I wrote this short story sometime in the early part of last decade after staring at a copy of a daguerrotype of myself and my brother that we’d paid for at the 135th Chickamauga reenactment in 2003. I wrote it after the experience my brother had at his first reenactment and the adventure of what the real 15th Wisconsin went through 135 years earlier. It is about two brothers (fictionalized) and the harrowing experience of this regiment as it was blindly marched into a thick wood only to run into a confederate brigade that had just smashed another Union brigade. Heg’s brigade (Hans Christian Heg) of Davies’ Division would die not far from where the regiments first entered the wood and stood for a short time before being forced to retreat. Their experience was indicative of both sides as the fighting see-sawed back and forth over the Vinniard Farm.
I always have a lot of history sprinkled through my stories, I guess it is the teacher in me. For today only, Two Struck Images is FREE for Kindle owners (if you’ve not a kindle to your name, the Kindle Cloud Reader is also free and the short story can be read on your PC/Mac).
I ran an earlier poll on the title as there was some initial confusion on the part of my cover designer as to how the title should be formatted. I went back and forth with myself over it. Some people were confused, some intrigued, some thought it enough to want to read the blurb. After some time of chewing on all of the advice and offered title suggestions I decided to stick with the original given that it plays such an important role in the story itself. But, that is the danger of all of my inside knowledge. I think the title is what it should be, but there is a world of opinion when it comes to each consumer and what will be liked or be explanatory enough to draw further interest. Two Struck Images
I suppose not in a title, but behind it that I mean. What does the title say to the reader? I know what it tells me as the writer and the creator of that title that houses the innards of a literary jaunt into fantasy (not Fantasy, I enjoy watching it and occasionally reading it but do not write it) I called Two Struck Images.
First, some background.
I had the treat one fall weekend in 1999 to host my younger brother at the 135th reenactment of the Civil War battle of Chickamauga. I had enough uniform parts and an extra rifle to fully outfit him (save for the shoes, I to this day still apologize for having to wear my old, worn out brogans that need re-soled). I was always the history buff and he went along for reasons of his own. I’d been away to college and then permanently settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico afterwards and married while he was in Atlanta, Georgia. I think he was glad for some company.
With my reenacting battalion, the Army of the Pacific, we portrayed Heg’s 15th Wisconsin as our guiding impression and for the first day’s scripted battle. The 15th Wisconsin was part of the bloody action that took place on the Viniard Farm and suffered heavily on that first day’s combat. At the event was a period photographer and he and I sat for two images to be struck. Two different poses, two different images and we each kept our favorite to take home. Some time later I was looking at my own image and penned this short story of two brothers and the images they possessed. I titled it Two Struck Images for the story told of the battle and the tie one boy finds with that past when found he finds one of the images 150 years later.
Today I have commissioned someone to edit the story and someone else to do the cover image and for the first time I was confronted with the difficulty of my title. I conceived of it and titled it and to me it ties things together. From here on out, however, I need to step away from it as the writer and approach it as a reader who knows nothing of what I know about the two images and the role they play in the story. Hard to do. I only get one shot to appeal to someone, I want to toe that line between engaging mystery and confusion.
Please leave other thoughts in the comments section. If you have other title suggestions leave those too. Short story to be released on Kindle in May.