It’s not always easy to trace the inspiration for a story to a single thing, but this isn’t the case for “Strand in the Web,” which appears in the June issue of Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi. Waaaaay back in 2010, my writing group, Hopefull Monsters, decided to do a writing challenge in which we each supplied a writing prompt, selected one, and wrote a story. We had a collection of four or five fantastic prompts, and I selected the one from fellow Monster, Annette Bowman: “My but it is lovely tonight. The pink elephants are dancing spectacularly.”
Something about the idea of pink elephants, and all it suggested, appealed to me. I started brainstorming ideas about elephants, which are endangered animals often poached for illegal trade (e.g., bladders, tusks, etc.). I decided early on to set the story in an extraterrestrial nature reserve, where illegal poaching was occurring. After that, the other pieces for “Strand in the Web” quickly fell into place: a main character who was morally grey, yet sympathetic; an entire ecosystem, not just the “pink elephants,” that could be explored; and an environmental theme, linked closely to the main character’s internal and external conflict.
I wrote the first draft of “Strand in the Web” in less than week, and received fantastic feedback from my writing group. It took me another nine months to revise it—actually eight months of it sitting untouched, followed by a few weeks of intense rewriting. It made the rounds to a few places, and I was happy when Goldfish Grimm’s picked it up earlier this year for publication.
If you haven’t read “Strand on the Web,” head over to Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi and check it out. While there, be sure to check out Ken Liu’s short story, “The Illusionist,” with which I share the issue. I hope you enjoy.