Monday, January 23, 2012

Remains of the Witch—Tony Pi

For the 2011 Codex Writers Halloween Contest, I had received a story seed from another member: “reflection in a pool or other liquid”.  Aside from bobbing for apples, which didn’t inspire me, I remains-of-the-witchwas stuck on how water might be involved with the holiday. It seemed the wrong season for swimming.

Luckily, the phrase “other liquid” was an interesting ‘out’, and seemed like a good starting point for a brainstorm. Quicksilver. Tea. Ink. Poison. Milk. Honey. Oil spill. I had all the makings for a Mad  Hatter’s tea party, but no plot.

So I returned to the Halloween theme and found myself drawn to two of its icons: the witch, and the scarecrow.

That’s when the ideas collided, and I knew I would write about the remains-of-the-witchmelted remains of the Wicked Witch of the West, and a reflection therein. But whose reflection? The story would hinge on that.

From my brainstorming, ‘ink’ had suggested a letter, and I always wanted to write a tale told through epistolary. For me, the draw of the epistolary form is that the letter is an intimate glimpse into the relationship between two people. There are things the letter-writer must have courage to say, or else omit to save face. It can be a plea, a lie, the truth, flirtation, or trifles. I was more intrigued by the dark side of Halloween, so decided on a confession.

A winged monkey seemed fitting, but why would it resort to a letter to tell its tale? I had an answer that only raised more intriguing questions. I also really wanted to write about afternoon tea, after having my first two experiences just months before I began writing this story. Also fortunate was finding a copy of Michael Smith’s Afternoon Tea at home, a recipe book with the history of tea and proper etiquette.

The sum of those inspirations is Remue’s letter.
--Tony Pi

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