Guilty, as charged.
What with the anvils from the sky in January (see my diary and toxicfur's), there wasn't much in the way of excess energy available for frivolities like writing fiction. Still, escape is escape, and I've always kind of had a fondness for at least the grimy Private Eye office scene, where the dame wanders in and asks for help.
Couldn't really see my way to crime, actually, though I've written some in the past; so the other thing PIs used to specialize in was investigating allegations of adultery, producing evidence for the divorce courts, in the Bad Olde Dayes before no-fault.
The beginnings of an idea. That, plus the fact that the only other original-fiction-related thing I'd done in January is re-reading my nano, which involves time travel, per my WFC7 and WFC6 stories.
Fragment A, written in half an hour on a Sunday in response to irrelevant prompts, got the dame into the office, but since I had no clue what the story was about at that point, she resolutely refused to come to the point.
By the next week, I had the inklings of the above Idea. I've always been fascinated by the figure of Jacob in Genesis. The relevant part of that story here is the tale of him going off to a foreign country because he'd bilked his brother out of his birthright, and said brother was, rightfully, pissed off. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy works 7 years for prospective father-in-law, boy marries girl, only to discover that it's not the pretty Rachel, but her plain older sister Leah. Boy works another 7 years, marries girl, this time it really is Rachel. Between the two wives and their handmaidens, Jacob fathers 12 sons and at least one daughter.
But we already have the dame sitting across the desk from the investigator, now with a name right out of Genesis himself, Mel K. Zadok. And her name is now Syd Jacobs. So the genders of everybody in the Genesis story get reversed, and, um, biology being what it is, we stick in a time-loop.
That's Fragment B, more or less as it stood the day before the deadline. But toxicfur and I were going to town that day to buy black suits for a funeral, so I e-mailed all this dreck to Kellnerin, hoping against hope that she, or someone else at the writing chat (1pm Eastern USian time every sunday afternoon on slashnet.org, channel #writing; y'all come!) could rescue it, write more, or just reimagine it somehow.
So Kellnerin wrote the scene (henceforth known as Fragment K) where Mel goes to see Jimmy the Weasel, to fence the earring, get money for another month's rent on his office, etc. etc., and oh by the way, get the infodump on the boys, Lee and Rafael/Rafe.
Which was almost enough to make a story. I wrote a bit more, myself, having pirated a connection in the mall. Over the course of the afternoon, with much coaching from K, I beat it into the form that you see. More proofreading overnight, and I was sitting on the couch at tf-mom's house, madly editing, at 7am on Monday morning when, reloading Husi, I discovered to my horror that I'd missed the deadline by perhaps 10 minutes.
Whining about deadlines is as much a part of the WFC tradition as the writing itself, so I whined. And got an extension of a day, which stretched into a bit more than that, and also got someone else's story (the winning entry, from CRwM), in.
And there you have it. Could have been a much better story, if I'd taken the time to work on it.
And I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of giving the prize to toxicfur, for her January diaries. I'm proud to know her, and while it's the suckiest month we could ever hope to live through, I, for one, say she came through with remarkable grace and strength. Thanks, in large measure, to the sympathy and love expressed by people here.
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