Since it’s a fifth week, but we already did a contest this month, we’ve got something different for you today! We decided, in honor of shifting Merry Fates over to wordpress, to look back at the very first stories we posted… way back in May of 2008. In the three years since then we’ve each posted something near 100 short stories (!!!) and have learned SO MUCH. Not just about communicating with the internet and entertaining you, o readers, but about ourselves as writers.
Below, find links to our first stories, and a brief paragraph from each of us about what we think we’ve learned! Next week the schedule resumes as normal, with fiction every Monday!
Brenna’s first: Alternative Hypothesis
The first story I wrote for Merry Fates wasn’t actually a story—I just didn’t know that at the time. I was very conscious of rhythm and enjoyed the business of carefully placing one word after another, but I really had no way of distinguishing between stories and vignettes. Things my first story lacks that most stories have: Characters. Setting. Plot. Things it has in massive quantities: Voice. The thing I’ve learned since starting in 2008: Voice is a nice tool to have, but only once you can brush it on like lacquer over all those other pieces.
Tessa’s first: Beast
My most pointed reaction to rereading this first story is amusement that it’s proof I’ve used Merry Fates as a place to experiment from the very beginning. I think I’ve learned how to turn my experiments into an actual story, with beginning, middle, end, character arcs, and world, but I can still see what I was trying to do back then: play with form, and tell a story by answering a single question over and over again. It’s still so very me when it comes to language, though, and fairy tale tropes. The more things change…
Maggie’s first: Holes
I remember very clearly that this first story took me an entire week to consider. An entire week of thinking of one slight story. Back then, I still think building instant characters was my strong point, but that was literally all I knew how to do. I picked a fairy tale retelling because I couldn’t imagine how to create both new people and a new world in just one week’s time. What have a learned since May of 2008? How to build worlds in the time it takes to make a pot of rice.
What do YOU think about our first stories? Think we all still sound like ourselves? I hope you’ll agree that we’ve just gotten better. It was part of the original goal of Merry Fates, after all – to improve!
photo credit: Natalie C Parker, 2010 The Merry Fates at St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery, New Orleans