The Story Behind the Story: “The Squall”

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t be a fiction writer because I’m a terrible liar. So I busied myself with personal essays and memoir pieces. But as it turns out, sticking to the truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth – got weary after a while.

This story, like most of my fiction, was born from a personal experience – taking a pregnancy test in a portable bathroom by a lake after coming home from a trip abroad – but because it’s fiction, I was free to change the details of this woman’s situation. I was several years out of college when I sat by that lake, wondering what the lines on the plastic stick would tell me, but making Celeste a senior in college increased the stakes of the situation.

I also planted my character in a place I know well, a place with a bit more tension than a peaceful New England lake – the public beach on the side of the Rickenbacker Causeway in the heart of Miami. How many times have I stopped by here on a whim and stood in the surf, watching the waves and the clouds collide?

I’ll never forget one afternoon when I was enjoying a quick swim before work. Suddenly, the skies darkened and the beach emptied just as quickly; within minutes, I found myself at sea in the midst of an epic thunderstorm, unable to see a thing beyond the wall of rain, completely engulfed by water.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction Essays/Articles (all) The Story Behind the Story
Sort by

“The Squall”

Celeste stood at the ocean’s edge, toes in the tepid water, her gaze stretching to the horizon where a collection of
2017-06-19 09:04:58
cguiol

10

“Up Front Characterization: Using the First Paragraph to Establish Character”

Common advice to short story writers is to “front load” the story, meaning to provide key information right away, in
2017-10-09 15:52:48
tanyaperkins

8

“Deliberate Act”

It was just easier to stay still on that bench, briefcase at my feet, than to make my way home. The snow
2017-03-30 15:40:00
kbarbee

8

“The Baby’s Hunger”

Da's stagger did less damage than his swing. He rolled about the kitchen like a boat with a keel hole
2015-07-23 07:49:53
nbyrne

8

“Catfight in a Cathouse”

Two Whores Brawling in a Storyville Brothel, French Emma Johnson’s Ci
2014-12-19 17:40:22
mgarriga

8

“Margaret Atwood in Paradise”

In paradise, they are forever putting on makeup and sweating out of it. You can tell time by the number of times
2019-07-17 10:44:12
amy-stuber

0

The Story Behind the Story: “Levitation”

“Levitation” was inspired by my three children.  Someone said to me on the day I was getting divorced,
2019-07-12 07:59:43
trivard

0

“Story Dissection”

Here’s all that is needed to dissect the story: Thematic Elements 1) The man loves his wife, as in t
2019-07-10 09:35:19
dryan

0

“Fugue of the Sunbathers”

A little girl of maybe four or five. You can tell by her Spongebob one-piece bathing suit, her sassy mouth, her
2019-07-01 23:30:57
jeffreygibbs

0

“So Small a Spark”

It is not simply that the tree is going to snap its hinge and kill him.  There is such a rich history here.  The t
2019-05-08 11:00:13
shiehd

0

About Carmella Guiol

Carmella de los Angeles Guiol is a writer, educator, amateur photographer and tropical fruit enthusiast. She is a graduate of Amherst College and the MFA program at the University of South Florida. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Review, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Thought Catalog, The Normal School, The Toast, Bustle, Fiction Southeast, Slag Glass City, Kudzu House, Tahoma Literary Review, The Manifest-Station, and elsewhere. A proud Floridian, Carmella is currently living and teaching in Cartagena, Colombia as a Fulbright fellow. You can keep up with her travels and her writing at www.therestlesswriter.com.