My Stories, They Run Away

I’ve been working on my submission for the second Machine of Death book (If you’ve never heard of the first one, you can read about the concept here), figuring I may as well aim high as I prepare for the inevitable stream of rejections for my short stories. This one’s had an interesting road so far, and it’s something a lot of writers can identify with, I think.

Right now, it’s actually two separate stories. Without giving too much away, the first story was about a woman named Jackie who receives their death prediction and, rather than running from their fate, decides to seek it out, becoming the best in the world in her chosen field in the process. Thinking about this, and reading suggestions posted by the Machine of Death editors, I decided to tackle the same basic concept from another angle, focusing on people’s reactions to how Jackie responds to the question “so how did you arrive at your calling?” with “Oh, the Death Machine told me how I was going to die, and I decided to embrace it rather than run from it”. This seemed more interesting to me in the wake of the fact that Jackie’s tiny nation is the only one in my world with a Death Machine, causing people to regard her as somewhat crazy if brilliant in her field.

While I was writing this second version of the story, something interesting happened. Jackie stopped being the main character about halfway through, giving way to her publicist, Alan. This particular version is still in the first draft stage, meaning I’ll have to revise it heavily to more accurately reflect that, but it’s fascinating to me to witness firsthand all these things that more high-profile writers say happens to their stories, where they start one place and end up something completely different.

How about you? Anyone else have something like this happen to them with anything creative–writing, music, whatever?


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  1. […] a revision of my Machine of Death story that, I think, is stronger than my original concept. As I mentioned before, I changed the concept a bit to focus less on the original main character and more on the reactions […]

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