Back in 2007 I came up with an idea for a fantasy story called “The Dance Lesson,” involving a wizard and a royal court’s dancing teacher — probably a short story, but it might reach novelet length. It could, I thought, be set in the world of the Walasian Empire, as seen in A Young Man Without Magic and Above His Proper Station, which had not yet seen print when I came up with it.
But then I put it aside and didn’t worry about it. I never actually forgot it, but I didn’t do anything with it, either. I knew the central characters and their situation and the ending, but I hadn’t worked out the details and didn’t think it was worth the effort.
And then on Monday, April 6, 2015, almost eight years later, while sprawled on the couch watching TV, I suddenly knew the rest of the plot. It popped into my head without warning, completely unbidden. I could write the whole story any time, possibly in a single sitting.
But I need to figure out where to set it. It could be in the world of the Walasian Empire, but not in Walasia itself; the political set-up is all wrong. It would have to be in either Ermetia or the Cousins, probably the latter.
I could probably jam it into the Small Kingdoms of Ethshar, but it would be a bad fit.
The world where my short story “Keeping Up Appearances,” in one of Esther Friesner’s Chicks in Chainmail anthologies, would work. Or I could create a new setting; a pretty generic medieval fantasy setting would work fine.
Maybe I’ll just start writing and see whether it decides where it wants itself to go.