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Two Free Stories

March 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

[Hi there.  If you've stopped by to read my infamous blog post regarding the bizarro publishing history of my trilogy, it's here.]

I've been meaning to do this for quite a while, but lately I've been more scatterbrained than usual.  But!  Thanks to yesterday's blog comment from Steve Halter (hi, Steve), I finally got my act together and posted a couple of short stories on the website.  One Milkweed story, and one standalone.

Right now they're both in PDF format.  More formats will come later.  A lot later.  (I know, I should be all Web 3.0 and stuff.  I will.  Later.) 

Links to the new stories are available on the Words page.  And there are also links below the cut, where I've written a little bit about the history of both pieces.

Come Dancefight, My Beloved Enemy

This piece was published online about 4 years ago, at a great little market called Trabuco Road.  TR is, sadly, defunct now, meaning the link to this story has been broken for a long time.  Oops. 

But now the story is available for free on the Words page, alongside links to some of my more recent stories. 

I wrote this piece purely as a writing exercise for myself.  It was the culmination of some experimentation I did at Clarion, where I wrote stories in first- and third-person points of view, with both subjective and objective narratives.  Near the end of the workshop, I decided to attempt a story written in a second-person PoV— the most offputting of the points of view.

I also find action-packed in medias res openings a little gimmicky.  And, because I'm a contrarian little troll with a black heart, they tend to turn me off.   So I set a challenge for myself: write a story in the second-person point of view which begins with an insane in medias res opening.

So this story was pretty much fine-tuned to hit all of my turnoffs.  But oddly enough I kinda like how it turned out.   (I'm a big believer in writing against obstacles.  And this is a good example why.)

Chronicle of Sorrows

This is an epistolary story set within the Milkweed universe of Bitter Seeds and What Doctor Gottlieb Saw.

The various journal entries in this story can also be found hidden around this website, as part of the Chronicle of Sorrows game.  (The contest prizes have been awarded*.  But the game is still up for anybody who'd like to play along.  This post is a good starting place.  And, if you get stuck, this post contains a complete walkthrough for the game.)

This story had to try to service two masters.  On the one hand, it had to provide the sequence of clues that would guide a player through the game.  But I also wanted it to provide some interesting (I hope) backstory to Bitter Seeds

Anyway, it's no longer necessary to solve the game in order to read the entire piece.  It's available for free on the Words page, and here.

(*Poor Patrick will be waiting a while for that signed ARC of The Coldest War.  But let's not go there.)


Steve Halter March 17, 2011 at 9:45 am
Hi back! Thanks for posting those Ian. "Come Dancefight, My Beloved Enemy" was fun. I wanted to see what happens next--a good sign, always leave them wanting more. Second person works better than you usually think. According to Charles Stross, his novel "Rule 34" is in second person. A whole novel in 2nd should be intriguing. Especially given at what the title hints. The "Chronicle of Sorrows" was neat. Are the twins are the telepaths? I don't have my book handy to check names. If they are, then it makes the whole "opera singers" very pointed. I checked out a bit of the game--man, that's some wild website design.
Ian March 17, 2011 at 10:03 am
You're very welcome! I hope you enjoyed the stories. Are the twins are the telepaths? I don't have my book handy to check names. Yep, that's them. They're never referred to by name in the book. Nor, for that matter, in the entire trilogy. They basically never had names-- as far as VW was concerned, they were "1" and "2". (Charming guy, old Karl Heinrich.) I checked out a bit of the game--man, that's some wild website design. All credit goes to Richard Mueller at 3232 Design. He's a mad genius. He actually thought of the interactive widgets on this website almost instantly when we first started talking about building a site-- he had something akin to this game in mind from the very beginning of the planning process. Like I said, a mad genius.
Sara G. March 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm
Now I feel special and "in the know" because I read Dancefight, YEARS ago. Looking forward to reading Chronicle of Sorrows just as soon as this Cultures and Learning class has ended. There is an awful lot of writing about peace, considering how little progress we're making. (Yeah, I was looking looking at you, UN, when I said that.)
Ian March 18, 2011 at 9:46 am
It's true! You took pity on me and read that story long before most anyone else. Which just goes to demonstrate what I just said a moment ago, on another page, about your kindness.
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