I will be running a ‘Digital Reading Seminar’ at my local high school in the near future and one of the things I wanted to do was get the kids to download free short stories and read them. I figured that I’d put ‘Run‘ up here in PDF form so that anyone without an account at the online stores could still get something to read, then I realised that Run is not exactly G rated, definitely for over 15 yrs. Even though its not at all explicit, I can hardly tell kids at school to download something with casual sex in it. So what are the younger teens going to read?
My other two single short stories are all quite safe but they aren’t teen stories, and I would, of course, like to encourage the kids to read my YA books.
Run is free everywhere, but it’s not listed as YA. It’s designed to draw in the adult readers who would like the Diamond Peak series. I realised that what I need is another prequel short story specifically for the teen readers, and since Run is Nick’s story, the other story should be Ariel’s. What would be really nice is if her story could tie up with Nick’s one in Run, so that her story includes the moment they see each other on the beach.
Decision made. I know what I need, but where is the story? How do you just come up with one made to order? I remember reading somewhere that all the answers the writer needs are already in the story, so I looked at what I had.
What is Ariel’s life like before the events on Diamond Peak?
- She’s a runner
- She took fencing classes. Her mother started her when she was little.
- she has a friend called Tamara
- The first draft of Lethal Inheritance began with a dream and had a scene where an unseen demon stalked her.
- she sees Nick on the beach, but doesn’t actually meet him.
How can I have her deal with the idea of demons without her actually seeing the demons? (She first sees them in Lethal Inheritance.) I want to give the flavour of the series without giving anything away.
The dream and the stalking turned out to be the key. It always was a good starting point. I couldn’t find the writing I’d already done , but I remembered the details, so I wrote the scenes again, in first person this time. The demon became a shadow, same idea, same feeling, but more vague, and the shadow reflects Ariel’s fear about a fencing match. With this, I had the bones of my story. The rest came as I wrote.
Three days later and the story is almost ready for the waiting period. I followed the Stephen King method ie
- write the first draft;
- ask yourself what you’re trying to say;
- rewrite it bringing out the points you want to make;
- let someone else have a look at it (hubby & daughter in this case)
I had to learn a lot about fencing, because the final scene is a fencing match.
Writing the blurb is part of the clarification process and making covers is part of the creative process for me.
Here’s the blurb.
Dream remnants usually fade, but not this one.
A shadow escapes from Ariel’s dream and stalks her in the real world. No matter how she tries to shake it off, it always returns. Even the magic of an old man and a boy bathed in light can’t keep its chill breath at bay. Like the fear that called it, the only way to defeat the shadow is to face it.
But how can she confront something she can’t even see?
Here’s the cover. The picture of Ariel is purposefully the same one I used in the background of the Run cover.
I’ll be looking at my daughter’s comments tomorrow and integrating them, then I’ll leave it for a bit before editing it again and sending it to my editor. It’s important to wait until the excitement has died down, so I can look at it objectively before taking the next step.
Rule number one: do not be in a hurry to publish.
My hard to please husband said about the story … ‘You can really write now.’
That’s glowing praise from him! I need to make the concepts clearer though. This is after all aimed at the youngest of my readers.
This story shows that Ariel is one awesome character. Not only does she fence, she has the courage to face her fear as well. And guess what? When she faces it, she finds it isn’t as scary as she thought it was. Funny that!
Writing a book isn’t as scary as I used to think it was either.