It was meant to be a short and shallow steamy read. That’s what perplexes me about The Only Question That Matters: how it ballooned into a novella. The intention was a 1,200-word wham-bam-thankyou-sir flashfic, but while writing Sofia’s initial exchange with Alexei, little hints at her backstory kept popping up. I had to explore what got her on the AMS Celestial Dream in the first place. Why was her dinner date so important?
I’m not totally old-fashioned. I’m content with the idea of a one-night stand being what it is. But everything means something to someone. Everything we do is part of a bigger story. And we do things because they matter to us for one reason or another. It may be a small reason, like you’re antsy and need a fix. You can have your one-nighter and let it go, no problem.
But then how you go about it is unique to you; the way you flirt, make your intentions known, how you eventually pop the question. Those little decisions are a culmination of who you are, how people have treated you in the past, what you think about the person you’re with, and how you choose to express yourself.
It means something.
I guess, then, there’s so much you could say about a one-night stand if you wanted to. At the time, I didn’t think I wanted to. But the more I wrote, the more words kept pouring out of me. Sofia isn’t me, but she shares elements of my stories, and of the stories I’d collected from people who at some point in their lives loved too much, loved for the wrong reasons, loved the wrong person, not loved themselves enough, or not let themselves be loved.
Writing the first draft took three months. I was so immersed and consumed by this project, I think it brought on a mild bout of depression in the later weeks. Some of the songs on my writing playlist still hit me quite hard in the feels.
I think The Only Question That Matters may be the heaviest story I’ve ever written. I hope you guys enjoy it.