Monday, 20 February 2012

The Stories Behind the Stories

This post is about the stories in Eleven the
Hardest Way
and what prompted me to write each one.

Adult Education
I got the whole plot for this one from a writing course I attended. The course was taken by NY Times bestselling author Joseph Finder. The topic of the course was creating tension and after explaining different methods of doing so he set us attendees a challenge we had five minutes to write about a killer picking his victims from a class like the one we were attending. Adult Education was just an expansion of the story I wrote that day.

Annie’s Story
For once I didn’t know where this story was going when I sat down to write it. All I knew was it had to start with shapes materialising from out of the woods at dusk. Halfway through writing Annie’s story I thought of the twist at the end which explained everything.

Attacking a Nation
This story came about from a throwaway comment my wife made. It was such an innocuous comment which when ran through my twisted mind, gave me the chance to write about a large scale terrorist attack. Without giving anything away the line is used near the end of the story and allowed me a dig at a very famous person many think of as a fool.

Bobby’s Bar
This was a private investigator piece which I wrote as a closed room whodunit? I’d never written a piece in that style before and it’s only looking back at it that I realise that is exactly what it is.

Crimes of Cashing
I’ve always admired the way that Simon Kernick put the ordinary man in an extraordinary situation within the confines of his own home before creating a chase novel. This was my own effort at writing in that style.

Honeymoon Hassle
When casting for ideas I thought back to an experience my wife and I had on honeymoon. From there I wrote up the story using our middle names for the characters. To clear things up it was ME who paid the guy beforehand not her. The rest is all true including the last line.

Kansas Kindred Killer
I had the crime for this story planned for a few weeks before writing it and when I did finally write it I made sure that all the characters were horrified and affected by the crime. I then wrote it up as a whodunit with a neat little twist at the end.

Lonely Nights
This is basically the fruit of a writing exercise I gave myself. I wanted to write a piece in which there was very little action but one hell of a lot of suggested threat and menace. I specifically chose to have one character and no dialogue as I wanted the threat to be dismissible as the character’s imagination by both the reader and Susie herself.

Shooting Stars
This story was originally a joke I read online. The joke was dismantled and restructured to provide an ironic twist. I first used the story as a piece of micro fiction and then fleshed it out fully to give it more legs. I enjoyed the tale so much I have a sequel written as a draft.

There Goes the Bride
I wrote this for a competition but missed the deadline. One of the competition rules stated that the story must be set in a specific location so I chose my hometown of Gretna Green which gave a perfectly busy tourist destination which allowed the story to have so many imponderables. I wanted to write not only a whodunit but a whydunit. Once again the twist at the end is the explanation.

Under the Cover of the Streets
I wanted to write a dark piece about inner city peril and I had also had an idea for a neat surveillance gadget (perhaps a patent would be a prudent course of action). From there I fleshed it out and added a little twist at the end just as a change.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the stories as much as I enjoyed writing the tales.
Eleven the Hardest Way can be downloaded from Amazon by clicking here.


  1. That is a very interesting piece Graham... It's odd really where we take our inspiration..x

  2. How awesome! I LOVE this! We can gain such insight from others... and inspiration! For example... what about a story about a writer, commissioned by a mob boss to write twelve dark little tales for said mob boss's nephew as a birthday present, but the writer came up dry after eleven... ? Hmmm....

    People are always asking me where I get the inspiration for my stories. they think writers have some 'magical formula' or something we learned in the classroom. I tell them... 'every day things'.... a comment some makes... a chance encounter at the coffee shop... a strange noise in the middle of the night... overdosing on NyQuil/DayQuil (that one is still my favorite story!).

    After reading this, I definitely have to read ELEVEN...