The Story Behind the Story: Something Fishy

This month's story comes courtesy of the 2014 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. In Round 2 of the challenge, I was assigned the following prompt:

Genre: Science Fiction
Subject: Sushi
Character: Dentist

My task? In two days, write a 2,000-word story based on the prompt.

My NYC Midnight stori always begin with panic--minutes, hours, or days of "WTF am I going to do with that?" This was no exception.

I pretty quickly came up with the equation sci fi + sushi = alien fish. But where to go from there?

Then I remembered reading a novel called Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. If I remember correctly, it's the first book of his Robot series. What I remembered is that Caves is essentially a mystery story in a science fiction setting. I decided to take the same approach in my story.

From there, the words flowed quickly. It was like transcribing a movie that played out in front of me.

As I began winding down the story, bringing Jonah closer to whodunit and why, I checked the word count: 1,998.

I had two words left, and I still hadn't solved the mystery. Oops.

I gave the Delete button a work-out and quickly tied up the loose ends.

The result is the story posted here. It's not perfect, but it is a fun little romp. One of my writers' group compatriots said the light tone reminded her of stories by Connie Willis, who wrote two of my favorite books: To Say Nothing of the Dog and The Doomsday Book. (Thanks, Heidi!)

Someday, I might revise the story, fix the flaws pointed out by the NYC Midnight judges and my writers' group, but for now, I'm happy with the way it turned out.


Click here to read "Something Fishy."