The Story Behind the Story: Clara and the Kid

It's been months since I put pen to paper to work on anything short. It took, of course, another NYC Midnight Challenge to get me to do so. July 22-24 marked the first round of the 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge.

Last year, I was knocked out of the challenge in December, after writing a not-very-comedic comedy. So what did the NYC Midnight gods assign me for Round 1 of this year's challenge? You got it: comedy.

This time I had to write a comedy that made use of a podium and was set on an airplane. Curses! (Yes, I did utter a few.)

I slept on the prompt and woke up in the morning with a premise. It came from a Letter to the Editor I read when a local shopping center announced they were going "dog-friendly": dogs would now be allowed in some of their shops. A very disgruntled man complained about the policy, citing--among other things--the idea that some people were allergic to dogs. I remembered my own work with a local shelter, helping with cat adoptions even though I'm allergic. Allergies + animal + airplane = story!

I ran the premise by my writer's group, who helped me brainstorm around a couple of obstacles. I spent the rest of Saturday drafting.

I knew, by the end of Draft 1, that my story was cute but it wasn't yet a comedy. I posted an SOS on Twitter. Two writer friends read my story and gave me suggestions for upping the funny. (Thank you, Nancy and Callie!)

I spent Sunday revising. By Draft 4, I'd written a story I could live with. To be honest, I still don't think it's a comedy. But it is cute and it has a few funny moments. I'm happy with that.

And I'm prepared to make sacrifices to ensure I don't ever get assigned comedy again.


Click here to read "Clara and the Kid."