Welcome back to another installment of Issue 046 author interviews! Fans of adventure, monsters, and sapphic heroes will surely have enjoyed Devon Widmer’s “Stones and Bones.” Let’s take a look at what she had to say about it!
LSQ: A witch and her swordswoman wife relocating local monsters–a story after my own heart! Where did your inspiration for this story come from?
Devon: I love a good monster story… but not so much the moment when the poor monster gets its head lopped off! This gave me the idea to write about a pair of monster relocators who, like more traditional monster hunters, get to face off against all kinds of cool monsters. However, instead of killing, these monster relocators attempt to find more creative ways to resolve monster/human conflicts. Cue a myriad of fun (and terrifying) adventures!
Rosemary and Twig, the monster-relocating duo featured in “Stones and Bones,” are characters very near and dear to my heart. As a reader, I find heroic witches fascinating and positively swoon over beefy swordswomen. Putting the two together? And they’re in love? And they get to go on awesome adventures? While being in love? And constantly in danger? (And did I mention they’re in love???) That’s the kind of story I want to read—so, that’s the kind of story I wrote! I’ve actually been working on perfecting the characters of Rosemary and Twig for several years now but could never seem to hit on a plot that felt right for their introduction to the world. When I finished “Stones and Bones,” I finally felt like I’d not only gotten the characters right but also given them a plot that allowed them to showcase their various skills. I hope I’ve done them justice!
LSQ: The dialogue in this story is so fun, and also very natural. What are your tips for nailing dialogue?
Devon: I had a lot of fun writing the dialogue for this story, so I’m so, so glad that the final product is fun to read as well! One of my biggest writing challenges is actually reining in the amount of dialogue per scene. When I finally get into the characters’ heads, it can be really fun to just let them ramble on to each other for pages and pages of witty banter… that won’t actually do anything to advance the plot. In the end, I have to cut out a lot of fun exchanges simply because leaving them all in would bog down the story way too much. However, I feel like writing all of that excess dialogue is actually a really important part of my process for several reasons. First, it helps me establish (at least for myself) each character’s voice and mindset in the scene. That way, even if a character only ends up with a line or two, I can be confident that those few lines pack in as much of the character’s personality as possible. Second, it ensures that the dialogue that actually makes it into the finalized scene is the best of the best because I’ve gone through multiple rounds of trimming and polishing. Third, I can save all the unused dialogue in a separate document, giving me a great reservoir of material to utilize in later scenes or simply to read through whenever I need help getting back into a particular character’s head. I find it much easier to cut dialogue out of the story if I know I’ve saved it somewhere else… just in case!
LSQ: I love Rosemary and Twig so much! Do you plan on writing more about them?
Devon: Yes! I absolutely plan on writing more about Rosemary and Twig. In fact, I already have a few partially completed drafts that will hopefully see that light of day sometime in the (relatively) near future. Beyond that, I have a few other story concepts that I’d like to work on developing for them. My ultimate goal would be to build enough material for a collection of Rosemary and Twig stories, so we’ll see if I can make that a reality someday!
LSQ: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on? If so, could you tell us a bit about them?
Devon: So many projects! Like many writers, I have the unfortunate habit of tackling far too many works in progress at once, but I do have several stories that I’m determined to see through to completion. Most of what I’ve published so far has been flash fiction (“Stones and Bones” is actually my longest published story yet!), so I’m focusing on a few novella-length ideas. Currently, I’ve got space cultists grappling with the concept of personhood, a grumpy, coffee-guzzling guardian angel contemplating quitting her job (if her overbearing archangel boss doesn’t fire her first), and three sisters uncovering dark family secrets in a spectacularly creepy forest. I strongly encourage anyone and everyone to come bother me on social media about getting these (and other) stories finished!