The fourth installment of “Legacy of the Fallen Stars” is up this week in issue 569 of Bewildering Stories.
The final installment should be up next week. As always, it’s free to read, so enjoy!
Meanwhile, I have some new writing projects underway.
The first is project flash, whereby I am seeking to replenish my inventory of flash fiction after some sales.
In the past, I’ve not really focused on flash because I think it’s the hardest form to master, at least for me. As a reader, I find about half the flash I read not so much economical as thin, and not so much rich and rewarding as relying on a reversal or a punch line in the last sentence (which, by the way, sometimes works nicely but other times feels contrived to me). But the other half, which manages to create a richness of mood, voice, character, and story I find admirable. Sometimes, it’s even quite amazing.
The challenge is putting together a piece that creates an impression of richness — of mood, voice, character, and story — all in under 1000 words. In that search for richness, I find that my own flash leans toward lyricism and sometimes bumps up against prose poetry. Much of it is structurally experimental, again necessitated by that quest for richness. I have some other formally experimental flash in the works but I am also working on a new piece that is more typical in terms of structure, and I’m excited to see how it turns out. It’s also my first attempt at cyberpunk, which has been fun.
Additionally, I have been working on a longer piece that is nearing completion — my first fairy tale retelling. I have also been going back through several years worth of writing exercises looking for things that excite me and could end up as stories.
There’s enough there to keep me busy for a while. Several dystopias, several space operas, a couple of shapeshifter ideas, a superhero or two, a couple of witches, a handful of wizards, one biological science fiction idea, a magical item, and at least one ghost are represented. Also there’s an idea that involves a professional classical pianist and another that involves a sous chef, both of which could be fun.
Finally, though I’ve always been daunted by the idea of trying a novel, I may end up with the start of one by default. I have a story that’s received comments from pro-market editors that it is trying to do too much and should be expanded into at least a novella, possibly a novel. Though I’d rather not spend my time on another novella (and instead on something easier to sell until I hit that first professional sale), whether this story sells or not I am toying with the idea of expanding it into a novel. I’ve already invested a substantial chunk of time in the core idea of the short version, which has received uniformly positive feedback from alpha and beta readers as being original and cool.
We shall see.