I finished up at two a.m last night. That’s not my favourite thing to do, although I definitely work better at night, after the damn’ family is in bed and shut up. Most nights I finish at about midnight. Rise and shine is 0700, but I’m usually well awake a half hour before that. I’ve always been a night person. There seems little I can do to change that, so I figure I’ll just work around it.
Anyway, I was finishing up a short story. I got tagged to submit to an upcoming anthology. I’m not sure of protocols on all this stuff, so I won’t mention who or where or why. And heck, if the story doesn’t get accepted there, think what a prawn I’d look!
Anyway, it’s an interesting piece. Most short stories you can polish — and indeed, you should. A really good short story should slide under the reader’s skin without them noticing, and go off like a bomb in their brain. You need to balance your prose and your poesy against the narrative needs of the piece, and it’s the devil’s own job to do it well enough.
This one, though… there was a self-limiting quality to it. Without going into too much detail, the idea that fell out of my head in response to the anthology notes was a simple question: what if Adam and Eve weren’t the only couple in Eden? What happens to the story of The Fall if there’s a different perspective?
And naturally, I did it in King James Biblical. Because it’s familiar. Readers know the Biblical version of Genesis. Lines like “And the evening and the morning were the fifth day” can come from nowhere else. So by working with the biblical language and structure, I aim to lend that same solemnity and gravity to my take on the story: in fact, I aim to use that familiar structure to ease my new and unfamiliar elements into place for the readers.
It’s not the usual approach for a short story, no. But it makes sense this time, for this piece.
About three thousand words. If it makes the cut, I’ll let you all know. Meanwhile, I have three more short stories to do, a full-length novel sequel to finish, and large chunks of work and study to do on my Masters degree.
Hear that? That’s the sound of a keyboard wearing out.