Trigger Warning

Welcome to a darkly satirical little journey through suicide, suicidal ideation, self-harm, depression. Apply a heavy sardonic tone while reading.

I think I am having an inverted mid-life crisis. I am not trying to be young again, not groping at my youth or clawing to live longer. Rather, I don’t want to live at all. Instead, I want to skip to the end and be done living. My mid-life crisis is trying to find a reason not to die.

In a way only I could find humorous, this might just classify as me trying to recapture my youth—since this is exactly what I was doing when I was young.

I spent my teenage years in a painful blur. The sharp fragments that do surface from the haze are better left lost in the fog. I scratched incoherent calls for help into my flesh. I planted pills into my stomach and watered them with burning alcohol. I filled my lungs with smoke until I suffocated my own voice. I tempted anyone, everyone, everything to prove to me how terrible the world was and how I had no place in it.

In summary, I tried to kill myself after my conviction wilted with one failed direct attempt. If I couldn’t do it myself, surely I could tempt another way to find me. My writing career began when I documented this (see ”How to Kill Yourself Slowly”).

I squandered my youth crushed under the unhappiness of things already passed and figments contrived in my mind. I looked down at the genetic embers of mental illness and the low flames of trauma and poured gas until my entire world burned. The past swallowed the years greedily and spit me out, wasted.

Yet decades later, I find myself again on this same shore of a familiar sea. Somehow, it is like I never left, as if my footprints in the abrasive sand are still fresh and unfinished. The path before points to the waves. The dark water beckons, and the vicious sirens serenade my demise from the distance. The lyrics of their songs, the rhetoric they weave into my ears has changed, yet the pull to submerge myself into oblivion with them remains consistent.

I wish I could say that something clear and identifiable has happened. I wish that the call to the darkness was in an intelligible tongue that translated into logic. Yet the illness betrays itself in its clumsy, mute current. At its simplest, I feel this swelling wave repeating that I just want to be done. I am tired. Tired of pushing and trying and fighting. Exhausted of the cyclical repeat. Life has lost its fascination as enjoyment and hope has drained from almost every experience.

Sound like a symptom from a depression screening? I surely fail those every year. They have a pill for that! I can add it to all the other pills I have started taking. My body has turned on itself in a myriad of minor autoimmune conditions, manifesting suicidal ideation at the cellular level. Maybe next it will spell “end it’ on my scalp in alopecia bald spots or withhold circulation long enough to shed entire digits.

My hair does not want to remain rooted in my scalp. My blood does not want to pump through my vessels to feed my extremities. My stomach does not want to digest and process food. My brain does not want to wake up or engage the world. The body appears to be sending clear messages in multiple formats.

I am not even at home in my own flesh. My own body does not want me to stay alive, so why should I want to? Why should I battle both my brain and bone to keep going?

Half the time, it feels like my body is rejecting me. And when I look out of the eyes that do not even want me behind them, I only see bleak extremes. I see everything wrong with myself, my life, humans, the world, the future.

It does not seem like the time to worry about attending my twentieth high school reunion or accepting the permanence of baby weight or negotiating a better mortgage rate or deciding what to buy with the extra money I manage to scrape together after working the same years on repeat. It seems like the time to get off this demented merry-go-round.

Instead of giving myself a drastic makeover, chopping my hair and dyeing it red, I’ll shed this entire physical body. Instead of picking up a fitness craze and chasing the tautness of an Instagram celebrity, I’ll immortalize myself as under 40—forever. Instead of violating my relationship for a fling with someone young who wants to fill my inbox with pictures of their genitals, I will remain permanently faithful by creating a widower. Instead of making impulsive decisions like spending my 401K or quitting my job to make my mania blush, I will make one last permanent decision.

In the quiet oblivion, I would miss all the ugliness around me, all the noise inside my mind. I won’t have to stick around to see how this pandemic, next world war, political unrest, climate crisis, or any other historical plot twist unfold because (spoiler alert!) none of them are looking too good.

The ugliness in the world used to be a contrast point for me. It used to motivate me to identify and savor the rare beauty and joy in life. I have lost that. I feel only the dark and the ugly. Maybe it has been too long and I have become too complacent since the war zone, gagging on my own comfort and privilege. Maybe I have forgotten the face of true suffering once again, leaving me feeling sorry for myself.

