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The fun of short stories

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Short Stories, you work in mysterious ways. With my latest short finished and off to my critique group, I started thinking about the setting I had created to act as set dressing for the theme.

The story is set in a distant Earth future where there is a one world government. A Civil War has erupted and the two sides are called the Archivists and the Separatists. Now, the only reason I came up with the name Archivists is because I wanted to stay away from generic SciFi names. Such as the Council, Empire, Captial etc etc.

What I got however, was a happy accident. My brain started to wounder what a government called the Archivists was about. Why do they call themselves that? It’s an odd name, so it must have an interesting origin.

And off my brain went on exploring this world and what that name was all about.

This process reminded me of why I like to write short stories. They are fun vehicles to explore different concepts very rapidly. You can hash out an idea without getting overly committed. I have heard once that Stephen Kind referred to them as Toy Trucks. You play with them but they aren’t the real thing.

From my background in animation and drawing, I like to think of short stories as sketches. I’ve brought this up before but thought I’d give some more time to it. Because I think the idea is extremely important for writers. Write those little ideas and explore them in short story form. And don’t overly commit yourself to the story. This is your time to  play, leave structure out of it, and see where the story takes you.

You may find that it leads to a larger narrative. Or sparks an idea for something else. Perhaps you’ll even discover a setting that goes better with a character you made up from another short. Mix and match them all together and see what you come up with.

I’ll definitely be keeping the Archivists in my back pocket for a later date. And with luck, I’ll be able to introduce you all to them.

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2 Comments

  1. Maybe the Archivists could be intent on uploading all humans into computers, whether they want to or not?

    Of course, that’s been done before–the computer game “Total Annihilation.”

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