Ironically, this is a question that I have yet to really explain properly. Probably because this is a novel concept that I have yet to really see done, especially in the Christian Ficiton genre. I mean, I wrote the stupid thing, if anyone should know what it is about, it would be me. That is just how crazy this concept really is. It was insane to write about. It was insane to develop. It was insane to even think about, even more insane to tell others about it without freaking them out or sounding like I was legitimately crazy.
So, that is what this blog is for! To help explain the story behind The Red Man: A Collection From The Pit. This blog is where everything will be clearer for you as a reader without giving away anything about the novel or any of its themes.
First, What’s Up With The Title? (any Shmoop users in the audience)
As explained in one of my previous blogs, this concept started with a poem, one about this evil entity that became known as The Red Man. The part of the title that I would like to talk about, however, is the subtitle: A Collection From The Pit. The reason why this became my subtitle will actually be beneficial for you as a reader, for it will help you understand what exactly is happening in this story. The reason why it is called A Collection From The Pit is literally because everything you are reading, whether it is a letter, poem, or story (I’ll explain more on why I included these styles of writing), was collected from The Pit. The Pit appeared in the middle of the world, a giant hellacious hole that swallowed up cities like morning pills. This is where The Red Man collects his victims and imprisons them. The Traveler, the protagonist of the story, is one of those poor victims. He has been kept in prison for two years and is a day away from execution. The works that are included in the book were written by The Traveler while he was in prison. The letters, poems, and stories were then found later by the rebel group of the novel, The Remnant. Years after The Traveler’s imprisonment, The Remnant released the works to the world in what is known as A Collection From The Pit.
The letters are a part of the main story of The Red Man. The Traveler spent his final day writing letters to his loved ones, those outside of The Pit, as a way to say his final goodbyes before his execution. He doesn’t know how the letters are going to be given, he just hopes that they get delivered somehow. This is the main text of the story, even though it has less pages than the short stories. These letters give great detail of the sadness, the sorrow, the pain, and even the hope that The Traveler has in his final day of life. The story of The Traveler begins with a letter to whoever finds his writings (in this case, that would be you, the reader). It introduces to the finder who he is and what exactly is happening in the world that he lives in. This then introduces the reader into the story of The Red Man and allows The Traveler to be front and center. He then reveals how there are stories and poems written about his experience in The Pit, his encounters with The Red Man, and how he is trying to remain hopeful while moments away from death.
The poems are very interesting pieces of the novel. Each poem is totally different than the other, making it seem like they were each just written out of nowhere. However, just like every other word, sentence, and phrase written in the novel, each poem has a genuine purpose. The poems were written over the past two years of my life, just off and on in random moments. However, each poem was related with similar themes, concepts, and patterns. In the end, I found that they each were connected. The poems that were chosen, however, I found to have a very special bond with one another. There were other poems written through the two-year span, but the poems that you come across were chosen very uniquely. They are also ordered very uniquely, too. This order is illuminated at the end of the novel, which then gives the poems a strong role to the story (hence go and read the novel so you can make it to the end. Trust me, you’ll love the final poem).
The short stories written in The Red Man will cover the most ground and more than likely be the most memorable. In the novel, there are three stories each with three different chapters. With a total of nine short stories, the majority of the novel will be about a young boy named Brenton Granger from “In the Night,” a man trapped in a desert in “Miles,” and then Victor Prince, a young author from “The Bloody Ghost.” The common element between the stories is a male protagonist against an evil entity. This is to reflect The Traveler’s experience with The Red Man and The Pit. There are elements of fantasy with a dollop of horror to stir up the pot. In another blog, I will cover why I decided to create a story so dark and horrific, but in short, it is meant to highlight the horrors that The Traveler is facing. The reasons why the letters are not as horrific is due to the horror that The Traveler writes about in his stories. If the things that he is writing about are dark and insane, imagine what horrors he is actually seeing outside his prison cell. The stories are vital to the novel, as the readers get a peek behind the mind of The Traveler as he expresses his fear, anger, and struggles with hope through his writing.
As A Writer
One of the main reasons why I included so many different styles of writing is because one of the main themes of the novel is, well… writing. As a writer, there is nothing that is more important to us than being able to use our skills to express what is greatly going on in our lives. It is a way to cope! For The Traveler, he is experiencing more trauma, more violence, and more horror than ever before. He has no choice but to write. Not just stories, but he has to write poetry. He has to write letters. There is way too much pain for just one style of writing to be enough expression for him. This becomes one of the main reasons why the novel was written: to express how important writing can be to me. And really, how important it is to find something to express what is going on in the inside. The horrors, the demons, the monsters that The Traveler writes about symbolizes what is going on within. If we don’t have ways to bring it to life and to realize that it is real, the monsters will eat us from the inside out.
This novel reveals a lot about the monsters under my bed. The ghosts in my closet. The demons inside. This is my expression of it so I could find ways to express it all. It may seem intense to some, being unhealthy to others. But this novel has actually helped me in great ways. It has allowed me to put a face on the struggles in my life, allowing me to actually look at in the eyes. Sometimes in life I think that we try to hide what we are dealing with by saying that it is not that big of a deal or that it isn’t real. Our demons are real! To me, if my demons are real, then I have to believe that hope is real too. Thus, this novel is meant to highlight that concept! In the midst of a dark world, there is a hope out there that is greater. I truly believe that and I hope that this novel helps you see that, too.