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Inspiration Strikes -- and a peculiar coincidence

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 10:28

I've sold two stories to the fantasy audio fiction podcast PodCastle -- both in a planned four-part series based on queer re-imaginings of the medieval Welsh Mabinogi. The first story, "Hoywverch" is a classic "wooing and winning" story in which a woman plays a risky trick on her lover's suitor to win her hand. The second, "Hyddwen" draws on the tradition of a debt to the Otherworld and impossible tasks to win one's freedom. I've known for some time that the fourth story would be riffing off of Culhwch and Olwen, with another wooing and winning story (involving the child of the original couple and with the theme "sometimes the answer is polyamory"), but also drawing on motifs of transformation from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. I've had it pretty solidly plotted out for a couple of years, but needed to get through the third story first.

All I knew about that third story was that it would be inspired by themes of the desired/lost child from the First and Fourth Branches of the Mabinogi (blending themes from Pryderi and Lleu), but I hadn't gotten much past the opening scene where Elin and Morfydd spend the night on top of a gorsedd and discover a mysterious child whom they adopt as their own. I knew the rest of the story would involve consequences of the child's origins, and the interference of some Otherworld figures from previous stories, but I didn't have the "queer hook" to inspire the throughline of the series.

This morning, on my drive in to work, I realized what the hook was and how it would make everything else fall into place. And in my coffeeshop writing session, I set up the Scrivener file for "Gwylan" with all the scenes and their summaries. Not entirely sure how I'm going to keep this down to 6000 words (which is the standard limit at PodCastle, which will of course be my market of choice) but it's a goal.

So what's the peculiar coincidence? Today PodCastle re-released "Hoywverch" as a Tales From The Vault episode. How's that for an Otherworldly seal of approval?

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