Pondering the process

I’ve been thinking about One Last Kiss, which is in to Glimmer Train at the moment. I mentioned the submission in an earlier post.

It’s the first piece of non-genre fiction I’ve written in the past couple of years that isn’t flash. Actually, it started out as both — flash fantasy — but like Alice it grew and grew and grew.

It capped out at almost 6,000 words and I stopped thinking of it as fantasy when I realized that although its protagonist, Gracie Landis, considers using a voodoo spell, the actual casting never occurs.

Funny how fiction can grow and change in the telling. I have heard it said that a story is as long as it has to be. I’m not one of those writers who believes that stories come from some strange and mysterious place outside of me. I sweat out each and every word that I put onto paper (or into pixels) and I know that they all come from my imagination. My sub-conscious, if you like.

But I do wonder sometimes how that works.

Why do some stories come together with such little effort, 900 or 1,000 words when I intend to write 900 or 1,000 words and no more? And why do others have to be almost wrestled into place with more and more words flowing from the fountain even when my conscious mind says that it is time to stop?

Anyway, One Last Kiss is one of those stories that fought me, without let up, until I finally gave in and forgot about word count or genre. And the understanding that Gracie and her step-father, Jerry, come to at the end is so much more satisfying without magic.

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