Hey, gang! Today, over at the horror site Inkheist, a new Standalone-story called “Everything Feels Wrong without You” is premiering. It involves a secondary character from the novella, named Martin–at least, that’s what he goes by right now.
“Everything Feels Wrong without You”, like Standalone, deals with movies and our reaction to them–although it’s more references in the novella, and the short literally takes place in a version(s) of Hollywood. Quick little Easter Egg, while I hint at Martin’s origins–they’re a bit, ahem, Arthurian–Billy Settle’s name was an homage to Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (“Settle” here, instead of “Pilgrim”, showing the essential differences between the two characters). This was written around the same time as “The One Thing I Wished for You” (which originally appeared in Unnerving #3)–meaning, the shorts predate the novella. “The One Thing I Wish for You” is included, by the way, as a “bonus” story at the end of the book.
While I was writing Standalone, I got to a point where I needed characters more knowledgeable about the situation than my main folks–I tend to write from what-ifs and have people work their way through the problem, learning as they go–and the character of Martin (or the presenter from “TOTIWFY”, although he’s just called “the man in a black suit” there) popped into my head. Someone who’s been around the multiverse-block and could fill in some blanks for my main people.
Martin’s kind of an antagonist here in the short, while an ambivalent ally in Standalone, but this, like the short story “The One Thing I Wished for You”, is the first time I’ve ever re-used characters. That’s, honestly, kind of exciting for me. I’m not one to have central cast–and anyone who’s read my work knows that the stories don’t tend to lend to them coming back. I tend to, with a few exceptions, loathe series characters in what I read, too, so I’m always wary of repeating characters myself. But, I gotta admit, it was fun.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Hit me up on Twitter to let me know. You can find the story here. Big thanks to Rich Duncan, Shane Keene (who’s been a big supporter I’m grateful to have since Bones Are Made to be Broken), and the entire Inkheist crew.
After you’re done reading, if you want to see more of Martin, and learn more about the multiverse, you can preorder the book here.