By Design

Mae: There’s a fiction exchange Jean and I do nearly every year. This last year, I read Jean’s dear author letter and thought, wouldn’t that be fun to write for him!

So I gamed the system, just a touch. I think we ended up matching on three fandoms, but I already knew I would be writing a Puss in Boots story. In fact, I’d already picked noir by the time I got the email that told me he was my assignment.

Then I remembered I usually bounce ideas off him when writing and panicked, because that clearly would not work this time. But habit being what it was, I mentioned the prompt and asked “Could you even do a noir Puss in Boots?” I’d already had a few ideas, but I was hoping for a few more.

Then Puss Noir happened, line by line, and I said some R-rated words and tried to find a different idea.

A bit later, super casually, I confirmed with Jean that one of the genres he enjoys is steampunk. So I had my idea.

I kept getting stuck, and flailing to people who know me in real life instead of flailing at Jean like I normally do. My friends were very supportive and offered great ideas, such as an off hand comment from my friend C that got me thinking about the ogre and how different he would have to be. Something she said made me think of different bodies for a robot, and the ending came together after that. I owe many thanks to A, K and C who were supportive and listened while I tried to work it out.

Goddessdster did the beta, promising not to mention it to Jean, and then I waited.

He loved the story but didn’t recognize my style, which I worried about. The email I got after the reveal made me laugh for days.

The story itself was fun to write. I knew if I was going steampunk, the family name had to be Miller, and I decided pretty quickly Puss would have to be a robot. It’s always bugged me a bit when princess don’t get names or personalities, so I fixed that. Even before the switch, the son’s name was going to be Marcus (Marquis).

It was loads of fun to write, and I really enjoyed it.