Monday, June 16, 2014

Anatomy of an Idea: Polestar

Polestar is now available in the current issue of Plasma Frequency - check it out!  Here's an account of how it came about, as spoiler-free as I can make it.

This story was written as a several-years-later sequel to First Contact, which was published in the now-defunct Golden Visions.  It is in First Contact that many of the elements in Polestar were developed, so a flashback to that story is in order.  

First Contact was written for a monthly challenge on the subject of first contact.  When I take on these challenges, I always like to add an additional interpretation or twist on the topic.  In this case, I decided to take "first contact" in two ways:  both in the traditional sense of the meeting of two peoples, and in the sense of physical touch.  I decided to make my main character a girl who was being kept "pure" by being forbidden to touch anything for herself.  I also had a quote from Much Ado About Nothing rattling about my head:  but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.

It was this line that inspired the idea of the Lthieryn, the living stars, and the character of Eridanus.  Eridanus is the being with whom Adiarwen makes her first contact, in both senses ... and in Polestar (remember the story we were talking about originally?  Here we are again), he becomes the narrator.  He has been her fast friend and traveling companion over the intervening years, but yearns for more.  At the time of writing this story, I was full of myself enough to want to use another Shakespeare quote, and I chose Sonnet 116 ("Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds").  The later line, "It is the star to every wandering bark," inspired the title, Polestar.

And when someone becomes the center of your life, your guiding light, the consequences can be terrible ...

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