Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Stay a Little Longer - backstory

I wrote the short story I Stay a Little Longer in only two days. Well, that might not be entirely true. I have a habit of starting stories ("throwing spaghetti" for those of you following the writing workshops) and then letting them sit there. I must have four or five dozen of them started in various folder on my computer.

I Stay a Little Longer began as one of those pieces of spaghetti that I threw back in September of 2011. Obviously it wasn't done 'cause I got about 200 words in and the story just stopped. I had no idea where it wanted to go, so I left it for a while.

Two weeks ago, in going through the folder, I happened across it and my fingers started flying. I finished it the next day, spending a total of about six hours writing this short story. It's what's called a "slice of life" story; a story that centers around moment in a character's life. The events of this story take place over the course of about an hour or so.

To be honest, it took me longer to come up with a good title than it did to write the story!

I searched Shakespeare first for a good quote about death, dying or grief and, while he wrote some great lines, they were all too long for a title. I knew I wanted a quote, though, something that would sum up the premise of the story and I found it in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Three Friends of Mine. The link takes you to the entire poem; my title comes from the last stanza.

Because the story is short (just over 2000 words), I'm posting the blurb but not an excerpt below. I've published this under the Diana Allandale name because the genre is more literary than romance. Click on the title to get the links for purchasing in all ebook formats.

I Stay a Little Longer
by Diana Allandale
All Rights Reserved

Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from Three Friends of Mine

Everyone expects Maisie to leave the cemetery before the coffin is lowered, but she just can’t bring herself to do it. Her husband is in that coffin, he has “taken up his lamp and gone to bed” and left her here to continue on. Only by staying does Maisie think she will find peace in this “slice of life” short story.

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