My prompts for the second round of the Short Story Challenge were action/adventure, animal rights, and delivery driver.
My brain spun round and round through cosmetic and medical testing, carriage horses, owl cafes, and landed on dolphins. After researching quite a bit about Taiji cove, I wrote a pretty serious short story about three characters (Kiyomi, Naoki, and Tom) sneaking into the cove to cut nets and free a dolphin pod. The story illustrated the horror of the Taiji dolphin slaughters and captures. It’s a cause I care a lot about. It was a kind of intense little story.
Okay, I thought. This has some promise.
I sent it off to some folks for beta reading. They mostly liked it.
Until one of my beta readers–okay, it was Gary, my husband–said: “You haven’t made this story your own” and “I love when you take these prompts and find some completely crazy and unexpected direction for the story. Dolphins seem kind of…obvious. A bunch of people might write about dolphins.” [Disclaimer: he said none of this verbatim, but this is what I heard. Actually, when I was paraphrasing him before, I said that he said, “Everyone will write about dolphins and there’s nothing interesting or original here and this story sucks.” He claims he didn’t say that. I guess I believe him.]
I started thinking about what I do best, which is fantasy and science fiction. Action/adventure can be SFF…. Maybe I needed to shake things up a bit. Gary said, “You have time to write something new.”
Start from scratch? When I already wrote one story for a 72 hour challenge?
Right about then, my friend John (also a writer) left me a voicemail and said, “Write to your skill set. You can blend genres and make your story SFF if you’re not feeling what you already wrote.” [Again, that’s probably not exactly what he said. I could listen to the voicemail again and quote him, but I’m too lazy.]
I moped around. I sulked. I sighed in frustration. I moped some more. I was really, really, really grumpy. I had like seven million ill-formed ideas and wrote some random sentences.
Then, I just started having fun. A story basically poured out of my brain onto the page and made me giggle quite a bit of the time. I wrote the whole thing in less than three hours.
It’s a ridiculously frothy, funny story that plays with action/adventure conventions in a SF setting. We’re talking high school ninja-girls and animals worn as jewelry and a high speed spaceship chase. Yes, it touches on animal rights, but with the lightest of light hands.
I’m submitting the second story. I have no idea how the judges will feel about such a zany, genre-blurring story.
But I can guarantee they won’t read another story like it. I probably won’t post the whole thing here, because it may have quasi-publishable legs, this wacky little story. I’m happy to share it with individuals, though. If you want to read it, just let me know! 🙂
It’ll be about five weeks before I hear if I make it to round three, so stay tuned.