Story: The Three Billy Goats Gruff
My Thoughts: I came up with the idea for this story years and years ago while volunteering at my local library. There's a reading nook in the library, and I could just picture Olly and Maylyn in it, enjoying a story together. To this day, I enjoy working in the children's area and listening to a parent deliver a really good reading of a book to their child. Some kids can't sit still long enough, other kids let their attention drift, but some kids are fascinated and love a good story, especially when it's told well. I went home, prepared to write this story, and accidentally wrote the sequel instead, a document I named library2.docx. But where was library1.docx? Only in my mind. For years. And I couldn't post the sequel without writing the first one, of course.
So I finally got around to writing this. It's funny the number of goat videos/memes that found me during the week, as if pressuring me to finish writing this once and for all. I'm glad I finally did; I so enjoy writing Olly and Maylyn (whose situation only is loosely based on my sister's, mainly so that I could get the timeline correct in my head). Ohhh the timeline. Maylyn is in kindergarten in this story, which puts her at 5 years-old. I pulled up my trusty expreadsheet to see what year that would be and found... that I'd neglected to put Maylyn into the spreadsheet! Her mother, Swan, was there. Toby the dog was there. Even Marty's roommate was there. But no Maylyn. And no Ace either! After some quick math (she was adopted at age 2 and the series starts in 2004 one year after her adoption, according to "Olly's Story") I was able to set this story in 2006. This also means I may need to adjust a few of the other stories that feature Maylyn carefully, now that I know when she was born.
Next week, I hope to post library2.docx... once I come up with an actual title for it.
Story: Not That Kind of Girl
My Thoughts: Okay, yes, it's convenient that one of my only non-male characters falls for one of my only other non-male characters. But once you get over that, I hope you see the beauty in the two of them getting together. First there's Ace, who has issues. Then there's Julia, who has issues. Ace has a difficult time trusting anyone. Then there's Julia, who trusts everyone far too easily. Together, they form a solid and stable partnership... in theory!
This story shows how they meet each other. Given their mutual friends, it's surprising their paths hadn't crossed before. But I liked having their first meeting merely coincidental, because it meant the attraction was genuine, not a setup. And I personally love the idea of Julia being attracted to all the parts of Ace that might confuse others. Ace is such a wonderful, many-sided character and definitely deserves someone who appreciates it all. And Julia deserves someone who isn't going to take advantage of her, manipulate her, or abuse her.
Parts of this story were inspired by my own times behind the wheel. There is little I would rather do than drive for a living, but the opening scene with the windshield wipers was one I had been wanting to write for years, inspired by a time driving home from a Writers' Roundtable meeting. And the flooded road was one I had to face during a freak summer rainstorm one afternoon. Unlike Julia, I stupidly drove right through the high standing water (the car behind me made it almost impossible to do anything else). Luckily, I drive an SUV and was just fine (apart from my high-pitched scream as I drove through). A limo probably couldn't have made it, though.
Story: Missed Opportunity
My Thoughts: I started writing this story so many years ago after I saw a man on the Metro who was the spitting image of my mental image of Nik. I kept thinking of him after the Metro ride. Not long after, I came across a missed connections column in a local paper, where people have a chance meeting and want to see each other again. The two things melded together in my mind and this story was born.
I was on a roll with the story up until it came to the reaction of the piece in the news. I had no idea what anyone would do about it, least of all Pit. And after so many years of not knowing, I was afraid the story would never be finished. I picked it up a few times last month to no result. Last week, I gave it one more try and the rest of the story just popped right out!
I hope that, like Nik, you're not disappointed by the way the story ends.
Story: Late Call
My Thoughts: Don't Ask, Don't Tell wasn't just difficult for those serving, but also for those back home. In this story, I used a phone call from Trip to explore this. The housemates have to be careful what they say on their end, not wanting to give anything away. Trip chose this path in life and he trained for this; the housemates, on the other hand, find it harder to deal with. They're both proud of him and worried for him.
Sweetie, who is definitely an F for Feeling in Myers-Briggs, takes the lead and does the most talking. Olly, who is used to trying to keep people alive and healthy and who can do nothing as his friend heads to war, is mostly quiet. And Nik, like Toby, is just glad to hear from his friend.
The nature of Nik and Trip's relationship is something of a mystery to even me. They bond over the dog, but there's definitely more than that. Nik is the person Trip goes to when he has a bad dream or when his PTSD is too much for him to cope with on his own. Nik loves fiercely and protectively, and I'm guessing Trip is drawn to that. Which is not to say there isn't something more between the two of them, of course...
My favorite part of the story (apart from tough boy Trip talking baby talk to his puppy) is imagining what Auntie Al will think when he finds the remnants of the impromptu late night ice cream party on the kitchen table in the morning.
I've been wanting to give Strokes its own domain name for a while, and .INK gave me a deal I just couldn't refuse. Something like StrokesStories.ink or StrokesSeries.ink would have made more sense, but it would be too easy to leave out a middle S. And StrokesVerse.ink sounded like I write poetry instead of creating a universe of characters. So I went with StrokesFiction.ink.
I'm having fun playing with Weebly's built-in banners but finding their WYSIWYG frustrating and limiting. But I'm willing to give it a try for a while. Feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think!
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