Something has changed in me to bring me back here. My perspective has shifted. A lens has settled to stifle all the color, subdue all the joy, darken all the possibilities. Living has become robotic, detached, and contrived (uh oh, more symptomatic language). The experience has been reduced to a practiced rotation to amass material possession, create waste, and fight about issues that never reach resolution while the world dies. It all feels so futile and pointless, so much like running on a wheel that goes nowhere, and I no longer want to participate.

I feel like I worked my entire life and survived myself the first time to get to this future just to find out there is no future, just to learn the rest of life is only a repetitive struggle to survive and buy unnecessary shit until I die. And the gravity of that idea is heavy enough to make me want to chemically lobotomize myself to make existence palatable.

The easy answer seems to be to just STOP.

Randy Poe Photography

I have things to live for, of course. I have not lost sight of those. However, those things tend to only amplify and make this crisis more poignant. Loving my children fucking hurts. I keep seeing how I brought them into a world where people hate them for simply existing and their home is on fire every summer because the planet is dying. I think, what did I do to them? I wonder, what can I possibly offer them in all this?

With the way things are going, my husband wants to go off the grid, grow our own food, and sustain ourselves. I could fertilize the garden with my corpse. I would probably be more nourishing to my family in that capacity versus drawing trauma marks along their brains when they get swept up in the wake of my storm.

I could spare them my damage and grant them the fruits of my absence. Instead of worrying about dwindling resources and accumulating waste and what that will mean for my progeny, I can remove myself from the equation. I can offer up what I would consume and eliminate all the plastic husks that would trail behind me. One less viral contributor.

Who says living it out is better? Who says you need to know what happens? Sometimes, you need to turn the awful movie off or put the terrible book down. Sometimes, you need to get off the ride. Maybe we all would be better off if I just called it the end instead of the middle.

Just like when I was young, it seems so simple, so seductive. What if the first time in my teen years was my mid-life crisis and my return here now is simply the end? The math is right. I am about double the age I was then. Life could be one elegant, self-destructive circle with the conclusion back where I started. There would be a sick poetry in that symmetry. It would almost be like time travel, obliterating the happiness and good deeds done in the decades gap between these dark visits to the shore of oblivion.

Randy Poe Photography

Afterword

How much of this is overdramatic satire? You decide, but I do hope you slapped on the sardonic tone I requested. If you’re looking for optimism, you’re barking up the wrong blog. Have you read “How to Kill Yourself Slowly?” We don’t do that here. Writing is for the dark side of my mind. I am aware of how simpering and self-indulgent these posts are. But do not be concerned; I am fine. Obviously, I am not alone in a dark room plotting out the practical end of my life as I just blasted these feelings on the wide and public internet. I have dark emotions, and this is how I process them. Sometimes, things need to be written out to see how truly malformed they truly are. I actually firmly believe that nothing in life is permanent enough for suicide.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

Some recent reviews of my latest book Followers got me thinking… do characters have to be “good”? By this, I mean, do you need to consider the protagonist a good person or do you need to relate to or understand them to truly enjoy a book? Do they need to be the “good guy”? Do they need to do the “right” things? Do you need to see yourself (or what you would want to see in yourself) in them?

I think media has proven to us ad nauseam that flawed characters are compelling, from classic to modern literature (to movies, TV, video games, social media…). If characters did not make ill-advised decisions, how would we have conflict? But do we have to understand them? Do they have to be like us? Do they have to be sympathetic to be a successful character?

Where is that line?

Upon reflection, I find that I have mixed feelings on these questions (and the reviews). As a writer, I tend to avoid purely “good” characters. I don’t like good at all. I found my voice in creative non-fiction, and I am a deeply flawed person. That awareness of my flaws and defects translated to fiction. My writing is largely driven by the psychology and emotional experience of my characters, and for that to feel authentic, I feel compelled to include ugly truths.

In short, my characters aren’t real if they’re “good”.

I think real people are complicated and so too should characters be. I think they make awful decisions and mistakes. They hid and obscure unsavory parts of themselves. They behave in frustratingly human ways.

