gray and white wolf

Writing “Wolfy Things”

My story Wolfy Things is out at Podcastle! My first-ever sale! Squee!

I’m stealing a page from Benjamin C. Kinney‘s book and jotting down some notes on the story. Nothing about what it means or how readers should think about it – part of the fun of reading is the interpretation. Still, I’d listen first before reading any further, just in case I accidentally spoil something in the process. The link to the story is here – Wolfy Things.

The Origin Story: I originally drafted this story as a piece called “The Wolf” during week 4 of the Odyssey Workshop, last June. I’d wanted to write a three-part story about the life of the main character Nicky, with other sections covering his late teen years and his life as an adult, but as the workshop deadline loomed, I was having a hard time getting into the groove of the story.

I still had just the glimmer of an idea about a boy and a wolf and a small town when the first line came to me out of the blue (and remained the same through about 30 revisions) – “Tonight, me and Lee gonna kill the wolf.” I scrambled and got a 1600-word piece done for workshop that covered just the first part of my grand three-part plan, and when I went back for revisions, I decided to give up on the other two parts and just concentrate on refining what I already had. But who knows? I could always go back and write some additional stories in this universe later. Might be fun.

Fun Facts: The dialect in this story is influenced by Appalachian English. I had fun learning more about this dialect, which I didn’t know much about before – it reminds me a lot of what you hear in the Deep South, but the dialect also includes some British influences. Many of the specific Appalachian expressions in early drafts, like the use of liketa and fixin’, didn’t make it to the final draft, but the liberal use of ain’t is still there, as well as some of the verb conjugations. For all you could ever want to know about Southern Appalachian English and then some, click here.

On The Cutting Room Floor: This story went through two full workshops and some one-off feedback from a few different beta readers. Along the way, one scene that featured an appearance from the character of Lee’s Pa got cut – it never quite worked and nobody seemed to miss it when it was gone, so I think it was the right choice in the end, even though he was fun to write. Ah well – maybe in another story.

That’s it. Hope you enjoy the story. Comments are always welcome – Podcastle even has a specific place for them on their forums  so feel free to go here and share any thoughts!

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