Monday, September 24, 2018

Putting Another Short Story on the Map

Spilling from the ancient Colina Calderon is the Lavan Labyrinth, lava spewed like outspread fingers creating grey wastes of razor-sharp rock interspersed with tiny, hidden valleys of grasses and secret round meadows of lying like islands of green amid volcanic desolation.

. . . Or at least the map I drew when I wrote my fantasy novel The Stone Dragon indicates. I've written five short stories set in the geography of that map since The Stone Dragon was published, and now I've started another, set in the Labyrinth and based on 154 words written by me eight years ago. I've been thinking about these 154 words for a few days, and now I have a direction to play around with. I always begin slowly, finding the voice of the tale by rewriting and experimenting with the beginning. 

Once I get a good feel for the beginning, then I can sprint! I have to turn off my editor on the first drafts, though, to allow myself a chance to try something new, anything--to give myself the chance to miserably fail, with no failure since the only rule is to let creativity flow.

Here is the original sentence and two recent experiments:

  • Again the faint click of claw on riverstone, and he silently stood to face the sound.
  • Again the faint click of claw on river stone. He turned to face the sound, his turning as silent as a dragonfly’s flight.
  • It happened this way. Blade, he heard something, maybe a scree-scrape of claw on riverstone, but he’s not sure because it was gone too sudden, like an owl took it.
As I read these, I'm telling myself, "Don't judge; don't judge!" You can see I'm playing around with tense, point of view, and characterization. Am I going to tell a tale passed down from parent to child? Is that too busy? I have no presumptions, just a willingness to play with the idea for a bit.

Oh, and it will include a mountain lion.

Wish me luck! I've already got the joy. I'm writing this right now from Lake Wapello State Park in SE Iowa. Pretty scenery, but (so far) no volcanoes or mountain lions!)

(Note: The last three posts I've boosted with a free $30 trial from Facebook. I'm not interested at this point in paying to boost more posts, since I'm focusing on writing now and not marketing. However, if you wish, feel free to share on FB, Google+, or whatever platform you are familiar with. Thanks!)


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