In Followers, I really pushed this idea. Sidney, my protagonist, is not a wholly sympathetic character. You meet her after she has ruined her marriage with infidelity. Then she soothes her insecurities by farming attention from online boyfriends. Did I mention she’s not the best mother either? Not savory characteristics but potentially real ones. Do Sidney’s flaws make her an unsympathetic character? Do the reader’s judgments of Sidney’s behavior color the rest of the story?

Sidney may be the most unsympathetic protagonist I have written, but she is not the first.

In Savages, my narrator is a whiny and traumatized reluctant apocalypse survivor. When she discovers a baby, she does everything possible to avoid caring for it to dodge her own painful memories. Who wants to root for someone who won’t help for a helpless infant?

In The Waning, captivity breaks Beatrix down slowly. The entire book is about her not reacting how she thinks she would, not fighting back the way she should. Her psychology and her will unravels. Can you keep fighting for someone who does not fight for herself?

In The Rest Will Come, online dating drives Emma over the edge, but she is obsessed with finding a partner and shallow in her pursuits. She tortures herself hunting for the perfect, hot, tall guy. Who wants the shallow girl to find the one and live happily ever after?

(Really selling my writing, aren’t I? haha)

All of these women, all of my protagonists are flawed if not fully unsympathetic. As a writer, I am drawn to them as my wounded little children. Their defects are what make them real and compelling to me.

Yet, on the other side of the page, as a reader, it is a different experience. Sometimes, a flawed character resonates with me perfectly and is brilliant. Yet other times, the character’s defects clatter against me off-tune, and it alienates me from the story. So… both? All of the time, a perfect or wholly “good” character turns me off immediately.

Perhaps the answer is empathy. Perhaps I tolerate the flaws and poor decisions and unsavory characteristics when I still empathize with the character. I do not even have to like the character, but I do need to understand and feel for them. Where is that line for me? I don’t necessarily know, but I can feel it when the book misses it.

Reading is a subjective experience. The same story and character can be read different by every single person. Every single person can prefer a different reading experience. I can think of many flawed and unsympathetic protagonists. Ones who have enthralled me and others who have irritated me. I wonder if my characters are unsympathetic to some readers or just not compelling enough to them to create the empathy necessary for those readers to go on the journey.

Is this a question of the wrong audience? Or should characters be universal enough to draw the reader into their world, seduce them into their flawed plight?

Ultimately, I would not change any of my characters. Sidney could not get in trouble with online stalkers if she wasn’t nursing her issues in cyberspace with terrible decisions. Emma could not find her homicidal tendencies if she did not suffer the consequences of shallow dating practices. Not only are my characters built on their annoying faults but so are the plots.

So what do YOU need in your characters? Do you need “good” people? Do you need to relate to and understand the characters to care about them? What makes a character work for you?

Who are your favorite unsympathetic protagonists? The best train wrecks from whom you cannot look away? If you like flawed characters, I clearly have a few to offer you…

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

Escapism! Losing myself in books and TV shows and movies.

As an update,
current read: The Fall (book 2 of The Strain Trilogy) by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro
current watch: FROM on Epix

Give me more. What are YOU reading and/or watching?

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

Crossroads

Posted: March 28, 2022 in writing
Tags: , , , ,

I find myself at a crossroads with my writing. Three options, three projects lay before me. Likely, I will eventually pursue all three, but each are deep and labor-intensive. I need to decide where to allocate my energy. I need to determine priority and select a focus.

The Not-Done Novel

After Followers, I quickly completed a new novel. And, for the first time, the story was not in the horror genre. Problematically, that left me completely disorientated on genre.

I drafted the book, revised it, worked it through beta readers, polished it. Then I decided it would be the first book I would query to agents to get published.

I got rejected by 50 agents. (Ouch.)

Clearly, something was wrong with the submission–either the query or the story, or both.

I decided the best way to troubleshoot would be to engage an editor, which, in hindsight, I honestly should have done before querying. I have worked with editors during the publication of all of my previous novels. However, this was my first editing experience pre-publishing contract.

The editor’s decimated the book I thought I was complete (a whole other post on that). To summarize: rewrite. Now, I am left with substantial substantive changes to make.

These proposed modifications present me with the opportunity to return to the world I built and the characters I created. I loved living in them during the initial creation and edits. I could break apart my story and puzzle the pieces into a new configuration. While daunting, I am inspired and challenged by some of these possibilities.

