Tag Archives: The Process

Homework: TCW Short Story #1

In trying to continue working on last year’s NaNoWriMo project, I’m hitting a couple roadblocks. So I had a sit-down/brainstorm with a friend who basically ended up giving me a couple homework assignments:

  • Map out my characters and character groups, and their relationships to each other, and
  • Write a 500 word short featuring one character — it can be backstory, future scenes, whatever, but 500 words.

So I’ve been writing ideas down as they come to me, and have a sizeable list at this point. Now I just have to pick something, and you can help! :) Do any of the of the options in the following list catch your interest? What kind of short-form stories do you like to read?

The List:

  1. Backstory: A scene from Harolyn’s childhood — surviving on the streets or fighting her way into a children’s street-gang
  2. Backstory: A romantic scene with Harolyn (the main character) and [former love interest] (a character who shows up in the novel)
  3. Backstory: Harolyn and [rival smuggler] butt heads (pre-novel, but this is an ongoing and unfriendly rivalry)
  4. Behind the Scenes: Harolyn on a smuggling run — something sneaky? something completely mundane (or, “What does Harolyn do when she’s on a job that bores her senseless?”)
  5. Behind the Scenes: How Brezo (Harolyn’s broker — the guy who finds her work) fixes up a meeting with an untrusting contact — part of the TCW, but happens off-camera
  6. Future: Harolyn post TCW — Where does she go? What does she do? Interactions with other people (some who recognize her, some who don’t)
  7. Backstory: What’s the story with Harolyn & Ginna? (a young barmaid — minor love interest character in the story)
  8. Backstory: Ginna & Dinka/Adevich (The two proprietors of a sea-side inn — minor characters, basically Ginna’s guardians)
  9. Backstory: How Verity (the politico/gentlewoman) and Rhyme (her maidservant/bodyguard) became associates
  10. Backstory/History: How Verity became the mediator for the Speakers (a Veridian activist group trying its best to work with reluctant/distrusting lawmakers to enact change) — possibly tied to her meeting Rhyme?
  11. Backstory: School, political, or social scene with Verity and Traver (a fellow politico and colleague/on & off love interest)
  12. Backstory/History: Chymanic (a terrorist organization on the planet Veridia) R&D — developing their “bomb packs” (montage of sorts?)
  13. History: The negotiation and/or signing of the Yedri’in Stellar Trade Alliance

Admittedly, most of these don’t really fit the spirit of the assignment. 1, 4, 5, 6, and maaaybe 12 do. Ideally, I’d like to end up writing all of these. It would be a useful exercise to help me flesh out character backgrounds and personalities a little more concretely; and it would also be cool to have a bunch of shorts that I could compile into a collection as a companion to the full-length story.

I think I’m leaning toward 1 or 4. The first one is completely disconnected from the current storyline, and would highlight some of the foundations of the way her personality formed. #4 could show us how she functions in, alternately, a high-stress situation of her own devising (as opposed to being tossed into the fray against her will), or when she’s more or less at ease and on her own. Hmm.

What do you think? :)