Money is at the heart of this week’s Futures story. Good for something comes from the keyboard of Deborah Walker, who has graced the pages of Futures multiple times (see the list at the foot of this post) and whose story Glass future can be found in the Futures 2 e-book anthology. You can catch up with Deborah’s latest activities on her blog. Here, she reveals the unexpected twists that led her to write Good for something. As ever, this post contains spoilers, so please read the story first.
Writing Good for something
Last year, my writing friend and fellow Nature Futures author, Gareth D. Jones invited me to take part in a collaborative story project. I said: Yes, please. I’d worked on one of Gareth’s collaborative stories before. Collaborations can work in different ways, but with Gareth I hardly had to do any work. All he wanted was short vignette from me about a character, any character walking along the corridor of Astropolis orbital station. (You can read Gareth’s Astropolis story Travel by numbers in Nature Futures.)
I’d supply a short vignette, a memorable character sketch, and Gareth would do all the hard work putting it into a story frame alongside the vignettes from several other authors. Little work and a big payoff is a rare event in this writing malarkey, so I got to work.
Quickly, well quickly for me, the story unfolded. Why would a character be on a station? I’d recently done some research on the study of currency, numismatics. My main character became a coin collector and more than that — a thief. Numismatics gave me a perfect world building opportunity to reveal some future history. Coins and other currency are snapshots of a culture. I had my character, Raoul; I had a life for him and motivation: Raoul was a man obsessed with completing his collection. So far so good. As Raoul continued walking, the story of his life unfolded, and more characters emerged. I had a beginning, a middle and an end to the story. What I didn’t have was a vignette. Good for something was a proper story, complete in itself. It was no good for Gareth who wouldn’t be able to fit it into his collaborative frame story. Maybe it was good for Nature Futures? I changed the station name to High Jova, did some more editing and sent it.
And then started another vignette about a character walking along Astropolis station.
And, yes, I did it again. That second vignette turned into a story, too.
How very annoying.
But third time’s the charm, and I did manage a vignette for Gareth.
And I also realized that character x walking along a corridor on an orbital station is a very good story prompt for me.
Other Futures stories by Deborah Walker