Ideas are perculating.

The Therapy Project

Last NaNoWriMo, I ventured into fan fiction to resuscitate my love for writing. I was able to locate my spark and also complete a short novel in the Scream universe.

The story remains where I left it after the sprinting first draft, so it is still quite raw. But now, what to do with it?

There will never be any formal publication. Do I let it wither and die in a file in some subfolder on my hard drive? Do I give it a polish and post it in serials on my blog?

My inclination is, of course, to release it. To do so, I would need time to clean it up and prepare it, especially through the lens of the latest chapter in the movie franchise. I also would love to have some art to post with it.

The Shiny New Toy

Shiny! So shiny. The new project is usually the most seductive and compelling.

I wrote about Scream in November to loosen my inspiration after all the rejection of my new novel (and life drama). It worked, and a new story idea surfaced between my lumpy grey lobes.

I have been massaging this story slowly over the past few months. Outlining and throwing down words when I feel like it. No pressure compared to how I usually work.

The story is not pouring out of me like some are want to do (Savages, “Freaks”, some of The Rest Will Come, “Malignant”, “Santa’s Workshop”…). However, it does take shape and flow nicely once I hit my stride. I am straddling between a planned outline and winging it. I know where I want to go, and the details are sharpening as I meander through the scenes.

I am allowing myself to establish the foundation in a broad stroke before painting in the finer points. This is how it always works, yet I am being more deliberate about skimming through the first pass this time, getting the basics established to build on. We will see how the strategy plays out.

The writing has been no pressure and pleasant. I enjoy building the world and forming the characters. Writing fresh is always my favorite part of the process. Obviously, this is the most appealing option, so equally obviously, it is the one least advantageous to pursue first.

The Direction

So which way to go? The arduous journey of reworking an entire book? The stalling edit that would yield a series of blog posts? The fresh and new story just getting started?

My heart, speaking based on what I enjoy the most, would say 1. new story, 2. fan fiction posts, 3. novel rewrite. However, my brain, considering what would be smartest and most productive or advantageous would say the complete opposite.

I think I have settled on the following (tentative) plan as a compromise, favoring the pragmatic brain:

  • Get to the next milestone in the new story
  • Outline the restructure of the rewrite novel
  • Restructure the rewrite novel and write new scenes
  • While rewrite novel cools, edit fan fiction novel
  • Post fan fiction novel
  • Edit rewrite novel
  • Return to new story

I get a little of everything I want and continue moving forward. Will it work? Maybe. Will I stick to the plan? Maybe not. But it is worth a try. It is better to have three options than none.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

On Being Edited

Posted: March 9, 2022 in writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

So after Followers and during a pandemic, I wrote another novel. Spawned from a blend of world events and inspiration from random history articles, this story took me out of the horror genre for the first time since I started publishing my work. This story also flowed out of me like Savages, and I felt very strong about it. When I started editing and reworking it, I didn’t change much.

Insert red flag.

Then, when I thought it was ready, it got universally rejected. I know every parent thinks their baby is adorable, but even I could understand that this meant something was wrong with my creation. So, for the first time, I turned to an independent editor outside a publishing house.

I have worked with editors before (on all my published works), and I always use beta readers in my drafting process. Yet this is the first time I have interacted with the editor prior to the submission acceptance and outside the publishing process. Call it a new author experience for me. My authoring career is evolving, and I can hitch this on to the dreadful agent querying process.

My book clearly needed help, so I asked around and got recommendations for an independent editor. I sent her my raw, trembling, little baby, and she (and an associate) went through it before providing me an editorial letter of feedback. Standard process, as I understand it.

OUCH!

It is what I asked for. It is what I needed. But damn, it stung.

With my previous books and stories and my other editors, we have worked my pieces over very collaboratively. However, they have never ripped any apart or suggested severe rewrites. In short, I have been spoiled. I have been pushing my boulders up gentle hills and have just now encountered my first mountain.

Currently, I am in the “processing the feedback” stage. I have the editorial letter, and I am digesting the many ideas therein. Next, I will meet with the editor(s) to discuss and brainstorm. Then the fork in the road–what to do? I will need to decide whether to pursue the story, and if I do, I determine what changes to make to it.

