The Story Behind the Story: The Legend of Donnie Doheny

It's NYC MIdnight time again! The 2015 NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge began last month, and as usual, it pushed me outside my comfort zone.

The last two years, I was assigned Romance as the genre for my first story. I was all prepared for Romance 3.0, but no, the Powers That Be threw me a curveball. I was assigned to write a fantasy this time around. Now, I've read Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, but fantasy is not a genre I read widely or relate to very well.

Obstacle #1: find a subgenre of fantasy that I could write comfortably within the assigned 48-hour window.

Part 2 of the prompt was a location. In my case, a skateboarding park. My entire knowledge of skateboarding can be summed up thusly:

Photo by miflippo/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by miflippo/iStock / Getty Images

Obstacle #2: learn enough about skateboarding to write about it convincingly.

Part 3 of the prompt was an object: a projector. Easy peasy.

I got my assignment around 11 pm Friday night. I slept on it, because when I do that, I often wake up with an idea. This time, not so much. I did my usual Saturday-morning volunteer work at the local animal shelter and then went for a swim after. Somewhere in the middle of my laps, a premise came to me: Cursed object! The one ring! My preciousssss!

By the time I finished my swim, I had the whole story outlined. I even had the name Donnie Doheny, named for the California beach near where I used to live. The trick? Remembering my awesome plot until I got home. Thank goodness for smartphones! I sat in the locker room and typed my outline on my phone.

I wrote Draft 1 that night, Word open on one half of my screen, the Wikipedia entry about skateboarding on the other.

The next day I revised and edited: 12 words over the 1,000-word limit, 7 words under, 4 words over, back and forth, back and forth. I finally found a version I was happy with at 995 words. Story submitted!

I brought the story to my writer's group for their feedback. THEY LOVED IT! They gave me suggestions for fleshing it out a bit, and I'm still working on those changes. What I've posted here is my original story with one change: I had to rename a character because I realized that I'd inadvertently borrowed it from a series I love. Oops.


Click here to read "The Legend of Donnie Doheny."