Part 4 (posted 10 March 2020) was the last episode of ‘SET THE WORLD ON FIRE’.
I should have said so perhaps, but I thought it was obvious. Having tried it on a group of people this morning, I guess it wasn’t!
They all seemed to enjoy the story and liked the last episode, but there seemed to be a desire from a fair section of them to know more about the background and also to know: what happens next?
SPOILER ALERT – if you want to read it without hints and giveaways to the plot go to SET THE WORLD ON FIRE in WRITING on the menu bar before reading on (don’t worry it won’t spoil it too much if you just read on for now I think).
I have a very clear idea of how the protagonists got to the beginning of the story, including the placement of the kudurru in its hiding place before they moved house, but I didn’t see that as part of the story. I wanted the writing to be quite tight and felt that long sections explaining how they got where they are would simply have slowed the start down and removed he tension from later sections.
Some people felt frustrated by the man in the story being what they saw as too passive. They wanted him to say: `now hang on love, stop right there!’ at several points along the journey. I had hoped that it was clear from the story that she was the one in control of the relationship and that anything of that nature would have resulted in the car pulling over and him being firmly told he could get out right now if he didn’t like it. My feeling was that any friction of that type in the relationship would have been resolved a long time ago. He is in awe of her, physically and emotionally and completely besotted.
What happens next? The big question was how does this resolve itself?
This is probably the one bit of the story I don’t know – because it isn’t part of the story.
I wanted to take this couple, apparently successful and happy in a quiet moment in their life – she has recently come to the end of a big turning point in her career, they are in a committed loving relationship, they have a new house which they are looking to fill with their belongings they have had to put in storage for a while, and throw it all up in the air. The destruction of the storage facility prompts a reaction completely beyond what the man expects. This leads to a sudden expedition which changes his perception of where he thought he was in his life, his understanding of his relationship with the woman of his dreams and his perception of her as a person.
Where it goes from there depends on many things which would turn this into a much longer piece and perhaps is as dependent on the reader as the writer.
I have several possible scenarios in my head about where it might go depending on what sort of a story it wants to develop into. It could be a genre horror story, a psychological horror, a crime fiction, a love story etc.
However, if I did follow any or all those threads with the plot twists that immediately spring to mind (who did start the fire?) it wouldn’t be a short story anymore and I wouldn’t start it where I did, pace it how I did or lead to such an early denouement of sorts.
So the short answer is – it’s over. If anyone would like to run with it and think of an ending, a different start and flesh out the various plot strand, feel free (and I only want 25% of the royalties too!).