Friday, October 26, 2012

Write What You Want—Eric James Stone

For several years, the Codex Writers forum has held a contest called "Weekend Warrior." For five straight weekends starting in January, several writing prompts are posted on Saturday morning, and contestants must submit a flash fiction story based on a prompt write-what-you-wantby Sunday night. Last year, on the final weekend, the prompt-giver included a very open-ended prompt: "Write anything you want."

Naturally, I had to find a way to put a twist on that prompt, so I decided to write a story about writing what you want.  And because I sometimes like to experiment with style and form while writing flash fiction, I decided to intersperse things people wanted between each paragraph of the main storyline.

I'm not sure exactly how I came up with the plot, but it was probably something similar to this train of thought: OK, so people write what they want on a piece of paper, and someone does what? Grants the wish? Too straightforward. How about he takes that want away? That might work. Why does he do it? Because sometimes what we want gets in the way of our own happiness.  So he's a good guy for doing this.  But where's the conflict? What if someone comes in with a want that shouldn't be forgotten?  And at that point I had the basic plot.

Most of the stories I write tend to be about people who face awrite-what-you-want problem and overcome it by the end.  This story is not like that.  I did write an alternate ending where the main character tricks the girl's father into writing something so that the magic could be used against him, but after writing it I felt that ending trivialized the problem of sexual abuse. And I don't think that's something that should be trivialized.


--Eric James Stone

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