The Box Of Beautiful Things:
1 - The Title
Titles come from all kinds of places. There's a Scottish singer-songwriter called Jackie Leven who has some really great song titles (and some really great songs, though the two don't always match up). On one of his albums is a song called "Burning The Box Of Beautiful Things", which I just thought was a great image. So I decided to write a story about the box. I just didn't quite know what the story was...
2 - The Story
On-line, I hang at a writing group called Liberty Hall, run by the wonderful Mike Munsil. There are weekly writing challenges; you get ninety minutes to write a story, kicked off by a trigger, which may be a word, a quote, a song lyric, a picture... anything. It's a great way to get butt in chair and actually produce stories. Back last year, the trigger was a picture of a doll, with a porcelain mask and a vivid purple robe. I looked at the trigger and, as I usually do, I just started writing; and what I started writing began "There was only beauty in the great box.." Under 90 minutes later, I had the story, and I sat back, and for once (and this is a very rare thing for me) I said to myself "I've just written something bloody good". Critiques by other members of the site helped me hone it down a little, but it really didn't get changed much. Mostly, it's there, just the way it was in that 90-minute period of intense inspiration.
3 - The Character
Heh. That's another story. Indeed, that's a lot of other stories. I'm really hopeful that everyone's going to be seeing a lot more of Yi Qin.
There you go.