How to Kill a Mannequin

“‘Be right back,’ she says in a low voice. After all, it would feel foolish if she let anyone overhear her talking to a mannequin.”

- Binnie Brennan (“How to Kill a Mannequin” from A Certain Grace)

In his brilliant, small work titled Work Book: memos and dispatches on writing, Steven Heighton makes the case for dreams:

“Here’s one thing I notice about the ideas that come out of daydreams or nightdreams: they work, they always work.”

Such was the case in the early hours of the dawn one day last summer, as I sat bolt upright with two things flashing in my mind, a title and a person’s invented name. It was still dark as I groped for pencil and paper. Clues, these were clues. I scribbled down the title and the name, and tried to sleep some more. I couldn’t wait to get to my desk.

I allowed myself some time to let things percolate before sitting down to write, and within six hours I had a solid first draft. It was the most painless draft I’ve ever written. I called it How to Kill a Mannequin. A week later, the story was polished and ready to show to Editor John. He was pleased with it and saw no reason to make any changes. It’s the first story in A Certain Grace.

It was a gift; it worked. Steven Heighton was right about the dreams.


Halifax book launch reminder:

Sunday, April 15, 4:00
The Company House
2202 Gottingen St, Halifax

Categories: General.