A few months ago the Literary Mixed Tape writers of Nothing But Flowers were called to duty with a number of new emerging writers and where asked to submit a song from 1989. I Googled and Binged my way through the top 100 songs of the year and was surprised at how many I remembered. I shrugged off the depression that came with the realisation you are getting old and shifted through a few favourites. I figured I better pick a song I could easily write a story on. I ended up choosing Toy Soldiers – Martika. I didn’t have a story idea, more an emotional reaction to the song. I knew then I could probably write some haunting, melancholy, dark, twisted piece for our Editor Jodi Cleghorn.
Oh, but I should have known better. Jodi, always keeping us on our toes, then let us in on her devious plan. We were not writing to OUR song choices. All of our songs and names went into a hat and via video we watched and waited in anticipation of what song the random hat Gods would bestow on to us. I did the token moaning and groaning – we can’t make it too easy on the Editor can we?
My song prompt was Deacon Blue’s – Real Gone Kid. Go and check the lyrics and you’ll see what a task I had before me. I downloaded the song from iTunes and listened…awaiting inspiration.
The extra pressure, like I needed any more, was this happened to be the Editor’s song choice. Audible gasp…I know. What story did the editor have in mind when listening to the song? Was I about to piss off the Editor by submitting a story a million miles away from what she’d envisioned for the song? Oh crap.
I tortured myself with that for a couple of hours.
So, I had this song. Deacon Blue Real Gone Kid Random, doesn’t make much sense, but it was catchy. Catchy won’t help me though. What the hell was I going to write about?
I had another problem. Let’s call this problem Story A. Story A had been floating around in my somewhat crazy writer brain for about two weeks before getting the 89 song prompt. Story A was a persistent little shit. An attention seeking little monster, similar to a spoilt 2 year old. It wouldn’t step aside for a few days so I could work on 89. Nope, Story A demanded every waking minute and even crept into bed with me. I thought that was a little rude.
The two main characters in Story A were demanding to be brought out, to live, to breath. They were not going to wait so I could write some little story. They wanted out NOW. Every time I sat down to work on 89 Story A would come out with fists up and ready to rumble with any other story idea that dared to come up and get in their way.
‘Oh, for the love of crumpets,’ I said. (There were small children nearby.)
So I gave up. I thought if I quickly wrote a draft for Story A and let the characters out maybe then I could write the 89 story. I only had three weeks to submit the 89 after all. So the pressure was on. I sat furiously writing everything I could think of, committing all of Story A to paper.
It was a good idea, pity it didn’t work. Story A was going to be a big project. It would take weeks to write on its own. Now what was I going to do?
After a little tantrum with a few choice words screamed at my computer (little children were a daycare that day) inspiration hit. Why not do a back story for Story A? I mean, I did have to write a story set in 1989. How old would my characters have been back in 1989?
Woohoo, praise the writing Gods. Everyone was happy. Story A was getting attention and I would be able to meet the 89 deadline.
So, Declan and Liam finally were allowed out. The 10 and 15 year old versions of them anyway. Of course there was a lot to consider. I had to make sure 89 would blend with the future story these two boys would grow up to live.
I must say I had loads of fun. Declan and Liam would have to be my favourite characters besides two out of my novel. They feel real to me. (seriously not crazy…it’s a writing thing..hehe…well that’s what we tell ourselves anyway) Declan and Liam both feel like real people to me which is a sign their characters are strong.
So ‘Blueprints In The Dark’ was born. I am quite proud of the finished product. It’s a shame we only have 1500 words to work with because I am sure I could have gone into more detail…and maybe I will revisit that at some stage. But for now I hope you enjoyed the story. I hope you started to feel a little of the love I have for these two boys. Because Declan and Liam are being developed into Brothers Black, a series of short stories that will find their way to ebook very very soon. A taste of what is to come is posted under the Tuesday Serial tab on this blog.
Now go read all the other fantastic stories from Eighty – Nine online live now for the next 24 hours and then get over to Amazon.com and pick up a copy.
Rebecca L Dobbie