"Good grief, another plot idea? Whatever happened to Scotch'd the Snakes?"
I'm here to explain in full about this dilemma and my current writing project. A while ago, I received an email from my uncle about the Narrative Winter 2015 Story Contest. I'm not generally an enormous fan of contests because one is required to put much effort into a thing one will not assuredly win. In fact, most times the effort one puts out is not quite worth the possibility of winning, especially if said contest requires an entry fee. But with a first-place prize of $2500 at stake, I figured it could not hurt to enter Narrative's contest. Therefore, I set out to practice writing in a style and on a subject that is entirely new to me. I like playing with different voices and emotions to keep things fresh. And since the deadline of March 31 approaches and I still have not finished the first draft, I have exiled any idea of continuing my mystery until I have finished The Fox Went Out. You see how deadlines make the world go round?
So what the crumbs is this story?
Allow me to explain...
Dear God, I prayed. Give me a girl. He wants a boy, but this is my child. Give me a girl, if You love me at all. That didn’t seem quite fair, suggesting the Lord God didn’t love me, but I thought He’d see the heart of it. See that I couldn’t give John O’Grady a son. A girl, Lord, I repeated, just in case He hadn’t been listening.
Anise Clare is a young woman who, for as long as she can remember, has been denied the pleasure of owning herself. When her father assigns her to be the wife of backwoodsman, John O'Grady, Anise declares passive-aggressive war on her new husband, a man who knows nothing of honor but keeping his word to marry Anise and to destroy anyone who gets in the way of his will.
Unknown to Anise, she has an admirer in the Fox: a being about whom legend swirls as thick as smoke in a meat-house. Is he man or a creature? Legend or reality? Terrifying spirit or misunderstood human? Anise cannot know the Fox has set his heart upon having the Gray Goose and her Duckling...until the night John beats her and the Fox spirits she and her daughter away to his haunt: a new kind of ownership, but an ownership all the same. And here, with one man vowing to destroy and another vowing to keep, is the end of all things familiar for the graceful, strong-hearted woman whom the Fox loved.
I am excited for this story. It is written in style I have never used and told in a way that crawls up the backbone and puts a cold hand down the neck. Part fairy-tale, part folk-tale, part backwoods tradition, The Fox Went Out was inspired by the song of the same name and a real fox that stood in our road and stared me down. I do not expect to win any place in the Narrative contest with this story but have enjoyed playing with my words in a new way. It is a story of love, forgiveness, terror, and dignity. I am happy to have spent the last month with the Fox, Anise, John O'Grady, and Duckling. If the story does not win a place in the contest, I might be prevailed upon to offer it to my readers here, in a serial format. But for now, I must away to peck at the first draft and try to make it finish. Merry writing to you all!
The Fox watched her for three years, craned his neck, caught the moon, and laughed...She smelled of stubbornness and wood-fires, wildwood honey and sadness. Her small one smelled of protection...