Monday, September 17, 2012

The Butcher of Londinium—J. Deery Wray

I came up with the initial idea for "The Butcher of Londinium" while the-butcher-of-londiniumskimming through a Jack the Ripper book for information on police procedure in 1880's London. At the same time, I was watching the first season of Spartacus. The two merged in my head, and I began to toy with the idea of a serial killer, sentenced to die in the arena, who made a deal with a Lanista to survive. Could the gladiators come to accept him? If so, why? What about a man who'd lost everything because of him?

Since I had Jack the Ripper in mind, I set the story in an 1880's alternate version of England where the Romans had never left. Surgery gave me a link between the first and second question, as well as a reason the Lanista might be willing to deal.

the-butcher-of-londiniumStill, it didn't seem like quite enough to me. I needed something more, an emotional center that could tie everything together, and put the two main adversaries, the serial killer and the wronged man, in conflict not just because of past events, but also in terms of present ones.

So Stolo was born.

Once I had Stolo, I knew I had all I needed to start the story. But then I hesitated. I began to doubt if I could pull off a first person story from the point of view of a serial killer. Maybe I should just move on to some other, easier idea? I decided to go ahead with the story anyway as I realized I'd fail harder by not trying at all than by trying and not pulling it off.

I'm glad I did.

-J. Deery Wray

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Flower of Memory—Michael Haynes

This story was written not long after I returned to writing from one ofthe-flower-of-memory many long hiatuses. At that point, I was experimenting with all sorts of ways of finding story inspirations. One of these, which only lasted a very brief while, was to have visitors to my blog vie to present me with the most interesting prompt they could find for a short story. I'd then write the story and present it on my blog. The idea didn't really catch on and this series on my blog ended after two iterations.

For the second iteration, I was given an image of a rose against snow. I played with a couple of story ideas. For my blog, I wrote a story about college romance -- the rose here being a peace offering discarded by its recipient.

But the imagery stuck with me and the other idea I'd had, about a flower in a ruined greenhouse and a landscape prematurely gone to winter, didn't want to be cast off. The J. M. Barrie quote used in the story is one I'd come across when considering epigraphs for a now-trunked story about a memory-recording service. The image and the quote came together to create this story, which I'm very glad to have seen published in Intergalactic Medicine Show.

-- Michael Haynes