"Thirteen Words" started life as a desperate attempt to come up with a story in three days based on a prompt I received at Viable Paradise. The prompt consisted of two parts: a theme for a fake anthology and an item I pulled out of a paper bag.
The anthology theme: Cymbid. In a future no one suspected, in a past no one remembers, the cymbid lurks. From horror to hard science, the stories that make cymbids the most exciting plants on the planet by the most exciting science fiction and fantasy writers out today.
The item: a plastic orange harmonica.
The first thing that got stuck in my mind was The Little Shop of Horrors, and it took me hours to get past my memories of that musical and start brainstorming an actual new story. Inside of a day, I had the original idea for "Thirteen Words", but I felt it would be too long to get down in the timespan I had to work in, so I wrote the first paragraph, then moved on to another idea. Seven ideas later, and seven more paragraphs into "Thirteen Words", I gave up on finding a different story and turned my mind to getting my initial idea completed as succinctly as possible.
I sent it off to IGMS, and a few months later received a rewrite opportunity. Edmund felt the story felt rushed, but allowed that he'd be willing to look at another version if I let it play out more slowly.
His comments made complete sense to me given how I'd written the story. So I went back and added in all the things I'd left out in my original rush to complete it, including an entire scene I'd skipped in my dash to the finish line.
The rewrite met with approval in the form of an acceptance, and I'm very happy to see my 'Horror that was Thursday' story live on IGMS.
--J. Deery Wray