Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writing a Short Story

My region is taking a collection of short stories from our local NaNo writers with the express purpose of compiling them into an ebook. The sole purpose of this anthology is for the entertainment of our former ML who had to bail on NaNo completely this year due to her steadily worsening health.

We were told that our former ML has many things that she loves (and so we assume she would enjoy reading about in short story format). This includes: all things Firefly and Nathan Fillion, plot bunnies/ninjas, chick lit, zombies, Doctor Who, Supernatural, getting lost/stranded in Nebraska (that was the plot of a few NaNo novels in our former ML's time), cats, and pirates. By picking at least one element from this list, the current ML's thought it would make a welcome present for our wonderful many-year NaNo ML while she attempts to heal from this debilitating illness.

When I heard that she loves Firefly, I immediately thought that I should write a story about the crappy town where Wash is a hero. Then, I latched onto the idea that reavers are pretty much zombie plot bunnies. It is a stretch, I know. I spent many nights after I hit 50k trying to figure out how to start this damn short story and went to bed frustrated each time. Should I find a script and rewrite that script in narrative with the characters as anthropomorphic critters (so I can fit my zombie plot bunnies in, naturally)? Should I try to write a completely new story, sticking to the regular story of the show? What the hell am I supposed to do here?!

Frustrated with a blank page, I turned to a creative outlet that always lets me rid myself of frustration- doodling. In the end, I ended up with a critter drawing based on every Firefly character. Mal became a wolf. Inara, a sexy cat. The Tams became parrots (cuz parrots are super smart- duh!). Wash- 100% raccoon. Shiny! Zoe became a jaguar. Kaylee is the cutest puffy cheeked squirrel you'll ever see. Jayne- a ferret (because while they sometimes do incredibly funny things, mostly they seem to bite and cause a ruckus). Book- the sage turtle. And last of all- my reaver bunny. The pencil sketches were alright, but they didn't pop on the page until I added ink outlines. I tried to add clothing to each character that would signify who they represented. Wash has a loud obnoxious shirt. Mal has his long coat. Jayne is wearing his hat. Book has his hair. You get the idea. Anyway, I took some creative liberties with my reaver bunny. I colored them in with a combination of markers, wax crayons, colored pencils, and MS Paint with varying results. Most of them looked better as plain ink line drawings.

So that was over a week ago. When I sat down to write this morning, I was nowhere closer to figuring out how to write this short story than I was at the beginning or middle of the month. I gave up. I can officially say this: I do not write fanfiction. It is not my forte at all. However, my reaver bunny stuck with me and I decided to stick with just him. Once I made that decision, the flood gates of inspiration opened for me. I wrote 1.3k in about an hour. No outline. No clue about a plot. I just wrote in my normal fashion- pantser all the way, baby.

This "Firefly fanfic that was" has morphed into a thriller/horror about a zombie rabbit. I read it to L once I finished. She listened like any 10 year old who adores her big sister would. When I finished and asked her what she thought, she smacked me and told our mother that if she can't sleep for the next month, it is all my fault. So I guess I at least got that part right. It is scary enough for a 10 year old at the very least.

So will this short story ever see the light of day? Who knows...I don't have a clue. Maybe it will serve a purpose at some point. If the ML's decide to actually sell the ebook, I'll be sure to provide a link for it for anyone that is interested. Until then, I thought I'd share my zombie bunny (or the "Reaver that was"):

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

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