Greetings and welcome to what I hope is a relatively brief installment in the ongoing saga of "what sort of insanity is running around inside Crash's brain today"? In other words, I'm going to rattle on for a few paragraphs about how this story came into existence.
Starburst Challenge 60 showed up at a very opportune time. I had finally managed to deal with some family-related emotional baggage that had been doing an exceptional job of sabotaging my creativity (on the rare occasion when I actually sat down to write), and I had also begun to very deliberately reserve more time for writing and for thinking up stories. (The latter part is the huge time hog.) Unfortunately, most of what I had been working on during the first few months of 2012 were very old, very stale stories. This does not mean that they are not worth finishing, or that I intend to give up on them. But stale stories are difficult to get moving again, and they are arguably the worst material to work on if you are attempting to get your creative juices flowing after a long sabbatical from writing.
So I was delighted when vinegardog posted this challenge. The Youses Muses Gang perked right up and got excited about the topic. If I were a maple tree, then the sap began to run like springtime in Vermont. (Which may be a more apt metaphor than I care to admit.)
Then I hit my first obstacle. I could not envision any of the characters flat out lying without a fair amount of build-up and backstory to it. Yes, our beloved characters are flawed and they lie, but there is usually a reason why they choose to do it, which means getting the justification onto the page. There is nothing wrong with that, but I have more than twenty old stories sitting idly in the writing queue, one of which is a behemoth, and I did not want this story to turn into something novel length (or longer). But that is part of what I like about challenges. The challenge.
I grabbed the challenge topic in both hands and begin twisting it the way you scramble a rubik's cube, changing the patterns, rearranging the colors, looking at the design in new ways. Within a few minutes, I had the solution. (No, I'm not going to explain the solution. That would ruin the story. You will see for yourself when you read it.) All that remained was to figure out who and why. That's the easy part.
The only other dilemma I ran into was choosing what voice I wanted to use. This is the third story where I have chosen to write in Second Person. It was not an easy decision. I began with the more standard Third Person, changed it to Second, began to change back to Third, and finally settled on Second. It takes a special kind of story, one where I want to bring the reader right inside a character's mind, for me to choose Second Person. It is an unusual voice and perspective, which places at least some level of burden on the reader. I never do that casually or just for the sake of using 2nd Person. There is a risk that it will distract the reader from the storytelling. In this particular instance, I think it is the right answer.
The punchline to all of this is that I had just gotten the first draft committed to paper (okay, stored on the computer) when the Youses Muses Gang, in a display of their frequently warped sense of humor, finally came up with a story of some outright, blatant lying. The result of that second effort is Malefactor ... which means that it is time for another wingnut.