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Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My latest work is the Audible Original The Sound at the End. My other books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

Latest News

Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My latest work is the Audible Original The Sound at the End. My other books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

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Thievery: Rebel Girl

25th May 2010 in Thievery, Writing

Thievery is a series of blog posts about my story inspirations.

The Story:

‘Rebel Girl’, published in Girl Crush (Cleis, 2010)

The Inspiration:

When I saw a call for stories on the theme of a girl crush, Bikini Kill’s song ‘Rebel Girl’ immediately came into my head because it is a kickass romantic riot grrrl love story. As a 17 year-old I spent a lot of time stomping around the suburbs with this blasting through my headphones, and I certainly had a lot of badass girl-crushes at that age.

But I still love the song: for Valentine’s Day I made my girlfriend a card that said ‘Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world’. To me, the song already tells a story, so I didn’t just want to repeat that. I wanted to take the intensity and heat of adolescent girls’ relationships with one another and put them in another context.

I grew up in a middle-class suburb, and I’ve always crushed hard on rebel girls. I’m very aware of my relative poshness and I do try to fight against it, but I fear it’s a losing battle. I live in Glasgow and I have tattoos and I know self-defence, which you might think would make me a bit hardcore, but I am amazingly wussy. I hope to get through my whole life without being in a fight. A girl did hit me once, but I was so surprised that I just walked away.

For a while I’d wanted to write a story that wasn’t about nice middle-class girls, but the ones that the nice girls fantasise about. I wanted to write about gang girls, but as that’s a culture I know nothing about I thought it would be patronising and unrealistic for me to try. Seriously, women like this make me want to write all kinds of stories:

Photo by Katrina Del Mar @ katrinadelmar.com

The characters in my story, Katia and Evie, instead developed as people I’m more familiar with: posh girls trying to rebel. I imagine the story taking place in Cumbernauld, which is fairly grim town on the outskirts of Glasgow. It’s frequently cited on lists like ‘Britain’s Crappest Town’, and though the people I know who live there are all lovely, Cumbernauld is still a depressing place.There’s nothing in the story that suggests it’s Cumbernauld – it could really be any town in any Western country – but that’s how I imagine it.

The first draft of the story was okay, but something was missing and I wasn’t sure what. Then I read a friend’s story about humid summers in Toronto, and something clicked. The story needed temperature. Suddenly the whole thing had a structure, a building of tension and a conclusion. The summer heat and breaking of the storm came to represent the characters’ sexual frustration and eventual release.

I’m not sure I succeeded in getting across the heat and intensity of the girl-gang culture that so fascinates me, because Katia and Evie are not exactly hardcore. Still, they do have some good sex.

(Note: I bashed out the first 500 words of this story in a few minutes, in a mad rush of words that felt as if my fingers couldn’t type as fast as my brain was making sentences. I went to bed feeling really smug about it and then the next morning I woke to find my laptop had crashed and eaten all the words and I had to rewrite it all. Thus my Darling Wigleaf postcard is almost completely true. I still suspect that my first draft was somehow better than the rewritten version, but I’ll never know.)

2 responses to “Thievery: Rebel Girl”

  1. Susie says:

    Mumsa!

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