Forthcoming Short Story, Chapter 28 Arriving Soon As Well

The title says it all, folks. Yes it’s been forever, but I’m finally ready to post chapter 28 of Demimind and I’m working hard on a new short story, to boot. This next short story is going sci-fi, and I might turn it into a mini-series if I like it well enough, in preparation for my next biggish book idea.

I expect to have both the short story and the next chapter up by friday, if not sooner.  Life is life, I’ve been swamped to hell, but this is something I know I have to do, so EXPECT IT. I will get it up somehow, even if the process is a trial by fire.

-Eris

PS: Short story’s working title is Saints of Discord. I look forward to posting it once I’m done and to reading the feedback.

PSS: In other news, recently my family came into possession of the latest of the long line of Discworld novels from Sir Terry Pratchett. When I am not reading and revising, working, doing homework or otherwise, you can bet I will be nose deep in that.

On the nature of short stories

…That is to say, on the nature as I have observed it. While I am not, currently, an extremely prolific author [read, have not been published], I have some things to say based on my experience in the field thus far. [Both as a reader and as a writer]

Short stories do not need to be resolved. The immediate problem may be addressed and taken care of, but when all is said and done, the overarching main problem may continue to be an issue so long as it does not interfere with the characters’ resolution of the immediate issue.

Short stories can have vicious, brutal protagonists because you don’t need to be in their perspective as long as in novels. I don’t know- as a reader, I find it very difficult to sympathize with characters who are total buttfaces. But that’s just me. I’m sure some of you don’t mind reading whole novels where the main character is an unsympathetic mess of violence, but for me…

Not so much. And indeed, there are likely novels out there where the main character IS an unsympathetic violent mess. I don’t believe in it from a writing standpoint. Characters, for me, make and break a story- for a short story, such a character might be okay [especially if he/she gets his/her comeuppance in the end]. But for a novel? Forget it. I’ll drop the book rather than sit through that drivel.

But in general, as long as the story has more than just the violent mess of a main character going for it, it can make it into a short story collaboration.

Next, I’ve observed that short stories are not always short- or meant to be, as it were. A short story can easily be an excerpt, clipped and cut from a novel, and mailed in as a short story. There can easily be any number of short stories clipped INTO a novel, just waiting for you to pluck them. Sometimes short stories start as such and grow into novels, in the way that Demimind started as something quite small and has sort of grown into this monster. [Though I recognize that as far as actual wordcount goes, it isn’t really all that big]

But it isn’t always that easy, either.

In the vein of my second idea on brutality in short stories, you can also push more limits with short stories and get away with them. A short story takes less time to write than a novel on average, and a short story takes less time to read. Someone who does read it may be more tolerant of new ideas than if they had to deal with a full novel of them. The material in a short story is generally much different from what goes into a full novel or novella. The plots are accordion’d down into tiny little stacks. A lot of the time they squish together- in fact, a lot of the time a short story differs from a novel simply by dint of being so fast.

The hardest thing about writing a short story is the ending. For me, it’s simply the question- ‘How will this end?’

How do I go about it? How could I end something with so much promise? It’s always a challenge to figure out exactly what I’ll do.

But there’s the cool thing about my writing style- I don’t have to figure it out. The words flow for me. I recognize that sometimes they don’t and I have to write through it, but they’re never gone for long. I could sit here and write for hours and hours about that feeling, about how scary it is to rely on flow over, say, the laborious task of learning how to write without it. That’s where the well educated masses have me, I suppose.

I don’t have my degree yet. They can write mediocre things after a few long, hard hours of trying to come up with a plot…

And every once in a while I- poor old me- can write out brilliant works of art right off the top of my head. Well I guess the joke is on me- this is the closest I’m ever likely to get to being published.

By the same token, I’m not bitter about that. I like my style. I recognize there are others. Some people have to work really hard to write. It works differently for everyone. I take my inspiration from the world without and within and transform it into words.

Some people mimic, some people strive, some people flow and some people just do math. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do it. The same goes for short stories- no matter how you get the job done, it gets done. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad- if the story inside gets out on paper, it was worth the effort, and you have the art to show for it.

-Eris

Gender in my writing

It’s occurred to me that one of the things I never think about in writing that people overthink normally is the gender of my character. I never think about it ever.

I don’t know why, but it just never seems relevant, no matter what I do. I feel like my characters are my characters regardless of whether they’re male, female or other. And to tell you the truth, most of the characters I draw up- or at least the ones I like– fall into the third category. It’d be a flat out lie if I said that it was because I find it fascinating. While I find gender itself to be fascinating in concept and execution, obsessing over a single character’s gender seems overdone and silly- storylines involving the bucking of tradition, like a girl going to war and a guy staying home and watching the children, doing the sewing… It isn’t as interesting to me as stories which make up their own traditions.

I suppose that’s where the idea for Summer and Winter and the rest came from. Summer is a hot-headed, often vindictive character with few redeeming qualities at the start. Winter is confused, hurt, but strong. Their genders make little difference in the situation- perhaps Summer wouldn’t have exploited the gateguards quite as much, perhaps she wouldn’t have been [SPOILER] either, but that’s simple biology.

One of the main reasons I made Spring male was because it felt right, and I think it probably felt right because Spring is often represented as a woman. If there’s something I’m notorious for, it’s subconsciously switching the genders of anything I look at. If you’re normally a guy, I’ll picture you as a girl. If you’re normally a girl, I’ll picture you as a guy. If you don’t fit either I might imagine what would happen if you’d been born the other way.

