I am working on my first short story for the Domains, tentatively titled Bloodlust: The Great Games. I figured some readers might be interested in my process, and perhaps in giving input as to what they might like to see.
The purpose of the short story is to create a work which can act as an appetizer for new readers and a illuminate a small part of the Domains for those who are already familiar with the world. The basic idea for the first short story is a father taking his son to the arena to watch his first Match. On the surface it is a fairly sweet story, akin to taking a lad out to watch his first Hockey game… except of course, that it is Gladiatorial combat.
I actually hate the name, but I’ll figure something out.
Here are some of the points that I want to touch on:
- I need to show how an everyday person from the Domains view the arena. Getting the citizens perspective of the arena is interesting for veteran readers, and provides an interesting introduction to the Bloodlust story arc for new readers.
- I want to showcase Faction culture from the point of view of a fan. While I touch on this a little bit in Bloodlust: Will to Power, I think I can delve into it a bit more. The sports angle in the arena can be really fascinating.
- I think that structuring the short story around the interaction between a Father and son outing adds a sense of the familiar to an otherwise unfamiliar setting. The enthusiastic elder could even add some elements of exposition explaining rules and conventions to the son.
- I want to hint at the idea of the testing a Child for magic and the choice they must face if they do have the Gift.
- I need a strong action scene that enthralls the reader. The fighting is a key part of the series, and I want to make sure readers, new and old, get a good taste. I think a monster fight would be best so the reader knows who to root for. Monster fights also hint at the theme of imperialism.
- I want to show some of the stuff that goes on between the main events in a day at the arena which gives me a chance to show veteran readers just how a show would be put together. Small descriptions of seating, vendors, and between match entertainment excite me. I might even strike out into explanations of how the arena is cleaned between matches (Blood Zamboni? … no… that’s sick) and what sort of viewing aids are available.
So the outline for the story is rather simple. A Father takes his son to watch a favoured Gladiator/Gladiatrix fight. It starts with the Father getting off-work and rushing home. I highlight his character here and have a chance to offer a glimpse into the working life and technology of the Domains while I establish the Father’s character (see below). On his way home the father considers his son. He wants his son to love the arena (and the proper faction!) like he does. he might be nervous about how his buddies in the faction will see him if he has a child who does not love the Great Games. Cut to a scene of the son with his mother, establish character. Father arrives, picks up son to walk to the Grand Arena. Emphasize how awesome it is to be going to THE Grand Arena to watch THIS Gladiator fight. The Father and son will pass a Chosen on the way (the Hall of the Chosen is next to the Grand Arena, so it is pretty damned convenient.) and maybe see a few details. This part of the story likely has to be fairly short and yet has to convey and establish a fair bit of information.
The rest of the story is a back and forth between the action and the father and son. The son struggles to understand the arena. The father is nervous about his son’s reaction and display of proper appreciation for the “one true cultural event” but is also madly excited about the climactic match. Main action sequence, reaction, and wrap-up. It is more of a character piece than a plot-driven story (so far).
- The Father: I want the father to be a likable person, despite leaning a little too far towards extreme fandom. An average Joe with a good heart, but not someone who is inclined to analyze deeply. It might be a challenge for me to write the character in such a way that he does not come off as stupid or overbearing. Likely a fairly athletic man who would have loved to be a Gladiator himself, Maybe there are amateur leagues or knock-off sports? Needs a huge mustache.
- The Son: The son is not inclined towards the arena. Quiet and reserved, but worships his Dad. Likely named after his Grandfather. Very observant. Much of the drama in the story revolves around his takeaway from the experience.
- The Gladiator/Gladiatrix: I want to use a character I have already introduced here. I have a few options in mind.
- Razorthorn from Book 2: A Gladiatrix with a distinct look that got a good response from readers. I worry that she might be a little too odd for new readers, however. The armour dangling from hooks in her skin might seem overly fetishistic.
- Ravius: Ravius has enough personality to shine in a short story and a skirmisher is ideal to for demonstrating some of the arcane aspects of Gladiatorial combat like appealing to crowd and showing off.
- Azure Dream: Azure is a good pick for the same reasons as Ravius. Plus locking her into a match like this is not as limiting as it might be with Ravius.
- Other options include Green Sting (bk2), Bull Danger (Bk1), Cassius (Bk1) or a new character for future use ( a protege of a familiar character)
- The Monsters: The Monster(s) conveys a fair bit about the setting.
- I want some familiar monsters like stitched and beastmen, but not for the main event.
- A construct might be an interesting opponent.
- A tainted creature might be the best option since it allows me to convey how people feel about the Reckoning and the negative aspects of the magic.
Feel free to make suggestions or requests for the story. Cheers.