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Story of the anthology story

I’ve been working on a short story for an anthology on and off since mid-October. I did a ton of research up front, then wrote a way too long time travel story based on a shipwreck. A week later I came back up for air and discovered that I’d missed key ingredients needed: Fun! Summery! Not mentioned in written documents I had for the anthology, but in the group chat afterwards, it seemed emphasized.

So I started new research for a lighter version. Picked a subject to base my new story around, dug out the parts of the original story that wouldn’t work, and started re-writing. It was going slowly. My problem was that I loved my location and it was problematic. I didn’t want to use a different one, but this one was hard to make summery.

One night I had a dream about a little girl in a closet full of dresses from every era. I tried to put her out of my mind until later, but she popped up now and again.

I was super busy with other things last month, so I had very few writing days on this project. Last week I gathered up all my research, pulled out the bits of the original story, and started playing with the ideas. The little girl from my dream came back and told me exactly where she fit in.

Yesterday I sat down and wrote 7,000 words for the new story in about four hours. Today I spent another nine hours trying to whittle that back down to 5,000. Tonight it goes out to my critique group for round one of critique edits. I’m hoping the heart of the story shines through, even with the cuts. We shall see.