Getting Ideas For Short Stories
On December 21, Celebrate Short Fiction Day, Pixel Hall Press will release "La Belle Femme" as an ebook.
I got the idea for my short story, "La Belle Femme" in 1983.
Back then, I was still living in Ireland, in a small town in the middle of the country. I had moved there for my first job after college and, like most 21-year-olds, I shared a four-bedroom flat with other roommates. Actually, now that I think about it, my short story "Snow" is set in that same town.
Our second-story flat was over the town butcher shop, but our landlord (the butcher's son) didn't charge us any extra for that daily cacophony of sharp cleavers chop-chopping through animal limbs or the whiff of lamb chops that often wafted up through the floor boards.
One evening, one of my roommates brought home an out-of-town male colleague for some tea. He was in town on a consultancy basis, and I recall him as being particularly affable and a great story teller.
His funniest tales were from his business trip stopovers at various small-town hotels in Ireland--many of which were eligible for an episode of "Faulty Towers."
There was one particular hotel where he always ran into the same business-traveler couple--a middle-aged man and woman who used their nights away from home to conduct a long-term affair. It wasn't the affair itself that was so astonishing (though back then it was), but how habitual and nonchalant this couple were. At exactly the same time every night, they would leave the barroom party, take each other's hand and walk up the stairs to bed.
I needed to give these two love birds a life. I needed to answer my own questions about how something racy and illicit eventually turns mundane and habitual.
So I wrote a story about it.
Read a review of my story at "The Reading Life."