As it turns out, “A Good Use” has gone live today at Every Day Fiction magazine!
This piece, which marks the final acceptance of the three I submitted, has come with its fair share of struggles for me. From the first writing to the last, it has undergone several transitions at the mercy of a growing writer’s understanding of the craft, and I would like to thank EDF for their patience with all of my edits.
(Warning: Spoiler alert!)
When I originally had the idea for this piece, it spawned from the question of what it takes to cut the tape between stereotypical right and wrong. Would it be wrong to kill a man that you caught killing your wife? I began my attempt to craft a chilling scenario where a good man is given the freedom to make this choice with the evil man at his whim. This brought to mind the question of whether it is every victim’s wish to be free of oppression, or if it is truly our nature to dream of oppressing the oppressors; if given the opportunity, would we be any different?
Of course, this idea is nothing new, and it didn’t feel quite as organic or original as I’d have liked. While most horror lacks a certain realism or originality, and as a genre can be somewhat formulaic, I felt it needed something more. So as the writing began, I soon found myself throwing in the twist of “Billy” and the confusion with a doctor; where the guilty became innocent and the innocent guilty in an effort to add depth of character and circumstance.
Such changes, it seems, come with their own demands.
Much of my rewriting and edits came through careful consideration of suggestions, but all of them focused on the actual writing itself. How could I capture all of the new content that was required to make this intricate plot work in such a short span of words? The original idea was simple enough, but with the complexities now ingrained, it became a test of my eye for detail to polish a story seeking to accomplish this impossible task.
Though easily a reflection of an author new to the craft, I’m proud of the outcome.
“A Good Use” was originally written nearly a year before I started “A Widow’s Tale“, and I feel that much of the progress seen in her story came from lessons learned through this one, at least as far as writing flash fiction is concerned. It’s certainly not my best work, but I’m glad to see it available for those interested in following my progress as a writer. It has certainly been a great opportunity for me to improve my craft, and I owe much of this to those friends of mine that grudgingly reread the same story over and over, as well as the EDF staff for the patience and time they gave this polymorphous piece.