My run of short stories being published came to a close last month with my story Circus of the Wave being published in Anti-Zine. You can read the story now by buying a copy of the magazine on their website.
Below the break you can find my Author’s Notes about the story including where I got the idea from, the changes the story under went between drafts etc.
Beyond the obvious, the theme of the submission, the idea formed when I saw the Bianco tent in Foundation Bridge area of Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival. In what is normally a large piece of waste land this big white tent appeared (Of course I didn’t take a photo so can’t show you what it looked like sadly!) and the image of a circus an odd space filled me with ideas.
Sadly during the writing of the story the idea of an urban Circus based in Edinburgh wasn’t working due to the lack of water. Edinburgh lacks a major river running through the city so I couldn’t think of a sensible explanation of how a major pool of water could appear in the middle of the city. Therefore the location shifted to the wind-swept shores of a loch somewhere in Scotland.
The inspiration of the floor of the circus collapsing came from when I visited Parc Asterix in 1996 and saw a Circus show, it seems to have closed now, which finished with the floor opening up to reveal a swimming pool that people dived into. To a ten-year old this image was quite powerful and has stayed with me since. I hope it is as powerful in my story.
Finally, for this section, I used the Ceasg as I wanted a sea based mythical creature that wasn’t mermaids or mermen. I felt they were the standard go to creatures for this kind of story and I thought finding a lesser none creature would make my story stand out. The reason I didn’t invent my own mythical creature is that the process of creating them gets in the way of the story. I didn’t have time for this to happen due to the deadline Anti-Zine set.
Dorothy and Sophie
My two main characters are named after my favourite Doctor Who companion, Ace, who travelled with the 7th Doctor during the late 1980s. The names come from first name of the character, rarely mentioned on the TV show, and the actress who played who played her, Sophie Aldred.
The reason I mention the characters is that they are a couple which I admit I did in an attempt for the story to stand out a little bit. When I’m writing my stories I always try and include an equal number of male and female characters and avoid the stereotypical positions they often end up in. The only way I felt I could do this was by making the two human characters both female (and so avoid the femme fatale cliché).
I put them into a relationship as I thought it would make the story stand out even more as, even my limited reading, I come across very few lesbian relationships and even when I do, their story seems to be about how they are gay. I wanted to tell a story where the main characters happened to be gay but no one comments on it – I’m sure this Author’s Note kind of destroys that plan but at least I tried.
Let me know what you think of my story in the comments below!