“Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.”
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Notes from the author:

Sometimes a writing prompt winds up reminding me of a previous story idea, from a previous freewriting session, from a previous writing prompt. “Oh, right, this is another one about the cursed jade frog.” “This is clearly another character to do with the vanishing dentist office.”

Generally my next reaction is disappointment. Like, writers are supposed to have this unbounded imagination, this absolutely unending font of new ideas--what am I doing constantly going back to existing stories? But I suppose “new story idea” doesn’t have to mean “new story.” It can mean “new idea for that story that’s slowly growing in the back of my head, to help it grow a little closer to completion.”

Anyway, this one’s a prequel to a previous fictionette. You’ll see which one by the end.

It really was very simple. At every step, Magda was freshly amazed that no one had done it before. Surely she was just reinventing someone else’s wheel? She’d tried to keep up-to-date, but maybe her field had moved on without her. And yet no one was talking about it. If what she’d discovered was already known, it would be on people’s minds, taught in every school, shouted from the rooftops and on the evening news. But it wasn’t.

So Magda continued gathering her supplies and rechecking her equations and worrying about how she was going to present her findings. “Material contact with alternate universe” tended not to go over well on grant applications. It wasn’t a winner in casual conversation, either. Might make people think you were nuts. Magda herself continually questioned her sanity. But the math was right there, and so simple.

In as little as fifteen years, thanks to her findings, the very rich would replicate her experiments easily using specially prepared kits available at all the right department stores. These would be fantastically expensive. Gold-flecked chalk, leather-bound tomes, and the captured breath of uncooperative beasts didn’t come cheap. Not that the children of successful stockbrokers and software CEOs would care about the cost; the results would mark them as fashionable, discerning, and high-class for decades to come. Those with lesser means would shop for more affordable kits at the bargain retail stores, and with ingredients less dear they’d achieve outcomes less showy, which they quite possibly valued all the more.

But Magda was the first. At least, we’re not aware of anyone achieving success before she did. There were the usual allusions in 15th Century texts, but no one today considers them evidence of anything other than the authors’ zealotry. There was no testimony. There were no reliable instruction manuals. The next generation would take it for granted as an everyday occurrence; Magda had no such assurances. All she had was her advanced studies in quantum physics and her notebook full of equations pointing the way....

This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for February 26, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1059 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

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