How a short story became a four book fantasy adventure series
I always feel as though ‘The Storyteller’s Book’ wrote itself and I was the vessel it used to create its own life. It began when I wrote a short story for my children. I really enjoyed writing it and wanted to carry on so I added a second chapter to it, then a third and so on. As I wrote each chapter, I never knew what was going to happen next until I got typing. Eventually I completed the book and decided the first chapter, the original short story, didn’t quite fit, so I discarded it and completely rewrote that first chapter to fit in with what was to follow.
‘The Storyteller’s Book’ didn’t finish the story I was telling, so I wrote a second novel. Deciding there was still more to tell, a third novel followed and finally, to complete the story, I wrote a fourth. Collectively, they are called 'The Chronicles of Midway'.
1st January 2020
The Chronicles of Midway
The Chronicles of Midway began life over twenty years ago as a short story I wrote for my children. It existed in its original form for over a decade but was always floating in and out of my thoughts prompting the question: What happened next? As someone who had no patience writing novels, apart from not being able to find the time through running a business, I couldn’t give an answer.
What moved me to action, I don’t know, but one day I sat down at my PC and typed ‘Chapter 2’. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next, but as I typed, the characters started to come alive. Once that happened, they became real people with their own thoughts and ideas, all I did was put a few guidelines in as to what type of world I wanted them living in.
I didn’t even know if a second chapter would complete the story, it didn’t, neither did a third or fourth. It took me over twenty chapters to finish the tale, but when I looked at how it ended, I realised the first, original short story that had started the whole thing off, didn’t fit. I had to completely re-write the first chapter.
My own personal preference when reading a book or watching a movie is that there needs to be an ending, a satisfactory ending. I don’t mean it always has to be ‘happy ever after’, a resolution of any sort will suffice, as long as I’m not left dangling with a load of unanswered questions. With The Storyteller’s Book, although I’d given an ending, there was so much more that had to be dealt with, too many characters with incomplete stories of their own. When I continued through The Mines of Kothkish and The Warlords of Shreen, more characters arrived with their own stories to tell. By now, I had a vague idea where I was going, but even so, it was the characters that were driving the story. I had to take enough control to ensure every question would have an answer, and there would be nothing left that was unresolved.
Despite knowing Carnival of the Otherworld would be the final book, I still didn’t know what the outcome would be for Nicholas and Melandra. Would one of them become Custodian of the Council, if so, which one? I already had a problem with the boy without a name, although he was always the brother who the twins never thought existed. I can’t really recall at which point I discovered it was he who would become Custodian, but when that realisation dawned on me, I also realised who Nick and Mel were.
The final revelation for me was the fate of Dora. I had no idea who she was going to be or how I’d provide a satisfactory resolution for her. I felt sorry for her, I’d caused her so much turmoil and pain in her life, I wanted her to have a happy ending. Then I realised there was a vacancy for a scribe four thousand years ago, I was genuinely pleased for her that she found a place where she could fit in and be accepted.
Although the original short story was replaced at the very beginning of book one, I saved it for the very end of book four. In terms of the chronology, the action did take place before The Storyteller’s Book, but it was only revealed near the end of Carnival of the Otherworld. I think it was necessary not knowing who the boy was until then.
So that, briefly, is how The Chronicles of Midway came into existence. It was an absolute pleasure to write, I enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen next, so it was almost as a reader that I discovered the characters and got to know them. Now that it’s over, it feels sad that they will no longer be occupying my every thought as they struggled with the tasks before them. They have left this universe for good and will never come back ... but, as I have no control over them, they are living beings with minds of their own, so I suppose maybe one day they may choose to return to see how we’re getting on.
Copyright © 2014 Kevin Fleming
All rights reserved. Kevin Fleming has asserted his right under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, events or happenings in this book are a product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or persons either living or dead are purely coincidental. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
To everyone who has followed 'The Chronicles of Midway' from the beginning or even if you joined in during the journey, I hope you enjoyed it. Over on the 'TERRAPENTA' page I have started to serialise the 'The Terrapenta Project', the 1st novel in a new series.