This formatting piece was composed with inspiration from Emily Carroll’s distinct style of parentheticals, layout, and patterns that so instill the atmosphere of her work. Every quirk, change, or abnormality in the writing is a reflection of Carroll’s intentions. Whether an aside representing the narrator’s internal struggle or an alternation between vertical and horizontal scrolling on the webpage, every detail is planned out by the artist.
My goal in creating this piece was to draw attention to Carroll’s formatting style as an art form and how it contributes to the constant paranoia of her character’s minds. I used words like “doubt” and “repetition” to portray the way in which she gives these brief characters so much depth as well as providing the reader with a more complicated narration style. All of these factors contribute greatly to the ambiguity of her work and how not knowing can be far more suspenseful than knowing.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Viktor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of life and death following the death of his mother, and it seems that her absence is what drives him to eventually create the infamous monster that will consume his every thought for the rest of his (short) life. He must have subconsciously thought that building this creature and bringing it to life would somehow satisfy the part of his brain that was traumatized by his mother’s death, and that gaining some control over death itself might heal his broken heart. In my poem It Grows, I tried to evoke some (very gruesome) imagery of the ideas of decay, and some sickly life growing out of it, as the monster did both figuratively—since his existence is due largely in part to Frankenstein’s mother’s nonexistence—and literally—since he is made out of body parts of men and animals. The seed in my poem is the monster, but it also is the monstrous part of Viktor that grew inside of him after his mother died. The poem is supposed to be from Frankenstein’s perspective, but it could be the innermost thoughts and emotions of any person plagued by the death of a loved one (primarily a mother figure). Viktor Frankenstein is a very dark and morbid individual, evident in his grotesque creation, and I think this poem illustrates that.
I was partly inspired by the way Emily Carroll deals with ambiguous endings in her web comics—by having descriptions in the beginning and middle hinting at different conclusions. However, I feel that the ending of my piece is less ambiguous. Although, one could vouch for the beast being an actual creature and/or just a monster-like human.
I was also inspired by Frankenstein. For one thing, I borrowed the image of “dull yellow” eyes from the moment when Frankenstein’s monster awakes. Moreover, in Chapter 5 of Volume I, Victor refers to a section of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” when he feels like the creature he created is following him. Almost everyone has had that same fear before—especially when they’re walking around dark places. Darkness can be very scary and your imagination can find all sorts of creatures and dangers roaming in it. And sometimes, there really is something in the darkness.
When reading the part in Frankenstein when Victor discovers William has been murdered, I wanted to know exactly what happened to him. I wanted to be told how he felt before he died, what he thought before he died, and what he saw before he died. I find it intriguing to see the view of the victim before his/her end. I wanted to write what I imagined happened to him. I wrote my piece in the first person because I wanted to explain what happened through the eyes of the murdered. I wrote that Frankenstein’s monster killed William because I do not believe Justine performed the horrific act and it also made sense to me. The monster is just confused and trying to make sense of everything and everyone around him. I wanted to leave it up to the reader to decide if the monster meant to kill William or if he was only trying to seek his help.
I’ve had this short little piece of fiction on my back burner for a while. At the time that I started it, I’d been going through a Kate Griffin phase. Her urban fantasy (e.g. Matthew Swift series, Magical Anonymous, etc.) engages with a unique perspective of the modern world – where magic and Other Things can be found not in nature, but in the metallic, electric world we now live in. How are perfectly ordinary objects and people sometimes made greater or strange by a shift in perspective? I was inspired by the ways in which she – and Stephen King to an extent – juxtaposes eerie atmospheres against wry narrative voices to create this novel effect. Griffin also plays on the “we” versus “I” division (as in, there is often very little separating the individual from the community) and I tried to capture that in my language.