Update and New Fiction

So, I’m back on track with the Write-A-Thon. I’ve ran through the first two chapters. There was a lot of cleaning up to do, cities to be named etc. So that’s progressing well. This week I will take a look at Chapter 3.

In case you missed it, Saturday I posted a new story in the free fiction section. Chuck Wendig challenged us to re-imagine a fairy tale into a modern setting. Which prompted me to write the story The Broken Promise. I hope you enjoy it. Though it is a little on the dark side, so maybe “enjoy” isn’t quite the right word.

The Broken Promise

Chuck Wendig of TerribleMinds issued this challenge to write an updated fairy tale. Here is my contribution:

The Broken Promise

by Joshua D Evans

Aaron slammed the door as he entered their house. He carried a box, filled with family pictures, a potted plant, and used pens. Aaron dropped the box next to the door.

“Aaron?” Samantha said as she entered the living room. “What’s happened?”

“I’ve had enough Samantha,” he said. “I gave them everything I had. I was so close to finding a cure and they fired me.”

“They can’t–”

“Well, they did, with a month’s severance as though that could somehow make up for the lives I could have saved. They just care about their damn bottom line.”

“There’s other places you can work.”

“No,” he said. He held up a USB drive in his hand.

“What’s that?”

“The data from my hard drive. I’ll find a cure to the virus without them and then they’ll beg me to come back. Get the kids, pack what clothes you can carry, and let’s get in the car.”

The warehouse at the edge of town was better than Aaron expected. With the money from their sold house, Aaron could work for a long time on finding the cure. Samantha believed in his work and would sacrifice anything for him. Even if it meant cooking over a gas burner and a ten mile trek to the nearest store. Jake, his oldest son was pissed at having to leave his friends behind. Molly was as strong as her mother and little Andy, who was only ten, was just happy to be with everyone. They fell into an easy rhythm. Samantha home schooled the children while Aaron plunged through the data. The answer was there, he just needed to find it.

When the virus caught him, everyone was shocked.

Aaron called his children to his side. The virus ravaged the body quickly with no discernible pattern, making even the strongest man weak as a baby.

“Children,” he began. “I fear your mother will follow my path soon. You must always remember there are evil men in this world. Whatever you do, take care of Andy. He’s too small to fend for himself.”

“We promise,” the older children said together. Andy smiled, not realizing what was happening to his father.

As their father predicted Samantha died eight months later just as the chill of fall was starting to touch the city. They all knew the reason was a broken heart. On her death bed she called her children to her side.

“You must never forget the promise you made your father.”

“Never,” the children said.

Jake stepped into the role of provider. He found odd jobs nearby and kept his siblings fed throughout the winter. As spring came the snows melted and Jake found himself restless.

“I met a girl,” he told his sister. “She said her father can get me a job fixing cars.”

“You must remember your promise to father. Andy needs us.”

“I have work to do. I’ll be back.”

Jake never returned that night. Molly continued to take care of Andy, scraping together for them what food she could find. Fall came, settling a chill into the city. Winter then set upon them with a vengeance. As the temperature grew colder, so too did Molly’s heart.

“Andy, I’m going to find our brother and bring him back. There is food here for a few weeks. Don’t waste it.”

Molly found her brother. He wasn’t hard to track down and she spied him with his girl, her belly round with a child. Molly couldn’t bring herself to bring Jake back or face Andy again.

Andy finished the last of the food within a few weeks. With no one there to watch him, he started to explore the areas around the warehouse in search of food. It was on one such trip that he found a gang that called themselves The Wolves. They scared Andy at first, with their tattoos and leather jackets, but they left him scraps of food too. Eventually one of the gang members took him in and they started to teach Andy their ways.

Andy pulled a ski mask over his face, tucked a pistol into his belt and set out to earn his place with The Wolves. He came upon a car stopped at a light. Never a good idea in this neighborhood but Andy wasn’t going to complain. He ran up to the driver side window, drawing his pistol as he went. He slammed the butt of the weapon into the window, sending fragments of glass flying through the car.

“Get the fuck out of the car,” Andy ordered.

“Hey man chill,” a familiar voice said. “Just let me and my girl go. You can have the car.”

“Good, play it smart.”

The man opened the door and slid out of the car, his empty hands in the air.

“Jake…?” Andy mumbled. The gun in his hand wavered.

“… Andy … is that you?”

“Not anymore,” Andy said. “Get out of my way.”

