Today marks the end of the “Water” section of the anthology, and here’s how it breaks down:
- Out of the Rain, a story about a woman who devotes her life to others, but realizes that sooner or later she has to live for herself, too.
- The Quarry, something of a horror story (I hope) about a boy and his friend who go swimming at a local quarry only to discover something truly monstrous awaits them there.
- Rainsinger, a story of a young man from a nomadic tribe who has to come to grips with the fact that he can never be the man he wants to be.
- Shift, about a young man who can change his shape to look like anyone he’s “scanned.” But he meets someone who not only defies his powers, but who completely upends his world.
- The Proper Flow of Things, a humorous piece (I hope) about a man whose problems in both plumbing and life are addressed by a Zen plumber.
- Water Whispers, about a young woman whose strange experiences around water lead her to a revelation that she never expected.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- The overall elemental topic is very, well, fluid. Water, for example, could play a key role in the story, like in Water Whispers. Or it could be entirely metaphorical, like in Shift. Or somewhere in between. So there may not always be a strict means by which any particular story adheres to the element that inspired it. All that really matters is that thinking about water is what got me to these six stories. I expect the same will hold true for the remaining sections.
Holy cow, but I can use mornings for writing. This was a bit of a surprise, as I am not really a morning person, but I discovered that if I give up listening to podcasts and reading Cracked.com articles on the morning train ride, I can start working on my story for the day! This may mean actually getting a few hundred words down on the iPad or it might just be sketching out some characters and a general idea. Whatever I do, though, it means I’m actually working on the story all day, in one form or another. If I have downtime between classes or during lunch, I might be able to get a few more words in, and at the very least, it means I have my brain working on the story throughout the day, whether I know it or not. Up until now, I’ve been starting to work on stories rather late – usually around 8 PM – which means that there’s been some variation in length and quality from time to time. 
- In the same vein as above, it really helps that I made a quick rundown of topics for each section. It’s just a simple Excel document, but it has some ideas for stories for each element, which I can start thinking about as early as the night before. Preparation makes it a whole lot easier than sitting down after dinner and hitting random TVTropes pages until something strikes me as interesting.
Which is kind of scary, when I think about it.
So, Fire is up next and I have a few good ideas for that. If you have any thoughts or feedback, I’d love to hear them. Leave comments here or with the stories and let’s see what we can come up with!
 That’s what he said!