Last month I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. Go on, check it out. If you love words, it’s great fun! I had a goal in July of writing 31,000 words, and I succeeded. My project, a series of short stories.
Now that the rush of Camp NaNo is over and I’ve had a few days to recover, it’s time to turn my attention back to a promise I made before the event started. I asked for your feedback on which of five stories you’d most like to read.
To be honest, I was surprised by the responses I got from you about which stories you wanted to read. I suppose my story blurbs were a bit sketchy, and probably not all that interesting. They were written based off very vague ideas as I tried to form a story from two or three words. In some cases, I didn’t even have a solid character on which to hang the story idea.
Nevertheless, you made your choices, and I thank you for your participation! Your choices helped give me direction in July. The story that received the most votes was:
The Adventures of Andreú and Marcel
Andreú and Marcel are Empaths of legend in the realms of Bangor, Dyfedd and beyond. Feared by the Jut’ma of the northern wastelands, revered as gods by the islanders of Bisbaine, and even spoken of in awed whispers by the Arikkaans, the stories of Andreú and Marcel are far reaching indeed. They are credited for the rise and fall of empires, for the creation of mountains and rivers and the birth of the islands. But not many know – or remember – their exploits were all for the love a woman.
When I first decided to try working on a series of short stories, I started by making a list of story ideas. I generated several ideas based on two separate novel worlds I’m currently working on. From this list, I randomly selected ten ideas. It so happened that there were five from each novel world. I decided to go with the ideas from the novel I’d been working on most recently, and those are the ideas I presented for input from you, my readers.
It turns out, ten ideas was beyond overly ambitious a goal, as I suspected it might. Even the five I narrowed it down to were more than I could complete in a month. I did finish the story above and began writing two others. I also did some preliminary sketching and research on a fourth.
New Title, New Focus
Having a single story to focus on gave me a place to start. Still the idea suggested by “The Adventures of Andreú and Marcel” is very broad, and implies the possibility of a great many stories. Therefore I zeroed in on a single phrase from the proposed story blurb: “all for the love of a woman.” I took this and imagined a single event which could have been the beginning of all those adventures. This narrower focus also suggested to me a new title for the story, which in turn helped me focus it even further.
I decided to write this story in the first person point of view. But when I started it, I wasn’t entirely sure who was the main character of the story. So I decided to write it from the perspective of each of the three main characters and see where that took me. As it turns out, the story is now told from the first-person perspective of all three, each character with their own section of the story.
Writing it this way made the story longer than I’d first anticipated. Instead of my original goal of three thousand words, the final first draft is a little more than seven thousand. I don’t expect the final draft to retain this length, but it will likely still be longer than my initial plan. I’m still fairly new to writing short stories, so this has all been a learning adventure.
What Happens Next
Now I begin the journey of rewriting the story to make it perfect. Or as perfect as I can make it. I will give it a good run through myself before sharing it with a couple of trusted individuals. I would also like to run it by a couple of beta readers before I publish it. My goal is to have it all polished and ready to publish by Saturday, September 3.
First step, print the draft and read through it. Next I’ll build a plot outline. I’ll likely do a complete rewrite, removing in the process all the extra bits I left in during NaNo.
It’s a scary thing, sharing a piece of fiction. For some reason it is harder for me to share my fiction than a book review or an essay. Maybe it’s somehow more personal. But on that note, it’s time to get back to work on this story. I’ve made a promise, and I intend to keep it.
In the meantime, I shared a sneak peak here. And just for fun, here’s another bit of the new story, “Shattered.” I hope you enjoy it.
Andreú pulled me into an embrace, spinning me around in circles. His joy was infectious and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Put me down!”
Andreú stopped spinning and let my feet back down to the ground, but he didn’t release me.
“I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“That was a waste of your time. You should have known I’d be out here.”
“And I would know that, of course, because certainly you’re not supposed to be in Elder Harlan’s philosophy lecture right now.”
“Oh, ugh! That man is insufferable. You also know I skip out on that as often as possible.”
“Right.” Andreú looked down at me, his eyes twinkling with mischief. “Then, of course I should have known you would be beating up some poor lout on the training yard.”
“Andreú!” I slapped at his shoulder, trying to push myself away, but he held me even tighter. “I do not beat up anyone.”
“Of course not. The fact remains, you were not there.”
“Master Chen has his hands full training a bunch of brand new recruits. I would not be able to get a real workout. And I didn’t feel much like getting beat up myself by a bunch of clumsy farm boys with sticks.”
“Fair enough.” Andreú drew me back down to sit on the ground beside the tree again, keeping his arm wrapped around my shoulders almost as if he feared I might flee. “But then I should have known by your absence at the yard that you would naturally be with Marcel.”
“I’m not my brother’s keeper, Andreú.”
“Are you not?”
“Oh stop. I look out for him, that’s all.”