Anne started such a wonderful discussion of Wicked Wenches that I’m not certain there’s much room to jump in. But writing a 10-12,000 word story has taught me something about writing short, so I may practice short blogging, too.
The difficulty of writing “wicked” in short form is that there’s very little room for redeeming a truly wicked sin, much less an entire character. I’d like to try it sometime in novel form, but for the sake of a short story, I tried to make it easy on myself. I created a character who really did something no good romance heroine should do—deliberately lied by a rather spectacular omission and betrayed a loyalty. Readers would have screamed in outrage had I pulled this stunt in the normal course of a story, because of course, it’s pretty impossible to carry out the lie she was perpetrating, although the disloyalty could be justified.
But in short form, events have to move swiftly. So there’s no time for deception to reach the level of true wickedness—or stupidity, which is what I’d label the actions of most heroines inclined to such stunts. Damaris knows what she’s doing is wrong and is fully prepared to accept the consequences, because she knows she’s doing it for good reason.
The one really difficult part of writing short is that there’s little room for both romance and plot. Most of the wenches resolved this by having the hero and heroine know each other before the story started. I, on the other hand, needed anonymity for my mischief. So I had to end on a hopeful note for two lonely people and let readers reach their own conclusions.
Interestingly, a holiday spirit seems to imbue the story with just the right note of hope. Is this the reason so many of us enjoy Christmas anthologies? Any other theories as to why Christmas stories are so popular?