I wasn’t going to write.
In six years, I’ve had exactly one NYCM round that I bailed on. I’d only scored 2 points in the first challenge, and when I got my prompt (Horror) and given that I was deathly ill with the flu that round, I was like, “Yeah… no.” I didn’t feel bad AT ALL about taking care of myself. That was 3 years ago.
Fast forward to last Friday. It was Friday the 13th, and there was a harvest moon, and we sat in the vet’s office and said goodbye to our cranky, beloved black cat, Shitty Kitty. And that was just the topper on a long, stressful week.
I told my husband, “I’ll write if I get a prompt I like. Otherwise, eff that.”
My prompt was Historical Fiction / A Drawbridge / A Baby Rattle.
My response was, “Eff that.”
It’s not that I don’t enjoy historical fiction. I actually love it. It’s one of my favorite genres in the contest. But… it’s brain-intensive, and it involves lots of research. My weekend consisted of a free Saturday and an action-packed Sunday. The contest is only 48 hours to begin with, but I really only had 24.
So I went to bed confident in my choice to tell the whole thing to bugger off.
Then I woke up Saturday morning. Best Husband Ever took our daughter to her early-morning skating lesson, and I vowed to sit my ass on the couch and read and drink coffee. I ended up Googling “Historic Drawbridge Stories.” Because of course I did. One of the first links that came up was an early-education site that had fun facts about Tower Bridge in London. One of those facts grabbed me. I dug deeper.
The story was perfect. The man at the center of the action was, by all rights, a hero. But he was so modest about it that he didn’t want the attention he could have garnered. He just wanted to go back to work. The result was a handful of news stories and a man who all-but faded into history.
I had a first draft done before husband-and-child returned from the ice rink an hour later. After a handful of beta reads and some tinkering, it was done and ready to ship.
As for me? I wasn’t going to write… but I’m so glad I did. It turned out to be just what I needed.
So here you go… my historical fiction: Waterwings.