Ever feel guilty because you’re having so much fun doing something? That’s me right now as I fill you in on a few behind-the-scene details about our most recent flash fiction piece: The Crossover.
I’m going to try to do this without spoilers, but if you’d like to read the story first you can access it here. It’s a short 3 pages, so it shouldn’t take too long.
Whenever Mel and I work together on a piece, she always takes the lead and decides which cryptid, monster, or creature we’ll feature. The creature determines the biome (lake vs. ocean, mountains vs. desert, etc.), the locale (which country, state, or city), and the ethnicity of our characters.
Many times, legend has already established the creature’s purpose, but Mel and I sometimes like to put a spin on it. In the case of the Hippocampus, Greek mythology tells us they pulled Poseidon’s chariot through the waves, and they also lived as peaceful creatures deep in the ocean. Here’s a wonderful, informative article on the Hippocampus. I also wanted to tie in some Irish folklore because it’s my favorite. There are several tales of waterhorses, good and evil. Combine that with the legend of Loch Ness and I had a pretty good idea of setting.
So, Mel and I brainstormed: What if the Hippocampus were a real water creature? What purpose might it serve? Maybe protection, maybe companionship, maybe entertainment. That’s where she left me. Until the story materialized, we weren’t able to define any specifics.
I began to write–always with a romance trope in mind. My trope for this story was “love at first sight” with a strong emphasis on “fate”. A man on a boat–a simple fisherman (because this has to take place on or around the water)–observes a maiden on the shore, and he must get to her. Why doesn’t he just get off the boat and walk? How can I work in the Hippocampus? Who is this maiden? What does she need from him that no one else can provide?
Those answered questions and a loch with freezing-water temperatures, surrounded by a mystical woodland were enough to set the story in motion.
One detail I added to the story after it was completed still warms my heart. It’s when our hero likens the maiden’s fair skin to the beauty of the Wood Anemone (thank you Conrad Stilling for suggesting I add more description to the maiden). The Wood Anemone is a white spring flower that blankets the moist forest floors in parts of Ireland. The beautiful Anemone flower (any variety) symbolizes:
- Protection against evil and ill wishes
- The approach of a rain storm when the petals close up
- Forsaken or forgotten love and affection
- Anticipation and excitement for something in the future
- Fairies and their magical world of twilight
- The death of a loved one or the loss of them to someone else
- Protection against disease and illness
- The arrival of the first spring winds
- Bad luck or ill omens
The flower parallels both the fisherman and the maiden’s personal journey, present needs, and future wishes.
Please take a look at The Crossing and let me know what you think. Do you prefer Greek Mythology or Irish folklore?
What is your favorite romance or fantasy trope?
The bulleted facts above were referenced from the “The Anemone Flower: It’s meaning and symbolism,” The Flower Meaning Website, 2018). You can view the full article here.
I’d also like to thank my critique partner at Spark of Ember for looking this over and offering her expert advice. You are awesome!