Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I Knew Then

I just accomplished the unthinkable: I wrote a complete short story in the space of a single week.

Yes, the idea had been bumping around in my head for about two years now, but I hadn't actually gone to the trouble of writing any of it down yet.  Whether it's any good, I can't judge.  But I'm a bit enamored of it for the fact that it has made me feel productive and purposeful, which I needed right now.

I got to thinking about it last night, wondering why now?  What was it about this story that made me decide that now was the time for it to come into being?  As I said, the germ of idea has been alive for a good long while.  If I had written it then, it would have been quite different.  The elements of fantasy would have been severely muted, if present at all.  The character who appears in this incarnation as an outlaw would have instead been a failed artist.  The protagonist would have been older; her husband/betrothed was going to be more of a brute.  The entire story would have taken place in a single conversation around the appetizer table at a cocktail party.

It might have been a decent story, but it would have been completely different from what I ended up writing.  I think I decided to write it now because I wanted to have an entry for our Leafkin anthology, but I'm still not sure that this has anything to do with the folklore theme.  In any case, that added a deadline.  Some of the elements of the story are directly influenced by events in my life that happened within the past month, which makes me wonder: how would my stories be different if I hadn't written them when I did?  How much does a time period, a frame of mind, a memory, a fear influence the telling of the same basic story?



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