Today’s Development Diary directly correlates with my short story First Blood. It’s the first story I’ve released in the Seed of Prophecy Continuum world.
And you may want to before you read this. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Go ahead. Read it now before we move on.
Done? Excellent! Let’s do this!
First Blood originated after I began writing the first Seed of Prophecy Continuum book. The character Tele in the short story is one of the primary characters in the main storyline. She’s strong, smart, and she has a lot of growth ahead of her.
I wrote the story as a character analysis. I’d learned a lot about Tele from writing from her perspective, but I felt the need to rewind and write about a day that changed her forever. Sometimes it’s easier to understand a character when you can clearly see what the root of their pain is. The story helped inform Tele’s plight in the first novel of the main series.
There was a bit of a challenge in keeping the story compelling. The ending is given away in the very first paragraph. This didn’t give me an advantage with the external conflict, but it gave me every advantage with the internal conflict. Tele struggles with PTSD and fights to keep her head when a cornerstone of her integrity is pulled from her moral standing.
My editor and I discussed the effects of PTSD and what it looks like. She suggested that I give Tele something to fixate on during her grief. I decided to use the scarpe as her focal point. But, instead of merely having her focus on it, I wanted it to be symbolic of her internal and external struggle that occurs in the flashbacks.
If you’re confused about what a scarpe is, I understand. Scarpes aren’t a creature that you’ll find in the real world. They exist only in the SOPC world. They may find their way back into the story in the future if they become relevant again (and, yes, I already have an idea of what role they will play).
Another challenge was writing this story so that it could stand alone. Epic fantasy short stories aren’t easy to write. In fact, I wouldn’t say this story exactly fits into the epic fantasy box. It’s still fantasy, however.
While this story is meant to stand alone, and reading it is not a prerequisite for reading or understanding the first book in the main series, the story does tie into the main story. Not only because it discusses why Tele became the kind of person that she is, but the idea of “first blood” resonates with Tele’s character in a way you may take as less significant when it reoccurs.
What About You?
I’d love to know what you think of the story!
If you read this (despite my warnings) and haven’t read the story yet, you can read the story here.
Leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it!