So, really. How short is short?

I’ve never been good at short stories. Not really my thing, I thought. Mainly because, well, brevity isn’t my thing. I’m a waffler. See? I’m doing it now. All I needed to do was say ‘I don’t like short stories’ yet here I am. Waffling.

But it’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. A story, start to finish, in under 20k (alright, maybe that’s not short for some people. But I don’t mean flash, okay? Gimme a break). To the point. Precise.

Well, you know what? I’m very proud to say (drum roll please. . . drrrrrrrrr): I’ve done it! My first attempt at a short story. And guess what?

It’s an Elementalists prequel.

*cue gasp*

For now, I’m calling it ‘The Dawn of Ares’. Which might spark your interest if you’ve enjoyed Book 1 of The Elementalists series. If not, well. . . Hopefully it sounds cool anyway!

For a short story, it sure spans a long period of time. The Elementalists didn’t even cover a full year; this prequel, however, starts with Troy McIntosh as a little kid, right at the end of the Nuclear Wars. The story grows with him all the way through adolescence. That’s frikkin’ years! I won’t say anything more about the plot. I mean, if you want to know more. . . *lowers voice into a whisper*. . . join my book club and read it for free 😉

But I would like to say this. Writing a short story wasn’t the terrifying thing I thought it would be. It was awesome. I’ve always struggled with having just one POV narrator – but the short story format, with it’s fast moving pace, kept me engaged (although admittedly, I do stray around between different characters POVs still, just not as much. Shh. I tried. You’ll see).

The slog of the middle was far less daunting; there’s so much less room to play with, so it kept me on my toes, not letting me drag my heels through parts of the plot. I usually find at around 20k words, I hit a tricky spot and start to slump – but once I’m past the 20-30k bump, I’m fine. But having a <20k word limit didn’t even give me time to get to the hill. It was all flat land. Win-win, I say.

All in all, a thoroughly worthwhile stray into a format I’ve never tried before. Lesson learnt – be brave. No format is beyond us writers. We just have to take the leap 🙂 I’m so pleased that I did. Dawn of Ares is a story I’ve wanted to explore for a long time now, and I’m so happy to finally see it down on paper, and most of all, those two little words: The End.

Hehe. It might be the end of the book. . . But it’s just the beginning for Ares, and the Elementalists.

Lots of love, guys! Peace out.