The Godstorm so far...
Part 1 - Clouds like Murder
Part 2 - Wailing Winds
Part 3 - Blood Rain
Part 4 - Dark Thunder
Part 5 - Bright as Lightning
And now, the Godstorm has blown over. The epilogue, Clear Skies
Ephea remembers little of his fight with Brattur. Whatever he did must have been enough, though. Certainly it was enough to see Elenor live, and honour her word.
Even with the return of Kraius he has been set free. He is Godska no more.
As he walks the streets of Vallya, heading for the gates and the outside world, the air feels clear, light. Before the murder there was an oppressive tension in the air, the gods could feel the coming storm, even as Kraius had foreseen it, though maybe not as clearly as Kraius had.
How Kraius returned is a mystery to him. He saw the godking die, witnessed the frenzy of the black shrikes. But, much like his life before he entered Kraius’ service, the events of the funeral are unclear, like the spectre of a memory. And no one has enlightened him.
Haftagg and Vorka seem to have some regard for him now. After he announced he would be leaving Vallya, the two gods of light, in turn, had grasped his hand and pulled him close, slapping his back in a warriors’ farewell. Even Shin and So, in their inscrutable bone masks, had bowed deeply; Ephea felt moved, it was as much emotion as he had ever seen from them before.
Kraius simply nodded gravely at his decision to walk the world, but Ephea had the feeling he approved. Elenor had smiled at him, quite fondly, he thought, though she was not his mother, and that had puzzled him the most. Maybe he had more of his father’s appearance than whoever his mother had been.
It was something to ponder, anyway, something to roll around in his mind as his meandered about the world. He wondered if he would find a purpose, a place, but he was in no hurry. He felt rejuvenated after his recuperation, revitalised. He took a deep breath, set the gods and their politics to his back and strolled down the slope, smiling, to his future.
Godstorm in a tea cup
On publishing a serial for the first time
One of the things I didn’t expect from writing a serial was the anxiety. There is freedom in writing a lone slice of flash fiction, each story is a fresh start. If someone likes it, they like it, if they don’t, well, next week there will be something different. I’m a notorious genre hopper, and I like to think that at some point I will hit the right genre/ story combo to please everyone (not everyone at the same time, but across the body of my work).
(Also, I’m not really notorious, not enough people read me, but I could be... ;) )
With a serial, you are tied to a genre (for the most part). Certainly, with Godstorm, if I’d broken out the rocket ships I think people would have shied away. This feels a little claustrophobic. Especially given that the next story (six parts, also) is something like supernatural suspense. That’s twelve weeks with nary a sign of science fiction! Much like in my reading, if I stay away from writing SF for too long, I get itchy...
The other factor I wasn’t expecting was the expectation. In two senses.
The first is concerned with direction. People will expect the story to go in a certain direction (and, of course, different people will expect it to go different ways). Now, if they spot your plot ahead of time, you run the risk of not being exciting as a writer, and if you go somewhere unexpected, it has to be better than what the reader was expecting, because otherwise you’re letting them down. I hope I achieved this with Godstorm, I hope no one saw it coming, that my hints were subtle enough but not too subtle, and, more importantly, I hope the twist was satisfying.
The second sense of expectation is one of fulfilling a promise. This is related to direction, but this is the side that leads to anxiety. Once part one is out there, and people like it, the following parts have something to live up to. There is a commitment you are making to those who come back for the second, and subsequent, parts. They are reading your story, and coming back for more, and in return you must honour that commitment and continue to entertain them.
Before posting I was full of fear that I was committing myself to six weeks of flash that nobody might like. Once I got some really great responses to part one, I was filled with the fear of letting people down. My twist, which I knew from the beginning, was unconventional and I was worried that people might be enjoying the more conventional fantasy aspects but not appreciate the twist; that I would fail to meet my side of the commitment. At the time of writing I’ve received some really positive responses to the twist... I just hope everyone liked it as much.
My main regret with Godstorm is in the rushing from beginning to end, with so little middle. Maybe the storm should have had an eye, a moment of tense calm in the middle. A fantasy author once told me that writing is like music, it has to have its crescendos, and its bold forte moments, but it needs the quiet moments too. In hindsight, I can see the potential ‘middle’ for building characters and intrigue, multiple suspects, instead of introducing and revealing my villain in the same part. But this was Ephea’s story really... and besides, all that other stuff? That’s the book, isn’t it? ;)
I can’t see me not revisiting these characters. Even if the book never gets written I should think there will be more serialised flashes. Elenor’s history (Anjelstorm), Kraius and Elenor meeting, defeating the Star Father (Starstorm), revealing Khao as a traitor (Demonstorm), and, of course, the upcoming war - what parts Kraius, Elenor and Ephea play in the Dragonstorm... (you notice a theme there... this is your weather warning... ;) )
For now though, I set the gods and their politics to my back, and stroll off, smiling, into the future. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. =)
Fifteen Feathers will start in two weeks time, next week I will be posting two stories to Xeroverse: 101, to celebrate cracking 100 followers on twitter. Both based on prompts from followers. =)