"When she finished her tea, Thatcher took her cup, and swirled the remains three times clockwise, 'For future events,' he said, but Perry already knew that."--Kayla King, "Clockwise"
Yes, I just quoted myself here. Or rather, I quoted my newly published story, "Clockwise," which my oh-so-gracious fellow editors over at One For One Thousandhelped me turn into something I love.
I talked about starting this story more than a month ago; the early-love-affair writers have with an idea. I called it "Stretching the Magic," in a blog post you can read HERE. I wrote a first draft, which as an editor for a magazine devoted to telling stories in 1,000 words, I knew did not quite work. Then I revised. And I revised again. And again. My best friend read this story, excited by a beloved character from my Falling series, while also passing it along to his writer friend who was interested, but confused.
So I continued to revise and rewrite and really dig into what I wanted this story to be. Then I decided to read my own tea leaves, which was an interesting experience.
And then I took a weekend trip to Potsdam, and I stopped at an antique store to purchase a new teacup. The handle of the hand-painted cup is lovely, and in holding it so carefully as I walked through the rest of the store, I finally had my story.
If you read the published version of "Clockwise," you will find a tea cup handle and two characters attempting to read their tea leaves, trying to understand the future, just like the rest of us. I think finding moments where these characters shared some of my own fears for the future, really helped me understand their relationship and what will happen beyond the words of this short story.
I suppose, maybe, it wasn't the best idea to try to tackle Perry and Thatcher's story when so much of their lives exists in a five book series I haven't looked at since the summer of 2014. But I loved the challenge, and I loved getting to spend time in this world again. But I also remembered how difficult revisions can be, and how daunting a process it is to try to make something perfect.
If asked, I suppose I must admit I am a perfectionist, which doesn't always make for great writing. Too often, I let the pressure of trying to create something perfect build until I'm too scared to finish writing it. And I'm almost 97.2% certain that is what happened during the revision process of this story. But I survived.
I can't say this story is perfect, but rather I can say this story was crafted truthfully and with heart and love, the stuff my favorite stories are often made from. And I'm once again excited about the prospect of returning to these characters someday, in delving in to what happens beyond the tea leaves and the garden wall, because I think the best stories happen beyond garden walls.
Since completing this story, I've written a new story for One For One Thousand, which has no real publication date, but I too love that story. I think as a writer that is the best we can ask for after spending so much time with tiny words that build something much bigger. And while that story seemed to arrive all at once, that doesn't mean I appreciate it more than "Clockwise." If anything, I appreciate what each story has to teach me along the way to a career of writing and publishing and sharing my words.
Until THAT day, I hope you'll check out my new story, "Clockwise," and my other writing at One For One Thousand. And if any of you invisible readers out there are writers, too, check out our magazine and submit your own 1,000 word story. Our pictures on the site might be worth 1,000 words, but stories are worth everything.