple of words changed).

 

THE GOOD DEEDS SOCIETY

Something weird is happening in the gated community of Evergreen Walk. People are having dreams in which a mysterious woman appears to them, asking them to do good deeds for one another.

Soon, a group calling itself The Good Deeds Society forms, eager to spread  word of the Lady and her good deeds.

But in Dark Crossings, not every good deed can be taken at face value.

And no good deed goes unpunished…

(Word count: 16,003 words)

AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0090CPMES/

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0090CPMES/

Once again, we’ve got a link right at the end of the story which will take you back to the Amazon page to review the book. If you’ve got a minute and wanna help us out, we’d appreciate it! Thanks to everyone who reviewed last week’s story.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: THE GOOD DEED’S SOCIETY

I just finished the final edit of The Good Deeds Society, which might be the darkest Dark Crossings stories yet.

I want to begin by saying that this story stems from a very vivid dream I had, probably a year ago. I’d thought of the beginning premise and the name, but this ending was even a surprise to me. And apparently, as I found out today when I searched the web for the term, “Good Deeds Society,” there is both a children’s book series and an organization using the moniker.

Normally, I’d consider changing the name, especially if something is well known. Normally, I’d do a search for a term before I wrote the story! I’d never write a book called “The Salvation Army” and have it be about anything but the actual organization.

But I’m sticking with the name, because:

a) I like it and that’s how it’s existed in my head since the dream and b) I’m pretty sure this story is nothing like the children’s series, or the organization.

At least I hope not.

Both would be pretty damned creepy.

I’m not going to explain this story. I’d like to leave some of what we do open to interpretation. Plus, I’m curious how people will interpret it.

WHY DO YOU WRITE THIS STUFF?!

As I said above, this might be one of our darkest stories yet.

You know how people read books for escape? Sometimes they’ll even pick up “feel-good” books. Well, I’m kind of prone to writing the opposite of those.

Case in point: A few years ago I used to draw a fairly popular comic strip on the web (and in a few papers from time to time) about a lovable penguin, his teddy bear, and the guy he lived with, and his girlfriend. It was heavily influenced by Calvin and Hobbes in feel, though probably more Garfield in execution.

Anyway, my wife and I were in New Jersey visiting her father who was dying from cancer. She and her sisters got together one last time while he was relatively healthy. I came along to finally get to know the father of my wife (I’d only met him once and briefly before.)

It was bittersweet. Sweet to get to spend time with him and his family, followed, a while later, by bitter when he died.

During the trip, I woke up in the middle of the night in our hotel, struck by inspiration. An idea came to me, an idea so dark and ridiculous, that I knew I had to to it.

I was going to do a death storyline in my family-friendly good natured comic strip.

My wife thought I was insane.

My mother, who loves my comics (and has yet to forgive me or read my books), was VERY upset with me.

“Why?” she asked, as if I’d single-handedly decided I was going to ruin Christmas for children everywhere.

I wasn’t sure WHY.

I just knew that I had to write it. It was my way of processing all this stuff — and I wasn’t writing fiction at the time. The fact that nobody thought it was a good idea only made me more convinced that it was.

So, I came up with a storyline where the woman in the comic was in a horrible car accident and lost her baby while she was in a coma. Good, fun stuff, eh? If I were in major newspapers, I’m pretty sure the drop rate would’ve been huge!

I then stretched the story out for OVER A MONTH, getting into this weird, head-trippy sorta storyline which ultimately had a bittersweet ending. But for a month, Wow, was it dark.

For a daily comic strip like mine (or maybe it was three times a week at that point, I don’t recall) to go serious and so dark for more than a month is unheard of.

Understandably, some people thought I’d lost my mind.

One review, and I’m paraphrasing here, said of the storyline, “Imagine if Garfield was gang-raped and murdered.”

Which might have been the funniest review ever of my comic, and would’ve made great book cover copy!

And while I did lose readers, including my mother, I gained something else — respect as an artist.

I wasn’t aiming for respect, mind you. While I would love to have made it with my comics, my only real goal was to entertain people. I didn’t give a fuck if “real artists” or the big shots in the world of webcomics liked my comic or not.

I wrote it for me and those who liked it. Kind of how Sean and I write our books. We don’t care if everyone loves us. We don’t care if we’re never recognized by a major critic or get book cover blurbs from the big shots in the industry. We don’t really care about the critics who tell us we’re the worst things ever. We write for ourselves. We write for you.

Anyway, I’ll get off the soap box and get back to the comics. . .

I began to get letters from readers calling the story such superlatives as bold, poignant, touching, tragic, and brave. All awesome shit to blow my head up, for sure. But the best letters came from people who’d been through a similar situation. And I was shocked how many I got from people who said that they’d been through a similar loss of a child, and the story helped them heal.

Which as an artist of a “silly little comic,” I found incredibly touching.

That my comic could “help people heal,” was something I’d never thought anyone would say. I didn’t write it to help people heal. I wrote it to process my emotions at the time, and what my wife and her family were going through.

But that others found something in that, and related to it, meant the world to me

When people originally asked me why I would write such depressing stuff, especially in a comic strip which had always been light and goofy, I didn’t really have an answer at the time.

But then I realized.

I did it because I had to.

The reader responses reminded me why I started drawing comics in the first place — to create worlds that others would get lost in. But there was another reason, too. To share a part of myself in the only way I know how.

Which is exactly why I write.

Thank you for reading,

David Wright

www.collectiveinkwell.com

www.davidwwright.com

collectiveinkwellmedia@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/collectiveinkwellpublishing

And once again, the links to The Good Deeds Society so you don’t have to scroll back up:

THE GOOD DEEDS SOCIETY

AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0090CPMES/

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0090CPMES/

 

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