I enjoyed how realized the world of this story became via figurative and emotive language instead of empirical and extrapolation wordage, and it is just as much a thought-driven piece of science fiction as if we were discussing the biological “what if” of the story’s premise. Who are your own influences when it comes to this kind of writing?
Oddly enough, the influences on this piece come more from poetry and theater than from fiction. A poem can be a gut-punch precisely because its focus is so sharp and limited, while its language is wide-ranging and allusive. But formally, the story is not a poem; it’s a dramatic monologue, a kind of soliloquy. Both of these are very old forms of literature indeed—and yet, they are perfectly suited to the relatively new experience of reading online.
The opening line reminded me of the late Tom Piccirilli’s comment on the need to grab the reader by the eye with a compelling image or idea, but then you can’t let go! How did the opening of the story arrive at the version we see here? Many drafts or inspired image from the start or what?
It took me a long time to decide how to tell this story, but once I had decided, everything fell into place quickly. The background premise came first, but it could have inspired anything from an essay to a novel, and I wasn’t sure what it wanted to be. The voice for telling the story came second, and the moment I wanted to portray came last. That was when I knew where to start.
Stories about resignation to dire consequences or fates are often less championed in genre novels, where the comfort of answers after struggle is one great pull for readership. I loved its absence here. Why end on this note for the mother’s lament?
On one level, this story is about the shadow side of those feminist utopias you occasionally meet, where the author gets rid of all the men and everything is fine. I wanted to look closely at that premise, and think about the price that mothers, sisters, and wives would pay. Of course, as I continued, the story became about much more. Ideas quickly got buried in the raw emotion of someone who has caused irreparable harm without intending it. That was where I had to end.
I thought the title was a wonderful way to inform the heart of the story, since many mothers have had to say “We Will Be All Right” when the truth is far less assured. Was it plucked from the story or did it emerge beforehand?
As I was writing the story, that phrase seemed like something the narrator would say. I would love to claim that it was planned with all sorts of foresight, but the process was much more instinctual than that. Sometimes you just have to trust your subconscious to get it right.
Spread the word!