Why I Wrote a Firekeeper Short Story

Rosemary Thriving And In Bloom

I really wanted to call this Wandering” When A Weed Can Be A Flower,” but I figured most of you wouldn’t read beyond the title, because you’d think I was talking about gardening esoterica.  Oddly enough, I am, but I’m also talking about writing.

As many of you know,  I’m currently immersed in writing a new Firekeeper novel.  If you don’t, you can get more details here.  Without spoilers, I can’t really go into details, so suffice to say that I reached a place where I realized that a certain plot point actually contained its own story.  However, inserting that story in the novel would make the novel drag.

This didn’t mean that this was a bad story.  It just didn’t belong in the novel.  Since I needed to work out the details anyhow, I decided to do so by writing a short story.

So, what the heck does this have to do with weeds and flowers?  Well, as the gardeners among us already know, sometimes the only difference between a weed and a flower is where it is growing.   In Jim’s and my yard, we let certain wild plants, such as globe mallow, grow to fill in the less rigorously cultivated parts of our yard.  There are lots of benefits to this.  The mallow thrives without needing any watering.  Even better, the pretty little salmon-colored flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Nonetheless, there are parts of the yard where the mallow is unwelcome.   Just the other day, I rooted out some mallow that was choking a couple of the rosemary plants we have growing along our east wall.  In this case, the mallow was definitely classified as a weed.

Even domestic plants can become weeds if they grow in the wrong place.  We’re very fond of a perennial called chocolate flower.  It uses little water, has lots of yellow flowers, and smells of bittersweet chocolate.  The finches and sparrows like to eat the seeds, which means they spread them around our yard.  This year, we’ll be uprooting some volunteer chocolate flower plants to transplant them elsewhere in the yard.

That’s what I did with the material that became the Firekeeper short story.  Rather than slowing a fast-moving novel with an eight thousand word flashback, I transplanted it into its own story.  “A Question of Truth” has its own plot, conflict, and characters, all of which are shown off to much better effect by not being buried within the novel.

I’ll let you know when the story is available.  It will provide you with a chance to see some of what Firekeeper and Blind Seer have been up to since they ran off into the sunset at the end of Wolf’s Blood.

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4 Responses to “Why I Wrote a Firekeeper Short Story”

  1. Harried Harry Says:

    Jane, your explanation of what a weed is or is not is very good. It helps me as I “garden”. Since the possibility of late frost is still present, I’ll wait to plant but I will plan what goes into the garden. I think all of us are challenged to eliminate the dross in our lives as well as our gardens. For me, it’s cleaning out the stuff in the packing boxes from the last time I moved (over 30 years ago!).

    Short stories are always good to read. Sometimes they fill in the niches for a storyline to support the story or to fill in the gap when people i.e., readers, are waiting for the next book to become available.

    Thanks for the concepts you write in your blog. Helps to get through the humdrum of the late winter, early spring.

  2. Dominique Price Says:

    So excited to see some of my favorite characters again!!!!

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