This is the second part of a 2-part post. Here’s part 1.

After my first experience in writing fiction when I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago, I’ve continued to write. However, I haven’t tended to create completed pieces because I didn’t have the pressure of the contest to give me that structure. So I have notebooks and computer files of various ideas in various stages of non-completion.

When Silence in the Library announced open submissions for the Athena’s Daughters 2 collection, I got the same feeling I did when I decided to do NaNo. I just had to do it – one of those challenges fueled by the desire to simply see if I could pull it off. In fact, I came up with an original idea that wasn’t from the stash, so I wrote the story specifically for this volume. Although not as expansive as a novel, it really gave me the opportunity to study the components of storytelling and worldbuilding in a much more compact and easily controllable form. Echoing in my head were the words of Allston and Stackpole: “A story isn’t so much a work of art as a construction project.” While I think art and feeling and intuition play more of a role than that statement suggests, it’s true that carpentry is a huge part of the process.

Writing fiction for me is freedom – particularly speculative fiction – because I get to ask the question “what if?” and pursue the answer wherever it leads, without the strictures of citation guidelines and the parameters of my job description to dictate what I write. I get to live for a time in worlds that, on my best days, almost seem to create themselves. Sure, in the case of AD2 I wouldn’t have submitted the story if I didn’t have some hope that it might make it into the volume. Indeed, the fact that it did delights me to no end and gives me some validation that I should keep doing this fiction writing thing. I thank the crew at SitL for giving me a chance, and I hope you all enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

(This post is modified from a guest piece of mine that appeared on fellow AD2 author Megan O’Russell’s blog .)