“Hey brother,” Jake said. “I’ve been looking for you.”

“Jake, what’s going on?” the girl said as she struggled to get out of the car.

“Yeah, looks like you looked really hard for me.”

Jake crossed the distance with his arms spread wide. Andy lashed out with his pistol striking Jake with the butt of the weapon. Jake crumpled to the ground blood welling up on this forehead. The girl started to scream once she saw Jake fall. Andy turned and fired his pistol, the shot ringing out on the empty street.

“I’m a wolf now,” Andy spat. He jumped in the car and gunned the engine.

Jake dragged himself across the street to where his girlfriend lay on the ground. Blood poured from a wound in her shoulder.

Jake cursed himself for breaking his promise.

Updates

I must start by first thanking my wife. Thanks babe. Thanks for watching the kids. I totally wasn’t expecting any quiet time right now, I promise I’ll make the best of it. So, no blowing off the morning playing WoW.


Of the 7 stories in the short story cycle, I finished 2. That’s not very good. They have probably both come in around 5000 words, so extrapolating that would give me 35,000 words which is considerable. Nice little novellette going for me. Toward the end of the second story, I was rushing it. I don’t think it came out good at all, and need considerable work. But the story is done. I got my hero to the point that he needs to be. And the rest of the crew hungering for revenge. Sorry for blowing that deadline Mike, I’m just not a fast writer. It seemed so doable when I started. We all write at different paces. Mine, a bit slower than most I’d bet.

I still need to edit Lost Pages. I want to get that out to the markets, see if it can find a home. I like the story. I think too in writing this last story for the Cycle, I’ve decided I like writing fantasy a lot more than sci-fi. I love reading sci-fi, but I’m not so good with writing the science side of things. Mostly just ends up an adventure in space. Not that there is anything wrong with that, other franchises have seemed to pull that off pretty well (Star Wars?). I have a lot of themes in the Cycle that I’m trying to tackle at the same time. Maybe too much.

I still want to tell the story of the Vhor (my aliens in the Cycle), but I think for the immediate future I’m going to take a break from that, and write the follow-up story to Lost Pages.

I’ve also decided I write much better when I have some kind of outline before me. It gave my cycle a lot more direction. I have a loose outline for the Lost Pages stories. Once I finish both (Lost Pages, and Cycle) I need to look seriously at writing up an outline for the novel. It’s still rolling around in the back of my head, but I haven’t worked on it in a few months.

So, that’s where I am. Time to get to writing.

Writing Along

I was wrinting along last night, all was going well. Then I dozed off and completely lost my train of thought. Picked it back up this morning and all is well again.

This challenge is 7 interconnected stories. Yet they need to be able to stand alone. ABDCE. While I am enjoying the project, it’s certainly not turning about to be short by any stretch of the imagination. Then of course is the worry about whether or not I’ll be able to sell it later. Maybe pick the best and send that one off, hoping a mag would pick up the others afterwards. Or try and sell it as a group. We shall see. I really am enjoying writing the story. I guess that is the main part. I’d just like to see something come of it after I’m done. Something more than my own satisfaction at seeing it completed.

edit: I guess I should worry about getting this done more than I should worry about whether or not it will be published.

Friday the 13th!

I haven’t updated this in a bit. I had Strep and I’m recovering from that now. Life keeping me busy. Knocked out taxes last weekend. Kids keeping me busy. You know, that kind of stuff.

The story for the challenge is still moving along. Mike moved the deadline back to the end of the month, but I still don’t know that I’ll be able to finish it. I don’t write short short stories (at least not well) nor do I write fast. I’m almost to the end of the second story. I like the way it’s coming together, just need to put the time into making it happen.

Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse is premiering tonight, so we’ll definitely be watching that. In Joss We trust.

New Challenge

Mike Munsil, creator of Liberty Hall Writers, has posted a challenge in the interim while they get the system working. It’s a Short Story Cycle, based on a trigger he has provided. So if you haven’t stopped by in a while, check it out. If you’re not a member of the Hall, look into signing up. It’s a great place to write and get feedback.

Using the trigger, I have a loose plot for the first 6 stories. Just need to figure out the 7th. May have to write a bit and figure the rest of it out before the last one comes around. I’m excited for this challenge. It ties in some settings/themes I had already wanted to use. Needs to be done by Feb 15th though, so I’m not sure how well I’ll do in the time frame. All I can do is start writing and don’t look up until all the stories are done.