Friends, today we have a guest who made her publishing debut in the same book I did: Anything. Please welcome Mary P.!
Hi, readers! It’s a pleasure to join you here to share about my Anything story, including a deleted snippet from an early draft.
I determined from the beginning that I wanted this short to be about the type of love that will give up anything, even one’s own freedom, for family — biological or not. When I first hit upon a solid idea for Anything, it had to do with a boy setting out to rescue his brother from the dungeons with the help of a cook who had been his father’s friend. The banter between them was so fun to write, and I’d like to let them speak for themselves to show you.
Toward that aim, here’s a bit of the dynamic between Seung, the brother, and Anton, the friend of the family, in the early draft. This is unedited, and the first line of dialogue belongs to Seung. They are traveling together and talking about the dangers they will face upon reaching their destination.
“Which is why I have you, for a cover, and several grenades. And I know you didn’t come unarmed. So we should be fine.”
“Unless they have a firing squad.”
“Now you’re taking advantage of your age to do the ‘doom and gloom’ routine,” said Seung, laughing. “You underestimate me.”
“And your sweet-talking abilities,” said Anton dryly. “You could probably talk the firing squad into letting you go and thinking they were doing themselves a service in the process.”
Seung gave Anton his most mischievous smile. “There’s an idea!”
This kind of interaction is my favorite type to write, and it was a so fun to follow these two on the adventure they embarked on. It turned out, however, that my original idea needed to be modified. The setting became the U.S. just after WWI, and in the version that made it into the collection, the older brother, Will, was taken into indentured servitude to pay the debts that piled up after the brothers’ father perished in the war. Enter Anton, a friend of their father’s who had also suffered in the war, and Seung, the adopted brother, and the team was born.
I had several elements to work with here, with adoption and with Anton taking on the role of surrogate father, that helped to carry the theme and bring it to life. Found family deeply resonates with me, as it focuses on the choice to take others in and give them the consideration, loyalty, and dedication one gives to family. There’s so much selfless love to be given there, and forgiveness as well, with all the mistakes and learning experiences we get from close relationships. It was a joy to explore that with these characters.
The ending took its time, both in my head and on paper, but it came. I hope if you ever come across this story, you’ll love Will, Seung, and Anton as much as I liked meeting them and sharing their journey with you.
Many thanks to Andrea for giving me the opportunity to share this bit of behind-the-scenes and inspiration behind Anything. Her Any Thing story is inspired by Dr. Seuss’s work, and it’s such a beautiful glimpse into loving and valuing others in the chaotic stages of life.
Andrea here with you again. Aw, Mary, you’re so kind! Thank you for sharing that fun dialogue from an early draft of your Anything story. It’s always pretty cool to get a glimpse of another writer’s process and what scenes didn’t make the final cut.
Here are some songs that were on Mary’s playlist while she was writing her Anything story. Have a listen and share your favorite in the comment section.
Friends, be sure to check out Mary’s story in our book Anything. You may find all the links for it over on my book page here on Writing to Inspire.
Mary P. is a nursing major with a deep love of stories, older films, and learning. She is a reviewer, a member of the team at LitApproved.com, and a writer in the Young Writer’s Workshop.
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