Week 4 of 10 Weeks of 10 Stories

Woman in dress from the Civil War
I took this at a Civil War fashion show a few years ago. The woman hand-made this costume herself.

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:

6 thoughts on “Week 4 of 10 Weeks of 10 Stories

  1. I love seeing writers set goals and then stick so determinedly to them. It is so encouraging to the rest of us writers. I also like hearing about the struggle in writing. Writing is not easy, and we have to keep that in front of us. If it were easy, there would be no challenge. And we learn something from each challenge, don’t we.


    1. Janice, one of the things about having the stories be done in a week is that it really forced me to figure out how to fix the problem, and right now. Before, if I got really stuck like that, I’d set it aside and return to it — much later, revise it to try to fix it, and then break the story.


  2. Pingback: Week 5: 10 Stories in 10 Weeks | Linda Adams

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