In my experience as a reader, depictions of depression or suicidal ideation in fiction are most often conveyed through social realism or otherwise realistically grounded writing. This makes sense given the subject matter, as one would intuitively think to depict mental or emotional trauma in a very sobering way, but I felt that one could merge the topic with a more absurdist, magical realist-inspired style while staying reverent to the emotional experience. I also find that stories that approach their subtext too seriously can stray very easily into plain didacticism, as opposed to a work that tries to entertain first. I concluded that conveying the experience of isolation and depression through metaphor would be the most emotionally rewarding or enlightening experience for the reader. The central premise of the story is, to me, a metaphor; a young man isolated from society, and haunted by past experiences, who comes to be literally haunted by ghosts with similar experiences. From that starting point I wanted to explore the perspectives of several of the ghosts in a multiple-protagonist format, structuring the present-day storyline around the flashbacks of three of the ghosts. I wanted each of the ghosts' backstories to present a kind of variation on the larger cultural "depression narrative", with some of them perhaps being more recognizable cultural symbols (such as Kryz in the role of the traumatized former soldier), but all being shown in specific, idiosyncratic ways. The content of each ghost's storyline came, again, from thinking of ways to metaphorically represent their particular emotional issues; Sarah, for example, literally has no shadow in a world of people with shadows, while Kryz's job on a film set full of artifice may mirror the artificiality that he sees in everyday interaction. These flashbacks making up the bulk of the narrative puts the ostensible lead character, Officer, in a backseat-narrator position a la Nick in The Great Gatsby, with the ghosts' experiences also working to inform his emotional status. I feel that the form of a work of fiction should reflect the nature of its content in some way, and given that my subject matter is mental illness, it made sense to me to arrange the various stories in a fragmented fashion, taking inspiration from authors like Thomas Pynchon and Irvine Welsh, as well as the non-fiction book A Brief Introduction to Madness. Finally, I wanted to convey a sense of absurdity in the events of the story, again taking influence from these authors. In my experience and observation, depression and mania are often responses to a world that makes little sense, from people unable to cope with the reality around them. I feel this goes hand-in-hand with an absurdist view of the world, and hopefully the unrealistic details of these stories, and the way character treat them as normal, should convey a sense of bafflement for the reader.