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Author: Jerry

Episode 37 Published

What happens to a society whose order depends on stone walls when those walls don’t work anymore? Old Robert has some theories, and a lot of what he says makes sense. Sometimes the dispassionate view of an outside observer can add clarity. That doesn’t mean he’s omniscient, though. I mean, what are the odds that everything he says is correct?

At first Episode 37 was too short. Then it was too long. Now… maybe a touch long. In the end, there’s a lot of exposition as the folks have a chance to consider the implications of the events up until now.

Behind the scenes, this episode was a long time coming, and I apologize. There were two factors: 1) I did a lot of writing but on a different story, and 2) Keeping any sort of flow with this much exposition is challenging. I felt it was time, though, for the people in the story to consider the big picture rather than stumble around blindly, lest they fall too far behind the reader in putting things together and become annoying.

But now please enjoy Episode 37: Lessons and Questions.

Not my finest hour naming chapters. If you have a better suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

Episode 36 Published

A quiet place, relatively safe. Physical wounds can be tended to, but perhaps those are not the only injuries our little band of heroes has suffered. It is, at last, a moment to pause, and to decide how to act rather than merely react. Which begs the question “Just what is it we want to accomplish?”

I like this episode for a few reasons. The last sentence is the biggest of those. A big moment for Katherine.

Anyway, enjoy Episode 36: People Like Us.

Behind the scenes, I didn’t get as many actual words written as I had hoped to while in Kansas. The reasons for that are complex, but with the help of the Repeat Offenders I came to a couple of significant decisions, story-wise. One of those changes is particularly scary (for me), and will be challenging to get right. To be honest, it paralyzed me for a bit. I have taken on a new tactic as I make my way to the big change: Try not to think about it too much.

Episode 35 Published

“We shall always be.” It’s a compelling slogan, a good chorus to a song, as long as you don’t think too hard about “Who is we?” and “Be what?” Elena, perhaps, answers those questions differently than the rest of the group.

But we shall always be.

Behind the scenes, this chapter is special in a couple of ways: It’s long overdue, and it has been published from the steps of a residence hall in Lawrence, Kansas. I arrived this afternoon and for the next two weeks I will be devoting myself entirely to the written word. I plan to write two more episodes (along with other stuff), but I’ll probably not publish them both while I’m here.

It’s kind of funny; I have a lot of stuff going on, but when I sit down to write this story it flows. Just gotta do that more. I like the four people in this group, and I vow to devote myself to reinforcing their individuality. As a tease: who ever heard of an even-numbered party of heroes?

Episode 34 Published


Knives Episode 34 is out! A bit of travel, a campfire, and a look at the thing from the well.

I was sorely tempted to put a stinger on the end of this episode, but boy would that have messed with my plans. You can’t just put every shiny idea you get into a story, no matter how well it would have rounded out this episode. So, no fireworks this time.

On the writing side, I’ve discovered that the way to make money on Patreon as a writer is to write porn. I’m just going to stick with hoping my patrons see fit to spread the word about Knives, however.

In other news, the chicken that lives next door just laid an egg. Life in a trailer park is nothing if not glamorous.

Anyway, enjoy Episode 34: The Prize!

Episode 33 Published

We rarely outrun our pursuit, we outlast it.

Knives Episode 33: The Hardest Lesson has been published! Things happen, but they’re small things. Things that might or might not develop into large things.

Over there on Muddled Ramblings I talked for a bit about a character quirk of Martin’s I reveal in this episode, that to actually make sense I’d have to go back and tweak a lot of previous episodes. I left that quirk in for now, and perhaps you can spot it. In the next few days I’ll have to decide what to do about that quirk. Either erase it from this episode, or go back and do some rewritin’.

It is taking me much longer to get to looking at the goddam thing from the well than I thought it would. That’s because there are more important things going on. Or at least that’s my story now.

Behind the scenes, things are going pretty well. I’d like to welcome a new patron, and send out special thanks, while respecting privacy. Thanks, new patron! I’ll have your special access set up real soon. All y’all feel free to spread the good word.

