I’ve been (slowly) working on a longer piece of fiction that I’ve mentioned here before, called Wolf Dream. It’s about a 19-year old woman in 1989 who meets a group of wolf shapeshifters in her small New England town and becomes enmeshed in their world. It’s not exactly autobiographical-I don’t recall ever having met any wolf shapeshifters back in the day. But I was a 19-year old from a small New England town who was looking for her place in the world, a girl who loved books and had few friends, who partied with her first boyfriend, who dreamed of going away to college and studying literature, of maybe kind of sort of becoming a writer. I was also, like Tess in the story, afraid of almost everything. Of going out into the world, of leaving the safety of familiarity, of leaving family. A little lost (my short story I based it on is called Lost Girl).
I could have used a tough-talking friend that loved and protected and pushed me, but I didn’t have one. So I made one up; her name is Dana, and she’s a wolf shapeshifter. Through Dana, I changed history a little bit: instead of my boyfriend dumping me, Tess dumps him-for Dana. I’ve never had a relationship with a girl, but Tess does-I didn’t want this to be a Twilight for wolves. Sure, there’s a brooding supernatural male involved, but he’s not the focus; it’s not your run-of-the-mill love triangle. At least, I hope it isn’t. I think it’s much more interesting.
I also changed a few personal details-Tess has an alcoholic father, as I did. But Tess lives with her dad (her mom took off years ago); I lived with my mom after the divorce. I have three brothers and a sister; Tess is an only child. Tess is me, but she’s not me. She’s a blending of memory and fact and fiction, a composite of all the things that I was and all the things I wish I had been. She comes of age and finds her courage through supernatural events (because I like the genre), but it also comes about through tough choices and love and sacrifice and pain.
So any story or book you write, even though it may be about wolf shapeshifters or ghosts or vampires or aliens or zombies, pulses with the essence of who you are, or who you were, or who you’d like to become. It’s life moving through you, through a particular lens. And that’s pretty cool.
If you’d like to check out a Pinterest board I began on Wolf Dream, go here.