Back in 2006 I experimented with the idea of rolling out a novella length story in blog format.
The idea was the story would be told from the POV of a young man, Peter O'Mallick, who was writing an online journal as a way of dealing with the loss of his girlfriend and the belief he was inflicted with a death curse, causing others around him to die.
The story was called "I, Death" and was inspired by an extremely short story I had originally written when I was about 16 as well as a sequel to that tale, which I wrote when I was 20.
I had taken these "truck" stories and, finding something worth exploring further, was going to attempt to merge them into a slightly longer, combined piece.
That's when the idea of rolling out the tale in blog format struck me. I took the original short piece, which was told in person first narrative, and started to modify the structure into an online journal format. By the time I had constructed the first three or four posts I thought it might be fun to tell the story live. All I knew for sure were a few specific plot points I wanted to cover as well as how the tale would end. Everything else would be constructed on the fly and filled in as I went.
So, on Wednesday January 18, 2006, I began to tell Peter O'Mallick's tale. Or rather, Peter started to tell his tale. A few friends started following the story. People started to comment. Some of them, who thought Peter was real, needed to be contacted to have their minds put at ease and ensured they knew that both he and his tale were fiction - intrigued with Peter's unfolding story, they continued to follow along.
One of the great things about making the story up as I was going is that I had the pleasure of responding to comments and feedback and modifying certain story elements as I went along, either to tease the readers or to play upon the things that touched them the most.
At one point, there was even a "two paths in the woods" moment where I wasn't sure if I should go left or right, and the readers responded with their votes which affected my decision.
When the story finished, the sequel storyline (which had still been mostly untouched) was still there; but I had invested so much time in character development that I was moved to keep writing the story -- as in, sure, this tale is over. But what might happen next? How might this tale continue?
Those questions were eventually answered with a book length manuscript that incorporated the original online journal. After a couple of years of pitching the book, it found a publisher. My novel I, DEATH is scheduled to be released in November 2012 by Atomic Fez.
So what better way to celebrate than by offering readers who weren't along on that first journey to enter Peter's world, see the pain and tragedy through his eyes? Particularly since the years lined up perfectly and Wednesday January 18, 2006 so easily transforms into Wednesday January 18, 2012 - at least date-wise. Some elements, of course, needed to be updated to better suit the setting. I mean, I couldn't have Peter visiting a Borders anymore, now could I? Just kidding. The story takes place in Levack, Ontario (where I grew up) and in Sudbury, Ontario (about 45 minutes SE of Levack and, from the POV of a person growing up in Levack, the nearest "big city.")
The story, which does tell a complete tale in and of itself, is speculative horror of an extremely graphic and adult nature. It is not for the faint of heart and contains adult situations meant for those 18 or older.
If you're interested, you can check out the tale as it unfolds on Peter's blog, you can also subscribe to the RSS or even receive the story via email. For those who prefer all their action in Facebook, I've created a profile for Peter O'Mallick there so the story can be consumed within that realm.
And if you're following the tale along, do let me know what you think . . .