Posted November 19, 2010on:
I’ve got two, count ’em two, holiday stories for you. (You didn’t really think I was going to do some post about the Christmas season, did you?) Both times my publisher made the mistake of asking for stories at around the Christmas season, with a seasonal slant, of course. We all know how that turns out.
My take on a ‘seasonal slant’ is about as slanted as it can be and still be seasonal.
A couple of years back she asked for a story to be used for an anthology to raise money for charity. “Make it about fire,” she says. She asked this in, like, November, looking to get the book out just before Christmas. Surprisingly, she made it, all 20 of the authors she asked got something done, in a mere 2 weeks, because we’re all nice people like that.
I had a story idea in mind for Christmas, which I discussed at length over on another blog, so I won’t repeat myself here. You should go over there and read those posts, because they’re all about some really good stories, some of which were even written by me. The funny thing is, she also requested stories for a special Christmas project, and I didn’t send one in for that. Some of the stories that were submitted are still up, though. She’s been transferring them to her new Amazon store.
This year, she asked on Twitter for Steampunk stories, or holiday stories. I asked her if she wanted steampunk holiday stories, and she’s like, “It’s all good.” Well, needless to say, in about 6 hours I had a brilliant idea for a steampunk holiday story. I love it when that happens. A few years back I was given some biographical data for a lady who won a contest, and the prize was to be written into a story. I may have gone overboard, since I not only wrote her into the story, she was the star, with the whole story crafted around her likes and dislikes. I had the same cascade of ideas for the story then that I did for Steampunk Santa, only worse. Not that Steampunk Santa stayed where I put it, no sir. It almost immediately took a sharp turn and headed off its own way, dragging me along behind it. Which is a good thing, by the way.
For some reason my Christmas stories seem to have a touch of Halloween included, not sure why. ‘Bite Deep‘ is a vampires at Christmas story that has more to with evil, sacrifice, and redemption than it does about trees and presents. There are plenty of religions in the world that connect those things with the shortest day of the year, and it’s not really my fault that Christmas got piggy-backed onto one of them.
Steampunk Santa is a bit different. I deliberately fashioned it on the model of the Rankin-Bass specials, with the nice narrator and squeaky-voiced elves. As I was writing I read the lines in the proper voice just to stay in character. Unfortunately I don’t do a good Fred Astaire impression, but the squeaky-voiced elves came out just fine.
When you read holiday stories, are you looking for the tried and true, or something a bit off from the beaten path, and if so, how far off? If the latter, I know a place where you can get some good ones.