By the time that I got around to my third story, I had made some new author friends who were teaching me how they handled some of their stories. One thing that I heard from several writers is the idea of introducing characters for an upcoming novel by writing a short story featuring them. "Gretchen's Shoot" was that story. I had a novel that I wanted to write about a brilliant scientist who traveled back in time to fix some things in his life that he had messed up over the years. In that story, he had let the love of his life get away and ended up marrying someone else on the rebound. Because of his lack of real commitment to his "second fiddle" wife, the two of them were pretty miserable together.
Gretchen was the wife that the scientist settled for, and as he buried himself in his work, she and her sister took up various sports before discovering wrestling. Learning that they were actually pretty good at it, they became one of the top tag teams in the league. Things were exciting, and they were at the top of their game until the managers of the league decided that it would be a huge draw to have the two sisters compete against each other. While the siblings let the idea roll around in their heads, Gretchen learned that her partner sister had seriously betrayed her trust in a way that deeply affected her personally.
Although this story is about the wrestling industry, I did not describe an actual wrestling match in the plot. The match between the two sisters plays an important part in demonstrating the relationship between the women, but it was not necessary to have a play by play of the contest.
Why a wrestling story? It's hard to answer that because the saga pretty much wrote itself. It started as a prelude to "At Some Point in Time", but as I began making notes, the ideas flowed freely. I had an entirely different ending to the story when I started writing it, but it just didn't feel right to me. I needed this short story to mesh properly with the novel I was planning, so I shifted gears at the end to make it fit perfectly. It actually became more of a morality tale, which just made more sense. The whole plan was to create this crisis for Gretchen that she had to resolve before the meeting with her sister in the ring. She was at a crossroad, and the direction she took would determine how her life would progress.