OK. I started writing this 12,000-word short story. The specs say to send it, especially if you think they'll never buy it because ya might be surprised.
So, I sat down to write a 12,000-word story. I've written and sold 8,000-word stories. What's 4,000 more words? I picked two names out of the air just to give me a starting point, and I began to write. When the pace slowed, I threw another elephant in the room. And I added some more characters here and there. All of those characters had to have names so I decided to surf to one of those websites that has baby names and their meanings.
Did I say I snatched names out of the air?! I checked the meanings of the names for the characters that I had. And the meanings of their names all fit with the characters! I kid you not! Mind you, I checked the meanings AFTER I had the first draft nearly finished!
This story has gripped me. I have written others that I didn't finish. I walked away from them. But I can't walk away from this one. It won't let me go! Research. I need to research.
Avian flu. Check. Uh-huh.
Pandemic. Check. OK.
Dreams. Check. I didn't know that!
So I wrote some more. But there was something missing. Research. I need to do MORE research.
Black Death. Check. I knew that stuff, but it's good to refresh.
Physical and spiritual death. Check. I knew that, but I'm puzzled about some of it.
Dreams...are they in the wrong sequence? Yes. But moving them around...UGH!! What a challenge! Am I leaning too heavily on dreams? Should they be blended into series of dreams rather than separate dreams?
More research. I need more research! Meanings of terms that I've got to understand to make this story work.
A closer look at the theme of my story.
Research. We're born, we die. When we die we go to Paradise or Tartarus until Judgment Day when we are directed either to Heaven (if we're good), Hell (if we're not.) The sermon was at church. But it sounded an awful lot like mythology to me. More research.
The Bible...Old Testament, to study about the main character's namesake. The Annals of the World to help me comprehend the times the namesake lived in.
Why can't I just write a good story?
My mother suggests that God is trying to direct it. He intends me to write it.
Update coming soon to a blog near you. (Well, it'll have to be this one.)