Uncanny Vale

Home to the Literary Creations
of Erin Wilcox

Text of "The Barn" Available in Uncanny Vale

I’m delighted to share the text of my story “The Barn,” among the fiction samples on my creative writing website. This piece, first published in Praxis: Gender and Cultural Critiques in 2012, was seven years in the writing. I never would have guessed, before I started writing short stories, that they might require a degree of time and effort comparable to that spent on a novel. This was one of the pieces that taught me how to write fiction, and I do have hopes that new stories might come along a little quicker, but the time and effort that went into this piece really have made its completion more satisfying than any other publication to date.

One lesson “The Barn” taught me was the importance of developing a story’s history. Although this tale takes place over just a few months, it wasn’t until I unearthed the complexity of events that occurred years prior to the story’s time span that the piece gained a sense of dimensionality, of existing within a larger framework that informed it. I felt that I had outlined and conceived, if not actually written, a novel-length work by the time the story was complete. While this phenomenon is not true of every story or every writer, I feel the extensive development “The Barn” underwent lends it a satisfying depth.

As with all my pieces that have found a home, I owe a huge thanks to all the readers and teachers who nurtured me through the writing and revision process. I continue to find that a piece is ready to go out into the world precisely at the point when it stops feeling like “my” creation, and more like a discovery made with the help of a whole team of archaeologists (to borrow Stephen King’s story excavation metaphor). Thanks to the scores of people who helped me with “The Barn,” including Shannon Cain, Ron Spatz, Jason Wenger, Signe Jorgensen, and Scott Cook.

Feel free to read the piece online, and if you’d like hard copy, the volume of Praxis in which “The Barn” appears (23:1) can be ordered from SUNY Oneonta’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department. See their ordering instructions in the bottom-right corner of Praxis’s website.

Mikey Mike (not verified) said:

This is awesome!