For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with a story for 10Flash, an exciting new market that’s opening up soon. I was invited by the editor to submit something, which is extremely flattering. I don’t want to disappoint!
Each issue of 10Flash is themed. In the premier issue we are all writing about librarians on vacation in an exotic land. It’s a great prompt to work with, and opens up huge possibilities.
I originally, as I even hinted at here on the blog somewhere, came up with a story about a Greek librarian visiting Atlantis. Basically the idea was that they would show him this amazing library full of every book imagined, even books from the future. But in the end he’s disappointed because it’s all on computers instead of actual paper.
It was a cute idea, but kind of cliche, I think, and I was having a hard time coming up with a way to make it an interesting story and not just a joke.
I’m happy to say that last night I came up with something way better (triggered by a random Twitter post, incidentally), so I’m trashing the Atlantis idea. I do want to eventually do some underwater Atlantis stories. There is something about the concept that fascinates me. But, really, is Atlantis going anywhere? The underseas kingdoms can wait.
The new story is, I think, much better. There are some steampunk elements, which is an aesthetic I love, and I’ve done some pretty fun research to really bring the story to life. I’m hoping to finish it up today and get a crit or two of it from the Writer’s Ink crew next week before submitting.
It seems a waste to just toss these couple of paragraphs, so here it is, the aborted Atlantean Library story. You can probably tell I was really struggling and couldn’t get into it. The idea was that he’d been taken to sea by this shifty merchant and tossed overboard, but I cut his interactions with the ship’s captain as I realized I probably wouldn’t have space for that. Easier to just toss in a line of dialogue explaining it later. As he’s drowning (which I didn’t convey very well at all), the Atlanteans slow down time and come rescue him.
I still kind of like the concept of this beginning, so maybe I’ll use the idea in another story sometime.
Felix of Thracia breathed deep of the ocean air. Salt stung his lips, and spray kissed his face. He clutched a wad of scrolls to his chest as though they could save him, or he them. He crashed through the surface of the blue infinite, and the parchment disintegrated in his hands. The ocean pounded against his skin and rushed to fill his lungs and ears. His soaked robes dragged him toward the darkness below.
Felix plunged deeper and deeper. Rays of sunlight from the dry world above thinned and scattered. The world slowed around him. Schools of fish swarmed close then froze in place. Pale, slender monsters that hadn’t ceased a hunt in millennia paused, snarling mouths gaping at prey. Felix curled into a ball and waited for the end.