I’l love some feedback on this, or any of the other short stories I’ve put out—what you like, and any constructive criticism. And if you have any thoughts on what I could tackle in other shorts, let me know. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll give it a go. After all, keeping these stories to 1000 words or less is great writing practice.
I’ve put up another short story, called Allegiance. Hope you like it.
It’s another experiment—I wanted to see if I could write something purely in dialogue. I’ve seen this kind of thing used before, both as part of a book (e.g. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game), and even as a whole book (A Closed Book by Gilbert Adair), but it’s hard to pull off. I’ve heard quite a few complaints about the dialogue-only passages in Ender’s Game (although I personally like them—they add a nice touch of mystery from the very start).
The ending is a bit of a horror story trope, with a ‘surprise’ that has been used countless times before. Even Terry Pratchett’s used it (although he was an expert at using and twisting storytelling tropes in fresh ways). But, even if you see this ending coming from afar, I hope you enjoy (if that is the right word) the short journey to that destination.
Something I’m enjoying with these short stories is the chance to experiment. Most of what I write is in third-person past tense, but to make things more involved in Escape, I’ve gone for first-person present tense. I wouldn’t be able to pull this off for anything longer, but for a short story I think it works. And if not, it’s only a thousand words. If you don’t like this one, there will be another story along in a couple of weeks.
But I might try something different with that one, too.
Another short story this week, called A Lesson In Death. It’s the first appearance of a character called Rodin, who features heavily in the books that are coming out soon. I think it gives a good flavour of what you can expect from those books.
This one’s a bit closer to 1000 words, clocking in at 938.
It is still early days for this website, but I want to lay out what will be happening over the next few months. In part, this is to let you know what I’m up to, but it also helps with accountability. I’ve been writing seriously for about eighteen months now, and I know that this is only the start. I’m learning so much. There’s always more than I can do to improve my writing, and feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of the whole publishing and marketing stuff. I want to get better, and there’s the urge to wait until I’ve improved just that bit more, or until the time feels right to upload an e-book file. But I’m procrastination, and if I keep waiting, these stories will languish on my hard drive and never have the chance to be found by anyone.
I don’t want that. As scary as it is, I want others to read what I’ve written. So I need to stop waiting. I need an incentive to get these stories out there, and making a public declaration of this intention will give me the kick up the backside I need.
So, here goes. This is the plan:
- By the end of August, I will release the first two novels in the Dominions series — Dark Glass and Dead Flesh. I’ll get these up on Amazon, Kobo, and wherever else I can. I will bring out the third novel, Deep Water, some time in October or November. I already have covers, and you can see the first one here.
- To coincide with the release of the first two books, I will have a free short story available on this website (Gatekeeper — A Dominions Prologue), either to read on-line or to download.
- I will also start a mailing list. I realise I’m an unknown, and so I will offer a free, exclusive novella (Control), again set in the Dominions universe, for anyone signing up.
- I need to keep this website live, so I’ll aim to post something every week, although I might fall back to every couple of weeks (I’d like to do more, but I’m working on another book, and there’s the day job, and the family, and all the other life stuff that gets in the way). Sometimes this will be thoughts on what I’ve been reading, or how the writing’s going, or something else connected with books and stories. But I will also write more short stories, between 500 and 1000 words, specifically for this website.
And that’s it. Four steps to start my publishing adventure.
When I put it down like that, it doesn’t look too bad. I can do this. I just need to get the novels formatted, sort out the back and front matter, write some of the web content and make sure it’s edited, sort out the mailing list, upload the novels, make sure all the links work, carry on with the next novel, figure out where I’m going to get money for more editing and covers, try to sleep, tear my hair out (oops, too late for that), make time for the family, and keep smiling.