Episode 32 Published

This is a gentler episode than we’ve had lately; if this were a heavyweight boxing match this would be one of the rounds where both boxers’ ears are ringing from blows in the previous rounds. Martin is not one to stand toe-to-toe with an opponent, so perhaps this is for the best. He is also not a team player, and that may show a bit this time around. Elena and Katherine have an accord, but how deep does it run?

From a writerly viewpoint, in this episode I’m working more on the connective tissue of the story than on the meat or the bone. But the best stories have great ligaments — the connections between characters and events that turn a travelogue into a story. So I’d best pay careful attention to this stuff. I wasn’t feeling terribly creative this afternoon, but I had a great time going back over the draft and adding another layer of detail to the descriptions. You learn a lot about a character by what they observe.

Some stuff I thought I’d cover in this episode has been pushed back; I’m not trying to be coy about The Thing From The Well, but there are more immediate problems to solve first.

Behind the scenes, progress on the next two episodes was, it turns out, greatly exaggerated. But the good news is that I had an idea today that totally ties the room together, but I hadn’t included in my plan.

So please enjoy Episode 32: What Needs to be Done

Episode 31 Published!

Knives Episode 31 is available for your reading pleasure. Important Things happen. There is negotiation that leans dangerously toward banter at the end, but then people start putting sharp things into each other and all is well. Now perhaps there will be a time of quiet for our little band. They certainly need it; they’re getting pretty banged up.

But life isn’t alway accommodating. We do have an Object of Great Importance right now, something you might call an Important Thing I might have mentioned before. But relax, kids; it’s not like that.

Behind the scenes, the next chapter is shaping up nicely, and the two beyond are coalescing out of the mists. The generous contributions from the Patreon faithful for the last milestone episode have now reached my bank account, and have been used to justify beer several times over. You guys rock.

Enjoy Episode 31: She is Family Now.

Episode 30, Almost Known as “Hekka’s Middle Bunghole”

This is one of the big ones, so it’s a time to thank all my patrons for their continued support. Thanks! You guys put the iron to my backside.

The title of this episode is “An Ethical Foundation”, which is a central idea in the story as it develops, but I toyed with calling it “Hekka’s Middle Bunghole”.

I was searching for the perfect profanity for the moment after someone explodes, and I never found it. What I came up with might have been perfect, with the proper setup: Hekka is a God known in the south, who has three heads and who gave birth to heaven, hell, and our world. Elena, apparently, stopped to consider what three heads might imply on the other end.

There was no way to fit that bit of information into the narrative without breaking the flow of the story; perhaps a future “bonus content” project could be a series of short legends about the deities I pull out of my (only) bunghole when I need a good profanity.

Speaking of bonus content, my fake user accounts with the same settings as my loyal patrons can all see the bonus content properly. Patrons, please let me know if any of you are still having trouble. If it’s working for you, I’ll start loading up Kat’s backstory.

Meanwhile, on the writing front, the curse of the serial novel is starting to bite me. I’m deviating from my plan as I come up with ideas during the flow of the writing. I like the direction I’m heading, but some of the big-picture stuff is starting to drift. But you know, I’m just going to run with it for a bit, and focus on the relationships that will drive the story. What could possibly go wrong?

Enjoy An Ethical Foundation

Episode 29 Published!

A quiet murder, followed by a confrontation. Martin doing what Martin does best. But this time, his best may not be enough.

This episode went well, writing-wise; there were some details I had to work out for realism but the overall chain of events was pretty set. The rest was a matter of the small things. If there’s one thing I regret about the serial format, it’s that when I read an episode long since published I often wish I spent more time on the small things. It’s a lesson the Kansas Bunch has been trying to pound into my head for years now: The life of the story is in the little details.

We have in the narrative an honest-to-god MacGuffin now, and I have mixed emotions about that. It’s a time-honored device that appears in some of the best stories ever, but it also serves as a crutch in some pretty bad writing (see, “The Quest for the Important Thing to Defeat the Evil Guy”). I had intended to resolve this particular item fairly quickly, making it more a clue to the mystery rather than an object of great contention, but… well. I might not.

Please enjoy Episode 29.