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CK: I don't want to make you feel bad, but I've started a fifth short story. This one will probably be longer than the others to date.

Originally I was thinking of a gimmick. The story would appear to be a standard sword & sorcery/fantasy, but the kicker would be at the end the hero would die, just short of achieving his goal and then the story would cut to a scene of two adolescent boys fighting over who gets to play the video game next. (In other words, the whole story was actually from the POV of the video game character.)

At first, I was worried that this had already been done and I simply hadn't come across it (I don't typically read short stories anymore). But then I decided that if I get the reader emotionally invested in the character and the story and then pull the rug out from under them, it would be like the infamous Dallas "the whole last season was a dream sequence" fiasco. It might work with a very short story (say 1,000-1,500 words), but I decided early on that this would be a much longer piece (perhaps 7K-10K).

I'm still working on the plot, but I wrote a few pages of setup material (the protagonist wakes up in a forest clearing, battered and bruised from an earlier encounter with the baddies, he continues on to the next willage and books a room for the night and gets some information to help him on his quest; that sort of thing) to get a feel for the genre. I haven't tried to write fantasy before, although I have read some of it. On the other hand, my wife reads a lot of fantasy, so I'll use her as my touchstone to let me know if I'm straying too much.

If nothing else, it'll be an interesting experience for me to try to get inside the head of a medieval prince on a quest to save the fair damsel in distress, fighting dragons, etc. Not only is the dialog more flowery (in some cases) and formal than I'm used to, but so are the protagonist's thoughts.

Mark.
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