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Segue 10: Fall 2011  ||  Mark Richardson


about the author


Mark Richardson’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Switchback, Crime Factory, Nth Position, the anthology D*CKED, and Thirst for Fire. Richardson lives in Northern California and works as a marketing writer in Silicon Valley.


about the work


“Black String Bikini” was inspired by a story written by Alix Ohlin, one of my favorite writers. Her story included abrupt jumps into the future. I'd never seen that before and I really, really liked it. So many stories have back-story, of course, so why can't you have significant glimpses into the future? I've since had a chance to ask Alix what inspired her story. She said it was particularly influenced by The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, which, according to Alix, “is full of flash forwards—it has this really confident narration that doesn't mind spiraling forward in time to inform you of the fates of each and every character.” I think it's cool how one piece of art can influence another and then another—an ongoing dialogue.

Typically when I write, I have an idea of the story, and I then struggle with the best way to tell it. “Black String Bikini” was the opposite. I knew the format I wanted to play with, but I didn't have a story. So writing it was very challenging! And it took me a long time to determine what the story was really about.

The easiest parts for me were the flash forwards. Those just flowed out of me. I had originally planned to write a story that focused on the main character (Ben) and his relationship with his parents. But the flash forwards mostly came out as glimpses into the future of Ben and his girl friend (Rachelle). So over time I realized that their relationship was the central focus. At first, Rachelle was in very few of the scenes, but dominated the flash forwards. I went back and included her in more of the story.

To me, the story is about the emotional power of your first love, and how that sticks with you throughout your lifetime. Also, there is more than one way to tell a story, and it's good to be open to stories that try non-traditional techniques. It is fun as a writer to try something different.


Mark Richardson on the Web







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