Behind The Stories (1: How to Get Through the Day)

Since my series of posts doing behind-the-scenes stuff on “Isolation Play” got me some nice comments and it sounds like people are interested in that, I figured I would do another series on my Ursa-eligible stories, leading up to the close of nominations at the end of this month.

Of course, “Isolation Play” is eligible for Best Novel, but if you want to read more about that, go back to late November and the start of those posts (they start at T-11 days to the e-book release).

Anyway, today I’m going to talk about “How to Get Through the Day,” released in February on FA and as part of the Bridges e-book.

I challenged my fans to buy up all of FurPlanet’s stock of the initial printing of “Bridges” (about 100 books) between its release at Furry Fiesta 2010 and FWA 2010, and they bought at least enough that FurPlanet had to order another printing. So in return, I said I would write this bonus story.

It took me a year to do it. I polled the fans to see which pairing they were most interested in seeing, and Fin/Amir won by a landslide. So I had to think about where their relationship went and how to create a short story around it. What moment in their lives would be worth a short story?

Well, one of my friends had read the end of Fin’s section and was struck by his use of anti-depressants. And that got me thinking about how Fin would deal with a relationship on his own. Bridges was, at its heart, about people who for one reason or another were having trouble finding love on their own. Amir is shy, Hayward is–complicated enough that the rest of the book ended up being about him. But Fin’s problems were always a little more shadowed and that became the angle I was interested in writing about. Without Hayward’s guiding (ahem) paw, how would things go?

Clearly, Fin suffers from depression. So I looked up a bunch of sites on the web about coping with depression, because even if you’re taking pills, there are things you need to watch out for in your daily life. A lot of those sites were in the form of lists, and I had been talking to my friends over the summer about weird story forms–including list stories. So I thought, what if I made a list story out of it?

The story grew from there. I took a bunch of the most common pieces of advice and made a list out of them and then fit the story to the different sections. “Exercise” was the obvious one, but a lot of the rest of them fell into place very naturally as I wrote the story. I had to change the order once or twice, but no more than that. The thing I’m most proud of is the ending, using the list item as the end of the story. I think that really ties the list into the story itself and for me, that’s the whole point of using the list format.

One of the unexpected responses to this story was that I started to get people telling me that they had copied down the list and started using it in their own lives, and that it was helping them. I wanted to say, “wait a sec, I’m not a licensed counselor,” but after all, I just got this info freely off the web, so if people found it useful, then I’m happy. And as an emotional and touching story, I remain quite proud of it. I hope you like it too.

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