Saturday, June 9, 2012

Inspiration from Krystal Claxton

A while back I started reading stories on dailysciencefiction.com. Recently, I read one by Krystal Claxton called Sapience and Maternal Instincts. Krystal Claxton writes speculative fiction in the sliver of time between raising a two-year old with her wonderful husband and being a full-time computer technician. She enjoys attending Dragon*Con in costume, science magazines, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. I went to her website (Krystalclaxton.wordpress.com and @krystalclaxton on Twitter), where she talked about her inspiration for this story. She's here today to share it with us! Go to the link on the story title to read it first, then come back here.

"Sapience and Maternal Instincts" was a little unexpected for me. Normally, I will gestate a story idea for a few months (or years) and after I've got it firmly figured out, I'll attack it. At the time, I was working on a Writers of the Future entry that, frankly, was kicking my butt. That one had gestated for a good year and I was still drowning in the plot--a result of poor outlining most likely. I wanted to be writing, but I was so frustrated by my project that I hadn't actually written a word in weeks.

And I had a deadline.

Coincidentally, I read an article or ten on the subject of surrogacy donation by young, college age women. Ladies in this age group and demographic are the logical choice when looking for egg donors because they are young and healthy . . . and normally broke. It begs the question of if these same women would make the same choice at other stages in their lives. Later, will they regret the decision to part with their eggs? Will they wonder after the children that their donation may have helped create?

I can't say. But that question triggered something in my brain, and with a bit of speculative element thrown in, I wrote "Sapience and Maternal Instincts" in a sitting. A quick proof read from a trusted critiquer and it was off to Daily Science Fiction that same night. I figured I would get a quick rejection before sending it in to the Writers of the Future competition, since my current Work-in-Progress wasn't actually working.

But the rejection never came. My deadline came and went. I counted down the days until I was permitted to inquire about the stories status, and on the last day as I was trying to figure out how to politely word a "Where the hell is my response!?" letter to the editor, my acceptance letter came.

Let me conclude by say that I did eventually figure out what was wrong with that other story (point of view issues), and if you ever get a chance to work with Jonathan and Michelle (the editors of Daily Science Fiction), you absolutely should. They made my first sale a positively addictive experience.

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