It wrote it a few years ago, and it follows two frequent themes of mine: fancy tech solutions and the relationship between things’ appearances and their intrinsic qualities (is what you see what you get?).
The premise is a tablet-like machine (the Anima) upon which you draw a picture of someone (could be a person, cartoon, whatever) and it endows your picture with the personality that suits it.
I had a few ideas for how this story would go, but it ended up going in its own direction when I wrote it! I do think the idea is deserving of further development, though, so I may return to it and see what other stories I can pry out of it.
The experience of feedback and editing with the guys at Bewildering Stories was interesting for this story. I had originally called it ‘Cartoons’, but they gave feedback that single-word titles were discouraged as they risked being non-original, were hard to search for, and didn’t provide sufficient specificity about the story to entice the desired audience in to read it. I liked this advice (which you can find on this page about titles), so tried a few times to come up with a better one.
I next came up with ‘A brushstroke to capture your soul’, which I still think is the best, but it was vetoed as the ‘your’ pronoun is, apparently, off-putting as people will respond ‘not mine’. The editors came up with the title ‘Bella and Anima’, which I actually dislike. I’ve always found titles that include names to be annoying as a name means nothing till you get to know the character. Seems that isn’t a wide-spread view though, so I just went with it.
For those interested in writing, there is a lot of good advice contained in the Bewildering Stories Writing pages. It’s well worth having a look.
And I hope you enjoy Bella and Anima.