Purpose

“What do you want more than anything else in this world?”

It had been hours since they had spoken.

“What drives you?”

Her questions still ravaged his mind.

“Why do you fight?”

Still he could find no answer. He marched, alongside countless others, towards certain death. They outnumbered their enemy 100 to 1 no doubt, and they were armed to the teeth, thanks to their wealthy king. But what were swords and shields and catapults, to beings like this? Beings that wielded darkness as a weapon? Who’s voices could charm minds? Their lettering alone could warp reality itself; what chance did they have?

“Why do you fight?”

He owed no loyalty to the king, whose riches rarely made it past the lords in his service. Nor did he have family or friends worth a damn, much less his life. He couldn’t even convince himself that he desired an honourable death, or to be famed for his skill in combat. He had no answer he could think of, so why was he here? Why had he volunteered?

The march quickly became a charge as the walls of their enemy came into sight. Giant rocks flew overhead, but when they should have smashed through wooden gates, carvings upon the wood glowed, and the rocks fell to the floor without making a mark. Then of course came the second, and third volley of rocks, before finally the runes’ glow flickered, and was lost, and the rocks smashed through the walls. Yelling triumphantly, the army flooded through the holes and ruins.

The siege had begun.

“What drives you?”

 

 

 

 

 

Hey guys, this one was looking like it was going to be a little (lies, a lot) longer than the 200ish limit I like to set for these, so I’m going to chop it into two parts (sorry)! If you’d like me to write longer short stories, or want to comment on my writing style/decisions, or even want to provide inspiration, feel free to contact me, I’m always interested to hear from the… what, ten of you? 😛

I’ll get to writing the rest of this next week, until then

Stay Mindful,

Lachlan

The Hollow Light and Forgiving Shadow

He sprinted through the scattered debris that was the town, running from the beings of light. He knew exactly what they were, and just thinking of their name sent shivers down his spine.

Angels

A wall barred his path, once the elegant holder of a kitchen window, now a freestanding reminder of his deadly foes. He jumped through the window, landing with a painful thud, then he was on his feet and running again. He had no time to go round, he could hear anguished cries from the victims of his pursuer; he knew that no number of helpless cries would slow their assault, and that they would sweep through this entire town. A culling of monsters, they’d call it. Of darkness.

Of his friends and family.

A sudden thought attacked his mind, causing such a shock he nearly lost his footing mid stride. His family was nowhere near (nor would he worry himself with their safety if they were), but she was. She needed him, and he realised, with another shock, he needed her too.

He let his mind empty as he slowed to a stop, and he spread his consciousness beyond his body, searching, feeling for- Her. He turned to his left, and his body shot forward, his mind locked on her weak mental signal. She was out cold, unconscious but alive and that was the hope he clung too. He bounded over the ruins and chaos that separated them, and when he found her buried in rubble, shadow shot from his hands, and the wreckage flew across the wasteland. The light would be upon them soon, and he grimaced in empathy; he had no time to be gentle. He knelt over her, and placed one hand on her temple. Closing his eyes, he forced his mind into hers, shocking all her nerves with darkness, forcing her mind to react violently, throwing her awake. She yelled in pain and fear, her body sitting up forcefully, and at that moment he had her, she was in his arms, their eyes were locked and he silently apologised.

They looked at each other, into each other, sharing just a moment, just a second. Then, together, they ran for their lives, sprinting away from the light.

Destruction And Its Wake

When he awoke, his ears were ringing, he was covered in debris and he was famished. As he attempted to pull his arms out from beneath his stomach, he realised he hadn’t eaten a full meal in days, merely scraps here and there. As soon as he was clear of this disaster, he told himself, he would find himself a decent three course meal, and go to town. He managed to pull one arm free, and facing the palm of his hand to the largest piece of debris, he pushed mentally and physically, watching a wave of shadow surge from his hands, throwing majority of the rubble off of its captive. Once he had fully freed himself using similar methods, he dusted off his clothes, and looked at his surroundings.

The town was destroyed: buildings reduced to ruins, people strewn throughout the unexpected battlefield, most dead or unconscious, and the only light holding back the night was the numerous fires which had been lit during the chaos. Once the ringing in his ears subsided, he heard a deep, monotonous hum fill the air. He turned and saw another source of light, and he outwardly shivered in fear. Coming towards him was a line of figures cloaked in piercing white light which hid any possible sign of a physical form, other than long, gleaming broadswords which were held in shiny metal gauntlets. The figures moved as one, trails of light emerging from their back like wings, linking together to form a wall, barring all who opposed them.

