What do you call a writer cut off from Wi-Fi, has too much time on his hands, and a lot of stories he wants to get out of his head and into the heads of others? If you guessed Rami Ungar, you are correct. Last night the Wi-Fi was still out, so I decided to work on rewriting one of my short stories where I was really dissatisfied with the first draft and wanted to change things up. The result was that this morning I finished rewriting Streghe, with phenomenal results.

Now if you don’t know about or remember Streghe, let me give you some background: during my last semester at Ohio State I took a class on the history of witchcraft to fill out the last requirement of my History major (yes, a class like that was offered, and it was awesome). One of the witch mythologies we studied in that class was that of the streghe, which comes from the Umbrian region of Italy. Now in Italian streghe means “witch” and comes from the word for owl, but in that region the word takes on an entirely different meaning. Rather than involving women who assembled to worship Satan, eat the flesh of children, and cast spells with the help of demon familiars as in traditional European witchcraft mythologies, Umbrian streghe usually worked alone or in pairs, did not consort with demons that often, if at all, drank blood from children as a form of sustenance like vampires, and had their own powers, including the power to transform into owls, which normal witches were said not to have (and that is your free history lesson for the day).

Hearing this mythology, I was inspired immediately and wanted to tell a story based on it. So over the last month of school or so, when I wasn’t busy with my thesis project, I wrote a short story that grew to the size of a novelette. And when I finished it, I found that I hated it. The story was way too long, the plot was all over the place, and at times the story actually felt like it was dragging itself along just to get to the ending. During the writing of the first draft I went back several times just to try a different angle, so I knew something was off even then.

I decided to let it sit for a few months and work on other projects and see what ideas to fix the story to me. Well, something did come to me recently, thanks to time and some Lovecraft stories I’ve been reading recently (I’ll have to write a blog post about that later when I’ve read more of his work). So as soon as I finished editing Video Rage (which was two days ago, by the way), I decided to dive back into Streghe and see what I could do with it.

The result was fantastic. I cut the story by about half to just under five-thousand words, reduced the backstory of antagonist Tom in favor of expanding protagonist Sarah’s backstory (he’s an ass anyway, so I don’t think people will care if they don’t know how he became that way), as well as reducing the number of characters in the story, and added more elements from the original mythology, among other things. And as of this morning, I feel I have much tighter, creepier, and more exciting story than what I had before. Maybe in a draft or two I get it published in a magazine (I know of one that might be interested in this one, depending on the final word count).

For now though, I think I’ll let this one lie for a little while, so that when I edit it I can look at it with fresh eyes. In the meantime, I think I’ll recharge my batteries a little before I tackle my next project. If the Wi-Fi’s back when I get home tonight, I’ll probably watch some Netflix and YouTube and plan that trip to Munich. If it’s not, I’ve got a couple of books, including one from my boss at the office, so I’ll dive into that.

In the meantime, I’m feeling pretty good about myself and about life. I’ve gotten a lot written and edited, I’m gaining valuable work experience and some language skills while here in Germany, and even if this job doesn’t last beyond the three months, I have some more prospects I can look into, so there’s plenty to be hopeful for. Things are going well for me lately, and I plan to ride that good wave for as long as possible.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear. Ein schonen tag!

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