By Jael Strong
I love the story “Worms”, but I readily recognize that it will not be everybody’s favorite. Why do I love it? Because it is unrestrained. The subject matter is a bit unusual and the way the story is told isn’t middle of the road either. When I wrote this story, I wasn’t worried that readers might find it strange; in fact, I was more concerned that they would find it “normal”.
The story started as an exploration of loss. I could have written a story about a man who lost his family, either through divorce or death. Instead I chose a more surreal approach. I chose to write without dialogue and purposefully selected strange imagery. In the end, I felt good about my writing.
When writing fiction, it is a good idea to strive to love what you are writing, rather than writing strictly for the reader. A good exercise as a fiction writer is to write outlandishly. Pick a topic, perhaps even a topic that has been done to death, and then do it differently. Use disturbing images, unusual language, unique styles. Write how you want to write without concern for whether it will be accepted.