I have never had guests on the annamaria’s website–boring! I could just roll my eyes, but it’s useless ’cause you wouldn’t see it. Anyway, while surfing through the blogs annamaria follows, I read another one of Sheenah Freitas short stories. She posts one every month. This one I found intriguing enough that, to annamaria’s dismay, I asked Sheenah to write about the process of writing this particular story.
Without wasting anymore time, here is Sheenah.
I was invited to talk about my writing process behind my short story “Confession.” For those of you who don’t know: “Confession” is a short story about the devil asking for forgiveness. It’s a story that I wrote some time ago (2009 maybe? 2008?) and I was still getting the hang of writing shorter work.
I think the idea to write about forgiveness came about from a story prompt. It might’ve been in
Writer’s Digest, I’m not sure anymore. The concept really intrigued like no other story prompt ever had before. The devil or Lucifer or Satan (whatever you want to call him) is stereotypically portrayed as this red demon who acts and looks a bit impish and loves nothing more than to be bad. But then I remembered that the devil was originally a fallen angel and supposedly one of the most beloved and beautiful angels at that. I actually don’t know why he had fallen or what provoked/prompted him to suddenly want all of this power and be God’s enemy.
I’ve heard some people say that the only place God will listen is in a church. But I couldn’t quite imagine the devil sitting in a pew, bowing his head, and praying. It seemed weird to me. And then I remembered Catholics have confessional (I think that’s what it’s called?) and I always thought it interesting—the anonymity of it and just gushing out all of your feelings to a
complete stranger. When I think of someone speaking their feelings so honestly and openly and knowing that they won’t be judged, that they won’t be recognized afterwards, it seemed like the perfect setting.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the devil would even be asking God for forgiveness. He seems to have great glee in doing the things he’s done and with all his evilness, his powers also seems to parallel God’s. But then I thought about taking things one step further: What if the devil was asking for forgiveness from not just God, but from us?
I thought, maybe the devil isn’t 100% bad. Maybe he feels sympathetic, a little bit, to the fact that we’re just casualties in his eternal war with God. So I smooshed as much information as possible in just a few words and hoped for the best. The decision to write the tale in a short story versus a novel or novella was probably the easiest decision I made. I felt like the whole story was essentially a scene, that initial exchange and shock of what the priest found at the
end. Could I have gone on and explored the priest? Sure. I could have also followed the devil
and wrote about him, but I felt enough had been said and the end felt conclusive and like the right way to end the story.
The main thing I struggled with—and the main problem I have with the story—is the fact that I wanted the devil to tell his story in first person. I initially had his story broken away and it was told without any quotations, as if he himself was chronicling his entire life in narrative rather than dialogue, but I had someone else look at it and they told me to turn it into dialogue rather than narrative. It still somehow doesn’t feel completely right to me, but I think it’s the best direction to go in. Part of the writing process is learning how to take feedback from other people like beta readers and editors. Sometimes they have feedback that you might not agree with initially, but later see that it was the best way to take a story and I think, with this story anyway, that that was one of the biggest things I learned.
You can find Confession on Sheenah’s blog.
A neek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.
If you enjoy the story, please leave a comment to let Sheenah know.