But I don’t think about it most of the time. I’d much prefer to think about what the character of my characters are. If I put gender into it and start thinking about it too much, I run the danger of treading into obsessive territory. So I don’t let myself.

Well, most of the time. While for me characters write themselves, I understand that for many people, they have to think it all through.

Now, this is offtopic, naturally, but I’m always going off on a tangent, so here goes.

My general build for any character goes: Name -> Base -> personality -> quirks -> abilities -> fate.

And the last is a bit shaky. OF COURSE IT IS. I love to write, but I don’t write in a cool, logical manner. I am no spinner of intricate, complicated webs of intrigue. The webs spin themselves, the characters speak and act for themselves, and if I have any hand in their fates it’s only by dint of writing them down!

Similarly closer to the topic, I am a historian of my characters’ personalities, but lately I have been a very busy historian. I’m going to do my best to get a Friday update of some kind, of course!

If it does appear it will be later at night, since… well, to be honest, college is a long, involved process and after I’m done with my daily classes I like to sit back and relax. Constantly.

Sometimes that relaxing involves writing, and sometimes it involves playing games and sleeping. Whatever strikes my nerves, as they say.

(I don’t know if anyone even says that, do not quote me unless you’re sure they actually say that, I would be so embarrassed)

-Eris

College Starts Soon / KoS

Chapter nineteen is up. But that’s not quite as important as college.

Oh, it’s very important- I’ll still update as often as I can, mondays and fridays regular. I hope to finish this story before the end of the first semester- a bold goal, to be sure.

But that’s fine. I’m sure it’ll work out in my favor. I’m taking about four classes this semester- it cost a lot of money, but it always does. And I plan on acing every course, if I’m allowed to do that. Am I allowed to do that? I hope I’m allowed to do that.

I’ve also been working on a short story which, eventually, I may post on a separate page.  Depends on how long it takes to finish it. It shows a lot of promise!

But that’s all I’ve got for now, I’m afraid. Bottom line is that college starts next week- I’m going to be busy- well, busier- so I’m just gonna count on you guys, gals and others to make things interesting. Thanks for reading, everyone, and I wish you good fortune in all your future endeavors.

-Eris

PS: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THIS IS THE END OF THE STORY.

PSS: UPDATES TO CONTINUE AS NORMAL DESPITE THE WHINING.

Vacation!

Okay, well… I’m going on a two week vacation (which I do every few years). Now, while I’ll try to update as regularly as possible, this’ll mean that, from the 14th on to the 29th, updates will be sparse or not at all. On the other hand, when I get back I can, of course, immediately post at least three, right? So expect the next updates on the 30th. If I can get them to my fan(s) sooner, I will, promise. Just think of it as extra time (if that’s even necessary) to catch up and theorize about what will happen next, I suppose.

Since there are four updates we may be missing quite soon, I’d like to take this time to quietly thank those of you who’ve stuck with it from the start. (not that this story has been going on all that long, really)

So thank you very much, everyone. If no one read it I probably wouldn’t post it. Wait, yes I would! I need to post to validate myself as a person who keeps he/r promises.

Thanks again, and seeya when I get back!

-Eris

Independence Day

Well, it was that time of the year again. Really, no excuse, Sam. You can do better than this. I told you, it’s Independence Day, gotta have an update, but you wouldn’t listen.

In lieu of disappointing my eager fan with excuses- though I did watch fireworks and such- I’ll simply say today was complicated and leave it at that. The update for the chapter will be up as soon as I can tomorrow (this) morning. No, I’m not behind, but I will need to modify it a bit to get it to fit with the general scheme of the characters.

Speaking of which…. You may well wonder why Friday’s update was a little longer in the making too.

Or not, I guess. 

But if you did! I rewrote a lot of it. I went over and thought ‘This isn’t right. Summer wouldn’t say these things. Spring is less of an obvious idiot.’

Since it didn’t fit them, I just went in and changed it around. It’s not like the official disk version I’ve got with me always. (though I may well just cut/copy/paste that chapter into my story on my harddrive since I like it better)

Well, that’s about all I know. It’s a little too late for me to think seriously about staying up and messing around much more on my computer. I’m all tired out, it’s been a long weekend. But don’t worry, guys, gals and others. I’ll have that chapter up first thing in the morning.

-Eris

Short Chapter

This chapter was short, in my opinion.

With that in mind, I was thinking about posting its twin today as well and undoing all my hard work at keeping ahead of this schedule in the process.

Well, not really. I’m far enough ahead that’s not likely to be a problem even if I posted a new chapter every day (which would swamp people and basically make it impossible for anyone to keep up, I’m sure)

So with that also in mind, I suppose I’ll have to deal with the subpar length and hope everyone enjoyed it anyway. I don’t want to drown you in walls of text. Really I don’t. New chapter’ll be posted monday unless I have a sudden fit of crazy and post it earlier. Don’t get your hopes up though- I’ve been having a few computer troubles lately which’ll make POSTING things easier… and WRITING things harder. But I’ll deal. I’m good at that by now, I should think.

(No, you don’t get a long involved backstory describing why. I’m not THAT nice.)

-Eris

PS:

Anyone who thinks that chapter was just long enough is a HEATHEN and will be given cocoa for sucking up. Thanks, your support is appreciated always!

Anyone who thinks that chapter was too short is one of the TRUE FAITH and will be given cocoa for sucking up. Thanks, your support is also appreciated always, even as you crush my self-esteem and ruin my day!

(you don’t really ruin my day, please keep reading)