Since Halloween is coming up tomorrow, I wanted to talk about my short story "The Devil's Bidding" and the evolution of it. Also, I will be giving away a free copy of it in ebook form to a lucky winner - chosen at random from those who post a reply.
So let me begin by saying that this is a story I'd had for a while, and it sat there in its lonely Word document form, silently following me as I went to college and worked many different jobs. Even trying to recall what I originally wrote it for seems problematic - I know I must have written it around the same time as another short story of mine called "Poisoned", and I remember writing "Poisoned" as notes on receipt tape when I was a cashier, back when the basis for my novel Fallenwood was only just barely forming. My two short stories were both only about three pages in length, so they might have been written at about the same time, and possibly were class assignments for one of the many English courses I've taken over the years, but the details of the actual writing of the original version utterly escape me.
I wrote "The Devil's Bidding" and "Poisoned" as my foray into the horror genre. I originally wrote them as parables - the ensuing horror being the result of the foolish actions of a main character, who is then punished.
Well, like a character in one of my own stories, I made a foolish decision and let my boyfriend at the time choose the title of my short story, as if to highlight all of the other ways in which I had lost all sense of who I was for the sake of trying to make a bad relationship work. When we broke up, I began getting rid of things that reminded me of him, but this short story still remained like a loyal, lost puppy and I knew I wanted to keep it - it just needed a new name and a lot of work. The title was easy enough, surprisingly. For me, often the most difficult part of writing any story is finding the perfect name. I can't begin to explain what a grueling search it was to find a name I love for my jester in Fallenwood, Terces Solario. (And Hieropraxis - my sorcerer - his name was even harder to come up with!)
Anyway, it'll suffice to say that I did come up with a title that had been floating around in my head for a while - "The Devil's Bidding". The title is a double entendre that refers to "doing the devil's bidding" and more literally to the devil bidding for souls online.
I decided to submit it to Decadent because I thought I might at least get some feedback. What I got instead was a million times better. Through the editing process, it became the kind of story I'd only dreamed about it having the potential to be. What began as a simple parable about not selling your soul, became this incredible tale of love and redemption and I feel like my lost little puppy of a story has grown into a more mature, confident companion.
As always, I love feedback and would absolutely LOVE to hear from my readers!
To be entered into the contest for a chance to win a free copy, just leave a reply telling me what the strangest thing you've found on ebay or craigslist is.