Stories for Exploring

Well I’ve finally finished, illustrated, and published my first short story! It feels like I’ve really accomplished something here. And as awesome and cool as that is it won’t be worth much if I don’t keep going right?

Ultimately, I’m writing a novel here. But I often get stuck (curse you, writer’s block!) because I’m still fleshing out my world. There are cultures to create, civilizations to raise up and tear down, languages to decide on, characters to build and – what I think it is the hardest – a magic system to invent.

All these things, I’ve found, come easier when I just start writing a story about whatever aspect of my world I’m trying to figure out. Sometimes the stories are boring. I write them as if I was writing a history book. Other stories I’ll go back to and trash them because they’re just not working. But some stories…  oh yes, some stories work.

They accomplish exactly what I’m looking for. They fit the magic system in my head, the make sense with the story and it’s unique to my world; not a knockoff of a knockoff of a knockoff that’s already been done thrice before that.

Furthermore, the stories are my way of exploring my own world. Despite having worked on it since I was a teenager, there are still a lot of things I don’t know about my world. Heck, there are a lot of things about the world I really live in that I don’t know about. But it’s fun to explore; it’s good to seek out knowledge.

The most complicated piece of my world is the magic system – so that’s what I’m going to be focusing on next. I have the basics but now I need to get more specific. That’s a challenge when writing short stories because I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information but there’s also not going to be a lot of real estate for me to spread out what you need to know in order for the story to move ahead without confusing you.

My next few stories are going to try to hit that sweet spot between info dump and good storytelling. I have a couple things in mind and one story in it’s final stages of writing. I hope you enjoy it! Here’s a snippet.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Tophus cursed and charged into the room, the rest of the group following in his wake as if pulled in by the inexplicable scene before them.

“Ru! Bump me, now!” Tophus yelled. Ru didn’t hesitate. He activated speed and charged at Toph’s back. Tophus whirled to meet him at the last instant. They connected, shield to shield; Ru slamming into him with all the power of a bull’s charge.

At the moment of impact, Ru activated a spell on his shield that transferred all his momentum. Ru came to an instant stop, but Tophus suddenly launched forward, flung by the spell. He tried to turn in the air and land in a roll but the bump was too fast. It was meant to send enemies flying, not friends. Toph crashed to the floor and rolled to a stop at Illyoten’s feet. Illyoten, thankfully, was distracted enough to stop skipping toward the demon lord and bent down to say something to Toph. The move saved his life.

Tophus grabbed onto Illyoten and a silvery blue shield flickered to life around the two of them just as a massive paw slapped them. The shield took the brunt of the impact but they went sailing across the room like a kickball. They crashed into the wall mere yards away from Ru and the team and fell to the floor in a heap. The light of the shield cracked and vanished. Toph was down. Illyoten looked dazed. The demon lord roared and heaved itself ponderously to it’s feet.

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