Insert heavy sigh weighed down by how daunting this all seems. Didn’t I just finish this book?

My initial emotional reaction was, with so much feedback, was there was anything redemptive in my book? If the plot and the characters and the names and everything need to change, is the story even worth salvaging? Is it really only the idea that survives? Honestly, these insecure pangs still nibble at the back of my brain as I mull it over.

As I am processing the ideas and they are cooling, the sharp edges are blunting. The looming shadows are scaling down so they no longer blot out the sun and I can see over them. Critiques are gradually reshaping into possibilities. If I can remain pragmatic, I can use this arrangement as intended to improve and evolve my story, to level it up into something an agent will accept.

This is not my first critique and far from my most brutal. This is not new territory. However, I feel like I have been coasting for a while, sneaking by in a sweet spot that did not force me to confront my shortcomings.

As I type this, I know that is what I need to do and also what I will end up doing. My feelings have just not caught up yet. My emotions are wounded and tangled on any part that hurts. Based on rejection on so many other fronts, this just seems to deepen the wound. My brain seeks out the confirmation for the pain. As I work my way through it with this words, I see that what I feel isn’t even really about the book or the editorial feedback.

I had finally pulled myself out of a writing slump and dumped myself into a new story. This has knocked me out of that groove. This has me questioning my writing, my quality.

Unfounded, I know. This is part of it, I know. But feelings are feelings.

I need to remember that I do not always need to be accomplishing something. I can rewrite my novel at my leisure. There is no deadline. I can return to my new WIP whenever I want. It is not going anywhere. It is OK to take the time and take the breaks. It is better to get it right and make it better. I do not understand my own urgency, but I need to undo it.

Deep breath… Next step…

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

One more horror with heart. My latest book Followers! Sidney collects admirers online, yet when they show up in her real life, not all of them want to love her.

You can find Followers on Amazon.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

Back with more horror with heart, we come to my first book, Savages. With potentially the last two survivors of the apocalypse, there’s bound to be some tensions. Enjoy this little snippet.

But you don’t have to listen to me read this, SAVAGES has an audiobook with a much better narrator! Find it on Amazon.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

What gets anyone in the mood more than serial murder? All those true crime documentaries and podcasts have to be trending for a reason…

Hate Valentine’s Day and dating as much as me? I never really even bothered. Then The Rest Will Come might be for you!

Romance turns into the horror as Emma obsessively searches for her one. A search that drives her to murder.

Enjoy this little tidbit from The Rest Will Come.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

“Did you miss me?” she said into the abyss.

I have been out of it as far as writing, posting, connecting. What happened to me?

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies

A New WIP

Posted: January 20, 2022 in writing
Tags: , , ,

Starting a new story or a new project is like dating someone new. The process is fresh and unencumbered. It is pure and charged with infatuation. The story may linger in your mind each day like the traces of a new lover from the night before who carved new pathways on your nerves.

You want to live with that story, spent every waking moment staring into its very soul, even though you’ve only just met. Through the sleek, glowing filter of fascination, your story is perfection–no holes, no rough edges. It fills your mind, so it must saturate the page just as easily.

In that fleeting and torrid introduction, things can be simple.

Then reality creeps up behind you, casting a shadow over you, blotting out that rosy aura around your story. The words cool on the page long enough to crystalize into disfigured shapes. The hard edges require polishing. Business and purpose trail on the heels of reality, pushing incessant whispers of all that needs to be done.

Weight packs into your arms as you massage the words, into your head as you work and rework the plot holes. The light around your story flickers and dims, exposing the withered creature as it reduces down to black letters on a glowing page. A fascinating place becomes a jumble of nouns and verbs and too many adjectives.

You read the words over and over until they lose all meaning, until you have run the line of the story in your brain smooth. Then they bind the words and say it has finally taken on a life of its own.

***

After fan fiction therapy in November, I have started an original novel again. Though I have written a short or two, I have not worked on a book since Green Eyes, and querying Green Eyes and releasing Followers took a toll on my inspiration.

Yet that gap has given me more appreciation for this honeymoon stage of creation. Writing is, after all, my favorite part of writing. After losing my way for a depressive bit, I am happy to wallow in this phase for a while.

What am I writing? Well, all I will say is I am back to my horror genre…

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies