How Far Would You Go to Be Accepted?


Image Credit: Peter Sorensen (

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Sorry for the silence last week everyone. My husband ended up at the emergency room and was home sick for a few days. But I’m back this week to fulfill my promise!

Two weeks ago. I told you about my struggle to forgive the man who killed my best friend and how that influenced “A Purple Elephant,” one of the short stories in my ebook Frozen.

This week I wanted to talk about my inspiration for the other story, “The Replacements.”

I’ve heard that the best writers have had horrible childhoods or traumatic pasts. I think that’s untrue, a myth perpetuated by a small minority who talk openly about their tragic pasts and the sensitive nature of creatives that makes us more prone to addictions.

I had a happy childhood. In fact, I’d say that, overall, my life has been a good one.

That doesn’t mean I can’t write about tragedy, unbalanced characters, or the darker sides of life.

What it does mean is that I have to find something, some emotion, that I share with that character, no matter how small the connection. (If you’re a writer and want to see what I mean, check out my post on Three Steps to Creating Believable Character Emotions.)

With Natalie, the point of view character in “The Replacements,” that emotion was an overwhelming desire to be loved, accepted, and wanted. (You can read about my struggle with this in my posts My Life As A Three-Headed Chimera and Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t Fit In?)

I chose a very different path from the one I gave to Natalie, but that was part of what I wanted to explore in this story—a different path. I wanted to take that deep-seated need to be loved and I wanted and put it in a situation where I could create a character who would take it to an extreme that I never would have. I wanted to explore how far a person might go to feel like she had a place to belong.

In “The Replacements,” Natalie is a prodigal daughter who ran away from home and cut off contact with her parents years before. As the story opens, she’s fresh out of an abusive relationship and she’s tired of living on the streets. The only thing she wants, the only thing that matters to her, is to be able to return home to her parents, to know they still want her and love her. 

Except when she arrives home, she finds out her parents have “replaced” her by having more children. In Natalie’s broken mind, the only way she can be welcomed home is by first getting rid of her replacements.

Frozen: Two Suspense Short StoriesHere are a few more details for you about Frozen.

Twisted sleepwalking.
A frozen goldfish in a plastic bag.
And a woman afraid she’s losing her grip on reality.
“A Purple Elephant” is a 2,900-word suspense short story about grief and betrayal.

In “The Replacements,” a prodigal returns home to find that her parents have started a new family, one with no room for her. This disturbing 3,600-word suspense short story is about the lengths to which we’ll go to feel like we’re wanted, and how we don’t always see things the way they really are.

Frozen is currently available at Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. More venues coming soon!

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