Sometimes other stories are cued up and waiting in my subconscious while I'm actively working on another project. At the time I started "I Want You to Want Me", I was working on on a secondary world epic fantasy story that wasn’t going particularly well. While I liked the world and characters I'd made, I couldn't seem to figure what to do with them, or what point I was trying to make with the story itself. And the longer I pushed and pulled on the story parts, the more of a heavy-handed hot mess it became.
So I decided to take a break from the struggle and start a new story. I wanted to write something silly and offbeat that would make me laugh while I wrote it. The inspiration point came from "100 Days of Flash Prompts" by E.A. Deverell (www.eadeverell.com). The specific prompt was "an impulse buy leads to intergalactic warfare". While "I Want You to Want Me" probably escalates to more of an interspecies fracas than intergalactic warfare, it still leads to an increasingly chaotic, dangerous, and weird journey for Panu, the main character.
I love Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Shel Silverstein, and 90's Australian comedies. Though the characters, setting, and plot of this story are all mine, the story tone unabashedly echoes these influences. And it’s funny. . .even though “I Want You to Want Me” is a total 180 from the epic fantasy story I ended up abandoning, they share a similar focus on love and friendship and the fear of being left behind. It's a good reminder that, as much as I wish it was otherwise, the process of writing about the stuff that matters to me rarely follows a straight line.
Thanks, Nicole! Very interesting!