Hi everyone! So, recently I returned to Medium after a long, loooong absence, and I realized I never finished my “Behind the Scenes” articles regarding my first published book, Red Sheets. I wrote these articles in spanish, and when I started doing it in english… I just stoped. I can’t remember the reason, so I have no good reason at all! And that’s why I’m back, because I don’t like to have unfinished bussiness.
So this time, we’ll talk about the second story of Red Sheets, “Paint Me”. The most important thing about this tale is that it’s the last story I wrote for the book, and in fact it wasn’t part of the original draft. In its place, there would be another story, but its idea was more appropriate for a comic story and therefore was scrapped of the book.
The exclusion of this story, which we call “The Exile” for practical purposes, left a gap in Red Sheets that, honestly, I had no idea how to fill. I definitely wanted the book to have ten stories and I needed to think of something as fast as possible.
As I mentioned, I like to plan my work, and for Red Sheets I had self-imposed a deadline to finish the writing project. The only advantage of this last-minute change in the draft was that I hadn’t written The Exile yet, so luckily I hadn’t wasted time. But anyway, I was still one story short!
It’s really rare to remember with full details the exact moment in which you had the idea for a story; in the case of Paint Me, I can. I remember I was at my parent’s house, telling them how I was developing the writing project and that I had decided to scrap The Exile; I remember a bit of anguish because I didn’t have another story to replace it; and I remember repeating several times the phrase “something will come up”, rather to self-convince myself than to give the feeling that I had everything under control. And finally, I remember being just about to get in the car to return home, when the idea that gave birth to Paint Me came to me.
The initial kick of the story was Larisa’s portrait, and the idea that her husband, Orlando, would see it long after she had disappeared; the rest was a matter of molding the history for it to take shape. What I like about the tale is that it’s much darker and grotesque than the rest of the book’s stories. It is even more tragic, and I like to say that there are some slight “Lovecraftian” touches, especially about horror and fear, and the human decadency of the main character as central themes. At least, this was what I aimed for when I wrote the story.
Well, that’s all for now. Next week I’ll post a new Behind the Scenes, so stay tuned if you are interested in these articles! See you next time!
Duilio Giordano Faillaci