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'.
15th February 2021
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 didn't have the patience to write a novel, as well not being able to find the time through running a business, I could give no answer.
What eventually 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 chapter, the original short story that had started the whole thing off, didn’t fit. I had to completely re-write the opening of the book.
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 on to 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, 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 also had a big problem with the boy without a name, although I always knew where he fitted in to everything. When I did finally realise what would happen to him, I also realised where Nick and Mel were going. Of course, I’m being a bit vague here as I want to avoid spoilers.
The final revelation for me was the fate of Dora. I had no idea 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 felt as if she was demanding to know from me how I would solve her problems. I wanted to give her an answer more than anything. When the answer came to me, I was genuinely pleased that I could give her an explanation that I hoped would satisfy her.
Although the original short story was removed from the very beginning of book one, I saved it for the very end of book four. In terms of the chronology, the action did happen 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 probably for good, but, as I have no control over them, they are living beings with minds of their own, so you never can tell if maybe one day they will 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.