A friend of mine offered to be a beta reader for “He Sees You When You’re Sleeping”:
This story is about a child who made a child’s choice decision without realising it would entrap him for life. To free himself, he needed to replace himself. So in his desperation, he chose his own nephew… at the same age he was when he made his decision.
Further note: The psychology behind this story is SPOT on! If this was a real event (minus the santa elves thingy) this boys last good memory was with his sister as children. His next memory is that of children desperate but acting out of self preservation. This was his learning years and by the time he became an adult, he would have no understanding of social right and wrongs. So it is not surprising he would choose the closest relative to replace him. Your story is that of the paedophile. He knows no wrong, acting out of self preservation taught as a child. Many might wonder why he chose his nephew. I wasn’t surprised at all as this nephew was the one he could get closest to with out setting off alarms. You even got the age right! Well done. These little boys/men are still children and can not be released from this cycle until the replace themselves. But unfortunately it only frees them for a time.
I had NO idea I was tapping into that particular mindset but now that it’s been mentioned, I can really see that that is what I’ve done. Told the most horrible story imaginable.
Finally, with respect to “Stefano”, this same friend enthused:
“FUCKING BRILLIANT! YES!! This story will make a mother think before following doctors advice. The kid could not awake to save himself due to the drugs so died of fright (even subconsciously causing himself physical harm to fit his… nightmare) a.k.a stigmata. Yes I know this is just a story…but I see horrible reality for so many children kissed off with drugs never getting to the source of the real problem, then they suppress and later it comes out as a story like Uncle John scared me when he grabbed me- he must have touched me etc…… This and He sees you when you are sleeping are stories I respect and hope to see more of them.”
You know, I never thought “stigmata” when I wrote the story, but now I realize that’s what he had and all that that implies. My friend, I noticed, reacted quite strongly to the child-in-danger themes – and they are powerful, if done correctly and not cheesily.
I swear, writing is an exploration into one’s own psyche and the critical response one receives is like “therapy”, for want of a better word. Perhaps that really is the single only reason anyone ever writers anything…….