Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Onwards and Upwards

First, a bit of news. I heard back from the Trestle Creek Review. They have elected not to publish "A History of Falling Off the Wall." So this was my first rejection letter. And while, yes, this is kind of upsetting, it's also a good thing. For one thing, it means I tried. You can't get rejected if you don't put yourself out there (a phrase I really hate, incidentally). For another thing, this tells me the sort of direction I should be moving. I now know what people don't want, so I can try to write something else that people will want. It's a learning experience.

With that out of the way, let's talk about Camp NaNo. At this second, I think I have about 1600 words of my 10,000 word goal. I'm not worried about the numbers at all on this one, which is nice. With a 50,000 word goal, sometimes it can get kind of overwhelming and disheartening.

Anyway, so far the story is progressing nicely. I think I've landed on a narrative voice I like. That's always the hardest part for me. Most of the time, it starts out kind of irreverent but devolves into these cold, clinical descriptions. I'm not sure what that happens. It's like the narrative is afraid to have personality. I don't like it, so I don't know why I keep doing it.

But you're here (probably) for the story. Here's how it opens, with an introduction to the world that all potential short stories will take place in.

The world was flat. That was a given. Whether it was the only one was another matter.

Two thousand years ago, some cataclysm had occurred: The Shattering of the World. The continents had violently split apart, leaving the central landmass of Mesadia as the biggest fragment, with the other hovering distantly in the sky around it. Everyone assumed that the inhabitants of the other pieces were lost to the void.

Everyone was wrong.

Two hundred years ago, Mesadia’s telescope technology progressed to such a point that they could see the surface of Astranga. And they learned that they were not alone. The University of Gearheart, in Mesadia’s capital, began a program to construct vessels to traverse the void between the continents and train aethernauts to pilot them. One hundred and fifty years passed before the University could complete its task. Once the first ship successfully made the voyage to Astranga and back, other ships followed, and eventually, the cable-draggers.

Thousands of miles of cable were strung between Mesadia and Astranga, which went on to support the train system. Casual travellers could make the three day trip in comfort and relative safety. Over time, more and more world fragments were connected.

Today, the only sizable fragment that remained unexplored was Esphoros. Funds had run short in the program, and it was long theorized that Esphoros was uninhabited. While most of the other fragments were situated at or below the same plane as Mesadia, Esphoros had drifted upward after the Shattering. At certain times of the year, the continent would block out the sun in Mesadia.

Now, in the year 2016 PS (Post Shattering), Chancellor Gillivrey, ruler of Mesadia, okayed the University of Gearheart for one more exploratory mission. They were going to Esphoros.

This first story introduces us to Eli Makela, sheriff of the small farming town of Serenity. Serenity is about to have an influx of rather unwanted tourism. In this excerpt, Eli meets the explorers who have just landed.

When he reached the field (and shooed the onlookers away), the ship was just opening its hatch. Four people stepped out and looked around. The man in front noticed Eli approaching.

“Hello there! We come in peace.”

“Uh huh,” Eli said, stopping fifteen feet from them.

“Fear not! We are but humble travellers from the world below: Mesadia. For there lies a vibrant and friendly populous,” the man said, stating the obvious.

“Yeah…” Eli said. “We can see you.”

The man faltered. “You can… Oh. So you knew about the other world fragments.”

Eli nodded.

“So then why have you not sent down an expedition of your own?”

“What for?”

“For…?” the man asked, flustered. He shook his head. “Forgive me. My name is Solomon Maccabee. I’m the captain of the Akation—the ship here—and this is my crew. And who are you, who has come out here to make first contact?”

“Sheriff Makela, of Serenity—” He pointed behind him. “—the town here—and I came out here to tell you: You can’t park here.”

Let me know what you think so far, and I'll be back on Friday, if not before.

1 comment:

  1. Trestle creek are dirt bags and would not know a good story if it punched them in the face and maybe that's what it takes but then again they printed pieces of garbage found around a campus so maybe it is a good thing they did not publish you as they are publishing literal garbage.