The mention instantly struck me as ironic because in my short story, Stealing a Moment, I have a scene with an angel sitting atop a nebula who mistakenly lets a star escape her grasp.
In creating that story, my head was filled with fluff; notions of space dust and an afterlife that grants souls their fondest wishes – even if that means allowing the heartbroken one more chance at love.
My celestial research revolved around understanding nebula, black holes, the Milky Way and what makes rainbows. But the actual star-fall bit was one of those literary epiphanies that strike when you’re trying to figure out how the heck you’re going to get your heroine from Point A to Point B both physically and fictionally. Because of that plot breakthrough, I’m not sure shooting stars even crossed my research radar.
So when I saw the article yesterday, I had to perform a quick interrogation: Did you research your story thoroughly? Could you have done more with the passing point? Would your story have been different if you elaborated on the technicalities of runaway stars?
I came up with a “yes” to all three questions and walked away feeling like I’d managed to do a great justice to Caleb and Ronnie by using the star as a conduit for their undying love. (Really, it’s all very sweet.) It's got me research-ready to use stars in another story.
Above all, I have to admit that I’m quite fascinated by the fact that even real celestial bodies get a hankering to see the great beyond from time to time. And every now and then, we’re lucky enough to catch them in the act outside our fiction.