Episodic Stories

I’ve got this thing against people swearing by a single story structure. I don’t quite know why it is, but – oh, yeah, I do. Watched a new Hollywood release recently? Seen it before? I have. Seen it too many times before? Me too. And I just can’t get over the idea that while each and every release has a thread – or maybe even two threads – of potential, someone or something is throwing it away.

And then another movie comes out. Same story. Quite literally.

Cinema has so much potential, what with all the tech, all the costumes, all the actors, and the studio community. It strikes me as odd that production teams with so much skill and experience just settle for basic, over-used stories. I don’t like being able to predict absolutely everything that is going to happen during the film. Maybe I’d like to just think of myself as some kind of gifted prophet, but I can’t – other people seem to have the same gift.

It happens a lot with books, too. I used to like to say “it’s all the fault of our teachers”, but if they were anything like my teachers (that’s you, Earl), then they were giving us good structural advice for when our stories are in serious trouble. In other words, you’re going nowhere. Kaput. Not as an “if you don’t use this structure, you aren’t writing a story” statement. Writers who took any kind of course all heard the fantastic and miraculous tale of the ultimate structure: The Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell). We’ve probably all seen Kurt Vonnegut talk about three simple story structures. And then, if we still read books, we see it in action.

So when I bumped into the short stories about Geralt of Rivia (who some of us know as the witcher), I was thrown off my feet. They weren’t particularly fantastic. They weren’t extremely comprehensible. Heck, they didn’t even seem to be in any particular order when I first read The Last Wish. But they were interesting. They were unpredictable. What I saw in them was a kind of new potential for storytelling: little snippets of adventure. They felt more like events than structured stories. Instead of reading through them and thinking “ah, yeah, so now he turns around and goes sad about life for a few minutes before someone sets him back on his feet”, I found that the stories were organic. Sure, there were small overdoses of heroism, but that’s nothing compared to overdosing on story structure. I’d rather see a (kind of) invincible character doing interesting things than slog through a story where a true-to-life character runs through the motions (and yet, is that really true to life?).

That’s not to say that I like superhero stories. They are endurable, sometimes (except that most of them follow the same story structure anyways), but I’m talking about something else. I want to read interesting stories with relatable characters.

Hence the title of this blog post. I’m working on episodic stories. They are more for interesting content than any kind of structure. Sure, I might slip into some kind of clich├ęd structure for one or two stories, but my focuses are content, setting, action, world. Organic storytelling and interesting content.

The Knights of the Moon

This year, I’ve decided to focus on something different. I’m working on a collection of episodic stories about the Knights of the Moon. These aren’t the same chaps you will have met in Imalion’s story, but yes, they are related. The knights I’m focusing on are part of a remnant army that traveled north of Jarbia (that’s right – off the map!) and across a thick mountain range. The army was sent while Rylacia was largely under the control of the Vieran empire. This campaign to expand the empire turned out too costly. Viera’s remaining army was too small to protect the empire as a whole, and so the empire split into three kingdoms (which later turned to Brucia as client kingdoms). The northern army never received word of this, as it had its own problems.

Empirical collapse aside, there were Knights of the Moon that traveled north with the army, and now – some two hundred years after they went north – we get to see something of their lives.

It’s the north. It’s the dragon lands. It’s somewhat colder. It’s isolated.

There’s more information and (so far) one episode on the Knights of the Moon page.

Enjoy!

The Soulshard Chronicles

Finally back online! Unfortunately, some messy shenanigans stopped me from using soulshardchronicles.com, and now I’m busy figuring out the new WordPress interface.

More content is definitely incoming. I’ve got stories from the north to add to the previous tale of Imalion Soulshard (now on Amazon). We’ll be delving into dark and dangerous places with the Knights of the Moon. Remember them? Well, soon they’ll be hard to forget.