Mission Partly Accomplished

I finished my story (which you can read here). It didn’t come quite as easily as the last one, but once I got the central idea, it took off.

The theme for this months contest was “The Forbidden”. These very broad categories are both a blessing and a curse, since you’re free to go in any direction you want, but you’re free to go in any direction you want. So about a thousand ideas jumped out right away — a Conan-type entering a forbidden temple, some Lovecraftian horror unleashed on an unsuspecting scholar, things like that. But then, in one of the leaps my mind is famed for making, I went from “forbidden” to “Forbidden City”, as in the one in China.

I’m not quite sure how I got from a city in China to a Chinese restaurant though. I think I was just free associating ideas and hit on this one. Then came the idea of some ancient evil from China being unleashed and this poor unsuspecting Chinese delivery guy having to deal with it. But that seemed a little too close to the Lovecraftian idea, just exchanging Cthulhu for some Chinese equivalent.

Then I thought, “What if the Chinese restaurant is just a front, that they really go around taking care of all these supernatural problems in town?” Well, from there came the idea that they’d use the traditional trappings of Chinese food to disguise their spell-casting materials, and with that I was off and running.

I did intend to originally reveal that our hero had an ancestor many many centuries ago who dabbled in dark magics and unwittingly released a horde of spirits into the world, and each generation of this family seeks to catch all the spirits he let go to atone for it. But not only did that seem a little too on the nose, it wouldn’t have fit into the story given the 1000 word limit. Although this may be a character and setting I wouldn’t mind going back to.

And it did help me learn how to call someone a pestilent dick hole in Mandarin.

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