They floated forwards at an alarming speed, never stopping, and even as he watched one of the figures’ swords rose up and sliced quickly down upon a stirring body before them, killing it before it even had a chance to cry out. So the horrified onlooker did the smart thing. He ran.

 

 

This one I cut off earlier than expected to make you want it more XD

I plan to make the next post a continuation of this, if you want to leave your mark on this blog and suggest a direction I can take the story in, or even if you want to have a go at me  for leaving you hanging, feel free to contact me and share your thoughts.

Be mindful out there 🙂

-Lachlan

A Quick(ish) Glance at the Short Story

In many ways, short stories should be easier than writing a novel. They’re shorter, as the name suggests, and do not rely on a rich back story, foreshadowing, or even complex plot lines to interest a reader. However, creating an enjoyable story without these elements raises the question of what you do put into your limited word count.

Short stories cannot be written as if they were simply a short novel; they are very different styles of writing, and I believe a short story relies on the purpose of the protagonist. In a collection of emergency tips this point is hammered across quickly, as the story will be driven by your protagonist, their actions, and the consequences of those actions. That protagonist has to want something and their decisions, good or bad, are all your story has, without a back story.

Backstories are the building blocks of a novel, but in a short story, they are essential and virtually non-existent. This meaning that a good backstory is one you don’t realise you’re reading. In a blog post I read, it lists good ways to incorporate backstories into novels. In a short story, you get a few lines of dialogue, or a single train of thought. Any more and your readers will start to lose interest and you will start to lose valuable space. The key lies in giving your audience enough to fill the remaining blanks on their own, and to leave out information that is not dire to your characters or plot.

In the prior to paragraphs, I have listed just a few rules to guide you in writing (or appreciating the work that goes into writing) a short story. These rules are similar to that of a Kurt Vonnegut but despite all his rules regarding short stories, he admitted that great writers would break them all, excluding his golden rule of never leaving a stranger (your reader) bored while you have his attention. This boils down to you as a writer saying… screw it. In the end, it’s your story, and if you believe it works better told through non-stop flashbacks, that is your executive decision to do so. Don’t let the ideal of a ‘perfect’ story get in the way of you finding your story. It’s also important that you short story readers out there appreciate the story the author chose to write, not what an article told you to expect.

Now that I’ve told you what to write, what to write without writing to much of it, and then completely contradicting myself by saying “remember, you decide”, it’s time for the most important part of any short story. With a novel you get a blurb, a fancy cover maybe, a prologue perhaps. With a short story, you get the perfect first line, which isn’t easy without some fancy guide. It may seem a bit late in my somewhat instructional essay to mention the first line of the story, but many guides online leave this step until well after first draft (or in some cases, second draft). This line is important in many ways. It invites the reader into the world and scene, sets the tone of the author, and the best writers use it to surprise the audience and tell as much of the story as they can. This is because whether or not the reader likes, dislikes, agrees, or disagrees with your story, the perfect first line will stay in their mind and in the very least assure them your ability as a writer.

Short stories have always been a passion of mine, due to how fun they are to write, and how difficult they are to master. They are quick bites of a story which allow the reader a snippet into the life of a protagonist, while providing a creative reader blanks to fill on their own. I am proudly a published author of a short story entered into a competition led by Write 4 Fun, and since then I’ve taken pride in writing short stories from 200-several thousand words in length. The only real rule I would give a writer, is write the story you want to read. Know your audience, but write for yourself.

 

Whether you have interest in perfecting the style or not, I highly encourage giving short stories a go, and if you have nowhere else to publish your story, or would like some amateur feedback, feel free to send it here and I will happily give it a once over.

If only…

Her shackles bound her to a long chain, which snaked across the floor, coming to a halt at a large iron ring, nailed to the floor of her cell. She tried to make her way to the window, but before her hands could reach out and touch the bars, before her face could feel the cold winter breeze, her chain was taut and refused to give. She struggled for a few moments, but soon gave up and fell to her knees. If only she was normal, she thought to herself. If only she knew what it was like to be human. To be in control of her actions. If only she could live without the animal inside, which yearned to be released. If only he had understood that side of her, had accepted that side of her.

She looked down and a single tear fell onto her shackles. Silver, of course. Humans loved their traditions. The drop of moisture slowly circled her wrist, before disappearing underneath the shackles. Last sign of weakness. Standing tall, she met the marching guards with a steely gaze. They don’t know who they’re dealing with, she thought. What they’re dealing with.