Mike Driver’s short story, Night Milling, appears in the Winter 2007 issue of Shimmer. Check out his website.
Questions About The Story
Where did the idea come from?
I visited the mill in the story through my work; a modern flour mill.
There was no one there I saw one guy all the time I went on a tour of
this huge building filled with equipment. I asked the site manager who
worked there at night. “no one,” he said. It seemed the perfect setting
for the story I wanted to tell.
How did the story change?
The original draft was nothing like the first one. Originally it was
about something evil in the wheat and this recurring theme of
seasonality and rebirth/reoccurance. It was only when I got to the end
of the second draft that I realised what my real ending was.
How is this story like your work?
I like short stories that have a rythym to them. This is the most
rhythmic and lyrical story I’ve written for a while, partly inspired by
Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane,” to which it owes is pacing and the idea of
the twin villains. I’m not sure where the oblique sense of time came
from it just sort of developed but it works fro the story.
You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
I cut two scenes I really liked, one was in the original draft of the
creature emerging from the wheat store (It was a creature back then and
there was only one at this point) which was pretty creepy but belonged
to a different story. The second was a greater explanation of the theme
and the significance of the grain and harvest time – but i left it out
beacuse it got in the way of the pacing and didn’t add to the enjoyment
of the tale.
Questions About Writing
What writing projects are you working on?
I have two novels in varying states of completion, about a dozen stories
out there with different titles under consideration and about another
dozen stories that need polishing before submission.
How long had you been submitting before you made my first sale?
I made my first submissions to a magazine in the UK called FEAR back in
the late 80’s and the third one was accepted but then the magazine
disappeared, folded I think. I then sent some stories to a couple of
publishers in the early 90’s which got some interest and a few nice
replies but no one really knew what to do with them. After these
experiences I just figured it was never going to happen for me so I went
and had a career. Then when I finally got my courage up to start
submitting again about 18 months ago I had an acceptance with 12 days.
So its either 12 days or 20 years depending on your point of view.
How did you celebrate my first sale?
With a beer ( and a small victory dance)
If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Don’t give up.
Question: How many writers does it change to take a light bulb?
None. We like the dark