Some stories come easily, some come with great difficulty, but “The Wall” came in the most convoluted way possible. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President I took it as a joke like many people did. Still, it gave me an idea for a small e-collection of linked stories. I had a world I created for a stalled novel where a war with China drove millions of American refugees into Canada. I decided to create my own anti-immigration demagogue for this world and track the descent of one of his followers.
Story ideas came easily, as every time Trump talked about immigration a new idea came to me. What didn’t come easily were the stories. I discovered writing about ugly characters doing ugly things to innocent people didn’t come easily to me. (I’d make a terrible noir writer) Still, I got them down, though I kept on expecting Trump to flame out and that slowed me down considerably.
Finally I got to the last story of the collection, “The Wall” and realized I could go two possible ways with it, either keeping it in my future Canada or write it as a result of the current election. After some reflection I decided to go with the second option. Everything I was trying to create with the collection already existed in a more realistic, and scary, way in the here and now.
My first try was from the point of view of the shooter. It didn’t work, but gave me the idea for Richardson, the lesser of the two sociopaths in the story. After that it was just the usual drafting process for a short story. Definitely not a quick or easy process and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else, but it worked for me, and I’m happy with the result.
You can find it here.