How I wrote it

My short story ‘Wild Love‘ was published in Makarelle’s winter 2021/22 edition, which was on the theme Love is Love.

I wrote this story during my MA in Creative Writing. How it came about was, I wanted to challenge myself to write something in the romance genre. I considered this to be a challenge because I don’t like romance – not in literature, TV/movies, or real life! I felt the only way to make romance palatable was to combine it with another genre, such as magical realism/fantasy, which made me feel less constrained, and more comfortable. So, I had this idea in my mind, but nothing concrete for the story.

I’d enjoyed reading Neil Gaiman’s short story ‘Orange’ (in Trigger Warning), which takes the form of written answers to a questionnaire, with the corresponding questions not seen by the reader. I’d also liked the way the narrator in ‘Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After’, the middle story in Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), occasionally acknowledges the audience he is telling a story to, by speaking directly to them. I wanted to try similar metafictional techniques, so also had these technical ideas in mind.

Scrolling through Instagram one day, I saw an illustration of a woman and a bear embracing, and a quote about friendship. This was the spark for the story’s creation: I envisaged a fairy tale esque love story between human and animal, with Romeo & Juliet esque obstacles placed in their path, but with a happy ending. The story wrote itself, by following what I considered to be logical genre tropes, such as forbidden love, the family opposing the relationship, and the two characters continuing regardless. When it came to the ending, I had a Chekhov’s gun moment; my narrator had been hunting in a forest when she met her soulmate at the beginning of the story, so she needed to fire that gun before the story was over.

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