As ever, feel free to go read it and return to the rest of this blog later. This blog deals with some ruminations looking back on these stories and some musings about what the future might bring.
Restaok is the seventh posted story in the series and obviously takes place after Dreamland. Not necessarily right after Dreamland as other stories may wind up between Dreamland and Restaok. Indeed, it’s more than likely more will wind up between them.
It’s also the longest so far. If I really wanted to I could probably trim it down more, but that would require some serious re-writing. None of my Alpha or Beta readers commented on that point so I think it probably works better as is. There’s always a way to reduce word count, sometimes it takes more effort and other times it takes minimal effort. The trick lies in deciding where the dividing line is between too much fluff, enough stuff, and not enough detail. I confess that right now I’m not skilled at determining where that line is and that is yet another point I rely on my Alpha and Beta readers to mention.
Five more short stories in this series and I’ll be providing an ebook collection of these 12 short stories. As a bonus for readers picking up the ebook, there will be a “cover” image provided for each short story and probably a mini encyclopedia. Right now, four of these stories have cover images, but one of these four, Final Voyage, will not be in the collection. I hope not to print that one for a long time yet.
I might even not put the 12th short story up on my blog but only have it available through the ebook. We’ll see.
Final Voyage is an interesting item. At a mere 878 words I hesitate to call it a short story at this point. Eventually it will be the final Pa’adhe short story, as should be obvious from the title. Right now, though, it’s only the ending of that particular short story that’s written up. Not just written up, but fully written and proofed to the point where it can be put out as is. It describes what happened (should that be happens?) in the end, cleaning up the loose ends the rest of this particular story will leave.
One unexpected and interesting side effect of having written what I have in Final Voyage is that it provides a control point to the whole series. In it are three things that while small in and of themselves, they guide the path of the overall series. These three little things provide me a goal towards which my characters travel. How they get there remains to be seen, but in order to meet that particular end, certain developments clearly have to take place. I like this bit of writing so much and think it provides an end where the reader will go, “Yep. That’s how it should be.” What that means is that I will change other things to keep this ending, and so it’s an overarching guide for the Pa’adhe series.
Also, as I’ve often mentioned, these stories have a strange habit of the characters rather than the author driving the storyline. When I write these, it’s almost as if I’m reading the story instead of writing it. I might start a short story with an idea of what I want to happen, such as “it would be nice to write a story where…” or I may place the character somewhere. I may even have in mind some details of events that I want to write. I sometimes think about the story a while before actually beginning writing or jotting down notes. Usually, though, I have only the barest idea for the short story when I begin writing. It seems obvious to me that my subconscious plays a lot in the writing of these stories. And half the time my characters hijack the tale to their own ends. Sometimes my writing session feels like that old joke, where the cowboy comes riding up to a man and says, “I’m the leader of the posse, have they come through here?”
With Restaok I got a bit of startling feedback from one of my Beta readers. She stated in her feedback that she always knew what gets revealed about Xinu. According to her, there are bits and pieces in the other stories that would lead to eventually figuring this out even if I didn’t explicitly state it. Yet, I never really decided Xinu was that kind of person until actually writing Restaok. That’s six full short stories before I supposedly decided his background. Checking my notes, there’s nothing at all in my notes file about this, absolutely nothing. The only possible answer to how that can be is that I subconsciously developed all these characters in more detail than I thought. That means, too, that ‘in the back of my mind’ I’ve developed this series much more than I thought. That’s kind of cool and I look forward to discovering what else comes to light over the next several stories. And the ones beyond them.
When I started writing this Pa’adhe series, I had no intention of writing more than three or four Pa’adhe stories. I intended them to be a break and an experiment more than anything else, just to “see if I could do it” and to see if anyone liked my writing. They kind of grew on me, though, and some of my few readers wanted more. So, I kept writing, to see where things might go, figuring I could always throw out Final Voyage when the time came. Now I wonder if I’ll ever go back to the novel I was working on when I started writing these as a break.
I hope you come along for the ride.