Are You Receiving? — The story behind the story

My science fiction flash story, Are You Receiving?, was published this past week in Nature’s Futures feature.  I was thinking back on how it came about, and it made me smile.

I am a member of a writers’ group which has challenges now and then, and I had a deadline to complete a flash fiction piece.  I’d attempted a different story, and it wasn’t working at all.  Time was running short.  Only a few hours left.

I sat in my condo and stared out at the courtyard, blanketed in snow.  In the Seattle area, we rarely get much snow, so this accumulation, probably only two inches at most, felt vaguely apocalyptic, and I was thoroughly snowed in.  My car couldn’t get out of the parking lot.

All that snow started looking very oppressive, almost as if was alive.  As if it was aware that I was trapped. Even aware that I was struggling to finish a story.

As that snow started to take on agency in my mind, I suddenly found it making its way onto the page.  Snow is a major feature of Are You Receiving?  One of the first times that I can absolutely point to an object or an event as materializing into a story.

I was very pleased with the result.  Must try that again some time.  (Preferably without being housebound.)

For the Clarion West Write-a-Thon, I got my six hours in.  I have a brand new piece of flash fiction out on submission, and have been working on editing an older story.  I continue work on my Writers of the Future fourth quarter submission.  Two more weeks to go on the Write-a-Thon.

I attended a workshop this past weekend, and it has given me a shot of energy and momentum.  Onward!