I then added to the map as I was rewriting the sequel, Dragons of Blood and Stone. At some point, I said to myself, "I don't like all those blank places," and added in interesting names and possibilities, knowing that I could go back and tap the map as a resource at a later point.
A lot of intuition and deep behind-the-eyeballs faint trains of logic were involved. I could feel the story in the names and geographic locations but didn't pull that information out to inspect it.
At least, not until now.
I've written four short stories over the winter holiday and am now in the process of revising them. They are all set in the Dragons of Blood and Stone series fantasy reality, and they are all "filling in" the history of that reality.
- "Who Listened to Dragons": a story of the desert, the wyrm, and a six-year-old autistic child who is the magician. Told from the first person point of view (of the twelve-year-old brother), something I haven't done much and really enjoyed, a sort of Holmes/Watson approach to increase the drama.
- "River's Daughter" is a story that reads like a legend. After writing it, I thought of Washington Irving and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." I stepped out of my role of school teacher for this one and wrote the story as it demanded to be told. An interesting experience. Two sisters: one a river nymph--or are both? There is magic in the forces of nature--and we see the embodiment of magic on the Easypeace River in this story. In The Stone Dragon, there is an ice naiad. I wanted to write about a naiad in another season--and chose spring for this story.
- "Cobb's Dragon" introduces a character I've been thinking about for a long time: a teenager dissatisfied with his life, unhappy with his parents, and about to find out a consciousness-changing truth involving a teenage dragon. Literary foils, dragon and boy. On the map, the action takes place in the Eagle Cap mountains west of Outland. I enjoyed getting about the timberline.
- "T 'Uk's Dilemma": a mercenary must make a choice between two possibilities, and each possibility, if chosen, will rip him apart. This story explores the ancient duties and responsibilities of hospitality: guest and host and gods that walk among us. The 1,500-word story begins in Knight's Landing and moves north and east to Madrone, where T 'Uk's fate awaits him. I like the names of the villages: Harbinger, Richland, Meadow, Spur, and Ruddy. The castle at Madrone is also in The Stone Dragon.
I'm glad I've got a map because now I can go exploring--and so can anyone else who chooses to read my stories!
Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved