Story #4′s idea started with a book on cats published in the 1920s. There was a short blurb about a painting of a cat with eyes that followed you. Those eyes supposedly drove the owners to commit suicide. I tried to do it as a story, but I couldn’t figure out really how to resolve it.
So I put it back on the plate for the 10 Stories in 10 Weeks. I was going to ignore the earlier attempts and start fresh. I was in critique group, and one of the members mentioned a story that gave me a perfect idea for part of the execution. Then it hit me: “Crap. I’ll have to do research.”
A story in a week doesn’t allow much time for research, and this new bit would have required a lot of it. Could I change it so I didn’t need to the research? The story became steampunk, using a technology solution.
But it was still stubborn and didn’t come together. My travel to Balticon, and then to Virginia Beach might not have helped … It was sort of like I had all these different pieces, but not the story itself. I couldn’t figure out how to open it, and I wasn’t entirely happy just having a technology solution.
One of the problems was that I needed to establish the setting. I got too focused on establishing the problem and not on the other parts necessary to resolve it. Once I got the setting into the story, it started to come together. I did have to do some research, but only small stuff:
Women’s Fashion in the 1880s – I was looking for a picture I could describe, and I wanted something with a more unusual color. In cons, the Steampunk costumes are usually brown and white and not the glorious colors the Victorian period is known for.
Historical Fashion – More pictures! The blue dress is what inspired my female character’s clothes.
Women’s Hairstyles in the 1880s – I was glad I looked this up. I was thinking a more severe hairstyle than the one described here.
By the way, the male main character is a war veteran, and disabled, and has post traumatic stress syndrome.
Now I have to figure out where to send it …
For more of 10 Weeks of 10 Stories: